Information concerning the presence of Baptists in the Province of Maine is contained in a letter which Humphrey Churchwood, a member of the Baptist church in Boston, but a resident of Kittery, addressed to his brethren of Massachusetts Bay January 3, 1682.1 The letter is as follows: "Humphrey, a servant of Jesus Christ to the church which is at Boston: 2 grace be with you, and peace, from God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comforts, who comforteth us in all our tribulations that we may be able to comfort them that are in any trouble, as we are comforted of God. Most dearly beloved brethren and friends, as I am, through free grace, a member of the same body, and joined to the same head, Christ Jesus, I thought it my special duty to inform you that the tender mercy of God, in and through Jesus Christ, hath shined upon us by giving light to them that sit in darkness, and to guide our feet in the way of peace; for a great door, and effectual, is opened in these parts, and there, are many adversaries, according to the 1st of 1 Corinthians, 16:9. Therefore, dearly beloved, having a desire to the service of Christ, which is perfect freedom, and the propagating his glorious gospel of peace and salvation, and eyeing that precious promise in Daniel the 12th, 3d, 'They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever,' therefore I signify unto you that here [are] a competent number of well established people whose hearts the Lord hath opened insomuch that they have gladly received the word and do seriously profess their hearty desire to the following of Christ and to partake of all his holy ordinances, according to his blessed institution and divine appointment; therefore I present my ardent desire to your serious consideration, which is, if the Lord see it fit, to have a gospel church planted here in this place, and in order hereunto, we think it meet that our beloved brother, William Screven, who is, through free grace, gifted and endued with the spirit of veterans to preach the gospel [be ordained]; who, being called by us, who are visibly joined to the church. When our beloved brother is ordained according to the sacred rule of the Lord Jesus our humble petition is to God that he will be pleased to carry on this good work to the glory of his holy name, and to the enlarging of the kingdom of his beloved Son, our dear Redeemer, who will add daily to his church such as shall be saved; and we desire you in the name of our Lord Jesus not to be slack in this good work, believing verily that you will not, and that you are always abounding in the work of the Lord, and we humbly crave your petitions for us to the throne of grace, and we commend you to God and the good word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among them that are sanctified."3
Humphrey Churchwood, the writer of this letter, and William Screven, to whom he refers, were baptized and united with the Baptist church in Boston June 21, 1681. The record on the original church book is as follows "William Screeven & his wife & Humphrey __urkwood baptized the 21st of 4 mo 1681 & received to communion." Concerning the previous history of Mr. Screven but little is known. He came to Kittery from England undoubtedly, but at what time there is no record.4 After his settlement at Kittery he is first mentioned in a deed5 by which, November 15, 1673, Elizabeth Seely granted ten acres of land on the west side of Spruce Creek, Kittery, at what was known as Carle's Point, to William Screven, for eleven pounds "current pay of New England."6 He is next mentioned in the record of his marriage, July 3, 1674, to Bridget Cutts, a daughter of Robert Cutts, one of the three brothers so prominent among the early settlers of New Hampshire. John, the oldest, was the first president of New Hampshire; Robert, the youngest, settled at Barbadoes, in the West Indies, where he married, as his second wife, Mary Hoel. Subsequently he came to New England, and first lived in Portsmouth, in the Great House (so-called) at the foot of Pitt Street. Afterward he removed to Kittery, where he was extensively engaged in ship-building. He had two sons and four daughters. It was the second of these daughters whom William Screven married.
From the Records of the Province of Maine7 we learn that at a County Court, held at York, July 6, 1675, among several "presentments" by the Grand Jury was the following:"We present William Scrivine for not frequenting the public meeting according to law on the Lord's days."8
"This person presented is remitted because per evidence it appears that he usually attends Mr. Moody's meetings on the Lord's days."9
At a court held at Wells, July 4, 1676, Mr. Screven was appointed a constable for "the lower part of the River." In 1678 and in 1680, he was appointed to serve on the Grand Jury, and at the General Assembly held at York, June 30, 1681, he took his seat as a deputy from Kittery.
It is evident from these records, as well as from Churchwood's letter, that in his religious views Mr. Screven was not in harmony with the "Standing Order." He was nevertheless esteemed as a citizen, and was rapidly advanced to positions of official trust.
Churchwood's letter shows that at the time to which it refers there were Baptists enough in Kittery -- in part doubtless as a result of Mr. Screven's labors -- to warrant the formation of a Baptist church. The nearest church of the same faith and order was that in Boston, to which this letter was addressed, and which was organized sixteen years before. Rev. Isaac Hull was the second
pastor of this church. After hearing Mr. Screven preach the brethren in Boston gave him a license dated January 11, 1682.10
"To all whom it may concern: -- These are to certify, that our beloved brother, William Screven, is a member in communion with us, and having had trial of his gifts amongst us, and finding him to be a man whom God hath qualified and furnished with the gift of his Holy Spirit, and grace, enabling him to open and apply the word of God, which may be through the blessing of the Lord Jesus useful in his hand, for the begetting and building up souls in the knowledge of God, do therefore appoint, approve and also encourage him, to exercise his gift in the place where he lives, or elsewhere, as the providence of God may cast him; and so the Lord help him to eye his glory in all things, and to walk humbly in the fear of his name." This certificate was signed in behalf of the rest by Isaac Hull, pastor of the church, and John Farnham.
Meanwhile the little company of Baptists at Kittery were subjected to many annoyances. Under date of January 25, 1682 (New Style), Mr. Churchwood addressed another letter to his brethren in Boston in which he says: "I thought good to inform you that since our beloved brother Screven went from us, who, I trust is by God's mercy now with you, by his long absence from us, has given great advantage to our adversaries to triumph and to endeavor to beat down that good beginning which God, by his poor instrument, hath begun amongst us; and our magistrate, Mr. Hucke,11 is almost every day summoning and threatening the people by fines and other penalties, if ever they come to our meeting any more, five shillings for every such offence."12 Mr. Churchwood adds that he also, on the previous day, was brought before the magistrate, who demanded of him how he spent his time. In the presence of the magistrate, also, he had a long discussion with Mr. Woodbridge,13 "our minister," concerning infant baptism, etc. Mr. Screven in a short time, possibly after a visit to Mr. Miles,14 the pastor of the Baptist church in Swansea, returned to Kittery, and entered upon the work to which he had been called by his brethren. The opposition, which during his absence had been manifested towards his associates, was now directed to him, and from an entry without date in the Records of the Province15 it appears that he was summoned in a short time to appear before the provincial authorities. The record is as follows: "William Screven, upon rumors and reports from a common fame of some presumptuous, if not blasphemous speeches about the holy ordinance of baptism which should pass from him. Whereof being informed we sent for said Screven by a special warrant to York, where, upon examination, he did not absolutely deny his charge, but after it was proved he seemed to own and justify the matter of his speeches. In his second charge, though he positively
denied the first about his child, for infant baptism he said was an ordinance of the devil, as the testimonies declare, he replied that he conceived it no ordinance of God, but an invention of man. What was it? -- and put us to prove by any positive command in the Gospel, or Scriptures, that there was infant baptism, and according to our understandings he endeavored to make good the matter of his words, and to put the manner of them into a smoother dress, mincing the matter as Edw. Rishworth16 told him; whose reply was, that mincing was to put it in better terms than it deserved, charging Mr. Hooke with prejudice, who brought him thither, and desired not to be judged by him. After some further discourse we required said Screven to give security sufficient to the treasurer of the Province of a bond of one hundred pounds to answer his charge at the next Court of Pleas holden for this Province, or we must make him his mittimus, and send him to the jail: which said Screven refusing, accordingly was done."
How long Mr. Screven remained in jail we are not informed. April 12, 1682, he was brought before the Court at York, and the examination resulted as follows: "This Court having considered the offensive speeches of William Screven, viz., his rash, inconsiderate words tending to blasphemy, do adjudge the delinquent for his offence to pay ten pounds into the treasury of the county or province. And further, the Court doth further discharge the said Screven under any pretence to keep any private exercise at his own house or elsewhere, upon the Lord's days, either in Kittery or any other place within the limits of this province, and is for the future enjoined to observe the public worship of God in our public assemblies upon the Lord's days according to the laws here established in this Province, upon such penalties as the law requires upon his neglect of the premises."17 Mr. Screven seems to have paid no heed to this order, and his case was brought before a General Assembly of the province held at York, June 28, 1682. The record of the action is as follows: "William Screven, appearing before this Court and being before convicted of the contempt of his Majesty's authority, by refusing to submit himself to the sentence of the former Court prohibiting his public exercises, referring to some irreligious speeches uttered by him, and upon examination before this Court declaring his resolution still to persist in the same course, the Court tendered him liberty to return home to his family, in case he would forbear such kind of disorderly and turbulent practices, and amend for the future. But he refusing, the Court required him to give bond for his good behavior, and to forbear such contemptuous behavior for the future, and ordered that the delinquent should stand committed until the judgment of this Court herein be fulfilled. After which said Screven coming into the Court, did, in the presence of the said Court, and president, promise and engage to depart out of this Province within a very short time."18
It is evident from these words that Screven and his associates had now come to the conclusion that if at Kittery they could not have freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences, they must seek that freedom elsewhere. But, as yet, they had no church organization, and it was evidently deemed desirable that such an organization should be effected before their departure, and while they could have the assistance of their Boston brethren. Accordingly Sept. 13, 1682, Mr. Screven sent a letter to the Baptist church in Boston, requesting the church to send its pastor and delegates to aid in the organization of a church. In this letter he said: "To Thomas Skinner, Boston, for the church: Dearly beloved brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of saints. I and my wife salute you with our Christian love in our Lord Jesus, hoping through grace these few lines will find you in health of body and mind. Blessed be God for Jesus Christ, in whom he is pleased to account his saints meet to be partakers of the blessed rest provided for them in his mansion-house eternally in the heavens. That will be a happy day when all the saints shall join together in sounding of his praise. The good Lord enable us to prepare for that blessed day. To that end, brethren, let us pray, every one himself, for himself, and for one another, that God would please to search our hearts and reins, so as that we may walk with God here, and hereafter dwell with him in glory." Mr. Screven then refers to the fact that his mother-inlaw had become a Baptist;19 and expresses the desire that the pastor of the church in Boston, with other delegates, would visit Kittery, and assist in the organization of a church and in the ordination of its pastor.
To this request the church acceded and the pastor of the church, Rev. Isaac Hull, and two of his brethren, Thomas Skinner and Philip Squire, made their way to Kittery. From the records of the First Baptist church in Boston, we have the following information concerning the organization of the Kittery church. "Upon serious and solemn consideration of the church about a motion or request made by several members that lived at Kittery that they might become a church and that they might proceed therein provided they were such as should be approved for such a foundation work, the church gave their grant and at the time appointed did send several messengers to make that strict inquiry and examination as they ought in such a case; who at their return brought the copy here inserted 26th of 7 month [Sept. 26th] 1682.
"The church of Christ at Boston that is baptized upon profession of faith having taken into serious consideration the request of our brethren at Kittery relating to their being a church by themselves that so they might enjoy the precious ordinances of Christ which by reason of distance of habitation they but seldom could enjoy have therefore thought meet to make choice of us whose names are under written as messengers to assist them in the same, and coming up to them we have found them a competent number and in the same
[p. 20]faith with us, for upon careful examination of them in matters of doctrine and practice and so finding are with us by their (we hope) conscientious acknowledgment of the Confession of Faith put forth by the elders and brethren of the churches in London and the county in England dated in the year 1682.
"And they having given themselves up to the Lord and to one another in a solemn covenant to walk as said covenant may express, and also having chosen their officers whom they with us have appointed and ordained, we do therefore in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the appointment of this church deliver them to be a church of Christ in the faith and order of the Gospel.
"Signed by us in the name of the church the 25th of 7 mo [Sept. 25] 1682. ISAAC HULL, THOMAS SKINNER. PHILIP SQUIRE." Isaac Hull became pastor of the church probably in 1682.20 Thomas Skinner was an elder of the church; and Philip Squire was the lay member of the church, who, with Ellis Callender, erected the Baptist meeting-house in Boston. The articles of faith adopted by the Kittery church were the same evidently as were published anonymously in England in 1677 "by the elders and brethren of many congregations of Christians (baptized upon profession of faith) in London and the Country." They were doubtless issued from time to time subsequently -- an adaptation for Baptist churches of the Westminster Confession -- and were adopted formally in 1689 as the recognized expression of the doctrinal views of the Baptists of England. "A copy of their said covenant:
"We whose names are here underwritten do solemnly and on good consideration God assisting us by his grace give up ourselves to the Lord and to one another in solemn covenant, wherein we do Covenant and promise to walk with God and one with another in a due and faithful observance of all his most holy and blessed commandments, ordinances and institutions or appointments revealed to us in his sacred word of the Old and New Testament and according to the grace of God and light at present through his grace given us or hereafter he shall please to discover and make known to us by his Holy Spirit according to the same blessed word all the, days of our lives; and this will we do if the Lord graciously please to assist us by his grace and Spirit and to give us divine wisdom, strength, knowledge and understanding from above to perform the same without which we can do nothing. John 15:4. 2 Corinthians 3:5.
"Signed by Wm. Screven, Elder, Humphrey Churchwood, Deacon, Robert Williams, John Morgradge, Richard Cutts, Timothy Davis, Leonard Drown, Wm. Adams, Humphrey Axill, George Litten.
"This is a true copy compared with the original and owned by all our brethren and seven sisters as attest WM. SCREVEN in behalf of the rest." It has been supposed that Mr. Screven and his associates left Kittery not long after the organization of the church. Time, however, would be required for the consideration of a desirable location, as well as for the disposal of property,21 and for providing means of transportation when the matter of location had been settled. It is certain front the Court Records that Mr. Screven and his "Baptist Company" were at Kittery as late as Oct. 9, 1683, for under that date, in the record of a court held at Wells, occurs this entry: "Order about Will. Screven. William Screven being brought before the court for not departing this Province according to a former confession of Court, and his own choice, and denying now to fulfill it, this Court doth declare that the sentence of the General Assembly bearing date the 28th of June 1682, stands good and in full force against the said William Screven during the Court's pleasure."22 This order does not seem to have hastened the departure of Screven and his associates. At the court held at Wells, May 27, 1684, this action was taken" "An order to be sent for William Screven to appear before the General Assembly in June next."23 As no further citation for Mr. Screven appears in the Court Records, it is probable that he and his company had made all their preparations for removal, and, before the time of the meeting of the General Assembly arrived, had left their homes on the Piscataqua for a new settlement, where they could enjoy undisturbed freedom to worship God in accordance with their religious convictions.24
The place selected for the settlement was on the Cooper river, not far from the present site of Charleston, South Carolina. Mr. Screven called the name of this settlement Somerton. It is from this fact that an inference has been drawn with reference to Mr. Screven's home in England. Ivimey25 says that in 1655 Rev. Henry Jessey, a Baptist minister of London, was invited to visit his brethren in Bristol. Baptist principles he found had spread into many adjacent parts, and congregations in Wells, Cirencester, Somerton, Chard, Taunton, Honiton, Exeter, Dartmouth, Plymouth, Lyme, Weymouth and Dorchester were also visited. In the following year these churches asserted their agreement in a common declaration of faith, entitled, "A Confession of Faith of several churches in the county of Somerset and in the counties near adjacent." The Confession was signed by twenty-five persons, ministers and laymen in behalf of the whole, and among the signatures is that of William Screven of
Somerton. It has been thought26 that this William Screven was the one who organized the church at Kittery and established the colony at Somerton, South Carolina; but the fact that the William Screven who went from Kittery to South Carolina was admitted to the Baptist church in Boston by baptism makes it plain that Screven was not a Baptist church member before coming to this country. It is possible that the William Screven who signed the Confession of 1656 may have been his father, and the fact that he gave the name of Somerton to his settlement on the Cooper river in South Carolina affords at least a plausible ground for such an inference.
It has been supposed that the Baptist church in Kittery was transferred from Maine to South Carolina. If this was not the fact, another church was organized by Mr. Screven and his company after their arrival in South Carolina. The church thus transferred, or reorganized,27 became the first of all the Baptist churches in the South.
Charleston had begun to attract colonists about ten years before Mr. Screven and his company established themselves at Somerton. Its facilities for commerce did not escape the attention of these colonists from Maine; and before the year 1693, the larger portion of the members of the church had removed from Somerton to "CharlesTown." It became necessary, therefore, that the meetings of the church should be transferred thither also, and in 1699, or 1700, a house of worship was erected on the lot of land on which the First Baptist church in Charleston now stands. Mr. Screven at this time was more than seventy years of age, and he resigned his pastoral office, although he did not wholly withdraw from ministerial service. Indeed, in 1706, he was invited to take the pastoral oversight of the Baptist church in Boston. He was at first inclined to accede to this request, but just at this time his successor in the pastorate at Charleston died, and receiving a call from the church to return and resume his pastoral labors with them he felt that he could not decline. He accordingly sent to the church in Boston the following letter, dated June 2, 1707: "Dearly beloved, this may inform you that I have many thoughts of heart about you, and am much concerned for you; and hope I may say, my prayers are to God for you. Though I am not with you, nor can I come as I was inclined to do, our help being taken from us: for our minister who came from England is dead, and I can by no means be spared. I must say it is a great loss, and to me a great disappointment, but the will of the Lord is done. I have longed to hear that you were supplied with an able minister, who might break the bread of life among you; but if the Lord do not please to supply you in the way you expected, your way will be to improve the gifts you have in the church. Brother Callender and Joseph Russell I know have gifts that may tend to edification, if improved. I think you should call one or both of them to it."
The church in Boston acted upon this suggestion, and called Mr. Callender. It is not thought that Mr. Screven removed his family to Charleston; but his labors in behalf of the church which he had formed, and to which he had given so much of the strength of the best years of his life, were continued, as he was able, until his death, which occurred at Georgetown, October 10, 1713, at the completion of the eighty-fourth year of his age. Pure in life, affectionate in disposition, abundant in every good work, honored and revered by all, he commended the Gospel which he preached, and came to the "grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in its season." "His tomb on Screven St., Georgetown, is still to be seen, and his memory is lovingly cherished, not only by a numerous posterity -- he had eleven children -- but by the Baptists of South Carolina, and of all the southern States."28 __________
1 This is New Style.
2 The First Baptist church in Boston was organized in Charlestown, May 28, 1665. The record of the church reads: "The 28 of the 3d mo. 1665, in Charlestowne, Massachusetts, the Churche of Christ, commonly (though falsely) called Anabaptiste were gathered togather And entered into fellowship & communion each with other, Ingaigeing to walke togather in all the appointments of there Lord & Master the Lord Jesus Christ as farre as hee should bee pleased to make known his mind & will unto them by his word & Spirit, And then were Baptized Thomas Gold, Thomas Osbourne, Edward Drinker. John George and joyned with Richard Goodall, William Turner, Robert Lambert Mary Goodall, Mary Newell who had walked inthat order in old England." The above record includes evidently the church covenant, as it is very like the earliest church covenants that have been preserved.
3 I have followed the copy of this letter which is found in the reprint of Backus' History of the Baptists of New England (1871), Vol. 1, p. 401.
4 See, for an extended notice of Rev. William Screven, Collections and Proceedings of the Maine Historical Society, Second Series, Vol. 1, paper read by Rev. H. S. Burrage, pp. 48-56; also a paper by the same in Vol. 5, same Series, pp. 275-284.
5 York Deeds, Book 4, Folio 41.
6 Moses A. Safford, Esq., of Kittery, examined the western shore of Spruce Creek a few years ago, and from the description given in this deed he located Mr. Screven's lot on the Rogers farm, which was made up of lots purchased by Richard Rogers of the Cutts family, and others, about 1787, and is still in the possession of the Rogers family. There are at the present time no houses on the west side of Spruce Creek at this point; but an examination of the shore furnishes evidence that in an earlier time, probably from the beginnings of colonization in this vicinity, there were residences here and there near the shore, and the old cellars are still visible. There are ten or twelve cellars within a short distance of Mr. Screven's place. One side of Mr. Screven's lot was bounded by what is now known as Broad Cove, and on the opposite side of the cove there was formerly a tide mill. This mill, I am told, was abandoned about ninety years ago, but the old mill stones remain, and are almost the only relics of early Kittery enterprise on the west side of Spruce Creek.
7 By a resolution adopted in the Maine House of Representatives March 3, 1848, and in the Senate on the same date, the Governor and Council were "authorized to employ a suitable person to transcribe the Early Records of the Province of Maine, now in the keeping of the clerk of the Judicial Courts of the County of York, to be deposited in the office of the Secretary of State." March 13, 1848, Charles Bradbury of Kennebunkport was appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Council, to make this transcription. The work was completed in four volumes, and deposited in the office of the Secretary of State, with this title: "Transcript of the Early Records of the Province of Maine." A manuscript copy of this "Transcript" was made a few years ago for Hon. James P. Baxter, of Portland, and the references in this volume to these "Early Records" are to Mr. Baxter's copy.
8 Early Records, Vol. 3, p. 296.
9 Early Records, Vol. 3, p. 315.
10 Jan. 11, 1681, Old Style.
11 Francis Hooke of Kittery. He was a son of Humphrey Hooke, an alderman of the city of Bristol, England, and lived at Winter Harbor in Saco before moving to Kittery Point. He was justice of the peace, county treasurer, Judge of Probate and of the Court of Common Pleas.
12 The original of this letter is in the possession of the writer of this volume.
13 Greenleaf, in his Sketches of the Ecclesiastical History of the State of Maine, p. 29, note, says: "Mr. Backus in relating the account of an ancient Baptist church at Kittery mentions a Mr. Woodbridge as Priest of the place. This was in 1680. But we have no other account of this man." In the appendix to Rev. Dr. Charles A. Briggs' "American Presbyterianism," I find the following: "Benjamin Woodbridge was a son of John Woodbridge, pastor of Andover, Mass.; brother of John Woodbridge, pastor of Wethersfield, Conn., and of Timothy Woodbridge, pastor of Hartford, Conn. He was pastor at Windsor, Conn., from 1668-1680, of a party who were dissatisfied with Mr. Chauncy, who had been called by the majority of the church. They were both dismissed by order of the court. The two parties then united in one church. He is probably the Mr. Woodbridge mentioned in a letter of Joshua Moody from Portsmouth, N.H., in 1683. It is probable that he supplied that church during the troubles of its pastor with the arbitrary authorities. He supplied the church at Bristol from 1684- 86, but the people could not unite upon him. (Collections of the Mass. Hist. Soc. IV., Vol. 8, pp. 463, 651-655; Contributions of the Ecclesiastical History of Connecticut, New Haven, 1861, p. 513.) He was again supply at Portsmouth, N.H., in 1690." Dr. Briggs adds a letter from Mr. Woodbridge to some English Bishop written at Portsmouth, April 2, 1690. This letter was discovered by Dr. Briggs in the summer of 1884 in the Rolls Office, London. Rev. E.S. Stackpole, D.D., in his "Old Kittery and her Families" (1903), p. 189, says: "The next minister we read of in Kittery was Benjamin Woodbridge in 1688-9. He was a son of Rev. John Woodbridge of Andover, Mass." Mr. Churchwood's letter shows that Mr. Woodbridge was in Kittery quite a number of years earlier.
14 Churchwood, in the above letter, says Mr. Hooke referred to Mr. Miles in this way: "Behold your great Doctor, Mr. Miles of Swanzey, for he now leaves his profession and is come away, and will not teach his people any more, because he is likely to perish for want; and his gathered church and people will not help him." Churchwood replied that this "was a great untruth," and he was right. Rev. John Miles in 1667, by the Act of Uniformity, was ejected from the living of Ilston in Wales. Like other Baptists under the Protectorate, he officiated as a preacher in one of the state churches, although he was pastor of a Baptist church. Backus speaksof him as "father of the Baptist churches in Wales, which began in 1649." He and his Baptist friends, bringing with them their church records, came to Massachusetts in 1663 and located at a place to which they gave the name of their old home in Wales. Miles was made pastor of the church, and there he remained until his death in 1683. He was distinguished for his learning and piety, and Backus, writing in 1777, nearly a century after his death, says, "His memory is still precious among us."
15 Vol. 4, p. 254.
16 Edward Rishworth, who at Exeter, N.H., married the eldest daughter of Rev. John Wheelwright, removed to Wells in 1643-4, where he was appointed by Gov. Gorges to allot lands to settlers. He removed to York in 1647. From October, 1651, to June, 1686, except in 1668-69, when the records were removed to Boston, he held the office of Recorder, or Register of Deeds. He was Councillor and Secretary of the Province in 1680, and deputy to the General Court from York thirteen years. He died in 1691. Maine Historical Magazine, Vol. 8, p. 58.
17 Early Records, Vol. 4, p. 261.
18 Early Records, Vol. 4, p. 23.
19 The records of the church in Boston show that on the seventeenth day of the tenth month, 1681, a little more than six months after the baptism of her daughter Bridget, wife of William Screven, Mrs. Mary Cutts, widow of Robert Cutts (who died the last of June, 1674), was baptized in Boston and united with the Baptist church in Boston. On the same day Leonard Drowne of Kittery was baptized. Five additional residents of Kittery, viz., George Litten, Timothy Davis, Wm. Addams, Humphrey Axall and John Morgradge were baptized and received as members of the Baptist church in Boston on the twentieth day of the twelfth month, 1681. In July, 1682, four others, -- Landall, Richard Cutts, Sarah Morgandy and Robert Williams of Kittery were baptized and received to membership in the Boston church. Richard Cutts was the oldest son of Robert and Mary Cutts, and a brother of Mrs. Screven. Sarah Morgandy -- so the name seems to be written -- was probably the wife of John Morgradge, as the same spelling. Morgandy, occurs in Backus' list of the constituent members of the church, while in the Boston records his name is plainly recorded as John Morgradge.
20 The History of the First Church of Boston, by Nathan E. Wood, its minister. Philadelphia, American Baptist Publication Society, 1899, p. 178.
21 Robert Screven, son of Rev. William Screven, was a resident of Kittery in 1704, and Nov. 20,1704, as the attorney of his father, sold the latter's "homestead." The deed locates the homestead on "Crooked Lane near adjacent unto Mr. Robert Cutts' dwelling house," "land containing abouthalf an acre. When Robert Screven sold the homestead, it was occupied by Rev. John Newmarch," minister of said town. It was the tract of land conveyed to Mr. Screven by Mr. Richard Cutts. Mr. Screven's brother-in- law, Robert Cutts, lived in what is now known as the Whipple house, opposite the marine barracks of the United States Navy Yard at Kittery. Mr. Screven's house accordingly, after his removal from his Spruce Creek place, stood "where now stands the summer cottage of William B. Keen of Malden, Mass. Mrs. Keen, who is a native of. Kittery, remembers when the old two-story house was torn down, and says the doorstep of the old house is under the piazza at the west end of the cottage. It is also a tradition in Kittery that this old house contained loopholes for musketry." For a more extended statement see a paper read by the writer before the Maine Historical Society Dec. 8, 1893, and printed in the Collections and Proceedings of the Society, Vol. 5, p. 282. 22 Early Records, Vol. 4, p. 295.
23 Early Records, Vol. 4, p. 173.
24 A William Screven still remained at Kittery. There are several references to him in the "York Deeds." In Book V., Part I., Folio 75, William Screven is a witness to a document dated April 18, 1692. At a court held at York Oct. 6, 1691 (Book V., Part H., Folio 12), William Screven, with two others, was appointed to view certain bounds. At a court held at York April 4, 1693 (Part 11., Folio 18), William Screven, with Richard Cutts, was fined for non-appearance on jury. In the record of the court held at York July 4, 1693 (Part II., Folio 19), William Screven appears as foreman of the Grand Jury. As William Screven, who went to South Carolina, married Bridget Cutts July 23, 1674, I am inclined to believe that this William Screven was a son of the minister by a former wife. 25 History of the English Baptists, Vol. 2, p. 521.
26 Newman, A History of the Baptist Churches in the United States, p. 218, inclines to this view. "It is probable," he says, "that most or all of those who joined in the Kittery organization had been members of Baptist churches in England. It is highly probable that the pastor of the Kittery church is identical with the William Screven, who, as a representative of the Somerton church, was among the signers of the Confession. … It is almost certain that he was a member of the Somerton church."
27 The First Baptist church in Charleston celebrated its two hundredth anniversary Nov. 21-25, 1883. It was supposed that Mr. Screven left Kittery in 1682 or early in 1683, an earlier date than the "Early Records" show. The proceedings at the celebration were published in a volume of 351 pages, entitled "Two Centuries of the First Baptist Church of South Carolina, 1683-1883, with Supplement. Edited by H. A. Tupper, D.D. Baltimore, R.H. Woodward and Company, 1889."
28 Mrs. Screven's mother, the widow of Robert Cutts, married Capt. Francis Champernowne of Kittery, one of the most prominent of the Kittery colonists and a descendant of many of the most prominent families in the West of England, his father, Arthur Champernowne, being a first cousin of Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh. After the death of her husband in the spring of 1687, Mrs. Champernowne made her way to South Carolina and joined the Screvens in their new home. The descendants of Rev. William Screven are very numerous in South Carolina and Georgia. Gen. James Screven, born in 1788, a great grandson, was one of a committee of thirty appointed July 27, 1774, at a meeting of the inhabitants of Georgia, at the Exchange in Savannah, who drew up resolutions not to import or use British manufactures till the rights of the colonists should be restored. This committee reported the resolutions at a meeting held August 10, 1774. The resolutions are given in Force's American Archives, fourth series, volume 1, pages 638 and 700. James Screven was a member of the Provincial Congress which met July 4, 1775, and as brigadier general in the Georgia militia, having served from 1775, he was killed at Medway church Nov. 24, 1778. Benjamin Screven was a captain of South Carolina dragoons in 1779. Rev. Charles O. Screven, a son of Gen. James Screven, was graduated at Brown University in 1795, received the degree of doctor of divinity in 1826 and died in 1830. He had a classmate at Brown University, Thomas Screven, and both were classmates of Ezekiel Whitman, LL. D., of this State, who was a member of the seventeenth Congress from Maine, also Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Maine, and died in 1866. ==============
[From Henry S. Burrage, History of the Baptists in Maine, 1904, pp. 15-23. The numbers of the footnotes have been changed. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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