July 11, 1852

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Luther Sheldon 

(1785 – 1866)

 

July 11th Sunday  Went to meeting with Mrs A L Ames

this morning to Mr Sheldons church  The

church is just painted and looks nicely.

Their organ is good & fine ringing but they

had a most miserable preacher a stranger.

Communion at our church this afternoon  Mrs

Ames partook with them

Instead of going to her usual Unitarian service in Easton Center this morning, Evelina accompanied Almira Ames to the Easton Evangelical Congregational Society, also known as “Mr. Sheldon’s church.” Luther Sheldon was an orthodox Congregationalist, a man of “good sense and fine character”* who had once been embroiled in a difficult schism in the local church in the 1830s. This was a period when Unitarianism first developed and uprooted many Congregationalists. Sheldon and his congregation not only survived the division but, according to local historian Edmund Hands, were instrumental in keeping local rancor and partisanship to a minimum. The two separate churches settled into peaceful coexistence, and Sheldon and his wife continued to earn general approbation.

Partisanship still existed in a few pockets, however. Evelina often expressed dislike for any man of the cloth other than her own William Whitwell, and today was no exception. She might not have criticized Mr. Sheldon himself, but she had no problem slamming today’s visiting minister at the Congregational church as “a most miserable preacher.” What could he have said to earn such disdain?

For the afternoon service, Evelina and Almira returned to “our church.”

*Edmund C. Hands, Easton’s Neighborhoods, 1995, p. 131

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