Monday, July 9, 2012

Windham's Former Meetinghouse is in Salem, New Hampshire!

According to the History of Salem, New Hampshire the former meetinghouse at Windham was moved to Salem, New Hampshire.  I first heard this story when I was on the Mystery Tour held by the Windham Historical Society last month.  (Click here for the blog post on the tour)   We were in the Cemetery on the Hill on Range Road looking at the graves of veterans of the War of 1812.  Someone pointed out the ledger stone of an early minister, and stated that it stood where the meetinghouse once stood. Legend says that the minister's tombstone is located where the altar stood.  Someone else stated that the meetinghouse was across the street.  I guess that if the members of the historical don't know the location of the former meetinghouse, then it's location has been lost in time.  But they all agreed it had been moved to Salem.

According to page 366 of the History of Salem the house was moved "over 100 years ago".  The book was written in 1907.  It also states "It was brought here by Jonathan Pettingill, who afterwards lived in it.  It has the original frame; is not boarded, but clapboards are fastened directly to the studding.  Pettingill made coffins, which sold at $3 each."  There is a photo of the house in the book, which names it as the home of Dr. V. N. Sikorsky.  

photo from the book History of Salem, New Hampshire
Today the home looks as if they took care of the clapboard problem, and it has been extensively renovated.  The porch added by Dr. Sikorsky has been removed. The two chimneys are still visible.  I couldn't take a photo from the same angle since there is a seven foot hedge blocking that view.  Here is the home as it looks in 2012...

The former Windham meetinghouse in 2012
It is amazing to think about moving this two story building from Windham to Salem in the early 1800s.  According to the building is now 8.75 miles from where it originally stood on Range Road, near the Cemetery on the Hill and Cobbett's Pond.  I wonder if it was dismantled and re-erected, or moved in pieces?  Perhaps we'll never know!

For more information:

The History of Salem, New Hampshire, by Edgar Gilbert, Concord, NH: Rumford Printing Company, 1907.  This book is available to read entirely online at

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. I have also done some research on this meetinghouse turned private residence. It is my understanding that the Windham meetinghouse had been dragged to Salem center by 10 or twenty team of oxen and using tree trunks as rollers. It has been some years since I took notes on this subject.
    I believe that some research at the Salem library will tell the tale.

    Blessings CWV