There is nothing to indicate that any persons professing Baptist sentiments lived in Hingham previously to the year 1814. In that year Mr. Nathaniel T. Davis made this town his place of residence, and he, with his wife and Miss Hannah Beal, were the only Baptists here for several succeeding years. A few others subsequently joined them in the same religious belief, and the first prayer-meeting was held at the house of Mr. Davis in 1818. Mr. Asa Wilbur, of Boston, was visiting in town, and was invited to be present at the meeting. He became much interested in the efforts of this small band of worshippers, and was afterwards often present at their meetings. For his earnest labors and financial aid to the Baptists of this town, through many succeeding years, he is held by them in grateful remembrance.
In this same year, 1818, the first sermon by a Baptist was preached in Hingham by Mr. Ensign Lincoln, and a Sunday-school was organized. This was the first Sunday-school in Hingham. Its meetings were held in the schoolhouse which stood on the hill in front of the Derby Academy. It was collected and organized by Nancy Studley, Polly Barnes, Betsey Lincoln (afterwards Mrs. Rufus Lane), and Hannah Kingman, and there was an attendance of ninety scholars on the first Sunday. This school was not under the patronage of any religious society, but was an independent school. The first three named ladies were connected with a few Baptists who held meetings, as before stated, at the house of Mr. Davis. Not long afterwards, Rev. Mr. Richardson of the First Parish, and Rev. Mr. Colman of the Third Congregational Society (both Unitarian), thinking the instruction in the school too evangelical, withdrew the children connected with their parishes and formed schools of their own. The original school continued, however, though with a diminished number of scholars; and when the Baptists, in 1828, became a branch of the Second Baptist Church, of Boston, the school became a Baptist school, and has so continued to the present time.
In 1820 the first baptism took place, making a strong impression upon many of those who witnessed it.
The early struggles of this little band to establish and main-
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