Baptisms at the Isles of Shoals

I recently received a research request to find out about baptisms at the Isles of Shoals.  The Star Gathering II Conference may be interested in doing a baptism while on Star this summer.  I compiled some information for them, and thought I should share it with all of you.

There is a video of a baptism in the chapel on Star Island, uploaded to YouTube August 18, 2009, presumably filmed August 9, 2009 by looking at the file name.  From the Star Gathering website comes the following testimonial:

My husband and I met in a 1993 Youth Conference. We were married in the chapel on Star Island in 2002 and had our son baptized there in 2009. As members of Star Gathering over the past 3 decades, we’ve made lifelong friends on island and look forward to continuing our annual spiritual vacation.     – Caroline Nigen

If interested in such topics, I strongly suggest reading Religion at the Isles of Shoals by Lois Williams.

p. 28: “Church records listed hundreds of infant baptisms, a departure from early Puritan practice of baptizing only infants of church members.  All Gosport townspeople, whether or not they were church members, came to church to be married and to have their babies baptized, although neither infant baptism nor marriage was a church sacrament.  Early Reformation leaders cut the seven church sacraments to two; adult baptism marked conversion with admission into church membership, and Eucharist commemorated Christ’s Last supper…”

Isles of Shoals residents were not always baptized on island, at times they were baptized at congregations on the mainland.  From Puritan Paths from Naumkeag to Piscataqua by the Dodges, 1963:

p. 97: “…the Hampton Falls congregation had included not only local people but during a period of a dozen years seventy-two from the Isles of Shoals had been baptized.  After a while there were so many fishermen and their families living on the islands at the “Shoals” that a meeting house was built there.”

List of some of the baptisms, mostly from John Tucke’s Gosport Church and Town Records.

Gosport Town Records also available on ISHRA’s website.

From the Pilgrim Hymnal there is an order for the sacrament of baptism for infants or children, p.498-500.  The copy we have in Vaughn was published by the Pilgrim Press, in its 9th printing in 1963.  (first printing 1931).  Not sure if this was used for any baptisms on island, but it was one of the only text of a service that I have found thus far currently in Vaughn.  You can click on the images to make them larger and easier to read:

The other baptism text I found on island was from the Hymnal United Church of Christ, p. 29-31, published by United Church Press in 1969 in its 2nd printing.  (first printing 1959).

I’m certain there is far more information on the subject- but this is what I found in my initial search process.  Anyone can feel free to comment and add to the information here!


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