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A History Of Sheldon Churches
Persecution due to personal choice in worship experiences brought the original settlers to America. Not unlike other human interactions, the discrimination against and persecution of "other" religious worshippers persisted into America. Not long after settling in southern New England so families felt compelled to move. Following the Revolutionary War with the opening of new territories people did move. Some came north into Vermont and brought with them their religion. Diversity abounded with a large number of Congregationalists intermixed with some Methodist-Episcopals, Baptists, Episcopalians, and other minor groups. Sheldon, first settled in 1790 witnessed the birth of religious organizations and churches in the early 1800s. Most sects established houses or worship. Many of those structures dot the landscape of Vermont and of Sheldon.
Grace Episcopal 1824
Rev. Stephen Beach served the Grace Episcopal Church when it was organized in 1816 with a membership of 40. Alfred Keith provied the bulk of the funding to erect the first Grace Church. By 1834 the membership peaked at 92.
The original wood frame building was replaced with a brick building in 1853. The organ was installed in 1869.
Around 1876 the present structure took shape and has remained as such with the exception of having the old steeple removed during the 1950s.
The sanctuary continues to be maintained and used during the summer for worship and for outstanding musical presentations.
Sanctuary Early Black & White Sanctuary 2017
   
The Congrgtional Church
Preaching began around 1807 in private homes with The Congregational Church of Sheldon organized in 1816 with 12 members. Having no church structure they shared use of the "Rock" with the Methodists until they built their own church in 1862 with George Talman installed as the first pastor on July 10, 1862. In 1965 they built a parsonage immediately to the left of the church that still stands today as a home. After a prosperous 80 years with a total membership of 225 the membership fell off until in 1936 there were only 6 members. The church building closed and was given to the town of Sheldon to be used as a Town Community House the purpose of which it served until going into disrepair and being torn down.
Methodist Episcopal Church Sheldon United Methodist Church
 
In 1813 Rev. Issac Hill arrived in Sheldon to preach at local meetings in homes and public buildings. A great revival results the 1816 when Rev Brayton converted many of the residents of the East Sheldon area. In 1830 the Union House at the "Rock" was built to share with others including Congregationalists.

 

The picture below is of the Union House at the "Rock" located in East Sheldon near the Stebbins Farm.

The original church in the village that continues in use today was raised in 1859 with the now removed parsonage built in 1868. In 1890 the church drew in 125 members. The building has been renovated several times since then with the addition of a furnace, a memorial organ, and a new chandelier given by Clarence, Dorothy and Kevin Bocash was installed in 1971.
Between July 3 and 5 in 1937 the church held a "Home Coming Event"
The images below are of the inside pages of an 8 page flyer. Note some of the sponsors!!
On May 11, 1959 the church held its Centennial Celetration.
   
East Sheldon - The Union Meeting House at the Rock and the Baptist Church

The East Sheldon map clearly indicates the location of "Union Church" but does not indicate a location for Baptist Church Shown below. The structure is uniquely different that the Union and was said to be on the road south out of East Sheldon. Thr building is said to have been erected in 1860. A Philo Dunham, who lived nearby, indicated that the building was torn down around 1908.

Considering the population of Sheldon this crowd from Sheldon, Enoburg, Franklin and the area demonstrates the influence of the church on social life.

Union House at the Rock used by the Methodist and the Congregationalists occupied a lot in East Sheldon near the Stebbins farm.

It appears that most of our early settlers found church a good place to be.

 
Rice Hill United Methodist Church
On May 21, 1906 George Remington deeded a parcel of land on the corner of Rte. 78 and the Rice Hill Road to the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church to be used to build a church. The all volunteer worker "Bee" constructed the church. It continues in use to this day with a few but extremely faithful members. Various improvements over time have kept the property in good repair with a recent painting in 2017 and work scheduled to be done on the roof.
 
St. Anthony's Catholic Church

Many protestant denominations prospered in Sheldon during the early years and mostly migrated from southern New England. Most of our Catholic friends migrated down from Canada. Prior to the gift of a building they were ministered to by priests from Canada

During the "Boom Years" of Hotels and Springs the Congress Hotel played an important role in the "Tourist" business. Built in 1868 by S.S.F. Carlisle and Dr. S.S. Fitch with four stories on a basic 123 foot by 96 foot base it provided accommodations beginning in 1869.

In 1907, after the boom, John Stephen Michaud deeded the hall along with some 128 acres to the Roman Catholic church. The congregation met in the dining room of the hotel until Dec 21, 1908 when the hotel unfortunately burned.

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On Jan 1, 1912 after a rebuilding effort, St. Anthony's first mass was conducted in a new church building. The structure, now over 100 years old, continues to be the home of a strong congregation who meet on Sundays and once during the week.

In addition to the church building a rectory was built opposite the church in 1968 and served as the home for local priests until it was abandoned and then sold in 2015.

A portion of the land was set aside for St. Anthony's Cemetery located at the top of Mill Street going toward Rte. 105.

 
Heber Chase Kimball - Mormon Missionary Apostle
Although the Mormon church had no significance in Sheldon as a practicing denominations, one of its first apostles Heber Chase Kimball lived here in his early years after his birth on June 14, 1801 in a home one mile north of Sheldon village on the Missisquoi River. In 1975 the Mormon Church purchased a lot in the Sheldon Creek Cemetery and erected a monument in memory of him. It reads in part" Heber Chase Kimball was a member of the original quorum of the twelve apostles of the church. He died in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1869." The "Kimball" family, including Norman Kimball proprietor of Black Creek Press remain proud of this relative.

To not include the "Missisquoi Camp" or "Riverside Camp Meeting" in the history of religion in Sheldon would be a mistake.

We elect to cover it as a separate item. Click Here