The Blackinton Union Church
From the Files concerning the Church found at the North Adams Museum of History and Science
Author is Unknown
"Sanford Blackinton was born in Attleboro on December 10, 1797. In 1801 he moved, with his family, to the village of Centerville, now known as Blackinton, in the northern part of the town of Adams. In 1821 in partnership, he created a mill to manufacture woolen cloth. By 1841 he was left the sole owner. In 1861, his son William joined his father and the name of the company changed to S. Blackinton and Son. “The start of the Civil War caused the company’s success to increase dramatically as they were awarded government contracts for uniforms for the Union forces. Soon after, Blackinton acquired the Glen Mill and the North Adams Manufacturing Company in Braytonville, thus becoming the strongest company in the area employing more than 1,000 people.
“In 1838 Sanford Blackinton built a store next to the mill in Blackinton. It was a fine building for those days. The store was given a second story hall for religious services. This hall was dedicated to the worship of God one Sabbath evening in 1843 by Rev. John Alden. "
"In 1871, needing a larger place of worship, Sanford Blackinton built and furnished the Blackinton Union Church. The floors were carpeted in small figures of two shades, harmonizing with the woodwork of the room. The church was heated by three coal stoves and lit by gas. A beautiful chandelier hung over the center of the audience room and light brackets were placed on the walls at short intervals all around the room. The grounds of the church were tastefully and carefully graded."
“At the top of the driveway stood a horse and buggy shed, a three-sided shelter to drive into. In the late 1880’s it was removed. The annex was not part of the original church but added in 1878.
“The church building supplied a positive want of the village. More room for meeting purposes and especially for the accommodation of the Sabbath School, which had outgrown its former limits in the hall, was sorely needed.
“The Blackinton Church continued to flourish through the years. Our church’s appearance has always been important. The beautiful spire was struck my lightening. Unfortunately the church didn’t have the money to repair it, so in 1945 the spire was removed and 10 years later a metal cross was placed on top.
“The outside of the church has been painted twice, the latest being in 1994. The inside of the church was redecorated in 1986 while the annex received a new look last year complete with new curtains.
“In June of 1989 a memorial garden was established to beautify the outside of the church and to institute a living remembrance of our loved ones. In August of 1989 a beautiful dedication service was held.”
excerpts from the diaries of Charlotte Palmer Blackinton and Oscar A. Archer’s Diaries concerning events held both at the church and in Blackinton.
From the Files concerning the Church found at North Adams Museum of History and Science
People of the Past
Diary excerpt of Charlotte Palmer Blackinton
“Thanksgiving Day. Our new and beautiful church, built and furnished by Mr. Sanford Blackinton, was this day dedicated to the worship of God. Professor Tatlock preached the dedicatory sermon of the words, ‘Consider how great things He hath done for you.’ The discourse was lain and practical, showing us how much we had to be thankful for, n being placed by providence in this, the most favored land in the world; where every man by industry and economy, can have a home of his own and become rich even, if wealth is the most important good to be desired.
“Then he spoke very feelingly of the departed ones who had labored and prayed for the upbuilding of Christ’s Kingdom in this place; how they would rejoice, if living, to witness the consecration of this beautiful house to God and his service.
“Rev. Mr. Bachelor, of Pownal, assisted in the exercise by prayer and reading the scriptures, Rev. Mr. Griffin, of Williamstown, who has been our preacher for the last year, dedicated the church to God by prayer and a most excellent prayer it was. Professor Perry of Williamstown thanked Mr. Blackinton most heartily in the name of the people of the place, for his great and generous gift to them and exhorted the people to do their Duty for the support of the gospel. The singing by the choir of this place was very fine indeed. The weather was unpropitious in the extreme, most terribly cold with a high wind. The church was well filled, mostly by our own people. Many in Adams were unable to get here, the cold was so intense. After the services, Mr. and Mrs. Tatlock took dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Blackinton at their home where Mr. Tatlock had often taken a Sunday dinner. Thus the day passed very pleasantly. A Thanksgiving day to be remembered by Blackinton people.”
The photo shows the original Blackinton Union Church Choir from 1890. It was reprinted in the Transcript on November 26, 1971.
Diary excerpt of Oscar A. Archer
November 30, 1871 – Thursday: “Mercury to zero. Water pipes frozen. Thanksgiving Day is overshadowed here by Dedication Day. The weather is simply terrible, wind blowing a gale and awfully cold. Everybody flying around. People met in church at 10:30 and waited in the cold until 11:30 for Professor Tatlock who preached the sermon. Mrs. King and Messrs. Keys, Brown and Hurd were up and helped in the singing which was superb. I had charge of the whole ceremony. Bachelor of Pownal took part. Professor Griffin made dedicatory prayer and Professor Perry on behalf of the people thanked the builder of the house and exhorted the people to come up to its support. Perry’s remarks were in a fine spirit and strain.”
December 1, 1871 – Friday: “Last night was rough and uncomfortable, but a large crowd came out to buy or rent the seats in the church. The renting was most brisk and good seats in great demand. Some going at a premium so that today we have all but nine taken say 51 at a sum of nearly $800 which easily speaks well for the spirit of our people. Uncle Sanford may well feel that his work is appreciated here, and everybody prays that we may have a good revival of religion. Men have hired pews who have not been into a church for years and the thing looks hopeful.”
December 3, 1871 – Sunday: This has been a rare day for Blackinton. The new church is being used for the first Sunday service and it has been kept full all day. New Sharp, Chaney, Sherman, Lunt, Hopkins and plenty more such soldiers who are quite unfamiliar with the looks of the inside of a church were there, and the seats all rented, and all well filled. Joined my Methodist brethren in Communion service, P.M. in the presence of many Baptists who were I doubt not shocked to see me there. But if I can’t sit at Christ’s table with them here, what shall be done hereafter?”
Photos below from the Transcript covering the Blackinton Church centennial.