The town of Standish was founded within the territory of the Ossipee and Pequawket, two branches of the Sokokis tribe of the Abenaki people, who jointly inhabited the Saco River area. In 1750, the land was granted by Britain to captains Humphrey Hobbs and Moses Pearson, for military services to the crown, and was initially known as Pearson and Hobbs Town, and later Pearsontown Plantation. The town was settled approximately ten years later, from 1760, and officially incorporated as Standish, in honor of Captain Myles Standish of Plymouth, on November 30, 1785.
The first religious organization in the town was formed in May of 1769 with only seven members, under the patronage of the original proprietors of the land. A meeting house was built on the site of the old fort at Standish Corner. Rev. John Tompson, ordained at Portland, Oct. 25, 1768, was settled as the first pastor. He was followed by Rev. Jonathan Gould (ordained Sept. 16, 1793), who served until his death in 1795. He was succeeded by Rev. Daniel Marrett who also died in office at Standish after serving for 33 years. Rev. Thomas Tenny was ordained in 1820, and remained in office until 1829.
The church's meeting house was damaged beyond repair by an intoxicated group of soldiers prior to 1805. A new church building, known as the "Old Red Church" was built in 1805 on land donated by the Rev. Daniel Marrett. In 1834 a schism formed between Unitarian and orthodox parties within the congregation, resulting in the creation of a Unitarian church and an "Evangelical Congregationalist" church. The Unitarian congregation retained the Old Red Church building while the Evangelical Congregational church removed to a new meeting house.
The church is still active today as the Standish Congregational Church and is a member of the United Church of Christ.
Materials in this collection have been digitized in partnership with the Maine Historical Society and have been made available through our New England's Hidden Histories project.