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Sheshequin Universalist Church (Sheshequin Universalist Meetinghouse)

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Sheshequin Universalist Meetinghouse
c. 1822–1827, William Marvin. Sheshequin Road, Sheshequin, 8.6 miles north of Towanda

After the American Revolution, New England settlers, many with land titles from the Susquehanna Company, established farms on the east side of the Susquehanna River between Towanda and Athens. By 1808, the First Universalist Society of Sheshequin was organized and in 1827 completed this white frame meetinghouse. There is much of New England Federal-style character in the second-story Palladian window, the tetrastyle Doric portico of fluted pilasters, and the steeple built in the fashion of James Gibbs's 1726 St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London. The work of Pike Township builder William Marvin and carpenter Freeman Gillett, it shares similarities, notably the Palladian window, with St. Matthew's Episcopal Church (1824) in Stevensville ( BR6). However in its details such as the recessed-panel pilasters at the entrance and the diminutive triglyphs along the frieze, Marvin's lack of architectural training becomes evident. The original bell tower was replaced in 1846 and lowered, and remodeled probably in 1882 when two-over-two sashes replaced the original nine-over-six sashes. The interior with its two aisles and three-sided gallery has suffered few changes; the high pulpit at the west rests on four columns. Burials in the cemetery behind the church date from 1790. The name “Sheshequin” derives from an Indian term signifying “the place of a rattle.”

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas

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