Meeting in Maine
Israel Dammon Story
years ago, while searching through Maine newspapers for the period 1827-1846,
Frederick Hoyt, a history and political science teacher at Loma Linda
University, found an item in one, the "Piscataquis Farmer." Recently,
he showed it to Jonathan Butler (formerly of LLU, and currently working on a
monograph entitled, "Ellen G. White and Victorian America: A Study of
Prophecy, Culture, and Social Change" see WM-l72 for our analysis of that
monograph, and WM-118 for an earlier statement on this forthcoming study),
Ronald Graybill, associate professor of history at LLU (the individual who wrote
the devastating attack on Ellen G. White for his doctoral thesis at Johns
Hopkins University in Baltimore, completed in 1984 -see WM-77 for our analysis
of that thesis), and Rennie Schoepflin, a history teacher at LLU.
subsequently read into that newspaper report all kinds of terrible implications,
as printed in "Spectrum," Volume 17, Number 5. For example, their
implied conclusion that Ellen White and the faithful believers who attended that
February meeting in Maine were fanatics:
Maybe you don't want to deal with the term 'fanaticism: but it seems that we
need a definition. Ellen White claims she was not a fanatic, that she was
fighting fanaticism. What did she mean by this?
Fanaticism is bizarre and extreme behavior.
Could we try to position Ellen White in terms of any or all of the behaviors
that any of these people [the false reports of the ungodly witnesses for the
prosecution at the Israel Dammon Trial] might have considered fanatical?
Sure, you can list them.
Trances, shouting, rebaptism, crawling, rolling on the floor, kissing of feet,
spiritual kissing (the holy kiss), condemnation, healing, feet washing, shut
door, and work,"
will afford you an idea of their view of Ellen and the faithful who attended
This present analysis will provide the reader with an alternative view of what took place at that and similar night meetings. The following can only be considered as a thoughtful opinion, but then that is all that can be said for the conclusions of the men, mentioned above.
premises that one brings to an analysis are important. A fundamental premise
of Butler, Graybill, and Schoepflin would appear to be this: The prosecution
witnesses gave an essentially truthful report of the meeting. In contrast, we
will assume less credence for the accuracy of the witnesses for the defense. The
near-scandalous conclusions that Butler, Graybill, and Schoepflin build on such
premises are inevitable. The present writer will base his analysis on different
Ellen White was a prophet of God. She was present at that Saturday night meeting
and apparently only rebuked individual sins, -not
the wrongs that the witnesses for the prosecution claimed to be existing at that
Therefore, the believers present at that meeting were either devoted Christians
or individuals seeking a far deeper experience. Their testimony, as witnesses
for the defense, at the trial would tend to be quite truthful and relatively
accurate, to the degree that they could remember what had taken place.
The witnesses for the prosecution gave a radically different testimony that
cannot be relied upon, for reasons given below.
view of the above premises, let us re-examine what took place at that meeting.
Our conclusions are based on the testimony of the witnesses for the defense-honest-hearted
reported in the "Piscataquis Farmer" newspaper article.
a February 1845 newspaper article in the "Piscataquis Farmer,"
describing the trial of Israel Dammon, on Monday and Tuesday, February 17-18,
and the Saturday night meeting, in one of the believer's small living rooms,
that preceded it.
Dammon was a good man who had lived in that area for at least 30 years, and was
well-thought of by most of the citizenry, until recently when some of the
irreligious and ungodly men of the community became offended at his
straight-forward preaching. He treated his wife well, had always supported her,
and was doing so at the present time. He had enough supplies and savings stored
up so that he could easily do this. But now he was occupying himself with fulltime
preaching, rather than regular employment, for it was his sincere conviction
that Jesus was about to return. For this reason, he urged others to give their
first attention to preparing for the soon-coming Advent. If you and I were
there at that time, with the same convictions, we would probably do as he did.
had been holding night meetings in various residences in the area. But, poor
people as they all were, the severely limited space in family living rooms did
not afford sufficient room for all that thronged in. So tables and other
furniture were removed, and the few chairs in the house were pushed back against
the walls, so that some of the ladies might sit on them, -and
all the rest of the congregation sat in an orderly arrangement upon the floor.
There was nothing wrong in any of this. (Jesus used the same method on at least
one occasion; see Desire of Ages, page 365:3). They did the best they could
with what they had. They were convicted that they had to be present at those
meetings, and so they came-and
filled the entire living room. So great was the urgency to be there that,
occasionally when the room was too crowded, some would sit on the laps of
others. But, as reported at the trial, in such instances of crowding, only those
of the same sex would sit in this manner.
little groups were not permitted to hold their meetings in the regular churches;
why did they not get together and build themselves a meeting house? Two
reasons: First, they felt that the coming of Christ was near; so why spend the
time erecting church buildings. Second, they had already been so deeply hurt
by the vicious talk of non-believers in the community-both
before and after the Great Disappointment of October 22,-that
they preferred to meet privately in the homes of believers-in
the hope that no nonbelievers would intrude themselves.
arriving at the place of meeting, they would greet one another with a "holy
kiss," probably upon the cheek or forehead. The unfortunate excesses
indulged in by the McAllister group, in the late 1870's and early 1880's-all
apparently starting with the "holy kiss," combined with warning statements
given in later years in the Spirit of Prophecy, reveals that if such a greeting
kiss is given, it is best reserved for men to men, and women to women. But Dammon's group did not have that insight, and God saw best not to clarify it
through the Spirit of Prophecy until a later time.
others also decided to come to those meetings. These were ungodly, rowdy men who
would sit and heckle Dammon and the others during their solemn meetings. This is
why Dammon became angry, called them devils, ordered them out, and even tried to
forcibly eject them. If those men had merely come and sat quietly, no problems
would have arisen.
then those irreligious men left the meetings and, with proud taunts, slandered
the characters of the faithful believers and spread false stories about what
went on in their meetings. These were hardened men who had rejected the appeals
of William Miller and all others, and had turned against genuine religion. So
hardened were they that they could even attend such meetings as those that
Brother Dammon conducted-
and laugh and ridicule the faithful openly in these, their own gatherings!
these were the men who became the witnesses for the prosecution! These are the
men whose words Butler, Graybill, and Schoepflin accept in preference to the
humble, honest statements of the early Advent believers living in Piscataquis
hooligans, in and around Atkinson, Maine, that did all they could to break up
the meetings of the believers, first by their sarcasm, and then by calling in
the local sheriff to arrest the preacher, -these
are the kind of people spoken of in Jude 16 and 15 who are hell-bound. And shall
we accept their testimony as truthful? No, for it proceeds from the prince of
what went on at those meetings? First, there was preaching, -earnest,
clear, and forceful. And there was concern to be ready for the coming of Christ.
Some probably spoke to one another during the meetings: "Are you ready, my
brother?" "Would you please forgive me? I have spoken against
you." Such were the heart-touching scenes that transpired.
some listened to the preaching, others prayed, still others wept. And others
spoke with one another. There were also those who left the room to pray together
for themselves and loved ones.
was the "hollering, commotion, and disorder" that the men of Belial
afterward reported as taking place at those gatherings. -Which
was about all the sense they could make of it, for they had so steeled
themselves against the influences of the Holy Spirit, that Satan now controlled
about the fact that people sat on the floor? There was nothing wrong in that.
Lacking sufficient space and chairs they could not do otherwise. Folk sat in
orderly rows; perhaps a man and his wife here; another man and his wife in front
of them. One of the wicked men reported that women sat between the legs of
men. They were speaking about possibilities they enjoyed thinking about. In
reality, a woman might be seated on the floor in the next row in front of a man.
There is no more evil in that than when you go to church and a woman sits in
front of you. It requires an evil mind to imagine something bad about that.
of the believers testified that the men and women sat on the floor
"promiscuously." That word, a century-and-a-half ago meant that they
sat on the floor in mixed groups; commonly. As the believers entered the room
from the outside, they would be seated in orderly rows, one by another. In a
meeting house filled with seats, you can select where you will sit. But when
seated on the floor, it is best that the next one arriving be seated next in the
row; then when it is filled, a new row is begun. And that is all that the word
"promiscuous" means. Again, no evil intent, as the
"Spectrum" commentators hinted.
the space was not taken up so fully that individuals could not move to where
another person was located. There were probably aisleways and an occasional
row-way. The people were not static for hours on end. This was something of a
social meeting as well as a preaching service. No one preached for 6 hours
straight! There was preaching; there were also discussions and conversations.
the situation: A meeting is in progress that may last for hours. The end of time
is thought to be rapidly nearing, and the people are anxious to be there in that
meeting with fellow believers. But, while it is in progress, individuals here
and there have a burden to speak with one another. How do they do it? by
crawling. If you or I were there, that is how we would do it also. The speaker
is normally the only one standing. To stand up would be a sign of disrespect to
him, and would impede the view of those behind you. With so many sitting on the
floor listening, if several stood up, it would break up the service for the
amount of distraction it would introduce. So individuals would quietly crawl on
their knees to one another and then speak softly together. This was no problem;
nearly all were farmer-folk, used to every-day work around the farm, and they
came wearing older clothing suitable for the occasion.
likely, the only time an individual stood to his feet was when he was the next
speaker in front of the congregation, or when, having crawled to an exit, he
would arise to leave the room entirely through a door.
probably was not the only one who spoke. Others may have also. No formal
preaching probably occurred part of the time. And at other times, the preaching
was so earnest and gripping that all were silent, until broken by someone here
or there that was convicted to speak to another, or give a testimony. These were
real meetings, not formal play gatherings as so many are today. Jesus was about
in a gathering -
of so many -
in a small room -
with almost no chairs -
in a service that might continue on for hours, -the
only practical expedient would be for all to sit. Given such a gathering of
country folk, it should not shock anyone that such folk would crawl on their
hands and knees to speak with one another. If you were a man, would you rather
have your wife crawl over to visit with another lady -or
walk over past other men sitting, leaning on their elbows, perhaps below her
dress length? Which would be more modest? The crawling would be preferable.
witness remarked that Dammon had said that he had a spiritual wife and was proud
of it. He only had one wife, and she was an earnest, spiritual-minded Christian.
There was nothing wrong with his statement.
are these denominationally-salaried Bible teachers down at Loma Linda trying so
hard to dig up dirt about the kind of meetings that Ellen Harmon attended in
1845? Dammon, and others with him, believed that it was too late for many to be
saved (the shut-door theory), After the Satanic hardening of heart that had
transpired before and after the previous October, that was not a remarkable
view. Indeed, it was too late for some of those people to be saved; they had
turned against a flood of light and powerful convictions by the Holy Spirit.
Brother Dammon's meeting was held only four months after October 22,1844. Their
innocent error regarding the finality and universality of the shut door was
later to be corrected.
"Spectrum" commentators were amazed that these folk believed in
though it were some kind of fanatical error. They would do well to read the
Spirit of Prophecy; the doctrine of rebaptism is a solid one, and many in our
church stand in need of it today.
and some of the others (how many we are not told) erroneously believed that
Jesus would return to earth "within a few weeks." Because of that
fact, he felt that the faithful should prepare their hearts for Christ's
immediate return, instead of engaging in normal employment. But he added that
if Christ did not return soon, they should resume their regular employment.
Brother Dammon had a doctrinal error, but it was an honest error, later to be
any "rolling on the floor" occurred, it probably came as a result of
heavy conviction by the Holy Spirit. There are other instances, in and out of
the Adventist Church, where individuals have been so strongly moved by the
Holy Spirit that they fell to the ground.
is one of the distortions that the ungodly at the trial presented in order to
make their case look better.
and the others, quoted in the "Spectrum" analysis of the Dammon
court trial, said that "trances [being taken off into vision as occurred to
Ellen Harmon that evening], condemnation [reproving of sins], healing,
rebaptism, and feet washing were, each, evidences of fanaticism. We disagree.
Almost anything can be carried to extremes, but we have seen no evidence of
extremism at the Dammon meeting which Ellen Harmon attended that February 1845
Baker, a 23 or 24-year-old young lady, was frail but respected by the group.
That evening, either feeling ill or deeply concerned, she was helped into an
adjoining bedroom by one or more ladies, at least one of whom remained in there
with her. Later, a gentleman, not James White, was asked to go in and help her
walk out. This he did.
Dammon was generally the main speaker at these meetings, but on this particular
night Ellen Harmon was in town and she met with the believers. A young Millerite
preacher, James White, was with her. At most of these, her earlier first
meetings, Ellen recounted the vision of her journey to heaven, but at this one,
probably after speaking, she was taken off into vision. They laid her gently on
the floor and, while James
supported her head, the believers considered the things that she would say as,
from time to time, she would come out of vision and speak with them. Among other
things, she reproved individual sins of some of those present.
Please note that she did not rebuke the fanaticism that the prosecution claimed
was occurring all evening in that room. This is an important point. The reason
she did not do so, was because there were no fanatical demonstrations by the
are well aware that fanaticism was occurring at this general time in New
England. But we should not think that it was taking place in that room that
night, for it was not. If such had been the case, she would have reproved it. In
other meetings during these same months, she quite openly and decidedly reproved
fanaticism. If it had existed at Dammon's meeting, she would have been impressed
by the Spirit of God to do it there.
Dammon felt strongly that many of the other churches in that area were corrupt.
His testimony matched that of Ellen White regarding the partial fulfillment at
that time of the Second Angel's Message of Revelation 14:8. Determined
rejection of the Millerite Message and the Loud Cry Message that had climaxed
only a few months earlier in October, was the reason for that dangerous
condition of the churches at that time.
all of this, we see no problem. That Saturday night meeting that Ellen White
attended was normal, even routine, and without particular fault on the part of
only danger today is to take the word of men who had rejected those solemn
messages of the summer and early fall of 1844, instead of accepting the
testimony of those who had proved faithful to them-even
up to February of the next year.
is of interest that Brother Dammon only quoted Scripture in defense of himself
at the trial. He and the other faithful present in that courtroom were certain
that time was short. Soon Jesus would return and all the persecutions of earth
would be past. Why need they be concerned as to the outcome of this court trial?
of the courtroom proceedings occurred on Monday, February 17, 1845, and part
of the next morning. That afternoon, Elder Dammon and his witnesses-which
were the faithful Advent believers who, with him, looked forward to the soon
return of Jesus,-requested
permission to sing.
read the transcribed words of their song at the conclusion of the newspaper
report of the trial. And it is a sweet song. Just now, turn to the end of the
"Piscataquis Farmer" newspaper report and read it, and recreate in
your own heart the faith that burned in theirs so long ago.
B. I have preserved the language of the witnesses as much as possible.
OF MAINE vs. ISRAEL DAMMON.
arraigned before Moses Swett, Esq. of Foxcroft, associated by Seth Lee, Esq. of
Atkinson, on the following complaint, to wit.
Charles P. Chandler, Esq. one of the Justices of the Peace within and for the
County of Piscataquis.
J. ROWE, of Dover, in the Co. of Piscataquis, Yeoman, upon his oath complains,
that Israel Dammon, Commorant of Atkinson, in said County, Idler, is, and for
several days last past, has been a vagabond and idle person, going about in
the town of Atkinson, aforesaid, in the county aforesaid, from place to place,
he the said Israel Dammon is a common railer or brawler, neglecting his calling,
or employment, misspending his earnings, and does not provide for the support
of himself family, & against the peace of the State of Maine, and contrary
to form of Statute in such cases made and provided.
therefore prays that the said I. Dammon, may be apprehended and held to answer
to said complaint and dealt with relative to the same as law and justice may
adjourned to one o'clock, P.M.
agreeably to adjourment . C. P. Chandler, H. G. O. Morison, for State. J. S.
Holmes, for Respondent.
by Chandler. Cited chap. 178, sec. 9, Revised Statutes. Adjourned to Court
Blethen sworn. Have been in the house three times, saw nothing out of the way in
elder Dammon. Have seen others. Objected to by Holmes. Confine your remarks to
prisoner, he can in no ways be accountable for the conduct of others, and I
object to any testimony except what goes to show what respondent has said or
done as wholly irrelevant.
by Chandler. Who was the presiding elder at the meeting?
Elder Dammon presided and took the lead of the meetings that I attended.
and Morison. The meetings appear to be Elder Damman's meetings-
he took the lead and guided them, and is accountable for any public misconduct,
and ought to check it. We propose to show the character of his meetings, to
show the character of the man.
the Court: You may relate anything that took place at the meetings, where the
respondent was presiding elder.
The first meeting I attended was two weeks ago yesterday-saw
people setting on the floor, and laying on the floor; Dammon setting on the
floor; they were leaning on each other. It did not have the appearance of a
examination: Saw nothing like licentiousness-there
was exhortation and prayer each evening. Was there last time after part of my
W. E. Harvey, sworn. Have attended their meetings two days and four evenings.
First meeting lasted eight days-have
known Dammon six weeks-Dammon,
White and Hall were leaders. Dammon said the sinners were going to hell in two
days. They were hugging and kissing each other-Dammon
would lay on the floor, then jump up-they
would frequently go into another room. Dammon has no means to support
himself that I know of. The meeting appeared very irreligious-have
seen him sit on the floor with a woman between his legs and his arms around her.
examined. The room they went into was a back room; don’t know what was in it-I
was in two rooms where there was a fire. In the back room they said the world's
people must not go. Dammon said the meeting was to be a private meeting and they
wanted no one to come unless they believed as he did in the Advent doctrine. I
did go considerably-if
the meetings were religious ones I thought I had a right to go to them-I went to satisfy myself what was done. I had no hostile feeling against them. I
think they held the first meeting a fortnight. Dammon said he wanted no one to
attend their meetings unless they believed in the advent doctrine.
C. Crosby, Esq. sworn: I was at the meeting last Saturday night, from about 7
o'clock to 9. There was a woman on the floor who lay on her back with a pillow
under her head; she would occasionally arouse up and tell a vision, which she
said, was revealed to her. They would at times all be talking at once, hallooing
at the top of their voices; some of them said there was too much sin there.
After the cessation of the noise, Dammon got up and was more coherent-he
complained of those that came there who did not believe in the advent
doctrine. At one time Dammon said there was hogs there not belonging to the
band, and pointed at me, and said, I mean you, Sir. Subsequently he addressed me
you can't drive us out of town; he stared me in the face and said, I am an
honest man, or I could not look you in the face, and you have hell's brass or
you could not look me in the face. Dammon said if he was owner of the house he
would compel all unbelievers to leave it-they
were setting and laying on the floor promiscuously and were exceedingly noisy.
examined. Did he not say if there was any there who did not come for instruction,
he did not want them there.
That is not what he said-he
pointed to me and said he meant you-I
never was more pointedly addressed in my life-we
stood 5 or 6 feet apart, most of the men were on the floor-most
of the women in chairs-Do
not know how long Dammon has been in town.
Proctor sworn. Saw the prisoner last Saturday-was
present when he was taken; know nothing of the meetings myself.
Gerrish, sworn: I have never attended any of their meetings, when the prisoner
Laton Lambert, sworn: They were singing when I arrived-after singing they sat down on the floor-Dammon said a sister had a vision to relate-a woman on the floor then related her vision. Dammon said all other denominations were wicked-they were liars, whoremasters, murderers, etc. He also run upon all such as were not believers with him. He ordered us off-we did not go. The woman that lay on the floor relating visions, was called by Elder Dammon and others, imitation of Christ. Dammon called us hogs and devils, and said if he was the owner of the house he would drive us off-the one that they called imitation of Christ, told Mrs. Woodbury and others, that they must forsake all their friends or go to hell. Imitation of Christ, as they called her, would lay on the floor a while, then rise up and call upon some one and say she had a vision to relate to them, which she would relate; there was one girl that they said must be baptised that night or she must go to hell; she wept bitterly and wanted to see her mother first; they told her she must leave her mother or go to hell, one voice said, let her go to hell. She finally concluded to be baptised. Imitation of Christ told her vision to a cousin of mine, that she must be baptised that night or go to hell-she objected, because she had once been baptised. Imitation of Christ was said to be a woman from Portland.
A woman that they called Miss Baker, said the devil
was here, and she wanted to see him-she
selected me and said, you are the devil, and will go to hell. I told her she
want my judge. Mr. Ayer then clinched me and tried to put me out door. I told
him we had not come to disturb the meeting. The vision woman called Joel Doore,
said he had doubted, and would not be baptised again-she
said Br. Doore don't go to hell. Doore kneeled to her feet and prayed. Miss
Baker and a man went into the bed room-subsequently
heard a voice in the room hallo Oh! the door was opened-I
saw into the room-she
was on the bed-he
was hold of her; they came out of the bed room hugging each other, she jumping
up and would throw her legs between his. Miss Baker went to Mr. Doore and said,
you have refused me before, he said he had-they
then kissed each other-she
said "that feels good"-just
before they went to the water to baptise, Miss Baker went into the bed room with
a man they called elder White--saw him help her on to the bed-the
light was brought out and door closed. I did not see either of them afterwards.
Once I was in the other room talking with my cousin. Dammon and others came into
the room and stopped our discourse, and called her sister and me the devil. Imitation
of Christ lay on the floor during the time they went down to the water to baptise, and she continued on the floor until I left, which was between the
hours of 12 and 1 o'clock at night.
examined. Answer. The visionist lay down on the floor I should think about 7
lay there from that time until I left. Dammon and others called her Imitation of
Christ. Part of the time Dammon was down on the floor on his back--can't say
certainly who first said she was in Imitation of Christ, but can say Dammon
repeatedly said so-Dammon
said Christ revealed to her and she to others. I am not acquainted with elder
White. They called him Eld. White. They said if the Almighty had any thing to
say, he revealed it to her, and she acted as mediator.
Ricker, sworn. Know elder Dammon -l
went to attend their meeting once: they told me there would be none-l
asked them where it would be on the next Sabbath? they told me they know not
where; but they did not admit any but the advent band. I asked Dammon if that
was Christ's religion? He said it is ours.
Downes, sworn. Went to meeting with Loten Lambert, and kept with him; heard him
testify, and know what he has related to be true. He omitted one thing. I saw
Dammon kiss other people's wives. Witness underwent a severe cross
examination, in which his testimony was so near a repetition of Mr. Lambert's,
that it is by me, considered useless to copy it.
C. Crosby re-examined. I saw no kissing, but heard about it. I did not stay
late, went about 7, left about 9 o'clock. After the visionist called them up she
told them they doubted. Her object seemed to be to convince them they must not
doubt. Dammon called the churches whoremasters, liars, thieves, scoundrels,
wolves in sheep's clothing, murderers, etc. He said read the Star. By spells
it was the most noisy assembly I ever attended-there was no order or regularity, nor any thing that resembled any other
meeting I ever attended-Dammon
seemed to have the lead and the most art. I don't say Dammon shouted the
loudest; I think some others stronger in the lungs than he.
James Rowe, sworn. I was at Ayer's a short time last Saturday evening-EIder
Dammon found fault with us for coming to his meeting, he spoke of other
denominations as Esq. Crosby has just testified-said
the church members were the worst people in the world. I have been young, and
now am old, and of all the places I ever was in, I never saw such a confusion,
not even in a drunken frolic. Dammon stood up on the floor and said, I am going
to stand here and while I stand here, they can't hurt you, neither men nor
devils can't hurt you.
examined. He said all churches, made no distinction. I put no meaning to what he
said, I only state what he did say. I have been acquainted with the prisoner
20 or 30 years; his character was good until recently.
B. Green, sworn. I attended an afternoon meeting a fortnight ago yesterday-they
had an exhortation and prayer in the evening-saw
men wash men's feet, and women wash women's feet-they
had dishes of water. Elder Dammon was the presiding elder--I saw Dammon kiss Mrs.
Trundy, sworn. I was at meeting week before last, -I
heard Dammon say "God's a coming! God's a coming!!" Mr. Boobar was
telling of going into the woods to labor-Dammon
said he ought not to go. Boobar said he had a family to support and was poor.
Dammon told him he must live on them that had property, and if God did not come
then we must all go to work together.
Moulton, sworn. When I went to arrest prisoner, they shut the door against me.
Finding I could not gain access to him without, I burst open the door. I went to
the prisoner and took him by the hand and told him my business. A number of
women jumped on to him-he
clung to them, and they to him. So great was the resistance, that I with three
assistants, could not get him out. I remained in the house and sent for more
help; after they arrived we made a second attempt with the same resuIt-I
again sent for more help--after they arrived we overpowered them and got him out
door in custody. We were resisted by both men and women. Can't describe the
was one continued shout.
C. Crosby, Esq. called again.
has been reported to have been there about a fortnight with no visible means of
W. E. Harvey, re-examined.
has been there considerable. I know of no means he has of support, other than
to live on his followers.
Proctor, re-examined. Prisoner has been reported as a man who has no means of
do not know of his having any.
Martin sworn: It is the common report that the prisoner is living upon his
followers. I have attended no meetings of theirs. Have seen a number of
sleighs there, and fifteen or twenty strangers.
Smith, Esq., Selectman of Atkinson sworn: I have been called upon by the
citizens of Atkinson to interfere and put a stop to these meetings-they
gave as a reason, that the defendant and others were living upon certain
citizens of said town-and
that they were liable to become town charge. I started to-day to go there, but
learned that the prisoner had been arrested and that the others had dispersed.
the government stopped. Court adjourned to half past six o'clock.
Ayer, Jr., affirmed: The most of the meetings were at my house. I have generally
I was out. I have heard the testimony on the part of the State. Some things
stated I do not recollect. I was there last Saturday evening-saw
no kissing. I agree with Crosby and Lambert substantially. I understood prisoner
to say there were members of the churches who he referred to instead of the
whole. Saw the woman with a pillow under her head, her name is Miss Ellen
Harmon, of Portland. I heard nothing said by her or others about imitation of
Christ. I saw Miss Baker laying on the floor. I saw her fall. Saw Miss Baker and
sister Osborn go into the bedroom-sister
Osborn helped her on to the bed, came out and shut the door. There was no man in
the bedroom that evening. I heard the noise in the bedroom, brother Wood of
Orrington and I went in; asked her what was the matter, she made no reply, and I
went out. Brother Wood assisted her off of the bed, and helped her out-she
appeared in distress. She told brother Doore she was distressed on his account-was
afraid he would loose his soul, and advised him to be baptised. Did not see them
kiss each other. It is a part of our faith to kiss each other-brothers
kiss sisters and sisters kiss brothers, I think we have bible authority for
that. I understood the prisoner to say, there was an account in the Star, of a
Deacon who had killed seven men. The reason of our kneeling, I consider an
object of humiliation.
know nothing about Miss Harmon's character. I did not say there was no kissing-I
saw none. Did not hear her called imitation of Christ. Elder Dammon has had no
other business, but to attend meetings. He and another man from Exeter, came
with a young girl. Dammon said he had a spiritual wife and he was glad of it. I
went to Mr. Lambert and said if he disturbed the meeting, he must go out door.
We went to the water after eleven o'clock-brother
Dammon baptized two. I know nothing about sister Baker's character-seen
her at meeting in Orrington. I understood sister Harmon had a vision at
Portland, and was traveling through the country relating it.
Moody affirmed: I was at meeting Saturday evening. Brother Dammon said in
relation to other churches they were bad enough; said they were corrupt; he
spoke of the Star-he
did say they were thieves, etc. I am not certain, but think he said that evening
there was exceptions. Sister Harmon would lay on the floor in a trance, and the
Lord would reveal their cases to her, and she to them.
Mr. Dammon repeatedly urged upon us the necessity of quitting all labor. Kissing
is a salutation of love; I greet them so -we
have got positive scripture for it-I
reside in Exeter.
the witness was told he might take his seat. He said I have some testimony in
relation to brother Dammon's character, if I am not a going to be called
again. He then stated that he had been acquainted with brother Dammon five or
six years, and his character was good. He works part of the time, and preaches a
part of the time. I have been serving the Lord and hammering against the devil
Osborn affirmed: I know nothing bad in brother Damman's character. He believes
there is good, bad, and indifferent in all churches, he thinks it best to come
out from them, because there is so many that has fallen from their holy
not recollect hearing him use the expressions about churches they have sworn
to, but have heard him use as strong language against them. Do not call sister
Harmon imitation of Christ. They lose their strength and fall on the floor. The
Lord communicates to them through a vision, so we call it the Lord. Brother
White did not go into the bedroom, nor any other man.
She told them their cases had been made known to her by the Lord, and if they
were not baptized that evening, they would go to hell. We believed her, and
brother Dammon and I advised them to be baptised. Brother Dammon thought it best
to keep the meetings secret, so they would not crowd in. Hold to kissing-have
scripture exhortation for that. Sister Baker has a good character-the
wickedest man in Orrington says she has a good character, and that’s enough
to establish any character, when the worst man admits it (roar of laughter) We
wish to go through the ordinance of washing feet in secret. Did not see any
kissing, but presume their was, as it is a part of our faith. Think Esq.
Crosby's testimony correct.
Elder Dammon does advise us to quit work.
Pese, affirmed. Reside in Exeter, prisoner's character is as good as any man in
Exeter. He has a small farm, and small family. He is a reformation peacher-reformation
has followed his preaching.
Farier, affirmed: Reside in Exeter-prisoner
provides well for his family. He has been to my house, and I to his-he
always behaves well. I saw him in Atkinson a fortnight ago last Tuesday.
adjourned to Tuesday morning 9 o’clock.
18. Jacob Masor affirmed: Reside in Garland. Brother Dammon said the churches
were of that description, said they were liars, rogues, &c. I did not
understand him to include all, but individuals. Sister Baker’s character is
good. Do not recollect of brother Gallison using any compulsion, to make his
daughter go forward in baptism. I saw elder White after sister Baker went into
the bedroom, near sister Harmon in a trance-some
of the time he held her head. She was in a vision, part of the time insensible.
Saw nothing improper in brother Dammon that evening. I never knew him a beggar,
or wasting his time.
Do not know who it was that went into the bed-room with sister Baker. -he
was a stranger to me; he soon came out. Can't say how soon he went in again. I
have heard Crosby testify, and think him correct. I thought her visions were
from God---she would describe out their cases correct. She described mine
correct. I saw kissing out door, but not in the house. A part of the time we sat
on the floor-both
me and women promiscuously. I saw no man go into the bedroom. They wash feet
in the evening. It is a practice of our order to kiss, on our meeting each
other. Sister Harmon was not called imitation Christ to my knowledge. I think I
should have heard it if she was. I believe in visions. Sister Harmon is 18 or 19
years of age; she is from Portland.
Doore, affirmed: Reside in Atkinson -elder
Dammon said there was bad characters in the churches; I did not understand him
to say all. He preaches louder than most people; no more noisy that common
preachers of this faith. The vision woman would lay looking up when she came out
of her trance-she
would point to some one, and tell them their cases, which she said was from the
Lord. She told a number of visions that evening. Brother Gallison's daughter
wanted to see her mother before she was baptised, but finally concluded to be
baptised without seeing her.
Baker got up off the floor, and went to Lambert to talk with him. I saw no more
of her, until I heard a noise in the bed-room; they went and got her out, as
the other witnesses have stated. After she came out, she said she had a message
to me. She said I had thought hard of her, (I acknowledged I had) but I became
satisfied of my error, and fellowshiped her. We kissed each other with the holy
think elder White was not in the bed-room that evening; but I don't know how
many, nor who were there. The girls that was baptised were 17 years old, one of
them had been baptised before. We have scripture enough for every thing that was
done. There was not one tenth part of the noise Saturday evening, that there
generally is at the meetings I attend. As far as I am acquainted with elder
Dammon, I consider him a moral good man.
examined. When she kissed me, she said there was light ahead. We believe her
(Miss Baker's) visions genuine. We believe Miss Harmon's genuine-t'was
our understanding that their visions were from God. Miss Hammond told five
visions Saturday night. I did not tell any person yesterday that it was
necessary to have any one in the room with her to bring out her trances I did
engage counsel in this case to defend the prisoner.
H. Doore, sworn. I was not at meeting Saturday evening. I belong to the
society, and have seen nothing out of character in anyone. Don’t consider
elder Dammon a bad man-he’s
a man I highly esteem. My daughter was baptised Saturday evening-she
has been baptised before. I have both seen men and women crawl across the floor
on their hands and knees.
S. Woodbury, sworn. I am a believer in the Advent doctrine-I
have attended every one of the meetings in Atkinson.
witness was very lengthy in his testimony, both on examination and cross
examination. It amounts to the same as the preceding witnesses for the defence
with the following additions.]
thinks elder White was not in the bed room, but others were in. We don't
acknowledge any leaders, but speak according to the impulse. The elders baptise.
I believe in Miss Harmon's visions, because she told my wife's feelings
correctly. It is my impression that prisoner kissed my wife. I believe the world
will come to an end within two months-prisoner
preaches so. I believe this is the faith of the band. It was said, and I
believe, that sisters Harmon and Baker's revelations as much as though they
came from God. Sister Harmon said to my wife and the girls if they did not do as
she said, they would go to hell. My wife and Dammon passed across the floor on
their hands and knees. Some man did go into the bed-room. Heard brother Dammon
say the gift of healing the sick lay in the church.
Elder Dammon advises us not to work, because there is enough to live on until
the end of the world. John Gallison, affirmed. [Chandler observed that he had
thought of objecting to this witness on the ground of insanity, but upon
reflection, he would let him proceed, as he believed it would sufficiently
appear in the course of the examination.]
have been acquainted with elder Dammon as a Freewill elder a number of years. He
asked Dammon how long it was. D. answered 6 years. I have been at his house
frequently-everything was in order and in its proper place. I have attended every meeting. I
have seen some laying on the floor, two or more at a time-have
seen nothing bad in the meetings. (Witness here described the position Miss
Harmon lay in on the floor, when she was in a trance, and offered to lay down
and show the Court if they wished to see. Court waived it]
related the visions similar to the other witnesses, but more unintelligible.
not hear her called Imitation of Christ. I know she won't, for we don't worship
examined. I believe in visions, and perfectly understand that, but suppose we
are not before an Ecclesiastical Council -Elder Dammon does not believe as he
used to. [Witness read from the Bible.] We do wash each other's feet-do
creep on the floor very decently. I think he has baptised about eleven, but
can't say certain how many-I
have the privilege of knowing how they behave as well as anyone else. I have
no doubt sister Harmon's visions were from God-she
told my daughter so. I expect the end of the world every day. I was in favor
of my daughter being baptised-I
could not see ahead to see the devil's rabble coming, but since they have come,
I am certain we did just right
S. Boobar, affirmed. [Most of the testimony of this witness was a repetition of
what others have testified to, of which the reader I think must be weary]
did not see White go into the bedroom with Miss Baker-heard
the noise in the bed room. Others did go in. Elder D said the churches were in a
fallen state, and he had rather risk himself in the hands of the Almighty as a
non-professor, than to be in the place of some of the churches. I believe
fully in the faith. [Witness affirmed the story of kissing, rolling on the
floor, and washing of feet.]
Burnham, sworn. I have known Miss Dorinda Baker from five years of age-her
character is good-she is now 23 or 24 yes of age. She is a sickly girl, her
father has expended $1000 in doctoring her. I was at the meeting Saturday night-it
was appointed for the lady to tell her visions.
to half past one o'clock.
M. Doore, sworn. I have attended more than half of the meetings-my
brother's testimony is correct-agree
also with Mr. Boobar.
by Respondent. Answer. Elder Dammon's mode of worship now is similar to what it
used to be.
examined by Morrison. Did they use to sit on the floor? Ans. No. Did they use to
lay or crawl on the floor? Ans. No. Did they use to kiss each other? Ans. No.
Did they use to go into the bed-room? Ans. No. Did they use to tell visions?
Morrison. Why do you say that his mode of worship is similar to what it used to
be? Because he preaches similar.
he use to preach that the end of the world was at hand, and baptise in the dead
hours of night? Ans. No. The reason we sit on the floor is to convene more people-sometimes
we take some in our laps, but not male and female. Don't know of br. D. spending
money uselessly. I am a believer. Sometimes we sit on the floor for formality.
Our faith don't hold it to be essential. [Witness repeated the mode of
kissing, visions, etc. similar to the others] I never heard br. Dammon say he
wished to destroy the marriage covenant. [Respondent here reexamined a
number of witnesses, all of whom testified that he used his wife well, and
appeared to love her.]
Fish, Exeter, sworn. I attended the meetings at Atkinson, last summer-have attended most all of the Quarterly Meetings for seven years-have
been to elder Dammon's house, and he to mine-he
provides well in his house-he
has always opposed the mode of paying the ministry by regular salary. [Here
the defence closed.]
Lambert, Esq. sworn. Last Sunday evening Loton Lambert told me the story of the
meeting the evening before-he related as he testified yesterday almost
Bartlett, of Garland, sworn. I have heard the respondent say that one of their
band was near to him as another--he considered them all alike. It is the general
opinion in our town that the prisoner is a disturber of the peace, and ought to
be taken care of. I have been acquainted with Elder Dammon seven years--his
character was always good until within about 6 weeks.
Lambert re-examined. He affirmed all his former testimony; does not know Elder
White, but Joel Doore told me it was White that was in the bed room with Miss
examined. There was nothing to obstruct my views-the
man had on a dark colored short jacket, and I think light pantaloons.
Downes re-examined. Did see Miss Baker come out of the bed room with a man, he
had his arm around her-see
her go in with a man and shut the door. He had on a short jacket, dark colored,
and light colored pantaloons-saw
her kiss Mr. Doore-she
said "that feels good."
Proctor re-examined. Prisoner stated to me that Miss Baker had an exercise in
the bedroom, and he went in and helped her out.
examined. I have said I wished somebody would go and do it. I have said elder
Hall ought to be tarred and feathered if he was such a character as I heard he
was. I was at one meeting, but as to divine worship there was none. They told
us they allowed none there but believers.
Bartlett, Esq. sworn. Yesterday I saw Mr. Joel Doore and Loton Lambert
conversing together. I went to them-I
heard Doore say to him, it was Elder White that was in the bed room with Miss
Baker-Lambert said that was what I wanted to know. I so understood, and think I
am not mistaken. I also heard Doore say there was a noise in the bed-room. Elder
Flavel Bartlett, sworn. I think Prisoner does not belong to the Free Will
Baptist Church. He is not in fellowship with them.
Knights of Garland, sworn. I attended one of Dammon's meetings in Garland, he
behaved well until meeting was over. After meeting was over I saw him hugging
and kissing a girl. It is the common report in Garland, that he is a disturber
of the peace.
Clark, sworn. I attended their meeting a week ago last Wednesday or Thursday
night. [This witness gave a general character of the meeting as described by
heard one hallo out "I feel better"-others
said "good enough." I think the whole character of the meeting was
W. E. Harvey, called. I have attended the meetings a number of times-I
have seen prisoner on the floor with a women between his legs-I
have seen them in groups hugging and kissing one another. I went there once on
an errand-Dam. halloed out "Good God Almighty, drive the Devil away." I once saw
elder Hall with his boots off, and the women would go and kiss his feet. One
girl made a smack, but did not kiss his foot with her lips. Hall said "he
that is ashamed of me before men, him will I be ashamed of before my father and
the holy angels." She then gave his feet a number of kisses.
Doore, Jr. called for the defence. I have heard brother Dammon preach that the
day of grace was over with sinners. Respondent said "that is my
M. Doore, called. Br. Wood was dressed in light pants and dark jacket.
Doore, Jr. called. Br. Wood went to the baptism and was about all the evening.
Boobar called. Sister Baker and br. Wood were about all the evening. Elder
White had a frock coat and dark pants.
opened his defence & cited Luke 7 chapter 36 verse John 13 chapter-Last
chapter in Romans-Philippians
Thessalonians 5th chapter. Holmes followed with the defence. Holmes closed the
defence with signal ability. Chandler commenced in behalf of the State. Cited
178 chapter 9th and 10th sections Revised Statutes; he dwelt upon the law;
after which Morrison summoned up the testimony and closed with a few brief and
Dammon again rose for further defence. Court indulged him to speak. He read
126th Psalm, and the 50th Psalm. He argued that the day of grace had gone by,
that the believers were reduced; but that there was too many yet, and that the
end of the world would come within a week.
Court after consultation sentenced the prisoner to the House of Correction for
the space of Ten Days, From this judgment Respondent appealed.
morning the prisoner having taking his seat, rose just as the Court came in, and
shouted Glory to the strength of his lungs.
placed the following poem in paragraph form to save space.-vf]
OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE." See Rev. 18th Ch. 4th V. By John Craig.