Commentary: Acoaxet Chapel celebrates 150 years

By Neil Timpson
Posted 3/2/22

This is the first in a series of articles celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Acoaxet Free Chapel in Westport.

What follows is a newspaper article dated January 10th, 1872, …

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Commentary: Acoaxet Chapel celebrates 150 years


This is the first in a series of articles celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Acoaxet Free Chapel in Westport.

What follows is a newspaper article dated January 10th, 1872, about “the people in the vicinity of Westport’s Harbor who met in the public school-room for the purpose of considering the practicality of erecting a free chapel in that locality.”

“A permanent organization, called the Free Chapel Association, was effected, the following choice for officers was made:

* President – A. Frank Howland

* Vice-President -- James H. Sowle

* Secretary – A. D. Manchester

* Treasurer – G. Barker Peckham

It was the unanimous decision to build, could ways and means be provided, and that the chapel shall be held in trust, by trustees, for the free use of any evangelical denominations, for the worship of God and the moral and religious instruction of the people, with the full understanding that no preacher or teacher of any evangelical denomination, who shall give the said trustees sufficient evidence of their good intentions, shall be denied the free use of the chapel.

A committee consisting of Capt. James M. Sowle and Messrs. A. D. Manchester, and Thos. Brayton were appointed to prepare a report on building sites.

The erection of such a building as is required, though at the least expense, would be a heavy pecuniary tax upon the residents of this farming community, and trusting for aid from generous, benevolent, noble-hearted friends of such Christian enterprises to whom God has trusted a goodly portion of this world’s goods, the committee pledged themselves to solicit assistance in the laudable work.

The earnest desire of the friends of this praiseworthy object, that it may meet with abundant success, is prompted by two very important facts: First--the place designed for the chapel is four and a half miles from any public place of worship, and surrounding it, within easy walking distance, is population of over hundred souls. That they would gladly avail themselves of the privileges of a chapel has been demonstrated in the past by the well-attended social meetings and Sabbath schools held in the little schoolhouse not adapted and incommodious for such work. Second – desirableness of the place for a Summer attracts here, at that season of the year transient populations of scores of persons from all parts of the country, and of the various denominations. Most of these have no facilities for reaching the house of God at a distance and would rejoice over a convenient opportunity to attend religious services.

A golden chance is offered to scatter seeds of Divine Truth in a fertile field. If Paul will only plant, and Apollos water, God will surely give the increase."

Note: A Celebration of Acoaxet Free Chapel will be held July 23, 2022 at the Chapel grounds with fun and games for the children, face painting and balloon animals, music by local church groups and it all will conclude with a short worship service Thanking God for 150 years of continuous ministry in Westport, Little Compton, Adamsville and Tiverton Area.

For more information contact Maddy Miller at  or Neil Timpson at  (603) 703-6790


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