Parsonsfield Seminary

Parsonsfield Seminary

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Parsonsfield Seminary

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Parsonsfield Seminary, which operated from 1832-1949, was a well-known Free Will Baptist school in North Parsonsfield, Maine, in the United States. Also known as the North Parsonsfield Seminary, its preserved campus of four buildings is located on State Route 160.


In 1832 Rev. John Buzzell and several other Free Baptists founded the school in Parsonsfield. Parsonsfield Seminary was the first Free Will Baptist school in the United States. The seminary's first principal, Hosea Quimby, was active in many other Free Will Baptist organizations. The seminary was deeply involved with the abolitionist movement and was a stop on the Underground Railroad, while Oren B. Cheney was principal in the 1840s. From 1840 to 1842, the Free Baptist Biblical School, the first Free Baptist graduate school for training ministers, was located at the seminary (the school was later renamed Cobb Divinity School and became part of Bates College). Parsonsfield Seminary burned mysteriously in 1854, allegedly by opponents of integration. Over the next 100 years similar arson incidents occurred at black and interracial schools all over rural New England, including the Watchman Industrial School in Rhode Island in the 1920s.

After it burned, Bates College (the Maine State Seminary) in Lewiston was founded in 1855 to take its place with a larger and more centrally located Free Baptist school. But in 1857 a smaller seminary building was rebuilt, crested with a cupola and weathervane, on the same site...
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