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Amos Beddowes and First Baptist Church

Amos Beddowes was one of the earliest characters I crafted in Agincourt. Remembering that the area where Agincourt was platted had been Native American land only a few years before 1853, there had to have been agents of the B.I.A. hanging about. So Beddowes became a so-called Indian Agent who developed such sympathy for the plight of our native people that he had married a member of the Sac & Fox tribe and (in the terminology of a recently unsuccessful vice presidential candidate) “gone rogue.”

A native son of Connecticut (rather than the more Baptist Rhode Island), Beddowes was also a carpenter, though that term was often applied so broadly that architectural design would not have been outside his competence. So after the treaty that opened the Sac & Fox land to settlement, he stayed on with his wife Sissy (a.k.a. Circe or “She-Listens-to-the-Moon”) and became the community’s first resident master builder.

Himself a Baptist—of the Northern or A.B.C. variety, rather than the post-Civil War “Southern Baptist Convention”—the itinerant builder Beddowes built and probably designed the Baptist church on the southwest “church lot.” It had to be Greek Revival, of course, one of my favorite styles and one that I’ve never tried to imitate. My own drawings for it are somewhere inaccessible, so in the meantime I’ll let the former Universalist church (another source says R.C.) in Holland Patent, NY stand in. Handsome, isn’t it. And, in fact, much finer than mine because less contrived.

$_57-76

Beddowes, by the way, was the name of the “gentleman’s gentleman” in “Murder on the Orient Express.”

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1 Comment

  1. […] As I prepare for the seminar on minimalism next semester, Weese’s 17th Church is a good example of the directness in constructional expression that influenced my own architectural youth. And it echoes the comparable simplicity of an early 19th century Universalist church at Holland Patent, NY. This RPPC postcard view shows up often on eBay, so often I can’t avoid borrowing it for the Baptist church in Agincourt. […]

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