The Old Watering Trough

If a horse could talk (Mr. Ed did) this horse in the top photo is probably saying to himself, "Mmmmmmmmmm this water is refreshing!" Notice the high long handle of the pump. Presumably it was the job of each horse cart/buggy owner to refill the trough after his or her horse was finished drinking.  Ok so the Sepia Saturday prompt has a horse in it. I've covered that...

Horse, Carriage, Salisbury, Massachusetts, east parish, church, water trough

The church behind the horse and watering trough is steeped in history and of one legend.

The East Parish Church was originally established as the East Parish Meetinghouse. Today it still carries the name meetinghouse on some signage. The original meetinghouse was the 18th built in Massachusetts Colony in 1640. The name East Parish was given when Salisbury Plantation was divided into two parishes, the other being the West Parish, now part of Amesbury, Massachusetts.  In 1720 a new East Parish Meetinghouse was built on this present day site but as that congregation outgrew the facility an even newer, the present day meetinghouse, was built in 1834.

The "legend" has it that as the winter of 1834 was approaching, the building needed to be completed expeditiously. Labor to build a church back then was mostly if not all voluntary. Most volunteers had harvests to bring in and fields to tend. In desperation the pastor set a barrel of rum in front of the unfinished building, a controversial move in puritanical New England. His demand was simple. The crew that finished the building would be awarded the barrel of rum. Needless to say the meetinghouse was completed before the winter snows set in.


As you can see by the above postcard and Google Streetview image below, the building still proudly survives today in that same prominent location in Salisbury Square. The church, of greek revivalist architecture is still in great condition. It is as testament to the men that built her and to the later congregations that cared for the meetinghouse that gave them shelter on the icy grips of winter.


That old watering trough is missing from it's original place in the bottom two photos. In the 1980's it was discovered unused in someone's backyard. It was resurrected and returned to the town and is now used as a planter in front of the public library not far from this location.
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