At the start of December, a Lakeside Heritage Society volunteer combing through our library collection stumbled across a small storage bag containing an aged, leather-bound book and a typewritten note. Donated to LHS in the 1980s, the book "Experience and Gospel Labours of the Rev. Benjamin Abbott" had clearly been handed down for many years before finding its way into the Archives.
The Donation Note, which has been included below, offered an incredible overview of the book's heritage. Based on the copyright date, this book is the oldest artifact found in the LHS Archives - printed more than 220 years ago!
For reference, here are a few other events that were happening in 1791, the year "Experience and Gospel Labours of the Rev. Benjamin Abbott" printed:
-Premiere of Mozart's "The Magic Flute"
-Ratification of the U.S. Bill of Rights
-Start of the Haitian Revolution
-The Bank of the U.S. is incorporated in Philadelphia
-Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man" is published
-First steamboat patent approved for John Fitch & James Rumsey
-First French Constitution
"The Experience and Gospel Labours of the Rev. Benjamin Abbott
by John Ffirth
Book was found in the attic of a cottage by John Gdovicak who gave it to John Wonnell for Heritage Hall. It was owned by Elizabeth Bingman, given Apr. 1 1895 to John Bingman (in one place spelled Bingham).
Originally bound in leather, it was mended with a piece of homespun flannel from a skirt worn by the sister of Oliver Cromwell who lived 1599-1659.
Rev. Abbott was born in 1732. His parents both died, and he was apprenticed to a hatter in Philadelphia, and "soon fell into bad company." At age 40 he was converted and began to preach locally.
He joined the Methodists as an itinerant preacher. This was a dangerous thing to do, for the Methodists were persecuted as Tories. He was ordained deacon in 1790, an elder in 1793. His last appointment was in Cecil and Kent Counties, Maryland. He became ill and returned home in May, 1795 and died in 1796.
He had kept a diary, and started to write his experiences. He gave the manuscript to John Ffirth, who added a narrative of Rev. Abbott's life, and closed with a letter by Hugh Smith.
It is difficult to read, because the letter "f" is used instead of "s".
It would be interested to know of the connection of the Bingmans (or Binghams) to Lakeside."