The first Methodist sermon in Portsmouth occurred in the early 1790s, when an itinerant preacher from North Carolina named Jesse Lee spoke to a gathering in Market Square. Town authorities denied him the use of the old Courthouse – at that time, Methodism was not considered to be a “real” religion – so he climbed the stairs and preached from in front of the door.
|The Hutchings House in 1902|
In 1808, Portsmouth Methodists organized and began meeting in the south parlor of J. Brackett Hutchings' home on Washington Street. The first Methodist Sunday School class in town was organized here by George Pickering. Hutchings later owned a drugstore on Market Street from 1827-1864.
The house looked dilapidated and neglected in this 1907 photograph from the Library of Congress:
Carter Collections Center at this location in 2007. Although the building appears to date from the 1700s, inside is a state-of-the-art preservation haven for the museum's collection of artifacts.