Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

    **MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. For permission on reprints or reusing this material, please contact the individual authors. For sharing the actual post, please use the share buttons.

  • Blog Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 92,787 hits
  • RSS April’s Blog: A Writer’s Journey

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Barn Door Book Loft

    • More Book Winners
      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft.And before we announce our winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to these Christian authors who offered a sample of their writing to our faithful readers:Cherie Burbach who offered her Non-fiction, Relationships Book  100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends Tina Pinson who […]
    • A Warm Welcome to Amy C. Blake
      Welcome, fellow author! Good to have you here today! Your book sounds really interesting. Tell us, is there a story behind The Trojan Horse Traitor? I'm a homeschooling mother of four. Over the years, I've noticed a lack of novels about homeschoolers, which I found frustrating because homeschoolers, like other kids, are intriguing people with chara […]
    • The Trojan Horse by Amy C. Blake
      Back Cover BlurbLeft on Castle Island to attend Camp Classic, thirteen-year-old, scrawny, redheaded, homeschooler Levi Prince finds himself at the center of an enchanted world of amazing abilities, cloudy motives, and wicked beings that will challenge his very spirit. He begins to form friendships, but life at camp becomes more confusing as questionable acti […]
  • RSS Clash of the Titles

    • FREE Kindle! To Celebrate Five Years of COTT!
      Happy Birthday, COTT! We're half a decade old!To celebrate FIVE YEARS of Clash of the Titles, we're GIVING AWAY some fun gifts. You can win books by Gail Pallotta and Lisa Lickel, or even a KINDLE FIRE!!Raffle opens right now!Closes Monday, November 30.There are several ways to enter the drawing outlined in the RaffleCopter below. Winners will be d […]
    • And Our Winner is...
      Congratulations toA Noble Masqueradeby Kristi Ann Hunter!Book Blurb:Lady Miranda Hawthorne may long to break free of her ladylike expectations as he approaches spinsterhood, but finding herself intrigued by her brother's new valet is more rebellion than she planned. When she accidentally begins exchanging letters with a long-lost duke, things become eve […]
    • September Releases Clash 2015!
      Welcome back to our arena! We have six authors stepping onto our sands, ready to wield their mighty pens. Please look at each of their covers and descriptions and choose which one looks most appealing to you. Which would go on the top of your to-be-read pile? Be sure to make your choice in the actual survey, as those in the comments section alone won't […]
  • RSS Little Bits Blog

    • So I Failed Nano
      Hi again,It's been a long time again since I posted. Haven't done a ton of writing but I did start a new novel or novelette or series of novelettes at the beginning of the month. November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to start a novel and write 50,000 words during the month. November isn't over yet but I know I'm not going […]
    • I'm Baack, I Think
      If you haven't noticed, which I actually hope you have, I haven't blogged for a while. Well, I needed a break. I'd published seven books in three years and I was sort of written out. I simply needed a break. So now I think the break is over. I'm thinking about writing again and have several projects in different stages of writing. They we […]
    • Chloe's Decision 
      As I stated last week, November is NANOWRIMO. I'm working on the next Stones Creek novel. It's the story of Chloe, Noah Preston's sister. She comes to Stones Creek with her two children. If you would like to read her pre-story simply subscribe to Sophie's Special Emails. No more than twice a month will you receive an email with special co […]
  • RSS Living Our Faith Out Loud

    • Carol Brown and her newest book for children
      Thank you, Lisa, for hosting me! I always enjoy talking about Sassy Pants and delighting children with another story in the series!Buy Sassypants in paperback format from Amazon, $11.99, or order from your favorite bookstore.ISBN-13: 978-0996495356Can you tell us about your new book? Sassy Pants Learns About Strange Creatures Sassy Pants Learns...about stran […]
    • Book Review - All's Fair in Love and Arson by Sharon McGregor
      All’s Fair in Love and Arson Sharon McGregorPrism Book Groupc. Nov 2015novellainspirational holiday romance.99 ebookISBN 9781943104255Buy on Amazon the publisher: Bella is back at her childhood home. When her mother took a fall in the Nuisance Grounds (garbage dump) and broke her leg, Bella came back to help her and run her shop, I […]
    • Book Review: Patriot's Pride by Penelope Marzec
      Patriot’s PridePenelope MarzecPrism Book GroupJuly 2015ISBN  978-1514364994Print $13.99Ebook $3.99AmazonAbout the Book:With knowledge, he believed he could find answers.She had only faith.Derrick, a surgeon, is haunted by his brother’s death. When his prayers went unanswered, he turned his faith to science. He believes studying with an esteemed surgeon in En […]
  • RSS Nearly Brilliant

    • The Color of the Season by Julianne MacLean
      NOTE:  Due to a serious need to cut back on my workload, this will be my last official book review on this blog.It doesn’t seem possible that the evening can get any worse for police officer Josh Wallace after he is dumped by the girlfriend he planned to propose to, but it does.  Josh and his partner are shot while chasing a carjacking suspect. While on the […]
    • Book Review: Swept Away (Trouble in texas Book 1) by Mary Connealy
      Ruthy MacNeil is rescued by Luke Stone after she nearly drowns fording a flooded river with a wagon train. Her step family doesn’t survive and she is finally free of their mistreatment. Luke surived the horrific ordeal as a prisoner of war in notorious Anderson prison during the civil war, only to learn that his father has been killed and the family ranch st […]
    • Book Review of Everything She Ever Wanted by Ann Rule
      When Pat Taylor wed Tom Allanson he had no way of knowing it would destroy his life in just a matter of weeksIn fact, Pat destroyed a lot of people’s lives. The attractive Southern belle was spoiled by her mother and she expected to live a lavish lifestyle at any cost. Nobody crosses Pat who was fascinated with Scarlett O’Hara. Pat could pour on the charm, b […]

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
  • Second Monday: Sophie Dawson

  • Tuesdays – Promotion in Motion

  • Wednesdays: Life of a Writer – April & Positivity – Lisa Lickel

  • Thursdays – Luther’s on board

  • Fridays – Revolutionary Faith, Devotions by Elaine

  • Saturdays – Janet Perez Eckles

  • Sunday – Reflections Book Reviews

  • Blog Authors

  • The Barn Door

  • The Barn Door Book Loft. Free Books! Book Giveaways.

  • John 3:16 Marketing Network widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)>

Sabbaday House

Posted by elainemcooper on March 23, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

Sabbath Day House, Billerica, MA Photo by John Phelan

While researching for my latest historical novel, my husband got very excited when I told him about Sabbaday Houses. Otherwise known as “Sabbath Day Houses”, these small buildings located near meetinghouses were used as a “warming place” for attendees of Sabbath service in Colonial America.

When I told hubby that they included a bed inside, you could see the wheels turning in his head. Envisioning a napping spot for the church that we go to, he thought he could occasionally catch a few winks of slumber when he’s extra tired.

Before he decided to speak to our own Pastor about the possibility of building one next to our church, I explained to him that services at the meetinghouse in the 1700’s lasted all day and the buildings that they met in were unheated. They could get so cold that communion wine and baptismal water were known to freeze. (Yikes!) My husband reluctantly dropped the thought, grateful that our building to worship in is heated through the winter!

I first heard about Sabbaday Houses in an excerpt from Eric Sloane’s American Yesterday:

“Sabbath Day houses…were little buildings put up at a respectful distance from the church and equipped with stools and blankets. Fireplaces were built in the center. A caretaker or servant was left in charge to keep the fires going and coals were continually carried into the church pews to replenish the footstoves there. When churchgoers were unbearably cold, they went out during intervals of the service and warmed themselves in these Sabbath Day houses.”

Sloan drew a wonderful sketch of a modest building with two doors, a central fireplace to serve the divided rooms, and a bed inside each room to recline upon. One door was designated for men, the other for women.

A modern reader might wonder why the church buildings were not heated, but the danger of fire was high because these were all wooden buildings. If a fire broke out in a small wooden Sabbaday House, the loss would be less severe for the community that treasured its place of worship.

An excerpt from “Chronicles of America” website explains much about the values of the townspeople:

“The journey to meeting was frequently an arduous undertaking for those living in the outlying parts of a township, as they sometimes were obliged to cross mountains and rivers in order to be present. From distant points the farmers drove to meeting, bringing their wives and children and prepared to spend the day. In summer they brought their own dinners with them; in winter they found refuge in the “Sabba’ day” houses or were entertained at the fireside of friends who lived near the meetinghouse. The gathering of the townspeople at meeting was a social as well as a religious event, for friends had an opportunity for greeting each other, and the farmers exchanged news and talked crops during the noon hour, in the shade of the building, under the wagon sheds where the horses were tied, or sitting on the tombstones in the burying ground near by, while their wives and daughters gossiped in the porch or even in the pews, for in New England no one looked upon the meetinghouse as merely a sacred place.”

The meetinghouse was a place to gather for Biblical instruction, fellowship, and worship. And with the addition of the Sabbaday houses, a place to keep warm enough to survive the brutally cold winters.

There are few existing Sabbaday houses left that I was able to find. The one pictured above from Billerica, Massachusetts was listed on the National Registry of Historic places in 1973. It appears (to me anyway) that the original size was likely added to through the years.

Though the Sabbaday house has a small place in history, it’s a reminder of the value that our forebears gave to Christian worship services. Their faith was important enough to our ancestors that they were willing to sit and nearly freeze in order to gather for worship.

We, in modern America, are blessed.

Photo courtesy of John Phelan, with permission of Commons Attribution;

5 Responses to “Sabbaday House”

  1. One of my fav YA novels, The Witch of Blackbird Pond: I recall being astonished at all-day church. “What do you mean, second service?” With no heat, no instruments…I mean, honestly, when can they practice soccer and little league if they had to go to church all day?

    • LOL, Lisa, so true!! Our “Sabbath Day” has morphed into just another work day around he yard, and sports day for the kids. I know they were quite strict “back in the day” with tithingmen keeping tabs on who came to service and who didn’t! Yikes! But it seems many have now gone to the opposite extreme—ignoring setting aside time for fellowship and worship because they’re too busy. Or they just don’t believe in God at all. We have too many comforts that take our mind off the Creator. :-(

  2. brvan71 said

    Wow! We sure take our warm and cozy sanctuaries for granted. I appreciate you sharing this historical information. I love learning new information about the early stages of our Country’s founding!

    • So glad you enjoyed the information! I love the early history of our country as well and post on it every other Friday here at Reflections. Nice to meet a fellow history-lover! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Elaine, This is the best kind of history! I have such admiration for those that came far to church even in the cold, etc. This is a wonderful look at what that must have been like. Thanks so much! You always share a treasure trove:)

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,244 other followers

%d bloggers like this: