Jason Mariner was born Nov. 14, 1824 in Lincolnville. He was the next to the youngest son of Deacon Joseph and Abigail (Heal) Mariner. Jason had four brothers and one sister. He was the grandson of J. Naler and Ruth (Higgins) Mariner.

Naler and his sons were among the early settlers in the upper part of Lincolnville, in the section of the town called ‘Millertown’, coming from Bath.

The Rev. Jason Mariner was a circuit preacher in the North Montville area, with Elders John Colby, Moses McFarland and Ebenezer Knowlton, among others. He was often accompanied by his elder brother, William, to Montville.

It was in North Montville that William Mariner met and courted Sally Maria Jackson, daughter of William and Sylvia (Jackson) Jackson. They married on Jan. 7, 1845, and returned to the family farm in Lincolnville to reside with the elder Mariners.

In 1850, Jason Mariner was attending the Whitestown Seminary in Onieda County, New York, studying to become an ordained pastor. The days were long and arduous at Whitestown, rising at 4 a.m. The students were required to work at least three hours a day, and sometimes no less than four hours per day.

They worked in the fields on the farms in the summer and at harvest time, and in a factory making farm tools, including buckets and pails, during the cold weather. Jason boarded with a Tilton family while in Whitestown.

Rev. Mariner and John Lamb went to West Camden, which became Rockport, in the Rockville section of the town, to start meetings at the church circa 1851. Crowds from all around came to the church after Rev. Mariner was given an unanimous call to become the pastor.

The large congregation required that a larger and better church be built in a more suitable location. The Rockville Baptist church, formerly called West Camden Freewill Church, was built. It was dedicated on Nov. 27, 1851. The Rev. Ebenezer Knowlton of South Montville gave the dedication sermon.

Rev. Mariner was a spellbinding preacher who talked many a parishioner out of a $50 donation for a pew. At that time, $50 was a large sum of money. Purchasing a pew was a fundraiser to support the church. It entitled the donor a deed to said pew, for him, his family, his heirs, etc. The pew belonged to the family, where they faithfully sat week after week. Families came from miles around to hear Rev. Mariner, on foot, horseback and by wagon.

In the Allen Goodwin records (of Palermo and Montville, on file at the University of Maine, in Orono), Goodwin wrote: “Dec. 16, 1853 — The committee of J. Mariner and Wm. Small, a committee to visit the one church in Montville, reported that they found the Church in a low state, yet wished to retain their organization.”

The Free Will Baptist conference held “Quarterly Meetings” all over the area, as far away as Vassalboro, Jackson, Dixmont and Plymouth. A monthly conference was held in each newly formed church. In August of 1853, the church members in Montville met at the schoolhouse for a regular meeting. Among those listed were Elder William Mariner and his wife, Sally.

In January of 1856, Rev. Mariner, his elder brother, William Mariner, William’s wife, Sally, and her parents were among those who were present at the dedication of the new North Montville Meeting House.

The Mariners were members of the temperance movement, which preached ardent abstinence from drinking alcohol of any form. Members were required to sign a temperance pledge, promising to abstain from the drinking of any alcoholic beverage. They believed that alcohol attributed to corruption of morals, including family and spousal abuse, and inability to work. Most of the women of the local churches were ardent Temperance Society supporters.

Rev. Mariner married on Thanksgiving day, Nov. 20, 1855, in the Free Will Baptist Church in Camden by the Rev. William H. Littlefield to Adelaide Horatia (called Adelia) Carter, who was born March 1, 1835 in Camden, probably the daughter of Joseph and Lowly E. (Fish) Carter.

Their children were Lola Abigail, born Aug. 17, 1856 in Camden; Julia Alice, born Sept. 12 1858 in Corinth; and Albert Scott, born Feb. 17, 1861 in Rockland.

A favorite pulpit of Rev. Mariner was the Lincolnville Meeting House which was built in 1821, where his father, Joseph Mariner, was a deacon. Rev. Mariner was a schoolteacher in Lincolnville.

Lucy (Lamb) Bean related in a tale told to Henry Buxton in 1938 for the Bangor Daily News that when she out-spelled all the students in the school, the teacher, Mr. Mariner, said in scorn to the older students, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself to let a 6-year old girl from the woods spell you down!”

Free Will Baptist ‘circuit preachers’ were known for traveling wherever the Lord led, often on horseback, or on foot, to preach the Gospel. Rev. Mariner preached all over the State of Maine, as evidenced by the birthplaces of his children. He was in Belfast, Camden, Corinth, Lincolnville, and Rockland, among other places.

He preached in the Brown’s Corner Church in Northport, in struggling new churches in Montville and Liberty, and in the Rockville Church where he was pastor when the church was built in 1851. When it is considered that he traveled to all of those places before automobiles, one can realize his dedication to his calling from the Lord. Rev. Mariner preached to large congregations wherever he went.

An obituary for Eben C. Oxton of Rockville, who died at his home, related, “Many years ago Mr. Oxton experienced religion at the church at Rockville, under Elder Mariner’s ministry. For several years Mr. Oxton carried on the church affairs and Sunday school.”

Rev. Mariner and his family were in Essex County, Mass. by the end of the 1860’s. In 1867, they were residing in Haverhill, Mass. He was residing as a clergyman with his family in Auburn, Maine in 1880. He later moved to Lynn, Mass., where he lived until his death.

He was pastor of the Free-Will Baptist Churches in both Haverhill and Lynn, Mass. He was a chaplain in both the Merrimack Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, and the Pentucket Chapter of Royal Arch Masons.

Rev. Mariner and Adelia’s daughter, Lola, married in Lynn, Mass. on July 2, 1887 to S. Albert Green, son of James and Mary Green. Lola died in 1928, and is buried with her mother. Julia married on July 8, 1889 in Lynn, Mass. to Frank R. Benner, son of Jackson and Carrie Benner. Albert married on April 13, 1896 in Lynn, Mass. to Marsha A. Thompson.

Rev. Mariner died Nov. 18, 1891 at the age of 67 years and four days, in Lynn, Mass., where he resided with his family. His death notice in “The History of Belfast, Maine” by Hon. Joseph Williamson stated that Jason Mariner “was a Free Baptist minister of force and had once resided in Belfast.”

Rev. Mariner’s Masonic gravestone is in Union Cemetery in the Millertown section of Lincolnville with his parents, grandparents and several generations of Mariner (and Marriner) descendants. Rev. Mariner’s wife, Adelia died on Jan. 21, 1910 in Lynn, Mass., where she and daughter Lola are buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery there in Lynn.

Thus ended a pious life of a faithful Christian. Blessed are those who die in the Lord. His worth is known in Heaven.

Isabel Morse Maresh is an avid historian and genealogist. She lives in Belmont.