In 1852, Rev. Welcome Lewis became pastor. He would be pastor of the church twice, first from 1852 to 1855 and then again from 1862 to 1873. Before becoming minister Mr. Lewis had lived in the home of Marshall Shaw and had fallen in love with one of  Mr. Shaw’s daughters, Hannah. He later married her. Mr. William Robinson married Hannah’s sister, Elizabeth, so Rev. Welcome Lewis and Mr. William Robinson were brothers-in-law. William Robinson was to play an important part in the history of the church a little later.  Rev. Welcome Lewis and his wife Hannah are buried at Spring Brook Cemetery in Mansfield.

 

In 1854, near the end of Rev. Welcome Lewis’ first pastorate, a very wealthy man moved to Mansfield and opened a foundry diagonally across from the train depot. His foundry was called Mansfield Iron Foundry and it produced household furnaces and stoves which he marketed worldwide from his store in Boston. He also invented and manufactured a safety stove for railroad cars. Trains at this time were heated by stoves and in the event of a train wreck the stove spilled hot coals throughout the cars causing fires. This safety stove was bolted to the floor and in a wreck it remained sealed and no hot coals escaped. The safety stove saved many lives. The wealthy man who started the foundry and invented the safety stove was named Gardner Chilson. When he moved to town he built a magnificent house in the north end and began attending the First Baptist Church during the first pastorate of Rev. Welcome Lewis. He continued to attend the church and there is an interesting story about Gardner Chilson and Rev. John Blaine.  Mr. Chilson invited Rev. Blaine and his wife to come to his magnificent home for dinner. Rev. Blaine’s wife was an invalid and they lived in the parsonage on South Main Street. Rev. Blaine, often called Father Blaine was not sure how to get his wife to Mr. Chilson’s home for dinner. He did not have a carriage and his wife could not walk.  He finally devised a plan and Father Blaine arrived at Mr. Chilson’s door with his wife in a wheelbarrow. Mr. Chilson scolded Father Blaine and after dinner sent them home in a lovely carriage. The wheelbarrow was returned the next day.

 

During the second pastorate of Rev. Welcome Lewis, Mr. Chilson gave the church a new organ, pew cushions, and a large sum of money. Trees were set about the yard, an  iron rail fence was erected, the sanctuary was raised up and a first floor vestry was built under it which included Sunday school rooms and a kitchen. A steeple was added and a  belfry although there was no bell at that time. A carriage shed was also added on to the south side of the building.