In order to offset the cost of construction of the Central Congregational Church in 1848, the Central Congregational Society auctioned the pews on the day that the church was dedicated, August 16, 1849. Such pew auctions were typical of the period when one's seating assignment in the public meetinghouse was a reflection of one's social status within the community.
By the 1870s, however, pew ownership was abandoned by the society and a free seating system adopted as more egalitarian and more in keeping with the tenets of the faith. In 1891-92 when the church was remodelled, the enclosed box pews were replaced with more modern bench-style pews.
"Dedication, Installation and Sale of Pews", Central Congregational Church broadside, 1848. Courtesy Middleborough Historical Association.
Mertie E. Witbeck, History of the Central Congregational Church, Middleborough, Massachusetts, 1847-1947, (Middleborough, MA: Central Congregational Society, 1947), p. 17.
Old Colony Memorial, "The County &c.", April 11, 1872, p. 2.