Aaron Putnam papers, 1754-1765.
Rev. Aaron Putnam (1733-1813) graduated from Harvard in 1752 and settled as minister in Pomfret, Conn., in 1756, where he also served as educator to the young townsmen. Putnam was forced to resign as minister in 1802 when he lost his power of speech. He turned to publishing sermons and essays. This collection contains a commonplace book, 1754-1765, a small undated booklet of biblical notations, and a confession of faith.
Abington, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1714-1877.
The First Congregational Church of Abington, MA was established in 1711. The First Church in Abington also housed a Sunday school that was established in 1818 and is thought to be one of the oldest Sunday schools in the country. The motto of the church is "None too old to study the word of God!" In 1968, the First Congregational and the North Congregational Churches on Abington merged and reformed as the Church of Christ in Abington.
Adonijah Bidwell sermons, circa 1754-1781.
Adonijah Bidwell (1716-1784) was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1716 to Thomas and Prudence Bidwell. He attended Yale, graduating in 1740. In 1750 he settled in Tyringham (now Monterey), Massachusetts, as the first pastor. Adonijah Bidwell died in 1784. The collection contains sermon notes and scriptural references for sermons preached by Bidwell at Tyringham.
Barnstable, Massachusetts. East Parish Church records, 1717-1816.
The East Parish Church in Barnstable was officially gathered in 1723 after the town of Barnstable was split into East and West Parishes in 1717. In 1836 the original meeting house was replaced by a new structure. This meeting house was destroyed by fire in 1905; construction on the third and final meeting house was completed in 1907. During the nineteenth-century the church joined the Unitarian movement and became the Barnstable Unitarian Church. The church continues to serve the local community today. This collection contains the earliest records of East Parish Church in Barnstable and includes meeting minutes, vital records, and records of church discipline.
Barnstable, Massachusetts. West Parish Church records, 1639-1853.
The history of the West Parish Church in Barnstable, Massachusetts, dates back to 1616 with the formation of the non-conformist Southwick Church. In 1634 the leader of the church and many of its members traveled to Boston and in 1639 settled in the newly incorporated Barnstable where they formed the first church in Barnstable. In 1717 the town of Barnstable was split into a West and East Parish; the West Parish Church was the successor church to the earlier Barnstable church. Construction of the West Parish meeting house was started in 1717 and completed in 1719. It was renovated in 1852. It was completely restored to its original form between 1953 and 1958. The West Parish Church continues to serve the local community today. This collection contains the earliest record book of the West Parish Church and some supplementary materials. These records include meeting minutes, ecclesiastical council results, vital records, and records of church discipline and controversies.
Benjamin Pomeroy papers, 1735-1739.
Rev. Benjamin Pomeroy (1704-1784), originally of Suffield, Connecticut, graduated at Yale in 1733. He was ordained in 1735 and installed at the Congregational Church in Hebron, CT. He became an admirer of the revivalist preacher George Whitefield. He encouraged revivalist movements without seeking permission from other pastors as mandated by state law, and was consequently deprived of his salary for 7 years. He married Abigail Sheelock of Windham with whom he had 7 children. Rev. Pomeroy died in December of 1784, aged 81 years.
Benjamin Wadsworth sermons, 1707-1712.
Rev. Benjamin Wadsworth (1670–1737) graduated from Harvard in 1690 and began to preach at the First Church in Boston in November of 1693. He was ordained as minister of the First Church on September 8, 1696. He remained pastor of the First Church until 1725, when he was elected to be the eighth president of Harvard College. He died in 1737 at the age of 67. During his life he was known for his unusual powers of recollection, often delivering sermons by memory. A large number of his sermons and treatises were published, including one of the first explicitly anti-abortion tracts in North America.
Bennington, Vermont. Old First Congregational Church records, 1752-1937.
The First Church in Bennington, Vt., also known as the Old First Church, actually originated in Massachusetts as a result of the congregational schisms induced by the Great Awakening. During the 1750s, a group of Separatists drawn from churches in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts began meeting in Westfield Mass., selecting Rev. Jedediah Dewey as their pastor in 1754. The group then moved to Bennington as it was being newly settled in 1761, and reorganized in 1762 as the First Church of Bennington. In 1937 the meeting house was extensively renovated; pew and wall plaques were installed to honor prominent Vermonters, including the poet Robert Frost, who was not a member of the church but who spoke at the rededication, and whose grave is located in the churchyard. The records in this collection include a wide array of material relating to church administration and correspondence. Also included are extensive disciplinary records, many of which touch on the subject of temperance.
Berkley, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1737-1814.
The First Church of Christ was first gathered in 1737 in the newly incorporated town of Berkley, Massachusetts. In 1737, the town agreed to settle Samuel Tobey, a young graduate of Cambridge. In 1788, Thomas Andros, a self-taught veteran of the American Revolutionary War, was settled in Berkley. The Berkley, Mass. Congregational Church records document the early history, administration, and life of the church and its members.
Berkshire Association of Congregational Ministers records, 1759-1871.
The Berkshire Association was formed in 1763. Due to its significant size, the association separated into two distinct organizations in October 1852 — Berkshire North Association and Berkshire South Association. The current iteration of the Association is still active and part of the Massachusetts Conference UCC Western region. This collection contains volumes of general Association records as well as ecclesiastical records, disciplinary records, and missionary correspondence.
Biddeford, Maine. First Church of Christ records, 1742-1887.
The First Church of Christ in Biddeford was officially organized in April of 1730, with Rev. Samuel Willard as its first minister. After 1752 a meeting house was built in Saco “East” for which inhabitants there had petitioned. A new meeting house for the "West" side (now Biddeford) was constructed in 1758 by Nathaniel Perkins, a local master builder. This ecclesiastical division of East and West was the first step toward separation of municipal government. In 1762, the land northeast of the river was set off as Pepperellborough, which in 1805 was renamed Saco. In 1797, a second religious society was formed in Biddeford, which consisted of 50 defectors from the First Church. This collection comprises a single bound volume of the Church's earliest administrative records.
Boston Massacre sermon, circa 1770.
The author of the manuscript sermon in this collection is unknown and there is no provenance information associated with the collection. The instigating incident behind the writing of the sermon was the Boston Massacre, also known as the Incident on King Street, which occurred on March 5, 1770. The event was widely reported on and further increased tensions between the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain. This collection consists of a single manuscript sermon written and includes a historical account of the Massachusetts Bay Colony as well as a discussion on the cause of colonial strife.
Boston, Mass. Church records, 1684-1781.
This collection consists of five volumes of Boston church records. Two of these volumes contain sermons and sermon notes for the Old South Church, Boston, preached in 1684 and 1772-1775 respectively. A third volume contains notes on sermons delivered in Boston and vicinity during 1690-1694. The fourth volume contains notes on sermons delivered in Boston in 1723. The fifth volume consists of records of pew rentals for the West Church on Lynde Street in Boston from 1777 to 1781.
Boston, Massachusetts. Old South Church records, 1669-1882.
The Old South Church originated when twenty-eight members of the First Church in Boston separated in 1669 to found the Third Church of Boston. n 1670, the congregation met for the first time in a building known as the Cedar Meetinghouse, which soon became known as South Church due to its location in the south end of town. The "Old" moniker was added in 1717 to distinguish the church from a newly-formed New South congregation. During the Unitarian Movement of the early 19th century, Old South was the sole Congregational church in Boston to adhere to the doctrine of Trinitarianism. The current Old South Church is a member of the United Church of Christ. Records within this collection include extensive meeting minutes, copies of official correspondence, member lists, and financial records, admissions, baptismal records, marriage records, and member rolls.
Boxford, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1703-1823.
The First Church of Boxford was formed in 1701 when the parishioners of Boxford were granted independent status from Topsfield Church. A meeting house was built, in which all town meetings and civic gatherings were held until 1800. The meeting house building was replaced in 1742 and again in 1836. The current church, known as First Church Congregational Boxford, is a member of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference.
Bradford, Haverhill, Massachusetts. First Church of Christ records, 1682-1915.
The First Church of Christ was established in 1682 with Rev. Zechariah Symmes Jr. as its minister. Meeting houses were constructed in 1670, 1706, 1751, 1834, and 1849. In 1810 the church hosted the meeting of the General Association and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions came from that meeting. This collection includes records of vital statistics, financial reports, church meeting minutes, and ecclesiastical council reports.
Braintree, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1697-1871.
The Mount Wollaston Parish Meeting House was established in 1639 in the present-day Quincy Area, and by 1640 the town was renamed Braintree. This Meeting House was the site of the original church, which first gathered on September 10, 1707. In 1708, old Braintree was divided into the North Precinct (Quincy) and the South Precinct (Braintree). When Quincy became an official town in 1792, the 1707 church was designated as the First Church in Braintree. The records in this collection include the journal of Samuel Niles dating 1697 to 1777, a volume of church records dating from 1707-1871, a volume of the Braintree Precinct's Financial Records dating 1708 to 1796, and a volume of church records dating 1790 to 1825.
Brunswick, Maine. First Parish Church records, 1735-1829.
The township of Brunswick was incorporated on May 3, 1717. Until 1747 the town was served by temporary missionary ministers. In 1747 the First Parish Church was actually split into two buildings, one following Congregational polity and the other following Presbyterian polity. In 1772 both groups agreed to follow Congregational polity and in 1808 both groups physically merged into a single meeting house. The church had close relations to Bowdoin College and Harriet Beecher Stowe found inspiration for Uncle Tom's Cabin while attending the church. The Church, now a member of the UCC, continues to serve the community. The collection includes the early administrative and vital membership records of the church including church and parish meeting minutes, vital statistics of members, and ministerial records for Asa Mead.
Byfield, Massachusetts. Byfield Parish Church records, 1709-1845.
Byfield Parish Church (now located in Georgetown) was founded circa 1702 by citizens from the western portions of both Rowley and Newbury who wished to establish their own church. By 1702 land had been purchased, a cemetery laid out, a meeting house built, and a pastor, Rev. Moses Hale, had been called. After Rev. Hale's death in 1744, the church called Rev. Moses Parsons to the ministry. Rev. Parsons pastored the church until 1787 when Rev. Elijah Parish was called. Rev. Parish served until 1825. New meeting houses were built after disasters in 1833 and 1930. This collection includes administrative records, meeting minutes, and membership records.
Cambridge, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1638-1783.
Cambridge, Massachusetts, originally called Newe Towne and then Newtowne until 1638, was first settled in 1630. The first meeting house was erected in 1632. First Church was officially organized on February 1, 1636. By 1650 the first meeting house had fallen into disrepair and the second meeting house was erected in the College Yard. By 1703 the second meeting house had also fallen into disrepair and the town voted to begin construction on a third. Construction on the third meeting house was completed in 1706. In 1829 the congregation split over the widespread contemporary issue of Unitarianism. Ultimately this resulted in the creation of the Unitarian "First Parish of Cambridge", while the Congregationalists retained the designation of "First Church of Cambridge". This collection contains a book of accounts and a number of manuscripts related to sermons preached there.
Cambridge, Massachusetts. Second Church covenant, 1739.
In 1725, citing the long distance required to attend worship services, a group of parishioners from the First Church of Christ in Cambridge requested that a precinct be formed in Menotomy village, now Arlington. This request was granted in 1732 and the Second Church of Cambridge was formaly gathered in 1739. This collection contains the original covenant of the Second Church in Cambridge which was created during the formation of the church.
Canterbury, Connecticut. Strict Congregational Church records, 1733-1815.
Formed initially in 1744, the Strict Congregational Church in Canterbury, Connecticut, was the first of its kind formed in the state. The Strict Church developed from schisms within the First Congregational Church as a result of the First Great Awakening. Issues over polity, such as infant baptism, and monitary issues, such as paying taxes to support the established church and ministers, became central to the arguments over the schism. At the time of the schism the Strict Church took a majority of the First Congregational Church's members. The Strict Congregational Church remained active throughout the 18th-century but was no longer active by around 1850.
Charlton, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1762-1836.
A church was established in Charlton in 1761, with Rev. Caleb Curtis as its first pastor. He was dismissed in 1776. The “Congregational Center Meeting House in Charlton” was opened in 1798. In 1826, in response to a Unitarian controversy, an Orthodox congregation split away to form the Congregational Calvinistic Church of Christ in Charlton. This collection contains the church record book dating 1762-1836. The volume includes the church covenant, admissions of new members, records of baptisms, and marriage records.
Cotton Family sermons, 1682-1782.
Three generations of Cottons were Puritan ministers and leaders in early New England theological and political affairs. John Cotton (1584-1652) was born and educated in England. In 1633, he came to New England, was ordained at the First Church of Boston, and remained in Boston until his death. His son, John Cotton (1640-1699), graduated from Harvard in 1657 and was missionary to the Indians at Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, 1664-1667. He then settled in Plymouth where he was ordained and served as minister until 1697. Josiah Cotton (1680-1756) was the son of John Cotton (1640-1699) and graduated from Harvard in 1698. He was a school teacher in Marblehead and Plymouth, and Indian missionary, 1707-1744. Two volumes, dating to 1710 and 1711, contain five sermons by Josiah Cotton for delivery to local Native populations. The sermons are written in both English and Algonquian languages. The third volume includes a partial list of sermons attributed to the Cotton family, possibly penned by John Cotton Sr. (1585-1652).
Cotton Mather diary and personal documents, 1716-circa 1719.
Rev. Cotton Mather (1663-1728), was born February 12, 1663 in the city of Boston in Massachusetts Bay Colony, graduating Harvard in 1678 and ordained May 13, 1684 at Second Church in Boston, also known as "Old North" Church or "the Church of the Mathers", where he served with his father, Increase (1639 O.S. - 1723 O.S.). He was a prolific author, publishing some 280 distinct items. He endorsed inoculation as a means of preventing smallpox, and was involved in prosecuting and advising on the Salem witchcraft trials. The digital collections include a portion of Rev. Mather's diary entries from 1716, an essay directed at his son Samuel with advice on attending college, and a listing of marriages which Rev. Mather performed, dated 1717.
Cumberland Association of Congregational Ministers records, 1788-1839.
The Cumberland Association of Congregational Ministers was founded in 1788, initially comprised of 8 Congregational clergymen. Meetings were held quarterly in May, July, September, and November. In the May meeting of 1793, the Association explicitly incorporated charity and missions work into its operations. From 1811 the Association began granting clerical certifications. A modern version of the organization continues today as the Cumberland Association of Churches and Ministers and is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. This collection consists of a bound volume of Association records which are administrative in nature, and largely comprise meeting minutes as well as lists of rules and regulations.
Cumberland Conference records, 1836-1859.
The Cumberland Conference was organized in Gorham, Maine on December 24, 1822. Along with other Maine county conferences, the Cumberland Conference was part of the wider General Conference of the Congregational Churches of Maine. The Conference's annual meetings were held in June, with other single-day meetings in January and October. The Conference partook in fundraising and the supply of monetary aid to regional churches, and also published The Christian Mirror, an influential regional newspaper, from 1822 onwards. The Conference exists today as the Cumberland Association of Churches and Ministers. This collection consists of a single bound volume of administrative records including membership rolls, the constitution, by-laws, and meeting minutes.
Daniel Rogers sermons, 1740-1799.
Rev. Daniel Rogers (1707-1785) was ordained as an evangelist at York, Maine in 1742. He was installed pastor of the Second Parish Church in Exeter, New Hampshire (established 1744) on August 31, 1748. He continued in office there until he died in 1785, at 79 years of age. He was converted to evangelism by the preaching of Rev. George Whitefield and was one of the pall bearers at Rev. Whitefield's funeral in 1770. The digital collections below consist of numerous of Rev. Rogers's sermons, encompassing his time at both York and Exeter, dating from 1741-1799.
Danvers, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1672-1845.
The First Church of Danvers was founded in 1672 when a group of farmers who lived quite a distance from the Salem meetinghouse of which they were members petitioned for permission to erect one of their own. This collection contains the early records of the Danvers church, including records pertaining to membership, vital statistics, and church meetings. Of particular note are records pertaining to the confession and trial of Martha Corey (alternatively spelled Kory and Cory) in regards to the witchcraft controversy in Salem.
David Avery papers, 1794.
Rev. David Avery was born in Franklin, Connecticut, in 1746. He graduated from Yale in 1769, studied theology at Dartmouth College, and was ordained as a missionary to the Native Americans in 1771. In 1783 he became the minister of the First Church in Wrentham. Due to theological differences over church discipline, he was dismissed in 1794. He died in 1817. This collection contains a manuscript volume prepared by Rev. David Avery about the strife that had grown between Avery and his congregation.
Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1727-1784.
In 1631, a log cabin was built to serve as the first meeting house of the recently settled Dorchester Plantation. For its first five years of existence, the parish had two ministers, John Warham and John Maverick. They were followed by Rev. Richard Mather, who served from 1636-1669. The church evolved from a Trinitarian Congregational church, during the pastorate of Thaddeus Mason Harris (1793-1836), to the Unitarian denomination. The First Parish Dorchester Church, now a member of the Unitarian-Universalist denomination, continues to serve the local community. The collection contains notes on sermons, membership lists, and weekly records of church services.
Dover, New Hampshire. First Parish Church records, 1639-1857.
Gathered in 1633, the First Parish Church in Dover is the oldest church in New Hampshire. Rev. Hanserd Knollys organized the First Parish Church as a religious organization in 1638. The church joined the United Church of Christ in 1961. Records include births, marriages, deaths, dismissals, disciplinary cases, meeting minutes, financial records, and pew plans; letters by Rev. Jeremy Belknap, Rev. Hubbard Winslow, and the church's clerk Asa A. Tufts.
Dudley Leavitt sermons, 1740-1751.
Dudley Leavitt was minister of the Salem Tabernacle Church from 1745-1762. He succeeded the controversial minister Rev. Samuel Fisk who established the church. The collection consists of two volumes of Rev. Leavitt's sermons, preached from 1740-1751 in Salem, Mass.
Durham, Connecticut. First Church records, 1804-1904.
Durham, Conn. built its first meeting house in 1709. In December of 1710 Rev. Nathaniel Chauncey was called to preach. In 1734 the town voted to build a second meeting house. Rev. Elizur Goodrich was approved as minister in 1755, followed by Rev. David Smith in 1799. A third meeting house was erected in 1735 but destroyed by fire in 1844, and a dispute arose over where the new meeting house would be located, which resulted in the formation of separate North Congregational and South Congregational churches. This digitized collection contains administrative and legal documents largely relating to the dispute over the situation of the fourth meeting house, both before and after the decision was taken to split the congregation into two separate churches. There are also contemporaneous documents relating to church administration and financial matters.
Ebenezer Morse account book, 1718-1859.
The North Precinct or Second Parish Church of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts was established in 1742, with Rev. Ebenezer Morse ordained as its first pastor in 1743. This parish remained a part of Shrewsbury until 1786, when it was established as the town of Boylston and its church became the First Congregational Church of Boylston, which is still active today. Rev. Morse was dismissed from the Second Parish in 1775 because he refused to halt public prayers for the British government. This collection contains records of church admissions, baptisms, and marriages.
Ebenezer Parkman papers, 1717-1782.
Rev. Ebenezer Parkman (1703-1782) of Boston and Westborough, Mass. is most historically notable for the detailed diaries which he kept throughout his life. He graduated from Harvard in 1721 and received a Masters degree in 1724, going on to become the first minister of the Congregational Church in Westborough. Rev. Parkman continued his ministry in Westborough until his death in 1782. He was a moderate New Light, associating with the Rev. George Whitefield during the famous evangelist's first missionary journey to New England. Rev. Parkman was initially skeptical of the Revolution and characterized the Stamp Act riots of 1765 as "a melancholy occurrence." After the Battle of Lexington and Concord he signed a manifesto "for peace sake and to avoid a rupture among us." However, he increasingly warmed to the idea of Independence, especially when his eldest son, Ebenezer Jr., joined the Continental Army.
Ebenezer Storer diary, 1749-1764.
Ebenezer Storer (1729-1807) graduated from Harvard with a bachelor's degree in 1747 and a masters in 1750, along with an ad eundem degree from Yale in the same year. He married Elizabeth Green in 1751, was a merchant in Boston, and became the Treasurer of Harvard College in 1777. Storer was a member and deacon of the Church in Brattle Square, Cambridge, as well as an early member of the Society for Propagating the Gospel in North America, the American Academy of Arts and Science, and several other organizations.
Ebenezer Turell account of a witchcraft case, 1728.
Rev. Ebenezer Turell (1701-1778) graduated from Harvard in 1721 and was subsequently ordained as the minister of the First Parish in Medford, Massachusetts in 1724, remaining there until his death. This collection comprises his handwritten account and commentary on a witchcraft case at Littleton in 1720.
Edward Barnard sermons, 1739-1774.
Rev. Edward Barnard (1720-1774) was the son of Rev. John Barnard of Andover. A classical scholar, he graduated at Harvard in 1736 and was ordained in 1743, ministering to the First Church in Haverhill, Mass. Rev. Barnard's personal theology tended toward the doctrine known as Arminianism, which emphasized the importance of free will in personal salvation. This caused controversy within the Haverhill church, and a portion of the congregation consequently ceded and became Baptist.
Essex North Association, Massachusetts, records, 1761-1836.
The Essex Middle Association, which would later become the Essex North Association, was formed in Rowley, West Parish (now Georgetown) in 1761. The Essex North Association merged with the Essex South Association and later the Andover Association to eventually become the Northeast Association within the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ.
Essex, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1681-1879.
The church now known as the First Church in Essex, Mass. was originally a church within the parish of Ipswich called Chebacco, and was known as the Second Church in Ipswich or simply the "Chebacco Church". John Wise was officially ordained as the first pastor of the church in 1683. Beginning in approximately 1745 there was dissention between orthodox and revivalist elements in the Second Church. This caused a rift leading to the gathering of a Separatist Fourth Church in Ipswich which was pastored by Separatist leader Rev. John Cleaveland. In 1774 both churches voted to unite as the Second Church in Ipswich, under the leadership of Rev. Cleaveland. In 1819, the Chebacco Parish was incorporated as the town of Essex and the Second Church in Ipswich was renamed the First Congregational Church in Essex.
Falmouth, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1731-1790.
On October, 10, 1708, the First Congregational Church in Falmouth, was formally gathered and Josiah Metcalf was ordained as the church's first minister. The first meeting house was probably built between 1690 and 1700 and was replaced by the second meeting house in 1717. The third meeting house was constructed in 1750 and the fourth, and final, meeting house was constructed in 1796. In 1821, 77 members withdrew to form the East End Church in Hatchville and in 1833, 9 members withdrew to form the North Falmouth Congregational Church. Now a member of the United Church of Christ, the First Congregational Church in Falmouth continues to serve the local community.
Franklin, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1737-1877.
The Second Church of Wrentham, also known as the West Parish Church, was established in 1738. When the West Precinct of Wrentham separated from Wrentham and incorporated as Franklin in 1778, the West Parish Church was renamed the First Congregational Church of Franklin.
General Association of Connecticut records, 1708-1952.
The General Association of Connecticut was a collection of regional groups within Connecticut formed to advocate and facilitate the communion of churches and ministers. The earliest meeting was held in Hartford County in 1709. The locations of their meetings would change yearly, switching between the various counties. At the turn of the 19th century, the General Association began to have its auxiliary units absorbed into the new Congregational Christian Conference of Connecticut. By 1867, the General Association also became a part of the Conference, which held its first annual meeting in 1867. This group remained until 1957, when the current Connecticut Conference of the UCC was formed. This collection consists of a number of county-based record books dating from 1708-1952. Many of the complementary county-level groups in this collection shared physical books for their records.
George Curwen papers, 1699-1737.
Rev. George Curwen was born in 1683 in Salem, Massachusetts. He attended Harvard College. While working toward his second degree he also became a guest preacher at various churches. Upon completion of his second degree he married Mehitable Parkman. Rev. Nicholas Noyes accepted Curwen as an assistant at the First Church in Salem and he was ordained in 1714. Curwen died in 1717, followed soon after by his wife.
Georgetown, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1731-1866.
The First Congregational Church in Georgetown was originally established in 1731 as Rowley West Parish. When the town of Georgetown was incorporated in 1838, the Rowley West Parish was renamed to the First Congregational Church of Georgetown. The collection includes meeting minutes, financial records and valuable vital records.
Gideon Hawley missionary journals, 1753-1806.
Rev. Gideon Hawley was born at Stratfield (Bridgeport), Connecticut. Hawley graduated from Yale College in 1749 and was licensed to preach by the Fairfield East Association May 1750. Hawley accepted a position from the Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians to establish a mission among the Six Nations on the Susquehanna in 1954. In 1757 Hawley was sent on a temporary mission to the Mashpee and following a formal request by the Mashpee Hawley took up a permanent post among them on April 8, 1758. Hawley died in Mashpee in 1807. This collection of journal and correspondence records includes materials relating to life in the Mohawk country, the Six Nations, the Mashpee Indians, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Indians.
Grafton, Massachusetts. Church of Christ records, 1731-1828.
The Congregational Church of Grafton traces its roots back to a church established in 1671 in what was then known as Hassanamisco Plantation (now Hassanamesit Reservation). In 1731 the body that would become known as the Congregational Church of Grafton was gathered, and four years later the town of Grafton was founded.
Granville, Massachusetts. First Church of Christ records, 1757-1848.
Granville (originally called Bedford) was settled by English colonists in 1736 and called its first minister, Moses Tuttle, in 1746. The first permanent meetinghouse was completed by 1750, and the town was officially incorporated in 1754. The town was divided into three parishes in the 1780s, and one group of parishioners joined with their neighbors from Suffield, CT and Westfield, MA to form the Baptist Church of Granville. First Church and Granville Baptist Church agreed to share a church building once more in 1937 under the name Granville Federated Church.
Hampden Association of Congregational Ministers records, 1762-1844.
The first mention of the Hampden Association — divided into East and West — is in the Massachusetts General Association meeting, June 28, 1814. In 1850, the Hampden Conference of Churches was formed. The associations continued to be listed as the primary components of the General Association through 1864. In 1865, the churches were listed by counties, e.g. Hampden County, rather than by associations. The organization is still in existance today as the Hampden Association, UCC.
Hampshire Association of Churches and Ministers records, 1731-1747.
The Hampshire Association of Churches and Ministers was instigated by Rev. Solomon Stoddard in 1714 on the model of the Saybrook Platform. This item is a 1927 photostat copy of an original record book containing meeting minutes from the Association, 1731-1747.
Hanover, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1728-1818.
The First Congregation Church of Hanover, Massachusetts, was gathered on December 5, 1728, and the Rev. Benjamin Bass was ordained as the first minister on December 11. The first meeting house was completed in 1728. Construction on the second meeting house was completed in 1765. The third meeting house was constructed in 1826 and was destroyed by fire in 1863. The fourth and final meeting house was constructed in 1864. In 1961 the church joined with the United Church of Christ. The church continues to serve the local community today.
Harwich, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1745-1899.
The First Congregational Church of Harwich, Massachusetts, was founded in 1747 when the town of Harwich was split into the North and South Parishes. On April 8, 1747, the precinct voted to complete construction on a meeting house which was finally completed in 1748. In 1792, the second meetinghouse was completed after the first had been condemned a year earlier. The church officially became known as the First Congregational Church of Harwich when the church became incorporated in 1898 at the behest of the Rev. George Y. Washburn. The First Church of Harwich continues to serve the community today. The collection documents the history, administration, and life of the church and includs membership lists, church and parish records, and administrative/legal documents.
Haverhill, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1719-1756.
Haverhill was first settled by Puritans in 1640. Rev. John Ward was officially installed as the pastor of the First Parish in 1645 and the first meeting house was constructed in 1648. The second meeting house was completed in 1699 and the third was completed in 1766. In 1833 the First Parish became Unitarian and the Congregationalist dissenters formed the Independent Congregational Church and Society which was later renamed to the Centre Congregational Church and Society. In 1859 a large group of parishioners left the Centre Congregational Church to form the North Congregational Church. In 1940 the Centre and North Churches merged to form the First Congregational Church. In 1963 the North Parish Community Church merged into the First Congregational Church which simultaneously joined the United Church of Christ. In 2010 the First Congregational Church in Haverhill dissolved. This collection contains the administrative, financial, and important membership records of the First Parish Church, North Congregational Church, Centre Congregational Church, First Congregational Church, and North Parish Community Church.
Haverhill, Massachusetts. West Congregational Church records, 1734-1900.
When the western part of Haverhill became too populous for one church in 1734, the West Parish of Haverhill was established by a petition to the General Court of Massachusetts, and the church, initially known as the Third Church, was itself established in 1735. In the first half of the 19th century, the governance of the parish was controversially distributed between multiple denominations, but in 1852 it was relinquished again to the Congregationalists. This collection contains the earliest records of the West Congregational Church and continuing administrative documentation up until 1900.
Holden, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1742-1869.
The First Congregational Church of Holden, Massachusetts, was founded in 1742 when the Rev. Joseph Davis settled as its first minister. In 1733 Davis was dismissed at his own request following various accusations of improper conduct, and the Rev. Joseph Avery was settled in Holden. In 1809 the church ceased observing the Half-way Covenant baptismal system and returned to more rigid membership requirements. New articles of faith were adopted in 1824 when the Rev. Horatio Bardwell became minister. He was dismissed in 1833 in order to return to missionary work in India, whereupon the Rev. William Pomeroy Paine was installed as pastor and remained in that position until 1875. The church then entered a rather unsettled period during which it experienced a quick succession of ministers until 1892 when the Rev. Thomas Earle Babb came to Holden. He served as minister of the Congregational Church until 1912.
Hopkinton, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1708-1880.
The First Congregational Church in Hopkinton was organized in 1724, shortly after the establishment of the town of Hopkinton by Harvard College, who had purchased the land from a local community of "praying Indians". Five versions of the meeting house have existed, two of which were destroyed, first by fire in 1882 and then by a hurricane in 1939. In September 2011 the name of the church was officially changed to Faith Community Church. This collection includes the earliest records of the church, including meeting minutes, financial reports, listings of marriages, baptisms, deaths, and dismissions, and relations of faith.
Hull, Massachusetts. Congregational Church records, 1725-1767.
The First Church in Hull (formerly Nantasket) was founded in 1644. The first meeting house was erected in 1735. After 1772, there were no more settled Congregational ministers at Hull as there was not enough support by the town’s citizens to support a settled minister’s salary. In 1815 a vicious gale destroyed the 1735 meeting house; the building was never replaced. The volume in this collection comprises handwritten transcriptions from the First Church's records dating from 1725-1767.
Ipswich, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1724-1830.
Ipswich, Massachusetts, first known as Agawam, was settled by John Winthrop in 1633 and was incorporated the following year. The First Church in Ipswich was gathered on August 5, 1634, and the first meeting house was constructed the same year. Construction on the second meeting house was completed in 1647. In 1699 the third meeting house of the First Church was built on the north green. Members left to form new churches in 1681, 1714, 1747, and 1749. In 1749 the fourth meeting house was constructed. David T. Kimball was ordained as the fourteenth minister of the First Church in Ipswich on October 3, 1806. Construction on the fifth meeting house was completed by 1847. The South Church in Ipswich voted to reunite with the First Church in Ipswich in 1922. In 1965 the fifth meeting house was destroyed by a fire and the sixth meeting house was completed in 1971. Now a member of the United Church of Christ, the First Church in Ipswich continues to serve the local community today.
Ipswich, Massachusetts. South Church records, 1747-1868.
The South Church in Ipswich, Massachusetts, was formally gathered in 1747 following ministerial angst between Ipswich's two ministers and a petition by parishioners in southern Ipswich who felt traveling to the First Church was too difficult. The first meeting house was completed in 1748 and construction on the second meeting house was completed in 1838. In 1922 the South Church rejoined the First Church to become the First and South Congregational Church.
Ivory Hovey papers, 1731-1803.
Rev. Ivory Hovey (1714-1803) was born in Topsfield, Massachusetts, the son of Captain Ivory Hovey and Anne Pingree. He graduated from Harvard College in 1735. He was ordained minister at the Second (West) Parish of Rochester, later known as the First Congregational Church of Mattapoisett, in 1740. He served there for nearly three decades, but left in 1769 after theological disputes over his ministry. He then became minister at the Second Church of Plymouth at Manomet in 1770, and remained there until his death. He married Olive Jordan in 1739. The items in this collection include correspondence, sermons, ecclesiastical council decisions, church records, vital records, and other papers relating to family affairs and Rev. Hovey's congregations.
John Cleaveland papers, 1741-1810.
Rev. John Cleaveland (1722-1799) was an early leader in the "Separatist" Christian movement. He served as minister at a Separatist church in Ipswich, also known as the Fourth Church in Ipswich, at which he was ordained in 1747. In 1774 both the Second and Fourth Churches in Ipswich voted to reunite as the Second Parish Church in Ipswich. Cleaveland also served as a military chaplain in 1758-59 at Ticonderoga and Louisburg during the French and Indian War. This collection includes both church records and personal records. Among the person records are extensive runs of correspondence with both clergy and family. The collection also contains the diary of Cleaveland's first wife, Mary Dodge.
John Davenport sermon book, 1649-1652.
John Davenport was born on April 9, 1597 to a wealthy family in England. After becoming an associate of John Preston, Davenport joined the Puritan movement. In 1637 he acquired a patent for a colony in Massachusetts and in 1638 he co-founded the colony of New Haven. In 1668 Davenport became the minister at the First Church in Boston. He died on March 15, 1670. This collection contains a single bound volume of manuscript sermons.
John Hooker sermons, 1753-1777.
Rev. John Hooker (1728-1777) originally hailed from Farmington, Connecticut and graduated from Yale in 1751. He was ordained as the minister of the First Congregational Church of Northampton in 1753. He married Sarah Worthington in 1755, and continued as minister at Northampton until he died of smallpox in 1777. The materials in this collection consist of Rev. Hooker's sermons and sermon fragments spanning his entire career at Northampton.
John Lake memoranda, 1687-1688.
John Lake recorded information about sermons he heard in Boston, Massachusetts.
John Marsh sermons, 1774-1776.
John Marsh was born on November 2, 1742 in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard in 1761. On January 12, 1774 John Marsh was ordained as the minister of the First Church of Christ in Wethersfield, Connecticut, a position he kept until his death on September 13, 1821.
John Pynchon notes on sermons by George Moxon, 1640.
George Moxon (1602-1687) was born in Yorkshire, England. He came to New England in 1637, settled first in Dorchester and then went to Springfield where he became the new settlement's pastor. John Pynchon (1625?-1703), the son of Springfield founder William Pynchon, was fourteen or fifteen when he recorded Moxon's sermons in 1640. This collection contains sermon notes on George Moxon's sermons, recorded by John Pynchon in "short writing".
John Richardson sermon notes, 1692-1693.
Rev. John Richardson (1647-1696) graduated Harvard in 1666 and subsequently became a tutor or Resident Fellow of the College. In 1675 he was ordained as minister of the First Church of Newbury, Mass. where he remained for twenty-one years. He married Mary Pierson of Woburn, with whom he had five children. He preached the Artillery Election Sermon at Boston twice, in 1675 and 1681.
John Rogers papers, 1693-1714.
Rev. John Rogers (1666-1745) was born in July 1666 in Ipswich, Massachusetts to John Rogers (1630-1684), President of Harvard University. Rev. Rogers graduated from Harvard in 1684. From 1686 until 1689 Rogers assisted his uncle, William Hubbard the minister of Ipswich. Ordained in October of 1692, Rev. Rogers took over for his sickly uncle in 1702 as minister until Hubbard's death in 1704. Rogers stayed on in Ipswich until his death from paralysis in 1745. The collection contains some of the personal papers of Rev. John Rogers including manuscript sermons, a marriage proposal, and his final will.
John Stockman testimony, 1710.
In the early 1700s, Caleb Moody (b. 1666), the son of Sargent Caleb Moody Sr. of Newbury, Mass. was assaulted on the King's Highway by the soldier John Stockman (1681-1744), the son of Mr. John Stockman Sr. of Salisbury, Mass. The Moodys and Stockmans were both prominent families in the region.
John White sermons, 1702-1760.
Rev. John White (1677-1760) originally of Watertown, Massachusetts, graduated from Harvard in 1698. He was ordained in 1703, serving as minister to the First Church of Gloucester, Mass. until his death.
Johnathan Edwards correspondence to Esther Burr, 1757.
Rev. Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was born in East Windsor, Connecticut on October 5, 1703 to Rev. Timothy and Esther Edwards. In 1727 he married Sarah Pierpont and together the couple raised 10 children. Their daughter Esther was born February 13, 1732. Esther married Rev. Aaron Burr Sr. (1715/6-1757), a Presbyterian pastor in Newark, New Jersey in June of 1752. This collection contains a single letter written by Rev. Jonathan Edwards that was sent from Stockbridge, Massachusetts on November 20, 1757 to his daughter, Esther Burr.
Jonathan Parsons sermons, 1735-1770.
Rev. Jonathan Parsons (1705-1776) graduated from Yale in 1729, and was the minister at the First Church in Lyme, Connecticut from 1729/30 to 1745. He took up ministry at the Presbyterian Church of Newburyport, Mass. from January 1745/6 until the end of his life. The volumes below consist of notes for sermons delivered by Rev. Parsons. These include a variety of handwritten notes for sermons preached in his home parish of Newbury, and a published print copy of a sermon originally delivered at the funeral of Rev. Whitefield, who died suddenly "of a fit of asthma" in Newburyport in 1770.
Joseph Green diary, 1700-1715.
Rev. Joseph Green graduated from Harvard in 1695 and was ordained in 1698. He became minister of the Salem Village church, replacing the controversial Rev. Samuel Parris who had left in 1696. Rev. Green also presided over the congregation’s votes to rescind charges of witchcraft against those accused.
Joshua Green memoranda, 1768-1775.
Joshua Green (1731-1806) was a Boston merchant, the son of Joseph and Anna Pierce Green. In the notebooks within his collection Green summarizes local sermons he attended. It's not definite, but most likely Green regularly attended the Brattle Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts.
Kittery, Maine. Third Church records, 1750-1795.
In 1671 a meeting house for the First Church in Kittery, at Kittery Point, is evidenced in the town records. Three local parishes were created by order of a town meeting held on July 17, 1660. In 1750 the middle parish of Kittery was separated from the lower parish, requiring the formation of a new church which would be known as the Third Church in Kittery, with Rev. Josiah Chase ordained minister. His successor, Rev. Joseph Litchfield, served from 1782-1827, when along with church members, he requested that he be replaced by a Methodist minister from the Maine Methodist Conference. The Rev. Paschal P. Morrill was selected and installed, and the church continued as a Methodist congregation. This bound volume contains administrative records of the Third Church in Kittery, spanning the pastorates of Rev. Josiah Chase and Rev. Joseph Litchfield. The records include baptisms, marriages, and names of people admitted to the church.
Lancaster, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1708-1846.
The town of Lancaster and the First Congregational Church in Lancaster were established on November 28, 1653. The first and second meeting houses both were destroyed during Native American raids as part of larger geopolitical movements. The third meeting house was constructed in 1706 and the fourth in 1743. During Rev. Timothy Thayer time as minister, the church adopted Unitarian tenants and the fifth meeting house, designed by Charles Bulfinch, was constructed. In 1970 the church joined the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship. The First Church of Christ, Unitarian, in Lancaster continues to serve the local community. This collection contains the earliest extant records of the church and includes administrative records, vital records, financial records, pew records, and church covenants.
Lebanon, Connecticut. First Church and Society records, 1697-1796.
Like many churches in early New England, people complained about the distance they had to travel to attend meetings. As settlement spread, more and more ecclesiastical societies sought to build their own churches and call their own ministers. The same was true in the town of Lebanon, Connecticut. This collection consists of petitions to create separate ecclesiastical societies within the town of Lebanon; discussions about location and fund raising for building meetinghouses; lists of rateable estates and taxes due; minutes of church meetings; deeds; pew rentals; repairs to the meeting house; and society meeting minutes.
Legacy of a dying father bequeathed to his beloved children: or sundry directions in order unto a well regulated conversation, 1693-1694.
This document, dated 1694, was written by an unknown author and inserted into a repurposed manuscript volume. Addressed to his surviving sons, the manuscript consists of religious, moral, and general life advice.
Litchfield, Connecticut. South Farms Church records, 1781.
In 1768 the South Farms Church was gathered in the recently designated South Farms Parish of Litchfield, Connecticut. In 1772 George Beckwith Jr. was installed as the first minister of the church. He was removed in 1781 after an ecclesiastical council found him guilty of adultery. The South Farms Church, now Morris Congregational Church, continues to serve the local community today. This collection contains the records of the ecclesiastical council which removed Beckwith from his ministerial duties at the South Farms Church.
Lyme, Connecticut. Second Church and Society records, 1767.
The Second Society of Lyme, Connecticut, became the First Congregational Church of East Lyme when the East Lyme residents petitioned to have their own church so they did not have to travel so far on the Sabbath. Evidently in 1767 there was some sort of schism in the church, prompting someone to write up "The Last Will & Testament of the 2nd Scot of Lyme Sirnamed Niantic." The will is written with a great deal of sarcasm; the church bequeaths its ignorance, folly, knavery, and religion to various local congregations. The will is "witnessed" by Orange, Oswegotche and Spithead. The church is now known as the Niantic Community Church.
Maine Missionary Society records, 1807-1869.
The organization which would become the Maine Missionary Society was originally founded in 1802 as the Lincoln and Kennebec Religious Tract Society. It was reorganized as the Maine Missionary Society in 1807. Annual meetings were held in June and hosted on a rotating basis in different towns across Maine. The Society predated, but became a part of, the American Home Missionary Society. This collection consists of the first two Maine Missionary Society record books, containing general administrative records and trustee records respectively. Subjects include missionary activities, formation of local churches and county conferences, and the operation of the state organization.
Manchester, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1717-1881.
The First Congregational Church in Manchester-by the-Sea, Massachusetts, was formed on November 7, 1716 with 21 members. The first meeting house was constructed in 1656, the second in 1695, and the third in 1719. The fourth and final meeting house was constructed in 1809. The church name was changed to Orthodox Congregational Church in 1843. The church split in 1857 due to ecclesiastical differences and was reformed in 1869. The church, now known as the First Parish Congregational Church in Manchester-by-the-Sea continues to serve the community today. The collection includes the earliest extant records of the church. Included within the records are administrative records, vital records, financial records and records relating to the 1957 ecclesiastical council that led to the church splitting.
Manchester, Vermont. First Church records, 1804-1867.
The First Congregational Church in Manchester Vermont was first organized in 1784 with Rev. Job Swift as the first minister. Three meeting houses have been constructed by the church, the first in 1779, the second in 1829, and the third in 1862. This collection contains the early administrative records of the church which include meeting minutes, vital records, and church governance records.
Marblehead, Massachusetts. Old North Church records, 1684-1866.
The First Church of Christ of Marblehead was established on August 13, 1684 and Rev. Samuel Cheever was ordained the first minister. The first meeting house was built atop Old Burial Hill in 1638 and the second meeting house was constructed 1695. The third, and final, meeting house, built of stone, was constructed in 1824. Disagreements over the appointment of ministers led to the establishment of the Second Church in 1716 and the Third Church in 1858. Now known as the Old North Church, the First Congregational Church in Marblehead continues to serve the local community.
Marblehead, Massachusetts. Second Church records, 1714-1850.
The Second church of Marblehead formed in 1714 after a conflict arose in the First Parish Church over the installation of clergy. A meetinghouse was erected on New Meetinghouse Lane (later renamed Mugford Street) in 1716. Rev. Edward Holyoke ministered to Second Church until 1737 when he became President of Harvard College. In the 1830s, the congregation adopted the new Unitarian thinking and became the Second Congregational Church (Unitarian).
Marblehead, Massachusetts. Third Congregational Church records, 1858-1876.
The Third Congregational Church of Marblehead, also known as the South Church, was established in 1858 by 49 former members of the First Congregational Church in Marblehead. In 1860, the South Church building was dedicated and in 1864, the first minister of the Third Church, Rev. T. D. P. Stone, was installed. The church remained active until 1877 when a fire completely destroyed the church building.
Marlborough Association of Congregational Ministers records, 1725-1842.
The Marlborough Association of Congregational Ministers was formed and first met on June 5, 1725 in the house of Rev. Robert Breck. The association dealt with "cases of conscience, questions of difficulty in church discipline, or matters of disagreement, between the parties in a church, or between pastor and people." Due to declining membership, the ministers decided to dissolve the Marlborough Association on October 18, 1814.
Marlborough, Massachusetts. Union Congregational Church records, 1704-1839.
The First Parish Church was organized in 1666. Shortly after the formation of the First Congregational Evangelical Society in 1833, members of the First Church voted to worship with this society, and in 1835 the First Parish and the First Evangelical Congregational Society were incorporated as the Union Society. The church was renamed the Union Church in Marlborough to reflect this new merger, and was most recently renamed in 1913 as First Church.
Mary Tilden disciplinary case records, 1732-1733.
Mary Tilden (née Fowler) and her husband Stephen Tilden were members of the First Church in Lebanon, Connecticut. Their marriage was evidently not a happy one, and by 1732 Mary had separated herself along with her child and was staying with relatives in the area. Her perceived neglect of her marriage vows generated a public enquiry by the church and its minister Rev. Solomon Williams.
Massachusetts Convention of Congregational Ministers records, 1749-1838.
The Massachusetts Convention of Congregational Ministers began between 1692-94 when ministers in Massachusetts Bay met to consider contemporary issues facing their parishes. By the middle of the 20th-century, the convention became a center of religious dialogue for Massachusetts Congregational minister. The records contain meeting minutes, correspondence, reports, financial statements, photographs, and publications.
Mather Family papers, 1648-1651.
This collection comprises papers of the Mather family, beginning with the family patriarch, Rev. Richard Mather (1596-1669), the first to emigrate from England to North America. Materials include both records created by members of the family, as well as associated materials formerly in their keeping. They include an early draft of the "Cambridge Platform" and a defense of the platform's tenants entitled “An Answere of the Elders to certayne doubts” (circa 1651), both authored by the Rev. Richard Mather. There are also writings by his contemporaries, including Ralph Partridge's (1579-1658) "Modell of Church Discipline" and an essay by John Wilson (1588-1667).
Mattapoisett, Massachusetts. Congregational Church records, 1736-1886.
The church was gathered in July of 1736 as Second Church in Rochester, Massachusetts, and didn't become Mattapoisett Congregational Church until 1860 after the town of Mattapoisett was incorporated. The early years of the church were marked by much contention, most notably regarding pastoral appointments and policies on singing. The collection contains records relating to membership, vital statistics, ecclesiastical councils, meeting minutes, and financial records.
Medfield, Massachusetts. First Parish Unitarian Church records, 1697-1880.
The First Parish Church was founded in 1751 shortly after the incorporation of the town of Medfield. Rev. John Wilson was the first pastor. A second meeting house was constructed in 1706. The third and current meetinghouse was built in 1789. In 1813 the town and the parish were legally separated with members of the church incorporated as The First Parish. In 1827 a group of members of the First Parish petitioned for permission to withdraw from the First Parish, which was becoming increasingly Unitarian, in order to form an Orthodox church. The original First Parish church was subsequently known as the First Parish Unitarian church.
Medway, Massachusetts. First Church of Christ records, 1730-1876.
Originally named Boggastow in Nipmuck Territory, then part of Medfield, Medway was settled in 1657 when an increasing number of colonists settled the land west of the Charles River. Medway was incorporated on October 25, 1713 and the decision to immediately build its own church was made at town meeting on November 23, 1713. The Church of Christ, later known as First Church of Christ, was organized on October 7, 1714. The section known as East Medway separated in 1885 to form the town of Millis; First Church of Christ Medway is physically located in modern day Millis, Massachusetts. This collection contains the early records of the church, including meeting minutes, sermons, disciplinary records, and ecclesiastical council proceedings.
Memoranda Book, 1723.
This volume consists of handwritten notes on sermons by an unidentified individual in Boston, Massachusetts during 1723. Their notes include the names of the preachers, date of delivery, the sermon's verse text, and a detailed summary of each sermon. The sermons were likely delivered at the Old South Church, due to the predominance of those preached by resident ministers Rev. Joseph Sewall and Rev. Thomas Prince.
Merrimac, Massachusetts. Pilgrim Congregational Church records, 1725-1848.
Parish organized in 1725; church founded in 1726 as Second Church of Christ in Amesbury, Mass. Merrimac separated from Amesbury in 1876 and in 1879 the church became the First Congregational Church, popularly known as Pilgrim Congregational Church. In 1879 the First Orthodox Congregational Society was incorporated, replacing the earlier West Parish Congregational Society. The First Orthodox Congregational Church of Merrimac was incorporated in 1894 and the First Orthodox Congregational Society was dissolved. Extant as Pilgrim Congregational UCC in 1996. This collection consists of church and parish records and miscellaneous papers, including deeds, ordination papers, and printed materials. Includes diary of Rev. Paine Wingate, minister from 1726-1782, with added vital statistics to 1789 and ecclesiastical functions of Amesbury, Mass. West Parish, Second Congregational Society.
Middleboro, Mass. First Congregational Church records, 1707-1865.
The town of Middleboro (now Middleborough) was incorporated in 1669, settled by a group of men from Plymouth. The first meetinghouse was built in 1680, and the First Church of Christ (also called the "Church at the Green") was officially organized in 1694. The collections below include two volumes of church records, dating from 1707-1821 and 1745-1816 respectively, as well as a series of relations of faith and other documents related to individual parishioners (1724-1865). Also included are a large number of sermons preached by resident ministers Rev. Peter Thatcher and Rev. Sylvanus Conant between 1737 and 1779.
Millbury, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1720-1857.
A Second Church in Sutton was formally organized in 1747. In March 1747 Rev. James Wellman was called to be minister. The early history of the church was marked by internal controversies and disturbances which also involved the First Parish in Sutton under the ministry of David Hall. Early in the 19th century the north part of Sutton began to be called Millbury and in June 1813 the Second Church of Christ in Sutton was incorporated into the town of Millbury and since that date has been called the First Congregational Church in Millbury. This collection includes early material relates to church controversies, and lists of members, constitutions, transfers of membership, confessions, deeds, receipts, contracts, expenses, and treasurer's records.
Moses Parsons sermon, 1746.
Rev. Moses Parsons of Gloucester graduated from Harvard in 1736 and was ordained in 1744, taking up ministry of the Byfield Parish Church in what is now Newbury, Massachusetts and serving until his death in 1783. Three of his sermons were published in print during his lifetime. Presented here are Rev. Parsons's handwritten notes for a sermon on Galatians 6:3, dated July 27, 1746.
Nathaniel Eells sermon, 1740.
Nathaniel Eells was the son of Rev. Nathaniel Eells, Sr. of Scituate, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard in 1728 and was ordained in 1733, continuing in office at the East Congregational Church until his death.
Natick, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1721-1862.
First Congregational Church of Natick was established in 1651 by a group of English settlers and missionaries under the leadership of Rev. John Elliot. The church became home to many local Native Americans, also known as “Praying Indians,” and was the location of the writing of the “Eliot Bible:” a bible translated into phonetic Algonquian. The ledger contains records of church covenants, meeting minutes, baptisms, deaths, discipline, ordination, and membership.
New Braintree, Massachusetts. Church of Christ records, 1779-1811.
The land around modern-day New Braintree was first settled by Europeans in 1709 and was officially incorporated in 1751 as New Braintree. A Congregational Church was founded in 1754, and. Rev. Benjamin Ruggles was ordained as the first pastor. Rev. Daniel Foster was ordained a colleague with Mr. Ruggles in 1778. Mr. Ruggles died suddenly in 1782. Rev. John Fiske, the successor of Mr. Foster, was ordained in 1796. The collection includes two record books for the Church of Christ, one kept the Rev. Daniel Foster (1750?-1795) between 1779 and 1783 and the other by Rev. John Fiske (1770-1855) between 1796 and 1811. They contain details of church meetings, business discussed and votes, and records of baptisms, admissions, marriages, and deaths, as well as a brief autobiography of Rev. Fiske.
Newbury, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1634-1828.
The town of Newbury, Massachusetts, was first settled in 1635. The First Church was gathered in 1635 and construction on the first meeting house was completed the same year. In 1743 a group of parishioners left to form the First Episcopal Church. Between 1635 and 1806 five meeting houses were constructed. The fifth was destroyed in fire in 1868. The sixth, and final, meeting house was constructed in 1869. The First Church joined the United Church of Christ in 1961 and in 1967 the church was renamed to the First Parish Church in Newbury; this church continues to serve the Newbury community today.
Newbury, Massachusetts. Second Church records, 1696-1857.
The Second Church of Newbury was organized in 1698, after the township of Newbury had expanded. The church records are subdivided into a bound volume of baptisms, member lists, and meeting minutes, as well as a bound volume of correspondence and a document containing the church's 1729 articles of agreement.
Newburyport, Massachusetts. First Religious Society, 1725-1816.
The First Church of Newbury, Massachusetts divided in 1695 when the Second Church of Newbury was established, followed by the Third Church in 1726. The Third Church itself experienced a denominational split in 1746, when a number of parishioners left to form the Newbury Presbyterian Church. In 1764 the Third Church became part of the parish of Newburyport, changing its name to the First Church of Newburyport. In 1794 the parish was incorporated as the "First Religious Society" of Newburyport. The church continues to serve the community today as a Unitarian Universalist congregation, the First Religious Society of Newburyport (UU).
Newton, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1773-1827.
In 1664, the General Court of Massachusetts gave permission for forty men and forty women to establish the First Church of Cambridge Village. Before its establishment, settlers of Cambridge Village attended services and paid taxes to the city of Cambridge. Twenty-four years later, in 1688, the village seceded and became the city of Newtown, later spelled Newton. The First Church would see the construction of several meetinghouses, the last dedicated in 1904. It dissolved in 1972 after more than three hundred years of service to the Newton community.
North Bridgewater, Massachusetts. First Parish Congregational Church records, 1738-1852.
The First Parish Congregational Church in Brockton was originally founded as the Fourth Parish Church in Bridgewater in 1737 and formally gathered as such in 1740. The name of the church changed, in 1823, to First Parish Congregational Church to reflect the incorporation of the town of North Bridgewater. In 1827 a portion of the church's membership left to form the South Congregational Church and in 1850 another portion left to form the Porter Evangelical Congregational Church. In 1874 the town of North Bridgewater changed to Brockton. In 1980 the First Parish Congregational Church merged with the South Congregational Church, the Porter Congregational Church, and the Waldo Congregational Church to form the Christ Congregational Church which continues to operate today. This collection contains the administrative, legal, fiscal, and vital records of the church and includes meeting minutes, membership records, building records, and ministerial records.
North Yarmouth, Maine. First Church records, 1730-1849.
This church was organized in 1730 as the First Church in North Yarmouth, and became the First Church in Yarmouth in 1849 when Yarmouth was set off from North Yarmouth. The digitized collection consists of three bound volume of church records, containing administrative information for the church from 1730-1809, 1810-1821, and 1821-1849.
Northampton, Massachusetts. First Church of Christ records, 1661-1845.
The church was gathered June 18, 1661. The Congregation was established with representatives from the Churches of Christ from Dorchester, Roxbury, Springfield, and Hadley. In 1833, the congregation had grown enough to warrant a new church forming, Edwards Church. This group was made up primarily of younger members of First Church. The congregation joined the United Church of Christ after the denomination's start in 1957. The current congregation blended with Northampton's Baptist First Church in 1988. The name following that merger is First Churches of Northampton.
Northbridge, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1782-1836.
The town of Northbridge, Massachusetts, was incorporated in 1772 and the First Church in Northbridge was established in 1782. The first meeting house was constructed in 1774. In 1834 a significant portion of the congregation withdrew to form the Congregational Church of Whitinsville (now the Village Congregational Church). The second meeting house was constructed in 1836. In 1879 another contingent of the church's members withdrew to form the Rockdale Congregational Church, though both churches shared a minister until 1897. Around the turn of the century the name for the First Congregational Church in Northbridge was changed to Centre Congregational Church. The second meeting house was destroyed by a fire on February 12, 1932. The Centre Congregational Church joined the United Church of Christ in the early 1960s. The church dissolved in 2011.
Norwell, Massachusetts. First Parish Church records, 1642-1908.
First Parish of Norwell traces its origins to the First Parish of Scituate, which was established in 1634. In 1641, the congregation split during the ministry of Rev. Charles Chauncy over a disagreement on whether baptism should consist of full submersion or mere "sprinkling". The Second Parish's first minister was Rev. William Wetherell of Duxbury, who was ordained in September of 1645. In 1830 the fifth and current meeting house was built. The area encompassing the current church and town was incorporated as South Scituate in 1849, and changed again to Norwell in 1888. First Parish of Norwell, a Unitarian Universalist affiliated church, continues to serve the community today.
Orono, Maine. First Congregational Church records, 1830-1858.
On May 18, 1826, 14 members of Orono organized a church society. The new church was served by supply ministers, some of them from the Bangor Theological Seminary. The First Congregational Society of Orono was incorporated on March 19, 1831. In 1832 Rev. Josiah Fisher was installed as the first settled pastor, and religious services were held variously in a schoolhouse or in homes until a church was constructed on Bennoch Street and dedicated on April 17, 1834. The digitized collection consists of a single church record book, containing meeting minutes and member lists.
Oxford, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1721-1850.
The First Congregational Church of Oxford (MA) was established in the house of Rev. John Campbell on January 18, 1721 and construction of the first meetinghouse followed. The second meetinghouse was completed in 1748. The church split in 1813 with some members forming a Universalist church in the South Meetinghouse. The Third and final meetinghouse was constructed in 1829. The church joined the United Church of Christ in 1961 and continues to serve the local community today. This collection contains the earliest extant records of the church and includes vital records, administrative records, records of the church library, and financial records related to unpaid ministerial salary.
Parkman family papers, 1712-1779.
Ebenezer Parkman, son of William Parkman, a shipwright, was born in Boston on September 5, 1703. Soon after graduating from Harvard College in 1721, he became the first settled minister in the town of Westborough, in central Massachusetts, serving the community from the day of his ordination, October 28, 1724, until his death on December 9, 1782. Parkman married (1) Mary Champney (1699-1735/6), daughter of Samuel and Hannah Champney of Cambridge, in 1724, and (2) Hannah Breck (1717-1801), daughter of the Rev. Robert Breck of Marlborough, in 1737. Through his own marriages, those of his numerous brothers and sisters in the area, and those of his sixteen children who were married, Parkman's family relations extended throughout much of New England. The collection consists primarily of the diaries, sermons, essays, ecclesiastical papers, and correspondence of the Rev. Ebenezer Parkman (1703-1782), pastor of the town of Westborough, Massachusetts, from 1724 to 1782.
Pembroke, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1712-1887.
The First Church in Pembroke was organized October 22, 1712 and its first minister, Daniel Lewis, was ordained December 3, 1712. Under Lewis the parish flourished and in 1727 a larger, meeting house was built. The third meeting house was erected by the end of 1837. In 1841 the church became Unitarian and in 1964 the church rejoined the Congregational denomination. The First Church in Pembroke continues to serve the community today. This collection documents the history and life of the church and includes membership lists, administrative records, financial records, and church correspondence.
Phippsburg, Maine. Congregational Church records, 1765-1837.
In 1765 several members of the Presbyterian Church at Fort Noble, on Fiddler's Reach, withdrew from that church and gathered a Congregational Church at a meetinghouse beside what is now the Newtown Cemetery on Arrowsic Island. The new church was known as the First Church of Georgetown until 1814, and its first pastor was the Rev. Ezekiel Emerson of Uxbridge. As more church members began to live on the mainland, a new church building was completed there in 1802. In 1814, Phippsburg was set off from Georgetown and incorporated, and the name of the church changed to the Congregational Church of Phippsburg. From circa 1844-1850 the church was known as the Phippsburg Congregational Society, after which the current name (Phippsburg Congregational Church) was adopted.
Portland, Maine. Abyssinian Church records, 1835-1876.
The Abyssinian Congregational Church, formed in 1831, is most notable for its role as an early African-American cultural nexus, as well as one of the northernmost stops on the Underground Railroad. The original meeting house, which still stands today, is Maine's oldest African-American church building and third oldest in the USA. The records include a church book and Society record book, largely kept simultaneously to one another. Both volumes include extensive meeting minutes. Church records include member listings, vital records and baptisms, and a chronicle of liturgical occasions. The Society's book records financial transactions in addition to the organization's meeting minutes.
Reading, Massachusetts. Second Church of Christ records, 1720-1806.
The Second Church of Christ in Reading was gathered on June 29, 1720 with 39 founding members. The first pastor was Rev. Daniel Putnam who served until his death on June 20, 1759. He was followed by Rev. Eliab Stone who became the pastor in 1761 and also served until his death in 1822. Religious disagreements led to a split during the 1830s and in 1892 the Congregationalists and Methodists merged to form the Union Congregational Church of North Reading, which continues to serve the community today.
Rehoboth, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1785.
The First Church of Rehoboth was established in 1643 with Rev. Samuel Newman as the first minister. The first meeting house was constructed in 1646. The second meeting house was completed in 1678 after being delayed due to King Phillip's War. The third meeting house was constructed in 1718. The fourth, and final, meeting house was completed in 1810. In 1812 the western precinct of Rehoboth became the town of Seekonk. In 1862 the town of Seekonk was further divided and the church became a part of East Providence, Rhode Island. In 1886 the church was renamed to Newman Congregational Church. The church continues to serve the East Providence community today.
Rowley, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1664-1835.
The First Church of Rowley, Mass. was founded in 1639 by Rev. Ezekiel Rogers and his followers, who had departed their Anglican church in Rowley, Yorkshire, UK in protest over lax Sabbath laws. Rev. Rogers was a notable Puritan whose conservative zeal influenced the governance of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The church continues to serve the community today as a member of the United Church of Christ.
Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society records, 1834-1862.
The Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society (SFASS) was formed in 1834. The preamble to the SFASS's constitution stated its three principles: that slavery should be immediately abolished; that African Americans, enslaved or free, have a right to a home in the country without fear of intimidation, and that society should be ready to acknowledge people of color as friends and equals. Early activities of the society included distributing clothes to free African American residents in the area, supporting the National Anti-Slavery Bazaar at Faneuil Hall, organizing a sewing school for Black girls, and aiding fugitive slaves in Canada. With its primary goal, the abolition of slavery, accomplished during the Civil War, the Society voted to dissolve on January 3, 1866. This collection contains both administrative record books and correspondence from 1839.
Salem witchcraft trial records, 1692.
The Salem Witchcraft Trials were a series of hearings before county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex in colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693. Despite being generally known as the Salem Witchcraft Trials, the preliminary hearings in 1692 were conducted in various towns across the province: Salem Village (now Danvers), Ipswich, Andover, and Salem Town. The best-known trials were conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692 in Salem Town.
Salem, Massachusetts. East Church records, 1717-1806.
The East Church in Salem was officially formed in 1718, after parishioners living on the east side of the town broke away from the First Church of Salem and built a more conveniently-located meetinghouse in August of 1717. By November 1718, the parish had invited Robert Stanton to be minister. A new church building was erected on Brown Street/ Washington Square North in 1844-45. In 1897, the East Church united with the Barton Square Church and changed its name to The Second Unitarian Church. The East Church reunited with the First Church in 1956, and the former East Church building of 1844-1846 is now the Salem Witch Museum.
Salem, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1629-1843.
The First Church of Salem, founded in 1629, was one of the first churches organized in New England, along with the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City and the First Church in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Salem's church, however, was the first truly Congregational parish with governance by church members. The population of Salem grew rapidly during the 18th century, resulting in the peaceful division of the First Church's congregation to form the East Church in 1719. After Rev. Samuel Fisk was ousted from him ministerial roll, Fisk led his supporters to form another First Church in 1735, which was compelled to change its name to the Third Church in 1762. The original First Church split again over ministerial preference in 1772, leading to the creation of the North Church of Salem. The First Church and North Church reunited in 1923. The East Church reunited with the First Church in 1956. The reunited church continues to serve the community today as the First Church in Salem, Unitarian Universalist.
Salem, Massachusetts. North Church records, 1772-1831.
In 1770, the minister of the First Church in Salem, Rev. Thomas Barnard (1748-1814) became paralyzed and unable to work. The church became divided on the issue of who to call as their next minister. The First Church called Rev. Dunbar as its minister and the newly formed North Church in Salem selected the Rev. Thomas Barnard, Jr. as its first minister. The first meeting house opened in August of 1772 and remained in use until 1836, when a new meeting house was built. The First Church and North Church reunited in 1923, and moved to the second meetinghouse of the North Church on Essex Street, its current home. The unified church continues to serve the community today as the First Church in Salem, Unitarian Universalist. This collection consists of a copy of the 1629 covenant from Salem First (intended to serve as a model for the North Church), an 1802 Act of Incorporation, and a report on pew payments by treasurer Thomas West.
Salem, Massachusetts. South Church records, 1774-1805.
The South Church in Salem, Massachusetts, was formally founded in 1775 by parishioners separating from the Tabernacle Church of Salem after a disagreement with the pastor, Rev. Nathaniel Whitaker. This society was initially known as the Third Church, but changed its name to South Church in 1805. The church re-merged with the Tabernacle Church in 1924. Records consist of a bound volume of the earliest records of the Third Church of Salem, later known as the South Church, and includes meeting minutes, votes, pew assignments, and pew tax records.
Salem, Massachusetts. Tabernacle Church records, 1743-1850.
Tabernacle Church in Salem, Massachusetts, traces its historical roots back to 1629 with the founding of First Church of Salem. In 1735 First Church Pastor Samuel Fisk was dismissed from his position by ecclesiastical council. A group of parishioners followed Fisk from First Church, built a new meeting house, and met also under the name First Church until 1762 when they were compelled by the colonial legislature to change their name to "Third Church of Christ in Salem". In 1774 the great fire of Salem burned the Third Church meeting house to the ground. A replacement meeting house was built in 1777 and was copied from the Tabernacle in Moorfields (London) made famous by its association with George Whitefield, leading to the nickname "Tabernacle Church".
Salisbury, Massachusetts. First Church request for reconciliation, 1746.
The First Church in Salisbury was formally gathered in 1638 and the first meeting house was completed in 1640. In 1714 the town voted to maintain two churches and the First Church also became known as the East Church. In 1725 the second meetinghouse was constructed. Beginning in 1802 Methodists were allowed to use the meeting house for worship and in 1833 the Congregationalists voted to join the Methodists and form the East Parish United Methodist Church. In 1834 the third and final meetinghouse was constructed. This collection contains a legal testimonial regarding a conflict between Rev. Caleb Cushing and former parishioner Daniel Worster, who was seeking reconciliation.
Samuel Fisk papers, 1731-1755.
Samuel Fisk, the son of Rev. Moses Fisk of Braintree, graduated from Harvard in 1708. He was ordained at Salem in 1718. A dispute began shortly after Fisk's appointment, over his refusal to deliver a traditional annual lecture, as well as his tampering with the church meeting records. Fisk finally received ecclesiastical censure from the Council of Churches and was dismissed in 1735. After Fisk's dismissal, he led a group of parishioners in building a new meetinghouse (also named First Church) which was then compelled to change its name to the Third Church of Christ in Salem in 1762. Later it would become known as the Salem Tabernacle, after the architectural style of its second meetinghouse. Rev. Fisk resigned his pastorate July 30, 1745, but continued to reside in Salem until he died in 1770. This collection contains numerous items of correspondence to and from Rev. Fisk. These relate almost entirely to the dispute between the minister and his congregation, specifically the breakaway group referred to as the "aggrieved brethren".
Samuel Hopkins correspondence, 1766-1803.
Rev. Samuel Hopkins (1721-1803) was a Congregational minister in the New England area. . Hopkins preached in Sheffield (now Great Barrington), Massachusetts, from 1743-1769 and then preached at the First Congregational Church in Newport, Rhode Island, from 1770 until his death in 1803. He is best known for his theological work that formed part of the theological scheme known as New Divinity, or Hopkinsianism. This collection contains three letters written by Samuel Hopkins; two thank a family friend for their hospitality while Hopkins travelled and the third includes some of Hopkins theological arguments.
Samuel Perley papers, 1744-1800.
Samuel Perley (1742-1831) was a Presbyterian and Congregational minister, representative of the General Court, Justice of the Peace, doctor, and school teacher who resided respectively in modern-day Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Rev. Perley settled in Gray, Cumberland County, Maine, on September 8, 1784. During his tenure the church changed from Congregational to Presbyterian, and he was dismissed by the town in May of 1791. The digitized collections comprise 4 volumes of Rev. Perley's papers. These consist of personal, ministerial, and legal records, including writings about the Committees of Correspondence; marriage, birth, and death records; depositions charging Rev. Perley with adultery; documents relating to difficulties over salary and parsonage lands; wills of Rev. Perley and Priscella Merrill; legal papers of various citizens of Gray; and an account book reflecting fees charged for preaching, teaching and for legal and medical services.
Samuel Phillips papers, 1670-1746.
Samuel Phillips (1625-1696) was born in England and accompanied his father, Rev. George Phillips of Watertown, to America at five years of age. He graduated at Harvard in 1650 and was ordained the following year, ministering to the Congregational Church of Rowley until his death.
Sandwich, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1691-1853.
Sandwich's First Church was founded in 1638 as part of the original Plymouth Colony. A Second Church was briefly formed in 1734 when some parishioners left due to a dispute over church admissions, but the congregation was reabsorbed into the First Church in 1749. The church continues to serve the community today as the First Church Sandwich, UCC. The collection includes two bound volumes of church records, containing administrative records, admissions, dismissions, baptisms, deaths, and meeting minutes for the first precinct in the town of Sandwich, as well as for parish meetings.
Sanford, Maine. North Congregational Church records, 1786-1905.
The town of Sanford, originally in Massachusetts, was incorporated in 1768 and the Congregational Church in Sanford was gathered on March 28, 1786. Construction on the first meeting house was completed in 1792. The second meeting house was constructed in the northern half of Sanford in 1831. The Congregational Church became the North Congregational Church in 1847 after 14 members left to form the South Congregational Church. The second meeting house was destroyed in a fire in 1878 and replaced the following year. In 1911 the church and parish society were incorporated as one entity called the North Parish Congregational Church. In 1960 the church joined the United Church of Christ and it continues to serve the community today. The collection includes the administrative records of the early church and parish society as well as vital membership records.
Scarborough, Maine. First Church records, 1728-1859.
On June 26, 1728, sixteen men covenanted together to officially form the First Church in Scarborough. In 1731, the first of four meeting houses were constructed. In 1744, a Second Parish was formed at Dunstan. The church is still active today as the First Congregational Church of Scarborough. The collection consists of two bound record books, one comprising the church records (1728-1859) and the other comprising the parish records (1759-1853).
Scarborough, Maine. Second Church records, 1759-1865.
The First Church in Scarborough was officially formed in 1728 with a meeting house constructed in 1731. In 1744, a Second Parish located in Dunstan, later known as West Scarborough, was separated out from the First Parish, necessitating the formation of its own church. The Second Church's first minister, Rev. Richard Elvins, was formerly a baker in Salem, Massachusetts, but was converted by the preaching of evangelist George Whitefield. The church appears to have become extinct after about 1830. The digitized collections include a bound volume of parish records from the Second Parish of Scarborough, 1759-1865, which contains minutes of parish meetings and other records pertaining to the operation of the parish.
Sermon notes, 1660-1694.
This manuscript volume, penned by at least one anonymous author, contains notes on sermons preached mainly at the First Church in Cambridge between 1660 and 1694. Most of the initial sermons were delivered by the Church’s resident minister Rev. Nathaniel Gookin, whose untimely illness and death in the summer of 1692 necessitated supply preaching by numerous others. These included some of the most well-known ministers in New England at the time, such as Reverends Samuel Angier, Samuel Moody, Benjamin Wadsworth, Samuel Willard, William Brattle, and Increase Mather.
Sermon notes, 1679-1681.
This collection comprises notes on sermons preached at the First Church of Cambridge between 1679-1681, by an unidentified author. Detailed notes on the sermons are recorded in a combination of English text and shorthand. The sermons were delivered by notable ministers of the time, including resident Cambridge First ministers Rev. Urian Oakes and Rev. Nathaniel Gookin, as well as a variety of guest preachers.
Sheffield, Massachusetts. Second North Housatonic Parish of Sheffield records, 1743.
In 1743 the Second North Housatonic Parish of Sheffield was gathered with Rev. Samuel Hopkins as the first minister. The first meeting house was completed by 1743. In 1761 the North Parish of Sheffield was incorporated as the town of Great Barrington and the church was renamed to the First Congregational Church of Great Barrington. In 1769 Rev. Hopkins was dismissed after both financial and religious difficulties between him and the parish community. The second meeting house was constructed in 1813 and the third in 1860. In 1882 the church was destroyed by fire and the fourth, and final, meeting house was constructed on the third's foundation. In 1955 the church joined the United Church of Christ. The First Congregational Church continues to serve the Great Barrington community today.
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1723-1825.
The First Congregational Church in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, was organized on 4 December 1723 by sixteen male members. Rev. Job Cushing (1694-1760), a Harvard graduate, was ordained its minister on the same day and held the office of pastor until his death on 6 August 1760. During his ministry, a new church was organized from this church in the North Parish of Shrewsbury, now Boylston, Massachusetts. The First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury was incorporated on 11 January 1957.
Shutesbury, Massachusetts. Congregational church records, 1742-1781.
Shutesbury was colonized in 1735, when it was called Road Town. Road Town was officially incorporated as Shutesbury in 1761. A Congregational church was organized on October 17, 1742, and a meeting house appears to have been built by 1740. The first minister was Rev. Abraham Hill (1719-1788), settled in the same year as the church’s foundation. A Loyalist, he was eventually barred from the town pulpit, then dismissed in 1778. He moved to Oxford, Mass., refused to pay taxes as a layman, and won a lawsuit against Shutesbury for his back salary. This collection contains the church records relating to the case of Rev. Hill, 1742-1781.
Simsbury, Connecticut. First Church records, 1697-1713.
A religious society was formed in the new settlement of Simsbury in 1670, with Rev. Samuel Stone appointed minister on May 30, 1673. The first meeting house was built in 1683, after a lengthy location dispute. A new and larger second meeting house was eventually constructed on Drake’s Hill in 1777. This was replaced by the current church building, at the same location, in 1830. The First Church of Christ Simsbury continues to serve the community today. This collection includes loose manuscript pages containing administrative information for the early years of the church, from 1697 until 1713.
Somerset, Massachusetts. First Christian Union Church records, 1840-1912.
The First Christian Union Church and Society were formed in the Pottersville, Somerset area as early as 1838 by a "Christian Band" comprising thirty members, though the church was not officially incorporated until 1911. In 1939 the name was changed to the Congregational Christian Church of Somerset Centre.
Standish, Maine. Church of Christ records, 1768-1870.
The first religious organization in Standish was formed in May of 1769 with only seven members. A meeting house was built on the site of the old fort at Standish Corner and Rev. John Tompson, ordained in 1768, was settled as the first pastor. The church's meeting house was damaged beyond repair by an intoxicated group of soldiers prior to 1805. A new church building, known as the "Old Red Church" was built in 1805. In 1834 the church split into a Unitarian church and an "Evangelical Congregationalist" church. The church is still active today as the Standish Congregational Church. This collection consists of a single-volume church record book, containing administrative information and vital statistical information for the Church of Christ in Standish. The church book was retained by the Unitarians after the 1834 schism, and this change in denomination is reflected in the records.
Stephen Williams diary, 1754-1755.
Rev. Williams grew up in Deerfield, Massachusetts and was captured by French and Indigenous allies during their raid on the town in 1704 when he was eleven years old. He was liberated after almost two years in captivity, and both he and his father, Rev. John Williams, wrote accounts of their experiences. Rev. Williams went on to graduate from Yale College in 1713 and subsequently ministered to the Congregational Church of Longmeadow, Mass.
Stoneham, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1728-1889.
The town of Stoneham was incorporated in 1725. A vote in 1726 provided for the building of a meetinghouse and the First Congregational Church was organized in 1729. The first pastor was Rev. James Osgood who was ordained in September 1729. Rev. John Cleaveland was pastor from 1785 until an ecclesiastical council dissolved his relationship with the town in 1894. The second meeting house was constructed in 1803 and the third in 1840.
Strict Congregational Convention of Connecticut records, 1773-1811.
These records mainly comprise the proceedings of the convention, or general meeting, of the Strict Congregational Churches of Connecticut, 1782-1811, and correspondence between individual Separate churches and the conventions. Local churches writing to the convention include Preston, Plainfield, Killingly, Canterbury, Lyme, Canaan, South Groton, North Groton, Waterbury, Stonington, New Milford, Enfield, Montville, Voluntown, and the Second Church at Middletown in Connecticut, and the Presbytery of Morris County, N.J., as well as the Strict Congregational Church in the Oblong, and in Southhold, L.I. The collection also includes financial records of the Second Strict Congregational Church of Middletown, where Benjamin Graves served as pastor or elder, 1804-1812. Also included are personal financial records of Benjamin Graves. Some items appear to be in his hand.
Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Congregational Church records, 1736-1831.
The Congregational Church of Sturbridge (then New Medfield) was founded in 1736. Parishioners from Medfield petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts to grant permission to settle on the land, and the town was eventually incorporated in 1738, and its name was changed to Sturbridge. In 1749, a group of fifteen "Separates" left the church and established the Baptist Church of Sturbridge. Both churches continue to serve the community today as part of the Federated Church of Sturbridge and Fiskdale. These collections include four bound volumes of early church records spanning 1736-1831, a volume of marriage and death records (1819-1831), a number of letters written to the church's Female Society, and a number of personal relations of faith and disciplinary case documents.
Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Separatist Congregational Church personal records, 1749-1762.
The Separatist Church in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, was formed in 1747 after 15 members of the Congregational Church in Sturbridge left the church. The separatists refused to pay ministerial taxes and in response the town aggressively attempted to collect the taxes by forcibly taking possessions, livestock, and imprisoning at least 5 of the separatists. In 1749 the Separatist Church was reformed as the Baptist Church in Fiskdale. This collection include personal records relating to the separation and the personal reasons the separatists either left the Congregational Church, or wished to rejoin.
Thomas Josselyn diary, 1743-1775.
Thomas Josselyn (1702-1782) of Hanover and Hingham, Massachusetts was a deacon of the First Church of Hingham and proprietor of a forge.
Thomas Weld commonplace book, 1723.
Thomas Weld was born in November, 1702, in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University in 1723. Weld first became a teacher at the Roxbury Latin School before moving to Southborough to preach. In 1735 he was invited to preach at the newly gathered Congregational Church in Upton, Massachusetts and he was ordained as the first minister of the church on January 4, 1738. In 1744, Weld was called to preach in Middleboro, Massachusetts. During Rev. Weld’s ministry, the congregation shrank significantly and he was dismissed. In the following years Ward likely became an itinerant preacher before joining the British Army as a chaplain during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). He died during the war, probably in the range of 1756-1758.
Topsfield, Massachusetts. Congregational Church records, 1684-1869.
The Congregational church in Topsfield was founded in 1663 under the ministry of Rev. Thomas Gilbert. No records exist from this early period, until those kept by Rev. Joseph Capen from 1684-1742. Congregants constructed a meeting house on the Topsfield common in 1703. This building was replaced twice subsequently, in 1759 and 1842. The church continues to serve the community today as the Congregational Church of Topsfield, a member of the United Church of Christ. The collection comprises two bound volumes of church records (1684-1869). These include meeting minutes, admissions and member lists, and listings of baptisms, marriages, and deaths.
Uxbridge, Massachusetts. Church of Christ records, 1730-1829.
The town of Uxbridge, Massachusetts was incorporated in 1727. The first religious institution in the town, the Church of Christ, was gathered by Reverend Joseph Dorr in 1730. It was also in 1730 that the first church was erected in the town. This building was replaced by a second church in 1773, and the First Congregation Society was incorporated soon after, in 1797. The parish was divided into two separate societies in 1832: the more liberal division of the church became the First Congregational Society, Unitarian, and the more orthodox division formed the First Evangelical Society of Uxbridge. This collection contains a single volume of church administrative records dating from 1730-1829.
Ward Cotton papers, 1811-1814.
A flurry of correspondence, kept and recorded by Ward Cotton, was incited by the suspension of Boylston parishioner Betsy Flagg over her vocal criticism of the church's minister, Rev. Ward Cotton. Flagg sought support from Rev. Samuel Austin, minister of the nearby Church of Christ in Worcester. Rev. Austin began a correspondence with Rev. Cotton, which quickly escalated into mutual accusations. Ultimately an ecclesiastical council was formed which ruled in favor of Rev. Cotton.
Watertown, Massachusetts, West Precinct Church records, 1709.
In 1696 the residents of the town of Watertown, Massachusetts, voted to support two meeting houses; the West Precinct Church, was established in 1696 to serve the western section of the town. The first meeting house, a repurposed building from Newton, was assembled in 1722. In 1738 the town of Waltham was incorporated from the West Precinct of Watertown and the church was renamed to the First Parish in Waltham. In 1838 the First Parish merged with the Second Religious Society. In 1958 the First Parish merged with the First Unitarian Church to form the First Parish Church in Waltham, Universalist-Unitarian.
Wells, Maine. First Church records, 1701-1848.
The formal organization of the First Church in Wells occurred in 1701, with Rev. Samuel Emery ordained as minister. A Second Church in Wells was organized, owing to doctrinal differences, on August 23, 1831. The First and Second churches officially re-merged in 1963, and the church is still active today as the Congregational Church of Wells, a member of the United Church of Christ. The digitized collection consists of a single-volume church record book, containing administrative information and vital statistical information for the First Church.
Wendell, Massachusetts. Congregational Church records, 1783-1955.
The Congregational Church of Wendell was formed in Wendell, Mass. on November 29, 1774. The Wendell, Mass. Congregational Church records document the history, administration, and life of the church and its members from its inception through the 1950s. Types of records present include extensive financial records, church and society meeting minutes, correspondence, and important early vital statistics for the church and its members.
Wenham, Massachusetts. First Church in Wenham Congregational records, 1643-1847.
In 1642 the first meeting house was constructed in Wenham and the church was established in 1644 with the Rev. John Fiske as its first minister. The Congregational Parish and Society was established in 1833 and remained active until the church was incorporated in 1925. This collection includes meeting minutes, vital records, ecclesiastical council results, and early town records.
West Brookfield, Mass. First Congregational Church records, 1757-1917.
The town of Brookfield was first settled during the 1660s. The first meeting house in Brookfield was built atop Foster's Hill in Brookfield and shortly after construction began on the second meeting house, the First Church was officially organized in 1717. West Brookfield split from Brookfield in 1848 and the First Church became Congregational Church. The church joined the United Church of Christ in 1964. The records include membership lists, church correspondence, church and parish meeting minutes, and vital records.
West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1789-1889.
The First Congregational Church in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts was founded in 1789, along with the town itself. The meeting house was also used for civic purposes, and was shared with a local Baptist congregation until 1793. The church continues to serve the community today as the West Stockbridge Congregational Church, UCC.
Westborough, Mass. Church of Christ records, 1724-1787.
The Church of Christ was gathered on October 28, 1724 with Ebenezer Parkman, who served the church until his death, as its minister. In 1825 the church reformed as the First Congregational Society. This collection contains digital surrogates and a microfilm copy of the record book for the Church of Christ.
Weston, Mass. First Parish Church records, 1685-1864.
In 1698, the area of Watertown that would later be named Weston, was set off as the "Farmers' Precinct" based around the newly established Church of Christ. The first four ministers of the church were considered progressive and by the 1830s the theology of the church was beginning to shift towards Unitarianism. In 1867 a new church covenant was adopted that established the church as a Unitarian church. The collection includes vital records, meeting minutes, a daily ministerial journal, and early manuscript writings of Edmund Hamilton Sears.
Weymouth, Massachusetts. Second Church records, 1723-1886.
The Second Church in Weymouth, also known as the South Church, was gathered in 1723 with James Bayley ordained as the first minister. The first meeting house was constructed in 1722 and the second in 1785. The ordination of a Universalist minister in 1834 resulted in a rift in the church membership with the orthodox members eventually forming the Union Church in 1842. The third meeting house was constructed in 1854. In 1892 the Second Church was incorporated as the Old South Church in Weymouth. In 1918, the Old South Church and Union Church merged to form the Old South Union Church.
Wigglesworth family papers, 1649-1794.
Rev. Michael Wigglesworth (1631-1705) was born in Lincolnshire, England, and moved with his family to New Haven, Connecticut in 1638. He graduated from Harvard College in 1651 and subsequently worked there as a tutor for several years. He became a minister at Malden in 1654, was ordained in 1656, and remained in the parish until his death. Michael's son Edward Wigglesworth, Sr. (ca. 1693-1765) also became a Congregational minister. Edward Wigglesworth, Jr. (1732-1794) was a merchant in Boston. Both Edwards were professors of divinity at Harvard College.
William Homes diary, 1715-1747.
Rev. William Homes was a Scotch-Irishman who first emigrated to New England from Ulster in 1686. He taught school in Chilmark, Mass. for three years, returning temporarily to Ireland in 1689, where he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in Strabane. In 1714 he came again to America and was invited to be the first minister of the Congregational Church in Chilmark, where he served until his death in 1746. Rev. Homes had four of his sermons published, three during his lifetime and one posthumously. The digital materials below are provided in partnership with the Maine Historical Society, and consist of a bound volume that includes Rev. Homes's diary, begun after his return to America in 1715 and continuing until his death, covering the entirety of his tenure as minister of the Chilmark church.
William Rand sermons, 1746-1778.
Rev. William Rand was the minister at Sunderland, Mass. from 1722 until 1745, when he was dismissed due to his opposition to the Great Awakening. He subsequently replaced the Rev. Thaddeus McCarty as minister at Kingston, Mass. when the latter was dismissed for inviting the evangelist George Whitefield to preach there. Rev. Rand remained at Kingston from 1745 until his death in 1779. The volumes below contain a large number of Rev. Rand's sermons preached after his move to Kingston.
Windham, Maine. First Congregational Church records, 1743-1799.
The First Congregational Church of Windham was established at the founding of New Marblehead in 1737, by order of the General Court, but was unable to call a minister until 1743 when Rev. John Wight came to serve the seven church members. The second pastor was Rev. Peter Thacher Smith, ordained September 22, 1762. Rev. Smith served for 28 years and was dismissed in 1790. During his pastorate the township struggled to finalize the construction of a meeting house, with failed building projects attempted in 1768 and 1783. Though lacking a settled pastor after Rev. Smith's dismissal, the town was finally able to erect a substantial meeting house in 1795. The church is still active today as the Windham Hill United Church of Christ, Congregational and is a member of the UCC.
Worcester, Massachusetts. First Church, Old South records, 1724-1920.
The First Church of Worcester, Mass., was organized in 1716. The first meetinghouse was erected in 1719, and the Rev. Andrew Gardner (1691-1773) was installed as the first minister. After the death of Rev. Maccarty in 1784, the church split due to the opposition of some church members to the election of Rev. Aaron Bancroft (1755-1839). The members who did not oppose the election of Bancroft formed the First Church, Second Parish of Worcester, Mass. The digitized records are mainly administrative and concentrate on the ministries of Rev. Austin and Rev. Goodrich, 1790 to 1820.
Worcester, Massachusetts. Second Congregational Church records, 1785-1802.
The First Church of Worcester, Mass., was organized in 1716. The first meetinghouse was erected in 1719, and the Rev. Andrew Gardner (1691-1773) was installed as the first minister. In 1785, a segment of the membership broke away due to a dispute over the selection of Rev. Dr. Aaron Bancroft (1755-1839) as minister. The new church was incorporated in 1787 as the Second Congregational Church, or Second Parish, in Worcester under the ministry of Rev. Bancroft. Later, it became known as the First Unitarian Church. The original meetinghouse, built in 1791, was destroyed by fire in 1849 and rebuilt in 1851. This collection contains two volumes from the Second Church and its associated parish: church records dating 1785-1850, and parish records for the period 1789-1802.
York, Maine. First Parish Church records, 1731-1927.
The First Parish Church in York, Maine was established at some point between 1662 and 1673 with Shubael Drummer ordained as the first minister. Rev. Drummer was killed during a Native American raid in 1692 and was followed by Samuel Moody in 1698. Rev. Moody's pastorate ended in 1747 with his death. He was followed by Samuel Lyman in 1749 who served as minister until his death in 1810.
Zaccheus Collins Diary, 1726-1769.
The diary of Zaccheus Collins details a 43-year period of daily life, including agricultural concerns, notations on attendance at religious meetings, visits from his friends, and observations about the weather.