Beacon Street Diary blog
New archival collection - Centre Church in Northbridge, Mass.
We are pleased to announce a new addition to our collection. The records of Centre Congregational Church in Northbridge, MA are processed and now available to researchers. These records document the history of the church from 1782 to its closure in 2011.
Centre Congregational Church traces its roots back to Northbridge's founding and early history. Its history mirrors Northbridge's agrarian past turn manufacturing power house. The church had three different edifices over the course of its life as well as a strong connection to Rockdale Congregational Church, also in Northbridge.
Here's a highlight of the kinds of concerns Reverend Crane, Centre Congregational Church's longest standing minister, recorded of his congregants two hundred years ago:
I profess to be aggrieved with Brother Joel White and his son Joseph, for their attempts to adulterate cider last Fall, by mixing water with it and selling it for whole cider. This attempt I consider of the nature of fraud.
–Levi Rist, May 13, 1813
Another item of particular interest is Joel Batchelor's Choir Book dated from 1869. It is a beautiful bound book including photographs of choir members and hand written notations of the instruments they played / parts they sang. The ornamentation on the cover is lovely and each page is individually hinged; it is in excellent condition overall.
It's wonderful to see such clear images of the church's choir members. It's an impressive item for a church in a smaller town, considering photography was invented only about thirty years before the book was created. Most of the photos are cartes de visite; many were taken in various places in Worcester, while some are tinted from Newburyport, MA.