Oxford, Mass. First Congregational Church records, 1721-1850.

Collection Information

Oxford Mass. First Congregational Church records, 1721-1850.


First Congregational Church (Oxford, Mass.)




1 volume and 1 pamphlet binder (0.15 cubic feet)

3 reels 35mm mircofilm: archival master, print master & service copy (0.06 cubic feet)

311 unique page images: archival TIF, derivative JPEG & PDF

Collection ID #:


Conditions Governing Access:

Volume 1, envelopes, and print master and archival master reels are closed for researcher access. Service copy microfilm and digital copies are open and available for researcher use.

Technical Access:

A microfilm reader is required to access service copy microfilm reel. To access digital user’s copies via online-interface, a java-enabled web browser is required. Internet Explorer 8.x and later, Firefox 5.x and later, Opera 12 and later, Safari 5.x and later, or any version of Google Chrome are recommended. Digital copies may be accessed here: http://congregationallibrary.org/nehh/OxfordMa4841

Copyright: Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], in the Oxford, Mass. First Congregational Church records, 1721-1850. RG4841. The Congregational Library & Archives, Boston, MA.

Additional Resources:

Item-level metadata is available for digital copies. Please contact the library for more information.



Processing information:

Collection re-described by Sari Mauro in September 2013 in accordance with DACS 2013. Portions of description written by Robin Duckworth.


First Church in Oxford, Massachusetts, was founded in 1721, 8 years after the ecclesiastical parish of Oxford was established in 1713. Rev. John Campbell was ordained as the church’s first minister. The collection contains records of church meetings, vital statistics, assessments of the condition of the church library, and records of membership.

Acquisition Information:

Original volume placed on permanent loan by First Congregational Church of Oxford in July 2007.


Additional accruals are expected for this collection in the form of full-text transcription. There is no anticipated date for this accrual.


Historical Note

The ecclesiastical parish of Oxford was established in 1713. Attempts were made to secure a preacher, and thus establish the church properly, but though several candidates came, none lasted long enough to be successful in this endeavor. First Church in Oxford, Massachusetts, wasn't officially founded until 1721 when the first covenant was signed and members ordained Rev. John Campbell as their first minister.

In 1764 Rev. Joseph Bowman was called as pastor. He served the church until 1784. During the American Revolution his salary went unpaid for several years. He requested dismission from his position, and later brought the matter of back-pay before the court. A special tax was collected from the congregational to satisfy Bowman’s back wages.

In 1791 the congregation voted to "purchase a library for the use and benefit of the church." Periodic reports on the condition of the library are made and noted in the church register.

During their first 100 years of existence, the church had five ministers. The second hundred years saw twelve more. Two hundred years of existence also saw the use of three meetinghouses. In 1909 a fire broke out during Sunday morning service. The meetinghouse was left damaged, but repairable.


Scope of Collection

This collection contains records of the church. Included in the collection are records of baptisms, marriages, church meetings and votes, the church covenant, church library, and ministerial installations.  Also of note are records pertaining to the tax collected to pay Rev. Bowman’s back wages. Volume 1 includes an index in front of the volume. The index makes particular notes of when ministers were called and dismissed, or died.


Further Searches

Subject Headings

First Congregational Church (Oxford, Mass.)

Church records and registers - Massachusetts - Oxford.

Covenant (Church polity) - Congregational churches.

Church membership.

Bowman, Joseph, 1734-1806.

Church libraries.



Baptismal records.

Confession of Faith.

Marriage records - Massachusetts


Related Materials

Oxford, MA : First Congregational Church. 17.11.1 O94.8 FIRCC

History of the town of Oxford, Massachusetts, with genealogies and notes on persons and estates T OX2.56 D

The records of Oxford, Mass. including chapters of Nipmuck, Huguenot and English history from the earliest date, 1630. With manners and fashions of the time T OX2.56F

Religious patriotism: or attachment to Jerusalem. A sermon delivered at the dedication of the new meeting house, erected for the Congregational Church and First Society in Oxford, Mass. November 3, 1829. 15.0.3 5613 MAR-OS

A sermon, preached at the ordination of the Rev. Elias Dudley, : to the pastoral care of the church in Oxford, April 13, 1791. 179

Vital records of Oxford, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849. T OX2.56



  Date Location
Church records 1721-1850 Volume 1
    Reel 1 of 1
    Online Interface
This ledger book contains records pertaining to the formation of the church, proceedings of church meetings, membership rolls, and foundational documents such as covenants and articles of association. Also included are items of correspondence, lists of baptisms and marriages, records of the church's library and, to a lesser extent, financial records.
Tax documents 1784 Pamphlet binder
    Online Interface
Rev. Joseph Bowman was the pastor at Oxford 1764-1784. When his salary was unpaid for several years during the American Revolution, he asked for a dismission and eventually brought the matter before the court. A special tax was collected from the congregation to satisfy Bowman's back wages.


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