Granville, Mass. First Congregational Church
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.
The bulk of the records in this volume begin in the 1770s, with only a brief list of deacons dating back to the late 1750s. It contains records of matters of governance such as covenants and meeting minutes, as well as membership records including baptisms, relations, admissions, dismissions, confessions, marriages, deaths, and disciplinary cases. It also includes the release of a group of parishioners who left to settle the town of Granville, Ohio.
The volume contains meeting minutes, admissions, baptisms, lists of families in various Granville districts, congregation metrics, records of ordinations, a meeting house dedication, and a chart listing "Bills of mortality for the half century".
Church Records, loose
These unbound records cover a number of topics including membership, governance, and the church's search for a new minister.
|1756-1758||series of votes relating to the regular business of the church – Jedidiah Smith's ordination and call, the appointment of deacons, the scheduling for the Lord's Supper, etc. ; a complaint from several members that the church's doctrine had strayed too far from that of the Cambridge Platform|
|1757-1760||allegations that the church had strayed too far from the Cambridge Platform in its daily governance|
|-1762||list of baptisms and marriages|
|1766-1769||list of baptisms and marriages|
|1760-1761||votes of the standing committee on various matters of membership status|
|1760-1761||discussion and conclusion to admonish several members who had not been attending worship|
|1762 May 21 - 1768||suggestion from several members that a standing committee be formed to handle minor disciplinary matters rather than putting them before the entire church for the sake of efficiency ; list of several iterations of that committee|
|1763 May-July||request from Deacon Justus Rose to the church committee to reconsider a previously decided matter ; denied due to lack of quorum at the meeting|
|1763 December||Deacon Rose's denied request to be dismissed from his duties|
|1764 February||records of the standing committee and a form-letter dismission of Mrs. Margaret Burt|
|1764-1766||records of the standing committee, largely consisting of updates about an ongoing dispute between Captain Pratt and the church|
|1769-1771||records of the ongoing contention among the members regarding the Half-Way Covenant and Rev. Smith's sermons, including the advice of the local association|
|1770||request from several members to reconsider the church's votes regarding the Half-Way Covenant from 1769-70|
|72, 74||record of a debate and series of votes over whether to call a third ecclesiastical council to advise the brethren whether members should be held to their memberships if they disagree with the church's constitution (The Cambridge Platform)|
|1774 November||questions and answers regarding Rev. Smith's decision to leave the church due to lack of adequate compensation and contentiousness among the congregants|
|1775 December 18||vote to call an ecclesiastical council for further advice|
|1776 January 8||request for a church meeting|
|1789 March 19||meeting of the committee chosen to approach Sylvester Sage and the details of their offer|
|1789 April 13||record of the vote to invite Sylvester Sage to be their new pastor|
|1789 April 13||Sylvester Sage's reply to the church's offer to pay the bulk of his salary in the form of food and other household supplies|
|1789 April 25||Sylvester Sage's follow-up to his unanswered letter declining the church's call to ministry|
|1789 July 8||recommendation from the local association to seek a number of guest preachers|
|1791-1793||assorted church meeting minutes, primarily relating to choosing deacons, inviting guest preachers, and continuing minor disciplinary cases|
|1791-1794||records of the standing committee regarding various matters|
|1791 September 26||complaint by several members of the church against the brethren for changing the church constitution and holding the Lord's Supper without the consent of the full membership|
|1795 February 2||vote to install Rev. Timothy Cooley as the new pastor|
|1797||concerns over the character of a prospective new member, Capt. William Ellis|
|[date lost]||Deacon Luke Hitchcock's letter to the Hampshire South Association of ministers asking their advice regarding the church's contingent of Separatists absenting themselves|
Confession of Faith Covenants
Many churches set down formal lists of doctrines agreed upon by their members. In order to join the congregation, prospective members would also have to agree to them and to abide by the rules of their community.
|undated||The members of this Church shall be allowed the exercise of confession respecting giving of their children in baptism.||1) You believe that there is but one only living and true God, subsisting in three Glorious persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, in whom are all possible perfections.|
|undated||unnamed||I believe there is one ondly [sic] living & true God in three Persons father Son & holy Ghost the almighty Creator, upholder and governor of the world.|
|1789 August 14||rec'd of Levi Rose||1. You believe that there is one only living and true God one in Essence in 3 different persons Father Son and Holy Ghost.|
|undated||The Form of a Church Covenant||1. We believe that we are the subjects of the regenerating and sanctifying operations of the holy spirit;|
|undated||Rev. Mr. Atwater's covenant||You believe that there is one only the living and true God, the Father Son and Holy Ghost the Maker and preserver of all things…|
|1754 June 14||Some general rules agreed upon by a number of Chh members in Bedford in order for the gathering and setting up a Chh in Bedford.||As Firstly – We agree and in [sic] is our opinion that grace is of absolute necessity in order to a right Receiving the Lord's Supper.|
|1756/57||unnamed, incomplete||… wise unto Salvation & I also declare god hath convinced & brought me to a since [sic] of my own sinfulness misery & danger…|
|1791||Covenant with names subscribed||We whose names are hereunto subscribed apprehending our selves called of God into the Church state of the Gospel do first of all confess our selves unworthy…|
Ecclesiastical councils, 1776-1791
When an issue could not be settled within the community of a church, they would call upon neighboring churches for advice in the form of an ecclesiastical council.
|1776 October 15||at Granville||"…advice and assistance for the purpose of their being built up and walking together in a Chh. State agreeable to Gospel Rule and order."|
|1787 November 21||at the house the Hon. Oliver Phelps Esq.||regarding the question of ordination of Barnard Lothrop and his ministry in Granville|
|1791 August 16||at the publick meeting house||concerning several matters, mostly financial in nature|
|1777||from the members of Granville||request for an ecclesiastical council to address strife between members and Rev. Jedidiah Smith|
Lemuel Haynes correspondence, 1796-1834
Rev. Lemuel Haynes was the earliest recorded black Congregational preacher and the first black pastor to a white congregation in America (Granville Second Church). Most of these letters are Haynes's side of a sporadic correspondence with Rev. Timothy Cooley, primarily discussing ministry and local current events. The last item is a reply to his daughter Electa updating her on family and friends at the end of her school year.
|1796 October 11||Rev. Timothy Cooley|
|1797 September 14||Rev. Timothy Cooley|
|1797 December 29||Rev. Timothy Cooley|
|1801 September 22||Rev. Timothy Cooley|
|1802 October 30||Rev. Timothy Cooley|
|1805 January 14||Rev. Timothy Cooley|
|1806 January 13||Rev. Timothy Cooley|
|1806 July 8||Rev. Timothy Cooley|
|1808 July 8||Rev. Timothy Cooley|
|1810 April 2||Rev. Timothy Cooley|
|undated||Miss Electa Haynes|
Sermons and essays
- advice regarding perseverance under the Embargo Act of 1807 largely reiterated from Virginia Congressman William Branch Giles
- "A Forensic Dispute" between the benefits of printing and navigation by the sophomore class (presumably at Yale) of 1790
- draft of a confession of faith
- advice for success in the ministry
Most of these documents are individual records relating to membership, primarily relations of a person's religious experience required to join the church, or confessions of sins required to return to the good graces of the church community.
During the colonial period, the local church often functioned as the legal authority in matters of morality. These documents pertain to matters as minor as bickering between neighbors, and as severe as breaking Commandments.
Special ThanksNational Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.