Salem, Mass. Tabernacle Church - Loose Records

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These records cover a wide range of topics. They are grouped together by subject and date as much as possible.

 

Administration

These documents are similar to the records in the bound volumes.

Date Creator name(s) Description
no date unknown scribe pew chart and list of rates
14 February 1775 "The Council of 1775" brief account of the ecclesiastical council leading to the formation of Third Church
29 January 1784 John Pickering (justice of the peace) notarization of Jonathan Meservy's swearing in as clerk of the proprietors
1 March 1785 Miles Ward, Samuel Thomas, Benjamin [Punchard], Samuel Jones, Joseph Ross, Jonathan Ireland, John Punchard, [Stephen] Caldwell, John Ashby, John Woodbury, Benjamin Smith, John Flint, William Gray IV, Nathaniel Knight record of the vote to choose Joshua Spalding as the new minister
no date John Punchard, Nehemiah Adams, William Treadwell recommendations from the committee for the relief of the poor of the church
no date unknown scribe vote to formally accept the Vestry as part of the Society's holdings
no date unknown scribe vote regarding the caretaking of the Vestry
1765 unknown scribe,
printed material
recto: "Circular about Indian school in Dearborn 1765. & a plan of pews. Whitaker times"
verso: portion of a pew diagram for the Tabernacle

 

Doctrine

These documents pertain to the character of the congregation and its members.

Date Creator name(s) Description
no date unknown scribe extract from the church covenant
no date unknown scribe "Laws restricting polygamy"
no date unknown scribe "Preliminary resolution on Temperance"
no date unknown scribe draft of a pledge of temperance

 

Membership and Discipline

These materials record the admission, dismission, and disciplinary actions of church members.

Date Creator name(s) Description
4 December 1789 Joshua Spalding record of vote to accept new members
no date unknown scribe set of questions and guidelines for use in disciplinary cases
no date Subscribers of the church advice toward resolving a dispute between William and Mary Shillaber & a Mrs. Perkins
[no year] 24 August - 15 December Nancy Farmer,
Nehemiah Adams (clerk pro tem)
recto: confession of Nancy Farmer,
verso: church meeting minutes including discussion of Mrs. Farmer's case and eventual excommunication
no date unknown scribe Simon Noyes's complaints against Deacon William Safford
no date unknown scribe copy of a letter speaking to the character of Dr. William Warren
no date unknown scribe denial of a female member's request for dismission

 

Outreach and Education

This document relates to the home missionary movement.

Date Creator name(s) Description
5 September 1763 Jeffrey Smith, Nathaniel Whitaker letter in support of the Indian school in Connecticut

 

Financial records

These documents detail income and expenses related to the building and maintaining the meetinghouse, the pastorate, and other parish matters.

Date Creator name(s) Description
31 December 1774 Nathaniel Whitaker receipt for salary and reimbursement for miscellaneous expenses
31 December 1774 Nathaniel Whitaker extremely formal receipt for salary and reimbursement for miscellaneous expenses
1774-1777 Nathaniel Whitaker itemized expense report
25 March 1775 Nathan Goodale deferral of an application to build a meetinghouse on land owned by Mr. Goodale's ward, Samuel Orne, until Orne comes of age
1776-1778 unknown scribe tally of select pew rents
1776-1777 unknown scribe tally of work days and compensation owed to Daniel Bancroft for work constructing a new meetinghouse
1777 unknown scribe tally of money paid to Mr. Gould for pew(s) in the meetinghouse
24 November 1778 P. Edward Lang (collector) receipt for payment of 300 pounds from Francis Dennis toward the cost of the meetinghouse
25 September 1779 Nathaniel Gould receipt for funds received from Jacob Clark and Mary Lister
1780-1782 Nathaniel Whitaker, Thomas Mason itemized expense report
1786, 1797 David Smith itemized expense report
20 May 1782 unknown debtor promissory note to Thomas Mason and Samuel Ward
1787 unknown scribe, Joseph Ross receipt for work done on the meetinghouse pulpit and wages paid to Mr. Ross
8 December 1788 George Southward Jr. promisory note to the church proprietors
18 May 1794 Nehemiah Adams receipt for payment to Mr. Ross for construction of pews
17 February 1788 Joshua Spalding request to the proprietors for the balance of his salary in advance of his upcoming marriage

 

Real estate dispute

In the early 1770s, there was a dispute over the ownership of the parsonage house occupied by Rev. Nathaniel Whitaker.

Date Creator name(s) Description
16 December 1772 George Bickford, William Nichols, William Lauder, Edward Smith, William [Dowst], Jonathon Neal, Isaac Needham, Thomas Stimpson, John Pittman, John Bray accusation against Capt. John Gardner that he destroyed the Proprietors' deed to the parsonage house and had a new one drawn up in his own name, evicted Dr. Whitaker, and collected rent from another tenant, Capt. Charles King ; petition for a meeting to redress all resulting damages ; outside inscribed "deceiving & fraudulent"
May 1773 James Symonds Jr., [Dixey] Morgan, Samuel Williams, Benjamin Ropes, Gabriel Holman, Jacob Ashton, Joseph Symonds, Jonathon Webb, John Saunders, Jonathan Verry, William Morgan, David Felt, Benjamin Daland, James Nicholls, John Gardner Jr., Peter Cheever, John Gardner, John Symonds, Samuel Symonds, Thorndike Proctor, Benjamin Goodhue, Daniel Cheever, I. Procter Jr., Billings Bradish, Robert Procter, Joseph Clough, Miles Ward Jr., Joseph Henfield, Jonathan Mansfield, David [Masvery] reply to petition from the Standing Committee

 

 

Nathaniel Whitaker case

There was a lengthy dispute between the church's first pastor and its proprietors regarding Rev. Whitaker's conduct and salary, as well as the decision of the congregation to end their affiliation with the local Presbytery and return to Congregationalism.

Date Creator name(s) Description
3 April 1781 Nathaniel Whitaker letter to the Proprietors imploring that they provide the money and supplies stipulated in his employment contract ; to be read at a meeting held on the 4th
24 November 1781 Nathaniel Whitaker letter to the Proprietors asking again that they pay his promised salary and detailing compensation he had received ; to be read at a meeting held on the 26th
30 November 1781 Nathaniel Whitaker letter to the Proprietors responding to a proposed salary and detailing further expenses to provide food and household supplies ; to be read at a meeting held on Dec. 3rd
10 December 1781 Nathaniel Whitaker letter to the Proprietors again requesting his salary and money for household necessities ; to be read at a meeting the same evening
20 May 1782 Nathaniel Whitaker letter to the Proprietors asking for his salary
8 July 1782 Nathaniel Whitaker letter to the Proprietors asking for his salary
2 October 1782 Nathaniel Whitaker letter to the Proprietors asking for his salary
14 December 1783 Proprietors of the church
("your grieved Brethren")
petition to Dr. Whitaker to call a meeting of the church's elders and proprietors
14 February 1784 William Presson, Samuel Jones, [Peter] Whittemore, Jonathan Neal, Joseph Ross letter from subscribers (congregants) to the Proprietors urging them to settle their debt to Dr. Whitaker
29 January 1784 Samuel Jones, William Safford letter from 20 parishioners to the Church of Christ in Ipswich under Rev. Joseph Dana seeking advice in the case of Dr. Whitaker and detailing other churches to which they are making the same appeal
1 January 1784 John Cleaveland
(pastor at Rowley)
reply to Samuel Jones and William Safford offering advice in the matter of Dr. Whitaker's salary dispute ; addendum distinguishing between ruling elders and teaching elders in New England Congregational church structure
7 January 1784 unnamed scribe of the congregation report of a congregational meeting renouncing Presbyterianism in favor of Congregationalism, and asking Dr. Whitaker to return to their service
7 February 1784 Samuel Jones, William Safford letter to Dr. Whitaker informing him of a council meeting on the 10th re: his character and past difficulties with the church
7 January 1784 Miles Ward, Benjamin Smith, Nehemiah Smith, [Ruben] [Tirmans], Nathaniel Eastes, John Cloutman, Samuel Thomas, Joseph Ross, Samuel Jones, Jonathan Ireland, William Gray IV, William Safford, Stephen Caldwell, Francis Cook, John Flint, John Woodbury, John Punchard, Joshua Cross, John [Ashy], Thomas Needham Jr. minutes of a meeting at which the brethren voted to withdraw from the Salem Presbytery
January 1784 "The Ruling Elders or sessions of the Presbyterian Chh. Salem" request for a church meeting, including provisions in the event that Dr. Whitaker refuses to call said meeting
[January 1874] John Strickland
(clerk of the Presbytery)
letter to Samuel Jones & William Safford informing the "twenty disaffected Brethren" of the requirements to formally bring their complaints against Dr. Whitaker before a meeting of the Presbytery at New Boston
7 January 1784 unnamed scribe of the congregation petition to Dr. Whitaker reporting the church's withdrawal from the Presbytery and asking him to return to their service
7 January 1784 William Gray IV
(clerk for the meeting)
record of votes at a congregational meeting
10 February 1784 Eli Forbes
(scribe of the ecclesiastical council)
minutes of an ecclesiastical council regarding the church's relationships with the Presbytery and Dr. Whitaker
10 February 1784 unnamed copyist, Eli Forbes (scribe of the ecclesiastical council), Joseph Roby (moderator of the ecclesiastical council) copy of the minutes of the ecclesiastical council regarding the church's relationships with the Presbytery and Dr. Whitaker
13 February 1784 "The Church" report of the church's decision to Dr. Whitaker
no date Mrs. Whitemore testimony against Dr. Whitaker's character
no date Hannah Thurstin testimony against Dr. Whitaker's character
no date Ebenezer Nutting testimony against Dr. Whitaker's character
1784 James Thomas testimony against Dr. Whitaker's character
26 January 1784 Nathaniel Whitaker letter to the Proprietors regarding financial matters
12 February 1784 William Safford, Samuel Jones
(on behalf of the church)
letter to Dr. Whitaker requesting his presence at the ecclesiastical council and enumerating the congregation's complaints against him
12 February 1784 "Committee of the Church"
([William Safford, Samuel Jones])
copy of letter to Dr. Whitaker requesting his presence at the ecclesiastical council and enumerating the congregation's complaints against him
12 February 1784 Nathaniel Whitaker response to Safford and Jones
8 March 1784 Nathaniel Whitaker letter to the Proprietors regarding his status as minister and continued financial disputes ; to be read at a meeting on the 13th
no date Nathaniel Whitaker letter to deputy sheriff John Waite
27 March 1784 Nathaniel Whitaker letter to the Proprietors insisting that he will still act as their minister despite their prohibition
17 April 1784 Nathaniel Whitaker response to the church (via Safford and Jones) denying the validity of the charges against him
30 April 1784 Nathaniel Whitaker summons to the Proprietors (via Jones and Safford) to appear before a meeting of the Presbytery in Groton and answer his charges against them
15 May 1784 Nathaniel Whitaker letter to the Proprietors demanding back pay with interest
15 May 1784 Nathaniel Whitaker letter to the Proprietors requesting a copy of their votes
12 May 1785 Subscribers of the church resolution to pay Dr. Whitaker the sum of 334 pounds and 6 pence of his back pay
11 July 1785 unnamed clerk / accountant list of money received from parishioners toward Dr. Whitaker's settlement
23 September 1785 William Ingalls (deputy sheriff) receipt for fees paid by the church Proprietors for his role as agent in Dr. Whitaker's settlement
8 December 1785 Nathaniel Whitaker resolution of settlement case

 

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