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. After initially being denied, the Massachusetts Court granted permission for a meetinghouse to be established in what was then known as Salem Village, and for the gathered body to call a minister.
This collection contains records from the years 1689-1845. During that time, First Church became the epicenter of the Salem witchcraft hysteria, built four meetinghouses, was instrumental in the establishment and building of the village's first school, saw Danvers incorporated as its own town, and survived the Revolutionary War while at the same time contributing numerous officers and soldiers to the cause. Today the church is a thriving member of the United Church of Christ.
For a more detailed history of the First Church of Danvers, see the church's website.
Types of records in this collection include meeting minutes, confessions, covenants, notes on salaries, correspondence, and membership records. Also found in this collection are records of births, deaths, marriages, and baptisms. Of particular note are records pertaining to the witchcraft hysteria, including records of Martha Kory's [sic] excommunication from the church for witchcraft, and the confession and apology of witchcraft accuser Anne Putnam, made 10 years after the controversy.