The First Congregational Church of Natick was established by a group of English settlers and missionaries led by Rev. John Eliot in 1651. These Englishmen cultivated strong relationships with the local Native Americans. Eliot even went so far as to learn their language and publish a translation of the Bible in their native tongue as a means of converting them to Christianity.
Many of the "Praying Indians" became members of the church, and the congregation maintained a mix of English and native members until 1799.
For a more detailed history of the First Congregational Church of Natick, see the church's website.
To learn more about this collection, see the archival finding aid.
The records contained in this volume begin in 1721, the year in which both the second meetinghouse was built and Rev. Oliver Peabody began his 30-year tenure. These appear to be the earliest extant records of the town of Natick and of First Church. They contain lists of members, baptisms, and deaths, as well as minutes of church meetings, and a copy of the church's covenant.
After Peabody's death in 1752, stewardship of the records passed to the new pastor, Rev. Stephen Badger. Despite internal strife, Badger remained at Natick until 1799 and maintained these records throughout.