Series 1: Church Records

This series contains collections of church records documenting early Puritan, Congregational, and Christian (denomination) history in New England. These collections describe the founding and operating of these churches, their concerns, difficulties, and triumphs. They speak to the lives of their ministers, the events and concerns of their communities, the civil affairs of the town, and the lives of the people who sat in the pews.

In this series you will find records of: church meetings and votes; births, deaths, baptisms, and marriages; church discipline, including admonitions, confessions, censures, and excommunications; ecclesiastical council minutes. Of particular note are the personal conversion narratives, called "relations", found in several of the collections. These documents, prepared by any individual seeking church membership, offer insight into many under-documented populations including women, children, Native Americans, slaves, and indentured servants.

Click on the name of the collection to go to its collection page on our digital archive and explore the digitized materials.

 

The Collections

Abington, Mass. First Congregational Church (1714-1877)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The First Congregational Church of Abington, Massachusetts, was established in 1711. The First Church in Abington also housed a Sunday school that was established in 1818 and is thought to be one of the oldest Sunday schools in the country. The motto of the church is "None too old to study the word of God!" In 1968, the First Congregational and the North Congregational Churches in Abington merged and reformed as the Church of Christ in Abington. This collection contains church administrative records, parish records, and financial records.

Barnstable, Mass. East Parish Church (1717-1816)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The East Parish Church in Barnstable, Massachusetts, was gathered in 1723 after the town of Barnstable was split into East and West Parishes in 1717. In 1836, the original meeting house was replaced by a new structure. This meeting house was destroyed by fire in 1905; construction on the third and final meeting house was completed in 1907. During the nineteenth-century the church joined the Unitarian movement and became the Barnstable Unitarian Church. The church continues to serve the local community today. This collection contains the earliest records of East Parish Church in Barnstable and includes meeting minutes, vital records, and records of church discipline.

Barnstable, Mass. West Parish Church (1639-1853)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The history of the West Parish Church in Barnstable, Massachusetts, dates to 1616 with the formation of the non-conformist Southwick Church. In 1634 the leader of the church and many of its members moved to Boston and in 1639 they settled in the newly incorporated Barnstable where they formed the first church in Barnstable. In 1717, the town of Barnstable was split into a West and East Parish; the West Parish Church was the successor church to the earlier Barnstable church. Construction of the West Parish meeting house was started in 1717 and completed in 1719. It was renovated in 1852. It was completely restored to its original form between 1953 and 1958. The West Parish Church continues to serve the local community today. This collection contains the earliest record book of the West Parish Church and some supplementary materials. These records include meeting minutes, ecclesiastical council results, vital records, and records of church discipline and controversies.

Bennington, Vt. First Church (1752-1937)

The First Church in Bennington, Vermont, also known as the Old First Church, originated in Massachussetts as a result of the congregational schisms induced by the Great Awakening. During the 1750s, a group of Separatists drawn from churches in Connecticut and western Massachusetts began meeting in Westfield Massachusetts, selecting Rev. Jedediah Dewey as their pastor in 1754. The group then moved to Bennington as it was being newly settled in 1761 and reorganized in 1762 as the First Church of Bennington. In 1937, the meeting house was extensively renovated; pew and wall plaques were installed to honor prominent Vermonters, including the poet Robert Frost, who was not a member of the church but who spoke at the rededication, and whose grave is in the churchyard. The records in this collection include a wide array of material relating to church administration and correspondence. Also included are extensive disciplinary records, many of which touch on the subject of temperance.

Berkley, Mass. Congregational Church (1737-1814)

The First Church of Christ was first gathered in 1737 in the newly incorporated town of Berkley, Massachusetts. In 1737, the town agreed to settle Samuel Tobey, a young graduate of Cambridge. In 1788, Thomas Andros, a self-taught veteran of the American Revolutionary War, was settled in Berkley. The Berkley, Mass. Congregational Church records document the early history, administration, and life of the church and its members.

Biddeford, Maine. First Church of Christ (1742-1781)

The First Church of Christ in Biddeford, Maine, was officially organized in April of 1730, with Rev. Samuel Willard as its first minister. After 1752, a meeting house was built in Saco “East” for which inhabitants there had petitioned. A new meeting house for the "West" side (now Biddeford) was constructed in 1758 by Nathaniel Perkins, a local master builder. This ecclesiastical division of East and West was the first step toward separation of municipal government. In 1762, the land northeast of the river was set off as Pepperellborough, which in 1805 was renamed Saco. In 1797, a second religious society was formed in Biddeford, which consisted of 50 defectors from the First Church. This collection comprises a single bound volume of the Church's earliest administrative records.

Boston, Mass. Church records (1684-1781)

This collection consists of five volumes of Boston church records. Two of these volumes contain sermons and sermon notes for the Old South Church, Boston, preached in 1684 and 1772-1775 respectively. A third volume contains notes on sermons delivered in Boston and vicinity during 1690-1694. The fourth volume contains notes on sermons delivered in Boston in 1723. The fifth volume consists of records of pew rentals for the West Church on Lynde Street in Boston from 1777 to 1781.

Boston, Mass. Old South Church (1669-1882)

The Old South Church originated when twenty-eight members of the First Church in Boston separated in 1669 to found the Third Church of Boston. In 1670, the congregation met for the first time in a building known as the Cedar Meetinghouse, which soon became known as South Church due to its location in the south end of town. The "Old" moniker was added in 1717 to distinguish the church from a newly-formed New South congregation. During the Unitarian Movement of the early 19th century, Old South was the sole Congregational church in Boston to adhere to the doctrine of Trinitarianism. The current Old South Church is a member of the United Church of Christ. Records within this collection include extensive meeting minutes, copies of official correspondence, member lists, and financial records, admissions, baptismal records, marriage records, and member rolls.

Boxford, Mass. First Church (1703-1823)

The First Church of Boxford, Massachusetts, was formed in 1701 when the parishioners of Boxford were granted independent status from the church in Topsfield. A meeting house was built, in which all town meetings and civic gatherings were held until 1800. The meeting house building was replaced in 1742 and again in 1836. The current church, known as First Church Congregational Boxford, is a member of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference. This collection contains church meeting minutes, membership lists, financial records, and records relating to a dispute between parishioners Aaron Perley and Benjamin Spofford.

Boylston, Mass. First Church (1718-1859)

The North Precinct or Second Parish Church of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts was established in 1742, with Rev. Ebenezer Morse ordained as its first pastor in 1743. This parish remained a part of Shrewsbury until 1786, when it was established as the town of Boylston and its church became the First Congregational Church of Boylston, which is still active today. Rev. Morse was dismissed from the Second Parish in 1775 because he refused to halt public prayers for the British government. This collection contains records of church admissions, baptisms, and marriages.

Bradford, Mass. First Church of Christ (1682-1915)

The First Church of Christ in Bradford, Massachusetts, (now a village within Haverhill) was established in 1682 with Rev. Zechariah Symmes Jr. as its minister. Meeting houses were constructed in 1670, 1706, 1751, 1834, and 1849. In 1810, the church hosted the meeting of the General Association and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions came from that meeting. This collection includes records of vital statistics, financial reports, church meeting minutes, and ecclesiastical council reports.

Braintree, Mass. First Church (1697-1825)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The Mount Wollaston Parish Meeting House was established in 1639 in the present-day Quincy Area, and by 1640 the town was renamed Braintree. This Meeting House was the site of the original church, which first gathered on September 10, 1707. In 1708, old Braintree was divided into the North Precinct (Quincy) and the South Precinct (Braintree). When Quincy became an official town in 1792, the 1707 church was designated as the First Church in Braintree. The records in this collection include the journal of Samuel Niles dating 1697 to 1777, a volume of church records dating from 1707-1871, a volume of the Braintree Precinct's Financial Records dating 1708 to 1796, and a volume of church records dating 1790 to 1825.

Brockton, Mass. First Parish Congregational Church (1738-1852)

The First Parish Congregational Church in Brockton was originally founded as the Fourth Parish Church in Bridgewater in 1737 and formally gathered as such in 1740. The name of the church changed, in 1823, to First Parish Congregational Church to reflect the incorporation of the town of North Bridgewater. In 1827, a portion of the church's membership left to form the South Congregational Church and in 1850 another portion left to form the Porter Evangelical Congregational Church. In 1874, the town of North Bridgewater changed to Brockton. In 1980, the First Parish Congregational Church merged with the South Congregational Church, the Porter Congregational Church, and the Waldo Congregational Church to form the Christ Congregational Church which continues to operate today. This collection contains the administrative, legal, fiscal, and vital records of the church and includes meeting minutes, membership records, building records, and ministerial records.

Brunswick, Maine. First Parish Church (1735-1829)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The township of Brunswick was incorporated on May 3, 1717. Until 1747, the town was served by temporary missionary ministers. In 1747 the First Parish Church was split into two buildings, one following Congregational polity and the other following Presbyterian polity. In 1772, both groups agreed to follow Congregational polity, and in 1808 both groups physically merged into a single meeting house. The church had close relations to Bowdoin College, and Harriet Beecher Stowe found inspiration for Uncle Tom's Cabin while attending the church. The church, now a member of the UCC, continues to serve the community. The collection includes the early administrative and vital membership records of the church including church and parish meeting minutes, vital statistics of members, and ministerial records for Asa Mead.

Byfield, Mass. Byfield Parish Church (1709-1845)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

Byfield Parish Church (now located in Georgetown, Massachusetts) was founded circa 1702 by citizens from the western portions of both Rowley and Newbury who wished to establish their own church. By 1702 land had been purchased, a cemetery laid out, a meeting house built, and a pastor, Rev. Moses Hale, had been called. After Rev. Hale's death in 1744, the church called Rev. Moses Parsons to the ministry. Rev. Parsons pastored the church until 1787 when Rev. Elijah Parish was called. Rev. Parish served until 1825. New meeting houses were built after disasters in 1833 and 1930. This collection includes administrative records, meeting minutes, and membership records.

Cambridge, Mass. First Church (1638-1783)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

Cambridge, Massachusetts, originally called Newe Towne and then Newtowne until 1638, was fist settled in 1630. The first meeting house was erected in 1632. First Church was officially organized on February 1, 1636. By 1650, the first meeting house had fallen into disrepair and the second meeting house was erected in the College Yard. By 1703, the second meeting house had also fallen into disrepair and the town voted to begin construction on a third. Construction on the third meeting house was completed in 1706. In 1829, the congregation split over the widespread contemporary issue of Unitarianism. This resulted in the creation of the Unitarian "First Parish of Cambridge", while the Congregationalists retained the designation of "First Church of Cambridge". This collection contains a book of accounts and a number of manuscripts related to sermons preached there.

Cambridge, Mass. Second Church (1739)

In 1725, citing the long distance required to attend worship services, a group of parishioners from the First Church of Christ in Cambridge requested that a precinct be formed in Menotomy village, now Arlington, Massachusetts. This request was granted in 1732 and the Second Church of Cambridge was formally gathered in 1739. This collection contains the original covenant of the Second Church in Cambridge which was created during the formation of the church.

Canterbury, Conn. Strict Congregational Church (1733-1815)

Gathered in 1744, the Strict Congregational Church in Canterbury, Connecticut, was the first of its kind formed in the state. The Strict Church developed from schisms within the First Congregational Church as a result of the First Great Awakening. Issues over polity, such as infant baptism, and monetary issues, such as paying taxes to support the established church and ministers, became central to the arguments over the schism. At the time of the schism the Strict Church took a majority of the First Congregational Church's members. The Strict Congregational Church remained active throughout the 18th-century but was no longer active by around 1850. This collection contains meeting minutes, correspondence, disciplinary records, and records relating to the schism within the First Church which resulted in the formation of the Strict Congregational Church.

Charlton, Mass. First Congregational Church (1762-1836)

A church was established in Charlton, Massachusetts, in 1761, with Rev. Caleb Curtis as its first pastor. He was dismissed in 1776. The “Congregational Center Meeting House in Charlton” was opened in 1798. In 1826, in response to a Unitarian controversy, an Orthodox congregation split away to form the Congregational Calvinistic Church of Christ in Charlton. This collection contains the church record book for 1762-1836. The volume includes the church covenant, admissions of new members, records of baptisms, and marriage records.

Danvers, Mass. First Church (1689-1845)

The 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 a meetinghouse of their own. This collection contains the early records of the Danvers church, including records pertaining to membership, vital statistics, and church meetings. Of particular note are records pertaining to the confession and trial of Martha Corey (alternatively spelled Kory and Cory) in regards to the witchcraft controversy in Salem.

Dorchester, Mass. First Church (1727-1784)

In 1631, a log cabin was built to serve as the first meeting house of the recently settled Dorchester Plantation. For its first five years of existence, the parish had two ministers, John Warham and John Maverick. They were followed by Rev. Richard Mather, who served from 1636 until 1669. The church evolved from a Trinitarian Congregational church, during the pastorate of Thaddeus Mason Harris (1793-1836), to the Unitarian denomination. The First Parish Dorchester Church, now a member of the Unitarian-Universalist denomination, continues to serve the local community. The collection contains notes on sermons, membership lists, and weekly records of church services.

Dover, N.H. First Parish Church (1639-1857)

Gathered in 1633, the First Parish Church in Dover is the oldest church in New Hampshire. Rev. Hanserd Knollys organized the First Parish Church as a religious organization in 1638. The church joined the United Church of Christ in 1961. Records include births, marriages, deaths, dismissals, disciplinary cases, meeting minutes, financial records, pew plans, and letters from Rev. Jeremy Belknap, Rev. Hubbard Winslow, and the church's clerk Asa A. Tufts.

Durham, Conn. First Church (1804-1904)

Durham, Connecticut, built its first meeting house in 1709. In December of 1710, Rev. Nathaniel Chauncey was called to preach. In 1734, the town voted to build a second meeting house. Rev. Elizur Goodrich was approved as minister in 1755, followed by Rev. David Smith in 1799. A third meeting house was erected in 1735 but destroyed by fire in 1844, and a dispute arose over where the new meeting house would be located, which resulted in the formation of separate North Congregational and South Congregational churches. This collection contains administrative and legal documents largely relating to the dispute over the situation of the fourth meeting house, both before and after the decision was taken to split the congregation into two separate churches. There are also contemporaneous documents relating to church administration and financial matters.

Essex, Mass. First Congregational Church (1681-1879)

The church now known as the First Church in Essex, Massachusetts, was originally a church within the parish of Ipswich called Chebacco, and was known as the Second Church in Ipswich or simply the "Chebacco Church". John Wise was officially ordained as the first pastor of the church in 1683. Beginning in approximately 1745, there was dissention between orthodox and revivalist members in the Second Church. This caused a rift leading to the gathering of a separatist Fourth Church in Ipswich which was pastored by separatist leader Rev. John Cleaveland. In 1774, both churches voted to unite as the Second Church in Ipswich, under the leadership of Rev. Cleaveland. In 1819, the Chebacco Parish was incorporated as the town of Essex and the Second Church in Ipswich was renamed the First Congregational Church in Essex. This collection contains church administrative records, a copy of the 1749 covenant, church correspondence, relations of faith, and records relating to the union of Second and Fourth Churches.

Falmouth, Mass. First Congregational Church (1731-1790)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

On October, 10, 1708, the First Congregational Church in Falmouth, Massachusetts, was gathered and Josiah Metcalf was ordained as the church's first minister. The first meeting house was probably built between 1690 and 1700 and was replaced by the second meeting house in 1717. The third meeting house was constructed in 1750 and the fourth, and final, meeting house was constructed in 1796. In 1821, 77 members withdrew to form the East End Church in Hatchville and in 1833, 9 members withdrew to form the North Falmouth Congregational Church. Now a member of the United Church of Christ, the First Congregational Church in Falmouth continues to serve the local community. The collection contains a single volume of church administrative records dating back to the founding of the church.

Franklin, Mass. First Congregational Church (1737-1887)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The Second Church of Wrentham, also known as the West Parish Church, was established in 1738. The West Precinct of Wrentham separated from Wrentham and was incorporated as Franklin, Massachusetts, in 1778. The West Parish Church was renamed the First Congregational Church of Franklin. In 1941, the First Baptist Church in Franklin merged with the First Congregational Church to form the Franklin Federated Church. The church continues to serve the local community today. Included within the collection are meeting minutes, committee reports, society records, and vital records.

Georgetown, Mass. First Congregational Church (1736-1886)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The First Congregational Church in Georgetown, Massachusetts, was established in 1731 as the Rowley West Parish. When the town of Georgetown was incorporated in 1838, the Rowley West Parish was renamed to the First Congregational Church of Georgetown. The collection includes meeting minutes, financial records and valuable vital records.

Grafton, Mass. Congregational Church (1731-1828)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The Congregational Church of Grafton traces its roots back to a church established in 1671 in what was then known as Hassanamisco Plantation (now Hassanamesit Reservation). In 1731, the body that would become known as the Congregational Church of Grafton was gathered, and four years later the town of Grafton, Massachusetts, was incorporated. The collection contains records of vital statistics, church membership, ordination, ecclesiastical councils, church meetings, and correspondence.

Granville, Mass. First Congregational Church (1757-1848)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

Granville (originally called Bedford), Massachusetts, 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, Connecticut, and Westfield, Massachusetts, 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. This collection contains church administrative records, relations of faith, church covenants and confessions of faith, correspondence, and church disciplinary records.

Hanover, Mass. First Congregational Church (1728-1818)

The First Congregation Church of Hanover, Massachusetts, was gathered on December 5, 1728, and the Rev. Benjamin Bass was ordained as the first minister on December 11. The first meeting house was completed in 1728. Construction on the second meeting house was completed in 1765. The third meeting house was constructed in 1826 and was destroyed by fire in 1863. The fourth and final meeting house was constructed in 1864. In 1961, the church joined with the United Church of Christ. The church continues to serve the local community today. This collection contains the earliest church records and includes church meeting minutes, membership records, and vital records.

Harwich, Mass. First Congregational Church (1745-1899)

The First Congregational Church of Harwich, Massachusetts, was founded in 1747 when the town of Harwich was split into the North and South Parishes. On April 8, 1747, the precinct voted to begin construction on a meeting house which was finally completed in 1748. In 1792, the second meetinghouse was completed after the first had been condemned a year earlier. The church became known as the First Congregational Church of Harwich when the church was incorporated in 1898 at the behest of the Rev. George Y. Washburn. The First Church of Harwich continues to serve the community today. The collection documents the history, administration, and life of the church and includes membership lists, church and parish records, and administrative/legal documents.

Haverhill, Mass. First Congregational Church (1719-1756)

Haverhill was first settled by Puritans in 1640. Rev. John Ward was officially installed as the pastor of the First Parish in 1645 and the first meeting house was constructed in 1648. The second meeting house was completed in 1699 and the third was completed in 1766. In 1833, the First Parish became Unitarian and the Congregationalist dissenters formed the Independent Congregational Church and Society which was later renamed to the Centre Congregational Church and Society. In 1859, a large group of parishioners left the Centre Congregational Church to form the North Congregational Church. In 1940, the Centre and North Churches merged to form the First Congregational Church. In 1963, the North Parish Community Church merged into the First Congregational Church which simultaneously joined the United Church of Christ. In 2010 the First Congregational Church in Haverhill dissolved. This collection contains financial records for the First Church in Haverhill in addition to disciplinary records and relations of faith.

Haverhill, Mass. West Parish Congregational Church (1734-1900)

When the western part of Haverhill became too populous for one church in 1734, the West Parish of Haverhill was established with a petition to the General Court of Massachusetts. The church, initially known as the Third Church, was established in 1735. In the first half of the 19th century, the governance of the parish was controversially distributed between multiple denominations, but in 1852 it was relinquished again to the Congregationalists. This collection contains the earliest records of the West Congregational Church and contains administrative records until from the church’s establishment through 1900.

Holden, Mass. First Congregational Church (1742-1869)

The First Congregational Church of Holden, Massachusetts, was founded in 1742 when the Rev. Joseph Davis settled as its first minister. In 1774, Davis was dismissed at his own request following various accusations of improper conduct, and the Rev. Joseph Avery was settled in Holden. In 1809, the church ceased observing the Half-way Covenant baptismal system and returned to more rigid membership requirements. New articles of faith were adopted in 1824 when the Rev. Horatio Bardwell became minister. He was dismissed in 1833 in order to return to missionary work in India, whereupon the Rev. William Pomeroy Paine was installed as pastor and remained in that position until 1875. The church then entered a rather unsettled period during which it experienced a quick succession of ministers until 1892 when the Rev. Thomas Earle Babb came to Holden. He served as minister of the Congregational Church until 1912. This collection contains the church’s original church covenant, membership records, baptismal records, and meeting minutes.

Hopkinton, Mass. First Congregational Church (1708-1880)

The First Congregational Church in Hopkinton was organized in 1724, shortly after the establishment of the town of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, by Harvard College, which had purchased the land from a local community of "praying Indians". Five versions of the meeting house have existed, two of which were destroyed, first by fire in 1882 and then by a hurricane in 1939. In 2011, the name of the church was officially changed to Faith Community Church. This collection includes the earliest records of the church and includes meeting minutes, financial reports, lists of marriages, baptisms, deaths, and dismissions, and relations of faith.

Hull, Mass. Congregational Church (1725-1767)

The First Church in Hull (formerly Nantasket) was founded in 1644. The first meeting house was erected in 1735. After 1772, there were no more settled Congregational ministers in Hull, Massachusetts, as there was not enough support by the town’s citizens to support a settled minister’s salary. In 1815, a vicious gale destroyed the 1735 meeting house; the building was never replaced. The volume in this collection comprises handwritten transcriptions from the First Church's records dating from 1725-1767.

Ipswich, Mass. First Church (1724-1830)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

Ipswich, Massachusetts, first known as Agawam, was settled by John Winthrop in 1633 and was incorporated the following year. The First Church in Ipswich was gathered on August 5, 1634, and the first meeting house was constructed the same year. Construction on the second meeting house was completed in 1647. In 1699, the third meeting house of the First Church was built on the north green. Members left to form new churches in 1681, 1714, 1747, and 1749. In 1749, the fourth meeting house was constructed. David T. Kimball was ordained as the fourteenth minister of the First Church in Ipswich on October 3, 1806. Construction on the fifth meeting house was completed by 1847. The South Church in Ipswich voted to reunite with the First Church in Ipswich in 1922. In 1965, the fifth meeting house was destroyed by a fire and the sixth meeting house was completed in 1971. Now a member of the United Church of Christ, the First Church in Ipswich continues to serve the local community today. This collection contains administrative and financial records and includes disciplinary records as well as a commentary on a treatise produced by Francisco Suarez.

Ipswich, Mass. South Church (1747-1868)

The South Church in Ipswich, Massachusetts, was formally gathered in 1747 following ministerial angst between Ipswich's two ministers and a petition by parishioners in southern Ipswich who felt traveling to the First Church was too difficult. The first meeting house was completed in 1748 and construction on the second meeting house was completed in 1838. In 1922, the South Church rejoined the First Church to become the First and South Congregational Church. This collection contains the earliest administrative and financial records of the South Church.

Kittery, Maine. Third Church (1750-1795)

Three local parishes were created by order of a town meeting held on July 17, 1660 in Kittery, Maine. In 1750, the middle parish of Kittery was separated from the lower parish, requiring the formation of a new church which would be known as the Third Church in Kittery, with Rev. Josiah Chase ordained as the first minister. His successor, Rev. Joseph Litchfield, served from 1782-1827, when, along with church members, he requested that he be replaced by a Methodist minister from the Maine Methodist Conference. The Rev. Paschal P. Morrill was selected and installed, and the church continued as a Methodist congregation. This bound volume contains administrative records of the Third Church in Kittery, spanning the pastorates of Rev. Josiah Chase and Rev. Joseph Litchfield. The records include baptisms, marriages, and names of people admitted to the church.

Lancaster, Mass. First Congregational Church (1708-1846)

The town of Lancaster, Massachusetts, and the First Congregational Church in Lancaster were established on November 28, 1653. The first and second meeting houses were destroyed during Native American raids as part of larger geopolitical movements. The third meeting house was constructed in 1706 and the fourth in 1743. During Rev. Timothy Thayer’s time as minister, the church adopted Unitarian tenants and the fifth meeting house, designed by Charles Bulfinch, was constructed. In 1970, the church joined the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship. The First Church of Christ, Unitarian, in Lancaster continues to serve the local community. This collection contains the earliest extant records of the church and includes administrative records, vital records, financial records, pew records, and church covenants.

Lebanon, Conn. First Church and Society (1697-1796)

Like many congregations in early New England, people complained about the distance they had to travel to attend worship services. As settlements spread, more and more ecclesiastical societies sought to build their own churches and call their own ministers. The same was true in the town of Lebanon, Connecticut. This collection consists of petitions to create separate ecclesiastical societies within the town of Lebanon, discussions about location and fund raising for building meetinghouses, lists of ratable estates and taxes due, minutes of church meetings, and records of deeds, pew rentals, repairs to the meeting house, and society meeting minutes.

Litchfield, Conn. South Farms Church (1781)

In 1768, the South Farms Church was gathered in the recently designated South Farms Parish of Litchfield, Connecticut. In 1772, George Beckwith Jr. was installed as the first minister of the church. He was removed in 1781 after an ecclesiastical council found him guilty of adultery. The South Farms Church, now Morris Congregational Church, continues to serve the local community today. This collection contains the records of the ecclesiastical council which removed Beckwith from his ministerial duties at the South Farms Church.

Lyme, Conn. Second Church and Society (1767)

The Second Society of Lyme, Connecticut, became the First Congregational Church of East Lyme when the East Lyme residents petitioned to have their own church so they would not have to travel so far on the Sabbath. In 1767, there was some sort of schism in the church, prompting someone to write "The Last Will & Testament of the 2nd Scot of Lyme Sirnamed Niantic." The will is written with a great deal of sarcasm; the church bequeaths its ignorance, folly, knavery, and religion to various local congregations. The will is "witnessed" by Orange, Oswegotche and Spithead. The church is now known as the Niantic Community Church.

Manchester, Mass. First Congregational Church (1717-1881)

The First Congregational Church in Manchester-by the-Sea, Massachusetts, was formed on November 7, 1716 with 21 members. The first meeting house was constructed in 1656, the second in 1695, and the third in 1719. The fourth and final meeting house was constructed in 1809. The church name was changed to Orthodox Congregational Church in 1843. The church split in 1857 due to ecclesiastical differences and was reformed in 1869. The church, now known as the First Parish Congregational Church in Manchester-by-the-Sea, continues to serve the community today. The collection includes the earliest extant records of the church. Included within the records are administrative records, vital records, financial records and records relating to the 1857 ecclesiastical council that led to the church splitting.

Manchester, Vt. First Church (1804-1867)

The First Congregational Church in Manchester, Vermont, was organized in 1784 with Rev. Job Swift as the first minister. Three meeting houses have been constructed by the church, the first in 1779, the second in 1829, and the third in 1862. This collection contains the early administrative records of the church which include meeting minutes, vital records, and church governance records.

Marblehead, Mass. Old North Church (1684-1886)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The First Church of Christ of Marblehead, Massachusetts, was established on August 13, 1684, and Rev. Samuel Cheever was ordained the first minister. The first meeting house was built atop Old Burial Hill in 1638 and the second meeting house was constructed in 1695. The third, and final, meeting house, built of stone, was constructed in 1824. Disagreements over the appointment of ministers led to the establishment of the Second Church in 1716 and the Third Church in 1858. Now known as the Old North Church, the church continues to serve the local community. This collection contains the earliest administrative and financial record books for the church.

Marblehead, Mass. Second Church (1714-1850)

The Second church of Marblehead, Massachusetts, formed in 1714 after a conflict arose in the First Parish Church over the installation of clergy. A meetinghouse was erected on New Meetinghouse Lane (later renamed Mugford Street) in 1716. Rev. Edward Holyoke ministered to Second Church until 1737 when he became President of Harvard College. In the 1830s, the congregation adopted Unitarian thinking and became the Second Congregational Church (Unitarian). The collection contains the earliest administrative record books of the church and includes a notebook kept by Rev. Samuel Dana.

Marblehead, Mass. Third Church (1858-1877)

The Third Congregational Church of Marblehead, Massachusetts, also known as the South Church, was established in 1858 by 49 former members of the First Congregational Church in Marblehead. In 1860, the South Church building was dedicated and in 1864, the first minister of the Third Church, Rev. T. D. P. Stone, was installed. The church remained active until 1877 when a fire completely destroyed the church building. This collection contains the administrative records of the church.

Marlborough, Mass. First Church (1704-1839)

The First Parish Church in Marlborough, Massachusetts, was organized in 1666. Shortly after the formation of the First Congregational Evangelical Society in 1833, members of the First Church voted to worship with this society, and in 1835 the First Parish and the First Evangelical Congregational Society were incorporated as the Union Society. The church was renamed the Union Church in Marlborough to reflect this new merger, and was most recently renamed in 1913 as First Church in Marlborough. This collection contains administrative, financial, and vital membership records for the church and includes covenants, ecclesiastical council records, meeting minutes, and church correspondence.

Mattapoisett, Mass. Congregational Church (1736-1886)

The church was gathered in July of 1736 as the Second Church in Rochester, Massachusetts, and didn't become Mattapoisett Congregational Church until 1860 after the town of Mattapoisett was incorporated. The early years of the church were marked by much contention, most notably regarding pastoral appointments and policies on singing. The collection contains records relating to membership, vital statistics, ecclesiastical councils, meeting minutes, and financial records.

Medfield, Mass. First Parish Unitarian Church (1697-1880)

The First Parish Church was founded in 1751 shortly after the incorporation of the town of Medfield, Massachusetts. Rev. John Wilson was the first pastor. A second meeting house was constructed in 1706. The third and current meetinghouse was built in 1789. In 1813, the town and the parish were legally separated and the church was incorporated as the First Parish. In 1827, a group of members from the First Parish petitioned for permission to withdraw from the church, which was becoming increasingly Unitarian, in order to form an Orthodox church. The original First Parish church was subsequently known as the First Parish Unitarian church. The collection contains administrative and financial records as well as records relating to the formation of the Unitarian Parish and relations of faith.

Medway, Mass. First Church of Christ (1730-1876)

Originally named Boggastow in Nipmuck Territory, then part of Medfield, Medway was settled in 1657 when an increasing number of colonists settled the land west of the Charles River. Medway, Massachusetts, was incorporated on October 25, 1713 and the decision to immediately build its own church was made at town meeting on November 23, 1713. The Church of Christ, later known as First Church of Christ, was organized on October 7, 1714. The section known as East Medway separated in 1885 to form the town of Millis; the First Church of Christ is physically located in modern day Millis, Massachusetts. This collection contains the early records of the church, including meeting minutes, sermons, disciplinary records, and ecclesiastical council proceedings.

Merrimac, Mass. Pilgrim Congregational Church (1725-1848)

The formation of a second parish in Amesbury, Massachusetts, in 1725 resulted in the foundation of the Second Church of Christ in Amesbury in 1726. Merrimac separated from Amesbury in 1876 and in 1879 the Second Church became the First Congregational Church in Merrimac, popularly known as the Pilgrim Congregational Church. In 1879, the First Orthodox Congregational Society was incorporated, replacing the earlier West Parish Congregational Society. The First Orthodox Congregational Church of Merrimac was incorporated in 1894. The church adopted the name of Pilgrim Congregational Church in 1926. This collection consists of church and parish records and miscellaneous papers, including deeds, ordination papers, and printed materials.

Middleboro, Mass. First Church (1707-1865)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The town of Middleboro (now Middleborough) was incorporated in 1669, settled by a group of men from Plymouth. The first meetinghouse was built in 1680, and the First Church of Christ (also called the "Church at the Green") was officially organized in 1694. This collection includes two volumes of church records, dating from 1707-1821 and 1745-1816 respectively, as well as a series of relations of faith and other documents related to individual parishioners (1724-1865). Also included are a large number of sermons preached by resident ministers Rev. Peter Thatcher and Rev. Sylvanus Conant between 1737 and 1779.

Millbury, Mass. First Church (1720-1857)

The Second Church in Sutton, Massachusetts, was organized in 1747. Rev. James Wellman was called to be the first minister. The early history of the church was marked by internal controversies and disturbances which also involved the First Parish in Sutton under the ministry of David Hall. Early in the 19th century the north part of Sutton began to be called Millbury and in June 1813 the Second Church in Sutton was incorporated into the town of Millbury and since that date has been called the First Congregational Church in Millbury. This collection includes early material relates to church controversies, lists of members, constitutions, transfers of membership, confessions, deeds, receipts, contracts, expenses, and treasurer's records.

Natick, Mass. First Congregational Church (1721-1862)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

First Congregational Church of Natick, Massachusetts, was established in 1651 by a group of English settlers and missionaries under the leadership of Rev. John Elliot. The church became home to many local Native Americans, also known as “Praying Indians,” and was the location of the writing of the “Eliot Bible:” a bible translated into phonetic Algonquian. This collection contains records of church covenants, meeting minutes, baptismal records, lists of deaths, disciplinary records, ordinations, and membership records.

New Braintree, Mass. Church of Christ (1779-1811)

The land around modern-day New Braintree was first settled by Europeans in 1709 and was officially incorporated in 1751 as New Braintree, Massachusetts. A Congregational Church was founded in 1754. Rev. Benjamin Ruggles was ordained as the first pastor. Rev. Daniel Foster was ordained as a colleague to Mr. Ruggles in 1778. Mr. Ruggles died suddenly in 1782. Rev. John Fiske, the successor of Mr. Foster, was ordained in 1796. The collection includes two record books for the Church of Christ, one kept the Rev. Daniel Foster (1750?-1795) between 1779 and 1783 and the other by Rev. John Fiske (1770-1855) between 1796 and 1811. They contain details of church meetings, business discussed and votes, and records of baptisms, admissions, marriages, and deaths, as well as a brief autobiography of Rev. Fiske.

Newbury, Mass. First Church (1634-1828)

The town of Newbury, Massachusetts, was first settled in 1635. The First Church was gathered in 1635 and construction on the first meeting house was completed the same year. In 1743, a group of parishioners left to form the First Episcopal Church. Between 1635 and 1806, five meeting houses were constructed. The fifth was destroyed in a fire in 1868. The sixth, and final, meeting house was constructed in 1869. The First Church joined the United Church of Christ in 1961. In 1967, the church was renamed to the First Parish Church in Newbury; this church continues to serve the Newbury community today. This collection contains the earliest church record book, ecclesiastical council records, church correspondence, and a ministers’ record book.

Newbury, Mass. Second Church (1696-1857)

The Second Church of Newbury was organized in 1698, after the township of Newbury, Massachusetts, had expanded. The church records are subdivided into a bound volume of baptisms, member lists, and meeting minutes, as well as a bound volume of correspondence and a document containing the church's 1729 articles of agreement.

Newburyport, Mass. First Religious Society (1725-1816)

The First Church of Newbury, Massachusetts divided in 1695 when the Second Church of Newbury was established, followed by the Third Church in 1726. The Third Church itself experienced a denominational split in 1746, when a number of parishioners left to form the Newbury Presbyterian Church. In 1764 the Third Church became part of the parish of Newburyport, changing its name to the First Church of Newburyport. In 1794 the parish was incorporated as the "First Religious Society" of Newburyport. The church continues to serve the community today as a Unitarian Universalist congregation, the First Religious Society of Newburyport (UU). The collection contains the earliest administrative records of the church.

Newton, Mass. First Church (1773-1827)

In 1664, the General Court of Massachusetts gave permission for forty men and forty women to establish the First Church of Cambridge Village. Before its establishment, settlers of Cambridge Village attended services and paid taxes to the city of Cambridge. Twenty-four years later, in 1688, the village seceded and became the city of Newtown, later spelled Newton. The First Church would see the construction of several meetinghouses, the last dedicated in 1904. It dissolved in 1972 after more than three hundred years of service to the Newton community. This collection contains two record books documenting the administration and finances of the church.

North Yarmouth, Maine. First Church (1730-1849) 

The First Church of North Yarmough, Maine, was organized in 1730. The church became the First Church in Yarmouth in 1849 when Yarmouth was set off from North Yarmouth. The collection consists of three bound volume of church records, containing administrative information for the church from 1730 until 1849.

Northampton, Mass. First Church of Christ (1661-1846)

The First Church in Northampton, Massachusetts, was gathered on June 18, 1661. The Congregation was established with representatives from the Churches of Christ from Dorchester, Roxbury, Springfield, and Hadley. In 1833, the congregation had grown large enough to warrant a new church, resulting in the formation of the Edwards Church. The congregation joined the United Church of Christ in 1957. The congregation merged with Northampton's Baptist First Church in 1988 to form the First Churches of Northampton. This collection contains the earliest administrative record book for the church.

Northbridge, Mass. First Congregational Church (1782-1836)

The town of Northbridge, Massachusetts, was incorporated in 1772 and the First Church in Northbridge was established in 1782. The first meeting house was constructed in 1774. In 1834, a significant portion of the congregation withdrew to form the Congregational Church of Whitinsville (now the Village Congregational Church). The second meeting house was constructed in 1836. In 1879, another contingent of the church's members withdrew to form the Rockdale Congregational Church, though both churches shared a minister until 1897. Around the turn of the century the name for the First Congregational Church in Northbridge was changed to Centre Congregational Church. The second meeting house was destroyed by a fire on February 12, 1932. The Centre Congregational Church joined the United Church of Christ in the early 1960s. The church dissolved in 2011. This collection contains the earliest volume of church administrative records.

Norwell, Mass. First Parish Church (1642-1908)

The First Parish of Norwell traces its origins to the First Parish of Scituate, Massachusetts, which was established in 1634. In 1641, the congregation split during the ministry of Rev. Charles Chauncy over a disagreement on whether baptism should consist of full submersion or mere "sprinkling". The Second Parish's first minister was Rev. William Wetherell of Duxbury, who was ordained in 1645. In 1830, the fifth, and current, meeting house was built. The area encompassing the current church and town was incorporated as South Scituate in 1849, and changed again to Norwell in 1888. The First Parish of Norwell, a Unitarian Universalist affiliated church, continues to serve the community today. This collection contains church administrative records, financial records, society records, and a record book kept by Rev. Samuel Deane.

Orono, Maine. First Congregational Church (1830-1858)

On May 18, 1826, 14 members of Orono, Maine, organized a church society. The new church was served by supply ministers, some of them from the Bangor Theological Seminary. The First Congregational Society of Orono was incorporated on March 19, 1831. In 1832, Rev. Josiah Fisher was installed as the first settled pastor, and religious services were held variously in a schoolhouse or in homes until a church was constructed on Bennoch street in 1834. The digitized collection consists of a single church record book, containing meeting minutes and member lists.

Oxford, Mass. First Congregational Church (1721-1850)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The First Congregational Church of Oxford, Massachusetts, was established in the house of Rev. John Campbell on January 18, 1721 and construction of the first meetinghouse followed. The second meetinghouse was completed in 1748. The church split in 1813 with some members forming a Universalist church in the South Meetinghouse. The Third and final meetinghouse was constructed in 1829. The church joined the United Church of Christ in 1961 and continues to serve the local community today. This collection contains the earliest extant records of the church and includes vital records, administrative records, records of the church library, and financial records related to unpaid ministerial salary.

Pembroke, Mass. First Church (1711-1887)

The First Church in Pembroke, Massachusetts, was organized October 22, 1712 and its first minister, Daniel Lewis, was ordained December 3, 1712. Under Lewis, the parish flourished and in 1727 a larger meeting house was built. The third meeting house was erected by the end of 1837. In 1841, the church became Unitarian and in 1964 the church rejoined the Congregational denomination. The First Church in Pembroke continues to serve the community today. This collection documents the history and life of the church and includes membership lists, administrative records, financial records, and church correspondence.

Phippsburg, Maine. Congregational Church (1765-1837)

In 1765, several members of the Presbyterian Church at Fort Noble, on Fiddler's Reach, withdrew from that church and gathered a Congregational Church at a meetinghouse beside what is now the Newtown Cemetery on Arrowsic Island. The new church was known as the First Church of Georgetown until 1814, and its first pastor was the Rev. Ezekiel Emerson of Uxbridge. As more church members began to live on the mainland, a new church building was completed there in 1802. In 1814, Phippsburg, Maine, was set off from Georgetown and incorporated, and the name of the church changed to the Congregational Church of Phippsburg. From circa 1844-1850, the church was known as the Phippsburg Congregational Society, after which the current name, Phippsburg Congregational Church, was adopted. The collection includes two record books which include administrative records such as meeting minutes, covenants and articles of faith, and vital records.

Portland, Maine. Abyssinian Church (1835-1876)

The Abyssinian Congregational Church, formed in 1831, is most notable for its role as an early African-American cultural nexus, as well as one of the northernmost stops on the Underground Railroad. The original meeting house, which still stands today, is Maine's oldest African-American church building and third oldest in the USA. The records include a church book and Society record book, largely kept simultaneously to one another. Both volumes include extensive meeting minutes. Church records include member listings, vital records and baptisms, and a chronicle of liturgical occasions. The Society's book records financial transactions in addition to the organization's meeting minutes.

Reading, Mass. Second Church of Christ (1720-1806)

The Second Church of Christ in Reading, Massachusetts, was gathered on June 29, 1720 with 39 founding members. The first pastor was Rev. Daniel Putnam who served until his death on June 20, 1759. He was followed by Rev. Eliab Stone who became the pastor in 1761 and also served until his death in 1822. Religious disagreements led to a split during the 1830s and in 1892 the Congregationalists and Methodists merged to form the Union Congregational Church of North Reading. This church continues to serve the community today. The collection contains the oldest church record book which includes administrative records, meeting minutes, and vital membership records.

Rehoboth, Mass. First Church of Christ (1785)

The First Church of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, was established in 1643 with Rev. Samuel Newman as the first minister. The first meeting house was constructed in 1646. The second meeting house was completed in 1678 after being delayed due to King Phillip's War. The third meeting house was constructed in 1718. The fourth, and final, meeting house was completed in 1810. In 1812, the western precinct of Rehoboth became the town of Seekonk. In 1862, the town of Seekonk was further divided and the church became a part of East Providence, Rhode Island. In 1886, the church was renamed to Newman Congregational Church. The church continues to serve the East Providence community today. This collection contains the church’s 1785 articles of faith.

Rowley, Mass. First Congregational Church (1664-1835)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The First Church of Rowley, Mass. was founded in 1639 by Rev. Ezekiel Rogers and his followers, who had departed their Anglican church in Rowley, Yorkshire, UK in protest over lax Sabbath laws. Rev. Rogers was a notable Puritan whose conservative zeal influenced the governance of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The church continues to serve the community today as a member of the United Church of Christ. This collection contains the earliest church, parish, and financial records of the church.

Salem, Mass. East Church (1717-1806)

The East Church in Salem, Massachusetts, was officially formed in 1718, after parishioners living on the east side of the town broke away from the First Church of Salem and built a more conveniently located meetinghouse in 1717. By November 1718, the parish had invited Robert Stanton to be the first minister. A new church building was erected in 1845. In 1897, the East Church united with the Barton Square Church and changed its name to the Second Unitarian Church. The church reunited with the First Church in 1956, and the former East Church building of 1844-1846 is now the Salem Witch Museum. This collection contains the oldest administrative record books for the church as well as lists of officers and financial records.

Salem, Mass. First Church (1629-1843)

The First Church of Salem, Massachusetts, founded in 1629, was one of the first churches organized in New England. Salem's church was the first truly Congregational parish with governance by church members. The population of Salem grew rapidly during the 18th century, resulting in the peaceful division of the First Church's congregation to form the East Church in 1719. After Rev. Samuel Fisk was ousted from him ministerial roll, Fisk led his supporters to form another First Church in 1735, which was compelled to change its name to the Third Church in 1762. The original First Church split again over ministerial preference in 1772, leading to the creation of the North Church of Salem. The First Church and North Church reunited in 1923. The East Church reunited with the First Church in 1956. The reunited church continues to serve the community today as the First Church in Salem, Unitarian Universalist. This collection contains the earliest administrative records of the church as well as church correspondence, pew sale records, and a copy of the 1780 church covenant.

Salem, Mass. North Church (1772-1831)

In 1770, the minister of the First Church in Salem, Massachusetts, Rev. Thomas Barnard (1748-1814), became paralyzed and unable to work. The church became divided on the issue of who to call as their next minister, resulting in the formation of the North Church. The first meeting house opened in August of 1772 and remained in use until 1836, when a new meeting house was built. The First Church and North Church reunited in 1923. The unified church continues to serve the community today as the First Church in Salem, Unitarian Universalist. This collection consists of a copy of the 1629 covenant from Salem First (intended to serve as a model for the North Church), an 1802 Act of Incorporation, and a report on pew payments by treasurer Thomas West.

Salem, Mass. South Church (1774-1805)

The South Church in Salem, Massachusetts, was founded in 1775 by parishioners separating from the Tabernacle Church of Salem after a disagreement with the pastor, Rev. Nathaniel Whitaker. This society was initially known as the Third Church, but changed its name to South Church in 1805. The church re-merged with the Tabernacle Church in 1924. This collection contains a bound volume of the earliest records of the Third Church of Salem, later known as the South Church, and includes meeting minutes, records of votes, pew assignments, and pew tax records.

Salem, Mass. Tabernacle Church (1743-1850)

The Tabernacle Church in Salem, Massachusetts, traces its historical roots back to 1629 with the founding of First Church of Salem. In 1735, First Church’s pastor, Samuel Fisk, was dismissed from his position by an ecclesiastical council. A group of parishioners followed Fisk from First Church, built a new meeting house, and met also under the name First Church until 1762 when they were compelled by the colonial legislature to change their name to "Third Church of Christ in Salem". In 1774, the great fire of Salem burned the Third Church meeting house to the ground. A replacement meeting house was built in 1777 and was copied from the Tabernacle in Moorfields (London) made famous by its association with George Whitefield, leading to the nickname "Tabernacle Church". The church continues to serve the community today as the Tabernacle Congregational Church. This collection contains the earliest records of the church and includes financial records, meeting minutes and records of votes, ecclesiastical records, and pew records.

Salisbury, Mass. First Church (1746)

The First Church in Salisbury, Massachusetts, was gathered in 1638 and the first meeting house was completed in 1640. In 1714, the town voted to maintain two churches and the First Church also became known as the East Church. In 1725, the second meetinghouse was constructed. Beginning in 1802, Methodists were allowed to use the meeting house for worship and in 1833 the Congregationalists voted to join the Methodists and form the East Parish United Methodist Church. In 1834 the third and final meetinghouse was constructed. This collection contains a legal testimonial regarding a conflict between Rev. Caleb Cushing and former parishioner Daniel Worster.

Sandwich, Mass. First Church (1691-1853)

Sandwich's First Church was founded in 1638 as part of the original Plymouth Colony. A Second Church was briefly formed in 1734 when some parishioners left due to a dispute over church admissions, but the congregation was reabsorbed into the First Church in 1749. The church continues to serve the community today as the First Church Sandwich, UCC. The collection includes two bound volumes of church records, containing administrative records, admissions, dismissions, baptisms, deaths, and meeting minutes for the first precinct in the town of Sandwich.

Sanford, Maine. North Parish Congregational Church (1786-1823)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The town of Sanford, Maine, originally in Massachusetts, was incorporated in 1768 and the Congregational Church in Sanford was gathered on March 28, 1786. Construction on the first meeting house was completed in 1792. The second meeting house was constructed in the northern half of Sanford in 1831. The Congregational Church became the North Congregational Church in 1847 after 14 members left to form the South Congregational Church. The second meeting house was destroyed in a fire in 1878 and replaced the following year. In 1911, the church and parish society were incorporated as one entity called the North Parish Congregational Church. In 1960, the church joined the United Church of Christ and it continues to serve the community today. The collection includes the administrative records of the early church and parish society as well as vital membership records.

Scarborough, Maine. First Church (1728-1859)

On June 26, 1728, sixteen men covenanted together to officially form the First Church in Scarborough. In 1731, the first of four meeting houses were constructed. In 1744, a Second Parish was formed at Dunstan. The church is still active today as the First Congregational Church of Scarborough, Maine. The collection consists of two record books, one containing the church’s administrative records and the other containing the parish records.

Scarborough, Maine. Second Church (1759-1865)

The First Church in Scarborough, Maine, was formed in 1728 and a meeting house was constructed in 1731. In 1744, a Second Parish located in Dunstan, later known as West Scarborough, was set aside from the First Parish. The Second Church was gathered in 1744 within the Second Parish. The Second Church's first minister, Rev. Richard Elvins, was formerly a baker in Salem, Massachusetts, but was converted by the preaching of evangelist George Whitefield. The church appears to have become extinct after about 1830. The digitized collections include a bound volume of parish records from the Second Parish of Scarborough, which contains minutes of parish meetings and other records pertaining to the operation of the parish.

Sheffield, Mass. Second North Housatonic Parish of Sheffield (1743)

In 1743, the Second North Housatonic Parish of Sheffield, Massachusetts, was gathered with Rev. Samuel Hopkins as the first minister. The first meeting house was completed by 1743. In 1761, the North Parish of Sheffield was incorporated as the town of Great Barrington and the church was renamed the First Congregational Church of Great Barrington. In 1769, Rev. Hopkins was dismissed after both financial and religious difficulties formed between him and the parish community. The second meeting house was constructed in 1813 and the third in 1860. In 1882, the church was destroyed by fire and the fourth, and final, meeting house was constructed on the third's foundation. In 1955, the church joined the United Church of Christ. The First Congregational Church continues to serve the Great Barrington community today. This collection contains copies of the 1743 church covenant and confession of faith.

Shrewsbury, Mass. First Congregational Chruch (1723-1825)

The First Congregational Church in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, was organized by sixteen male members in 1723. Rev. Job Cushing, a Harvard graduate, was ordained as the church’s first minister and he held the office of pastor until his death on August 6, 1760. During his ministry, a new church was organized from this church in the North Parish of Shrewsbury, now Boylston, Massachusetts. The First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury was incorporated on 11 January 1957. This collection contains the earliest administrative records of the church and parish records.

Shutesbury, Mass. Congregational Church (1743)

Shutesbury, Massachusetts, was settled in 1735, when it was called Road Town. Road Town was officially incorporated as Shutesbury in 1761. A Congregational church was organized on October 17, 1742, and a meeting house appears to have been built by 1740. The first minister, Rev. Abraham Hill, was installed as pastor in 1742. A Loyalist, Rev. Hill was eventually barred from the town pulpit, then dismissed in 1778. He moved to Oxford, Massachusetts, refused to pay taxes as a layman, and won a lawsuit against Shutesbury for his back salary. This collection contains the church records relating to the case against Rev. Hill.

Simsbury, Conn. First Church (1697-1713)

A religious society was formed in the new settlement of Simsbury, Connecticut, in 1670, with Rev. Samuel Stone appointed minister on May 30, 1673. The first meeting house was built in 1683, after a lengthy location dispute. A new and larger second meeting house was eventually constructed on Drake’s Hill in 1777. This was replaced by the current church building, at the same location, in 1830. The First Church of Christ Simsbury continues to serve the community today. This collection includes loose manuscript pages containing administrative information for the early years of the church.

Somerset, Mass. Congregational Christian Church (1840-1912)

The First Christian Union Church and Society was formed in the Pottersville, Somerset area as early as 1838 by a "Christian Band" comprising thirty members, though the church was not officially incorporated until 1911. In 1939, the name was changed to the Congregational Christian Church of Somerset Centre and it continues to serve the community today. This collection contains the earliest administrative record books for the church as well as a record book maintained by the church’s Ladies Industrial Association.

Standish, Maine. Church of Christ (1768-1870)

The first religious organization in Standish, Maine, was formed in 1769 with only seven members. A meeting house was built on the site of the old fort at Standish Corner and Rev. John Tompson, ordained in 1768, was settled as the first pastor. The church's meeting house was damaged beyond repair by an intoxicated group of soldiers prior to 1805. A new church building, known as the "Old Red Church" was built in 1805. In 1834, the church split into a Unitarian church and an "Evangelical Congregationalist" church. The Congregational church is still active today as the Standish Congregational Church. This collection includes a single volume of church records which contain administrative information and vital statistical information for the Church of Christ in Standish. The church book was retained by the Unitarians after the 1834 schism, and this change in denomination is reflected in the records.

Stoneham, Mass. First Congregational Church (1728-1889)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

The town of Stoneham, Massachusetts, was incorporated in 1725. A vote in 1726 provided for the building of a meetinghouse and the First Congregational Church was organized in 1729. The first pastor was Rev. James Osgood who was ordained in 1729. Rev. John Cleaveland was pastor from 1785 until an ecclesiastical council dissolved his relationship with the town in 1894. The second meeting house was constructed in 1803 and the third in 1840. The First Congregational Church in Stoneham, UCC, continues to serve the local community today. This collection contains the oldest administrative records of the church as well as financial records, records from James Osgood, parish records, and manuscript sermons.

Sturbridge, Mass. Congregational Church (1736-1831)

The Congregational Church of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, (then New Medfield) was founded in 1736. In 1749, a group of fifteen "Separates" left the church and established the Baptist Church of Sturbridge. Both churches continue to serve the community today as part of the Federated Church of Sturbridge and Fiskdale. This collection contains the earliest administrative records of the church as well as vital membership records, church correspondence, relations of faith, and disciplinary records.

Sturbridge, Mass. Separatist Church (1749-1762)

The Separatist Church in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, was formed in 1747 after 15 members of the Congregational Church in Sturbridge left the church. The separatists refused to pay ministerial taxes and in response the town aggressively attempted to collect the taxes by forcibly taking possessions, livestock, and imprisoning at least 5 of the separatists. In 1749, the Separatist Church was reformed as the Baptist Church in Fiskdale. This collection includes records relating to the separation and the personal reasons the separatists either left the Congregational Church, or wished to rejoin it.

Topsfield, Mass. Congregational Church (1684-1869)

The Congregational church in Topsfield, Massachusetts, was founded in 1663 under the ministry of Rev. Thomas Gilbert. The earliest extant records of the church were kept by Rev. Joseph Capen beginning in 1684. Congregants constructed a meeting house on the Topsfield common in 1703. New meeting houses were constructed in 1759 and 1842. The church continues to serve the community today as the Congregational Church of Topsfield, a member of the United Church of Christ. The collection contains two bound volumes of church records. These include meeting minutes, membership records, and lists of baptisms, marriages, and deaths.

Uxbridge, Mass. Church of Christ (1730-1829)

The town of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, was incorporated in 1727. The first religious institution in the town, the Church of Christ, was gathered by Reverend Joseph Dorr in 1730. It was also in 1730 that the first church building was erected in the town. This building was replaced by a second meeting house in 1773, and the First Congregation Society was incorporated soon after, in 1797. The parish was divided into two separate societies in 1832: the more liberal division of the church became the First Congregational Society, Unitarian, and the more orthodox division formed the First Evangelical Society of Uxbridge. This collection contains a single volume of church administrative records dating from 1730-1829.

Watertown, Mass. West Church (1709)

In 1696, the residents of the town of Watertown, Massachusetts, voted to support two meeting houses; the West Precinct Church, was established in 1696 to serve the western section of the town. The first meeting house, a repurposed building from Newton, was assembled in 1722. In 1738, the town of Waltham was incorporated from the West Precinct of Watertown and the church was renamed the First Parish in Waltham. In 1838, the First Parish merged with the Second Religious Society. In 1958, the First Parish merged with the First Unitarian Church to form the First Parish Church in Waltham, Universalist-Unitarian. This collection contains a copy of the 1709 church covenant.

Wells, Maine. First Church (1701-1848)

The formal organization of the First Church in Wells, Maine, occurred in 1701, with Rev. Samuel Emery ordained as minister. The Second Church in Wells was organized, owing to doctrinal differences, on August 23, 1831. The First and Second churches reunited in 1963, and the church is still active today as the Congregational Church of Wells, a member of the United Church of Christ. The digitized collection consists of a single-volume church record book, containing administrative information and vital statistical information for the First Church.

Wendell, Mass. Congregational Church (1783-1847)

The Congregational Church of Wendell, Massachusetts, was formed on November 29, 1774. The first meetinghouse was built in 1783, and a second in 1846. The Congregational Church of Wendell joined the United Church of Christ in 1964 and closed in 2004. This collection contains both church administrative records and financial records.

Wenham, Mass. First Congregational Church (1643-1847)
TRANSCRIPTION AVAILABLE

In 1642, the first meeting house was constructed in Wenham, Massachusetts, and the First Congregational Church was established in 1644 with the Rev. John Fiske as its first minister. The Congregational Parish and Society was established in 1833 and remained active until the church was incorporated in 1925. The congregation is still active today as First Church in Wenham. This collection includes meeting minutes, vital records, ecclesiastical council results, and early town records.

West Brookfield, Mass. First Congregational Church (1754-1867)

The town of Brookfield, Massachusetts, was first settled during the 1660s. The first meeting house in Brookfield was built atop Foster's Hill. The First Church was organized in 1717. West Brookfield split from Brookfield in 1848 and the First Church became known simply as the Congregational Church. The church joined the United Church of Christ in 1964. The First Congregational Church of West Brookfield, UCC, continues to serve its community today. The records in this collection include membership lists, church correspondence, church and parish meeting minutes, and vital records.

West Stockbridge, Mass. First Congregational Church (1789-1889)

The First Congregational Church in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, was founded in 1789, along with the town itself. The meeting house was shared with a local Baptist congregation until 1793. The first meeting house of the First Congregational Church, then also known as the West Centre Church, was destroyed by a fire in 1956. In 1962, the West Center Church and Village Congregational Church formally merged to form the Congregational Church of West Stockbridge. The church continues to serve the community today. This collection contains the oldest administrative records of the church as well as membership records and church correspondence.

Westborough, Mass. Church of Christ (1724-1787)

The Church of Christ in Westborough, Massachusetts, was gathered on October 28, 1724. Rev. Ebenezer Parkman was the church’s first minister and he served until his death in 1783. In 1825, the church reformed as the First Congregational Society. The church continues to serve the community today as the Congregational Church of Westborough. This collection contains the oldest administrative records of the church and includes baptismal records, marriage records, and church meeting minutes.

Weston, Mass. First Parish Church (1709-1864)

In 1698, the area of Watertown that would later be named Weston, Massachusetts, was set off as the "Farmers' Precinct" based around the newly established “Church of Christ”. In 1713, the town of Weston was incorporated and the church became known as the First Parish Church. The first four ministers of the church were considered progressive and by the 1830s the theology of the church was beginning to shift towards Unitarianism. In 1867, a new church covenant was adopted that established the church as a Unitarian church. The First Parish Church in Weston remains active today and is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association. The collection includes vital records, meeting minutes, a daily ministerial journal, and early manuscript writings from Edmund Hamilton Sears.

Weymouth, Mass. Old South Church (1723-1886) 

The Second Church in Weymouth, Massachusetts, also known as the South Church, was gathered in 1723 with James Bayley ordained as the first minister. The first meeting house was constructed in 1722 and the second in 1785. The ordination of a Universalist minister in 1834 resulted in a rift in the church membership with the orthodox members forming the Union Church in 1842. The third meeting house was constructed in 1854. In 1892, the Second Church was incorporated as the Old South Church in Weymouth. In 1918, the Old South Church and Union Church merged to form the Old South Union Church. The church continues to serve the Weymouth community today. This collection contains the oldest administrative records of the church as well as financial ledgers and parish records.

Windham, Maine. First Church (1743-1799) 

The First Congregational Church of Windham, Massachusetts, was established at the founding of New Marblehead in 1737, by order of the General Court. The church was unable to call a minister until 1743 when Rev. John Wight came to serve the seven church members. The New Marblehead Plantation was incorporated on June 12, 1762 as Windham. The second pastor was Rev. Peter Thacher Smith, ordained September 22, 1762. Rev. Smith served for 28 years and was dismissed in 1790. During his pastorate the township struggled to finalize the construction of a meeting house, with failed building projects attempted in 1768 and 1783. The town was able to erect a substantial meeting house in 1795. Rev. Nathaniel Stone was ordained as the third pastor in 1798. The church is still active today as the Windham Hill United Church of Christ, Congregational. This collection contains two volumes of church administrative records which cover the pastorates of Rev. Wight and Rev. Smith.

Worcester, Mass. First Church, Old South (1743-1799)

The First Church of Worcester, Massachusetts, was organized in 1716. The first meetinghouse was erected in 1719, and the Rev. Andrew Gardner was installed as the first minister. After the death of Rev. Maccarty in 1784, the church split due to the opposition of some church members to the election of Rev. Aaron Bancroft. The church was incorporated as the First Church, Old South in 1908 and was called that until 1965 when it merged with the Tatnuck Congregational Church to form the First Congregational Church in Worcester. The church continues to serve the Worcester community today. The digitized records are mainly administrative and concentrate on the ministries of Rev. Austin and Rev. Goodrich, 1790 to 1820.

Worcester, Mass. Second Congregational Church (1743-1799) 

The First Church of Worcester, Massachusetts, was organized in 1716. The first meetinghouse was erected in 1719, and Rev. Andrew Gardner was installed as the first minister. In 1785, a segment of the membership broke away due to a dispute over the selection of Rev. Dr. Aaron Bancroft as minister. The new church was incorporated in 1787 as the Second Congregational Church, or Second Parish, in Worcester under the ministry of Rev. Bancroft. Later, it became known as the First Unitarian Church. The original meetinghouse, built in 1791, was destroyed by fire in 1849 and rebuilt in 1851. The First Unitarian Church continues to serve the Worcester community today. This collection contains church administrative records and parish records.

Wrentham, Mass. Second Church (1767)

The Second Church of Wrentham, Massachusetts, also known as the West Parish Church, was established in 1738. When the West Precinct of Wrentham separated from Wrentham and incorporated as Franklin in 1778, the West Parish Church was renamed the First Congregational Church of Franklin. In 1941, the First Baptist Church in Franklin merged with the First Congregational Church to form the Franklin Federated Church. The church continues to serve the local community today. Included within the collection are meeting minutes, committee reports, society records, and vital records.

York, Maine. First Parish Church (1731-1927) 

The First Parish Church in York, Maine was established at some point between 1662 and 1673 with Shubael Drummer ordained as the first minister. Rev. Drummer was killed during a Native American raid in 1692 and was followed by Samuel Moody in 1698. Rev. Moody's pastorate ended in 1747 with his death. He was followed by Samuel Lyman in 1749 who served as minister until his death in 1810. The First Parish Church Congregational, United Church of Christ, in York Maine, continues to serve the community today. This collection includes church and parish records, financial records, and vital membership records.