Boxford, Mass. First Church
Please note that as of January 2022, the Boxford, Massachusetts. First Church records, 1703-1823, and all future digital collections are now hosted on the library's new digital archive.
The First Church of Boxford was formed in 1701 when the parishioners of Boxford were granted independent status from Topsfield Church. A meeting house was built, in which all town meetings and civic gatherings were held until 1800, when they were held alternatively in West Boxford. The meeting house building was replaced in 1742 and again in 1836. The church was likely used for storage of arms and gunpowder during the Revolutionary War, in the absence of a dedicated armory in the area until 1801. The current church, known as First Church Congregational Boxford, is a member of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (CCCC).
The original manuscripts in this collection are part of a larger collection, the Perley Family Papers, which are owned by our project partners, the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum. Materials pertaining to Boxford consist of loose church records which include meeting minutes and member listings. The bulk of the records, however, pertain to a lengthy dispute between two parishioners during the ministry of Rev. Isaac Briggs.
For additional information please see the Phillips Library's finding aid.
These loose records include membership lists, minsters' salaries, and records related to the formation of a singing school. The bulk of the documents pertain to a dispute between parishioners Benjamin Spofford and Aaron Perley during the ministry of Rev. Isaac Briggs, with Spofford alleging that Perley had stolen one of his sheep.
|1703 February 21||list of members admitted to First Church|
|1758 November 27||First Church meeting minutes|
|1805 October 31||First Church meeting minutes pertaining to singing school|
|1805 October 31||by Thomas Perley (scribe)||subscription lists for singing school|
|1808 August 8||First Church meeting minutes relating to Rev. Brigg's salary|
|1817 July 4||by Aaron Perley||for the First Church||testimony regarding dispute over a stable|
|1817 July 14||by J. Thimball (clerk)||First Church meeting minutes|
|1817 November 12||by Mr. Sleeper||for the First Church||testimony regarding dispute between Perley and Spofford|
|1817 December 25||by Mary Spofford||for the First Church||testimony regarding dispute between Perley and Spofford|
|1818 April 19||unsigned||for the First Church||testimony regarding dispute between Perley and Spofford|
|1817 April 29||by Aaron Perley||for the First Church||testimony regarding dispute between Perley and Spofford|
|undated||list of subscribers for Rev. Briggs salary|
|1818 April 4||by Aaron Perley's brother||for the First Church||testimony regarding dispute between Perley and Spofford|
|1818 April 14||from Aaron Perley||to Rev. Briggs||letter summarizing dispute|
|undated||by Aaron Perley||for the First Church||testimony regarding dispute between Perley and Spofford|
|1818 May 5||from Benjamin Spofford||to Mehitable and Aaron Perley||letter requesting a meeting|
|1818 May 6||by Aaron Perley's brother||for the First Church||testimony regarding dispute between Perley and Spofford|
|1818 May 14||First Church meeting minutes regarding dispute|
|undated||by Mr. Merrill||for the First Church||testimony regarding dispute between Perley and Spofford|
|1818 April 28||from Benjamin Spofford||to Rev. Briggs||letters regarding dispute|
|1818 May 7||First Church meeting minutes regarding dispute|
|1818 May 14||by Isaac Broman, David Thimball, Charles Foster||for the First Church||testimony regarding dispute between Perley and Spofford|
|1818 May 20||from Benjamin Spofford||to Rev. Briggs||letter requesting representation by an attorney|
|1819 August 3||from Messrs. Stearns, Briggs, Chickering, Allen, Soring and Edwards||to the First Church||Andover Association meeting minutes, refusing a re-trial as requested by Spofford|
|1822 November 29||First Church meeting minutes regarding a dispute between Parker Cleaveland and Solomon Stickney|
|undated||by D. Hale, Joseph Searl, Samuel Merrill||for the First Church||testimony regarding dispute between Cleaveland and Stickney|
|1823 January 2||by E. Parish (clerk)||First Church meeting minutes with vote to admonish Stickney|
|1823 March 15||from Parker Cleaveland and P. Perley||to Solomon Stickney||letter admonishing Stickney for speaking against the pastor|
|1823 June 21||by E. Parish (clerk)||First Church meeting minutes, including excommunication of Solomon Stickney|
|1824 January 9||by John Bartlett (scribe)||to the First Church||letter describing Ecclesiastical Council's decision in the case of Spofford versus Perley|
|1823 June 17||from Benjamin Spofford||to Rev. Briggs and the First Church||letter stating refusal to confess|
|1823 (summer)||from "a concealed writer"||to Rev. Briggs||letter in support of Benjamin Spofford|
|1823 July 2||by Stephen Peabody and other signatories||to the First Church||petition in support of Benjamin Spofford|
|undated||by Rev. Briggs||to a church council||petition by church members refusing to readmit Spofford|
|1823 November 12||by Nathaniel Whitman (scribe)||letter with results of investigation by the Ecclesiastical Council|
|1823 December 4||by Capt. Young||contract confirming lodging for a church council|
|1823 December 4||from Benjamin Spofford||to his supporters||letter regarding meeting arrangements|
|1823 December 8||by Capt. Young||contract confirming lodging for a church council|
Special ThanksCouncil on Library and Information Resources, through a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the Council on Library and Information Resources.