Medway, Mass. First Church of Christ
Please note that as of January 2022, the Medway, Massachusetts. First Church of Christ records, 1730-1876, and all future digital collections are now hosted on the library's new digital archive.
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. The settlement grew enough that by 1712 the Massachusetts General Court was petitioned to create a separate town; Medway was incorporated on October 25, 1713 and the decision to immediately build its own church was made at town meeting on November 23, 1713.
Until the church's construction was finished, services were held by Reverend David Deming at Peter Adams's house. The Church of Christ, later known as First Church of Christ, was organized on October 7, 1714. A subscription, led by Jonathan Plimpton, raised a noon house in 1730. In 1749 the first meetinghouse burned. In 1748 Medway divided into eastern and western precincts with First Church of Christ in the eastern precinct and Second Church organizing in 1750 in the western precinct. A large undevelopable tract of land known as The Black Swamp divided the two. The section known as East Medway separated in 1885 to form the town of Millis; the former First Church of Christ in Medway is physically located in modern day Millis, Massachusetts and is known as the Church of Christ, Congregational.
The digital collections below contain the records of the First Church of Christ formerly in Medway, Massachusetts, though the earliest records are no longer extant. A number of loose documents comprise sermons, church meeting minutes, a relation, disciplinary records, and items relating to ministerial wages. A sparse bound volume also contains the articles of covenant for the church, dated 1876.
For additional information please see the finding aid.
These loose records contain meeting house expenses, including a subscription for the construction of a noon house meet on the Sabbath, as well as correspondence, records related to ministerial salary, and a confession of faith by parishioner James Peniman. The documents are arranged chronologically.
|1730 September||by Jonathan Plimpton (clerk)||subscription for noonhouse to meet on the sabbath between meetings|
|1730 December 23||by Jonathan Plimpton (clerk)||to Samuel Harding||land deed for Ephraim Hill|
|1735 October 19||by James Peniman||to the First Church of Christ in Medway||relation of faith by James Peniman|
|1736||by Rev. Nathaniel Bucknam||to "Mr. Daniel" for the attention of the selectmen||letter requesting a warning to be sent out for May meeting, to discuss Rev. Buckman's salary|
|1746/7 March 9||by Rev. Nathaniel Bucknam||to the First Church of Christ in Medway||letter pleading for a raise in salary and support|
|1748/9 February 17||by John Barber (town treasurer)||to Samuel Harding||receipt of payment|
|1796||from the First Church of Christ in Medway||to an ecclesiastical council||letter before the ordination of Mr. Isaac Braman|
|1796 May 30||by the First Church of Christ in Medway||church meeting minutes regarding the ordination of Mr. Isaac Braman|
|1796 June 21||Jason Haven (scribe)||meeting minutes of ecclesiastical council vote on whether to elect Mr. Isaac Braman as pastor|
|1796 June 22||Rev. Isaac Braman||to the First Church of Christ in Medway||letter from Mr. Isaac Braman declining the call to settle at the First Church in Medway|
These records relate to disciplinary cases in Medway during this period. During the colonial period, the local church often functioned as the legal authority in matters of morality. Punishment in such cases usually consisted of censure, a temporary restriction from attending services and participating in church business. This was often followed by restoration of the guilty party after they submitted a formal confession or request for forgiveness. Of particular notes is the case of David Pond of Wrentham who "struck a pitch" (created a disturbance) and was subsequently excommunicated.
These two sermons by anonymous authors are written in different hands. They were delivered on a variety of dates and locations.
This record consists of a bound volume transcribed in 1876 from earlier records dating to approximately 1772. The volume contains the "Articles of Covenant" and numerous empty pages.
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