Newton, Mass. First Church

Collection History

Please note that as of January 2022, the Newton, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1773-1827, and all future digital collections are now hosted on the library's new digital archive.

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.

The digital collections below include a bound volume of church records dating from 1773-1827 and a bound volume of precinct records, largely financial in nature, dating from 1778-1805.

For additional information about the church and its records, including materials not digitized for the NEHH program, please see the finding aid.


Digital Materials

Church records, 1773-1827

These are the earliest extant records of the church, as the preceding books were lost in a fire in March 1770. The records in this volume include membership lists, baptisms, dismissions, the church covenant, and church meeting minutes. Some of the lost information was reconstructed by church officers to the best of their abilities.

Precinct records, 1778-1805

This volume primarily contains financial records relating to the support of the minister and the church’s real estate holdings, and the elected officers who handled those matters. Taxes were collected both in currency and in the form of material goods such as corn or firewood. Because the early records date from  a time of transition, acceptable forms of currency and exchange rates are clearly delineated. The city of Newton continued to use British currency standards well after American independence.


Special Thanks

This digital resource has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.