Scarborough, Maine. First Church

Collection History

The area of Maine now known as Scarborough was originally called Owascoag, and was inbabited by the Sokokis (Ozogwakiak) people. From 1631-1651, Europeans began forming multiple settlements in the area. As was the case in much of present-day Maine, these earliest settlements were abandoned due to ongoing war with constituent tribes of the Wabanaki Confederacy, from about 1675-1702. Permanent resettlement occurred after 1702.

A church, evidenced in punitive records, existed prior to 1671, and may have been located on the plains near the Black Rocks in Scarborough, but no concrete evidence for its location currently exists. On June 26, 1728, sixteen men covenanted together to officially form the First Church in Scarborough. Later that year, eight more men and four women joined the church, initially meeting in private homes. In 1731, the first of four meeting houses were constructed. In 1744, a Second Parish was formed at Dunstan.

Rev. William Thompson, the church's first minister, was ordained May 26, 1728, and died in office in 1759. He was followed by Rev. Thomas Pierce of Newbury, Mass., ordained in 1762 and continuing in office until he died in 1775, aged 37 years. Rev. Pierce was sympathetic to Presbyterianism, and the church became Presbyterian during his tenure as pastor, but afterwards reverted to Congregational. Rev. Thomas Lancaster of Rowley, Mass. was ordained in 1775 and served until he died in 1831. The church is still active today as the First Congregational Church of Scarborough.

The digitized collections below consist of two bound record books, one comprising the church records (1728-1859) and the other comprising the parish records (1759-1853). The original manuscripts in this collection are owned by our project partners, the Maine Historical Society. Further information about the collection can be found in the MHS catalog.


Digital Materials

Church records, 1728-1859

This bound volume of church records contains the foundational covenant, member rolls, a list of church acts, meeting minutes, baptisms, marriage records, articles of faith, an 1834 version of the covenant, a "list of rules," a "record of those who have acknowledged their baptismal dedication," ecclesiastical council reports, a list of charitable contributions, a list of dismissions, copies of correspondence, financial records, a registry of deaths, and a list of church pastors.

Parish records, 1759 -1853

This bound volume of parish records consists almost totally of the meeting minutes of the parish, as well as copies of meeting notices, and occassional fly-leaf inserts containing notes and correspondence.


Related Materials

Scarborough, Maine. Second Church, 1759-1865.


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.