Stoneham, Mass. First Congregational Church

Collection History

Please note that as of January 2022, the Stoneham, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church records, 1728-1889, and all future digital collections are now hosted on the library's new digital archive.

The town of Stoneham, previously known as Charlestown End, was incorporated in 1725. A vote in 1726 provided for the building of a 1,440-square-foot meeting house. First Church itself was not founded until July 1729. Their first pastor was Rev. James Osgood who was called in October 1728 and ordained and installed in September 1729. Osgood served until his death in 1746 and was replaced by Rev. John Carnes. John Searl succeeded John Carnes in 1758, followed by the ordination of John Cleaveland, son of the Rev. John Cleaveland in Essex, in 1785. Cleaveland's ministry began amicably and he continued in the town and church's favor until the death of his wife in 1793. An ecclesiastical council called late September 1794 dissolved Cleaveland's relationship with the town and church.  Several pastors were called after Cleaveland. The First Congregational Church in Stoneham continues to hold worship in its third meetinghouse today.

The digital collections below consist of the early records of the First Congregational Church in Stoneham. Included are records of meeting minutes, vital statistics, and membership rolls; parish and financial records including salary and capital expenses, and documents created by ministers who served the church, including commonplace and account books from James Osgood, and sermons from an unnamed minister, most likely the Rev. John Stevens who served in both Stoneham and Haverhill, Mass.

For additional information please see the finding aid.


Digital Materials

Before accessing transcriptions, please read this Note on Transcription >

Church records, 1728-1798

This volume includes meeting minutes, a copy of the church covenant, membership lists, births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, admissions, a confession of faith, and correspondence. Also included are extensive records of the dispute between Rev. John Cleaveland and the town of Stoneham leading to his dismissal by advice of ecclesiastical council.

A full transcription of this volume is available.

Church records, 1798-1840

This volume includes meeting minutes, correspondence, admissions, dismissions, deaths, excommunications, membership lists, baptisms, births, marriages, confessions, ecclesiastical council records, financial records, disciplinary cases, covenant, and a list of deaths in the parish.

A full transcription of this volume is available.

Marriage records, 1828-1831

This volume is comprised of marriage, death, and baptism records. There is also a record of a financial bequest to the church and congregation.

Parish records, 1803-1876

This volume includes pew sales and deeds; sales of parish property; records of the meeting house fire in 1840; construction, dedication, and enlargement of the new meeting house; and lists of dismissions and admissions. The first 17 pages of the volume are an index added into the volume at a later date.

Parish records, 1827-1856

This volume includes meeting minutes, committee reports, correspondence, Parish Society member dismissions, parish office appointment records, financial records, and warrants for parish meetings. There are also records pertaining to the replacement of the meeting house bell, including financial records and a list of subscribers.

Parish records, 1856-1889

This volume is comprised of meeting minutes, meeting warrants, pew sale records, financial records, officer and member lists, admissions, dismissions, and correspondence. Also included is a Rev. William Batt's resignation and Rev. D. Augustine's acceptance of the position as replacement, as well as records of his installation. The records end with Rev. Augustine's dismission.

James Osgood's Book, 1728-1731

This volume is James Osgood's commonplace book, or general notebook. It includes daily diary entries, financial notes, correspondence, a reading list, and birth records.

Osgood account book, 1740-1796

This volume includes financial records of James and Sarah Osgood. James's accounts comprise the first half of the volume, while Sarah's accounts comprise the second half.

Treasury records, 1827-1856

This volume is comprised of financial records pertaining to the parish treasury. Records include names of recipients and the purpose of the payment as well as date.

Financial records, 1827-1872

This volume includes financial records such as records of taxes for the support of the parish and pew taxes.

Financial records, 1828-1868

This volume is comprised primarily of financial records of the church and its subscribers. Also included are committee reports and notes on church finances, including an assessment and mortgage for the parsonage.

Sermons, 1798-1827

These are 14 sets of sermon notes. Each sermon is handwritten in a separate pamphlet. Most pamphlets are bound in string. Sermons are unattributed with multiple dates and locations, indicating their reuse by the preacher. Sermons are listed here chronologically and titled by the biblical citation of each sermon.


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.