Weymouth, Mass. Old South Church

Collection History

Please note that as of January 2022, the Weymouth, Massachusetts. Second Church records, 1723-1886, and all future digital collections are now hosted on the library's new digital archive.

In 1718, Rev. Peter Thatcher, pastor of the First Church in Weymouth, resigned his position. The residents of South Weymouth took this opportunity to create a new church closer to their community, as travel to North Weymouth proved difficult. In 1722, the South Weymouth community built its first meeting house. In 1723 this Second Church, also known as the South Church, was gathered following a successful petition to the General Court of Massachusetts. Reverend James Bayley was ordained as the first minister of the Second Church.

A second meeting house was constructed in 1785, and in 1788 a silver bell for the church was procured and placed in the belfry. In 1819, a Sunday school was organized in part by the efforts of Rev. William Tyler. Following the dismissal of Rev. Charles Warren in 1834, a parish committee was formed to search for a new minister. This committee chose Rev. Sylvanus Cobb, a Universalist minister, resulting in a congregational split with the orthodox majority leaving. In 1838, the more moderate Rev. Wales Lewis was ordained as a compromise; however this did not result in a successful reconciliation. In 1842 the orthodox members re-formed as the Weymouth Union Church.

In 1854 the third South Church meeting house was constructed, and a Holbrook organ installed in 1858. This was later replaced by a Hastings organ in 1903. In 1865, as the story goes, the church's silver bell cracked while being tolled for the death of Abraham Lincoln and was recast shortly afterwards. In 1873 a vestry was added to the building. In 1892, the Second Church was incorporated as the Old South Church of Weymouth

After years of efforts from members of both churches, the Old South Church and Union Church re-merged and became the Old South Union Church on November 18, 1918. In 1948, the Old South Union Church voted to become a member of the United Church of Christ, and continues to serve the South Weymouth community today.

The records within this collection document the administrative history of the church and the vital records of its members. This collection includes meeting minutes, committee reports, baptismal records, marriage records, membership lists, financial records, and ministerial records.

For additional details please see the finding aid.


Digital Materials

Church records, 1723-1818

This volume of church records includes the original covenant and first signers, records of choices for deacon, baptismal records, communion records, marriage records, membership lists, records of dismission, meeting minutes, and records of votes.

Church records, 1818-1886

This volume of church records includes a membership list from 1819, records of the ordination of Rev. William Tyler, records of admittance and dismission, baptismal records, meeting minutes, records of censure, records relating to the choice of deacons, ordination records, and council minutes.

Committee report, 1773

This document consists of a committee report on the building of a new school house.

Parish records, 1723-1811

This volume of parish records includes meeting minutes, including records related to ministerial pay, and committee reports.

Parish records, 1812-1868

This volume of parish records contains warrants for meetings, meeting minutes, committee reports, including a report of the building committee, pew rental charges and records of pew sales, membership certificates, and membership lists.

Financial records, 1774-1826

This account book contains extensive records on the expenditures and income of the church.

Financial records, 1826-1873

This account book contains detailed financial records related to the expenditures of the church and its various sources of income. The account book provides details on the recipients of payment and the specific services rendered. There are also notes related to donations and various subscription drives.


Special Thanks

The digital resource has been made possible in part by the Council 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.