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Pastor of the Chureh. 



edhcsc arc the Fathers. 



Wakkfikld. December i6, 1S76. 

Dear Sir : 

At an iiitbrnial meeting of the conr;rcgiition, hekl on Thanks- 
i^ivinji^ Day, November 30th, 1S76, immediately after the religious .services 
ill the Congregational Church, there was an earnest expression of desire 
that the sermon then just listened to, respecting the Old Pastors of the 
First Parish, as also a former historical discourse preached by you last 
June, might be preserved in printed form, for more general circulation 
and usefulness ; and we were appointed a committee to carry such desire 
into etiect. if we might with your favor and consent. 

Pursuant to such commission and authority, and in accordance witli 
our own sincere wishes, we respectfully solicit the use of your manuscripts 
of the historical discourses referred to, for publication, knowing them to 
be the fruit of much labor, thought and research — containing matter of 
great value and local interest — and believing this progressive generation 
may well pause a moment in its swift career, and gain new lessons in 
Courage, Faith and Duty, from the solemn Voices of the Past. 

Trusting for youv co-operation, and with feelings of high respect and 
warm personal regard, we are 

^*ery Trid_\- Yours, 






Rev. Charles R. Bliss. 

Wakefield, Dec. 21, 1S76. 
Dear Brethren : 

I have recei\ed your communication relative to the historical 
discourses lately preached in our Church, and sincerely thank you for the 
kind terms in which you have addressed me. 

We honor ourselves in paying due respect to the memory and the 
work of the worthy. men whose places we occupy; and, since the interest 
I have felt in reviewing the long and successful career of the Church is so 
generally shared, I cheerfully accede to your request. 
Reciprocating your sentiments of regard, I am 
Yours Truly, 

CHARLES R. bliss. 
Messrs. Lucius Beebe, George R. Morrison, John G. Aborn, Thomas 
WiNSHip, George W. Aborn, Chester W. Eaton. 


He who Avoukl uiidei-staiid the chief characteristics of the 
early life of New England, must study the history of her 
churches. The highest acts of men give to the world the 
best groxuid for an estimate concerning them ; and the 
churches, absorbing as they did anxious thought, patient toil 
and unsellish endeavor, are mirrors in which we may see 
clearly reflected the characters of our fathers. Unhappily, 
they who make history do not always write it ; and w^e there- 
fore lack desirable facilities for tracing the church life of the 
Puritans. The records of the first church in Wakefield, 
though nearly continuous are not full, and are wholly silent 
ui)on various matters about which the church was with sister 
churches deeply interested. Yet they disclose a sutficient 
number of leading facts to give very clear imprecsions of the 
progress of the church, the character of the ministry, the 
questions which at various times agitated it, and the tone of 
belief and feeling by which it has l)een characterized. 

This volume had its origin in the quickened historical 
s[)irit of the centennial year. A discourse upon the history 
of the church Avas prepared and preached, when it was found 
that the material at hand demanded another sermon. A Com- 
memorative (Talhering, to which the colonies of the church in 
adjoining toAvns, and the churches of this place, were invited 
to send representatives, wa^ held, and speeches and letters 

iiuido the occasion luciiionihlc. It was, as previous corrcs- 
poudeiice indicates, thought l)est to preserve what had been 
rescued, and, as any change of form in the material prepared 
Avould be attended Avith some sacritice, the discourses, some- 
what extended, are printed as they were preached. A brief 
account of the gathering folloAvs. Mindful of the pleasure 
which the discovery of an exact picture of the church as it 
was in l()7(i, or 177(5, woukl have given us, we have attempt- 
ed to give a })icture of its condition in 1876 for the pleasure 
of our successors, to whom we send herewith our cordial 


1. — A Sketch or THE CnurvCii. 

2. — Bkief \otices or Eight Pastors — Eev. IIekky 
(jkeex, Eev. Eichard Browx, Rev. Samuel Haugh, 
Rev. AVilliam Hobby, Rev. John Brock, Rev. 
Caleb Prextice, Rev. Joxathax Pierpoxt, Rev. 
Reuben Emerson. 

3. — Ax Account of a Commemorative Gathering. 

4. — Pacts Regarding the Present Condition of the 


John 4, oS — Other men lahored, (tnd ye are entered 
into their Jalxyrs. 

This day is this scripture fulfilled iu your ears. Look 
around you. Let your eye glance up and down these pleas- 
ant streets, upon these public buildings and private dwellings, 
and over these cultivated gardens and outlying farms ; and 
then go back two hundred and thirty-two years, and look 
again about you. Hocks and tangled thickets fill the courses 
of these smoothly-gravelled highways. The pul)lic common 
with its graceful ehns, the fields now leveled and fruitful, 
and the very sites of these comely houses, are wild with 
cedars and hemlocks ; while marshes stretch hither and 
thither between these lakes, and the Indian and the wihl 
l)east dispute with eacli other tlie right to possess that which 
neither can hold. A^'hat a contrast is this ! It is as wide as 
that between civilization and barl)arism. Do we ask who 
were its authors? We are compelled to answer that we are 
not. Other men labored, and we have entered into their 
labors. A\^hat those labors were, in all their variety and dif- 
ficulty and completeness, it were impossible to comprehend. 
Every generation performed its allotted share. The felling 
of the forests, and the organization and growth of the numici- 
pality, the school, and the church, proceeded simultaneously, 
and when one generation rested from its toil, its successor, 
with motives equally pure, and courage ecjually strong, step- 
ped into its place. 

Bearing in mind the variety of the labors of those first 
generations, you will not expect me to speak of all d(>part- 
ments of their work. The accomplished historian of the 
town has produced an invaluable volume, in which municipal 

and social affairs are presented with great fidelity ; l)iit it did 
not fall within the scope of that work to trace the chnrcli 
life of yonr fathers. This, I propose, to some extent, to do. 
Should any one say that this is bnt the centennial year, anl 
hardly justifies one in going back more than twice on(^ hun- 
dred years, I reply — the value of the centennial year con- 
sists, chiefly, in the fiict that it revives the historic spirit ; 
and when one goes back as far as to the grand period of the 
Eevolution, he can hardly fail to go l)ack to the grander pe- 
riod signalized by the first consecration of this land to civil 
and religious freedom. 

Not far from the 3'ear 1(342, a small company of people, 
some of whom had just arrived from England, and others of 
whom had ])een a brief time in the country, left the shelter 
of friendly homes in Lynn, and planted themselves on this 
spot. Too few in number to form, at once, a church, they 
waited till the Autumn of 1644,* or that of 1645, when 
fresh accessions enabled them to fulfil their pmpose. I will 
]'ead to you from the ancient record, as traced by a hand that 
more than two hundred years ago "forgot its cunning," the 
names of those Inx^thren : 

Francis Smith. Lieut. jNIarshall and his wife. 

Mrs. Green. Eliz. Wiley. 

Will. Cowdrey and his wife. Eliz. Hart. 

John Pierson and his wife. Lidia Lakin. 

Bro. Dunton. Eliza Hooper. 

George Davis. Zach. Fitch and his wife. 

Thos. Kendall and his wife. Will. Eaton and his wife. 

Thos. Parker and his wife. John Batchelder and his wife. 

William Hooper. A¥ill. Martin. 

Mary Swain. Thos. Bancroft. 

Joan Marshall. Jonas Eaton and his wife. 

Thos. Marshall. Judith Pool. 

Sister Martin. Abigail Damon. 

Thos.' Hartshorn and his wife. Lieut Smith and his wife. 

Edward Taylor and his wife. 

* The exact date of the founding of tlie church is in doubt. In favor of placing it in the 
year 1C44, there is authority as follows:— (a) Tradition in the church. Rev. Kiehanl Brown • 
writing in 1720, mentions that year. The Bi-centennial celebration of the church was ob- 
served in 184-1. (b) Johnson, the author of The Wonder Working Providence, jiublished in 

It would li'ivp us iiToat satisfactiou to kuow Iho i)r('(iso 
spot whore, Avith i)rjiy(n' aud psalui and solemn covenant, 
they dedicated themselves to (Jod and to each other. Jt was 
l)robal)ly on the street now called Albion, not far from its 
eastern end. But to the genuine New Englander truth is 
more important than any dress it may wear, and covenants 
are more sacred than any places in which they may have 
been taken; and although we know not the precise spot 
where the founders of this church pledged themselves to 
each other and to Christ, we do ])ossess the exact words in 
which they did so. Inasmucli as few of you have ever 
heard the articles which for more than a hundred years serv- 
ed this church as l)oth creed and covenant. 1 will (piote a por- 
tion of them : 

"We give up ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ, to be ruled and 
guided hy him in the matter of his worship and in our whole eonversa- 
tion, acknowledging him not only our alone Saviour, but also our King 
to reign and rule over us, and our Prophet and Teacher, by his word 
and spirit. Forsaking all other teachei-s and doctrines which he has not 
commanded, we \v'holly disclaim our own righteousness in i)oint of jus- 
tification, and do cleave unto him for righteousness and life, grace and 

AVe do farther promise, by the help of Christ, to walk with our breth- 
ren and sisters of the congregation in the spirit of brotherly love, watch- 
ing over them and caring for them, avoiding all jealousies, suspicions, 
backbitiugs, censurings, (juarrelings, and secret risings of the heart 
against them, forgiving and forbearing, and yet seasonably admonishing 
and restoring them by a spirit of meekness, and set them in joint again 
that have been, through infirmity, overtaken in any fault among us. 

We resolve, in the same strength, to approve ourselves in our partic- 

1654, gives 1C44 as Uie date. As lie was an inhabitant of the neigliboring town 
of Woburn, he would be likely to know the fact, (c) The early authorities of the Colony 
were opposed to the incorporation of a town till a church had been formed; and the town 
was certainly incorporated in 1644. In favor of 1645, the chief authority is Gov. Win- 
thiop. He gives in his history Nov. 5, 1645, as the date. He is followed by Hubbard and 
Spoftbrd. But he also gives the date of the incorporation of the town as 1645. Since the 
record of the General Court proves this to have been an error, it is fair to infer that he was 
equally astray respecting the date at which the church was gathered. From some source 
not easily ascertained, a mistake has been formerly made regarding the number of churches 
that were formed in the Colony before this one. Johnson, mentioned above, says that this 
was the twenty-fourth. The order was as follows: — Salem, Charlestown, Dorchester, Bos- 
ton, Roxbury, Lynn, Watertown, Cambridge, Ipswich, Newbury, Cambridge 2d, Concord, 
Hingham, Dedham, Weymouth, Rowley, Hampton, Salisbury, Sudbury, Braintree, Glouces- 
ter, Dover, Woburn, Reading. 


ular callings, shunning idleness, not slotlifiil in business, knowing that 
idleness is the bane of an}- societ}-. Neither will we deal hardly or 
oppressingl}- with any wherein we arc the Lord's stewards; promising 
to the best of our abilities to teach our children the good knowledge of 
the Lord, that they also may learn to fear him and serve him witli lis, 
that it may go well with them and with us forever.'" 

"Witli such vows ."iiicl promises, they might avcII anticipate 
Avhat we behokl in the fulfihiient of the passage — "The wil- 
derness and the solitary phice shall be glad for them, and 
the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose." The for- 
tunes of the infant church were, on the whole, prosperous. 
Its numbers increased, thongh its pastorate was, during the 
first eighteen years, twice interrupted by death. Thougli 
the early records are brief, they attest very plainly two 
facts. The discipline of the church was very careful ; 
and its members were fully alive to questions in which all the 
churches of the colony were interested. 

Every generation has its own peculiar and vexing difficul- 
ties with which to deal ; and the first and second generations 
in the Xew England churches had their full share of them. 
The chief of these grew out of the unsettled mutual relations 
of civil to religious affairs. To explain this difficulty it is 
necessary to revert to a certain underlying idea which moved 
our fathers to come to these shores. Their ambition was to 
found a Christian state ; and the best method of doing it 
awakened inquiries upon which the leading minds among theni 
expended long and anxious thought. Their conclusions at 
length took shape in the principle which, in l(i31, the Gen- 
eral Court framed into a law that — th(' right of rothui slionhj 
he covjlned to memhev.'i of chiwchcs. ^Mistaken as we now 
see the conclusion to have l)een, w(> have no right to impeach 
the motives of those who reached and adopted it. In the 
nature of the case, however, it could not stand. The re(|uir('- 
ments for entering the churches were rigid. There were 
worthy and conscientious people who coidd not enter them, 
and, what was still more portentous in the fears of the first 
members, many of their own children did not incline to en- 
ter them. Deep solicitude was at length awakened, not onlv 


ill Alassac'liust'tts, but also in Coiiiu'cticut ; and a synod was 
convened in lioston in ItioT, to examine the M'hole subject, 
and advise tlu> churches upon it. llie conchisions of thnt 
synod were untortunate. Xol seeing the wisdom of Aviiolly 
separating church and state, they attempted to meet the dif- 
ticulty by devising a modified kind of church membership — 
one to which Scri[)turG gave no sanction, and one the work- 
ing of wliich proved most disastrous. They decided tluit 
the baptized children of church members might, by a simple 
declaration of their belief in the Bible and the religion of 
Christ, without any experimental knowledge of religion, Ix; 
accounted meml)ers of the church in so far as to (Mititle them 
to have their children l)aptized, wliich would also imcsl them 
with the right to act iu })ublic atl'airs. 

This decision, involving as it did a wide de[)artur(^ from 
grounds previously occupied, encountered powerful opposi- 
tion from the churches, and es})ecially from the laity. An- 
other synod was called live years later, embracing among its 
members the pastor of this church — Kev. Samuel Ilaugh — 
and the decision was re-atiirmed. Soon, as avc learu from 
our records, it was brought l)efore this church for their judg- 
ment — for it was never the custom of the churches to accept 
any decrees of svnods or c(uincils till they had themselves 
examined them. 

The propositi(^ns and the result of the action of this 
church are recorded as follows : 

" The minds of the In-ethrcn bein^- tried as to tlie practice of the 
cliihhen's duty to own the covenant in order to their children's bajitisni, 
themselves not in full communion — (1) It was propounded in a church 
meeting whether confederate visible believers in particular churches, 
and their infant seed whose next parents one or Ijotli are in covenant, 
are acknowledged according to Scripture to be the approved nn'intx'rs 
of the visible church. (2) Whether the infant seed of the churcii, 1)0- 
ing members of the same church with their parents, are, when they are 
adult or grown up, personally under the watch, discipline and govtMii- 
ment of that church. (3) Whether such persons not admitted to lull 
communion, being witliout sueli furtlicr qualitications as the word ot 
Cod requireth thereunto, jet nevertheless, they understanding the do(;- 
trincs of faith, and j)ul)licly ])rofcssing their assent thereunto, nol scan- 
dalous in life, and solemnlv ownins; the covenant l)efore the ( luu'ch. 


wherein the}- give up themselves and their children to the Lord, and 
subject themselves to the government of Christ in the church,— their 
children are to be baptized. 

The propositions were voted and passed on the affirmative part. 
'I'lie brethren consented thereto by their silence, and afterwards by 
their usual sign, nemine contradicentc.'''' 

At first sight, the conchiding portion of the third of these 
articles would seem to be sufficiently stringent to exclude all 
from the church, save such as professed conversion : but it 
was not so interpreted. The condition to full communion was 
a narrative of personal experience, describing the special 
reasons the candidate could present for lielieving himself a 
Christian. A formal act of owning the covenant, and ac- 
knowledging God, and submitting to the government of the 
church, was held to be consistent with the denial that one 
was an actual disciple of Christ, in the New Testament sense. 
Hence, a person could be a member of the church, while 
neither he nor others Ijclieved he was a Christian. In adopt- 
ing this plan, those usually far-sighted men did not sec that, 
.in the process of time, many would l)e introduced into the 
churches who would have no sympathy with the doctrines 
preached ; nor did they forecast the time, which actually 
came, when a wide-spread defection from the old standards 
would take place. Resorting to a human contrivance to 
strengthen the churches, they made them weak. A\'ith all 
they had learned, they did not yet tmderstand that the fewer 
connections the gospel has with anything that appeals to tli(> 
ambition or self-interest of men, the more vigorous will be 
its life, and the steadier will be its advance. But they were 
striking out a new path, and having the benefit neitiicr of 
the experience nor the mistakes of others, their failure but 
shows that they were men. 

Descend now one full century from that time. You reach 
the year 1765 — ten years l^efore the opening of the Kevolu- 
tion. Great changes have occurred. All the first settlers 
are gone, and the third generation till their places. The for- 
ests have disappeared ; comfortable dwellings have been 
erected ; and roads have been built. The first small meeting 


house has given phiee to one of more i)retending aspect, 
standing a httle to the north and west of this si)ot — a bnild- 
ing already ancient and dilapidated, and destined in three 
years from that time to yield its place to the structure within 
whose well-kept frame we are to-day sitting. It is the 2nd 
day of September — ft week day ; but the church is open, and 
the saddled horses standing about the door indicate that some 
meeting is in progress. AVe enter, and lind ourselves in a 
business meeting of the old church. The chairman is Dea. 
Benjamin Brown, senior, whose son, also a deacon, is des- 
tined ten years later to l)e a member of the tirst provincial 
C'ongress, a Colonel, and afterward a (General in the army. 
The secretary is Dea. Brown Emerson — the grandfather of 
your old pastor. Rev. Reuben Emerson. There are Ban- 
crofts and Temples and Nichollses present. We learn from 
their remarks that Parson Hobby had two months l)efore de- 
parted this life, and that they had just oliserved a day of sol- 
emn fasting. and prayer. They have now assi-mhh'd to dis- 
cuss a grave mattei: of cluirch administration. From other 
sources we know that gretit uncertainty of religious opinions 
was prevaiHng. The seed planted one hundred years before 
was l)ringing forth its fruit. And this meeting was hekl to 
determine the pi-oper answer to be given to two ([uestions. 
Olio was — whether it would bo safe for them to receive new 
members while without a pastor. And the other was — 
whether it would not 1)C wise to guard the door of the church 
by a stringent doctrinal creed. I cannot repeat the speeches 
that were made upon that occasion, but T can state to you the 
result reached. As to the first point, they voted to receive 
members, but directed the Deacons to examine them and 
"receive satisfaction" from them; and decided that when 
such candidates were to be received, an ordained minister 
should be invited to administer to them the covenant. The 
second (piestion they answered by voting that Ebenezer Nich- 
ols, Estp, Dea. Samuel Bancroft and Lieut. John Temple, 
should l)e a committee to confer with Rev. Peter Clark of 
Danvers, and Rev. Eliab Stone of Xo. Reading, and draw 
up, with their assistance, a Confession of Faith. F'our weeks 


later that coiiniiittee reported to the church ; and the creed 
then constructed and adopted is the creed of this church — 
unahercd suvc in two or three lines — noAV in use.* What- 
c\er may hv our g-eneral views about the usefulness of creeds, 
it cannot but heighten our impressions of the tidelity to their 
convictions of those men, that, without promptings from 
clerical sources, they attempted to stem the tide that was, as 
they thought, threatening the safety of their church. They 
took the responsibility that l)clonged to them ; and in the 
limes of discussion, and rupture of old ties that not long af- 
t(>r came to many churches, this was unmoved and immova- 

It may properly be admitted that the zeal for sound doc- 
trines which at that time was becoming ver}^ strong in the 
hearts of many ministers as well as laymen, sometimes car- 
ried them to rather absurd lengths. An entry in the i-ecords, 
iiuule two years before Mr. Hobby died, in his hand-writing, 
reads as follows — "Keceived letters missive from Marble- 
head, desiring assistance at the installation of IVlr. Witherell, 
l):it l)eing a stranger to the gentleman, his experiences and 
his principles, voted not to send." The next year this entry 
occin-s — ''Received letters missive from the ord church in 
Salem, desiring assistance in setting "apart Mr. Huntington 
to the work of the ministry ; but, being unacquainted with 
the gentleman, his principles, morals and experience, voted 
not to send." ^Ir. Hobby was well known throughout the 
province as a disciple and defender of AVhitelield, and hav- 

* It lias become so common among cburclius to recast tlieir creeds, that it may seem 
strange that any church, professing to be abreast with tlie age, should content itself with a 
1^ mfession dating back 112 years. In reply it may be said— (1) The pastors and members of 
this church have never thought that their creed should ba discarded, either bi'cause its lan- 
guage was becoming antiquated, or because some of its implications did not quite agree 
with modern theological notions. (2) The flavor of age about it pleases them. (:{) The 
wise laymen under whose administration it was introduced were too wise to think that a 
t cclmical creed ought ever to be used on the admission of members. For that purpose, they 
I lolieved the covenant sufficient. The church has never pursued any other method. Each 
candidate receives a copy of the creed when he is examined, and, according to a standing 
rule, if he expresses no dissent before the time for his public reception, he is held to linve 
given it his general endorsement. The church has never believed that an intellectual as- 
sent to dogmas should be mingled with a profession of allegiance to Christ. Hence, it has 
never felt itself f )re3d, by the incongruities which others fe'el, to change its creed. Nor has 
it ever been admonished by t'.ie creeping in of heresies, that its method was unsafe. 


ing- suflcred some persecution on that account, it was not 
strange that he shouhl be on his guard a.gainst endorsing un- 
lit men as ministers ; but lack of personal acquaintance with 
them seems a poor reason why lie should not si|^ upon coun- 
cils called to judge of their qualifications. During the intcr- 
\a\ between the pastorates of ]\Ir. II()bl)y and ^Ir. Prentice, 
the church, on one occasion, went so far in its solicitude as 
to fail of its object. Ilaving heard Eev. John Lathrop, they 
liked him; but, fearing the leaven of heterodoxy, they pass- 
ed the following vote — "That the church doth make choice 
of ^Ir. John Lathrop, provided his principles of religion, and 
methods of church government, agree with this church. 
A'oted — that the Deacons, with Col. Nichols and j\Ir. dohn 
Temple and Mr. Xathaniel Emerson, 1)C a committee to joiu 
wdtli Rev. ]\fr. Joseph Emerson of ^lalden, the Eev. Mr. 
Kol)ic of Lynn, and the liev. Mr. Stone of No. Eeading, to 
examine i\Ir. John Lathrop." The result was favorable to 
his orthodoxy, but not to their desires; for when, after 
subjecting him to such an examination, they ga\e him a call, 
he declined it. It is, however, far better that men slionld so 
])rizc great privileges as to go too far in defending them, 
than that they should lose them by prizing them too litth'. 
It is quit(^ impossilJc for Christians living in times lilv(M)nr 
own, when denominational lines* have been drawn — after, 
rather than before, theological battles — to a[)])reciate the un- 
<'asiness of those living just before such division. Conscious 
of increasing dilierences of opinion, and not knowing Avhith- 
er views thought to be errors, and yet vigorously defended 
l)y good men, would lead, — such persons would naturally 
1)ecome very wary, and at length grow so eager in the de- 
fence of important doctrines as to create, rather than heal, 
\livisions. After the death of ]Mr. Hobby, who seems to 
have adhered to the position of Jonathan Edwards, that oidy 
converted persons have a right to partake of the communion, 
— a position then widely denied — a division arose in this 
church, in consequence of which the (•elel)ration of the ordi- 
nance was for a time suspended. A brief record informs us 
of the fuct : but records are sometimes the more significant 


for their broviiy, and this is siifficiontly so to justify me in 
(juoting it. 

At a meeting of the church, Sept. 1, 1768, Deti. Samuel 
Bancroft being Moderator, the church voted — "That, where- 
as we have for a considerable time past lived in neglect of 
the Lord's Supper, by means of some perplexing circumstan- 
ces attending our affairs, we unitedly humble ourselves before 
(iod for our sinful neglect, and implore forgiveness through 
the blood of atonement, and grace for the future to honor 
Christ by a careful attendance on all his ordinances ; and our 
purpose is, 1)}' the leave of Providence, to attend the holy 
supper with all convenient speed, hoping there to meet with 
Christ, and sit together as friends and brethren, forbearing 
one another and forgiving one another, as God for Christ's 
sake hath forgiven us." Fewer church ditiiculties woidd vex 
the hearts of men if such a spirit could be l)rought to bear 
upon them. 

The position of this church during the early part of its his- 
tory was one of greater relative im})ortance than that which 
it has maintained since. Being the tirst church estaldished 
within a circuit of several miles, it was the centre of more 
extended influences. The churches of Lynn on the east, 
Charlestown on the south, and Woburn on the west, were 
the nearest it ; while there Avas none on the north. The peo- 
l)lc settling in that part of Charlestown now covered by the 
towns of ]\lelrose and Stoneham, in that part of Lynn now 
called Lynniield, and over all the tract embracing the towns 
of Keading, Xo. Reading and AVilmington, came here to 
worship. In none of these places, however, had the number 
of meml)ers increased sufficiently to Justify the formation of 
other chuirhes till the year 1720 — seventy-six years after 
this church Avas formed. The membership of this had then 
reached 2o(') — a larger number than it has ever attained since, 
till very recently. The year 1720 Avas signalized by the 
sending forth of two colonies— that of Lynnfield, and that of 
Xo. Beading. In 1729 the church in Stoneham was formed, 
and in 17H3 that in Wilmington, chiefly from this church ; 
while it Avas not till the year 1770, or 126 years after this 


clmrcli was formed, that the Ohl South in Eeadiiiii" ^vas es- 
ta])lishecl. The formation of the (thiirch last named was a 
iii'eat o-rief to this. \t took from it SS members, among whom 
were many of the wisest and best of its mmd)er. It wonkl 
now be thon<>ht very strange shonkl any one snggest that the 
jjeople of tluit town sliould come to tliis to atteud church, 
for even some of our own school districts are thought quite 
too far away to permit their inliabitants to come hither to 
worship. But our ftithers had diflerent ideas. Pliysically, 
they required less nursing than we ; and perhaps tlieir minds 
were less uneasy, their tempers less impatient, their faith 
more stead}-, and their principles better established. Cer- 
tain it is, that exercise which was play to them is toil to us, 
and tatigne Avhieh they did uot notice, becomes an attack of 
almost fatal disease to their children. They were, however, 
snsceptible to the influences of inclement weather, for there 
is one entry in the record which informs us that, contrary to 
the pastor's wish, a church meeting was once held in his 
kitchen, becanse of the * 'sharpness of the present cold."' 

This church did not cease to enrich other churches when 
her own i)articular colonies had all been sent forth. It is 
among the arrangements of Divine Providence that some of the 
most inrtuential things we do are those done contrary to our 
own wish. It was by no means a pleasant thing to the old 
church, 1)ut uevertheless it was a very useful thing, that 
the Baptist church in this town, three quarters of a century 
ago, took a })ortion of the strength and vitality of this 
body. The gospel as preached by the pastors of this 
church is in the very life Idood of families wdiich have fur- 
nished many of the most honored and influential mem])ers of 
that church. .Vs a matter of church pride Ave should )je 
glad if those families Avere still identified Avitli us, but in a 
broader \Iqw it is no doubt better that they have been led to 
enter anothei portion of the common vineyard. There may 
have been, in former times, a rupture of old friendships, and 
a loss in some degree of christian charity and l>rotherly love, 
but, on the Avhole, the cause has gained. And if Ave can but 
preserve the unity of the fSpirit in the bond of peace, the ap- 


j)ropri;ite Avoi'k of cliurclu's Avill l)o more thoroughly (U)ik>, 
and the hopes of ehristiaiis uill reeeive a more ample fulfil- 
ment, from the divisions whieh a former generation -witnessed. 
The Universalist clmreh in like manner received much from 
this, though without its consent and against its protest ; yet 
for all the good which that church has accomplished this is 
quite as ready to thank God as though it Avere done by itself. 
Though there have heen great changes in this church since 
its establishment, yet it is evident, from many facts, tliat the 
loA'e of change, for its own sake, lias never l)een one of its 
failings. Changes in it have been as gradual as those in the 
general habits of the people . Should yon allow your imagina- 
tion to carry you l)ack one hundred and twenty-five years yon 
would see in the pulpit a venerable predecessor of mine, Ivev. 
A\'m. Ho1)l)y, with powdered wig, and gown and bands. About 
him you would i)ercei\'e an odor of sanctity and authority 
Avhijch the clergy of modern days find it quite inqwssible to 
obtain. The Deacons wonld be sitting near the pulpit in 
places of honor, and a flavor of sacredness, somewhat milder, 
])ut still very marked, would emanate from them. The con- 
gregation would be seated according to ideas of priority and 
seniority — the more graAc and wealthy and revered occupy- 
ing pews which tiie deference of the people had permitted 
them to cushion and ornament, while, in carefully estimated 
raidv, the less rich and intluential are assigned to seats corre- 
sponding to their degree."* Tithing men, ever ready to mag- 
nify their ofHce, preserve decorum among the young people, 
and drive out the dogs. The scriptures have no place in the 
church, and are never read. One of the deacons reads the 
hymns line by line as they are sung. The sermon is from 
one to two hours long, and the prayers are l)ut little shorter ; 
and when the service is over, the peoi)le I'ctain their seats 

* Uiiiler (late of 1730, the pansli i)asKed the following: '-Voted, That Jteal Estate ami 
Age are the two first and ehiefest rules to go by in seating the meeting house." Then they 
declared by vote that certain persons who had attempted to obtain eligible seats iu contra- 
vention of that rule, were acting "disorderly," and ordered them to go back to their former 
jiews. One of the men, not wishing to have such a stigma rest upon his reputation, brought 
tUematterbefore the next parish meeting, and in consideration of the fact that he had 
years before expended money on the pew, the disgrace was by vote removed. 


Avhilc the pai>;()ii. Avitli st.'itoly Irond, Avalks down the aisle, 
rccogniziiio- l)y a formal Ixnv the wortli of some i)n)iniiieiit 
parishioner, and impressino- all Init the irreverent Avitli tlie 
solemnity of religion. 

You need not be told that all this assumption of superiori- 
ty and portioning- out of dignity has passed aAvay. liut it 
faded out naturally. There A\as no foundation in jjolitieal 
theories or prevalent ideas (jf human e(|uality, for distinetions 
of tiiis nature. Till the Ixevolution. thei'e Avas a hojx' con- 
stantly asserting itself, and con-.^antly i)i()ving itself futile. 
that some Avay would be de\ i>ed lo ereale an ari>t(icra(y in 
this land ; and that prid(! whieh could find no other theatre 
Avent into the churches, and sought to create orders ihci-e. 
lint the soil of this country iK'\-cr Avoiild produce certain 
kinds of fruit, and this Mas one of them. The IcA-elling i)r()- 
cess l)egan Avhen the colonies Avere founded, and th(»ngh 
many families Avith courtly ideas fought against it, the con- 
test was useless, 'flic IvcNolution A\as tiie cidnn'nation not 
alone of i)()litical tlieoi-ics, l»ut of social as well. Powdered 
Avigs Avere thrown aside. Formal distinctions that had liAed 
with (litHculty. die(l easily, and men, both in churches and 
out of them, came to the c(mclusion that the only thing that 
can elcA'ate oiu' aboAc another is substantial Avortli. 

l)Ut. though some things have changed in the administra- 
tion of church atfairs, others haA e not. You liaA'e already 
been reminded that the creed of the church is. almost Avord 
for word, the same that A\as adopted 11 1^ years ago. 
There arc other things that liaAc had a still longer life. U])- 
on the admission of nuMubers, as you know, anc ask of them 
a written or oral jnd)lic relation of their christian experience. 
This ])i-actice is unkno',\n iu many churches, and probably 
will be found iu but few. Should you trace the history of it 
you would go back 11»7 yeai's, and you would fall upon a cu- 
rious record A\liich states that some, having on account of 
some weakness com])laincd that they could not make their 
"relations before many." the church was asked whether it 
would release them, but refused to do so. The liberal ideas 
oi' Mr. Prentice led, one hundred years latei', to the suspen- 


81011 of the practice for a time, l)ut the more coiiservjitiAc 
views of Mr. Emerson, who folloAved him, procured its re- 
instatement, and no one- has interfered with it since. The 
introduction of singing "by rule'" savored so much of popery 
in the estimation of some, that the pastor. Rev. Richard 
Brown, ventured to favor it Avith great care. Under date of 
1722 he describes Avith great particuhirity the steps lie took. 
The account will be found in the town history, l/util one 
hundred years ago the Bil)le, for a simihir reason, was nevei- 
read in church ; but the gift of a handsome folio copy by 
Maj. Nathaniel Barber of Boston, led to the adoption of the 
practi(;e. Eighty-six years ago, the rule of inviting mem- 
bers of other churches present at a communion season to 
])articipate in the service, was, by a formal vote, estab- 

For convenience in managing the government of Congre- 
gational churches, the practice has become universal of ap- 
jiointing yearly a Church Committee, charged with the duty 
of attending to the spiritual interests of the body. This 
innovation was made in this church in the year 182n. The 
arguments for it seem to have been thoroughly canvassed, 
and the Church voted unanimously to establish such a com- 
mittee, defining at the same time somewhat minutely its duties. 

Social customs always atlect, more or less, ecclesiastical in- 
terests ; and it cannot fail to suiprise us, to know that when 
Mr. Hobby was installed, the occasion demanded the pur- 
chase of a full barrel of Aviiie. It will surprise us less to 
knoAV that discipline for drunkenness, even when prominent 
church members Avere the culprits, Avas not of rare occur- 
rence. It Avas a long time Ijefore the churches understood, 
if indeed they yet understand, that of all the foes of religion, 
the use of intoxicating drinks is the Avorst. 

This evil sometimes gave rise to nice questions of casuistry 
in the church. In the year 173() Brother Bryant accused 
Brother Damon of slander in calling him a drunkard. A 
«'hurch meeting Avas held. Bro. Damon persisted in charg- 
ing Bro. Bryant Avith drunkenness. The record proceeds, 
"Bro. Bryant, though he disoAvned the charge of habitual 


drmikoniicss, yet seemed disposed to MeknoAvledu'e that he 
had been overtaken witli the sin of drniikeiniess, provided it 
nii_o-ht he thonght an uneliristian proeednre in any to call him 
a di'unkard upon such acknowledgment. Whereupon the 
church pass(Hl a vote that it would l)e looked upon as some- 
thing unchristian and unjustitial)le to call Bro. Bryant a 
drunkard upon his acknowledgment.'' He then acknowl- 
edged and was i-estored to "charity." Thci church assented 
to his i)roposal, that, if they would stigmatize it as unchrist- 
ian to call him a thorough drunkard, he would confess that 
he had been a moditied one. The church fultilled its part of 
the contract; he fultilled his : and the charge of slander was 
suffered to rest. 

Some one has said that the best evidence of the faitliful- 
ness of a church is to be found in its records of charity. 
Jndged by this rule, this church has been faithful. It re- 
membered Avith generous contributions its poor inembei-s, its 
colonies, and other churches, even as remote as South Car- 
olina. In recent times it has given liberally to missions, 
both home and foreign. During several successive years its 
charities have exceeded a thousand dollars yearly. 

If christian patriotism Ix^ another sign of tidelit}', the 
church has at various trying periods given it. A goodly 
munl)er of its members are found upon the rolls of soldiers 
(^igaged in the French and Indian war, that of the Ivevolu- 
tion, and that of the Ivcbellion. One of its prominent mem- 
bers — Col. Ebenezer Nichols — commanded a regiment in the 
French war, and another — Dea. Benjamin Brown — was a, 
Colonel in the Revolutionary war, and afterward a l^rigadicr 
General. Several others attained the rank of Captain. The 
pastor of the church in 1775, Rev. Caleb Prentice, shoul- 
dered his musket, and, followed ]}y many of his flock, par- 
ticipated in the Concord tight, while this meeting house 
served as a place of storage for a large amount of army suj^)- 
plies brought from Salem, and afterward remo\ ed to Water- 

The church has enjoyed mau}^ revivals, one of the most 
memorable of which occurred in the year 1803. The parish 

liad hocoine divided in theological sentiments. Mr. Prentice, 
who died in February of that year, had preached the general 
system of religions l)elief that Dr. Chanuing afterwards elab- 
orated. Though he was personally l)eloved by the entire 
community, some of the church did not accept his views, 
and \\ithdrew to neighboring churches. He was, doubtless, 
sustained l)y tlie majority of his people. Before the year 
(•los(!d. and while a more decided advocate of liberal views 
-ixas |)i-eacliing as a candidate, the younger portion of the 
congregation were suddenly and mysteriously moved by deep 
religious feeling. The incumbent of the pulpit was not in 
sympathy with it, and sought to arrest it, whereupon, those 
who were awakened went from his meeting to one which a 
few people of the Baptist persuasion had just connnenced. 
This movement alarmed the church; the candidate Avas re- 
lieved from dntv: and a pastor was sought who should b(> 
acceptable to the new element. If it be asked, therefore, 
why a chnrch that had for a full generation been educated bv 
a pastor who was a Unitarian in theology, and was itself prob- 
ably inclined to a<'cept the same faith, became so strongly and 
vigorously orthodox, the only reply is, that man had very 
little to do with the matter. The Spirit of the Lord took it 
into his own keeping and decided it. Of later revivals, 
doubtless the most general and fruitful one Avas that in 1875. 
when sixty persons united Avitli the church by profession. 

The Church has been careful to detine its position on vari- 
ous important questions, hi ls;5i> the members voted unan- 
imously to resolve themselves into a Sabbath Association 
based on the following article: — "Believing that all Avorldly 
business and travelling on the Christian Sabbath, except in 
cases of piety, necessity and mercy, and all worldly visiting 
and amuseiiients on that day are contrary to the divine will, 
and injurious to the social, civil and religious interests of 
men, we agi'(>e that we will abstain from all such violations 
of the Sabbath and will endeavor to persuade oiii- families 
:iiid others to do the same.'' 

In 1<S33 the church passed the following vote: '• Believing 
that the conunon use of ardent spirit is inconsistent with the 


clirisliMii clianictcr, IJosoIncmI tlinl wc \\\\\ :ulini( none into 
our l)()(ly I)iil those wlio hold to total ahstiiu'iicc tVom il ex- 
cept as a medicine."' As this jjositioii ^vas taken in the earlv 
(hvys of the tcniperauce refonnation, it proves tliat the church 
<lid not fear to 1>e radical, if its conception of its (hity com- 
l)ened it to I)e so. 

(\)n_iiTegational cliurclies, thouiih inde])cndent in one sense, 
are not so in anotiier : and this church lias vwv cidti\ated in- 
timate ndations Avith sister churches. The councils upon 
which it has been called to sit luu'e heen nndtitudinous. It 
has l)eon summoned to churches far and near, to delilxjratc 
on all .sorts of ecclesiastical questions. The most prominent 
of those councils "was the famous one which dismissed Jona- 
than Edwards of Xorthampton, which will ])e noticed more 
atlenu'th in the .succ(HMlini>" sermon. T\e> .William Hobbwone 
of the old pastors, was esteemed a M'ise man in his day, and 
so onerous l)ecame the demand for his services that the 
church voted on onr occasion, that, a.s they had become so 
deeply concerned in the dithculties of other churches, they 
would not accept an invitation that had bet'u sent them. 
That there was \.ei_i>"ht in the voice of the church a})peai's 
from the following curious record made in the year 174.S. 
"The Second church in lj)swich l)eii)g cii'cndcd with the First, 
and having, to no })ur|)ose. endeavored to com})romise the 
matter, then proceeded to administer letters of admonition, 
which not answering the designed end, they proposed to send 
letters to others, particularly to the 1st church in licadiug, 
( Waketield,) desiring them to back or second the admonition. 
Accordingly I laid the matter before the church, Avho, con- 
sidering the importance of the case, desired that the matter 
might be defei'red till the next Lord's day; when, the con- 
sideration of the matter 1)eing resumed, not seeing sutlici(;nt 
reasons to grant the prayer of the petition, they voted in the 
negative." The church was ready, when asked by a church 
to assist in settling its own ditHculties. to do so: l)ut when 
asked to intermeddle in the all'airs of another church, il un- 
derstood Congregationalism (|nite too well to do it, — a de- 
cision resting on principles sound enough to justify them- 


selves even iil: the present day. Under the pastorate of Mr. 
Emerson the ehurch was represented upon councils that in- 
stalled Dr. Griffin over the Park Street church, and Dr. 
Wisner over the Old South in Boston; and that ordained 
the missionaries Hall, Thompson and Parker, AYithin a few 
years it has heen represented upon the council that installed 
Dr. Rankin in Washington, D. C, and upon the Advisory 
Council in Brooklyn, X. Y. 

The method of conducting ordinations in early times was 
different from that pursued now. The candidate preached 
his own sermon. In the cliarj- of Judge Sewall there is this 
entry: "Attended the ordination of Rev. Richard Brown 
at Reading. Mr. Brown preached well." At an earlier day 
Mr. Pierpont doubtless preached his own sermon, since he 
gives the name of Dr. Cotton jNIather as giving the charge, 
but says nothing about the preacher. At Mr. Hobby's ordi- 
nation Dr. Appleton of Cambridge, a man of note in his day, 
preached the sermon, and 37 years later he gave the charge 
at Mr. Prentice's ordination. On that occasion the preacher 
was Dr. Adams of Roxbury. .Vt the close of the entries 
giving the order of services when oNIr. Hol^l)y and ]Mr. Pren- 
tice were inducted into office, this sentence, in the hand 
writing of each, occurs — "May he obtain mercy of the Lord 
to 1)0 found faithful."' Upon the council that settled Mr. 
Reuben Emerson, Rev. Dr. Worcester of Salem, who proba- 
bly preached the sermon, and Rev. Mr. Chickering of AA'o- 
l)urn, father of our honored fellow-member, Rev. Dr. J. Vs\ 
Cliiekering, were called. At the ordination of ]\Ir. Alfred 
Emerson, Prof. Ralph Emerson of Andover Seminary 
preached, and at that of :\Ir. Hull, Rev. Dr. A. L. Stone of 
Boston preached. At the installation of ]Mr. Johnson, the 
preacher was Prof. Austin Phelps of Andover, and at that of 
the present pastor, Rev. Dr. E. X. Kirk preached, and Rev. 
Dr. R. S. Storrs of Braintree made the installing prayer. 

The time allotted to me is so far consumed that I nmst de- 
fer to another occasion what I had intended to say about the 
old ministers of the church. Reserving for that time brief 
sketches of the first eight jjastors, I will give the names of all 


who have been settled here, with the years upon Avhich they 
l)egan and eeased to act. adding notices of the later pastors : 

r.c^'aTi. Ceased. 

Rev. Henry Green, _ _ _ i(;45 — i(;4,s 

Key. Samuel Haugh, - - - l(U8— 1G62 

Key. John Brock, _ _ . 1GG2 — 168cS 

Hey. Jonathan Pierpont, - - 1(;S8 — 1709 

Key. Eichard Brown, - - 1711—1732 

Key. William llobl)y, - - 1733—1765 

Key. Calel) Prentice, - - ITCO— 1803 

Key. l\eul)en Emerson, - - 1S04 — 18r)0 

Key. Alfred Emerson, - - 1S4") — 1(S,')3 

Kev. Joseph 1). Hull, - - I-S.k} — 18r)(; 

Key. Joseph B. Johnson. - - ls.y7 — ISflo 

Key. Charles K. Bliss, - - \Si\-2 

Kev. Alfred Emerson, after a i)rosperous ministry of seven 
and a half years, found his health to be impaired, and re- 
signed. Soon he was invited to become a Professor in A^'cst- 
ern Iveserve College ; and after remaining in that })Osition a 
few years, preferring the duties of a pastor, he resigned, and 
settled in South Berwick, ]Mc. Thence he Avas called to 
Eitchl)urg in this State, where he Avas highly successful dur- 
ing a pastorate of twelve years. He noAV resides in Lan- 

K'ev. Joseph 1). Hull did not remain long as pastor. Dif- 
ticulties, arising from incongruities between that Avhich Avas 
old and that Avhich Avas young, led him to resign at the end 
of two and a half years. He became a teacher in Coimecti- 
cut, and in Xcav York City, Avhere he still resides. 

KcA'. Joseph B. Johnson Avas a successful minister Avliile 
heiv. He, hoAVCA'er, soon resigned and engaged in business. 
Kcturning to the ministry again, he AA^as settled in Uxbridge, 
but soon entered into business a second time. The later 
portion of his career lias not fulfilled the ])romise of the 

During the administration of these later pastors, the usa- 
ges and instrumentalities of the church haA^e undergone 


slight changes. The Sabbath School, established in l^!l8, 
fostered in its first stage's by Mr. Emerson, became, under 
the superintendence of Dea. Aaron Bryant — extending over 
a period of thirty years — an institution of great vahie. All 
the succeeding pastors have given it warm sympathy, and 
depended much upon it. Prayer meetings have received 
great attention, and the causes of Temperance, Missions, and 
Charity under various forms, have absorbed much of their 
time, study and strength. 

The church has adhered to the belief that Deacons should 
l)e permanent officers ; and, among the forty members who 
have served in that capacity, a large majority have died in 
office. The number of meml)ers who have belonged to the 
church cannot be definiteh' ascertained, but it exceeds eigh- 
teen hundred. Of course I cannot speak of families that 
have from early times beeu identified with the church ; of the 
Smiths and the Cowdreys, the Parkers and the Swains, the 
Harts and the Emersons, the Ilartshornes and the Pools, the 
Wileys and the Eatons, the Damons, Batchelders and Goulds, 
and others equally honorable. We know less of them than we 
wish we knew, yet something regarding them remains. 
Their highest praise consists in the good work they left be- 
hind them. They found this spot a wilderness ; they left it 
a fruitful field. They were a toiling, careful, frugal people, 
who prized possessions much, but character more ; who loved 
independence, but gladly acknowdedeged their dependence 
upon God ; who had battles to fight, and in fighting grew 
strong. To suppose them destitute of fiiilings would involve a 
grave error ; but it would involve a graver one to suppose that 
they did not humbly lament their mistakes, and ask God to 
forgive them. They had their conflicts — civil and ecclesiasti- 
cal — and, if they contended earnestly for the faith once deliv- 
ered to the saints, it can hardly be denied that they sometimes 
contended for points in w hich the fjiith was not involved, and 
the temper of the saint w^as not illustrated. Yet their histo- 
ry and work prove that that which grew out of their sturdy 
English resolution ; that which was personal and perhaps 
sometimes opinionated in them, — was, on the whole, subor- 


dinated to that Avhieli was clirisiian and consocratod to the 
public good. 

As wo should expect, some descendants of those early 
families have become prominent in the world. We find 
ill our list of Deacons three of the name of Bancroft — Thom- 
as, ]{ahain and Samuel ; they were all lineal aiu^cstors of 
Hon. (Jeoru'e Bancroft, the leadni<> American historian. 
Among our members is the liouored name of dohn Boul- 
Avell ; ho was an ancestor of lion. Geo. S. Boutwell, U. S. 
Senator from this State. Very early among our nieml)ers 
occurs the name of Dix ; Balph ])ix was probably an ances- 
tor of lion. John A. Dix, ex-Gov . of New York. One of our 
earliest Deacons was John Damon ; ho was an ancestor of Dr. 
S. (\ Damon, now, and for many years, missionary at the Sand- 
wich Islands. Thomas. Barker was one of our early deacons ; 
his Puritan ortlrodoxy did not, though his l)lood did, flow in 
the veins of Theodore Parker. Thomas Eaton was a promi- 
nent member of the church ; he was an ancestor of Gen . 
Joseph II. Eaton of the U. S. Army. The lineage of several 
ministers of note may be traced into this church. Among them 
are liev. Dr. dacob Burnap of N. H. , Kev. Dr. Aaron Bancroft 
of Worcester, Rev. Dr. Brown Emerson of Salem, Tiev. Dan- 
iel Temple, missionary of the American Board, Rev. Alfred 
Emerson of Lancaster, and Rev. Frederick S. Wiley of N. Y. 

The church has received at different times valuable tokens 
of regard from its own members. Legacies have been left it 
by Dea. Kendall Parker in 1755, by Thomas Burnap in 1778, 
and by Dea. Aaron Bryant in 1870. The aggTcgate amount 
of tliese gifts is now $1400, tlie interest of which is used for 
the relief of members of tlu^ church Avho need it, and for 
church expenses. Articles of silver plate have been given 
l)y Hon. Atherton llaugh, Lieut. John Pool, Dea. Nathaniel 
Stow, Peter Emerson, John Pratt, Thomas Pool, Kendall 
Goodwin, Dea. donathan Tem)de, Joseph Burnap, Jonathan 
Xicholls, dose])h ll()|)kins and Rev. Reuben Emerson. A 
few of the articles wer(% some years since, for reasons that 
were deemed sufficient, changed into other forms, but most 
remain as they were given, and all are in the church service. 


I'be ])leasure of going back over the records of a church 
A\li()se liistoiy covers so many years is no common one. 
They reveal toil, suffering, joy, prayer, conflict and triumph. 
They admit us into many homes, reveal the secret of some 
disgrace, and explain why, Avhile some families rose, others 
receded. They show how the prosperity of good men slow- 
ly increased, and how successive generations found growing- 
strength in the same faith. As we read them. Ave trace in 
many channels the good results of the Avord of God. A\'e 
see evidences of increasing charity, desire to do right, and 
care in balancing the scales of justice ; and the conviction 
gains strength that a Christian Churcli, standing by itself, 
Avitliout aid from bishops or synods, is fully competent to 
settle difficulties, preserve harmony, keep the gospel pure, 
and eonmiend religion to men. We gain, also, ncAv impres- 
sions of the poAver for good Avhich is lodged in the hands of 
a fcAv christian people. By a Avise direction of the afiairs of 
a church, giving due honor to the institutions of religion, 
welcoming the faithful preaching of the gospel, setting 
liefor(> men an example of self-restraint, generosity, frugality, 
and Christian honor, they can do much to mould that public 
opinion out of Avhich wise laws, \drtuous habits, and sound 
principles spring. TheAvorth of the gospel appears in a new 
light, and excites deeper feelings of confidence and gratitude. 

Fi-om this rapid sketch of the history of this church we 
may Avell gain ucav lessons of fidelity to both God and man. 
While Ave do not Avorship our fathers, let us not forget them, 
nor leaA'e incomplete the Avork they haA^e committed to us. 
Their God is our God. Their Avork is our Avork ; and may 
our reccjrd be as bright as tlunrs. 


Ephesiaxs 4, 11 — And he (jdvc s(»n(,\ ajjosf/rs: and .soinr, 
proijJietf^; and somf\ evanr/eJisfs : <ni<l soiiw, 2xislorf< and 

It was a mark of divine wisdom in Christ tlial he exahed 
that which was interior and sj)iritual, above that Avhieh was 
exterior and formal. Though he established a yisiblc church, 
lie yet so devised it that its streni>"tli should not lie in any 
cai-efnlly adjusted orders, or in au}^ graded and balanced 
ecclesiastical authority, but rather in the truth of which it 
was to l)e the pillar and the ground. Nevertheless, he did 
not omit to piovide instruments through wdiose agency that 
truth should be brought often and etiectively to the minds of 
men. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, 
led by his spirit and commissioned by his providence, were 
s;Mit forth as students of his will, expounders of his laAv, and 
preachers of the good tidings of his grace. 

These terms, used by St. Paul, do not indicate dctinite and 
distinct ranks in an outward organism, but rather classes of 
teachers, often intermingling with each other, and to be em- 
])loyed as the circumstances of men, or the exigencies of the 
cause, might require their services. There are apostles now, 
if the w^ord be used in its literal sense, to denote those sent 
forth as the Lord's messengers. There are prophets, if the 
word be used in one of its accredited meanings, to refer to 
those skilful to explain the truths of religion. .Vnd as for 
pastors and teachers, the church has never forgotten that if 
the gospel is to win the place it deserves in the faith and love 
of mankind, it nuist have a class of men set apart to declare 
it — men not specially inspired, nor consecrated by the laying 


on of apostolic hands, nor dependent upon any alliance with 
earthly power, hut simply rendered capahle hy the devo- 
tion of time and energies, to expound the gospel, and justify 
the ways of (lod to men. 

Tlie Puritans of Xew England adhered with great tirmness 
to this conviction. They esteemed the minister as, in some 
respects, the most important personage amoug them, not be- 
cause he assumed high prerogatives, uor because his office 
awakened their awe, but because he was a more reliable in- 
terpreter than others, of the will of Him in obedience to 
whom they had crossed the sea. The records of this church 
afford sufficient evidence that its founders were abreast ^vith 
their brethren throughout the colony in their devotion to this 
Piu'itanic and Christian idea ; and its history, so tsir as light 
is thrown upon it by the character of the miuistr}* it has sus- 
tained, shows little departure from the ground taken two 
hundred and thirty-tAvo years ago. 

Of this ministry I am now to si)eak. My plan will include 
brief sketches of the lives of the first eight pastors, the last 
of whom rested from his work at an advanced age, in 1860. 


This name stands first upon the list. The time and 
place of Mr. (Ireen's birth are unknown. On arriving 
in the country he fii'st went to AVatertown. Being a young 
man of scholarly habits, his services as a teacher were in 
requisition. Coming to this place as early as the year 1645, 
though not a minister, the church elected him to that otfice, 
thereby asserting at the outset the anti-prelatical principle, 
to maintain which they had left their native land. The proof 
of this statement is found in Johnson's "Wonder Working 
Providence." Sketching the origin of this church, he says — 
*'The i)eople ordained (/ tiunht(^r from among themselves — a 
young man of good abilities and ver}- humble b(>havior, by 
the name of Green."* No account of his ordination exists. 

* Cotton Mather, in liis Magnalia, Vol. 1, Page 214, includes Mr. Gieen among tliose who 


hut prol)al)ly, after the primitive method, the Deacons of the 
church hiid their hands upon him, and solemnly set him apart 
to be their minister. The time of his service was short, 
for m three years he died. The place of his burial is doul)t- 
less near us, but the exact s})ot is not known. 

iiE^'. sa:muel iialgh. 

i\Ir. Haugh was born in Boston, England, in 1(520, and 
came to this country in 1634. His father, Hon. Atherton 
Haugh, was a man of some note, having been mayor of 
Boston, Eng., and came to our Boston as one of the 
Colonial Assistants. He accompanied his pastor, Rev. John 
Cotton ; and though a pillar of the first church in Boston, he 
w^as a disciple of Anne Hutchinson. Tradition, however, 
does not say that the preaching of the son disseminated 
here the antinomian heresy. The son entered the first class 
in Harvard College, but did not graduate. With other board- 
ers in the family of a Mr. Nathaniel Eaton, in Camljridge, 
he was subjected to severe discipline and short rations, and, 
having made complaint to the authorities, a suit, which was 
carried to the General Court and occasioned not a little dis- 
turbance, was the consequence; and one writer adduces this 
as the pro])able cause of his failure to take a degree. Be 
this as it may, the account of the affair which is given at 
length in a confession of Mrs. Eaton, which Winthrop de- 
tails in his history, excites a good deal more sympathy for 
the boarder than for the host. 

Mr. Haugh began his ministry here in 1648, ))ut, in accord- 
ance with a practice then common and pursued long after- 
ward, he was not ordained till tAvo years later. The church 
then numbered about twenty meml)ers, and had just com- 
pleted its first place of worship on Albion street. Mr. 
Haugh, who was a man of wealth, having property in Bos- 

"exercised their ministry first in England," and brought the gospel to this country. As, 
however, he gives no facts about his having preached in England, and as he knew so little 
of him as to be ignorant of his first name, it is probable that his judgment was based rather 
on a surmise than a kuown fact. 


ton, (.'ambriclgc, and Braintree, owned and occnpied tlie 
o-round on which the town hall and adjacent bnildings now 
stand. Tlie service of Mr. Haugh continued twelve years. 
Being in attendance upon the memorable synod which was 
lield in Boston in 1662, he was seized with disease, and died 
in that city, at the age of forty-two. 

AVe have from his pen nothing save his will, which is given 
at length in the town history, and a few^ pages in our church 
records. He was master of a very delicate style of penman- 
ship, of which, however, if the reader Avould obtain the mas- 
tery, he must be very patient and somewhat inventive. 
Some of the entries made by him, while shoAviug a zeal for 
church order and purity, might l)c thought to betray undue 
care for ministerial dignity. "High and ill language given 
to the Pastor," and suspicions that certain young men 
"laughed and jeered at the Minister," and an "offensive libel 
made and published by singing it," were, in his view, ade- 
({uate reasons for resorting to discipline. His station in life, 
perhaps, made his ears too susceptible to possible slights. 
His style of expressing his thoughts was A^ery accurate and 
pleasing, and the spirit by Avhich he Avas actuated seems to 
have been a dcA-^oted one. 


The successor of Mr. Haugh Avas llev. John Brock, who 
became possessed not of his pulpit alone. Upon an early 
page of the records Ave read this entr}' in his handwriting — 
"John Brock, called by the church to officiate among them 
after ]Mr. Haiigh's decease at Boston, and dismissed to them 
from the Dedliam church, Avas joined to them the Lord's day 
l)ef()re ordination, and Nov. 13, 1662, he Avas ordained, and 
the day after, he Avas married to Mrs. Sarah Haugh, a Aviclow 
indeed." Mr. Haugh had died less than six months before. 
We arc not enlightened as to the reasons Avhich led Mrs. 
Haugh to content herself Avith so short a AvidoAvhood, though 
we can easily see AA'hy she did not reject the advances of such 
a man as ]Mr. Brock. Alone of all the pastors of this church. 


Jie has ai'vivod at the distinction of havinii- his name (|uoto(l, 
and pecnliarities descrilxHl, in Cyeloptedias and histories. 
Eev. Cotton Mather wrote a sketch of liis life ; and other writ- 
ers, and especially the compilers of the Encyclopi\?dia of 
Keligious Knowledge, have made copious extracts from it. 
For the purpose of giving a glimpse of the writer of the 
sketch as well as the subject of it, 1 will quote some of 
its characteristic paragraphs: "Designing to write the liv(;s 
of some learned men who have been the issue and the honor 
of Harvard College, let my reader be rather admonished than 
scandalized, if the first of these lives exhibit one whose 
goodness was above his learning, and whose chief learning 
was his goodness. If any one had asked Rev. John Brock 
what art he pursued, he might truly say — 'My art is to be 
good.' He was a good grammarian chiefly in this — that he 
still spoke the truth from his heart. He was a good logician 
chiell}' in this — that he presented himself unto God with a 
reasonable service. He was a good arithmetician chiefly in 
this — that he so numbered his days as to apply his heart 
unto wisdom. He was a good astronomer chiefly in this — 
that his conversation was in heaven. It was chiefly by being 
a good Christian that he was a good artist." "Good men," 
he continues, "that labor and abound in prayer to the 
great God, sometimes arrive at the assurance of a particular 
faith for the good success of their prayers. The wondrous 
meltings, the mighty wrestlings, the quiet waitings, the holy 
resolves, that are characteristic of ?i pai^ticular faith, are the 
works of the Holy Spirit. Eminent was ]\Ir. Brock for this 
grace." He then gives several examples of direct, immedi- 
ate, and special answers to Mr. Brock's prayers. Other men 
wrote of him in the same strain, declaring that he "lived as 
near God as any man on earth." 

Several items in the records illustrate his earnest Christian 
spirit. He speaks as if with contempt of a certain difficulty 
between brethren, resulting in their "falling into a quarrel- 
ling passion over a few cocks of hay." He labors to raise 
the tone of piety, and enters heartily into the plans of 
the ministers to hold the churches up to the primitive 


standard. It was, however, in his pastorate, aud by his 
counsel, that the mischievous half way covenant was intro- 
duced into this church. Yet it was then an untried measure, 
aud one into which the churches felt themselves to be driven ; 
and they avIio see its disastrous results have no right to ques- 
tion either the integrity or the judgment of those who, hav- 
ing no light of experience to guide them, followed the best 
light they had. 

Mr. Brock was born iu Stradbrook, Eng. : graduated at 
Harvard ; preached at the Isles of Shoals ; and came hither iu 
10G2. He died in 1688, after a pastorate of twenty-six years, 
at the age of sixty-eight. 


The fourth pastor, was born in lioxbury, in 1()G5 ; gradu- 
ated at Harvard iu 1685 ; was for awhile tutor there; and 
was ordained here in 1689. Two years later, at the age of 
twenty-six, he married ; and it illustrates both the custom of 
the time, and his own filial spirit, to say that he did not take 
that important step till he had asked the consent of his 

The few records which i\Ir. Pierpont left of himself show 
that he was a man of clear mind, precise habits, and a deeply 
religious spirit. That he was a man of more thau ordinary 
power in the jjulpit, may fairly be inferred from the fact that 
he received at least five calls before accepting that from this 
church. A circumstance that had weight iu finally leading 
him here, existed in the fact that, being present at the funeral 
of Mr. Brock, and seeiug the deep aflection of the people 
for him, he formed a high estimate of them. ]\Ir. Pierpont 
worked effectively not alone as a preacher. Coming hither 
on the 28th of November, he appointed a fast for the 6th of 
December, another for February 27th, another for May 29th ; 
and on the 26tli day of June, after a preparation of that sort, 
he was ordained as pastor. Like his predecessor, he was a 
believer in prayer, and made frequent appointments of 
prayer meetings with members of his own church aud with 


neighboring ministers. ]t is a mistake to suppose tliat 
prayer meetings are only a modern praetico in our ehurches. 
There were fewer stated ones formerly, yet, prayer meetings 
were common, at least in Mr. Pierpont's pastorate. Instances 
are given in the town history. Another is furnished me by 
the pastor of the church in Danvers, Mr. Kice, from the 
diary of one of his predecessors. Rev. Joseph Green writes, 
under date of July 2d, 1708, as follows: "I went with B. 
Putnam to Ponding (Waketield), to Dea. Fitches, to spend 
the day in })raycr for him, he being almost blind, and old 
Mr. Weston quite blind, and other disconsolate and deaf. 
Mr. Pierpont began ; I prayed ; Dea. Fitch, Landlord Putnam 
and Dea. Bancroft then sung the 14r>th Psalm ; and I con- 
cluded with a short prayer and a blessing." That the pastor 
of this church shoidd secure the co-operation of a minister 
living eight miles away, and spend hours in prayer, to give 
religious help and comfoi-t to a few old, deaf, blind and dis- 
consolate people, is a fact that sheds a good deal of light 
upon the motives and character of the man. Yet this was 
not an isolated occurrence, but rather an illustration of a 
practice common with Xew England pastors of the period. 
Indeed, in a sul)se(juent pastorate, tifty years later, there is 
an account in our records of the assembling of several minis- 
ters here, to pray with a man and his wife who had "fallen 
into an 'enthusiasticaU' state of mind." 

The death of Mr. Pierpont, in 17(l9, was regarded as a pub- 
lic calamity, and was mentioned in terms of great regret in 
the diaries of prominent men in Boston and elsewhere. He 
was but forty-four years old, and had been pastor twenty 

liEV. EIClIAltD ]}r.()\VX. 

Born in Xewbury in 1(J75, and graduated at Harvard in 
1H*J7, Mr. Brown became an instructor in his native town in 
1700, and continued in that calling eleven years, when he 
came to this place. He was ordained the next year, and dis- 
charged the duties of his oihce twenty years, dying in 1732, 
at the age of fifty-seven. 


The most quaint and peculiar records in our church book 
are from his pen. His accounts of the establishment of a 
singing school, and of his anxiety to proceed in strict legal 
methods in church meetings, and of various matters of disci- 
pline, reveal him to us as a careful, perhaps whimsical, active 
and progressive man. His diary conlirms this general im- 
pression, and leads us to infer that his feelings were devout 
and vigorous, though sometimes escaping the control of 
sound judgment. He had been here eight years when he 
copied the ancient covenant from records that are now incom- 
plete ; and the church solemnly renewed it. From the list 
of members then made, we learn that the church — which 
then covered the territory embraced in the towns of ^Melrose, 
Stoneham, Koading, Xorth Keading, Wilmington and Lynn- 
field — numbered 236. Within twelve years from that time, 
however, three churches were formed chietly from its mem- 
bership — those of Lynniield, North Reading and Stoneham — 
and the number remaining was 184. Mr. Brown, therefore, 
was pastor when the church reached its most extended influ- 
ence, and sent out three of its five colonies. 

The last entry in ]\Ir. Brown's diary is characteristic of the 
man, and with it I will close my sketch of him. "Sept. 12, 
1719. I am this day forty-four years old, and have received 
from God 44,000 mercies, for which I have made 1)ut poor 
returns. The Lord pardon, and make me thankful. I do 
humbly renew my love with God this day, and give myself 
to him — my whole self — and resolve that by his grace I will 
labor to live more closely with him." 

Before j)roceeding to speak of the three succeeding pas- 
tors, a few remarks of a general nature may \vell be made. 
Each of the pastors of this church had his special rounds of 
duty to fulfil Avithin the bounds of his own parish : but the}' 
were all in sympathetic connection with men outside their 
own. field, and keenly alive to those general religious influ- 
ences which, as every one knows, at times encouraged, and 
at other times almost convulsed, the churches of New Eng- 
land. It was, therefore, wholly natural that their position 


on certain questions, both of polity and theology, should be 
affected by external influences. Doubtless the first two pas- 
tors accepted the doctrines that none should be allowed to 
vote in public matters but church members, and none should 
be allowed to join the church save such as had l)een con- 
verted and baptized. But when numbers of moral and in- 
dustrious men came to the colony, and, because not mem- 
bers of the church, could not vote, though paying as liberally 
as others toward the support of both civil and religious 
institutions ; and wlien many children of church members 
were in like manner and for the same cause disfranchised, 
great changes of opinion upon the points in question took 
place. And the third pastor of this church, in obedience to 
the advice of the Synod of 16G2, comiselled an abandonment 
of the old ground, to such an extent as to affirm that a man 
of moral life might l)ecome a member of the church so far 
as to possess the right to have his children baptized — which 
would carry .with it civil rights — by simply declaring, his ac- 
ceptance of the religion of the Bible, without believing him- 
self, or being believed by others, to be a converted man. 
Rev. John Brock, when he thanked God that this church 
had unanimously approved that doctrine, was under the influ- 
ence of external opinions, and acting in concert wdth the lead- 
ing minds of the colony ; and he did not foresee that the plan 
whose adoption seemed to call for gratitude would result in 
the admission of many to the church who could not give a 
heartfelt adhesion to Puritan doctrines, nor sympathize with 
the religious life that had been nourished under them. But 
laborious and earnest Christian men always do more good 
than harm, and, if in some respects they fail, God appoints 
to them successors, who, sustained by the good transmitted to 
them, are better able to withstand the evil. It Avas so in this 
church. If in the middle of the seventeenth century one 
pa.stor erred, in the middle of the eighteenth another was 
sent to rectify the error. 



The sixth pastor, and in some respects the ablest man who 
has ever ministered here, was Eev. William Hobby. He 
was born in Boston in 1707 ; graduated at Harvard in 1725 : 
settled here in 1733 ; and died after a ministry of thirty-two 
years, in 1765, at the age of tifty-eight. 

Judged by his writings, he was a man of clear and vigor- 
ous understanding, extensive reading, strong purposes, and 
a devout spirit. Tradition says of him that he had a high 
opinion of ministerial dignity ; was somewhat x^ompous ; 
wore a big wig and large knee l)uckles ; and was haughty 
and reserved. This may be true, l)ut it should be considered 
in connection with well-known facts about Ncav England 
society of that period. When royal governors occupied the 
executive chair in Boston, and His Majesty's ofncers dis- 
ported themselves in the higher social circles of the province, 
and scions of nobility were possessing themselves of landed 
estates to found tamilies, there was a strong tendency in all 
the towns to break np society into grades. The more wealthy 
and intelligent, with the minister, formed one grade ; and, 
as there were no inherited privileges to assist them in pre- 
serving their superiority, they sought to keep the semblance 
of it by rules of etiquette, distinctive dress, and reserved 
manners. This was, therefore, rather the fault of society 
than of individuals. But if Mr. Hobby was reserved, his 
reserve was not assumed to conceal ignorance, or shield indo- 
lence. He was a thorough student, an apt and able writer, 
and an efiective public speaker. 

In the year 1741, Kev. George AVhitelield, in his tour 
through the country, stopped in this town and preached on 
the common. Mr. Hobby heard him, and confessed that 'die 
went to pick a hole in Whitetield's coat, but that the preacher 
|)icked one in his heart."' He at once espoused the cause of 
\Vhiteti(dd. and entered warmly into the controversy which 
followed the second visit to America of that famous man. 
The first visit had been welcomed by all classes ; but the sec- 
ond was the signal for the outbreaking of an opposition as 


violent as it Avas iimiceouiitablt'. AVhethor, dui-iiii; the tour 
years elapsing between the tirst and the second, it had been 
discovered that the doctrines iprcached by Whitefield were not 
harmonious with those held 1)y many of the ministers, or 
from some other cause, it was evidently determined that his 
path should be a rough one. Harvard College, though it had 
before welcomed him, now entered the lists against him. Her 
Faculty published their noted "Testimony,"' which was as re- 
markable for what it did not contain as for wdiat it did. Its 
writers had little to say in reproof of the low state of religion, 
but much in condemnation of the preacher who sought to stir 
up the churches. They asked for peace, but did not seem to 
suspect that, through the half-way covenant, many might 
have entered the churches, and some the ministry, who w^erc 
unconverted, and would naturally be excited on hearing their 
religion called in question. They fell into the mistake ot 
condemning as a cause of divisions and heartburnings, what 
was only an occasion of them ; and, while Whitetield was 
striking at the cause, they struck at him. ]Many ministers 
joined them. Associations emuhited them in publishing each 
its "Testimony." Dr. Chauncey, pastor of the 1st church in 
Boston, not only wrote, l)ut travelled — visiting at least four 
of the provinces, to counsel and warn the churches. Con- 
necticut passed laws forbidding a minister, if uninvited, to 
preach in the jDulpit of another ; and Dr. Finley, afterward 
President of Princeton College, was actually carried out of 
that jurisdiction as a vagrant, for l)reaking those laws. 

But Whitefield was not without friends ; and one of the 
strongest and boldest of these was the pastor of this church. 
He wrote a long, able and vigorous pamphlet in his defence. 
He took up the salient points in the various attacks upon 
him, and, in excellent temper, with some wit and great acute- 
ness, turned them against his assailants. Many of his para- 
graphs are well worth transcribing ; a few of them are as 
follows : 

"Does he not preach the same Faith, the same Lord, the 
same Baptism? It is true, indeed, he is in labors more abun- 
dant, in zeal more flaming, and in success more remarkable. 


And this it is which has made such an uproar, opened the 
mouths of the profane, filled the secret hypocrite with indig- 
nation and wrath, and, I fear, stirred np the corruptions of 
many a good man. Such evils as these, as they ever were, 
so I doubt not they ever will be, the close followers of enliv- 
ened zeal and animated piety. . . . It is granted that 
oui- Saviour came to set up a new religion, and that we are 
Christians. But is the religion of Christ a new name, or a 
new nature? If only a new name, T can hardly persuadt^ 
myself that the devil would have made such an opposition to 
it. It Avould not greatly displease him to have Jewish men 
and heathenish practices baptized l)y a christian name. If 
the christian religion be n new nature, I humbly conceive 
that it will stir np the resentment of hell at one time as well 
as another."' 

Replying to the charge that ]Mr. AMiitefield had said that 
many ministers were, perhaps, unconverted men, he says : — 
'•I do not know of any tendency which such a reflection 
ought to have in relation to ministers, unless to quicken our 
watchfulness, excite us to self examination, and bring us to 
resolve Avith the philosopher, who said — 'I will so live that 
none will believe my enemies.' As to any that have ques- 
tioned the state of their ministers, merely on such expres- 
sions of Mr. Whitefield, I never met the man. It is true, I 
grant, when men have known their ministers loaTcl Mr, White- 
tield with hard censures and severe invectives ; when they 
have seen them bar their pulpits against him, which were 
open to poor miserable creatures, while to them he appears 
to preach the truth as it is in Jesus, and to be himself a kind 
of living gospel — while this, I say, has been the case, many 
have been brought to question the state of their ministers — 
and I do not wonder at it. If INIr. Whitefield has insinuated 
the idea that some ministers were unconverted, why need 
they pave the way to the proof of it. He is not half so faulty 
as some who, by their own virulence, have produced evi- 
dence for their own condemnation." 

After admitting that most of the ministers were good men, 
be .'jays : — 


"In a word, liowcvcr honorably the cleray in genera! 
deserve to be spoken of, yet so many of them are of the coii- 
trary character that I think Mv. Whitefiekl excusable while 
he expresses his fears about an unconverted ministry ; and, 
Avhile others are manifesting their angry resentments, 1 take 
this opportunity to express my gratitude to him for his con- 
cern about the ministers of Christ's kingdom, which T hope 
has been no dis-service to me." 

He acknowledges that Mv. AVhitetield has foibles, but asks : 

"Shall I condemn a man because he is not perfect? God 
honors him, notwithstanding his imperfections, and, there- 
fore, so would I. In a word, I would do by him as God does 
by sinful men — damn the sin, but glorify the sinner." 

Towards the close of his pamphlet he concedes the posses- 
sion of proper motives to the men who had arraigned White- 
iield, but adds — 

"I hope they will pardon me if I express my fears that the 
measures they are taking to prevent schisms, disorders and 
separations, will be most likely to promote them. If I had 
aimed at the greatest confusion in my own church, I would 
have kept Mr. Whiteiield at a distance ; but, as my pulpit has 
ever been, and shall ever be, open to him, we are, so far as 
I can learn, free from all danger of confusion." 

Theological controversies often become more heated, and 
theological divisions become more marked, by causes that are 
not strictly theological. The so-called Unitarian controversy 
had for its source a radical diversity of theological opinion ; 
but he who studies it carefully, in its rise and history, will 
assign a place of no slight importance to the quarrel over 
Whiteiield, as one of the agencies that, by embittering men 
against each other, and setting their supposed differences in a 
stronger light, paved the way for the disruption that follow- 
ed. The fear expressed by Mr. Hobby was verified. The 
measures taken to prevent schisms, disorders and separations, 
promoted them. 

The pamphlet from which I have quoted provoked heated 
replies, in contrast with which, it was a high-toned and manly 
paper. Its author wasted no time in controversy. His 


church, ill common with many others, passed through a sea- 
son of unprecedented religious awakening, which, doubtless, 
engrossed all his strength. When the fervor of that revival 
had passed awaj', and the charge continued to be repeated that 
the whole work was one of enthusiasm, he wrote, preached 
and published, a series of sermons designed to refute, indi- 
]-eetly, that charge. I will quote a few words from the pref- 
ace to that book. 

'Olultitudes at present seem to think it religion enough to 
be no enthusiasts ; and others seem to look upon it as an 
atonement for, if not a consecration of, the vilest profane- 
ness, to level it against the enthusiast. In which task enthu- 
siasm seems to be as little understood as it is admired ; and, 
therefore, the soundest principles, the best regulated zeal, se- 
riousness in conversation, and strictness of life, are branded 
with the name, and share deeply the fate of the rankest 

The volume itself is on the "Duty of Self Examination," 
and portions of it are every way worthy of re-publication. 

During these eventful years of his ministry, Mr. Hobby ob- 
tained a reputation not only for soundness in doctrine, but 
for great prudence in practical matters, and was called to a 
very large number of Councils. The most noted of these 
were two which assembled at Northampton, in the years 1750 
and 1751. 

The name of Jonathan Edwards is honored wherever re- 
markable intellectual power and high personal worth are rec- 
ognized. Though more than a hundred years have passed 
since his death, he stands without a peer among American 
theologians. But his evangelical convictions well matched 
his strength of intellect ; and it was owing to his preaching 
and writings, more than to those of any other man, that the 
ancient life of the churches was re-enkindled. Nevertheless, 
the best intentions and the noblest service do not always 
save men from the hostility of others. Mr. Edwards preached 
that only regenerate persons should come to the communion. 
His people denied the truth of the position. He insisted ; 
they became angry, and demanded that he should leave them. 


Ke offered to submit the question to a council, on one condi- 
tion. As the churches imniediatelv about Northampton were 
thought to sympathize with his chiircli against him, he asked 
that two churches from a distance might be summoned. To 
this condition his people at first demurred, but at leugth con- 
sented, and this church was one of the two cliosen by him. 
The church accepted the invitation, and Mr. Hobby 
was accompanied l)y Dea. Samuel Bancroft as Delegate.* 
There was but one course for the Council to take. The feel- 
ing against Mr. Edwards was a tempest, and they could only 
advise him to retreat before it. Some of his friends publish- 
ed a protest against the result ; which having been assailed, 
Mr. Hobby wrote and published a defence of it. A year 
passed away. The friends of Mr. Edwards in Northampton 
urged him to gather them into another church. Pie consent- 
ed to leave the question to a council. This church was again 
summoned ; and Mr. Hobby, with Dea. Bancroft and Dea. 
Brown as Delegates, again visited that town. The project 
did not seem to the council a wise one ; and Mr. Edwards 
soon M'ent upon his mission to the Stockbridge Indians, from 
Avhich he was called to the presidency of Princeton College. 
Had ]Mr. llobb}' possessed the privilege of choosing an earth- 
ly honor, he could scarcely have desired a higher one than 
that of l)eiug the trusted adviser and friend of Jonathan Ed- 

Mr. Hobby was a man of much native shrewdness ; and 
many passages in his writiugs illustrate this quality. Among 
the incidents of him that tradition has handed down through 
a century and a quarter, is the following : He was the pos- 
sessor of a fine orchard ; and the boys, neither respecting his 
rights, nor awed b}' his dignity, appropriated the fruit. One 
Sabbath morning he surprised his i)eople by delivering him- 
self in this manner — "I am not going to have any more of 
my apples stolen ; and, to prevent it, I hereby give full liber- 

*See, in the part of this volume containing an account of theConunuuiorativo Gatliering. 
a letter from Hon. Geo. Bancroft, relating to Dea. Samuel Bancroft. 

See also, for authority for statements regarding Mr. Hobby, ami other statements made 
above. Tracts in Boston Atbeuffium, American Kegister, and Uhden on Congregationalism . 


ty to every person iu the parish to take what he wants." It 
is needless to say that the parson's apples found their way to 
their rightful oAvner afterward. 

That Mr. Hobby was a diligent observer of the tendencies 
of theological speculation of his time, and feared the result, 
is very evident. His refusal to sit upon councils, unless he 
was personally acquainted with the candidates for ordination, 
proves this. But there is other proof, in a curious document 
which he wrote to his people, to be read by them after his 
death. A voice from the grave, upon the qualities to be 
sought in a new minister, he thought would have an empha- 
sis quite too great to l)e disregarded. A few sentences from 
that production are as follows — "Don't judge of a minister 
as you do of a bell, by mere sound; watch narrowly his 
preaching. Take heed what 3^e hear. Examine whether his 
preaching be close, pungent and particular, or only large, 
vague and general ; whether by bringing in bad principles he 
do not corrupt and endanger your souls, or whether he do 
not cunningly conceal his principles for the present, that he 
and his bad principles may creep in unawares together. Re- 
ligion, I am confident, will be likely to live, as those doc- 
trines which for distinction's sake are called Calvinistic, live, 
or so die as they die. Guard against precipitancy. Take 
time, and you will not only do it better, but do it sooner. I 
solemnly charge you, as from eternity, that you do not lift 
up your hands suddenly for any man."' 

I have said that Mr. Hobby was a man of vigorous mental 
poAvers, and of much native shrewdness ; he was also a man 
of deep emotional nature. Some of the entries in the church 
record prove this ; but it is more fully shown in a i)ublished 
sermon which he preached in his own church, l)efore a regi- 
ment then about to march to Canada against the French. 
The regiment was commanded by Col. Ebenezer Nichols — a 
member of this church — and composed in part of the young 
men of the congregation. He commenced his address to them 
in these words — ''My dear Brethren and l)eloved Children :" 
— and then he pours out his heart in affectionate desires for 


The last years of ]\rr. Hobby's life were burdened with 
disease. He was laid aside from preaching, and sufiered 
great pain. It was not strange that his people thought it 
desirable to settle a colleague with him ; nor was it strange 
that, when he heard of it, he took it amiss, and expressed 
his feelings in a letter more emphatic than cautious. The 
letter, hoAvever, w^hich is still extant, if sharp at the begin- 
ning, is kind at the close, and the records of the parish show 
entire friendship toward him. The following inscription 
may l)e read upon his tomb stone. "Learned, vigilant, 
faithful, he was a preacher of the ^vord of God deservedly 
commended for his pure evangelical doctrine, replenished 
with erudition and piety, together with solid judgment and 
eloquence. Being at length worn out with studies, and with 
most acute pain of long continuance, and calmly resting on 
the will of his Almighty Friend, and earnestly pointing to 
his heavenly home, he breathed out his soul into the hands 
of his Saviour." 


Mr. Prentice, born in Cambridge in 1744, was the seventh 
pastor, (rraduating at Harvard, he spent some time there as 
Librarian, and was installed here Oct. 25, 1769. He died 
Feb. 7, 1803, having been pastor here thirty-four years. 

It seems to be according to a customary working of Provi- 
dence, that leanings of opinion in one direction shall be fol- 
lowed and balanced by leanings of opinion in an opposite 
direction. It certainly cannot be said to violate the provi- 
dence of God, that, in the town of Franklin, so long under 
the dominant influence of Dr. Emmons, who had the least 
possible sympathy with Universalism, one of the most flour- 
ishing schools of that denomination has sprung into life. The 
same idea received an illustration when, in the pastorate of 
this church, Mr. Hobby Avas followed by Mr. Prentice. Mr. 
Hobl)y had been brought into antagonism with the college 
from which he graduated ; — ]Mr. Prentice was presumed to be 
in full sympathy with the college on the questions at issue. 


Mr. Hobby adhered strenuously to the ancient doctrines of 
the Puritans ; — Mr. Prentice accepted the modified doctrines 
which have since developed into Unitarianism. Mr. Hobby 
was a great advocate of revivals, and hibored to jjromotc 
them ; — Mr. Prentice does not seem to have l)elieved in 
them, and trusted rather to the gradual effect of truth. In 
short, they were upon opposite sides of the questions wiiich 
vexed the churches during well nigh a century. Yet, a care- 
ful study of their lives, so far as we possess the means to 
prosecute such a study, will show them to have been equally 
conscientious, laborious and faithful. If there was that in 
the preaching of Mr. Prentice which, judged by orthodox 
standards, would be likel}' in the course of years to make re- 
ligion less vital and controlling, it was something that did not 
seem to mar his personal piety, or make less urgent his desire 
to conmieud religion to men. If we assume to say that he 
had embraced, and was wont to preach, such views of truth 
as tended to undermine certain essential doctrines, we must 
also say that, judged by any standards which we have a right 
to apply, he was a devoted Christian minister. There is 
very slight evidence to be found in the church records, that 
his views diflered, in any respect, from those of his predeces- 
sor. The practice of requiring from each candidate for ad- 
mission to the church, a relation of his experience, was sus- 
pended during his ministry, though the ground for the inno- 
vation is not stated. If it was upon the ground, insisted 
upon by some, that it transcends the right of a church to ex- 
amine the evidence for or against the fact of conversion in 
any case, the change indicated an important divergence of 
view from that of all his predecessors. That there may have 
lieen other reasons is indicated by the fact that no other 
change was introduced. The strong Calvinistie creed adopt- 
ed a short time before his settlement, was left unmodified. 
The Catechism was diligently taught, as few teach it now. 
Sermons and lectures Avere carefully prepared, and vigorously 

It was the fortune of Mr. Prentice to be pastor during 
the Revolutionary war; and, having warmly espoused the 


patriotic side, he marched in the ranks, musket in hand, to 
the battle of Concord. 

Simultaneously with his entrance upon his ministry here, 
the Old South Church in Heading withdrew, taking eighty- 
eight members, among whom Avere some of the strongest pil- 
lars of the church, and leaving the new pastor to grapple 
with the discouragement of a great depletion, and the accom- 
pan^-ing irritation and dissatisfaction. But the church recoy- 
ered itself, and during his long pastorate enjoyed prosperity. 

At the funeral of ]\Ir. Prentice, a ministerial ))rother spoke 
of him as follows : — "He was meek and modest, unassuming 
in temper, and prudent in his inquiries after truth ; not cred- 
ulous to embrace the first opinion that offered, nor unwilling 
to be conyinced, on rational grounds. He was judicious in 
forming his religious sentiments. He embraced the Christian 
f\iith from cony ictiou of its truth. From searching the scrip- 
tures, and from other sources of eyidence, he was fully con- 
yinced of their diyine authority, and that Jesus Christ is the 
Son of God, and the King of Israel. The gospel of Christ he 
receiyed as the rule of faith, and the foundation of future 

Up to this period in the history of this church, all the old- 
er residents of the town haye in it a common interest ; for, un- 
til the year following the death of ^Ir. Prentice, it w^as the 
only one in town. It had stood more than a century and a 
half ; had gathered into its fold many members in successiye 
generations ; and furnished them the only church home they 
enjo3'cd. It was in the pastorate of the eighth and last min- 
ister, of whom I am now to speak, that the diyiding lines of 
denominations began to appear. 


]Mr. Emerson, the eighth pastor, was born in Ashlw in 
1771 ; graduated at Dartmouth college in 1798 ; was install- 
ed here in 1804 ; and died in 1860, at the advanced age of 
eighty-uino years, having been sole pastor forty-oue years, 


and associate pastor fifteen years longer — making fifty-six 
years during which he sustained that relation. He was de- 
scended from Peter Emerson, one of the early settlers of the 
town; and while preparing for college resided here. He had 
the advantage, if it was such, of being known l>y the people 
to whom he was called to minister. During the later months 
of the year upon which the former pastor died, a revival of 
wide extent and great power visited the place. The minis- 
ter wlio had been employed to preach as a candidate for the 
vacant pulpit, and whom many were ready to settle, lent no 
sympathy to the revival, and even sought to change its 
movement, if not to arrest it. His subsequent course con- 
firmed the impression that he diifered widely from those who 
adhered to the old standards. Aside from the feeling pro- 
duced by his attitude toward the religious interest prevalent 
at that time ; a feeling of uneasiness on account of the doc- 
trines preached, had long existed under the previous pastorate. 
These facts, as I am informed by our venerable friend whose 
head ninety winters have whitened, and whose memory goes 
back to that time — Mr. B. B. Wiley — gave ascendancy to 
the general sentiment which demanded in the next pastor a 
vigorous type of Calvinism. There were other influences at 
work. Opinions, both among ministers and laymen, had be- 
come sadly divided. The Unitarian controversy was rapidly 
shaping itself to the separation that followed. The questions 
between Baptists and Congregationalists were forcing them- 
selves into prominence ; while other questions advocated by 
Universalists were vigorously discussed. It was natural that 
a church anchored as this had been upon the doctrines of the 
Puritans, should seek a man whose opinions were of the Pu- 
ritan stamp, and who had courage to declare them. Such a 
man they found. 

Mr. Emerson was a clear thinker and a strong reasoner ; 
and wdien he had taken a position he could not be moved 
from it. He had a large acquaintance with the scriptures, 
and could use them Avith great eftectiveness. As is often 
true of men of strong convictions, he did not fear controver- 
sy, though there is no proof that he w^eut out of his way to 


provoke it, or coutiinied it longer than the vindication of 
what he deemed the truth demanded. He employed much 
of his time and energy in elucidating those doctrines which 
pertain especially to the divine side of religious truth ; and 
wrote and published a volume for the instruction of his peo- 
l)le. Several sermons of his were printed. Coming hith- 
er as he did when opinions were unsettled, and bitter 
charges were scattered about by professed christians ; when 
old land-marks were l)eing removed, and new ones w^re tak- 
ing their places, — it is not strange that a man of his mould 
should sometimes have provoked the remark that he was 
rigid and unyielding. But this firmness had its use. It not 
only served to keep this church upon the old foundations, 
l)ut it l)rought out the characteristics of other churches in 
l)older relief. If, as we shall all admit, God permits the rise 
of different denominations in order to emphasize various 
l)oints of truth which no one denomination could sufficiently 
emphasize, it is, in a broad view, well that the strong features 
of each denomination should be made distinctly to appear. 
Though controversy offends many, and strong characters pro- 
voke criticism, they are yet needful and useful. 

The ministry of ]Mr. Emerson was a prosperous one. The 
gospel was faithfully preached. The discipline of the church 
was careful — exteniling with perhaps too close scrutiny to 
mere opinions, but yet keeping the faith and lives of the 
members pure. The pastor gave his warm support to the 
temperance movement ; but for another movement which 
then attracted some attention, and is now attracting more, 
lie had less sympathy. It was, doubtless, by his suggestion, 
that the church once voted that the sisters of the church hav<' 
the right to listen in church meetings. 

Mr. Emerson was versatile in his talents. He was an ex- 
cellent musician ; composed music, and sometimes ventured 
into the region of poetry. Like his predecessor, he was 
much interested in public affairs, and preached and published 
sermons which breathe a thoroughly patriotic spirit. 

Erom one of these, preached in 18o9, I may quote the fol- 
lowing : "Could my voice be heard from Louisiana to Maien, 


and from the Atlantic to the Kocky Mountains, I would 
speak out with trumpet tongue, and declare as by prophecy, 
that subordination to civil laws in a free state can no easier 
be induced without the concurrent teaching of religion, sci- 
ence and morality, than the fundamental laws of God's em- 
pire can be annihilated."' 

Having become enfeebled by his long service, Mr. Emerson 
was, in 1845, provided with a colleague. The choice of the 
church and parish fell, with his hearty consent, upon Eev. Al- 
fred Emerson, who was descended from the same Keading 
family with himself. 

It is the testimony of the associate pastor that his personal 
relations Avith the senior pastor were of the pleasantest char- 
acter. Perhaps the fiict was owing to the spirit which 
prompted the following sentiments, which I iind in the 
"charge" given by the elder to the younger, when the latter 
was ordained: "It is very possible that too much maybe 
expected of us who are constituted co-workers in this vine- 
3'ard of our common Lord. And who will not say — It is 
right that more should be expected than from one ? I will 
tell you, brother, how we may clear ourselves in this mat- 
ter. Employ all our talents at all times in the kingdom and 
patience of Jesus Christ, disenthralled from the world ; — 
then, though Israel be not gathered, and we fall under the 
unsparing censure of misjudging men, yd, while these will 
tind that a perverse tongue is a breach in the spirit, we shall 
find that a wholesome tongue is a tree of life ; our con- 
sciences will disabuse us, and we shall be glorious in the eyes 
of the Lord, and our God shall be our strength." 

In the year 1850, the parish made an amicable arrangement 
with Mr. Emerson, whereby he was relieved of pastoral re- 
sponsibility ; but with the express understanding that he 
should "continue to hold for life all the ministerial rights 
and privileges which he acquired by virtue of his settlement." 
After that time he rarely preached, though his influence was 
felt, and he bore the name and honor of the senior pastor till 
his death, ten years later. 

Up to the close of Mr. Emerson's active service as the pas- 


tor of the church, in the year 1850, iioiio of its ministers had 
ever been dismissed. Ten years later it conld be said that 
the eight pastors, serving upon an average more than twen- 
ty-five years each, had all lived and died •with their people. 
To the credit of the wisdom and forbearance of both pastors 
and the church, the record stands, that, for more than two 
hundred years, no difficulties demanding the services of a 
council for any purposes whatever, had ever been alloAved to 
rise. Save for the purpose of inducting pastors into office, 
no council had ever been called. If dissatisfactions arose, 
they Avere suffered to subside, and the shepherds and their 
flocks went together down the hili-sides of life. The mortal 
remains of most, if not all, of those shepherds, repose near 
together upon a sunny knoll not far from the church, Avliile 
on every side are the resting places of those whom it was 
their privilege to lead and to cheer. 

In concluding these brief notices of the good men who 
have adorned the ministerial profession in this place, let me 
recall to your mind the thought with which the first of these 
sermons commenced. Other men labored, and we have en- 
tered into their labors. The outward l>lessings that we en- 
joy are not the result of brief and careless effort ; neither 
are our social and religious institutions, our means of educa- 
tion, the truths we hold, and the sentiments we cherish. If 
with the Psalmist we can say — -'The lines have fallen unto us 
in pleasant places, yea, we have a goodly heritage," the power 
to say it exists because men sustained and impelled by faith in 
God and love for Christ, have prepared our places for us. We 
are indebted to many men who have walked these streets, 
and established these homes — civihans of various ranks and 
of many Airtues — but to none are our obligations greater than 
to the men whose careers I have briefly sketched. 

Summoned to the ministry of Christ, it was their duty to 
guard the higher and more precious interests of men. They 
counselled the living, and buried the dead. They spoke in 
(lod's name on behalf of virtue, honor, intelligence and pietj'. 

As the advocates of education, none labored more earnestly 
and wisely than they. As the friends of sobriety and order, 


none M-ielded greater moral power than they. As the pro- 
moters of rioht feelinc: and sonnd principles in society, the 
influence of none surpassed theirs. Their honored position, 
the truths wliich they declared, and the worth of their per- 
sonal characters, made their continued la1)ors a source of pos- 
itive power in the defence of righteousness, and the promotion 
of real prosperity. True to the spirit of their office, they 
proclaimed Christ to men, aiid with his aid evoked in many 
hearts high resolves, pure desires, and divine affections. 
They made full proof of their ministry; and, though dead, 
they yet speak to us, and commend anew the trutli which 
fhrouiih two centuries has tilled these homes with liiilit. 




It would have l)oen unpatriotic to allow the centennial year 
to pass without due recognition. The method of giving it 
tit honor, though for a time in doubt, was satisfactorily set- 
tled. .Vs the pastor who served the church in 1776, hastened 
with not a few of his tlock to the Concord battle ; and as the 
present meeting-house — still comely, massive and sound in 
all its timbers — is the very structure in which supplies for 
the army of Washington were stored, — it was deemed quite 
proper that the church should draw the plan of the observ- 
ance. The only ol)jection was that she was too old. This, 
however, Avas over-ruled, on the ground that, though she 
iiad l)een at work more than a century and a quarter before 
the lievolution, and had never rested since, her spirit was as 
young as ever. The plan which she A'entured to suggest, 
included two hundred and thirty-two years, rather than one 
hundred, and was executed nearly in the following maimer: 

On the evening of Wednesday, June 21st, 187(5, a large 
company assembled at the church. Invited guests from other 
towns and churches, and representatives of old families, were 
present in goodly numbers. Many of the ladies and gentle- 
men wore antique costumes, and a great variety of relics 
of past days and usages were displayed. After an hour 
spent in social intercourse, the company was called to order 
l)y K. W. Eaton, Esq., who introduced the president of the 
occasion — S. K. Hamilton, Esq. After extending a cordial 
welcome to the assembled guests, he invited them to repair 
to the tastefully adorned vestries. Under the direction of 
Mr. A. A. Currier, ample tables for four hundred guests had 
been spread, and ever}' seat was tilled. The enthusiastic 
singing of America, and a fervent praj'cr, opened the exer- 


oises. The abundant repast having been finished, and the 
audience having listened to excellent singing, the President 
spoke as follows : 


I count it high honor to-night, to welcome this presence to its ances- 
tral home ; to welcome these representatives of those pious and sturdy 
men who planted this church in the wilderness, and defended it with 
their blood, — these representatives who have assembled on the old spot 
to revive the memories of the centuries gone by ; to recount the more 
than heroic deeds of the fathers, and perchance to draw inspiration 
from their history. From whatever quarter you come, or however 
related to the old church or to the fathers, whether by lineal or lateral 
ties, or only by right of representation — I bid you a cordial welcome — 
thrice welcome. 

This year the nation celebrates Its hundredth birthday by an exposi- 
tion, it is only trite to say, the like whereof tlie world has never seen. 
The whole country — from the farthest north to the Gulf, from the At- 
lantic slope to the Golden Gate — gives of its vast resources to the 
National Jubilation. The choicest products of her agriculture, her 
mechanics, her arts, her sciences and her literature, have been culled to 
show her progress, and establish her place. The old world — even the 
forthest East — has sent from her workshop its best handiwork ; from 
her loom its finest fabric; and from her easel its most artistic touch, to 
grace the occasion — and even the sea has given of its glories to add 
splendor to the scene. 

It is, too, a harvest year in rebellious incidents and revolutionary 
memories, when the nation and individuals are greedily garnering up 
whatever relates to national or individual liistory of "the times that 
tried men's souls." 

It is well for this church, which had arrived at a patriarchal age 
when the nation was born, and which took an active part in the great 
struggle which gave it place among the nations, to gather up its tradi- 
tions, bring forth its relics, and recite what it can of the local events 
which have transpired during the two hundred and thirty-two years 
which it has lived — and to keep fresh in our hearts the memories of 
those men who planted here the seeds of the civil and religious liberty 
which we now enjoy ; who endured trial and danger, privation and 
snftering, that they and those wiio came after them might enjoy what 
the monarchs of the old world denied — a right to worship God accord- 
ing to the dictates of their own consciences. 

We, of this day and generation, surrounded by all the blessings which 
tlu'ir labor purchased, can have but faint conception of their cost. We 
cannot realize the deprivation and suffering incident to founding a col- 


ony and a nation in a land whose only inlialjitants are will bcusts and 
wilder savages— whose every bush and rock is a lurking place for 
the foe. Nor can wc realize the deep conviction or tiie patriotic devo- 
tion which could sustain a long and successful revolution for the sake 
of a i)rinciple — but we can recall the stirring events of those times, and 
revive the motives which prompted them ; and we can detect the vital 
principles of both their civil and religious politj- — love, of God, liberty 
of conscience, just and equal laws made by all the people, for the gen- 
eral good — an enunciation of civil, political and religious doctrine sec- 
ond only to that written by the finger of God on tablets of stone. By 
assembling, and recalling their deeds and motives, we can the better en- 
joy those inestimable blessings which flow from their labors, and the 
better transmit them to those who come after us. In these times, when 
the nation, as well as individuals, lives upon the high pressure system, 
when progress is the only watchword, we are in danger of drifting 
away from our anchorage ground. In our great haste for wealth and 
l^lace, w^e are in danger of losing sight of the great truths which lie at 
the basis of our success. We have seen it in business, and, alas, we 
have seen it in politics, where, next to his own family, a man ought to 
be pure; we have seen it in law, and I fear we may see it in religion, 
unless we take anew our bearings, and anchor our belief on the Puri- 
tan Rock. 

I see here before me descendants of the oldest families, of the men 
who felled the first trees in the unbroken forest; who laid the corner 
stone of this church, and signed the first compact; descendants, also, 
of those God fearing men "who took their lives in their hands, and 
perilled their all in the sacred cause of freedom.'" On you I call to- 
night for the tradition of your families, for the legends which have 
descended from generation to generation, for whatever you may know 
of church or individual history. Tell it to us in speech or song, in prose 
or verse, as the heart may prompt. 

I will now introduce to you a gentleman descended from one of our 
oldest families, who, to the antiquarian love that he inherits; adds the 
qualities of wisdom and wit; and who, as Toastmaster, will exercise 
his skill in calling forth the speeches which some of you are competent 
to deliver, and all of vou are waiting to hear — 


Ill the applause Avliich followed the address, Mr. Eaton 
arose, and after a few w^ords expressive of his pleasure in 
the occasion, proceeded in the discharge of his duty, to read 



The Church of the First Parish— Consecrated bj Time, may it more re- 
joice in a consecration from on high. During the centuries it has stood 
a citadel for the right ; — may it remain while time shall last, a tower strong 
in truth, and Heaven's beacon for the wandering and the lost. It has 
been divinely' guided and instructed, through a succession of able and de- 
voted Christian ministers, from Rev. Henry Green, in 1645, to Rev. 
Charles R. Bliss, in 1876. 


1 shall beg your forbearance if I find it impossible to express what the 
occasion demands of me. Most cordiall}- do I welcome you, and most 
heartily do I thank you for your presence. The honors of the evening 
belong not to the pastor, but to the cliurch. One of the first institutions 
ever planted by civilized man on this spot, it has had a history of growth 
and usefulness which may well excite the deepest pleasure and the live- 
liest gratitude. For seventy-five years it was the only religious beacon 
from Charlestown to the Merrimae, and into many a settler's lowly cabin, 
and into manj' a weary heart, did it shed the light of faith and hope. 
Sending forth its colonics one b}- one, it upheld them, and wrought, 
through their hands, while it wielded a more concentrated influence in 
its own narrowed sphere. 

Its first eight pastors, covering with their faithful service two full cen- 
turies, left a record of their work where time cannot efface it. Nourish- 
ing this church in its infancy, and guiding its energies in later years, 
they helped to make it an ally of good order, and a promoter of right- 
eousness, whose influence this community feels in every nerve. The 
spirit of independence— shared by your fathers, as records prove, to the 
full measure of i)atriotic devotion — found in this church one source of 
its inspiration. The love of education — the just pride of our community 
— exists in its strength because this church and parish charged them- 
selves with the duty of providing public instruction for the children. 
Respect for law — "the second nature of New Englanders," and as 
vigorous here as in any community beneath the sun — derives a portion 
of its vitality from the Calvinistic views of divine law which this pulpit 
proclaimed. A church, historic like this — having grown with the insti- 
tutions around it, and uttered its voice on all important questions, and 
exerted the influence of its doctrines, principles and spirit, from age to 
age, through a thousand channels— wields, and must wield, a power 
not to be traced or measured by finite minds. 

Let me congratulate you that so many churches exist where once this 
held up alone the banner of Christ. We lejoice in theii number, strength 
and prosperity. Could the faithful men and women who planted in the 
wilderness the seed from Avhich these erect and beautiful growths have 


sprnng, look upon them now, their astonisliment Avoiilil batHc. the j)owor 
of expression. Like :v briglit vision of Hebrew prophecy would this 
honr of festivity gleam on their sight. It is their honor, th;it the 
work given them Avas thoroughly done : and well may we perpetuate 
their memories. To this glad task let ine again welcome you. We 
greet witli joy the daughters of this honored mother ; the neighbors who 
]iv(; on terms of unfeigned amity with her, and the numerous guests 
l;elore us, who manifest b}' their presence kind thoughts of her. May the 
(iod of the Fathers protect the children, and may our work bear to our 
successors the evidence of christian wisdom, zeal and fidelity. 

The Banian tree, with its numerous trunks and perpetual life, is regarded 
by the Hindoos as an emblem of Deity. An ancient christian church, vi- 
tal with spiritual life, is often like that wide-spreading tree. Its extend- 
ing branches falling to the ground, taking root and rising again as new 
trunks, not only support the parent stock and increase its beautv, but cov- 
er wide spaces with the refreshing shade of religious truth. The earliest 
branch of this Banian tree fell northward, touching the soil in 1713, and 
sending its roots firmly down in 1720. We shall ask our brethren of 
North Reading to tell us how large that trunk has become; and how se- 
curely it stands ; or, to express our feelings more accurately, we will ask 
the eldest daughter to report her prosperity. 

The Rev. J. W. Kiiiosbury, j)astor at Xortli Heading, re- 
sponded : 

:Mi;. Cuaikmax : I am glad that the {;hurch I have the pleasure to 
)-epresent had so good a mother — so much, you know, depends on good 
early training. I am glad, too, that when our church went away she de- 
parted not as the Prodigal Son, to waste her substance in riotous living 
in a far country, but as a prudent and well-beloved elder daughter, with 
the parental blessing I'esting upon her, went to her humble home in 
what was then a part of the same town, there to imitate the virtues and 
piety of the good mother. 

With heartfelt gratitude the elder daughter recalls how, in all her his- 
tory and in all her trials, this mother church has followed her with un- 
ceasing interest and sympathy, and through one channel or another is 
helping her to bear the burden and heat of the day; and at every fami- 
ly gathering, or festive occasion, has for her a welcome and a place. 
By reference to what we may call the Family Record, I find that when 
the elder daughter began life and housekeeping — for, strange as it may 
seem, she began them together — our venerable mother was 75 j-ears 
old. I learn, too, that when a half century had passed, and consequent- 
ly when our mother was much older than Abraham's wife, she was 


blessed with another dauojhter. But this younger daughter must have 
grown old fast, or she would not have been called '■'■Old South.''' How- 
ever, she was vigorous enough in her 80th year to give birth to a child 
named "Bethesda." 

While the Family Record and the fact of grandiiiotherhood afford con- 
vincing proof of the venerable age of the mother church, yet her 232 
years rest lightly upon her, and we joyfully perceive that her eye is not 
dim, nor her natural force abated. 

We gladly yield to her the palm for experience and wisdom, for vigor 
and activity ; and feel that it is no disparagement to any of her offspring, 
to apply to her Milton's description of Eve, and declare her the "fairest 
of her daugliters." With these other daughters, in whose larger success 
the elder rejoices, we are glad here this evening to rise up and call our 
mother blessed. For her we invoke the blessing invoked upon Rebekah 
by her kindred — "Be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let 
thy seed jsossess the gate of those which hate them." Good mother, 
long may you live, and long remain your present "Bliss." 

The second branch of this Banian fell slightly toward the northeast, and 
also became fast as a new trunk in 1720. Our Lynnfield brethren are re- 
quested to report the girth and strength and beautj' of it; or to inform us 
what fortunes the second daughter has met. 

Rev. D. B. Scott, pastor of the church at Lynnfield, re- 

Mr. President, L.-^dies and Gentlemen: The church in Lynnfield 
has not forgotten her mother. It is said that the metropolitan question 
in Boston is, "How much do you kno2v''' — in New York, "How much 
money have you got" — in Philadelphia, "Who are your ancestors/'' 
Like the Philadelphians, the church in Lynnfield talks about her ances- 
tors. She has been in perils by false teachers ; and been compelled to 
choose between submission to hands that would take the crown of di- 
vinity from the Redeemer's head, or go out. She remained true "to the 
faith once delivered to the .saints," and the members "went out, not 
knowing whither they went." Now they have a house of worship, a 
membership of 75, and a zeal for God that is "according to knowledge." 

The churches of Stoneham and Wilmington had been duly- 
invited, and sentiments in their honor were offered ; but be- 
ing, perhaps, enlisted in other centennial projects, their repre- 
sentatives were not present. 


Nothing is more comely than the relations existing between a mother of 
ripe age, courtly in manner and kindly in spirit, and a daughter grown to 
mature womanhood, also a mother, and equally imbued with generous 
feeling. Having long been companions, they are rather sisters than moth- 
er and daughter. Mutual affection and confidence remove every vestige 
of occasional disagreement, and they pursue the even tenor of their way 
loving and beloved. Such relations sometimes exist between churches. 
This church and the Old South Church in Reading, for more than one 
hundred years have walked together and leaned upon each other. If this 
church claims the honors of motherhood, it is hut to emphasize the pride 
with which she points to her daugliter. 

The representatives of the Old South church, now without 
a pastor, were Dea. Edgar Damon — a lineal descendant of 
Dea. John Damon, one of the first deacons of this church, — 
and Dea. T. T. Briggs. The first named gentleman re- 
sponded ; 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen : We thank 3-00 most hear- 
tily, in behalf of the Old South Church in Reading, for your kind invita- 
tion to this bountiful collation, and these most interesting exercises. 
The Daughter with glad heart comes to greet her revered Mother, who, 
with kindly hospitality, welcomes us to the old homestead, and the fes- 
tivities of this hour. 

As we sit here and look upon this family party, our hearts are warmed 
as the events of the past are brought to our minds. The permanent 
good this church has accomplished may be seen in these added churches, 
their usefulness, and untold influences for good. 

This ancient structure, how well it stands ; its foundations how firm — 
laid deep and broad upon the solid Rock. Every post erect and strong, 
every brace sustaining its part; no decay is here; it has stood the trial 
of centuries, showing, 

"How well our God secures the fold. 
Where his own flock have been." 

Mr. President, the Old South Church, 106 years old, is still full of 
vigor and courage, and comes to this maternal board with something of 
pride and real joy, as she looks upon her own daughters settled by her 
side — the Baptist, Bethesda, Methodist and Presbyterian churches, each 
doing faithful service for Christ. And now, sir, thanking you for a place 
in these commemorative exercises, T close with this sentiment: May 
the Mother Church, "tried and true," "still l)ring forth fruit in her old 


It is a sentiment of Scripture that "children's children are the crown of 
the old." Churches may sometimes look proudly upon their grand- 
daughters, and say, "Ye are our crown." This pleasure is permitted to us 
this evening; and we challenge any other ecclesiastical matron to point to 
a brighter crown than the Bethesda church. 

Sumuer Weston, Esq. responded, expressing congratula- 
tions and warm feelings of regard on the part of the largo 
church he represented. 

Unity in variety is a universal law. We both recognize and rejoice in 
it, and we count it a cause for special thanksgiving that Christian breth- 
ren, while disagreeing upon some points, may yet stand together upon the 
platform of fundamental truth. Like almost every ancient church, this 
one has witnessed the departure of members for opinion's sake. While 
regretting the absence of those brethren, we yet respect their fidelity to 
their convictions. We welcome them upon this commemorative occasion 
wnth the cordiality of brethren. We rejoice in their prosperity, and bid 
them God-speed in their work. We look lor a response, to our guests 
from the Baptist church. 

The Baptist church was re[)resented by Rev. R. ^I. Nott, 
Brethren A. G. Sweetser, Edward Mansiield and A. N. 
Sweetser. The gentleman first named responded : 

The response to this .sentiment would most appiopi-iately come Iroin 
the pastor of the cluu-ch, Rev. Ur. Keyaer, or IVom our venerable broth- 
er, Rev. Jonas Evans, who, if present, might not merely, as one of its 
oldest and most beloved members, represent our church, but would also 
undoubtedly be welcome as one connected intimately with a number of 
tiie oldest families in the town, and one whose memory is a storehousi' 
filled with interesting recollections of the religious history of the place 
But the absence from town of the former, and the ill health of tlie lat- 
ter, have caused the duty of replying to this courteous and fraternal 
sentiment to be committed to one less qualified. Yet I possess one pecu- 
liar qualification, in that, while a real and complete Baptist, I am also 
linked — I suppose by an inseparable bond — with the Congregationalists. 
The water of consecration, the "seal of the covenant," was duly placed 
upon my brow in infancy by the hands of my father, at that time a Con- 
gregational ijastoi', and I was of course, by that ceremony, made a 
member of a Congregational church, in that sense in which the "child- 
ren of the church" are members. As I have never been notified of my 
dismission, or excommunication, undoubtedly I am still a member. 1 
hope I shall receive due watch-care. 


But it is worthy of beinii- remembered on this oceasion, that Baptist 
churches are, in reference to one of the tliino-s that most affect church 
character, themselves members of the family of Congrtij^ational 
churclies. Our form of cluirch government is substantially the same 
with yours. Our i>olity is not the Prelatic, nor the Presbyterian, but 
tlie Congregational. Besides, we liad, to a considerable extent, a com- 
mon origin with you. As regards our English development, we Avere, 
like your denomination, apart of the Puritan stock which arose to con- 
tend against the corruption and tyranny of the ecclesiastical establish- 
ment in England. In this country our independent development at first 
struggled against an obstacle in the theocratic institutions which the 
noble, but of course not properly enlightened, forefathers of New Eng- 
land thought it their right and duty to establish : and in the fact that, in 
respect to some of our denominational principles, we were found to be 
even pro<es/ants against the Protestants. But we are now seen to be 
only standing side by side with you, in relation to two most fundamen- 
tal matters: first, as to the defence of what has come to be universally 
recognized in America as the true Protestant theory of the proper 
relations of civil government to religion and the rights of conscience — 
a theory which, established as it seems to be, American Protestants 
generally may yet be called upon to maintain strenuously against a dan- 
gerous assaulting force ; and, secondl}', what is better, in relation to 
the support and the universal propagation of a true, evangelical Chris- 

The Baptist church in Wakefield congratulates this church on its age, 
its growth in the past, and the prosperity it now enjoys ; and desires the 
continuance of warm fraternal relations on the basis of mutual Chris- 
tian confidence and love. 

The charity of the Gospel is a beautiful mantle, and as broad as it is 
beautiful. When the Universalist churches were formed in New England 
they asked for a larger charity among christians ; and if they arraigned 
existing churches as having too little, they did but emphasize a truth which 
men are prone to neglect. We are glad to have with us the newly-settled 
pastor of the Universalist church, from whose lips the Gospel, as under- 
stood by himself and his brethren, is receiving a vigorous and faithful 

Response by Rev. Quincy Whitney : 

lie congratulated the Pastor and Parish on the occasion which had 
called the company together; and thought it something to stimulate and 
encourage any church, that it had such a history behind it, and embod- 
ied in its present condition so much sweet christiau fraleniity. He re- 


jdiceil that the day had dawned when all the churches leg-ardcd "the 
chanty of the gospel" as "a broad and beautiful mantle," and that they 
(rould now recognize in it more than formerly, some common ground of 
Christian Union. He saw in it the more hopeful day for the world ; 
and instead of tearing each other in jjieces, by theological weapons, Ihey 
would all take the ''sword of the spirit" and march hand and shoulder 
to victory. There was some common ground ou which they could all 
stand, notwithstanding their theoretical differences, and that is the spirit 
of charity and toleration, and the vital principles of what makes the 
real Christian. He illustrated this point and the position of the different 
sects, by saying they might all be represented by taking some vials and 
filling them with water, and coloring each differently. One color should 
represent one sect, another a different sect, &c., through the catalogue. 
The coloring in each was the theological view which each put upon the 
Bible — while the basis of all these different compounds is water. Each 
church has something of the "water of life," and should not think more 
of its shade of theological differences, than of the water itself. 

Among denominations of Christians, our Methodist brethren have no 
superiors for zeal ; and their zeal has been repaid bj a wonderful growth. 
When their church in this town was established, it received from this the 
right hand of warm fellowship, and we have seen no reason to withdraw 
it. We take pleasure in congratulating them upon the success of their 
efforts, and wish them a still greater degree of it. 

The Eev. John Peterson, pastor of the Methodist church, 
was imavoiclably absent. 

The Diaconate of the First Church — illustrated in the past by many 
pious and saintly names ; represented in the present by devoted christian 

Response by Dea. George R. Morrison : 

It is true that the office of Deacon in this church has been filled by 
many saintly men. The number who have served it in that capacity 
is now forty; and the service of some of them extended over very 
long terms. When I came to this town, more than forty years ago, 
I attended meeting at this church, and my mind reverts to those days 
with vivid recollections of the leading men of that time, especially 
the deacons. There were t)ea. Bryant, Dea. Eaton, Dea. Oliver, Dea. 


Boavdman, Dea. Noi'cross, and Capt. Thomas Emerson ; now all gone 
to their rest. The kind Avords that I received from each of them still 
linger in my mind, giving me a great degree of pleasure. May their 
mantle fall upon us, that we may be able to discharge our duties as 
faithfully as those servants of the Lord did in their day. My sentiment 
is, that this church mu}' in coming years send out more branches than 
she has already sent forth. And may her graces shine out, that she 
may be a beacon light to many a wandering i)ilgrim. 

The Gould Family — Said to be "very set in their ways," it should be add- 
ed to their honor, that they are almost always set in the right way. 
One excellent scion of the race is well set at the head of our large and 
growing Sabbath school, and is a Deacon beside. 

Response by Doa. J. G. Aborn : 

Mr. Phesident : To your sentiment my feelings and reason respond. 
It is even so — stern, inflexible, stubborn sometimes, it may be, is the 
f^mlily, the race. How can this family trait be better regulated and em- 
ployed than in the work of the church and sabbath school— an institu- 
tion acknowledged by evei-y christian sect and denomination to be good, 
aff'ording the purest instruction, the sweetest associations, the holiest 
principles; thus drawing for us wisdom from the past, and hope for the 
future. This school was founded in the year 1818, by earnest men and 
women. Most of them I must have known, as it is more than forty 
years since I became a member. There have been eleven Superintend- 
ents. Dea. Aai'on Bryant, the first elected, held the office not less than 
thirty years. His name, ability, faithfulness, and devotion to evangeli- 
cal truth and every vital interest of the school, should be handed down 
Irom father to sou, to the latest generation. His successors have fol- 
lowed nearly the same methods which were employed in the beginning, 
finding them wise and efiicient in making this a school full ot life and 
interest; and I rejoice to be able on this commemorative occasion lio re- 
port — that which no one, I think, will call in question— that never, in 
the long history of the church, parish, or sabbath school, were we, in 
all respects, in a more happy and prosperous condition ; and we trust 
in God, that He will raise up men of faith and courage, who "count not 
their lives dear to them," so tliat Christ and His cause shall be effectual 
in the salvation ot sinners. 

The following sentiment was furiiislied by the Pastor : 


The Eaton Family— One of the oldest, most numerous and most honor- 
able, it has furnished some of the Avisest of our public servants. To none 
of these is the town more indebted than to one who, at the close of a life 
of wide usefulness, gave to it an accurate, complete and invaluable Town 
History — The Hon. Lilley Eaton. We miss his ever welcome presence; 
but we hold in lasting and grateful memory his pure character, his worthy 
example, and his arduous services. 

Response by Henry L. Eaton, Esq. of Swampscott : 

Mk. PitKSiDEXT, rORMER Pastor, AND Fkiends : I thank you heart- 
ily for the privilege of responding to the sentiment just given. 

You have referred in words of eulogy to one who for a lifetime gave 
of the best he had, whether of time, talent, or labor, and at the last, I 
cannot help thinking, life itself, to his native town. Sir, Lilley Eaton 
loved with no common love, the place that gave him birth. It was to 
him the dearest spot on all the earth ; and of all lier sons, I believe 
none ever accomplished more than he, for her past, jiresent, and future 
prosperity. Standing here on this centennial occasion — my own life 
measuring just half of it— I miss the familiar coulitenances of many 
whom, for long years, I remember as associates of my honored father. 
Their descendants are before me; and to you. companions of my child- 
hood, and friends of later years, I extend a hearty greeting. 

Members of the Congregational Churcli : Eighteen yeais ago yon re- 
ceived my wife and myself to your fellowship and communion ; and I 
look back to that time with feelings of gratitude which I cannot express. 
Precious to me are the memories of pi-ayer meetings I liave attended in 
the old and in the new vestry. Father Emerson and Dea. Bryant, rise 
before my mental vision ; and I bless the Lord that He ever called me 
into his kingdohi. Tlianking you all for this opportunity of meeting 
you once more, I offer the following sentiment — 

Members of this Church who have gone before — May their Christian 
graces live in us. 

The Cowdrey Family— From William Cowdrey, one of the earliest set- 
tlers,— Deacon, Selectman, Representative, and of rare clerkly skill, as 
deeds and records even now attest,— down to the present time, the stock 
has not degenerated; and the latest descendant, emulating the virtues of 
his progenitor, even excels him in beauty of chirography, and may yet be 
a Deacon. 

Kcsponse by Waldo E. Ckiwdrey, Esq : 

Mu. PuE^iDEXT, Ladies axi? Gentlemex: Deacon Cowdrey was a 
tarmer, a son of the st)ilr who got bis living by tilling it, as his descend- 


ants ill this town have to tiio eighth generation. Bnt I do not propoi^u 
to tell you "what I know about farming," and will only say that I hopt; 
his lauiiiy may always have th(! lio-ht to plac(! on their coat of arms the 
I)loug-h as well as the i)en. Born at the opening of the 17tli century, in 
the reign of good (^ueen Bess, he belongs to the epoch of .Shaksjjeare 
and the .Si)anish Armada. I am unal)le to giv(! you his opinions uj)on 
the English poet or tiie Spanish i»irates: but as actions speak louder 
tiian wr)rds, we learn Jiis vi(;ws on two impor-tant matters. In early 
manhoDil Ik^ lieard the voice of some Greeley of that day saying, "Go 
^Vcst, yoimg man:"' Iiut (and 1 call the attention of all young men to 
ihe fact) he got married before he went West. One other thing we 
learn from his record — he paid his passage over, and 1 trust his examph; 
of paying his way may be followed by all his children. 

Mr. President, 1 hope this ancient church may always have on its roll 
of member.s some who bear the names of its founders; but I also hope 
that in the future, as in the past, its burdens may be borne, and its hon- 
ors shared, b}' many new ones — strangers to our lathers, but not strang- 
ers to their faith. 

The Bancroft Family — including Deacons, Captains, Esquires, Doctors 
of Divinity, Historians and Judges. Eminent in the past, more eminent 

The Temple Family — illustrious for their virtues and their ancestry, 
leading back to an English lineage, whicli includes such names as Lord 
Chatham, Lord Grenville and Lord Palmerston. 

Judge Solon Bancroft of Keading-, replied for ])otli of tlic 
last named families ; expressing his pleasm-e in being a sharer 
in the exercises of the occasion, and his increasing admira- 
tion for tlu! heroic, wise and self-dcnyiug men who have i)re- 
ceded us. 

The Poole Family — in our early history, distinguished for wealth, talents, 
and integrity, — some worthy descendants are still among- us. 

Response l)y Dr. Alextinder Poole : 

This is not the place to go into the history and bi()grai)liy of the Pooles. 
I can only give a few general facts concerning them. — John Poole, the 
ancestor of all of the name in this vicinity, and, it is believed, in Maine 


and Connectiout, was amnng the first settlors of tliis town ; and the 
name came to bo among the most ni:merous on the list of citizens ; and, 
as far as is known, tiiey were among the wealthiest, and, «.s a comc- 
quence, tlie most re.iprcted class of citizens. Among them are found a 
goodly niimhiT o[' Captains, Licutenan'-o, Justice.-^ of (he Peace. Dc((cons, 
and one Cor several years Town Clerk. Two graduated from Harvard Col- 
leu'e, and one settled as a clei-gyman in Nova Seolia. John, the lirst of 
the name, bnilt the (irsl mill in town, on the site wliere now stands tlie 
Wakefiehl Rattan Faclori) ; thus while replenishing his own coffers, he 
furnished the grain in a foi-m acceptable to the stomachs of his neigh- 
bors. But, alas ! From being numerous and influential, they have sad- 
ly degenerated, until now only two of the name remain in town of all 
that numerous race. 

The Emerson Family— numerous, respected and influential, but especial- 
ly noted for its ministers and mililarj men, among whom may be named 
Rev. Joseph Emerson of Mendon, Rev. Dr. Brown Emerson of Salem, 
Rev. Reuben Emerson of South Reading, Rev. Alfred Emerson of Lan- 
caster, and Rev. Thomas A. Emerson of Braintres; Capt. Thomas Emer- 
son, of Revolutionary fame, and Capt. Thomas Emerson, Avhose form and 
voice have been so often seen and hoard in this place, and who, full of 
years, has lately passed to his rest. 

Rospousc by Capt. James F. Emerson : 

Our Ancestors — May their descendants ever follow them in those paths 
of life filled with good deeds and noble CKamples, and may the light of 
this (their) church, at the end of an additional 232 years, continue to re- 
ilect the beams of gospel light, repeating the proclamation : '-Fear not, 
for behold, I bring yon good tidings of great joy, which shall hi to all 

We have among us a venerable and respected gentleman of our own 
communion, and one who loves sweet sounds ; directly connected bv blood, 
though not by name, with some of the oldest and worthiest families of 
Reading, being a lineal descendant of Rev. Samuel Haugh, Dea. Thomas 
Nichols, Capt. John Herbert and Dea. John Goodwin — Need I name James 
Eustis, Esq. t 

RespDiisc by Mr, Eustis : 

^ly eai-liest ancestors in this town were Nathaniel Goodwin and Rich- 
ard Nichols, who came here more than two hundred years ago. I am 


donbtfal wliether I can claim descent IVoni Rev. Samuel Ilaugli ; but 
that there wore Deacons in iny line is quite true. ]\Iy memoiy o;oes 
back seventj-'ibur years, and I can recollect distinctly, lookiuij upon the 
r. 'mains of Mr. Pi-entice in his coffin. I can remembei- the ordination 
ot Ml-. Emerson in the following year. Mr. Eaton mentions in his his- 
tory the feat of the Xegro Doss, in lifting one of the gi-eat pieces of 
granite when this church was built. I remember "Old Doss.*' He was 
a man of great and powerful frame. "When the old church was repair- 
ed, and tlie sounding-board was taken. down, I bought it, and kept it in 
my barn for years as a memento of old times; but it was rather cum- 
bersome, and was taken to pieces. In your tiuist you allude to my love 
for sweet sounds. I have such a love, and for many years enjoyed pub- 
lic worship in the gallery with the singers. I love my native town, and 
am glad that the rising generation find pleasure in thinking of the 

Among the honored names of the early church of the first Parish, are 
found those of Thomas and Susannah Hartshorne, and later, that of 
James Hartshorne, for over twenty years a deacon of this church — a nu- 
merous and respected race, noted for their intelligence and good looks. 

Response by Jacob C. Hartshorne, Esq. : 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, — As I look down the long, 
dim path of years, and view the noble deeds and memorable names so 
thickly strewn therein, I feel how weak and inadequate will be the 
words which come at my command, in response to this noble sentiment. 
But, sir, I cannot conceal the honest pride I feel in the fact that, among 
the founders of this ancient church and town, my ancestors bore a help- 
ful and honorable part. Time would fail me to speak of all, from 
Thomas down to James; but that they were useful, energetic, tried und 
true, is well attested by the record of their eventful lives as members of 
the church and State; and although none of them acquired great wealth, 
they have thus far been able, all of them, to blow their own horn. But 
"art is long, and time is fleeting," and remembering your injunction to 
be brief, I beg leave to close my remarks by offering this sentiment, 
expressive of the spirit of our ancestors : 

Liberty! — "Tis Liberty alone that gives the flower of fleeting life its lus- 
tre and pert'ume ; and we are weeds without it. 

The great family of Brown — It has reflected honor on the old town, 


from Nicholas Brown, the first settler, through Deacons, Generals, Cap- 
tains, and Esquires. The blood is well preserved, though the name has 
become scarce in our Society. 

Response by T. J. Skinner, Esq : 

Having been vequesteil to respond to the foreg'oing toast, in behalf of 
wife and children, I have found upon consulting our valuable Town 
Historj-, that my family are direct descendants of the veritable Nicholas 
mentioned in the toast — being only the seventh and eighth generation 
removed, and coming down as follows, viz. : from Kicholas to Josiah, 
to Josiah again, to Nathaniel, to Jacob, to Pearson, to John Brown, 2nd, 
who was the father of my wife. Said Nicholas came over from Eng- 
land, and first settled in Lynn, but soon removed to this town, where he 
resided upon the place now occupied by E. A. Upton, Esq., and also 
upon the estate now owned by Lucius Beebe, Esq. General Benjamin 
Brown, of Revolutionary fame, was also a descendant of Nicholas, 
through another son — Joseph. He was an eminent and influential citizen 
of this town for many years. He was by trade a tanner. He was also 
a soldier in ihe Revolution, Colonel in the Continental army. General 
in the militia, ToAvn Clerk, Selectman, Representative, delegate to the 
1st Provincial Congress, and last — which in those times was considered 
highest of all — became a deacon in the church. Still another branch of 
the Brown family is the family residing in tiie east part of the town, of 
which the late W. L. Brown, Esq., was a part. They also descended 
from Nicholas, through another son— Cornelius. As suggested in the 
toast, the name of Brown, although so common, has become somewhat 
scarce in our own society. The only persons left of our own family to 
continue the name, are the two children of the late Hervey W. Brown, 
and the children of the late Charles B. Brown. 

The Aborn Family— Though not among the first settlers of Reading, 
they early flourished in our sister town of Lynnfield, and have long been 
firmly rooted in our soil. Their record is good, and may the blood and 
name be perpetuated— by George, (if not by others.) 

Hosponsc by Georffe W. Aborn, Esq. : 

One of the number who formed the first church in Lynnfield was Dr. 
John Aborn. His son Samuel, who was Deacon in the same church, 
was my grandfather. Aborns are few in number, but have always 
been found filling various otllces in the (!hurch and parish. 


Joseph Damon, the worthy son of an honored father, Dea. John Damon. 
Me left us 200 years ago, and has only just returned in the person of his 
very great grandson, the precious fame of -wliose services in the cause of 
Christ and Humanity, is world wide— the Seaman's Friend. Rev. Dr. 
Samuel C. Damon of Ilonohilu. 

Response l)v ibllowing letter : 

WORCF.STKK, June 20, 1876. 
C. W. Eaton, Es.i 

MvDeakSiu: — Your letter of yesterday has this nionient been re- 
eeivetl, and I hasten to vejily, expressing my sincere and heartfelt regret 
that m}' previous engageiiients will not allow me to be j^vesent on tht; 
interesting oecasion referred to, or even to visit again the good old town 
of Reading. 

Please assure all gathering on Wednesday evening at your Centennial 
Service, of my cordial good will, and the honor which I so much value 
of being connected with the original settlers of Reading, and especially 
being thus connected with one of the very earliest Deacons of the 
Church, and his wife Abigail. 

On returning to my far-away home in the Pacific, I shall look back 
v/ith an honest pride to Reading, associating the names of Reading, 
Dcdhav}, and Ilolden, with that of Honolulu, where I have spent more 
than one third of a century in preaching the gospel, and where I hope 
to finish my ministry, when it .shall please the Master, who commissioned 
his disciples to "go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every 
crciture." Alost trulv vour.s, SAMUEL C. DA:\I0N. 

The Upton Family — They are long in the land, and well up in the 

E. A. Upton, Esq., responded: 

Mu. Pkesidext : — 1 cannot .speak with much knowledge for the mem- 
bers of the family who have been long in the land, and I am altogether 
too modest a man to speak for those who are well up in the world, for I 
presume the sentiment measured them by long measure, and not by any 
standard of position ; therefore I am douI)tful if 3'OU have made a judi- 
cious selection in the person to represent them this evening. I w-as edu- 
cated and trained to believe that the religion of this church was the only 
religion capable of carrying a person through this world into a life of 
repose and happiness ; but as I desire to maintain the reputation of tin- 
family for obeying Biblical precepts, I have left this ancient society for 


one equally confident in the saving qualities of its religion, that I 
might cleave unto ray wife ; but the change has not erased or destroyed 
the e:uly impressions which I received, however darkly they may ap- 
pear in my daily life. It is a pleasure for me to meet with you in this 
social manner, and bring to mind the i)leasant traditions, associa- 
tions and reminiscences which surround this ancient church ; and al- 
though it does not appear thatmaiiy of the later members of the family 
have been connected with it, yet it is well to know that many of them 
were active and influential in the society which Avas a daughter of this 
church, and settled in the cold regions of North Reading, and through 
their influence and active works, that society grew in strength and in- 
creased in numbers, until it has become a beacon light in the galaxy of 
churches. May the future light of this church be equal in Ijriglitncss 
and power to that which it has shed in the past, and may it continue to 
exercise a controlling influence! over all upon whom it shines. 

The Law — properly administeretb the bulwark of our rights. 

C. p. Jiidd, Esq., of Headiiio-, i-espoiidcd : 

Tlie Puritans had great regard for "law and order." Before they 
landed from the Mayflower they made a written compact of govern- 
ment. They treated the Indians fairly and honestly. Shortly after 
their arrival, they found a pile of Indian corn in the ciistody of no one: 
they used it, but immediately hunted up the owner, and paid him for it. 
They paid the Indians for every foot of land they took, up to the time 
of King Philip's war; and paid a fair price for the land, too — all it was 
worth — though the compensation was only a jewsharp. The laws of 
our forefathers were more humane than those of anv' other country in 
the world at that time. It is said that they were guilty of persecution. 
This is not so ; for they only enforced their laws. It is not persecution 
to apply the law to a party who came to the State after the law was 
iuade, and wilfully violated it. It is said they hung the Quakers; but 
the Quakers were guilty of great indecency ; and the rule of the Pil- 
grims was, "Let everything be done with decency, and in order." This, 
too, was the common injunction of 3'our late pastor, Mr. Emerson, 
'.rhe family, the church and the State, were the three grand elements of 
early New England life. The family was sacred and indissoluble. The 
puritans had no divorce laws, and during the first century after their 
landing a divorce was hardly heard of. Now, the great business 
of our courts is to separate man and wife. The early clergymen 
were bold, educated and noblemen. True, they eschewed lawyei's, and 
kept them out of the country for many years. Nevertheless, the laws 
in tiie main were fairly interpreted by the clergy. Litigation was short 


ntul crisp. Piinisliment mot crime. Fault is Couiul witli tiio old clergy- 
men, because they allowecl no one to vote in Slate matters who was 
not a mtmiber of the chui-cli. This caused no trouble, because soon 
alter, they iDermitted every man of ocxx] nioral character to join the 
church. Have we, in this age ol" li(jht, any l)etter b;isis of suflVage 
than a good moral cliaracter? 

In the excellent historical address of the i)ast()r of this clurch last 
Sunday, he said that formerly the clergy, in [)rivatc and in public, in- 
dulged in spiritnou-; li(pn)rs — as well as everybody else. Tiiat was true, 
but was not ali of the truth. Let this be added: Tlie clergy were the 
lii'St to al)and(jn ardent spirits; they first began the temperance reform, 
llfty yeai's ago, and they have been the pioneers in this glorious reform 
from tliat day to the present time. 

Should any one who ^Yas present at the gathering discover 
that the order of the sentiments in the foregoing report dif- 
fers somewhat from that followed on the occasion itself, and 
that soma other changes hav^e been made, the fact is explained 
by saying that the cifort hiis l)een, while reproducing the 
meeting in its main features and spirit, to give special prom- 
inence to the church in its relation to other churches, and to 
the families that have, from the earliest times, been identified 
with it. 

The titles of other sentiments with the names of the re- 
spondents are as follows : 

The National Govei-ninent — Senator (ieo. S. Boutwell ; 
l)y a dispatch given among the letters printed farther on. 
The State Government — Thos. Winship, Esq., Representative 
from this town. The President of the United States — Col. 

John W. Locke, P. M. The Town of Reading . 

The Town of Wakefield — Hon. James Oliver, chairman of 
the r>oard of Selectmen. The Beebe Town Lii)rary — Lucius 
Beebe, Esq. Education — ]\Ielviu J. Kill, Principal of the 
High School. The Army — Maj. A\'. S. (ircenough. The 
Shades of the Departed— ^Irs. E. C. Poland. The Swain 
Family — Rev. T. A. Emerson. The AValton Family — E. H. 
Walton, Esq. The Uses of Tea — John F. Ilartshorne, Esq. 
Our Triennial Bookseller— N. J. Bartlett, Esq. The Mu- 
sical Sentiment — Solon Walton, chorister of the church. 


TJie Influence of Woman — James O. Boswell, Esq. The 
responses it is now quite impossible to print, inasmuch as 
some failed at the time, and otiiers were not reported. 

It was a matter of regret that several gentleman formerly, 
or at present, identified with the church, could not be pres- 
ent. Among this number were Dr. Samuel Hart of Brook- 
lyn, Rev. T. A. Emerson, pastor at Braiutree, and Eev. W. 
S. Hawkes, pastor at Fairhaven, all of whom were sons of 
this church. Rev. Alfred Emerson, a former pastor, was 
compelled to be absent. From other friends of the church, 
who would have been gladly welcomed, the committee re- 
ceived the following 


The first is from our national historian, the Hon. George 


Newpokt, June oOtli, 187G. 
My Deak Sir : 

Absence for nearl}- a week has delayed my answer to your favor of 
the 15th inst. I am heartily glad tliat you have caught the historical 
fever, and trust you will do good service in setting in a bright light the 
great deeds of our New England ancestry, who are never enough to be 
resijectod and honored. 

The only matter in church history, relating to Reading, which has im- 
pressed itself on my mind, relates to the controversy in Northampton 
between Jonathan Edwards and the people of that town. When the 
greatest of New England's theologians fell into a deplorable controver- 
sy with the people of that town, and a council was called to pass upon 
the question of his dismission from his ministry to them, Edwarils had 
to look ffir in quest of friends on whose vigor of character and indepen- 
dence he could rely. It was among the members of your chunh 
that ho found one of his strongest sui)porters. That man was 
the father of my father — Deacon Samuel Bancroft. This fact was 
brought more closely to my consideration by my long residence in 
Northampton, within sight of the house of Edwards, and the shade trees 
which he planted It has always given me satisfaction to know that the 
delegate sent by your church exerted all his influence and fixedness of 
purpose to retain Jonathan Edwards in the lovely town in which he de- 
lighted to dwell, and from which he never should have been driven. 

It is possible that this incident may have escaped you ; if so, I am glad 
to remind you of it. I remain, my dear sir, with the greatest respect. 
Very truly yours, 


Kiev. Chakles R. Bliss. 


From Ex-Govcrnor John A. Dix, of XeAV York, the fol- 
lowing was received : 

New Youk, June Kith, 1876. 
Dkai: Sii; : 

I have just received your favor. Anthony Dix, who came lo Ply- 
mouth in tiie second vessel that reached there after the first landinf;; of 
tli(^ Pil^^-ims, was the common ancestor of Ralpli Dix and myself, and I 
remember Reading as the residence of one brancli of the family; but, 
in the absence of the records, I cannot say which. 

J should be very happy to be with you on the 21st inst. if it were in 
my power; but as it is not, you will oblio-e me by making me known to 
those who may be assembled on the occasion, as one who, though alj- 
sent, takes a cordial interest in their i)roceedings. I am, dear sir. 
Respectfully and truly yours, 

Rev. C'haklesR. Bliss. 

Sencator Geo. S. BoutAvell, descended from the Boiitwells 
who were among the early settlers of this town, sent from 
a distant State, where he was serving npon a committee of 
the United Sttitcs Senate, the following telegraphic dispatch : 

Jackson, :\Iis.s., June 20th, .187G. 
Rev. R. Bliss, Wakefield : 

If I were in Massachusetts I should attend your gathering, that I 
might revive and increase my veneration for the Founders of our Com- 
monwealth, who also established the institutions of religion, education 
and liberty, to which the country owes its existence and character. 


From Rev. John W. Chickering, I). D. : 

"Lakeside," Wakeiield, June 20th, 1S7G. 
Rev. Chakles R. Bliss : 

Dear Sir and Brother: — I am sorry not to be with you all tomorrow. 
I am fond of anniversaries, centennials, and memorials. 1 especially 
like church commemorations. Our chuich is connected with some of 
my earliest recollections. ^ly memory hardly runs so far back as to 
Father Emerson's settlement, at which, I believe, my father assisted; 
but of Father Emerson himself, and of his boys and girls, I have a very 
vivid recollection, including his deep and rich Ixiritone voice, more 
agreeable in singing than in the occasional gentle reproofs which his 
children or their 3'oung visitors may have soviclim^M iieeded; not that 


he was a scolding man, by any means, but even onniislcrs' children may 
do wrong;. 

At a later period, I have pleasant recollections of stage rides along 
the beautiful lake-shore— i. c. "side of the ;jo?zfr"— wishing I could live 
in so pretty a spot. Then came a trying time to me, and I fear, more 
so to this congregation — August 9th, 182J), when, a boy of twenty-one, 
I preached my first two sermons as a full fledged licentiate, in the pul- 
pit, and, worse still, in the presence of the venerable pastor, kind, l)ui 
sound and observant, and with only too good a field for his critical 

Xow, for nearly ten years I have dwelt among the children and chil- 
dren's children of that congregation, and other families, like my own, 
new-comers. So I send my cordial greetings to you, as one of you, 
with the hope that our children and children's children may not have 
reason to be ashamed of us; while they shall exceed both us and our 
fathers in all tiiatgoesto make good citizens and good christians. 
Yuurs, all, with regards and regrets, 


Ftr Type-writing-machine. Not in use in our fathers' days. 

From Daniel Allen, Esq. : 

HrjiXEY, X. II., June 20th, 1S7G. 
Beloved Pastor : 

Your kind letter was received yesterday. I was glad to learn that 
you were to have a social Centennial gathering of our church and con- 
gregation. I need not say to you how much pleasure it would give us 
to be with you, but we shall have to forego it. 

There is no nation but ours, and no community but Xevv England, 
that has such a glorious history, and such rich and interesting material 
for centennials and re-unions. The high and holy motives which actu- 
ated our Christian ancestors in laying the foundations of our country 
and its institutions, are worthy of everlasting remembrance. How ap- 
propriate, then, for our ancient church in Wakefield, which has stood so 
long, and is so true a witness for the "faith once delivered to the saints," 
to review its history, to gather instruction from our pious fathers "who 
lived and walked with God." 

I will give in closing the tbllowing sentiment: 

The keynote of our Pilgrim Fathers— The Bible and Free Schools. 
The history of one hundred years has given sufficient evidence that no 
substitute for them has been found, as the ground of a nation's prosperi- 
ty, or of true and genuine civilization. 

Yours truly, 

Eev. Chakles R. Bliss. 


Concerning the Present Usages, Rules and 

Instrumentalities of the Church and 

Parish, with the Names of the 

Members of Each. 



1. This church is inclepeiideut in its internal organization and man- 
agement. It controls the admission, discipline and removal of its mem- 
bers, according to its own conception of the law of Christ. It will, 
however, extend to sister Congregational churches, and receive from 
them, fellowship, advice and assistance. 

-2. Ai> -MISSION AND Tkaxsfek OF MEMBERS. — Candidates for mem- 
bership meet the Church Committee, not to undergo a rigid examina- 
tion, but to state their reasons for believing themselves to be Christians. 
They receive each a copy of the Church Confession, and if they express 
no dissent from it before the Sabbath of their public reception, they are 
held to have endorsed it. They also prepare a brief statement of their 
experience, to be read at the preparatory lecture, at which time a vote 
of admission, conditioned upon their taking the Covenant upon the 
Sabbath following, and upo\i their receiving or having received Bap- 
tism, will then be taken. 

Members of other churches, enjoying church privileges with us, are 
desired to present letters at an early date; and such letters alone, 
except for special reasons, shall entitle them to a membership in this 

Members of this church who remove their residence from this place» 
are expected to transfer their relation to some other church within two 
years after leaving us, applying for letters of dismission in writing. 
And if, after having been notified of tliis rule, absent members shall re. 
fuse or neglect to ask such letters, and fail to give adequate reasons for 
the omission, the church may withdraw from them its Avatch and care. 


3. Rights and Duties of Membeks. — Every member has a right 
to church privileges till he forfeits it, and, when accused of misconduct, 
ho has a right to know the definite charges made against him, and to 
have an open and candid trial. 

Ever}- member is under solemn obligation to promote llie peace, pur- 
ity and prosperity of the chufcli. Should any member feel aggrieveil 
by the conduct of another, he should heed the injunction of Christ con- 
tained in Matthew xviii: 15-17. Should any member wish to join 
another church, he should ask in a proper spirit to be dismissed from 
this. Should any member adopt religious views radically different 
from those held by us, and, blameless of any other ottence, forsake our 
communion, the church ruay withdraw fellowship from such person 
without taking the usual steps of discipline, and thenceforth his relative 
position shall be like that of one who had never joined us. 

•1. Church Censures. — This church regards immoral conduct, 
breach of express covenant vows, and neglect of acknowledged relig- 
ious duties, as offences subject to censure ; and the several censures of 
the church are : private reproof, public admonition, suspension from 
church privileges, and excommunication. 

5. Officers. — The X)crmanent officers of this church are the Pastor 
or Pastors, and four Deacons. The Pastor is elected by the church in 
conjunction with the parish. The Deacons are chosen by the church, 
and hold their ofiice as the church ma}^ direct. Tke annual officers are 
a Clerk, a Treasurer, and a Church Committee. The Clerk shall keep 
the church record. The Treasurer, who shall be a Deacon, shall man- 
age the pecuniary affairs of the church, subject to the direction of the 
board of Deacons, who shall authorize all expenditures, and audit all 
accounts. The Treasurer shall present to the church a yearly report. 
The Church Committee shall consist of the Pastor and live l:iy brethren, 
whose duty it shall be to receive the statements of those wishing to join 
the church, and report to the church the names of candidates approved 
by them, to look after the spiritual interests of the brotherhood, and to 
be the organ through which matters of discipline shall be presented to 
the church. 

(i. Committee upon the Sabbath School. — There sliall be chosen 
annually a Committee of three, to act as a medium of communication 
between the cluu-ch and Sabbath School. In connection with the Pastor 
;ind Superintendent, they shall seek to bring the School into close con- 
nection with the church ; devise ways and means to replenish the libra- 
ry, and render in all possible ways such assistance as the best interests 
of the School may requii-o. 



1. The annual meeting for the choice of officers shall be held in 
January, at such time as the Pastor and Deacons may appoint. Every 
business meeting shall be riotified from the pulpit on the Sabbath pre- 
ceding the meeting, and such a meeting shall be called whenever five 
members express in writing their desire that one should be held. 

2. All officers sliall ije chosen by ballot. 

3. The cliurch will celebrate the Lord's Supper on the first Sabbath 
afternoon of January, March, May, July, September and November, 
and, ordinarily, baptism will be administered on those occasions. Pre- 
paratory Lecture will be ]n-eached at some time during the previous 

1. Candidates for admission will be propounded, ordinarily, two 
weeks before their reception. 

o. Tlie Pastor shall preside in all meetings of the church. In his 
absence, the duty shall be discharged by the senior Deacon present. 

G. All business meetings shall be opened with prayer. 

Tiic foregoing Rules may be changed by a vote of two-thirds of the 
members present at any legal meeting. 


Adopted September 30, 1765, axd used accordixg to Rule 2>,-d, 


1. We believe ill one eternal, almighty God, the Father, Son and 
Holy Ghost, who created the world by his power, and governs it by his 
providence, and is the Redeemer of the fallen world by His Son, Jesus 

2. We believe the holy Scriptures of the Old and Xew Testament to 
be the word of God, and adhere to them as the only riile of faith and 
practice, directing us in all matters of divine worship, and in Church- 
administration, as well as in an holy life and conversation. 

3. We believe that our lirst parents fell from that estate of integrity, 
honor and happiness, in which God at first created them, and that all 
mankind fell in them by their transgression in eating the forbidden 
fruit, and that thereby they involved themselves and their posterity in a 
state of sin and death ; and that in consequence hereof, all the genera- 
tions of Adam are born in a state of corrupted nature, destitute of orig- 
inal righteousness and purity, under the curse of a broken law, and so 
rendered liable to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and all the 
pains of hell forever. And that God hath from all eternity chosen a 
certain number of lapsed or fallen mankind to life and salvation as the 
end, and faith in Christ and holiness as the means. 

4. We believe that God, in compassion to the sinful, perishing state 
of mankind, fore-ordained, and in the fullness of time sent. His only 
hegottou Son, to be the Saviour of the world ; and that Jesus Christ, the 
Son of God, became true and real man, being made of a woman, and 
in all things like unto his brethren, sin only excepted ; and at the same 
time in his original nature, God over all, blessed forevermore ; being 
God and man in one person. 

a. That Christ the Son of God having, in compliance with his 
Fatlier's will, taken on him the nature of man, hath therein substituted 
himself, to bear our sins in his sacrifice on the cross for the expiation of 
them, and humbled himself iirhis obedience unto death for our redemp- 
tion, whereby he has made a true and perfect satisfaction to God fbrth(! 
sins of man. 

G. That he rose again from the dead on the third day, and ascended 
into heaven as our victorious Redeemer, and sitteth at the right hand of 
(jod, making intercession for us, and having power given him over all 
things in heaven and on earth. 


7. That he sustains an<l executes the three-fold oflicc of Proplu'l. 
Priest, and King in his Church. 

8. That in the exercise of his office as Redeemer, and of the fullness 
of power committed to Iiim, he has published the gospel covenant; re- 
quiring faith and repentance of sinful men, in order to pardon and sal- 
vation ; and we must look to be pardoned and saved only through the 
merits of Clirist, applied bj^ faith as our only avaihxble plea before God 
in opposition to all works, not only those of the Mosaic law, but all 
works of righteousness, which wo are supposed to have done, or can 
do, either before or after grace received; and the only solid ground of 
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to us for our justification, 
is our union to Christ by faith, and not works of obedience, though a 
lively faith, uniting to Christ, will be ever followed with works of gos- 
pel obedience. 

9. We believe the Holy Spirit is given through the merit and inter- 
cession of Christ, to make application of his purchased Redemption to 
men's souls; and that his gracious influences are iiecessary to a life of 
faith and obedience; and particularly the regenerating and renewing 
power and grace of the Holy Spirit are necessary to quicken sinners nat- 
urally dead in sin, impotent, and averse to all spiritual good ; and to 
lead them into the life of God; and his gracious aids are to be sought 
and depended on by believers in all their acts of the spiritual life, 
whereby they are enabled to persevere to perfection. 

10. That Christ hath instituted a gospel ministry, and the two sacra- 
ments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, as the outward means of the 
application of Redemption, to be observed in liis Church till his second 

11. We believe in another life aflcr tliis life, and that Christ will 
come again, and raise the dead, and judge the world : and that we must 
all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. 

12. That at the last day, the wicked shall I)e adjudgetl to everlasting 
punishment, and the righteous to life eternal. 

The above Calvinistic Articles of Faith we receive as being agreeable 
to the word of God, and the common, received opiuifju of these 



Yon, wlio now present yourself (selves) before the Lord, do, in the 
l)resence of the great God, and of His i)eople, devoutly aeknowledge 
the God of our fathers to be the only living and true God, and receive 
Him to be your God in covenant, giving up yourself (selves) in and 
through the Lord Jesus Christ, desiring and resolving to love and fear 
Him, and walk before Him in holiness and righteousness all the days of 
your life. 

You also believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the only and eternal Son of 
God, and Saviour of fallen man ; and do receive him as the Prophet, 
Priest and King of your salvation, according to the everlasting gosjjel, 
depending upon him for righteousness and everlasting life. 

You likewise believe in the Holy Ghost as tlic author of all grace and 
comfort, and give up yourself (selves) to him to be sanctified, comforted 
and guided to eternal glory. 

You do also declare your belief of the holy Scriptures, the Old and 
New Testament, as given by inspiration of God, and the only perfect 
rule of faith and practice, resolving, by the help of divine grace, to walk 
according to this rule. 

(The Ordinance of Baptism is here to be administered.) 

You do also give up yourself (selves) to this Church, covenanting and 
jn-omising together with us, by the assistance of divine grace, that you 
will walk together with us as a member (members) of the same mysti- 
cal body, in all the holy ordinances of the Lord, blameless ; submitting 
yourself (selves) to the regular exercise of the discipline of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, in this Church, in the way of gospel order, peace and 
union.— This you solemnly profess and promise. 


We then receive you to our holy communion, and promise, by divine 
help, that we will walk together with you in brotherly love and holy 
watchfulness, to our mutual edification, iu the faith and fellowship of 
our Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN. 



Aitr. 1. The annual meeting of the Parish for the election of officer.s 
>ii:ill l.e held in the month of March; and other meetings may be held 
at such times as the Assessors shall order; and it shall be the duty of 
llie Assessors to call a special meeting of the Parish on the request of 
ten members of the Parish, made in writing. 

Art. 2. At the annual meeting the following officers shall be chosen, 
viz: Moderator, Clerk, Assessors, Treasurer, Collector, and such other 
officers as may be required. 

Akt. ;>. Every meeting shall be held in pursuance of a warrant, un- 
der the hands of the Assessors, directed to the Clerk, who shall record it 
and post a copy upon the meeting-house, to remain at least over one 
Saljbath before the meeting. 

Ai:t. 4. In giving notice of the hour of meeting, the Bell shall be 
rung twice; the first time, one hour before the time named in the war- 
rant, and the second time at saiil hour for meeting. 

Art. y. Tlie warrant sliall express the time and place of the meet- 
ing, and notliing :i^ted upon shall have any legal operation unless the 
subject matter thereol sliall have been inserted in the warrant. 

Art. (5. Tiie (;:ierk, or if there is no Clerk, or if he is absent, the 
Assessors, or either of them, or the Treasurer or Collector shall preside 
in the choice of a Moderator, and a Clerk may then be chosen either 
2iro temjwrc, or to fill a vacancy as the case may require. 

Art. 7. Tiie Clerk, Assessors, Treasurer and Collector shall lie 
chosen by written ballots, and shall be sworn. The Moderator may 
administer the oath of office to the Clerk, and the Clerk to the Asses- 
sors, Treasurer and Collector: or said oaths may lie administered )jy a 
Justice of the Peace. 

Art. 8. Any person wishing to become a member of this Parish, 
must make a written application at any regular notified meeting to the 
Clerk, and lie shall become a member on his receiving the vote of two- 
thirds of the legal voters present at such imeeting. Or when the Parish 
is not in session, should any person wishing to become a member make 
a written application to the Clerk, he shall make it known to the As- 


sessors, and if the Clerk tn;rethei- wilh the Assessors shall be unanimous 
in their opinio u, in receiving soeh applicant, he shall be held to be a 

Art. 1). Persons belonging to the Parish shall be held to be members 
until they file with the Clerk a written notice declaring the dissolution 
of their membership. 

Art. 10. No ));'rson shall have a right to vote in the affairs of the 
Parish, unless he is a member thereof. 

Akt. 11. It shall be the duty of the Clerk to record the transactions 
of all m;M3tings, record and place on file ail letters and applications to 
the Parish, and to kce]) a register book in which shall be wi-itten the 
names of members, showing when admitted, when discharged or de- 

AuT. 12. These By-Laws may be altered or amended at any regular 
me ting ol the Pai'ish, the snljject matter of such alterations or amend- 
ments being inserted in the wai'rant. 


The chnrcli adheres to the ancient practice, and expects two sermons 
on the Sabbath. The ser\ices ccnnmence at 10 1-1: A. M., and 2 3-4 
P. M. 

Order of Services. A. M. 

Doxology. Scripture Reading. Sermon. 

Invocation. Prayer. Prayer. 

Singing. Te Deum Laudamus. Singing. 


Substituting an Anthem for the Doxology, and a Selection by the 
Choir fiu- the Te Deum Laudamus, and dropping the Invocation, the 
order for the afternoon is the same. 

The Missionary Concert is held on the first Sal)bath evening of each 
month ; the Saiibatli Sidiool Concert on the second, and a prayer meeting 
on each of the remaining ones. These meetings commence at half-past 
six o'clock. 

The Church prayer meeting is held on Tuesday evening, ooraraeneing 
in winter at half-past seven, in summer at a quaiter before eight. 

The Young People's prayer meeting, alternating at some seasons with 
the Pa.^tor's Bible class, is held on Friday evening. 



This is led b\- a Qniirtcfte who receive compensation, sustained b}' a 
_;hoii-, and i)articipatcd in by the congregation. 

Organist, Miss Mary McAllister. 


Mr. Solon Walton, IxwJrr and Totor. 
Mrs. Solon AValton, Alto. 

MissE. Perls-ins, Soprano. 
Mr. C. Crosby, Bass. 



J. C.Hartshovne 
J. H. Ilartshorne, 
C. A. S. Troup 
Wallace Kendall 
Hiram P. Flagg 

E. U. Walton 
Henry Haskell 
J. F. p]merson 
J. W. Poland 
P. H. Sonthworth 
Heibert W. Walton 
Kingman S. >^ichols 


Miss Ella M. Dager 
" Myra A. Stearns 
" Rosa. V. Xesmith 
" Nellie A. Miller 
" Hattie E. Perkins 
" Florence Bnrditt 

Mrs Kate M. Howard 
Miss Hattie E. Hall 
•' Laura P. Flagg 
'• Annie L. Ballard 



Super intcndoit. 

T)ea. John Ci. Aborn. 

Asst. Superintendeni. 
(Jeorge H. Maddock. 

Secretary and Treasurer, 
William P. Preston. 

Harrv Foster. 

l)ea. A. W. Chapiuaii 
•Toseph Bnrditt 
(;. W. Kendall 
Cliarles H. Stearns 
Charles F. Richardso 
Chester AV. Eaton 
Will. S. Creenongh 
Samuel K. Hamilton 

Librarians . 
Wallace Kendall. 


H. W. Brown. 

IE. H. Walton 
i Herbert W. Walton 
|G. H. Maddock 
! Waldo E. ('owdrey 

Jacob C. Hartshorne 

Geo. W. Aborn 

E. E. Emerson 

Mrs. Charles K. Bliss 


]\Ir,s. Aildison Ilul)baid 
Eliza T. Freeman 
Charles H. Shepard 

Mrs. Will. A. Blandiard 
Miss Ellen Clayes 
•' Esther C. Allen 

Sarali Smith *' Hattie A. Gate 

('harl(>s II. Stearns " Addie C. Lane 

" John W. White " Emma E. Currier 

" L. D. Noyes " Nellie A. Miller 

Infant Class— Miss Frances S. Clayes. 

Whole membership of the School, ;)33- 

A Union Sabbatii School in Montrose draws from this church support 
as follows : 

Dea. George R. Morrison, SiiperinlPiidoit. 


Joseph Bnrditt. AViliiam P. Preston. AVallace Kendall. 

Mrs. E. T. Freeman. IMrs. L. D. Xoyes. Dea. A. W. Chapman. 


Three annual collections are taken by solicitors, viz. : Kor the Amer- 
ican Board, The Home Missionary Society, and The American Mission- 
ary Association. Collections for the diff rent denominational and other 
Societies, are taken in the church. 

The Ladies' Charitable Society labors etlieiently in pro\ idinir boxes for 
Home Missionai-y families, and fVn- the needy nearer at Iiaiid. 


Mrs. T. J. Skinner, Presideu/. Mrs. (Jeorge H. Maildoek. I", ['resident. 
'• A. S. Atherton, Secretan/. Miss Estlier C. Alien. 7'ria.<'i'rer. 

.Mrs. John T. Judkins. Mrs. D. T. Miller. .Mrs. S. K. Hamilton. 

The Woman's Missionary Society is anxiiiary to the Woman's Wn-wt 
of Missions. 

-Mrs. Charles K. Uliss, Directress. Mrs. C. E. McKay,;/. 

Mrs, George H. Maddock, Treasurer. 


The Kelief (."ominittt'c exists, to give aid to families and persons wliose 
necessities require it. It is a large committee, and is subdivided into 
an Executive Committee of five, and seventeen other committees, of 
four each. Collections to supplj- funds ar(>. taken in church, and the 
work is done according to the suggestions of the following card, which 
is given to each mcml)cr: 

"IjI-: CAKEFIL TO .MAINTAIN (;i)(»l> WOUK^.'' 




Pur.i.iMiNAiiv. — Never convey the im])rcssion that you have Ix^cn 
u/ijxiinfa/ to visit. 
(r.) Call upon our own families to ascertain who will furnish delicacies 

or other assistance for the sick, and aid for the poor, on application 

from you. 
ij.j Call upon families known not to be connected with any relit^ious 

societ\-. and invite them to attend chinxh. and send their children to 

the .S. School. 
t ;]. ) Call upon new residents who may be supposed to have affiliations 

with us, and invite them to church. 
4.) Call upon the sick, and if they need other assistance than what you 

can render, report them to the Secretary and the Pastor. 
;5.) Call upon those in straitened circumstances, and see what aid can 

be judiciously rendered, and report as above. 
( 6.) Seek out neglected children, and if they need clothing report them 

to the Charitable Society, and bring them to the Sabbath School. 
Give religion a place in your conversation, and endeavor to create 
mutual acquaintance and sympathy among the people. 

Let the committee confer together, and depute one of their number to 
make a report on or near the first of each mouth to the Secretary of the 
General Committee. 


Whole amount for the year 1876, $3,200 


For Pastor's Salary, .... .s2,0U(» 

Church Music, (iOO 

Services of the Janitor. . . . 17o 

Miscellaneous Expenses, . . . I'^o 



MAKCn 1, 1877. 

ClIAKLKS R. Buss. 


George R. Morrison. 

Cvriis N. White. 

Amos W. Chapman. 
John G. Abori 


Abbott, Mary 
Aborn, Elizabeth 
Aborn, John G. 
Aborn, Mary E. 
Aborn, George W. 
Aborn, Mary F. 
Allen, Daniel 
Allen, Abi W. 
Allen, Sarah P. 
Allen, Esther C. 
Allen, Mark W. 
Allen, Parthina E. 
Ames, Azel Jr. 
Ames, Sarah D. T. 
Atherton, Emma A. 
Atherton, Arlon S. 
Atherton, Susan M. 
Atherton, William S. 
Atherton, Sarah Bell 

Bacon, Jane M. 
Bailev, Alpha N. 
Bailey, Mary F. 
Balhml. William 
Ballard, Hannah J. 
Ballard, Annie Lucretia 
Bancroft, Elizabeth R. 
Bavtlett, Mamie E. 
Berry, Leander S. 
Blasland, Gideon B. 
Blasland. Melissa K. 
Blanchard, Will. A. 
Blanchard, M. Addle 
Bliss, Charles R. 
Bliss, Mary F. 
Boardman, Nancy A. 
Boardman, Moses 
Boardman, Susan R. 
Boswell, James O. 
Britton, Richard 
Britton, Sarah 
Brown, Mary A, 

Brown, Elvira J. 
Bryant, Clarissa O. 
Burditt, Joseph 
Burditt, Florence 
Butler, Mary W. 

Carey, Oilman 
Carey, Betsey M. 
Carey. Albert C. 
Gate, Hattie A. 
Chapman, Amos W. 
Chase, Sarah I']. 
Chickering, John W. 
Chickering, F'rances E 
Clayes, Dana 
Clayes, Ellen 
Clayes, Frances S. 
Cotiin, Annie K. 
Colby, S. M. P. 
Cowdrev, Waldo E. 
Crane, AVilliam 
Crane, Sarah A. 
Currier, Hannah E. 
Curriir, Alonzo A. 
Currier, Mary E. 
Currier, Emma E. 
Currier, Alice G. 

Dager, Ella M. 
Darling. David H. 
Davis, Hannah B. 
Dearborn, N. D. 
Dearborn, Lucy S. 
Dunshee, Sarah ]\I: . 

Eaton, Chester W. 
Eaton, Emma G. 
Emerson, Ad aline 
Emerson, George 
Emerson, Emily N. 
Emerson, Eugene E. 
Emersou, Sophia P. 


Kinerson, George D. 
Kmraons, iMary Ann 
Eiistis, James 
Evans. Cliarles A. 
Evans, Olive M. 

FIa2:g, Laura V. 
Flaur'ir, Laura E. 
Fiairo;. Hiram 1'. 
Folsom, Ilt'len A. 
Foster, Elizal)etli R. 
Foster, Jonatlian 
Foster, Aaron A. 
Foster, Rebecca T. 
Foster, raroline F. 
Foster, Harry 
Freeman, Eliza T. 
Freeman, Dora 

Gardner. Ahi^fail B. 
Gardner, Nellie M. 
Gil)l), James 
(iil)li, Estiier Levina 
God Ire v, Warren H. 
GodireV, Ellen K. 
Gould. Louisa 
Green, Susan E; 
Greenough, William S. 
Greenough, Elizabeth M. 

Hall. Eveline N. 
Hull. Jerusha 
Hall. Hattie E. 
Hamilton, Samuel K. 
Hamilton, Annie E. D. 
Hart, llann:^h M. 
Hart. Henry J. 
Hart, L. Ano-iista 
Haitshorne. hla L. 
Hait>li(.rnH, Jacob C. 
Haskell. Hciirv Jr. 
Haskell, Al)l)ie M. 
Hawkes, Electa B. 
Havward, Jnlm R. 
Havward, Mai'v Ann 
Heath, Helen " 
Hei-vev, Carrie E. 
Hill, M(dvin J. 
Hill, Louisa E. 
Holison, Sadie SI. 
Holt. Walter F. 
Hditon. Anna \l. 
Howard, Kate M. 
Hubbard. Addison 
Hubl)ai-d. Lucy A. 
Hunter, Nathan A. 
liuuter, Clarissa 

Hutchinson, Eliza A. 

Judkins, John T. 
Judkins, Lucy A. 

Kolton. Ada E. 
Kendall, (Jeorg-e W. ' 
Kendall, Mvra M. 
Kendall. Wallace 
Kilo-ore, Emma G. 
Kiml)al], Stephen li. 
Kimball. Asenatli 
Kingman. Sarali R. 
Kingiuan, Lucy E. 

Lane, David V. 
L;ine, Mary A. 
r^ane, Addie C. 
Leo^gett, O. Annie 
Linnell, Hannah C. 
Locke, Elizabeth W. 

Maddoek, George H. 
iMaddock, Fh)rence J. 
Marshall, Alson L. 
Marsjiall, Sarah A. 
^^arston, Otis 
Marston, Hannah 
Martin, 'I'liomas J. 
Martin, Julia 
Martin. Annie S. 
Mavnell, Ev(dvn 
Mcivav, Charli.tte E. 
Miller", Marv L. 
Miller, Nellie A. 
Minikin, Mai'y A. 
Moonev, Annie L 
Moors," Sarah K. 
Morrison, Georire R. 
Morrison, Sarah E. 
Morrison, S. Gi^orgette 
Moses, Elizal)eth 
Murrav, Nellie A. 

(•smith, Rosaline V. 
ichols, Mary A. 
ichols. Emily G. 
iehnls, James 
icJKds, Caroline R. 
ichols, Kingman S. 
ichols. Marv C. 
ichols. Georire F. R. 
ichols. Annie E. 
oi-ci-oss, Daniel 
oreross. Ellen 
oreross Saraii H. 
oyes, Lucrctia D. 


Xye, Abbie F. 

Oliver, Sarali 
Oliver, Jaines 
Oliver. Almira S. 

Parker, Saimiel Jr. 
Parker, Eliza L. 
Perkins, Lydia K. 
Perkins, Zillah E. 
Perkins, Almira 
Perkins, Frances O. 
Perkins, Harriet E. 
Pierce, Susan 
Poland, Emily C. 
Poland, Ella M. 
Pond, Lydia A. 
Potter, Martha G. 
Preston, William P. 
Proctor, Mattie. 

Rand, Mary 
Richardson, Charles F. 
Richardson, Mar<z:aret I. 
Richardson, Frederick E 

Savage, George 
Savage, Emma 
Savage, Emma 
Savage, Ann Maria 
Savage, .Joseph G. 
Savage, Harriet N. 
Savage, Harriet G. 
Shedd, Sarah A. 
Skinner, Mary A. 
Skinner, T. Jndson 
Skinner, Hattie E. 
Smitii, Nancy 
Smith, Sai'ah 
Soulhvvorth, Mason S. 
Southworth, Sophia L. 
SoiUhvvorth. Palmer H. 
Sp.iuldiug, Lncinda 
Stearns, Charles H. 
Stearns, Henrielta C. 
Stearns, Myra A. 
Stevens, Lucy H. 


Stowell, Henry W. 
Stowell, Mary E. 
Stowell, Issachar 
Stowell, i\Iarv E. 
Strong, Edward T. 
Strong, Annie G. 
Sweetser, Selina 
Sweetser, Moses 
Sweetsei-, Leonard 
Sweetser, Delphia E. 
Sweetser, Edward 
Sweetser, Lizzie P>. 
Sweetser, Frank H. 
Sykes, JMargaret F. 

Townscnd, Jacob 
Townsend, Nanc}- 
Troup, Charles A. S. 
Troup, E. E. 
Tufts, Charles H. 
Tutts, Emma L. 

Underwood, Emily S. 

Wales, Mary 
Walton, Ann 
Walton, Nancy 
Walton, Oliver 
Walton, Hannah F. 
Walton, E. H. 
Walton, Sarah S. 
Walton, Solon 
Walton, Ann Maria 
Walton, Herbert W. 
Walton, Rebecca T. 
Weed, George C. 
White, Saraii 
White, Cyrus N. 
Wliite, Ruth P. 
Wliite, Sclim S. 
Wliite, Edson W. 
W^iiite, John W. 
White, Etta I\Lu- 
White, Naucv 
Willis, William H. 
Wilson, ]\Lirgaret N. 
Winslow, Harvey N. 
membership 273. 


PARISH offk']':rs foe. the yeah istg, and a list ( 


James F. Fmevsoii, SecreUinj. 
T. .1. Skinner, Treasurer. 

Geoi-o-e W. Aboru 

J. ('. Hartshorne, 

W. S. (ircenoiia! 

(U)imaittee on Music. 
G. H. Maddock, T. J. Skinner, N. I). Dearlx. 

Collector, G. R. ?*Iorri 

Auditor, E. E. Euu-i-so 


Abbott, Benj. F. 
Alibott, George 
Aborn, George W. 
Aborn, John G. 
Aldricli, B. F., Jr. 
Allen, Daniel 
Ames, Azel, Jr. 
Arrington, G. B. 
Arrington, \V. M. 

Ballard, William 
Beebe, Lucius 
Blanchard, StepiuMi U 
Bliss, Ciuuies R. 
Boardman, E. E. 
Boardman, Moses 
Boswell, James O. 
Britton, Richard 
Burditt. George 
Bnrditt, Joseph 
Burditt, William 
Burrill, A. 

Carey, Albert ('. 
Carey. George E. 
L'arey, Gilman 
Carpenter, George ( ) 
Chapman, A. W. 
Clark, J. H. 
Corey, Charles A. 
Cowdrey, Jonas 
Cow drey, W. E. 
Currier, A. A. 

Darling, David H. 
Davies, David L. 
Davis, Charles 
Dearborn, N. D. 

Eaton, Chester W. 
Eaton, Everett W. 
Eaton, Henry L. 
Emerson, E. E. 
Emerson, James F. 
Emerson, Thomas 
Emerson, Thomas A. 
Evans, Charles A. 
Eustis, James 

Foster, Aaron 

Godfrey, Warren IL 
Gowing, G. 
Green, Cliarles W. 
Greenough, Wm. S. 

Hamilton, Samuel K 
Hanson, M. F. 
Hart, Abner B. 
Hart, Henry J. 
Hartshorne, John F. 
Hartshorne, Henry G 
Hartshorne, Jacob C. 
Haskell, Henry, Jr. 
Hawkes, Geo. L. 
Hayden, Wm. H. 
Howe, James W. 
Hubbard, Addison 
Hunter, N. A. 
Hurd, Francis P. 

Jordan, Charles 

Kendall, G. W. 
Kilgore, T. W. G. 

Lane, D. P. 


Liiinell, (Joo. 
Locke, John W. 
Loring, (t. W. 

Maddock, Geo. II. 
Marshall, Al.'^on L 
Marston. E. H. 
Miller, D. T. 
Mitchell, R. H. 
Morrison, Geo. K. 

Savage, .1. (1. 
Sawyer, F. A. 
Sawtell, W. H. 
Shepard, C. H. 
Skinner, T. J. 
Stearns, Charles II. 
Stowell, Issachar 
Strong, Edward T. 
Sweetser, H. X. 
Sweetser, Moses 

xVewman, J. Frank 
Nichols, James 
Nichols, Samnel li. 
Norcross, Daniel 

Oliver, D. B. 
Oliver, Henry 
Oliver, James 
Oliver, J. (;. 

PheliJS, Henrv 
Poland, J. Warren 
Poole, Alexander 
Preston, William P. 

Richardson. Charles F 

Savage, George 

Tibbetts, George E. 
Tillson, J. G. W. 
Towle, Jonathan 
Townsend, Jacob 
Tufts, Charles H. 

rpton, E. A. 

Wade. Fraiu;is F. 
Wall is, T. P. 
Walton, E. II. 
Walton, Oliver 
White, Cvrus N. 
White, John W. 
Willis, William II. 
Wilev, Benjamin B. 
WileV. Francis P.