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Haverhill, Mass. First Congregational Church records, 1719-2011.

 Collection
Identifier: RG5027

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the administrative, financial, and important membership records of the First Parish Church, North Congregational Church, Centre Congregational Church, First Congregational Church, and North Parish Community Church, all in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Included within this record collection are church meeting minutes, baptismal records, marriage records, death records, financial records, building records, photographs, correspondence, ledgers and record books, sermons, and valuable eighteenth-century membership records such as relations.

Dates

  • 1719-2011

Restrictions on Access

Access to this collection is unrestricted and open to the public.

Restrictions on Use

Items in this collection are subject to U.S. Copyright Law. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine the copyright status of collection items and to secure any permissions necessary for their reproduction and publication. Requests for permission to publish material must be discussed with the archivist or librarian.

Digital Reproductions are protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use the Digital Reproductions in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. In addition, no permission is required from the Congregational Library & Archives for educational uses. For other uses, you need to obtain permission from the Congregational Library & Archives. For additional information regarding copyright, please consult the Congregational Library & Archives' Digital Collections Copyright & Use policy.

Historical Note

The land eventually called Haverhill was first settled by Puritans in 1640. In 1641 Rev. John Ward, from Haverhill England, came to the young settlement and became the first minister; the town was incorporated in1641 and named Haverhill after Ward's birthplace. The town lands were formally purchased from the Pentuckets in 1642. Rev. Ward was officially installed as the pastor of the First Parish in 1645 and the first meeting house was constructed in 1648. Rev. Ward served as the minister until his death in 1693. He was followed by Rev. Benjamin Rolfe and was installed in 1694. Construction on the second meeting house began in 1697 and was completed in 1699.

The town of Haverhill was separated into multiple parishes during the early eighteenth-century. In 1728 the town was divided into two parishes with the formation of the North Parish. The North Parish was transferred to Plaistow, New Hampshire in 1741 and the Rockingham Congregational Church was formed. In 1734 the town was divided yet again with the formation of the West Parish and the East Parish was formed in 1743. In 1748 a bell, imported from London, was installed in the First Parish church. The third meeting house was constructed 1766.

Rev. Dudley Phelps, a strict orthodox Congregationalist, was installed as the pastor of the First Parish in 1828. His strict orthodoxy became a point of contention and the parish dissolved its relation with Rev. Phelps in 1832. The First Parish, which kept the third meeting house, became a Unitarian church after the split. In 1833 the Independent Congregational Church and Society was formed with Rev. Joseph Whittelsey as its first minister. In 1840 the name was changed to Centre Congregational Church and Society. The new church originally worshipped at the Summer Street Church and Academy Hall until 1834 when a new church building was constructed. The church had a small separation in 1839 when seventeen members withdrew to form the Union Evangelical Church of Haverhill. That church was later renamed to the Winter Street Church. The winter street church was dissolved in 1860. By 1859 the Centre Congregational Church had grown significantly and it was decided that a portion of the parish would leave to form a new church in the north of Haverhill. In 1859 100 former members of the Centre Church formed the North Congregational Church. In 1891 some members of both the North and Centre Congregational Churches joined together to form the Union Congregational Church. The Union Congregational Church dissolved in 1932.

The first building of the North Congregational Church was completed in 1860. In the early twentieth-century, the building was renovated with Tiffany memorial windows. In 1929 the North Parish Community Church was formed after the dissolution of the Rockingham Congregational Church in Plaistow, New Hampshire. In 1940 the Centre Congregational Church and North Congregational Church merged to form the First Congregational Church in Haverhill which occupied the North Church building. In 1963 the North Parish Community Church merged into the First Congregational Church; at the same time the First Congregational Church joined the United Church of Christ. In 2010 the 1860 church building was sold and the First Congregational Church was formally dissolved.

Extent

10.85 Cubic Feet (11 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Overview

Haverhill was first settled by Puritans in 1640. Rev. John Ward was officially installed as the pastor of the First Parish in 1645 and the first meeting house was constructed in 1648. The second meeting house was completed in 1699 and the third was completed in 1766. In 1833 the First Parish became Unitarian and the Congregationalist dissenters formed the Independent Congregational Church and Society which was later renamed to the Centre Congregational Church and Society. In 1859 a large group of parishioners left the Centre Congregational Church to form the North Congregational Church. In 1940 the Centre and North Churches merged to form the First Congregational Church. In 1963 the North Parish Community Church merged into the First Congregational Church which simultaneously joined the United Church of Christ. In 2010 the First Congregational Church in Haverhill dissolved. This collection contains the administrative, financial, and important membership records of the First Parish Church, North Congregational Church, Centre Congregational Church, First Congregational Church, and North Parish Community Church.

Arrangement

This collection has been arranged into five series. Each series contains the records of a single church. The North Congregational Church and First Congregational Church series have been further divided into several topical sub-series. Except where noted, series, sub-series, folders, and volumes have been arranged into chronological order. Generally, the contents of folders have largely remained in their original order.

Series 1: First Parish Church records, 1719-1756

Series 2: North Congregational Church records, 1824-2001

Sub-series 1: Church and society records, 1824-2001

Sub-series 2: North Church Sunday School records, 1859-1923

Sub-series 3: Financial and building records, 1859-1943

Sub-series 4: Church groups and committees, 1874-1926

Sub-series 5: Ministerial papers, 1894-1911

Series 3: Centre Congregational Church records, 1859-1942

Series 4: First Congregational Church records, 1900-2011

Sub-series 1: Image and audiovisual materials, 1900-2001

Sub-series 2: Church committees, societies, and groups, 1922-2010

Sub-series 3: Church and membership records, 1939-2011

Sub-series 4: Newsletters, 1946-2011

Sub-series 5: Financial and building records, 1947-2009

Sub-series 6: Sermons, 1959-2000

Series 5: North Parish Community Church records, 1924-1970

Technical Requirements

To access digital user's copies via online-interface, a java-enabled web browser is required. Internet Explorer 8.x and later, Firefox 5.x and later, Opera 12 and later, Safari 5.x and later, or any version of Google Chrome are recommended.

Videocassette materials require a videocassette player in order to play their content.

Acquisition Information

Materials were donated to the Congregational Library & Archives by the First Congregational Church of Haverhill, Massachusetts, in May 2012; Accession 2012-02. Additional materials were transferred from the Haverhill Public Library in 2012; no accession number.

Accruals

Additional accruals are expected for this collection in the form of full-text transcription. There is no anticipated date for this accrual.

Related Materials

Artifacts and other materials from the First Congregational Church in Haverhill, Massachusetts, were donated to the Peabody Essex Museum in 2012.

Bibliography

Manual of the Centre Congregational Church in Haverhill, Mass. Haverhill: Chase Brothers, 1894.

Processing Information

Originally processed by Christina Prochilo in 2012 using DACS. Additional processing by Sari Mauro in 2013. Collection completely reprocessed in January 2020 by Zachary Bodnar using DACS Second Edition.
Title
Haverhill, Mass. First Congregational Church records, 1719-2012. RG5027
Status
Completed
Author
Zachary Bodnar
Date
2020-01-27
Description rules
3
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Your Name Here Special Collections Repository

Contact:
City on a Hill MA 03210 United States