Braintree, Massachusetts. First Congregational Church. Records, 1697-1825.

Collection Information
Title:

Braintree, Mass. First Congregational Church records, 1697-1825.

Creator(s):

First Congregational Church (Braintree, Mass.)

Niles, Samuel, 1674-1762

Dates:

1697-1825

Extent:

460 unique images: archival TIFF, derivative JPEG & PDF.

Collection ID #:

RG5302

Conditions Governing Access:

Digital images are open and available for researcher access online via the New England's Hidden Histories program.

Technical Access:

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 alter, Opera 12 and later, Safari 5.x and later, or any version of Google Chrome are recommended.

Copyright: Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], in the Braintree, Mass. First Congregational Church records, 1697-1825. RG5302. The Congregational Library & Archives, Boston, MA.

Language:

English

Revision History:

Processed by Corinne Bernstein, February 2016, using DACS Second Edition.

Abstract:

The Mount Wollaston Parish Meeting House was established in 1639 in the present-day Quincy Area, and by 1640 the town was renamed Braintree. Braintree originally included present-day Braintree, Quincy, Randolph, and Holbrook. The Parish Meeting House was the site of the original church, which first gathered on September 10, 1707. In 1708, old Braintree was divided into the North Precinct (Quincy) and the South Precinct (Braintree). When Quincy became an official town in 1792, the 1707 church was designated as the First Church in Braintree. The records in this collection include the journal of Samuel Niles dating 1697 to 1777, a volume of the Braintree Precinct's Financial Records dating 1708 to 1796, and a volume of church records dating 1790 to 1825.


Worthley, Harold Field. : An Inventory of the Records of the Particular Congregational Churches of Massachusetts Gathered 1620-1805. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970.

Acquisition Information:

Physical materials placed on temporary loan with the Congregational Library & Archives in November 2015 by the First Congregational Church, Braintree, Massachusetts.

Digital images created as part of the New England's Hidden Histories program in summer 2016.

Accruals:

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

Description

Historical Note

The first Parish to settle in the Braintree area in 1634 was known as "Mount Wollaston", named after the founder of a trading post in 1624. The Mount Wollaston Parish Meeting House was established in 1639 in the present-day Quincy Area, and by 1640 the town was renamed Braintree. Braintree originally included present-day Braintree, Quincy, Randolph, and Holbrook. The Parish Meeting House was the site of the original church, which first gathered on September 10, 1707.[i] In 1708, old Braintree was divided into the North Precinct (Quincy) and the South Precinct (Braintree). At the time, Braintree was sometimes referred to as "Monatiquot", after the Massachusett Indian village and home of Chief Wompatuck. When Quincy became an official town in 1792, the 1707 church was designated as the First Church in Braintree. Over the years, the church has been known as the First Congregational Church and Christ Church. The first ministers of the church included Hugh Adams (ordained 1707), Samuel Niles (ordained 1711), and Ezra Weld (ordained 1762).

 

Scope of Collection

The records document the history of the organization, Braintree Precinct, and Pastor Samuel Niles, including membership, finances, church life, and the thoughts of the pastor. Included in the records are minutes, financial records, journal entries, and lists of marriages, baptisms, deaths, and admissions to the church.

 

Further Searches

Subject Headings

Braintree (Mass.) - History.

Braintree (Mass.) - Church History.

Congregational Churches - Massachusetts - Braintree.

First Congregational Church (Braintree, Mass.)

First Congregational Church (Braintree, Mass.) - History.

Niles, Samuel, 1674-1762

 

Related Materials

American slavery, and the means of removal: a sermon, preached in the First Congregational Church, Braintree, April 4, 1844. by Richard S. Storrs, D.D.

Braintree, MA: First Congregational Church. (1830-1907) 17.11.1 B73.4 FIRCC

Christian unity: a sermon preached at the First Parish Church, Braintree, Mass. by A. A. Ellsworth (1895) 15.5 5834.1

Continuance in the ministry: a discourse delivered in the First Congregational Church, Braintree, Mass., July 3, 1861, by Rev. Richard S. Storrs, on the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination. 15.4 5846 STOO-STOR

Gathered in 1707: a history of the First Congregational Church, Braintree, Massachusetts, 1707-1957. compiled by Ruth W. Shuster (1957) 17.11.1 B73.4 FIRCC GS 1957

Law and order: a sermon preached at the First Parish Church, Braintree, Mass., on Sunday, April 5, 1891. by the pastor, Rev. A.A. Ellsworth 15.4 5846 ELL-ELY

The pastor's farewell benediction. A sermon delivered in the First Congregational Church of Braintree, Mass., July 2, 1871, the day following being the sixtieth anniversary of his settlement, July 3, 1811. by Rev. Richard S. Storrs, D.D. (1871) 15.0.5 5621 S-TE

The untimely death of a man of God lamented: in a sermon preach'd at the funeral of the Reverend Mr. John Hancock, pastor of the First Church of Christ in Braintree, who died May 7th. 1744, aetatis suae 42. by Ebenezer Gay, A.M. (1744) 15.0.7 5625 HAL-HAZ

 

Arrangement

The three volumes are arranged in chronological order according to start date.

Volume I: Samuel Niles Journal 1697 November 6 - 1777 December
Volume II: Braintree Precinct Financial Records 1708 January - 1796 May 6
Volume III: Church Records 1790 May - 1825 December

 

Contents

    Date Location
Samuel Niles' Journal 1697 November 6 - 1777 December Online interface
  The entries in this journal, dating from 1697 to 1777, document the pastor, Samuel Niles', thoughts and activities within the church as well as the organizational and membership history of the First Congregational church of Braintree. The journal includes entries regarding the Covenant of Redemption, the Episcopacy, the Godhead of the Christ, the Protestant Power, the Papal Power, the 1665 plague in London, and the pastor's work, "A Prospect of Death - A Pindarique Essay", written on March 19, 1721. Also included in the entries is the pastor's own account of his birth, wives, children, marriages, and ordination.

The volume also includes records of the marriages, baptisms, and members admitted into communion, which the Pastor oversaw. On page 48, there is a written history of Samuel Niles. The records also include the Abington church covenant that was in place during Niles' ministry, records of burials near the Braintree church meeting house, Niles' financial account with the church and a list of the Churches of Christ living in December of 1777.

Although the journal does not include mention of the Stamp Act, the son of the journal’s author, Deacon Samuel Niles, was the chairman of a committee of five from Braintree enlisted to draft instructions for the townspeople to react to the Act in 1765. This committee commissioned John Adams "to draft the documents recounting the freedoms expected by American colonists", which became the Braintree Instructions.[ii] Forty more Massachusetts towns endorsed the Braintree Instructions, a precursor of the American Revolution. The Stamp Act was repealed a year later in the spring of 1766.
Braintree Precinct Financial Records 1708 January - 1796 May 6 Online interface
  The records in this volume document the financial and organizational history of the Braintree District from 1708 to 1796. The records include the Precinct’s meeting minutes, financial records, bills of credit and credit payments. Meeting minutes include discussion to build the new Precinct meeting house, beginning on page 82, a list of citizens who bought the thirty-six pews of the new meeting house on pages 93-94 , and a report of the Precinct lines being drawn on page 128.

The different names used to refer to the Precinct within the records also reflect the evolution of the Braintree region. From pages 1 to 24 the area is referred to as the "South Precinct", from pages 25 to 27 it is referred to as "the South or Middle precinct", from pages 28 to 192 it is referred to as the "Middle Precinct", from pages 193 to 200 it is referred to as the "First Precinct, formerly the Middle Precinct", and from page 201 onward the region is referred to as the "Braintree Precinct".
Church Records 1790 May - 1825 December Online interface
  The records in this volume document the organizational and membership history of the church. Two sets of records are bound within the volume. The first set of records dating from May 10, 1790 to December 2, 1824, include a list of the church's reverends, the church covenant, a renewed church covenant, a list of church members, and meeting minutes for the church, the brethren of the church, and the Ecclesiastical Council. Beginning on the reverse side of the volume, the second set of records dating from 1762 to October 3, 1824 includes records of marriages, baptisms, deaths, and admissions to the church.

The title page of the volume refers back to Samuel Niles' Journal informing readers that "Mr. Niles having kept the records of the chh in his day in a book of his own, in which he also inserted many of his own family concerns, his family were unwilling to give up the book. It is in the hands of the Rev. Samuel Niles of Abbington, and will probably be continued in his family, where, if need be, it may be consulted at any time, with freedom."

 


[i] Worthley, Harold Field. : An Inventory of the Records of the Particular Congregational Churches of Massachusetts Gathered 1620-1805. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970.

 

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