Ipswich, Massachusetts. First Parish. Records, 1724-1830.

Collection Information

Ipswich, Mass. First Parish records, 1724-1830.


First Parish (Ipswich, Mass.)




3 volumes (0.19 cubic feet)

805 unique images: archival TIFF, derivative JPEG & PDF

Collection ID #:


Conditions Governing Access:

Access to the physical items is restricted. Digital surrogates are to be used instead. Exceptions may be granted in cases of extenuating circumstance, at the discretion of the archivist or librarian.

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 First Parish (Ipswich, Mass.) records, RG5288. The Congregational Library & Archives, Boston, MA.



Processing information:

Processed by Marya Shotkoski, October 2015, using DACS Second Edition


Ipswich, first known as Agawam, was settled by John Winthrop and his twelve companions in 1633 and in 1634 the town was officially incorporated. The towns of Boxford, Hamilton, Essex and Topsfield were once part of Ipswich. The First Parish Records documents the history of the church life, membership and finances. Included in the records are meeting minutes, ledgers and reports. The First Parish built its first meeting house in 1634 and continues to exist up to the current time, through various forms.

Acquisition Information:

Placed on loan with the Congregational Library & Archives in August 2015 by the First Church, UCC in Ipswich, Massachusetts.


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


Historical Note

Ipswich, first known as Agawam, was settled by John Winthrop and his twelve companions in 1633, and in 1634 the town was officially incorporated. The town name of Ipswich was meant to honor the merchants of Ipswich, England who were financial supporters of the Massachusetts Bay Company. That same year (1634) the first meeting-house was built and Rev. Nathaniel Ward and Rev. Thomas Parker were the ministers. It was the ninth church of Massachusetts at that time. The towns of Newbury, Boxford, Hamilton, Essex and Topsfield were once part of the town of Ipswich.

In 1702 the third meeting house of the First Church is built upon the north green. In 1740 "The Great Awakening" came to Ipswich. And in the late 1740s, a group of parishioners living on the South Side withdrew from the First Church on the north green and built their own meeting house on school green (South Church). In 1749 the First Church parishioners built a new meeting house on the north green, although they had a reduced membership due to the splitting off of the South Church. After approximately 175 years the two parishes rejoined. However, both parishes did work on several projects jointly while separated. In 1773 the First and South Parishes jointly purchased a burial ground on the south side of town, and in 1804 they offered to build an engine house for a vehicle to be bought by subscription. As of 1984, the First Church has had six different meeting houses.

The First Church in Ipswich had four daughter churches. The Second Church in Ipswich originally called the Chebacco Parish and is now the Congregational Church of Essex was organized on September 6, 1681. The Third Church in Ipswich, embodied October 27, 1714, is now the First Congregational Church of Hamilton. The Linebrook Church, first called West Farms Parish, was created on November 15, 1749. The South Church in Ipswich was formed in 1747, and led a long and useful life as a separate church until 1922, when it united again with its parent church to form what is legally known as "The First and South Congregational Church". The First or "Old North" Church was retained as the house of worship and the South Church became the Parish House.


Scope of Collection

The First Parish Records documents the history the parish and the life of the church. The records document parish life through meeting minutes and reports. In addition, topics such as ministry work, pew rights, land discussions, hymns in church, and lists of the sacraments that occurred at the different parishes are included. These volumes document information regarding sacraments that occurred within the First Parish. Included are meeting records, church affairs and finances. It also contains lists of sacraments such as births, baptisms, communion, and marriages along with lists of deaths.


Further Searches

Subject Headings

First Church, UCC (Ipswich, Mass.)

South Parish (Ipswich, Mass.)

First Church (Ipswich, Mass.)


Hymns, English


Massachusetts - Church history

Pews and pew rights

Cemeteries - Massachusetts

Minutes and proceedings


Ipswich, (Mass.) - Church History.

Music in churches.


Church meetings.


Marriage records. – Massachusetts-Ipswich.

Registers of births, etc. – Massachusetts-Ipswich.

Installation (Clergy)

Ipswich, (Mass.) – History.

Church records and registers – Massachusetts – Ipswich.


Related Materials

Ipswich, MA : First Church historical materials (17.11.I68.7 FIRC)



The First Parish of Ipswich collection is arranged into a single series, with volumes arranged by chronologically by year.



  Date Location
First Parish Book of Records 1724-1756 Volume 1
Online interface
Contains minutes regarding First Parish church records from 1724 to 1756, and it also contains the minutes of town or parish meetings of Ipswich First Parish church. It documents the minutes of what briefly occurred at the meetings and what was voted upon. The volume chronicles the history and development of the town and First Parish of Ipswich. The topics covered include salaries, ministry work and assistance, discussion of building a meeting house on the South side of the river and its development and the governance of the parish. The volume includes a list of members divided by South List, North North List, and North South List.
Records of the First Church of Christ 1739-1805 Volume 2
Online interface
The volume largely contains lists of the sacraments, such as births, baptisms, marriages and deaths that occurred within the church. It also contains excerpts from other sources regarding church histories. The volume largely contains lists pertaining to church records and events.
First Parish Book of Records 1757-1830 Volume 3
Online interface
The volume contains minutes from the First Parish records from 1757 to 1830. The minutes all state to notify the inhabitants of the First Parish in Ipswich to assemble and meet at a certain location and time, rather than minutes of what was discussed at church meetings. It does include brief summaries from the legal meetings and other similar meetings. The meeting summaries cover both the development and governance of the First Parish and of the town of Ipswich. The main topics include payments; such as to pastors, what was voted upon, the burial grounds of the parish and singing and singers. Smaller topics include the plans of pew rights and the rights, division of land in the parish, and the digging of graves. It also includes a pew diagram for pew plans.


Become a Member