Brunswick, Maine. First Parish

Collection History

Brunswick, Maine was incorporated as a township in May 1717. Ministry in the township began that same year when the General Court of Massachusetts voted to allocate funds for the sending of missionaries to the township and surrounding areas. The parish was served by a series of visiting and short-term pastors until 1747 when Rev. Robert Dunlap became Brunswick's first settled pastor. The parish of Brunswick at that time contained two churches and two meetinghouses: one Congregational on the east side of town, completed in 1735, and one Presbyterian in the west end of town, built with subscription funds and completed circa 1756. Both churches were served by the same pastor who split their time and duties between them. Dunlap, a Presbyterian, was followed in 1762 by John Miller, a Congregationalist. In 1772 an agreement was made to unite the two branches of the Parish, aligning church governance and discipline with Congregational polity while maintaining the administration of Baptism and the Lord's Supper in the manner of the Presbyterian church. Two years later the agreement was amended so that the Lord's Supper would be administered each according to their tradition in their respective meetinghouses, but so that the method and manner of Baptism could be decided by the parishioner to be Baptized. In 1790 residents of Brunswick began registering their displeasure at paying taxes for the support of First Parish. They formed themselves into the Baptist Society and in 1792 the town voted to allow any who could prove membership in a Baptist Society be allowed to use the amount usually assessed for the upkeep of the Parish to pay for their own pastor. First Parish is extant today as First Parish Church in Brunswick, Maine.

For more detail about the collection, see the archival finding guide.

 

Digital Materials

Records, 1735-1822

A copy reproduced by hand at a later unknown date, this volume contains part narrative history of the parish, part meeting minutes.

  A full transcription of this volume is available.

Church book, 1762-1794

This volume contains a membership list and meeting minutes. Only a portion of the volume is filled. Loose materials were removed from the volume for scanning purposes and are found elsewhere in this collection.

  A full transcription of this volume is available.

Church book: Loose materials, 1762-1794

Materials found in "Church Book 1762-1794". Items include unofficial records of church events and Baptisms 1790-1794.

Reconciliation 1760
Baptisms 1763-1767
Admissions 1763-1783
Deaths 1763-1768
Baptisms 1762-1769
Historical account circa 1800
Baptisms 1790-1794

Church records, 1793-1822

This volume contains meeting minutes, covenants, baptisms, marriages, member lists, and lists of member deaths. The volume also contains a great deal of loose papers interleaved within the bound volume. These loose pages are paginated so as to indicate they should be read as part of the whole. Digitization has persevered this arrangement.

Constitution change, circa 1770

Document recording vote to change from a Presbyterian-based governance system to a Congregational one. Document is undated, but date is provided by the church historian/archivist.

Baptist Society formed, 1799

This item documents the formation of a Baptist society in Brunswick in 1799.

Church records (loose), 1806-1829, undated

Loose records pertaining to the operation of the church. Included here are letters of transfer, correspondence, and sermons. Of particular note are a single relation (akin to personal conversion narratives) and a vote to form both a program for religious instruction of children and the formation of a library for the church’s use.

Historical summaries, 1810, 1814

Three documents summarizing the history of First Parish and Maquoit Baptist. The first two documents contain notes on the history of First Parish and Maquoit Baptist and cover the years 1738-1810. The second, prepared by Rev. Winthrop Bailey (pastor at First Parish, Brunswick from 1811-1814) covers the many pastors who served the church, starting in 1735.

Rev. Asa Mead documents, 1822-1827

Documents related to the call, ordination, and pastorate of Asa Mead, including salary receipts, correpsondence, and transfer letters.

 

Special Thanks

This digital resource has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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