Dorchester, Mass. First Church

Church History

First Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts, was gathered in 1630, following organization at Plymouth, England; during the winter of 1635-1636, some of the church members went to Windsor, Conn. with the junior minister, John Warham. It is unclear if this group removed themselves as an organization or as members of the Dorchester church. The members who remained at Dorchester, along with new immigrants from England, deemed it necessary to reorganize the church; in 1636, the church was reconstituted under Richard Mather (1596-1669). The church became Unitarian circa 1845 and still exists today as a Unitarian-Universalist church, First Parish in Dorchester in 1996.

For more detail about this collection, see the finding aid.


Digital Materials

Church records, 1773-1784

This crudely-bound notebook contains chronological entries noting the date, name of the preacher, the names of those baptized, and the scripture used that day. Occasionally special events are also noted, including sacrament and fast days. Many of the preachers are referred to without first names.

Membership records, 1757-1781

Titled "Names of persons who joined the Church", this small collection of loose papers lists the names of members who joined the church. The list is divided into years. In some cases, no first names are given, or members are identified in relation to another member (i.e. "wife of Mr."). The pages most likely originally belonged in a volume, but are now loose. These loose pages are arranged chronologically.

Sermon notes, 1727

This volume contains records of sermons preached at First Church in the year 1727. Notes for forenoon and afternoon sermons are included, as well as the relevant scripture passages and name of the preacher. Preachers include John Danforth (1660-1730), Increase Sumner of Roxbury, Samuel Mather (son of Cotton Mather), and Thomas Clap. The volume is bound at the top. Notes were taken only on the "front" of each page. The volume was then turned over, and notes were taken on the blank "backs" of the pages. This is indicated by hand-written pagination at the top of each page. The volume was digitized in page order to preserve the manner in which the volume was meant to be read. Some pages are missing from this volume.


Related Materials

First Church (Dorchester, Boston, Mass.) published historical materials

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