Georgetown, Mass. First Congregational Church

Church History

First Congregational Church in Georgetown was originally founded in 1731 as Rowley West Parish. Before its founding parishioners had to travel a significant distance to worship in Rowley or neighboring Byfield. By 1768 the parish had outgrown its original meetinghouse and a new building was built. This church, later known as Old South Church, was built on the corners of East Main and Elm Streets in 1769.

When Georgetown became its own incorporated town in 1838, Rowley West Parish was renamed First Congregational Church of Georgetown. A final church building was dedicated in 1874 on Andover Street; this is the current worship house of this congregation. In 1908 this church merged with Orthodox Memorial Church and in 1961, the First Congregational Church voted to become a member of the United Church of Christ.

For more information about the First Congregational Church of Georgetown today, visit the church's website.

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

 

Digital Materials

Parish records, 1731-1814

This volume contains records of the officers' meetings for the West Parish in Rowley, concerning the oversight of the property and finances. It includes records of parish votes for the officers' and ministers' salaries, various committee assignments, pew subscriptions, and upkeep of the meetinghouse.

Church records, 1732-1855

This volume primarily contains membership records for the Second Parish Church in Rowley. These include admissions, dismissions, baptisms, and disciplinary cases. There is also a copy of the covenant signed by the founding members.

  A full transcription of this volume is available.

Parish (financial) records, 1799-1866

The treasurers' ledger records the income and expenses of the parish, including taxes collected by assessors, staff salaries, fees for various services to the church, and the purchase of supplies such as firewood.

Church covenant, ca. 1731

This shortened version of the covenant was likely used to admit new members. It includes references to the "Westminster Assembly's catechism" and the "sacraments of the New Testament".

Death records, 1731-1854

As the name implies, this volume contains a list of the members and children of members who passed away. Each entry includes the date and approximate age, as well as parents for those who died young.

Birth records, 1731-1786

Unlike most records of the time, this volume records actual birth (rather than baptismal) dates, along with the names of the parents and locations of baptisms.

Marriage records, 1797-1854

This brief volume contains a list of marriages performed by Rev. Isaac Braman during his tenure. Most were performed at the church in Georgetown, and one or both participants were members there. Braman also recorded the fees he was paid for each ceremony, usually two or three dollars.

Sermons preached by Rev. Isaac Braman at Byfield, 1759-1781

  • Proverbs 30:12 – "There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, & yet is not washed from their filthiness."
      first preached 20 Oct. 1771, "No. 1892"
  • Proverbs 13:9 – "The light of the righteous rejoiceth: But the Lamp of the wicked shall be put out."
      first preached 6 Apr. 1777, "No. 878"
  • Proverbs 1:33 – "But whoso hearkeneth unto me, shall dwell safely, & shall be quiet from fear of evil."
      first preached 19 Jan. 1772, "No. 1907"
  • Philippians 2:9-11 – "Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, & given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…"
      first preached 7 Nov. 1773, "No. 1953"
  • Proverbs 23:17-18 – "Let not thine heart envy Sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. For surely there is an End, & thine expectation shall not be cut off."
      first preached 27 May 1759
  • Proverbs 19:8 – "He that getteth wisdom, loveth his own Soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good."
      first preached 16 Dec. 1759, "No. 1160"
  • Proverbs 17:16 – "Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a Fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it."
      first preached 3 April 1768, "No. 1723"
  • Philippians 3:13-14 – "Brethren, I count not my self to have apprehended: but this one think I do, forgetting those things which are behind, & reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
      first preached 23 Dec. 1764, "No. 1497"
  • 2 Peter 3:14 – "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, & blameless."
      first preached 26 Feb. 1769, "No. 1766"
  • 2 Peter 1:14 – "Knowing that shortly I must put off this my Tabernacle even as our Lord Jesus Christ hat shewed me."
      first preached at New Town, 12 April 1772
      with supplement, 27 May 1781, "No. 2151"
  • 1 Peter 4:3-4 – "For the time past of our lives may suffice us to have wrought the will of the gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, & abominable idolatries…"
      first preached 7 Jan. 1781, "No. 2133"
  • Supplement – unclear which sermon this was supplemental to
      first preached at the Dummer School, 12 July 1764

 

Sermons preached by Rev. Isaac Braman at Georgetown, 1794-1836

  • John 4:24 – "God is a Spirit, & they that worship him must worship in Spirit & in truth."
      first preached at New Bedford, 12 Oct. 1794, "No. 2"
  • Psalms 26:8 – "Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honor dwelleth."
      delivered at the Old South Meeting House, Danvers, 27 Oct. 1836
  • Hebrews 11:4 – "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain."
      first preached at "New Rowley", 13 Dec. 1807, "No. 566"
  • Zechariah 4:7 – "Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain, & he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shouting, crying, Grace, grace unto it."
      first preached at "New Rowley", 21 Dec. 1823
  • Job 19:21 – "Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends, for the hand of God hath touched me."
      first preached at "New Rowley", 11 March 1821

 

Funeral sermon for Amos Spofford and Abigail Palmer, 1805

"A sermon delivered at Rowley by the Rev. Isaac Braman, Dec. 29th 1805, occasioned by the death of Dr. Amos Spofford and Miss Abigail Palmer" on 2 Samuel 11:26 and Matthew 9:18. Spofford was a local physician and farmer, as well as one of the original members of the Massachusetts Medical Society. Abigail was the 14-year-old daughter of John and Martha Palmer.

Pulpit supply diary, 1787-1819

This volume is a record of the guest preachers at both Second Parish Rowley and Byfield, and the scriptures on which they preached. It also includes a section of vital statistics for Second Parish from ca. 1706 to ca. 1812.

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