Haverhill, Mass. West Parish Congregational Church

Collection History

When the western part of Haverhill became too populous for one church in 1734, the West Parish was established by a petition to the General Court of Massachusetts. Over the next year, the residents of the new parish built a new meetinghouse that was dedicated on Oct. 22, 1735. The church was briefly Presbyterian later in the 18th century, but returned to Congregationalism after the dismissal of their minister. Due to financial troubles, they turned over administration of the parish to the Universalist church in 1829, but later made a legal settlement that allowed the Congregationalists to resume using the name "The West Parish". The church was officially incorporated in 1921. West Church is still active today and is a member of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (CCCC).

The digital collections below include the West Church's original articles of agreement for the construction of the first meeting house, five consecutive volumes of church record books spanning 1734-1880, a book of financial records from 1815-1900, and a bound volume with records relating to the construction of the second meeting house.

For additional information please see the finding aid.

 

Digital Materials

Articles of agreement, 1734

This document details the plans and budget for the construction of the first meetinghouse in the West Parish.

Church records, 1734-1802

This volume contains the earliest administrative and financial records of the church, including the ordination of Samuel Bacheller, pew sales, the election of officers, and parish expenses.

Church records, 1735-1761

This volume primarily contains membership records, including baptisms, marriages, admissions, dismissions, and narrative accounts of several prominent families. It also contains the covenant signed by the founding members.

Church records, 1762-1826

The membership records continue in this volume. It also contains transcribed correspondence, records of several disciplinary cases, and information about the ministers who served during these years.

Church records, 1826-1838

This volume contains interspersed administrative, financial, and membership records continuing from the previous books.

Church records, 1870-1880

This volume contains interspersed administrative, financial, and membership records continuing from the previous books. It also includes several printed materials that have been sewn or glued into the book adjacent to the related records.

Treasurer's book, 1815-1900

The treasurer's ledger contains itemized records of the church's income and expenses, including taxes, pew fees, materials and labor for maintenance of the meetinghouse, and the minister's salary. There are regular audits of the church's accounts by the treasurers and committee members.

New building book, 1828-1852

This book contains the planning and financial records relating to the construction of the church's second meetinghouse, as well as the annual renewal of Rev. Cross's contract. The end of the volume contains the will of David Webster, which includes provisions for a trust to pay the church's ministerial salary.

 

Related Materials

Haverhill, Mass. First Congregational Church, 1719-1756

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