Medway, Mass. First Church of Christ

Collection History

Originally named Boggastow in Nipmuck Territory, then part of Medfield, Medway was settled in 1657 when an increasing number of colonists settled the land west of the Charles River. The settlement grew enough that by 1712 the Massachusetts General Court was petitioned to create a separate town; Medway was incorporated on October 25, 1713 and the decision to immediately build its own church was made at town meeting on November 23, 1713.

Until the church's construction was finished, services were held by Reverend David Deming at Peter Adams's house. The Church of Christ, later known as First Church of Christ, was organized on October 7, 1714.  A subscription, led by Jonathan Plimpton, raised a noon house in 1730. In 1749 the first meetinghouse burned. In 1748 Medway divided into eastern and western precincts with First Church of Christ in the eastern precinct and Second Church organizing in 1750 in the western precinct. A large undevelopable tract of land known as The Black Swamp divided the two. The section known as East Medway separated in 1885 to form the town of Millis; the former First Church of Christ in Medway is physically located in modern day Millis, Massachusetts and is known as the Church of Christ, Congregational.

The digital collections below contain the records of the First Church of Christ formerly in Medway, Massachusetts, though the earliest records are no longer extant. A number of loose documents comprise sermons, church meeting minutes, a relation, disciplinary records, and items relating to ministerial wages. A sparse bound volume also contains the articles of covenant for the church, dated 1876.

For additional information please see the finding aid.

 

Digital Materials

Church records (loose), 1730-1796

These loose records contain meeting house expenses, including a subscription for the construction of a noon house meet on the Sabbath, as well as correspondence, records related to ministerial salary, and a confession of faith by parishioner James Peniman. The documents are arranged chronologically.

1730 September by Jonathan Plimpton (clerk)   subscription for noonhouse to meet on the sabbath between meetings
1730 December 23 by Jonathan Plimpton (clerk) to Samuel Harding land deed for Ephraim Hill
1735 October 19 by James Peniman to the First Church of Christ in Medway relation of faith by James Peniman
1736 by Rev. Nathaniel Bucknam to "Mr. Daniel" for the attention of the selectmen letter requesting a warning to be sent out for May meeting, to discuss Rev. Buckman's salary
1746/7 March 9 by Rev. Nathaniel Bucknam to the First Church of Christ in Medway letter pleading for a raise in salary and support
1748/9 February 17 by John Barber (town treasurer) to Samuel Harding receipt of payment
1796 from the First Church of Christ in Medway to an ecclesiastical council letter before the ordination of Mr. Isaac Braman
1796 May 30 by the First Church of Christ in Medway   church meeting minutes regarding the ordination of Mr. Isaac Braman
1796 June 21 Jason Haven (scribe)   meeting minutes of ecclesiastical council vote on whether to elect Mr. Isaac Braman as pastor
1796 June 22 Rev. Isaac Braman to the First Church of Christ in Medway letter from Mr. Isaac Braman declining the call to settle at the First Church in Medway

Disciplinary cases, 1743-1808

These records relate to disciplinary cases in Medway during this period. During the colonial period, the local church often functioned as the legal authority in matters of morality. Punishment in such cases usually consisted of censure, a temporary restriction from attending services and participating in church business. This was often followed by restoration of the guilty party after they submitted a formal confession or request for forgiveness. Of particular notes is the case of David Pond of Wrentham who "struck a pitch" (created a disturbance) and was subsequently excommunicated.

Sermons, 1766-1781

These two sermons by anonymous authors are written in different hands. They were delivered on a variety of dates and locations.

  • Job 21:27
      first preached 16 March 1766
  • Timothy 2:1
      first preached at Medway, 17 September 1786

Articles of covenant, 1876

This record consists of a bound volume transcribed in 1876 from earlier records dating to approximately 1772. The volume contains the "Articles of Covenant" and numerous empty pages.

 

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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