West Brookfield, Mass. First Congregational Church

Collection History

The early history of Brookfield, and the Congregational church within, is difficult to discern, with most of the earliest town records having been lost to fire, and the earliest church records being lost to time. The town of Brookfield was first settled during the 1660s. The first meetinghouse in Brookfield was built atop Foster's Hill, though there were likely long periods where worship at that location was impossible due to ongoing conflicts with Native Americans. In 1715, construction began on the second meeting house and in 1717 the First Church was officially gathered. The third meetinghouse was constructed in 1755 about a half mile northwest of Foster's Hill, and in 1794 the fourth meetinghouse was constructed on the same spot as the third.

Lucy Stone, the prominent suffragist and abolitionist, was a baptized member of the Brookfield church from early childhood. She was eventually excommunicated, nominally for engaging "in a course of life evidently inconsistent with her covenant," but likely also for her vocal support of abolition and women's issues.

West Brookfield split from Brookfield in 1848. At that time the First Church changed its name to Congregational Church. The church joined the United Church of Christ in 1964 and likely around that time changed its name again to the First Congregational Church of West Brookfield, UCC. The church continues to serve its community today.

The digital materials below include two consecutive bound volumes of church records, dating to 1756-1818 and 1819-1867 respectively, as well as a bound volume of parish records.

For additional information about the collection please see the finding aid.

 

Digital Materials

Parish records, 1754-1826

This volume contains parish records including parish meeting minutes, records of votes, records of petitions and lists of petition signers, notices of town meetings, lists of committee members, appointments to church positions, committee reports, and certificates of membership.

Church records, 1756-1818

This volume contains church records including covenant agreements, admissions, dismissions, marriages, baptisms, and records of church votes and meetings.

Church records, 1819-1867

This volume contains church records including a historical sketch of the First Church, lists of members, baptisms, confessions of faith, church meeting minutes, and records of votes.

 

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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