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First Congregational Church in Amherst Records

 Collection
Identifier: MA.00216

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of sermon and anniversary celebration programs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other records documenting activities of the First Congregational Church in Amherst, Massachusetts, chiefly 1829-1939.

Dates

  • 1829 - 1959
  • Majority of material found within 1829 - 1939

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the First Congregational Church in Amherst Records for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the First Congregational Church in Amherst Records should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Chronology of the First Congregationalist Church in Amherst, 1781-1939

1734
The Third Precinct of Hadley is organized by the General Court with a condition to "build a meeting house and settle a learned Orthodox Minister in three years."
1735
Rev. David Parsons is employed as the first Minister of the church
1739
First Church is organized with sixteen members on November 7; Rev. David Parsons is ordained as pastor
1741
The First Meeting House is built on the future site of the octagon building at Amherst College
1753
The First Meeting House is completed
1759
The Third Precinct of Hadley becomes the District of Amherst
1781
Rev. David Parsons dies
1782
Rev. David Parsons (son of first Minister) is ordained
1783
The First Church Parish is established to manage church financial business
1784
Political objections to Rev. David Parsons lead a group to break from the church to form the Second Church of Amherst
1785
The Second Church of Amherst meeting house is completed
1788
The larger, Second Meeting House is erected on the site of the First
1792
A Paul Revere bell is installed in the church belfry, and the practice of blowing a "konk" to gather worshipers is discontinued
1819
Rev. David Parsons retires
1820
Rev. Daniel A. Clark is installed as Minister; Noah Webster writes a constitution for the newly established Sunday school; David Parsons lays cornerstone for Amherst College
1822
Amherst College holds its first commencement ceremony at the church
1824
Rev. Daniel A. Clark is dismissed; Samuel Hills and 16 other members unite with others to organize the South Congregational Church
1826
Rev. Royal Washburn is installed as Minister; Oliver Dickinson and others leave the church to form the North Church
1828
The Third Meeting House is built on the southwest corner of South Pleasant Street and Northampton Road
1833
Rev. Royal Washburn dies; Rev. Matthew T. Adam is installed as Minister
1834
Matthew T. Adam dismissed; Edward Hitchcock serves as one of the interim Ministers
1837
Josiah Bent is installed as Minister
1839
Josiah Bent dies
1840
Rev. Aaron M. Colton is ordained as Minister
1853
Aaron M. Colton is dismissed at his own request; Rev. Edward S. Wright becomes Acting Pastor
1854
Rev. Edward S. Wright in installed as Minister; meeting house is used for the inauguration of William A. Stearns, President of Amherst College
1857
Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers lecture in the meeting house, "The Beautiful in Rural Life"
1860
Edward S. Dwight is dismissed
1861
Rev. Henry L. Hubbell ordained as Minister
1865
Amherst voters gather in meeting house to vote on the establishment of the Massachusetts Agricultural College; Henry L. Hubbell resigns
1867
Rev. Jonathan L. Jenkins becomes Acting Pastor; Amherst College buys the meeting house (now known as College Hall)
1868
The Fourth Meeting House is built on the south side of Main Street; the pulpit, made of wood from the Lebanon Mountains in Syria, is donated by the Rev. Daniel Bliss; Rev. Jonathan L. Jenkins is installed as Pastor
1877
Rev. Jonathan L. Jenkins resigns; Rev. Howard Kingbury is installed as Minister
1878
Rev. Jonathan L. Jenkins dies
1879
Rev. Forrest F. Emerson is installed as Minister
1883
Rev. Forrest F. Emerson resigns; Rev. George S. Dickerman is installed as Minister
1888
Church bylaws are amended to give women voting power
1891
Rev. George S. Dickerman resigns
1892
Rev. Frank L. Goodspeed is installed as Minister
1894
Rev. Frank L. Goodspeed resigns
1895
Rev. Oliver Huckel is installed as Minister
1897
Rev. Oliver Huckel resigns
1898
Rev. Henry R. McCartney is installed as Minister
1901
Rev. Henry R. McCartney resigns; Rev. William E. Strong is installed as Minister
1904
The administrative parish is dissolved and the church incorporates
1906
Rev. William E. Strong resigns
1907
Rev. William I. Anderson is installed as Minister
1909
Organ is donated by Fidelia S. Gaylord
1913
Rev. William I. Anderson resigns
1914
Rev. John A. Hawley begins ministry
1915
Church is remodeled to increase space for social activities
1936
Ruth E. Sherburne is elected clerk of the church
1937
Rev. John A. Hawley resigns; Rev. Raymond A. Waser begins ministry
1939
Rev. Raymond A. Waser resigns

Extent

0.5 Linear feet (1 archives box)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Sermon and anniversary celebration programs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other records documenting activities of the First Congregational Church in Amherst, Massachusetts, chiefly 1829-1939.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into six series:
  1. Series 1: Histories and anniversary publications, 1889-1959
  2. Series 2: Church texts, 1829, 1923
  3. Series 3: Correspondence, 1885
  4. Series 4: Clippings, 1939, 1959
  5. Series 5: Photographs, 1920s, 1943
  6. Series 6: Record books, 1891 (pertaining to 1735-1891)

Related Materials

  1. Town of Amherst Collection
  2. Photographic Images Collection
  3. First Congregational Church of Amherst Collection, Jones Library Special Collections, Amherst, MA
  4. John Lovell Photograph Collection. Jones Library Special Collections, Amherst, MA
  5. 250 years at First Church in Amherst, 1739-1989. Frost Library call number: [BX7255.A24 T9 1990]
Status
Completed
Author
Sara Smith, Archives and Special Collections Specialist
Date
2011
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299