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Ipswich, Mass. First Church records, 1724-1898.

 Collection
Identifier: RG5288

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the church and parish records of the First Church in Ipswich. The collection documents the history and parish life of the church through meeting minutes, reports, financial documents, and vital statistics. In addition, topics such as ministry work, pew rights, land discussions, hymns in church, and lists of the sacraments that occurred at the different parishes are included within the records. The vital records include birth and baptismal records, marriage records, and death records. The collection also contains records kept by Rev. David T. Kimball. His papers include both church and personal correspondence, manuscript sermons, personal writings, church records, and committee reports.

Dates

  • 1724-1898

Creator

Restrictions on Access

Access to this collection is unrestricted and open to the public.

Restrictions on Use

Items in this collection are subject to U.S. Copyright Law. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine the copyright status of collection items and to secure any permissions necessary for their reproduction and publication. Requests for permission to publish material must be discussed with the archivist or librarian.
Digital Reproductions are protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use the Digital Reproductions in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. In addition, no permission is required from the Congregational Library & Archives for educational uses. For other uses, you need to obtain permission from the Congregational Library & Archives. For additional information regarding copyright, please consult the Congregational Library & Archives' Digital Collections Copyright & Use policy.

Historical Note

Ipswich, Massachusetts, first known as Agawam, was settled by John Winthrop, and twelve companions, in 1633. The town was incorporated in 1634. The town name, Ipswich, was chosen to honor the merchants of Ipswich, England, who were financial supporters of the Massachusetts Bay Company. The First Church in Ipswich was gathered on August 5, 1634, and the first meeting house was constructed the same year. Newly arrived from England, Nathaniel Ward and Thomas Parker were both settled as the first ministers, though Rev. Parker was dismissed after a year in Ipswich to become the pastor in Newbury. In 1646 the first meeting house was sold and construction on the second meeting house was completed in 1647. 1681 a group of parishioners left to form the Second Church in Ipswich, also known as the Chebacco Parish, which is now the Congregational Church of Essex.

In 1699 the third meeting house of the First Church was built on the north green. In 1702, a clock was added to the building; this construction was partially funded by the public sale of the stone remains of an old fort. In 1714 a group of parishioners left the church to form the Third Church in Ipswich, now First Congregational Church in Hamilton. In 1747 a group of parishioners left to the South Church in Ipswich after strong disagreements between the two settled pastors, Rev. Nathaniel Rogers and Rev. Walley, spilled into the public. In 1749 another group of parishioners left to form the West Farms Parish, now the Linebrook Church. In 1749 the fourth meeting house was constructed to replace the third which was too large for the parish following the 1747 and 1749 dismissals. A gilded weathercock was placed atop the spire of the fourth meeting house. In 1762 a tower clock was purchased and installed into the building. In 1773 the First and South Parishes jointly purchased a burial ground on the south side of town

David T. Kimball was ordained as the fourteenth minister of the First Church in Ipswich on October 3, 1806. He had graduated from Harvard in 1803 and studied theology under Rev. French in Andover following a year as an instructor at the Phillips' Academy. In 1816, Rev. Kimball helped to establish the first Sabbath School of the First Church. He served as the minister until he died of pneumonia on February 3, 1860. Construction on the fifth meeting house began in 1846 and the new building was dedicated in 1847. The building was one of only a few gothic churches constructed out of wood. The weathercock and tower clock of the fourth meeting house were incorporated into the fifth.

After years of declining membership, the South Church voted to reunite with the First Church in Ipswich in 1922. Following the merger the new church organization was called the First and South Congregational Church. Members from the Linebrook Church rejoined the First and South Congregational Church in 1958, though the Linebrook Church continues to exist today as an independent church. In 1965 the fifth meeting house was struck by lightning and was destroyed in the ensuing fire. The tower clock, thought to be the oldest in-use tower clock in the United States in 1965, was destroyed, but the weathercock survived. Construction on the sixth meeting house was begun in 1970 and completed in 1971; the weather clock was once again incorporated into the new building. At some point between 1961 and 1984 the First and South Congregational Church reverted to its original name, First Church in Ipswich. Now a member of the United Church of Christ, the First Church in Ipswich continues to serve the local community today.

Extent

7 Files (4 folders, 3 volumes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Ipswich, Massachusetts, first known as Agawam, was settled by John Winthrop in 1633 and was incorporated the following year. The First Church in Ipswich was gathered on August 5, 1634, and the first meeting house was constructed the same year. Construction on the second meeting house was completed in 1647. In 1699 the third meeting house of the First Church was built on the north green. Members left to form new churches in 1681, 1714, 1747, and 1749. In 1749 the fourth meeting house was constructed. David T. Kimball was ordained as the fourteenth minister of the First Church in Ipswich on October 3, 1806. Construction on the fifth meeting house was completed by 1847. The South Church in Ipswich voted to reunite with the First Church in Ipswich in 1922. In 1965 the fifth meeting house was destroyed by a fire and the sixth meeting house was completed in 1971. Now a member of the United Church of Christ, the First Church in Ipswich continues to serve the local community today. This collection contains the early church and parish records of the First Church in Ipswich and includes meeting minutes, financial records, and vital membership records. This collection also contains records and correspondence kept by Rev. David T. Kimball.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged chronologically by start date.

Technical Requirements

To access digital user’s copies via online-interface a java-enabled web browser is required. Internet Explorer 8.x and later, Firefox 5.x and alter, Opera 12 and later, Safari 5.x and later, or any version of Google Chrome are recommended.

Acquisition Information

The David T. Kimball papers were donated to the Congregational Library & Archives, October 2014, by Michael Moran; accession 2014-79. Originally given identifier RG5232.
The record books were temporarily loaned to the Congregational Library & Archives, 2015, by the First Church in Ipswich, Massachusetts, UCC; accession 2015-19.

Accruals

Additional accruals are expected for this collection in the form of full-text transcription. There is no anticipated date for this accrual.

Location of Originals

The physical record books are currently held by the First Church in Ipswich, Massachusetts, UCC.

Related Materials

The Congregational Library & Archives has digitized materials from the South Church in Ipswich and made them available to view online.

Bibliography

In Gratitude to Almighty God for Three hundred and Fifty Years of Service and Witness. Ipswich: 1984. 17.11.1 I68.7 FirC

Processing Information

Processed by Marya Shotkoski, October 2015, using DACS Second Edition. Additional processing and finding aid work by Zachary Bodnar, November 2017. Merged with Ipswich, Mass. First Church records, 1808-1863, RG5232, and redescribed by Zachary Bodnar, July 2019, using DACS Second Edition.
Title
Ipswich, Mass. First Church records, 1724-1898.
Status
Completed
Author
Zachary Bodnar, Marya Shotkoski
Date
2019-07-02
Description rules
Dacs2 2013
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Congregational Library & Archives Repository

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