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Dover, N.H. First Parish Church records, 1614-1862.

 Collection
Identifier: RG1319

Scope and Contents

The Dover, N.H. First Parish Church records consist of administrative church records and correspondence from 1614-1862. The scope includes records of births, marriages, deaths, meeting minutes, financial records, and pew plans; letters by appointed clergymen, including Jeremy Belknap, Hubbard Winslow, and Asa A. Tufts, between congregations, and from parishioners wishing to leave the congregation. Microfilm materials duplicate some of the physical material but additional correspondence not present in the physical material are present on the microfilm.

Dates

  • 1614-1862, 1967

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

Gathered in 1633, the First Parish Church in Dover is the oldest church in New Hampshire. The first permanent settlement in New Hampshire, the lands that would eventually become Dover were initially settled by a pair of fishmongers from London. In 1633, the land was bought by a group of English Puritans. Over the next 150 years, with the arrival of mills and other infrastructure, the small settlement grew in population, size and prosperity.

The settlement’s first church services were held on the last Sunday of October 1633 by Rev. Leverich at Dover Point; a year later the first meeting house was built on the same location. Little is known about the first meeting house except that it was made of mud and logs with a thatched roof and that it served the community’s purposes until 1658 when a new meeting house was erected on Dover Neck. The third meeting house was located on Pine Hill from 1710-1759. In 1758 the fourth meeting house, built out of wood, was constructed in Tuttle Square. Construction on the fifth, and final, meeting house, a new brick church building, was concluded with its dedication on December 31, 1829.

Rev. William Leverich was the first minister to hold church services in Dover in 1633 and is considered the founder of Mission and Action in Dover. Rev. Hanserd Knollys organized the First Parish Church as a religious organization in 1638. Rev. Jeremy Belknap, who wrote the three volume “History of New Hampshire” and founded the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1791, was the minister at the First Parish from 1769-1786. Rev. David Root was well-known for his opposition to slavery and his anti-slavery sermons, as was his successor Rev. Jeremiah S. Young, who on October 28, 1841 passed a resolution against slavery.

The First Parish Church joined the United Church of Christ in 1961 and in 1996 the name changed to First Parish Congregational Church in 1996. It is a member of the New Hampshire Conference, UCC and of the Carroll-Strafford Association. The First Parish Congregational Church continues to serve the community of Dover, New Hampshire, today.

Ministers

William Leverich
1633-1635
George Burdet
1637-1638
Hanserd Knollys
1638-1640
Thomas Larkham
1640-1642
Daniel Maud
1642-1655
John Reyner
1655-1669
John Reyner, Jr.
1669-1676
John Pike
1678-1710
Nicholas Sever
1711-1715
Jonathan Cushing
1717-1769
Jeremy Belknap
1769-1786
Robert Gray
1787-1805
Caleb H. Shearman
1807-1812
Joseph W. Clary
1812-1828
Hubbard Winslow
1828-1831
David Root
1833-1839
Jeremiah S. Young
1839-1843
Homer Barrows
1845-1852
Benjamin F. Parsons
1853-1856
Elias H. Richardson
1856-1863
Avery S. Walker
1864-1868
George B. Spalding
1869-1883
George E. Hall
1884-1908
Evarts W. Pond
1909-1912
Walter A. Morgan
1913-1917
Robert W. Coe
1918-1921
Lewis E. Purdum
1921-1929
David P. Hatch
1929-1938
Ralph S. Huffer
1939-1965
William W. Tucker
1965-1971
L. Arthur Domingue
1972-1978
William U. Conway
1978-1986
J. E. Lane
1985-1987
David L. Slater
1988-2009
R. E. Staley
1988-1992
J. G. Pirie
1993-1994
R. L. Hirtle
1993-1994
G. L. Crouch, Jr.
1994-1998
K. Geuther
1998-2004
J. G. Pirie
2000-2001
A. Campbell
2001-2004
N. M. Talbott
2004-2009
J. Mcardle
2009-2010
N. B. Bendroth
2009-2010
J. W. Lynes
2011-2012
M. S. Bennet
2012-2017

Extent

.83 Cubic Feet (2 boxes, 2 reels)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Gathered in 1633, the First Parish Church in Dover is the oldest church in New Hampshire. Rev. Hanserd Knollys organized the First Parish Church as a religious organization in 1638. The church joined the United Church of Christ in 1961 and the name changed to First Parish Congregational Church in 1996. Records include births, marriages, deaths, dismissals, disciplinary cases, meeting minutes, financial records, and pew plans; letters by Rev. Jeremy Belknap, Rev. Hubbard Winslow, and the church's clerk Asa A. Tufts, and between congregations.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into three series. Records in each series have been arranged chronologically, by start date, and by topic.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1639-1855
Series 2: Church Records, 1717-1857
Series 3: Microfilm, 1614-1862

Technical Requirements

A microfilm reader is required in order to access microform materials. One microfilm reader is available to the public upon request.
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 later, Opera 12 and later, Safari 5.x and later, or any version of Google Chrome are recommended.

Custodial History

Microfilm copies were created by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1967.

Acquisition Information

Materials were received at two different dates. Microform materials (RG1319) were received at an unknown date. The remaining materials (originally RG5360) were loaned to the Congregational Library & Archives from the First Parish Congregational Church (Dover, N.H.); Accession 2017-17.

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 materials in this collection are held by the First Parish Church in Dover, New Hampshire. The Congregational Library & Archives maintains digital and microfilm surrogates for much of the colection.

Bibliography

Bryant, Donald R. History of the First Parish Church Founded 1633. Dover: First Parish Church, 2002.

Processing Information

Processed by Susan Stanley, March 2018, using DACS Second Edition. Additional description by Zachary Bodnar, February 2019. Item level descriptions by Jules Thomson, January 2020.
Title
Dover, N.H. First Parish Church records, 1614-1862.
Status
Completed
Author
Susan Stanley, Zachary Bodnar, Jules Thomson
Date
2018-03-06
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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