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Berkley, Mass. Congregational Church records, 1737-1949.

Identifier: RG1061

Scope and Contents

The Berkley, Mass. Congregational Church records document the early history, administration, and life of the church and its members, as well as a major split that occured within the community. The collection includes financial records, church and parish records, including meeting minutes, committee reports, records of votes, sermons, and certificates of membership, disciplinary cases, and vital statistics, such as marriage and baptismal records. Also present in the collection are record books which relate to the Trinitarian Congregational Society, which split from the Congregational Society in 1848, and include narratives for why they split from the church as well as foundational documents for their new church society.


  • 1737-1949


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

The First Church of Christ, in Berkley, Massachusetts, was gathered in 1737. The town of Berkley was incorporated in 1735 from an area of land that had belonged to the neighboring towns of Dighton and Taunton. The request to create a new town apparently came about in part due to dissatisfaction with the new pastor at the church in Taunton. Part of the conditions for the formation of the new town was that a new minister needed to be settled in the town within a two year period. In 1737, the town agreed to settle Samuel Tobey, a young graduate of Cambridge. His was a successful pastorate and he continued to serve the Congregational Church in Berkley until his death in 1781.

For nearly seven years, a new minister to replace Tobey could not be found. Then, in 1788, Thomas Andros was settled in Berkley. Andros was largely a self-taught minister from Connecticut who had also fought in the American Revolutionary War and spent time as a prisoner of war in 1781. Under Andros, the name of the church changed to the Free Christian Church in 1814. Andros also had a long pastorate and served the church until his resignation in 1834 and he continued to be active in church life until his death in 1845.

In part due to conflicts regarding the salary of the minister among other complaints, a group of church members separated from the Congregational Church in Berkley and formed the Trinitarian Congregational Church, also known as the Second Congregational Church in 1847. The first minister of this church was Rev. Mr. Eastman and he was followed by Rev. Mr. Roberts. In 1873, this church reformed as the Methodist Episcopal Church of Berkley.

After the formation on the United Church of Christ in 1957, the Congregational Church in Berkley reorganized as the Berkley Congregational Church, UCC which continues to serve the local community today.


.22 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The First Church of Christ was first gathered in 1737 in the newly incorporated town of Berkley, Massachusetts. In 1737, the town agreed to settle Samuel Tobey, a young graduate of Cambridge. In 1788, Thomas Andros, a self-taught veteran of the American Revolutionary War, was settled in Berkley. The Berkley, Mass. Congregational Church records document the early history, administration, and life of the church and its members. The collection includes financial records, church and parish records, vital statistics, and the records of the Trinitarian Congregational Church which split from the Congregational Church in Berkley.


The records are arranged chronologically by start date.

Technical Requirements

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Acquisition Information

The volume, "Formation of the Trinitarian Society records," was gifted to the Congregational Library & Archives in 1912 by the Rev. Lucius R. Eastman; no accession number.
Discipline Cases removed from RG4769 and placed here. No acquisition information available regarding that collection.
All other materials were temporary loaned to the Congregational Library & Archives, November 2015, by the Congregational Church, Berkley, Massachusetts. Collection initially given identifier RG5300; Accession 2015-21.


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

Original records for digital objects are located at the Berkley Congregational Church, U.C.C., Berkley, MA.


Hopkins, S. The Observance of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Organization of the Congregational Church in Berkley, Mass., November 2, 1887. Taunton: Charles H. Buffington, 1888. 17.11.1 B45.72 CONC

Processing Information

Processed by Zachary Bodnar, October 2017, using DACS Second Edition.
Berkley, Mass. Congregational Church records, 1737-1949.
Zachary Bodnar
Description rules
Dacs2 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Congregational Library & Archives Repository

14 Beacon Street
Suite 200
Boston MA 02108