Massachusetts Conference. Hampden Association of Congregational Ministers. Records, 1698-1903
This small collection of records was previously housed at the Hope Congregational Church of Springfield, Massachusetts, prior to its arrival at the Congregational Library. The church historian, Beverly LaMay, offered these records to the Congregational Library in November of 1976 and they were accepted. Presumably, the collection arrived soon thereafter.
For information on what church belonged to what part of the Association in what year, consult the Minutes of the General Association of Massachusetts.
According to research done by Harold Worthley:
"The Massachusetts General Association (the forerunner of the state conference) began mentioning Hampden Association in its June 28, 1814 meeting. In June of 1844, the GA report for the first time divides Hampden into two associations, Hampden East and Hampden West. This structure appears in the June 1850 minutes of the General Association.
On December 4, 1850, the Hampden Conference comes into being. The Hampden East and Hampden West Associations continue to be listed as the primary components of the General Association through 1864. In 1865, the churches are listed by counties, e.g. Hampden County, rather than by associations. The same holds true in 1866 and 1867.
In 1868, the churches are listed by both counties (Hampden County) and "district conferences" (Hampden). There is no mention of any Hampden East and/or Hampden West. The same kinds of listings are employed in the 1868 report. The 1869 report notes that the Hampden District Association was organized on December 4, 1850 -- which is the date of the old Hampden Conference (see above). The 1868 General Association report lists Ministerial Associations (Hampden East and Hampden West are two) and "Local Conferences of Churches" (Hampden) as being represented inter alia at its annual meeting. The latter (Local Conferences) are also called "District Conferences" later in the same report. But the statistical tables continue to list the churches by counties (thus, Hampden).
Interestingly enough, the 1868 report will note that the Hampden East Ministerial Association and its Hampden West counterpart as both organized on June 12, 1844. In the 1869 report, the date given for the founding of the Hampden District Conference in December 4, 1850."
Scope and Content
The majority of documents housed in this collection are minutes of the Association.
|Series I consists of Minutes of the Hampden Association (Subseries A), the Hampden East Association (Subseries B) and the Hampden West Association (Subseries C), arranged in chronological order. Series I, Subseries D contains minutes from both the Hampden East and the Hampden West Associations. These were not clearly designated and appear to involve churches from both Associations. The dates range from 1762 to 1898, with the majority of the records falling in the mid-1800's. Included with these minutes are 4 bound volumes. A variety of material was placed loose in these volumes. The material has been identified, removed and placed in its appropriate folder elsewhere in the collection.
|Series II contains all other types of records found in this collection and has 9 sub-series listed below.
|Subseries A consists of copies of documents relating to the controversy involving the Rev. James Morton and the Blandford Church. These were kept in there original order.
|Subseries B contains notes on the history of a few individual churches.
|Subseries C has drafts of the Constitutions of the Associations and amendments.
|Subseries D contains the Correspondence of this collection. These are arranged in chronological order and have some gaps in the dates. Many of them are letters of dismission.
|Subseries E is a Directory of Clergy. It contains lists of clerical appointments.
|Subseries F contains Doctrinal Reports.
|Subseries G consists of Financial Statements and Receipts.
|Subseries H has the Statistics of Deceased Ministers. These reports are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the minister.
|Subseries I holds the remaining Undated Reports and Correspondence.|