Newton, Mass. First Church
In 1664, the General Court of Massachusetts gave permission for forty men and forty women to establish the First Church of Cambridge Village. Before its establishment, settlers of Cambridge Village attended services and paid taxes to the city of Cambridge. Twenty-four years later, in 1688, the village seceded and became the city of Newtown, later spelled Newton. The First Church would see the construction of several meetinghouses, the last dedicated in 1904. It dissolved in 1972 after more than three hundred years of service to the Newton community.
For more information about the church and its records, including materials not digitized for the NEHH program, see the archival finding guide.
These are the earliest extant records of the church, as the preceding books were lost in a fire in March 1770. The records in this volume include membership lists, baptisms, dismissions, the church covenant, and church meeting minutes. Some of the lost information was reconstructed by church officers to the best of their abilities.
This volume primarily contains financial records relating to the support of the minister and the church’s real estate holdings, and the elected officers who handled those matters. Taxes were collected both in currency and in the form of material goods such as corn or firewood. Because the early records date from a time of transition, acceptable forms of currency and exchange rates are clearly delineated. The city of Newton continued to use British currency standards well after American independence.
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