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 The committee to whom was intrusted this important work, “with full power to act therein,” were Caleb Brooks and Thomas Willis, “to be joined by the Selectmen, Joseph Hall and John Tufts.” Owing to some obstacles, the house was not built at the time first specified; and the next movement towards it we find in a vote passed Sept. 13, 1695. At this time “a subscription was opened, and one pound was subscribed by the following persons: Thomas Willis, Caleb Brooks, Stephen Francis, Stephen Willis, John Francis, John Whitmore, John Bradshoe, Jonathan Tufts, John Hall, jun., Nathaniel Hall, Stephen Hall, sen., John Willis, Stephen Hall, Percival Hall, Ebenezer Brooks. Twelve shillings were subscribed by Eleazer Wier and Nathaniel Waite, and six shillings by Samuel Brooks.” At this meeting, the town voted, unanimously, that “every person who refused to subscribe should pay twelve pence per head, and one penny on the pound, towards the building of the meeting-house.” September 23, 1695, it was voted “to give sixty pounds for the erection and finishing of the house;” but, on Nov. 4, 1695, the town took a new step, as follows: “The inhabitants, being now met .and assembled, have voted and agreed to have a pulpit and deacons'-seats made, and the body of seats and the walls plastered with lime.” On account of these additions to the house, they agreed to give eighty pounds. The meeting-house having been completed in May, 1696, five gentlemen — viz., Peter Tufts, John Hall, sen., Caleb Brooks, Stephen Francis, and Stephen Willis — were chosen “the committee to place the inhabitants in the meeting-house; the Selectmen first to place the committee.” There is no account of any separate religious services at the laying of the corner-stone, or for the dedication of the house. Whether our Puritan fathers feared being too Jewish, or too Popish, or too Episcopal, we know not. Thus our ancestors provided themselves with their first house for public worship; and when we consider that at that time there were but thirty male inhabitants of the town who paid taxes on estates, we may see clearly the cause of delaying such an expenditure, without supposing any lack of interest in piety or the church. The spot on which the first house stood is now occupied by a cottage, owned by Mr. Noah Johnson, in West Medford. The passage-way, which was closed by “the gate”
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