III. History of the Precinct.
1732In 1732 the inhabitants of the northwesterly part of Cambridge were by an act of the legislature formed into a distinct and separate Precinct. The particulars of this transaction, as far as relate to the proceedings of the State, are already given. The Cambridge. Northwest Precinct Book, containing the record of votes and orders, which passed in the said Precinct, since the 28th of Dec. 1732, at which time the same was set off by the Great and General Court, has the record of the first meeting of the freeholders and inhabitants of the precinct, warned by warrant of William Brattle, Esq., and held Jan. 29, 1732-3, at the school-house within the said precinct. At this meeting John Cutter was chosen moderator, and John Cutter, the same individual, was chosen Precinct clerk, and sworn to the faithful discharge of the duties of that office. Joseph Adams, Henry Dunster, James Cutler, Ephraim Frost, and Jonathan Butterfield, Jr., were chosen a committee to assist in calling meetings. At a second meeting of the freeholders and inhabitants, on Mar. 5, 1732-3, Henry Dunster, James Cutler, Ephraim Frost, Joseph Adams and Jonathan Butterfield, Jr., were chosen the prudential committee of the Precinct, the ensuing year. Ephraim Frost, Joseph Adams and Jonathan Butterfield, Jr., were chosen assessors. John Winship was chosen collector of the Precinct, and John Fillebrown, treasurer. At this meeting it was put to vote ‘whether our inhabitants would desire our neighbors in the adjacent part of Charlestown to join with us in settling the gospel ministry among us;’ and it passed in the affirmative, and arrangements were made accordingly. At a third meeting (April 16, 1733) a committee was chosen to provide for preaching for six months after May 1, and ninety pounds were to be raised for support of preaching for one year. An attempt was commenced which lasted many years to secure their portion in the ministerial privileges of the mother town.  Early measures, also, were taken to build a meeting-house (July 10, 1733), and the parcel of land lying between Mr. Jason Russell's pasture and Ebenezer Swan's field, which was reserved out of the commons for a burying-place, was selected as the most convenient place for the meeting-house to stand, and near the northeasterly corner of the same. The sum of three hundred pounds was raised by vote (Sept. 17, 1733) for defraying the charge of building a meeting-house in this Precinct; the structure to be 46 feet long and 36 feet wide, and 24 feet upon the post between the joists; also to have a suitable belfry. A building committee of five was chosen, viz., James Cutler, John Cutter, Ephraim Frost, Henry Dunster and Jonathan Butterfield, Jr. At this date Francis Locke, Jonathan Gates1 and Josiah Robbins were chosen a committee to provide for a reading and writing school in the Precinct. The following Charlestown inhabitants entered into agreement on Oct. 8, 1733, to assist in building the meeting-house, ‘near Mr. Joseph Adams's,’ on land ‘which hath been left for a burying-place;’ and also for settling and supporting preaching in the Precinct; viz., Samuel Cutter, George Cutter, Samuel Godding, Joseph Russell, William Dickson, Philip Carteret and David Dunster.
1733On April 1, this year, the venerable Rev. John Hancock of Lexington, and grandfather of the celebrated Gov. John Hancock, baptized Thomas Osborn; ‘and this was the first child baptized in the congregation at the school-house at Menotomy.’ This congregation had probably first united to spend a part of the evening of the Lord's day in worship in this place (Sermon by Rev. S. Cooke in 1772). The origin of the schoolhouse was probably as follows: At Cambridge, Jan. 16, 1692-3, ‘it was voted whether the town would give to Menotomy people a quarter of an acre of land upon our common, near Jason Russell's house, near the highway, for the accommodation of a school-house; and it was voted on the affirmative, so long as it was improved for that use, and no longer.’—Paige.