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Universalist Sunday-School.

This school commenced soon after the formation of the parish in 1831, seemingly without special form, but springing up from the weekly gathering of the worshippers of the church; these interested persons looking about to see what good they could do soon formed themselves into a Sunday-school. It was evidently through the missionary spirit of these good people, who could not confine themselves to the work of a church alone, that our school became established.

For a few years the sessions were held some eight months of the year, as some of the teachers and scholars came from Somerville, Arlington, and Winchester, and to travel in the winter time was not quite as convenient as it is now.

The catechism of the day was used in the school.

The vestry not being finished, the sessions were held in the church auditorium.

The school after being fully established numbered about fifty, but in a few years it began to increase.

We are unable to find any records dating back of 1838, but have gathered a few facts from time to time as above.

In May, 1838, the teachers of the Sunday-school held a meeting for the purpose of forming a ‘Sabbath School Teachers' Association, whose object shall be their own mutual improvement, and the good of the school committed to their care.’

At this time a committee was chosen, consisting of George Gay, James O. Curtis, and Mrs. Hepsibah Cotting, to ‘draft a constitution and report at a subsequent meeting.’ [p. 37]

In July this committee made report, and a constitution was adopted to govern the association.

The first article reads as follows: ‘The society shall be called the Universalist Sabbath School Teachers' Association.’ Then follow articles two to ten inclusive, naming the officers to be elected annually, the duties of said officers, and other matters pertaining to the interest and government of the school.

For a number of years the association held its meetings at the residences of the members every two weeks, and according to the records the time was fully occupied, not only in the transaction of business, but in their own mutual improvement, by carefully considering portions of the Scripture, previously decided upon, under the direction and assistance of the pastor.

It is evident that Mr. James O. Curtis was the first superintendent, but there is no record to show how long he held the position. From the formation of the Teachers' Association we have records in full upon that matter.

In after years these names may be of considerable interest to those looking up church history.

Mr. Stetson served as superintendent for one year. In June, 1839, Mr. James O. Curtis was again chosen superintendent, and was elected annually from that time until April, 1857, thus serving eighteen consecutive years. Mrs. Cotting was elected for three consecutive years. Mrs. Lusanna Wellington was elected assistant [p. 38] superintendent in March, 1842, and annually elected to that position for nineteen years. Rev. James M. Usher was elected superintendent, April, 1857, and served until August, 1859, when Elisha Stetson was chosen for the remaining part of the year. In April, 1860, Mr. Parker R. Litchfield was elected superintendent, and served in that office for thirty-five consecutive years. At the annual meeting in April, 1895, Mr. T. Howard Barnes was elected superintendent, and has been elected each year since that time.

For several years previous to 1872 no assistant was elected. In 1873 Mr. M. Warren was elected and served two years. Mr. Moses Mellen was then elected for five consecutive years. Rosewell B. Lawrence was chosen, April, 1879, and has served in that position to the present date, making a continuous service of twenty-one years.

The association was active, continually arranging work to be done for the welfare of the young, occasionally canvassing the town to find children who were not attending any Sunday-school, and is an active association to this time.

The school itself has always been self-supporting, and has contributed money to charitable and other purposes, gave quite a sum towards the cost of altering the church building, and has in many ways made itself useful in missionary and other religious work.

The names of many active workers, not already here recorded, could be mentioned, who, through sunshine and cloud, have faithfully labored in this school for years, and the good thus planted has undoubtedly brought forth good fruit.

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