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[p. 52]

In 1840, the church organizations existing in Medford were the First Congregational, now known as the Unitarian Church, the Second Congregational, or First Trinitarian Congregational, and the Methodist Episcopal Church. In the last-named, however, services had been discontinued—resumed in 1842.

Among the little band, still holding their weekly gatherings at the home on High street, in 1840, was Moses Parsons, a man then of advanced age, a member of the Baptist Church in Marshfield, who, with others, was impressed with the need of further church privileges. Encouraged by the sympathy of friends, he obtained the use of the Town Hall for public worship, at his own expense, and secured the services of Rev. Lucius M. Bolles, then corresponding secretary of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions.

Rev. Mr. Bolles preached his first sermon under these auspices to an appreciative audience, August 16, 1840. Public worship was continued in the Town Hall with increased interest, young men from the Baptist Theological Institution at Newton officiating on the Sabbath, morning and afternoon, the Sunday-school assembling at noon, and mid-week meetings, which were characterized by their great harmony and devout Christian spirit, were held at private houses.

On July 7, 1841, twelve of this band—Moses Parsons, Robert L. Ells, Lewis C. Santas, Polly Blanchard, Jane Parsons, Ruth Gardner, Catherine Childs, Sally Blanchard, Mary Gage, Mary H. Ford, Hannah D. Stevens and Eliza J. Blood—assisted by the Rev. N. W. Williams, pastor of the Baptist Church in Malden, formed themselves into a Baptist Church, taking the name, the First Baptist Church of Medford, and adopting the articles of faith known as ‘The New Hampshire Articles.’ The right hand of fellowship was given by Rev. Mr. Williams, and Robert L. Ells was elected deacon, an office which he held until his death in September, 1883. He was a man well known and greatly respected by the community.

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