years ago—or less?
We are led to this query by the following quotation from an historical address of the Rev. James T. McCullom
, on the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the second church in Medford
On the first two Sabbaths, the meeting was held in the upper story of Mr. Francis' bake-house, the building now occupied by Mr. Lauriat as a manufactory.
After this, a hall was fitted up in the Medford House, where religious services were held till the completion of the church building.
The above is sent us by an interested contributor who writes:
I never saw it anywhere else.
It was received without question and is doubtless correct.
Had it not been, there were those then living and perhaps present to have challenged it.
The occasion in question was one of a sort that was almost
new to Medford
; one that required the ‘courage of their convictions’ of the participants.
was then (1823), one hundred and ninety-three years from its settlement, a town of about one thousand five hundred inhabitants.
Its third meetinghouse had served the people for fifty-three years both for religious worship and secular assembly, and the forty-eight years of the settled minister, Dr. Osgood
, had just closed.
Respect for him had kept the varying thought of the people well in check, and it is said he would tolerate no rival pulpit in his domain, regarding all such as interlopers.
But this could not always be.
The parting of the ways was near—indeed had been reached the previous year, as we will later notice.
Under the system of church and parish then operating, any dissenting views or doctrine must find other than the meeting house for promulgation.
In 1823, places of public assemblage were few, and consisted mainly of such halls as the taverns afforded, notably that earlier of Hezekiah Blanchard
, and then and later, the Medford House