The Congregational Church of West Medford.
[Read before the Medford
Historical Society, May 17, 1909.]
HE Congregational Church of West Medford, organized in June, 1872, developed naturally from a Sabbath-school which had been in existence for seven years.
At the time the Sabbath-school was opened there were on High street, between Winthrop square and the West Medford depot
, twenty-five houses; on Prescott street, eight; on Cottage street, four; on Canal street, one; on Warren street, four; on Irving street, two; on Brooks street, four; on Allston street, ten; on Mystic street, four; on Woburn
and Purchase (now Winthrop
) streets, thirteen.
These, with three barns, a blacksmith shop (corner High and Warren streets), the schoolhouse (corner Brooks and Irving streets), and the almshouse, make eighty-one buildings east of the railroad and north of Mystic river
West of the railroad and north of High street were two dwellings next the depot, and the buildings of the Brooks
Between High street and Mystic river
were eleven buildings—a barn opposite the Brooks
' farmhouse; Mystic Hall, at its present location; the residences of Mr. George F. Spaulding
and Mr. Henry T. Woods
, River street (now Harvard avenue); of Mr. Horace A. Breed
, Bower street; the old Canal House, at the present intersection of Boston avenue and Arlington street, and five dwellings on Canal street. The larger part of this tract was known as the ‘Smith Estate,’ upon which there had previously been conducted a girls' boarding school, [p. 26]
with dormitories at the Mansion House
, on Canal street, and Mystic Hall for recitations.
The churches then at Medford
were the Unitarian
, Universalist and Mystic
, at present locations; Episcopal, near present site of the Armory
; First Trinitarian, in the building where is now Page & Curtin
's hardware business; Baptist
, in the building since used as a livery stable, next to the Salem
street cemetery; and the Methodist
, at the corner of Salem and Oakland streets—at distances inconvenient for regular attendance of the children and the aged of families where no horses were kept.
The Teele and Huffmaster farms, extending side by side north from High street, were being opened up for new residents.
Mr. Samuel Teele
lived in the house still standing between Brooks street and Hammond place; Mr. John H. Norton
, whose wife was Martha Huffmaster
, occupied the Huffmaster homestead, High street, corner Allston
; N. T. Merritt
, Franz Diebold
and E. M. Platt
were on Prescott street; Mr. Hawley
, Franklin Patch, William McLean
, Luther Farwell
, Ira P. Ackerman
and Henry L. Barnes
on Allston street. Mr. Barnes
moved from Boston
in February, 1857, and lived in the same house till his death, in January, 1904, which house he gave by will to the West Medford Congregational Society.
and Mrs. Barnes
united with the First Trinitarian Church, Medford
, by letter from the Mount Vernon Church
, and he was so active a worker that he was soon elected a deacon, which office he held till the First Church
united with the Mystic Church
A Methodist class meeting had been held during a part of 1864 at the house of Mr. Hawley
A series of maternal meetings was also held in 1864, sometimes, at least, at the house of Mrs. Barnes
These were monthly meetings, with children in attendance quarterly.
also assembled a class of children on Saturday afternoons, to whom she taught the Bible
lesson assigned for the next day's study in the Sabbath-school.
This class was for the children who could not attend Sabbathschool [p. 27]
on account of the distance, and it came to number about thirty.
Plainly some place more commodious than a private house was needed for this increasing class.
conducted a canvass, with assistance, and found sufficient sentiment in support of the plan to form a Sabbath-school.
A call was issued for a meeting, to be held Sunday afternoon, May 28, to organize.
Eighty-five persons attended, held an open discussion of the plan in all its aspects, voted to organize the Mystic
Sabbath-school, and, by use of a nominating committee and a marking list, elected Mr. N. T. Merritt
superintendent, Miss Johnson
secretary, and Mr. James P. Richardson
During the first year of the school there appear on the roll one hundred and forty-six names, from fifty-seven families.
The religious affiliation of eighteen families cannot be stated.
One family would have been claimed by both Methodists and Universalists, one by both Congregationalists and Universalists, two families were Universalist, two were Episcopalian, four were Methodist, four were Baptist
, eight were Unitarian
, and seventeen were Congregationalist, and fifty-one of the one hundred and forty-six were from these seventeen Congregational families.
served as superintendent one year.
Mr. Franklin Patch
was the second to hold this office, and served eighteen months, to December, 1867, resigning on removing to Lexington
Both were members of the Mystic Church
. Mr. George G. Lincoln
, assistant superintendent
, completed the year, was elected and served as superintendent during the school's fourth year.
He served another six months, January to June, 1872.
He was a member of the First Trinitarian Congregational Church.
The West Medford Christian Union employed Rev. M. B. Chapman
, a Methodist, to preach in Mystic Hall, and he served one year as superintendent.
Mr. O. A. Buzzell
, a Baptist, served eighteen months, to December, [p. 28]
1871, resigned, and moved to Nevada
The responsibilities of administration were thus divided, denominationally, for seven years.
During this period the school laid its own plans and provided the means for executing them.
It has more than paid its way ever since.
owning two pianos, placed one in the hall for the use of the school during his term of office.
‘The organ was used in the school,’ was the record on December 8, 1867.
But whether the organ was accepted as a gift or was purchased was not recorded.
entertainments and picnics were arranged on a more or less elaborate scale, according to circumstances.
Question books, Sabbath-school papers and singing books were purchased, and the Sabbath-school ship was kept afloat by means of a weekly contribution, augmented from time to time by individual gifts.
A library was collected and added to, till in 1872, there were some two hundred books, but whether purchased or donated is not a matter of record.
January, 1872, the name of the school was changed to West Medford Union Sabbath-school, and a constitution and by-laws were adopted.
During these seven years the smallest attendance at any session was in March, 1872, when 10 were present; the largest, 108, was in the first year; the average for each of the seven years in order was 73, 66, 56, 67, 67, 66, 61.
In 1868 there was organized the West Medford Christian Union, for the purpose of maintaining preaching services in Mystic Hall.
Rev. M. B. Chapman
and Rev. L. E. Charpiot
were two of the preachers employed.
The funds were raised by subscription.
This organization was maintained till October, 1872, at which time the West Medford Congregational Society was ready to do business.
When the Christian Union ceased its activities its officers were, president
, Luther Farwell
; secretary and treasurer, Simon S. Leavitt
; committee to secure subscriptions, S. S. Leavitt
and James Wilson
It was seven years after the civil war. Gold was still at a premium.
The South was under partial military rule.
was serving his first term as President
and Charles Sumner
were our national senators, General N. P. Banks
was our representative in Congress, William B. Washburn
was governor of Massachusetts
was a town of seven thousand inhabitants, and West Medford had about one hundred families.
Mr. Charles Cummings
was principal of the Medford
High School, with two assistants, and the one hundred pupils of West Medford were housed in the Brooks schoolhouse
, under the instruction of three teachers.
's was the only store.
There was no physician.
The post office was in the railroad station, Reuben Willey
being both station agent and postmaster.
Some families attended church at Medford
, but there was no public conveyance, Cunningham
's omnibus line not being in operation till five years later.
The West Medford Christian Union held preaching services in Mystic Hall, but there was no church organization which could build a meeting-house, and no joint action of different denominations seemed feasible.
The Baptists, under the lead of Mr. Horace A. Breed
, agitated the question of a Baptist church and were satisfied to give it up. Then the Methodists discussed the matter, but took no public action.
It remained for the Congregationalists to see what they could do and whether they ought to proceed.
And so it came to pass that members of the families of Ackerman
, with some others, to the number of about twenty persons, met at Mr. Norton
's house, on February 26, 1872, to take counsel together with reference to this situation.
John H. Norton
was elected chairman and David H. Brown
After prayer by J. G. Fuller
, Mr. Norton
stated the object of the meeting, to consider the expediency [p. 30]
of forming a Congregational church in West Medford, and Messrs. J. G. Fuller
, Abner J. Phipps
, Ira P. Ackerman
, A. E. Ansorge
, E. W. Cross
, D. H. Brown
, and B. C. Leonard
spoke in favor of taking immediate measures.
The chairman stated that he would guarantee the erection of a meeting-house if a church organization could be effected.
In reply to a question, Mr. William McLean
, a Methodist, said he had no knowledge of any definite action to be taken by the Methodists.
It was unanimously decided that immediate steps ought to be taken to form a Congregational church. Messrs. Phipps
were appointed a committee to prepare a creed, and they reported on March 5, recommending the Articles
of Faith and Covenant of the Broadway Tabernacle
Congregational Church of New York City, and the report was accepted.
was authorized to circulate a paper for the signatures of those who desired to unite in organizing on this plan.
It was also voted that steps be taken to organize a society to co-operate with the church.
On April 8th committees were appointed to visit the pastors and prominent laymen of the neighboring churches, to explain our situation, and secure their goodwill and assistance in erecting a meeting-house.
read a written statement at the April meeting of the Woburn Conference
, in regard to the importance of having a church in West Medford, and Mr. Brown
made a most earnest appeal for the endorsement of the Conference.
Opposition was manifested on the part of some who considered that, with two Congregational churches in Medford
, if West Medford needed a church it should be of some other denomination.
The matter was referred to a committee with power.
This committee, after due consideration, concluded that West Medford, with its excellent railroad facilities, was likely to become an important residential suburb, independent of Medford
in [p. 31]
nearly every thing except the payment of taxes and the expenditure of the money so paid, and made a favorable report.
The fact had seemed apparent that the First Congregational Church of Medford
, having been weakened by the organization of the Mystic Church
, twenty-five years before, and the loss of some of its influential members, did not wish to lose others of its valued members by the organization of a new church in West Medford.
This effort to obtain the endorsement of the Woburn Conference
delayed our formal organization very much.
But with the approval of the Conference and of the Congregational Club
, and with $3,750 subscribed towards our building fund, there was no need of further delay, and a council of churches was called to meet in Mystic Hall at 3 P. M., June 12, 1872.
The council was constituted as follows:
Rev. James T. McCollom
|Medford, First Trinitarian,||Rev. James T. McCollom, Pastor.|
S. B. Goldthwait, Delegate.|
|Medford, Mystic,||Rev. Solon Cobb, Pastor.|
Charles Cummings, Delegate.|
|Boston, Park Street,||Bro.
C. C. Littlefield, Delegate.|
John Field, Delegate.|
|Winchester, First,||Rev. E. C. Bissell, Pastor.|
Moses A. Herrick, Delegate.|
|Maiden, First,||Rev. Addison P. Foster, Pastor.|
W. L. Greene, Delegate.|
E. Foote, Delegate.|
J. P. Williams, Delegate.|
Joshua Clark, Delegate.|
A. Lincoln, Delegate.|
D. A. Abbott, Delegate.|
|Wakefield,||Rev. Charles R. Bliss, Pastor.|
was chosen moderator and Rev. Charles R. Bliss
The council listened to the various statements, documents and records pertaining to the call, and to the letters of dismission presented by the members desiring to unite, and voted them satisfactory and in order.
The council voted in executive session ‘that in view of the statements offered and the Articles
of Faith and Covenant adopted by the brethren in West Medford, desiring to form a Congregational Church, we deem the organization of such a church expedient, and that, after a recess till 7 1/2 o'clock, we proceed by suitable services to recognize them formally as a church of Christ.’
The services of recognition consisted of:—
The officers of the church were, clerk and treasurer, David H. Brown
; deacons, John H. Norton
and Ira P. Ackerman
; members of standing committee, Abner J. Phipps
, H. S. Judkins
and A. E. Ansorge
The charter members were twenty-six:—
Abner J. Phipps
Elizabeth F. A. Phipps
Margaret A. Phipps
Ira P. Ackerman
Eliza A. Ackerman
Herbert N. Ackerman
Elizabeth C. Teele
Sarah E. Teele
Hattie B. Teele
Abbie F. Teele
John H. Norton
Martha R. Norton
Adeline C. Barrett
Clarissa D. Jellerson
Clarissa W. Samson
David H. Brown
William C. Craig
Herman S. Judkins
Alfred E. Ansorge
William H. White
Hester A. R. White
Abbie S. Leonard
Sixteen of these brought letters from the First Trinitarian Church of Medford
, the other ten being from seven churches elsewhere.
Public worship was held in Mystic Hall Sabbath morning and evening, and week-night prayer meeting on Saturday evening. The Mystic [p. 33]
Church presented a communion service to the new church.
On August 6, 1872, Mrs. Abbie S. Leonard
At the November Communion Mr. Darius Bowers
and his daughter were received by letter and Mrs. Bowers
In December Rev. Edwin L. Jaggar
was called to be acting pastor.
July 18, 1872, John H. Norton
, E. W. Metcalf
, W. C. Craig
, Reuben Willey
, F. O. Kittredge
and D. H. Brown
, six qualified voters of the Town of Medford
, made application to Abner J. Phipps
of the Peace, petitioning him to issue a warrant for a meeting for the purpose of organizing themselves, with others desiring to build a meeting-house, as a corporation under the General Statutes
issued the warrant directed to D. H. Brown
, who on July 20 warned all persons concerned to meet in Mystic Hall at 8 o'clock P. M., July 27.
At the time and place appointed Justice Phipps
called the meeting to order, read the application, the warrant, and the return, and the meeting then voted to organize as a corporation.
Eliab W. Metcalf
was elected clerk, and qualified.
The clerk presiding, Abner J. Phipps
was elected moderator, and qualified.
By-laws were reported and adopted, and the meeting adjourned to August 3d.
On this date D. H. Brown
was elected treasurer and collector, Abner J. Phipps
, John H. Norton
and F. O. Kittredge
members of the standing committee, and Reuben Willey
auditor, and were qualified.
The standing committee was authorized to secure the use of Mystic Hall after October, when the time of the Christian Union expired.
A committee of five was appointed to solicit contributions to a building fund.
Save only Mrs. Abbie S. Leonard
, the charter members of the church were charter members of the society, and the addition of Messrs. F. O. Kittredge
, E. W. Metcalf
and Reuben Willey
made its number twenty-eight.
At the annual meeting, January 29, 1873, John H. Norton
, D. H. Brown
and H. S. Judkins
were appointed [p. 34]
a committee to secure additional subscriptions to the building fund.
At a special meeting, April 7, this committee reported more than six thousand dollars subscribed, that other subscriptions could be had if a beginning was made, and recommended taking immediate steps to build a meeting-house.
Two locations on Harvard avenue, one corner Bower and Holton streets, both corners of High and Warren streets, one corner High and Allston streets, and one on Allston street (next above the corner) were considered in ten meetings covering three months. It was finally voted to purchase the lot corner Bower street and Harvard avenue (80 by 163 feet, at twenty-five cents per foot), this being the most central location.
A new committee of five was appointed to secure subscriptions.
Messrs. C. M. Barrett
, W. C. Craig
, W. H. Pettingill
, S. S. Leavitt
and I. P. Ackerman
were elected building committee.
Mr. T. W. Silloway
was selected as architect, and the corner-stone of the new meeting-house was laid Saturday, September 27, 1873, with appropriate services.
Revs. J. T. McCollom
and Solon Cobb
, Rev. E. S. Jaggar
and Hon. A. J. Phipps
The first Sabbath services were held in the vestry on May 10, 1874, and the society's first meeting was on May 18.
January 4, 1874, the Sabbath-school received from the Sabbath-school of the First Trinitarian Church, Medford
, a gift of forty-one dollars and seventeen cents, which was immediately appropriated towards the purchase of a piano.
A Hallett & Davis
piano was purchased for four hundred dollars. It was in use in the vestry till the church was burned, March 4, 1903.
It was paid for by the proceeds of concerts, entertainments and spelling matches.
More than thirty-one hundred copies of the Congregationalist
were collected and delivered to the Hallet & Davis Piano Co., for which it allowed us one cent each.
February 15, 1874, the school, at the instance of Superintendent White
, voted its desire to be taken under the [p. 35]
watch and care of the church.
The church voted to receive it, and it became the Congregational
Sabbath-school of West Medford.
Under the ‘Standing Rules’ then provided, the school elected its own officers, the church reserving the right of veto.
This arrangement continued till December, 1895.
The average attendance for 1873 was 65, and for 1874 was 66.
In March the society instructed the building committee to complete the meeting-house and put in the pews.
In July Mr. Jaggar
resigned on account of ill health.
During his pastorate five had been added by letter to the membership, which was then thirty-three.
He was zealous in the discharge of his duties, an interesting and able preacher, and made a favorable impression on the community.
We accepted his resignation with regret.
In September a call was extended to Rev. Marshall M. Cutter
and he was installed October 14, 1874.
The installing council was constituted as follows:—
Rev. D. R. Cady, D. D.
, was moderator, and offered the prayer of installation; Rev. H. S. Kelsey
was scribe, and gave the right hand of fellowship; Rev. Charles R. Bliss
delivered the address to the people; and Rev. [p. 36] Dr. Manning
gave the charge to the pastor and offered the closing prayer.
The meeting-house was dedicated the same evening.
It was of Germanized Romanesque style of architecture, and the spire was always admired as a model of graceful symmetry.
A clock was placed by the town in the tower at its completion.
With hopes realized as to the meeting-house, the society found itself burdened with debt.
A wealthy citizen persuaded us that a church structure costing ten thousand dollars was better than the five thousand dollar chapel we first planned.
He promised five hundred dollars for himself and fifteen hundred more from some friends.
He did not redeem his own pledge, nor secure the help of his friends.
On account of the Boston
fire, November 9, 1872, some other subscribers were unable to pay their pledges, and the times were unfavorable for securing new subscriptions.
The total cost of land, building and furnishings was twenty thousand five hundred dollars. After applying all we could collect to payment of our bills, the society owed fourteen thousand two hundred dollars. We were able to place a mortgage on the property for ten thousand dollars, at eight per cent. interest, with personal endorsement on the note.
The four thousand two hundred dollars was floated by some Boston
banks on four months notes, personally endorsed and many times renewed.
Interest account was over eleven hundred dollars a year, we had pledged fourteen hundred dollars salary to Mr. Cutter
, beside heating, lighting and janitor service.
Our two first years had been a struggle.
Now our expenses were doubled.
Our membership was only thirty-four, but we had the co-operation of the community.
The ladies held a three days fair in 1873 in Brooks Hall and cleared a thousand dollars, and six months later realized five hundred more in a similar way for the building fund.
Every one paid as much pew rent as he could, pledged [p. 37]
something extra every week, purchased tickets for lectures, readings, musicals and spelling classes, and bought generously at fairs, ice-cream
parties and turkey suppers.
The four or five hundred dollars from the Home Missionary Society saved us from disaster.
was for several years the scribe of the Woburn Conference
, and interested many in our cause.
Mr. Stephen Cutter
pledged six hundred dollars toward the floating debt, provided that twenty-five hundred dollars should be raised.
Most of the churches of the Woburn Conference
In 1878 H. N. Ackerman
, E. E. Shepard
, G. F. Richmond
and A. W. Ackerman
, each agreeing to lead one Sabbath evening each month, organized a young people's prayer meeting.
In 1879 these four brethren and four ladies, Mrs. Carrie H. Shepard
and Misses Ida M. Hatch
, Mary B. Soule
, and Anna B. Williams
, organized the ‘Willing Hands,’ pledged to work for the young people of West Medford, and for the reduction of the floating debt, then five hundred dollars. This organization of workers had the satisfaction of accomplishing their financial object by providing the last one hundred dollars of the floating debt, which was thus cancelled in 1882.
With much effort the society's treasurer secured the reduction of the rate of interest from eight to seven, then to six and one-half, then to six per cent.
March 3, 1882, Mr. Cutter
resigned, to become New England
secretary of the American Tract Society.
For seven and a half years he had led us, since the dedication of the meeting-house.
The floating debt had been paid and our annual interest account had been reduced five hundred dollars. He had baptized eighteen infants and fifteen adults, and received seventy-two members, forty-six by letter and twenty-six on confession.
He was popular everywhere, and interested in every good work.
The Sabbath-school continued to increase during his pastorate, having its largest enrolment, 178, in 1882, and its largest average attendance, 90, in 1881. [p. 38]
Rev. Edward C. Hood
was installed September 13, 1882, by a council consisting of thirteen pastors and fifteen delegates representing sixteen churches.
Rev. J. W. Wellman, D. D.
, of Malden
, was moderator, Rev. J. G. Taylor
of Melrose Highlands, scribe, Rev. E. B. Mason, D. D.
, of Arlington
, offered the installing prayer and Rev. Alexander McKenzie, D. D.
, of Cambridge
, preached the sermon.
applied himself to the duties of his position with energy, taking much interest in the young people, and preaching the Gospel acceptably to an increasing audience.
In his response to our call he called attention to our financial condition as a hindrance to spiritual progress.
Nothing loath to be relieved of the burden, if possible, the society, in December, 1883, appointed Messrs. Norton
a ‘Debt-raising Committee,’ with liberty to add to their number.
They added Mr. Hood
, and sent him to the Old South Society, Boston
, from whom he secured two thousand dollars. The balance and one thousand two hundred dollars for repairs was secured on pledges, to be paid in two years. The pledge books were deposited in the bank as collateral for a loan with which the mortgage was purchased and the interest on it stopped.
The pledges were paid in and the society was free from debt April, 1886.
About the same time a bell was placed in the tower at a cost of five hundred dollars, contributed by citizens.
A Hutchings pipe organ, costing one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five dollars, was first used in public worship February 6, 1887.
With the debt lifted, there came a different atmosphere.
The young people's prayer meeting and the ‘Willing Hands’ were reorganized into the ‘Christian Helpers,’ whose members were enthusiastic in both branches of the work.
The Sabbath-school increased year by year, having its largest enrolment in 1887, 265 members, and its largest attendance in 1888, 206; its largest average 162. [p. 39]
resigned in January, 1889, to take an indefinite period of rest, travel and study.
He was dismissed by council, April 25th.
He had baptized sixteen infants and eighteen adults.
Sixty-two by letter and forty-five on confession had been added to the membership—more members added than were enrolled when he began his pastorate.
Rev. Herbert W. Stebbins
was called October 3, 1889, and installed November 12 by a council consisting of twelve pastors and fourteen delegates, representing sixteen churches, Rev. J. G. Taylor
being moderator and Rev. Edwin Smith
Rev. T. C. Pease
) offered the installing prayer and Rev. W. S. Alexander, D. D.
), preached the sermon.
He served the church with marked ability for six years. His sermons were incentives to deep thinking.
He was able to reach the young people, and both the Christian Endeavor Society
and the Sabbath-school flourished under his leadership.
The Y. P. S. C. E. attained a membership of 125.
The Sabbath-school enrolment was, for 1890, 268; 1891, 300; 1892, 308; 1894, 381; largest attendance for same years, 216, 228, 259, 304; and the average 172, 196, 212, 229.
The prayer meetings were marked by deep interest and spiritual power, having under the more favorable circumstances from seventy to eighty in attendance.
, with his ability to work eighteen hours a day continuously, furnished a good example of industry.
While thus he set an unattainable standard for some, he was a constant encouragement to others—a tonic, in fact.
He was a thorough organizer.
Early in his pastorate he proposed ten lines of effort to be set on foot at once.
The completeness with which he stated them, and the readiness with which he replied to the questions and objections of his standing committee, showed him to be careful as a student, resourceful in planning and a master of details.
We made a canvass and secured a record of the religious affiliation and preferences of all persons in [p. 40]
We organized one committee to keep this constantly revised, another to secure the use of a barge and carriages to bring the lame or convalescent to the morning service, another to keep a list of the ‘shut-ins’ and promote correspondence between them and others, and another to assist unemployed persons to find occupation.
When six of the ten lines had been initiated our confidence in our ability to carry out his program gave out, and the other four were not undertaken.
held classes for conference on the subject of personal religion.
To these he gave careful instruction and wise counsel, opening up the Scriptures, and his efforts were rewarded by their public confession of faith in the Christ.
He baptized thirteen infants and thirty adults, and received into membership one hundred and thirty-three—sixty-nine by letter and sixty-four on confession.
He was dismissed by council on October 24, 1895.
In accordance with a vote of the church in December, 1894, and amendment to the by-laws adopted December, 1895, the Sabbath-school officers are elected by the church at its annual meeting, instead of by the school, as hitherto.
On January 3, 1896, a call was voted to Rev. Judson V. Clancy
, who accepted and was installed February 26 by council consisting of twelve pastors and seventeen delegates, representing nineteen churches.
Rev. Frank S. Adams
of Reading was moderator and Rev. George E. Lovejoy
The installing prayer was by Rev. D. A. Newton
, the sermon by Rev. Nehemiah Boynton, D. D.
, of Boston
, and Rev. Messrs.
had other parts.
entered into the work with buoyant zeal and a proper optimism.
His sermons received an attentive hearing and the audiences increased.
He aroused the enthusiasm of many new people, and with the superior good nature always characteristic of him, enlisted the permanent support of a goodly number.
The Woman's [p. 41]
‘Home’ and ‘Foreign’ Missionary Societies were merged into one organization, ‘The Woman's Christian League.’
The Sabbath-school and the Y. P. S. C. E. continued their various activities with success, although the school did not exceed the high record of the previous pastorate as to attendance.
The prayer meetings manifested spiritual power.
On May 7, 1897, Bro. Josiah G. Fuller
presented the church an individual communion service.
On February 23, 1897, the society accepted from Bro. Henry L. Barnes
the gift of the house and land corner High and Allston streets on which our meeting-house now stands.
The gift was accompanied with an offer of four thousand dollars when we should build on it a meeting-house and dedicate it free from debt.
The ‘Songs for the Sanctuary’ had been in use for public worship since 1874, and the books were the property of individuals.
In December, 1896, the church voted to use the ‘Church Hymnary’ instead, and the society having voted to adopt the free seat system and pledges instead of pew rental, it also voted to purchase and own the hymn books.
The church observed the twenty-fifth anniversary of its organization on Sunday, June 13, 1897, at morning service by a sermon by the pastor on ‘The Power of the Church
in the Community,’ and by a special communion service.
At the evening service were addresses on ‘The Sunday-school and Christian Endeavor Society’ by H. N. Ackerman
, and ‘The Early History of the Church
and Parish,’ by D. H. Brown
On Monday, June 14, there was a banquet in the vestry, with brief addresses, and a service in the audience room, with addresses by Rev. Messrs. Clancy
, Cutter, Hood
These exercises were enthusiastic, and there were present at one or another of the meetings about two-thirds of the organizing and the first installing councils.
The thirtieth anniversary was observed by a service with a collation on June 13, 1902, in place of the usual [p. 42]
Friday evening services.
To this the former pastors and members who had removed were invited, the vestry was well filled, and the occasion was one of glad reunion, with brief addresses.
On July 6, 1902, and January 1, 1903, there were received into membership twelve young people from the ranks of the ‘Knights of King Arthur’ and the ‘Queens
of Avilion,’ which organizations Mr. Clancy
had been leading and instructing for two years.
On January 19, 1903, Mr. John H. Norton
presented to the society for a parsonage the house (and land) corner High and Allston streets opposite the present meetinghouse.
This house, occupied by Mr. Hood
and Mr. Stebbins
during their pastorates, was constructed in accordance with plans suggested by Mr. Hood
On March 4, 1903, our meeting-house was burned, and we were again facing our early conditions of plans, architect, building and subscription committees.
On March 6 the prayer meeting was held at the house of Deacon Davenport
, and a collection was taken as the beginning of a building fund.
The autographs of those present were also secured, to be deposited in the corner-stone.
Holton Hall was hired for our temporary use.
It was now necessary to build, and as it was clearly seen that the necessary funds could not be secured at once, Mr. Barnes
withdrew the ‘dedicated free of debt’ condition of his gift.
The society authorized the purchase of the adjacent lot of land.
Committees on plans and subscriptions were appointed and plans were reported on June 4, 1903.
These being not altogether acceptable, a new committee of eleven was appointed to select an architect and report other plans to a meeting to be held September 9.
On that date the committee asked for further time.
In the midst of these proceedings Mr. Clancy
resigned, to accept a call from a larger church, the St. Lawrence Congregational
of Portland, Me.
Reluctant to part with him, we yet bade him God-speed to that promising field.
He was dismissed by council November 17, 1903.
He had baptized forty-eight infants and twenty-three adults, and welcomed to our communion ninety-six, sixty by letter and thirty-six upon confession.
On January 11, 1904, the church voted, and on January 18 the society concurred in extending a call to Rev. Burt Leon Yorke
, and he was installed on April 12, by council of twenty pastors and twenty delegates, representing twenty-four churches.
Rev. Stephen A. Norton
was moderator, Rev. Walter H. Rollins
was scribe, Rev. H. H. French, D. D.
, of Malden
offered the installing prayer, Rev. Frank K. Sanders, D. D.
, of Yale University, preached the sermon.
On January 18, 1904, the committees on plans reported that they had engaged Messrs. Brainerd
exhibited and explained the plans.
J. W. Bean
, M. D., J. N. Leonard
, R. D. Kimball
, Alexander Diebold
, Miss K. H. Stone
and Mrs. W. E. Ober
were elected a subscription committee.
H. A. Hanscom
, Henry Newcomb
, C. H. Parker
, D. D. Kimball
and Mrs. E. F. Locke
were elected building committee and instructed to obtain working drawings and contractors' estimates.
Henry L. Barnes
died on January 23, 1904, leaving his homestead to the society for a parsonage, or to be disposed of and the proceeds used in such manner as will best promote the interests of the society; also leaving the residue of his estate, one-half to be applied to the building fund and one-half to be held in trust, the income to be used in part for current expenses and in part for the worthy poor.
On April 6 the society voted to sell the Barnes homestead and the house purchased of the estate of B. C. Leonard
to pay the mortgage and apply the balance to the building fund.
The executors under the will of Mr. Barnes
stated the value of the homestead to be four thousand eight hundred and fifty dollars, and personal estate twenty-three thousand thirteen dollars and eighty-nine [p. 44]
cents, as submitted to the Probate Court
At this meeting, also, the building committee reported contractors' bids for the various branches of work, and they were authorized to enter into contracts for the erection of the meeting-house at a total cost not to exceed forty-eight thousand seven hundred and three dollars. June 2 the building committee was authorized to expend one thousand eight hundred dollars more.
On Sunday, May 29, the corner-stone was laid, with sermon by the pastor, and address commemorating the thirty-ninth anniversary of the Sabbath-school by Deacon Ackerman
Other speakers were Mr. D. H. Brown
, Rev. Isaac Pierson
, Rev. John Wild
. J. M. Grout
of the Mystic Church
On November 3, W. A. Andrew
, Henry Newcomb
, H. S. L. Cullington
, George S. Hedge
, Miss K. H. Stone
, Miss L. P. Patten
and Rev. B. L. Yorke
were appointed a committee to provide furnishings, the expense to the society not to exceed two thousand dollars.
Rev. B. L. Yorke
, H. N. Ackerman
, Henry Newcomb
, H. A. Hanscom
, W. J. Barnard
, W. W. Benjamin
and J. W. Bean
were appointed dedication committee.
The meeting-house was dedicated by a six-day service.
The first was on Sunday morning, January 8, 1905, former pastors Cutter
taking part, with sermon by Rev. Edward C. Moore, D. D.
, prayer of dedication by the pastor, followed by reception of members and Communion.
school rally followed, with brief addresses by former Superintendents Hippisley
, D. H. Brown
, J. W. Brown
At the four o'clock vesper service Rev. A. P. Davis
, Rev. George M. Butler
and Rev. John Wild
voiced the greetings of the Woburn Conference
, the Mystic Church
and the Union Church
Christian Endeavor rally occurred at 7 o'clock, when Mr. George W. Loggie
, treasurer of Mass.
C. E. Union delivered an address.
Greetings from the churches of other denominations in Medford
were brought by the pastors of each to the [p. 45]
fellowship service on Monday evening. On Tuesday evening Mr. George A. Burdett
, organist of the Central
Congregational Church, Boston
, conducted the organ dedication and recital.
On Wednesday evening a supper was served by the Woman
's Christian League.
This was followed by an address by Rev. W. G. Puddefoot
. Mayor M. F. Dwyer
and Judge William C. Wait
addressed the civic service on Thursday evening. The series closed with a devotional and reunion service on Friday evening, at which addresses were made by Rev. Asher Anderson, D. D.
of the National council; Hon. Seba A. Holton
, Moderator of the General Association of Congregational Churches of Massachusetts
; Mr. Franklin P. Shumway
, Moderator of Woburn Conference; Rev. D. Augustine Newton
, the pastor longest in service in the Conference; Revs. M. M. Cutter
and E. C. Hood
, former pastors; Revs. A. W. Ackerman
and F. G. Clark
, former members.
Mr. John H. Norton
, who was for years our most liberal contributor and always interested in the welfare of the church, was not privileged to see the culmination of this effort, having died December 5, 1904.
This second meeting-house, erected of seam-faced granite, with chapel of stucco containing kindergarten, Bible school, committee and social rooms, stands at a value of sixty-five thousand dollars, including the site.
The clock was replaced by the city.
The bell was recast and returned to us weighing two thousand two hundred pounds. The Hook & Hastings
organ, having thirty-six stops and one thousand three hundred and fifty-three pipes, was installed at a cost of four thousand dollars.
Of the furnishings the pulpit is the gift of Mrs. C. H. Parker
, in memory of Mr. B. C. Leonard
, and the Bible
is the gift of Mrs. B. C. Leonard
The communion table, in memory of Ira P. Ackerman
(a charter deacon), and the baptismal font, in memory of Eliza A. Ackerman
(charter member), are the gifts of their children of three [p. 46]
The pastors and deacons, past and present, united in a contribution of two hundred dollars towards the pulpit furniture.
The Christian Endeavor Society gave the pulpit furniture in the chapel.
The Woman's Christian League gave four hundred dollars towards furnishing the parlor and kitchen.
One family gave the heating plant.
The communion service was the gift of the Knights of King Arthur and the Queens
of Avilion, immediately after the first meeting-house was burned.
was installed at a time when our affairs were very unsettled.
We had been for a year in temporary quarters (better, indeed, than most churches would have found), but not good enough for us to remain satisfied with.
is not afraid of work.
He accepted the situation as a necessity and an opportunity, and helped us to improve our conditions.
The second service was changed to one musical and liturgical in character, and held at five o'clock instead of seven.
In place of a Junior C. E., Mrs. Yorke
conducts a praise service at four o'clock for the Primary and Intermediate Departments of the Bible
school without a separate enrolment.
The Y. P. S. C. E., which had a membership of forty-eight in 1903, and of eighty-one in 1907, nevertheless disbanded June 7, 1908, and in place of it Mr. Yorke
and Mr. Remele
conduct a praise service, at 6.15 o'clock (also without separate enrolment) for the Junior
, Senior and Graduate Departments.
Out of these services have developed our vested choirs.
school had for many years used the International Lessons
, though during the latter part of Mr. Clancy
's pastorate some classes made use of the Blakeslee Lessons
On coming into the new meeting-house the Bible
school was thoroughly graded, having a Cradle Roll, Primary, Intermediate, Junior, Senior, Graduate and Home Departments.
At the annual meeting, December, 1903, the membership was one hundred and ninety-five. [p. 47]
In 1909 it had increased to four hundred and seventy.
Its curriculum is unique, and has been so widely published that its repetition here is unnecessary.
A gymnasium, with a good but partial outfit, has had an intermittent activity.
The Woman's Christian League, which reported a loss of twenty-five members in 1903, took on new life, and in 1909 reported a membership of two hundred and sixteen.
It furnishes annually a program, social, scientific, literary and missionary, which challenges comparison anywhere.
The women's work has been the most successful of all our departments ever since Mrs. Cutter
served as one of the managers of a fair in Brooks Hall.
The League is successful financially, as well as in other directions, having in three years paid to the society, to be applied to the debt, one hundred and eighty-four dollars, and to current expenses one thousand and forty-two dollars.
The Brotherhood has for four years sought to bring out a large attendance at vesper service once a month, providing a special preacher.
It holds five meetings during the season and a ‘Ladies' Night’ banquet, hears addresses on topics of interest to citizens and voters, and seeks to strengthen the social bonds of its members.
Through its religious work committee it arranges a series of lessons for the men's Bible class.
It has a membership of one hundred and fifty.
On the completion of the meeting-house it was found necessary to raise seventeen thousand dollars of its cost by a mortgage.
Three thousand dollars have been paid, one thousand dollars is in the treasury to be applied, and two thousand six hundred dollars more is pledged, the pledges to mature in two years.
It is to be expected that the financial and material will receive more attention under our circumstances than they are ordinarily entitled to, but we shall improve in that respect with the changes that will take place in the course of time.
During this pastorate one hundred and fourteen have received the rite of baptism, seventy-three [p. 48]
infants and forty-four adults, and one hundred and sixty-one have been added to our membership, ninety-two by letter and sixty-nine on confession, up to the time of the annual meeting in December, 1909.
At that date the membership was three hundred and twenty-five.
Of fifty-seven families on our roll during the first ten years of our organization twenty are still connected with us.
The pastors and their wives who have served our church so well are now living, except Mr. Jaggar
, who died November 28, 1899, and Mrs. Cutter
, who died March 15, 1909. Mr. Jaggar
's decided stand saved us for thirty years from raising money by questionable methods.
calmly viewed and patiently endured conditions for which there was no present help.
He was the one man in a hundred who could ‘hold the fort’ in that period.
In clearing off the mortgage Mr. Hood
exercised his special talent.
Then we had freedom to enlarge our membership.
enforced the value of personal allegiance and consecration to Jesus, and built up the church in graces as well as in members.
So, providentially, all have fitted the periods in which they served.
Mr. David H. Brown
was appointed to prepare this sketch, but by the will of God fell on sleep February 21, 1908, ere he had begun the task.
Among our records are resolutions, drawn up by him upon the passing of several of his associates of early days, expressing appreciation of their devotion and sacrifices, and claiming that without them certain results could not have been achieved.
The claim is true of them, it is true of him—and more.
He had a wide and comprehensive vision of the possibilities of our field, and was able to suggest avenues of advance.
He had the ability and the disposition to initiate new lines of work, to associate with him others, teaching them his plan, inspiring them with his confident optimism, and then leaving them to carry on one work while he inaugurated another.
His plea for us before the Woburn Conference
and the Boston Congregational [p. 49]
Club really won for us a standing not otherwise readily attained.
At times, when others deemed it impossible to raise funds, he was able to bring in the needed dollars.
Assisted by two others, he secured advertisements and published a paper which brought in four hundred dollars of the one thousand dollars made at the three days fair in Brooks Hall.
He was the most able, energetic and versatile layman in our membership.
Our beginning was really with that Saturday afternoon class in 1864, when Mrs. Rachael A. Barnes
did faithfully what she could, and her work is worthy to stand with that of laymen and pastors who have followed and found opportunities of usefulness and service here.