At a meeting held on Jul 7, 1726 Deacon Richard Bailey was chosen Moderator and John Hutchins, Caleb Hopkinson, William Hardy Jr. and Joseph Hardy 6th were chosen a committee to build a meeting house.
On Sep 5, 1726 a committee was chosen to purchase half an acre of land from Richard and Thomas Hardy upon which to build the meetinghouse. This land was on the westerly side of Main St. and at the present time (1915) is a vacant lot owned by Justin E. Varney. Oct 13, 1726 it was voted to raise three hundred and sixty pounds to build the "meeting house," and ten pounds to provide a minister for preaching.
At a meeting held Nov 18, 1726, the Reverend William Balch of Beverly was chosen minister.
At a meeting held Jan 6, 1727, Elizabeth Hardy, Margaret Walmford, Susannah Hardy, Dorothy Hardy, Jeremiah Hardy, Martha Palmer, Mary Pemberton, Hannah Rolf were granted [?] in the "hind seat" in the gallery. Mary Hutchins, Elizabeth Palmer, Dorcas Savory, Jurusah Hutchins and Abigail Bailey were granted seats on the back side of front gallery.
On Jan 30 1727 a committee was chosen to purchase a parsonage, resulting in the purchase of nine acres of land and buildings from Francis Woster and on Mar 13, 1727 the salary of the Reverend William Balch was fixed at one hundred pounds per annum for four years, at the end of which time the salary was to be raised to one hundred and ten pounds if not sufficient for his needs. Also to be raised to six score pounds if necessary. Also twenty cords of wood were to be provided when he should have a family.
At a meeting held Sep 1, 1727, it was agreed to convey to the Reverend William Balch the deed to the nine acres of land purchased from Francis Woster.
This land, which is above, referred to, lay on the west side of the Main street, and included the Pines (1915), the land remaining in the Balch family until 1909. The house built by the Reverend William Balch was torn down in 1872 and a new house built on the spot by a great grandson, Thomas H. Balch, and was occupied by his family until sold.
On Apr 29, 1729 it was voted to buy a "bason" and on Sep 1, 1729, Thomas Hardy Sr. was paid for "sweeping the meeting house and carrying the bason for baptism."
Nov 29, 1731, Jonathan Bailey was paid for "building a pound and providing a lock and providing a lock and key", at an expense of five pounds and twelve shillings. This pound, was on the triangle of land at the intersection of Governor Road and Rollins St. (1915).
William Hardy, Samuel Palmer and Lieutenant Stickney were chosen a committee May 21, 1752 to purchase one acre of land for a "burying place" at an expense of four pounds. Ten pounds was appropriated for fencing the same. It was noted not to fence the lane.
ye lawful claims and demands of all persons whatsoever.
witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals this sixth day
July in ye twenty-sixth year of his majesty’s reign, Anno Dominas one
thousand seven hundred and fifty-two.
Ephraim Pemberton [Seal]
Signed, Sealed and Dd in ye Ann X Pemberson [Seal]
presence of mark
Eliezer X Burbank Mary 0 Jerrett [Seal]
Wm. Balch Sarah X Jarett [Seal]
is Bradford Feby 1, 1753 then personally ye above named persons (viz)
Ephraim Pemberton, Ann Pemberton, Mary Jerrett and Sarah Jerrett and
acknowledged ye above written obligation to be their own deed and act.
me, Nathl. Peaslee, Justice of ye Peace
Philip Tenney, Nathaniel Parker and Timothy Hardy were chosen a committee Dec 22 1757 to "whitewash the inside of the meeting house and to color the outside, and to procure a lock for the door and fastenings for the windows," at an expense of six pounds.
Mar 7, 1758, Glazier Brown was paid one dollar for mending the meetinghouse windows. [Note: first mention of a dollar]
Mar 27, 1765, upon petition of Ebenezer Wood and others, it was voted to allow the signers the men’s front gallery for the space of one year.
Aug 15, 1776, notice was received from a committee that the following persons Ichabod Cheney, Nathaniel ?, Moses Plummer, Daniel Cheney and Joseph Richardson, attend the Reverend Hezekiah Smith’s [?; can’t read] - Baptist Society in Haverhill.
Mar 4, 1779 it was voted to concur with the church in choosing Mr. Ebenezer Dutch for their minister at a yearly salary of eighty pounds equal in silver at six shillings and eight pence per ounce and fifteen hundred pounds paper currency as settlement.
Mar 18, 1779, it was voted that the above mentioned eighty pounds shall be estimated by the prices of the following articles, 50 bushels of corn at three shillings & six pence per bushel, nineteen bushels of rye at five shillings per bushel; four tons of good English hay at forty shillings per ton; three hundred pounds of pork at four pence per pound; three hundred wt. of beef at twenty shillings per hundred; one hundred wt. of cheese at six pence per pound; sixty wt. of butter at eight pence per pound; ten cords of (coal?) wood at twelve shillings per cord, all of which maketh forty pounds; the other half of the eighty pounds to be estimated by the above rates or as much of the present circulating currency from year to year, will purchase the above said articles.
Oct 20, 1779 a committee was appointed to "keep order in the meeting house and clear the way" at the ordination of Ebenezer Dutch.
To all people to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:-
To have and to hold ye sd Premises to ye sd east precinct in Bradford for ye use aforesd free from all Encumbrances forever & we [scratched out two words] ye sd Ephraim & Ann Pemberton & Mary Jewett & Sarah Jewett for ourselves, our heirs exec & admer do hereby around yt we are ye sole lawful owner of ye bargain’d Premises & are lawfully seized thereof & have good right to dispense of ye same as aforesaid free from all encumbrances of yt we will warrant & define ye sd East Precinct in Bradford against
(Continued on page 200)
Nov 15, 1781 a committee consisting of Bradstreet Parker, Stephen Burbank and Captain John Savory, was appointed to inquire into the matter relating to Captain Jonathan Bailey’s property of the land which the new school house stands on. Nov 28, 1781 at an adjourned meeting the committee was directed to take a deed of Captain Jonathan Bailey of the above said land if he will give our the ? to be given in such a manner then the land is to be the property of the parish, said committee to pay him one pound six shilling and eight pence in consideration of the same the parish to refund the money to said committee.
Sep 9, 1788 it was voted to build a meeting house in the parish. The committee chosen Mar 26, 1789 was Bradstreet Parker, Phineas Carleton, William Balch, Samuel Adams, Retire H. Parker, Thomas Morse and Peter Russell. Jun 17, 1789 it was voted to accept the report of the committee chosen to draw a plan in what form and bigness to build the meeting house, three feet in length longer than the new Rowley meeting house and the same in width added in proportion, also a porch at each end.
After several conflicting votes, it was noted Feb 6, 1790, to set the meeting house on land of Mr. Bradstreet Parker near the corner of the lane at the County Road "if the lane could be purchased without any cost of the parish." Lieutenant Retire Parker, Esq. Russell and William Parker were appointed to execute the
deed. Feb 11, 1790 the committee was empowered to let out the building and completing of said meetinghouse to the lowest bidder. Aug 3, 1789 it was noted give the old meeting house to the owners of the ?.
Mar 2, 1790 it was voted to build a steeple in lue [sic] of one of the porches as heretofore proposed and to finish the meetinghouse in the same form of Andover West Parish and to paint it.
Sep 13, 1790 it was voted that the committee should get a "wier" to the meeting house to conduct the lightning from the "spier". see warrant
Apr 6, 1790 a contract was executed between the parish committee and Phineas Carleton, Ebenezer Hopkinson, Silas Hopkinson and Edward Sergeant to build a meeting house 58 ft. long, 42 ft. wide, and 27 ft. high at a cost of 602 pounds and 8 shillings. The house should contain forty five ? on the lower floor and twenty two ? in the galleries and ? finish and equipment similar to the South Church in Andover. Moody Spofford of Rowley was engaged as Master Workman.
May 9, 1794 a committee consisting of Peter Russell, Samuel Stickney and Solomon Tenney was appointed to have charge of the schooling. It was voted to accept of the proposals of the west parish concerning dividing the town into two districts for schooling that the dividing line be as follows: viz. Beginning at Merrimack river at the mouth of Johnson’s Creek so called and following said stream to the brook known by the name of the Grindle Brook and following said Grindle Brook to the road leading to Rowley thence running by Captain Kimball’s east line to Rowley line it is agreed that each class provide and pay a grammar master in proportion to what money they pay it is also agreed that no scholar cross the above prescribed line to go to school it is also agreed that if East Parish comply with the above, said west parish promise to withdraw their petition for a division in the above said town of Bradford.
Apr 1, 1795 it was voted to pay Benjamin Burbank for iron work for the bell, three pounds, four shillings; to Moses Parker for sundry articles toward hanging said bell and paying Ezl Spofford for work 3’2’11.
This bell was cast by Paul Revere and was #11 on his list; being made for the town of Newburyport and then sold to the Bradford parish. The weight was 695 lbs. The inscription
followed by the words "Revere 1795" are on the bell. In 1915 this bell
is still in regular use. A full description of the bell is in a printed sermon by the Rev. Symms F. Berry, preacher on the 100th anniversary of its purchase. For many years the bell was rung daily at twelve o’clock at noon and at nine o’clock at night. Joshua Lutas Elsiree, a Hessian, was the first bell ringer.
Dec 23, 1805 a committee of five was appointed to regulate the singing ? and to make such rules as are necessary to keep the peace and exclude any who should not occupy the ?.
Mar 19, 1811 it was voted to accept the gift of the hearse and house as offered by the proprietors thereof and a committee, consisting of William Balch, Wm Tenney, Jr. and Thomas Savory was appointed to take care of the ?
This hearse was used for over fifty years and is well remembered by many persons now living (1915). The first person carried in it was Benjamin Hardy who died in 186?.
All of the preceding has been copied from the first record book of the parish (1726-1813). The last record in the old book was by Peter Parker, clerk, pro tem.
Mar 25, 1814 it was voted to concur with the church in giving Mr. Gardner B. Perry a call to settle with them in the work of the gospel ministry. The salary was to be $500 to be paid semi annually and $400 settlement the settlement to be paid the day or ordination. The date or ordination was Sep 28, 1814.
Jan 10, 1822 it was voted to have a stove or stoves placed in the meetinghouse provided they could be obtained without any cost to the parish.
Mar 25, 1824 it was voted to sell the lands at public auction, which the old church formerly stood on. The committee in charge of the same was Peter Mitchell, Deacon Daniel Stickney and Captain Day Mitchell.
Apr 11, 1828 it was voted "that the Committee may let the burying ground to pasture sheep, if they think proper."
Mar 12, 1835 it was voted to let the Town have the use of the meetinghouse for their annual meeting the present year.
Apr 15, 1835 a committee consisting of Nathaniel Ladd, Jeremiah Spofford, Samuel Stickney, Moses Parker, Ira Hopkinson, M(?) Hardy and Moses Morse was chosen to make such alterations in the seats and ? and to build such pews in the gallery as they may agree upon without any expense to the parish.
The clock, which is still in the church auditorium in 1915, was also purchased at this time.
Mary 23, 1836 a committee consisting of Nathaniel Ladd, Sylvanus Morse and William S. Balch was chosen to ascertain the expense of building a vestry and providing a place to set it on and report at some future meeting.
The vestry in use was built at this time and was built on land of G. B. Perry on what is now Union ? (1915) and was removed to its present location in 1849.
Mar 9, 1849 Ira Hopkinson, Nathaniel Ladd and Jeremiah Spofford were chosen to see if a piece of land can be obtained of Peter Parker to move the meetinghouse on to. Mar 23, it was voted to purchase the land and move the meeting house in this manner to lengthen said house fifteen feet by putting a piece on the eastern end, to build twenty new pews; ? build a new spire and to make any needed alterations.
During the process of removal ? church was struck by lightning and somewhat damaged.
Some of the furniture and fittings were sold and the ladies were given permission to sell the table and chairs provided they provide new ones.
During the year 1850 the town of Groveland was set apart from Bradford and Mar 15, 1850 the first meeting was called under the name of the Congregational Society of Groveland.
May 26, 1851 the society voted to concur with the church in extending a call to Mr. David A. Wasson to settle with them in the gospel ministry as a colleague with Rev. D. Perry at a salary of six hundred dollars per year.
Mr. Wasson having been dismissed Daniel W. Pickard was invited to accept the position as colleague with D. Perry on May 6, 1853 at a salary of six hundred dollars per year.
Mr. Pickard having been dismissed on account of ill health, Jan 9, 1854, the society voted to concur with the church in calling Mr. Thomas Daggett to settle as colleague pastor with Dr. Perry at a salary of seven hundred dollars per year.
Mr. Daggett having been dismissed to the church at Niagara Falls, a call was extended Oct 6, 1864 to Martin S. Howard to serve as pastor at a salary of nine hundred dollars.
Mar 4, 1870 the Rev. John C. Paine was invited to become the pastor at a salary of one thousand dollars. At the same meeting a committee of two, Daniel H. Stickney and Edwin T. Curtis were chosen to purchase a parsonage, they to concur with a committee of the church.
Mr. Payne resigned in 1877 and Rev. James McLean was hired for one year beginning Nov 1, 1878 at a salary of one thousand dollars.
Apr 18, 1881 it was voted to concur with the church in calling A. C. Swain at a salary of $800 and the use of the parsonage.
Jun 17, 1882 leave was granted to place a clock on the tower of the church. This clock was a gift to the parish of Burton E. Merrill and is still in use in 1915.
Mr. Swain resigned in 1886 and on May 4, 1887 the Rev. Bernard Copping ? called as pastor at a salary of $800 and rent of parsonage.
Aug 30, 1888 the society voted to consent to the request of Mr. Gardner B. Perry for permission to improve and beautify the church edifice.
An excavation was made and furnaces installed under the church building, the roof was shingled and the outside painted, and inside painted and frescoed and the needed repairs made.
Jun 24, 1889 it was voted that a committee of three consisting of William B. Ladd, William W. Ray and G. Milton Stacy be chosen to convey all property of the society to the church and it was voted that after the church have accepted the property and assumed the debts of the society, that said society cease to exist.
The foregoing was taken from the old parish records from the beginning of the parish in 1726 to 1889 when it was dissolved.
Jun 7, 1727 the Second Church of Christ in Bradford was gathered and embodied, consisting of 48 male members. Jul 27, 1727, 53 women were admitted by "handy vote".
Oct 19, 1730 Deacon Bailey, Deacon Hardy, Thomas Bailey, John Pemberton and Francis Jewett were chosen to the office of ? of the church in watching over the manners of the brethren. The examination reports and stories to the prejudicing of me or another etc.: in dealing with offenders, preparing matters for the church hearing of a public nature and making up in private such things as will as of private dealing, etc.
Feb 10, 1732 at church meeting, voted that each communicant be obliged to pay one schilling every year toward the support and charge of providing for the Lord’s table.
During the pastorate of Rev. William Balch, which extended from 1727 to 1779, 393 members united with the church that includes the 101 original members. He also baptized between three and four hundred infants.
His successor, Rev. Ebenezer Dutch, [prepared?] a very poor record and many who united with the church during his pastorate (1779-1814) were not entered on his books but the names have been obtained from other sources w[ho] are known to be reliable. 169 persons were admitted to membership during his pastorate.
Rev. Gardner B. Perry kept very accurate records and during his pastorate from 1814 to 1851, 240 persons were admitted to membership. Jan 1, 1814, there were 141 members. He conducted a "protracted meeting" in the summer of 1831 and recorded in one of his sermons that there were "200 happy conversions", of which 119 united with this church.
Jan 2, 1880 the following resolution was passed, "That it is the sense of the male members of this church that the sisters of this church over 21 years of age, have the right; and are requested to avail themselves of the privilege of voting upon all church matters.
Sep 28, 1883, a memorial service was held on the sixty-ninth anniversary of the ordination of Rev. Gardner B. Perry and a memorial tablet was unveiled which had been placed back of the pulpit by his son, Gardner B. Perry of Buenos Ayers [sic], South America.
Apr 10, 1889 it was unanimously voted to incorporate the church under the laws of Man.
Sep 13, 1883 Burton E. Merrill presented the church with the clock which was placed in the steeple.
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Dec 8, 1902 the church voted to call Rev. Arthur Dickman of Roxbury to become pastor at a salary of $800 per year.
Apr 29, 1904, electric lights were installed in the church building.
During the year 1908, the church was thoroughly renovated, a new organ being installed, the old pews given in by the owners and new pews installed. ? ? pulpit and furniture and a new carpet were placed in the building. The new organ was placed in the front of the church, the old one being removed from the gallery. Memorial widows were placed in the church in memory of Rev. William Balch, Mrs. Luke Poor, Mrs. Moses H. Palmer & Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Balch. Later four more were installed by Y.P.S.C.E., one by the Ladies’ Aid Society, one in memory of Melvina A. Burbank and one in memory of Eliza N. Parker. Two larger furnaces were placed in the basement and the inside walls redecorated. The outside of the building was also painted. The total cost of the repairs and changes without the organ, $2,941.78.
The Rev. Arthur Dickman having accepted a call to California, Rev. Andrew Campbell of Somerville was called May 16, 1909, at a salary of $1,000 and the use of the parsonage. During this year the parsonage was thoroughly renovated, a bathroom, furnace and hard wood floor being put in.
During the year 1910 extensive repairs were made on the chapel at an expense of $2,824.00. It was raised up and a banquet room and kitchen placed underneath, hard wood floors laid in the upper room, redecorated inside and ? outside. Furnaces were also installed.
In Dec 1910, Mrs. Gardner B. Perry of Newport, RI died, leaving in her will a bequest to the church of seventeen of the Perry Mansion House property and a bequest of $3,000 for repairs for the same in case it was to be used for a parsonage. Gardner Broom Perry, son of Charles Perry also donated his three-t[enths?] of the property. The church accepted both the bequest and gift and the money was used to put the house in rep[air] and it was read for occupancy in the fall of 1912.
The old parsonage was then sold to Charles S. Huntress for $2,200. Mr. Huntress had previously purchased the adjoining house lot for $300.
Apr 11, 1915 Reverend Mr. Campbell resigned [to] accept a call to Orange, Mass and Ju[ly] 2, 1915 Reverend Archibald Cullens Lanesboro, N[H] was called to the pastorate.
The chandelier, which now hangs in the church, was purchased in 1855 by the Ladies’ Benevolent Society, Miss Abigail Greenough, president. The money was obtained by the ladies meeting every two weeks and binding heavy calf shoes with leather binding and it took nearly a year to raise the ?. When the church was equipped with electricity, the chandelier was wired for the same.
In 1901, an individual community service was purchased. Part of the old service was sold in 1908 for $112.
In Jul 1916, the old house shed, which for 65 years had stood behind the church building, was removed, being out of repair, and the owners ? them to the church.
The original owners in 1851 were: Edmund Hills, Jacob W. Reed, Nathaniel Parker, John Stickney, William S. Balch, Widow Judith Griffin, David Hopkinson, Phineas Hardy.
In May 1918 a hard wood floor was laid in the church auditorium, the expense of which mounting to over $300, was borne by the Ladies’ Aid Society.
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Link to Outline of
Groveland History by Sarah Dewhirst Parker
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