Massachusetts Church History

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Before 1900 the major religious groups in Massachusetts were:

The Congregational Church was the predominant church until the end of the 18th century. Many church records were published with the town vital records.

Perry Miller's classic book The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century (New York: Macmillan, 1939), provoked a great deal of interest in the religious origins of the Massachusetts colony.

1889 Church Records. There is a list of the churches in each town, the date of organization, kinds of records kept, years covered, and condition of the records as of 1889 in Wright's Report on the Custody and Condition of the Public Records (see Massachusetts Archives and Libraries).


Baptist[edit | edit source]

An informative history is:

  • Brush, John Woolman. Baptists in Massachusetts. Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: Judson Press, 1970. FHL book 974.4 K2bj

Congregational[edit | edit source]

A historical perspective is found in:

  • Goodwin, John A. The Pilgrim Republic: An Historical Review of the Colony of New Plymouth, with Sketches of Other New England Settlements, the History of Congregationalism, and the Creeds of the Period. Boston, Mass.: Tickner, 1888. FHL film 1465570

Episcopal[edit | edit source]

For histories of the Episcopal Church see:

  • Duffy, Mark J., ed. The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts 1784-1984. [Boston, Mass.]: Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, 1984. FHL book 974.4 K2e
  • Tyng, Dudley. Massachusetts Episcopalians, 1607-1957. [Boston, Massachusetts]: Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, [1960]. FHL book 974.4 K2t

Society of Friends (Quakers)[edit | edit source]

Informative history of Massachusetts Quakers include:

  • Bowden, James. The History of the Society of Friends in America. 2 vols. London: W. & F.G. Cash, 1850-1854. Digital version of Vol. 1 at Google Books; FHL book 973 F2bj v. 1 [Volume 1 includes New England.]
  • Hallowell, Richard P. The Quaker Invasion of Massachusetts. Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 1883. FHL book 974.4 K2h; digital versions at Ancestry ($); Google Books. Illustrates the persecution the Quakers received from colonial authorities. Has examples of the strength and conviction of the Quakers' religious beliefs.