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North Church (Salem, Mass.) Records

North Church (Salem, Mass.) Records

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NORTH CHURCH (SALEM, MASS.) RECORDS, 1745-1837, 1862-1901

Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 161 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-948-6012
Creator:North Church (Salem, Mass.)
Title:North Church (Salem, Mass.) Records
Dates:1745/1837, 1862/1901
Quantity:1.75 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract:The North Church of Salem records consist of administrative, financial, and pastoral records of this Salem, Massachusetts, church.
Collection Number:EC 59

Series List

Scope and Content Note

The North Church of Salem records consist of administrative, financial, and pastoral records of this Salem, Massachusetts, church. It includes correspondence, deeds, receipts, reports, subscription lists, a plan of the pews, lists of members, and catalogs of the books in the church library. The collection has been arranged chronologically.

Historical Sketch

In the spring of 1770, the minister of the First Church in Salem, Rev. Thomas Barnard (1748-1814) became paralyzed and unable to work. His son stepped in and fulfilled his duties until the annual meeting of the parish. Several votes were taken; the members of the church became split on who to call as their next minister. One group wanted the current minister's son, the Rev. Thomas Barnard, Jr. Another group wished to call the Rev. Asa Dunbar. Since no agreement could be reached, the church divided into two. The First Church called Rev. Dunbar as its minister and the newly formed North Church in Salem selected the Rev. Thomas Barnard, Jr. as its first minister.

In February 1772, forty-two associates bought land on the corner of North and Lynde Streets in Salem. The Proprietors of the North Meeting House met on March 3, 1772, and voted to build a meeting house. It opened in August of 1772, and was used until 1836, when a new meeting house was built. On May 16, 1772, the First Church voted to grant the request of the 52 people who asked for a dismission so that they might become a church connected with this society.

The First Church and North Church reunited in 1923, and moved to the second meetinghouse of the North Church on Essex Street, its current home.

North Church Succession of Ministers

Thomas Barnard, Jr. 1772-1814

John Emery Abbot 1815-1819

John Brazer 1820-1846

Octavius Brooks Frothingham 1847-1855

Charles Lowe 1855-1857

Edmund Burke Willson 1859-1895

George Dimmick Latimer 1893-1907

Theodore Davenport Bacon 1907-1923

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Abbot, John Emery, 1793-1819
Barnard, Thomas, 1748-1814
Colman, Henry, 1785-1849
Curwen, Samuel
Nichols, Benjamin Ropes, 1786-1848
Pickering, John
Pickman, Dudley Leavitt, 1779-1846
Ropes, David
West, Thomas
Willson, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1820-1895
First Church (Salem, Mass.)
Church buildings--Massachusetts--Salem
Church history
Church records and registers
Pews and pew rights
Salem (Mass.)


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Request for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

North Church (Salem, Mass.) Records, EC 59, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The Rev. John Emery Abbot papers were donated by Miss Willson. The provenance of the rest of the collection is unknown.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tamara Gaydos, August 2018.

Related Material

Barz-Snell, Jeffrey. "The Long History." The First Church in Salem, The First Church in Salem, Unitarian Universalist,

The First Centenary of the North Church and Society in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem: Salem Press, 1873.

Related Collections

East Church (Salem, Mass.) Records, EC 57

First Church (Salem, Mass.) Records, EC 58

The documents listed below have been digitized by the Congregational Library and Archives in Boston, Massachusetts and can be found here:

Act of incorporation of North Meeting House, 1802, Box 1 Folder 4

Report of Thomas West, Treasurer, 1831, Box 1 Folder 13

Copy of the original covenant of the First Church, undated, Box 1 Folder 20

North Church records, 1772-1813, kept by lay officers and Rev. Thomas Barnard, Jr., undated [before 1813], EC 58, Box 1 Folder 7

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