Myron Samuel Dudley.

Churches and pastors of Nantucket, Mass. online

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From the First Settlement to the
Present Time.




Enlarged from an article in the Genealogical Register, and illustrated with




































From the First Settlement to the
Present Time.





...... c.o...^^r...->^^^^^^^O.j.^^^^^-^^

ister, and illustrated with



19 2.

[Reprinted from the New-England Historical and Genealogical Register for
January, 1902.]




Two hundred and fifty copies of this edition printed.


This pamphlet is derived from a paper that appeared in the New
England Historical and Genealogical Register for January, 1902,
entitled "Two Centuries of Churches and Pastors in Nantucket,
Mass." It is revised and enlarged so as to bring the record down
to the present time.

The author acknowledges his obligations to the officers of the
various organizations for access to their church and parish records.

Myron Samuel Dudley.

Nantucket, Massachusetts,
January, 1902.


The establishment of the first Christian church among the early
settlers of Nantucket is shrouded in much mystery. Although the
Island was first occupied by white settlers in 1659, there is no evi-
dence that religious services were held in any stated way with a
place of worship till about fifty years later, in 1710.

In 1698 Thomas Chalkley, an English Quaker, visited the
Island,* and six years later, in 1704, Thomas Story, another English
Quaker, spent several days in Nantucket, f Both these men testified
to the religious destitution there. From their narratives we also
learn that there were ministers of the Gospel temporarily visiting
the Island, who probably were sent from the Congregational
churches of Eastern Massachusetts, and were holding religious ser-
vices and ministering to the spiritual needs of the people. | It is
quite probable that the Friends were the first religious body
established there in an organized form ; but if the tradition about
the first Friends' meeting-house, that it was built in 1710 or 1711,
is trustworthy, it indicates that the Friends were not organized
much if any earlier than the first Congregational Church, assuming
the trustworthiness of the tradition that its first house of worship was
erected in 1 7 1 1 . § Between the traditional time of the building of the
" Old Noi'th Vestry," the common name of the building erected in
1711, and used by the first Island church for religious worship, and
the advent of Timothy AVhite in Nantucket, in 1725, there is a
period of silence. The people who built the old vestry and wor-
shipped in it must have been held together in some workable organi-

* Journal of Thomas Chalkley, p. 33, fl.
t Journal of Thomas Story, pp. 350 to 359.
X Timothy White Papers, page 13, footnote.

} Timothy White Papers, frontispiece, and illustration opposite page 24, and page 96 ;
also page 14, footnote.

zation, although there is no record or other evidence of any organi-
zation previous to Mr. White's arrival ; and no administering of the
sacraments that indicate a regular church establishment previous to

In preparing these rolls of the clergymen in charge of the churches
of Nantucket since the first English settlement on the Island, no
account is taken of the Friends who, unquestionably, prior to 1820
or thereabouts, were the most numerous and strongest religious
organization in its confines. This is for the good reason that the
Friends had no ordained ministry. They had men and women who
were chosen to be ministers or elders ; but these persons were teaching,
rather than ruling, elders ; the function of the eldership as a calling
to instruct and inspire coming to the front, the function of authority,
for the greater part, being held in reserve. They had no pastors in
charge of their meetings, and no paid official order. In theory of
government, the Friends were a pure democracy with unrestricted
suffrage. By suffrage, it is not meant that questions were voted
upon as is usually done in other deliberative assemblies, by a written
ballot or by a show of hands. The conclusion was reached by taking
the sense of the meeting, in which the approval or disapproval,
verbally expressed, of the whole assembly, was sought. The clerk
declared what seemed to him to be the sense of the meeting, and
this declaration was final. For business purposes, the men and
women met in separate assemblies, but all participated equally in the
discussion and in the decisions.

In their religious assemblies, theoretically, the Friends were a free
parliament, though in fact and in practice, as a rule, the right of
speech was limited to the high seats, or those entitled to occupy those
seats. Speech was free, but all speakers were not approved or
welcomed, sometimes not allowed. This was well known, and
though on occasions harsh and unjust, it served at times as a whole-
some restraint upon cranks and dullards.

In arransrins; these rolls, the chronolosrical order is followed in the
main, and they are preceded by a brief historical sketch of the par-
ticular church with which the list of ministers is connected. The
sources of authority for these rolls, with names and dates, are the
memoranda or diaries of the pastors, where these have come into the
possession of the churches, and, chiefly and decisively, the records
of the clerks and treasurers of the various churches.

Tpie Roll of the Pastors of the First Congregational

Church, from 1725 to 1902.
It is not known definitely when this cliurch was founded, or when
its first edifice was erected. Tradition indicates the date of the con-
struction of what is now known as the " Old North Vestry " to be
1711, but there is no record to authenticate this date. If the build-
ing was put up at this time, it is reasonable to suppose there was
some organization that owned and controlled it and worshipped in
it. The first authentic record is May 9, 1725, when Mr. Timothy
White notes that he began " preaching the Gospel at Nantucket " on
that date. In 1728, September 29, the first record of the adminis-
tration of the ordinance of baptism, by Rev. Joseph Baxter of Med-
field, is made, and at that time a Covenant is owned. At the
present time, it has not been possible to get beyond these meagre

This roll, so far as known records indicate, is complete. There
is one break of eleven years, from 1750 to 1761, of which period
there is no knowledge and no tradition. There have been short
periods between the pastorates, when the pulpit was occupied by

The first pastor on these records, Timothy White, was not an or-
dained minister. He served, under the auspices of the Society for
the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, as superintendent
of the religious work among the Nantucket Indians, as teacher of a
private school, and as preacher to the congregation of the First Con-
gregational Church.

The abbreviations immediately following the names indicate the
relation of the pastor to the church and society. P. {. means
pastor inducted into his office with this particular church by install-
ation of a Council of Congregational churches; p., pastor inducted
into office by the concurrent action of church and society; p. a.,
acting pastor, holding office by invitation (annually voted) of a joint
committee of church and society, known as Supply Committee, with-
out the action of either body.

In the column for the term of service, the number of years are
given without the fractions of a year, unless the time is a half year.
The dates following the name give the full term of service in years
and fractions of a year.

1 Timothy White, p. a. ;

2. .Tosrrn Mayht-.w,* p. a. ;

3. Rkzai.kel Shaw, p. i. ;

4. .Iames Gi rney, p. i. ;

5. Abnkr Morse, p. i. ;

6. SxErnEN, p. i, ;

7. Nathanikl Conn, p. a.;

8. Stephen- Mason, pi-;

9. Wm. .T. Breed, p. i. ;

10. Geo. C. Paktrtdge, p. i. ;

11. John S. C. Abbot, p. i. ;

12. Charles Rich, p. i. ;

13. George TnACHER,t p. i. ;

14. Ren.tamin .TroKixs, p. i. ;
lo. J. Emerson Swallow, p. i. ;

16. Hf.nrt E. Dwight, p.;

17. Isaac C. "White, p. a. ;

18. Saml. D. Hosmer, p. a. ;

19. Henry C Crane, p. a.;

20. Charles J. R. Jones, p. a. ;

21. Luther II. Angier, p. a. ;

22. Howard A.HANAFORD.p. a. ;

23. Louise S. Baker, + p. a. ;

24. John C. Emery, p. a.;

25. Myron S. Dudley, p. a. :

26. Walcott Fay.§ p. a. ;

May 0, 1725- May 1750. 25 years.

1761-1766. 5 "

Nov. 25, 1767-Feb. 28, 1706. 28 "

Oct. 2, 170D-Jnne 16, 1819. 20 "

Dec. 16, 1819-Dec. 16, 1822. 3 "

May 8, 1823-May 25, 1827. 4 "

Anir. 5, 1827-Aug. 31, 1829. 2 **

Apr. 29, 1830-Mch. 30, 1835. 5 "

June 10, 1835-May, 1839. 4 **

Nov. 21,1 83 9- Aug. 1 0, 1 84 1 . 2 "

Sept. 21, 1841 -Dec 5, 1843. 2 '*

May 21, 1844-May 21, 1847. 3 "

Nov. 14, 1848-Mayl4, 1850. I^ "

Apr. 1, 1851-June 12, 1855. 4 ''

May 21, 1856-Aug. 24, 1858. 2 "

Nov. 8, 1858-Oct. 31, 1859. 1 "

Jan. 14, 1861-Feh. 1, 1SG2. 1 «

Oct. 16, 1862-Nov. 1, 1872. 10 "

Oct. 2, 187;^Aug. 24, 1874. I «

Mch. 20, 1875-,Ian. 1, 1877. If «

Nov. 10, 1877-Oct. 20, 1878. 1 "

Nov. 20, 1878-Oct. '2o, 1880. 2 "

Dec, 12, 1880-Feb. 14, 1888. 7 "

Dae. 9, 1888-Oct. 7, 1889. 1 "

Oct. 21, 1889-Oct. 1, 1897. 8 "

Nov. 1, 1897-March 24, 1001. 3 "

* In rcgaril to Messrs. While anil ' ■ ' " " " :v-

is vmdctcrminod. Mr. While was .. :-

stallaliori into the v"*^*'> .Dr four months of this time, from May to September, Rev. Henry

S. .-^ > J. ..... ■■ . , .nouth, Mass., was engaged. Rev. Rufus K. Harlow, of Medway,

Mass., supplied till November 10, 1901.


The following is the arumrnary of the pastoral service during the
one hundred and seventy six yeara of this church's existence.
A blank period. 1 1 years.

Years of vacancy between iri.Mij.ixU:s. 18 "

Aggregate. 20 '*

Nnrnber of Paittors. 26.

Yeara of pastoratea, in the aggregate. 1 47 "

Average length of pastorates (1725-1902). 5 yeara, 7 months.

Namber of Pastors from 1725 to 1799. 3.

Yeara of pastorates. 58.

Average length of pastorates (1725-1799). 19 years, 7 months.

Nnmber of Pastors from 1799 to 1902. 2-3.

Years of pastorates. 89.

Average length of pastorates (1799-1902). ^j vears. 10 months.

Thk Preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, from

1799 TO 1902.

Methodism was established on the Island in 1799. The first
Methoflist P^piscopal preachers to appear here were Jesse Lee,
Joseph Snelling and Georpfc Cannon, and the first regularly ap-
pointed preacher was William Beauchamp, who came here in 1799.
In the beginning of public services, the meetings were held in the
Town Hall, but the first church edifice was dedicated January 1,
1800. It stood at the south-west comer of Fair and Lyon streets,
and at a later perio


Online LibraryMyron Samuel DudleyChurches and pastors of Nantucket, Mass. → online text (page 1 of 2)