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our own, than the site which the old one occupied, and adjoining the burying ground on the hill — and that they might continue to pay their usual proportion of the parish charges till the incorporation of said new Society. The second parish meanwhile, was to consent to, and aid the separation of all the population on this side their old meeting-house, at the General Court in case of opposition. Besides which this church agreed to relinquish all their right in the property of the second church, and the furniture of the communion tabi). After due consideration the proposals were accepted, and the boundary lines of each parish being previously agreed on, a petition for an act of incorporation was presented in 1771, two years after the erection of this church ; and on the year following, 1772, the petition was granted, and the parish incorporated with the full and usual privileges of all other parishes.
In the month of Sepiember 1769, this house was raised, and in the course of a year completed with thirty-four square pews; and three long seats for the poor, on each side the broad aisle next the pulpit on the ground floor. There were five narrow long pews in the front gallery against the wall, yet standing, and long seats for the singers below them, who then occupied the corner of the northeast gallery.
The late Rev. Joseph Jackson of Brookline, on the 31st of December, 1769, preached in it before its completion, the first sermon, and administered the first communion. His morning text was from Psalm lxv. 4th verse. « Blessed is the man whom thou choosest and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thine house, even thy holy temple.”
In the afternoon his text was from 1 Chron. xxii. 19th verse. "Now set your hearts and your soul to seek the Lord your God. Arise, therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the Lord God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and the holy vessels of God into the house that is to be built to the name of the Lord.”
The separation from the Second Parish, after various difficulties and delays, was, in the beginning of 1772, completely effected; and thirty-five persons, with their estates, were incorporated into a distinct parish by the name of " The Third Parish or Precinct in Roxbury."
The Rev. William Gordon, a Scotchman by birth, author of the History of the American Revolution, being highly recommended to Mr. Pemberton, having preached here for a short time previous, received a unanimous invitation June 5, 1772, to the pastoral charge of this flock, which he accepted July 3d following, and was installed over it on Monday morning, 6th of same month and year. On that occasion he preached his own sermon from 1 Cor. ix. 36th and 37th verses : “I therefore so run, not uncertainly ; so fight 1, not as one that beateth the air. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." Late Dr. Pemberton of Boston, gave the charge, and Mr. Jackson of Brookline extended the fellowship of the churches.
On the 13th of January, 1773, Benjamin Pemberton conveyed to the parish, under certain conditions, the house your present pastor now occupies, for the sole use and improvement of the then present and future ministers of this church.*
The parish thus so far established, in May following, 1773, nine persons with their estates, and Mr. Pemberton at their head, all belonging to the first or lower parish, were, by an act of the General Court, separated from that, and united to ours, and the number then consisted of forty-four families.
It could scarcely be expected that these things should be accomplished, a parish separated and new formed, without creating, at first, more or less unpleasant feelings in the minds of some, or calling forth harsh reflections from the lips of others. But were the fact, a perfect harmony has long since subsisted between the members of the three different societies.
The next thing contemplated was the union of this with the Upper Parish for an act of incorporation into a distinct town by themselves. For this object a simultaneous meeting was held in both parishes June 9th, 1777, in which it was voted unanimously that a petition be presented to the great and General Court, setting forth the situation of the said town, and the difficulty of attending town meetings, and praying the honorable Court to set off and incorporate said two precincts or parishes into one distinct or
* Appendix, Note B.
separate town by the name of Washington." But the records of neither parish contain any further information on the subject.
In the summer of 1775 one or more regiments were stationed on the Plain, and many of the soldiers quartered in different houses upon the inhabitants.
Governor Barnard's, now Mr. John Low's hill and grounds, with all the others surrounding, were covered with pitched tents.
Commodore Joshua Loring was compelled to leave his home, furniture, and every thing belonging to it, by flight. The house was confiscated, and converted into a hospital for a regiment, together with the estates likewise of Governor Barnard and Captain Hallowell; and on the grounds of each many soldiers of the regiments stationed here were buried, who died of the small pox and other diseases. That on Commodore Loring's estate remains undisturbed, back of the dwelling-house, to this day. That on Governor Barnard's, which was near the little fish-pond on the rising ground towards the opposite road, has long since been ploughed over and destroyed ; in doing which, the workmen have at times interfered with, and disturbed some of the coffins. That on Capt. Hallowell's estate is no longer visible.
During the American Revolution, April 1st, 1778, the General Court or Provincial Congress held, for a time, their session in this house, on account of the prevailing small pox in Boston, and invited Dr. Gordon to officiate as Chaplain. But they became offended at his prayers, which they thought were rather intended to dictate the measures they ought to pursue, than to implore the divine direction of them. They therefore dismissed him; and finding accommodations difficult to be had here, adjourned to Boston, * the 30th. This gave great umbrage to the Doctor, and the more so, as many of his particular friends, and some who were even boarders with him at the time, voted for his dismission.
In July, 1783, his late Excellency John Hancock, presented the first bell that was placed in our steeple. It had lately been removed from the new brick church, North-end, Boston.
For a long time, the Society had been desirous of obtaining a cemetery for the dead, nearer than those in either of the other par
s * Here they continued tih May 27th, and on the 30th adjourned to Watertown.
ishes, and wished its location back of our church, where it now is. But Dr. Gordon strenuously and successfully resisted, contending that its putrefaction would injure the known healthiness of the inhabitants, - that it ought to be placed in the outskirts of the parish, in some retired situation, as far as possible apart from any population. But on the 14th of March, 1785, when the subject came before the parish meeting, “it was put to vote whether the ground behind the meeting-house stable, when wanted, shall be appropriated to a burying-yard, to bury the dead of the said parishioners ? ” past in the affirmative. Dr. Gordon, notwithstanding, still resisted, and contended that the parish had no legal right to appropriate ground which they merely hired of the School Trustees* for such a purpose. Nor was it so appropriated till after he left the parish in 1786.
In September, 1738, a difficulty first arose in respect to the waters of Jamaica Pond being drawn off for the supply of a corn mill, so far as to affect the wells of the inhabitants of the Plain, who considered them as altogether supplied by the pond. This difficulty terminated in a lawsuit ; John Marston, owner of the mill, plaintiff, and Martin Brimmer, David S. Greenough, and Capt. Daniel McCarthy, defendants (unsuccessful.) Afterwards, in 1795, Mr. Marston sold his mill and privileges in the waters of the pond, which had been granted by the town of Roxbury for said mill, to the Aqueduct Corporation, for supplying the town of Boston with Jamaica Pond water.
With Rev. Dr. William Gordon, who on October 19th, 1807, finished his ministry and his life together, at the advanced age of eighty years, in his parish in Nevis Huntingtonshire, England, this society was happy and united for the space of near fourteen years ; when, conceiving it advantageous to his interest to return to England, that he might publish his history of the American Revolution, on terms more favorable than he could in this country, on the 6th October, 1785, he proposed a dissolution of his pastoral connection. His wishes met with some opposition from his parishioners at first ; but, “ when he would not be persuaded, they ceased, saying the will of the Lord be done.” On March 17th,
Appendix, Note C.
+ Appendix, Note D.
1786, it was accordingly dissolved, with the usual testimonials. His farewell sermon was preached from Phil. i. 27th and 28th verses: “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ, that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, and that you stand fast in one spirit with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel ; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries; which to them is an evident token of perdition, but unto you of salvation, and that of God.”
During his connection with this society, he was a zealous politician, but not always equally prudent or judicious. Whilst here, he published a few political sermons, and one or two religious tracts. As a preacher he was popular, upright in his intentions, and respectable in his profession.
From this time, the people here were “as sheep without a shepherd.” And in August following (1786) his departure, the parish, by committee, held some communication with Rev. Samuel West, then minister of Needham, upon the subject of his settling here, it being understood at the time that he contemplated a removal. After some further communications upon the subject, it was on both sides for a time suspended, and afterwards finally dropped. March 12th, 1789, having previously received an invitation, he was installed over the Church and Society of Hollis Street, Boston.
Various causes now prevented a re-settlement, and a vacancy ensued of seven years. The necessary expenses incurred by the past war, had greatly impoverished the people; and the parish, small as it then was, felt the burden of meeting its necessary expenses, and complained of it. Its pastor had gone, and its great patron, Mr. Pemberton, having previously become offended with Dr. Gordon, relative to a trifling circumstance,* in which he thought himself treated with indignity by Dr. Gordon, had bequeathed by will his whole property, including this very church itself, and most of the pews in it, in trust for the benefit of the poor
of the town of Boston, which, by previous promise, was at his death to have been left to the parish for the sole support of its future ministers,- pressed, also, by Dr. G. for the payment of back salary still due him,- unable to liquidate past, and much