Bernardston — The Baptists

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      The Baptists flourished in Bernardston as early as 1782, when the town generously voted to relieve the people of that faith from the payment of a minister's tax. In 1788, however, they were called upon to pay the tax, but in 1789, at the request of Rev. Amasa Cook, the Baptists were again relieved, and were not afterward called upon to pay it. A Baptist society was organized in that year, and in 1790 a meeting-house was erected, although a church was not organized until 1808. The first church building, which was located near where the present Baptist Church stands in Bernardston village, gave place to a new one in 1817, and this latter to the present edifice in 1851. The building erected in 1817, and replaced in 1851, is now occupied as a residence by Mrs. I. Phillips. The last of the members composing the church at its organization, in 1808, died in Bernardston village in 1878. His name was Reuben Park, and his age was ninety-eight. The other members present with him at the church organization were Moses Smith, William Fox, Samuel Sikes, Jr., Jonathan Sanderson, Selah Hastings, Reuben Alger, Eunice Smith, Mary Park, Susanna Hastings, Abigail Green, Rachel Carey, and Louisa Darling. Elder Hodge, who was the society's first pastor, was ordained in 1790, and remained in the pastorate until 1800. After him the ministers were Revs. Peter Rogers, Edward Green, B. L. Remington, Aaron Burbank, Erastus Andrews, Charles Farrar, John Green, George E. Fuller, Calvin L. Baker, Henry Crowley, George Stockwell, George L. Ruberg, Thomas Wrinkle, B. L. Tuck, and J. H. Parmelee, the latter being the present pastor (1879).

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17 Jul 2005