“Zeal for the house of God was the origin of the town of Boxford,”
and the town was incorporated for that purpose. The first meeting house was built in 1701 on the northern corner of the now cemetery. Rev. Thomas Symnes, at age 23, was called to be the minister. He was given a house, 60 pounds as salary, 10 acres of land and 35 cords of wood. Town meetings, as well as services, were held at the meeting house.
The second meeting house was built in 1745,
in front of the present building. Elizur Holyoke was ordained as minister in 1758 and two years later his father built what is now the Holyoke-French house for him and his bride. Mr. Holyoke’s son, Samuel, who became a distinguished composer, was instrumental in having “Exhibitions” held in the meeting house in 1798,1806 and 1807. Singers filled the balconies and visitors came from all over the county. Boxford became known for its musical talent.
In 1838 the present church building was completed.
Town meetings were held in the vestry until 1891 when the town hall was built. Horse sheds were built and a pipe organ was installed in 1885, replacing an old pedal organ. In 1843 a base viol and a clarinet were played in church also. Rev. William Symnes Coggin, a descendant of the first minister, was ordained in 1838 and was pastor for thirty years. In 1708 John Rogers was called to be the minister and served until 1743 and he took in more members than had even been added before. Rev. Emery Bradford was pastor in 1892 and ministered for twenty two years. In 1895 the Coggin Memorial Chapel was built. And an addition was added in 1966 to provide a library, offices and more Sunday school rooms. In 1970 First church received, by bequest of Elizabeth Sawyer Barnes, the house at one Middleton Road, which is now the parsonage.
Many ministers have been ordained at First Church since then. Rev. Arthur White was called to be the minister at First Church in 1962 and served for many years. He was followed by Rev. Richard Huber and then by Rev. Stuart Nutter, under whose ministry First church joined the four C’s conference. After a one year interim the Rev. Douglas Stuart was called to be the minister of first church and he served for seventeen years In 2005 the Family Life Center was completed and four additional acres were added to the church property. Rev. Stuart was followed by Rev. Douglas Walker and Rev. Ronald Sylvester was the interim pastor from 2012-2014. At present Andrew James is the pastor at First Church in Boxford, and he is so grateful for the wonderful heritage of our church for 300 plus years and to see all the Lord will do in our midst in the future as we continue to seek Him as a church!
-FCCB’s history has graciously been provided to us by Dorothy Falk, 2015.
4 Georgetown Road | PO Box 326, Boxford, MA 01921 • (978) 887-5841 • firstname.lastname@example.org
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