Shays's Rebellion

Monson, Massachusetts

Monson Congregational Church, page 2

One efficient auxiliary in the church work has been the "Female Praying Circle," formed in April, 1827. From that day the godly women have been a power for good. They have co-operated with the men in almost every branch of Christian activities. Especially was this true in the benevolent work, which was developed to a high degree for that age. Hardly less was this true in the great temperance reformation, which was at its height in 1832, when "nearly the whole population were pledged to total abstinence."

Mr. Samuel C. Bartlett was settled as colleague of Dr. Ely, Aug. 2, 1843. Mr. Bartlett was a native of Salisbury, N. H., a graduate of Dartmouth College and Andover Theological Seminary. He remained here only three years, when he took the position of professor of intellectual philosophy in Western Reserve College. Subsequently, after a short pastorate at Manchester, N. H., and at Chicago, Ill., he took the chair of Biblical Literature in Chicago Theological Seminary, and is now president of Dartmouth College.

Rev. Charles B. Kittredge, born at Mount Vernon, N. H., a graduate of Dartmouth College and Andover Theological Seminary, succeeded Mr. Bartlett as colleague pastor, from Oct. 21, 1846, to May 4, 1852. Mr. Kittredge had been previously settled at Groton and Westboro, and returned to the latter place to live without a subsequent settlement.

March 28, 1855, Rev. Theron G. Colton was installed colleague pastor. Mr. Colton was born at Westford, N. Y., graduated at Yale College and Theological Seminary, and had been settled at Fair Haven, Conn., and Ware village. He left Monson, Oct. 1, 1866, for White Water, Wis., and is now pastor at Hudson, Mich.

Mr. Charles B. Sumner, of Southbridge, a graduate of Yale College and Andover Theological Seminary, was inducted into this pastorate Jan. 2, 1868.

The following year a parsonage was built, at a cost of $7000. The same year, by the efforts of Hon. Reuben A. Chapman, then chief-justice of the Supreme Court of the State, and of Deacon Porter, a pastor's library was instituted, which now numbers about three hundred bound volumes. June 18, 1873, the third meeting-house was dedicated, on very nearly the same spot from which the second had been removed. This house, like the others, was built of wood, the main building 100 feet by 60, having a tower on one front corner, and a tall, graceful spire containing the town-clock on the other. At the rear are rooms on the ground-floor for chapel purposes, and above them social rooms. All is beautifully finished and furnished, and the main audience-room is graced with a fine organ. The entire cost of this house, with its furnishings, was about $40,000.

The deacons of this church, past and present, are Joseph Craft, Joseph Colton, Benjamin Munn, Abijah Newell, Abel Goodell, Simeon Keep, Joshua Fuller, Abel Goodell (2d), Abraham Haskell, Royal Merrick, Absalom Shaw, Jr., Andrew W. Porter, Marcus Chapin, George Morris, Edward F. Morris, Edward P. Keep, Rodolphus Homer, and A. Haskell White.

The intimate relation which this church has sustained to the academy has given to it a wider field of influence than it would otherwise have enjoyed. Its audience has often embraced representatives of different States, countries, and races. On its catalogue are the names of Greeks, Chinese, and Japanese who have completed their studies and gone back to their native lands, some of them, like Hon. Yung Wing, to return to this country on most weighty business. Revivals of religion have occurred from time to time at least as far back as the early years of this century. At times the spirit of consecration has been very marked. Nourished and inspired by these influences, we find such characters as Rev. James L. Merrick, eleven years missionary to Persia; Rev. Samuel Robbins Brown, D.D., son of Mrs. Phoebe Brown, author of some of the sweetest hymns in our language, who has devoted his life to missionary work, first in China, now in Japan; Rev. Gilbert Rockwood, a self-denying missionary to the Indians; Revs. John Keep and William A. Thompson, home missionaries in the West; Rev. Almon Underwood, the successful evangelist of over thirty years; Rev. Charles L. Woodworth, long an efficient secretary of the American Missionary Association; Rev. William Barrows, D.D., secretary of the Massachusetts Home Missionary Society; Revs. Elias C. Sharp, Luke Foster, Warren C. Fiske, and Joseph A. Collyer. Many names of excellent women might also be mentioned who have been very useful as writers, teachers, pastors' wives, and missionaries to the Indians, the Sandwich Islands, and India.

More than $170,000 have been raised by this church. Of this amount, over $40,000 have been contributed to relieve want and preach the gospel beyond the parish limits. Nor is this one-half the amount that has been given privately and by bequest by the members of this church. These facts faintly suggest the stream of influence that has been flowing from this church during the one hundred and sixteen years of its existence.

These pages are © Laurel O'Donnell, 2006, all rights reserved
Copying these pages without written permission for the purpose of republishing
in print or electronic format is strictly forbidden
This page was last updated on 13 Feb 2006