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Byfield Massachusetts Parish Records
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Byfield Parish Church, also sometimes referred to as Byfield Congregational Church, located in Byfield parish, Massachusetts, sometimes referred to as Newbury Falls, Newbury, Rowley, or Rowlberry, and now located in Georgetown, was founded circa 1702 by citizens from the western portions of both Rowley and Newbury who wished to establish their own church. They were granted tax abatement with which to fund their church, and by 1702 land had been purchased, a cemetery laid out, a meetinghouse built, and a pastor, Moses Hale, had been called. In 1704 a parsonage was built, and the parish, known as Rowlberry or Newbury Falls up until this point, was renamed in honor of Judge Nathanial Byfield.
After Moses Hale’s death in 1744, the church called Moses Parsons who pastored the church until 1787 when Elijah Parish was called. Parish served until 1825 and during his tenure a Sunday School was established and a stove was installed in the meetinghouse. The next two years saw a rapid turnover of pastoral supply, as well as several declined calls. It wasn’t until the installation of Isaac R. Barbour in 1827 that Byfield once again had a settled pastor. Barbour resigned in 1833 after controversy broke out surrounding a disciplinary case. That same year, still-hot ashes from the stove lit a fire which destroyed the meetinghouse. A new meetinghouse was financed by the Proprietors of the Meetinghouse, which raised such an excess of funds by selling pews that the corporation’s stockholders received a dividend. The new church building was finished within the year, and in December of 1833 Henry Durant was installed as pastor.1
The following contains 736 Byfield Massachusetts parish records recorded by a Rev. Hale from 1709-1743. These baptisms may include residents from Newbury, Rowley and Georgetown. The first pastor of the church in the parish was Rev. Moses Hale, who died Jan.16, 1743-4. The following are all the records of baptisms in the parish from the founding of the church to the time of Mr. Hale’s decease.
Dummer, Jos[eph] N. A brief history of the Byfield Congregational Church and Parish: from 1702 to 1888. Published in 1888. ↩
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