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The Orthodox Congregational Church, Fitzwilliam NH

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The Orthodox Congregational church, located at Fitzwilliam village, was organized in 1771. During the autumn and winter of 1768, Rev. Nehemiah Parker supplied the people of Fitzwilliam with preaching. In November, 1770, Rev. Benjamin Brigham, of Marlboro, Mass., who had graduated at Harvard, in 1764, received an invitation to settle here, and in January of the following year, gave an affirmative answer to the call. March 27, 1771, was appointed for his ordination, and on that day the Congregational church was organized, with six members, viz.: Benjamin Brigham, Benjamin Bigelow, John Fassitt, Nathaniel Wilder, Caleb Winch, and James Reed. These services were held at the public house, the church building being in an unfinished state, and thus unfit for the purpose. This building, a wooden structure, stood opposite the present cemetery. A second building was put up in 1816, and was struck by lightning and burned on the night of January 17th, of that year. The next building was put up in 1817, a fourth in 1832, which was burned in January, 1857, and was succeeded by the present edifice. It is a neat structure, capable of seating 400 persons, cost $4,000.00, and is valued, including grounds, etc., at $6,000.00. The society now has 132 members, and a Sabbath-school of 120 pupils, with Rev. John Colby, pastor. Mr. Colby was born in York, Me., October 1, 1821, pursued a course at Gilmanton academy, graduated from Dartmouth in 1852, and from Andover in 1855. Before entering college he learned and followed for some years the printer’s trade, and was connected with the Morning Star, a Freewill Baptist publication. at Dover, His first pastorate was at Hampton, N. H., in 1855, and he has been located here since 1873. He was school commissioner in Rockingham county, in 1862, ’63 and ’64, and is Fitzwilliam’s representative for 1885’86. He married Helen L. Barden, of Dover, May 14, 1856, and has two daughters, Annie L., a teacher, who graduated at Wellesley in 1880, and Helen R.


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