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Compiled by Cindy Brown & Laurel O'Donnell
The town was originally settled by a group of Scottish families in 1738. These families had emigrated to Boston in 1718 and had had spent years trying to find the ideal are to settle. The original boundaries included the town of Prescott, set off in 1822.
RR 2, Town Hall - 351 Amherst Rd., Pelham, MA 01002
M-Fr: 9:15a-1p; Mon. Evenings: 7p-8p
Available in the Walter E. Corbin Collection, comp. Walter E. and Lottie S. Corbin, microfilm edition published by the New England Historical and Genealogical Society: Reel 17: Norwich, Pelham, Prescott, South Hadley
Vital Records of Pelham, Massachusetts (Boston: New England Historic and Genealogical Society, 1902).
Some materials available in the Walter E. Corbin Collection, comp. by Walter E. and Lottie S. Corbin, available from the New England Historic and Genealogical Society: Reel 17: Norwich, Pelham, Prescott, South Hadley
C.O. Parmenter, History of Pelham, Massachusetts from 1738 to 1848 (includes Early History of Prescott, orig. pub. 1898).
Churches and Religious History
The original Pelham church was gathered as a Presbyterian society between 1737 and 1744. The parish was organized in 1786. Early ministers included Rev. Robert Abercrombie (ord. 1744, dismissed 1755, d. 1780); Rev. Richard Crouch Graham (1763-1771); Rev. Nathaniel Merrill (installed 1775, removed 1781-83, d. 1791); and Rev. Thomas F. Oliver (ordained 1782, dimissed, d. 1797). Early deacons included Ebenezer Gray, Nathan Sampson (fl. 1784) and ? Thompson (fl. 1806).
In the 1820s the minister declared for Congregationalism, and the congregation followed, reorganizing the church in 1837 as the Evangelical Congregational Church. A Calvinist Church organized in protest against this decision flourished from 1822 until 1827.
In 1862 the church was reorganized as the Pelham First Congregational Church.
A Unitarian society was formed in 1825 and a Methodist Episcopal society in West Pelham in 1831.
The Packardville Union Congregational Church was formed in 1859.
Federation between the Unitarian and Congregational churches led to the forming of the United Church of Pelham in 1936. In 1959, the United Church combined with the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Union Church Society of North Belchertown (gathered 1936) .
There are no church records extant from before 1890.
The churches are discussed in Richard H. Taylor, The Churches of Christ of the Congregational Way in New England (Benton Harbor, Mich., self-published 1989).
Pelham Free Public Library
351 Amherst Road, Pelham, MA 01002-9737
Telephone: (413)253-0657 , Fax: (413)253-0594
Other Pertinent Links
State of Massachusetts, Pelham Commonwealth Community Information
Massachusetts State Community Profile of Pelham
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