From the Files of the Rochester Historical Society

The church in North Rochester that we know today was the third building to house a congregation. On November 17,1748, the first North Rochester Meetinghouse was erected one mile west of the current building. Winter was fast approaching, so it was necessary to build the meetinghouse quickly. According to church records, the task was accomplished “with the exertion of many men aided by some West Indian rum as the custom of the time demanded.” Once built, the church became the first Parish Precinct serving the northwest part of Rochester, as well as sections of Middleboro and Freetown. Later it became the Poll Parish.

            In 1791, a Territorial Parish of North Rochester was incorporated. The legal papers were signed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives on March 21,1793 and approved the next day by Governor John Hancock. This same year, a second meetinghouse was built on the site of today’s church. Before this second building was erected, there was a disagreement among the parishioners as to the location for the new church. Some wanted the current site while others preferred a lot near Black Brook and close to the Stillwater Furnace property. The timber for the building was actually delivered to the Stillwater site, but during the night, the opposing faction quietly moved the timber to the current North Avenue location.

            Reverend Thomas West was the pastor for many years. The next was Rev. Isaac Briggs, who served from 1835-1857. During his tenure, the current church building was erected, as well as a parsonage on Snipatuit Road.

By Connie Eshbach

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