Before the Revolution, the Orthodox Christianity of the Puritans was the established religion. The Old White Oak Meeting House of 1773-1774 (“Presb’n Church” on this map) was built by the town, roughly where Mozart Avenue is now. Its pastor, the Rev. Samuel Parker, was a municipal employee, housed and paid by the town, which furnished him a “meddo to keep two cows in.” Pews were hinged to be raised during prayer. “It was the delight of the boys in the galleries, despite the menace of tything-men armed with long poles, to throw the seats down with a bang that startled the congregation,” James Hughes Hopkins wrote. The church closed in 1830, but was evidently used by the Presbyterians before being razed in 1843. Some of its lumber may still exist at the former Congregational church, 256-258 Commercial.
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