Site of Early Meetinghouse - Newton, MA
Posted by: NorStar
N 42° 20.494 W 071° 11.536
19T E 319411 N 4690028
Quick Description: The first meetinghouse for the city now known as Newton was built where the burial ground at this corner now covers, and buried there are some of Newton's early settlers, including Rev. John Eliot, Jr.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 12/20/2012 6:43:39 PM
Waymark Code: WMFZ2W
In Newton, At the corner of Centre Street and Cotton Street, is an historical sign about the first meetinghouse.
The sign stands right at the corner, in front of the entrance into the cemetery through a formal opening through the fence. The sign is across the street from the Boston College Law School.
The sign is a Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Commission sign, with the following text:
"Site of Early Meetinghouse
The original meetinghouse of the First Church in Newton was built in this burying ground in 1660. The first pastor was John Eliot, Jr., sone of the Apostle to the Indians."
Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Commission"
A brochure ("Discover Historic Newton Center") on Newton's government site has history about the founding of the city:
"Present day Newton has its origins in the mid-1630s as an early offshoot of Cambridge. As the early settlement was sparse, residents were forced to travel to Cambridge to attend religious services. However, as the number of settlers increased, sentiment grew for the establishment of a church in Newton. In 1660, the colonists were granted their independence from Cambridge and a meetinghouse was bult at the corner of what is now Centre and Cotton Streets. While the building itself has long since disappeared, the East Parish Burying Ground is still in existence and a monument marks the location of the early building near the top of the hill..."
Among the early settlers was Rev. John Eliot, Jr., is buried here. A monument lists the 'founding fathers' of Newton in the cemetery. John Eliot, Jr., was the son of Rev. John Eliot, who was minister at the church in Roxbury, and also had several "Praying Indian Towns" in the area, the first of which at present day Natick, was settled by Waban's tribe who lived not far from here in the Nonantum area of the city. The son was born in Roxbury in 1636 and died 1668 in this community, then called Cambridge Village. He married twice and had children. According to the quote on the site attributed to Mather, he "was a person of notable accomplishments, and a lively, zealous, acute preacher, not only to the English at New Cambridge, but also to the Indians thereabout."
Ancestry.com (John Eliot, Jr.):