This set of minutes of the town meeting calls for a vote concerning asking the Universalist minister, John Murray to leave the town. This vote followed the preaching of Rev. John Murray about universal salvation, which contradicted the doctrine of the official state Congregational religion.
For further reading about this history, see the Sargent House Museum website (home of John Murray’s wife, Judith Sargent Murray).
Related documents to the separation of church and state in Gloucester:
First Parish Meeting Minutes, Gloucester 1777
Partial List of Subscribers of the Independent Christian Church, Gloucester c. 1790s
Act of Incorporation of the Independent Christian Church, Gloucester, 1792
Meeting Minutes of the Independent Christian Church, Gloucester 1795
On the 10th day of March, 1777 Voted to choose
Town Treasurer Samuel Plummer, Esq
Selectmen Messrs. James Porter, John Smith, Thomas Merritt, Samuel Plummer, Esq, Stephen Pool
Samuel Plummer, Esq.
James Porter, and was sworn
Messrs. Thomas Sargent, Eben. Parsons, & William Preston
Voted that the Selectmen be Assessors, Overseers of the Poor and the Work House Committee of Safety & Correspondence and Inspection were chose by billet of which were inspected by the moderator & clerk. Viz. Capt Jacob Allen, William Coas, William Parsons, Samuel Whittemore, Major James Collins, Col. John Stevens, Dea. Hubbard Haskel, Col. John Low, Samuel Plummer, Esq, Capt Francis Pool, Dea Jabez Row, Mr. Daniel Rogers, Col. Peter Coffin, Dea Thomas Morrill, & Mr. John Hay
The question was put whether the town approve of the Conduct of the late Committee in desiring Mr. John Murray to depart this town in five days from the 1st of March 1777. It was voted in the affirmative by 54 voters for it & only 8 against it.
Town Meeting Minutes, (March 10, 1777). Sawyer Free Public Library, Gloucester, MA
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