Early Congregational Church History

John Fiske’s Notebook, Photograph courtesy of James F. Cooper, Oklahoma State University


One of the earliest manuscripts in the Phillips Library is a notebook kept by John Fiske (1601-1677) during his several pastorates at Salem, Wenham, and Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Fiske arrived here from England in 1637 and worked in Salem as physician, part-time schoolmaster, and occasional assistant to the Reverend Hugh Peter until about 1641, when he went to Wenham. He became the first minister of the First Church of Christ founded there on October 8, 1644. In 1655 Fiske moved to Chelmsford, where also he was the first minister, and remained there until the day of his death on January 14, 1677.

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