Universalist

Universalist Church

Church Built 1829. Disorganized by 1866, when the church was remodeled and became a civic hall named Unity Hall, which burned down in March 1876.

  • Former Location: Southeastern corner of the intersection between Whitman St. and East Washington St.

 Church Records

Carroll D. Wright, Report on the Custody and Condition of the Public Records of Parishes, Towns, and Counties (Boston, Mass.: Wright & Potter Printing Company, 1889), 137, 147 reported that the defunct Hanson Universalist Church had records from circa 1825-1850, held privately by an unidentified source.

Inventory of Universalist Archives in Massachusetts (Boston, Mass.: The Historical Records Survey, Division of Community Service Programs, Works Projects Administration, 1942), 250 stated that although Massachusetts Public Document No. 52, p. 147 cited records from 1825-1850, those records could not be located at the time of the 1942 survey. Several miscellaneous records were reported:

  • Trumpet and Universalist Magazine, July 26, 1828, January 2, 1830, July 11, 1829
  • Bible, inscribed in front “Presented to Theodore Cobb for the Universalist Society for a Pulpit Bible” dated 1828 is in possession of Public Library, Hanson.

 Church History

From the 1884 “History of Hanson”, History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts:

“The law which imposed taxation upon individuals for church support was considered by a growing number to be unjust, and a feeling of resistance in some way led a few of the parish to propose holding meetings and supporting them by voluntary contributions, and a receipt for such payment answered the demands of the law. Accordingly a society was organized, which held meetings at the houses of some of its members. Prominent among them were Dr. Samuel Barker, Cornelius Cobb, Dr. Calvin Tilden, Charles Josselyn, Jabez Josselyn, Oren Josselyn, Henry Monroe Bridgewater; Capt. Abishai Stetson, East Bridgewater; and Timothy Robbins, Hanover. Preaching was supplied by Benjamin Whittemore, Joshua Flagg, Rev. Hosea Ballou, and others. In 1829 a church was built at the junction of roads, now Willow and Short Streets, and in the same year Elmer Hewitt was installed as preacher, and remained in the office about ten years. After him came John Allen, for two years, followed by Robert L. Killam; H. W. Morse, and William Whiting. Isaac O. Stetson and Willard Poole, both of Pembroke, were the deacons. As the old members died and numbers decreased, the society ceased to hold meetings. For a time the church was used by the Spiritualists for meetings. In 1866 the building was remodeled for hall purposes, and called Unity Hall, and remained as such until March, 1876, when it was burned”.

Inventory of Universalist Archives in Massachusetts (Boston, Mass.: The Historical Records Survey, Division of Community Service Programs, Works Projects Administration, 1942), 250 reiterated the content above regarding the history of Hanson’s Universalist Church, adding: “Property recordings in the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Plymouth: Land for meetinghouse, purchase, dated December 16, 1828, vol. 166, p. 50, recorded January 24, 1829; (sale of a pew dated June 14, 1830 and transfer of title to pew, dated July 4, 1856) vol. 276, p. 66, recorded August 13, 1856. No record of sale of property found. Record of Legislative Enactments: Massachusetts Special Laws, 1834, ch. 165, approved March 31, 1834″.

Universalist Church, 1856. Located at the intersection of Willow St.  (now East Washington St.) and Short St. (now Whitman St.). Courtesy of Harvard Library.

Universalist Church, 1856. Located at the intersection of Willow St. (now East Washington St.) and Short St. (now Whitman St.). Courtesy of Harvard Library.