Church of Christ in Swanzey. Report of Council. Dismissal of Rev. Ezra Carpenter. Ezra Carpenter, Rev.

Church of Christ in Swanzey. Report of Council. Dismissal of Rev. Ezra Carpenter

Swanzey: March 15, 1769. Two-page holograph document of dismissal against Rev. Ezra Carpenter, folio, (approx. 12" x 15"), previous folds, browned, small holes at folds; very good and legible. Ezra Carpenter (1698-1785), a son of Nathaniel and Mary (Preston) Carpenter (his third wife), was born March 20, 1698, in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard College in 1720. He was married in 1723, to Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. Thomas Greenwood of Rehoboth. Their children were: Elizabeth, Elijah, Theodosia, Greenwood, Preston, Olive, Content, married John Kilburn, and Rachel. He died at Walpole, New Hampshire, August 26, 1785, in his eighty-eighth year. He entered the Christian ministry and was ordained at Hull, Massachusetts, November 24, 1725, at a wage "rarely more than half enough to support a family." He was dismissed from the pastorate in Hull November 23, 1746. November 1752 found him preaching at Lower Ashuelot or Swanzey, New Hampshire, which had been burned by the Indians four years before. The town of Upper Ashuelot, or Keene, engaged him in 1753 to preach at an annual compensation of £50 6 s. and firewood. Keene and Swanzey then formed a single church to which he was installed October 4, 1753. Written by the council of churches, this document concerns his pastorate in Swanzey: "We the pastors & Delegates from the Several Churches applied to by the pastor of the Church of Christ in Swanzey being convened in council at Swanzey ... after earnestly imploring the Divine Direction & assistance & reading the results of former councils & other papers necessary to give us light with regard to the separation of the Rev. Mr. Ezra Carpenter as desired to ret. by our letters missive...we come to the following results...viz..." They write that although Rev. Carpenter has been a good minister, "We lament the unhappy differences & irresponsible & groundless jealousies mutually subsisting between the Rev Mr Carpenter...and people of Swanzey which we apprehend have been a great means of protracting & preventing the termination of their differences and controversies..." They conclude with entreaties of mercy for the reverend and for treating him "as a brother" and to consider his infirmities due to his age (he was then 71). The document is signed by "Thos Fessendon, moderator, Samuel (?) Hedge, Micah Lawrence, Samll Ashley, Willm Smeed, and Nathl Stevens". A note at the bottom is dated March 16, 1769, and states that Carpenter was then present at the house of "Dea Jona Hammond" where the declaration of dismissal was read. Sibley's Harvard Graduates notes that concerning Carpenter's first dismissal from Hull: "Carpenter patiently endured poverty for twenty years, only to be overthrown in the end by New Lights who charged that he did not preach the doctrine of grace. Itinerant zealots who invaded the town inflamed the New Lights in the congregation into bringing some fifteen charges of errors of doctrine against him." Apparently, similar forces were at work in this, his second, dismissal. Ezra Carpenter was also chaplain of New Hampshire state troops at Crown Point. Item #55574

Price: $375.00

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