First Congregational Church Records, Rochester, NH

Early town records for Rochester are scant and genealogists need to access private church records performed by their early ministers in order to access many baptism/birth, marriage, and death/burial records. Supplemented by Bible, cemetery, land, and court records, one may form an informed analysis of early Rochester families.

Rochester was incorporated as a town, May 10, 1722. The present towns of Farmington and Milton were formerly a part of Rochester. Farmington was set off and incorporated December 1, 1798, and Milton was set off and incorporated June 11, 1802. A part of the farm of Rufus C. Varney was severed and annexed to Barrington, July 10, 1846. Rochester was incorporated as a city, March 31, 1891. It is commonly said that Capt. Timothy Roberts, formerly of Dover, was the first settler in Rochester, and that he moved into that town, December 26, 1728. We have no confidence, however, in this statement; there are good reasons for believing that settlements were made in what is now Rochester at least sixty-five years before the town was incorporated.

Rev. Amos Main was the first settled minister, he became pastor of the church at Rochester in 1737 and presided until his death in 1760. The Rochester town Church was designated a Congregational Church in 1743 during Rev. Main’s tenure. It is not known if any marriages were performed prior to 1745 by Rev. Main or after 1757 and until his death in 1760.

The second minister of the First Congregational Church of Rochester was Rev. Samuel Hill who presided from the death of Parson Main until his own death 4 years later. To my knowledge no records survived for his tenure.

The third minister of the First Congregational Church of Rochester was Rev. Joseph Haven whose ministry started in 1776 and lasted fifty years until 1826. One could presume that records were kept during most of his tenure, however, all we have to present are those from the years of 1776 until 1785.

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