Rev. Joseph Baxter

01 Jan

Recently, while researching possible BAXTER ancestors, I stumbled across an entry for a Reverend Joseph Baxter from colonial New England. I’ve no idea if he will turn out to be a distant relative of mine or not, but I found him interesting enough to explore a bit.

I found him in a book I discovered a few years ago, The Colonial Clergy and Colonial Churches of New England by Frederick Lewis Weis. Published under the auspices of the Society of the Descendants of the Colonial Clergy (1620-1776), this book was published in Lancaster, Massachusetts in 1936. Rev. Baxter appears on page 30.


According to the book’s abbreviations and notes key on page 238, this entry offers answers to these headings:

NAME: Joseph Baxter
BORN in Braintree, Massachusetts on June 4, 1676
PARENTS: Lieut. John Baxter and Hannah (White) Baxter
COLLEGE: H.C. means Harvard College, graduating in 1693.
DEGREES EARNED AT THAT COLLEGE: The A.B. and A.M. are the degrees he earned from Harvard.
—A.B. and B.A. are the same thing: this person had a Bachelor of Arts degree

—A.M. and M.A. are the same thing: this person had a Master of Arts degree.

ORDAINED: in Medfield, Massechusetts on Apr. 21, 1697

SETTLED: He ‘settled’ down to be the pastor of a church

SETTLED WHERE: He was the pastor for the Medfield, Massachusetts Congregational Church.

SETTLED WHEN: He served as pastor there from 1694-1745.


ELECTION SERMON: was in 1727

DIED: in Medfield, Massachusetts on May 2, 1745

AGE AT DEATH: 69 years old.

– – – An ELECTION SERMON, apparently, was the message the preacher gave a week or two before an upcoming election. Drawing the listeners to re-examine their own lives and repent of their own sins, before they stepped up to cast their vote on the matters of life in the colony or community.

—An ARTILLERY ELECTION SERMON, it seems, was similar, but preceeded the election of officers of the local Artillery Company. According to Harold D. Mixon, in 1967, “The purpose of the organization was to provide uniformity in drill for the officers of the various militia companies of New England.” (found in Boston’s artillery election sermons and the American revolution, by Harold D. Mixon in Speech Monographs Vol. 34 , Iss. 1, 1967. Accessed 12/31/2017 at

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Posted by on January 1, 2018 in 1676, 1693, 1694, 1697, 1716, 1727, 1745, Uncategorized


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