358-Year-Old Book Found in Old North’s Archive Room
The Old North Church Blog
by nstewart
4M ago
By The Rev’d Dr. Matthew Cadwell, Vicar of Old North Church One of the truths about Old North that I appreciate is how there are always discoveries to be made. Recently, I was giving a tour, and when we were in the archive room on the way up to the bellringers’ chamber, I saw a large old book resting on the ledge. I hadn’t been familiar with it, so I began to leaf through it, only to discover—to my astonishment—that it is a copy of the Works of Richard Hooker, published in 1666! Visitor Experience Manager Julius James had seen it in the shelves and thought it looked interesting, but wasn’t aw ..read more
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Our Favorite Old North Couples
The Old North Church Blog
by nstewart
5M ago
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re celebrating some of our favorite couples in Old North Church’s history! William Croswell and Amanda Tarbell Let’s start with William and Amanda Croswell. From 1829 – 1840, William Croswell was the minister at Old North, and he lived in what is now the church’s archive room, just beneath the bell ringing chamber. In 1838, William composed a poem called “Valentine,” where he wonders if his heart (which he describes as “so like the season, cold”) could once again be reignited by love. We suspect that the inspiration for the poem was Amanda Tarbell, who joined O ..read more
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The Misinformation is Coming from Inside the House
The Old North Church Blog
by nstewart
5M ago
In 1893, a pamphlet titled “A Visit to the ‘Old North Church,’ Boston, Mass.” was written and published by Charles Downer, the church’s sexton. As the sexton, he was an employee of the church who was charged with the maintenance of the church’s buildings and outside spaces. At the time of publishing, Downer had worked at Old North Church for twenty-three years. Given his close and longstanding relationship to the church, readers may assume that all of the information in his pamphlet is credible. However, a close reading of this piece shows that historical sources are not always as trustworthy ..read more
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Old North’s Angels Come Home
The Old North Church Blog
by nstewart
7M ago
After more than three months of restoration work, Old North Church’s nearly 400-year-old angel statues are coming home! On December 19, we’re celebrating their return with a day of special angel festivities. Anyone with the name Angel, Angela, Angelica, or another name that includes the word “angel” will receive free general admission to Old North’s sanctuary. Additionally, anyone who dresses up as an angel will receive free general admission. Throughout the day, a selection of popular angel-themed songs (e.g. “Calling All Angels” by Train, “Earth Angel” by The Penguins) will be played in the ..read more
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The People in the Pews: Capt. John Pulling Jr.
The Old North Church Blog
by nstewart
7M ago
Lantern Holder Though not as well-known as Paul Revere, Capt. John Pulling Jr. played a pivotal role in the events of April 18, 1775. A friend of Revere’s and a member of the Sons of Liberty, Pulling lived in the North End and earned a living as a sea captain transporting goods between Georgia and Boston.  By April 1775, Pulling owned several pews at Old North and was a vestryman. He likely was present when Old North’s Loyalist minister Dr. Mather Byles, Jr., resigned just hours before the church was used in Revere’s plan. Though Revere never named the friends who helped him the night of ..read more
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The People in the Pews: Rev. William Levington
The Old North Church Blog
by nstewart
7M ago
First Black Minister to Preach at Old North In a July 1833 issue of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, a notice announced that Rev. William Levington would speak at Old North later that month. Levington was the rector of the St. James’ First African Protestant Episcopal Church, a church he founded in 1824 as one of the first Black Episcopal churches in the South. He himself was only the third Black man to be ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in America.  His visit to Old North was part of a speaking tour to raise money to pay off his church’s debt. The church was for worship and ..read more
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The People in the Pews: Mary Kent Davey Babcock
The Old North Church Blog
by nstewart
7M ago
The Church Historian Whenever a question arises about the early history of Old North Church, Mary Kent Davey Babcock’s many works are among the first resources checked.  Born in Maine and raised in Boston, Babcock began her writing career while living in Paris and writing for literary magazines. She joined Old North in 1913. When the Women’s Guild opened the House By the Side of the Road– social center for the church and community– Babcock served as its first resident hostess. While she was living there, she came across two document chests filled with church records and histories. Thus be ..read more
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The People in the Pews: Jerusha Will
The Old North Church Blog
by nstewart
8M ago
An “Indian of Barnstable” Little is known about Jerusha Will, an Indigenous woman who appears in the baptismal and burial records of Old North in 1743. What records do reveal, however, paints a poignant picture. On May 9, 1743, Jerusha Will, from Barnstable, Massachusetts, received the sacrament of baptism. It is unclear whether her baptism occurred at the church or whether it was a deathbed baptism, because only two weeks later, on May 23, 1743, her burial is recorded in the church register.  What brought Jerusha Will to become part of Old North’s community, if only for days? Was it the ..read more
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The Jewells of Old North
The Old North Church Blog
by nstewart
8M ago
By Danielle DeVantier, Old North Illuminated Intern For nearly a century, a member of the Jewell family rang the historic bells at Old North Church. John H. S. Jewell began ringing the bells in 1847 and created a family tradition by teaching his younger brother Frederick Morse Jewell how to ring. The tradition continued when Frederick’s son, Charles Henry Jewell, took over for his father in 1888. Charles rang Old North’s bells until he retired from bellringing in the summer of 1935, aside from a short period from 1894 to 1895 when the Old Colony Guild of Bell Ringers took over the ropes.[1] Th ..read more
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Lafayette: America’s Favorite Frenchman
The Old North Church Blog
by nstewart
8M ago
By Danielle DeVantier, Old North Illuminated Intern  Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, made eight visits to Boston during his travels to the United States. According to Boston’s city records, he made six trips between 1778 and 1784 and two trips between 1824 and 1825.[1] Lafayette served with distinction under General George Washington and acted as his trusted advisor, earning a place of honor in the hearts of Americans during and after the American Revolution. He was celebrated on each of his returns to the city by adoring citizens, especially the enthusiastic receptions in 18 ..read more
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