First Church in Salem Illustration from A Popular History of the United States by William Cullen Bryant. New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1896.
(courtesy of The Boston Public Library.)
St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Salem Constructed in 1833, St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Salem rests on the same site the original Episcopal Church occupied for which Philip English donated land in 1734. It would have been one of the many places of worship familiar to Hawthorne during his years in Salem.
St. Peter's Church, Salem Constructed in 1833, St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Salem rests on the same site the original Episcopal Church occupied for which Philip English donated land in 1734. It would have been one of the many places of worship familiar to Hawthorne during his years in Salem. (courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum; special thanks to Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.)
First Church (Daniel Low Building), 121 Washington St., 231 Essex St. Mall First Church, established in 1629, was the first Protestant church in America. Rebecca Nurse and Giles Cory, two victims of the witchcraft hysteria in 1692, were members, and most of the Hathorne family also belonged to this church. Nathaniel's grandfather and grandmother were members; Hawthorne's mother, Elizabeth Clarke Manning Hathorne, joined First Church in 1806, and her children were baptized there.
In the early 1800s, the church became Unitarian in its theology. In 1824, Charles W. Upham became associate pastor with John Prince, and after Prince's death in 1836, became pastor. He remained in this position until 1844 when he left the post because of illness. Margaret Moore points out in The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne that "Hawthorne wrote in Our Old Home that only fond memories of John Prince of First Church helped him retain 'a devout, though not intact nor unwavering respect for the entire fraternity of ministers'(CE 5:28)." (110).
First Church was originally located in Town House Square, but in 1734, after a dispute between the minister, John Fisk, and some members of his congregation, Fisk and his supporters built a new First Church at 256 Essex St., a short distance from their original location. In 1772, the church broke into five different churches and rejoined in later years.
This building was constructed in 1826; the second floor was used by First Church and the first floor was rented to shopkeepers. In 1874, the church was enlarged and extensively remodeled in the High Victorian Gothic style. In 1922, the First Church merged with North Church (Unitarian) and moved to the North Church building at 256 Essex St. Daniel Low and Company then acquired the property at 121 Washington St. (courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum; special thanks to Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.)
First (North) Church (Unitarian), (North Church until 1923; First Church thereafter), 316 Essex St. This building is the second meeting house of the North Church, which separated from the First Church in 1772; the original building was located at the corner of "Curwen's Lane" (North St.) and "The New Lane" (later Lynde St.). When the two churches merged again in 1923, this building became the home of First Church. Constructed in 1835-36, it is considered, along with St. Peter's Church, to be among the finest stone masonry Gothic Revival churches in the United States. Francis Peabody, a parishioner who oversaw the construction, is said to have led the argument for a building in the Gothic Revival style.
North Church was one of the three more liberal churches in Salem in Hawthorne's time. It was the church attended by the Peabody family and also by Jones Very (1813-1880), a mystic, Unitarian minister, and poet. Some in Salem thought Very insane, but the Transcendentalists were intrigued by him as was Hawthorne who was friends with him in the late 1830s, according to Margaret Moore in The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne(215).
N.B. Margaret Moore presents the interesting convergence of what is now First Church with the Hathornes and Thomas Maule in her book The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne. She says that across the street from First Church were the houses of Philip English and Thomas Maule. The English house was inherited by John Touzel; after his death, Touzel's widow shared ownership with William and Mary Touzel Hathorne, and then Sophia Peabody's family later lived in William and Mary's half of the house. Also, Moore says that Mary Hathorne, daughter of William, "owned a house on the other side of Essex Street, just in front of the land on which First Church now stands. It stood on part of Thomas Maule's orchard. She willed this house to her sister, Ann Hathorne Savage, but the will was lost, found much later, and then stolen. So, one Hathorne house on the southern side of Essex was next door to the Maule house; the other on the northern side stood on what had been his garden. Maule's garden is important in The House of the Seven Gables. The juxtaposition of the Hathorne house with the Maule land, the garden, the lost will, the witchcraft accusations: all make another possible Hawthorne connection to witchcraft" (45-46).
(courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum; special thanks to Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.)
Salem Witch Museum (built for East Church in 1844-46; home of the Witch Museum since 1972), 19 ½ Washington Square North at Brown St. (built in 1844-46) The East Church, organized in 1718, was the oldest branch of the First Church of Salem. Hawthorne’s Manning grandparents attended East Church, a liberal Unitarian congregation led by Dr. William Bentley from 1783-1819. Hawthorne’s mother, Elizabeth Clarke Manning, also attended East Church as a young girl when Dr. Bentley was pastor. She joined First Church in 1806, however, and had her children baptized there. According to Gilbert L. Streeter in “Salem Before the Revolution,” EIHC, 32 (1896), the East Church meeting-house was located near the corner of Essex and Hardy streets (87). The building was demolished in 1845, however, and a new church was built at 19 ½ Washington Square North at Brown St between 1844 and 1846. This Gothic Revival building today houses the Salem Witch Museum. (courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum; special thanks to Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.)
Tabernacle Church, Washington and Federal Sts., Salem Established in 1735 as a branch of the First Church, and calling itself "The First Church of Salem," Tabernacle Church built a meeting house in 1736 near 256 Essex St. Until 1762, Salem thus had two churches calling themselves, First Church. At that time, the government required the church that separated to change its name, so it became Third Church of Christ in Salem. When that house of worship was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1774, a new building was erected in 1777 that resembled London's Tabernacle, and soon was referred to as The Tabernacle. Eventually the church took this as its legal name.
One of the most orthodox congregations in Hawthorne's time, it was led by Dr. Samuel Worcester (1770-1821), who was installed as minister in 1803 and who was one of the leading voices of the conservative view in New England. His sermons were highly regarded; Leverett Saltonstall, a leading Unitarian lawyer in Salem, admired them because of their mixture of emotion and reason, even though he was aware that Worcester was a strict calvinist.
In 1924 the Tabernacle Church merged with South Church, and the current Colonial Revival building was constructed, replacing a large wooden Italian Revival building which was the home of the Tabernacle Church from 1854 until it was demolished in 1922. From 1776 to 1854, the building that stood on this ground was occupied by the Tabernacle Church and in 1805 featured a three-stage tower added by Samuel McIntire. This is the building that Hawthorne would have known. (courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum; special thanks to Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.)
South Church, (originally at Chestnut and Cambridge Sts.; destroyed by fire in 1903)
Designed by Samuel McIntire (1757-1811), South Church was established in 1775, and this building was built in 1803-4. It was destroyed by fire in 1903. In 1924, it merged with Tabernacle Church. This photograph was taken c. 1890 and is in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum. (courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum; special thanks to Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.)
First Baptist Church, 56 Federal St. This church was erected in 1805-6. In 1850 it was expanded, and its exterior was rebuilt in an Italianate style in 1850. It originally featured a three-stage Federal tower and octagonal dome, but this was removed in 1926 because of the cost of renovations undertaken at that time (courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum; special thanks to Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.)
Crombie Street Church, 7 Crombie St., Salem This Federal-Greek Revival building was originally constructed to house a theatre in 1827-28. The theatre was unsuccessful, however, and ceased its existence in 1830. In 1832 the building was purchased by a group of dissenting parishioners from the Howard Street Church who called themselves the New Congregational Church and later the Crombie Street Church. The church was rebuilt after a fire damaged the interior in 1934, but the exterior remains almost unchanged. (courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum; special thanks to Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.)
First Universalist Meetinghouse, 6 Rust St., 9 Ash St. (c. 1808-9)