Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Working on Wednesday: Peter Worden, Minister and Rebel

This Peter Worden (the fifth of that name in my line and the three-times great grandson of the hatter) was born in Westerley, Washington County, Rhode Island, on June 6, 1728.

He and Mary Moon were wed in Coventry, Rhode Island, on August 18, 1749 and had twelve children over the next fifteen years and Peter served as the Elder in the Baptist Church there beginning in about 1757.

By 1769 a number of his congregation had moved to western Massachusetts and, when it was decided that it was time to build their own church, he was recommended by them to the community as a potential pastor. So a letter was sent to Coventry regarding Elder Worden's standing in the Church and scouting the possibility of him relocating.

The response from one of the deacons in Coventry included this passage taken from a transcript of Records of the First Baptist Church in Cheshire (formerly New Providence) and indicated their willingness to release the Elder from their parish if he was willing:
"Our Elder has all the time Been some what Low as to his Outward Surcomstances, his time much taken up in Publick Labour, his familey some what Numerous so that Notwithstanding his Exercise at times at hand Labour, and the Generous Communication of friends and breathern to his support yet he has been Obliged for the Subsistance of his familey to Involve himself."
After some deliberation, Elder Worden was invited to New Providence and took up his post as of April 12th of that year, founded the first Baptist Church in that part of Massachusetts and remained very much in charge until his death on February 21, 1808. (According to his grandson Lymond's obituary, he preached a sermon on the last Sabbath before his death.) His obituary was published both in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and he's buried in the Old Churchyard Cemetery under a stone erected by the subscription of his congregation.

[Source: Find A Grave Memorial # 44544685; photo taken by Ray Mansfield]

Why do I refer to my sixth great grandfather as a rebel? From the Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican* article reporting on the 1881 Pittsfield Historical Society Meeting, we learn about his political activities in the period leading up to the Revolution:
"Elder Peter Worden, who came from Connecticut and located in Cheshire, then New Providence, was largely instrumental in arousing Windsor to patriotic action."
Note: the church records consistently spell his surname as Werden, a common variant.

* Date: Friday, August 5, 1881 Paper: Springfield Republican (Springfield, MA) Page: 6 This entire product and/or portions thereof are copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source:

© 2014 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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