PROPERTY OF THE FIRST PARISH CHURCH IN BEVERLY
The town of Beverly, Massachusetts, was first settled as an outpost of Salem on the north bank of the Bass River in 1630. By 1650, the small population called for an end to the "tediousness and difficulties over the water and other inconveniences" required by the journey across the Bass River to worship at the First Parish in Salem. The community was granted independence and established a meetinghouse in Beverly by 1656.
The first pastor, Reverend John Hale, is remembered for his tract A Modest Inquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft (1697), in which he discusses the errors and his own lack of judgment in the Salem Witch Trials of the early 1690s.
Beverly played a central role in the nautical history of the Revolutionary War, serving as the naval headquarters for the Colonial forces, and is often referred to as the "Birthplace of the American Navy." The pastor at the First Parish Church in Beverly during the war, Reverend Joseph Willard (1738-1804), is said to have done much "to kindle and keep alive the general flame of patriotism." (Christopher T. Thayer, An Address Delivered in the First Parish Beverly, October 2, 1867, p. 54)
Unique to the history of the Church's collection of silver is a strong relationship with patriot and silversmith Paul Revere. Apart from the ewer (lot 69) and pair of communion dishes (lot 70) offered here, the Church commissioned two tankards and an additional two communion dishes from Revere. The two tankards were later engraved with inscriptions for two fledgling churches in the community, the Second Church in Beverly and the Christian Church in Beverly Farms, to which they were donated by the First Church in 1838 and 1831 respectively.
(c) 2008 First Parish Church, UU, Beverly MA 01915 All Rights Reserved
E. Alfred Jones, Old Silver of American Churches, 1913, pp. 15-16, illus. pl. VI, no. 1, 3
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, American Church Silver of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, 1911, p. 33, no. 292, 293
Patricia Kane, Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers, 1998, p. 348
"American Church Silver of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1911, cat. no. 292, 293