[Boston, MA]: August 29, 1833. Partly printed document, completed in manuscript. 37 x 24 cm. Old fold lines, with some short separations along folds, some faint old staining, but a very good copy, all legible. A deed for pew no. 99, issued by the Deacons of Hollis Street Meeting House, Samuel May, William Brown, and Henry Bass, to Luther Thayer, Jr., for the sum of $325. Thayer was also to be responsible for the payment of any taxes or assessments voted upon by the church "for the support of Public Worship in said House...." Signed by all parties, and docketed on verso by Moses Williams, Treasurer. A further note on the verso says this pew was transferred to Gillam B. Wheeler in 1836. Item #65279
The Hollis Street Meeting House, founded as a Congregationalist church in 1732, became a Unitarian church by 1800. Pew sales were one of the ways churches financed improvements and maintenance of church property, and funded the salaries of clergy. At the time of the execution of this deed, the pastor of the church was Rev. John Pierpont, poet, educator, abolitionist, and temperance advocate. A controversial leader, he was ultimately forced to resign in 1845. His parishioners, at their annual meeting in 1838, expressed their discomfort with him: "many members of this Society have viewed with deep regret the zeal of their reverend Pastor in those exciting topics which divide and disturb the harmony of the community, thereby alienating his friends and diminishing his usefulness as the Christian teacher of this Society." They believed that a Christian minister should not be "interfering with the established laws of the land," and should leave such efforts to the legislature. [see Documents of the Hollis Street Society 1838, p.1].