Southbridge Poll Parish
Submitted by Evelyn Petrelli

Marker on the Central Baptist Church in Southbridge

The poll parish, which has become the Town of Southbridge, was incorporated on the 28th of February, 1801, and is composed of territory once a part of Dudley, Charlton and Sturbridge. "The first and foremost reason was in order that the people might have more satisfactory religious accommodations because of the great distances many of the settlers had to travel to reach their meeting house."(1)

The first meeting to prepare for establishing a poll parish was held a the tavern-house of Colonel Benjamin Freeman (the location of our present fire station, Elm Street), in early 1795. The frame of the meeting house was raised on July 4, 1797, and the building house was dedicated July 4, 1800. "The several religious denominations that united there were the Congregationalists, Baptists, Methodists and Universalists."(2)

The petition was signed by eight-seven inhabitants of the south-east part of Sturbridge, the south west part of Charlton and west part of Dudley.

The parish struggled with petitions to the legislature for many years before "Southbridge was incorporated as a town, February 15th, 1816". (3)

(1) Centennial History of Southbridge - page 7.
(2) Ammidown, Holmes, Historical Collection, Vol. 2 - page 235.
(3) Quinebaug Historical Society Leaflets Vol. 1 - page 11.

Evelyn at Center - Tour Guides for Church during Southrbridge Fest 2007

More about the Baptist Church

Poll Parish and Honest Town

How Southbridge Got its name

Return to Southbridge Page

Whitney Home Page