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Subject: Rev. Phinehas Whitney, Minister of Shirley, Mass. by Caleb Butler.
Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2005 20:53:01 EST
Subject: Phinehas Whitney, Minister of Shirley, MA
Source: History of Groton by Caleb Butler 1848
The first vote of the district of Shirley to raise money for hiring a
minister was passed
September 27, 1753 when ten pounds were granted. April 4, 1754 a committee
was chosen to
ask advice of six neighboring ministers about settling a minister. May 2,
1754 "Voted, To
hire three months' preaching, and also voted, to try for some other minister
we have had." June 18, 1755, was appointed a fast, according to the custom
as a preparation for giving a minister a call to settle in the place.
A Mr. Goodhue from Hollis, New Hampshire, preached some time as a candidate,
two several invitations to settle; the first which he accepted
and the last
he declined. April 30, 1760, it was again voted to take advice of the
and probably another fast was kept. A Mr. Sparhawk of Lynn then preached
some time, received
a call to settle, but declined. At length, Mr. Phinehas Whitney of Weston, a
Harvard college, 1759, having preached some time as a candidate, received a
vitation to become the minister of the district. To this invitation Mr.
Whitney gave an
affirmative answer. His ordination took place June 23, 1762 on which day a
church was duly
organized, a church covenant adopted and signed by the pastor and twelve
26, 1762, a church meeting was held when John Longley and Hezekiah Sawtell
were chosen deacons.
The church covenants and confession of faith were taken from those in the
church at Groton.
They were plain, simple expressions of Christian duties and obligations
without the unscriptur-
al and unintelligible formulas which at a later period became general in the
The church received a present of 1 pound, 6 shillings, 8d from Mr. Samuel
Barron of Groton,
which was expended for a cloth and cups for the communion tables; and Capt.
B. Bancroft of
Groton presented a flagon for the church's use. John Ivory was chosen Deacon
1777; Joseph Brown, July 5, 1784 and John Heald September 13, 1790.
Mr. Whitney's ministry exceeded half a century. It was peaceful, harmonious,
The only controversy he had with his people, and that seems to have been
friendly feelings on both sides, was respecting the competency of his
support. His salary
at his ordination was fixed at 66 pounds, 13 shillings, 4 d. This, at the
time, Mr. Whitney
acknowledged to be liberal. But as the revolutionary war soon after
commenced, deranging the
currency, and enhancing the price of the necessaries of life, that sum paid
in paper currency
was evidently inadequate to his support. Several communications passed on
the subject between
the pastor and the people, and the matter was finally adjusted to the
satisfaction of the
parties by some temporary grants and a method of equalizing the salary by
price of grain.
During his ministry, one hundred and thirty-seven persons were admitted to
the church in full
communion; one hundred and ten acknowledged the baptismal covenant; eight
hundred and forty-one
persons were baptized. No record of marriages is found.
Having suffered several years from a paralytic affection, and arrived at the
age of almost 80
years, he expired, December 13, 1819. His family are named in the list of
families in the
Appendix. (see p. 497, below)
Mr. Whitney was a prudent manager of his temporal affairs; so that,
notwithstanding the small-
ness of salary, he provided well for the education of his children and left
them some property.
He was one of the trustees of Groton Academy from its foundation till his
death, and patronized
science and literature. His standing among the clergymen of his time and
vicinity was respect-
able, and he was often called to take part in ecclesiastical councils, and
discourses, some of which were published. In his religious sentiments, he
was liberal, as were
most of the clergy with whom he associated. He was a kind parent,
affectionate husband and
p.497 Reverend Phinehas Whitney m. Meriam Willard.
He m. (2) Lydia Bowes and m. (3) Jane Gar-
field, widow. He died December 13, 1819
Meriam Willard died March 20, 1769
Rev. Whitney m. (2) in 1770 Lydia Bowes d. Oct 11,
Rev. Whitney m. (3) Jane Garfield who died March 4,
1. Thomas Whitney b. Mar 19, 1771 m. Henrietta Parker; died Jan 14, 1844.
2. Nicholas Bowes Whitney b. March 21, 1772, m. Nancy Adams; died Nov 6,
3. Lydia Whitney b. Sept 8, 1773, m. John Watson.
4. Elizabeth Whitney b. Nov 8, 1775, m. Dr. Amos Parker.
5. William Whitney b. Oct 30, 1778, m. Betsey Fisk and Martha Simonds; died
Jan 30, 1837.
6. Rebecca Cook Whitney b. Sept 2, 1781, m. William B. Meriam.
7. Phineas Sullivan Whitney b. July 6, 1785, m. Lucy Cobb and Julia Ann
8. Sarah Whitney b. Dec 19, 1787.
9. Clarissa Whitney b. Dec 2, 1790, m. Henry Isaacs.
10. Charles Whitney b. Jan 2, 1794 m. Dolly Davenport; died Oct 6, 1832.
Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth
History & Genealogy