27 E. Main St. | First Congregational Church marker & Hudson Town Hall​

27 E. Main St. | First Congregational Church marker & Hudson Town Hall​


The First Congregational Church was founded in 1802 by 13 charter members, including town founder David Hudson (1761-1836). Services were held in a log schoolhouse until 1820 when a meeting house (in this location where the Town Hall stands today) was built. The present church at 47 Aurora Street was dedicated on March 1, 1865. ​


​Many early founders and members of the church were strongly anti-slavery and in August 1835, church members unanimously adopted a resolution declaring that slavery is a “direct violation of the law of [the] Almighty God.” Among those dedicated to the cause was longtime Hudson resident Owen Brown (1771-1856). His son, abolitionist John Brown (1800-1859), who was among one of the church's members, famously vowed during an 1837 prayer meeting that he would dedicate his life to abolishing slavery. ​


The slavery debate over abolition/colonization (among other issues) divided the congregation in the 1830s. A group of 11 abolitionist members, led by Owen Brown, left the church and formed the Free Congregational Church.

Audio


"The first time I ever heard of John Brown raising his voice against slavery was in the church prayer meeting one Thursday afternoon. We got the news that morning that pro-slavery men had shot Lovejoy while standing in his doorway and demolished his press. The death of Lovejoy was the topic of the meeting. (There was strong prejudice in the church and throughout the state against the anti-slavery movement.). Owen Brown and his son, John, were present at the prayer meeting....After his father's prayer, John arose and in his calm, emphatic way says: 'I pledge myself with God's help that I will devote my life to increasing hostility towards slavery'" The history of his life from that time to its tragic end gives him the honor of living and dying to maintain that pledge."


Lora Case, Hudson of long ago : progress of Hudson during the past century, personal reminiscences of an aged pioneer : reminiscences, written in 1897.