Dr. Josiah Noyes: Doctor, Geologist, Botanist, Lecturer, Surveyor, Astronomer, & Church Founder

Reposted from Once Upon a Time in Needham.

Josiah Noyes, MD (1801-1871)

Notice how that list doesn’t include minister?

That’s because the founder of the Congregational Church of Needham was not a minister at all, but Needham’s town doctor. During the first 30 years of his life in Needham, Dr. Noyes and his wife, Elizabeth, were regular members of the First Parish in Needham. When First Parish began to adopt more Unitarian views, Dr. Noyes, who was an orthodox Congregationalist, became deeply dissatisfied with it. In 1855, Dr. Noyes, his wife, and some two dozen other like-minded parishioners broke away from First Parish to build a new, more orthodox Congregational community. The Evangelical Congregational Church of Needham was officially formed on Wednesday, May 6, 1857.

When not founding churches or tending to Needham’s sick, his neighbors could find Dr. Noyes lecturing on chemistry at the Needham Lyceum (which he also founded) or on botany at the Lowell Institute. He was also a well-respected astronomer, surveyor, and geologist.

The first minister to serve the church was the Rev. Dr. Burgess, the minister of the Congregational Church in Dedham, who Dr. Noyes recruited to preach on a voluntary basis to the founding members of the church during their first year of exile from First Parish.

Source: The History of the Evangelical Congregational Church of Needham, Massachusetts as compiled by Edmund W. Trowbridge, Church Historian, 1957.

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About Shala Howell

Writer of things ranging from optical network switching white papers to genetic testing patient education materials to historical fiction set in an 1880s asylum. When I’m not scratching my head over pesky characters who refuse to do things how I want them done or dreaming of my next book (which will of course be much easier to write than the current one), my writerly self can be found blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, or musing about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.wordpress.com.
This entry was posted in 1800-1850, 1850-1900, Congregational Church of Needham and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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