Russell — Churches

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      The town records are silent upon ecclesiastical matters, and the inference is therefore that, unlike most Massachusetts towns, Russell left the consideration of church affairs exclusively to church societies. An early record says that "The religious covenant and articles of faith and practice of the Second Baptist Church in Westfield, begun June 6, 1786, now under the care of Elder Ebenezer Stowe," were adopted by the First Baptist Church of Russell shortly after the date just mentioned, and upon the organization of that body. A meeting-house was built in 1792 in the village of Russell, and after a somewhat precarious existence the church was dissolved about the year 1811. In 1816 the church was revived, and that year ordained as its first pastor Rev. Asa Todd, who was succeeded, in 1825, by Rev. Amos Clark, among whose successors were Revs. Mr. Childs, J. M. Whipple, J. M. Phillips, George Gunn, M. H. Rising, Lester Williams, and J. C. Carpenter. The meeting-house erected by the first society was used by the new church until 1820, when it was destroyed by fire. A new one was built in 1826, and in 1853 this latter was replaced by the present neat and substantial structure, at a cost of about $2400. The pastor now in charge is Rev. J. B. Ashley.
      The first Congregational Church of which any note is made was organized Nov. 1, 1800, by Rev. Joseph Badger, of Blandford. It had then 15 members, but did not seem to prosper during the subsequent thirty years of its existence. It was eventually dissolved in 1830.
      The Congregationalists and Methodists built a church in conjunction near the centre of the town, about 1820, and used it in common, under the name of the Union Society. The foundations of this structure, which was torn down in 1830, are still to be seen.
      After the dissolution of the Union Society, in 1830, the Methodists of Russell had no regular place of worship until 1869, when the present society was formed, and a very neat church building erected in the village of Russell. Rev. N. J. Merrill was the first pastor. The present pastor is Rev. S. Coles. The congregation numbers 70 members. The two churches here noted are the only ones in the town.

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