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Unitarian Church

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During the ministry of the Reverend Joseph Clary at the First Parish Church (1812-1828) a doctrinal split developed. Mr. Clary, “a good and pious man,” was a fundamentalist, while a number of his parishioners were attracted to the liberal doctrines of the Unitarian Church. Joining with many of the newcomers to the community (including some of the leading officials of the mills) who were Unitarians from Massachusetts, the two groups organized the Unitarian Society in Dover in 1827. One of those leaving the First Parish was Dr. Ezra Green, surgeon on the Ranger under John Paul Jones.

The first meeting for public worship was held November 4 in the old Court House and the following year, 1828, a brick church was built on Locust Street opposite Kirkland. For many years it was the First Unitarian or Second Congregational denomination. In this church Hon. John P. Hale delivered his last address in Dover prior to his departure to Spain where had had been appointed minister from the United States. As a senator from New Hampshire, Hale was the first member of the Senate to oppose slavery. For nearly 100 year the Unitarians conducted services in this church. In 1839 the Greek community purchased the property.
        From “Dover, New Hampshire, 350th Anniversary Commemorative Book 1623-1973”, 1973

 The handsome brick church that stands on Locust Street opposite Kirkland, was built in 1828. It is now the Greek Orthodox but when it was built it was the First Unitarian or Second Congregational denomination.

It was in 1827 that a group interested in a more liberal religious viewpoint, met and decided to form a new church in Dover, the Unitarian. Unitarians had founded the Harvard Divinity school. And the head of the school, Henry Ware, Jr., came to help organize the society in Dover.

The first pastor was the brilliant Reverend Samuel Kirkland Lothrop. For nearly one hundred years the Unitarians conducted Services in their church on Locust Street, and numbered many notables among their speakers.
    From “City of Dover, New Hampshire Centennial Celebration 1855-1955” compiled by the Historical Program Committee, 1955.

 

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