Gradually, more people moved to this settlement but they were still required to attend Sunday sendees and Town Meetings in Dedham Village, which remained the sole religious and political center of the town.
Travel to and from these meetings was always difficult and often dangerous, especially in the winter, because of the poor conditions of the roads through the wilderness that separated the settlements.
In 1730, the citizens began gathering in one another’s homes to discuss petitioning the General Court to be set off as a separate Parish. The petition was finally granted in 1731, officially creating the South Parish of Dedham.
Rev. Thomas Balch, the first minister, was ordained ln 1736 in a mooting house located near the present library site. The location was prophetic, for the Rev. Balch later began the first circulating library in the town.
With the establishment of the Parish, South Dedham Village became a community in itself and the meeting house and parsonage became the focus of the community life in South Dedham. At the passing away of anyone in the village, the church bell would peal in the early morning, tolling twice for a man and three times for a woman and then striking the number of times that the person was years old.
For many years to come, the voice of the church was the voice of the village: Its joy, its grief, its authority.
By Marguerite Krupp, Originally published in the 1972 Centennial Magazine
By Marguerite Krupp, Originally published in the 1972 Norwood Centennial Magazine The Indians who lived near the Great Blue Hill…