Turbulent times in early Rehoboth: Obadiah Holmes and his Baptist Friends

In this talk, recorded on Zoom on September 20, 2020, we meet Obadiah Holmes, the stubborn glassblower from Salem, the elderly and eccentric John Hazell, young John Torrey, the Smiths, and the Manns. What did they do? What happened to them? Click here for a one-hour video of the presentation.


(Above) Carpenter Museum Executive Director Danielle DiGiacomo introduces author Cherry Fletcher Bamberg who presented the story of Obadiah Holmes and his Baptist Friends in the mid 1600s as part of the 2020 speaker series.


(Above, left) The Town of Rehoboth, MA was born in the early 1640s when Plymouth, Salem, and Boston-area towns were long established. The beautiful land itself had been largely open before. Rehoboth was carefully planned: a civil compact was written, lots were laid out in attractive patterns and sold in successive offerings. (Above, right) The founders of the First Congregational Church of Boston sign the Covenant.


(Above, left) Holmes worked in Boston as a glass blower. (Above, right) Holmes submitted to a public whipping for his views on Baptism. This diversity, plus Rehoboth’s proximity to that scandalous blot on the religious landscape, Rhode Island, led within a decade to furious disagreements, lawsuits, and excommunication. Baptists came from Newport to baptize adults, a perfectly scandalous practice in the view of Congregationalists. Topics in this lecture are further discussed in John Clarke’s World, cowritten by presenter Cherry Fletcher Bamberg and Judith Crandall Harbold. To order the book from Rhode Island Genealogical Society, go here.