Friday, December 24, 2010

First Church of Nashua

When we first moved to Londonderry, I was surprised to find there was no Congregational church. Nearly every town in Massachusetts has one! Almost every New Hampshire town has one, too, but since Nutfield was founded by the Presbyterians, the churches remained Presbyterian for a long time. The First Church in Derry changed to Congregational in the 1800s, and I tried a few services there. My husband was working in Nashua, and he said several co-workers attended the First Church in Nashua. We tried it out, and since we knew one or two people, it became our on again/off again church.

My husband is Catholic, and there were two Catholic parishes in Londonderry, so it was easier to attend mass then to travel all the way to Nashua. However, we still occasionally attend services in Nashua, and I love the ministers and their sermons. One day I was reading the church flyer and the history of the church surprised me. It was founded by Reverend Thomas Weld of Roxbury. I knew that was the name of one of my ancestors, so after church I hurried to my files to see what information I could find.

The church flyer said that Thomas Weld was ordained the day the First Church of Nashua was gathered, on 16 December 1685. The current building dates from 1894, and is the tenth building to house the First Church congregation. I found this Thomas Weld in my notes, as the 2x great grandson of my ancestor Thomas Weld (1595-1660). Reverend Thomas 5 Weld (Thomas 4, Thomas 3, Edmund 3, Thomas 1) removed from Roxbury (outside of Boston) to Dunstable, Massachusetts in 1683. It was a settlement near the Merrimack River that is now Nashua, New Hampshire. It was considered a real pioneer town on the border of the unknown frontier in those days.

According to the cousin calculator on Family Tree Maker, Reverend Thomas Weld is my second cousin eleven generations removed. I descend from Edmund Weld (1559 – 1608) and his wife Amy Brewster through their son, Joseph Weld (1598 – 1646) and his wife Elizabeth Shatswell. Reverend Thomas Weld of Dunstable descends from Joseph’s brother, Reverend Thomas Weld (1595-1660) . It was a long line of Reverend Thomas Welds. Now you know why I had to go look him up in the notes!

The Weld Lineage.

Generation 1. Thomas Weld, born about 1532 in Sudbury, Suffolk, England and died on 8 April 1597 in Sudbury; married Margaret Unknown who died 13 July 1593 in Sudbury.

Generation 2. Edmond Weld, born about 1559 and died about 1608 in Sudbury, Suffolk, England; married on 12 April 1585 in Sudbury to Amy Brewster.

Generation 3. Reverend Thomas Weld, born about 1595 in England, baptized in Sudbury, Suffolk, England on 13 July 1595, died on 23 March 1660/1 in London, England; married first to Margaret Unknown; married second to Judith Unknown, buried on 4 May 1646 in Gateshead, Durham; married third to Margaret Unknown.

Generation 4. Reverend Thomas Weld, born about 1626 in Terling, Essex, England and died on 17 January in Roxbury, Massachusetts; married on 4 June 1650 in Roxbury to Dorothy Whiting, born about 1628 in England and died 31 July 1694 in Roxbury, daughter of Samuel Whiting.

Generation 5. Reverend Thomas Weld, born 12 June 1653 in Roxbury and died on 9 June 1702 in Dunstable, Massachusetts (now Nashua, New Hampshire); married on 9 November 1681 to Elizabeth Wilson, born in September 1656 in Medfield, Massachusetts and died 19 July 1687, daughter of John Wilson and Sarah Hooker (daughter of famous founder of Hartford, Connecticut, Reverend Thomas Hooker).

For more information:

The American Genealogist Volume 55, page 145 for the Weld Genealogy

The First Church of Nashua website at


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. It's so nice when we have enough information on our ancestors to be able to find relatives and connections wherever we go!

  2. I descend from John Wilson and Sarah Hooker as well.

  3. Great find Heather.

    The organist/choir director Joseph Oleferiwicz grew up next door. From time to time he invites our daughter Rebecca to sing at services, weddings and she has performed with him in the Summer Concert Series.

  4. I love that the clue happened to be in your hand! And, that you remembered the potential connection. Congratulations on a fabulous find, Heather!

  5. Happy for you! Oh..wait so many more emotions! Envious (check); coveting (check); ungrateful (check- only made it to the 1700's on most of my lines); thinking seances aren't a bad idea (check)!