Dr. Josiah Noyes: Doctor, Geologist, Botanist, Lecturer, Surveyor, Astronomer, & Church Founder

Reposted from Once Upon a Time in Needham.

Josiah Noyes, MD (1801-1871)

Notice how that list doesn’t include minister?

That’s because the founder of the Congregational Church of Needham was not a minister at all, but Needham’s town doctor. During the first 30 years of his life in Needham, Dr. Noyes and his wife, Elizabeth, were regular members of the First Parish in Needham. When First Parish began to adopt more Unitarian views, Dr. Noyes, who was an orthodox Congregationalist, became deeply dissatisfied with it. In 1855, Dr. Noyes, his wife, and some two dozen other like-minded parishioners broke away from First Parish to build a new, more orthodox Congregational community. The Evangelical Congregational Church of Needham was officially formed on Wednesday, May 6, 1857.

When not founding churches or tending to Needham’s sick, his neighbors could find Dr. Noyes lecturing on chemistry at the Needham Lyceum (which he also founded) or on botany at the Lowell Institute. He was also a well-respected astronomer, surveyor, and geologist.

The first minister to serve the church was the Rev. Dr. Burgess, the minister of the Congregational Church in Dedham, who Dr. Noyes recruited to preach on a voluntary basis to the founding members of the church during their first year of exile from First Parish.

Source: The History of the Evangelical Congregational Church of Needham, Massachusetts as compiled by Edmund W. Trowbridge, Church Historian, 1957.

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
This entry was posted in 1800-1850, 1850-1900, Congregational Church of Needham and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.