History of Holyoke's Churches

Highlands Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. W.H. Dockham, Pastor

      In the summer of 1885 a movement was set on foot by the pastor and official board of the First Methodist Episcopal Church looking toward the starting of a Methodist Episcopal church on the Highlands. Mr. James Allyn contributed a lot of land at the southeast corner of Lincoln and Nonotuck streets, and the 14,000 square feet included in the gift made an ideal lot for the church and parsonage, which were built later. The church building, costing $4,000, was dedicated March 26, 1886, and Bishop R.S. Foster, LL.D., officiated and preached the sermon.

Highland Methodist Episcopal Church
Highland Methodist Episcopal Church

      An afternoon preaching service was established at once in addition to the Sunday school session, and for three years Rev. G.C. Osgood carried on this afternoon preaching service, and also occasionally took charge of the Sunday evening prayer meeting, all in addition to his regular work as pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal Church.
      In February, 1889, it was thought best to organize a separate church on the Highlands, and on March 27th of that year the church was organized with fifty members and six probationers. Charles J. Perkins was appointed class leader, and the following board of trustees was elected: W.T. Dean, W.F. Wheelock, George L. Thorpe. Levi Lamb, Edward Bonner, and A.G. Foote.

Rev. W.H. Dockham
Rev. W.H. Dockham, Pastor

      After a few years the basement of the church was fitted up as a vestry and in the last decade improvements have gone on that have put the property into fine condition, 1906 being the year of greatest material betterment, when $3,300 was spent on renovations. The attractive parsonage was built in 1891.
      The church has been led by the following pastors: Rev. W.S. Fritch, April, 1889-April, 1892; Rev. Benjamin F. Kingsley, April, 1892-April, 1896; Rev. F.J. Hale, April, 1896-April, 1898; Rev. O.R. Miller, April, 1898-April, 1902; Rev. F.M. Estes, April, 1902-April, 1907; Rev. G.M. Simley, April, 1907-April, 1912.
      Rev. W.H. Dockham took charge in April, 1912. He was born in Moultonboro, N.H., December 8, 1857. After studying in the the public schools of his native state Mr. Dockham studies theology and kindred subjects at the Boston University School of Theology, and then entered the ministry in April, 1885. He has served in the following charges: Southwick, three years; Pelham and North Amherst, one year; South Walpole, three years; Chester, two years; West Warren, two years; Florence, six years; Mittineague, three years, and Trowbridge Memorial, Worcester, seven years.
      It would not be right to neglect mentioning the Chinese Sunday school of 20 members, which this church has carries on for so many years. Miss Emily Smith has given over twenty-five years to this important work.
      The church numbers 175 members and has 125 in its Sunday school.
      The officers are as follows: Trustees, W.T. Dean, George L. Thorpe, J.H. Fowles, E.S. Moore, C.R. Thomas, E.S. Warner, Fred Ferris, E.H. Parmalee, and R.A. McMaster; stewards, George L. Thorpe, R.E. Thorpe, E.B. Thomas, J.R. Parfitt, Smith Anson, F.H. Warner, A.F. Foote, E.H. Parmalee, George T. Shaw, Henry Martin, and J.S. Gorham.

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