Founders of the Massachusetts Bible Society - 1809

The Massachusetts Bible Society began on July 6, 1809 and is an ecumenical, Christian organization dedicated to promoting Biblical literacy, understanding, and dialogue. This blog lists brief biographies of our founders who gathered in the Massachusetts State House Senate Chamber on that historic day to sign the Charter founding MBS. Please visit our website:

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Location: Newton Centre, MA, United States

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rev. Joshua Bates, DD

Rev. Joshua Bates was born in Cohasset on March 20, 1776 and graduated from Harvard College in 1797. Three years later he was ordained as the pastor of the Congregational Church in Dedham, also teaching at Phillips Andover Academy.

In 1818 he left parish ministry to become the third President of Middlebury College, presiding over the construction of the Old Chapel, now on the National Register of Historic Places. He remained in that post until 1839, after which he continued to travel, write, and preach until his death on Jan 14, 1854.

It was the departure of the orthodox Rev. Bates for Middlebury and his subsequent replacement by someone on the liberal side of the debate that caused the majority of the congregation to leave the parish, occasioning a legal case about who owned the church property. That case was decided in favor of those remaining by fellow founder Hon. Isaac Parker.

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