First gathered in 1636 as a branch of Church in Boston (founded in 1633), First Parish was established as an independent Church in 1639. Known then simply as "Ye Church of Braintry," its establishment made it possible for the Town of Braintree to incorporate in 1640. "Old Braintree" eventually became the City of Quincy ante the towns of Holbrook, Randolph and Braintree.
Over its 350 years, the congregation of historic First Parish has played an important part in the building of this city, the state, and indeed the nation. Like their ancestors before them, both Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams were life-long members of the Church. Their tombs stand in a crypt within the church, beside those of their wives, Abigail and Louisa Catherine. Also, the Patriot John Hancock was baptized in this church by his father, the Rev. John Hancock, who served here as minister from 1726 to 1744.
Originally founded by Puritan congregationalists, and Unitarian since 1750, First Parish continues to serve the community as a leader in liberal religion. Inspired by a noble heritage, the Church endeavors "to hold fast Freedom, Friendship, and Faith" for a service of humanity and the building of a more just and compassionate world.
Prior to its establishment as an independent Church in 1639, it was located in what was then Mount Wollaston. John Wheelwright was a minister who, together with his sister-in-law, Anne Hutchinson were banished 1637 because of his having been pronounced guilty of sedition and contempt for preaching a sermon supporting her and her followers. This dispute was known as the Antinomian Controversy. Here is a record of her banishment "as being a woman not fit for our society". Here is a discussion of why Anne Hutchinson was considered a threat.
In 1958, the Wollaston Unitarian Society merged with First Parish.
This magnificent edifice, built of granite donated by John Adams, was designed by Alexander Parris and completed in 1828. It is the congregation's fourth home and replaced the wooden Hancock Meeting House on the same site.