Lori Rogers-Stokes

Abigail, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Esther: Nipmuc Women In and Out of the Congregational Church in Hassanamesit/Grafton

Congregationalism, the religion the Puritans established in Woodland New England, was shaped by Indigenous worshippers as well as English. In this talk, Rogers-Stokes will use church records to tell the dynamic stories of four Nipmuc women—sisters and cousins—of Hassanamesit (Grafton) at the turn of the 18th century who made very different, very personal choices about church belonging. Their lives and experiences as described in church records give us a new and priceless window into the world of Indigenous women asserting agency and maintaining kinship despite the threats and pressures of colonization.

[Recorded August 12, 2023 ]

Lori Rogers-Stokes, PhD, is an independent scholar, public historian, and former contributing editor for New England’s Hidden Histories, a digital history project making three centuries of Congregational church records available through digitization and transcription. She is the author of Records of Trial from Thomas Shepard’s Church in Cambridge, 1638-49: Heroic Souls (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). Lori studies the history of Woodland New England, particularly the first century of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, where forms of church and state were created that are still shaping American history for better and for worse today.

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