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December 25, 1659: Christmas Celebration Outlawed

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Harvard Shakers Record Spiritual Visit: December 30, 1841
On this day in 1841, the Shakers in Harvard reported a spiritual visit by their long-dead founder Mother Ann, "Holy Angels," and "ancient...

Christmas Celebration Outlawed: December 25, 1659
On this day in 1659, a law was passed by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony requiring a five-shilling fine from anyone caught "observing...

Abner Kneeland Prints Blasphemous Letter: December 20, 1833
On this day in 1833, religious and social reformer Abner Kneeland printed a letter deemed so blasphemous by a Massachusetts court that it landed the former...

Fall River Church Locks Out Priest: December 16, 1884
On this day in 1884, a Fall River newspaper reported that French Canadian Roman Catholic parishioners had locked their newly-appointed priest out of their...

First YMCA in the United States Organized in Boston: December 15, 1851
On this day in 1851, a group of evangelicals from several Boston churches founded the first Young Men's Christian Association in the United States....

The Fortune Sails from Plymouth for England: December 13, 1621
On this day in 1621, the ship Fortune set sail from Plymouth Colony. The arrival of the vessel two weeks earlier — sent by the English investors...

African Meeting House Opens: December 4, 1806
On this day in 1806, the Reverend Thomas Paul was installed as pastor of the new African Meeting House in Boston. Two days later, the church was officially...

Quakers Outlawed in Plymouth: December 3, 1658
On this day in 1658, Plymouth Court ordered that any boat carrying Quakers to Sandwich be seized to prevent the religious heretics from landing. A year...

Evangelist Billy Sunday Draws 70,000 to Boston Revival: November 12, 1916
On this day in 1916, 55,000 people came to hear Billy Sunday preach in Boston. An overflow crowd of 15,000 had to be turned away from the temporary tabernacle...

Islamic Society Breaks Ground in Roxbury: November 7, 2002
...in 2002, the Islamic Society of Boston held a ceremonial groundbreaking in Roxbury for New England's largest mosque and Islamic cultural center....

Missionary Opens School for Mohican Indians: November 5, 1734
On this day in 1734, the Yale-trained missionary John Sergeant opened a school for Mohican Indian children in Great Barrington. About 50 members of the...

First Missionaries Leave for Hawaii: October 23, 1819
On this day in 1819, a crowd gathered on a Boston wharf to bid farewell to the first Protestant missionaries bound for Hawaii. Among them were seven Massachusetts...

Millerites Await End of the World: October 22, 1844
On this day in 1844, tens of thousands of people in Massachusetts expected the world to come to an end. They were followers of William Miller, a man who...

Framingham Disassembles Meetinghouse: October 13, 1735
On this day in 1735, Framingham's town meeting voted to "give the old meeting house frame" to their minister, who would undoubtedly...

Roger Williams Banished: October 9, 1635
On this day in 1635, Puritan minister Roger Williams was found guilty of spreading "newe & dangerous opinions" and banished...

Brandeis University Receives Phi Beta Kappa Charter: August 30, 1961
On this day in 1961, Brandeis University received good news. Less than a decade after accepting its first students, the school had been given approval...

Charlestown Convent Lies in Ruins: August 12, 1834
On this day in 1834, the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown lay in ruins. The night before, a Protestant mob sacked it and burned it to the ground. The nuns...

William Pynchon Buys Land for Springfield: July 15, 1635
On this day in 1636, William Pynchon received the deed giving him title to most of what is now Springfield, Longmeadow, and Agawam. In exchange, he paid...

Firemen and Irish Clash in Boston Riot: June 11, 1837
On this day in 1837, an Irish funeral procession and a company of Yankee volunteer firefighters came face-to-face in the streets of Boston. Over the next...

Christian Scientists Dedicate Mother Church: June 10, 1906
On this day in 1906, the recently enlarged Mother Church of Christian Science was dedicated in Boston. The original building seated only 1,000 people,...

Massachusetts Bay Colony Bans Catholic Priests: May 26, 1647
On this day in 1647, Massachusetts Bay banned Jesuit priests from the colony on penalty of death. The English Puritans who settled the colony feared the...

Thousands Walk Across Zakim-Bunker Hill Bridge: May 12, 2002
On this day in 2002, more than 200,000 people celebrated Mother's Day by walking across the Leonard P. Zakim-Bunker Hill Bridge, months before it...

Marblehead Carved Out of Salem: May 6, 1635
On this day in 1635, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay established the town of Marblehead on land that belonged to Salem. The move was meant to punish...

Boston Jews Petition for First Cemetery: April 29, 1844
On this day in 1844, members of Boston's first Jewish congregation petitioned city officials to set aside a corner of an East Boston cemetery for...

Puritans Leave for Massachusetts: April 7, 1630
On this day in 1630, the last well-wishers stepped off the ship Arabella and returned to shore. More than a week after the vessel first set out, the winds...

Birth Control Pioneer Born: March 24, 1890
On this day in 1890, birth control pioneer John Rock was born in the small Massachusetts town of Marlborough. He was a deeply religious Catholic even...

Anne Hutchinson Banished: March 22, 1638
On this day in 1638, Anne Hutchinson was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Three years after arriving in Boston, she found herself the first...

Boston Burns: March 20, 1760
On this day in 1760, the dreaded cry of "Fire!" roused sleeping Bostonians. Over the next ten hours, the worst fire to strike a colonial...

Jonathan Edwards Ordained: February 5, 1727
On this day in 1727, Jonathan Edwards was ordained in Northampton. Two years later, he succeeded his grandfather as minister of what was then the largest...

Native American Writer Born: January 31, 1798
On this day in 1798, a Pequot Indian named William Apess was born in Colrain, a village in western Massachusetts. Although his childhood was marked by...

Indian Boys Arrive in Longmeadow: January 23, 1800
On this day in 1800, Thomas Thorakwaneken Williams arrived in Longmeadow with his two young sons, Eleazer and John. Thomas was the grandson of Eunice...

The Crucible Opens on Broadway: January 22, 1953
On this day in 1953, Arthur Miller's play The Crucible opened on Broadway. Four years after winning the Pulitzer Prize for Death of a Salesman, Miller...

Horatio Alger Born: January 13, 1832
On this day in 1834*, Horatio Alger was born in Revere. The author of the rags-to-riches stories that captured the imagination of generations of American...

JFK's Farewell to Massachusetts Legislature: January 9, 1961
On this day in 1961, John F. Kennedy bade farewell to the people of Massachusetts and reminded them of the state's unique legacy. In a speech at...

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