Dorchester Illustration of the Day no. 1710 John Codman

Dorchester Illustration of the Day no. 1710


The following is a footnote in the Clapp genealogy.

Rev. John Codman, D.D., was born in Boston, Aug. 3, 1782.  He was son of Hon. John Codman and Margaret Russell his wife, grandson of John, of Charlestown and great-grandson of Capt. John, who came to an untimely end by being poisoned by his three negro slaves about the middle of the 18th century.  It is recorded by the biographer of Rev. Dr. C. that one of these slaves was executed for his crime on the northerly side of the Cambridge road, about a quarter of a mile above the peninsula, and that another, a female, was burned at the stake, about ten yards from the gallows!—the only instance, it is said, in the history of this country, of that method of punishment under the authority of the law.  Dr. Codman graduated at Harvard College in 1802, studied for the ministry under the Rev. Henry Ware, then of Hingham, and in 1805 embarked for Europe, to finish his theological studies there.  After spending three years broad, he returned home, and in August, 1808, first preached to the Second Church in Dorchester, then recently organized, their new meeting-house having been dedicated Oct. 30, 1806.  He was ordained pastor of this church Dec. 7, 1808, the Rev. Dr. Channing (from whom he very soon after separated in theological belief) preaching the ordination sermon.  In about a year after his settlement, commenced the celebrated controversy between him and many members of the parish, which lasted for three years, but neither the merits nor the details of which can be here entered into.  In 1821, an interesting journey by Dr. C. and his wife was made to the state of Georgia, including a Sunday passed at Midway, among the descendants of the people of Dorchester who emigrated thence in 1695.  They then took passage for Europe, returning home the next year.  Two other visits to Europe were afterwards made by Dr. C.  The position attained by Dr. Codman as pastor of the Second Church, and as a leading and able minister in the denomination to which he belonged, was elevated, and his death, which took place Dec. 23, 1847, in his 66th year, was much lamented.

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