First settled about 1753, Brattleboro took its name from one of the original patentees, William Brattle (1702-1776), a Massachusetts loyalist.
He was called to the ministry of the Brattle Street church (Unitarian) in Boston before he was twenty years old.
Like his father he was deeply grieved by the liberal theology and Church polity of the new Brattle Street Congregation, and conscientiously opposed its pastor Benjamin Colman, who had been irregularly ordained in England and by a Presbyterian body; but with his father he took part in 1700 in services in Colman's church.
The Liberal leaders, John Leverett (1662-1724), William Brattle (1662-1713) - who graduated with Leverett in 1680, and with him as tutor controlled the college during Increase Mather's absence in England - William Brattle's eldest brother, Thomas Brattle (1658-1713), and Ebenezer Pemberton (1671-1717), pastor of the Old South Church, desired an "enrichment of the service," and greater liberality in the matter of baptism.
In 1699 Increase Mather published The Order of the Gospel, which severely (although indirectly, criticized the methods of the "Liberals" in establishing the Brattle Street Church and especially the ordination of their minister Benjamin Colman by a Presbyterian body in London; the Liberals replied with The Gospel Order Revived, which was printed in New York to lend colour to the (partly true) charge of its authors that the printers of Massachusetts would print 1 Mather led the resistance to the royal demand instigated by Edward Randolph in 1683, for the annulment of the college charter, and after its vacation in 1684 strove for the grant of a new charter; King James promised him a confirmation of the former charter; the new provincial charter granted by William and Mary confirmed all gifts and grants to colleges; in 1692 Mather drafted an act incorporating the college, which was signed by Phips but was disallowed in England; and in 1696, 1697, 1699, and 1700, Mather repeated his efforts for a college charter.