Lucius R. (Lucius Robinson) Paige.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register online

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Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 25 of 73)
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Joseph Stone .
Ichabod Dexter


Nov. 19, 1830.
Nov. 19, 1830.


Held Office until

June 27, 1849,
May 11,1851,



The other branch of the church, in addition to Deacons Fish,
Amidon, and Winchester, elected: —




Held Office until


Mark Haskell

May 20, 1830.


Mar. 5, 1841.

Jason Carpenter ....

Sep. 2, 1836.


Ap. 4, 1851.

Joseph "Whipple . . .

Sep. 2, 1836.


Ap. 10, 1842.

Emery B. Foster . . .

Ap. 30,1841.


About 1849.

Philander Chandler . .

Sep. 7, 1849.


About 1864.

Reuben Tyler

Sep. 7, 1849.


Nov. 21, 1859.


William A. Warner, Jr.

Dec. 31, 1864.

James N. Brown . . .

Dec. 31, 1864.



Charles L. Warner . .

Mar. 15, 1878.

Henry G. Towne ^ . .

Mar. 15, 1878.

Term expired.


Charles A. Wheeler .

Mar. 1881.

1 Agreeably to a recent arrangement, the deacons are elected for a limited term
of years.



Separate Church. — Reasons for Separation. — Early Separatists. — Cove-
nant. — List of Members. — Removal to Bennington. — The Original Sepa-
rate Church in Hardwick becomes the First Congregational Church in
Vermont. — Baptist Society. — Early Members. — Corporators. — Meet-
ing-houses. — Pastors. — Deacons. — Universalist Society. — Petition for
Incorporation. — Corporators. — Pastors. — Deacons. — Amalgamation with
the Congregational Society. — Methodist Society. — Meeting-house. —
Trinitarian Congregational Church. — Munificent Benefactors. — Pastors.
— Deacons. — Meeting-house. — Catholic Church. — Meeting-house. —

Separate Church. About the year 1740 occurred what
was then called the " Great Awakening," which extended
throughout New England. It was occasioned, or at least greatly
encouraged, by the labors of the celebrated Rev. George White-
field.i One of its results was the rending asunder of many
churches, those who seceded being styled " New Lights," and
afterwards " Separatists " or " Separates." Terms of obloquy
were freely interchanged between the two parties. The New
Lights were denounced as enthusiastic and unscrupulous disorgan-
izers, and they, in their turn, stigmatized the Old Lights, or
established churches, both clergy and laity, as cold, lifeless, and
dead, utterly unworthy the name of Christians. One of their
preachers, Rev. Ebenezer Frothingham, of Weathersfield, Conn.,
published a Discourse, in 1750, entitled, " The Articles of Faith
and Practice, with the Covenant, that is confessed by the Separate
Churches of Christ in general in this Land. Also a DISCOURSE,
holding forth the great privileges of the Church of Jesus Christ,

^ Rev. Dr. Wigglesworth, in his Dis- who followed him in this iininstituted and
courses, November 12 and 19, 1754, very disorderly and pernicious practice,
"after the Rev. Mr. Whitefield's preach- twelve or thirteen years ago, we may
ing at Cambridge," in regard to itinerant ascribe all the separations from our
preachers and laymen " thrusting them- churches, and most if not all the en-
selves into other men's labors," says, thusiasm, error, contention, and confu-
" To the encouragement given to the sion, with which we have been perplexed
same person (Mr. Whitefield) and those ever since." P. 34.


and the same privileges vindicated from the Sacred Scriptures ;
and some points of practice in the Church of Christ, that are in
great dispute between the learned and unlearned, fairly settled
in a line of Divine Truth. — Written by Ebenezer Frothing-
ham." In this Discourse the author devotes one chapter " to
answer some objections that is made against the present great
and misterious work that God is a doing in New England." He
mentions seven objections, which probably embody the most
material : — " We cannot think that this is a good work in
the land, or a work of God's Spii'it, that inclines persons to
separate and rend away from the churches of Christ that are
established by the laws of this colony and land, and to leave the
house of God, and set up a worship contrary to the gospel, as
has been the practice of some of late in the land." pp. 338, 339.
" We cannot believe that this is a work of God in the land,
which the Separates hold to be God's work, because none of our
learned and good ministers own it. They say it is delusions and
a false religion." p. 344. " We cannot believe that the Sepa-
rates are right ; for God is a God of Order, and their practice is
Disorder and Confusion. When they separate from us, they go
off, one by one, and do not unite in a body, and then get a
regular dismission ; but they rend away, some at one time, and
some at another. And when there are a number that is suffi-
cient for to set up public worship, then they are all of them
preachers, women as well as men ; and this we know is contrary
to the will of God." pp. 352, 353. " We cannot think that this
present work is of God, which the Separates hold to be of God,
for it makes divisions and disorders, and breaks the peace of
churches and families ; therefore it cannot be a work of God, for
Christ's Kingdom is a peaceful Kingdom ; and the promoters of
this work are censorious, judging persons, who speak evil of our
ministers and rulers, which is contrary to the word of God." p.
363. " We don't believe that the Separates are right, or that
God is with them, because that there are such divisions and jars
amongst themselves ; for if God is with them, surely they would
be agreed and have fellowship together, as they profess the saints
of God have in a high degree ; but they are contending one with
another, as is manifest to all ; and that religion and power
amongst them, which they call the power of God, is a false re-
ligion, nothing but a mere noise and an empty sound." pp. 373,
374. " Notwithstanding all that the Separates pretend to, we
think that they are them false prophets that Christ speaks of in


the 24 of Matt. — ' that if it were possible they shall deceive the
very elect.' " p. 392. " Notwithstanding all that the Separates
say, or preach, or write, yet they do not convince us that they
are right, or that God is with them ; and surely if God was with
them, as they contend, they would be able to convince us, either
by scripture, or sound reason, or they would be able to work a
miracle, to show some undeniable sign, that we might believe."
p. 398.

To each of these objections Mr. Frothingham makes a formal
reply ; of which the first may serve as a fair specimen. He de-
nies that the established churches from which so many had sepa-
rated were true churches of Christ for the following reasons :
" The Churches that we have separated from generally hold that
external morality is the door into the church, and that the Lord's
Supper is a converting ordinance ; or that all have a right to join
with the church, that will make an outward public profession of
Christianity, although they be unconverted." p. 340. " In the
churches that we have left, there are many that are hardened and
believe not, but speak evil of the ways, work, and power of God,
and are awful mockers at the Spirit of God and the saints that
are under the influence of the same Spirit ; and these persons are
indulged in the churches ; therefore we have a just right and
warrant in the word of God to separate from them. Acts xix-
9." p. 341. " Again, the Churches that we have left, have dwin-
dled away into a dead, dry, lifeless form of godliness, and have
denyed the power and life of godliness, and from such we are to
turn away. See 2 Timo. iii. 5." pp. 341, 342. " Again, the
Churches that we have left, are stuffed full of hypocrites or dis-
semblers ; for they professedly take in the unconverted, and when
they are in the church, they profess themselves saints, and are
counted and treated as such ; which is manifest hypocrisy in the
sight of God and his saints." p. 342. This language manifests
the same spirit which was exhibited by Whitefield, as quoted by
Dr. Wigglesworth, in his Discourses heretofore referred to : One
" unretracted error of Mr. Whitefield " is " what we find in his
Journal when at Boston, in the year 1740, Thursday October 9*'',
where, after he hath told us ' that he saw a great number of min-
isters sitting around and before him, and that the Lord enabled
him to open his mouth boldly against unconverted ministers ; for
he was verily persuaded the generality of ministers talk of an un-
known and unfelt Christ,' he adds, ' and the reason why congrega-
tions have been so dead is because they have had dead men preach-


ing to them.' ... I believe many a stupid sinner hath read with
secret pleasure, and thanked him in his heart, for thus transfer-
ring the blame to his minister, and so far excusing him for his un-
profitableness under the sound preaching of the gospel of Christ."
p. 32.

One more specimen may be pardoned, in which the author
manifests some keenness of thouglit, though expressed in his cus-
tomary uncouth style.. In reference to the third objection, he
says, " The fourth and last thing held forth in the objection is,
Women's speaking in the Church, 1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35. This text
no ways forbideth a woman's speaking, or breathing forth the ar-
dent desire of her soul after God ; and when she is placed at
Christ's feet with Mary, Luke x. 39, in true humility and brok-
enness of soul by faith, beholding the divine excellencies and glo-
ries of the Godhead shining forth in that spotless and innocent
Lamb of God. When the case is thus with any woman or child,
they have a just right from Christ, who gives them these discov-
eries, when sweetly constrained thereto by the Spirit of God, to
speak openly in the Church of the beauties and excellencies they
see in their beloved ; Cant. iii. 4, 5 ; and chap. v. 10, 16. But to
take the scripture aforementioned in this sense, — that a woman
shall not speak at all in a public assembly, — will contradict the
examples of the following scriptures : Luke xi. 27, 28. ' And it
came to pass as he spake these things, a certain woman of the
company lift up her voice and said unto him. Blessed is the womb
that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he
said, Yea, rather blessed are they which hear the word of God
and keep it.' Here is an example one would think sufficient to
stop the mouths of all creatures who oppose a woman's speaking
in a public assembly, in a proper season ; for if a woman ever
ought to be silent in a public assembly, surel}'' it should be when
the Son of God was personally a preaching with his own blessed
mouth ; but yet at this very time ' a certain woman of the com-
pany lift up her voice,' &c. No doubt but the carping Pharisees,
who love a smooth form of worship, were highly offended at this
woman's speaking and especially because she lifted up her voice so
loud, and broke in upon Christ in his discourse, like a disordei'ly
woman ; and had it been so that them Pharisee hearers, who stood
much for an even form, had been acquainted with Paul's Epistles
(which were not then written), no doubt they would have (as our
Pharisees do now), pick out them texts that say a woman shall
not speak in the church (not considering what speaking Paul had


reference to), and so accused her therewith, and have told her that
she had broken the commands of God, and gone contrary to his
word, &c. But let us consider, — Doth Christ, who is the great
Head of the Church, say. Woman, be silent, and not disturb the
public worship of God, by speaking with such a loud voice whilst
I am a preaching ; you are disorderly ; you have broken the
commands of God and the civil law : Constable, take her out of
the assembly, and let her be fined, or cast into prison, 'till she is
more regular, and learns not to disturb the public worship ? Was
this Christ's reply to the woman ? Surely no ! but the contrary.
Christ shows his approbation of her speaking by taking an occa-
sion further to teach her and all the assembly, from what she
said, that true blessedness did not lie merely in being in human
relation to him, but rather in being united to his divinity by a di-
vine principle of grace implanted in the soul, which will lead a
person both to hear the word of God and keep it." pp. 357-360.
Other scriptures are then quoted to the same effect.

The first notice found on record concerning this separate
movement in Hardwick is under date of July 25, 1749, when it
was " Voted, that the church make choice of, and send to the
Rev. Mr. Edwards, Hall, and Eaton, to come and give their
advice about the dissatisfied brethren in our church, viz., Samuel
Robinson, James Fay, Benjamin Harwood, Silas Pratt, and
George Abbott, jr., whether they will advise the church to dis-
miss them, or proceed to censure them as irregular, disorderly
members : — which council also came and gave their advice,
as may be seen under their hands." " Sept. 20, 1749. At a
church meeting in Hardwick, voted, that the church comply and
fall in with the advice that the Rev. council gave. Silas Pratt,
one of the dissatisfied brethren, complied with the council's
advice. James Fay, Benjamin Harwood, and John Roberts ^ de-
clared their non-compliance." At a later period, December 18,
1751, Silas Pratt and Jacob Abbott ^ were called to account ; and
February 4, 1752, it was " voted, that the reasons that George
Abbott and Silas Pratt gave for their absenting themselves
from the public worship of God at the meeting-house in Hard-
wick are not sufficient to justify their conduct. Voted, that

1 John Roberts was not before named as 2 From what follows, it seems probable

one of the " dissatisfied brethren"; but that this name should be George Abbott,

he was among the most prominent ; and Similar mistal^es are not unfrequent in

Samuel Robinson, who was named, is Mr. White's records,
here omitted from the list.


George Abbott and Silas Pratt be suspended from tbe sacrament
of the Lord's Supper until they acknowledge their fault and
amend." Again : "At a church meeting in Hardwick, Nov. 14,
1753, voted that Experience Johnson, Ichabod Stratton, Ezekiel
Pratt, Elisha Higgins and his wife, and Oliver Rice, be called
to give the reasons why they absent themselves from the sacra-
ment of the Lord's Supper in this place, and that Edward Allen
be also called to give his reasons why he refuses to partake of the
Lord's Supper in any church whatever." Also, " that a com-
mittee be chosen to meet with the members that have separated
from this church, and to propose some reconciling methods to
them : Deacon Allen, Deacon Cooper, Lieut. Mirick, John Brad-
ish, Ichabod Stratton, Jr., and Benjamin Whipple, were chosen
for this committee." The result of this labor does not appear
on record, except that, March 3, 1757, Experience Johnson was
" censured by the church for his absenting himself from the
sacrament of the Lord's Supper for several years ; " and, May
26, 1763, " Ichabod Stratton confessed his fault in separating
from the Church of Christ in Hardwick, was forgiven by the
church, and admitted to former privileges." ^

Meanwhile, the Separates had organized a church, and had
probably erected a meeting-house on the northwest corner of
the " ten acres " devoted to a public use, which was subsequently
confirmed to them by the proprietors. The original Covenant
is still in existence, and was manifestly written by an uneducated
scribe, of which the following is a literal copy, made in 1877, the
spelling and punctuation only being revised :

" The Covenant.

"We whose names are under written, apprehending ourselves
called of God into church state of the gospel, do first of all con-
fess ourselves unworthy to be so highly favored of the Lord, and
admire that rich and full grace of his, which triumphs over so
great unworthiness ; and then, with a humble reliance on the

1 The only action of the town in regard gether for religious worship by them-

to the Separates, which I find, is under selves, and are generally called Separates,

date of May 9, 1754, and May 16, 1757; after considering the matter respecting

at the first date, when met " to see if the freeing the Separates, as expressed in the

town will release a number of the in- last article in the warrant, it being put to

habitants of the town from i)aying to- vote, it passed in the negative." The

wards the support of the settled minister second trial had a similar result.
in said town, who assentble and meet to-


aids of grace therein promised for them, in a sense of their in-
ability to do any good thing, do humbly wait on him for all ; and
we now thankfully lay hold on his covenant, and would choose
the things that please him.

" We declare our serious belief of the Christian Religion, as
contained in the Sacred Scriptures, and with such a view thereof
as the Confession of Faith and Rule of Discipline in Cambridge
Platform has exhibited, — heartily resolving to conform our lives
unto the rules of that holy religion as long as we live in the
world. We give ourselves unto the Lord Jehovah, who is the
Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and avouch him this
day to be our God, our Father, our Saviour, and our Leader ;
and receive him as our portion forever. We give up ourselves
unto the blessed Jesus, who is the Lord Jehovah, and adhere to
him as the head of his people in the covenant of grace, and
rely on him as our Priest, and our Prophet, and our King, to
bring us unto eternal blessedness. We acknowledge our everlast-
ing and indispensable obligation to glorify our God in all the
duties of a godly, a sober, and a righteous life, and very par-
ticularly in the duties of a church state, and a body of people
associated together for an obedience to him in all the ordinances
of the gospel ; and we herein depend upon his gracious assistance
for our faithful discharge of the duties thus incumbent on us.
We desire, and intend (with dependence upon his powerful
grace), we engage to walk together as a church of the Lord
Jesus Christ, in the faith and order of the gospel, so far as we
shall have the same revealed to us, conscientiously attending the
public worship of God, the sacraments of his New Testament,
the discipline of his kingdom, and all his holy institutions, in
communion with one another, and watchfully avoiding all sinful
stumbling-blocks and contention, as become a people whom the
Lord hath bound up together in the bundle of life. At the same
time also we do present our offspring with us to the Lord,
purposing with his help to do our parts in the methods of a
religious education, that they may be the Lord's. And all this we
do, flying to the blood of the everlasting covenant for the pardon
of our many errors, and praying that the glorious Lord, who is
the great Shepherd, would prepare and strengthen us for every
good work, to do his will, working in us that which will be
well pleasing : — to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

This original covenant was written on the first page of a folio
sheet of paper, which is still preserved by the First Church in



Bennington, Vt. On the second page the earliest signatures are
arranged in two columns, as follows : —

John Roberts,^
Samuel Robinson,-'
James Fay,^
Benjamin Harwood,^
George Abbott,^
Jacob Fisk,^
George Abbott, Jr.,^
Jedediah Rice,^
James Breckenridge,*
Oliver Rice,^
James Fay, Jr.,^
David Doaue,^
John Fassett,^
Daniel Fay,^
Ichabod Stratton, Jr.,^
"William Breckenridge,®
Benjamin Whipple,^
Eleazar Harwood,*
Samuel Pratt.^

Jonathan Scott,
Elisha Field,
Samuel Montague,
Elizabeth Scott,
Experience Richardson.

Rebekah Abbott,
Lydia Fay,
Marcy Robinson,
Baty Pratt,
Bridget Harwood,
Elizabeth Roberts,
Elizabeth Fisk,
Elizabeth Pratt,
Peace Atwood,
Prudence Whipple,
Martha Abbott,
Mehitable Fay,
Hannah Rice,
Elizabeth Fay,
Marcy Newton,
Hepzibah Whipple.

Joseph Safford,
Ann Safford,
Stephen Story,
Bethia Burnham,
Eleanor Smith.

Aaron Leonard,
John Wood,
Zachariah Harwood,
Philippa Wood,
Margit Harwood.

This Separate Church was organized in Hardwick about the
year 1750.^ Its deacons were Samuel Robinson and James Fay ;
perhaps, also, John Fassett. There is no known evidence that it
ever had a settled pastor while it remained here.^ So many of

1 Eemoved to Bennington, Vt., in or
about 1761.

2 Did not remove to Bennington.

^ The Breckenridges were of Ware.
James removed to Bennington, but Wil-
liam remained at Ware.

* Probably removed to Amherst about
1756, and thence to Bennington in 1761.

^ It must have been formed as early as
1750, for one of its members, Mrs. Eliza-

beth Roberts, died before the end of that

^ There was a tradition, half a century
ago, that the church had a pastor, whose
name was Roberts. Perhaps it had this
foundation: Mr. John Roberts whose
name heads the list of subscribers to the
Covenant, may have ordinarily officiated
as a lay-preacher, or exhorter, which
would account for his taking precedence
of Samuel Robinson in the list.


its members removed to Bennington in 1761, that the Church, as
an organized body, together with its covenant and records, was
transferred to that town. It formed a union, December 3, 1762,
with a much smaller representation of a similar Church which had
removed from Sunderland to Bennington, and on the same day
admitted five persons who had formerly been members of a Sepa-
rate Church in Newint (a parish in Norwich), Conn., and thus
was organized the First Church in the territory now embraced in
the State of Vermont.

The particular method of this union of churches is recited by
Rev. Isaac Jennings, the present pastor of the united church, in
his " Memorials of a Century," pp. 31-33. That the covenant un-
der which the union was consummated was not originally pre-
pared for that occasion, but was the old covenant adopted at
Hardwick about twelve years previously, and already bearing
thirty-five signatures, is manifest for several reasons: (1.) The
only reference to a covenant to be found in the articles of union
is this: "It is agreed upon and voted by the Church of Christ
in Bennington, that they make an exception in the fourth para-
graph in the eleventh chapter in Cambridge Platform, in respect
of using the civil law to support the gospel ; and also the ninth
paragraph in the seventeenth chapter, in respect of the civil mag-
istrate's coercive power." The Hardwick covenant accepted the
Cambridge Platform without qualification. In renewing or re-
adopting that, it was natural to make exceptions, if desirable ;
but altogether unnatural to make such exceptions to the provi-
sions of a new covenant at that time prepai*ed as a basis of eccle-
siastical union. (2.) Of the first thirty-five signatures to this
covenant, all are recognized as Hardwick names except the two
Breckenridges, who resided in the adjoining town of Ware ; but
there is sufficient evidence on the town records, that four of
them, to wit, Deacon James Fay and his sons James Jr. and
Daniel, and William Breckenridge, never removed to Benning-
ton. (3.) Another reason is of itself conclusive: The signa-
tures of the first nineteen males are autographs ; but at least
three of them had deceased before the union of the churches ;
namely, Dr. Jedediah Rice, who died at Hardwick April 4, 1756 ;
Benjamin Harwood, who removed to Amherst and died August
19, 1758 ; and Geoi-ge Abbott, Jr., who had died, and the inven-
tory of his estate was rendered August 16, 1761. Also, of the
sixteen females whose names stand first in the second column,
three had died, and three had changed their names by marriage,


before the date of the union ; namely, Elizabeth, wife of John
Roberts, who died November 4, 1750 ; Elizabeth Fay, who died
November 24, 1756 ; and Lydia, wife of Deacon James Fay, who,
died before September 13, 1760, when he was published to his
second wife ; Betty Pratt, who married Elisha Field of Sunder-
land, January 11, 1753 ; Prudence Whipple, who was published
to Deacon James Fay, September 13, 1760 ; and jNIehitable Fay,
who married Benjamin Rogers September 10, 1760. There can

Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 25 of 73)