Conn.) First Congregational Church (Franklin.

The Celebration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the primitive organization of the Congregational Church and Society : in Franklin, Connecticut, October 14th, 1868 online

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One Hundred and Fiftieth



Congregational Church and Society,


OCTOBER 14th, i8(

TuTTLE, Morehouse & Taylor, Printers,

NEW haven.


Note. — The accompanying map gives the location of the first settlers of
Franklin. It covers a period extending from 1663, when the lands of West
Farms were partly apportioned among the Original Proprietors of Norwich,
to 1725, by which time the population had become tolerably numerous. In the
Historical Address and in its appended notes, the reader will find the time
and order of arrival of these settlers. The present inhabitants will also per-
ceive by a glance at the map who were the first owners of the farms which
they now occupy, and, if they are curious to follow up the clue thus furnished,
they can, by consultation of the records, trace the succession of owners down
to themselves. The various names of places then in vogue are also given.
Some of these are still retained, while others have been long in disuse.

The preparation of this map has involved a vast amount of labor. It is the
result of investigations extending over a series of j'ears, and to which the
writer was led in connection with other historical studies. In its preparation
the early deeds of the town of Norwich have been minutely explored, as well
as a great number of private papers and deeds in the possession of difTerent
families. The series of papers on file in the State Library have also aflforded
valuable assistance. Not a little information has also been obtained from the
examination of the ordinary records of the same date, which, in their records
of votes respecting particular sections of the town, of allotments to different
individuals, of the location of roads, of the running of district lines, &c., &c.,
have incidentally furnished decisive evidence. By the collation of these dif-
ferent authorities facts have been elicited which could not have been obtained
from any single source. No location has been given which is not sup-
ported either by the direct evidence of the deeds or by strong collateral

The map may claim, therefore, to present a truthful representation of the
town during the first half century of its histor}^ and the writer ventures to
hope that this study of a former generation will afford to the present one a
pleasure equal to that which it has given to himself. A. W.


Preliminary Meetings, _ _ _ - - 5

Opening Hymn, by Miss F. M. Caulkins, - - 7

Address of Welcome, by Ashbel Woodward, M.D., - 9

Historical Address, by Ashbel Woodward, M.D., - 1 1

Notes to Historical Address —

Note A. — Indian Deed of Norwich, - - 45

Note B. — Indian Names, - - - - 46

Note C — List of original Proprietors of Norwich, 48
Note D. — Brief Notices of the principal original

Settlers of West Farms, now Franklin, 49

Note E. — College Graduates, - - - 64
Note F. — List of Clergymen raised up in Franklin,

with brief sketches of some that have

deceased, - . - - 65

Note G. — Physicians of West Farms, now Franklin, 77
Note H. — Sketches of individuals not included in

clerical and medical professions, - - 83

Note I. — List of Missionaries, - - - 88

Note J. — Portipaug Society, - - - 89

Historical Sermon, by Rev. Franklin C. Jones, - - 93

Notes to Historical Sermon —

First Creed of the Church, - - - 108

Deacons of the Church, - - - - 112

Intermission and Collation, - - - - 113

Letter from Hon. L. F. S. Foster, - - - - 1 1 5

Letter from Bela Edgerton, - - - - 115

Letter from Rev. C. H. Chester, - - - - 116

Poem, by Anson G. Chester, - - - - 119

^ Speech, by Rev. Thomas L. Shipman, - - - 1 29

Speprh , by Rev. Hiram P. Arms, D.D., - - 130


Speech, by Rev. Anson Gleason, - - - 130

Speech, by Rev. David Metcalf, - - 130

Speech, by Rev. W. H. Moore, - - 130

Speech, by Rev. Jared R. Avery, - - 130

Speech, by Rev. Joseph W. Backus, ■- - - 1 3 1

Speech, by Rev. George J. Harrison, - - 131

Speech, by Mr. Thomas D. Stetson, - - 132

Speech, by Rev. Jesse Fillmore, - - - - 132

Appendix —

Letter from Miss F. M. Caulkins, - - - 135

Letter from Anson G. Chester, - - 135

Letter from Hon. Asahel Huntington, 136

Letter from Hon. Wm. A. Buckingham, - 137

Letter from Rev. A. T. Chester, D.D., - - 137

Letter from Rev, Isaac Clark, - - 138

Poem from Miss Hyde, - - - - 140

Index of Names, - - 141


On page 23, the 16th line from the top, for 1610 read 1710.

On page 37, the 5th line from the top, for 1608 read 1708.

On page 43, the 7th line from the top, for Edward read Ezra.

On page 51, the 16th line from the top, for Get-once read Yet-once.

On page 56, the 19th line from the top, for she read he.

On page 78, the last line, add the character £ so as to read £3.

Preliminary Meetings.

At a meeting of the Congregational church ol Franklin,
Conn., August 30th, 1867, it was voted to celebrate the
approaching one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of its
organization with appropriate exercises, and the follow-
ing committee were appointed to make the necessary
arrangements: — Ashbel Woodward, JNI. D., Chairman;
Joseph I. Hyde, Clerk; P. O. Smith, H. W. Kingsley and
Dan Hastings. The Ecclesiastical Society voted unani-
mously, September 30th, 1867, to commemorate its own
organization in conjunction with the celebration ot the
one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the church.

At a subsequent meeting of the committee of arrange-
ments. Rev. Franklin C. Jones was invited to deliver the
Historical Sermon, and Ashbel Woodward, M. D., the His-
torical Address. It was also voted to hold the anniversary
celebration on Wednesday, October 7th, i868."'''

September 13th, 1868, the committee of arrangements
appointed the following special committees :

On Collation. — Herman H. Willes, Amos F. Ro3-ce,
Wm. M. Converse, Charles A. Kingsley, James C. Wood-
ward, Ezra L. Smith and E. Eugene A3-er.

* It subsequently became known that the American Board of Commis-
sioners for Foreign Missions were to hold their annual meeting at Norwich
city during the first week of October, 1868, and it was, therefore, deemed
advisable to defer the anniversary- exercises till the second Wednesday of
October. Fortunately the organization of the church took place on the second
Wednesday of October, 171S, and we were thereb}- enabled in a certain sense
to celebrate upon the anniversary of the date of its organization, although
there was an actual discrepancy of one week ; the celebration occurring
October 14, while the organization took place October Sth.

On Finance. — William B. Hyde, John O. Smith, Bela
T. Hastings, Amos F. Royce and Lavius A. Robinson.

On Reception. — Henry W. Kingsley, Oliver L. Johnson,
Lovell K. Smith, Samuel G. Hartshorn, Owen S. Smith,
Ezra L. Smith, Dan Hastings and Charles A. Kingsley.

On Music. — Hezekiah Huntington, Prentice O. Smith
and Rev. F. C. Jones.

Anniversary Exercises.

The morning of October 14th, 1868, opened with threat-
ening clouds and damp, cutting winds. But, notwithstand-
ing the inauspicious weather, the church was crowded at
an early hour with the returning sons and daughters of
Franklin, some of whom had journeyed from beyond the
Mississippi to join in the festivities of the day, while others
had come back gray-haired men to once more grasp hands
with the playmates with whom they had parted half a
century before.

At half-past ten o'clock, the Hon. Ephraim H. Hyde,
of Stafford, Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut, was
introduced as president of the day, by the pastor, and the
exercises of the occasion were opened with an invocation
by Rev. E. W. Oilman.

The following hymn, wi'itten by Miss F. M. Caulkins,
of New London, was then sung by the Choir.


For the Celebration of the 1 ^oth Antiiversary of the first Organization
of Religious Worship in Franklin, Conn.


Church of our fathers, hail !

Long on this sacred height.
Thy shining courts o'er hill and dale

Have shed celestial light.

A few worn pilgrims here

Their altar reared to God :
Here first the Burning-bush they saw.

Here bloomed the Almond rod.


The watchmen of the land.

Like stars before us rise : —
For seventy years one faithful hand

Was pointed to the skies.

And still thy garments shine.

With plenteous grace bedewed :
Rich are the clusters of thy vine.

Thy sons a multitude.

For blessings so supreme.

Our grateful songs we raise ;
Lift high, sound deep the joyful theme.

Awake, O voice of Praise !

Now, Lord, in triumph come !

Here shed thy spirit free.
That each may bear a blessing home

From this, our jubilee.

x\fter the singing of the opening hymn, the chairman
of the committee of arrangements, Ashbel Woodward,
M. D., delivered the following

Address of Welcome.

Sons and Daughters of Franklin : —

In behalf of the committee of arrangements for cele-
brating this anniversary occasion, I greet you with a
cordial welcome. It affords me no ordinary gratification
to welcome you to a full participation in all the pleasant
memories and amenities which this hallowed re-union is
suited to call forth. I welcome you to the hospitalities
of our homes, which were once the homes of your fathers
and your fathers' fathers. And to all who have upon this
auspicious morning favored us by your presence, I would
extend the warmest welcome of our hearts.

It is profitable to turn aside occasionally from the stir-
ring scenes of the hour to contemplate the virtues of those
who have lived before us. No people can become per-
manently great and prosperous unless they revere the
memor}^ of a virtuous ancestr3^ This feeling underlies
the sentiment of patriotism and inspires the self-devotion
of the hero. If the Roman of the empire was not ashamed
to acknowledge his descent from the robber band who
founded the eternal city ; if the Briton proudly traces his
lineage to the Danish and Saxon pirates of the mediaeval
period, surely we may well rejoice that our blood is de-
rived from a religious, heroic, God-fearing ancestry.
Amid perils and privations they sowed the precious seed,
upborne by a lofty faith even in the darkest hours of trial
and adversity. Reflecting upon the piety, and courage,


and resolution of our fathers who laid the foundations
here, we shall not only appreciate more fully the greatness
of their work, but be the better fitted to carry it onward
toward final fulfillment.

Our town, secluded and sparsely settled by an agricul-
tural people, has borne an unconspicuous part in history.
Yet she has given to the country not a few who have
risen to high positions of honor and usefulness. Trained
in the virtues of the puritans, her sons and their descend-
ants have ennobled this, their birth-place.

But not to detain you with further words, allow me to
extend to you, one and all, the earnest and sincere wel-
come of our hearts.

The address of welcome was succeeded by reading of
the scriptures, Isaiah xxxv, and prayer by Rev. H. P.
Arms, D. D.

After further singing by the choir, came the Historical

Historical Address,


AsHBEL Woodward, M. D.

Introductory Note.

The author of the following address is unwilling to permit this
memorial volume to go to press without acknowledging that its tardy
appearance is due almost entirely to himself. Actively devoted to a
profession which precludes all system in the improvement of moments
devoted to non-professional research, he has only been enabled to seize
upon detached fragments of time to accomplish the little that was originally

In preparing the accompanying notes, almost constant recourse has
been had to the local records, which fortunately are full and in a good
state of preservation. All the early papers now on file in the public
offices at the State Capitol, relating to our history in colonial times, have
been examined and much valuable information has been obtained there-

The late Miss F. M. Caulkins, in collecting materials for her invalu-
able History of Norwich, availed herself of all known sources of infor-
mation, and left comparatively little for other gleaners. Frequent refer-
ence has been had to her writings, which have afforded very valuable
aid in the preparation of these sketches.

The writer also feels greatly indebted to the late chancellor Wal-
worth, not only for information which he kindly furnished as a corres-
pondent, but for many important statistical facts embodied in his
Genealogy of the Hyde Family, a work involving vast labor, and
including in its scope many of the families resident in this place.

He also feels under great obligations to Rev. Dr. Sprague, of Albany,
for information communicated by letter, and for the aid afforded by his
printed volumes.

He would also acknowledge information furnished by Rev. Jesse
Fillmore, of Providence, Rev. E. B. Huntington, of Stamford, Prof.
Oilman and F. B. Dexter, of Yale College, and others.

He would also add that he feels under great obligations to Hon. J.
H. Trumbull, President of the Conn. Historical Society, for assistance
upon the obscure subject of Indian names.

The mechanical execution of the accompanying map was entrusted to
Mr. Andrew B. Smith, Post Master at Franklin.

Franklin, April 14th, 1869.

Historical Address.

The Society whose anniversary we celebrate to-day,
embraces territory purchased of the Indians in the month
of June, 1659. Originally this region lay within the
domain of the Narragansett, but he, at some unknown
period, was driven back by the irruption of a fierce tribe
from the north, who swept down with an impetuosity
which even his might could not withstand. These new
comers, settling upon the banks of the stream afterwards
called by their name, the Pequot or Thames, issued forth
from thence conquering and to conquer, a living terror
far and near, until overwhelmed in the memorable de
struction of 1637. The Mohegans, an uneasy clan of the
Pequots and a traitorous aid in their overthrow, rose
Phoenix-like from the ruins of their race, and had become
in 1659 a powerful tribe dwelling about the headwaters
of the Thames and extending thence into the interior.
Their territory was the fairest in New England. Nature
here lavished in stream and vale the means of easy sub-
sistence, while in scenes of rugged grandeur ceaselessly
blending with others of quiet repose, she spoke in such
tones of captivating eloquence to her first children as she
does to-day to those who have ears to listen. But nowhere
in this broad domain was her hand more generous or her
smile more winsome than over the region which greets the
eye from the spot whereon we stand. Here pure streams,
flowing with increased volume beneath the shade of the

primeval forest, sparkled through valleys from whose
genial soil the three sister spirits, guardians of the red
man's board, the spirit of Corn, of the Bean and of the
Vine, drew the kindliest support. Over the hills above,
ranged the deer, bear, wolf and fox, while the encircling
streams furnished still choicer food in their abundant
supplies of salmon, shad and trout. Here, then, was joy
to the full for the red man, and the abundant remains of
his art join with tradition in pronouncing this his favorite
abode. In these valleys, long before they felt the white
man's tread, the summer wind rustled through the com-
plaining corn, the woods re-echoed to the huntsman's
joyous shout, or anon the war-wiioop rung out from hill
to hill, and the streams ran red with blood. Again, where,
perhaps, this very church rears heavenward its spire,
weird companies have circled round the council fire in
celebration of their mystic rites, or in the golden harvest
time, led by the gratitude which yearly draws us hither,
have gathered from far and near to return thanks to the
Great Spirit for bounteous seasons, and to bespeak his
continued kindness. But this aboriginal form of society,
with its bright alike with its dark side, be it spoken, van-
ished so quickly away that only the faintest glimpses of it
are preserved for us, and we hasten on into more certain

Doubtless the people of Saybrook were familiar with
the charms and advantages of this region long before a
colony was actually led hither. Major John Mason, the
leading spirit in that settlement, had had abundant oppor-
tunity in his frequent expeditions through the Avilderness
and his long intimacy with Uncas, to learn the nature of
the sachem's possessions; and it was doubtless the enthu-
siastic admiration of this tireless man that prevailed upon
his fellow colonists to abandon their homes, just beginning


to requite the toil of )^ears, and plunge again into the
heart of the wilderness.

Tn May, 1659, the General Assembly authorized the
planting of a colony in the Mohegan country ; and the
following month Uncas and his brother Wawequa, for the
consideration of sevent}- pounds, ceded a portion of their
domain nine miles square, and including within its limits
the present towns of Norwich, Franklin, Bozrah, Lisbon
and Sprague, with small portions of adjoining towns.

Preliminary arrangements are at once effected, and the
next spring the thirty-five proprietors, under the guidance
of Major Mason and Rev. James Fitch, remove from
Saybrook hither, and establish themselves at what is now
known as Norwich Town. The first year or two are
busily employed in erecting dwellings and subduing the
wilderness about them. These done, other matters press
upon the attention. Young men are growing up in their
midst, full of the energy begotten by struggles with
nature in a new land, who will quickly be ready to plunge
still deeper into the shades of the forest, there to hew out.
their own fortunes. New comers, also, from abroad
must soon be crowded onward beyond the existing
bounds, while the needs of the present population suggest
the clearing up of outlying lands for pasturage and culti-
vation. The meadows and uplands of West Farms, as
this portion of Norwich was long known, are most
accessible and inviting. Accordingly, in Sixteen Hn7idred
a)id Sixty-T/n-ee, the desirable portions are parcelled out
among the occupants of the Town Plot, to be improved
by them, or, if they see fit, passed over into other hands.
Nor is it long before the smoke curls up here and there
from the center of a little clearing, in indication of actual,
occupation. Soon John Ayer, the famous hunter, Indian
fighter and guide, pushes up the Beaver brook and pitches


his tent in the gap of the hills, a wild and solitary place
exactly to his taste and perpetuating by its name the
memory of his many daring exploits in its vicinity. Job
Hunnewell, William Moore and others, follow in his
footsteps, and settle up and down the different streams.
These first comers, unused to the restraints of civilization,
when, in a few years, neighbors begin to crowd upon them,
sigh again for the freedom of the forest, and most of them
pass on into the unbroken wilderness. Yet these same
men were the actual pioneers in the settlement of West
Farms, and carry back the history of this portion of the
nine miles square almost to the days of the original settle-
ment at the Town Plot. Nearly coeval with the arrival
of these men here, Samuel Hyde, John Birchard,
John Johnson and John Tracy move out from the
Town Plot and settle upon the lands that fell to them in
the division of 1663.

Two hundred years ago ! Who of us can realize the
change, or depict the life of those adventurous men, here
in the very heart of the wilderness, shut in on every side
by the gloom of the primeval forest, and environed by
countless perils ? From the surrounding shades savage
beasts are ready to pounce upon their herds and
trample down their crops, or, at some unguarded moment,
the war-whoop may ring out the death knell of unpro-
tected wives and children. Life is a constant struggle
with hardship and danger. Scarcely are the toilsome
beginnings over and a slight degree of comfort attained,
when King Phillip's war bursts forth, to rage with unin-
terrupted fury for many months. The compacted settle-
ments are stricken with deadly fear. Young and old rush
to arms. Heavy guards are maintained night and day.
Yet with the utmost vigilance a forlorn dread settles upon
every heart ; dread lest their stoutest defences avail not


against the wiles of tlie Narragansctt chief. What, then,
must be the feelings, the sickening despair of the lonely
family upon the frontier, cut off from the assistance of
neighbors and friends, and to whom the appearance of the
foe is the precursor of inevitable death ; death, too, under
all the tortures that devilish cunning can devise ? We,
^vh(>sc fortunes have fallen upon peaceful times, but faintly
realize the horrors of those early days. No woman in
the absence of her husband at his daily toil, could feel
sure that in his stead a mangled corpse would not come
back to her at night. No father in parting from his wife
and children could shake off the dread that his returning
footsteps might bring him to smouldering ruins and the
charred remains of dear ones. Life was a burthen, to be
flung off with joy but for the interests of others bound up
in it. Amid such scenes did the fathers lay the founda-
tions of our goodly town, and many of our richest bless-
ings are due to the heroic spirit that could endure and
grow strong by battling with adversity.

With the downfall of King Phillip, in 1676, sank the
last great Indian power in New England. Peace is now
assured, and under her fostering influences the West
Farms receive fresh life. The next 3'ear Joshua Abel
removes from Dedham hither, and establishes himself at
the foot of the hill, directly below our present church.
Benjamin and John Armstrong, Nathaniel Rudd and
others follow rapidly, and the place soon begins to wear
the air of civilization. Before 1690, crops of grain wave
over many a field but lately torn from the embrace of the
forest, wood-paths have expanded into highways — one
leading to Portipaug, one up the central valley and over
Middle hill, and another along the long and elevated crest,
then known as Little Lebanon — and the victories of civili-
zation over barbarism appear on every hand. A glance at


the surrounding country will, perhaps, place the antiquity
of the West Farms in clearer light. While they already
boast a thriving and populous community, rapidly extend-
ing their conquests over nature, other ancient towns that
hold early and honorable place in the annals of the State,
have not yet come into existence. Windham is still Nau-
besetuck, or, at most, contains but a single log cabin, and
Lebanon is an unbroken wilderness. Even over the nine
miles square, save about the Town Plot, there are else-
where only a few straggling settlers. In this vicinity
Franklin claims an actual history, antedated only by the
settlement at the Town Plot.

Each returning year brings its additions to the popula-
tion. Among others, one after another, the names of
Hyde, Birchard, Edgerton, Smith, Waterman, Hunt-
ington, Tracy, Royce, Gager and Mason are added
to the list, all sons or connected with the first pro-
prietors, and so many links to bind more closely together
the communities of the Town Plot and the West Farms,
though, in fact, they are already as one people, gathering
in the same church, forming a single civil body, and
inarching forth shoulder to shoulder wherever the duties
of those warlike days might call. Indeed, until the final
separation in 1786, though to a less degree after the for-
mation of this Society, the history of Franklin is to be
found in the history of Norwich. Her inhabitants consti-
tute no small portion of the body politic, have a voice in
all civil matters, bear off their portion of the offices and
their full share of the heavy burthens consequent upon
early citizenship. If their history be merged in the his-
tory of the older and larger town, we must not forget
that they have a history, nay, occupy an important place
in the annals of the period.

Yet, in face of these blending influences, it will not

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Online LibraryConn.) First Congregational Church (FranklinThe Celebration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the primitive organization of the Congregational Church and Society : in Franklin, Connecticut, October 14th, 1868 → online text (page 1 of 12)