Emily C. (Emily Carrie) Hawley.

Historical sketch of the First Congregational Church of Brookfield, Connecticut, and of the town of Brookfield online

. (page 2 of 8)
Online LibraryEmily C. (Emily Carrie) HawleyHistorical sketch of the First Congregational Church of Brookfield, Connecticut, and of the town of Brookfield → online text (page 2 of 8)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Foote, Charles Hawley, Abel Taylor, and Roswell
Parker. The plans and specifications were furnished
by Mr. Nash, an architect of Bridgeport.

The new edifice was planned to be fifty-four (54)
feet in length by thirty-eight (38) feet in width. The
dimensions were subsequently somewhat altered.

In March, 1854, the bell was purchased and on April
12, 1854, the second church edifice was dedicated with
great joy; neighboring churches participating in the
dedicatory services, Rev. Mr. Churchill of Woodbury
preaching the sermon. This event occurred during
the pastorate of Rev. Dan C. Curtiss. This church
stands on nearly the same site as the first meeting
house, with entrance from the east instead of south
as in case of first building. The seats occupied the
center of the house and the two sides, with aisles


History of the Second Church Edifice 25

separating the three sections of seats ; "observation
pews" were located on the right and left of the pulpit
which was rather ornate in design with tall side lamps.
The choir occupied the rear gallery ; there were no
side galleries. Stoves to the right and left of the east
entrance with pipes extending to the chimneys on the
extreme west side of the building furnished heat and
smoke. In 1880 the choir gallery was constructed at
the west end of the auditorium, at the rear of the

In the year 1887 the church edifice was extensively
repaired ; this included a reseating of the auditorium
with solid oak pews, arranged semi-circular with cen-
ter aisle and side aisles. The pulpit was replaced by
an oak desk and furnishings. The walls were also
frescoed, and a small room arranged for the Sabbath-
school library. All at a cost of sixteen hundred dollars.

The remodeled church was reconsecrated Novem-
ber, 1888, the Rev. Dr. Maxwell of Danbury, Rev.
Henry L. Slack of Bethel, and Rev. James P. Hoyt of
Newtown participating.

In 1864 the sheds for horses were constructed. In
1891 the pews were made free sittings.

Church Parsonages

The first parsonage was built about the year 1842.
The Society did not at first own this building, as it

26 Historical Sketch

was erected by a few of the male members of the
Society at their own expense. The architect and
builder was Harry Sherman, Esq., son-in-law of Col.
Isaac Hawley. This building is the one now occupied
by Prof. H. W. Greene as his residence. The first
minister who occupied it was Rev. Dan C. Curtiss.
This house was sold in 1869 to R. H. Parker, Esq.

The present church parsonage was constructed and
ready for occupancy in the summer of 1870. The
building committee appointed in October, 1869, were
Beers Foote, R. H. Parker, John Stewart, Harvey
Roe. This committee was empowered to select a site
and receive proposals for building a parsonage.
Henry S. Peck and Benjamin Starr were a committee
to receive funds for building.

The site selected, just south of the Episcopal
Church, was on land belonging, in part, to Hiram
Fairchild and Henry S. Peck.

In 1881 a barn was built for the new parsonage
property, E. W. Ford and Emmon Hawley being the
committee to secure the land and superintend the erec-
tion of the building. In 1904-05 the parsonage was
extensively repaired and remodeled.

The Church Choir

There was good musical talent in the old church at
Brookfield, and the singers' seats in the gallery were

History of the Second Church Edifice 27

well filled. The musical instruments in use for many
years were the bass viol played by Arza Peck, the
violin by Benjamin Starr, and the flute played by
Edwin Smith. The tuning fork was in evidence. Mr.
Charles Hawley was the chorister for forty years,
possessing- a musical voice of great compass and
power. The stringed instruments were in time super-
seded by a small organ which was introduced after the
second church was built; this organ was played by
Miss Harriet Peck for some time. Later a larger in-
strument was in use for a considerable number of
years, the organists being Mr. Henry Smith and Miss
Eliza G. Fairchild.

In November, 1880, the present pipe organ was
built and installed in the church. An organ concert
was given by the makers on the 12th of that month.
The instrument cost about a thousand dollars, a con-
siderable amount of which was contributed by Mr.
Samuel E. Merwin of New Haven, a former resident.
Mr. Almon H. Taylor was organist from 1880 to 1897,
Miss Minnie Somers succeeding him in this position,
and for ten years has rendered most acceptable service
to the church.

Prof. Herbert Wilbur Greene has been the choir
director since 1900.

28 Historical Sketch

Church Benevolences

This church makes annual offerings to the Church
Relief Fund, the Congregational Church Building
Society, Congregational Home Missionary Society,
American Missionary Association, American Board
for Foreign Missions, Congregational Education
Society, Ministers' Relief Fund, Congregational Sun-
day School and Publishing Society.

Trust Funds of the Society

Permanent funds have been left by former members
to this church, the income to be devoted to the preach-
ing of the gospel in connection with the Congregational
Church at Brookfield. The funds were largely be-
quests ; the names of the individuals who left such
funds, with the dates when they were received by the
Society, are as follows : Hubbell Smith in 1874 ; Han-
nah Merwin, 1884 ; Beman Fairchild Memorial, 1885 ;
"Unknown donors," 1886 ; Samuel E. Merwin and
wife, 1886; Harriet Smith, 1891; Permelia Foote,
1892; Henrietta P. Starr, 1891; Eliza Peck, 1893;
Isaac Lockwood, 1894.

Faith and Covenant — Constitution

Creeds are formulated theories, or confessions, con-
cerning Divine facts. The early church at Newbury-

History of the Second Church Edifice 29

Brookfield presents in her first "Articles of Faith and
Covenant" most astonishing creedal elaboration, the
same being twenty-five lengthy articles. As mankind
advances we observe that creeds become more simple.
In 1827 these articles and the covenant were ma-
terially abbreviated. A constitution was likewise
adopted in 1827.

In March, 1827, "The Constitution and Articles of
Faith and Covenant" were by vote of the church
printed in form of a church manual.

In 1885 the articles and covenant were recast and
adopted in April, 1886.

In December 28, 1905, the church again appointed a
Committee of Revision and adopted the following in
1906 :—

Confession of Faith

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Author
of all things visible and invisible, Who has made the
natural world beautiful and good, and is working to
make the life of man holy and happy.

I believe in Jesus Christ as the Supreme Revelation
of that life of love which is the will of God and the
salvation of man.

I believe in the Spirit of Christ in the hearts of His
followers, as the present Divine power for the redemp-

30 Historical Sketch

tion of the world from sin, and the establishment of
the Kingdom of God.

Church Covenant

Dearly Beloved : You have come hither to confess
your allegiance to Jesus Christ, the Head of the
Church, and to enter into covenant with His people.
You confess your past sins with full repentance, and
trust in God's forgiving grace ; and you promise to
seek, through prayer and the study of His Word, to
be guided by His Spirit into all truth, to be cleansed
from all evil, to be fitted for every good work. You
desire to be (a true disciple) and (a faithful follower)
of Jesus Christ; you consecrate (yourself) and your
possessions to His service. The Lord hath shewed thee
what is good ; and what doth He require of thee, but to
do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly
with thy God ? You therefore profess before Him and
this body that this is the life which, by His grace, you
mean to live : to speak the truth lovingly, to follow the
right loyally, to be honest and upright in your dealings
with men, to be steadfast in your service of God.

With this church you now covenant to join in work
and worship, seeking not to be ministered unto, but to
minister; doing good to all men as you have oppor-
tunity; helping us as we shall seek to serve and save

History of the Second Church Edifice 31

and bless our fellow men ; keeping with us the unity of
the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Is this your purpose and your promise ?

[Here baptism should be administered to those
who have not been baptized. To those who re-
ceived the ordinance in infancy the minister
should say] :

You were baptized in infancy into the name and
household of Christ. Do you now accept and ratify
that act of consecration ?

[Here those should rise who are to be received
by letter, to zvhom the minister should say] :

You have come from other communions to join us
at these altars in confessing our common Lord and in
seeking to build up His kingdom.

[Here the members of the church should rise.]

Joyfully then do we, the members of this church,
receive you to our communion. We remember the
new commandment that we love one another, and will
strive to obey it.

The Lord hath shown us our loving duty. This then
is our purpose and our promise: to help you, as we
can, in bearing your burdens ; to give you, as you need,
Christian counsel and sympathy; to walk with you, if

32 Historical Sketch

we may, in the ways of loving service; to be patient
with you, and faithful to you, if you go astray ; to be
jealous of your good name; to hold your peace and
welfare as our own ; to fulfill to you, as far as in us lies,
the law of Christ our Lord. And we humbly ask for
grace divine to keep this promise.

In token of our hearty fellowship and earnest pur-
pose I now give you this right hand.

[Here the minister should take each candidate
by the right hand, repeating to each an appropriate
verse of Scripture.]

Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling,
and to present you faultless before the presence of His
glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God, our
Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power,
both now and ever. Amen.

December 28, 1906, a committee was appointed to
revise the standing rules.

Church Incorporated

In accordance with the laws of Connecticut, Chapter
XLIV. of the Public Acts of 1893, this church, upon
application, became a legal body under the corporate
name of the "Congregational Church of Brookfield,"
the certificate bearing date of February 18, 1901.

The church and society, under the Congregational

History of the Second Church Edifice 33

system, act independently. In calling a pastor the
church extends the call, and the society must concur
in the same; both bodies agreeing, call the council to
settle him. Each body has its separate officers. This
rather complicated system has caused a large number
of Congregational churches to merge the two bodies.
A law now on the statutes of this state provides for
the transfer of all properties and trust funds from the
society to the church or corporation. The statute is
No. 3963, and is as follows : —

Society to Transfer to Corporation

When any church of Christ has been duly incor-
porated under the laws of this state, any ecclesiastical
society connected with such church may, by a four-
fifths vote of its members present and voting at a
meeting duly warned and held for that purpose, trans-
fer and convey to such church all the property and
estate of such society and all trust funds held by it,
to be held by such church corporation under and upon
the same uses and trusts upon which the same had
previously been held by such society. The committee
of any society passing such a vote shall make any and
all conveyances necessary to complete such transfer;
but before the same shall be effectual a certificate of
the fact of such transfer shall be filed in the office of
the secretary of state by the clerk of such society. The

34 Historical Sketch

corporation accepting such transfer shall thereupon
become primarily liable for all the then existing debts
and obligations of the transferring society, and such
debts and obligations shall be a first lien upon the
property so transferred, except such of it as has been
held in trust.



Pastorate of Rev. Thomas Brooks, 1757-1799

Mr. Brooks, who had "preached on probation" for the
First Ecclesiastical Society of Newbury, was invited in
June, 1757, to become the settled pastor, the church
uniting in the call three months later, at which date,
September 28, 1757, it was legally organized as a

Mr. Brooks was ordained and installed pastor of this
church on September 28, 1757. The church was or-
ganized and the first edifice dedicated on the same
date, September 28, 1757. A day of fasting and prayer
preceded these important events. The neighboring
pastors who participated in these services were: Rev.
Ebenezer White of Danbury, who preached the ser-
mon; Rev. David Judson of Newtown, who gave the
charge; Rev. James Taylor of New Fairfield, right
hand of fellowship ; Rev. Jedediah Mills of Huntington,
prayer of ordination ; Rev. James Beebe of Trumbull
and Rev. Elisha Kent also participated. Mr. Brooks
was born in England in 1719, and was thirty-eight
years of age when he was installed. His ministry here

36 Historical Sketch

extended over a period of forty-two years. Only one
pastorate in this vicinity was longer, namely, that of
Rev. Mr. Mills of Huntington, who preached there
fifty-two years.

Mr. Brooks lived in his own house, which was lo-
cated about 200 feet north of the church and just at
the rear of the residence of Mr. Henry Griffen. After
his death Mrs. Brooks continued to live there, cared
for by a daughter. This house was in the town of
Newtown until 1788 (the date of our incorporation as
a town), the Newtown line extending as far north as
the present Congregational parsonage until that date.
In signing all legal documents Mr. Brooks gave New-
town as his place of residence. The salary of Mr.
Brooks was fixed in 1757 at forty-five pounds per an-
num for three years ; after that date it was to be
raised to fifty pounds per annum. In addition a
settlement of one hundred pounds was made him in
1757 to be paid within three years. In 1784 his salary
became fifty-five pounds and so remained.

During his ministry here the church at Bethel was
organized in 1760, and the church at Ridgebury in
1769. In all ecclesiastical matters in neighboring towns
Mr. Brooks participated.

He was pastor of this church during the entire period
of the Revolutionary War and witnessed the great
triumph in behalf of constitutional liberty. In 1788,

Captain Garry Brooks
Grandson of Rev. Thomas Brooks, from w hom i mis Town rooK its name

Pastors of the Congregational Church 37

when the parish of Newbury was incorporated with
town privileges, it received the name of Brookfield in
honor of its first and then-time pastor.

Mr. Brooks died September 12, 1799, in his eightieth
year, and was interred in the Hawleyville cemetery
(one hundred and eight years ago).

Pastorate of Rev. Thomas Robbins, 1799

November, 1799, Rev. Thomas Robbins became a
temporary supply for the Brookfield Church, but re-
moved to Danbury early in 1800, where he became a
teacher of considerable reputation, and preacher. His
chief contribution to the local history of the period is
his "Century Sermon," delivered in Danbury January,
1801, the same being a record of Danbury during its
first one hundred years.

Pastorate of Rev. Erastus Ripley, 1800-1801

Mr. Ripley received a call March, 1800, and was
ordained the following April. One year later, owing to
some misunderstandings, it was deemed advisable to
retire Mr. Ripley, and the consociation met in October,
1801, for that purpose, his pastorate being a little less
than one year and eight months.

The church was without a pastor for six years.
During the interregnum, Rev. Josiah Haws and Rev.
Joseph Mills were among the supplies.

38 Historical Sketch

Pastorate of Rev. Richard Williams, 1807-1811

Mr. Williams received three calls from the church
and society to become pastor in 1807 at a salary of
four hundred dollars. He was installed June 2, 1807.
The Rev. Daniel Huntington of Litchfield preached
the sermon, Rev. Samuel Stebbins of Stratford gave
the charge to the people, Rev. John Clark of New-
town gave the right hand of fellowship.

Thirty-eight persons were added to the church dur-
ing his pastorate. The church records were com-
menced at his suggestion and with his assistance
(previous to this time no separate records of church
and society had been kept). After a little more than
three years he requested that the consociation be called
to dismiss him from the Brookfield church, giving as
his reasons lack of cooperation, growing out of want
of unanimity at time of his call ; also poor financial
support, which had embarrassed him to the extent that
he was obliged to sell his house at a considerable sacri-
fice in order to maintain himself. Mr. Williams'
house was the one now standing opposite the residence
of Mrs. Esther M. Hawley.

Mr. Williams was therefore dismissed by consocia-
tion April 23, 1811. Mr. Williams was married while
pastor over this church to Miss Electa White of
Coventry ; marriage performed by Rev. Mr. Tylor
May 18, 1808.

Pastors of the Congregational Church 39

Pastorate of Rev. Bela Kellogg, 1813-1816

The church and society extended a call to the Rev.
Bela Kellogg, who, in a fine letter of acceptance dated
December, 1812, signified his wish to be ordained and
settled as their minister; which was done in January,
1813. His salary was four hundred dollars.

The following years, 1814-15, witnessed many cases
of discipline in the Brookfield Church, indeed the
records show but little else. These offences were
breaking of church covenant, intemperance, and other
causes. It must indeed have been a period of unrest
and sorrow. Many of the members thus disciplined
were reclaimed and given standing again in the
church; some were excommunicated altogether. Mr.
Kellogg was dismissed by consociation October 23,
1816. Mr. Kellogg stated that his salary was inade-
quate for his support; it seemed to be the only reason
on which he desired to sever his connections with the
church. The consociation expressed sympathy with
him and the church. Twenty-four persons united with
the church during his pastorate.

A period of over four years followed in which the
church was without a pastor.

Pastorate of Rev. Abner Brundage, 1821-1839

Rev. Abner Brundage received a call to the church
in April, 1821, at a salary of four hundred dollars an-

40 Historical Sketch

nually. In accepting the call Mr. Brundage stipulated
that he be allowed to supply the church in Bethel one
half of the time during the spring of 1821, the Bethel
church paying their proportion of the salary during
that time. Mr. Brundage also stipulated that as he
was a member of the Westchester Presbytery their
approval of his call be secured. The Brookfield Church
therefore appointed Deacon Michael Dunning and
Rev. William Andrews of Danbury a committee to
meet the Westchester Presbytery at North Salem and
secure their consent. Mr. Brundage's installation fol-
lowed May 15, 1821, Rev. William Andrews preaching
the sermon on this occasion, Rev. M. Rogers offering
the prayer, Rev. Punderson giving right hand of fel-
lowship, Rev. Daniel Crodner the charge to the pastor.

The ministry of Mr. Brundage extended over
eighteen years and is a period of great interest. Large
accessions to the membership are recorded.

A series of revival meetings was conducted in
September, 1831, and morning prayer meetings were
daily held in the town house for some little time.

There were many cases of discipline which were
somewhat complicated ; but we see the purpose, namely,
to keep the church pure, and we of to-day respect that
purpose, remembering that a case of discipline is all
but unknown at the present time in any church.

Mr. Brundage was willing to make an annual con-

Pastors of the Congregational Church 41

tribution to church expenses of twenty-five dollars,
provided his salary was not allowed to fall in arrears ;
he also made other concessions of like nature. In
October, 1839, his pastorate ceased at his own request,
because of failing health. He retired respected and
loved by his people. Mr. Brundage lived at the corner
of the main street and the obtuse road, the present
residence of Mr. H. Allen Smith, which Mr. Brundage

During the next four years pulpit supplies were Rev.
Philo Canfield, Rev. Mr. Day, Rev. A. B. Hull.

Pastorate of Rev. Dan C. Curtiss, 1843-1855

Mr. Curtiss came to Brookfield October, 1843, at
which time he was installed. There were large ac-
cessions to the church in 1851, forty-five persons
uniting at one time on confession of faith, and others
by letters. Many persons were also dismissed to sis-
ter churches during his ministry.

The second communion service owned by this
church was purchased in 1846.

The present church building (the second) was con-
structed during Mr. Brundage's pastorate and dedi-
cated April 12, 1854. At his own request Mr.
Brundage's pastoral relations were dissolved by con-
sociation, sitting in Stratford October, 1855, to the re-
gret of the church which he had served for twelve

42 Historical Sketch

years. Mr. Curtiss was the first pastor to occupy the
parsonage built by several of the members of the Con-
gregational Church about 1842.

Pastorate of Rev. Thomas Benedict, 1859-1862

Mr. Benedict became pastor April, 1859, at a salary
of six hundred dollars and donation. Twenty-nine
persons were admitted to the church during his minis-
try. He remained pastor for more than three years,
resigning September 22, 1862. The society com-
mended him for faithful service.

Pastorate of Rev. P. H. Hollister, 1862-1864

Mr. Hollister was ordained and settled by council
December, 1862 ; sermon by Rev. Mr. Charpiot of
Trumbull ; charge, Rev. Herrick of Redding ; fellow-
ship, Rev. E. C. Baldwin, Bethel ; prayer, Rev. W. H.
Moore, Newtown.

Mr. Hollister's salary was the same as his prede-
cessor's. Twenty- four persons joined the church during
the two years of his pastorate. Mr. Hollister resigned
December, 1864, and council dismissed him June 6,
1865. The church and parsonage were quite exten-
sively repaired during his time here. Mr. Hollister's
pastorate and that of Mr. Benedict extended through
the stirring period of the Civil War.

Pastors of the Congregational Church 43

Pastorate of Rev. Frederick Munson, 1865-1870

Mr. Munson became pastor April, 1865, at a salary
of eight hundred and fifty dollars and parsonage; he
remained with the church about five years. A revival
of considerable extent under Rev. Mr. Doolittle, an
evangelist, occurred during his pastorate, with a large
ingathering to the church November, 1867.

Mr. Munson resided in Brooklyn, N. Y., during the
later years of his life, being connected with the Central
Congregational Church during the pastorate of Rev.
S. Parks Cadman, D. D. Mr. Munson died in Brook-
lyn a few years since.

Pastorate of Rev. A. C. Pierce, 1870-1888

Mr. Pierce was called to the Brookfield Church in
July, 1870, at a salary of one thousand dollars and use
of parsonage.

He was installed October 19, 1870 ; sermon by Rev.
D. Gale of Lee, Mass. ; charge to pastor, Rev. Bonar,
of New Milford ; right hand of fellowship, Rev. Smith
of Newtown; charge to people, Rev. Frisbie of Dan-

Mr. Pierce and family were the first occupants of
the new parsonage built in 1870. The pastorate of Mr.
Pierce, extending over eighteen years, is remembered
to-day with deep gratitude; both pastor and family

44 Historical Sketch

endeared themselves to this community in an unusual
degree. Mr. Pierce became a strong factor in the
County Association and Consociation. July 16, 1876,
Mr. Pierce prepared and delivered an "Historical Dis-
course," which was printed and widely circulated in
this town. During his pastorate the present organ was
purchased in 1880, and the church extensively re-
paired in 1888. A revision of the rules was made in

Mr. Pierce died quite suddenly at the parsonage
Sabbath morning, December 2, 1888, in the sixty-ninth
years of his age. Mrs. Pierce survived him eight
weeks, falling asleep January 27, 1889. Their mortal
bodies were interred at Central Cemetery.

Pastorate of Rev. Henry B. Mead, 1889-1892

Mr. Mead accepted the pastorate in the spring of

2 4 5 6 7 8

Online LibraryEmily C. (Emily Carrie) HawleyHistorical sketch of the First Congregational Church of Brookfield, Connecticut, and of the town of Brookfield → online text (page 2 of 8)