Emily C. (Emily Carrie) Hawley.

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

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1889, and was installed June 11, 1889. The sermon
was delivered by Rev. J. A. Maxwell of Danbury,
charge to pastor by Rev. D. Eddy, charge to people
Rev. J. S. Ives.

The Christian Endeavor Society was organized by
Mr. Mead ; and a little book, entitled "The Recorded
Words of Jesus," was compiled by him for use of
Christian Endeavor societies. Mr. Mead is also re-
membered as a lover of music. His pastorate ter-
minated in the summer of 1892, after a faithful service

Pastors of the Congregational Church 45

of three years. Mr. Mead died in Scotland, Conn.,
after a successful ministry of several years.

Pastorate of Rev. George W. Lawrence, 1893-1895

Mr. Lawrence commenced his pastorate October,
1893, and resigned December, 1894, the resignation
taking effect in March, 1895. Although his ministry
was short, he endeared himself to many in this com-
munity. For several years after his pastorate here,
Mr. Lawrence suffered from ill health and died at
Newfane, Vt., in 1906.

Pastorate of Rev. Cyrus W. Francis, 1895-1904

Mr. Francis was called to the church May 12, 1895,
and installed November 12, 1895. The following
ministers participated in the service of installation :
Sermon by the Rev. Henry L. Slack of Bethel ; charge
to pastor, Rev. Joel S. Ives ; charge to people, Rev.
A. J. Park ; right hand of fellowship, Rev. G. W.
Banks ; prayer of installation, Rev. A. F. Pierce.

During Mr. Francis' pastorate forty-three persons
were added to the church, twenty-six of this number
by profession.

The "church wagon" was developed by Mr. Francis
in October, 1900, and is now an established fact and

46 Historical Sketch

The Sabbath school, under Mrs. Francis' superin-
tendence, was greatly enlarged in numbers and effi-

In 1901 the church secured incorporation as a legal
body. In 1903 the individual communion cup was

Mr. Francis resigned and was dismissed by council
June 22, 1904, after a pastorate of nine years of faith-
ful service.

Mr. Francis is the only living ex-pastor of this
church at this date.

Pastorate of Rev. Marion L. Burton, 1904-1907

September 25, 1904, Marion Leroy Burton, a stu-
dent in Yale Theological Seminary, supplied the pulpit
of the Congregational Church, and October 17 re-
ceived a call to become pastor of the church.

On June 27, 1905, Mr. Burton was ordained to the
ministry. On this occasion the order of service was
as follows : Reading of the minutes of the council by
the scribe; invocation by Rev. G. H. Beard, Ph. D. ;
sermon by Rev. George B. Stevens, D. D., of Yale
University ; prayer of ordination by Rev. W. J. Mutch,
Ph. D. ; right hand of fellowship by Rev. Otis W.
Barker; charge to the pastor by Rev. E. N. Packard,
D. D. ; address to the people by Rev. C. B. Moody,
D. D.

Rev. Marion L. Burton, Ph. D.
Pastor ok the Congregational Church

Pastors of the Congregational Church 47

Mr. Burton is an alumnus of Carleton College,
Minnesota, class of 1900, as is also Mrs. Burton. For
three years thereafter he was principal of Windom

Mr. Burton entered Yale Theological Seminary in
1903, from which he was graduated in the spring of
1906 ; he was a member of the Yale University de-
bating team ; he also received the "Fogg scholarship"
six times.

After graduating from the seminary, Mr. Burton
continued his special graduate course in philosophy
during the year 1906-07, and in April presented to the
faculty of the Graduating School of Yale University,
in candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, a
thesis on "The Philosophical Basis of Augustine's Doc-
trine of Sin."

In February, 1907, Mr. Burton was invited to the
Chair of Systematic Theology in Yale University, as
assistant professor. It was indeed an honor for so
young a man to be called to a chair which in former
years was occupied by ex-President Dwight, Samuel B.
Harris and Prof. George B. Stevens. Mr. Burton
handed his resignation to the clerk of the church
February 24, 1907, and at a meeting held to take action
on the same March 19, 1907, the resignation was ac-
cepted with regret. Mr. Burton will enter on his
duties at Yale University in October, 1907. The degree

48 Historical Sketch

of Doctor of Philosophy was conferred on him June
26, 1907.

Mr. Burton's pastorate might be called the "student
pastorate" to differentiate it from those which have
gone before. His sermons have been doctrinal, spirit-
ual, illuminating. His Sabbath morning congregations
have been large, attesting thereby the interest of the
people in his sermons. There have been added to the
church during his pastorate many persons on confession
of faith, and by letter.

Mr. Burton's pastorate, which terminates in a few
weeks, will be a very pleasant memory in the recent
history of our church. Of the two children of Rev.
and Mrs. Burton, the younger, Paul L. Burton, was
born here November 1, 1905.


A call was extended to Mr. Harry S. Martin of
Bangor Theological Seminary to become the successor
of Rev. M. L. Burton in the pastorate of this church,
said call bearing date of May 19, 1907. Mr. Martin
has accepted the call, and will assume the duties of pas-
tor to the Brookfield Church September 22, 1907.



In early days the office of deacon was held to be
second only to that of pastor; he was in reality an
assistant to the pastor, presiding at church meetings in
his absence, and conducting Sabbath worship when the
church was without settled minister. The deacons
likewise had charge of distributing alms to the needy,
and in other ways attended to the charities of the
church. Deacons are appointed by the church and
regularly ordained. Their place in the church is cer-
tainly one of dignity and real importance.

Owing to the lack of early church records, it is im-
possible to name all of those who probably served as
deacons in the first church at Newbury.

Deacon Joseph Ruggles, known as Captain Joseph
Ruggles, senior, was born in 1701 ; he came from New
Haven, Conn., and settled at the Half- Way Falls of
the Still River (iron works) in 1733. He was a man
of deeds and influence, was deacon at the New Mil-
ford Church at the first, and later became deacon of
the new church at Newbury. He was the grandfather
of Samuel Ruggles, missionary to the Sandwich Is-

50 Historical Sketch

lands. Deacon Ruggles died in 1791, aged ninety

Deacon John Dunning, born in 1713, was one of
the first deacons in this church. He died at the age
of eighty-one, in the year 1794. Deacon Dunning was
the great-grandfather of Harmon Lock wood, Esq.

Deacon Joseph Smith was also elected quite early
in the history of the church. He lived on Whisconier
Hill and was a prominent man not only in the parish
of Newbury, but as a citizen of Newtown until 1788.
He represented Brookfield in the legislature in 1789,
and died in 1829, aged seventy-seven years. Deacon
Smith was the great-grandfather of Miss Lucy Smith.

Deacon Henry Peck was deacon for many years.
He came from Milford, Conn., and was a prominent
man in the church here. He was justice of the peace
many years and represented the town in the General
Assembly ; in fact was the first representative. He
died in 1808. Deacon Peck was the great-grandfather
of Miss Mae F. Peck.

Deacon Abraham Camp was elected deacon of the
Newbury Church and served during the Revolutionary
period. He lived in the New Milford portion of the
town and was quite prominent in military affairs. He
is mentioned in the records in 1787.

Deacons of the First Congregational Church 51

Deacon Samuel Merwin, one of the early resi-
dents here, was next ordained deacon. He lived where
Mrs. Georgiana Williams now has a residence. Dea-
con Merwin came from Milford and was great-grand-
father of Gen. S. E. Merwin of New Haven. He
served until his death in 1828.

Deacon Matthew Baldwin, whose home was on
Whisconier Hill, south of the residence of Edwin
Smith, was associated with Deacon Merwin in the
office. He died in 1836, being in his eighty-eighth year.

Deacon Michael Dunning, who lived at Pokono,
in the house south of Henry L. Foote's residence, was
elected to the office in 1819 and served until enfeebled
by age. He was the grandfather of Rev. Albert E.
Dunning, editor of The C ongre gationalist.

Deacon Levi Dibble was elected to the office in
1819. He lived in the Bound Swamp District, and I
regret that I cannot give additional information con-
cerning him.

Deacon Ashbel Dunning, appointed in 1827,
served the church twenty-eight years. His residence
was at the first in Pokono; later he lived in the resi-
dence now owned by John Thornhill, and for a time
lived in the house occupied by S. B. Terrill. Deacon
Dunning's last years were spent in the home of his
daughter, Mrs. Isaac Lockwood. He died in 1855.

52 Historical Sketch

Deacon Abel S. Taylor, born in 1792, was elected
deacon in 1834, and served forty years. He lived on
Whisconier Hill, very near the Newtown line. His
son was Thomas Taylor; his grandson, Almon H.
Taylor. Deacon Taylor was very prominently con-
nected with the history of this church, and died in

Deacon Luther Smith was elected to the office in
1849. He built and occupied the house in Brookfield
Center, now the residence of Mrs. Esther M. Hawley.
Deacon Smith was a great lover of trees, and planted
all the pines and shade trees now surrounding this
residence. He did much to improve the walks through
the village and had an eye for the beautiful. He died
in 1862, being seventy-eight years of age.

Deacon Alfred Somers was chosen to the office in
1858. Deacon Somers has served this church as dea-
con for a longer period than any other person. In a
few months he will have completed fifty years of ser-
vice in the office of deacon. I desire to mention the
fact that Mrs. Alfred Somers has for about forty
years prepared the emblems for the communion table.

Deacon William H. Skidmore was elected to the
office in 1863 to succeed Deacon Luther Smith. In
1866 Deacon Skidmore removed to Sing Sing, N. Y.,

Deacon Alfred Somers

Deacons of the First Congregational Church 53

and was not again a resident of this town for some
years. He died at Brookfield Center in 1875.

Deacon Enoch W. Ford was elected to the office in
1880. He died in 1885.

Deacon Orson J. Taylor of the Reformed Church
succeeded Deacon Ford in 1886 and held the office
until his death.

Deacon Frederick S. Curtis was appointed acting
deacon in 1892.

The two deacons of the Congregational Church at
Brookfield at this date are therefore Deacon Alfred
Somers and Deacon Frederick S. Curtis.



Foreign Missionary Societies

The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign
Missions, incorporated in 1810, gained an active aux-
iliary in Fairfield County in 1825.

The Brookfield Church organized a society that
year, and in 1825, I find that the society contributed
about fifty dollars to foreign missions. There were
two societies in the church working together for a
common cause, namely, the Ladies' Association, whose
president was Mrs. Abner Brundage ; secretary, Mrs.
Thomas Burch, and treasurer, Mrs. Hiram Fairchild;
and the Dorcas Society, whose president was Mrs.
John Northrop, and treasurer, Mrs. Urania Merwin.
These two female societies annually made liberal con-
tributions of money and clothing to the cause of mis-
sions. The Gentlemen's Society was organized a little
later, and Mr. Hiram Fairchild was its secretary from
1835 to 1860 ; the treasurer was Deacon Taylor, from
1844 to 1854. The president of this society from 1843
to 1855 was Rev. Dan C. Curtiss.

Solititors were annually appointed by the Gentle-
men's Society to collect funds for missions. I find that
from 1844 to 1858 the contributions were eight hun-

Organizations Within the Church 55

dred dollars from the Brookfield Church. In 1834 the
societies at Brookfield Church contributed over seventy-
eight dollars.

It may be of present-day interest to learn that the
American Board at this time represented not only
Congregational churches, but the Presbyterian and
Reformed Dutch churches, sustaining official rela-
tions with each and receiving candidates for the for-
eign field from each of these denominations. The cor-
porate members of the board in 1834 were from these
three bodies.

Among the solicitors were Captain Jones, Edwin
Merwin, Elijah Sturdevant, Noah Taylor, Beers Foote,
Benjamin Hawley.

In 1882 the Women's Foreign Missionary Society
was organized, auxiliary to the New Haven branch of
the Woman's Board.

Mrs. A. C. Pierce was the first president and Mrs.
Julia W. Skidmore was appointed the first secretary
and treasurer of the society. After the death of Mrs.
Pierce in 1889 Mrs. Skidmore was acting president.
In 1895 Mrs. Cyrus W. Francis was elected president
and served until 1904. In 1904 Mrs. William Geddes
became the president, serving three years, or until
1907. Monthly meetings have been conducted during
the twenty-five years since organization. For the last
five years a systematic study of foreign mission fields

56 Historical Sketch

and their needs has been entered into by the society.
Between five and six hundred dollars have been con-
tributed by this society to the cause of foreign mis-

The faithful and efficient secretary and treasurer,
Mrs. Julia W. Skidmore, after serving this society for
twenty-five years, resigned in April, 1907.

In October, 1906, on the occasion of the one hun-
dredth anniversary of the birth of the foreign mis-
sionary movement in this country, three members of
the society attended the exercises at Williamstown,


Home Missionary Department

In 1840 a Young Ladies' Benevolent Society was
organized with a constitution written for it by the
Rev. Mr. Day. The society numbered about thirty-
five members, meeting at stated times. The last record
preserved of this society is August, 1849. In 1848
they record meeting at the town house three successive
weeks to quilt for home missionaries.

The Ladies' Industrial Society of the Congregational
Church was organized in 1882, the purpose of the so-
ciety being to assist in the pecuniary and benevolent
work of the church. Mrs. Sarah Roe Hawley was for
some years the secretary and treasurer.

In 1897 the Ladies' Industrial Society became aux-
iliary to the Connecticut Woman's Congregational

Organizations Within the Church 57

Home Missionary Union. The society has contributed
yearly to home missions in the form of cash gifts, and
boxes of clothing sent to deserving institutions ; besides
assisting families in the parish. This society has made
liberal donations to the church society at various times
to assist them to build and repair church property.

Since 1890 the Ladies' Industrial Society has earned
and expended in this way more than two thousand
dollars. We cannot speak too highly of their en-

Mrs. Frederick S. Curtis has been the president of
the society since 1892. Miss Amelia I. Northrop, the
secretary and treasurer since 1891.

The present membership is twenty-one. The officers
elected January, 1907, are: President, Mrs. F. S.
Curtis ; vice president, Mrs. W. B. Roe ; secretary and
treasurer, Miss A. I. Northrop ; directresses, Mrs. E. G.
Peck, Mrs. Austin Smith, Mrs. W. C. Geddes.

The Junior Sewing Society, organized in 1902, has
been successful, and in 1906 purchased the fine, new
piano for the chapel, with money earned by the society.
Miss Peck, Miss Curtis, Miss Skidmore, Miss Somers,
and Mrs. Roe have been patronesses.

The Sabbath School

I am unable to ascertain the date of organization.
The first mention of the school occurs in the church

58 Historical Sketch

records in the year 1833 ; it was then in operation.
Sabbath schools were quite generally organized in
Fairfield County, east district, in 1821. We are war-
ranted in assuming that this school was gathered as
early as 1821, my opinion being that it was much
earlier. It has been a strong factor in the life of this
church for more than three quarters of a century.
Hundreds of children and young people have come un-
der its uplifting influences, some going forth to as-
sume larger work in other fields.

Modern text-books for Bible study, music, and good
literature have combined to hold the attention of the
young. Within the last ten years, the largest total en-
rolment occurred in 1901, at which time the member-
ship of the school was 140. The enrolment of this
school as given last December (1906) was 130 pupils
and officers.

A "Home Department," organized in 1890, has
brought into affiliation with the school those who are
unable to attend its sessions ; its members take up a
course of Bible study.

Sunday School Library

The Sabbath school library, numbering more than
five hundred volumes, has for the past twelve years,
or since 1895, been in charge of the efficient librarian,
Miss Amelia I. Northrop.

Organizations Within the Church 59

The annual benevolences of the school include con-
tributions to the State Sunday School Association,
Mission and Publishing societies, Fresh-air fund of
New York City, Lincoln Memorial Association, Morn-
ing Star Mission, Library fund.

About two hundred dollars annually pass through
the hands of the treasurer of the school.

The Christian Endeavor Society

This organization, known as the "First Young Peo-
ples' Society of Christian Endeavor of Brookfield,"
was organized October 6, 1889, under the direction of
the pastor, Rev. Henry B. Mead. The first officers of
this society were : President, Mr. H. E. Tuttle ; vice
president, Miss Theodora Skidmore; treasurer, Miss

This society has conducted a Sabbath evening meet-
ing weekly for eighteen years, the first Sabbath of each
month being a consecration meeting. Its work is con-
ducted through the following four committees, namely,
prayer meeting, lookout, social and music, missionary
and calling.

The present officers of the society are: President,
William Blackman; vice president, Dr. Ryder; treas-
urer, Mrs. C. A. Ryder; recording secretary, Mary
Bowdy; corresponding secretary, W. Blackman.

60 Historical Sketch

Temperance Societies in Newbury-Brookfield
Connected with this Church and Town

Our Pilgrim ancestors were not all abstainers from
the intoxicating cup. The sale of liquors had not then
become a distinct business under a license system, but
were sold with other commodities at the village stores.
Science had not investigated the nature of alcoholic
drinks and reported to the world its findings.

In 1750 the churches of Fairfield County were ad-
vised to hold a fast on account of abounding intemper-
ance. After the Revolutionary War, it was observed
that intemperance had become alarmingly on the in-
crease. Liquors were freely used on all public occa-
sions, including funerals, both by the clergy and laity.
Temperance agitation commenced early in 1800. In
1812 the General Assembly of Connecticut recom-
mended the churches "not to introduce ardent spirits
at association meetings."

Rev. Lyman Beecher, the pastor at Litchfield,
preached from his famous pulpit some remarkable ser-
mons on the evils of intemperance which attracted wide
attention through New England. The American Tem-
perance Society was organized in 1828, and within
four years three thousand total abstinence societies
were in operation with a membership of more than
three hundred thousand.

Organizations Within the Church 61

The Brookfield Temperance Society was organized
in July, 1830, auxiliary to the county society. The
first officers were : President Heman Birch, Esq. ;
vice presidents, Isaac Gray and Alva Smith, Esq. ;
secretary, Dr. Chauncey Stuart. In 1833 Mr. Hiram
Fairchild was elected president, and Capt. Sidney
Hawley was secretary.

The men officially connected with the Brookfield
Temperance Society for the following years were:
Peter Hubbell, Burr Northrop, Luther Smith, Wol-
cott Northrop, Joel Baldwin, Abel Taylor, Horace
Northrop, and Nelson Osborne. The records of this
society show the names of one hundred and eighty
signers, names still familiar to the older people here.

The Washingtonian movement was inaugurated
here in Brookfield in 1843, the purpose being to carry
on the reformation so happily begun, to reform the
drunkard and aid in forming a correct public sentiment
with regard to the use and traffic in intoxicating

Washingtonian societies were formed rapidly, and
within a year or two nearly every town in Connecticut
organized a society. A feature of this movement was
the "Cold Water Army," the children's society. The
records of the Connecticut Washingtonian Temper-
ance Association show that in 1844 the society at
Brookfield numbered six hundred members who had

62 Historical Sketch

taken the pledge (238 men and 232 women signers).
The Cold Water Army numbered one hundred and
fifty children. A temperance choir was formed, which
did good service in visiting neighboring towns and
school districts where meetings were held, and tem-
perance interest awakened by means of good singing
and addresses.

The Sons of Temperance organized in Brookfield
about the year 1852, and at the same time the young
people perfected an organization known as the
"Cadets," which became a popular auxiliary. The
temperance movement, known as the "Murphy Cam-
paign," did not reach Brookfield, although large meet-
ings were held at Danbury and New Milford in 1877
and later.

A local branch of the Woman's Christian Temper-
ance Union was organized in Brookfield in 1903, and
conducts monthly meetings, the membership being
thirty women. The present officers are : President,
Miss Emily C. Hawley ; secretary, Mrs. Emma J.
Smith; treasurer, Mrs. Ellen D. Vroman.

We do not forget that Hon. Neal Dow, "father of
prohibitory law," was a New Englander; also the
greatest orator the temperance reform ever had, John
B. Gough.

It is encouraging to reflect upon the fact that in this
year of grace (1907) more than one half of the terri-

Organizations Within the Church 63

tory in these United States is under prohibitory liquor
laws. Total abstinence has become a fundamental
requirement in every important business and pro-



The Sesqui-Centennial of First Congregational Church,
Brookfield, Conn.

A century and a half, or two centuries, of struggle
and hard work having passed, our New England towns
and villages are taking time to celebrate their achieve-
ments, and review the past. The sons and daughters
of the early families who went out from these towns
are being invited to return and renew their old asso-
ciations. Probate and town records are searched for
facts, and we look with keen appreciation on the
efforts of the early settlers to preserve the events of
their time for future generations. That they were
men of resources and capacity there is no doubt; not-
withstanding their limited conditions they did a work
that abides. We are beginning to feel a tender appre-
ciation for the men and the time just behind us.

In August, 1905, Newtown, our neighbor on the
south, celebrated in an appropriate and delightful man-
ner her bi-centennial.

In June, 1907, New Milford invited us to participate
in her splendid bi-centennial exercises, which were so

Anniversary Days in New England 65

greatly enjoyed by all who attended the celebration.
Also occurred in June, 1907, at Stratford, an ecclesi-
astical anniversary, namely, the bi-centennial of the
establishing of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut,
which anniversary was participated in by a large num-
ber of persons from the towns of the state.

We must not forget, either, the anniversaries of our
poets and literary men, of whom New England is so
justly proud.

In February, 1907, occurred the centenary of Long-
fellow's birth, the first of all our poets to catch the ear
of the people and hold their hearts. Longfellow has
rendered an abiding service to history in giving us
"Hiawatha," which preserves the life and habits of the
Indian race ; and in the "Courtship of Miles Standish"
has made immortal the Pilgrims at Plymouth; in
"Evangeline" he has rendered a similar service.

In May, 1907, we commemorated the one hundredth
anniversary of Emerson's birth; a man who had eight
generations of clergymen behind him, whose teachings
have influenced thousands, and whose genius can

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Online LibraryEmily C. (Emily Carrie) HawleyHistorical sketch of the First Congregational Church of Brookfield, Connecticut, and of the town of Brookfield → online text (page 3 of 8)