J. B. Beers.

History of Middlesex county, Connecticut, with biographical sketches of its prominent men online

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Alexander Chalker, Mr. Thomas Buckingham, Wm. Lord
Senior, Mr. John WastoU, John Clarke, Frances Bush-
nell, Abraham Poste, Wm. Parker Senior, Samuell
Joanes, Thomas Dunke, John Parker, Robert Lay, John
Bushnell, Wm. Beamont, Edward Shipman, Richard
Joseland, Joseph Ingham, John Chapman, Robert Chap-
man jr., Thomas Norton.

" Richard Raimond Sen'r is approbated by the Corte,
but not yet sworne.

" This is a true List of those who are already in ye
Town of Say Brooke, as witnesse or hands, 4th, 8th, '69.

" Say Brooke.

Wm. Parker,

Joseph Pecke,

Samuel Jons, Constable."

Attempt of Gov. Andross to Take Possession of
Saybrook Fort.

In 167s, Saybrook was the scene of an attempt on the
part of Governor Andross, of New York, to take posses-
sion of the fort and town. On the morning of the 8th
of July in that year, to the surprise of the people of that


CE, j

Townes men.



town, he arrived off Saybrook. They had received no
intelligence of the affair, nor instructions from the gov-
ernor and council. But the fort was manned, and the
militia of the town were drawn out for its defense. Dur-
ing the day, Gov. Andross addressed a letter to the gov-
ernor at Hartford, announcing his arrival, and Mr.
Robert Chapman, one of the townsmen of Saybrook, and
captain of the train band, also wrote to Gov. Winthrop
for orders and advice. On the same day, or the day
after, Capt. Thomas Bull and his command arrived at
the fort, prepared to defend it against Gov. Andross, if
necessary. On the nth, Gov. Andross, with his armed
sloops, drew up before the 'fort, hoisted the king's flag,
and demanded the surrender of the fortress and town.
Capt. Bull raised his majesty's colors and refused to sur-
render. Gov. Andross did not like to fire upon the king's
colors, and perceiving that he could not reduce the fort
without bloodshed, judged it expedient not to fire upon
the troops. He nevertheless lay all that day, and part
of the next, off the fort.

On the morning of Monday the 12th, the instructions
of the council reached Say Brook by post, and the next
morning the protest of the Council was received in the
same manner, as Major Andross with his retinue was
landing. He was met by the officers of the fort, who
informed him of their instructions, which were: "to ten-
der him a treaty by meete p'rsons deputed to that pur-
pose in any place of this colony where he should chuse."
The Major rejected the proposal, and forthwith com-
manded in his Majesty's name, that the duke's patent,
and his commission should be read, " which notwithstand-
ing that they were required in his Majestyes name to
forbeare, was done."*

" Wee withdrew a little, declaring wee had nothing
to do to attend it. Which being done, then Major An-
dross manifested, that he had now done, and should saile
immediately, unlesse we desired him to stay. Wee told
him that wee had no order to desire him to stay, but
must now read something else; and forthwith the protest
was read in his presence. He was pleased to speake of
it as a slander, and so an ill requitall for his kindnesse;
and by and by desired a copy, which wee declared that
wee had no order to give; but yet parted peaceably. His
Honour was guarded with the Towne souldiers to the
water side, went on board, and pr'sently fell down below
the Fort, with salutes on both sides. "f

Governor Dongan, the successor of Governor Andross,
at New York, found in 1678, some papers in the Sec-
retary's office, in which Andross acknowledges that " hee
himself went with some soldiers to surprise them, in-
tending when he had done it, to keep possession by a
Fort he designed to make at a place called Seabrook,

*Truintiull says that Captaia Dull commanded him in His Majesty's
name to forbear reading. When the clerk persisted in reading, the
captain repeated his command with such energy in hisToiee, and mean-
ing in his countenance, that the Major was convinced that it was not
sale to proceed. The captain then read the protest. Governor Andross,
pleased with his bold and soldier-like appearance, said; " What's your
name?" He replied, "My name is Bull, sir." "Bull," said thegovet-
nor, " it is a pity that your horns are not tipped with silver "

tLetter of Robert Chapman and Thomas Bull July 13th to General

but was prevented by the opposition of two companies
of men then lodged there ready to goe out ag'st the In-
dians, with whom they were in Warr."*

The Narragansett war followed in the winter of the
same year, and eight men were drawn from Saybrook for
that service. Tradition says that Alexander Chalker was
one of these men, and that he was killed. His sword is
still preserved by his descendants. The names of the
others have not been preserved.

Condition of the Fort in 1693.

Letter in regard to Saybrook Fort, to Col. John Allyn,
Hartford. t

" Saybrook ye 30 of August 1693.
" Honour'd S'r,

"Yours dated ye 20th Instant I have Rec'd,and in ob-
servants to your orders and instructions have this day
taken a view of ye effort, Mr. William Dudley, and Mr.
John Parker being with mee, and we find that such are
the Ruinous decays of ye said ffort, that the small mat-
ter of charge by your honor proposed, will be altogether
insignificant and worthless both to their majesties and
this colony's Interest, the Gates are all down but one,
and one of them gone, both wood and iron three of ye
hooks of ye grate gate stole: most of ye Iron of one of
ye Carriages, with all of the iron taken away, the Plat-
forms all Rotten and unserviceable, part of ye stone wall
y't supports ye mount falten down, most of ye mud wall
decayed, with the Palisades ag't itt, about ffour Rodd of
plank Wall on the north, that never was done, and Lyes
open, the Jack, Jack-staff and Pillor to be repaired with
now most of ye great shott pilfered and gone, and accord-
ing to our favorable judgment doe compute ye Charge
to be no less than fifty pounds to put it in a defensive
posture, all which we att ye Request of ye Capt. signifies
to your honours, and subscribe ourselves your honoured

" John Chapman Sen.

" Will'm Dudley, Sen.

" John Parker Jun'r."

Yale College,

While the inhabitants and churches in Connecticut
were constantly increasing, the demand. for a learned
ministry to supply their churches became more and
more urgent, and a number of ministers conceived the
purpose of founding a college in Connecticut, as Cam-
bridge was at so great a distance as to render it
inconvenient to educate their sons there. The design
was first concerted in 1698, by the Rev. Messrs. Pier-
pont, of New Haven, Andrew, of Milford, and Russell,
of Branford. It was talked over among the ministers
of the colony, till finally ten of them were agreed upon
for trustees to found, erect, and govern a college.
Doubts arising about their capacity to hold real estate,
application was made to the Legislature for a charter of
incorporation. In October 1701, the General Assembly

*Col. Rec. 11 Ap. No. XXX.

+ Oopied from the original letter iu State Library at Hartford.



incorporated the trustees, granted the charter, and voted
them the sum of /^6o annually. November nth the
trustees met at Saybrook and chose Rev. Abraham
Pierson, rector of the college, and Rev. Samuel Russell,
trustee, to complete the number of the corporation. At
this meeting, Saybrook was fixed upon as the place for
the college, and the rector was requested to remove to
that town.

Till this could be done, they ordered that the scholars
should be instructed at, or near the rector's house in
Killingworth. The corporation made various attempts
to remove the rector to Saybrook, but it was not effected.
The ministers had been several years in effecting their
plan, and a number of young men had been preparing
for college, under the instructions of one and another of
the trustees. As soon as the college was furnished with
a rector and tutor, eight of them were admitted, and put
into different classes, according to the proficiency that
each one had made. Some in a year or two became
qualified for a degree. The first commencement was at
Saybrook, September 13th 1702, when the following per-
sons received the degree of M. A.: Stephen Buckingham,
Salmon Treat, Joseph Coit, Joseph Moss, Nathaniel
Chauncey, and Joseph Morgan. Four of them had pre-
viously graduated at Cambridge. They all became min-
isters of the gospel, and three of them, Messrs. Moss,
Buckingham, and Chauncey were afterward fellows of the
college. From motives of economy, the commencements
were private for several years. Mr. Nathaniel Lynde, of
Saybrook, generously gave a house and land for the use
of the college so long as it should remain in the town.
This house stood on the road leading from the fort to
the village, a few rods west of the old cemetery on Say-
brook Point. Tradition says that Mr. Lynde lived on
the street running through the middle of the Point, known
as the " Middle Lane " or Church street, and near the
church, and the house of Rev. Mr. Buckingham. In
1704, Rev. Mr. Pierson died, and Rev. Mr. Andrew, of
Milford, was chosen rector pro tempore, and the senior
class was removed to Milford. Mr. Andrew acted as mod-
erator at the commencements, and gave general direc-
tions to the tutors, while Mr. Buckingham, the minister
at Saybrook, and one of the trustees, had a kind of direc-
tion and inspection over the college. In this state it
continued till about 1715. In 1713, a valuable addition
of books was made to the college library at Saybrook.

From 170Z to 1713 inclusive, 46 young men were gradu-
ated at Saybrook. Of these 34 became ministers, and
two were elected magistrates. Mr. John Hart and Mr.
Phineas Fisk were tutors. As the objects for which the
college was established were considered highly import-
ant, the collegiate school attracted the special attention
both of the Lejsislature and clergy. Though generous
donations had been made for its support, it was far from
flourishing or happy. The senior class was at Milford
under Mr. Andrew, the rector, and the other classes at
Saybrook, under the two tutors. The books were neces-
sarily divided, and exposed to be lost. At the same time
the scholars were dissatisfied, both with the place, and

manner of their instruction, They complained that Say-
brook was not sufficiently compact for their instruction,
some of them being obliged to reside more than a mile
from the place of their public exercises. There had also
from the beginning been a disagreement among the peo-
ple of the colony, as to where the college should be fixed.
Some were for continuing it at Saybrook, others wished
to remove it to Hartford or Wethersfield, and a third
party were equally zealous for its removal to New
Haven. The trustees met at Saybrook, April 4th 17 16.
When the scholars came before them, they complained of
the insufiSciency of their instruction, and the inconven-
iences of the place. It has been the tradition, that most
of these complaints were suggested to them by others,
with a view to cause a general uneasiness, and by this
means effect the removal of the college. After a long
debate on the circumstances of the school, it appeared
that the trustees were no better agreed than the students,
and leave was finally given to the Hartford and Weth-
ersfield students, who were the most uneasy, to go, till
commencement, to such places of instruction as they
pleased. The consequence was that the greater
part of them went to Wethersfield, and put themselves
under the instruction of Rev. Elisha Williams, pastor
of the church in Newington, some went to other places,
and a number continued at Saybrook, but the small-pox
soon after breaking out in the town, these generally re-
moved to East Guilford, and were under the tuition of
Rev. Mr. Hart and Mr. Russell till commencement.
While the school was in this state people in different
parts of the colony began to subscribe for the building
of a college, hoping by this means that the trustees might
be induced to settle the matter according to their wishes.
About ;^7oo was subscribed for its establishment at New
Haven, ^£^500 for fixing it at Saybrook, and considerable
sums for the same purpose at Hartford and Wethersfield.
The trustees met again at commencement, September 12th
1716, but could not agree any better than before, and
they adjourned till the 17th of October, to meet at New
Haven. When they met at that date, after discussion,
they voted, " That considering the difficulties of con-
tinuing the collegiate school at Saybrook, and that New
Haven is a convenient place for it, for which the most
liberal donations are given, the trustees agree to remove
the said school from Saybrook to New Haven, and it is
now settled at New Haven accordingly."

Five of the trustees voted for New Haven, Mr. Wood-
bridge and Mr. Buckingham were for Wethersfield, while
Mr. Noyes did not see the necessity of removing the
school from Saybrook, but preferred New Haven, if it
must be removed. The trustees at this meeting received
_;^25o from the General Assembly, which with ;^I2S in
the treasury, and the subscription for building the col-
lege at New Haven, encouraged them to vote to build
a college, and a rector's house at New Haven, and they
appointed a committee to accomplish the work. At
the same time they appointed Mr. Stephen Buck-
ingham, of Norwalk, one of the trustees. They sent
orders to the scholars to come to New Haven, but



only those at East Guilford complied. Such was
the obstinacy of those at Wethersfield, and such the
countenance that others gave them, that they continued
their studies there till the next commencement. The
trustees met again at New Haven, April 5th 1717. Seven
were present, including Stephen Buckingham. The acts
of the former meeting were read and voted by all the
members present, except Mr. Buckingham, who, on ac-
count of his friends in Saybrook, judged it expedient
not to act. The people in other parts of the colony were
strongly opposed to its establishment iri New Haven, and
the matter was taken up several times and warmly de-
bated in the General Assembly. The trustees held the
commencement at New Haven. The number of students
was 31, of whom 13, the past year, had studied at New
Haven, 14 at Wethersfield, and four at Saybrook. Soon
after the commencement, the college building was raised
at New Haven; but, nevertheless, Messrs. Woodbridge,
Buckingham, and their party, persisted in their opposi-
tion, and at the October session of the Assembly pre-
sented a remonstrance, which was answered by the other
trustees. After a full hearing, the upper house resolved:
" That the objections against the vote of the trustees,
were insufificient." The lower house, after a long debate,
resolved nothing relative to the subject. This shows
how deeply the colony felt interested in the affair, and
how unhappily it was divided. Further votes were
passed by the trustees to strengthen those already pass-
ed, and their reasons were assigned for fixing it at New
Haven, which were the difficulties of keeping it at Say-
brook, arising partly from the uneasiness of the students,
and partly from continued attempts to remove it to
Hartford. They thought Hartford too far from the sea,
and that it would not as well accommodate the southern
and western colonies, in most of which, at that period,
there were no colleges. The Assembly then passed
an act advising them to finish their building and
granted them a hundred pounds to be distributed
among the instructors of the college. Notwithstanding
the college seemed to be fixed at New Haven, there were
some who still wished to have it at Wethersfield. They
encouraged the students who had been instructed there
the last year — about 14 in number to continue their studies
at the same place. At the session in May, the lower
house voted " to desire the trustees to consent that the
commencement should be held alternately at Wethers-
field and New Haven, till the place of the school be fully
determined." The upper house was of the opinion that
the matter was fully determined already, and therefore
they did not concur. Gov. Saltonstall was supposed to
be in favor of its establishment at New Haven, and his
influence might have had some effect on the upper house.
About this time (1718) they received several donations,
that of Gov. Yale being the most considerable, and it was
voted at commencement in September to call it Yale
College. On the same day on which commencement was
held in New Haven, a dissatisfied party held a kind of
commencement at Wethersfield, in presence of a large
number of spectators, in which five scholars performed

public exercises. When the Assembly met in October,
they passed a series of resolutions, among which was one
appropriating 50 pounds from the sale of lands, to be
given to the town of Saybrook " for the use of the school
in said town." Another gave the governor and council
power, "at the desire of the trustees, to give such orders
as they shall think proper, for the removing of the books>
belonging to the said college, left at Saybrook, to the
library provided for them at New Haven." Upon the
desire of the trustees, the governor and council met at
Saybrook in December, and granted a warrant to the
sheriff authorizing him to deliver the books to the trus-
tees, but notwithstanding the pacific measures which the
Assembly had adopted, there was opposition to their re-
moval. The sheriff, when he came to the house where
they were kept, found it filled and surrounded with men,
determined to resist him. Nevertheless, he, with his at-
tendants, forcibly entered the house, took the books and
secured them under guard during the night. In the
morning it appeared that the carts provided for carrying
them to New Haven were broken, and the horses turned
away. New provision being made, they were conducted
out of the town by the major part of the county; but
some of the bridges on the road were broken down, and
when they arrived at New Haven it was discovered that
about 250 of the most valuable books, and several im-
portant papers were missing, and no discovery was ever
made of them afterward. After this unhappy struggle,
the heat of men's spirits began to subside, and a general
harmony was gradually introduced among the trustees,
and in the colony. Field says that after the first meeting
of the trustees, in April 17 16, two of the trustees, at the
succeeding session of the Legislature, without the con-
sent or knowledge of their brethren, petitioned that the
college might be removed to Hartford. "This surpris-
ing and ungentleman-like proceeding caused passions,
which had long been kindling, to burst forth, and from
this lime to the permanent establishment of the college
at New Haven, the subject of its location produced more
debate and division in the Legislature, and in the Cor-
poration, among civilians and clergymen, and the people
at large, than almost any other subject which has ever
been agitated in Connecticut." It is idle to speculate
upon what Saybrook might have been, had the college
remained here, but it doubtless would have been as large
as New Haven.

Patent of 1704.
In 1704 Saybrook, as well as a few other towns, re-
ceived a patent from the Legislature. This patent con-
firmed the grants made in a previous one, defined ac-
curately the boundaries of the town, and conferred the
usual rights and privileges with the usual verbiage and
formality. It was issued to " Robert Chapman, Thomas
Buckingham, William Parker, William Beaumont, John
Chapman, Abraham Post, John Pratt, John Clarke, Wil-
liam Parker jr., Robert Lay, and Zachariah Sandford of
the town of Saybrook in the County of New London in
the colony aforesaid, Gents., and to the rest of the pro-
prietors thereof."



The original document is in possession of Henry
Hart Esq., who bought it some years since from a man
in the town of Griswold. Though prizing it highly, he
offered it to the town for the small sum paid for it, but
the selectmen, with that penny-wise economy not un-
common in town ofiScers, declined to take it, and the op-
portunity of placing this valuable document among the
archives of the town was lost.

The Saybrook Platform.

The Cambridge Platform, which for about sixty years
had been the general plan of discipline and church fel-
lowship in New England, made no provision for the
general meeting of ministers, or for their union in asso-
ciations or consociations, yet at an early period they had
a general meeting both in Connecticut and Massachu-
setts, and began to form associations. Their annnal
meetings were at the times of the general election at Bos-
ton and Hartford. At these times they had handsome
entertainments made for them at the public expense.
At these meetings they consulted together respecting the
general welfare of the churches, the ministerial supply,
and gave general directions regarding candidates for the
ministry. But these associations and meetings were only
voluntary, countenanred by no ecclesiastical constitu-
tion, attended only by such ministers as were willing to
associate, and could bind none but themselves. There
was no regular way of introducing candidates to the
churches, by the general consent, either of themselves or
the elders. When they had finished their studies, if they
imagined themselves qualified, and could find some
friendly minister to introduce them, they began to preach,
without any examination or recommendation from any
body of ministers or churches. Besides, it was gener-
ally conceded the state of the churches was not satisfac-
tory with respect to their general order, government,
and discipline. A great majority of the Legislature and
clergy in Connecticut were for the association of minis-
ters, and the consociation of churches. In this state of
the churches, the Legislature passed an act, at their ses-
sion in May 1708, requiring the ministers and churches
to meet and form an ecclesiastical constitution. This
act, after reciting the purpose and necessity of such a
meeting, directed the ministers of the several counties,
with the messengers or delegates of their churches, to
meet at the county towns on the last Monday in June,

" There to consider and agree upon those methods
and rules for the management of ecclesiastical discipline,
which by them shall be judged agreeable and conform-
able to the word of God, and shall at the same meeting
appoint two or more of their number to be their
delegates, who shall all meet together at SayBrook, at
the next commencement to be held there, where they
shall compare the results of the ministers of the several
counties, and out of and from them to draw a form
of ecclesiastical discipline, which by two or more persons
delegated by them shall be offered to this court, at their
session at New Haven, in October next, to be considered, .„, ,.^. . ,. „ , ^

' . J , r , hform of Churoh Discipline," tbe first book printed in the colony of Con-

of and confirmed by them: And the expense or the necticut. He died in 1712, aged 30.

above mentioned meetings shall be defrayed out of the
public treasury of this colony."

According to this act, the ministers and delegates met
at the several county towns, made their respective drafts
for discipline, and chose their delegates for the general
meeting, which was held at Saybrook, September 9th

Present — From the council of Hartford county, the
Revs. Timothy Woodbridge, Noahdiah Russell, Stephen
Mix; messenger, John Haynes, Esq. From Fairfield
county, the Revs. Charles Chauncey, John Davenport;
messenger. Deacon Samuel Hoit. From New London
county, the Revs. James Noyes, Thomas Buckingham,
John Woodward; messengers, Robert Chapman, Deacon
William Parker. From New Haven county, the Revs.
Samuel Andrew, James Pierpont, Samuel Russell.

Revs. Thomas Buckingham and James Noyes were
chosen moderators, and Revs. Stephen Mix and John
Woodward, scribes. At this council it was agreed —

" That the confession of faith owned and assented unto
by the elders and messengers assembled at Boston, in
New England May 12th 1680, be recommended to the
general assembly, at the next session, for their public
testimony thereunto, as the Faith of the churches of this
colony." *

The council a'so made rules for the consociation of
the churches, for the settlement of disputes, and for pro-
ceedings in the matter of discipline. President Stiles

Online LibraryJ. B. BeersHistory of Middlesex county, Connecticut, with biographical sketches of its prominent men → online text (page 116 of 147)