Sheldon B. (Sheldon Brainerd) Thorpe.

North Haven annals : a history of the town from its settlement, 1680, to its first centennial, 1886 online

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Online LibrarySheldon B. (Sheldon Brainerd) ThorpeNorth Haven annals : a history of the town from its settlement, 1680, to its first centennial, 1886 → online text (page 15 of 32)
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was settled as his ministerial rate.

November 14th, 1760, Mr. Trumble formally
accepted his " call " in the following communication :

To the church and Congregation usually Meeting in North

Dearly Beloved —

AVhereas the all wise Ruler ^ Sovereign Disposer of all things,
in the all-wise Purposes of his Providence has after previous
Advice from the Reverend Association of this County inclined


your Hearts to give me a very unanimous Call to the great and
arduous Work of the Gospel Ministry among you, I have Deter-
mined in answer to your Desire, signified to me by the society's
Committee, by the Grace of God assisting, to Devote myself
entirely as Providence shall open the Door to the Service of God
& his Church & People in this Place; always Desiring an Interest
in all your Prayers for the most unworthy, that God would furnish
him abundantly with every ministerial Gift and Grace. Further-
more expecting that while I minister about holy things among
you, it w\\\ be your Care that I live of the things of the Temple.
for so hath the Lord ordained that those that preach the Gospel
should live of the Gospel. That we shall ever seek each others
mutual Comfort and Edification and may the Lord of Peace him-
self give you Peace at all times by all means, that the God of
Love and Peace may be with us and bless us.

Benjamin Trlmule.

At once upon the reception of this document a
committee was chosen " to agree with Mr. Trumble
as to the time of the ordination and to see that there
is provision made for the Ordaining Council or Con-
sociation, and also to agree about the time for keeping
a Fast."

The 24th day of December, 1760, was fixed upon
for the settlement of Mr. Trumble. The day previous
was also an important one for North Haven. At this
time "An Ecclesiastical Council, consisting of the con-
sociation of New Haven County, was regularly called
and convened at the request of the church in North
Haven for the purpose of the ordination of the Rev.
Benjamin Trumble to the Work of the Gospel Minis-
try and pastoral office in said North Haven and over
said church."

The following named reverend gentlemen were
present and comprised this deliberative body:

Samuel Hall, New Cheshire.

Jonathan Merrick, North Branford.

Philemon Robbins, Branford.

Daniel Humphre)-, Derby.

Samuel Todd, Northbury.

John Trumble, Westburv.

Benjamin Woodbridge, Amity.


James Sprout, Guilford.
Wareham Williams, Northford.
John Richards, North Guilford.
■ Nicholas Street, East Haven.
Elizur Goodrich, Durham.
Noah Williston, West Haven.

The Rev. Samuel Hall was moderator of tiie meet-
ing. The following is a copy of the proceedings:

Samuel Sackett Esq., and others, committee of the Church and
Society in North Haven appearing before this Council exhibited
the votes of said church and society relative to their call and invi-
tation of Mr. Benjamin Trumble to the work of the Gospel Min-
istry among them : From whence it appeared that Mr. Trumble
was chosen with great Unanimity to settle in the Ministry among
them, and Mr. Trumble signified his acceptance of said Invitation.
It also appeared that the Association had advised to improve Mr.
Trumble as a Probationer to settle in the ministry among them.
Whereupon this question was proposed in Council 'Whether the
Church and Society have proceeded regularly in the Steps they
have taken in their application unto and Cvll of said Mr. Trumble
to the pastoral office among and over them.' Voted in the affirm-

The council was informed of Mr. Trumble's being a member m
full communion with the Church of Christ in regular state by a
Certificate from Mr. Lothrop, Pastor of said Church, and then pro-
ceeded to examine the candidate as to his knowledge in Divinity,
his Orthodoxy and Belief of the great and important doctrines of
Christianity by his e.xperimental acquaintance with them and his
End and View in undertaking the great work of the Gospel Min-
istry. Moreover Mr. Trumble declares his Willingness and Des-ire
to be settled upon the ecclesiastical constitution of the govern-

The question was then put whether this council is satisfied with
regard to Mr. Trumble's ministerial Qualification upon this E.xam-
ination so as to proceed to his Ordination.

Voted in the affirmative.

Thus closed the preliminary work of the Council
and ended the day's proceedings. The morrow
brought the service of ordination. The exercises
were observed in the following order beginning at
10.30 o'clock A. M.


Anthem- Choir

Prayer — Rev. Mr. Merrick, of North Branford.

Sermon — Dr. Eleazar ^Yheelock, of Columbia.

Prayer and Charge — Rev. Samuel Hall. New Cheshire.

Prayer after Charge — Rev. Philemon Robbins. of Branford.

Right Hand of Fellowship— Rev. John Trumble, of Water

Imposition of Hands — Revds. Hall, Merrick, Robbins, Hum-
phrej- and John Trumble.

Of Dr. Wheelock's sermon but a fragment is
extant, and that has been preserved in Spragne's An-
nals. Speaking- of this occasion the author says: " Dr.
Wheelock preached the ordination sermon and took
the occasion to urge upon the people the duty of pro-
viding for their minister, which, he said, he should
not do if he believed him to be a sensual, sleepy.
lazy, dumb dog, that cannot bark."

The ceremony of " Imposition of Hands " was a
marked feature in the ordination service of that day.
During the offering of the ordaining prayer it was
the custom for the officiating clergymen, or as many
as could stand upon the small pulpit platforms of that
period, to gather about the candidate and place their
hands upon his head, thus signifying their recogni-
tion of him, not only as being set apart for the sacred
duties of their brotherhood, but their willingness
before God and the world to assist and stand by him
in the consecrated life on which he was about enter-
ing. The custom is continued to the present time.
though somewhat modified and carried out with
fewer assistants.

The careful reader may have noted in the order of
exercises observed on this occasion no allusion to the
public reading of the sacred scriptures, a practice'
without which at the present day no orthodox relig-
ious service is considered complete. It was reserved
for the " New Lights " to bring about a general
public use of the Bibk\ At the meeting of the gen-
eral association held at Xorwalk, Conn., in 1765, "A


motion was made to this Association concerning the
Decency and Propriety of making the public reading
of the Sacred Scriptures a part of the Publick Wor-
ship in our Churches, and as Uniformity in said Prac-
tice is greatly to be desired, this Association do ear-
nestly recommend it to the several particular associa-
tions to promote said Practice among the several

This tardy action came five years after the ordina-
tion of Mr. Trumble, and as his predecessor and many
of his predecessors' contemporaries had not at all
been leavened with this leaven in their day it is
certain that the Bible was not publicly read in Mr.
Stiles' pulpit.

Among those who sat in this ordaining council
was a former North Havener, Samuel Todd, then pas-
tor of the church in Northbury, now Plymouth, Conn.
Mr. Todd was son of Samuel Todd (deacon in the
Congregational church here 1727-1741), grandson of
Samuel and Mary (Bradley) Todd; great-grandson of
Christopher Todd, planter. New Haven, 1638; great-
great-grandson of William Todd, and great-grcat-
great-grandson of William Todd, of Pontrefact, West
Riding, Yorkshire, England. He was born in North
Haven, March 6, 1716; was educated at Yale college
for the ministry, and ordained as pastor of the church
in Northbury in 1740. Here he remained twenty-four
years, being dismissed in 1764, whereupon he went to
North Adams, Mass., and was installed as pastor there
in 1766. He remained in that place twenty-two years,
was dismissed and accepted a chaplaincy in the army
in 1788. He died in Orford, New Hampshire, 1789.

Mr. Todd was something of a revivalist after the
Whitefield pattern. While pastor in Plymouth he
became a "New Liirht" man and for this was sus-

* Previous to the action of the " Xew Lights," this custom was not in existence in
New Eni^land ojtside of the Church of England services.

Fireside Bible reading, not public church liible reading, was the Puritan idea. The
f'lrmer was essential, the latter a "vain form."

1 90


pended some ten months from preaching- by his
brethren of the General Association, and then
restored. He was the second native minister raised
up in this town, the first being a Mr. Eaton, licensed
iti i735> but whose record is as yet imperfectly deter-

The muster roll of the Congregational church is
here presented, as Mr. Trumble found it in 1760.

Allen, , wife of Stephen.

Bradley, James, and Sarah, his

Bradley, Moses, and Sarah, his

Bradley, Ebenezer, Jr., and

Phebe, his wife.
Bradley, Merriam, wife of Jo-
Brockett. Samuel, and Eunice,

his wife.
Brockett, Richard, and Mary,

his wife.
Brockett, Abel, and Hannah,

his wife.
Brockett, Enos, and , his

Brockett, Moses.
Brockett, Jacob.
Brockett, Thankful, wife of

John, Sr.
Brockett, Abagail, wife of

John, Jr.
Blaksley, Jotham, and Mary,

his wife.
Blaksly, Jesse, and Deborah,

his wife.
Blakslee, Marj-, wife of Lieu-
tenant Isaac.
Barnes, Mrs. Mary.
Barnes Deborah, wife of

Barnes, Abia, wife of John.
Barnes, widow Phebe.
Bassett, ilrs. Hannah.

Bassett, Merriam, wife of Abel.
Bishop, James, Sr.
Bishop James, Jr.
Bishop, Amos, and Phebe, his

Bishop, Abigail, wife of .

Bishop, Abigail.

Bishop, Jlerriam, wife of Jav.

Cooper, Dea. Thomas, and

Lydia, his wife.
Cooper, Esther, wife of Joel.
Cooper, Mehetible, wife of

Clarke, Mary, wife of Phinehas,

Clarke, widow Deborah.
Dayton, Jonathan, and Mary.

his wife.
Frost, widow Dorcas.
Goodyear, Stephen, and

Esther, his wife.
Goodyear, Asa, and Mehetibel,

his wife.
Goodyear, Andrew.
Granniss, Thankful, wife of

Granniss, Mrs. Mary.
Heaton Ensign James, and

, his wife.

Heaton, James, and Mary, his

Hill, widow Hannah.
Hill, Rebekah, wife of Stephen.

Hill, , wife of Ensign




Hitchcock, Caleb.

Hulls, Joseph.

Hnmmaston John, and Han-
nah, his wife.

Ilummastyn, Ephraim, and
Susannah, his wife.

Hummaston James.

Ives, John, and Lois, his wife.

Ives, Samuel, and , his


Ives, widow Mary.

Ives, widow Ann.

Ives, James.

Ives, Captain Jonathan.

Jacobs, David, and Hannah,
his wife. .

Mansfield Hannah, wife of

Monson, Dr. Walter.

Monson, Sarah.wife of Thomas.

Pain, Martha.

Pain, widow Martha.

Pain, James, and Lydia, his

Parde, Benjamin.

Parker, John.

Pierpont, Lieutenant Joseph,
and Lydia, his wife.

Pierpont, Elizabeth, wife of

Potter, widow Lydia.

Ray Joshua.

Ray, Abigail, wife of Lieuten-
ant Thomas.

Sackett, Samuel, and Hannah,
his wife.

Sanford, Captain John, and
Ann, his wife.

Sanford, Moses, and ^lary, his

Sanford John.

Smith, James, and Lydia, his

Smith, Abel.
Sperry, Elihu.
Stiles, Madame Esther, widow

Rev. Isaac.
Tharp, Isaac, Sr., and Ann,

his wife.
Tharp, Isaac, Jr., and Lydia,

his wife.
Tharp, Moses, and Lydia, his

Tharp, David, and Heighly,

his wife.
Todd, Lieutenant Ebenezer,

and Mary, his wife.
Todd, Ebenezer, and Elizabeth,

his wife.
Todd, Christopher, and Han-
nah, his wife.
Todd, James, and Martha, his

Todd, Ithamar, and Hannah,

his wife.
Todd, widow Lydia.
Todd, widow Hannah.
Todd, Lydia, wife of Hezekiah.
Todd, Esther, wife of Titus.
Tuttle, Dea. Isaiah.
Tuttle, widow Ann.
Tuttle, Daniel, and Mary, his

Tuttle, Abigail, wife of William.
Tuttle, Charity, wife of Jehiel.
Turner, Lydia, wife of Joseph.
Turner, Lois,' wife of James.
Turner, Abigail, wife of Caleb.
Wolcott, Jesse, and Eunice, his


A few of these people went over to the Church of
England on its establishment here, and in a few fam-
ilies the husband and, wife, possibly in some cases
the parents and children, found themselves arrayed


against each other, but these conditions were '^Gen-
erally amicably adjusted. Mr. Trumble kept'ni.
records of dismissions or withdrawals from liis
church, and the exact numbers will never be
known. There are two instances on record which
indicate a return to the original fold, Jerusha
Barnes, in 1762, and the wife of Captain Gershoni
Barnes, in 1764., Mr. Trumble mentions them as bein-
received "on their retraction from the Church oi

In the succeeding fifteen years, or down to the
beginning of active operations in the Revolution-
ary period, there was not historically much ripple on
the waters^ As has been stated, :\Ir. Trumble pur-
chased of Joseph Pierpont sufficient land for a home-
stead, on February 23d, 1761. For this tract, about six-
teen and a half acres in area, he paid " 141^ 5 shil-
lings Lawful :\Ioney." At the northwest corner of it
stood the '^ church-house" of the Church of England:
at the southwest corner stood ]\Ir. Pierpont's " Sabba-
day house," while the rear was bounded by the high-
way (" pool road ") as now. (There was then no road
on the north side aa at present). The above purchase
also included about twelve acres woodland east of the
pool road. In later years other tracts of pasture and
meadow land were added, until his landed estate
assumed quite respectable dimensions.

The presumption is Mr. Trumble began at once
the erection of his house. It stood a few rods east of
his meeting-house, upon the summit of a gentle ridge,
and commanded a view of the entire village. The
late Hon. Ezra Stiles owned it a little more than sixty
years. Its admirable preservation to-day attests the
work of the painstaking, careful builder of that
period. The " Society Lott " doubtless furnished the
lumber. The frame of the building is of oak, dimen-
sions 28x35. The timbers are massive and hard as
iron. The covering of rent oak clapboards, smoothed



beaded and jointed to a line, has defied heat and cold,
Min and storm, upward of a century and a quarter
and is apparently good for another term of service
full as long. Exteriorly, with the exception of a bay
window on the southern end, the old parsonage is as
the aged divine left it. The quaint mouldings and
devices surmounting windows and doors attest that
unusual ornamentation was bestowed upon it. It pre-
sented a striking contrast to the humble domicile on
the plain below where the Rev. Mr. Stiles lived, and
was indeed what it came at length to be called, " the
quality house " of the village.

Every part was builded for service, and long service
at that. The enormous chimney contains a mass of
material. Six separate flues connecting with as many

wide fireplaces are
constructed within
it, and it is five feet
square where it
emerges from the
roof, while its base,
hidden deep in the
earth, covers proba-
bly not less than one
hundred square feet.
The original color of
the mansion was red,
the prevailing shade
of colonial times,
until after the vear


1^ .;:.;■■-..■■, •y'/^.,^,l.^y;a.;«:,7^/,'-i>vv;:,.,^:


White houses were uncommon
iSoo, and only two places in the town had blinds for
their windows in 1829. This residence in question was
one, and the Ray house atMansfield's bridge the other.
There is no roof in all the town so rich in historic
association as this. Thither came from the hills of old
Hebron, in her mature womanhood, the proud Martha
I'helps Trumble, bringing such dainty fabrics of loom

* From a photograph by the author.


and needle to grace her home as the North Haven
maidens never saw before.

There were born David, ]\Iartha, Mary, Hannab..
Benjamin, Sarah, and Elizabeth. Of these the first
and last passed away in infancy. Over the grave <.■!"
David, the eldest born, who died at the age of nine and
a half months, stands the typical tomb.stone of the-
period with the winged head and other elaboratc
carvings. Hereon is also cut that significant epitaph
which, notwithstanding what other extremes the
noted divine held, clearly shows the doctrine of infaiu
damnation found no place in his belief.

Sweet babe, by Heaven's decree how blest.
How short thy pains; how sweet thv rest;
Just woke to life — drew mortal breath,
Then closed thine eyes and sunk in death.
Soon gained the fair immortal skies.
Where storms of woe can never rise.

Thirteen years later Elizabeth died at the same
age as her brother, and a monument almost the exact
counterpart of his, except that it has no epitaph,
marks her repose.

Concerning the other children: ^Martha married
the Rev. Aaron Woodward, of Norwalk, Conn.; Mary
married Peter Eastman, of North Haven; Hannah
married Justus Bishop, of North Haven; Benjamin

was graduated at Yale college 1790; married

and was the father of Hon. Lyman Trumbull, of
Illinois, Senator of U. S. 1855-73. Sarah married
Elam Tuttle.

The great double doors of this hospitable mansion
were ever ajar. Over the threshold tradition tells us,
were ceaselessly trooping many busy feet, and its owner
soon became widely known. Ministers and messen-
gers journeying to and fro to religious gatherings,
took roundabout roads to call on this rising divine.
Referees, committees, consociations, came to test his
judgment and his wife's hospitality, both cxhaustless.



As he came in later years to be still more widely cele-
brated, the calibre of his visitors increased. Many an
eminent man visiting Yale college thought his mis-
sion far from complete until he had ridden out to
North Haven and visited "Dr. Trumbull."

To be united in marriage by him was deemed an
especial privilege. In his pastorate of sixty years he
married four hundred sixty-four couples. Of these
not one is alive. The last survivor of this number
was ^Irs. Lewey Pierpont Todd, widow of John Todd;
married 1813, died 18S7. Mr. Trumbull's first cere-
mony of this kind was on the evening of the day of
his ordination, at the house of i\Ir. John Humaston,
where he was stopping. The parties were Joseph
Bassett and Chloe Sanford, grandparents of the widow
Ithimar Tuttle, more familiarly known as " Aunt
Rill)'." His last solemnization of marriage was the
union of Josiah Rogers and Sarah Thorp, 1819. The
descendants of the first couple plentifully grace the
town, the latter family has become extinct.

It does not appear that the name was generally
written Trumbull till aboiTt 1766. Readers have
observed the early orthography has been adhered to,
tor such was the practice of the Rev. Benjamin down
to 1768-9, at which date he seems to have conformed
to what had become the general observance by all the
branches of the family. Hereafter Trumbull will be

When the ordination services of Mr. Trumbull
were over and the large delegation had gone home,
matters in the parish settled down in their old-time
channel, although we must not suppose so marked an
occasion was lightly dismissed. The people talked of
it for a long time. Thirteen ministers and twelve
messengers were duly billeted around the parish,
and as the services occupied the most of two days,
everybody was sure to become more or less interested.
There was quite likely more theology discussed and


hot cider drank than on any similar occasion in the
parish before or since.

When they were all gone the Society called a meet-
ing and voted " that INIadam Trumble should set in the
pew where Madam Stiles sets." One committee was
clearing up the " Society lot ;" another was rectifvin'.4-
the bounds of " the green ;" a third was repairing;
the sanctuary, while a fourth was wrestling with the
problem, " How to fill up vacancies in the seats of the
meeting house." Everybody apparently was busy.

A ministerial rate of two pence on the pound was
established for Mr. Trumbull's support and this rate
of taxation was maintained without much fluctuation
for some years. All property holders had to bear
a proportion of this rate. Even the Church of Eng-
land was not exempt and its members were duly
called on for their assessments, but by the " Act of
Toleration " it was provided that these sums might be
returned to them for the support of their own minis-
ters where such were employed. This concession was
generously made to St. John's Church, although hav-
ing no resident clergyman. Hence it explains itself
when we read in the First Ecclesiastical Society
records that " Zophar Blakeslee shotild collect that
part of the ministerial rate that belongs to the Church-

And right here, concerning the business relations
of the two societies, the writer is of the opinion that
for a few years at least after the formation of the
Second Ecclesiastical Society, it was the custom of its
members to attend in some measure the annual meet-
ings of the original body from which the}^ sprung,
and to a certain extent take part in the deliberations.

Except for the general oversight which New
Haven had of the parish, it was left in the mainfor
the latter to arrange its own details, hence the First
Ecclesiastical Society's .annual meeting was, in a
sense, an annual town meeting, whereat the interests


of religion and education received consideration and
support. Such a view makes plain the co-operation
between the two societies, and explains why in 1764
Abraham Blakeslee, then senior warden of St. John's
parish, was " chosen a Committee man to act for the
Church of England." At the same annual meeting was
"Samuel Mix chose Collector for them." In 1768
" Simon Tuttle was chose to collect for the Professors
of the Church of England." They always had rep-
resentation on the school boards and in other ways.

After 1768 these appointments cease. The "church
on the hill " was gaining strength and independence.
They chose their first collector (one Amos Allen) in
177 1, and thereafter endeavored to gather their own
rates, and yet at our incori^oration as a town (1786) and
for a number of years succeeding, while the property
of the two societies was kept entirely distinct in the
grand lists, there was only one collector of the taxes.

Now it must be said in fairness to history, that
notwithstanding the labors put forth, neither a Stiles
nor a Trumbull nor a Punderson had completely
secured in the parish the golden age of peace, order
and subjection, the dream of the Puritan common-
wealth. There were a few thankless, unregenerate
souls who did not particularly dwell in the fear of the
clergy, or the tythingmen, or the grand jurors, and
whose faces, as a rule, were set against law and gospel.

An early intimation of this state of affairs occurs
in 1768, when the First Society tautologically
expresses itself as follows:

Whereas a Committee from the Church in this place produced
the Report of a Church Committee, which report was accepted by
the Church, in which Report there is a Desire that the Society-
would, as far as in their Power, join with the Church in Suppress-
ing all disorders on the Lord's day, both in the time of Publick
Worship and in the Intermission. This Society thankfully takes
notice of the Churches care of the Church, and will endeavor all
in their Power to yield all the Aid and Support they can to pro-
mote Order and a Christian Conformity to the laws of Heaven in
regard to keeping the Sabbath. Voted in the affirmative."


Only a little time previous to this they had voted
"that the grand jurors and tythingmen set anywhere
in the meeting house on the Lord's day where they
shall think most suitable to inspect the assembly."

All this indicates the great adversary of souls was
not without representation even in this staid com-
munity. The General Assembly had been painfullv
aware of this fact for some years, as an inspection
of its Sunday laws will verify. These "whereases"
and "acts" and "resolves" may be likened to an old
arsenal wherein are stored the weapons wherewith
they girded themselves to do battle with his satanic

Tradition makes merr}- over the enforcement of
some of these Sunday laws. Esq. Samuel Sackett was

Online LibrarySheldon B. (Sheldon Brainerd) ThorpeNorth Haven annals : a history of the town from its settlement, 1680, to its first centennial, 1886 → online text (page 15 of 32)