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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their social relations. Each entertained for the other
the most profound regard, and the recital of their
attachment closes with this impressively significant

"After uniting with St. John's Church, whenever
any member of Mr. Joseph Pierpont's familv was sick
he was accustomed to send word down to Dr. Trum-
bull asking public prayers in his church for their
recoverv." *

* Pierpont family tradition.


The following extract taken from one of Dr.
Trumbull'^ memorandums explains itself:

"From the commencement of my ministry in
North Haven, particular attention was paid to the
instruction of the childreii and young people under
my pastoral care. Finding that there had been a
great ne^'loct with respect to schooling and the edu-
cation of children, I used all my influence with the
people in private to engage them in Schooling and
educating their children. Several sermons were
preached to show the importance of a religious and
o-ood edu<.':ition. To encourage this important matter,
I proposed to give the society three months' schooling
if they would erect a school house in the center of
the parish- This was soon accomplished.* The whole
parish scut to the school. Sometimes there were not
less than seventy or eighty children in a day, and, if I
do not disremember, the number sometimes amovmted

to ninet}"."

"During the whole three months I used my utmost
exertion, with an assistant under me, to teach them
everything useful, and especially to teach them relig-
ion. I catechized them frequently and endeavored
by proper instruction and representations to impress
their minds with a sense of God and religion." , .
" From this time to the commencement of the War

lyyr tlic children of the society were frequently

catechized in the meeting house and in the various
Quarters of the Society. For the encouragement of
the children, little books, such as Dr. Watts' Songs for
Children ;iiid books teaching religion and*lft-
ners wen' given them. Sermons on these occasions
were commonly preached in the meeting house, when
the cateclii^.ings were in the centre, aiid there was a
general attendance."

"The tnmults and distresses of the War with Great
Britain in some measure interrupted this method.


Both the Catechizings and the Lectures on those occa-
sions were less frequent, and both parents and chil-
dren were less attentive to the matter."

'' Immediately after the conclusion of the

"War it was proposed for an encouragement, in
this city, that ever)' child who should publicly say
through the Assembh-'s Shorter Catechism in the
meeting house, should be presented with said cate-
chism and the proofs at large, and that on learning to
prove twenty answers by heart, the book shoiild be
the child's; and that those children who would learn
said catechism, with the proofs and say them memo-
riter in the meeting house, should each of them
receive a new Bible, and that their names with the
names of their parents and instructors should be
entered in the Records of the Church for a perpetual
memorial. "

By the providence of God this record has been pre-
served for more than a hundred years and it is one of
the pleasantest duties of the writer as pertaining to
these annals to be able to publish this list broadcast
and make truly a " perpetual memorial " of it in
accordance with the doctor's wishes.


Children. Parents.

■ 1783-

Titus, Esther, Abram Titus and Esther Todd

Naomi, Lieut. David and Eleanor Bishop

Mar}', Abel and Mary Bishop

Phene. . . .': . . . . Adopted by Abigail Pain
Lucinda, Seth and Abigail Barns


Benjamin, Sarah, . . . Benjamin and Martha Trumbull
Hannah. . . . . . Capt. Noah and Abigail Ives

Joel, Street, . . Lieut. Ephraim and Susannah Humaston




Seth, Seth and Abigail Barns

Hannah Abel and Hannah Brockett

Susannah. . . ... Benjamin and Alithea Brockett

Eunice, Giles and Elizabeth Pierpont

Sarah, Stephen and Sarah Ives


Jesse, Eliphalet Pardee

Sarah, Hezekiah and Mehitabel Pierpont

Esther, Giles and Elizabeth Pierpont


Abel, . . Abel and Mary Bishop

Polly, ....... William and Lois Day

Susannah Joseph and Sarah Hull

Zeruaih Deacon Solomon and Eunice Tuttle

Levi, Joel, Polly Levi and Mary Ray

Sarah James and Mary Pardee

Ebenezer, John and Martha Pardee

Abigail Benjamin and Alithea Brockett


Thomas, David David and Phebe Barns

Lucretia Deacon Solomon and Eunice Tuttle

Nancy, Widow Anne Thomas


Eli, Isaiah and Sarah Brockett-

Lois, . . . . • Benjamin and Alithea Brockett

Patty Widow Mary Andrvis

Polly, • Dr. Phineas and Lucy Clarke

Polly Widow Sarah Ives


Thomas, . . . . . . Isaiah and Sarah Brockett

Susanna Widow Sarah Ives

Alithea, Benjamin and Alithea Brockett

Pierpont • Captain Timothy and Mary Andrus

Patty • . Titus and Lydia Bradley


Joshua, Frederic. . . . Captain Joshua and Mercy Barns

Lydia Simeon and Patience Bishop

Betsey Dr. Phineas and Lucy Clarke

Melia Philip Daggett

Patty, Widow Sarah Ives

Meliah, - Dan and Polly Ives

j^ancy Theophilus and Sarah Bradley


Lois, Lydia John and Lois Heaton

• Lovisa, Betsey, Levi and Mary Ray

Salla, . . • Joel Barns

Mary, John and Hannah Cooper

Patty, Benjamin and Alilhea Brockett

Salla, Sile, Dr. Solomon and Eunice Tuttle


Malinda, John and Susanna Sanford

Eunetia Amos and Eunice Blakeslee

Andrew, Widow Elizabeth Pierpont

Amelia Ezekiel and Eleanor Jacobs

With the close of the above year the list ends
abruptly. There is nothing more to indicate either the
continuance or cessation of the plan. At the loan
exhibition, held in connection with the town's centen-
nial in 1886, one of these Bibles was exhibited by Mrs.
Jarius Brockett and it is believed one or two other
copies could be found in the community.

Carefully cherished among other historical docu-
ments is one bearing on a subject not frequently
mentioned in history, btit in this case revealing a
glimpse of early life in the parish that should be
noted. This paper is Deacon Solomon Tuttle's
account of the expenses of the communion service in
Dr. Trumbull's ch^lrch, and covers the period from
1780 to 1800.

As preliminary to this, it should be stated that in
1746 Mr. Ebenezer Mansfield devised to "the church

* Now owned by Mrs. F. H. To3d.


in the North Village now under the pastoral care of
the Rev. Isaac Stiles, all my meadow lying near a
place called Duck cove; Bounded eastward by a ditch,
northward by the cove, southward by Stephen Mun-
son's meadow, westward by the river."

The income from this bequest was to be devoted to
the support of the communion service and the needs
of the poor of the church. During the time of this
narrative (1780) it yielded an annual revenue of from
three to five pounds, and for a htmdred years and
more steadily carried out the wishes of its legator,
leaving annually an unexpended balance which grew
to be a small fund. In late years neglect to main-
tain the dykes has reduced its value to worthless-

Mr. Tuttle quaintly prefaces his account thus:
"Nov. 2d, 1780. Then I was chosen deacon."

He was the successor of Deacon James Humaston,
and on his assumption of office received of the latter
gentleman " three pints of wine and a hundred and
seventy continental dollars and twenty-five shillings
of state money." His initial purchase for the observ-
ance of the communion season in the following Janu-
ary was six quarts of 'wine, for which he paid the
" state money," as above, and sixty-six continental
dollars besides. For the bread on this occasion he
paid eighty-three continental dollars.

Some idea of the value of this paper money may
be gained when the total expense of the bread for the
year 1781 was but four shillings in silver, or a cost of
about eight pence per Sabbath. Such a basis fixes the
silver value of these eighty-three continental dollars
at eight jDence, or about sixteen cents for the whole

But the quantity of wine consumed in these twenty
years at once arrests our attention because so utterly
out of all proportion to modern usages. They bought
as follows:




. 36 quarts


. 26 quarts

I7S2, .

37 quarts

1792, .

. 2byi quarts


. 37 quarts


. 26 quarts

I7S4. .

31 quarts

1794. .

• 27^ quarts


. 30 quarts


.26 quarts

I7S6, .

30 quarts

1796, .

26 quarts


. 29 quarts


2\yi quarts

17SS, .

27 quarts

179S, .

24 quarts


29^ quarts


. 21 quarts


29 quarts


23 quarts

The above table gives an annual average consump-
tion of twenty-six quarts, or little more than a gal-
lon for each communion observance. The roll of
church membership could not at any time in this
period have exceeded two hundred communicants,
and when one reflects that more than seventy per
cent of any stated number of church-goers are never
present at any one session, it reduces the actual parti-
cipants to less than a hundred and a half, which
makes the consumption of wine per capita so great
that its practice at the present day would cause scan-
dal forthwith.

The cost of this beverage is also worthy of note.
Its value at the opening of this account was a little
more than four shillings per quart. This figure grad-
uall}' decreased down to the year 1793, when it was
less than a shilling and a half a quart. Afterward it
advanced to two shillings and remained steady.

While this commodity decreased in value the price
of bread correspondingly rose. From a cost of eight
pence per Sabbath as has been stated, at the start,
it gradually crept up to three shillings per Sabbath in
1800. There is no way of accounting for this unpre-
cedented increase.

As pertinent to this subject and because some of
the pieces of plate now in use by the Congregational
church are historic, we refer to two cases. The oldest
cup was the gift of Miss Ruth Atwater of New Haven,
afterwards the wife of Samuel Ives, deacon of Mr.


Wetmore's church, 17 18. Dr. Trumbull, speakinpf of
the donor says, " vShe was of the wealthy and respect-
able family of the Atwaters." It undoubtedly was
the first and only piece used by the church at its for-
mation — 1 7 16.

The other instance is the baptismal basin pre-
sented by the Rev. Ezra Stiles, D. D., in 1794, as a
memorial of his esteem for the parish.

It bears the following inscription:

The Gift

Of the Rev, Ezra Stiles, D. D., L.L. D..

to the

Congregational Church,


North Haven


Dr. Trumbull preached for the last time Sunday

afternoon, January 23, 1820, from the text "There

remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God." A

writer in the Christian Spectator^ in the following March,

speaks of him on this occasion as preaching with

more than his usual animation and fervor, which so

much increased as to call forth general remark from

his audience. At this service he also gave out two of

his favorite hymns, one beginning, " Descend from

heaven, immortal dove," the other and closing one,

"On Jordan's rugged banks I stand."

The reading of this hymn (except the benediction)
was the last pulpit utterance he was to make. There
is living to-day one (perhaps more) of his audience
who recalls distinctly, the impressive manner in which
the latter hymn was read. Reaching the familiar line,
"When shall I reach that happy place," the vener-
able man laid marked emphasis on the pronoun, the
while lifting his tear-filled eyes to the lofty ceiling.
His audience noted a pause in the delivery; for an
instant the reader unconsciously bent forward, his
eyes still fixed, as though -the roof had suddenly di?-



solved and beyond in the heavens he had caught one
fleeting glimpse of the long desire of his soul. A
solemn hush fell on the assemblage; a strange expres-
sion came as a flash upon the wrinkled face as he re-
peated again the line, " When shall I reach that happy
place," and then in subdued voice finished the hymn.

This singular circumstance, in the light of suc-
ceeding events, was deemed providential. It may have
been the summons to his death. It would seem that he
so regarded it. He was taken ill on the Tuesday fol-
lowing, the disease rapidly developing into inflamma-
tion of the lungs. From that time he began to make
preparation for his departure. The elder Silliman
visited him, and thtis writes: "I then heard him
speak to this effect: ' I have always remembered my
God — I have never forgotton him — m my study— in
my family — in my rural labors — on the field of battle;
and I doubt not He will support me in my old age and
in death.' " Noble words ! Fitter epitaph was never

Another writer in the Spectator observes: "He
talked freely about his death and gave directions con-
cerning his funeral."

Sprague says in his Annals: "It now became
deeply impressed upon his mind that the time of his
departure was at hand, and he proceeded to make his
arrangements with reference to that event. On
Wednesday, February 2, 1820, he gently breathed
his last, just after having said: 'Come quickly.

Thus closed the days of one who added honor to
his birthplace, godliness to his parish, renown to his
country and lustre to the name of Trumbull. The
half of his public service remains yet untold. To his
church in its weakness, to his parish in its destitution,
to his land in its distress in the hour of revolution, he
was strength, support and relief. Among his fellows
he was a peer, and well* was it said at the dav of his


death, " Know ye not that there is a prince and a great
man fallen this day in Israel."

Dr. Trumbull died possessed of a goodly estate for
a minister in those days. Jesse Andrews and Josiah
Todd appraised it at $7,450.89. A will was proved
naming his son Benjamin and son-in-law Justus
Bishop executors. " To his wife he gave '' three notes
in the Loan Office of the United vStates, one good cow.
one hundred and eighty hard silver dollars, and the
use of one-third of all the buildings and real estate
during her natural life." He further provides (and
the clause seems a little singular) that at Mrs. Trum-
bull's death " her apparel, gold beads, rings, jewels,
and all silver of every description and household
furniture," should be equally divided between her
three daughters.

To these daughters he gave certain real estate, and
to Benjamin "My wearing apparel, watch, gold sleeve
buttons, silver buckles of every description, blue desk
in my study and the book-shelf which stands upon it,
my guns, bayonet, cartouche box, shot pouch, bullets
and flints, my brass bullet molds, razors and whole
shaving apparatus, saddles, bridles, portmanteau, sad-
dle-bags and walking canes and thirty-six volumes of

His historical papers and collections were be-
queathed to Yale College. All other books, manu-
scripts, pamphlets, etc., were equally divided among
the four children.

This latter request Avas in some respects an unfor-
tunate one; unfortunate for the modern historian and
unfortunate for the honored divine. It appears it was
the Dr.'s habit to jot down on scraps of paper various
hints and notes, to be afterward extended and ampli-
fied in that surprisingly neat penmanship, the admira-
tion of all connoisseurs. The division of these memo-
randa with other papers has resulted in confusion
and loss in many instances, which will always defeat


any attempt to complete what otherwise might prove
of credit to the author and value to posterity.

The widow of this distinguished man survived him
five years and died at the age of ninety-three, at the
home of her daughter, Mrs. Eastman. Before her
death she became totally blind.

The Trumbull monument stands near the centre of
the south half of the "old cemetery," and but few
rods from the scene of his labors. It is built of mar-
ble, four-sided in structure, the top rising by easy
mouldings and steps to a peak surmounted by an urn.
The base is low and narrow. Pilasters of grayish col-
ored marble are set upon the corners of the body of
the monument, forming panels for the inscriptions.

On the east face is written:

Here rest

the Remains

of the

Rev. Benjamin Trumbull, D. D.,

Who was

Born at Hebron, Conn.,

A. D. 1735,


Died Feb. 2, A. D. 1S20,

Aged S5.

On the south face:

He was graduated at Yale College

A D. 1759

and ordained Pastor of the

Congregational Church in North Haven,

Conn.. A. D. 1760.

in which relation he continued until his death, a period of almost

sixty years. He composed during his ministry nearly four

thousand sermons and published essays on the inspiration

of the Scriptures — a histon.- of Connecticut — a history

of United States and other works for which he

was honored by his Alma Mater and

esteemed by his countrymen as an able

Divine and an accurate historian.


On the north side:

Firm humble and devout
He sustained with Dignity-
all his relations in life
and died
a firm and joyful Believer


his God and Savior


with expressions of praise

the coming of the Lord.

The west side is devoted to his aged consort:
Mrs. Martha Trumbull
wife of
Benjamin Trumbull, D. D.
Born at Hebron, Oct 4, 1732
died June 21, 1-825
Ae 02.
Through life she discharged with great Conscientiousness the
relative duties: exhibited the dignity and the purity of the Christ
ian character: bore with patience the infirmities of age: and died
with firm reliance on the merits of the



The parish was not without representation in
"the old French war," as it has been termed. In
1754-5 the goverment became alarmed at the activity
and encroachments of the French forces on our north-
em frontier. Connecticut was advised to send thither
one thousand men for the defense of " His Majesty's

Except for a plain and storm-worn old sandstone
standing in the cemetery at Montowcse, we should
never have known the heritage we possess in the first
war of the colony. On this mute sentinel in the city
of the dead we read:

Moses Brockett,

who died at camp


Lake George

Aged 43.

His father was Moses Brockett, Sr., one of the
earliest settlers of Muddy River and an active mem-
ber of the First Ecclesiastical wSociety. Pres. Ezra
Stiles records his name in his manuscript notes. - He
died in 1764. Moses Brockett, Jr., was a middle-aged
man at his enlistment, the date of which is unknown.
Whether others of his acquaintance accompanied him,
or alone he sought a soldier's grave in that cold soil,
is uncertain. There are some indications that there
Avas a small company of comrades, and that their
course was marked bv anxiety on the part of thei?
friends at home.


Reference to the beginning of this conflict is
made in the "Journal of Plannah Heaton" to this

November 22. 1753.

Just as the day broke, this word was borne into my mind:
" Trouble cometh out of the North," and told my husband of it,
but knew not what was coming, but a few hours after I heard an
amazing loud noise in the nortli like a great gun; it lasted for some
time before the noise \\as gone; people all around us heard it with
surprise and some said they saw a stream of fire; some tlio'tit was
an earthquake and feared the place was sunk, but I believe it was
an alarm or sign of war with the Northern French and Indians
which soon began.

And again: " Now it being in September, 1755. about a month
after I lay in [birth of her son Calvin], one Saturday night about
midnight I was waked out of my sleep by a ' 'larum of war.' One
rid by and cryed ' "Wake ! Wake I Wake ! ' The drum was beat-
ing, guns was shooting, the bell a ringing [probably referrin.g to
New Haven]. Now my first tho't was that the french and Indians
was at my door a coming to kill me. for our New England army
was gone to Crown Point, and we was a fearing day b}' day how
it would be with them. My husband [Theophilus] went out and
brought the news; it was supposed all our array was cut off and
more men must go. Now we had certain news from our camp
there had been a fight at Cro\vn Point, and some of our men was
killed and O how terrified ev'erybody was with fear that New
England was going to be destro\-ed."

The patriot who died at Lake George probably lies
where he fell. He is northernmost in the line of
heroic dead, stretching from the pines of Crown Point
to the palms of Pocotaligo under which Eaton sleeps.
Brockett was the advance guard of a brotherhood
honored by North Haven. Not Bassett, Bishop,
Barnes, Thorp, Todd, slain on the fields of the Revolu-
tion; not Blair at Cedar ^Mountain, nor Hoadley at
Kingston, nor McCormick at Peach Orchard, nor Smith
at Darbytown, in the war of the Rebellion, died more
in obedience to his country's laws and for his country's
honor, than did Brockett for his land and king.




The writer approaches the consideration of the
period of the Revolutionary war, and the active part
borne by the parish in it, with extreme misgivings.
The data on which to construct a memorial of those
who took part in its struggles is excessively meagre.
Except for a single muster roll and a solitary memo-
randum or two made by Dr. Benjamin Trumbull, there
is lack of documentary evidence to assist in this work.

"The Record of Connecticut men in the war of the
Revolution," as published by the State, has been
relied on mainly as furnishing the most complete list
of those who served their country in those heroic days.
That volume is here supplemented by many North
Haven names not found on its pages. Family records
and carefully sifted traditions have been called in to
aid in making up the following muster roll:


The news of the attack at Lexington, Mass.,
reached New Haven, Friday evening, April 21, 1775.
On Saturday, the 22d, men from the various militia
companies who could be spared were informally
hurried forward for " the relief of Boston." The first
man in the parish to respond to the call was Abner
Thorp, then living in the extreme south-east corner
of the parish, and so near the Branford line that he
marched with the Branford men. His period of ser-
vice was but six days, and the company- returned
home. He enlisted second in Captain William Doug-
lass' company, of Northford, Conn., of General Woos-
ter's regiment, raised at the first call for troops, April-
May, 1775, and recruited in New Haven county. This
command went to Harlem, N. Y., thence to Long
Island, and in September, same year, by order from
Congress, marched to " The Northern Dept. " and took
part in the operations along Lakes George and Cham-
plain. It assisted in' the reduction of St. Johns in


October, and afterwards went to Montreal. He was
discharged with his command while at the latter
place, November 20, 1775. He enlisted afterward in
Captain Johnson's company, Colonel Noadiah Hooker's
regiment, General Wolcott's brigade, raised in 1777
for the relief of Peekskill, N. Y. His company served
forty-six days in this campaign and was discharged.


Abraham Bassett enlisted May 15, 1775, in Captain
Thompson's company. General Wooster's regiment.
He served at " The siege of Boston " and was dis-
charged with his company October 31, same year. He
enlisted second in Captain Johnson's company, Col-
onel Douglass' regiment, Fifth battalion, General
Wadsworth's brigade, in June, 1776. Was present at
the battle of Long Island, Kips Bay and AVhite Plains.
He died in the service in New York city September 9,
1776, aged forty-two years. Sergeant Bassett was a
prominent man in the First Ecclesiastical Society,
having held various offices for fourteen years, and
was a rj ember of the Society's Committee at the time
of his enlistment. A stone was set up in the old cem-
etery commemorative of his death. He married Lydia
, who died August 9, 1S29, at the age of ninety-

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 17 of 32)