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 8 of 32)
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same increase occurred in forty-five years.

Of these one hundred sevent} - five families twelve
were Barns, ten were Brocketts, ten were Blakes-
lees, fifteen were Todds, eleven were Tuttles, seven
were Bradleys, five were Ives, five Humastons.
six Thorps, five Batons and Heatons, etc., etc. The
balance was made up of Coopers, Sanfords, Bish-
ops, Turners, Clarks, etc., etc. Of the new comers
were the families of Bassett, Pardee, Sinith, Mans-
field, Beach and a few others, but they bore a small
proportion to those town born during this fruitful

Of Mr. Stiles' home life no mention has been made.
Its influence can best be traced in the long line of his
posterity. lie married, in i725,Keziah Taylor, of West-




tk'ld, Mass. She died December 4th, 1727, leaving an
infant son Ezra. His second wife was Esther Hooker
of Farmington, Conn., whom he married in October,
1728. She survived him nineteen years. In all^
eleven children were born to him — Ezra, Isaac,
Kezia, Ashbel, Ashbel, Esther, Job, Esther, Job,
Ruth, Lucy. Kezia married Basil Munson of Mt.
Carmel; the first Esther died in infancy; the second
Esther married Lemuel Bradley, also of Mt. Car-
mel; the first Ashbel, both Jobs, Ruth . and Lucy,
died young ; Ezra was absorbed in his studies,
and Ashbel 2d fell into evil hands, lost his patri-
mony and moved away. Thus no one was left
but Isaac, and from him descends the North Haven
branch. The latter had a son, Isaac Clark Stiles, who
in turn had Laura, Lucina, Isaac, Eunice, Zophar,
Horace, Ezra and Hervey, whose descendants are
living within the present century and can be recalled
without enumeration.

Mr. Stile died possessed of considerable means
for that day. To the "living " which his society gave
him at his settlement, he added from time to time ad-
joining property, till at his death his estate was ap-
praised, in round numbers, at ;^i,6oo. His main farm
consisted of about two hundred acres and lay in
nearly a square. Beginning at the " Pine Trees " at
the southeast corner of Pierpont Park, the line was
bounded north on the old " ]^Iarket Place " and ran
directly to the river, thence three-quarters of a mile
south, thence east a half mile and more, and then
north to the pines again. There was other real estate
besides this.

His library, a catalogue of which is preserved, was
appraised at ^^ii 8s. 8d. Of this. Rev. Mr. Trumbull
purchased about fifty volumes; President Stiles took
a large number, and it is supposed the remainder
was either divided or sold. With the exception of
a Latin Testament now in th'e possession of the Hon.



Ezra Stiles' family of the third generation from the
reverend preacher, not a volume of his can be found
in the town to-day.

His successor, the Rev. Benjamin Triimbull, had a
kindly word for him. wSays the worthy doctor: " He
was well versed in the Scriptures — had a natural g-ift
of elocution, and was a zealous engaged preacher."

The testimony of his first son also supplies an ad-
ditional trait of his character, for, writing some years
after his father's death, President Stiles says; "Rev.
Isaac Stiles was a plain, outspoken preacher, if we may
judge from the following: Once on a time, during
intermission on Sunday, he saw one of his congrega-
tion stealing his melons. In his afternoon sermon he
referred to this incident in a manner somewhat per-
sonal. After treating of the particular sin of theft,
said he: 'no longer than this Lord's Day noon (point-
ing to a person in the gallery) I saw you John John-
son, thou son of Belial, thou child of the devil, enter
my garden and steal my melons.' Such directness of
expression could have left no doubt in his hearers'
minds as to his opinion of John.

There is extant another letter, also written by his
son, ten years after his father's death, in which occurs
this remarkable passage: "There is a sin unto death;
that sin my father sinned in opposing the New Light
— this is imputed to me — and in this life it is never to
be forgiven."

Thus passed from the stage or life he who had
been no second-rate personage thereon. He was the
first of his name and blood that attained a liberal
education in America. Human forecast designed him
for a weaver's profession and he achieved great pro-
ficiency therein, but God had other and nobler plans
for him, though weaver indeed he was of that rare
and beautiful robe of righteousness which he strove
so many years, by the help of his Divine Master, to
induce the world around him to accept and wear


There could not have been much that was attrac-
tive in the landscape of the cemetery where Mr.
Stiles was laid. We must think of the surroundings
as rude in the extreme, yet he was no stranger to the
place. Eight times had he stood there on the occa-
sion of death in his own family circle. His first wife
preceded him thither thirty-three years, then six chil-
dren followed, and lastly his venerable father. Of
the funeral of the latter Pres. Stiles writes:

"My father said at the grave this was the seventh
parental burial he had attended; two wives of his
father, the fathers and mothers of his two wives
(Kezia and Esther), and his own father."

The following is a list of the ordinations in which
Mr. Stiles assisted during the period of his ministry.


Rev. Samuel Hall, Cheshire, 1724.
Rev. Thomas Ruggles, Guilford, 1729.
Rev. Theophilus Hall, Meriden, 1729.
Rev. Jonathan Todd, East Guilford, 173S.


Rev. Philemon Robbins, Branford, 1733.


Rev. Daniel Humphrey, Derby, 1734.


Rev. Samuel Whittlesey, Milford, 1737.

Rev. Abel Stiles (his brother) Woodstock, 1737.


Rev. Nathan Birdsey, West Haven, 1742. ,

Rev. Benjamin Woodbridge, Amity, 1742.
Rev. John Trumbull, Waterbury, — .


Rev. Nathaniel Taylor, New Milford, 174S.


Rev. John Richards. North Guilford, 174S.
Rev. Mark Davenport, Waterbury. — .
Rev. Warhara Williams, Northford, 1750.


Rev. Nicholas Street, East Haven, 1755.


Rev. Ezra Stiles (his son), Newport, R. I., 1755.



Rev. Elizur Goodrich, Durham. 1756.

Rev. Amos Fowler, Rev. Mr. Ely, Guilford, 1757.

Rev. Chauncy Whittlesey, New Haven, 175S.


Rev. James Dana, Wallingford, 1758.
Rev. Jonathan Lyman. Oxford, — .

Some eight or ten other persons are mentioned, at
whose ordination he probably assisted, but dates and
localities are not given.

The following sermons of Mr. Stiles were pub-
lished shortly after their delivery:

1. A Prospect of the City of Jerusalem in its spiritual building,
beauty and glory.

Election Sermon, 1742.

2. A looking glass for changlings. A seasonable Caveat
against meddling with them, that are given to change. In a ser-
mon preached at the Freemen's meeting in New Haven in 1743.

3. The character and duty of soldiers illustrated in a sermon
preached in New Haven, 1755, at the desire of Colonel Nathan

4. Sermon preached at the ordination of Rev. Ezra Stiles at
Newport, 1755.

5. Author of the declaration of the association of the county
of New Haven concerning the Rev. George Whitefield.

His tomb is but a little way from the western
entrance to the cemetery. It consists of a heavy
stone table laid upon a substantial fotindation. The
lettering of this table is entirely without ornament,
and is as follows:

This memorial is erected

to the memory of

The Rev. Isaac Stiles A. M.

Who was born in Windsor Julv 30, 1697

Received a liberal education

at Yale College

OrdaineJ to the Pastoral Office

in the church of North Haven

Nov II, 1724

where he ser\*ed in the ministry 36 years

and died May*i4, 1760 .-ETAT 63.


Having a Mind Enobled

with Sublime & Venerable Conceptions

Of the Glories of the Most High

and the perfect Order and Happiness of y - universe

Illuminated with Divine Views

Of the Economy of that part of it

Under the Mediatorial Dominion

Of Jesus Christ


Being intimately acquainted with

The Sacred Oracles

and having a Natural Gift of


He preached the Gospel with

Fervour and Fidelity

, A Friend to Pure and undeiiled


With a charitable Benevolence

to all Mankind.

Mors mihi vita Est.





The settlers early turned their attention to school
matters. The first action was taken Dec. 6, 1720. At
this time it was "Agreed on by y" society that y
school shall be kept at fonr places. First that it be
kept on y'-east side New Haven East river [Ouinni-
piac], below Muddy river; secondly, that it be kept on
y* west side of said East river below j" Pine bridge;
thirdly, from y" Pines and upward to y" Blew Hills;
fourthly, on y' east side of said East river and north-
ward of Muddy river." In such vague terms was their
territory divided into four long districts, the two riv-
ers mentioned forming the inner boundaries. The
sites of these four school-houses are unknown. It is
more than probable that the school sessions were
maintained at private houses in these localities, and
that years passed before a building erected for such
a purpose was known. Beyond the above vote there
is no allusion to this matter, not so much as even
the appointment of a committee for the succeeding
ten years. Then occurs that unfortunate lapse in the
records before spoken of, of twenty years more, so
that in all we are carried on to 1750 before the silence
is broken on a matter so closely allied to the weal of
our commonwealth.

The parish records, on their resumption in 1750,
name the following " School Committee." Sergeant
Ebenezer Frost, Dea. Isaiah Tuttle, Corporal Sackitt.
and Corporal Barnes. If these gentlemen were
selected to represent centers of population rather


than general principles, then " Muddy River " would
have the best of it, for all, with the exception of
Deacon Tuttle, resided in that vicinity. This com-
mittee was probably not the first, but it is the first we
have any definite knowledge of. They were given no
instructions. In 1752 it was "voted to lay a two
penny school rate this year. Christopher Todd was
chosen collector."

In 1753 the four gentlemen named above were re-
appointed with the following instructions. "Voted
that y° com'tee shall gather as much upon the pool as
to make up as much as the twopenny rate last year."
What was the " pool ? "

With only such meagre hints as the above is the
record interlarded for thirteen years, or until 1763. At
this date only Ebenezer Frost remained of the origi-
nal committee, the others having been supplanted
and one Joshua Barnes added to make five in all.
In this year (1763), Dea. Isaiah Tuttle, Aaron Day,
Dan Ives, Esquire Sackitt, Doctor Walter Munson,
Lieut. Isaac Blakeslee and Jude Cooper were chosen
as a committee to lay a plan about school affairs
and make their report at the next meeting.

This committee reported December 14th, 1763.

" The committee that was chosen at the last meet-
ing to lay a plan about school affairs report as fol-
lows :

I. That the society shall tax themselves one penny
on the pound for the support of schooling, which will
amount to the sum of jQ s. d.

44 13 4
The public money supposed to be coming

to y" society, 13 o o

Sum total, 54 13 4

2. That there shall be two centres in the parish in

which a good man school shall be kept six months in

a year — three months at y" schoolhouse near the Pine


bridge so called, and three months at some place near
Benjamin Beeches, and no one to attend said schools
but those that can spell well, and any of the parish-
ioners children that can read and are big enough to
learn to write and cypher may attend said schools
without exception, and do judge said school for six
months will cost ^2^.

3. That the inhabitants living within y* two centres
shall be allowed out of the ^30 remaining, ;£"] los.
for the maintenance of a dame school or schools
within the said two centres, said schools to be kept
and the money to be laid out according to y*" discre-
tion of y" school committee.

4. We judge that it is necessary there should be
five Districts in the extrea'm parts of the Society. One
at Muddy River so called — one at The Half Mile — one
at Wallingford Road taking in the Blakeslees and
their adjacent neighbors — one in the north part on
the west side of the River — one in the south part on
the Same side of the River.

5. And it is y*^ opinion of said Committee that the
aforesaid ;^33-3-4 shall be Distributed to the aforesaid
several Districts in Equall proportion according to
their Lists to be paid to and paid out by the School
Comtee, and if any one of the Districts should fail of
keeping a school so as not to expend the money
assigned, shall forfeit said money and the man school
shall take the benefit of the same, and that the sev
eral Districts are to find for themselves places for
keeping a school and procure a Woman qualified for
keeping the same."

At this same meeting they adopted the " Plan "
proposed, and voted the one penny recommended,
choosing Abraham Bassett the collector thereof.

A brief analysis of this " School Plan " will be
proper. First, it reveals the grand list of the parish
property as one thousand pounds, or five thou-
sand dollars. Next it indicates but one school-house,


and that on the west side of the river near Pine
bridg-e. It likewise determines that although the
meeting-house was building on the market place, and
the parade and the burying ground had been estab-
lished there also, yet that point had not become the
center of the population of the parish by any means,
but rather that the settlers were widely scattered with
the major portion of them dwelling on the southern
fringe of our territory at Muddy river and near Cedar

The phrase "two centres," in the foregoing report,
should be construed as two places, or, more strictly, as
two sections within whose borders, at some conven-
ient point, a school should be established. The west
section was already furnished with a school building,
it appears, while in the remainder of the parish no
such provision existed. Neither does the specific men-
tion of these " two centres " imply they were distinct
localities from the " Five districts " which the commit-
tee recommended to be erected in the parish. The first
and fifth include these centers within their boxmda-
ries, the understanding being simply that a " man
school " should be kept in each of these districts three
months in the year, while in their season the " dame
schools " might be kept there also, as well as in the
other set places.

Now bearing in mind that these specifications of
their school plan emanated from the old second meet-
ing-house on the green (which was the center of their
active world), we have little difficulty in understand-
ing the geography of " Five Districts," as they
planned them in the " extreara parts of the society."
The first, as has been said, was at Muddy river
(now Montowese). Then came the temporary " man
school, at or near Benjamin Beach's." This gentle-
man, according to best information, lived near the
Muddy river bridge. The second district was in the
" Half Mile." The third district included the present


nearly depopulated fifth district, extending north-
ward to Wharton's brook at the Wallingford line.
The fourth was west of Quinnipiac river, and at the
northwest corner of the parish took in the " Blew
Hills," extending southward presumably half the
length of our territory there, or to an imaginary line
which separated it from the fifth, next below; in this
latter was the other " man school " mentioned. Thus
the school topography of 1763 was plotted.

The reader has probably noticed that in these
details no allusion is made to locality, district or
school at or near the meeting-house. This certainly
is a singular omission. Wherever the Puritan planted
his church in the colonies of New England, as a rule
he planted a school-house under its eaves, and yet it
was forty years after the first church was erected here
that we have any intimation that a school building
stood in the shadow of or near it, for it was at the
same parish meeting in which they adopted the plan
under consideration, that they voted just before
adjournment, " That there might be a school-house set
on the market place built by particular men." No fur-
ther reference is made to it. The supposition remains
that those "particular men," whoever they were, act-
ing by permission rather than authority, went for-
ward and erected that memorable old school building,
which stood well within the present century.*

That this school-house had a district of its own,
and that such territory was embraced within much
the same limits that the present "Centre" or
fourth district now occupies, may reasonably be
assumed. The language of the vote in referring
to the " extream parts " implies an already exist-
ing division, with the meeting-house for its center.
These district lines were very elastic. The parish was
continually tinkering at them for a dozen years and
more, until eight in all had been framed bearing
essentially the same proportions as to-day.

•Taken down in i(<4«.



Of the committee who prepared the plan, one
bears the unfamiliar name, Aaron Day. Who was
he ? No such name appears upon any church record,
or in any cemetery, and yet in 1762 he was made one
of a committee of the society "to fill up vacancies in
the seats." In 1763, as stated, he reported the school
plan, and in 1764 was made one of the general com-
mittee on school affairs. Further than this no mention
is made, of him. Turning now to the New Haven
records, we find one Aaron Day appointed by the
General Court in 1747 as custodian of certain arras
and ammunition provided for the intended Canada
expedition, but unused; in 1750 ordered to care for
the powder' and stores in his keeping and sell the
same; in 1753 appears as plaintiff in a suit against one
Stowe, master of the brigantine " Dragon," of New
Haven, for mismanagement of business; in 1754, one
of a committee to build a wharf at " Ferry Point,"
New Haven (the money for which had been raised by
a lottery); in 1755, a committee to go to Albany to pur-
chase commissary stores for the Connecticut troops
about to proceed on the Crown Point expedition; in
1759, inspector of arms, ammunition, etc., at New
Haven; also in this same year, when the White Haven
church was separated from the old First church, he is
named as remaining with the original stock, and with
this allusion, so far as known, his career ceases in
New Haven. Now as Aaron Day, as an official, dis-
appears from the New Haven record in 1759, and such
person appears on the North Haven record in 1762-3
-4, is it presumptuous to say the two were identical,
and that in the closing years of his life he either
became a resident of this parish, or, still remaining
in New Haven, but being a man of exceptionally
sound judgment and wide experience, the fathers of
this parish sought his advice and counsel in the
administration of their atfairs ?



"Seth Heaton, Ebenezer Frost, Daniel Barnes and others,
having heretofore pitched up a place for fishing in the river in
New Haven, called the East River, at a place called Andrew's
Point, do now record said place to themslves for fishing."

" Moses Brockett and James Granniss hath taken possession of
a fishing place in New Haven East River against the south end of
that island called Painter's Island and hath set stakes thereon."

"Joseph Bassett and Daniel Tuttle having taken possession of
a fishing place in New Haven East River a little below the Pine
bridge, and have set a stake on each side and their names on each
stake, do now record the same."

In 1760 James Paine owned a " Fishing Claim" about a mile
above Pine bridge (Mansfields) which he sold to Enos Todd in

In 1 791 Ithimar and Isaac Tuttle took up a " fishery" on the
East river between the Quinnipiac dam and Wharton's brook.

Eli Sackett, Enoch Barnes, Benjamin Barnes and Josiah
Thomas took up a " Fishery" at " The Elm Tree " on East river
between "Duck Cove" and "Mocking Hill" in 1794.

Nathaniel Stacy, Edward Turner, Timothy Heaton and Samuel
Tharp laid claim to a " Fishing Place " three-fourths of a mile south
of Mansfield's bridge in 1794.

Dan Ives, Theophilus Bradley, Allen Ives and Noah Ives, Sr.,
took up the right to fish 'from Mansfield's bridge " down about a
mile" in 1797.

Such were some of the franchises granted by the
local government (New Haven) * to the yeomanry of
our parish. They were valuable possessions, were
bought and sold, were transferable by deed, and
regarded as good assets in any man's possession.
There was considerable clashing of interests between
the proprietors of these places concerning their exact
boundaries. Trespasses were not uncommon, and
family and neighborhood feuds and lawsuits were
occasional concomitants of ownership therein.

These fishing places were known by such terms
as "Red Bank," "Duck Cove," "Sackett's Point,"

* See Proprietor's Record.



"Newman's Point," "Bridge," "Quinny," etc. Each
of these localities had its gangs of fishermen with
all their paraphernalia of seines, canoes, stakes and
the implements of their profession, and thus was
the river laid under contribution to furnish its quota
of subsistence to the dwellers along its banks.

Of these fishing stations, that of " Newman's
Point" deserves more than a mere mention. This
place derived its name from the Newman family, so
effective in the foundation and maintenance of the
New Haven colony, but whether from Robert, the
church pillar, or Francis, the governor, is uncer-
tain. The first allusion signalizing it as " Newman's
Point" was made in 1688, when Richard Newman con-
veyed it to his sons. The point itself is the narrow
neck of meadow running east far across the marsh
south of the old fishing ground familiar to many
living. Its area is comprised within one of those long
sintious bends for which the lower part of East river
is noted.

This territory lay in the "3d division." Hereabouts
the lands are historic. Newman, Turner, Yale, Street,
Chandler, and others have in turn been possessors of
them. It does not appeal to one at the present day as
being an extremely valuable tract, but yields sponta-
neously a heavy crop of rank, coarse grass. But the
chief interest did not lay then nor has it since lain so
much in the point itself as in the "landing place"
which later became the fishing ground.

Shortly after the settlement of the parish this
landing was considered of sufficient importance to
call forth the following document:

New Haven, Conn., Dec. 10, A. D. 1730.

" We the subscribers hereof bein_^ appointed by the Selectmen
of said New Haven to lay out a Highway from the Country Road
to the East River at a place called Newmans Point, did as follows:
beginning North of the Brook on the Hill (above Sereno Todds)
M the Road, we measured off 2 rods and set down a stake and a


stone on each side, and an Oak marked: from thence extending t.r
the East River 2 rods in width by the southern line of Sergear.:
Joseph Turners farm, that was Newmans, then measured and
bounded out by said East River 10 rods by the river in length and
from the River 6 rods in width, bounded by Stakes and Stones."

Joseph Ives. p ^

Jonathan Mansfield,)" J^ownstnen.

This act made a public place of it. The indica-
tions are that this highway was not new in fact, but
that under the authority of the law it was ordained as
a substitute for an old pathway which had been in
existence as early as 1690 or 1700.

Why was a highway needed to this landing? There
was no bridge, no ferry, no passenger terminus, no
freight warehouse there. But it was a noted logging
station and sent rafts of hard woods, pipe staves,
hoops, etc., in frequent invoices on ebb tides down the

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 8 of 32)