The One hundred and fiftieth anniversary, 1748-1898, of the Congregational Church of East Hampton (Chatham), Conn. : November 30, 1898 online

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The Congregational Church of East
Hampton^ (Chatham,) Conn*

November 30, 1898.



(Drqan Voluntav^, Miss Lola Barton.

Clntl^cm — "Send out Thy Light," - -... Gounod.

Scripture Hcabtng ani> Prayer, - . - . . Rev. C. W. Collier.
Solo — " He shall feed His flock," - - .. Handel.

Miss Lois J. Barton.
IPelcomc by the pastor, - - - Rev. William Slade.

Puett — " Love Divine," - - - .. Stainer.

Miss May Bouteli.e and Mr. Newton Curtis.
Bistortcal Clbbress, - - - - Rev. Joel S. Ives.

Bymn 651 — " How firm a foundation."

cl Sketct^ of the Sifc of Ker. 3ol^ri Horton,

first Pastor of the Church, - - - - Mr. AL\rtin L. Roberts.

Bymn "8\ — " For all thy saints who from their labors rest."


Po..i„bc. 1140703

Collation at Sieberf s Hall at 12:^0 clock.


®rgan Doluntary.

Cintticm—" Praise ye the Father," Gounod.

Heabing of Setters from former pastors.

Solo — " Come unto Him," ... - - Hajidel.

Miss Boutelle.

Clbbress, - - - - - Rev. H. E. Hart.

Bymn 770 — " Blest be the tie."

clbbress, Rev. C. W. Collier.

Solo — "Fear not ye, O Israel," Buck.

:Mr. Curtis.

IPorbs of Congratulation anb Reminiscence, - * Rev. E. E. Lewis.

* Rev. a. W. Hazen, D. D.

Prayer - - - - - By the Pastor.

£]ymn, written for the occasion by - - - - Rev. Joel S. I\es.



* Not present. Account of the Inside of the Old Church introduced.



Tune: Stockwell.

Bells are riuging! Bells are ringing!

Everywhere the world around,
Calls to duty, calls to danger,

Peals of praise, or sadder sound.

Toil and skill have wrought the music.
Willing hands and earnest thought;

Year to j-ear has told the secret
Closely kept and dearly bought.

Hearken! What is now the message ?

" Holiness unto the Lord!"
Hear, Our Father, while we praise Thee,

With Thy blessing speed The Word.

As the Lake pours out its treasure,
Failing not from year to year.

So Thy saints have brought their worship,
Sire and son, in holy fear.

Witnesses are 'round about us;

Holy mem'ries stir within.
Comforter, Divine Redeemer,

Cheer our hearts, forgive our sin.

Heavenly blessings, never lacking.

Thou hast given in the Past:
Blessings more abundant ever
\ Grant us, even to the last!


Acting Pastor, 1S97.


^V'x SEXDIXG out this record of our Anniversary, it seems
%y fitting that there should be a word of introduction. For
several j^ears the people of the church had been looking
forward to their one hundred and fiftieth birthdaj-, hoping to
celebrate it in some becoming manner. At the annual church
meeting on January' 13, i8g8, the following resolution was
proposed by Deacon H. D. Chapman, and passed:

Resolved, That this church observe the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary
of its organization with services appropriate to the occasion, and that a com-
mittee be appointed to act with a committee of the society, to make all suitable
arrangements and provisions for the proper carr}"ing out of this resolution.

The committees were appointed, whose names will be found
in this volume. They all worked with enthusiasm and fidelity.
These committees together formed a general committee, which
appointed sub-committees. A. A. Bevin was chosen chairman
of the general committee; S. Mills Bevin served as clerk, and
H. D. Chapman as treasurer. If one were to single out a
committee for special praise among all who did so well, it would
be the collation committee. The}- prepared in Siebert's Hall a
repast most abundant and attractive for a multitude of friends
who could not come, and then these hard working women
did outwit the weather, carrying through the feast without
financial loss.

It was at first proposed to have the celebration on the 28th
of September, before the boisterous weather of late fall. It
was found, however, that our historians wished more time for
their work, and especially desired the Anniversary to occur on


the acftual date, November 30th, when the church would com-
plete its century and a half. This date was therefore chosen,
and more time given for preparation and investigation. Indeed,
the thorough work represented in this book could hardly have
been done by busy people except by extending the time.

At last the day came, and what a day! The Sabbath before
had warned us of what might be, for as the pastor looked from
his stud}^ window he could not see the beautiful church spire
till near 12 o'clock, so thick was the air with drifting snow.
Even the sexton staid at home from church that da}^ There
was a little pleasant weather, then came Wednesday, the 30th,
with another blizzard. The streets were filled with drifts.
The trains were blocked and several hours late. Some brave
descendants of brave John Norton reached us from Willimantic
and Portland. These, with those who had come to town the
night before, represented the outside world of all the friends
who had planned to rejoice with us. The people were disap-
pointed, but decided to go on with the exercises. We shall
not forget the generosity of those who with their horses and
sleighs brought the stranded ones to the church. Nor will
some forget the ride on an ox sled from Barton Hill to the
church. But all regretted especially the disappointment of
those whose health or j^ears prevented a ride over the drifts
and in the storm to a .service they had been looking forward
to with so much pleasure. This day was probably an "old-
fashioned winter," come back to make more vivid the days of
long ago, a specimen of the environment in which our fathers
struggled for existence, but a day in which we had a service
of 'inspiring memories, music, and devotion.

The exercises proceeded as the programme indicates, with
the exception of the words of reminiscence and congratulation.
These were omitted, Rev. A. W. Hazen, of the North Church,
Middletown, being ill, and Rev. E. E. Lewis, of Haddam, being
kept at home by the storm. In place of these addresses the
pastor introduced an interesting description of the inside of the
old church, given him by Miss Julia A. West, granddaughter
of Rev. Joel West. It would be quite impossible to reproduce
the impromptu speeches at the table. They were made by the
Rev. F. W. Coleman, of the Methodist Church; Rev. C. W.
Collier, a former pastor; David Strong, a former resident of


the town, and Rev. Joel S. Ives, pastor from 1S74 to 1S83, and
were a fine combination of laughable and sober thoughts, with
some ver}' remarkable stories effectively told.

There was in the vestry a fine collecftiou of relics and memen-
toes, of which a full catalogue was made, and a sermon by the
Rev. John Norton was printed from an ancient manuscript and
served as a souvenir of the day.

There is an appendix added to the record of the Anniversary
which we trust will be especially valuable, since it gathers as
far as possible the. names of those whose lives and devotion
have made the spiritvial substance of this venerable church. It
gathers, too, the petitions and old papers that record the begin-
nings of church and town life, and there are short sketches of
deacons whose faithful lives have kept the faith steady and
strong. But it remains for some future chronicler to write
more fully the story of this church and town, for church and
town grew on together. The business meetings of the church
were the business meetings of the town. In those meetings
they provided for the first public schools as well as for the
preaching of the gospel. This volume is therefore only a
beginning towards a fuller knowledge of those daj's of first
things, of hard work, and faith in God, of which the present
town of Chatham reaps the fruits.

Special appreciation and thanks should here be extended to
Martin ly. Roberts and S. Mills Bevin for their continuous and
faithful work in gathering the materials that make the appen-
dix such a valuable store of history for those who have this
town as their home or their birthplace.

East Hampton, August i, 1899.



i^ORT), thou hast been our dwelhng-place in all generations;

Pi before the mountains were brought forth or ever thou
hadst formed the earth or the world, even from everlast-
ing to everlasting, thou art God. We feel like crying with
thy servant of old: What is man that thou art mindful of him,
or the son of man that thou visitest him ! We are but of yes-
terday, but thou dost endure throughout all generations. Our
little systems have their day; they have their day and cease to
be, and thou, O Lord, art more than they! Into this refuge
of thy power, th)^ care, thy love, at this time we would retreat.
For we remember at this time that the kingdom is thine; not
ours, but thine; for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the
glory, forever and ever. The church is thine; it was born not
of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man,
but of God. Thou didst redeem it wnth the precious blood of
Christ. And we would thank thee, not only that thou didst
bring thy church to pass, but that thou hast preserved it also
through the tempests of the ages, that thou hast brought to
naught the wrath of man tliat stormed against it, and hast
prevailed, too, over the weakness and frailty of thy people.
As thou didst feed thine ancient people with manna, and as
thou didst open fountains for them in the wilderness, so hast
thou nourished thy people unto this day with manna from on
high that has sustained their souls.

We thank thee for the unspeakable heritage that has come
to us through thy church; for apostles, prophets, martyrs; for
holy men of old who spoke as they were moved by the Holy
Ghost, for the revelation of thyself made to men through them;
we thank thee for the services of thy house, for the place of
worship, that our faith is not of yesterday, but has been hal-
lowed by holy men through ages; w^e thank thee that we, too,
can join therein, can unite our voice with that of thy church

universal in its unbroken anthem of gratitude and praise.



We thank thee for this particular church, that thou didst
call it to take its place in th}- great church universal. Through
it thou hast greatly blessed this community; thou hast minis-
tered to it the water of life, thou hast greatly enriched it with
the river of God; thou hast blessed all these homes through it;
thou hast blessed the bridal hour and made it sacred; thou hast
comforted thy people in the hour of death. We thank thee
for all thou hast done in this very house. Wert thou to make
these walls to speak they would tell of rich ministrations of
thy grace: for here thou hast again and again met with men
far from thee; thou hast melted the stony heart, thou hast
wrought penitence, thou hast forgiven sin, thou hast broken
the bonds of sin, thou hast sent them away with a new song
in their mouth. O that men would praise the Lord for all his
wonderful works! How often, O thou comforter of thy people,
hast thou comforted th}- people here ! They have come to thy
house with strength exhausted, with courage almost gone, but
thou didst renew their strength, thou didst make them to run
and not be weary and to walk and not faint, thou didst make
their hearts to mount up like eagles, thou didst restore their
souls. Thou hast hallowed this place, not with holy oil as
of old, but through the abundant ministration of thy grace,
through which thou hast endeared it to thy people as no
stranger could tell.

And now we pra}' for the continuance of thy blessing. Thou
dost call us to-day to thanksgiving and praise for what thou
hast wrought in the past, yet thou wilt hear our petitions.
Thou hast carried this thy church lo these many 3'ears, carr}'^
thou it for the daj-s to come! Let there be underneath the
everlasting arms! Manifest thyself here that thou hast not
changed, that thine arm is not shortened that it can not save!
Repeat the da^'s of old, and show that th}- blessings are indeed
new every evening and fresh ever}- morning! Fulfill in the
days to come that w^hich thou hast begun, those intimations
thou hast given in what thou hast alread5'- done, and may this
church be as a field which the Lord has blessed, like a tree
planted by the rivers of water, like a branch of the true vine
of which thou thyself art the husbandman !

In particular we pray that sound wisdom and the Spirit of
God may ever dwell with thy people. May the love of God



continually be shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost.
Guide thou its pastor; may he live, move, and have his being
in God and in the love and confidence of his people. Working
together in the fellowship of thy Gospel, may they bring forth
much fruit. May there be born into thy kingdom continually
such as shall be saved, reclaim to thyself those who fall, fill all
this thy church with the spirit of Christian service, and may
they count it their chief privilege to walk with Christ and
serve thee. So through the j^ears to come, as thou dost per-
fedl the lives of thy servants and minister to them of thy
grace, may they in turn minister to thy church of such as thou
hast given them, that through thy church there may flow here
rivers of living water, of which men shall drink unto eternal
life. Hear thou our praj^er: yet not according to our words
alone, but according to thy church's needs. We ask in faith.
For thy church is dearer to thee than to thy servants, dear as
the apple of thine eye and graven on thy hands. In Christ's
name we pray. Amen.

Pastor, 1S74-1SS3.


Historical Address.

The One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Con-
gregational Church, East Hampton, Conn., November 30,

^^I^E who does not take an interest in his ancestors does
Jb/ not deserve to be remembered by his posterit3\"
Every Christian takes an added interest in recount-
ing tlie mercies of a covenant keeping God during the days of
old. And while clouds of witnesses are around about us,
we will listen to the story — the trials and the triumphs of this
century and a half, while this church has maintained among
these hills and valleys the ordinances of the Gospel in accord-
ance with the Pilgrim faith and form. We are fortunate in
being able to celebrate this anniversary upon the very date
when this church was organized one hundred and fiftj' j^ears

It was then the Town of Aliddletown and the County of
Hartford. On this east side of the Connecticut river there
was already a church, called East Middletown Parish — now
Portland — the church having been organized October 25, 1721.
But the excellence of the water privilege caused by the over-
flow of our beautiful Pocotopaug pond, with its deep and
never failing springs, attracted settlers hither, who built a
forge for the smelting of iron ore brought from West Point,
N. Y., and as iron was in much demand for ship building a
considerable business was done. In 1825 a new forge was
built, and also a scythe factory.

A petition, dated " Midleton, April 29th, 1743." signed by
twenty-five names, states that the ' ' nearest of us ' ' were ' ' five
mile distent ' ' and ' ' most of us seven mile ' ' from the ' ' place
of pubhck worship," and that they had hired "by the appro-
bation of the society's committee" a person "approved to
preach amongst us for more than six months the last year,"

I 2 coxCtREgatioxal church of east hamptox.

and therefore ask relief from one-half the taxes imposed by
the society. The twenty-five names are as follows:

John Clark, Thomas Lewis, Hezekiah Russ,

Samuel Wadsworth, Stephen Clrifhth, David Bailey,

John Bevin, Junr., Jonathan Baley, Ebenezer Clark,

Jabez Clark, Joseph Parke, Shubal Lewis,

Josiah Cook, William Clark, William Norket,

William Norket, Junr., Isaac Smith, Ezra Andrews,

James Johnson, Daniel Young, William Bevin,

Selh Knowles, Caleb Johnson, John Markham.

Isaac Williams,

A second petition was sent to " the Honourable Assembh^ of

his Majesty es Colony of Connecticut to be held in New Haven,"

signed by thirty-six names, and dated Ocftober 8, 1744. This

states that the former petition was granted, and that some of

the petitioners are ten miles distant from a place of worship,

" and the Rhoads we are to travel in are very Rough and Bad

to Travel in," and while mindful of their " poor circumstances"

they are still hopeful of being able to support a minister, and

therefore petition that they be set off as a society — the definite

bounds being stated — with all the powers of such ecclesiastical

societies. The following names appear on the second petition,

but not on the first:

John Clark, Junr., Aaron Clark, Samuel Eggleston,

Zaccheus Cooke, David Cerby (?), Elisha Cornwell,

Solomon {?), James Cad)% David Anderson,

Giles Hall, Hamlin John Hall, George Hubbard,

Isaac Thompson, Mary Johnson, Hezekiah Russ, Junr.

A third petition, presented by Benjamin Stillman as agent,
dated April 29, 1746, declares that certain rights were given
in answer to the petition of 1744, that they had employed a
minister for eleven months each year, that they had increased
in strength, and that as "the Society" was about to build a
new meeting house, and their taxes would be increased, they
' ' humbly request ' ' that they may be ' ' sett off from said society
and be a distinct ecclesiastical society," and to this end that a
committee be appointed to view the circumstances and report
to the assembh'.

At the Ocftober session the right was given to lay a tax of
fourpence an acre on all laid-out lands for the next three years
for the settlement of a minister and the building of a meeting


house, full rights of a society having been given and the name
East Hampton having been decided upon, probably because
some of the settlers were from Eastham, Barnstable County,
Massachusetts. At the 06lober session of 1748, on petition of
the society ' ' now about to settle the Rev. Mr. Norton in the
work of the ministry among them, and asking liberty of this
assembly to embody into church estate," it was "Resolved,
that they have libert}-, and are hereby granted liberty to
embody into church estate with the approbation of the neigh-
boring churches." The 30th of November, 1748, marks the
date of the consummation of that purpose, which had thus
been ripening since the spring of 1743; and even earlier, for
the first petition shows that there had been regular preaching
here in the year 1742.

This was then the Third =^^ Society of East Middletown, the
second being the Middle Haddam Society, organized September
24, 1740. In 1767 this part of Middletown, east of the river,
was incorporated as a separate to,wn and named Chatham, from
Chatham, England, because of the importance of the ship-
building. In 1S42 the town of Portland was incorporated. It
would have been a great improvement if at that time East
Hampton had appropriated the name Chatham. I wonder if
it is too late for that improvement now !

While the building of the forge at the outlet of the lake was
the reason for a settlement in this part of the then town of
Middletown, it is the bell business which has given distinction
to the place and has been the cause of its prosperity, although
every one must regret that the skill and toil of many years
have not brought larger wealth to the community.

It appears from the records that William Barton was in
Colonel Flower's regiment of Artillery Artificers during the
War of the Revolution, with the rank of Captain, and also
that his son William served as an assistant to his father. The
son later worked in the Springfield Armory, and in 1808 moved
to East Hampton and commenced the manufacture of hand and
sleigh bells. He first conceived the idea of hollow castings,
which enters now so largely into many branches of trade; but
it was never patented, although there were "millions in it."
It is a remarkable faa that for many years all the cast sleigh

* Middletown sixth.


bells of North America were made in East Hampton or b}' East
Hampton men. The trade seems to be indigenous.

William Barton, son of Capt. William and Sarah (Sage)
Barton, was born November 26, 1763, in Kensington, Conn.
He married, February 14, 1790, Clarissa, daughter of Ezekiel
and Betsy (Penoyer) Betts, born in Sharon, Conn., Februar)^
10, 1768. He was probably the first manufacturer of sleigh
bells, making them then in two parts and soldering them
together. It is said he would make a small quantity and take
them to the markets, carrjdng them on his person, jingling
through the streets, and dispose of them. He died Jul}' 15,
1849, universall}' respecl;ed and lamented. She died October
4, 1858.

Coffin trimmings were manufactured here in considerable
quantities for several years, and for the last twenty years the
thread and silk industries have been important. The railroad,
although a necessit}', has laid a heavy burden of taxation, and
doubtless retarded growth, which in spite of hindrances has
been considerable.

As a special paper is to be given upon the life and work of
the first pastor, the Rev. John Norton, I pass at once to the
history of the second pastorate.

After the death of Mr. Norton a committee, consisting of
Deacon Isaac Smith, Deacon John Clark, and Captain Silas
Dunham, were instructed at a society meeting held "Sept. ye
24th, A. D. 1778," to apply to Mr. Parsons "to preach with
us on probation;" and a receipt is on record, signed " Received
in full of ye above account, Lemuel Parsons," of seventj^-six
pounds, fifteen shillings, for preaching thirteen " Sabbaths and
one Thanksgiving da}-." On Januar)^ 5th, 1779, the society
voted to call Mr. Parsons to ' ' settle with them in the Gospel
Ministr}^" upon a ".settlement" of two hundred pounds to be
paid in four years, by equal installments; his salarj' during
these four years to be seventy pounds, and after the paj^ment
of the settlement, eight}^ pounds a year. This salary and set-
tlement were to be paid in country produce at prices defined in
the call; as, for example, r5'e at three shillings and sixpence
per bushel, cheese at fourpence per pound, sheep's wool at one
shilling and fourpence per pound, flax at eightpence per pound.
There was also added to the salary twenty cords of wood annually.


This was the unsettled and most trying period of the Revo-
lution, and Mr. Parsons, with commendable foresight, being
himself a Conneclicut Yankee, replied as follows:

"Beloved: — I have taken into serious consideration your call and invitation
to settle with you in the work of the ministry, and take this method to grate-
fully acknowledge your kind and generous offer, and whereas in the proposals
of the society no method of ascertaining what shall from time to time be
esteemed an equivalency in current money respecting either settlement or salar)',
to prevent all difficulty in that respect it is proposed that this shall be fixed bv
agreement between me and a committee of the society for that purpose chosen
from year to year." [The method of choosing this committee here follows:]

" Provided the parish should consent hereto and nothing discouraging should
hereafter arise, I hereby signify my consent to settle with you and take the
pastoral charge of you. That grace, mercy and peace may be multiplied unto
you and yours, through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, is the desire
and hearty prayer of, gentlemen,

Your humble servant, Lemuel Parsons."

These terms were accepted, for his marriage took place the
same month and his ordination the following month. The
house in which he lived was near the site of the present par-
sonage. After a pastorate of twelve j'-ears he died in office,

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryUnknownThe One hundred and fiftieth anniversary, 1748-1898, of the Congregational Church of East Hampton (Chatham), Conn. : November 30, 1898 → online text (page 1 of 14)