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Full text of "Historical address, delivered in the First Congregational Church in Stamford, Ct. : at the celebration of the second centennial anniversary of the first settlement of the town"

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Dec. m 1841. 







The Address was accompanied by appropriate religious services, 
introduced by a portion of Scripture from a time worn Bible, which 
the reader prefaced with the following remarks : — 

"I hold in my hands a relic, most interesting, of the period we com- 
memorate. It is an ancient Bible, and was the property of Lt. Francis 
Bell, one of the first settlers of this place, and now belongs to Miss 
Mercy Bell, one of his descendants. It contains a record of the birth 
of the first male child in Stamford, Jonathan Bell, son of Francis Bell, 
in September, 1641. The Book itself is much older than New Eng- 
land, and; from facts connected with its history, we hazard nothing in 
saying that it came with the Pilgrim Fathers, and perhaps landed with 
them from the Mayflower upon the Rock at Plymouth. Let us hon- 
our this volume, and receive instruction while we read a portion of its 

The 91st Psalm was then read. 


" Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt : thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. 
Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.'' 
PsAi.MS, 8th and 9tfi verses. 

The occasion which has called this assembly together, is one of un- 
common occurrence and of uncommon interest. This day is com- 
memorative of events connected with thrilling associations in the 
bosoms of all who love to trace the history of their homes, and coun- 
try. Two hundred years have now passed away, since the spot we 
occupy ceased to be an unbroken wilderness, and the step, and song, 
and prayer, and blows of industry of our fathers fell upon the ear of 
the savage, and startled from his covert the wild beast of the forest. 

They came — and a wilderness was changed into the abode of civil- 
ized man. The seeds of civil and religious institutions were planted, 

and vigorously they gerrainated in this soil of freedom. They were 
watered by the tears of trial, and nurtured by the hands of more than 
paternal solicitude, and we, their children, are now reaping the reward 
of their sufferings, and enjoying the fruits of their toil in full maturity. 

Permit me to advert to the fact that this day commemorates also 
the landing of our first fathers, " the Puritan Pilgrims," on the Rock 
of Plymouth, and the recollection of that marked and hallowed event 
shall make this occasion doubly interesting. We celebrate the birth 
time, both of New England and one of New England's eldest children 
— the town of Stamford. We recognize the twenty-second of Decem- 
ber as an annual festival, sacred to the memory of the Pilgrims. The 
Day shall remind us of their undaunted courage ; their sufferings ; 
their adventurous enterprise and faith; such as well deserve our recog- 
nition and our honour — not now alone, but annually, that event shall be 
commemorated. But in this Centennial Anniversary, we meet hut once. 
At its next observance our children's children shall assemble, long 
after the present population of this town, whether old or young, shall 
have passed together to the grave. Another hundred years will carry 
us and ours across life's stormy ocean, and land us [may we trust !) 
upon the shores of a better country — our feet on the " Eternal Rock." 

We gather around this event, then, with feelings of peculiar inter- 
est. It shall be strongly marked upon the tablet of our memory. — 
We will speak of it when aged, and fix its associations deeply in the 
recollection of our children. And why should not the origin of a New 
England township be an event of interest ? These municipal associa- 
tions furnish an anomaly in the history of man. They started into 
being, and still continue to be, the purest democracies on earth. Their 
commencement marked at once the beginning of a social community; 
of a rehgious congregation, and of a (Jhukcii of Christ. Then the 
township, and the parish, and the Church, were almost synonymous 

The first parishes of New England were the nurseries, too, of litera- 
ture and of American hberty. They were the cradle in which was 
rocked the infant nation, and, I may add, the infant Church. They 
embodied all the elementaiy principles of religious, social, and civil or- 
der — elements moulded into practical shape, and acted out with vigour, 
and with the happiest results. Unlike the towns of any other country, 
they did not derive their origin or privileges /roi?! the State — the State 
owes its existence and glory to them. They were not, strictly speak- 
ing, at first even colonies. Each seems to have been an enfranchised 
community, exercising all the rights of sovereignty, and so united with 
the other as to form a model in miniature of a free republic. And 
when the English government asserted its jurisdiction over them, it 
was only to assume the " central powder" which had been created by a 
surrender, on the part of each town, of inherent privileges. Although 
the king then claimed and ruled the country, the townships remained, 
as they were before, and through all subsequent revolutions they have 


continued to this day to be, the only source of all political power.* — 
Our townships are indeed, at this time, subject to the higher legisla- 
tures, but we insist upon it that at first they were scarcely dependent 
upon them, — and it is interesting to remember that they have not been 
invested with privileges by the State, but they seem, on the contrary, 
to have surrendered to the State, and for public benefit, a portion of 
their independence. 

What we have said, then, is true, that " the first parishes in JVew 
England loere free democracies^^ — nations in embryo ! and the princi- 
ples embodied in their organization, our present Central Government 
has done well to copy. They were united soon, it is true, in common 
fellowship, thus giving to themselves republican State existence, and, 
during a number of their first years, they realized the beautiful senti- 
ment of our country's present motto, " E Pluribus Unum." 

We meet this evening, then, not as a clan to give notoriety to a 
feudal legend, nor to immortalize a lawless origin, but as a portion of a 
now great and free people, to honour a noble parentage, and to learn 
the history of that parentage, and a portion of our country's history, in 
the origin of this one of its earliest townships. 

Our task is difficult — not to find materials, but in a brief discourse 
to condense them. Would that this task had been committed to better 

I propose to exhibit only such facts as have direct reference to the 
event which has summoned together this assembly : I need no apology,, 
therefore, for giving a brief detail of what is, to most of you, familiar 

Religious oppression from the throne of England drove the puritan 
fathers of this country, first to Holland in the year 1609. They set- 
tled at Leyden, and there formed themselves into a Church of Christ, 
and were permitted to worship God in peace, and with a liberty of 
conscience which they could not enjoy under the despotic govern- 
ment of king James. The pious and amiable Mr. John Robinson 
was their pastor. After a few years residence among the hospitable 
Hollanders, they found that although they were kindly treated, they 
still laboured under many disadvantages. In the language of Cotton 

* We admit that the first settlers of New England acknowledged their allegiance to the 
king and sought his approbation, yet in practice, and in fact, they were free sovereignties. 
They framed their own constitutions oi government ; named their own magistrates ; en- 
acted laws ; concluded peace, or declared war, without the assistance, and almost without 
the knowledge of the mother country — and there was no appeal from their courts, except in 
cases where their decisions were contrary to English law, the principles of which were 
then, as now, the basis both of legislative and judicial proceedings. We are sure this was 
so in the Plymouth Province, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Haren plantalions. 
The Plymouth people came to New England without the guarantee even of a patent, and 
neither of the above named colonies derived their incorporations from the king, although 
they did not deny his supremacy. They constituted a society of their own accord, the 
principles and management of which, were left to their own choice, and " it was not until 
thirty or forty years afterwards, under Charles II., that their existence was legally recog- 
nized by a Royal Charter. [Vid.^Tocqueville, p.'i'i i Hutchinson's Hist. p. 209, 2^3 ; Pit- 
kin's Hist. p. 42, 47.] 

Mathek, " They felt that they were neither for health, nor purse, nor 
language well accommodated," but, he adds, " the concern they most of 
all had, was for their posterity. They saw whatever hanks the Dutch 
had against the inroads of the sea, they had not sufficient ones against 
a flood of manifold profaneness," and " they found themselves also, un- 
der a very strong disposition of zeal to attempt the establishment of 
Congregational Churches in the remote parts of the world, and in hope 
that they should settle the worship and order of the gospel, and the 
kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ in these regions." Thus, for the sake 
of still enjoying religious liberty — educating their children, and extend- 
ing Christ's kingdom, they were willing to leave the abodes of civili- 
zation ; cross a stormy ocean, and dwell in a distant wilderness. 

They left Leyden in two small vessels, (the Speedwell and May- 
flower,) in number, including women and children, about one hundred 
and fifty. But in a storm which soon followed, the Speedwell was 
found to be unsea worthy, and they were obliged to return. Nothing 
discouraged, they abandoned that vessel, and as many as were able 
embarked on board the Mayflower.* 

I cannot forbear transcribing the affecting account given of the fare- 
well scene, by Nathaniel Morton, the first historian of New England. 
" So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been 
their resting place for above eleven years ; but they knew that they 
were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these 
things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where 
God had prepared for them a city, and therein quieted their spirits. — 
When they came to Delfs Haven, they found the ship and all things 
ready, and such of their friends who could not come with them, follow- 
ed after them and came from Amsterdam to see them shipped and to 
take leave of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the 
most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other 
real expressions of true Christian love. The next day they went on 
board and their friends with them, when truly doleful was the sight of 
that sad and mournful parting — to hear \vhat sighs, and sobs, and 
prayers did sound amongst them. What tears did gush from every 
eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other's heart — that sundry of the 
Dutch strangers that stood on the quay as spectators could not refrain 
from tears. Hut the tide, (which stays for no man,) calling them 
away that were loth to depart, their Reverend Pastor falling down 
on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks, commended 

* The Mayflower was the larger of the two vessels in which the Pilgrims embarked, mea- 
suring "nine score tons." Small indeed, compared with the "stately ships" which now 
plough the Atlantic, and so small that only one hundred and one of the original number could 
be accommodated on board of her. The same number were landed at Plj^mouth, one death 
and one birth having occurred during the voyage. She was afterwards one of the five vessels 
which in 1629 conveyed Endicott's company to Salem and also one of the fleet which in 1630 
brought over the company who settled Boston, Charlestown, Watertown, &c., from whom 
the people of this place descended. — Vid. Young's Chronicles of the Pilgrims. 

them with most fervent prayers unto the Lord and his blessings, and 
then, with mutual embraces and many tears, they took their leaves, 
one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them." 

Pilgrims indeed! They left all, even their beloved Pastor. They 
tore from the embrace of kindred, and at the bidding of God's provi- 
dence sought, by faith, an unknown country. The vine was plucked 
away from the parent stock to be transplanted where it could take 
deeper root.* 

After a rough passage, and a lengthy one, they reached the stormy 
shores of New England, and in the cold winter of 1620 — two hun- 
dred and twenty-one years ago, this day ! — they landed on the Rock of 
Plymouth. That Rock an imperishable relic of their faith and 
daring enterprise. That humble Rock, "pressed for an instant by 
the feet of a few pilgrims," shall be remembered when " the gateways 
of a thousand palaces" are forgotten. 

Before they landed, as they had no patent nor charter, for any 
part of New^ England, a constitution and form of government was 
drawn up, John Carver was chosen Governor, and when they step- 
ped on shore, they did it as a civil and religious community, fully 
organized. What impressive testimony to their love of order, and of 
the control of law, as well as of Gospel ordinances.t 

I will not attempt to narrate at length the hardships of these First 
Settlers. It is known probably, to all, that before the end of that 
inclement winter, one half of this heroic band had perished. Shel- 
terless, (for their first house was burned to the ground,) surrounded 
by savages ; distressed by famine, disease rapidly swept their freez- 
ing bodies to the grave. I hasten to say, that owing to the increased 
and continued religious oppression in England, small companies of 
the persecuted continued, for the next ten years, to flee for refuge to 
the asylum tound in New England. 

In 1625, Charles 1st having succeeded to the throne with the big- 
oted William Laud for his adviser, a series of oppressive steps were 

* Mr. Robinson never came to America. His son Mr. Isaac Robinson came, and was one 
of the early settlers in the Plymouth colony. From him descended the mother of the youn- 
ger Jonathan Trumbull, who in 1798 was elected Governor of this State. — Vid. Bacon's 
Hist. Discourses. 

f The Pilgrims had intended to locate at the mouth of the Hudson River, and for that 
region their patent was granted : but the Dutch captain was bribed by his countrymen (who 
claimed that country) to carry them farther north. This added to their afflictions. They 
found themselves betrayed and exposed loan unknown coast — ignorant of any harbour — the 
country looking barren, and covered with a dreary inhospitable wilderness. They made the 
land on the 9th of November, and continued " beating off and on" until the 22d Decem- 
ber, before they could find a suitable place to land. No one but a sailor knows how bleak, 
and cold, and terrible is the approach to our stormy coast at this season of the year. The 
winds are almost constantly " off-shore," and boisterous. Every wave throws over the ves- 
sel a sheet of ice, until it becomes so loaded with the accumulated mass^ the rigging so 
frozen and icy, and the crew so benumbed that to save themselves and vessel from perishing 
they are frequently obliged to run back into a warmer latitude and " thaw out." If such is 
the exposure of vessels on this coast now, what must have been the situation of the May- 
flower during those perilous forty-three days in the winter of 1620? 


commenced, which terminated at length in the famous " act of uni- 

In 1629, Endicott ;md his company came and settled at Salem. — 
The next year a larp^e and well furnished reinforcement arrived at 
Charlestown, near Boston, under the illustrious Winthrop and Sir 
Richard Saltonstall. All these suffered severely in common with the 
first settlers at Plytnouth, from comfortless houses, bad food, and with 
most distressing sickness and death. Of the one hundred who came 
with Mr. Endicott, eighty were in their graves before Winthrop and 
Saltonstall arrived, and from their company so many in a short time 
fell sick, that the well were not sufficient to atiend them and bury 
their dead. — Vid TrumhulVs His. vol. I., page 8 and 9. 

It is now my purpose to trace these settlements to this town. 

Saltonstall and his company located at Wutertown, near Bos- 
ton, and Mr. Philips, from the county of Essex, England, was their 
minister. At this time Boston and Watertown were the two largest 
places in the country— each having about sixty families, and such 
numbers continued to emigrate, that these two towns, and some 
others began to be straigiitened for want of room. 

In 1633, a small company from Plymouth having prepared the 
frame of a house, with boards and materials for covering it, embark- 
ed on board a vessel bound for Connecticut. They sailed up Con- 
necticut River, and although the Hutch who had come in before 
them attempted to prevent their design, they went on to Windsor and 
erected their house. This, Gov. Woolcott says, was the first house 
built in Connecticut, although about the same time the Dutch erect- 
ed a trading house at Hartford which they called the " Hirse of Good 

In 1634, " some of the Watertown people came to Connecticut and 
erected a few huts at ' Pyquag,' now Wethersfield, in which a small 
number made shift to pass the winter." Others followed in the spring. 
This, Dr.TrumbuU states to be the tradition, and the Rev. Mr. Meeks 
of Wethersfield, in his manuscripts says, " Wethersfield is the oldest 
town on the river." 

The next summer they made such improvements as they could, 
and in the fall began to remove their families and property in order 
to make a permafient settlement. It appears that the men who first 
came to Hartford and Windsor united with the Wethersfield people 

• This act was passed on the restoration of Charles II., in 1§62. By it about 2000 clergy- 
men were eejcted from their livings. The act required among other things, that every cler- 
gyman in the kingdom should be re-ordained, (even if he had before received Episcopal or- 
dmation) — assent to every thing contained in the Liturgy of the established Church — take 
the oath of canonial obedience — abjure " the solemn league and covenant" and renounce the 
principle ot ever taking arms against the king. Thus all the royal promises of toleration and 
indulgence were eluded and broken. This body of clergymen, whose consciences forbade 
their subscribing to this act, had formed a most respectable portion of the piety and talent 
of the English Church. Among them were such men as Baxter, and Bunyan, and Bates, 
and Howe— men of the same spirit with the Wickliffs, and Luthers,and Cranmers, and La- 
timers of a former reformation. 


in this removal. On the 15th of October about sixty men, women, 
and children, with their horses, cattle, and swine commenced their 
journey from Massachusetts throus^h the woods to Connecticut River. 
"After a tedious and difficult journey through swamps and rivers, 
over mountains and a rough country, (one unbroken forest,) which 
they passed with great difficulty and fatigue, they arrived safely at 
their places of destination." — Vid. Trum. 

" They were so long on the journey, and so much time and pains 
were spent in passing the river, and in getting over their cattle, that, 
after all their exertions, winter eame upon them before they were pre- 
pared. This was an occasion of great distress and damage to the 
plantation. The winter set in this year much earlier than usual, and 
the weather was stormy and severe. By the 15th of November the 
Connecticut was frozen over and the snow was so deep, and the 
season so tempestuous, that a considerable number of the cattle which 
had been driven on from Massachusetts could not be brought over 
the river. The people had so little time to prepare their houses, and 
to erect shelters for their cattle, that the sufferings of man and beasts 
were extreme. Indeed the hardships and distress of the first plan- 
ters of Wetfiersfield, as well as of other towns on the river, scarce- 
ly admit of a description. To carry much provision or furniture 
through a pathless wilderness was impossible. Their principal pro- 
visions and household furniture were, therefore, put on board of seve- 
ral small vessels, which, by reason of delays and the tempestuous- 
ness of the season, were either cast away or did not arrive. By the 
last of Nov. they began to be in want, and famine and death looked 
the inhabitants sternly in the face. Some of them, driven by hunger, 
attempted their way in this severe season of the year, through the 
woods back to Massachusetts. Of thirteen in one company, who 
made this attempt, one in passing the river fell through the ice and 
was drowned. The other twelve were ten days on their journey, and 
would have all perished, had it not been for the assistance of the In- 
dians." In another company, a number were frozen to death before 
they could reach their friends. Indeed, such was the distress in gen- 
eral, that by the 3d or 4th of December, a considerable part of the 
new settlers were forced to abandon their habitations. Seventy per- 
sons, men, women, and children, were obliged, in the extremity of 
winter, to go down to the monthof the river to meet their provisions, 
as the only means of saving themselves from starvation. Not meet- 
ing with the vessel as they expected, they ail went on board of the Re- 
becca, a small craft of about 60 tons, in which, with extreme difficul- 
ty, and in a fan-ishing state, they succeeded in reaching Boston. 

The people who remained at their stations after all the help they 
were able to obtain, by hunting, and from the Indians, were obliged 
to subsist on gram, malt, and acorns. " It is difficult," says the his- 
torian, " to describe, or even to conceive the apprehensions or dis- 
tresses of the people in the circumstances of our venerable ances- 



tors daring this doleful winter. All the horrors of a dreary wilder- 
ness spread themselves around them. They were compassed with 
numerous fierce and cruel tribes of wild and savage men. They had 
neither bread for themselves nor children, nor clothing suitable for 
the season. Whatever emergency might happen, they were cut off 
both by land and water from any succor or retreat." 

What energy ! whnt a spirit of endurance ! and ^hdX faith must 
have nerved and sustained this company of adventurers equally he- 
roic with the Plymouth Pilgrims, who, as we shall find, were the an- 
cestors of this town, and the first permanent settlers of Connecticut. 

The minister of the Wethersfield people (Mr. Williams,) did not 
remove with them, and after some time they chose Mr. Henry Smith, 
who had been admitted to office in England, for their pastor. Their 
town appears to have prospered, although not so large as either Hart- 
ford or Windsor, and at the period of which we speak, these three 
places, including the fort built by the younger Winthrop at Say- 
brook, contained about eight hundred inhabitants. 

On the 26th of April, 1336, the first General Court in Connecticut 
was held at Newtown, (now Hartford.) It consisted of six magistrates, 
among whom was Andrew Ward, afterwards one of the first set- 
tlers of Stamford.* 

In 1638, Quinnippiac. (New Haven,) was purchased and settled 
by Theophilus Eaton, Rev. John Davenport, and others. Mr. Da- 
venport had been a famous minister in the city of London, and was 
distinguished for piety, learning, and sound judgment. The male 
branch of his family subsequently settled at Stamford. His grand- 
son, and at that time his only male descendent, was the third minister 
of this Church, a great-grandson of whom is now one of its deacons. 

On the 14th of Jarjuary, 1639, a Constitution of Government was 
formed for the Colony of Connecticut. To do this, all the free plan- 
ters assembled at Hartford, and after mature deliberation they intro- 
duced their Constitution with a declaration of sentiments, a portion 
of which, to show the spirit of our lathers, we will transcribe : 

" Forasmuch as it has pleased the Almighty God, by the wise dis- 
pensation of His Divine Providence so to order and dispose of things, 
that we, the inhabitants of Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield, are 
dwelling in and upon the river of Connecticut and the lands thereto 
adjoining," &c. Then follows their reasons for thus associating into 
one public State, or Commonwealth : "/"o maintain the liberty and puri- 
ty of the Gospel;''^ " the discipline of the churches according to its insti- 
tution;^^ and " in all civil affairs to be governed by such laws as should be 
made agreeably to the Constitution which they were then about to adopty 

* The Legislative and Judicial functions were exercised at this time by the 
same body ; and so far as individuals were concerned, they were not separated 
until 1784. By an act passed in May of that year the office of the Superior Court 
was declared to be incompatible with a seat in the Legislature of this Slate or 
Oi the United States. — TAtrc? State Rec, May Session, 17S4, patre 9. 


Then follows the Constitution, and whoever reads it must say, 
with Dr. Trumbull, "that it is one of the most free and happy Consti- 
tutions of civil government which has ever been formed. The adop- 
tion of it at so early a period, when the light of liberty was wholly 
darkened, in most parts of the earth, and the rights of men so little 
understood in others, does great honor to their ability, integrity, and 
love of mankind. To posterity, indeed, it exhibits a most benevolent 
regard, and the happy consequences of it, which the people of Con- 
necticut for more than two centuries have experienced, are without 
description." The Charter of Charles II., in 1662,* and the Consti- 
tution of this State, of 1818, agree with it in all the fundamental 
principles of Government, and differ from it only in their greater ex- 
tension and adaptation to an increased and varied population. 

In 1640, New Haven made a purchase of all the lands at Rippo- 
wams, (the Indian name of Stamford,!) by their agent, Capt. Nathan- 

* The noble charter granted to this state, by Charles II., was more liberal 
than any given to the other states. It did not abridge the privileges of the town- 
ships in the least. They were still to choose their town and state officers as be- 
fore, and to manage all their internal affairs. Nor did it take from the people the 
liberty of electing their Chief Magistrate, and of making ultimate decisions in 
their Courts. It sanctioned the choice of the people, and clothed the magistrates 
who were elected with authorit^^. It also gave them the privilege of appealing 
to the king io case of war or other interference of foreign nations for protection. 
Unsuccessful attempts were more than once made to wrest from us this valuable 
charter. Its famous retreat to the Oak Tree, at Hartford, when pursued by Sir 
Edmond Andross, in 1687, is too well known to need repeating. Again in 1715, 
it was attacked in the British Parliament, and only saved from repeal by the well 
known and able defence of Mr. Dummer, agent of the Colony. Although, on 
account of the fullness of its privileges, it was ever after the object of the all 
grasping ambition of the mother country, yet it continued to be " de facto'''' the 
Constitution of this State during all the subsequent changes in the British Go- 
vernment, through the revolutionary struggle, and down to the adoption of the 
new Constitution in 1818, a period of more than 150 years. 

t The etymology of this Indian name cannot now be ascertained. Like most 
if not all the proj>er names of the aborigines of this country, it was probably 
significant, and designated some prominent feature in the locality of the place, and 
was (according to the Indian custom) coined expressly for that purpose. Our fa- 
thers in changing the name Ciilled the town after Stamford in England, which 
place was doubtless the former residence of some of them. This was a common 
practice with the fathers of New England —much as they had suffered, and bit- 
terly as they had been persecuted, they still cherished the remembrance of their 
former homes with delight, and loved to perpetuate their endeared names in the 
new settlements. A brief sketch therefore of the place from which our ancestors 
onginated may not be uninteresting : 

Stamford in'England is a very ancient town and borough ofLincolnshire, about 
90 miles from London. It is pleasantly situated on the Welland River, which is 
navigable to this place by boats and barges, and over which it had a stone bridge 
with five arches. It was anciently called Stanford—" StajC^ Saxon, for " Stone," 
and we find it sometimes written Stanford in our first town records. Its original 
Latin name however was Durobrevia, wKich, like Stanford, signified a hard, 
■sheify crossing place, or ford. Here the Romans crossed or forded the river pre- 


iel Turner. At this time there were several tribes of Indians, who 
dwelt upon and owned these lands. Their precise number cannot 

vious to the building of their bridge. The place was surrounded by walls, and 
secured by gates, at a very early period. Sonne writers tell us that they had a 
University there, long before the Romans invaded the Island — but this is some- 
what improbable. Mr. Neal however produces a manuscript by which it appears 
that a University was founded there belbre our Saviour's time, which continued 
until the year 300, and was dissolved by the Pope for adhering to Arius. There 
was.without doubt, a College in Stamford in the reign of Edward III. Dr. Aylifl', 
in his history of the University of Oxford, says, that " there was a rupture at 
Oxford in 1331, when many of the scholars left and went to the College in Stam- 
ford," which College he adds, " had been founded by a secession from the Uni- 
versity at Cambrige. It contained at one time more than 200 students. At the 
present time the remains of iivo Colleges are found there, called " Black Hall" 
and " Brazen Nose," over the gateway of the last there is a brazen nose and a 
ring through it, from Avhich one of the Colleges at Oxford took pattern. Roman 
antiquities are still found about Stamford, and there are the remains of one of 
their highways, which runs through a part of the town. 

Soon after the Romans left the Island, in the year 426, the Picts and Caledoni- 
ans penetrated as far as Stamford, laying the whole country waste, with fire and 
sword. But the Britons having invited over the Saxons to their assistance, a 
most bloody battle was fought at this place, between Edward IV., and the Earl 
of Warwick. Edward Avas victorious, and the Highlanders were again driven to 
the fastnesses of their mountains — ten thousand men were slain. It was called 
" The Battle of Lose Coat Field,'" for the very quaint reason that the enemy fled, 
with such haste, that they threw away their coats. 

Edward, the elder, built a castle here about the year 900, of which no trace 
now remains. Stow, the English historian, says there was a mint here in the 
year 930, under the reign of Athelstan, and succeeding kings greatly favored the 
town. Here the Barons met to levy war against king John, and in his reign here 
was the first bull-bailing. As showing the taste of this feudal and serai-barba- 
rous age, we will give the origin of this cruel custom. William, earl of Warren, 
and lord of Stamford, observed one day two bulls fighting in the castle meadow, 
and that all the butchers' dogs in the town alarmed at their bellowing ran together 
and singling out one of them, pursued it furiously through the borough. Lord 
William was so delighted with the spectacle, that "he gave all the meadow to the 
butchers for a common, on condition that they should find a mad bull six weeks 
before Christmas, yearly, for the continuance of the sport; from which arose the 
proverb, "As mad as the baiting bull of Stamford." 

In the latter part of the 9th century, this place was burnt by the Danes, but 
it appears to have been soon rebuilt; for we find that king Stephen in the former 
part ot the lOih ceiilury found it of great importance during his wars with the 
Empress Matilda ; and to prevent its falling into her hands, he built a strong 
castle, some remains of which are still to be seen. Stamford at one time had 14 
parish Churches, a number of which are^yei standing. Cecil, Lord Burleigh,was 
buried in one of them, (St. Martin's) in a handsome tomb. In the Church near 
the stone bridge is a fine monument of the Earl and Countess of Exeter, in white 
marble, with their figures cumbent as large as life, done at Rome. 

The rnodern town is large, handsome, and populous, with a flourishing trade, 
and having several good streets and many elegant buildings. At a distance of 
one mile from the Borough is ''Burleigh House,'''' \ie magnificent seat of the 
Marquis of Exeter, formerly the residence of Lord Burleigh, treasurer to Queen 
Elizabeth. As early as the beginning of the 16m century, Stamford was noted 
as a spot where puritan principles had taken deep root, Henry Grey, of Grooby, 
Earl of Stamford, and patron of the Borough, was a General in the service of the 


now be ascertained. But the Stamford Indians are often stated to 
have been "numerous," and "formidable." The two principal Sachems 
were Ponus, sagamore of Toquamske, and Wascussee, sagamore of 
Shippan. The purchase deed, dated July first. 1640, purports that all 
the ground belonging to the above named Chiefs, " except a piece to 
plant on," (which afterwards appears to have been twenty acres,) was 
conveyed to Mr. Turner, The early record of this transaction is as 
follows : 

" Bought of Ponus, sagamore of Toquams, and of Wascussee, 
sagamore of Shippan, by mee, Nathaniel Turner, of Quenepiocke, 
all the grounds that belong to both the above said sagamores, except 
a piece of ground which the above said sagamore of Toquams re- 
served for his and the rest of said Indians to plant on — all of which 
ground being expressed by meadows, upland, grass, with the rivers, 
and trees ; and in consideration hereof, I, the said Nathaniel Turner, 
ainm to give and bring, or send, to the above said sagamores, within 
the space of one month, twelve coats, twelve howes, twelve hatchets, 
twelve glasses, twelve knives, four kettles, four fathom of white wam- 
pum : all of which lands bothe we, the said sagamores, do promise 
faithfully to perform, both for ourselves, heirs, executors, or assigns, 
and hereunto we have sett our marks in the presence of many of the 
said hidians, they fully consenting thereto." 

Signed by the marks of Ponus and Wascussee, and witnessed by 

two Indians. William Wilkes and James . Also signed by 

the mark of Owenoke Sagamore, Ponus' son, and another Sagamore, 
name not legible. 

f)uritan, or long Parliament, which Charles I. tried in vain to dissolve, and which 
asted eighteen years: and in 1641 we find that the Earl was opposing the King 
with an army composed of all the forces of Dorset, Somerset, and Devon. After 
the restoration therefore of Charles II., the place was made to suffer most severe- 
ly. At least three clergymen were ejected from their livings, (Rev. Edward 
Brown, Rev. John Richardson, and Rev. Joseph Cawthorn,) most valuable and 
excellent men, and the flocks to which they had ministered, were left without 
the bread of life. Thus persecuted, the people fled from their country, and many 
came to America ; some of whom were at length led, in the providence of God, 
to Rippowams, where they laid the foundation of a new Stamford, a spot where 
they and their children might enjoy the liberty of worshipping God according to 
the dictates of their consciences. 

It is pleasant to know that up to the present time, the parent place in Eng- 
land, has several churches in which the protestant dissenters still worship. 

See Rapin's His. Eng., folio ed., A.D., 1783, vol. I., p. 607, and vol. II., p. 489. 
Dalton's English Traveller, folio, A. D., 1794, p. 413. Rees's Cyclopaedia.— 
Kernsley's Guide, p. 49., Collier's Hist, and Bio. Die, folio, vol. II., and Noncon- 
formist Memorial, vol. II., p. 430. 

There is another place in England called Stamford Bridge, on the river Der- 
went, about ten miles in a northeasterly direction from York. There also a ce- 
lebrated battle was fought in the reign of Harold II., about the year 1066, called 
the " battle of Stamford Bridge." This place and battle should not therefore be 
confounded with those described above. 


The marks of these Chiefs are expressive of the Indian emblems 
of terror and power, and by which their head men wished to be rep- 
resented. One mark imitates a war club. That of Wascussee a 
bow and arrow. The mark of Ponus is like a shaft or streak of light- 
ning, and that of Owenokee is similar. Under the signatures, on the 
Town Record, is an entry of " 12 glasses, 12 knives, and four coats 
received in part payment." Other deeds were afterwards given, ex- 
plaining and confirming the aboA'e.* 

This tract of land includes the present town of Darien and Stam- 
ford, some part of Greenwich, New Canaan, and the southern part of 
Poundridge. Ponus, one of the two elder Chiefs, resided about seven 
miles from the sea-shore, at a place still known as "Ponus Street," in 
the western part of New Canaan ; and Wascussee, or Wescus, as he 
was commonly called, lived at a place now known by the name of 
" Wescott," on the shore east of Shippan, and his tribe owned all the 
lands along the Sound for some mileS) including Shippan Point. 

It may seem strange to us that these Indians should be willing to 
sell all these valnable lands for such a tritie— the whole amount be- 
ing only about thirty-three pounds sterling— less than one hundred 
and fifty dollars for a quantity of land net less than one hundred and 

* One of the subsequent deeds we will copy, it skives more clearly than the 
first the boundaries of the tract of land which was thereby conveyed. The 
reason why it became necessary to obtain this was that the Indians claimed 
they did not understand the first agreement as conveying to the Whites the en- 
tire possession of their lands. They said that " the inhabitants encroached upon 
their rights," and that when they sold their land " they did not expect the pur- 
chasers were to settle houses upon it," and they claimed, moreover, that the Eng- 
lishman's hogs destroyed the Indian's corn. 

In the year 1655 the following agreement was therefore drawn up and signed 
by the parties: 

"Our a qrcemrnf made rrifJi Pnnvs, Sagamore of Toquams, amd xoith OnoXy 
his eldest son : Athough th( re was an agreement made before with the said In- 
dians and Captain Tttrner, and the purchase paid for, yet the things not being 
clear and being TeYy unsatislied, we come to another agreement with Onox and 
Ponus for their landj/Vom the toum plot of Stamford north about IG miles, and 
there we marked a white oak tree with S. T., and going towards the Mill River 
side we marked another white oak tree with S. T., and from that tree west we 
were to run four ruiles, and from the first marked tree to run four miles east- 
ward, and from this east and Avest line we are to have further to the north for 
our cattle to feed, full two miles further, the full breadth — only the said Indians 
reserve i'or themselves liberty of iheir planting ground; and the above said In- 
dians, Ponus and Onox, with all other Indians that be concerned in it, have sur- 
rendered all the said land to the town of Stamford, as their proper right, forever; 
and the aforesaid Indians have set their hands as witnessing' the truth hereof, 
and for and in consideration hereof, the said town of Stamford is to give the said 
Indians four coals, AVhich the Indians did accept of for full satisfaction for the 
aforesaid lands, although it was paid before : hereby Ponus' posterity is cut olf 
from makinrj any claim or having any right to any part of the aforesaid land, 
and do hereby surrender and make over, for us and any of ours forever, unto the 
Englishmen of the town of Stanilbrd, and their posterity forever, the land as it 
its butted and bounded, the bounds above mentioned. The said Ponus and Onox, 


twenty-eight square miles : and more especially as they did not intend 
to remove from the place, for, so lar as we know, these Chiefs with all 
their people lived and died in or near this villag-e. But the Indians 
were entirely ignorant of what the effect of civilization would be, and 
they wished to occupy these grounds only for hunting, which when 
it was not cultivated they were still permitted to do. And the fact also 
illustrates the improvidence of the " red man," as well as the faith 
which at first he had in the integrity of the " white stranger.'' 

We now come directly to the question, how and by whom was 
Stamford settled ? 

The Church at Wethersfield removing from Watertown, in Massa- 
chusetts, without their pastor, and for some time having no settled 
ministry, " fell into unhappy contentions and animosities." This state 
of things at length seemed so much to alienate aud divide its mem- 
bers, that, at the advice of Mr. Davenport, of New Haven, the mino- 
rity were induced to remove to Stamford, and their agents obtained 
on their behalf a conveyance of the right of NeAv Haven to all the 
lands purchased by Mr. Turner, of the Indians at Rippowams, upon 
the following conditions : 

1. The Wethersfield men were to give the price paid to the Indians 
for the land, by Mr. Turner. 

2. A fifth part of the lands were to be reserved to be disposed of, 
by the Court, to such other settlers as they saw fit. 

3. They were to join with the New Haven plantation in the form 
of government there adopted. 

his son, having this day received of Richard Law four coats, acknowledging them- 
selves fully satisfied for the aibresaid land. 

Witness the said Indians the day and date hereof, Stamford, August 15, 1665. 

PoNus, his jxj mark. 
Onox, his ^x| mark. 
Witnesses, Wm. Newman, Richard Lewis." 

On the 7th of Jan., 1667, another and still more positive and full agreement 
was made for the same lands signed by Taphanse and Powahay, and on behalf 
of Stamford by 

Richard Law. 
Jonathan Selleck. 
Francis Bell. 
George Slauson. 
John Holly. 
Done in presence of 
Richard Beach, 
John Embret, 
Saml. Mills. 

Besides these deeds there was a conveyance made by Sagamore Piamikee, 
of a small piece of land lying near Five Mile River, which was to be annexed to 
the plantation of Stamford. For this they " did give unto the said Sagamore, 
one coat in the presence of George Slauson ; and after that three more coats, 
with some quantity of tobacco." 


4. Twenty men were to settle in Stamford by the last of November, 

Under this agreement some of the Wethersfield men came on to 
Stamford in the spring of 1641, and before the end of that year " 30 
or 40 families were established." We cannot give the names of all 
the first settlers of this town, as the ancient records are much dilapi- 
dated and in some parts quite illegible, but so far as can be ascertain- 
ed, they were Rev. Richard Denton, Lieutenant Francis Bell, Nathan- 
iel Weed, Joseph Bishop, Capt. John Underbill, Andrew Ward, 
Jonas Wood, John and Francis Holly, Thurston Raynor, Matthew 
Mitchell, Robert Coe, RichardGuildersleeve,George Slauson. Richard 
Law, William Newman, and Jonathan Selleck. An honorable com- 
pany, though the names of some of them are forgotten. Mr. Mitchell 
is said in history to have been a " capital man." Mr. Raynor was a 
delegate from Wethersfield to the first General Assembly under Gov. 
Haynes. Richard Law was also a prominent man in the Colony and 
a magistrate of the town — his name often appears in the discussion 
in regard to the union of New Haven with Connecticut, to which he 
was at first strongly opposed. Mr. Ward was one of the Judges of 
the first Court held in New Haven, in 1636. Mr. Bell was on the 
" committee of five," appointed to consummate a union between the 
Connecticut and the New Haven Colonies, in 1664, and tradition 
says, that John and Francis Holly and Francis Bell came originally 
from Plymouth, and were among the Pilgrims of the Mayflower.* 

A number of tj^ese pioneers of Stamford were among the most in- 
fluential of the Wethersfield men, and the historian of Connecticut, 
after naming Raynor, Mitchell, and Ward, among others who were the 
chief men of Connecticut, says, " They were the civil and religious 
fathers of the Colony. They assisted in forming its free and happy 
constitution — were among its legislators, and some of the chief pillars 
of the Church and Comman wealth, and they, with many others of 
the same excellent character employed their abilities and their estates 
for the prosperity of the Colony." They were among the earliest in- 
habitants of New England, coming, as we have seen, through Wethers- 
field from Watertown, in Massachusetts, and from that noted company 
who came over with John Winthrop and Sir Richard Saltonstall. 

They fled from the intolerant spirit which produced the " act of unifor- 
mity" in England, and even the second time they left their homes and 
fled from, what they thought, was religious intolerance at Wethersfield. 
These men were puritans — a name despised, in generations past, but to 
be better understood in the present, and honored in the future. True, 
they lived in a sterner age than this, and coming hither to establish a 

* This tradition, there is some reason to doubt, as neither the name of Holly 
or Bell appears among the signers of the constitution drawn up on board that 
vessel. It is most likely that they came over in the Mayflower on her second 
voyage, in the fleet that brought Winthrop and SaltonsiaU's company, in 1630. 


religious colony, they made laws for its protection. They came to this 
country smarting from that legislation which would give them no pro- 
tection at home, and it was their intention to guard their religious inter- 
ests. They acted consistently, and did so by the best means with 
which they were acquainted. Exposed as they had been, and still ex- 
pected to be, such laws, in that age, and in their circumstances, exhib- 
ted wisdom. They, moreover, interfered with the rights of no one, for 
the lands they purchased were their own, and no one out of the Colony 
had a right to complain of their legislation, much less w^as any one 
obliged to become a member of their community. Charged with bigo- 
try by their enemies, it is still true, that in all the principles of religious 
toleration, they were in advance of any nation then on earth. But does 
it become me to analyze and seek a defence for the character of these 
men ? Time forbids, and you, their children, do not need nor require 
it. Their unadorned biography shall bear honorable testimony to their 
sterling worth, and this fair country which they planted, with its insti- 
tutions, shall be their eulogy. The noble object which brought them 
hither shall dignify them among the brave and generous, and give them 
reverence among the lovers of religion and of liberty. Call them Pu- 
ritans ! for we revere the name — men, who could abandon all that was 
dear to them in Europe, and come to the wilds of America, not for the 
object of trade, not for worldly emolument, but for the holy purposes 
of religion ; the liberty of conscience ; the unrestrained worship and 
ordinances of God, and the free exercise of the elective franchise. — 
Puritanism, then, we love and venerate. May it ever be New Emgland's 
watchword, and the badge of her nobility. Were it necessary for me 
to add to the praise of our ancestors, I would quote the language of a 
late eminent French author, who, of course, cannot be charged with 
undue prejudice in favor of either pmritan liberty, or puritan religion. — • 
Hear him in a few sentences : 

" They did not cross the Atlantic to improve their situation, or in- 
crease their wealth. — The call which summoned them from the com- 
forts of their homes was purely intellectual, and in facing the inevitable 
sufferings of exile, their object was the triumph of an idea. Puritanism 
was not merely a religious doctrine — it corresponded in many points 
with the most absolute democratic and republican theorie'^. It was this 
tendency which aroused its most dangerous adversaries. It was scarce- 
ly less a political than a religious sentiment, and no sooner had the emi- 
grants landed on this barren coast, than a democracy started into full 
size and panoply, more perfect than antiquity had dreamed of. " Puri- 
tanism was the result of two distiuct elements — the spirit of Religion 
and the spirit of Liberty. In America, religion is the road to knowledge, 
and the observance of Divine Laws leads man to civil freedom." — • 
De Tocqueville. 

Ingenuous testimony, and from a disinterested witness, to the spirit 
of our fathers, and to the spirit of that religion, and of those institu- 



tions which, loith their name, they have bequeathed to us ! I congratu- 
late their congregated posterity around me this evening, in the honored 
possession of the generous and noble legacy ! 

Such were the ancestors of this town and village. Through their in- 
fluence, even before the close of the 16th century, Stamford was called 
by the historian " a notable town," and its name has frequent and 
honorable mention in the records of the Now Haven Colony. 

Allow me now to pursue a few moments longer the local history of 
this place. 

In celebrating- the first settlement of Stamford, we commemorate also 
the institution here of the Church of Christ. This Congregational Church 
is coeval with the settlement of the town. The Parish Records, as we 
find, for more than a century were kept in connection with those of the 
township, and the prosperity, and, indeed, the existence of the one was 
intimately connected with the organization and existence of the other. 
How many members composed the Church at its commencement we 
cannot tell, but probably it contained nearly all the adults of the place, 
and as it was formed on the plan of the New Haven Church, it included 
necessarily all the freemen. 

Its early spirituality was such as could be found only among the Pil- 
grims. Richard Denton was its first pastor. He came with those who 
removed from Wethersfield, and was a man of piety and talent. He was 
installed in 1641. Cotton Mather gives the following quaint, though 
graphic description of him. " Our pious and learned Mr. Richard 
Denton, a Yorkshire man, who, having watered Halifax, in England, 
with his fruitful ministry, was, by a tempest, then hurried into JVew 
England, where, first at Wethersfield, and then at Stamford, his doctrine 
dropped as the rain, and his speech distilled as the dew, as the small 
rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers iipon the grass. — Though 
he were a little man, yet he had a great sold ; his well-accomplished 
mind, in his lesser body, was an Iliad in a nutshell. — I think he was 
blind of an eye; nevertheless he was not the least among the seers of 
our Israel ; he saw a very considerable portion of those things which 
eye hath not seen. He was far from cloudy in his conceptions and prin- 
ciples of Divinity ; whereof he wrote a system., entitled, Soliliquia 
Sacra ; so accurately considering the fourfold state of man. — 1st, in his 
Created Purity. 2d. Contracted Deformity. 3d. Restored Beauty. 
And 4th. Celestial Glory, that judicious persons, who have seen it, 
very much lament the churches being so much deprived of it. At length 
he got into heaven beyond clouds, and so beyond storms ; waiting 
the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the clouds of heaven^ when he 
will have his reward among the saints.'' 

Such is the description given of the first minister of this people, by 
one of his cotemporaries. A eulogy strongly expressed, yet doubt- 
less well deserved. Mr. Denton labored only three or four years at 


Stamford, when he removed to Hempsted, Long Island, with a number 
of his church, and subsequently to Essex, England, where he died.* 

Rev. John Bishop succeeded Mr. Denton. To show the value which 
the church placed, in that age, upon the regular ministrations of the 
Gospel, I will state the method of making out the call to Mr. Bishop. 
Hearing he was in the neighborhood of Boston, two brethren, George 
Slason and Francis Bell, were deputed to go to Boston, and if he was 
to be found to make known to him the wishes of the Church— Although 
the country was fall of hostile Indians, they went on foot carrying their 
provisions, and succeed at length in finding Mr. Bishop " to the east- 

* It has been stated, in the printed records of the Congregational Church in 
this town, that Mr. Denton died at Hempsted. This is a mistake. He return- 
ed to England in the year 1658, and spent the remainder of his life at Essex. 
His Epitaph is in Latin, of which the following is a free translation : 

" Here sleeps the dust of Richard Denton ; 

" O'er his low peaceful grave bends 

" The perennial Cypress, fit emblem 

" Of his unfading lame. 
" On Earth 

" His bright example, religious light! 

" Shone forth o'er multitudes. 
" In Heaven . ' ''■ 

" His pure rob'd spirit shines 

" Like an effulgent star." 

As Mr. Denton was the leader of those men who founded Stamford, anfi 
whose character and history have been so little known, we beg leave to subjoin 
•the following facts. He was settled in a useful ministry at Coley Chapel, Halifax, 
England, about seven years. Times were sharp ; the Bishops being then in 
their might. In his time came out the " Book for Sports on the Sabbath Days." 
He saw that he could not do what was ih-erein required ; feared further persecu- 
tion, and therefore teok the opportunity of going into New England ; and not 
without sufficient reason, for this book declared it to be " His Majesty's pleasure, 
for his good people's recreations, that after the end of Divine service they should 
not be disturbed, letted, or discouraged from any lawful recreations : such as 
dancing, either of men or women; archery for men, leaping, vaulting, or any 
such harmless recreations ; or having of May games, &c; withal, prohibiting 
all unlawful games from being used except on Sundays, as bear-baiting, bull- 
baiting," Sk.— For refusing to encourage the breaking of the Sabbath by reading 
this book, several other clergymen were suspended from office. 

The cause of Mr. Denton's leaving Stamford is not entered upon record. He 
differed with the Church at Wethersfield, on the subject of Church government. 
It appears that his views on that subject were very much in advance of the age 
in which he lived. He could not have been in favor of the New Haven doctrine, 
that none but Free Burgesses, (Church Members) should vote in town meetings, 
because both Mr. Denton and his Church, at Hempsted, not only allowed every 
inhabitant to vote, but even made it a duty for all so to do. How many renioved 
from Stamford to Hempsted with Mr. Denton, does not appear, but it is probable 
that Mr. Raynor, Mr. Guildersleeve, Mr. Wood, and other families went with 
him, as their names are still numerous in that place. ^ 

See Hey wood's Memoir, F. B. Thompson's Hist., L. L, and Woodbridgea 
Historical Discourses. 


Ward of Boston." He accepted the call and returned with them on foot, 
bringing his Bible under his arm, through the -wilderness, to Stamford. 
(This Bible is still in the possession of Mr. Noah Bishop, one of his de- 
scendants.) Mr. Bishop labored here in the ministry ne2ir\y fifty years, 
and died in 1693. 

After Mr. Bishop, came Rev. John Davenport, He was ordained 
in 1694, and was a grandson, and the only male descendant of Rev. 
John Davenport of New Haven, and from whom he received one of the 
most valuable libraries at that time in New England. Mr. Davenport 
graduated at Cambridge College, in 1680, and was justly esteemed for 
his piety and learning. He died February 5, 1731, in the 36th year of 
his ministry. His descendants have been prominent men in this Church, 
each generation of whom has furnished one of its Deacons. 

They have also been active and efficient members of the community, 
and some of them have risen to places of high and important trust in 
the State. 

The next minister in order was Rev. Ebenezer Wright — he was 
ordained in May, 1732, and died in May, 1746, and is said to have been 
a powerful preacher. Rev. Noah Wellks, D. D., succeeded Mr. Wright. 
He graduated at Yale College, was afterwards tutor in that College, and 
was considered one of the most eminent scholars and divines of his day, 
and untiring in his zeal as a pastor. He was ordained December 31, 
1746, and died December 31, 1776 — his useful ministry, having contin- 
ued just thirty years* 

Rev. John Avkry, whom many can recollect, followed Dr. Welles, 
and was ordained January 16, 1782. He endeared himself to his peo- 
ple, by his eminent piety, amiable disposition, and the deep interest he 
manifested in their temporal and spiritual welfare. He died in Septem- 
ber, 1791. 

On June 13, 1793, the Rev. Daniel Smith, the present pastor of 
this Church, was installed, Mr. Smith is a lineal descendant of Lt. 
Francis Bell, one of the first settlers of the town. He graduated at 
Yale College, and pursued theological studies with the Rev. John Cot- 

* The following is a copy of Dr. Welles's acceptance of the call of the Socie- 
ty, found on a slip of paper among the town records, in his own beautiful hand- 

" To the First Church and Society in Stamford. — Brethren and Friends : — 
Upon the application of your Committee to me intimating the call you have given 
me to the work of the ministry among you, I have taken the matter into consid- 
eration, and after mature deliberation, and seeking proper direction and advice, 
your invitatioa appears to be the call of Divine Providence. Therefore, depending 
upon the promised presence and assistance of the Great Head of the Church to 
direct me, and carry me through the many difficulties that, (especially at this day) 
attend this great and weighty work, I consent to settle in the ministry among 
you, and accept of your proposals for my temporal support therein, and I desire 
your Clerk to make an entry of this in your book of Record, as a ratification of 
the consent on my part. Stamford, 29th Dec, 1746. N. WELLES." 



ton Mather Smith, of Sharon, and has now heen the regular pastor of 
this Church, but a few months short oi forty -nine years. Long may 
he yet continue the spiritual guide, and counsellor of this people, and at 
last may he find many stars in his crown of glory.* 

Thus, through seven generations of ministers, most of whom lived to 
a good old age, has God been worshipped at this altar. The third cen- 
tury has now commenced since it was erected by those holy and vene- 
rated men, Denton, and Bell, and Slason, and Holly, and Raynor, and 
others of kindred spirit. Erected with prayers, and tears, and difficulty, 
and watched over by them with the most anxious solicitude, and may 
we not suppose that their sainted spirits now look down to see how their 
children guard this altar and watch with tender interest, as they wor- 
ship at its shrine? 

This Church has enjoyed the labors of stated pastors one hundred 
and ninety years, and the remaining ten years are made up of here and 
there an interruption occasioned by the death of a pastor or the troubles 
of the revolutionary war. At the time of Dr. Welles's death, in 1776, 
war had been declared and hostilities commenced. The country was in 
such an unsettled state that it was impossible to procure a pastor, and 
the pulpit was supplied by different individuals until 1782. Among others. 
Dr. Samuel Hopkins, who was driven from his people at Newport, R. 
Island, preached here for sometime, and it will be interesting also to 
state, that about the year 1746, the apostolic George Whitfield was 
here, publishing as he was wont to do, the everlasting Gospel. 

All the ministers of this Church, if we except the first and the pre- 
sent pastor, have lived and died among their people. Powerful revivals 
in days past have been repeatedly witnessed. Harmony and peace have 
always existed, and the Consociation has never been called upon to set- 
tle any difficulties between any of its pastors and the Church, or any 
of its members. 

Such is the brief history of this Zion. It struggled in early times 
with difficulties, which now would be thought wholly insurmountable. 
But the spirit of our Fathers carried them through it all. They were 
exposed to a loose and corrupt emigration. From their frontier position 
they were troubled, not only by the hostilities of the Dutch, but to all 
the gross immoralities for which that people in this region were noted.t 

* Rev. J. W. Alvord, was installed Associate Pastor of this Church with the 
Rev. Mr. Smith, on the sixteenth of March last. Sermon by the Rev. Mr. Hall 
of Norwalk.— Charge by the Rev. Mr. Wilcox, North Greenwich,— Fellowship 
ot the Churches by the venerable pastor, Rev. Mr. Smith. — Address to the Church 
and Society by the Rev. T. Smith, of New Canaan. 

t The boundary between the English and Dutch setdements were for many 
years undefined. After Stamford was settled, the Dutch demanded jurisdiction 
over all the country west of the Connecticut River. The New Haven colony, on 
the other hand claimed by their patent, and by purchase, the lands as far as to in- 
clude the present town of Greenwich. In 1650 the line was fixed by arbiters be- 
tween New Haven and the Dutch, a copy of one of which is as follows : 


They were surrounded by, and mingled with heathen Indians, who, al- 
though they had some noble traits, were yet " sunk in the lowest state 
of moral turpitude," and for many years, ferocious and hostile. Add to 
these things the natural obstacles to the Gospel, presented by the human 
heart, and all in connection with the multiplied labors and cares incident 
to a new settlement,* and we are astonished at the decisive energy and 
the exalted faith that bore down all opposition — triumphed in all their 
trials, and enabled them to leave behind their bright example. Long 
may that example be imitated in this Church, and may happiness and 
prosperity mark all its future history .f 

This house in which we are now assembled, has been bmlt fifty- 
one years, and is the third house of worship erected by this congre- 
gation. At the building of this, an old house was taken down which 
f)ad stood one liundred and nineteen years. At the time when that 
was erected, viz., in 1671, it must have taken the place of a still old- 
er house : for it is found by vote of the town, under the above date, 
that the " ould meeting house shall be carefully taken down forth- 
with." This " ould meeting house," was doubtless the first built in 
Stamford. It appears to have been constructed of coarse materials, 
and hud probably stood about thirty years. It stood on what was then 
xi knoll, a little west of the present I'own House. How large it was 
we have neittier record nor traditionary evidence. 

Art. 2. " The bounds upon the Main to begin upon the west side of Greenwich 
Bay, being about four miles from Stamford, and so to run a westerly line twenty 
miles into the countr)," &c. Greenwich, however, was afterwards given up to 
Connecticut, and came under the jurisdiction of the Charter of 1662, but not until 
some time after the two colonies of Connecticut and New Haven had united. — 
This unsettled state of things in this region laid the town of Stamford open to pe- 
culiar and constant exposure. It was looked upon as the prey of the jealous Dutch- 
man, as well as of the rapacious Indian. 

* Many of the cattle of the first settlers died during the severe winters, for 
want of proper shelters and suitable food, and consequently they had but few ox- 
en to plough their lands. Dr. Trumbull slates that about the time when Stanifoiii 
was settled, there were not ten ploughs, and perhaps not five in the whole State 
of Connecticut. The culture of the earth was almost entirely performed with their 
hoes. Scarce and valuable as money was, then a pair of oxen could not be bought 
for less than forty pounds sterling, nor a cow under thirty pounds, and a horse at 
the same price. Corn was five shilhngs sterling a bushel, and other articles and 
labor bore a proportionable price. 

i" There appears, also, to have been examples worthy of imitation among the 
female portion of the Church, althotigh fewer instances of their virtue and piety 
have found their way into history. Mrs. Davenpof c's memory is perpetuated on 
the records of the town in the following language : " That eminently pious, and 
■very virtuous, grave and worthily much lamented matron, Mrs. Martha Daven- 
;pori, late wife of the Rev. John Davenport, pastor of the Church of Christ in Stam- 
ford, laid down or exchanged her mortal or temporal life to put on immortality, 
■•and doubtless, was crowned with immortal glory, on the first day of December, 
1712." ^ 


The second meeting-house was built upon the ground occupied by 
this present one, and can be remembered by many of our aged peo- 
ple. It was " 30 and 8 feet square, with a funnel on the top," i. e., 
from the top of the exterior walls, which were about twenty feet high, 
the root rose by two contracted, or diminishing stories, and was 
crowned by a kind of cupola. Its entire shape was, there'ore, pyra- 
midal. The whole upper part of the house rested on heavy tim- 
bers, and was open inside quite up to the cupola. As there was some 
difference of opinion about the shape of tuis singularly constructed 
house, and to show how our fathers decided in difficult matters, we 
will read a copy of the town vote found on the ancient records : 

" April 4, 1671. — At a town meeting orderly warned, per voti^, it 
was agreed that the final decision and differencn respecting the form 
and figure of the new meeting-house, is to be done by a solemn or- 
dinance of God, by casting of lots, and the reason of this way is, 
because the town cannot possibly decide it for want of a casting 

It appears from another entry in the Town Records, that '' the 
solemn ordinance being as above ordered, the lott carried it for a 
square meeting-house.-' It afterwards had galleries put up in it, and 
was seated by a vote which required that they were to '-have respect 
to the charjie of buildino: and fitting up," aud also, that they " have 
regard in respect to the ave and dignity ofpersojis" in the time of 
the early wars this house was strongly fortified, and was, in fact, 
the stronghold of the place. Prom the top of it the drum was 
beat, not only in case of alarm, but to summon the people to town 
meeting, and to their Sabbath worship, which, in times of danger, 
they were obliged to attend armed with their muskets. In 1735, 
this house was thoroughly repaired, and then, or soon after, it was 
furnished with a bell. In 1690 it was taken down, and the erection 
of the present house commenced.* 

* Many aged people remember well the time of taking down that building. 
It was a work of danger as well as of much labor. Tlie timbers were heavy 
and it was ascertained that they had become rotten. Notwithstanding, by the 
united force of all the men and teams in the town, under the superintendence 
of Capt. George Mills, it was safely taken to the ground and removed entirely 
from the foundation in a single day. 

The present house by the liberality of friends, and especially of the ladies of 
the Congregation, has been recently repaired : (its internal structure so altered 
as to give increased convenience and comibrt,) and furnished with a commen- 
dable taste. For these objects near one thousand dollars have been expended. 

There are sixteen houses of Public Worship at the present time, within the 
ancient limits of the 1st Congregational Society, Viz:— five Congregational, two 
in 'this town, one in Stanwich, one in Old Greenwich, and one in Darien ; fo^ir 
Methodists, all in Stamford ; two Baptists, both in Stamford ; two Union Chap^ 
els, one in Stamford and one in Darien ; one Episcopal in Stamford ; one Uni' 
versalist, at Long Ridge, in Stamford ; and one Quaker, in Darien. 


The original parish of Stamford has frequently been divided, by 
the organization of other Societies. Here, as elsewhere in our 
country, " the vine" has filled the land, and we will refer briefly to 
the " scions" which have been transplanted, and also to the other 
religions denominations which, as the place has increased, have 
grown up among us. 

In 1731, a portion of the town and seventeen members of this 
Society were set off as a part of the parish of New Canaan. 

In 1735, the town voted to the people of" Five Mile River," (after- 
wards Middlesex, and now Darien,) their proportion of minister's 
rates, for four months, '« provided they have a minister." This ap- 
pears to have been the commencement of a separate congregation 
at Darien. That Church was organized June 5th, 1744, with twen- 
ty-one members, all of whom were males. Their first meeting-house, 
as appeared by a date on the vane, was built in 1740. Four years 
since, that house was taken down, when their present neat and 
commodious brick church was erected. The Rev. E. D. Kinney is 
now their pastor. Darien was incorporated as a town, in 1820, until 
which time it constituted apart of Stamford. 

In 1736, a vote regarding "■ minister's rates," similar to the above, 
was passed in favor of the " People at Woodpecker Ridge," now 
the parish of North Stamford, and the Rev. Charles Weed, as ap- 
pears from the Town Records, was their fir^t minister. In 1743, by 
a vote of the Society, Mr. Wright, of this place, was permitted to 
preach there " one Sabbath in each month." This arrangement 
was what was then called "winter privileges." that is, preaching on 
the •' out-farms" when the travelling was so bad that the people could 
not easily get into town. Their present minister is the Rev. Henry 

In Stanwich Society, one half of which was taken from this town, 
their early records were destroyed by the fire which consumed the 
house of the Rev. Mr. Buffet, about twenty years ago. We are there- 
fore, unable to trace the origin of that Church and Society. The 
Rev. Mr. Butts is their present pastor. 

Besides the aliove parts of Stamford which have been separated 
from the parent Society, a small portion of Greenwich, lying near 
the shore west of us, has also been relinquished. These, so far as 
we know, are the only divisions of the original parish of Stamford, 
which are geographical. 

The Episcopal parish in this village was organized about the year 
1742. In that year the town voted to the " Episcopalians living at 
the east end of the town" liberty to build a house of worship on the 
ground where their Church now stands, and a stone in the founda- 
tion of that building bears date '• 1743." Dr. Ebenezer Dibble 
was their first settled clergyman. He arrived in this place as a 
Missionary of "the Society in England for the progagation of the 
Gospel in foreign Parts," in 1748, and continued his ministrations 



here, during the very long period of fftyone years. Dr. Dibble 
was a native of this state^ graduated at Yale College in 1734, and 
went to England to receive clerical orders, before taking charge of 
the parish. He died in May, 1799, with a cancer in his lip at the ad- 
vanced age of eighty-four years. He was a most excellent man — 
pious, amiable, talented, and in every sense an accomplished clergy- 
man. I am permitted to make this statement on the authority of my 
venerable and much esteemed friend, Rev. Daniel Smith, who, in the 
early part of his life, was intimate with Dr. Dibble, and who, when 
he gave these facts to me, remarked that he "loved him as a father." 
Since Dr. Dibble's death, that Church has been supplied by the Rev. 
Calvin White, Dr. Child, Ammi Rogers, Salmon Wheaton, J. H. Rey- 
nolds, Jonathan Judd, Mr. Glover, and the Rev. Ambrose S. Todd, 
its present pastor, who was settled in the spring of 1823. The Rev. 
Mr. Judd and Mr. Todd are the only clergymen who have been in- 
stituted rectors of the parish since Dr. Dibble's death. It appears 
that the Rev. Ammi Rogers, by some evil and most unhappy influ- 
ence, produced a schism in the Church, which, although it was very 
much lessened during the rectorship of Mr. Judd, was not entirely- 
healed until the arrival of the present pastor.* 

In 1773, the Baptist Church in this place was constituted. The 
members, twenty-one in number, were dismissed from the First, then 
the only Baptist Church in the city of New York. Their first pas- 
tor was the Rev. Elkanah Holmes. He entered upon his ministry 

* Mr. Rogers was degraded from the Ministry by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Jarvis, 
of the Diocese of Connecticut, about the year 1804, after Avhich he continued to 
preach at a private house in this village, and organized a Church from the body 
of the schismatics, who were led to believe Mr. Rogers to be a persecuted man. 
This however did not continue long, as his want of moral character became 
ever>^ day more and more apparent, and in the course of a year he was obliged 
to abandon his Independant Church, for want of support. The Church in this 
place, which he came so near destroying, is now in a flourishing and healthy 

The corner stone for a new house of worship was laid by the Rt. Rev. Thomas 
C. Brownell, D. D. L. L. D., on the 13th of May, A. D. 1842. A highly inter- 
esting and appropriate sermon, was delivered by the Rev. Wm. C. Mead, D. D. 
of Norwalk. After the benediction a procession was formed and proceeded to 
the foundation of the new building, and the corner stone thereof was laid Avith 
appropriate religious services by the Bishop of the Diocese. The address at the 
laying of the stone was pronounced by the Rector of the Parish. Within the 
stone was deposited the Holy Bible, the Book of Common Prayer— a Journal of 
the General Convention of 1841, together with the Constitution and Canons of 
the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States— a Journal of the Conven- 
tion of the Diocese of Connecticut for 1841, together with the Constitution and 
Canons of said Diocese— a charge to the Clergy of the Protestant Epis- 
copal Church in the State of Connecticut by, the Rt. Rev. Thomas Church 
Brownell, D. D. L. L. D., Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut— a copy of the 
Practical Christian and Church Chronicle— the Churchman's Almanac for 1842— 
a Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Washington College— a copy of the 



here, in October, 1783. In 1784, the Rev. Ebenezer Ferris became 
their pastor. He continued his ministrations until June, 1816, when 
Rev. Greenleaf S. Webb was chosen colleague with Mr. Ferris. Mr. 
Webb was succeeded by the Rev. John Ellis. After Mr. Ellis came 
the Rev. Wm. Biddle, and he was succeeded by Rev. James M.Stick- 
ney, the present pastor. May 1, 1839.* Their house of worship 
was erected in 1790. 

In 1778, the Methodist Society in this village was organized, and 
the " Stamford Circuit" was the first Circuit formed in Connecticut, 
and probably the first in New England. Rev. Peter Moriarty was 
their first preacher — a laborious and successful minister. He was 
followed by the Rev. Jesse Lee, and subsequently, (amongf others 
who have been devoted laborers in the Gospel,) by Revs. Oliver V. 
Ammerman, Daniel Deviney, Benjamin Griffin, Samuel Luckey, 
Mr. Seaman, Mr. Matthias, Mr. Hatfield, Mr. Hebbard, Mr. Oldren, 
and Mr. Tackerberry. Arrangements had been entered into by the 
Conference to secure the permanent ministerial services of Mr. 
Tackerbery in this society, but ill health has compelled him to re- 
linquish the trust, and although the society has been temporarily de- 
prived of their appointed preacher. Rev. Mr. Van Dousen, it is still in 
a prosperous condition.! 

Since the establishment of the first Methodist Society in this vil- 
lage, its members and tiiose who attend upon its preaching, have 
greatly increased, and at the present time there are three other 
Metliodist Societies in this town, each having respectable chapels. 
The Methodist house in this village was erected in 1812, and dedi- 
cated in 1813. The other Churches have been erected within a few 
years, but the precise dates cannot now be given. 

The civil history of Stamford, which we will now briefly notice, 
is identical for the last one hundred and twenty years with the his- 
tory of this Congregational Society. The Society and Town Re- 
cords were kept on one and the same book until the year 1760, al- 
though the business of each was generally transacted at separ- 
ate meetings. The last entry of a Society Meeting on these Re- 

doings of the members of St. John's Church in relation to the building of a 
new Church, together with a notice of the Statistics of St. John's Parish. 

On the 29th of June last, the frame was erected without the least accident, 
under the direction of Mr. Thomas P. Dixon, builder and contractor. This, when 
completed, will be a splendid edifice, finished in Gothic style, and covering an 
area of about /br/r thousand feet. 

* Since the delivery of this Discourse, the Rev. James M. Stickney has re- 
signed his charge, and the Rev. Addison Parker has accepted a call and become 
the pastor of that Church. 

t In May last the annual Conference assigned the Rev. George Brown to the 
pastoral charge of the Stamford Station, who is now engaged in his ministerial 
labors with this people. 


cord'=!, is Dec. 24, 1759, when Col. Jonathan Hoyt, Mr. Abraham 
Davenport, and Capt. David Waterbury, were appointed Society's 
Committee ; and the last mention made of the Society in the town 
books, is the following receipt appended to the doings of the last 
naM^ed meeting: 

" Stamford, January, 1760, received from Mr. Stephen Bishop, the 
sum of 69 and 9 pence one farthing lawful money, in full of my sal- 
lary the year past. " Noah Welles." 

After that time the town and society were managed as distinct 
organizations, and their records were kept separately. Mr. Bishop 
was continued as clerk of the Society, and Mr. Samuel Jarvis was 
appointed the town clerk. 

The first civil authority of the town consisted of those who ori- 
ginated the settlement and founded the Congregational Church. 
Their names I need not repeat. They had come to these parts to 
enjoy the liberty of the Gospel, and they considered it to be their 
bounden duty to (;nter into a civil confederation. By a provision in 
the purchase contract with New Haven, they were to join with that 
plantation in their form of government. The records of that colo- 
ny, with its associate towns, show it to have been, in the highest 
sense, a Religious Republic, Their peculiar system of jurispru- 
dence, however, was relinquished on uniting with Connecticut colo- 
ny in 166S, under the charter of Charles II.* 

* One of the peculiarities in the construction of the New Haven Colony, and 
which has often been made the subject of animadversion, was, that " all gov- 
ernment," civil as well as ecclesiastical, " should be in the Church." In the 
Connecticut (Colony, however, " all orderly persons possessing a freehold estate 
to a certain amount might be made freemen." Without being called upon to 
decide which of these colonies pursued the most enlightened policy, it is proper 
for us to say, that this feature, as well as others in the New Haven jurisdiction, 
was, in 1665, entirely abandoned. In the advertisement of the Statutes of Con- 
necticut, (edition of 1808) edited by Hon. John Treadwell, Enoch Perkins, and 
Thomas Day, Esqs., we find the following statement. " Though two Colonies 
are united in this state, we are indebted to but one government for our laws." 
New Haven at the union brought a rich portion into the political family, but with 
her name she relinquished her system of jurisprudence. So entire was the relin- 
quishment that not a single statute provision was retained. To this conclusion 
we were led in the first instance, partly by some examination of the New Ha- 
ven records, and partly by our success in tracing the several acts, which were 
afterwards in force, to a different origin. We have since been informed by the 
venerable historian of Connecticut (Dr. Trumbull) " that such also was the re- 
sult of his researches. 

We find also that Stamford never cordially adopted the New Haven views in 
regard to the institution of a religious test in civil government. They had come 
from the Connecticut colony where that principle was unpopular. Mr. Denton, 
and a portion of those who removed with him, were very much opposed to it, 
and probably the consent of the majority was only obtained when they found 
that they could not get a title to their lands unless they would "join with the 
New Haven plantation in the form of government there adopted," In 1662, 


All public business in the several towns was transacted in that far 
famed assembly, " the Town Meeting," and the Hall of Legislation 
was, not the market-place, as at Athens, but the Meeting-House. 

A town-house, and probably the first one, was built here about 
the year 1743. The following vote is the record of the fact : " De- 
cember 2, 1742. voted to build a new town-house, 30 feet long, 20 
feet wide, with 7 1-2 feet studs, and to have a chimney on each end 
the width of the house." 

" Voted, to set the town house on the Knowll where the old meet- 
ing-house stood." 

The first Selectmen were lit. Francis Bell, John Holly, and George 

Stamford was the first time represented in the General Court at 
New Haven in 1643, and Richard Gildersleeve, and Captain John 
Underbill were the delegates. At this time a local court was insti- 
tuted at Stamford, vested with the same powers as the New Haven 
Court. Thurston Raynor was appointed the Chief Magistrate, and 
Captain Underbill, Mr. Mitchell, and Andrew Ward were appointed 
assistant Judges. The Town, however, continued to be annually re- 
presented at New Haven as before. 

These magistrates were the dignitaries of the town, and all, espe- 
cially the youth, were taught to treat them with the utmost respect. 
It is also worthy of notice, what a degree of religious awe and deco- 
rum pervaded society at that time. All public afiairs were transact- 
ed in the most solemn manner. Prayer mingled with business at the 
town meeting, with military musters, and all prominent elections 
were opened with introductory sermons. 

Legal affairs wore the same serious aspect. I will quote here the 
devout preface of an ancient deed, which shows the feeling of those 
early times : " To all Christian People to whom these presents shall 
come : I Richard Higgenbothom of Stamford, the Colony of Con- 
necticut, in New England, Tailor, send Greeting in our Lord God 
Everlasting, know ye, that for the consideration of," &c. 

In morals, too, so far as the spirit of their doings is concerned, our 
fathers have left us a worthy example. I introduce this subject in 
this connection, because in morals they thought it best to act by le- 
gislation, (a thing indeed not entirely unknown at the present day,) 
and will give a few extracts from the town records : 

"At a court holden at Stamford, 1648, John Coe complaineth 
against Daniel for disturbinor the ordinance of God on the Sabbath 

three years before the union of the two colonies, Dr. Trumbull states that " the 
major part of Stamford" (and other towns) tendered their persons and estates 
to Connecticut, and petitioned to enjoy the protection and privileges of that com- 
monwealth, and, in 1664, Mr. Richard Law, a principal gentleman at Stamford 
(who had been one of the warmest friends of New Haven) also deserted them. 
Vid. Trumbull, vol. i., p. 261— 2S3, 284. ^ 

day. Daniel is sentenced by the court to give public satisfaction 
for it." 

" 1648, John questioned for selling of wine without a li- 
cense from the court, and is now forbidden to sell any more by re- 

" May 5, 1665, Francis Holmes was questioned for his miscon- 
duct, being overtaken in drink so that he was unable to give a ra- 
tional answer to anything propounded to him. Upouj a confession 
of his own guilt he is fined to pay 2 shillings to the treasury of the 

" December 28, 1665, Wm. Bishop, Obadiah Seely, and Eben 
Jones were questioned for their miscarriages on Monday night, by 
excessive drinking, and being out at unrecisonable hours in the 
night, for which miscarriages each person is to perform and to pay 
8s 4<i." 

" May 23, 1667, Francis Brown complained of for being drunk, 
proved by four persons on their oaths, for which fault he is fined two 

So we find prosecutions against licentiousness, swearing, turbulent 
carriage, sabbath-breaking, &c., all of which show how determined 
our ancestors were to bring what they thought would be the strong- 
est influence against all immorality. 

The records of the town meetings also indicate that there was de- 
cisive action upon the subject of education among the first settlers, 
and that at an early period the " schoolmaster was abroad." 

In 1667, a Mr. Richards, by vote, " was permitted to sojourn in 
town for a while to try his experience in school teaching." 

In 1671, it was voted that a Mr. Rider shall " have so much of the 
ould meeting-house as will build him up a school-house of about 10 or 
12 feet square." 

Other resolutions show that the town was bent on giving univer- 
sal instruction to the rising generation. True, the method of their 
proceeding to us appears antiquated, and we do not need to perpetuate 
their customs. The progress of time has made them obsolete. Nei- 
ther do we ask for the forms of their stern morality. But its spirit, 
how much we need it ! A tenth part of their reverence for God, for 
the decisions of the magistrates, for good order, and universal educa- 
tion, and our town would prosper, and if felt everywhere our coun- 
try would be safe. 

But it becomes our painful duty to pursue the secular and civil 
history of Stamford into those troublesome times which followed the 
settlement of this place — a chapter of trial and disaster. 

The Pequod war had terminated four years before this town was 
located, in the great swamp fight, about two miles west of the present 
village of Fairfield. But it was not many years before the Indians 
again became hostile. The Dutch who had settled on the Sound be- 
low, and at New York, had from the first given much trouble, as the 


English settlements were ever an object of their jealousy. From 
these causes, Stamford was exposed to constant annoyance. At one 
time the Dutch threatened an invasion of all the English settlements, 
and there was much al arm. At another time they quarrelled with 
the Indians, who, fleeing before them into this town, drew upon this 
place the hostility of their enemies, and the people were at great ex- 
pense in fortifying and guarding themselves. In the summer and fall 
of 1643, the Indians fell upon the Dutch, killed fifteen of their number, 
and drove in all the inhabitants of the English and Dutch settle- 
ments west of Stamford. At this critical moment, the Dutch Gover- 
nor at New York engaged Captain Underbill of Stamford to assist him 
in the war. He did so, and it was bloody and destructive. This ex- 
cited the Stamford Indians, who had before been peaceable, and they 
became so tumultuous and hostile, that an order was taken " that 
every family in which there was a man capable of bearing arms should 
send one completely armed, every Lord's Day, to defend the people 
during Divine worship. At this period the Stamford people were in 
great fear lest they should share the fate of the settlements to the west 
of them, and wrote to the General Court at New Haven for assistance. 
About this time the Indians murdered a man belonging to Massachu- 
setts, near this place, and when the General Court made an effort to 
apprehend the niurderer, the Indians rose in great numbers and ex- 
ceedingly alarmed the people, both here and at Fairfield. The court 
drafted a body of men who were ordered to march to Stamford 
on the shortest notice. Soon after this, an Indian went boldly into 
the house of Mr. Phelps, which stood east of the north commons, 
and made a murderous assault on Mrs. Phelps. The Indian finding 
no man at home, took up a lathing-hammer and approached her as 
though he would put it into her hands, but as she stooped down to 
take her child from the cradle, he struck her upon the head, which 
instantly felled, her to the floor. He then struck her twice with the 
sharp part of the hammer which penetrated her skull. Supposing 
her dead, he plundered the house and made his escape. The 
wounds of this woman, which at first appeared to be mortal, were 
finally healed, but her brain was so affected that she lost her reason. 
This Indian was afterwards delivered up and executed at New Ha- 
ven. The story of his execution shows the savage firmness of the 
Indian character. The executioner cut off his head with a falchion, 
but it was cruelly done. He gave him eight blows before he effect- 
ed the execution, and the Indian sat erect and motionless until his 
head was severed from his body. — See Trumbull. 

At this period the Indians were so troublesome that the settlement 
of the town for some time made but little progress. But in 1646, a 
a great battle was fought between the Indians and Dutch, in that part 
of Greenwich called Strickland's Plain, about three and a half miles 
from this village, where great numbers were slain on both sides. 
Oaptaia Underhill, of this place, then in the employment of the 


Dutch, commanded in this engagement. He with great difficulty 
kept the field, and the Indians withdrew. I'his victory, although it 
greatly crippled the power of the Indians, did not make them peace- 

In October, 1748, John Whitmore, one of the most respectable men 
in Stamford, and who had represented the town at the New Haven 
Court, was killed by the Indians while he wa§ looking for his cattle 
in the woods, at the kSequest, about a mile from the village. Great 
excitement was produced by this murder throughout the whole coun- 
try. The people of Hartford and New Haven, united with the peo- 
ple of Stamford, and fifty men were drafted, armed, and victualled 
for the purpose of searching out and bringing the savage murderer 
to justice. It does not appear, however, that this was ever done, but 
such decisive steps were taken that the Indians afterwards were more 

* It is probable that the young chief, Taphanse, son of Sagamore Ponus, was 
the murderer of Mr. Whitmore. He was suspected at the time and accused of 
it, but, with great coolness, he denied the accusation, and charged the murder 
upon an Indian known by the name of Toquattoes But suspicion never rest- 
ed, and in 1662, fourteen years after, as is found by the New Haven records, 
Taphanse was arrested and brought to trial. Although full proof of his guilt 
could not be found, the circumstantial evidence was as follows : 

1st. It was proved that on the day when the murder was committed, Tap- 
hanse, with some other Indians, came to the house of Goodman Whitmore, and 
shook Goodwife Whitmore by the hand, and asked her " where her netop (friend 
or husband) was, for he so big loved her netop," and that this fawning of his was 
such, as awakened instantly the woman's suspicion, and filled her with appre- 
hension that some evil had befallen her husband. 

2d. It was proved that he came to Mr. Law's about sunrise on the second 
morning after Goodman Whitmore left home, and said that " an English- 
man had been killed." This was the first that any one knew of it. On being 
asked when, he answered, that " he knew not Avhether ten miles off or twen- 
ty," but pointed up riverward, intimating that it was in that direction. It alsa 
appeared that Mr. Law, and some others, went with Taphanse to the wigwams, 
and on the way he so trembled and shook that several of them took notice of 
it as a sign of guilt, and that, although, he had promised to return with them 
and assist in taking the dead body, he gave them the slip and made his escape. 

3d. It was proved that when Uncas and his Indians, who had been sent to 
assist in finding the murderer, went with several of the Stamford Indians, to 
seek the dead body, Taphanse not only conducted them directly 1o the spot, 
gilthough he had before denied that he knew where it was, but afterwards as 
they were roasting venison, he slipped out of sight and away, so that Uncas 
brought word that Taphanse was matchit (naught, or evil). 

4th. There appeared to be no little correspondence and mutual understanding 
between Taphanse and the murderer. It was a suspicious circumstance, that 
he knew so perfectly that Toquattoes did the murder— did he see him do it ? 
and it appeared that though Toquattoes had been in Stamford the winter be- 
fore the trial, and though Taphanse knew himself to be suspected, he took no 
pains to clear himself by exposing the guilty person. 

The answers which Taphanse gave to all this testimony were exceedingly 
ingenious and, taken in connection with the whole conduct of the young Chief 


In 1665, some restless spirits made an attempt to induce the people 
of Stamford to revolt to the Dutch of New York. They insisted 
that the government of the Connecticut Colony was lax, and did not 
aid in prosecuting the war as they ought. This attempt at insurrec- 
tion, however, was soon quieted — ^all engaged in it were punished, 
and to remove cause of complaint, a guard of men during the 
winter was sent to Stamford for its defence, and as the inhabitants 
had been at great expehse, not only in watching and guarding the 
town, but in erecting fortifications around the meeting-house, the 
public taxes for the current year were abated by the general court. 
This Wtis a year of uncommon expense, alarm, and distress. Cap- 
tain Underbill* sent to his friends in Rhode Island for assistance, and 

in this affair, show how native talent and consummate shrewdness, were united 
in the cunniag savage. 

The sentence of the court pronounced by Governor Leet, was that Taphanse 
is guilty of suspicion, that he pay the charges of the court and remain in du- 
rance until the next session. But upon his begging to have his chain taken off, 
and solemnly promising to be present when the court should again sit, he was 
released. Nothing appears to have been done at the next court, and he proba- 
bly escaped unpunished. — Vid. Rec.New Haven and Bacon's Hist, Dis. 

* This singular man who figured so conspicuously in the early history of 
Stamford, was a soldier of fortune. He was sent with the forces of James I. to 
aid the Dutch in the Low Countries, in casting off the yoke of a master, and re- 
turned to England with the title of Captain, and with a Dutch wife and a Dutch 
language. Soon after he emigrated to Boston, and was well received among the 
valiant and pious. He then came to Stamford, and, being of a warlike turn, be- 
came a most notorious Indian fighter. He was not only in the battle of Strick- 
land's Plain; but for a number of years was almost continually engaged in war, 
either on behalf of the Dutch or English, and was often in great peril. At one 
time he says " Myself received a shotie in the left hip-pe thro' a sufficient buffe 
(or leathern) coat, and if I had not been supplied with such a garment, the ar- 
row would have pierced through me." He received another between the neck 
and shoulder, " hanging in the linen of his head-piece." It seems that he and 
his soldiers, fought the Indians, armed with swords and muskets, and clad in 
" Corseletis, Helmets, and Bandoliers." Capt. Underbill was an author as well 
as a soldier, and there exists in the Massachusetts' Historical Collections a re- 
print of a work entitled — " News from America, ar a New and Experimental 
Discovery of New Enj^land, containing a true relation of the warlike proceed- 
ings these two years past, with a view of the Indian Fort or Palisado. By Cap- 
tain John Underhill, Commander in the Wars there, London, Printed for Pe- 
ter Cole, 1668." As a specimen of his spirit and style of writing, take the fol- 
lowing : In describing his approach to the shore of Block Island, with his shal- 
lop and twelve men, he says, " Up rose from behind a barricado fifty or sixty 
able fighting men, as straite as arrows, very tall and of active bodyes, having 
their arrows notched, and drew near to the water side, and let fly at the sol- 
diers as though they had meant to have made an end of us all in a moment." 
The Captain, among others that were wounded, was " pierced through his 
clothes," and also " struck in the forehead by an arrow, and would inevitably 
have been slain had not" as he says, " God in his Providence moved the heart 
of his wife to persuade him to go armed that day with his helmet, on which 
the arrow struck and fell blunted at his feet." From this Captain John very 
seriously argues two things : 1st. " that God in this influencing of the woman 


with such of the inhabitants as he could obtain for soldiers, made the 
best defence in his power. A great proportion of the time was em- 
ployed by the magistrates in raising men and making preparation for 
war. The common people were, at the same time, called off from 
their labors and worn down with watching by night and by day. 

Dr. Trumbull says, that at this time, the Dutch at New York only 
waited for a reinforcement from Holland to attack and reduce all the 
English Colonies. Of this both they and the colonists were in constant 
expectation. It was reported and feared that when the signal should 
be given from the Dutch ships, the Indians would rise, fire the settle- 
ments, and thus begin the work of destruction.* Such were the early 

maketh use of weak means lo keep his purpose unviolated;" and 2d. " that no 
man should despise the counsel of his wife, though she be a woman.'''' Captain 
Underhill was in the Pequod war a coadjutor of Captain John Mason, and was 
at the taking of the Indian Fort near the river Mystic. He was to force the 
southern entrance and Mason the western. In describing this bloody fight in 
which women and children perished in one indiscriminate slaughter, he says, 
" Great and doleful was the sight to the view of the young soldiers, who had 
never been in the warre" But the Captain had been accustomed to such 
slaughter, and, although evidently conscience troubled at the remembrance of it, 
he attempts to quiet himself by saying, " the Scripture declareth, that women 
and children must perish with their parents," and he adds, " we had sufficient 
light from the Word of God for our proceedings we must contend earnestly for 
the truth.'''' The perverted use of these quotations remind us of a method of 
Scripture interpretation, less ancient than the days of Captain John Underhill. — 
Few individuals, however, rendered more important services to the Colonies 
than he. A man of untiring energy, activity and courage, and such was the 
rapidity of his movements, that his enemies were generally taken by surprise, 
and consequently defeated. He died at Oyster Bay, Long Island, in 1672. — 
Dunlafs History of New York, p. 338. — Thompson''s History of Long Island, 
Vol. i. p. 82. 

* Dr. Trumbull says, " a horrid and execrable plot was at this time discov- 
ered, which had been concerted by the Dutch Governor and the Indians for the 
destruction of the English Colonies." 

The Indian Chief Ninigrate had spent the winter at Manhattan with Stuy- 
vesant on the business. He had been over Hudson's River among the western 
Indians ; procured a uniting of the Sachems ; made ample declarations against 
the English, and solicited their aid against the Colonies. He was brought 
back in the Spring in a Dutch sloop, with arms and ammunition from the Dutch 
Governor. The Indians for some hundreds of miles appeared disaffected, and 
hostile tribes which before had been always friendly to the English became in- 
imical and the Indians boasted that they were to have goods from the Dutch at 
" half the price" for which the English sold them, and " powder as plenty as 
sand." The Long Island Indians testified to the plot. Nine Sachems who 
lived in the vicinity of the Dutch, sent their united testimony to Stamford, " that 
the Dutch Governor had solicited them by promising them guns, powder, 
swords, wampum, coats and waistcoats, to cut off the English." The messen- 
gers who were sent, declared " they were as the mouth of the nine Sagamores 
who all spake !" They would not lie. One of the nine Sachems afterwards came 
to Stamford with other Indians and testified the same. The plot was confirmed 
by Indian testimonies from all quarters. It was expected that a Dutch fleet would 
arrive, and that the Dutch and Indians would unite in the destruction of the Eng- 



troubles of the brave and venerated fathers of this people. From the 
vicinity of the place to navigable vi^aters, Stamford has been much ex- 
posed, not only in the Dutch and Indian wars, but also in the French, 
Revolutionary, and last wars. Especially in the Revolutionary war, 
the inhabitants were in a state of continual alarm. Although the 
British did not often come within the town in much force, yet the place 
was almost entirely surrounded by the desolations of the enemy, and 
the noise of battle. General Putnam's head quarters, with two bri- 
gades of infantry and cavalry were at Redding, and snch havoc was 
made by the enemy, among the towns in this region, that a brigade was 
sent from West Point for their protection as far as New Canaan. Bed- 
ford, Danbury, Fairfield, and Norwalk were burned.* At Ridgefield, an 
engagement took place, in which Colonel Gould was killed, and Gen. 
Wooster received a mortal wound. The battle of White Plains was 
only about fourteen miles distant. At Darien, then a part of Stam- 
ford, a whole congregation was attacked while at their worship on the 
Sabbath, and the male portion, together with their venerable minister, 
Dr. Moses Mather, who was in the desk at the time, and about forty 
horses, were carried off to Long Island. 

At Horseneck the enemy appeared in force, and attacked a small 
body of tioops stationed at that place. General Putnam, who hap- 
pened to be there at the time, in his official returns of March 2, 1779, 
says, " I therefore directed the troops to retire and form on a little hill 
a short distance from Horseneck, while I proceeded to Stamford, 
[he rode down the stone steps as he started] and collected the militia, 
and a few continental troops which were there, with which 1 returned 
immediately, and found that the enemy, after plundering the inhabi- 
tants of a principal part of their effects, and destroying a few salt 
works, and a small sloop and store, were on their return again." The 
enemy's force were about fifteen hundred, and some accounts say they 
came within four miles of Stamford. Another small party came some 
distance past the place now occupied by Dr. Samuel Lockwood, and 
Mr. Joseph Selleck, who is still living, narrowly escaped them with his 
life. Mr. S. says he fled on horseback with his brother, the British 

lish plantations. It was rumored that the time for the massacre, was fixed upon 
the day of the public election when the freemen would be generally from home. 
The whole country was exceedingly alarmed, and as Stamford was a frontier 
town, a body of men was despatched for its defence. The plantations, especial- 
ly those near the enemy, " were greatly hindered in their ploughing, sowing, 
planting, and in all their affairs ; and the people were worn down with constant 
watching, and guarding, and put to great expense for the common safety." 

* Norwalk and Bedford were both burned on the same day, (July 11, 1799) 
but by different parties of the enemy ; and a number of aged people are now 
living with us, who saw the smoke rising from both places. It was on the Sab- 
bath— "Oh what a Sabbath that was," said an aged lady to us, "we carried 
all our furniture out of the house and hid it in the woods, for we expected that 
we should be burned next." 


horsemen hotly pursuing, and firing at him until they were met by the 
Stamford militia, when they suddenly retreated. But the principal an- 
noyance during this war was found in those pestiferous pillagers called 
" cow boys." Cattle, horses, and whatever else came in their way 
were plundered and carried ofi'to the enemy* Although not many 

* The party who pursued Mr. Selleck, drove off forty head of cattle belong- 
ing to Captain Isaac Lockwood. They entered his house, broke furniture, 
emptied feather beds, and thus wantonly destroyed what they could not carry 
away. A number of families in that street were treated in a similar manner. 
Their work of destruction, however, was short — for they were obliged to push 
away before the approaching forces of the town. Before they reached the 
enemies' lines they were overtaken, and a considerable part of the plunder re- 
covered — but the cattle were so barbarously hacked, by the cutlasses of the 
enemy, that many of them afterwards died. Many other instances of similar 
outrage could be given — but the enemy Avere not lelt without a sort of annoy- 
ance by which payment was sometimes obtained with interest. The follow- 
ing is an instance, and exhibits a cool intrepidity to which it would be difficult 
to find a parallel. A Frigate and Sloop of War, belonging to the enemy, were 
lying in Oyter Bay, opposite this village, and the whaleboats from this place, 
commanded by Captain Jones, determined on taking the sloop. On a foggy 
morning they rowed silently around her, and coming nearer and nearer, they 
were at length discovered, and instantly hailed—" Who's there 1" " A friend." 
" A friend to whom ?" " I'll let you know," said Jones, " the Rebels have 
been rowing round the Bay all night and you've known nothing about it. I'll 
report you to the Admiral for neglecting your watch." By this time the men 
in the boats were climbuig up the sides of the British vessel, while Jones, who 
was as rough as the ocean on which he had been brought up, kept storming 
away at the Captain for his negligence. The British officer trembled from 
head to foot, thinking that he had" run foul of some violent old tory, who would 
certainly report him to his commander. He assured Jones that he had kept 
the strictest watch — begged him to look at the order of his vessel — the training 
of his guns, and the priming of his muskets. A number of these muskets were 
by this time in the hands of the assailing party, when instantly Jones's foot 
stamped heavily upon the deck, and in the next moment the Sloop was theirs ! 
She carried fifteen or twenty guns, and was fully equipped for service. An- 
other vessel was about this time captured by these whaleboats as she lay in 
the narrows below. They attacked her in open day — one, as they approached, 
had its rudder carried away by a cannon shot, and swinging under the stern of 
the English vessel, the men entered her cabin windows, just as the crew were 
driven below, by the men in the other boats, who had obtained possession of 
her deck. After a short and desperate fight with broadswords and bayonets, in 
the cabin, the crew surreodered, and the vessel was brought to Stamford. 

On land there were also repeated instances of soldierlike bravery. A skir- 
mish took place a little beyond Noroton River, (near the spot now occupied by 
the house of Captain Isaac Weed) between the Militia and a Company of fifty 
or sixty of the British, under Colonel Upham, when three young men of this 
place fell, mortally wounded, under the fire of the enemy. But they were soon 
obliged to retire before the rallying force of the town. At another time, a party 
who had come over from Lloyds Neck, were repulsed and driven back with 
such spirit, that Deacon Benjamin Weed, (who is still living among us) says 
that he himself "got seventeen shots at them before they reached their boats." 
He pressed on alone, keeping about forty rods in advance of the company to 
which he belonged, and without any hat, and blackened with smoke, poured 


lives were lost from this place, during the war for Independence, yet the 
people exhibited a most determined and patriotic spirit, as may be seen 
by reference to the resolutions in their town meetings.* 

in his incessant fire upon the enemy. — " When we were near the water," says 
Mr. Weed, "a musket shot struck a young man near me and he fell instantly, 
for the ball had cut the main artery of his neck. I ran to him, raised him upon 
my knee, and saw that the blood was pouring in a torrent from the wound, 
He expressed a strong desire to see his friends before he died, but I told him 
that he would never see them again in this world, and in a few minutes he 
expired." Strongly as the above incidents illustrate the valor of our ances- 
tors, we trust that the future history of our country will never demand their 

* " At a special Town Meeting, Oct. 7, 1774 : Col. Davenport, Moderator. — 
Samuel Jarvis, Clerk : 

" Voted — The inhabitants of the Town sensibly affected with the distress to 
which the Town of Boston and Province of Massachusetts Bay, are subjected 
by several unconstitutional acts of the British Parliament, and also viewing the 
Quebec bill, whereby the Roman Catholic religion is established over a great 
part of his Majesty's extensive continent of America, as an attempt, not barely 
to destroy our civil liberties, but as an open declaration that our religious pri- 
vileges, which our forefathers fled their native country to enjoy, are very soon 
to be abolished ; hoping to convince the people of this extreme continent, that, 
notwithstanding our long silence, we are by no means unwilling to join with 
our sister towns to assert our just rights, and oppose every design of a corrupt 
ministry to enslave America, do declare that we acknowledge our subjection to 
the Crown of Great Britain and all the constituted powers thereto belonging, as 
established in the Illustrious House of Hanover; and that it is our earnest de- 
sire that the same peaceable connexion should subsist between us and the 
mother country as has subsisted for a longtime before the late unconstitutional 
measures, adopted by the Parliament of Great Britain, and Ave hope that some 
plan will be found out by the General Congress to effect the reconciliation we 
wish for : yet we are determined, in every lawful way, to join with our sister 
Colonies resolutely to defend our just rights and oppose all illegal and uncon- 
stitutional acts of the British Parliament that respects America ; that we are 
pleased that a Congress of Deputies from the Colonies is now met at Philadel- 
phia, and relying upon the wisdom of that body, we declare that we are ready 
to adopt such reasonable measures as shall, by them, be judged for the general 
good of the inhabitants of America. 

" 2d. That Messrs. John Lloyd, Samuel Hutton, Captain Samuel Young, 
Captain David Halt, and Charles Weed be a Committee to receive subscriptions 
for the supply of the poor in the Town of Boston, who suffer in consequence of 
an act of Parliament, called the Port Act; and that the said Committee cause 
anything that shall be collected to be transmitted to the care of the Committee 
of Ways and Means in the town of Boston, to be employed by them as they 
shall think fit." 

We have been able to gather only the following brief sketch of the men of 
this place who acted prominently during our revolutionary struggle : 

Brigadier General David Waterburf, commanded all the Connecticut for- 
ces stationed along the shore, from Byram Bridge to Rhode Island. He was a 
distinguished officer, and had held the rank of Colonel in the French war. He was 
taken prisoner and carried to England with General Ethan Allen, but was af- 
terwards exchanged and served his country faithfully until the peace of 1783. 


Few of the present population can be sensible of the vexations, 
losses, and distress of such a border warfare as during the revolution- 
ary struggle this region was annoyed with, only as they hear these 

Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Hoyt, was of the 8th Connecticut Regiment m 
the United States army, and was a brave man and a good officer. 

Colonel Abraham Davenport was for a long time one of the Counsellors of 
the Colony, and afterwards for the State. He was also a Chief JusUce of the 
Court of Common Pleas. He had a vigorous understandmg; and was distin- 
guished for uncommon fineness of mind and Christian integrity. Dr. Dwight 
relates of him, the following characteristic anecdote : ,. u j 

" The 19th of May, 1780, was a remarkably dark day, candles were hghted, 
the birds were silent, and fowls retired to roost. A very general opinion pre- 
vailed that the Day of Judgment was at hand. The House of Representatives 
being unable to transact business adjourned. A proposal to adjourn the Senate 
was under consideration, when the opinion of Colonel Davenport was asked. 
He answered, I am against the adjournment— the Day of Judgment is either 
approaching, or it is not- If it is not, there is no cause for an adjournment : Ifii 
is I choose to be found doing my duty-I wish therefore that candles may be 
brou<rht " He died suddenly at Danburv while presiding m the County Court. 
After he was struck with death, he heard a considerable part of the trial there 
pendin<^ gave the charge to the jury, and noticed an article in the testimony 
which 1iad escaped the attention of the counsel on both sides. He then re- 
tired, and was soon a corpse. , ^ . ^ • . TiT-r.- 

Colonel Charles Webb commanded the 7th Regiment, Connecticut Militia. 
He was a bold and excellent officer. In the latter part of December, 1777, at 
White Marsh six miles from Philadelphia, he was attacked by a party of Hessians 
in ambush, and so desperate was the engagement that eighty-four of his Re- 
giment were killed on the spot, besides a great number wounded. 

Major John Davenport, was a worthy officer in the Militia m this section 

° Captain Ebenezer Jones, who commanded the whaleboats, was noted for his 
desperate coura^^e and constant annoyance of the English shipping in the Sound. 

Captain Reub'en Scofield of the Town Guards, was a magistrate, and an ac- 
tive man during the whole war. , , , » , , •., -.u .u 

Captain Amos Smith was nearly the whole of the war out either with the 
State Troops or Militia, and was one of the most brave and daring soldiers ol 

the Revolution. _ . ^ . ^ t,t-t»- • ,v. 

Captain Samuel Hoyt, of the 5th Regiment, Connecticut Mihtia, was in the 

service during the whole war. . ^ . • j • ^ .- . r 

Captain Isaac Bell, was a Captain in the Regiment raised in Connecticut for 
the defence of Horseneck. o i, -o • » r.u r 

Captain Sylvanus Brown, was of the 2d Company, 8th Regiment of the line. 

Captain Charles Smith, commanded in the State Troops, who were station- 
ed between the lines. , ,. , m /-. j a 

Captain Isaac Lockwood, was in command of the Town Guards, and was 
frequently out in scouting parties. 

Captain Sylvanus Knapp was in the same service. 

Lieutenant Seth Weed, Ensign Joseph Smith, Captam George Mills, and Mr. 
John Hoyt, (town clerk) were known as active and leading men. 

Others, whose names, on account of our limited means of information at 
this late period are omitted, were doubtless equally brave and pairioiic, and 
equally deserving of a grateful remembrance and an honorable service. 


" tales of the war" from the lips of here and there a veteran patriot 
who still lingers among- us — a few more years and their lips too, now 
palsying with age, will be silent, and the page of history alone will 
tell the story of the revolution. Venerable men! we will watch over 
their age, even as they bled over our infancy. We can not but revere 
such men. Our first fathers founded this fair country — our late fathers 
fought for it. Liberty was the watchword of both, and the generous 
patriotism, the religion, and literature transmitted to us in the institu- 
tions they planted iiave made that liberty doubly valuable. Let their 
children, too, be patriot Christians. Let every true son and daughter 
of New England guard that liberty, and love that religion, and learn 
from the Pilgrims that the fear of God is the only sure basis of civil 
freedom ! 

This village was incorporated as a borough in 1831, and the pre- 
sent town now contains about four thousand inhabitants. At different 
periods in its latter history it has produced names not unknown in' the 
State, and whose voices have been heard in the counsels of the nation. 
A few only of the descendants of the primitive settlers can be traced 
to the present population. The Bells, the Bishops, the Hollys, the 
Newmans, the Weeds, the Sellecks, and perhaps others, are names still 
known among us. One fact in this connection may be considered 
worthy of notice, Mr. Edwin S. Holly, a present selectman of this 
town, is a lineal descendant of John Holly, one of the first selectmen 
of the town two hundred years ago. He is of the 6th generation.* 

* The records of Stamford for the first twenty-five years after its seUlement 
are so unintelligible that it is very difficult to read any 'part of them. The first 
list of names we can find, which in all probability did not embrace but a small 
portion oi'the population, is appended to the folloAving resolution, adopted at a 
Town Meeting, April 22, 1665, " all such iohabitants of Stamford that have 
any privilege in the horse pasture, are to give in their names for one horse, or 
two, and they shall fence for their names as hereunder written." Then follow 
forty-nine names with one horse, and four for two horses. Of which there are 
four Howes, three Hollys, three Slasons, two Bates, two Finches, two Noyes, 
two Weeds, two Newmans, two Millers, two Dibbles, two Bells, two Sellecks, 
and one each Law, Seely, Gurnsey. Buxton, Thompson, Dan, Brown, Hardy, 
Ferris, Jagger, Simkins, Stevens, Theal, Wescott, Lockwood, Scofield, Smith, 
Green, Ambler, Crissy, Clason, Petit, Webb, Studwell, Hoyt, and Knapp. 

Ill 1670, we find a list of freemen numbering one hundred and ninety-seven. 
September 10, 1777, the records contain a list of two hundred and sixty-seven 
names who subscribed to the oaih of fidelity. 

The Registers of Electors in this town, under the late law, made out for the 
election in April, 1842. contains seven hundred and ninety-three names, of which 
ninety-one are Scofields, forty-seven Smiths, forty-three Lockwoods, thirty-eight 
Weeds, thirty-five Hoyis, nineteen Junes, seventeen Knapps, sixteen Hollys, 
fourteen Jones, thirteen Lounsberrys, twelve Palmers, fourteen Webbs, twelve 
Waterburys, twelve Stevens, eleven Browns, ten Buxtons, six Adams, four 
Ayres, four Austins, two Andries, three Bates, nine Bells, eight Bishops, two 
jBoutous, five Briggs, five Brushes, two Bakers, six Curtis, seven Clasons, nine 

But I must close this discourse, already, perhaps, too lono-, I look 
around upon this assembly and say, this is the history of your pater- 
nal ancestry, and your origin as a civil and religious community. 
Surely the Lord hath brought a vine out of Egypt. It has been well 
planted — its roots have struck deep, and it fills the land. 'Tis well we 
meet this evening. The recollection of the past shall make us better. 
We will hallow the memory of the pilgrims — we will love these hills 
and valleys for they were the homestead of our fathers. This lovely 
village shall be made still more lovely by the exhibition of Puritan 
virtues. Let the very name of Puritan be revered. It is the synonv- 
ma of all that is desirable in Liberty, devoted in patriotism, and holy 
in religion. Let us delight to honor and vindicate its claims, and imi- 
tate those who bore it, until the world shall know its worth, and see in 
us a specimen of its spirit. 

We ask not for their manners ; " they have gone by with the age 
that produced them." We ask not their forms, either in religion or 
legislation: but we do ask for their spirit and their principles. God 
grant that they may be ours and our country's until time shall end. 

But in closing, let me ask, where are those Fathers ? Gone — ! 
Where are those who first peopled this fair village ? Long gone to 
dwell with the dead ! " Dust mingles with dust — ashes with ashes," 
but their spirits are with God. Where shall we be, when next this 
anniversary returns ? — Gone too ! — even the youngest grown aged 
and passed away ! Long before that time, the voice of the speaker 
will be hushed in death, and the ear of the hearer lie dull in the dark 
cold grave ! — But the place will teem with another population, who 
will receive from us, not only their existence, but those influences 

Crabbs, two Caldwells, six Davenports, eight Deans, three Dibbles, two Das- 
kums, eight Dans, two Dixons, six Finchs, nine Ferris, three Foxs, two Harms, 
eight Husteds, four Hobbys, two Hubbards, two Handfords, two Howes, two 
Jessups, two Jarmans, two Jonsons, two Ingersolls, two Ingrahams, nine Leeds, 
two Mills, three Minors, seven Millers, two Marshalls, three Meads, six Nich- 
ols, four Newmans, nine Provosts, three Pecks, three Potts, three [Quintards, 
five Raymonds, eight Reynolds, three Richs, three Reeds, two Sibleys, three 
Seelys, five Sellecks, two Sherwoods, two Slausons, four Studwells, two St. 
Johns, three Tuckers, three Todds, three Thompsons, two Varnells, five Wa- 
rings, two Warrens, eight Waters, six Wilmots, three Wardwells, five Whites, 
two Woodmans, three Weeks, nine Youngs, and one each by the name of Alice, 
Runnel, Rretet, Rtuce, Rarnum, Rostwick, Blanchard, Blackman, Rarlow, Bal- 
lad, Rrundage, Rullard, Chew, Clock, Capron, Coggswell, Damon, Dayton, 
Doyl, Davis, Doty, Delevan, Duncan, Eells, Eddy, Finney, Fairchild, Fitch, 
Gowdy, Gay, Gailor, Hull, Hawley, Haight, Hendrie, Hedden, Hill, Hesley, 
Jarvis, Kellogg, Klopper, Keeler, Kenworthy, Kirk, Laurie. Mc Millen, Mes- 
nard, Mitchell, Mathews, Marvin, Merrit, Northrop, Nash, Patten, Piatt, Ros- 
borough, Rogers, Roberts, Robinson, Raff"erty, Richards, Riggs, Slater, Sincox, 
Sanderson, SnifEn, Sarles, Scott, Stanton, Swan. Sanford, Tobias, Trowbridge,, 
Wood, Wessels, Walton, and Wescora. 


which will mould their character. From us the future generations in 
Stamford are to receive their civil advantages, their literary institutions, 
and their religious privileges. Their intellectual and moral character, 
whatever it becomes, will be the living record of our worth and care, 
and in them we shall still live, either in infamy or honor. How im- 
portant, then, that we act well our part, that posterity may bless, 
and Heaven reward us ! 













BY REV. jr. W. AL.VORD, 

Dec, 22d, 1841. 




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