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Full text of "History of ancient Woodbury, Connecticut, from the first Indian deed in 1659 ... including the present towns of Washington, Southbury, Bethlem, Roxbury, and a part of Oxford and Middlebury"

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" In the silent greenwood glade, 
In the dim old forest shade. 

By the gliding river, 
Are historic voices ringing. 
Music on the soft breeze flinging, 

And they haunt me ever. 
I love them -vrell, for they to me 
Are as some pleasant memory." 




Entered according to Ace of Congi-ess, in the year 1854, by 

^^^LLIAM cothren, 

in tlie Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticut. 


PREFACE, n .^, 


To a casual conversation with a stranger, a few years since, the 
public is indebted for the following pages. They are not the result 
of hasty examination, or crude investigation, but have consumed the 
hours that could be spared from the incessant demands of a most 
laborious profession, for nearly seven years ; and, during all that 
time, have greatly encroached on the hours that should have been 
devoted to sleep. The labor of compilation was not undertaken for 
the want of other occupation ; but because, after a little examination, 
the historical incidents of the town were found to be of so important 
and interesting a character, I felt unwilling to see them irretrievably 
lost to the world. Nor did I undertake it with the hope of acquir- 
ing " filthy lucre," being fully assured, that such labors are never 
suitably rewarded — not even appreciated, by the thoughtless many. 
Notwithstanding this, labors not to be understood, except by those 
who have been engaged in similar undertakings, have been cheer- 
fully boi-ne. More than fifteen hundred manuscript volumes of ec- 
clesiastical, ministerial, state, probate, town, and society records, and 
many thousands of old manuscripts, of all sorts, have been carefully 
examined, and the facts contained therein relating to the history of 
the town, collated. Every source of information has been laid under 
contribution, from the archives of the state, to the forgotten files of 
old papers in the neglected garret of the private citizen. 

When- this work was commenced, if one had asserted that tiventy 
pages could be written concerning the history of the town, he would 

IV r R E F A C E . 

have been greeted with the smile of incredulity. Yet the materials 
have grown on my hands, till a large work has been produced, and 
it would have been far easier to have written several additional 
volumes, than to have corapi'cssed the materials in hand within the 
present limits. It has been said by a worthy friend, that he, who 
can write a good town history, is well fitted to write an excellent 
book on any other subject. Whether this assertion be strictly cor- 
rect or not, it is certain that such an individual is well fitted for any 
kind of hard labor ! 

The difliculty attending an enterprise of this nature, is greatly 
increased by the apathy and indifference manifested by many indi- 
viduals, of whom information is solicited. And the same persons, 
who neglect or refuse to give information, are the first to complain 
of the errors or incompleteness of a work, when published. But 
amid the many discouragements of this kind, it becomes a pleasant 
duty to mention, in this place, the names of a few of the numerous 
friends, whose kindly sympathies and intelligent aid have cheered 
me on in these dilficult and painful labors. But for these, it is prob- 
able, that continued ill health, and the pressure of other duties, 
would have caused the abandonment of the work, however much I 
might have regretted the stern necessity. 

To my fellow-townsman, and professional brother, Hon. Charles 
B. Phelps, who has been long a resident of the town, I have been 
indebted for many suggestions in the progress of the work, and for 
valuable assistance in the biographical part, in addition to his sketch 
of St. Paul's Church. 

Hon. Seth P. Beers, of Litchfield, Conn., and Dr. Avery J. Skil- 
ton, of Troy, N. Y., have very essentially aided me in the genealog- 
ical chapter. 

To Charles C. Thompson, Israel Minor, and Augustin Averill, 
Esqrs., of the city of New York, I am imder great obligations for 
their active cooperation with me, in various ways, in accomplishing 
the objects of the publication. 

Gen. Daniel B. Brinsmade, of Washington, Conn., and Joseph A. 

I' K E F A C E . V 

Scovill, Esq., of New York, have greatly assisted me by well-timed 

In the genealogical and biographical portions of the work, I have 
received indispensable assistance from Mitchell S. Mitchell, Esq., 
"William E. Curtis, Esq., Col. John Lorimer Graham, Robert M. 
C. Graham, Esq., and Alexander Eraser, Esq., of New York ; the 
venerable Roger Sherman, of New Haven, Conn.; Col. Heniy Stod- 
dard, of Dayton, Ohio ; Hon. Amasa Parker, of Delhi, N. Y. ; Dr. 
E. T. Foote, of New Haven ; Rev. Samut4 Fuller, D. D., of Ando- 
ver, Mass.; Rev. Wm. S. Porter, of New Haven, Conn.; Henry H. 
Martin, Esq., of Albany, N. Y.; Hon. Henry Dutton, of New Ha- 
ven ; Rev. Fosdick Harrison, Rev. A, B. Chapin, D. D., of Glas- 
tenbury. Conn.; William Moody, Esq., of Washington, Conn.; Rev. 
Grove L. Brownell, of Sharon, Conn.; Eliphalet Whittlesey, Esq., 
of Salisbury, Conn.; Rev. William T. Bacon, Hon. Thomas Bull, 
and Garwood H. Atwood, M. D., of this town ; Dr. Laurens Hull, of 
Angelica, N. Y., and others, too numerous to mention. Many ladies, 
also, entered into the si)irit of the work, and lent me their valuable 

To my friends, Philo M. Trowbridge, Willis A. Strong and David 
S. Bull, who have proved themselves " friends in need" to me, and 
true lovers of their native town, I am under more than ordinary obli- 
gations for the continued and indispensable aid they have afibrded 
me, during the entire progress of the work. 

In regard to the spelling of Indian names, entire uniformity has 
not been attempted. As a general rule, however, the orthography 
of Capt. John Minor, the early settler and Indian interpreter, has 
been followed. Christian names have been spelled in the mode 
adopted by those who bear them. Throughout the work, tradition 
has been discarded, and facts introduced in its stead. Where state- 
ments were well authenticated, they have been stated without quali- 
fication ; but where there has been any doubt, they have been intro- 
duced with some qualifying term. Whatever suited my purpose in 
any author, has been taken, without hesitation, giving credit where 

VI r U K V A C K . 

the amount approj)riatcHl seemed to warrant it. lu discussing every 
question, entire impartiality has been the aim of the author. 

The utmost jiains has been taken to have the work free from 
errors ; but in a book of this nature entire accui'acy is not to be 
expected. Errors will doubtless be discovered by careful anti(iuan- 
ans, but it is believed that it will be found as free from such defects, 
as it is possible ibr painful solicitude and indomitable labor to make 
it. Many persons, undoubtedly, will take up the work, and, glancing 
hastily and carelessly over its pages, pronounce this or that state- 
ment erroneous, without consideration or investigation. Such read- 
ers will invariably be wrong in their criticisms, while a careful 
reader may detect mistakes.* 

A town history gives an author very little scope for the display of 
any literary or artistic ability he may possess. I have given myself 
still less opportunity than usual for any display of this sort. For 
although the collection of the facts has occupied my leisure time for 
nearly seven years, yet the composition of the work has occupied 
only seventy-five days, with frequent interruptions from professional 
business. Notwithstanding this, in submitting the followmg pages 
to a candid and intelligent public, the author neither courts nor dep- 
recates criticism. He has only to say, that whoever will follow in 
his footsteps, and present to the public a work with fewer imperfec- 
tions than he has done, a feat which can probably be accomplished, 
will deserve and receive, not the criticisms, but the encomiums of 
the writer. 

WooDBURV, January 2, 1854. 

1 Persons discovering errors in this volume, are respectful!}' requested to commu- 
nicate them to the author. 


Introduction, and map of Indian purchases, 


Situation, boundaries and rivers, . 11 
Orenaug, Bethel and Castle Rocks, 12 

Geology — Trap formation, . . 12 

Bacon's Pond; Quanopau"' Falls, . 13 

Nonnewaug Falls ; Steep Rock, . 14 I 

iliues and minei-als, . . 14, 15 
Mine Hill — Spathic iron ore, . 15-19 
Chalybeate springs, . . . 19 
Squaw Rock ; fniits ; trees ; wild ani- 
mals 19, 20 


Tautannimo's deed. 

First, or Pomperaug purchase, 

Yohcomge's deed, . 

Cheabrooke's deed, . 

Wesunck's deed. 

Second, or Shepaug purchase, 

Pootatuck purchase, 

21 TMrd, or Quassapaug purchase, . 26 

22 Fourth, or Nonnewaug purchase, . 27 

23 Fifth, or Kettleto-mi purchase, . . 28 

24 Sixth, or Confirmatory pui'chase, . 29 
23 Promiseck purchase, . . . .31 

25 South purchase, .... 31 


Church dissensions at Sti-atford, 

Causes the settlement of Woodbury, 

Rev. Mr. Walker begins to preach. 

Three hours allowed him each Sabbath, 33 : The old " White Oak 

Mr. Walker excluded the church, . 33 Location of the settlers. 

Main Street; the old Indian trail, . 38 j Fundamental articles, 

Division of lands 41 1 Reflections, 

32 Pomperaug granted, 

32 I Mr. Walker's church removes, 

33 I Good Hill prayer, . 


Woodbury incorporated, 
Signification of its name, . 
Paugussett Ferrv, . 
King Philip's AVar, . 
The people driven to Sti-atford, 
Advice of the General Court, 
Woodbury patent, . 
Parson Walker's letter. 

44 ' Inhabitants ordered back, . . .51 

44 Rev. Z. Walker moves his family, . 51 

45 i General Court establishes town'boun- 

46 ! daries, .... 52-54 

47 j Town first represented, ... 54 

48 Representatives' salary, . . .54 
55 I North pm'chase granted, . . 56 
48 i 

C O N T K N T 8 . 

C'lmnictcr of Cni>t. .lolin Minor, 
Clianictor uf Cui)t. Williiim Curtis'^, 
I-ife III" Hon. Samuel Slicniian, 
Life ofLt. Joseph Jiulson, Senior, 
Life or.)ohn.Iud>ii)n, 

f.8 1 Character of Lt. Israel Curtiss, . . CI 

00 i Cliaractcr of Col. Joseph Mirior, . C2 

60 I Character of Hackaliah Preston, . C2 

CI j Character of Hon. William Preston, 62 



List of early settlers, 1C82, 

Divisions of land, 

Home-lots of tlie esirly settlers, 

Palisaded houses. 

Old Panionugc iiousc, 

First, second and third mills, 

First meeting-house. 

The drum for a church bell. 

First marriage, birth and death. 

First wheelwright, 

First clothier, .... 

Town brand ; roads, . 

First physicians. 


65 ] liuckskin clothing, 

65 Wooden shoes, .... 

66 Matters of etiquette, 

66 Advent of Sir Edmund Andross, 

66 List of inhabitants of 1702, 

67 First blacksmith, 

69 First divorce, .... 

72 Bachelors' accommodations, 

72 Fortifications, 

72 Parson Stoddard kills two Indians, 

72 Indians restrained, . 

7.3 List of inhabitants of 1712, 

74 AVood Creek expedition, 

74 Reflections, .... 


Foi-mation of tribes. 
Oppression of the Mohawks, 
Pomperaug's burial-place. 
Succession of chiefs, . 
Nounewaug's grave. 
Human sacrifices. 
Legend of Hetliel Rock, 
Legend of Scjuaw Rock, 
Legend of Xonnewaug Falls, 
Numbers of the Pootatucks, 
List of principal Pootatucks, 
Watchibrok's disclosure, . 
The belt of wampum, 
Shepaug garrison, 

Caleb Martin's petition, . 

Lt. Warner's petition, 

Indian treaty, 

Indian orchard at Pootatuck, 

Petition of Hatchet Tousey, . 

Mowehu's petition, 

Life of Weraumaug, 

Mr. Boardman's praying-match 

Scatacook clan, 

Moravian missionaries, 

Last sale at Pootatuck, . 

Last Pootatuck Indian, 

Remnants of the red men. 

Remarks, .... 





Half-way covenant system, . 
Church at Stratforddivide on tliis 

question, .... 
Cliauncey and Walker coiTespond-' 

ence, .... 115-130 j 
Mr. Walker ordained, . . . 131 1 
<Jhurch covenant, . . . 132 

Second church moves to Woodbury, 133 
Walker and Reed storv, ." 1.331 

Life of Rev. Mr. Walker, . . 134 

Settlement of Rev. Mr. Stoddard, 135 

"Build liim an house," . . 136 

Mr. Stoddard ordained, . . . 137 

Prosperity of the chiu-ch, . . 137 

Second meeting-house, . # • 139 

New Style, 139 

Life of Mr. Stoddard, . . .140 

Review of ninety 3-ears, . . 142 


Burial grounds sequestered, . 151 
Ministerial lands, . . . .152 

Ell'orts to fonn county of Woodbury, 153 

Mine Hill, 155 

Wolves and wild-cats, . . . 165 

" Town House" repaired, . . 150 

Casualties, 156 

Ancient iron kettle, ... 157 

Land divisions, 


Education, .... 


Apple-trees and cider mills. 


Sea«<.ns of great mortalitv. 

. 148 

Northern Lights, . 


HnbbelPs Ferrv, . . 

. 150 

Hinman'.H Ferrv, 


idgo built by Washington, . 

. 150 


Model tea-party, 
Ruloof Dutcher's estate, 
Umbrellas, calico, witchcraft, 
List of original proprietors, . 

157 1 Expedition to Havanna, 

158 j The French Neutrals, . 
158 French and Indian Wars, 


Cause of the war, . . . 172 

Convention of 1766, . . .173 

Town meeting of 1774, . . 174 

" Great Boston Alarm," . . . 175 

Town accepts American league, . 176 

Continental articles of association, . 177 

Capture of Ticonderoga, . . 182 

Tories — Committee of Observation, 184 

Rev. 5Ir. Marshall suspected, . 184 

Dr. Wheeler " must have salt," . 186 

Committee of inspection appointed, 187 

Copy of Tory complaint, . . 188 

Enlistment bounties, . . . 189 

Council of safety, . . . .190 

Life of Daniel S'herman, . . 190 

Soldiers' wives provided for, . . 191 

Supplies furnished bv tlie towu, 192 

Events of 1775, . " . . . 194 

List of companies, .... 195 

Events of 1776, .... 195 

All the militia go to New York, . 196 

The eight sailor prisoners, . . 197 

Bethlcm volunteers, . . . 197 

i Woodbury census. 

Sugar-house prisoners, 
j Col. Ethan Allen taken prisoner, . 

Alarm lists, 

I Events of 1777, '. . . . 

Danbury alarm, .... 

I Draft of 1777, .... 
I " Tluree years' men," 
! Capt. Nathan Stoddard killed, 
I Appearance of Continental army, . 

Events of 1778, .... 

Events of 1779, .... 

Events of 1780, .... 

Abel Wakeley, .... 

Volunteers to take New York, 

Bounty for enlistments, . 

Events of 1781, .... 

La Fayette passes through AVoodbiirv, 

Events of 1782, . . . ". 

" The Johnsons," .... 

Peace declared, .... 

General review, .... 




Southbury society- incorporated, 219 
Remonstrance by sixty-three persons, 219 

Society line changed," . . . 221 

First meeting-house, . . . 221 

Rev. John Graham settled, . . 222 

Church " embodied," . . . 224 

Character of Mr. Graliam, . . 225 

Mode of church singing, . . . 226 

Rev. Benjamin Wildman settled, 227 

Second meeting-house, . . . 227 

Character of Mr. Wildman, . . 228 

Rev. Elijah Wood settled, . . 230 

Rev. Daniel A. Clark settled, . 280 

Rev. Thomas L. Shipman settled, . 231 

Rev. Williams H. Whittemore settled. 
South Britain society incorporated, 
Ministerial " settlements," . 
Church organized, .... 
Life of Rev. Dr. Tyler, 
Rev. Matthias Cazler settled, . 
Rev. Bennet Tyler, D. D., settled, 
Rev. Noah Smith settled, 
Rev. Amos E. Lawrence settled, . 
Rev. Oliver B. Butterfield settled, . 
List of deacons, .... 
Town of Southbury incorporated, 
Present state of the town, 




North Purchase settled, . . 239 

Betlilehem society incorporated, . 240 

First meeting-house, . . . 241 

Rev. Joseph BeUamv, D. D., settled, 241 

Rev. Dr. Bellamy's Chm-ch History, 242 

Great sickness of 1750, . . 243 
Half-way covenant practice abolished, 244 

Old and New Lights, ... 244 

" Great Awakenmg," . . . 244 

Character of first settlers, . . 247 

First currant bushes and elm trees, 248 

Second meeting-house, . . . 248 

Life of Rev. Dr. Bellamy, . . 249 

Rev. Azel Backus, D. D., settled, . 253 

Origin of Sabbath schools, . . 253 

Character of Rev. Dr. Backus, . 253 

Rev. John Langdon settled, . 256 

Rev. Benjamin F. Stanton settled, . 256 

Rev. Paul Couch settled, . . 256 

Rev. Aretus G. Loomis settled, . 257 

Town of Bethlem incorporated, . 257 

Third church built, . . . 257 

Present state of the town, . . 258 

C O N T r. NTS. 


Jiiilfii first scltloJ, 

.ludoa sooioty incorpnralod, 

Rev. Kciibcn Jii.hl settloJ, . 

Churcli giitliercd, .... 

Lociitioiiof settler.^, 

First clmrcli built, .... 

Rov. Diinicl Brinsinadc settled, 

Rov. Noali Mcrwiii settled, 

Rov. EbiMu'ziT Porter, D. I)., settled, 

Clmraeter of Rev. Dr. Porter, 

Socond ami tliinl cliurclies, 

Great mortality, .... 

Murder of Cale'b Mallory's family, . 

State of the church, . . 265 

Rev. Stephen Masou settled. 

Incident at church, .... 

SettJeuieut of Rev. Cyrus W. Gray, 

259 I 
201 1 
2til j 
261 ' 

261 I 

262 1 
262 1 


Rev. Gordon Ilayos settled, . 267 

New Preston society incorporated, 268 

First meetinfr-house, . . . 209 

Rev. Noah VVadhams settled, . . 269 

Location of school-houses, . . 269 

Rev. Samuel Whittlesey settled, . 270 

Church gathered, ... 270 

Rev. Jeremiah Day settled, . . 270 

Rev. Charles A. Hoardman settled, 271 

Rev. Robert B. Campficld, . . 271 

Rev. Benjamin B. Parsons, . . 271 

List of deacons, .... 271 

Town of Wiishington incorporated, 271 

Rev. Hollis Read settled, . . 271 

Revolutionary incident, . . 272 

Present state of the town, . . 272 






" Winter Privile-os," . . .274 
Roxburv society incorporated, . " 275 
First clmrch built, . . . .276 
Rev. Thomas Canlicld settled, . 276 
Church gathered, .... 276 
Ancient ordination, . . . 277 
Mr. Cantield dies 280 

Town of Roxburv incorporated, . 281 

Rev. Zcphiiniah Swift settled, . 281 

Rev. Fosdick Harrison settled, . 281 

Rev. Austin Isliam settled, . . 281 

List of deacons, .... 281 

Casualties, 282 

Lt. Thomas Weller killed, . . 283 

Present state of the town, . . 283 



Review of ecclesiastical law, 

" Signing-ofl"" certificates, . . 286 

Zecliariah Beers' certificate, . 286 

Episcopal clnnvh, Woodbury, . 287 
Rev. .John K. Jlar.hall, first rector, 288 

Church edifice built, . . . 289 

" Father Sherman," . . . 290 

List of clergymen, . . . 291 

Episcopal church, Roxbury, . . 292 

Episcopal church, Judea, . . 293 

Episcopal church, New Preston, . 295 

Kpi-^oopal cliuivh, Bethlem, . 297 

Uaiiti-l cliun-li, Kuxbury, . . 297 

Methodist church, Woodbury, . 298 

Methodist churches, Southbury, . 299 


Bov. Noah Boucdict settled, . 301 

Half-way (covenant practice abolished, 302 
Rev. Wortiiington Wright settled, 303 
List of deacons, .... 303 
Rev. Hcnrv P. Strong settled, . 304 

Life of Rev. Mr. Benedict. . . 304 

Rev. Samuel R. Andrew settled, 
Ciiaracter of L'ev. Mr. Andrew, . 
lion. No;ih B. Benedict's bequest. 
Rev. Lucius Curtis settled, . 
Ministerial fund, 




Society controversies. 
Committee of 1795, . 
Committee of 1814, 

308 I Seventy-one sign off, 

809 Meeting-house law, 

310 I Prepare to build a church. 



Become a Baptist church, 
Strict Congi-egational society incor- 
porated, . . '. 
Reuben Walker's certificate, 
Church organized, . 

Rev. John Churchill settled, 
312 I State of the church, 
312 I Ministerial fund, 



Slavery in Woodbury, 
" Redcniptioners" — Matthew Lyon. 
Small-pox hospital, . . ' . 
Town approves U. S. constitution. 
Ravages of canker wonns, . 
Public libraries, 
Guernsey town robbery, 
Funeral'of Washington, . 
New Milford fever, 

War of 1812 

" Hartford Convention," 
Constitution of 1819, 
Daniel liacon's town hall. 


Influence of localism, 



New burial ground laid out. 



Mexican War, 



South academy, .... 


322 1 

North academy, . . . . 



History of Masonry, 


.'523 ' 

Bethel Rock Lodge, LO. O.F., 



Pomperaug Division S. of T., 



Woodbury Bank, . . . . 



; S:i\-ings Bank and Buildmg Associa- 


; tion, 



i Present state of the town. 




The names will be found in alphabetical order 343 


The names will be found in alphabetical order, 412 

Alphabetical Est of distinguished persons, 466 



Lkss than two hundred years ago, these pleasant hills and sunny 
valleys, now teeming with life, intelligence and happiness, were one 
vast solitude, unvisited by the cheering rays of civilization. Here 
roamed the savage wild beasts, and untutored men more savage still 
than they. From Wyantenuck to Mattatuck, and from Pootatuck to 
Bantam, were heard the dismal howl of the wolf, and the war-cry of 
the red men of the forest. Amid these secluded wilds sported the 
timid deer, and coy doves built their lonely nests. Among these hills 
the red hunter pursued his game, and sauntered by our murmuring 
streams, drawing thence his daily food. Here desperate fights and 
deadly ambuscades were planned. Here did the prisoner of war 
suffer the extreme tortures of his enemies. Here the romantic lover 
" wooed his dusky mate" in primitive simplicity. Here too the pow- 
wow held his dread incantations, and if tradition is to be believed, 
oiFered human sacrifices to appease the anger of Hobbamocko, the 
spirit of evil, the author of all human plagues and calamities. Here 
too in the golden days of the Indian Summer, the poor savage mused 
of the Great Spirit, the benevolent Kiehtan, giver of his corn, beans 
and tobacco, who lived far away to the south-west, in whose blest do- 
minions he hoped, at death, to find his happy hunting-grounds. 

Everything now is changed. The desert waste that met the first 
gaze of our pioneer forefathers, has been made to bud and blossom 
as the rose. Where once were but scattered huts of the former race, 
are now enterprising and busy villages. The ceaseless hum of ma- 
chinery, giving employment, competence and happiness to hundreds 
of families, is now heard in our vaUeys, which, in those early days, 
but echoed the growl of the bear, or the cry of the panther. Instead 


of the wretched orfjies of the powwow, and the inhuman sacrifices 
of tlie midnight of barbarism, are churdies dedicated to the service 
of the living God, where prayer and praise are wont to be made. 
"NVhere once were cherished the savage instincts of men, and a taste 
for war, now are cuUivated the arts of peace, and schemes for the 
happiness and advancement of mankind. Intelligence and enterprise 
now take the place of ignorance and sloth. These hills and vales 
that groaned with scenes of violence and blood, have been made 
vocal with the praises of the Great Creator. Instead of a race 
groping in the shadow of dim imaginings, we find one filled with hopes 
of a rational and glorious immortality. Our fathers found a howling 
wilderness ; we behold to-day as the result of their labors, from which 
they long have rested, one of the most happy and beautiful of New 
England's many lovely villages. An upright and an honored race, 
they wrought well and their works do follow them. 

The simple, unfortunate race of the early days has departed — 
fiided from the view, and almost from the memory of men. In their 
lowly, unnoticed, and unknown graves, they sleep well. " The chiefs 
of other times arc departed. They have gone without their fame. 
Another race has arisen. The people are like the waves of the 
ocean ; like the leaves of woody Morven ; they pass away in the 
rustling blast, and other green leaves lift their heads on high." 



Location ; Boundaries ; Face of the Country ; Hills and Mountains ; Riv- 
ers, Streams and Cascades; Geology; Mineralogy; Forest Trees and 
Fruits ; Soil and Productions ; Climate ; Wild Animals ; Capabilities, &c. 

The ancient town of Woodbury possessed very extended limits, 
and for many years after its settlement was one of the largest and 
most important of the towns in the western part of the Colony of 
Connecticut. It was about fifteen miles in length from north to 
south, and about ten miles in width. It was bounded on the north by 
Bantam, (Litchfield,) east by Mattatuck, (Waterbury,) south by the 
Pootatuck (Housatonic) River, and west by TVeantinogue, (New Mil- 

It is watered on the south-east by the Eight Mile Brook, taking its 
rise in Quassapaug Lake, a beautiful sheet of water lying in its eastern 
limits. Through the center of the territory from noi'th to south, runs 
the Pomperaug River, receiving as tributaries the East Sprain' from 
the north-east, North Sprain from the north,' "West Sprain from the 
north-vrest, and further on in its course the Hesky Meadow and 
Transylvania mill streams. On the -west, through the whole length 
of the town, flows the Shepaug River, taking its rise in Bantam Lake, 
in Litchfield. The three principal streams mentioned above, empty 
into the Pootatuck River. This river is now called the Housatonic, 
but its earlier and more appropriate name was the Pootatuck, from 
the tribe or clan of Indians which had its principal village on the 
northern side of the river, about two miles above Bennett's Bridge. 

The present town of Woodbury is situated in Litchfield county, 
Connecticut, near the center of the ancient territory, in latitude 41® 
33' N. and longitude 78° 14' W. It is on the southern border of 

1 Erroneously spelled Spraw in the accompanying map. 


the county, adjoininj^Ncw Haven county, twenty-five miles from New- 
Haven, thirty-six from Hartford, and ninety from New York. The 
central village is pleasantly situated in a level and extended valley 
on the Pomperaug, near the confluence of the small streams which 
form that river. It is surrounded on every side by high hills, form- 
ing a kind of amphitheater. Beautiful walks and drives abound in 
every direction. The hill lying immediately east of the main street, 
known as the Orenaug' Rocks, is of considerable elevation, and on its 
southern descent, fronting the west, the rocks descend perpendicular- 
ly, presenting a front similar to those of the East and West Rocks, 
near New Haven, though upon a much smaller scale. The same is 
true of the eastern side of this range of rocks. They give the land- 
scape a bold outline as one enters the village, Avhile from their sum- 
mit a most delightful view toward the west is obtained. On the 
eastern side of Orenaug is Bethel Rock, of which more will be said 

South of the village, on the west of the Pomperaug, Castle Rock, 
said to have been the location of the fort of the chief from whom the 
river takes its name, rears its hoary head. 

These cliffs are all of the trap formation, and are particularly de- 
scribed by Percival, in his Geological Account of Connecticut, as 
follows, viz. 

"The trap in this formation forms only a single range, presenting in its 
whole extent, a well marked curvature, and divided by cross valleys, into three 
distinct sections, succeeding each other in receding order. Of these the south- 
ern extends from the south-east point of the range, to a pass crossing the latter 
at the road from Southbury to Roxbury ; the middle extends from that pass to 
the Pomperaug, south of "Woodbury village ; while the northern includes all 
the remaining portion of the range. The curve of this range is apparently 
formed, throughout a great part of its extent, by a series of parallel ridges, 
overlapping each other in a greater or less degree, and arranged, toward the 
opposite extremities in reverse order; namely, in advancing order toward the 
southern, and in receding order toward the northern extremity. This arrange- 
ment is mo^t remarkable at the two extremities of the range; its middle por- 
tion, for some distance, presenting only a single line of elevations, nearly in 
continued order. Apparently, the small extent of the basin has, as it were, 
compressed the range, particularly at its extremities, and thus prevented its 
extension into a long continued ridge, or the formation of a gradual curve. 
The range at its southern extremity, presents an abrupt front to the south, 
formed by the points of its parallel ridges, and recedes back, toward the north 
at its south-east point, where it approaches very near the eastern border of the 
baain. The larger ridges, at this southern extremity, toward its south-west 

1 In the map Oremug is a misprint for the above. 


point, present each, two distinct ranges, separated by a band of friable red 
sliaie, with beds of bituminous shale and limestone, containing fish impressions. 
The eastern and higher of these ranges, consists of compact, crystalline trap ; 
the lower western, of a porous amygdaloid. The latter, in the most western 
of these ridges, is underlaid by sandstone, and the same rock occurs, at the 
south points of the more posterior ridges, between the amygdaloidal range, and 
the trap range of the more anterior ridge. This arrangement in the ditferent 
ridges, corresponds very exactly with that along the west front of the eastern 
line of elevation, in the southern basin of the larger secondary formation. The 
main trap range, in its southern section, and the south part of its middle sec- 
tion, is bordered on the east by an apparently distinct range of a very porous 
chloritic and decomposable amygdaloid, forming a series of low, rounded 
swells, generally covered with the rock in small fragments. This latter range 
is accompanied, at least toward the south-east point, by a bituminous shale 
and limestone, recently excavated for coal. Similar excavations have been 
made in the bands of the shale at the south-west extremity of the main range. 
" The northern section rises, in strong receding order, east of the Pomperaug, 
in the south part of Woodbury village, and extends N. N. E. in a group of parallel 
ridges, east of that village, so arranged as to present at their northern extremity, 
a distinctly curved outline, convex to the north. These ridges rise in low points 
toward the south, and attain their greatest elevation toward the north. This 
group may be considered as divided into two parallel sections by a deep valley 
opening north and south ; the eastern being projected rather further north than 
the western. Each of these sections presents a middle, higher ridge, composed 
of a more compact crystalline traj), and two lower lateral ridges, composed of a 
more amygdaloidal trap, abounding at different points in prehnite and agates. 
On the east this group approaches very near the primary, being separated only 
by a narrow valley, at one point of which, the primary and trap rocks are 
nearly in contact." 

Besides the Quassapaug Lake before mentioned, which is of con- 
siderable extent, is a small artificial pond, called Bacon's Pond, cov- 
ering some six or eight acres of land at the north end of the rocks 
above described, in a quiet, sequestered spot, where one, wearied with 
the cares of life, can well beguile a leisure hour. 

At the north end of East Meadow is a. beautiful cascade, called the 
Quanopaug Falls, where a considerable stream of the same name 
falls some twenty feet over a projecting ledge of rocks. This stream 
is also known by the name of East Meadow Brook. It is a lovely, 
sylvan retreat, embosomed among the sturdy giants of the forest. 

Fair stream ! thou call'st me from the busy cares 

With which I am surrounded, and bid'st me 

For the time forget this fleeting life is 

Full of evil. Thou makest me forget 

That all is not as bright and beautiful 

As thine own fairy form, whilst thou in haste. 

Art pressing on to join old Ocean's tide. 



On the East Sprain, near the north-cast corner of the town, are 
the Ntmnewaug Falls, which are a succession of cascades, three in 
number, in an exceedingly romantic and beautiful dell. The whole 
descent must be from forty to fifty feet. At a short distance below 
these fivlls, near an apple-tree, beneath his stately hillock, repose the 
remains of Nonnewaug. The murmurs of the falling waters, and the 
evergreens which surround the falls, whisper a perpetual requiem 
over the sleeping chieftain, and the silent braves around him. 

A large part of the present town of Washington is elevated and 
mountainous. There is in Judea Society, as it is called, about two 
miles south-west of the center, a place called " Steep Rock." The 
ascent to this eminence from the north is easy, and from its top, the 
spectator has one of the most interesting and lovely prospects in the 
State. Tlie scene presents at the south, an area in the form of an 
amphitheater, the sides of which are covered with the primeval for- 
est. The Shcpaug River is seen flowing in a beautiful circle at the 
base of the bluff, inclosing in its curve, cultivated fields, the whole 
scene furnishing to the admiring beholder, one of the finest land- 
scapes in nature. 

Nature has done much for this part of the old town. Iron ore has 
been found in several places. Ocher, fuller's earth, and white clay 
have also been found. Limestone abounds in many of its valleys, 
jind several quarries are worked, from which large quantities have 
been raised. The greater part of the latter, however, are not inclu- 
ded within the limits of the ancient town. Percival gives the follow- 
ing description : 

"The great limestone valley extends from the north of Bethel, along the 
course of Still River, through Brookfiehi, to the Ilousatonic, at New Milford> 
whence it is continued through New Preston, to its north-east termination, near 
the Shepaug. The rock in this valley consists chiefly of white limestone, par- 
ticularly toward its northern extremity, alternating with a light grey, generally 
even, striped micaceous gneiss, with large beds, in some parts, of a very coarse 
white granite, and with occasional beds of a light gray porphyritic rock, quite 
similar to that accompanying the limestone in the south section. The limestone 
in this valley is generally dolomitic, but beds of it occasionally occur of a pvirer 
carbotiiite of lime, one of which, in the north-east part of Danbury, has been 
lately wrought by Mr. L. S. Piatt, for purposes of agriculture. Usually the 
limestone is line-grained, partly very decomposable, and in part, harder and of 
a pure white, forming an elegant marble. The marble quarries of New Pres- 
ton, near the north termination of tlie valley, have long been noted. A vein of 
galena has been worked to a small extent, in the limestone west of Still River, 
in Brookfield." 


A great variety of minerals is found in the ancient territory, but 
mostly in small quantities. In the present town of Woodbury, have 
been found in the trap range, agates of considerable beauty, though 
small in size ; an abundance of balls and veins of prehnite, epidote, 
chalcedony, crystals of purple quartz, (amethyst,) and specimens of 
plumbago or black lead in small lumps, of a pure quality, in the 
Orenaug Rocks. 

In an excavation made some years ago, in search of gold, which 
proved fruitless, magnetic iron pyrites were found in a hornblendic 
gneiss, traversed by seams of epidote. The only deposit in the State, 
of sand well suited to the manufacture of plate and flint glass, and 
porcelain ware, is found on the shores of the Quassapaug Lake. It 
consists, almost exclusively, of quartz, the grains of which are color- 
less, transparent, and of great purity. 

In Bethlem, albite and galena are found. "Washington is rich in 
its varieties. There have been discovered there, white copperas in 
Brown's Mountain, dyalogyte, triplite, gypsum, kyanite, mesotype, 
andalusite, spar, hornblende, botryoidal chalcedony, idocrase, garnet, 
magnetic iron, and large quantities of dolomite employed as marble. 
Some sixteen mills for slitting this into slabs have been erected, but 
are not all kept in constant operation. The average yield of the 
quarries per annum, in rough blocks, is between seven and eight 
thousand dollars ; and nearly the same amount is derived to the mills 
and marble shops of the immediate vicinity, for preparing the marble 
for use.' 

In Southbury, are found bitumen, calcareous spar, grayish black 
bituminous limestone, compact limestone containing ichthyolites, 
clayey marl, hydraulic limestone, kilns of which are occasionally 
burnt, radiated chlorite, prehnite, lymonite, purple quartz, chalcedony, 
opal, chrichtonite, mispickel and yellow copper pyrites. Slight tra- 
ces of coal have been discovered in bituminous shales, in the trap 
region, but the coaly matter is compact bitumen. It ignites slowly, 
and bums without flame or odor. 

In Roxbury, are found mica, mica-slate, chrichtonite, blende, fine 
shestoze, gray granite, gneissoid flagging stone, galena and yellow 
copper pyrites. All these are found on and around Mine Hill. 

But far the most important and valuable mineral in the whole 
territory, which has hitherto been almost wholly unappreciated, is 

1 Shepard's Geol. Survey of the State. 


the spathic or steel ore of ISIine Hill in Roxbury. This has been 
overlooked as an iron ore in this State, nearly to the present time ; 
and still continues to be almost totally neglected, although it is by 
far the most remarkable mine of this ore in the United States. The 
mine was discovered at a very early period, and the abundance and 
peculiar properties of the ore excited a high degree of curiosity and 
expectation. Numerous attempts were made to work it as a silver 
mine, and immense sums expended, without exciting even a suspi- 
cion of its value for iron. 

Spathic iron ore is one of the most disguised of all the ores of iron 
possessed of economical value. Its high specific gravity, added to 
the development of iron-rust occasioned by exposure to the weather, 
are the only properties by which its ferruginous character is generally 
detected. Its name of spathic (or sparry) iron was bestowed in 
allusion to its brilliant and easily effected cleavages in three direc- 
tions, and which result in rhombic fragments of constant dimensions. 
Its hardness is greater than that of calcareous spar, and its color 
when freshly taken from its repositories is a light yellowish gray, 
which passes, however, by exposure to the air, to a reddish brown. 
It is composed of protoxide of iron from 57 to 60 per cent., carbonic 
acid 34 to 36 per cent., with a proportion of manganese from 0.5 to 
1.5, and about the same quantity of lime and magnesia. The lime 
and magnesia, however, are liable to shght variations in their pro- 

The spathic iron mine in question occurs in a mountain about 
three hundred and fifty feet in height, situated on the west bank of 
Shepaug River in Roxbury, about six miles above its junction with 
the Housatonic. The mountain is known in the vicinity by the 
name of Mine Hill. The rock of which it is composed is, for the 
most part, concealed by a soil supporting a fine growth of hard wood. 
Wherever the rock makes its appearance, however, it exhibits a 
remarkable uniformity in character and arrangement. The direction 
of the strata is nearly N. E. and S. W., with a dip of 25 or 30° to 
the north-west. The ore occupies a perpendicular vein from six to 
eight feet in width, cutting directly across the strata ; and has been 
detected at numerous places, fi-om the base of the hill, near the banks 
of the river, quite to its summit, a distance of above half a mile. 
The course and width of the vein, wherever exposed, appear uniform. 
The vein stone or gangue of the ore is white quartz, which frequently 
preponderates in bulk over the ore. No other substances deserve to 
be mentioned as entering into the comijosition of this very remarkable 


vein — minute portions of iron pyrites, yellow copper pyrites, galena 
and blende, being the only foreign substances present, and as these 
occur principally near the summit, where the most extensive explo- 
rations were made for silver, it is altogether likely that blende was 
the principal object of search. 

Whoever examines this vein, must be convinced of the abundance 
of the ore, as well as struck whh the facility of its situation for being 
wrought. The expense to be incurred in raising it from its reposi- 
tory, and its delivery upon the banks of the Shepaug, where the 
necessary water-power is afforded for carrying on extensive iron 
works, must be comparatively triiling ; while an abundant supply of 
hard wood is at hand for fuel, and a land carriage of four miles 
would connect the works with the navigable waters of the Ilousa- 

The spathic iron being an ore of such unusual appearance, and 
nowhere wrought in the United States, it is not surprising that the 
remarkable deposit here alluded to, has been so long treated with 
neglect. Public attention, however, can in no way perhaps be better 
excited toward so valuable a resource, than by making known its 
extensive use in other countries, and by pointing out a few of the 
leading facts connected with its conversion into steel. It furnishes 
almost exclusively the well known German steel, so largely manu- 
factured in the Austrian dominions. Thus in the Tyrol, the annual 
produce is two thousand quintals, and in Carinthia seventy thousand, 
and large quantities are manufactured in several other countries of 
the Old World. 

Dr. Sliepard, in his '' Report on the Geological Survey of Con- 
necticut," from which the foregoing account is mostly extracted, also 
gives the history of this mine, as follows, with slight alterations : 

" The first digginj^ at this place was made about the middle of the last cen- 
tury, by Hurlbut and Hawley, but the history of their operations is nearly lost. 
The second company, organized by the Messrs. Bronsons (brothers) near the 
year 17G4, prosecuted the enterprise with much spirit. 

" They sunk a shaft into the vein near the top of the mountain, one hundred 
and twenty-five feet deep, besides carrying down another of considerable depth 
for the ventilation of the first. The working was conducted under the direction 
of a German goldsmith of the name of Feuchter, who carried on his processes 
of pretended separation and refining with great secrecy. It is said that he 
produced occasionally small quantities of silver, which kept alive the hopes of 
his employers. 

" Thus the undertaking went forward for several years, until the means of 
the company were wholly exhausted. The result of this experiment might, in 


all probability, havo put the working of the mine for silver cotnpletely at rest, 
except for a circuinstaiice which occurred, connected with the departure of the 
German. When he left, lie was assisted by a slave in removing a numbi-r of 
very heavy boxes, one of which accidentally falling to the ground in the journey 
between Southbury and Derby, burst open and revealed to the eyes of the negro 
a quantity of bars, which he described as having the appearance of silver. 
The agent was now suspected to have carried on the working of the mine 
fraudulently, and to have caused its products to be surreptitiously conveyed out 
of the country for his private advantage ; consequently the mine again acquired 
the character of a valuable dei)Osit of silver. 

" A new company was organized in the city of New York, who took a lease 
of the property for forty-two years. They commenced operations on a much 
wider scale, and have left behind them proofs of a very heavy expenditure. 
The excavations made by this company exhibit more skill in the working of 
mines. They descended the mountain toward the river, in the direction of 
the vein, removing at intervals the accumulations of soil and loose rocks which 
conceal it throughout its whole distance, until they reached half-way to the 
base of the mountain, when they commenced carrying in a level having the 
full width of the veiti, and which was prosecuted seven rods to the vein, and 
two rods on the vein. The result of thii enterprise was equally unpropitious 
with the former one, though not sufliciently discouraging to lead to the final 
abandonment of the project. Still another company was formed, consisting 
chiefly of persons living in Goshen, who recommenced the diggings at the top 
of the mountain, and persevered in the undertaking until the failure of several 
of the stockholders compelled them to relinquish it. 

" The last working of the mine was by Mr. Asahel Bacon, an extensive 
landholder in that neigliborhood. It finally began to attract attention as an 
iron mine, and considerable quantities of the ore, raised by the dilferent com- 
panies, were carried to Kent, and there reduced along with the hematite of 
that place, with which it is said to have formed a very tough and excellent 
iron. An unskillful attempt was afterward made to reduce the spathic iron by 
itself, in a furnace at no great distance from the mine, which proving unsuc- 
cessful, no farther notice has been taken of the ore. 

"The present proprietor of this mine, Mr. D.^vid J. Stiles, of Soutlibury, 
procured a sample of pig-iron, obtained during the last mentioned trial, and 
caused it to be forged into steel under his own inspection, by an experienced 
iron-master in Salisbury. The operation was attended with great facility; 
and a variety of cutting instruments were manufactured from the steel, all of 
which proved of excellent quality." 

Within the last three years, the " old shaft " and side drain have 
been cleaned out, and spathic ore has been raised in considerable 
quantities on various parts of the vein, by a company from New 
York, who had bought the old mining title. A powder-house, dwell- 
ing-house and furnace were erected by them, and they were pro- 
ccf'ding with their operations, when legal proceedings were com- 
menced against them by Mr. David J. Stiles, who holds the title of 
Mr. Bacon. Suits arc still pending in the courts, for the purpose of 


testing the title to the mine. But it is believed that the suits -will 
pro\^ a richer mine to members of the legal profession, than the ore 
in question to the contending parties for years to come. The belief 
in the existence of an exceedingly rich vein of silver, some two feet 
in diameter, traversing the entire extent of the vein of spathic iron, 
about one hundred and twenty-five feet below the surface, has again 
become paramount in the minds of the litigants ; and it must be 
admitted that there are many facts tending to show that belief well 
founded. It is much to be regretted that the parties can not agree 
on a compromise of their claims, and turn their energies and resources 
to the working of the mine, acknowledged to be one of the richest in 
the world, for at least spathic iron ore. 

There are three chalybeate springs in the territory, of some effi- 
cacy. One of these is situated in Woodbury, by the side of the road, 
not far from the house of Mr. James Morriss ; another in Washing- 
ton, by the road-side, between the furnace and the marble quarries ; 
and the other on Mine Hill, at no great distance from the " old shaft " 
of the mine. 

The village of South Britain is nearly surrounded by high hills 
and ledges, and the place, viewed from the south, has a very romantic 
appearance. The two principal blufis are called Squaw Rock and 
Rattlesnake Rock — of which more will be said hereafter. 

The face of the country throughout the territory is of an undulating 
character, being pleasantly diversified with hill and dale. It is well 
watered with numerous streams besides those already described, fur- 
nishing an excellent watei'-power for numerous manufacturing estab- 
lishments. Upon the rivers and streams there are intervals of con- 
siderable extent, and other level tracts in the many valleys. The 
soil is generally a gravelly, and in some places a calcareous loam, 
warm and fertile, well adapted to the production of corn and the 
various kinds of grain. Tlie lands are good for grazing purposes, 
and favorable for fruit of the various kinds. Valuable orchards of 
apples, pears, cherries, peaches and other fruit-trees abound. 

The natural growth of timber is oak of the different kinds, maple, 
elm, ash, birch, walnut, chesnut and other deciduous trees. Hem- 
lock, fir, pine, cedar and other evergreens appear in various places. 

The climate is mild and healthful, and, in the valleys particularly, 
many degrees warmer than in the neighboring towns. 

The first settlers found here the bear, the wolf, the moose, the deer 
and the wild-cat, in considerable numbers. To these we owe at the 
present day some of our local names ; as Bear Hill, Moose Horn 


Hill, Cat Swamp, "Wolf Pit, near the junction of the North and 
"West Sprains, at Ilotchkissville, and "Wiiite Deer Rocks, near the 
head of Quassapau<^ Lake. Beavers were found on many streams ; 
otters were numerous many years after the settlement was com- 
menced, and some are now occasionally found. The Indians carried 
on quite an extensive commerce in the furs of these animals with our 
forefathers. "Wild turkeys were also abundant. Shad and other 
choice fish were taken in the Pootatuck River. 

On the whole, Woodbury may be considered a good agricultural 
and manufacturing town, and our forefathers may well have con- 
gratulated themselves, that their " lines had fallen to them in pleas- 
ant places." In the quaint language of the Indian recommendation, 
when they were negotiating the sale of the First Purchase at 
Stratford, "it is a goodly place for many smokes of the white man." 

jr A.JT TAX 



Deed from the Pagassetts ; Six Purchases from the Pootatucks ; First, 
OR Pomperaug Purchase ; Deed from Avomockomok ; Kettletown Pur- 
chase ; Second, or Shepauo Purchase; Third, or Quassapauo Purchase ; 
Fourth, or Nonnewaug Purchase ; Fifth Purchase ; Sixth, or Confirm- 
atory Purchase; Reservation, or " Purchase;" Promisick; 1659 to 175S. 

The descendants of the founders of "Woodbury can look upon their 
landed possessions as having come to them by fair, honest and legit- 
imate titles. No violence, no conquest, no stain of blood, attaches to 
the hem of the garments of our forefathers. They not only pur- 
chased their lands of the Indians, but, in some instances, several 
times over from conflicting claimants and dishonest pretenders. 
They were very particular in this respect, and had the alienations 
executed in legal and solemn form. They were the more careful, 
that they might, in this manner, more vividly impress on the minds 
of the Indians, the binding nature of their contracts. Some of the 
earlier purchases were made before there was any distinct idea, or 
perhaps any idea at all, of making here a new plantation. Some of 
these conveyances are lost. The earliest deed on record is given be- 
low. It is taken from the first book of Woodbury Land Records, to 
which it was transferred from the Stratford records. The first vol- 
ume of our records was copied, by vote of the town, about a hundred 
years after its settlement, and the original has been lost. By this 
means, much of the ancient spelling is lost. 

A Record' of a parcell of Land to Lew. Wheeler, by Tautanaimo, a Sacliem 
at Pagasett, is as followetli : 

This present writing witnesseth, that I, Tautannimo, a Sachem at Pagasett, 
considerations moveing me thereunto, do freely and fully make over, alienate 
and give from myself, and heirs, and all other Indians, and their heirs, a par- 

1 Woodbury Land Records, Book I., p. 67. 


cellorLnnd bounded as followeth ; Potateuk River southwest; Naugatunck 
River northeast ; and Ijounded on ye northwest with trees marked by me and 
other Indians; ye said Land I (h), with yeconst-nt of all Paj^asett Indians, freely 
give it to Lew. Thos. Wheeler, and his heirs forever. And I do fully give ye 
s'l Lew. Thomas Wheeler full power to have it recorded to hiin, and his heirs, 
according to ye Laws and Customs of ye English. 

In witness hereunto I interchangeably set to my hand, this 20 of April, 1G59, 
the names of ye Indians that subscribed. 
Subscribed in i)resence of 

John Wells Tautannimo 

Kichard Harvey Paquaha 

Thomas Utfoot Pagasett James 

John Curtis Monsuck 

John Minor Sasaazo 

This is a true copy of the deed by me Joseph Ilawley. 

This deed, as will be seen, is signed by the Sachem of Pagasett, 
(Derby,) and four of his sagamores, or counselors, and comprises a 
territory in Litchfield and Ncav Haven counties, nearly as large as 
Litchfield county itself. This seems to have been the last sale of 
lands made by the Derby Indians in this direction, and, no doubt, 
covered all the territory claimed by them at the north. Their right 
to sell the land at all, seems somewhat doubtful, as the most of the 
territory sold, was occupied by the Pootatuck' tribe of Indians. By 
a deed to Joseph Judson, of Stratford, of a tract of land lying on Pe- 
quonnuck River, dated 9th Sept., 1G61, signed by Wompegan, Sachem 
of Paugassett, supposed to be the nephew of Tautannimo, by Ake- 
notch, his sagamore, and Ansantanay, his father, it appears that 
Aquiomp, then Sachem of Pootatuck, and his equal in rank, was his 
relative, and gave his consent to that alienation on the 18th day of 
May in the next year, by a separate indorsement on the deed, in 
presence of other witnesses. In this indorsement, it is stated, that 
he was related to Wompegan. What the relationship was, whether 
by blood, or marriage, is not stated. It is certain that Aquiomp was 
independent of the Paugasett Sachem, and that his successors in the 
sachemdom, after that date, made numerous grants to the English. 

The record of the First Purchase from the Pootatucks, the Indians 
of our territory, marked 1 in the accompanying map of Indian Pur- 
chases, is lost, and can not now be found. Its date, however, was 
26th April, 1C73. It is referred to in five later deeds, is called the 

1 Tills name was spelled in a great v.iriety of ways, as Puttatuck, Potatuck, Pohta- 
tnck, Potateuk, Putatuke, Pootatuck, &c. The latter spelling is the one adopted by 
the author, as it corresponds with the pronunciation of the word. 


Pomperaug, or First Purchase ; the title to it confirmed and the 
boundaries given : 

«< Wh former purchase runs about foure miles North & South, and about two 
miles East & West, on both sides of y= riuer, and comp'hending y" whole Town 
platt of Woodbury ; Extending Northward to y" North end of y' East Meadow, 
and so running West to ye lowland, or meadow on West Spraine to M' Judsons 
Wolf-pitt, where y' West Sprayn & North Sprayn meet, and running South- 
ward nigh to, or facing upon y' place commonly called y' Bent of y« Riuer, 
taking in transiluania and rag-land, and so Easterly on homelots at known 

It is curious to note, in the foregoing description, the inaccuracy, 
so common in early times, in giving distances and measurements. 
This grant is said to be about four miles in length, when, in reality, 
it is not far short of nine. The width of two miles, as stated, is 
doubtless, proportionably inaccurate. The north end of East Mead- 
ow is nearly a mile north of the North Meeting House, and the " Bent 
of y° River" is the curve in the Pomperaug, not far from the village 
of South Britain. The "Wolf-pit forms a good boundary, being loca- 
ted in the hill westerly of the new Shear factory, called "VYolf-pit Hill. 
The pit is on the northerly side of the hill, near Weekeepeemee, and 
is a hole leading into the face of a rock, within which is quite a spa- 
cious chamber. This purchase was well chosen, comprising, as it 
does, much of the most fertile and desirable land, in the whole terri- 
tory of the ancient town. It is probable, though not certain, that 
some of those interested in the purchase, had been up to examine the 
lands, before the bargain was concluded. This deed was executed at 

The next deed in point of time is that of Yohcomge and Avomock- 
omge. It makes mention of the Pomperaug Purchase, and is accom- 
panied by a rude map, showing the Pomperaug Purchase on both 
sides of the river, and the land by them granted, which was all the 
territory south and west of said First Purchase, between the Pom- 
peraug, Shepaug and Pootatuck Rivers. It is not known whom they 
represented, but it was probably one of the small clans, resident with- 
in the town, and dependent upon, or related to, the Pootatucks. 
This is rendered the more probable from the fact, that the deed is 
witnessed by Wecuppeme, who was, at a later day, sagamore of one 
of them. This grant seems never to have been regarded by the 
Pootatucks, or the settlers, as the tract conveyed was twice repur- 

1 Woodbury Land Records, Book II., p. 137. 


chased aftiTwanl ; once within a few years. It comprehended even 
tlie l\)olatuck vilhi^rc itself, the chief seat of that tribe. A copy of 
tliis conveyance follows : 

"July 14th, lf.73. 

" Yohcomge i)romiseih y* same Tr:ut of land y' Avomockomge doth below, 
and in jiart of jjay, received five shillings in powder. 

The very mark of ) 
Yolicomge ) 

" Avomockomge y* proprietorof y* land w"" in this square, doth hereby ingage 
to sell unto M^ Sherman, Lieu' Joseph Judson, & M'. John Minor y' above 
s"! Land; viz., what is w^'in the Comprehension of this square, both West k 
South of y purchase at Poinperoge ; And hath al heady received as earnest one 
grey coat at IP 10« price this 17''' of May, 1673. 

" In consideration of y' uppermost purchase of Land upon y' West & South of 
Pomperaug purchase; viz., y« fust purchase, July y« G , 1C73, Avomockomge 
received one hatchett 4' & in lead & powder 10". 

Witness Kenonge Avomockomge 



Wecuppemee j 

English witnesses, 
Zechariah Walker, 
Samuell Galpin. 

From the consideration mentioned in this deed, it would seem, that 
the price of land was not very high in these Indians' estimation, how- 
ever doubtful may have been their title. 

A gray coat of homespun manufacture, a hatchet, a little powder 
and lead, seem very trivial payment, yet no doubt these untutored 
savages, who, as yet, considered their lands of little or no value, re- 
joiced greatly over the acquisition of such rare articles, and probably 
thought they had by far the best of the bargain. They knew not how 
soon they would be straightened for land, and their tribe scattered like 
the leaves of the forests. 

At a very early period, a large tract of land had been purchased 
of the Indians for the consideration of a brass kettle, and received, 
from this circumstance, the name of Kettletown, which it has borne 
to the present time. On the IGth of April, 1679, this tract was 
again sold by 

" Cheabrooke, an Indian, together with the consent and approbation of 
Coshusheougemy Sacbern, the sagamore ol" puttatuck." 


together with Quaker's Farms, in Derby, east of the Eight Mile 
Brook, to Ebenezer Johnson, of Derby, and his associates, in consid- 
eration of "corn & other goods, as allso of our meer love and Good 
will ;" the former being described as 

" Sam's field, or Kitle Town, Bounded on the west with puttatuck Riuer, 
that is to say, with the west side the Hand in the Riuer & y^ west Chanell of the 
Riuer & Bounded on the South East «fc North East with the Eight Mile Brook 
& Bounded on the North & North W-est with the Hill aboue the playn called 
araugacutack, fe so to go with a straight line from the upper end of the playne 
to the Eight Mile Brooke." 

The Kittletown part of this conveyance is represented on the map 
by the division marked 5, being thus numbered from the fact, that it 
was the fifth of the subsequent regular purchases from the Poota- 

On the lOth of July, 1G82, another irregular deed seems to have 
been received by the town, thi'ough its committee, from "Wesuncks 
and Wonnokekunkbom, for which the latter received " two pair of 
trading cloth breeches & one yard of trading cloth," and in consider- 
ation of which, they engaged that the inhabitants " shall have liberty 
to improve land anywhere west or south of their first purchase, where 
they shall see cause." What claim they set u}} to the territory is not 
known. No notice seems to, have been taken of it till nearly twenty- 
four years aftex'ward, when it was confirmed in a deed ratifying all 
former sales, and it was not even recorded till two years after that.' 

The second purchase of lands from the full board of regularly con- 
stituted authorities of the Pootatucks, was made on the 17th of March, 
1685-6. This was the Shepaug purchase, comprising two-thirds of 
the present town of Roxbury, and part of Southbury, and is marked 
" 2" on the accompanying map. This deed was granted to Lieut. 
Joseph Judson, Ensign John Wiatt, John Sherman, John Hurd and 
John Mitchell, in behalf of the town. It acknowledges and fully 
confirms the First Purchase, and then grants that 

" Tract of Land lying and situate nere to y^ place Commonly called by us 
Munnacommock running in length w"' y° former purchase above exprest, about 
six Miles in length East and West for about four miles and an halfe North 
and South. More p'ticularly Bounded on y« North East w"" y« former purchase, 
and a little part of it at y' North end w"' Land not yet alienated ; Bounded on 
y* North w"* Land not yet sold ; The mark' trees or boundaries to bee made 
clere and tfayre and so to be kept between us, Bounded uppon y« West w'*" Shee- 

1 W. Land Records, vol. 2, p. 1. 



paug Riuer ; And Bounded on y' South w"" n part of a hill, called horse-hill ; 
and so bending something South East from thence to w'Mn a small matter about 
fourscore rod of y« place called y« bent of y* Riuer. More p,ticuJarly for 
J* Bounds wee refer to y' exact Bound Marks." 
It was signed by 
" Witnessed pr us iV: ^^ 

subscribed in o' p'sence Waramaukeag ^.^^J^^ ^''^ "^^^ke 

Punnahun Interp'te' •7~~^r~.___ 

Womoqui f\ T~~~~, his marke 

\ , 1 Keshooshamau g /\) his marke 

John Banks ^ ;CI!l!/ '''^ '"^""ke 

^'^^ Chuhabanx 

Nathaniel Ilerrand Sen' 

Nathaniel flerrand Junr 
Many othe' or more Yonngamoush 

both English & Indians were 
p'esent at y* same time." ^ , , /^ *) 
















" This deed was acknowledged y« same day at y« same time of ye subscrip- 
tion and delivery before Me. 

John Minor, Comiss'."' 

The Third, or Quassapang Purchase, comprising a part of "Wood- 
bury, INIiddlebury and Southbiiry, was acquired on the 30th of Octo- 
ber, 1687. This tract is marked 3 on the map, and was sold to the 
town for 

" Severall sums of Money in hand received. And good Assurance, to receive 
in the whole, to y' value of fifty pounds, and a mortgage of a certain parcell of 
meadow Land lying to y« Southward of y' Read Northward or westward of 
y« Eight Mile Brook." 

This tract is described as a 

"Parcell of Land lying to y« East of y' first purchase, made by y« Inhabitants 
of Woodbury, extending Northwardly about halfe a mile north of y^ first pur- 
chase, and so running duo East, or Easterly to fourscore rod Eastward of 

1 Woodbury Land Records, vol. 2, p. 136. 



y« Easternmost of ye pond called and commonly known by y* Name Quassa- 
paug ; and so running Southward between \Vaterbery and us and Darby and 
us till it comes to y' place where y' road between Woodbury and Darby cross- 
eth y' Eight Mile Brook ; and bounded West w"" y' first purchase y' y' s'' Inhab- 
itants of Woodbury made." 

It was signed by 

Witnesses present 
Israel Curtis 
John Wiatt 
John Minor Sen' 

his marke 

his marke 

his marke 

• his marke 


Kesoshamaug Sagamore 




his ^^ — . marke 

Indian witnesses 


" Exactly recorded from y= originall y« 29''' of May 1699 as attest 

John Minor recorde'"! 

On the 18th of May, 1700, the inhabitants of the town, having 
become numerous for those clays, made their fourth, or Nonnewaug 
Purchase. To this time, it seems that the sagamore of that name 
had retained his possessions in the valley of the Nonnewaug or East 
Sprain stream. But now it came his turn to make room, and it 
seems that he and his companions did it with a good grace, as the 
deed informs us, the sale was made 

" For valid considerations moveing thereto, besides y' y* desire y' is w"''in us 
of a friendly correspondency w'*" y* English Inhabitants of s'' Woodbury." 

For these considerations and inducements they granted 

" All y' parcell of Land, bee it more or less, by estimation six square miles; 
And bounded on y« East w'^ y^ stated Boundaries between y' inhabitants of 
s"i Woodbury and Waterbury, Bounded North wt"" y« Bound granted by 
y« Gen'i Court to y« s'^ Inhabitants of Woodbury ; Bounded West w"" Land be- 
longing to Indians as yet not purchased by y° s'' English at a Brook well known 
both by English and Indians, called y= North-Spraine, taking in y« s^ Brook, 
as it runs North and South, so that this o' Deed of sale comp'hends all y' Land 

1 W. L. R., vol. 2, p. 137. 



bounded Wi-st \v>h y* s"' Xorth-Spraine, and East w"' Waterbury & Woodbury 
Bounds, taking in all y« land on botk :sidcs of y« East Sprain. And bounded 
South w"" y'Land fornu-rly purcliasi-d by y« English Inhabitants of s*" Wood- 

It Ava.s signed by 

"Witnessed by us 
Joseph Huributt 
Robert AVarnor 


his s. 

ibummaug ^^^-» "'^'" 

squaw ^y mar 

Wombummaug V ^ 

Nucquollozomaug <q 



i_ his inarke 

'^J^f^^^X- Cacapattanees Sonn 

his marke 
his niarke 
his marke 

his marke 
C_^^ his marke 


his marke 

This Instrum' was ac- 
knowledged before me y^ 
same day by all y' sub- 
scribed as their ffree act 
and dec-d. 

.lohn Minor Justice 

In y^ behalf of himself and all potatuck Indians 
confirming this Bill of Sale 
Exactly recorded from y' originall this 1 6th day of May 1701 P' John Minor 

On the 25th of October, 1705, it became necessary to buy Kettle- 
town purchase for the third time. Something more than a quarter 
of a century had passed since the last sale, and by this time it is 
probable they felt the need of the " consideration." It is represented 
on the map by division 5, being the fifth regular purchase of the 
Pootatucks. Its description is obscure and defective, but it evidently 
means this division. It is described as being 

" Bounded northerly by our first and former purchases, bounded southerly by 
y« Heep of rocks or hill on y» south of a Brook called Transilvania, which 
rocks incompasse 8"^ brook, and all ye lowland rounding till it comes at our 
river; on y< South-East part 6f it & bounded on y= West with s'' rocks at an 
angle with a purchase^ formerly made running from Chepague Falls to this 

1 Meaning the First Purchase, or town plot. 2 W. T. R., vol. 2, p. 137. 

3 The Second Purchase. 4 W. Land Records, vol. 2, p. 137. 



It was signed by 

Witnesses present 
John Minor sen' 
Jo Judson Jan. 
The Minor : In- 

the Indians y' 
subscribed &: 
sealed appeared 
y« same day and 
acknowledged y« 
above written to 
be their free act 
and deed before 
me John Minor 






his marks 



On the 28th of May, 170G, the inhabitants of the town made the 
sixth, o^ confirmatory Purchase. This covered all former grants 
and purchases, and a considerable tract marked 6 on the map, to- 
gether with a piece of land eighty rods in width, from Steep Rock 
in "Washington, to the mouth of the Shepaug, on the west side of 
that river. In this deed the Indians still retained a large tract of 
land called the Pootatuck Reservation. This reservation compre- 
hended the tract bounded on the north by a hue drawn from Shepaug 
Falls to the " Bent " of the Pomperaug, east by that river, or by a 
line drawn parallel to and a few rods east of it, from the " Bent " to 
its mouth, south by the Pootatuck, and west by the Shepaug river. 
This reservation, afterward called " The Purchase," contained their 
principal village on the Pootatuck River. The deed is as follows : 

" Know all men p"" these presents, y' We hereunto subscribing, being ye propri- 
eto's to all y« Lands and Accommodations belonging to y« Township of Wood- 
bury, being and belonging to potatuck, together w"" all oth"" fellow proi3rieto''s, 
both fo' o'selves, Heires successors and all oth's, younge and Elde; being desi- 
rous of neighborly Correspondency, and Real friendship between us & o' Neigh- 
bors, y^ English Inhabitants of Woodberry, in y' county of ffayrfield : in Her 
Majes" Collony of Connecticott, fo' and in consideration of sufficient &; valuable 
considerations, from time to time, and at several times, bearing Date w^ seve- 
rall Bills of sale perticuler for several tracts of Land as Exprest in those Deeds ; 
And least any of those Instruments should be lost, or through any Mishap bee 
obliterated, or defaced. Wee hereto subscribing, this 2Sth May 1706; fully, 
absolutely, and to all intents, Ends & purposes, confirm unto y^ inhabitants of 
y' s'* Woodberry, theire Associates, Heires, successors and Assigns, all and every 
Deed & Instrumen', Bill of sale, or Deed of gift, obtayned, or procured by 
ye s*^ Inhabitants 

from any Indian or Indians w'soever; Altho' in y« formation something differ- 
ent from y= usuall forming of Deeds of sale. And yet more prticularly, wee say 
wee confirm, not only y^ first purchase, w*" was about five Miles North & South, 
y' very Town platt, and about two miles East & West, but also a Lat' pur- 



chase mado by y* s** Inhabitants as an addition Eastward quite home to Water- 
bcry Bounds. And also anoth' purchase Northward to y" extent of Woodbury 
then Hounds.. And Also anoth' junchase West to Sheepaug River. All 
w'"" were subscribed by y« major part of y« Indian proprietors; We do also 
Ratify and Conlirm all oih' perlicul' Bills of sale or lustrum" as ji'ticuUly 
y' Mile stjuare by KcL-suoshamaug to m' hawly of Stratford, Souwenys sale, 
and Chuhees, Matehaek, Wonnukeriuunibom and Wesuncko ; Wee say, all 
and every of them are hereby confirmed, as fully as if every of them had bin 
formally written and acknowledged according to law ; — All w«'' Bills of sale, 
more Gen" or jjerticuK, do contcyn, by estimation, seven Miles, at y« North 
end, between Waterberry and Milford late purchase about fourscore Rodd 
West of Sheepaug River at y" Steep Rock ; & so running on y' West side of 
s** Riv', of y« same breadth westward to y» mouth of s"* River; to y« great Riv^ 
till wee come to known Bounds below kettle town, and uppon y' East w"' Dar- 
by and Waterberry Bounds ; onely we have as yet reserved to o'selves; viz 
from y' falls uppon Sheepaug Riv'' to y^ great Rive', and from s"^ falls< Eastward 
to y6 Riv', y' runs through Woodbury Town at y^ Bent of y^ River, or little 
southward, contayning more or less as to y^ quantity. 

English prsent and at y« 

John Minor Interp't' 
John Slierman Justice 
Elizabeth Minor 
Rebeckah Minor 

The Indians y' sub- 
scribed ai)peared pfson- 
ally y"= same day of y° 
date liereof and ac- 
knowledged y« above in- 
strument to be y'free act 
<.V Deed before me this 
Twenty-Eighth of May 
in y' y' one thousand 
seven hundred and six 
John Minor Justice 

1706 May: 2S'i> 








his marke 

his marke 

his marke 

Recorded originally ye dal 
Above written as attests 
John Sherman Record' 

Wussockanunckqucen /" (^Jt i^;^ „ 

Kehore \/^ his marke 

Noegoshemy ^\/^ ^"s marke 

Munmenepoosqua \j^ ^^^^ marke 

e — ^ 

' Muttanumace C^^^ — her marke' 

1 W. T. R., vol. 2, p. 138. 


A part of this reservation, at its south-west corner, west of the 
Shepaug River below the Falls, was sold to Doct. Ebenezer Warner, 
March 6th, 1728-9. This tract was called Promiseck by the In- 
dians. The conveyance was executed by Manquash, Cockshure and 
Conkararum, in presence of Chob, John Chob, Passacoran, and three 
English witnesses. 

As the numbers of the tribe became reduced, and the white set- 
tlers cleared up the land all around them, so that there was no longer 
sufficient game to support existence, they made further sales of their 
Reservation. On the 18th of June, 1733, the Indians conveyed to 
a committee of the town, about one-half of the Reservation, and on 
the 3d of January next year, about one-half of the remainder. These 
two sales constituted what has since been known as the South Pur- 
chase. The consideration of the first sale was £160, four shirts and 
a gun ; and that of the last, £40. Both conveyances were signed 
by Quiump, Cockshure, Maucheere and Naucathora. After these 
sales, there was left to the Indians only a remnant of their posses- 
sions at the south-east corner of their Reservation, in which was 
situated their last remaining village, called the Pootatuck Wigwams. 
They retained their title to this last resting-place for the soles of 
their feet, for a quarter of a century, when, being reduced to a mere 
handful in point of numbers, in 1758, they parted with their cher- 
ished Pootatuck, and the remnant that remained took up their abode 
with other tribes. In all their late sales, however, they had reserved 
to themselves the right to take game on the lands forever — a right 
which was always religiously respected by the whites, whenever a 
straggling Pootatuck revisited the graves of his ancestors, or wan- 
dered in his once wide dominions. 

Thus it is seen, that the early fathers fairly purchased every foot 
of this ancient town, and took conveyances with due and proper 
solemnities. From the known character of the men, it is to be 
presumed that these bargains were fairly conducted, and it does not 
appear that any disputes of any account ever arose in regard to them 
between the parties. In the order of Providence, one race had 
arisen, another had passed away. Sampson's locks were shorn — his 
glory and strength had departed. The red man, with a sad prodi- 
galrty, had parted with his only wealth. ■ 



Chcpch Dissensions in Stratford the cause or the settlement of Wood- 
bury ; Action of the General Court in 1G67, 1609, 1670; Pomperaug 
granted, and settlement commenced in 1672 ; Fresh arrivals next year; 
Appearance of the country; Locations chosen by the settlers ; White 
Oak ; Rf ain street laid out on an old Indian trail ; Fundamental arti- 
cles; Remarks. 

The settlement of Woodbury was the result of difference in reli- 
gious opinions, among the inhabitants of Stratford. It was ushered 
in by " thunderings and lightnings, and earthquakes ecclesiastical." 
The first ministers in the colony being dead, and a new generation 
coming on the stage of action, alterations in respect to church mem- 
bership, baptism and the mode of church discipline were imperiously 
demanded. Great dissensions on these subjects accordingly arose in 
the churches at Hartford, Windsor, "Wethersfield, and other places, 
and continued in various parts of the colony, from 1656 to about 
1670. The discord not only affected all the churches, but it "insin- 
uated itself into all the affairs of societies, towns and the whole com- 

About 16G4, while these contentions were going on at Hartford, 
and other places, the people at Stratford fell into the same unhappy 
divisions and controversies in regard to the same subjects. During 
the administrations of Mr. Blackman,* their first pastor, the church 
and town enjoyed great peace, and conducted their ecclesiastical 
affairs with exemplary harmony. About 1G63, being far advanced 
in years, he became very infirm, and unable to perform his ministe- 
rial labors. The church, therefore, applied to Mr. Israel Chauncy, 
son of President Charles Chauncy, of Cambridge, to make them 
a visit, and preach among them. A majority of the church 

1 Trumbull's Ilist. of Coun. 


chose him for their pastor, and in 1665, he was ordained in the inde- 
pendent mode. But a large and respectable part of the church and 
town were opposed to his ordination. It was therefore agreed, that 
if, after hearing Mr. Chauncy a certain time, they should continue to 
be dissatisfied with his ministry, they should have liberty to call and 
settle another minister, and have the same privileges in the meeting- 
house, as the other party. Accordingly, after hearing Mr. Chauncy 
the time agreed upon, and continuing to be dissatisfied with his min- 
istrations, they invited Mr. Zechariah Walker to preach to them, and 
finally chose him for their pastor. Both ministers performed public 
worship in the same house. Mr. Chauncy performed his services at 
the usual hours, and Mr. Walker was allowed two hours in the mid- 
dle of the day. But after some time, it so happened that one day Mr. 
Walker continued his service longer than usual ; Mi". Chauncy and 
his people finding that Mr. Walker's exercises were not finished, re- 
tired to a private house, and thei'e held their afternoon devotions. 
They were, however, so much displeased, that the next day they 
went over to Fairfield, and made a complaint to Major Gold, one of 
the magistrates, against Mr. Walker. The Major, upon hearing the 
case, advised pacific measures, and that Mr. Walker should be allowed 
three hours for the time of his public exercises. 

In May, 1669, these disputes came before the General Court, by 
petition of the parties, and 

"Upon the petition of the church of Stratford, this court doth decUire that 
whereas y^ church haue setled Mr. Chancey their officer and doe desire that 
they may peaceably injoy the full improuement of their minister and adminis- 
trations without hindreranse or disturbance, the court grants their petition 
therein, onely the court seriously aduiseth both parties to choose some indiffer- 
ent persons of piety and learning to compose their differences and setle an 
agreement among them, and that till October Court there may be liberty for 
Mr. Walker to preach once in the day, as they haue hitherto done by their 
agreement, the church allowing him full three howers between the church two 
meetings for the same."' 

Notwithstanding this advice of the General Court, all attempts at a 
reconciliation were unsuccessful. The parties became more fixed in 
their opposition to each other, and their feelings and conduct more 
and more unbrotherly. At length Mr. Chauncy and the majority 
excluded Mr. Walker and his hearers from the meeting-house, and 
they convened and worshiped in a private dwelling. They were 

1 Trumbull's Colonial Records, 


expelled in the lace of the recommendation of the Court in October, 
IGGO, advising them that 

" This Court therefore recommend it to the church of Stratford that Mr. 
Walker hsiue liberty the one parte of the Sabboth, whether parte Mr. Chancy 
will, and that they would hold coiiiniunion together in preaching & prayer. 
But in case Mr. Chansey and the Brethren w"" him will not agree to that, it 
shall not be ollensiue to this Court if IMr. Walker and his Company doe meet 
distinctly elsewhere ; prouided each of them prouide well for the comfortable 
supply of their ministers."' 

It seems to have been apparent to some of Mr. Walker's party, at 
an early period in the controversy, that it would result in the settling 
of a new plantation. It is probable, that with this in view, some of 
them a])plied for liberty to purchase lands of the Indians, as we find 
it recorded as early as October, 1G67, that 

"This Court grants Mr. Sherman, Mr. Fayrechild, L"' Curtice, Ens: Judson, 
Mr. Hawley & John Minor, liberty to purchase Potatuke and the lands ailjoyne- 
ing, to be reserved for a village or plantation."^ 

In May, 1G70, this vote was referred to, and an additional power 
granted the committee to arrange for a new settlement. 

" Whereas seuerall inhabitants of Stratford luiue, Octob'', '67, had liberty to 
purchase Potatuck for a village or tovvne, the afoarsayd Committee w"" Mr. 
Sherman of Stratford are hereby impovvered to order the planting of the same, 
if it be judged fitt to make a plantation ; prouided if they doe not setle a plan- 
tation there within fower yeares it shall returne to the Courte's dispose 

These acts were rendered necessary, as a law bad been framed at 
a very early date, that no person should "buy, hire, or receive as a 
gift or mortgage, any parcel of land of any Indians," except for the 
use of the colony, or the benefit of some town, with the sanction of 
the court. 

Pootatiick was the Indian name of Newtown. The Pootatiichs 
owned the entire territory of that town, besides their possessions in 
Woodbury and other places. The territory of Woodbury was called 
Po;np(?raj<y, from an early distinguished chief or sagamore of that 
tribe, who had his principal residence and fortress on or near Castle 
Rock. It will be seen by this, that our forefathers might have been 

1 Trumbull's Col. Rec, p. 124. 

2 Trumbull's Col. Rec, p. 75. 

3 Trumbull's Cul. Rec, p. 128. 


the first settlers of Jyewtown instead of "Woodbury, had they not 
chosen the latter for their residence. 

At length Governor "Winthrop, affected with the unhappy contro- 
troversy and animosities subsisting in the town, advised that Mr. 
Walker and his church and people should remove, and that a tract of 
land for the settlement of a new town, should be granted for their en- 
couragement and accommodation. Accordingly we find on record, 
May 9, 1672, the following grant : JLi 4 T JL 3 

" This Court grants Mr. Sam" Sherman, L"" "Wm. Curtice, Ens: Joseph Jud- 
son and John Minor, themselues and associates, liberty to errect a plantation at 
Pomperoage, prouided it doth not prejudice any former grant to any other plan- 
tation or perticuler person ; prouided any other honest inhabitants of Stratford 
hau liberty to joyne with them in setleing there, and that they cnterteine so 
many inhabitants as the place will conueniently interteine, and that they setle 
there within the space of three yeares."' 

This is the initial point from which the existence of Woodbury is 
dated. This grant being made at the May session, it was too late for 
our forefathers to move their families into the wilderness that season, 
but the preliminary arrangements were immediately commenced, and 
it is related, a few of the proprietors came up, and raised some corn, 
which they secured in log cribs, but when they returned the next 
spring they found that the beasts or Indians had rifled them of their 

Early the next spring, fifteen of Mr. Walker's congregation started 
with their families for the wilderness of Pomperaug. They were 
directed to follow the Pootatuch, or Great River, till they came to a 
large river flowing into it from the north. They were to follow up 
this stream about eight miles, when they would reach a large open 
plain on the river, Avhich had been previously under the rude cultiva- 
tion of the Indians. They accordingly commenced their journey, 
and arriving at the Pomperaug, they thought it too small a stream to 
answer the description, and continued their journey till they came to 
the Shepaug River. Although this was scarcely larger than the one 
they had passed, they concluded to ascend it. After they had gone 
the prescribed distance on this stream, they found themselves near 
Mine Hill, in Roxbury. The -country here was mountainous, and did 
not at all answer the description given them. They perceived, 
therefore, that they had passed the object of their search, and so jour- 
neyed in an easterly course over the hills, till arriving on Good Hill, 

1 Col. Kec, p. 177. 


tbey perceived the valley of the Pomperang lying below in solitude 
and sih-nce. Great was the gratitude of these pioneers of our town 
on this discovery, and it is related that Dea. John Minor fell on his 
knees, leading to prayer that little band of hardy adventurers, invo- 
king the blessing of Heaven upon their enterprise, and praying that 
their posterity might be an upright and godly people to the latest gen- 
eration. So far as his own posterity is concerned, his prayers seem 
to have been answered, for it has never since been without a Deacon 
to proffer the same petition.' 

They encamped on Good Hill that night. The next day they pro- 
ceeded to the valley to examine their possessions. Much of the in- 
tervals and plains on the river, throughout the whole extent of the 
first purchase, had been divested of trees and undergrowth, by the 
Indian custom of burning over the woods in the autumn, and the na- 
tives had for many years raised their slender crops of com, beans 
and tobacco, in these pleasant valleys, before the whites set foot in 
Connecticut. By this method, the forests were cleared of under- 
brush, so that the hunters could better pursue their game, and could 
have some open spots for their rude husbandry.^ 

The adventurers spent the day in examining the capabilities of the 
valleys, and at its close found themselves in that part of the present 
town of Southbury, now called White Oak. Here they encamped 
beneath the spreading branches of a large oak,^ and from this cir- 

1 A story is told in several accounts, seen by the author, that one of the company 
of the name of Hinman, put up a different sort of a petition from that of the Deacon ; 
praying that his posterity might always be blessed with a plenty of " Jium and 3fili- 
tary Glory.'' It is believed, however, that this story is apocryphal. It is not in accord- 
ance with the puritanical character of those Christian men, thus to make light of re 
ligious things. 

2 Dr. Hildreth, of Ohio, in describing the new lands at the West, no doubt gives a 
good description of our primeval forests : 

" While the red men possessed the country, and every autumn set fire to the fallen 
leaves, the forests presented a most noble and enchanting appearance. The annual 
firings prevented the growth of shrubs and underbrush, and destroying the lower 
branches of the trees, the eye roved with delight from ridge to ridge, ,and from hill to 
hill ; which like the divisions of an immense temple, were crowded with innumerable 
pillars, the branches of whose shafts interlocking, formed the arch-work of support to 
that leafy roof, which covered and crowned the whole. But since the white man 
took possession, the annual fires have been checked, and the woodlands are now filled 
with slirubs and young trees, obstructing the vision on every side, and converting 
these once beautiful forests into a rude and tasteless wilderness." 

3 This oak has not been standing for many years, but some pieces are yet preserv- 
ed ; one of them is in the possession of Mrs. \\Tiitlock, of Southbury. This piece was 
taken from the tree by the late Shadrack Osborn, Esq., a very respectable inhabitant 
of the town, on which appears in his handwriting the following : 


cumstance the locality has received its name. All of the first settlers 
that came that year, were not in this company. In a few days 
another company came, that encamped in Middle Quarter, and oth- 
ers followed. After fully examining localities, they began to select 
their home-lots. The Stileses, Curtisses, Hinmans and some others, 
chose their lots in White Oak. 

The Shermans pitched their tents in Middle Quarter, jlnd it is re- 
lated that some of them spent the first night in a hollow walnut tree, 
that stood below the Gideon Sherman place. 

The first Sherman house was near that now occupied by Deac. Eli 
Summers. The Hurds located in the Hollow, near Mr. D. Curtiss', 
the Minors near Mr. Erastus Minor's, the Walkers near Mr. Levi 
S. Douglass', and the Judsons on the street leading north-west from 
the first Congregational meeting-house, called from them, Judson 
Lane, to this day. The Roots, who came later, settled in West Side, 
and the Johnsons, near the ancient burying-ground in Southbury. 
Some of the land thus taken up by the first settlers, has never passed 
by deed, since the title was obtained of the Indians, but still remains 
in the original names, having passed from father to son, by devise, or 
distribution, for nearly two centuries. The homestead of Mr. Eras- 
tus Minor is one of these tracts, the house of Capt. John Minor, his 
first ancestor in this town, having stood a little westerly from his res- 
idence, near the river. David J. Stiles, Esq., owns the home-lot of his 
first ancestor here. His house stood but a little east of that of his 
descendant, the present owner. 

Those who selected White Oak for their abodes, undertook to live 
on the intervals near the banks of the river, but a great freshet hap- 
pening soon after, drowned them out, and drove them up to the pres- 
ent street. The first framed house was built in Judson Lane, a few 
rods west of the residence of Mr. Merrit Piatt. The cellar is not en- 
tirely filled up to the present day. 

" This is a piece of the ancient wliite oak tree, taken from the tmnk after it fell 
down, Aug. 19th, 1808, bv Shadrack Osborn. 

' The sturdy oak, the boast of every clime, 
Must bow to the relentless hand of time.' 

" The tree of which this is a part, stood about eighty rods east of the river, by the 
old field road, in the corner of the Mitchell land. The settlers of the ancient town of 
"Woodbury encamped under it when they fii-st explored the town. It gave the name 
of White Oak to the northern part of Southbury, and remained in a state of vegeta 
tion for a number of years after the limbs wei-e broken off, and the body was partde 
cayed, and feU down in the year 1808. This piece was taken from the trunk, Ang. 
19th, the same year, by me Shadrack Osbom." 


The next was built near the resilience of the late Ilermon Stod- , 
dard. Deac. John Minor's was built about the same time. These 
were covered with rent oak clapboards, in the old lean-to style. The 
most of the houses, in the early years of the settlement, were built of 
logs, and all of them in the first instance. These rude dwellings 
passed away with the first generation. 

That the intervals on the river were cleared up, to a considerable 
extent, before the arrival of the first settlers, and that this fact was 
well known, we have proof from the Colony Records. In May, 
1671, in order to encourage a settlement at Derby, the General 
Court, after granting a tract of land extending from Milford to the 
Pootatuck River, and reaching to twelve miles to the north, further 

" That they shall have liberty to improve all the meadow lyeing on Pompa- 
wraug River, allthough it be out of their bounds, till the Court shall sec cause 
otherwise to dispose of it." 

It might well be said to be out of their bounds, for the Court in 
1670, as already seen, had given authority to a committee to make* 
a plantation at Pootatuck and lands adjoining, if they saw fit, and 
gave them four years to accomplish it in. But it does not appear 
that the Derby planters made any use of the privilege, as no consid- 
erable progress was made in that plantation till May, 1 675, when we 
are informed that there were about " twelve famalyes setled there 
allreadey, and more to the number of eleven prepareing for a setle- 
ment forthwith ;" and King Philip's war breaking out that spring, 
drove even this small band back to the towns from which they came. 

The present street, from the North Meeting-IIouse in Woodbury 
to the Southbury Meeting-IIouse, was laid out nearly upon tlie old 
Indian trail leading from the Nonnewaug wigwams to Pootatuck 
village, passing the grave of Pomperaug by the rock, near the car- 
riage house of N. B. Smith, Esq. It was a custom of the Indians to 
have their trails pass the graves of their buried chieftains, and as 
each warrior passed the grave in his various expeditions, he dropped 
a pebble stone upon it in honor of his memory. A large pile of these 
pebbles had accumulated upon this consecrated spot previous to the 
settlement of the town, which remains till the present time. 

Among other preparations which the early fathers made for their 
removal into the wilderness, was a code of laws, or articles of agree- 


ment, for their government after their arrival at the place of desti- 
nation. This model constitution, containing all the elements of 
civilization, justice and religious liberty, has been preserved entire. 
These pages can be no better occupied than by a copy of it, which 

Fundamental Articles agreed upon in order to y^ settlement of a 
plantation at Pomparague. 

We the committee appointed by ye Honored General Court for ye erecting a 
plantation at Pomparague in ye behalf of ourselves & our Society being met 
together ye 14th of feb"" 1672 and having been serious & deliberate in ye con- 
sideration of ye benefit of ye s^" place, and ye prosperity of ye same have 
consented & Agreed to ye following perticulers : 

1. Imprimis : that y^e shall be so many admitted to interest in ye s"* plantation 
as ye place may comfortably Accomodate : 

21y That These Inhabitants shall be accounted of these following Ranks or 
orders as to ye distribution of ye lands there to be distributed, viz: ye first 
Rank or order shall have 25 acres to their homelott : ye 2d order : 20 : ye 3d 
Rank 1S=: the fourth order 10 : ye next shall have 12 : ye last & least shaJJ 
have ten acres to their homelott and each shall have ye same proportion of 
meadow; or lowland to ye proportion of ye homelott that is to say one halfe 
joyning to their homelott where it falls it can be so and ye other halfe in 
ye next convenient place by ye order of ye Committee & in all oth'er divisions 
of land to be proportional according to ye first proportion or order viz : 
ye homelotts : a fift part of which first proportion shall be homelott proper, 
ye other homelott division. 

3. Thirdly we agree & consent that all publike charges as it relates to this 
plantation shall be borne proportionable by ye inhabitants according to y* 
land each inhabitant shall Receive as below exprest : Which is agreed upon 
to be with y' in lieu & consideration of all Ratable estate thereby included. 

41y We do further agree that yf shall be Accomodation Reserved for ye minis- 
try besides what shall be allotted to ye first removing minister ; as also a 
parsell of land for yg Incouriging a schoole y' learning may not be neglected 
to children. 

5 : We agree and consent that ye power of selling ye homelotts to each inhab- 
itant as before exprest shall remaine with ye major part of ye committee the 
which we do promise and also purpose to be with our Greatest care for 
ye publick good and greatest advantage to ye plantation and ye satisfaction 
& comfort of each inhabitant as shall more fully appeare in ye acting 
ye same. 

61y We agree and consent that notwithstanding what is above exprest as to 
ye proportion of each inhabitants meadow or lowland it shall be considered 
in ye second division viz ; the other halfe of their proportion of meadow 
according as ye meadow either holds out or falls short : 
It: The committee aforenamed at another meeting upon ye 20th of March 
167| amoi.gst other perticulers by them apprehended for ye good & benefitt 


ofyo said plaiitiition did iigree A: con.-icnt that all persons intending there to 
be inhabitants according to orders shall ingage to remove themselves & 
y' families to ye s*" plantation before ye first of next may come two years from 
ye date hereof 

It: They are also to make ye same their dwelling place four whole years after 
ye such y' removal before they shall have liberty to dispose of their Accomo- 
dations yro granted them Granted to any other person in way of sale or 
alienation to prevent discouragement to ye s"" plantation & if any do sel after 
such time as he hath hereby liberty so to do he shall neither sell alienate nor 
lett ye same Accomodations to any other person but such as ye town shall 
approve of, the town also promises either to purchase ye accomodations of 
ye removing person or to approve of such blameless man in his conversation 
with certificates according to law : that shall be presented to buy ye same. 

It: It is further agreed on that in case of removal whereby any person con- 
tinues not ye whole above exprest viz : foure years they shall forfitt ye Ac- 
comodations to ye town only it is Granted & consented to that ye person so 
removing shall be allowed what he hath bettered the s'^ Accomodations by 
his Improvement, and it shall be paid by ye town within one twelvemonth 
after ye removing person so leaves ye s"" plantation : death is no wais intend- 
ed by ye s"" removal upon which ye s'' Accomodations shall be forfit"^ as 

It: It is further agreed on that in case of removal as above exprest the person 
removing shall be allowed whateuer money he hath layd out as to ye pur- 
chesses besides ye allowance for his improvement as aforesaid with ye prom- 
ise that if any man shall pay his proportion to ye purchess & then hold it in 
su>pence without removal thither and improvement yr of during ye aforesaid 
two years spoken of he shall without any allowance or consideration from 
ye town lose both his money so disbursed and ye accomodation also. 

It: It is further agreed on that every person receiving land as before exprest 
and subscribing hereto shall ingage to pay scot & lott, viz: all publick 
charges to all ciuil and eccleseastical aflaires in such ways and in such order 
as shall be judged most convenient for ye benifitt of ye s<i plantation & 
ye comfort & advantage of each Inhabitant. 

It: It is further agreed on that ye purchess of ye said Pomparague together 
with ye charges expended about ye same be payd to ye committee or their . 
order in Wheat pease & pork a third in each & in case of ye want of these 
sorts of pay then other ways to ye Committees satisfaction by each inhabitant 
hereto subscribing within ten months after his homelott be layd out upon 
forfiture of his land so layd out : and for as much as ye desire of y' remain- 
ing in theire peaceble injoyment of that way of chh disiplin which they are 
persuaded is according to God we do hereby ingage each ibr himselfe not 
only that we will not any way disturb ye peace y"" in but also that we will 
personally subject ourselves to that Ecclesiastical Gouerment that shall be 
there established or practised agreeable to ye Word of God. 
We whose names are hereunto subscribed being desirous to be admitted In- 
habitants of ye new plantation that is to be erected at pompcrogue do hereby 
ingage ourselues to ye strict obseuance and attendance of ye true interest of 
ye forgoing articles Acknowledging ye attendance thereof to be a condition 


upon which we shall injoy what kind shall there be allotted &z layd out 
unto us. 

Samuel Sherman Sen' Samuel Styles 

Joseph Judson Sen' Titus Hinman 

John Minor David Jenkins 

Israel Curtiss Moses Johnson 

John Wheeler Samuel Munn 

John "Wyatt Roger Terrill 

John Sherman Eleazer Knowles 

John Judson Thomas Fairchild ' 
Joshua Curtiss 

These articles, as it appears, were executed early in the year 
1673, and the settlers probably arrived here in April or May the 
same year. By them it was stipulated, that all Avere to enjoy equal 
privileges, both civil and religious. The Committee, or principal men, 
composed a Court to judge between man and man, doing justice accor- 
ding to the " written word " until a town was legally organized. The 
expense of the original purchases of the Indians, and of obtaining 
the grant from the General Court, the expenses of the removal, the 
building of roads, bi'idges, and all other expenses of a public nature, 
were to be ascertained. "When this was accomplished, each one was 
to have an interest in the lands of the township, proportional to tfie 
amount of said expenses paid by him. But there was a restriction 
as to the quantity of land which a proprietor might have. No one 
could have more than twenty-five acres for his home-lot, and the 
poorest among them was entitled to ten ; so that a few rich men 
could not control the township. It was desirable, in those early days, 
for the inhabitants to live near together. So that their entire home- 
lots were not then laid out on the street, one-fifth only being laid 
out as home-lots proper for their dwellings. Tlie largest were there- 
fore only five acres in extent, and the smallest two. The remaining 
four-fifths were " home-lot division," and were laid in contiguous and 
convenient places. The remainder of the lands of the plantation 
were reserved for future divisions among the inhabitants, as exigen- 
cies should require, and to be laid out to sons arriving at majority, 
and to such newly admitted inhabitants as should be received. Ac- 
cordingly, as the settlers cleared their lands, other divisions became 
necessary ; such as meadow, or lowland, woodland, upland, and pas- 
ture divisions. They also, in the early years of the settlement, had 

1 W. T. R., vol. 2, 175. 


common fields, to which .ill had a right. In all these divisions, each 
proprietor had his share in proportion to his home-lot. All taxes 
civil and ecclesiastical, were borne ratably according to the same 
rule. Adjustment books were kept, in which each planter was made 
debtor to the land he received, and was credited with what he sold 
for the equalization of taxes. 

From these articles we learn that here, as in all the other towns 
of New England, the settlers had a particular regard to the establish- 
ment of religious institutions. It was their design to erect churches 
in strict conformity to Scripture example ; and to transmit evangeli- 
cal purity, in doctrine, worship and discipline, with civil and religious 
liberty to their posterity. So great was the attention they paid to 
these interesting points, that they not only made ample provision for 
the minister, Avho was to remove with them, but they also sequestered 
lands for the future support of the ministry. 

Another truly New England feature is noticed, in this their first 
solemn agreement, in the ample provision made for a school, " that 
learning might not be neglected to children." Our fathers, though 
living under kingly rule, wei'e republicans, rejecting with abhorrence 
the doctrines of the divine right of kings, passive obedience, and 
non-resistance. Upon these principles they formed their civil insti- 
tutions. This, like the other towns, in its constitution was a pure 
republic in embryo. They thought the church should be accompa- 
nied by the school-house, religious principle by an educated and 
ennobled understanding. In this way, they judged, intelligence and 
good morals could best be propagated. 

We notice also, the poverty of our ancestors at this time — the 
almost entire want of a currency. All the expenses growing out of 
the purchase and settlement of the plantation, were to be paid in 
wheat, peas and pork, in equal proportions, as to value, if these could 
be obtained, and if they could not, then in other articles to the satis- 
faction of the committee of the settlement. 

Under such severe difficulties were these pleasant dwelling-places 
and habitations, which we now enjoy, prepared. And yet our ances- 
tors were not the paupers nor the fortune hunters from the old world. 
They were the sturdy yeomanry, the intelligent mechanics and 
farmers, the middle classes, whose independent spirits spurned the 
yoke of tyranny. Oppressed and harassed in the old country, our 
sainted sires sought in the wilds and fastnesses of this wilderness 
world, a place for that freedom of thought and of action, which they 
could not find in " Old and enlightened and self-satisfied Europe." 


Thoroughly impressed with the idea that time, faith and energy will 
accomplish all that can be done in this life, the most appalling diffi- 
culties were met and overcome. They did not for a moment doubt 
that " God would raise their state, and build up his ohurch in that 
excellent clime to which they had come." To their enlightened 
vision, there beamed from the distant west the light of liberty, which, 
like " another morn risen on mid-noon," would continue to shine till 
the " perfect day." 




OF THE name; Kino Philip's war in 1675; Inhabitants of "Woodbury go 
BACK to Stratford ; Orders of the General Court ; Watching and 
Warding ; Rev. Mr. Walker's Letter in 1676 ; Inhabitants return in 
1677 ; Town released from taxes for two years ; Action of General 
Court in relation to the Boundaries of the Town ; Town first rep- 
resented in the General Court in 16S4 ; Patent granted in ample 
form in 16S6 ; General Court grants the North Purchase to the town 
IN 1703; Same purchased of the Indians in 1710. 

So numerous had the arrivals of our ancestors become in the new 
plantation of Pomperaug, during the year 1 673, that at 

"A Court of election held at Hartford, May 14th, 1674,^ 

" This Court grants that Paumperaug and the plantation there shall be called 
by the name of Woodbury, which town is by this Court freed from Country 
Rates fower yeares from this date."^ 

This was the only charter the town had till May, 1686, and was 
as formal as the charters or grants to the other towns of the colony 
to this date. In accordance with the usual gratuity to the new towns, 
it was freed from taxes for four years. 

The town continued to go on, in the full tide of " successful ex- 
periment," as we glean from the scanty means of information left us 
at this day. It had chosen a beautiful name, characteristic of its lo- 
cation and history. Our fathers, in a somewhat poetic vein of mind, 
as we may imagine, called their new town Woodbury. The word 
bury is a different orthography for hurg, hurh, borough. It signifies a 
house, castle, habitation, or a dwelling-place. Hence Woodbury is a 
dwelling-place in the wood. There Avas a cluster of "burys" in the 
vicinity of tliis town within its first century. Besides Woodbury, 

1 TrumbuU's Col. Rec, p. 227. 


this part of the State gloried in the names of Southbury, Roxburv, 
"Westburj, (Watertown,) Middleburr, TTaterbury, Northbury, (Ply- 
mouth,) Farmingbury, ("Wolcott,) and Danbury. 

In May, 1675, the General Court appointed " Capt" John Nash, 
Capt" ^Ym. Curtice and L"' Tho: Munson to lay out the highway 
from Woodbury to Pawgasuck, (Derby,) to the most convenient 
place for a ferry, and allso to lay out a convenient parcell of land for 
a ferry place. And the towne of Stratford are allso by this Court 
appoynted to lay out a country highway from their town to Pagasuck 
in the most convenient place where the ferry shall be settled." It 
would seem by this, that the inhabitants were becoming numerous, 
and that they wished to establish a good route to their former homes 
in Stratford, and the present abode of their friends and relations. 
In fact, their minister had not yet removed his family to their new 
town, but while part of his church had removed to "Woodbury, a 
part remained still in Stratford, and he ministered to them as occa- 
sion allowed, in both places. It was therefore an object, much to be 
desired, to open a good and direct communication between the two 

At the same session it was enacted, that " This Court doth grant that Wood- 
bury shall haue liberty to choose of what county they shall belong to. Whether 
Hartford, New Haven, Fayrefeild."' 

The first book of town acts is lost ; so that we find on record no 
action taken by the town upon this matter. Many of the interesting 
particulars of the settlement of the town arc, for this reason, irrecov- 
erably lost. The people, probably, chose to belong to Fairfield 
County, as we find it always mentioned in the list of towns belonging 
to that county, from this date to 1751, when it became a part of the 
new county of Litchfield. 

The committee, mentioned above, to lay out a ferry and a road, re- 
ported to the General Court in May, 1677, two years from the date of 
their appointment. The reason of the delay will presently be obvi- 
ous. They say among other things, 

"And first concerning the ferry, they order and appoynt it to beat the lower 
end of the old Indian feild, and that litle peice of land between the rocks and 
the gully or creeke to be for a place to build any house or houses upon, and 
yardes for secureing of goods or cattell that may be brought to the ferry from 
Woodbury, Mattatuck, &c. 

1 Trumbull's Col. Rec. 

46 II 1 S T O U Y OK A N C I E X T ^V O O D B U U Y . 

" Livetcnaiit Joseph Judsou declared that if the inhabitants of Derby would 
put in a ferry man in convenient time, tliey were content, or els upon notice 
^'iuen they of Woodbury would put in one whoine the towne or Derby should 
approue for an inhabitant, and that without any charge to Derby or the coun- 

These facts are notoil, and exti-acts made, with a view to present 
to the mind tlie extreme dillicidty and delay, which attended every 
eftbrt to found this inland town. 

But far more serious evils awaited the adventurous pioneers, in this 
" dwelling-i^lace" in the forest. In June, 1G75, King Philip's war 
broke out, and filled this and neighboring colonies with the gloom and 
terror which always accompany Indian warfare. After the Pequot 
war, for nearly forty years, the whites bad been at peace with their 
Indian neighbors. But now the news spread through the United 
Colonies, that a general combination of "Wampanoags, Narragansetts, 
and other tribes, had been formed, with the desperate design of utter- 
ly removing the white race from their land. Philip, with his fierce 
bands of relentless warriors, appeared suddenly on the scene of ac- 
tion, and blood and misery followed in his trail. This war affected 
all the eastern colonies. The eastern part of Connecticut was the 
most exposed part of that colony, but every portion of it suffered 
from the predatory excursions of the savages, and continual alarms. 
The frontier towns, like Woodbury, were particularly exposed to 

In October, 1675, the General Court, deeply affected with the ap- 
parent danger, enacted military regulations of the most careful and 
vigorous kind. It was equivalent to putting the -whole colony under 
martial law. Among their regulations were : " Sixty soldiers to be 
raised in every county ; places for defense and refuge to be immedi- 
ately fortified in every plantation ; neglect of order in time of assault 
to be punished with death ; no provisions to be carried out of the col- 
ony without special license ; no male between the ages of fourteen 
and seventy suffered to leave the colony without special permission 
from the council, or from four assistants, under penalty of £100." 
Each plantation was also to keep a sufficient watch, from the shutting 
in of the evening till the sunrise ; to have one-fourth part of the town 
in arms every day, by turns, and those who worked in the fields to 
go in companies, and when going half a mile from town, to be not less 
than six in number, with arms and ammunition well fixed and fitted 

1 Trumbull's Col. Eec, p. 302. 


for security." These orders were carried out by the towns, with 
alacrity. Many were partially fortified, and in all a constant guard 
was maintained. Guards were stationed in the belfry of meeting- 
houses, on high hills and bluffs, and even in sentry-boxes erected for 
their accommodation, to watch for the enemy, and protect the inhab- 
itants. Every effort was made for the public safety. 

This war continued during the winter, and at a meeting of the 
council at Hartford, March 16, 1675-6, the following action was 
taken : 

" In regard of the present troubles that are vpon vs, and the heathen still con- 
tinuing their hostility against the English, and assaulting the plantations, to 
pervent their designs against vs. It is by the Councill ordered, that the watch 
in the severall plantations, about an hower at least before day, in each day, 
doe call up the severall inhabitants in each plantation within their respectiue 
wards whoe are forthwith upon their call by the watch, to rise and arm them- 
selves, and forthwith to march to their severall quarters they are appoynt- 
ed to in theire wards and elsewhere, there to stand upon their guard to defend 
the town against any assault of the enemie vntill sunn be halfe an hower high 
in the morning, and then the warders are to take their places ; and scouts in 
each end of every town are to be sent forth on horseback, to scout the woods , 
and discouer the approach of the enemie, and to continue on the scout goeing 
so far into the wods as they may return the same day to giue an acco' of what 
they shall discouer ; and the scouts are to take direction from the chiefe millitary 
officers resideing in their respective townes, how and which way they shall 
pass, to make their discovery. And whosoeuer shall neglect to giue attend- 
ance to this order in all and euery of the particulars thereof, shall forfeit fine 
shillings for euery defect. This to be attended till further order. "^ 

It is to be particularly noted here, that the "watch" was to call up 
all the inhabitants an hour before day, and have them on duty till after 
sunrise. This precaution was taken from the fact, that men sleep 
soundest at this time, and as the Indians had knowledge of the fact, 
attacks were most frequently made at this hour. It is difficult, at 
this distance of time, to imagine the dangers, trials and alarms, that 
must exist in feeble communities, reminded as they were each morn- 
ing, of their desperate condition, by regulations such as these. 

This state of affairs drove the inhabitants of "Woodbury back again 
to Stratford. How long they continued to maintain their position in 
the new town is not known ; but they no doubt returned during the 
summer or autumn of 1675. A little light is thrown upon the ques- 
tion by the advice given by the General Court to Derby, which was 
nearer the old towns and in a somewhat safer position. 

1 TnmibuII's Col. Eec, p. 416. 

48 niSTonv of ancient woodbury. 

" At a General Court held at Hartford, October 1-1, 1C75. 

««Tlie inhabitants of Derby having desired the advice of this Court, what is 
their best way to attend for their safety in this time of dimculty, the Court re- 
turn that they judg it the best and safest way to remoue their best goods and 
their corn, what they can of it, with their wives and children, to some bigger 
towne, wlio, in a way of Providence, may be in a better capacitie to defend it ; 
and that those that stay in the town doe well fortify tliemselves, and stand up- 
on their guarde, and hasten the removeall of their corn as afores'' what they 
may ; and all inhabitants belonging to the place may be compelled by warrant 
from any Assistant to reside there untill this may be done. The like advice is 
by this Court given to all small places and farraes thorow-out this Colony to be 

"Woodbury was at this time farther inhand than any other western 
town in the Colony, and it is highly probable, that the " wives, chil- 
dren and best goods of the planters had, even before this advice was 
given, been removed to Stratford, a place of " more hopeful security." 
It is equally probable, that the resolute men of the town had remain- 
ed to bring off their crops. But fortunately we are not left to con- 
jecture as to the entire removal of the inhabitants of the town, al- 
though the day and month can not be noted. There is on record, in 
the archives of the State,^ an original letter, in the handwriting of 
Rev. Zechariah AYalker, signed by himself and the first minister of 
Derby, asking to be protected if they should return with their people 
to their several plantations. It is a fine specimen of the style of the 
early ministers' reasoning, and is deemed worthy of being inserted, at 
full length, in this place. 

To ye Honoured Gen^ Court convened at Hartford Octob' 12"' 167G— We 
whose names are hereunto subscribed do humbly propose as followeth. 

That whereas ye providence of God hath so ordered that by means of late 
troubles brought upon ye country, we the inhabitants of Woodbury and Derby 
have been necessitated to remove from o' dwellings. And a more favorable 
aspect of providence at ye present inviting us to a return, & ye necessity of 
many of o' families in part inforcing it ; yet forasmuch as we cannot be assured 
but ye like danger may again arise ; we make bold before such o"^ return, to re- 
quest this honoured Court to resolve us in one important inquiry, viz : in case 
the war w"" ye Indians should be again renewed what we may expect & trust 
to, from ye authority of this Colony in order to o' protection ic safety ? We 
humbly request that o'' inquiry may neither be judged oHensive, nor concluded 
irrational, till ye following grounds of it be considered. 

1. First we cannot be insensible of o' former experience viz : that in a time 
when danger threatned ye loudest, & o'' two plantations afores'' were probably 

1 Trumbull's Col. Rec, p. 267. 2 War, vol. 1, p. 115. 


in greatest hazzard, we were not only witliout any other help but o"^ own for 
ye guarding ofor said places but o'' own also, wch were indeed too few were 
taken from us, time after time, being pressed from ye sea-side towns when oc- 
casionally they came thither about necessary business, whereby we had more 
proportionally to C numbers from o' two plantations, imployed in y^ publick 
service, then (we suppose) any other town of y^ Colony; And as by y' means 
we were ibrced to a removall, so y^in we had not the least benefit of any guard 
for ye safety of o' persons or goods. 

2. Neither can we be insensible how unable many persons will bee, after a 
second remove to those plantations without ruine to yc families, to return again* 
to these older plantations : partly by means of ye chargeableness of such re- 
moves A; partly by means of what disapointnients we have already met with. 

3. Thirdly we desire ye mutuall obligation betwixt rulers & subjects may be 
considered, viz : y' as ye latter owe subjection, respecting both ye persons & 
estates ; so ye former are obliged to protect both according to ye best ability 
providing that they may lead a quiet &; peaceable life. 

4. Let it be considered ; that though formerly the country had cause enough, 
because sin enough, to beget an expectation of affliction, yet y'' was little or no 
expectation, y" it should arise from such means, before it did begin ; the expe- 
rience y'fore of so unexpected an atlliction allbrds (notwithstanding a present 
seeming cessation) ye more cause to expect ye like again, sooner or later ; espe- 
cially so little of reformation any where appearing : If therefore new-begun & 
remote plantations, may not in such hazzards have any promise of just protec- 
tion ; ye non-incouragm' of such, (as will endanger their desertion) so it will 
discourage any other persons from erecting any other, for ye inlargement of 
ye Colony, & whether y' will not be much to ye disadvantage of ye Colony, we 
leave upon inquiry. 

5. The secureing of those two plantations of "Woodberry & Darby will ac- 
cording to second causes, be one of ye most considerable securities, in a time of 
such dangers, unto ye two western counties, viz : of New Haven, & Fairfield : 
for it can hardly be expected y' any strength of Indians will adventure to set 
upon any lower plantation, till they have attempted ours above & if they fail, 
they will be ye more shy of pounding themselves by coming lower. 

6. Though we cannot affirm, yet we are not without some reason to suspect 
(vfc y'fore only propound it as a conditional! argument) that ye charges expend- 
ed in other colonies, for garrisoning some of their out towns, & fetching offe 
ye parsons, & goods of some others, will come upon account in ye publick 
charges of ye war, to be proportionably borne by ye three Colonies : which if it 
be, this Colony will be so much ye shorter in ye bill of expenses because they 
have not done ye like, & vertually fined to ye other Colonies, because they had 
not as extensive & generall a care of y"" out plantations y' were most exposed to 
danger as other Colonies had of theirs. 

We humbly request yo"' consideration of ye premises, & y^ yo' worships will 
so far regard o"' infant plantations, as to afford us some intimation of yo"^ pleasure 
concerning this o"" inquiry. 

Yours in all due observance, 
JOHN BOWER in ye behalfe of Derby 

^^>tcMxK/r-io^A A/Vat-^VH- in ye behalfe of Woodberry 


From this letter it appears that our forefathers were not only 
obliged to meet and brave all the dangers of the wilderness, all tlic 
lion-ors of Indian warfare, but that some of their best men were 
forced into service, when they went into the older towns on their 
necessary business, which was frequently, as they were entirely des- 
titute of the conveniences and many of the necessaries of life. It 
seems, too, that these outrages were the immediate cause of their 
removal; and that, had it not been for these, they might have been 
able to stand their ground against the incursions of the enemy. 
Tlie argument contained in this letter is a cogent one, and the case 
well put. 

AVhat action the General Court took in the premises does not 
appear. It is not probable, however, that any guard was furnished 
them, although one of the first settlers of "Woodbury, John Minor, 
was sent to this session, as one of the Deputies from Stratford, prob- 
ably with a view of obtaining aid for the new town. He however 
might be said to be a resident of both places, having " large accom- 
modations" in both Woodbury' and Stratford, and being for five or 
six consecutive years the only town-clerk for both towns. The 
plantation was by no means given up, as, at the same session, their 
lands were put in the list of the towns whose valuation for taxation 
was made by a committee, and the valuation of "Woodbury home-lots 
was within 5s. per acre of that of the more favored towns in the 
Colony. This valuation was 20^. per acre for home-lots, and one- 
fourth of all other land improved for tillage, mowing and pasture, 
10s. per acre for the remaining three-fourths used for those purposes, 
and Is. per acre for all other land inclosed by fences. 

A part of the inhabitants went back to "Woodbury in 1G7G, but 
not all, for at the same session we find it still further enacted that 

" The inhabitants of Woodbury haveing been much down at Strnlford with 
their stocks this summer, and some are likely to winter there, all such persons 
and stocks, that shall so winter at Stratford are to pay rates in proportion as the 
rest there, but the others shall pay but a fourth part of those exterordinary rates 
to the country; which easement is as much priuiledg to them as other towiis 
usually had at their beginning."^ 

The list of Stratford, at the same time, was ordered to be increased 
to the amount of property brought there by the inhabitants of "Wood- 

1 Trumbull's Col. lice, p. 209. 


During the year 1G77, the inliabitants slowly returned to the new 
settlement. As late as May 15, 1678, some were yet remaining in 
Stratford. Upon tlie application of those who had returned, the 
General Court at its May Session in 1678, ordered those who had 
taken up land at Woodbury, to inform the authorities of the town 
whether they would go there to reside, according to the regulations 
of the plantation, their answer to be sent within one month after 
notice, and their residence to take place by the first of November 

At the same session it was ordered 

"And in regard the progress of the planting of that plantation hath been 
retarded by the late warr & they have not rec'' the Benefitt in the grant of the 
General Court which exempted them from Rates for Three yeares. This 
Court sees meet to grant them, the Town of Woodbury viz the persons there 
Inhabiting, a further exem])tion from country rates for their estates of Wood- 
bury for the Space of Two yeares from October next."^ 

Upon the passage of this order, the inhabitants of the town imme- 
diately held a meeting, and voted to avail themselves of the Court's 
action. A letter in Capt. John Minor's handwriting was accordingly 
addressed to those remaining in Stratford, informing them that the 
town had passed a vote, that if those who had taken up land in 
Woodbury, did not personally or by letter, within three weeks make 
known their intention of removing thither, they should allot their 
lands to others. They urge, 

" Ffriends it is farr from o' desire y' any of you should be aboose'' by this act 
of o^ : wee covett not yo' Lands, but yo' company. Wee desire not to displease 
any of you, but yett if wee cannot please you uppon lower termes y" by undoe- 
ing o'seluesv wee assure you, that wee cannott come to yt price ;"2 

Assuring them again at the close of the letter, that at the end of the 
three weeks, they should proceed to allot the lauds to others'. 

This action of the Court and town probably brought up most of 
those who had lands. On the 27th of June, 1678, their minister, 
Mr. Walker, came with his family to reside permanently with his 
people at Woodbury. Previous to this time, it seems that his family 
had resided at Stratford, he having had liberal grants of land made 
him by the town of Stratford, while his church was the second church 
of Stratford, and before there was any decision to found a new town. 

1 Trumbidl's Col. Rec, p. 3, vol. 94, 95. 

2 Towns & Lands, vol. 1, p. 246. 


The controversy in Stratford hail ended in dividing the ministerial 
lands between Mr. Cliauncey and Mr. AValker, Mr. Chauncey having 
the first choice. A house liad been built by Mr. "Walker on his 
home-lot, and his family continued to reside there till the date above, 
after which he sold his land at intervals till nearly the close of his 
life. But as a further account of these transactions will be intro- 
duced in a subsequent chapter, nothing more in relation to them will 
be said in this place. It is introduced now, to show that the action 
of the town was so decided that even their minister could not be 
excepted from it. An additional reason for his remaining at Strat- 
ford was, that a part of his church remained there, and he carried on 
his ministrations in both places. 

In 1 675, the General Court first acted in relation to the bounda- 
ries of the new town. In various ways these gi*adually became 
settled, but had not been fully ratified till May, 1715, and the boun- 
daries of the North Purchase were not settled till 1724. The fol- 
lowing votes and reports explain themselves. 

"May 1675 This Court appoynts Lieut JoMiulson, IMr John Bankes Ed- 
ward Worcester i5c "Wm Judd to view the lands of Derby, Woodbury, Matta- 
tock, Pottatock & Wyantenuck & the distance between place & place, ic to 
consider what may be suitable bounds for each town & present the same to the 
Court in October next.^ 

"October 1G79 — This Court desires & order the committee appoynted by 
this Court, May 13, 1675, to view the lands of Derby, Woodbury, Mattatock, 
Potatuck & Wyantenug &c. & to consider what may be suitable bounds for 
each town, that they attend the sayd service as soon as may be, & make report 
thereof to the Court in May next, & that no farm be layd out within eight miles 
of either of those places, till the committee have made their return. 

" October, 16S0. To all whom it may concern &c, be it known, that we here- 
vnto subscribing in the behalfe of the plantations of Woodbury & Mattatuck, 
by the motion of honourable freinds & weighty argimients vs hereunto induce- 
ing, have had a meeting upon the 29th of June IGSO, in order to the settlement 
of the boundaryes between the sayd two plantations, and doe freely ic vnany- 
mously agree and consent as followeth viz. that there be a line run due east 
from the westermost part of the bounds agreed and concluded between Matta- 
tuck & Derby to Mattatuck river & so that line to be runn from the sayd riuer 
two miles & twelue score rodd due west, & then a line runn from the easter- 
most part of tlie great pond, comonly known by the name of Quassapauge, 
from such a part of the pond as by vs allrcady is agreed on fouer score rod due 
east, and then a straight line from that four score rod to the aforesaid west 

1 Towns & Lands, Tol. 8, pp. 152, 153, 154. 


corner between Derby & Mattatuck, &' from the aforesaid corner fouer score 
rod due east from the aforesaid pond, — the bounds is agreed & conchided to 
run due north to the extent northward of each plantation bounds, and that this 
is our mutuall agreement and firm settlement of our diuident lines between our 
plantations aforesaid is signifyed by otir subscribeing herevnto this 29th day of 
June in the year of our Lord Sixteen hundred & eighty. 


" May 16S1. This Court have granted that the bounds for the plantation of 
Mattatuck, shall runn eight miles north from the town plott, as their stated 
bounds, and doe confirme and rattify the boundaryes agreed upon by Mattauck 
it Woodbury plantations and the boundaries agred upon between Mattatuck >Sc 
Derby inhabitants, which more at large is sett down in their subscribed papers 
by the hands of the committees appoynted by each plantation & Mattatock 
bounds on the east shall be upon Farmington bounds. 

"Oct 16S3. This Court grants that Woodbury bownds shall be seuen miles 
due west from Mattatuck west bownds which is eastward of the pond, about 
eight' rods from said pond at the road, and the Court grants them eight miles 
from the north bownds of Derby where the line runs between Woodbury and 

" May 1CS5. This Court appoyntes John Stanly of INIattatuck & Abell Gunn 
of Derby to lay out the north (fc west bownds of Woodbury from the Noreast 
corner seuen miles west, & Irom thence south till it meets with Pototuck riuer 
& run by the riuer till it meets with Derby bounds. 

"May]6S6. This Court appoynts Lieut Ebenezer Johnson to joyn with 
John Standly of Mattatuck, in the laying out of the bowns of Woodbury accor- 
ding to the grant of the Court to sayd towne. 

" May 1715. These may certify the generall assembly of the Colony of Con- 
necticut in New England or any concerned, that whereas wee the; subscribers 
were by said assembly appointed to lay out the north & west bounds of Wood- 
bury as may be seen upon record about the year 16S5 or S6, pursuant to said 
act, wee began at their Northeast corner which was a white Oak tree standing 
in the dividing line between Waterbury and said Woodbury, and from thence 
wee measured a west line seven miles, which extended west over Chippaug 
River about eighty rods upon a rising laud & there wee marked a white Oak 
tree and laid up stones near it, which was the extent of their north bounds 
then granted. Wee do further testify by these, that wee did upon the second 
tfe third days of Nov' 1714, draw a South line from said tree according to our 

1 Eiarhtv rods. 

54 n I S T O R Y OF ANCIENT AV O O D n U U T . 

best skill, which ended or abutted South upon Potatnck riuer, which ended 
directly agnihst a brook on the other side of the riuer supposed to be or known 
by the name of Yanumpaug brook, and set up plentiful monuments in said 
South line. 


The above return was accepted by the Court in IMaj, 1715, and 
the bounds of the town became fixed till the acquisition of the North 
Purchase, which was simply an addition to the old town. 

At the May session of the General Court in 1681, Capt. John 
Minor and Lieut. Joseph Judson appeared as members. This was 
the first time the town had been represented, and at that session the 
Court granted that the " Woodbury sallery for their deputies shall 
be fifty shillings a session." This would probably be considered by 
the " magnates " who at present represent us yearly at the General 
Assembly, as rather a meager compensation. There was, however, 
a previous regulation, by which each town was to furnish the use of a 
suitable nag upon which its representatives might be carried, in 
proper state, to the place of legislation. 

About the same time, uneasiness began to arise in the minds of 
some of the inhabitants, in relation to the title by which they held 
their lands. The territory of the town had originally been granted 
to the committee of the Second Church at Stratford, under the in- 
junction or proviso, th'at they should receive as many inhabitants to 
rights and privileges in their lands, as the plantation would conven- 
iently accommodate. The extent of territory was large, and it was 
a much more desirable place for habitation than most inland towns. 
Under these circumstances, many persons offered to be admitted to 
the privileges of proprietorship in the plantation, and the authorities 
did not see fit to admit all of them. It was very natural for these 
persons to question the rights of those already located there, and to 
threaten to have the title by which they held their lands inquire^l 

It is possible, that this was the particular moving cause, that 
induced the town to send deputies to the General Court this year, 
when it had rested very quietly without representation for ten years 
since its first legal organization as a town. Previous to this time 
the people had remained content with the measure of law and justice 
meted out to them by their committee of the principal men of the 
place, who ruled in accordance Avith the " written word." 


At the session of the General Court held in May, 1685, the citi- 
zens petitioned for a Patent in due and ample form. For some 
reason, it was not acted on or not granted at that or the next session. 
But at the May session, 1686, it was granted in legal form, a copy 
of whicli follows : 

Woodbury Patent. 

Whereas the Generall Court of Conecticutt have formerly granted unto the 
Inhabitants of the town of Woodbury all those Lands within these following 
abutments viz. on Mattatucki Bownds &: the Comons in part on the East, & on 
the Comons on the North, & upon potatuck Riuer the Midle of the Streame & 
the Comons on the West, & upon Derby Bownds on the Sowth, &: is about 
Eight Miles in length & Seuen miles in bredth East & west; the Sayd lands 
haveing been by purchass or otherwise lawfully obteyned of the Indian natiue 
proprietors ,'& whereas the prietors, Inhabitants of Woodbury in the colony 
conecticut in New England, haue made application to the Governor & company 
of the Sayd colony of conecticut, assembled the 14th day of May 1GS5, that 
they might haue a patent for confirmation of the aforesayd lands to them, so 
purchased and granted to them as afores'' & which they have stood seized & 
quietly possessed of for some years last past, without Interuption ; now for a 
more full confirmation of the afoars'' Tracts of land (as it is butted & Bownded 
afoars"^) unto the present proprietors of the sayd Township of woodbury, know 
yee ; that the Sayd Governor &; company, assembled in Generall court, accor- 
ding to the Commission & by vertue of the power Granted to them by our late 
Soveraigne Lord king Charles the 2''of Ilapj^y memory, in his letters patents, bear- 
ing date the Three & Twentyeth day of Aprill in the fowcrteenth year of his s^ 
Ma''" Reigne, haue giuen & granted, &: by these presents doe giue, grant, rattify 
& Confirme unto Ln' Joseph Judson, M' Zachary Walker, Capt. John Minor, Mr. 
John Hurd & Ensigne John Wyot, & all the rest of the Sayd present proprietors 
of the Township of Woodbury & their heires & assignes for Euer & to each of 
thera in such proportion as they haue allready agreed upon for the diuision of 
the same, all that afoarsayd Tract or pacells of lands as it is butted &z Bownd- 
ed, together with all the woods, uplands, arable lands, Meadowes, pastures, 
waters, Rivers, Islands, fishings. Huntings fowlings, mines, Mineralls, Quarries 
& precious stones upon or within the sayd Tracts of land, with all other proffits 
& comodities thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining, & doe allso 
Grant unto the afoarnamed Ln' Joseph Judson, M' Zachary walker, Capt. 
Jn° Minor m"' John Hurd & Ensigne John Wyott & all the rest of the present 
proprietors, Inhabitants of woodbury theire heires & assignes foreuer, that the 
afoarsayd Tracts of lands shall be foreuer hereafter deemed, reputed & be an 
Intire Township of itselfe, to haue & to hold the Sayd Tracts of land & premi- 
ses with all & singular their appurtenances, together with the Immunities, 
priuiledges & franchizes herein giuen & Granted to the sayd Lnt. Joseph Jud- 
son, Mr. Zachary Walker, Capt° John Minor Mr. John Hurd & Ensign John 
Wyott & all other present projjrietors Inhabitants of woodbury, their heires & 
assignes forever, & to the onely proper use & behoofe of the Sayd Lni Joseph 

1 Waterbiuy. 


Judson, m' Zacliary walker, Captn John Minor, m'' John Ilurd & Ensigne John 
Wyott (k others, all the present propiielors, Iiiliabitants of woodbury their heirs 
& assignes forener according to the Tenor of liis I\Ia''" Manor of East Green- 
wich in the County of kent in the kingdom of ^England in free iV common 
Soccage «.V; not in Capitee nor by knight seruice, they yielding ic payeiiig 
therefore to our Soucraigne lord the king, his heirs & Successors, onely the fifth 
part of all the oare of Gold & Siluer, which from time to time & at all times 
hereafter shall be there gotten, had or obtayned JnLiewofall rents seruices, 
dutyes & demands whatsoeuer, according to Charter. 

in Witnesse whereof wc haue caused tlie Scale of the Colony to be herevnto 
aflixed, this Seventeenth of May IGSG, & In the Second yeare of the reigne of 
our Soveraigne lord James the second, by the grace of God of England, Scot- 
laud, franco & Ireland, king, defender of the fayth >.Vc. 


pr. order of the Gencrall Court of Conecticvit, Signed 

pr. JOHN ALLYX Secretary. 

March 00, 16^7. pr. order of the Governor & Company of the Colony of 
Conecticut, Signed pr. JOHN ALLYN Secretary. 

The aboue written w"" that on the other side, is a true coppy of the originall, 
being Examined & compared therewith May 19, IGSG. 

pr. JOHN ALLYN Secretary. 

At the May session, 1703, this Patent was confirmed, for what 
reason does not appear, except that au act was passed that session 
making the soil in all the patented towns an estate in fee simple. It 
is not known that any question in relation to its validity ever arose. 
The town during the same year confii-med all grants of land which it 
had previously made. 

At the same session it was resolved that 

" This Court doe grant to Woodbury an addition to their township, viz' from 
the west bounds of Waterbury upon a parrallel line to the north-east bounds of 
the purchase made by the good people of Milford at Wiantenock." (New 

This grant was not ordered to'be surveyed till the October session 
in 1723. This was done by the surveyor of Fairfield County, who 
made hia^report to the May session of the Court in 1724. By it we 
learn that this tract, which was called the North Purchase, and 
included the present town of Bethlcm and a part of Washington, 
contained seventeen thousand four hundred and eighty-two acres and 
sixty rods of land. A Patent, in due form, was issued, bounding it 
east by Waterbury, north by a line drawn from the N. W. corner 
bounds of Waterbury, W. 5° 30' N. to the N. E. corner of New Mil- 
ford, Avest by New Milford, and south by the original town of 

The town, having obtained this grant of the Court in 1703, com- 
menced negotiations for the purchase of the same of the Indians, but 


did not complete the bargain till June 23d, 1710, when a deed was 
executed by Nunawague, Chesguneage, Cockshurj, Wussuttanunck- 
quet and Sasaw, describing the tract as being by estimation " seven 
or eight miles east & west & about five or six miles north & south 
at y^ east end & about two or three miles north & south at y® west 
end as granted to the town by the General Court," bounded east on 
"Waterbury, south on the original town of "Woodbury, west on New 
Milford '-alias Oantanuck," and "northerly on our own land as 
yet.'" This is the " North Purchase " shown on the accompanying 

The town had now full and undisputed title to its entire limits, 
both from the General Court and the native proprietors. Having 
been somewhat minute in tracing the title of our fathers to their 
habitations, we pass on more rapidly with other particulars in their 

1 W. T. R., vol. 2, p. 179. 



Character of the First Settlers; Capt. John Minor; Capt. William 
CuRTiss ; Hon. Samuel Sherman; Hon. John Sherman; Liept. JosErii 
Ji'DSON ; Lieut. Israel Curtiss ; Col. Joseph Minor ; IIackaliah Preston ; 
Hon. William Preston. 

We come now to a pleasing task, the contemplation of the char- 
acter of our forefathers, who subdued tlie Avilderness, and left to our 
inheritance these pleasant valleys and hills. They were emphatically 
a moral and religious people, and retired to this forest land to enjoy 
more freely their religious opinions, than they could even in the 
older towns of the Colony. 

The original signers to the Fundamental Articles, as we have 
seen, were seventeen in number. Fifteen of these undoubtedly 
removed to the new plantation during the first year. It is not cer- 
tain that the two aged planters, Samuel Sherman, Sen., and Joseph 
Judson, Sen., ever i-esided here, although they had larger " accom- 
modations " than most of the other planters. 

Of their minister and head. Rev. Zechariah Walker, who did not 
move with the first company, an account will be given in a subsequent 
chapter, and our limits will allow us only to notice a few others, 
which may serve for a sample of the whole. 

First among the settlers, men of note in Woodbury, and foremost 
in all diificult undertakings, was John Minor, an interpreter to the 
Indians, a justice of the quorum among the magisti'ates, a captain 
in the militia, and a deacon in the church. He was also a surveyor, 
a necessary and important* character in a new country. All the 
Indian deeds in this region were executed before him, from his being 
able to act as interpreter. He was town-clerk of Stratford for ten 
years from 16G6, with the exception of a year, and held the same 
. olTicc in Woodbury for thirty years from its beginning. He was 


also, for twenty years, almost always a member of the General Court, 
held an influential petition there, and was frequently appointed on 
committees for the composing of serious differences and the solving 
of ditficult questions. Early in life he acquired a good knowledge 
of the Indian dialects', and conversed in them with ease and fluency. 
In consequence of this, the rulers of the Colony wished to prepare 
him for a preacher of the gospel to the Indians. In accordance with 
which desire, the General Court, Sept. 14th, 1G54, expressed by 
positive action, 

" Whereas, Notwithstanding former provision made for the conveyance of 
the knowledge of God to the Natives amongst us, little hath hitherto beene 
attended through want of an able Interpreter, this Courte being earnestly desirous 
to promote and further what lyes in them a worke of that nature, wherein the 
glory of God & the euerlasting welfare of those poore, lost, naked sonnes of 
Adam is so deeply concerned, doe order that Thomas Mynor, of Pequott shall 
bee wrott unto from this Courte & desired that hee would forthwith send bis 
Sonne John Mynor to Hartford, where this Courte will provide for his main- 
tenance & schooling, to the end hee may bee for the present assistant to such 
elder, elders or others, as this Courte shall appoint, to interprett the things of 
God to y'" as hee shall bee directed and in the meane time fitt himselfe to bee 
instrumental! that way as God shall fitt & incline him thereunto for the 
future. "1 

Upon the 23d of Sept., 1654, the subject was brought before the 
Columissioners of tlie United Colonies, and they enacted, 

" Vpon a motion made to ye Commissioner? by Cap' Cullick, from the Gene- 
rail Courte of Connecticott, to take into y' consideration ye instruction of ye In- 
dians in theire Jurisdiction, in ye knowledge of God, and their desire y' John 
Minor might be enterteined as an interpreter, to communicate to ye said Indians 
those instructions w'^ shall bee delivered by M' Stone, M' Newton, or any 
other allowed by the Courte, and allso y' ye said Minor may be further instruct- 
ed and fitted by M' Stone to bee a meete instrument to carry on the worke of 
propagating ye Gospel to ye Indians, ye Commissioners conceivieng ye said 
propositions to be much conducing to ye propogating y' hopefull work, doe 
desire ye Magestrates of Connecticott to take care y' ye said INIinor bee enter- 
tained at M' Stones, or some other meet place, and they shall order y' due 
allowance bee made for his dyet and education out of the Corporation Stock. "''^ 

Under this action, both John Minor and John, son of Thomas 
Stanton, were received and kept at school and college for two or 
three years. Minor lived with Mr. Stone for some time after, and 
acted as interpreter for him when he preached to the Indians. But 

1 Trumbull's Col. Rec, 265. 2 Eec. U. Colonies. 


ho did not follow out the plan of his patrons. What induced him to 
turn his attention to other attairs, does not apjiear. He became, 
however, an honorable and useful citizen, turning his knowledge of 
the Indian tongue and his education to good account. He died at 
an advanced age, and was buried in the south-west part of the an- 
cient burying ground, but no stone remains to mai-k the spot — naught 
save a numerous posterity sleeping around him. 

Capt. AVilliam Curtiss was another early founder of Woodbury, of 
high standing in the Colony, and one of the grantees of the planta- 
tion. He was from Roxbury, Mass. His name was usually spelled 
" Curtice." It does not appear that he bought an interest in the 
plantation himself, but he was its fast friend, and sent two of his 
sons, Lieut. Israel and Joshua, with the first settlers. He was a 
member of the General Court ten or twelve years from Stratford ; 
often a commissioner, or justice of the peace ; and from year to year, 
appointed by the Court on important committees in various parts of the 
Colonv. He was appointed Nov. 23d, 1673, captain of the forces 
raised in Fairfield County tci serve against the Dutch at New Am- 
sterdam, (New York.) In Oct., 1 G75, he was appointed by the Gene- 
ral Court, captain of the sixty men to be raised in Fairfield County, to 
serve in King Philip's war, with power to appoint his inferior offi- 
cers. In May, 1676, when the people of Woodbury Avere at Strat- 
ford, on account of this war, he and Mr. Samuel Sherman were 
appointed commissioners for " Stratford and AVoodbury." 

Intimately associated with the last named, in all that related to 
the welfare of the new town, Avas the Hon. Samuel Sherman. He 
was at the date of its settlement, undoubtedly the most distinguished 
man connected with the enterprise. He was from Dedham, Essex 
County, England, came to this country in 1634, and previous to the 
date of the new plantation, had been a leading man in the Colony. 
He had assisted in the settlement of several other towns in the Colo- 
ny, and now undertook the same for AVoodbury. He had been a 
member of the Court of Assistants, or Upper House of the General 
Court, and supreme judicial tribunal, for five or six years from 1663, 
and held various offices and appointments of honor and trust. He 
is referred to in ancient deeds and documents as the " Worshipful 
Mr. Sherman." In 1676, as stated above, he was one of the com- 
missioners for "Stratford and AVoodbury." It is not certain that 
be ever resided here, although he took a first class " accommodation" 
in the grant of the General Court. If he did not remove personally 
to AVoodbury, he evidently caused his lands to be improved, in 


accordance with the articles of the settlement. They are " recorded 
to" him on the 26th of May, 1675, and on the 22d of June, 1679, it 
is further recorded that " Mr. Sherman having injoyed and improved 
his accommodations to this 22d of June, 1679, according to the grant 
of ye town," has now an " absolute and positive record to him of the 
same according to law." He deceased previous to Oct., 1684, and 
his sons, Matthew and John, agreed on a division of said lands. He 
may have resided here, but it is probable that, being advanced in 
in years, and comfortably settled in Stratford, he continued to 
reside there till he was "gathered to his fathers." He furnished 
one son (John) for the first company, and subsequently two others, 
Samuel and Matthew, for other companies. His son, Hon. John 
Sherman, was one of the first company, and his fame is rhore partic- 
ularly the property of the- town than the two last. He was distin- 
guished not only in his town, but also in the Colony. He was a 
justice of the quorum, or associate county court judge for forty-four 
years from 1684, a representative of the town seventeen sessions, 
and speaker of the Lower House in INIay and October, 1711, and 
May and October, 1712. He was town-clerk twenty-five years, and 
captain in the militia, a high honor in those days. He was the first 
judge of probate for the district of Woodbury, from its organization 
in 1719, for nine years. The district then comprised all the settled 
portion of the present county of Litchfield, and "Waterbury in New 
Haven County. He was also an assistant for ten years from 1713. 

Lieut. Joseph Judson, Sen., another subscriber to the Fundamental 
Articles, was a man of note before the removal to this town. He 
came from Concord, Mass. He was deputy to the General Court 
for some six years, and otherwise distinguished. After the settle- 
ment of "Woodbury, he was sent as a deputy with John Minor to the 
session of 1684, being the first time the town had been represented, 
and continued to represent the town for four sessions afterward. 
He was one of the leaders of Rev. Mr. Walker's party at Stratford. 
He had a first class " accommodation," but it is not certain that he 
lived here till the close of his life, as a part of his land was after- 
ward sold to pay a ministerial rate. His son John, another " original 
signer," was a prominent individual in the town and Colony. He 
died 12th Jan., 1709-10, aged sixty-three years. 

Lieut. Israel Curtiss, son of Capt. William, was another of the 
" original signers," and took a prominent part in the settlement and 
interests of the town. He was a lieutenant in the militia, and 

62 II 1 S T O K Y O 1' A N C 1 K NT "VV O O D ii U K Y . 

represented the town at the IMay sc^r.-ion, IGS'J, and for seventeen 
sessions afterward. 

Colonel Joseph ]\Iinor, son of Ca])t. John, was not one of the 
'' original signers," but was one of the early settlers, and for eighty 
years afterward held a ])roniinent position. He attained the greatest 
age to which any inhabitant of the town has ever ai'rived since its 
settlement. He was born 4th March, 1G72-3, and died 20th Oct., 
1774, being nearly 102 yearg old. He was boi'n sixteen days after 
the signature of the "Fundamental Articles," came to Woodbury a 
child, and spent a long life in its service. He passed through the 
various grades of military service to the rank of colonel, and was 
very efficient in prejjaring men for service in the French and In- 
dian wars. He was representative thirty-two sessions, town-clerk 
twenty-eight years, justice of the quorum fourteen years from 1725, 
and judge of probate thirty years. As above stated, he hved to a 
good old age, and retained all his physical powers to such an extent, 
that on his hundredth birthday he rode a horse through the streets 
of Woodbury. The fame of the feat is, however, mari-ed by the 
fact that he did not alight, but fell from his horse. His descend- 
ants are still numerous in this town. He lived under the hill in 
rear of Erastus Minor's. He inherited a piece of land from his 
father, which Erastus Minor, one of his descendants, now owns, and 
it is a remarkable fact, that it has never passed by deed since the 
deed from the Indians, nearly 200 years ago. It has passed from 
father to son through the probate court. 

Another early settler, but not an " original signer," was Hacka- 
liah Preston. He was a native of Wales, but came to Stratford from 
Turkey. Tradition says the Turks, for some reason, sought to kill 
him, and that he fled to save his life. He married Emm Fairchild, 
daughter of Thomas Fairchild, of Stratford, one of the principal 
planters and first magistrates of that town, who had come thither 
directly from England. He soon removed to Woodbury in one of 
the comjjanies of the first settlers. 

Hon. William Preston, son of the above, was born at Stratford, 
21st March, 1G76, just before his father's removal to Woodbury, and 
was therefore, in one sense, a son of the soil, having spent his active 
life in the town, and rested from his labors 5th Sept., 1754, in the 
seventy-eighth year of his age. He was a leading man in the town, 
county and Colony. He was a member of the General Court thirty- 
five sessions, and stood high in the militia, having attained the rank 
of colonel. He was justice of the quorum eleven years from 1740. 


On the formation of the new county of Litchfield in 1751, he was 
appointed its first judge, which office he held for three years till his 
death, performing its duties to the credit of himself, and the interests 
of the people. lie was a man of fine talents and commanding influ- 
ence — of sterling integrity and unflinching determination. He was ' 
active and efiicient in all the walks of life, and died much lamented. 
Such was the character of the early men of Woodbury. We 
would gladly delineate the lives of more of them, did time and space 
permit. Such was the caliber of the men who laid the foundations, 
firm and sure, of our institutions, both local and" general. It is of 
such ancestors a virtuous descendant has a right to be proud, and 
the memory of whom should shame into reformation any one, who 
may have departed from the boundaries of good character and correct 
principles. ^ 



List op Settlers; Home-lots; 1G72-1712; Old Parsonage of 1702; Pali- 
saded Houses; School Lot; First Mill, 1674; Second Mill; Third Mill; 
Meetings at Bethel Eock; First Meeting House, 16S1; First Birth, 
Marriage and Death ; Samuel Munn, the first Wheelwright ; Abraham 
Fulford, the first Clothier;. Town Brand; First Ferryman; Docts. 
Butler Bedient and Ebenezer Warner, the first Physicians; Localities; 
Buckskin Breeches; Wooden Shoes; Ancient Titles; Sir Edmund An- 
DRoss ; Shepaug Proprietors ; Dea. Samuel Bull, the first Blacksmith ; 
First Divorce ; Bachelors' Accommodations ; French and Indian War of 
1707; Fortifications and Garrisons; Action in relation to the Poota- 
TUCKS ; Parson Stoddard kills two Indians ; Soldiers at Wood Creek in 
1709; North Purchase Rate, 1712; Reflections., 

In this part of our labor, we find considerable difficulty from the 
fact, that the first volume of town records is lost, together with its 
contents, except some portions, which could be deciphered from its 
fragmentary remains, and which Avere judged important by the town 
to be preserved. These were collected into what now forms the first 
volume of town records by Nathan Preston, then town-clerk, and 
certified by him March Gth, 1793, one hundred and twenty years 
after the founding of the town. The same is true in regard to the 
first book of proprietors' records, or acts of the town. These were 
in hke manner copied in 1771, so far as could be done, or was deemed 
necessary, by Benjamin Stiles and Gideon "Walker, the latter being 
at that time town-clerk. 

Besides the original signers, there was a large number of families 
which removed to Woodbury before King Philip's war, but no record 
remains to tell their names. After that war, the inhabitants slowly 
returned, and new names appeared among them. The following list 
had arrived, in addition to the original signers, and been assigned 
home-lots and divisions, previous to 1G82, as nearly as can now be 



Rev. Zecliariah Walker, 
John Hiithwitt, 
John Skeels, 
Ainbi-o*e Thompson, 
Andrew Nichols, 
Hackaliah Preston, 
John Leavenworth, 
Thomas Leavenworth, 
Samuel Munn, 
John Mitchell, 
Ebenezer Blackman, 
Abraham Blish, 
John Iliird, 
Ebenezer Hurd, 
John Stratton, 
Henry Hill, 
Matthew Mitchell, 
Alexander Bryan, 
Benjamin Galpin, 
John Root, 

Isaac Nichols, 
Samuel Hinman, 
Dennis Hart, 
Samuel Galpin, 
Sgt. Moses Johnson, 
Thomas Drakely, 
Joseph Booth, 
William Frederick, 
Isaac Bennett, 
Henry Castle, 
Joseph Seelye, 
Nathan Hough, 
Joseph Hicock, 
Benjamin Hicock, 
John Minor, Jim., 
Jonathan Hurd, 
Joseph Hurd, 
Henry Castle, Jun., 
James Beers, Sen., 
Zechariah Walker, Jr. 

Benjamin Stiles, 
William Martin, 
Samuel Jenner, 
IMatthew Sherman, 
Joseph Hurlbut, 
Joseph Seelye, 
Samuel Nichols, 
Richard Beach, 
Isaac Curtiss, 
Samuel Sherman, Jr. 
Samuel Hull, 
Thomas Hurlbut, 
William Roberts, 
Edward Hinman, 
Jonathan Squire, 
Cornelius Walker, 
Caleb Nichols, Sen., 
Thomas Bedieiit, 
John Pierce, 
Thomas Appleby. 

All these had an interest in the land, and were householders. 
From this list of men, we may estimate the number of inhabitants in 
the town at this time, at four or five hundred. 

The settlers laid out their home-lots in quantities of from two to 
five acres, with narrow fronts, which were arranged on both sides of 
the main street, or " Indian Trail," as before described, from East 
Meadow to the " Bent" of the river. The "home-lot division," four 
times as large as the home-lot, was laid out in rear of it, and extended 
back one mile from the street, that " run through the middle of the 
town from end to end of the town." On the west side of the street 
the same rule prevailed. This rule was adopted by an order of the 
General Court to all new towns, for protection against the Indians. 
Next followed the " meadow division " or lowland, which was laid 
on the intervals and plain lands. After this came the "upland 
division," laid out on the irregular, hilly grounds. At the same 
time the " pasture division " was laid out for the accommodation of 
their cattle. In process of time came the " woodland division," after 
they had cleared their other divisions, and a provision for fuel be- 
came necessary. Still later, after they had subdued and brought 
under cultivation their other lands, came the " Good Hill division," 
and " White Oak Plain division," which designate their own locali- 
ties. All these divisions were assigned, or laid out, to the settlers in 
proportion to the size of their home-lot, and that was determined by 
the amount paid in, under the original articles. 


It is impossible now to trace the exact localities of all the first 
settlers. Their home-lots were small, and the present holders of 
land occupy each several of the original sites. Several of the fami- 
lies have been before located in these pages. The first regular 
town miller lived where Hon. Nathaniel B. Smith now resides. His 
name was John Ilurd. After him Doct. Joseph Perry lived in the 
same place. Rev. Zechariah Walker's house stood where Levi S. 
Douglass, Esq., now lives, and covered a part of the present cellar. 
Isaac Judson lived opposite the jilace occupied by Nathan Warner, 
Jun., and his house was one of those surrounded with palisadoes, as 
a protection against the Indians. « Another palisaded house stood on 
the site occupied by Horace Kurd's new dwelling-house. Capt. 
John Minor's, und(;i* the hill in rear of Erastus Minor's, was another. 
Ajiother of the fortified houses was that of one of the Bronsons in 
Transylvania, now in existence. It had a look-out on its top by the 
chimney for observation. Doct. Jonathan Atwood's house occupied 
nearly the site of the "Old Town House." Adino Strong settled at 
Scuppo, but he came after 1700. The reservation of land for a 
school, as agreed in the " fundamental articles," was laid out north 
of the Cranberry Pond before 1700. In the next year some change 
was made, when Mr. Stoddard was settled in the ministry, and his 
home-lot was laid out on the 12th of May, in this place, then called 
Foot's Neck. It was part of the contract of the town with him, to 
build him a house of certain dimensions on this lot. It was immedi- 
ately commenced, and finished so that he could move into it late in 
1701. He alludes to it as his dwelling-house, in a communication 
•written in 1702. It was surrounded with palisadoes,* was the most 
strongly fortified house in the plantation, and could receive more 
peojile than any other in case of an alarm. One of the bounds in a 
deed of the lot next north of this, dated 31st March, 1702, was laid 
within a foot of " y' pallasadoes in Mr. Stoddard's fence." George 
W. De Wolf now occupies this, the oldest house in the county. The 
parsonage meadow division was that in rear of Hon. N. B. Smith's, 
the remainder of his home-lot was near John P. Marshall's, and his 

1 Houses were palisaded in the following manner, viz. : a deep ditch was dug 
around the house ; logs were then placed perpendicularly in the ditch all around it, 
leaving a space only for a gate. The logs were sharpened at the top, placed close 
together, and extended eight, ten or twelve feet above the ground. The earth was 
then returned, and beaten down around the logs till they stood firmly. This, with 
a gate well secured, was a pretty good defense against a sudden attack. 


"Good Hill division" (50 acres) -was laid out "• in or near TVeaco- 
peniis playn." 

"When the first settlei's came, they had few of the conveniences of 
life. Among the things they had not, was a mill to grind their grain. 
They were twenty-five miles from any inhabitants, in the wilderness, 
with no roads, or even a path leading to the older settlements. They 
imitated their " red brethren," and used mortars to reduce their grain 
to a state fit for cooking. But this was not to be endured long. 
There were weddings, and other great occasions to be provided for, 
and something must be done. Accordingly, they sent to Stratford, 
and procured two small mill-stones, so diminutive in size that they 
were brought here through the forests on horseback. They prepared 
mill-gearing, built a small shed on Middle Quarter Brook, a few rods 
easterly from Dea. Eli Summers' house, and set their mill in opera- 
tion. It is said that when it was in complete running order, it could 
grind the enormous quantity of a bushel of grain per day. Great 
was the rejoicing of our fathers, when this vast improvement was 
obtained. They took turns at the mill, each grinding his own grist ; 
or rathei", one carried his grain in the mox-ning, set the mill in motion, 
and went after his grist at night. This was probably built in 1 674, 
and was the only mill in the territory till 1G81. One of these mill- 
stones is still in the door-yard of INIiss Lucy Sherman, serving in the 
humble capacity of a door-stone, and the other in Hartford. They 
are about two feet in diameter, and six inches in thickness. Traces 
of the dam still exist. These are highly interesting memorials of the 
early days, and carry us back in memory to the long-ended toils^and 
suiferings of our fathers. Long should these, rude memorials be 
preserved, as rare fragments which have escaped the ruthless hand 
of Time. 

But the inhabitants had become so numerous before 1681, that the 
old mill was entirely inadequate to the wants of the town. It had, 
therefore, granted " mill accommodations " of land and other consid- 
erations, on the west side of the river, to John Hurd, to " encourage " 
him to take upon himself the responsibility of building a " corn mill " 
of sufiicient capacity to do all the grinding required by the town. 
The date of this agreement is the 28th of August, 1681. He pro- 
ceeded to erect his mill about fifty rods south-westerly from his 
dwelling-house, which stood where Hon. N. B. Smith's now stands. 
It was erected immediately under the hill, and the water for its 
accommodation was brought in a ditch, faint traces of which remain, 
from the river, about one hundred rods distant, and discharged into 

68 n 1 S T O K Y OF ANCIENT W O O D n U IX T . 

the river aj^ain at al»out half that distance below the mill, nearly in 
rear of " Parson Stoddard's house." The dam was built across the 
river at the still water in the Pomperaug, nearly west of the niilh 
and no vestiges of it now remain, yet the locality has retained the 
name of the " ^lill Pond " to this day. The late aged Ashbel Moody 
told the author that he recollected, when a boy. going there to bathe, 
and that a part of the dam was then in existence. In time of fresh- 
ets, all the intervals in this place were overflowed, and it was not a 
fortunate location for a dam. It was, besides, a gigantic work for 
private enterprise in those early days. The frequent inundations 
injured the dam repeatedly, so that Ilurd was about to give up the 
attempt to maintain a mill in despair. A town meeting was, there- 
fore, called on the 11th June, 1G83, and it was agreed that the town 
would provide "sufficient help to repair the present break in the 
dame upon two days' warning, except it be in harvest time." Ilurd 
was to pay for this labor at the rate of " 100 feet of sawed boards or 
other satisfaction equivalant," to each person for three days' work. 
He was to have the liberty of erecting a " cart-bridge a little below 
the saw-mill, and to keep it in repair, at his own proper charge, 
seven years from date, and then to throw it up again, as no Town 
bridge." As additional " encouragement for his seasonably grinding 
the Town's Corn " for seven years, which he agreed to do, taking no 
other " Toll than the Law allows," the " Town granted him ten acres 
of Land next Southward of the mill accommodations, on the West 
side of the river." No person was to be called on to help him more 
tha^ three days, and he was to give security for the fulfillment of his 
contract.^ How far the saw-mill was located from the corn-mill is 
not now known, but probably at no great distance. This arrange- 
ment continued in full force till 1691, when Ilurd having deceased, 
the mill accommodations were given to his heirs on the same condi- 
tions ; but the heirs not fulfilling, the town took further action in the 
premises, and on the 15th of February, 1G91,- its authorities entered 
into solemn contract Avith John Mitchell and Samuel Stiles, 

" Tliat the s'' John Mitchell and Stunuel Stiles shall and may, at their own 
proper charge and cost, policiy and continuance, build, set up and continue 
from this date forever, a good sufficient Corn Mill, at or within four rods dis- 
tance from that place where the present Corn Mill stands, together with a 
sufficient dam, whereby they may be capacitated, well and seasonably to grind, 
from time to time, and at all times, successively, all such corn as all, each and 

1 W. T. R., vol. 1, p. 90. 2 Probably lGOl-2. 


every of the inhabitants of Woodbury shall bring to the s'' mill to be ground, 
the which they do hereby covenant, promise and engage, faithfully to perform, 
well and seasonably, upon the conditions herein exprest, from the date hereof 
forever. In Consideration of which, the Committee hereunto subscribing do in 
behalf of themselves, and the town of Woodbury afore«^, by way of encourage- 
ment that the abovesaid work may be well and truly done, promise and engage 
to the abovesaid Millers a ten acre accommodation, to be layed out as nigh and 
convenient to said Mill, as may be, of land not yet particularly impropriated, 
whicii ten acres accommodation is to all intents and purposes as absolutely 
entailed to the Mill and Miller, that doth perform the abovesaid covenant of 
well and seasonably grinding, as any particular, absolute and firm entailment 
explicitly can be drawn. "' 

As a further " encouragement to said millers to perform the con- 
tract on their part, £30 were to be paid in provision pay, or otherwise 
to the s*^ millers satisfaction." Those inhabitants who could not pay- 
in provisions, had the liberty of paying in " days work." The town 
engaged to have all its grinding done at this mill, as long as it 
should continue to do it " seasonably." It was further agreed, that 
if, " after a further experiment, it be found that the dam can not be 
made to stand at that place above exprest," then it was to be located 
" elsewhere with the advice of the town." The land in this agree- 
ment was laid out in Ragland. Ens. Samuel Stiles had also, IGth 
Oct., 1697, twenty-eight acres of " meadow and upland" laid out to him 
as town miller. It appears that advantage was taken of the last clause 
in this agreement, soon after, to establish the mill near the present 
mill and factory of Daniel Curti?s, Esq., in Avhich place a mill has 
ever since been kept up, there being a very good water privilege 
there. As evidence of this removal, we find the " old ditch," men 
tioned in a conveyance as early as five or six years later than the 
date of this agreement. The mill accommodations continued an 
appendage to the mill till within a recent period, although other mills, 
in various parts of the ancient territory, were subsequently estab- 
lished as the new societies were formed. 

After the settlers were in some measure located, and began to have 
some of the comforts and conveniences of life, their thoughts natu- 
rally turned to the prime object of all the plantations in New Eng- 
land, the establishment of public worship, and the location and con- 
struction of a suitable house in which to enjoy the ministrations of 
the gospel. From their first settlement hitherto, they had worshiped 
in each other's houses, in the inclement months of the year, and in 

1 W. T. E., vol. 1, p. 84. 


the summer months liad convened, in the stillness of the Sabbath 
morn, in a beautiful and retired spot on the east side of the Orenaug 
Rocks, between the clitfs, with their sentinels placed on the top of 
the adjacent rocks, to guard against surprise from savage foes, and 
there made "the sounding aisles of the dim woods" vocal Avith the 
high praises of God. In a rude pulpit of stone, still standing in that 
lonely dell, we may, in imagination, see the faithful Walker address- 
ing his attentive hearers and delivering to them the words of" truth 
and soberness." This spot received the name of Bethel Rock from 
this circumstance, and has been ever held as a consecrated place by 
the descendants of those early Christian fathers, whither they have 
at times resorted for meditation and prayer to the present day. 

The unsettled state produced by King Philip's war, having passed 
away, and the inhabitants having become quite numerous for a new 
town, they now resolved to "build them an house" for public wor- 
ship. As has ever been the case in such matters, they did not readily 
agree on a location. But it does not appear that they fell into those 
violent contentions which so often occur. They had tried various 
ways to solve the difficulty. Among other methods, they attempted 
a determination of the question by lot, thus showing us a glimpse of 
the superstition of the age in Avhich they lived. But although they 
had " solemnly left the matter to God " for a decision, vague suspi- 
cions of some human agency in the result obtained, arose in the 
minds of many. They therefore, in a peaceable and orderly manner, 
took the following rational action in the premises. 

" Woodbury June 22nd IGSl. 

'" At a Lawful Town Meeting whereas notwithstanding former endeavors for 
y- settlement of y« place for a meeting House lor publick worship in Woodbury, 
there yet remaining something of scruple, and these indeed not yet successful!, 
and particularly a lot drawn upon that account. To prevent contention and 
that peace and union may be obtained and continued, we have agreed and 
consented that to refer y« decision of y« s'^' Lot with y'= circumstances thereto 
relating, wether y' Lot were regular or unlawfuU to y"^ isue and determination 
of our honorable friends Major Treat Dep. Govenor and Major Gold, and in 
case y« abovementioned Majors do not determine an isue of themselues we do 
fully leave it to them to make choice of a 3'' person to act in thee afaires herein 
cxprest. In case y' Lot be determined regular y' work is finished and we will 
acquies therein. If y= Lot is irregular then we refer y« whole settlement of a 
place for a meeting House unto them, and we do hereby engage and bind 

1 W. T. R., vol. 1, p. 91. 


ourselves to rest fully satisfied with what isue and determination shall be by 
our honorable friends, or any two of them concluded on. 

Per JNO. MINOR Recorder. 

" The same day and time y^ town made choice of John Minor to present this 
act of y° town to y* above named honorable friends, and to solicit to as speedy 
an action herein as with their convenience, y" which he speedily did, and 
y« Gentlemen came to Woodbury upon y' 4 of July next following, and haveing 
considered y« affaires gave in the following conclusion and settlement upon 
y^S'hof July, 1681. 

" Woodbury, July S'*", IGSl. Inanswertoy' desires of our neighbors and good 
friends of y^ town of Woodbury aforesaid to refer y« answer and resolution 
where there procedure were regular in and about y' casting a lot for y'= i^lace of 
ye setting a Meeting House unto us Robert Treat and Nathan Gold, which after 
we had heard and considered what was on both hands said pro and con in the 
matter, we return-cd our answer in ye negative, and whereas ye whole settle- 
ment and determination of y^ place of ye setting of ye meeting house was also 
then refered to us ye s'^ Robert Treat and Nathan Gold with liberty of new 
choice of a third man in case we found need, and accordingly we made choice 
of Nicholas Camp to be ye man, and after we had heard what was said, and 
viewed ye several places propounded, we did jointly agree and determine 
ye place of ye setting up of their s** meeting house is to be on ye right hand of a 
hollow where goes down ye Cart way from M' Walker's house to the corn mill 
about twenty rod below his house, where we pitched down a stake, and that 
this is our determination may appear by our Joint subscribing our names ye day 
and year above written. 

Robert Treat Sen^ 
Nathan Gold, 
to the latter part Nicholas Camp 

Dilligently Recorded from ye original at ye same time 

A 72 c^tmcrO: ^^^cco^^Z: 

The site here indicated, is that now occupied by the carriage house 
of Hon. N. B. Smith. This fixes the location of the corn mill, and 
that of Pai-son Walker's house, where Mr. Levi S. Douglass now 
lives, as well as that of the meeting-house. 

The decision of the committee appears to have given satisfaction to 
the town, and the work of building immediately commenced. The 
dimensions of this house are not preserved, but it was of a large size 
for those times, and was used as a place of worship till the erection of 
the second meeting-house in 1747, a period of sixty-six years. The 
seats were raised one above the other, on either side of the center of 
the house, the pulpit being, as usual, at the end of the house opposite 
the 'entrance. The people were called to church on the Sabbath, by 


the beat of a drum upon the rock on which the Masonic Lodge now 
stands. The same instrument was used to call the people together 
on other days in the week, and for other purposes. It beat for meet- 
ings of the town, for the assembling of the train-band, and in cases of 
alarm in time of war. There was a particular beat for each of these 
occasions, but what was the difference in the roll of the drum ecclesi- 
astical, the drum military and the drum civil, is not known. During 
the perilous times of the French and Indian wars, guards were placed 
on Lodge Rock, and the rock the other side of the church, near Pom- 
peraug's grave, while the people, who also carried their arms, wor- 
shiped within. After the dedication of the second meeting-house, the 
old one was used as a town hall for many years, and also by the 
Episcopal Society for their service. Still later, it was used by Mr. 
Tallman for a slaughter-house. But it was many years ago taken 
down, and its place is now occupied as before stated. 

The first female born in "Woodbury, was Sarah, daughter of Sam- 
uel Sherman, Jun., and the first male, Thomas, son of John Wheeler. 
They were both born in 1673, and baptized in Stratford. 

The first three children born and baptized in Woodbury, after the 
war with the Indians, were Bezaleel, son of Edmond Sherman, and 
Emm and Sarah Fairchild, whose baptism took place 11th April, 
1G75-6. The first marriage appearing on the records is that of 

"Benj" Hinman and Elizabeth Lumm, both of Woodbury, in ye County of 
Fairefield, in his Majes'^ Collony of Connecticott were niarrifd ; Man and AVife ; 
yetwelvelh day of July; one thousand six hundred eighty and foure as attested 
und' ye hand of Justice Rickbell, who married them." 

The first death on record is that of " Henry Castle, sen', after a long 
sickness above a twelve-moneth," 2 Feb., 1697-8. But there were, 
doubtless, both marriages and deaths in the town previous to this 
date. ^ 

The first wheelwright who settled in the town was Samuel Munn, 
whose home-lot was laid out to him in 1681. In 1688, he contracted 
with Parson Walker to make him a cart and cart-wheels for a piece 
of land, " only Mr. Walker is to cart the timber to said Munn's, and. 
find iron as hoops." 

Dr. Trumbull, in his History of Connecticut, says, that in 1713, 
" there was but one clothier in the colony. The most he could do 
was to full the cloth which was made. A great proportion of it was 
worn without shearing or pressing.'" 

1 Hist, of Coun., vol. 1, p. 478. 


If this assertion is corr^t, and we see no reason to doubt it, "Wood- 
bury was the location of that first clothier, and Abraham Fulford Avas 
the man. In the month of January, 1700, we find the following 
record, signed by foi'ty-four of the principal inhabitants of the town. 

" We whose names are hereunto subscribed do hereby Grant unto Abraham 
FuUford, a well accomplished person both for combing wooll, weaving and 
fulling cloth : if he se cause to cohabitt in this town, and be beneficiall upon 
\-e s<^ accounts a tenn acre accommodations in Woodberry : January 1700."' 

lie saw " cause" to accept the offer, and his home-lot was laid out 
next to that of Ens. Samuel Stiles, the town miller. Other lands 
were laid out to him at Scuppo, Hull's Brook, Good Hill, and Grassy 
Hill. From a de^ed dated 3d April, 1712, it appears that his fulling 
mill was on the East Sprain, near the " East Meadow Rocks." 

At the October session of the General Court, 1665, it was enacted 
that every town in the colony should have a town brand, and one 
chosen in each town to brand all the horses owned therein, and make 
an entry in a book, kept for that purpose, of all horses so branded, 
" w'^ their naturall and artificiall marks." For this service he had 
six[)ence for each horse so branded and entered. The brand of Wood- 
bury was the letter P, and was identical with that of Stratford, the 
parent town. The original town brand was in existence a few years 
since, and was to be seen at John P. Marshall's hotel. 

In May, 1675, the General Court appointed a committee to layout 
a highway from " Woodbury to Pawgasuck to the most convenient 
place for a ferry, and allso to lay out a convenient parcell of land for 
a ferry place." Stratford was also ordered to lay out a highway 
from that place to the ferry. This was the first action toward open- 
ing a communication between Woodbury and Stratford. At the May 
session, 1G77, the committee reported that they had located the ferry 
" at the lower end of the old Indian field" in Derby, and " for the 
incouragement of a ferryman" they laid out eight acres of land in 
said "old field," and twenty acres in other convenient places near the 
ferry, together with the right to the other divisions depending on 

" LIvetenant Joseph Judson declared that if the inhabitants of Derby would 
put in a ferryman in convenient time, they were content, or els upon notice 
given they of Woodbury would put in one whome the tovvne of Derby should 
apjirove for an inhabitant, and that without any charge to Derby or the coun- 

1 W. T. E., vol. 2, p. 29, 2 Col. 



It seems that this otTer of Lieut. Jiulson was accepted, and that he 
either furnished a man, or acted himself as the first ferrj^man. In 
January, 108.'), he conveyed these ''ferry accommochvtions" to Ileniy 
Hill, of Woodbury, upon condition that he would, "at his own charge 
and cost," keep '• a suitable ferry-boat always in readiness, and ferry 
over travelers from Woodbury, or elsewhere, seasonably and readilyr 
and jjarticularly those from "Woodbury, at sixpence for a horse and 
man.'" This with the highway, furnished a very satisfactory com- 
munication with Stratford, and was their only communication with 
Stratford and with the world beyond them. 

Doct. Butler Bedient was the first physician who settled in the 
town, but at what exact date is not known. His name first appears 
in the North Purchase rate in 1712. He had evidently been here 
somewhat earlier than that. History is silent as to his merits and 
qualifications in the healing art, but it is fair to presume from the well- 
known intelligent character of the first settlers, that his acquirements 
must have been respectable, or he would not have been admitted an 

Nearly contemporary with the latter, was Doctor Ebenezer War- 
ner, a man of more skill and greater note in his profession, and in the 
town. He left a large posterity, and his descendants, at the present 
time, are numeious. He often went abroad to practice in the neigh- 
boring plantations. To prevent this, and secure his valuable ser- 
vices, the town granted him sixty acres of land in the •riginal town 
plot, " for his Incurigement to practice phissick in y^ town and attend 
the sick in y® town rather than strangers."^ He lived to a good old 
age, useful in his sphere, and respected by the people ; and died car- 
rying with him the commendations of all who knew him. 

The names of .the various localities in the ancient town, were nearly 
all established within the first few years after its settlement. Among 
these were Good Hill, Grassy Hill, Chestnut Tree Hill, Ash Swamp, 
Alder Swamp, and Moose Horn Hill. Saw-pit Hill early received its 
name, from the manner of sawing trees or logs upon its sides. A 
hole or pit was dug in the ground, a log placed over it, and in the 
operation of sawing, one man stood in the pit, and the other on the 
log. Ram-pit Hill, which is near Robert Peck's house, received its 
name from a pit which was dug to entrap a wolf, that had been 

1 W. T. R., vol. 1, p. 92. 2 W. T. R., vol. 2, p. 121. 


making great havoc among the sheei^. A ram was placed within it, 
as an inducement for the wolf to enter during the night. The lure 
proved sufficient. In the morning the wolf was found in the pit, and 
the ram, instead of being devoured, had defended himself with so 
much spirit and bravery, that' he had reduced the wolf to a state of 
great docility. The wolf was dispatched, and his companion re- 

White Deer Rocks are situated westerly from Quasapaug Pond, 
and have retained their name from the first settlement, from the 
abundance of deer that were found in those wild solitudes, occasion- 
ally venturing with dainty tread to the borders of the lake, to drink 
its silvery waters. Many of these were white, and hence the name. 
The Lightning's Playground is east of the Orenaug Rocks. Ragland 
is the rough ridge of hills south-west of the village of Woodbury. 
Scuppo is a place in the south-easterly part of the present town of 
Woodbury. Carmel Hill is in the western pan of Bethlem. Tophet 
Hollow is in the east part of Roxbury. Hooppole is south-west of 
Hotchkissville. Hazel Plain lies along the West Sprain. Wee- 
keepeemee lies on the North Sprain, or Weekeepeemee River, so 
called from an Indian sagamore, who once had his hunting grounds 
in this place. Flanders is in the north part of the present town of 
Woodbui-y, and Transylvania lies on the brook of the same name, in 
the south part of the town. There are numerous other local names 
in the ancient limits, but the above must suffice for the present. 

During the period under consideration, much of the outer clothing 
of our fathei's was made of the skins of deer and other animals. The 
former were in great demand. As early as 1G77, the General Court 
made a law that no "skinns of bucks and dowes, which are so ser- 
uiceable and vsefull for cloathing," should be transported out of the 
colony, on pain of forfeiture of the skins so shipped, and that they 
should not be sent for sale to any other place in the colony, till a suf- 
ficient bond to the value of the skins was given, that they should be 
delivered at the place proposed, and not be carried thence. Accord- 
ingly, we find in all the early inventories of estates, and even in those 
of a hundred years' later date, leather breeches, coats and other arti- 
cles of attire, prominent articles for appraisal. 

Another article used in those early days, strikes us of the present 
time with astonishment, and that is the enormous wooden shoes worn 
by our fathers. It is difficult for us to imagine, how they contrived to 
accomplish the process of locomotion with such ungainly contrivances 


for the feet. This subject also enj^'agcd the attention of the General 
Court in 1G77, and it was ordered that 

" No slmoinakoi- Minll take above five ponce half-penny a size for all plaync 
and wooden hecld shoes, for nil sizes above mens senens, three soled shoes w.ll 
made and wrought, nor above scTen pence half-penny a size for well wrought 
French falls." 

'\\''itli such impediments, one would tliink it no ;jreat credit to the 
Puritan Fathers, that they abstained from the " vain and sinful 
amusement of dancing," for it would seem impossible to be conven- 
iently done, even with their best pair of " French fiills." 

Our fathers were somewhat punctilious in matters of etiquette. 
Olficial station was held by them in high estimation, and the titles be- 
longing even to the lowest grades of public sen-ice, especially if that 
grade was military, were always scrupulously bestowed- on the pos- 
sessor of them. In the early records, and in their intercourse with 
each other, Corporal Martin was as naturally addressed by his title, 
as Col. Minor. The title of Mr. was a title of honor, by which min- 
isters, deacons, constables,^ (very important officers at that date,) 
assistants, judicial functionaries, and other distinguished characters^ 
were addressed. Church members called each other brethren and 
sisters. Other individuals were characterized as Goodman, Good- 
wife or Neighbor. How greatly times are changed! Little respect 
for titles of any kind now remains. Every man is called INIr. or Esq., 
and every woman " Mrs., 3Iadain or Lady /" 

In 1687, the colony of Connecticut, with the rest of New England, 
was filled with anxiety and alarm, on account of the pretensions and 
proceedings of Sir Edmund Andross. Woodbury, secure in its re- 
tirement among the hills, in the interior of the colony, was not so 
much excited with apprehension as other towns. 

No allusion to the advent of that bad man appears on its records, 
nor was the usual action, in their town meetings, in any manner 
changed, except that no representatives were elected to the General 
Court. He dissolved the General Court at Hartford, wn-ote " Finis" 
on its records, and assumed the reins of government, October 31st, 
1G87. Tlic colony had always lived under governors elected by 

1 Tlie ancient townis chose their on^, Gnistuhle, who was to them the rifjht arm of 
tl>e king liiniRelf, a functionary treated with reverent awe, and obeyed with implicit 
deference. AVhoever resisted his power, resisted the ordinance of God. — Porter's 
ITistoi-ij of Farviinglon^ Conn, 



themselves, while the other colonies were suffering the tyrannies of 
the royal governors, appointed by the crown. This was the first, 
and only interruption to this right, which it had always maintained, 
and continued for eighteen months.' After the imprisonment of An- 
dross, by the citizens of Boston, in April, 1689, Connecticut resumed 
its government, and "Woodbury was represented by Capt. John Minor 
and Lt. Israel Curtiss, in the General Court, which was immediately 

In April, 1G93, the town voted, that for the future each one who 
should be admitted as an inhabitant, should be received free from 
payments for past expenses, should subscribe the " fundamental arti- 
cles," should build " a tenantable house," make " actual improvement" 
of his land six years, and " clear and break up" at least six acres of 
land in said six years, before he should have a right to sell his land. 
The penalty for not conforming to this rule was forfeiture of his land 
and improvements to the town. 

In 1702, a division of the meadow on Shepaug River was made to 
the landholders of Woodbury, from which it appears that there were 
at this date seventy-eight householders, or heads of families, as no 
others would be entitled to a portion of the land. The families in 
those days were larger than at present, and this number would show, 
that Woodbury must hjjve contained, at that date, five or six hunch-ed 
inhabitants, perhaps more. The list follows. 

Eleazer Kiiowles, 
Ebenezer Warner, 
Elizabeth Walker, 
John Roots, 
John Skeel, Jun , 
Thomas Squire, Jim., 
Benjamin Hinman, 
Joseph Hicock, 
John Mitchell, 
Deacon Mitchell, 
Lieut. Stiles, 
John Curtiss, 
Thomas Minor, 
Sergeant Johnson, 
Benjamin Stiles, 
Zeohariah Walker, 
Mr. Judson, 
Isaac Castle, 
Nathaniel Tuttle, 
John Huthwit, 

Mr. Stoddard, 
Samuel Jenner, 
John Judson, Jun., 
Capt. Minor, 
Widow Preston, 
John Hurlbut, 
]Mr. Bryan, 
John Nichols, 
James Beers, 
John Pierce, 
Josiah Nichols, 
John Wheeler, 
Jonathan Attwood, 
John Stratton, 
Caleb Nichols, 
John Bartiett, 
Samuel Blakely, 
Ephraim Minor, 
Ebenezer Hurd, 
John Hnrlbut, Jun 
Sergeant Galpin, 

Henry Castle, Jun., 
Samuel Castle, 
Roger TerriU, 
Cornelius Brownson, 
Joseph Waller, 
Titus Hinman, 
Benjamin Hicock, 
Israel Curtiss, 
Lieut. Curtiss, 
Thomas Applebee, 
Joseph Minor, 
Abraham Fulford, 
John Davis, 
Henry Castle, 
William Marks, 
Samuel Munn, 
William Martin, 
John Thomas, 
Thomas Drakely, 
John Minor, Jun., 
John Faron, 


William Roberts, Rol)ert Wariior, Jnsepli Ilicock, Jun., 

Thomas IK-dii-iit, William FR-dcrick, David Jc-iikiiis, 

Josopli Ilnrd, SiT!.'oaiit Siiiiin-, John Skc'el,Jun., 

Josepli llnrlbut, Jim., John Wliiilir, Jnn., Joiin Sherman, 

Samuel llinman, S-rireant llurd, William Preston. 

Tlio first blacksiuitli in AV()0(lI)ury of whom the records give us 
any information, was I)ea, Samuel Bull, who came here from Far- 
mington, and the inhabitants granted him May 13th, 1706, a "ten 
acre accommodation," provided he should " cohabit with us six years, 
and Carie on the trade of a Smith in tlie town." 

The first application for a divorce in the town was made by Jona- 
than Taylor, October 10th, 1708, to the General Court. He asked 
divorce from his wife, on the ground of her endeavoring to " take his 
life, by her violence, deserting him, and living with Joseph AUin, a 
negro, at Sackett's Farm, New York." The case was duly consid- 
ered and the divorce granted. For such causes it would seem that it 
was well granted. 

As has been stated, the home-lots on which all other divisions of 
land were grounded, and, in proportion to which, they were granted, 
differed in size from ten to twenty-five acres. Bachelors received the 
smallest number, as we learn from a grant made to Jehiel Preston. 
On the 13th of May, 1706, there was granted him a "five acre ac- 
commodation in all the divisions, that is the half of a Bachelor's ac- 
commodation." Whether he was considered but half a bachelor, or 
what the reason was for granting him but half a home-lot, does not 
appear. It would seem from this fact, that bachelors were then con- 
sidered of little account, as has been the case in most communities, 
both before and since that day. 

In the beginning of 1707, reports of an expedition by the French 
and Indians against some part of New England, gave general alarm 
to the country. On the Gth of February of that year, a council of 
war convened at Hartford, consisting of the governor, most of the 
council, and many of the chief military otficers of the colony. In- 
formation of various kinds Avas received ; among the rest, that suspi- 
cions were entertained, that the Pootatuck and AVyantenuck Indians 
designed to join the French and Indians. 

The council determined that the western frontier towns, Simsbury, 
Waterbury, Woodbury and Danbury, should be fortified with the ut- 
most expedition. It was resolved that each of these four towns 
should keep a scout of two faithful men, to be sent out every day, to 
discover the designs of the enemy, and give intelligence should they 


make their appearance near the frontier. The people of TVoodbury, 
with great alacrity, set about the work of preparing defenses. They 
repaired the fortified houses of Isaac Judson, in Judson Lane, Capt. 
John Minor and Rev. Anthony Stoddard. They also put in order 
the one that stood on the site now occupied by Mr. Horace Kurd's 
new house, the Bronson house in Transylvania, and others whose 
. location are not known. So great was the zeal shown by this town, 
in common with others, that the General Court made them a liberal 

To prevent damage from the Pootatuck and "Wyantenuck Indians, 
Capt. John Minor and Mr. John Sherman were appointed to remove 
them to Stratford and Fairfield. If by reason of sickness or any oth- 
er cause, they could not be removed, it was ordained that a number 
of their chief men should be carried down to those towns, and kejit as 
hostages to secure the fidelity of the rest. No difficulties, however, 
occurred between the whites and these Indians, but they continued at 
peace with them, while they existed as distinct clans. 

At the October session of 1708, it was enacted, that garrisons 
should be kept at Woodbury, and the other towns mentioned above. 
During this year, a body of Indians appeared in AYest Side, and drove 
the people, by their sudden and formidable appearance, into the forti- 
fied houses. "What their intention was in coming is not known. If 
their design was a hostile one, no doubt the watchfulness of the people, 
and the strength of their fortifications, warned them that it was better 
for them to depart, which they accordingly did, without attempting to 
do any damage. 

During the continuance of this war, it is related, that one Sabbath 
evening, after the conclusion of the services at church, while the Rev. 
Mr. Stoddard was walking in his garden near the Cranberry Pond, 
he discovered an Indian skulking among the surrounding trees and 
bushes. Apparently without noticing the movements of the Indian, 
he contrived to reenter his house, and obtain his gun. After playing 
the same game of skulking with his adversary for a while, Mr. Stod- 
dard got a fair view of him, discharged his piece, and he fell among 
the bushes. He dared not investigate farther that night, but having 
quietly given the alarm, the inhabitants sought their palisaded houses 
for the night. Early in the morning, he discovered another red foe, 
in the vicinity of his companion, whom lie also laid low with his 
musket. By this time the people had assembled, and after scouring 
the country, in all directions, for several hours, and no other savages 
being found, the alarm subsided. 



Beginning with King Philip's war, in which it furnished more than 
its just share of men, being then little more than two years old, 
"Woodbury has always furnished her men liberally, for all the wars 
which have arisen in which our country has been interested. In that 
fruitless and fatal expedition to Wood Creek, under Gen. Nicholson, 
of the royal service, to assist in the reduction of INIontreal and Que- 
bec, in 1709, Connecticut furnished her full quota of men, and Wood- 
bury her full share of that quota, which was nine. This undertaking 
was a serious loss and expense to the colonies. More than one-fourth 
of the troops died. Connecticut, however, more fortunate than the 
rest, sustained only the loss of ninety men. Of this number, two 
were of Woodbury, viz., Sergeant Thomas Skeel and John J. John- 
son, who died a few days after their return home,, of disease con- 
tracted by exposui-e in the camp. In 1713, peace was made with 
Fi-ance, the Indians buried the tomahawk, and peace once more glad- 
dened the colonies. 

Forty years had elapsed since the planting of the town, and it now 
held a very respectable rank among its sister towns of the colony. 
New inhabitants had been admitted besides those already given, but, 
from the imperfection of the records it has been deemed best not to 
attempt to give the dates of arrival. The purchase rate, or tax for 
paying the expense of obtaining the North Purchase, laid in 1712, is 
given below, as the most perfect list of householders that can be 
offered. It also gives the amount of their estates. The list contains 
a hundred aud tw^enty-five names, showing a population of about a 
thousand at this date. 

" A Rate according to town order for the Xortli Purchase, by those apjioint- 
c\\ by the town to make the same, and hereto subscribing, April, 1712." 

£, s. d. £ s. ct. £ s. d. 

Capt. Sherman 2 2 Samuel Bull 3 3 Noah Ilinman 2 2 

Cupt. John Minor 2 2 Samuel Jenner 3 3 Timothy Walker 2 2 

Mr. Anth. Stoddard 2 2 Nathaniel Tuttle 2 2 John Squire 2 2 

Ephraim Tuttle 2 2 Joseph IMartin 2 2 

John Bartlit 2 2 Samuel Knowles 2 2 

Samitel Sherman 2 2 Benj. Ilurd Jun. 2 2 

John Wheeler Sor. 4 4 Eliphalet Judson 2 2 

John Wheeler Jr. 2 2 Samuel Hicoek 2 2 

Joseph Kurd 4 4 Thomi\s Mallory 2 2 

Adino Strong 4 4 John Kurd 2 2 

Thomas Wheeler 2 2 Elnathan Strong 4 4 

William Gaylord 022 Joseph Galpin 22 

William Preston 2 2 Jno. Baker, 2 2 

Jehiel Preston 2 2 Ilobert Warner 2 2 

Mr. Judson dec'd 4 4 

William Martin 2 2 

John Nichols 2 2 

Valentine Prentice 2 2 

John Minor 2 2 

Samuel Minor 2 2 

Roger Terrell 2 2 

Stephen Terrell 2 2 

Jonathan Atwood 2 2 

JcJin Judsoji Jr. 4 1 

Joseph Judson 2 2 


£s d. 

Jonathan Jndson 

2 2 

Thomas ]Miiior 

2 2 

Jo-seph Minor 

2 2 

Ephraim Minor 

2 2 

Josiah Minor 

2 2 

Benja Galpin 

2 2 

Doctr Warner 

2 2 

Ensign iNIitchel 

4 4 

JohnMitchel, Jor 


Thos. Squire, dd. 

4 4 

Thos. Sipiire,Jor 


Ebenezer Squire 

2 2 

Joseph Booth 

4 4 

Dea Mitchel 

4 4 


Jonatlian Mitchel 2 2 

John Root 

4 4 

Josiah Root 

2 2 

Henry Castie 

2 2 

Jo. Hurlbut, Sor. 

2 2 


Jo. Hurlbut, Jor. 

2 2 

Jo. Wallar 

2 2 


2 2 

Jonathan Hurbut 2 2 

Jno Hurlbut 

2 2 

Jno Thojnas 

2 2 

Cor""^ Brownson 

2 2 

Will Mark 

2 2 

Thomas Drakly 

2 2 


John Curtiss 

Stephen Curtiss 

Joseph Hicock 

Francis Stile 


Thomas Knowles 

Sergant Johnson 

John Johnson 

Moses Johnson' 

John Skeel, Sor. 

John Skeel, Jor. 

Thomas Skeel 

Samuel Stiles 

Eben. Brownson 

Benjamin Hicock 

John Pierce, Sor. 

John Pierce, Jor. 

John Huthvvit 

Benj Hinman 

Adam Hinman 

Titus Hinman 

Samuel Hinman 

Mr. Bryan 

Lt. Curtiss ^ 

Israel Curtiss 

Samuel Squire 
Thomas and John 




£ s. d. 

3 3 

Jeremiah Thomas 2 2 

2 2 

Jno Sherman 

2 2 

4 4 

NathanielHurlbutO 2 2 

4 4 

Cori"s Brownson 

2 2 

.3 3 

Roger Terrill, Jr. 

2 2 

2 2 

John Thomas 

2 2 

3 3 

Henry Castle 

2 2 

2 2 

Isac Castle 

2 2 

2 2 

Sam'' Blakly 

2 2 

3 3 

Jonathan Hough 

2 2 

2 2 

Will Fradriek 

2 2 

2 2 

Joshua Curtiss 

2 2 

2 2 

Will Castle 

2 2 

2 2 

Samuel Martin 

2 2 

3 3 

Sam'' Castle 

2 2 

2 2 

Josiah Nichol 


2 2 

Sergant Hurd 

5 5 

2 2 

Ebenr Hurd 

4 4 


Robert Hurd 

2 2 

2 2 

Dea. Walker 

3 3 

5 5 

Daniel and Samut 


3 3 


6 6 

S 4 

John Davis 

2 2 

2 2 

Doctor Butler foi 

2 2 

Thomas Bedient 2 2 

2 2 

Hezekiah Tuttle 

2 2 

Andrew Hinman 

2 2 

It will have been noticed, that great minuteness has been ol)served, 
in tracing the history of the early fathers to this point, and not with- 
out reason. There is an interest lingering about the history, sayings 
and doings of those iron-hearted men, which belongs to no later race. 
The most trivial details, in regard to them, seem important, and we 
gather them up with ever increasing interest. It was they who sub- 
dued this wilderness land, and established here our happy homes, and 
the germ of our enduring liberties. It Avas they who laid here the 
foundations, deep and broad, of our religious institutions, and, when 
they themselves had no " temple made with hands," in which to wor- 
ship the God of their fathers, led their children to the secluded fast- 
ness of Bethel Rock, to pour forth their prayers and praise. In later 
years, when they, by the labor of their own hands, had been able to 
erect a house to worship in, they devoutly gathered, on the holy Sab- 
bath morn, themselves and their households, to thank the Great Cre- 
ator for the undeserved blessings which they enjoyed, while guards 


wtitclietl without against the dangers of suilden ambuscade. It was 
they who Laid the first foundation of the educational institutions which 
Ave now enjoy. The few errors they had, were errors of the head 
and not of the lieart. They labored amid difficulties, and we have 
entered into the results of those labors. They sleep well, in these 
religious vales, far from the land of their fathers. "The dark brown 
years" have passed over the sacred mounds which cover them, for 
many generations. Is it wonderful, then, that their posterity linger 
with a sad interest over the lightest trace of their doings ? Is it 
strange, that we notice, with approbation, acts which, at the present 
day, would be unworthy of remark? Who can contemplate the hard- 
ships, labors and dangers of our ancestors, their self-denial, magna- 
nimity, firmness, and perseverance in defending and transmitting to 
us the fairest inheritance, and not highly esteem and venerate their 
characters ? It must be, that a proper estimate of the wisdom, so- 
briety, industry, economy and integrity, which enabled our fathers to 
do so much, will induce us, their descendants, to emulate their ex- 
ample, and by constant vigilance, to hand down untarnished, our dis- 
tinguished liberties and happiness to the latest generation. 




1C39 TO 1774 ; Formation and Western tendency of the Trtbes ; Succession 
OF Ci.ANs, WErAWAUGS, Paugussetts, Pootatucks, Wyantenucks and Scat- 
ACooKS ; The Mohawks oppress the Western Indians ; Pomperaug, the 
First Pootatuck Sacheji ; His Burial Place; Character and Religion 
of the Pootatucks; Great Powwow of 1720; Human Sacrifices; Le- 
gend of^Uethel Kock ; Legend of Squaw Rock; Legend of Nonnewaug 
Falls ; Their Numbers ; List of Pootatucks ; Watchibrok's Disclosure ; 
The Wampum Belt ; Restrictions upon the L\dians ; Caleb Martin's 
Petition; Lieut. Ebenezer Warner's Petition; Treaty; Cockshure's 
Island and Tummasseete's Old Orchard ; Location of Pootatuck Vil- 
lage ; Romantic View ; Religious Efforts ; Atchetoset's Petition ; 
Mowehu's Petition; Sale of South Purchase in 1733; Weraumaug; 
Mr. Boardman prays three hours with him ; Gideon Mauwehu forms 
the Scatacook Clan; Moravian JMissio.naries; Sale of Pootatuck in 
1759; Indian Relics; Burial Grounds; Reflections. 

Before the adveiit of Columbus, geographical science was at a 
low ebb. The mind had not learned to expand in lofty speculations? 
to seek out the hidden resources and boundless extent of nature's do- 
mains. Its loftiest flights were limited ; its conclusions erroneous and 
absurd. Against the western shores of Europe dashed the majestic 
waves of the broad Atlantic, but all beyond was unknown, an un- 
fathomable abyss. " Darkness sat upon the face of the waters," and 
to the minds of men, " all was without form and void." They thought 
of what Avas beyond the western waters with superstitious dread. 
The earth in their view Avas an extended jjlain, from whose edges the 
incautious traveler must inevitably fall. The fearful mariner scarce- 
ly dared to trust his bark from sight of land, but, like the groping 
snail, took his slow course along the jutting coasts. 

"With Columbus the scene changed. Darkness began to fly away, 
and the mists of the mind to be dispelled. That bold adventurer 
came forth the advocate of new and strange doctrines. In energetic • 
language, he urged " there is land beyond the blue waves of the 


mighty Atlantic. A new continent will be discovered in those un- 
known regions. After years of disapiJointnient and difficulty, he 
takes his course across those fearful waters, where never mariner 
ventured before. Storms were on the deep, and the "sea was con- 
trary." Dangers from the elements, and the groundless fears of his 
men beset him, but he persevered ; and as the reward of his labors 
and trials, a new world burst upon his sight. A beautiful scene was 
befo;'e him, and novelties of every kind continually met his delighted 
gaze. A singular race of men inhabited these new regions, not liv- 
ing in comfortable dwellings, suri'ounded by verdant fields, which 
they cultivated, but wandering in small elans, in the dense forests, 
among the lofty mountains, by the mui'muring streams, and along tlie 
meandering rivers. This people were destitute of the arts of civili- 
zed life — had strange rites and unheard of customs. Notwithstand- 
ing this, in one part of their domains appeared mounds of cui'ious con- 
struction, in another ruins as of cities and temples, pyramids inscribed 
with hieroglyphics, and specimens of rude statuary. In still another 
part, were found some of them enjoying a degree of civilization. All 
this appeared ; yet they had been hitherto unknown, and insulated 
from the rest of the world. 

This rude and barbarous race Avas scattered throughout the whole 
extent of the continent. The Indians were less numerous in Con- 
necticut and other northern territories, than in states farther south. 
Almost every early town in the State had more or less of these people 
within its borders, in the early part of its settlement. Woodbury was 
no exception to the rule in this respect. An important and numer- 
ous, though peaceful tribe, dwelt within its limits for nearly a century 
after its first settlement. 

De Forest, in his intei'esting work on tlie " History of iIk; Indians 
of Connecticut," dismisses the Indians of Woodbury in the ibllowing 
summary manner : 

"North-west of the Paugussetts, within the limits of Newtown, Southbury, 
Woodbuiy, and some other townshijis, resided a chin known as tiie Potatiuks. 
Their insignificance is sufhciently proved by the almost total silence of anlhors 
concerning them, and by their noiseless disappearance." 

It is believed, if the author had made a somewhat more careful 
inquiry, he would hardly have placed the Pootatucks so much below 
the otlier tribes of Connecticut. If to live quietly and peaceably in 
imitation of their white neighbors,when well used by them, is a proof 
of " insignificance," then the Pootatucks richly deserved that epithet. 


If to make a " noiseless disappearance " by death, at the tnne ap- 
pointed by Providence, constitutes a title to " insignificance," then 
the people of this tribe were verily guilty. The whites ever culti- 
vated friendship with these Indians. They purchased their lands, 
from time to time, in good faith, and for considerations satisfjictory 
to the parties. They allowed them to build wigwams, and live on 
the very lands which they had purchased of them, and cut their fire- 
wood on the uninclosed lands. They granted them the privilege of 
attending their schools and religious assemblies. These kind offers 
were by many of them accepted. Some of their children gained the 
rudiments of knowledge, many of them put themselves under the 
care of the ministers of the town, and some of them became approved 
members of the churches. Some of them cultivated their lands like 
the whites, and enjoyed the decencies of civihzation. They, no 
doubt, were a race greatly inferior to the whites, and as such finally 
dwindled away, but in no manner different from the other tribes of 
the State. Such being the case, the " silence of authors " can prove 
very little one way or the other. 

So far as can be leai'ned, there were never any wars among the 
tribes of Indians in the western part of Connecticut, found there by 
the first settlers, or among those formed afterward. It was not un- 
usual among the small tribes of the State, for the son of a sachem to 
leave the " old home " with a few followers, and form a subordinate 
clan under the former ; or for two brothers of the " blood royal " to 
agree on a division of the hunting grounds ; and thus form, in time, 
distinct tribes, which always remained in strict alliance- The Poo- 
tatucks in this way had clans at Nonncwaug, Bantam, Wyantenuck, 
besides their principal seat on the Ilousatonic. From a careful 
inspection of the scanty facts remaining in regard to these matters, 
there is little doubt that all the Connecticut clans, except the Pe- 
quots, were only fragments of one great tribe, of which the principal 
branches wei'e the Xehantics and Narragansetts, dispersed and bro- 
ken by some such process as this, aided perhaps by incursions from 
outside foes. 

" The Nehantics of Lyme, for instance, were clearly related to the 
Nehantics of Ehode Island ; Sequassen, chief of the Farmington and 
Connecticut River countries, was a connection of the Narragansett 
sachems ; and the Indians of Windsor, subjects of Sequassen, were 
closely united to the WepaAvaugs of Milford. Thus various connec- 
tions might be traced between the Narragansetts and the tribes of 
western Connecticut, while both united in holding the Pequots in 


abljoiTciu-c, and seldom bore any otlier relations to them than those 
of enemies or of unwilling subjects.'" The Paugussetts* of Derby, 
Stratford and other townships, and the AVepawaugs of Milford, were 
but one people divided into two elans. The names of the chiefs of 
both are appended to the various deeds of sale found on the records 
of both :\Iilford and Stratford. As the Wcpawaug clan waned, while 
a few joined the Six Nations, the larger part took up their abode 
with the Paugassetts, whose principal seat was in Derby, where they 
had a fgrtress on the Ilousatonic River, about half a mile above its 
junction with the Naugatuck. It is well established by record evi- 
dence, that there was a relationship between the sachems of the 
Paugassetts and those of the Pootatucks, and a close alliance between 
them, although the latter were entirely independent of the former. 
After parting with most of their lands, a part of the former removed 
to Golden Hill in Bridgeport, a part to Naugatuck Falls under 
Chuse, and the remainder joined the Pootatucks, which was at the 
first settling of Woodbury in 1672, by far the most powerful clan in 
the western part of Connecticut. The name's of their chiefs are 
appended to deeds of sale extending from " Pequonnock " in Bridge- 
port on the south, to Goshen and Torrington on the north, and from 
Waterbury on the east to the New York line on the west ; compri- 
sing the territory of fifteen towns surrounding and including "Wood- 
bury. After selling a large part of their lands in " Ancient "Wood- 
bury," many of the leading men of the tribe joined with others in 
forming the New JMilford tribe, which had previously been but a 
clan under the former. Although other Indians joined with them, 
they constituted a leading element in that tribe, and later in the tribe 
at Kent. The Indians had then, as now, a tendency locstivard. It 
might in truth be said, that the "Wepawaugs melted into the Paugas- 
setts, the Paugassetts into the Pootatucks, the Pootatucks into the 
"Wyantenucks, and the Wyantenucks into the Scatacooks. Wliile 
they maintained a separate existence as clans, they were in firm 
alliance in everything, offensive and defensive, and were closely 
linked by intermarriages. There was still another reason for their 
uninterrupted friendship and alliance. They were sorely harassed 
by the Pequots on the east, and the IMohawks on the west, especially 
before the coming of the whites. These oppressions continued in- 
deed till long after, those east of the Connecticut River being tributary 

1 I)e Forest's Hist, of the Indians of Connecticut. 

2 The name of this tribe is always spelled on the Woodbury Records, Pagasett. 


to the Pequots, and those west of it to the Mohawks. The Pequots, 
however, were soon broken up as a tribe by the wliites. Two old 
Moliawks might be seen, once in every year or t^yo, issuing their 
orders and collecting their tribute, with as much authority and aus- 
terity as a Roman dictator. Great was the fear of them in all 
western Connecticut. If they neglected to pay the tribute, the 
Mohawks would come against them, and plunder, destroy and carry 
them away captive. They would come down upon their pleasant 
valleys with the fearful cry, " We are come, we are come, to suck 
your blood." When they made their appearance, the Connecticut 
Indians would instantly raise a cry from hill to hill, " A Mohawk, a 
Mohawk," and fly, without attempting the least resistance, to their 
forts, and if they could not reach them, to the houses of the English 
for shelter. Sometimes their enemies would pursue them so closely, 
that they would enter the houses with them, and kill them in pres- 
ence of the family. If there was time to shut the doors, they never 
forced an entrance, nor did they on any occasion do the least harm 
to the English, always being on the most friendly terms with them. 
It is said that on these occasions, all the tribes on the Housatonic 
for a distance of two hundred miles, could communicate the intelli- 
gence to each other within two hours, by a system of cries and sig- 
nals from the chain of " Guarding Ilights," which they had estab- 
lished. One of these was Castle Rock in AVoodbury, and Mount 
Tom in Litchfield was another. There were others, both interme- 
diate and latei'al to these. 

Bancroft, speaking of the Indians of New England, says : 

" The clans, that disappeared iVom the ancient hunting grounds, did not 
always become extinct ; tliey ol'ten migrated to the north and west. The coun- 
try between the banks of the Connecticut and the Hudson was possessed by 
independent villages of the IV!ohegans, kiradredrwith the Manhattans, whose 
few smokes once rose amidst the forests of York Island." 

The Indians of these villages spoTce the same language, the Mohe- 
gan, which was, with some variation of dialect, the language common 
to all the aborigines of New England. 

The Pootatucks were known as a tribe from the date of the set- 
tlement of Milford and Stratford in 1630. At the date of the settling 
of these towns, Pomperaug was the sachem of this tribe. He was a 
chief of note among the western clans, had a strong fortress on Cas- 
tle Rock, and gave his name to the river that runs through Wood- 
bury, which name it bears to the present day. Although the princi- 

88 n I S T O R Y OF A X C I K N T "VV O O P n U U Y . 

pal seat of tins tribe was the Pootatuck village, on the north-east 
side of the Ilousatonic, ahout two miles al)ove Bennett's Bridge, in 
the present town of Southburj, yet Tomperaug on his death-bed, for 
some cause, chose to be buried by a small rock near the carriage- 
house of Hon. N. B. Smith. There was another village of the tribe 
in Nonncwaug, and a trail led from that village to Pootatuck village, 
by this grave, nearly on the line of the present street, as has been 
before stated. This trail had existed some twenty-live years before 
the settlement of Woodbury. In accordance with an Indian custom, 
each member of the tribe, as he passed that way, dropped a small 
stone upon the grave, in token of his respect for the fame of the 
departed. At the first settlement of the town, a large lieap of stones 
had accumulated in this way, and a large quantity remain to this 
day. It is related that a brother of Pomperaug, who was a medi- 
cine-man, or Powwow, was also buried at first in this place, near hiS 
brother; but was afterward disinterred, and buried in the Pootatuck 

Tiie next chief of whom w^e have any account, was Aquiorap, wlio 
ruled the tribe for a long period of years. His name appears in 
1662, on a deed of some land at Pequonnock in Bridgeport, which 
had been previously executed by Wompegan, sachem of Paugussett, 
and to which he now gave his assent. In the same instrument it is 
stated that he is related to "Wompegan. It is impossible now to state 
the exact time of the accession to office of each sachem, but we find 
from ancient documents Avomockomge sachem in 1G73, Coshushe- 
ougemy in 1679, Waramaukeag in 1685, Kesooshamaug in 1687, 
Wonibummaug in 1700, Nonnewaug in 1706, Chesqueneag in 1715, 
Qniump in 1733, and Mauquash in 1740. Mauquash was the last 
sachem, and died about 1758. He was buried under an apple-tree 
in the "old chimney lot," so called, now belonging to Amos Mitchell, 
a short distance east of the old " Eleazer Mitchell house." There 
was still quite a mound remaining over him a few years since. 
Nearly or quite all these had been sagamores, and several others 
held this station who did not arrive at the supreme dignity. Some 
of them became so attached to the villages they governed while saga- 
mores, that they gave orders to be buried there. Such was the case 
with Nonnewaug, who was buried under an apple-tree near Nonnc- 
waug Falls. A large hillock or jnound was raised over him, and 
remained, distinguishing his by its size from the other graves around 
him, till within two or three years, when the present owner of the 
field committed tire sacrilege of plowing it down, much to the regret 


of every antiquarian. Weekeepeemee was a sagamore, and was 
buried somewhere near the village of that name in "Woodbury ; but 
the locality is not now known. Shepaug, who gave his name to 
Shepaug River, Towecomis and Tummasseete, were sagamores among 
the Pootatucks before they joined the New Milford clan, and became 
so noted among them. Chesqueneag was for a time sachem before 
he removed to the Wyantenucks. Weraumaug, or Raumang, after- 
ward so distinguished a sachem at New Milford, was previously a 
counselor of note among the Pootatucks at their principal council- 
fire. In short, the Wyantenucks were but a clan of the Pootatucks/' 
as has been before stated. 

All agree that at the coming of the English settlers, the Indians 
were a race of savages, eking out a subsistence by hunting and fish- 
ing, with small quantities of corn, beans and squashes, which they 
raised, and nuts which they gathered. They lived for the most part 
in rude huts, and their morals were of a very loose character. They 
beheved in one great and invisible deity, who was benevolent in his 
nature, and had given them their corn and beans, and instructed 
them in their cultivation. He, however, in their estimation, troubled 
himself very little about the affairs of men. As they feared him not, 
they gave him veiy little of their veneration. But there was another 
powerful spirit, the author of all evil, to whom they paid the greatest 
respect. Fearing his power and supposed malignant disposition, 
they perfoi'med numerous dances in his honor, and made many sacri- 
fices to ward off liis wrath. It is believed that they went so far 
sometimes, as to offer human sacrifices. President Stiles, in his 
Itinerary, preserves an account of a great powwowing, which took 
place at the village of the Pootatucks, probably about 1720. An 
account of this is drawn from the president's manuscript by De- 
Forest, which follows : 

"The scene was witnessed by a Mrs. Bennett, then a little girl; and after 
her death was related by one of her children to the president. The ceremonies- 
lasted three days, and were attended, she said, by five or six hundred Indians, 
many of whom came from distant towns, as Hartford and Farmington. While- 
the Indians, excited by their wild rites and dark superstition, were standing in a, 
dense mass, a little girl, gaily dressed and ornamented, was led in among them, 
by two squaws, her mother and aunt. As she entered the crowd, the Indiana- 
set up their ' high pow-wows,' howling, yelling, throwing themselves intO' 
strange postures, and making hideous grimaces. Many white people stoo«S 
around gazing at the scene ; but such was the excited state of the savages, that,, 
although they feared for the child's safety, none of them dared to interfere, or 
to enter the crowd After a while the two sfj,uaws emerged alone froia ihee 



press, stripped of all their ornaments, and walked away shedding tears and 
uttering mournful cries. The informant, deeply interested in the fate of one so 
near her own age, ran up to the two women, and asked them what they had 
done with the little girl. Thoy would not tell her, and only replied that they 
should never see that litde girl again. The other Indians likewise remained 
silent on the subject; but Mrs. Bennett believed, and she said all the English 
then present believed, that the Indians had sacrificed her, and that they did at 
other times oiler human sacrifices." 

Bethel Rock has been before mentioned in these pages as the place 
where the first settlers convened for public worship, before the erec- 
tion of their first meeting-house. But 

" There is a tale about these grey old rocks, 
A story of unhappy love and sorrows. 
Borne aad ended long ago," 

which will ever render this locality a most romantic spot. The 
legend has been variously related, both orally and in printed accounts, 
as is by no means uncommon in legendary matters. There are some 
historical facts, however, which go far toward rendering probable the 
version of the story which will follow. Waramaukeag, who figure? 
as one of the characters in the affair, was a young Pootatuck, who 
became sachem of the tribe in 1G85, and was succeeded in the sa- 
-chemdom in 1687, the date of our story, by Kesooshamaug. so that he 
must have died about this date. The latter was the brotlier, and not 
the son of the former, who was never married. Sarah "Walker, the 
fcteroine of the story, was the niece of Mr. Walke:-, the fir^t minister. 
She was at this date, in her seventeenth year, having been born in 
1670, and we have no other account, or further knowledge of her, 
except that given in the legend. From these and other considera- 
tions, he who believes the legend true, will doubtless be held excusa- 
ble by charitable minds. 

"Waramaukeag, as the story goes, was an Indian of manly propor- 
tions, of a graceful figure, and finely molded limbs. He was highly 
intelligent, virtuous, and a fast friend of the whites. He constructed 
for himself a cabin of uncommon elegance, adopted many of the cus- 
toms of civilization, and cultivated a close acquaintance with his 
white neighbors. Among his friends he numbered the venerable 
pastor, Mr. Walker ; was often at his house, and on terms of much 
intimacy with him; while the latter embracing the opportunity thus 
offered, instructed him in matters of religious faith. 

In the early part of 1687, a niece of the old pastor, his Ijrother's 
child, came to the parsonage on a visit, which continued tli rough the 


summer. Sarah Walker was at this time in her seventeenth year, 
and the possessor of great beauty, and rare personal attractions. 
Without descending to particulars, she seemed the "rare ideal of 
feminine loveliness, such as often haunts the dreams of the imao'ina- 
ative and young, but seldom meets us in the walks of life." She was 
the type of innocence and purity. She was possessed of unaffected 
piety, and loved to wander in the beautiful sylvan retreats about the 
village. The place she preferred, and to which she oftenest resorted, 
for the quiet contemplation of nature and private devotion, was Bethel 
Rock, This she could easily reach by ascending the south point of 
the Orenaug Rocks, immediately back of her uncle's residence. 

Being frequently at the pastor's house, Waramaukeag became ac- 
quainted with his beautiful niece. He was instantly struck with her 
lovehness, and soon became madly enamored with her. In accord- 
ance with aboriginal custom, he endeavored to gain her favor by lay- 
ing at her feet many rich and rare presents, but she, understanding 
their import, in her kindest and blandest manner, declined them all. 
She, however, continued to treat him kindly, not wishing to arouse his 
anger. Meeting with no encouragemefit from the young lady, he 
pressed his suit upon her uncle's attention, desiring him to intercede 
in his behalf. This the old pastor gently declined to do, striving to 
show him the impropriety of the alliance, and the liopelessness of 
attaining his desires. 

Thus failing on all hands in the prosecution of his suit, he depai'ted 
and was seen no more at the parsonage. The sachem was aware of 
the maiden's custom of retiring to Bethel Rock. One delightful eve 
in the glorious " Indian summer," she wandered out from the cot- 
tage, just as the sun set behind the western hills, and betook herself 
to her favorite resort for her evening devotions. She had not been 
long at the spot before she was surprised and startled by the appear- 
ance of Waramaukeag at her side. Supposing him to be angiy, as 
he had not been at her uncle's in a long time, and to have come with 
evil intent, she started back in alarm, and being near the edge of the 
rock, which in that place is precipitous, she fell with great violence 
upon the jagged rocks below, and was killed by the fall. The young 
chief hurried round by a more secure path to the scene below, where 
he evidently endeavored to reanimate the lifeless form of the fair 
maiden. When found next morning by her anxious friends, no evi- 
dence of violence appeared, except that received by the fall. Her 
disordered tresses were smoothed back from her brow, and her body 
lay, with her dress properly adjusted, a few feet from where she fell. 


in its final rest, an emblem of innocence and purity. At a short dis- 
tance from her body, lay the mangled corpse of Waramaukeag. He 
had, after vain attempts to renew life in the sleeping maiden, and 
composing her form in a comely attitude, evidently ascended the 
rocks, thrown himself headlong from the lieight, and joined the maid- 
en of the silver hair, on the spirit shore. 

Near South Britain is a beetling cliff, which received the name of 
Squaw Rock. It derived its name from the following circumstance. 
An Indian brave preferred his suit to a red-browed daughter of the 
forest, and was by her accepted, but by her parents expelled the 
Icdfre. They wished her to become the wife of another, and by 
threats had succeeded in obtaining a seeming acquiescence in their 
desires. The day for the marriage was appointed, and she made her 
simple preparations with apparent cheerfulness. She went so far as 
to be arrayed for the occasion, Avhen she slipped out of the wigwam, 
and ascended this rock, hotly pursued by her incensed relatives. 
She allowed them to approach within parleying distance, when she 
upbraided them with their unkindness, sung her own brief requiem, 
and assuring them that " her own true brave" would have the cour- 
age to follow her to the " happy hunting grounds of the Great Kieh- 
tan," she threw herself from the I'ock, and was found a mangled corse 

Nonnewaug Falls* were incidentally noticed in the opening chap- 
ter, but their romantic situation, and exceeding loveliness, together 
with a legend connected with them, demand a recurrence to them. 
The stream on which they are situated is not large, but when swollen 
with the spring floods, a large volume of water passes over them. 
They are enveloped and shaded by a vigorous growth of evergreens. 
They consist of three cascades, at a short distance from each other. 
The water, which falls over a projecting ledge of rocks, has worn a 
deep and smooth channel for its passage. At the foot of each cas- 
cade is a beautiful basin, forty or fifty feet in diametci*, surrounded 
by high cliffs, or walls of rock, surmounted by lofty trees. Viewed 
as a whole, it is as wild and romantic a place as can anywhere be 
found in our country. 

The legend referred to is only in the memory of the aged. The ac- 
tive, surging population of to-day takes little note of such matters. 

1 The height of these falls, m a former chapter was stated to be forty or fifty feet. 
On a visit to them since that was written, it is found that the whole descent is more 
than one hundred feet. 


The story is brief. TVoraoqui, an aged sagamore, residing at the 
wigwams located at these falls, was averse to the sale, and did not sign 
the conveyance of the North Purchase. This sale included the Non- 
newaug village ; and the old sagamore, having roamed these forests, 
in entire freedom, before the whites appeared in the territory, could 
not now in the evening of his days, bear the thought of living in his 
former pleasant abode at the sufferance of the " pale face." Accord- 
ingly, one day he crawled forth from his cabin, and seated himself on 
the " table rock," at the head of the upper cascade of the falls, sung, 
in feeble tones, his own requiem, and cast himself into the flood be- 
low. "While musing of the legend, a few years ago, the author 
imagined that lament to be : 

From my well-beloved cabin the sunlight is gone ; 

The day long since closed in the far distant west; 
And Womoqui now, in this wide world alone. 

Composes himself for his deep, silent rest. 

Ills braves are all scattered like leaves in the wind ; 

Departed the valor that inspired them of yore; 
While he still is left, in his sadness behind. 

And earnestly looks for the spirit-land's shore. 

The graves of my people encompass me round ; 

My brothers, long gone, lie slumbering near. 
Scarce a trace of the red man is now to be found. 

And i'bw of my race are still lingering here. 

Farewell ! my tired spirit now pants to be free ! 

Farewell ! ye who stay on the earth's sullen shore ! 
Farewell ! for your faces no longer I see ! 

Farewell ! faithful friends, I'm with you no more ! 

The chief had ceased, and his spirit fled. 

The chief of the hoary hair; 
A grave near the falls his people made, 

And buried the chieftain there. 

In regard to the numbers of the Pootatucks and other western 
tribes, authors have differed largely in their estimates. Dr. Trum- 
bull thinks their numbers were very considerable, while De Forest 
thinks these tribes contained a mere handful each. It is believed 
that the mean between these two extremes is nearer the correct esti- 
mate. They were doubtless greatly reduced in numbers before the 
coming of the English settlers, by the incursions of the Mohawks, but 
while Dr. Trumbull's estimate is probably too large, De Forest's is 
evidently too small. President Stiles estimates the number of war- 


riors in the ruotutuck tribe in 1710, at fifty. This estimate is cer- 
tainly not too large, as the author of this volume has in his posses- 
sion, a list of more than fifty names, who were interested in the lands 
of the tribe, just before this time. A few years earlier, they were 
considerably more numerous, as at this time, the tribe having parted 
with most of its lands, many of the younger Indians had joined the 
Wyantcnuck elan. The author has also a list of more than a hun- 
dred names of sachems, sagamores and chief men of the tribe, who 
resided here during the first fifty years after the settling of the town. 
Eleazer Mitchell, who bought four acres of land of the Indians about 
1740, within a fourth of a mile of their village, related that there 
were many wigwams standing in the surrounding forests, all the 
way from his house, which is still standing, to Elizur Mitchell's house 
on the Pootatuck. From this it would seem that their niimbers 
must have been very respectable, and they doubtless numbered two 
hundred warriors in 1672. By a petition to the General Assembly 
from the Pootatuck and Wyantenuck Indians, as late as 1742, we 
learn that the Pootatucks numbered forty individuals ; but whether 
this means adult males, or the whole number of men, women and 
children, is not known. 

As there is but little left of the former race except the names of 
some of its chiefs and braves, a list of such of the sachems, sagamores 
and principal men of the Pootatucks, as with great labor it has been 
possible to rescue from oblivion, has been deemed of sufficient im- 
portance to be inserted here. The antiquarian^ who has delved in 
such matters, will look with a kindly interest on the list, and the 
general reader, who passes it now, will read it with avidity fifty 
years hence. 

List of principal Pootatucks. 

Aquiomp, Cash, 

Avomockomge, Chesqueneag, 

Accommy, Conkaiarum, 

Appacoco, Chob, 

Awashkenum, ' John Chob, 

Aunumetae, Calouskesc, 

Atchetoset, ■ Coshusheougemy, 

John Banks, Comcuclieson, 

Cheabiooke, Chyonde, 

Chuhabaux, Cockshuie, 

Chevoramauge, Coksuer, 

Chohees, Samuel Coksuer, 

Cacapatanees, Thomas Coksuer, 

Cacapatanees Sonn, John Cockshure, 



Jeremiah Cokshure, 



Sam Cheery, 



Jacob C'urkey, 





Hatchet Tousey, 

Benajah Hatchet Tousey, 

David Hatchet Tousey, 


John Harry, 

John Hatchet, 






















Gideon Mauwehu (by adoption,) 








Nonnevvaug, " 




































Suckqunnokqueen , 



John Sherman, 

Tom Sherman, 













Woinoqui, Wirasquancot, 

Wonokequfimbom, Wognacug, 

Wurimiiuc'oiie, Watchunaman, 

Wii'SSL'bucoinu, Womperowask, 

Wusfsockaiiunckqucen, Wotnpomod, 

Wonposet, Wonowak, 

Waewatux, Wewinapuck, 

WussiUtanunckquet, Wanuppe, 

Wevvinaponck, Youngamousk, 

Woinpotoo, Yoncomis, 

Whemut, Yohcomge, 

Wesuncks, Youiigstockuni, " 

Wombuinmaug, Yongan. 

Tlie Pootatiicks, both individually and coUectivelj, maintained a 
peaceable character. One of their number, however, " lives in histo- 
ry" with a bad fame. The particulars are thus related : 

"In 1646, Sequassen came into general notice through one of the most sin- 
gular circumstances in the aboriginal history of Connecticut. Tliis sachem, 
while he hated Uncas as his own successful rival, disliked the English as the 
friends and supporters of Uncas. He therefore formed a plan which, if success- 
ful in its operation, would enable him to be revenged upon both. He resolved 
to effect tlie murder of some of the principal colonists, and, by causing the name 
of the deed to fall upon the Mohegan sachem, embroil him with his powerful 
allies. The person he selected as his instrument was Watqhibrok, a rascally 
Potatuck, whom he was said to have once before employed, in a similar way, 
to get rid of a hated sagamore. During the spring of 1616, Watchibrok and Se- 
quassen were both visiting at Waranoak, now Westfield, in the southern part 
of Massachusetts, and while there lodged in the same wigwam. After some 
time Watchibrok proposed to go, but Sequassen persuaded him to stay longer, 
and went with him to a fishing place on the river. There they remained four 
days, when Watchibrok again proposed to leave, saying that he wished to visit 
some of his friends in other places. Sequassen told him, that traveling in that 
way, alone, he ran a risk of being killed, and walked on with him to a spring, 
where they both stopped. Here the sachem opened the design, over which he 
was brooding, to his companion. He told him that ' if he ever wished to do 
Sequassen a kindness, now was the time.' He was almost ruined, and the 
English of Connecticut were the cause of it. He wanted his friend Watchibrok 
to go to Hartford and kill Governor Haynes, Governor Hopkins, and Mr. Whi- 
,tiug. The two would then fly to the Mohawks with store of wampum, and on 
the way would give out that it was Uncas who murdered the white sachems. 
Thus the English would be set against Uncas, and Sequassen would have a 
chance to rise again. 

" The sachem drew out of his pouch three pieces of wamptnn and part of a 
girdle of the same material ; these he gave to Watchibrok, and promised him a 
great deal more. The Potatuck did not show himself averse to the bargain, 
and left Sequassen with the understanding that the assassination should be per- 


formed. On reflection, however, he beg;in to consider that it would be a dan- 
gerous business to kill so many of the leading men arnong the English. He 
called to mind how Busheag, of Stamford, had been put to death at New Ha- 
ven, for only attempting to murder an English squaw. He therelbre concluded 
that it would not be safe to execute his part of the plot, and finally that it would 
be safer still, and perhaps more profitable, to reveal the whole to the white 
men. He came to Hartford and told the story to the magistrates. Sequassen 
soon heard of this, and sent a sixpence to Watchibrok, with a message to con- 
ceal as much as he could of the plot, and not lay it all open. The conscientious 
and excellent man, in great wrath, 'bade the said sixpence hold his peace; 
he had discovered it and would hide nothing.' Governor Ilayiies summoned 
the sachem to Hartford, to answer to this charge; but he refusect to aj-pear, and 
continued to remain at Waranoak. The affair was laid before the commis- 
sioners, then sitting at New Haven, and they dispatched one Jonathan Gilbert 
to Waranoak, with a message for Sequassen, and all who might be concerned 
in the plot with him. He was to encourage the sachem to come to New Ha- 
ven and make his own defense, and was authorized to promise hiin a safe and 
unrestricted passage to and fro. Gilbert went to Waranoak, but Sequassen 
could not be found, having either gone away, or secreted himself for fear of an 
arrest. A few days after, and while the court was still in session, two saga- 
mores, named Nepinsoit and Naimataique, came into New Haven, and stated 
before the commissioners that they were friends of Sequassen, and had just 
been with him to Massachusetts Bay. They had carried a present, they said, 
to the governor there, who, although he would not then accejjt it, consented to 
give it house room. The governor advised them to attend the meeting of the 
commissioners, and told them that if Sequassen cleared himself, he would then 
decide what should be done with the present. They then came, with their 
friend, to New Haven, and bad almost reached the town fence, when'liis heart 
failed him and he wished to go back. Each of them laid hold of one of his 
arms to urge him forward, but such was his fear, that he broke away from 
them and escaped. They added that their friend, having been a great sachem 
once, and now being poor, was ashamed to come in, because he had no present 
for the commissioners. Some other Indians stated that Sequassen was still 
within a mile of the town, and that he would be glad to obtain peace in some 
other way than by an examination. The homeless sachem at la;st sought shel- 
ter among the Pocomtocks, a considerable tribe which held the country about 
Deerfield, in Massachusetts. The colonists requested the assistance of Uneas to 
secure him, and this chieftain readily undertook an enterprise which would at 
once gratify the English, and revenge himself on an ancient enemy. Some of 
his bold and dexterous warriors surprised Sequassen by night in his place of 
refuge, and brought him to Hartford, where he lay several weeks in prison. 
Nothing, however, was finally considered proved against him, and he was set 
at liberty. He seems to have remained an exile, through fear of the colonists, 
or of Uncas, until 1650, when the Mohawks requested the government of Con- 
necticut that, for the sake of their ancient and steady friendship toward the 
English, their friend Sequassen might be permitted to return home. The court 
of commissioners answered the message, stating that it had never forbidden 
Sequassen to return provided he behaved inotiensively ; but, nevertheless, for- 
mally granting the request. Such is the curious story of Sequassen's conspira- 



cy. 1 have j,'ivcn it a place because the jjarticuUirs which it relates are in ac- 
cordance with tlie custom!- of the Iiiilians, and thus give it an air of jirobability. 
On the other hand, it must be remembered, that these i)articular3 rest ahnost 
wholly ujion the evidence of Wateliibruk, and that Watehibrok was unques- 
tionably a liar and a villain.'" 

Altliougli the Indiiins were always friendly toward the settlers, 
yet the latter were occasionally alarmed by circumstances happening 
among them. In 1720, the settlers in Avcstern Connecticut were 
someAvhat startled by a circumstance that occurred. It became 
known that » belt of wampum had been brought from an Indian 
place at the south called Towattowau, to Ammonaugs on the Hudson 
River, after which it was received by an Indian at Horse Neck in 
Greenwich. It was taken from him to Chickens, or Sam Mohawk, 
in Redding ; thence it was carried successively to the Pootatucks 
and Wyantenucks, where it remained. The matter Avas deemed of 
sufficient importance to be inquired 'into by the General Assembly; 
when an Indian named Tapauranawko testified to that honorable 
body, that the belt was a token, that captive Indians would be re- 
ceived and sold at every place where it was accepted. He informed 
them that it would be sent back by the same route whence it came 
to Towattowau, which was far away to the south, and was inhabited 
by a large tribe of Indians. No farther notice Avas taken of the 
matter by the Assembly, except to direct the Indians to send it back 
whence it came, and to order them to receive no more such presents 
in future without notifying the magistrates.- 

The occasional attacks which the settlers received during the vari- 
ous Indian wars, were made by parties of straggling Indians from 
other and probably distant places. During the war with the Maine 
Indians in 1723 and 1724, the inhabitants were forced to keep gar- 
risons against such attacks, which several times occurred. One of 
these garrisons was on the Shepaug River, where six men were sta- 
tioned. The General Court passed regulations, Oct., 1723, that 
the Pootatuck and other Indians might hunt "without frighten- 
ing the English, or being mistaken for enemies, it being a time of 
war with the eastern Indians." Capt. Joseph Minor was directed to 
inform the Indians that they could hunt, and be considered as 
friendly, by reporting a list of the Pootatuck Indians to said Minor, 

1 De Forest's Hist, of the Indians of Conn., p. 218 to 222. 

2 Indian Tapers, vol. 1, docs. 92 and 94. 


and being able to produce any Indian said Minor might wish to see, 
within forty-eight hours after notice.' 

In Oct., 1724, these restrictions were removed, and they were 
allowed to hunt in the western counties as usual, provided they wore 
something white on their heads, and had some Enghsh with them du- 
ring the first fortnight. As late, however, as Oct., 1726, the General 
Court resolved to station five men under Lt. Ebenezer Warner, for 
•' the defense of the village of Shepaug." As proof of the foregoing, 
we find in May, 1725, that Caleb Martin, of "Woodbury, petitioned 
the General Assembly for a reward for being the " instrument of 
death to an Indian in August, 1724." It seems that in one of the 
night attacks, when the citizens were aroused to defend themselves, 
Martin had " killed his man." Col. Joseph Minor testified to his 
•' wounding the Indian in a night-fight in a corn-field," and of his 
tracing him by the blood on the ground, on the fence, and in the 
tracks of the retreating foe." As a reward for his services, the As- 
sembly granted him £10." 

In 1724, during the same war, Lt. Ebenezer Warner was appoint- 
ed to raise a scout for the defense of the frontiers of the town. This 
service he accomplished, as appears by a memorial from him, pre- 
ferred at the May session of the General Assembly in 1725. He 
paid the men he enlisted for service on Sundays as well as on week 
days, which was not allowed by the accounting officers. He says : 

" Whereas the Committee of Warr did in the year 1724, order and appoint 
yo' memorialist to take the care of the grand Scout, ordered for the security of 
our Northern Frontiers ; and by Order of His Hon' the Gov' I was to signify to 
those that I Listed for that service, that they should have allowed for the Eng- 
lish 4s Per Diem, and for the Indians that Listed 3^ Per Diem, ice. and when I 
made up my acco' with the Comm'" of Warr, they did not allow any thing for 
Sabbath days, During the time of our service, wherefore I am brought under 
difficulty to answer those persons that Listed in s'' service according to the. 
Declaration I made to them from the Comm"« of Warr." 

He accordingly prays the Assembly to grant him relief in the 
premises. It is not known what action the Assembly took in regard 
to the matter, but it was probably favorable to the petitioner. 

A treaty was made with these Indians by the council of war, Sept. 
23d, 1675, during Philip's war, by which they agreed to continue in 

1 Indians, vol. 1, p. 113. 2 War, vol. 3, p. 225. 


" friendship with the white settlers, and be enemies to tlieir enemies, 
and disfoucr them timely or destroy them." A deputation of Indians 
from the tribe were present before the council, who gave them each 
a " payre of breeches " for their attendance. In this instrument they 
were styled the "Wyantineck Indians;" showing that the Indians at 
that locality were Pootatucks; for it could hardly be supposed that 
the council would make treaties Avith New Haven and Milford In- 
dians, and passing over the Pootatucks proper, make a treaty with 
a small clan beyond them. 

After the sale of most of their lands, partly from necessity, and 
partly in imitation of their white neighbors, the Indians cultivated 
their reservation with considerable industry and fidelity, constructed 
wigwams of respectable size, neatness and comfort, and in various 
Avays adopted the arts of civilization. They planted orchards, built 
corn-stalls, and some of them owned, individually, parcels of land. 
Accordingly, we find mentioned in a deed executed by them in 1733, 
" Cockshure's Island" near Pootatuck village, "Maucheere's corn- 
stall," and " Tummaseete's old orchard." Thirteen of the trees in 
this orchard are still existing, and in quite a thriving condition, there 
being apples now, (July 18th, 1853,) growing on some of them. 
Several of them are more than three feet in diameter, and arc dis- 
posed around the area or plaza of the Pootatuck village of wigwams. 
This orchard, a hundi-ed and twenty years ago, in the deed we have 
mentioned, and other old instruments, was called the " old orchard." 
In one of them of this date, the Indians say, " we reserve to ourselves 
y' use of y= Apple Trees, all of them, within y' Land above men- 
tioned." From this we infer that it must have been planted about 
the time of the first settling of the town, and consequently must be 
from a hundred and sixty to a hundred and eighty years old. The 
enormous size, and other circumstances, of these trees, furnish satis- 
factory evidence that this estimate must be correct. AYithin the 
inclosure of the trees was their council-fire. Here they engaged in 
their athletic sports, and here their powwows performed their orgies. 
Outside of this amphitheater, which contained some two or three 
acres, their wigwams were arranged in all directions. This village 
was located on a nearly level piece of ground, on a hill rising some 
three or four hundred feet above the Housatonic, on Elizur Mitchell's 
land, a short distance north of Cockshure's Island, now known as 
llubbell's Island. From this spot is obtained one of the most de- 
lightful views toward the south and west, that can be found in the 


State. A series of gentle hills, still covered for the most part with 
dense forests, as in the early days, rise one above another in all 
directions. Beautiful cultivated fields lie beneath the feet, while the 
noble Ilousatonic takes its quiet course away to the south-east ; the 
whole forming a picture on which the beholder may gaze ibr hours 
without wearying. If the red man had an eye or a soul to appreciate 
the loveliness of nature, his heart must have expanded with admira- 
tion when contemplating such a scene as this. " A thing of beauty 
is a joy forever." None should wonder that the poor native left this 
enchanting spot with sad, lingering steps. Truly this is classic 
ground, and well worthy a visit from the antiquarian, or the lover of 

Many efforts were at various times put forth to Christianize the 
Indians. They had the privilege of attending the schools and other 
instructions. Some of them embraced the Christian faith, and joined 
the churches ; but the major portion lived on, and died in the blind 
faith of their farefathers. An instance of the former occurred in 
1741, as will appear in the following petition of Hatchet-Tousey, or 
Atchetoset, one of this tribe : 

" The prayer of Hachct Touscy, an Indian now Living in the "West part of 
Woodbury called Shepaug. 

" To the Honourable Governour and general assembly of the Colony of Con- 
necticut no\\' .setting at hartford. I your honours' memorolist humbly sheweth 
that I a pojr Itidiun native, Hachet Tousey by name, who beeing born and 
brought up in heathenism and darkness and with shame now confess that I 
have been worshipping the devil and the unknown gods, and have not known 
the god that made nie by darkness and want of instruction, but now the great 
god that lias made all things out of nothing has moved me to seek him, he has 
been aftlicting me, (but I hope for my good,) by taking away one of my chil- 
dren by death, a girl about sixteen years old who in the time of her sickness 
often and oliep would call upon me to be a christian, and to beieeve in the 
great god tliat made me, She would cry with tears and groans to me and her 
mother and ;ill her brethren to forsake the wicked way of the Indians, and she 
would often have me go to get the English minister to pray with her tho she 
understood but little what they said in English, yet she declared that she be- 
lieved the Chiistian religion to be true. She has made me promise to bring up 
the rest of her brethren in the knowledge of the christian religion and learn 
them to read & always to think of her dying words and prayers and shall never 
forget them. Wherefore I am very desiriovs to be taught the christian religion, 
and that my children might learn to read and understand god's word, the holy 
Bible, and tliat I and my family might go to meeting and keep the sabbath, 
and that I might know and understand. I have eight in the family though two 
are at work abroad and are not with me. ye oldest is about 12 years old and 


yo youngest at three, which I would keep at school this summer: the honoura- 
ble j-ovenour Joseph tallcot esqr. has written I hear to Cornell Minor of Wood- 
bury to take care that my family should be school'' but s'' Cornell Minor has 
taken no care about it, I hear that mr. ^^raham was desired in the letter by his 
honor to take care of me: but yesterday mr graham told me that Croronell 
Minor had never Lett him see the govenour's Letter and therefore he did not 
know what to do: Said Coronel Minor has had said Letter this month and has 
done nothing ; but a certain person has hired a school for me for a while, and has 
promised to pay if the honourable goverment would not. Therefore your me- 
morialist prayeth this honourable assembly would hear the poor prayers and 
petitions of one of these poor Indians; that you have ordered the ministers of 
this government so often to pray for in all your proclamations for public fasts 
and thanks"lvings, Therefore I a poor Indian, who desire to be christianized 
humbly prayeth this honourable assembly would assist me in these perticulars 
yt I might not lose their prayers: first I humbly prayeth this Honourable as- 
sembly would alow and give something towards the schooling and supporting 
of my children this summer, that I might have some help under my difficult 
circumstances, for I have expend allmost all my substance this Last winter and 
spring by reason of sickness in my family. And furthermore I would assure 
this honourable assembly if my children slioul'' go to school, then I cannot sup- 
port them with victuals, for my Lands are at potitouch, and if I go there the 
other Indiajis, will Qurrell with me and my family, for they are much offended 
with me because I have a mind to be christianized. Therefore I pray this 
lionourable assembly would order something for my relief and help, although 
it be but a small matter 2'y your humble memoralist prayeth this assembly 
would help me to a division of the Indian Lands at potitouch, that I might have 
my right and just part set out to mc, so that they might not quarrel with me, 
for they say if I am a christian then I shall not have my land. Thus your hum- 
ble petitioner Hatchet Tousey prayeth for relief and help, wherefore I put my 
hand and name to this prayer in the presence of these my neighbors who can 
testify to the truth of my Cencerity what I profess.and say, and that I am reso- 
lute to eiribrace the christian faith, and I desire your prayer for me and my 
family, and in duty bound I shall ollways pray. 

"Woodbury May 15 1741 

Henry Cassell 

Benijah Case 

Eleazer Warner 

Henry Castle Jr 

Telle Blakeslee Hachet ^^^S^rasaSEy'' Tousey 

William Harris Jr 

Adam Hurd 

Eleazer Towner 


"I Hachet Toiisey constitute and appoint Abraham Hurd my agent and at- 
torney at the honorable assembly for me 




The petition of this Indian was granted, and £20, -which were 
raised by subscription among the members, were placed in the hands 
of the Rev. Anthony Stoddard and Col. William Preston, to carry 
out the purpose intended. The governor was requested to encour- 
age him in his good purposes, and Messrs. Stoddard and Preston to 
take care that he and his children be instructed in the Christian reli- 
gion, and that his children be sent to school. 

Encouraged, perhaps, by the success of Atchetoset, Mowehu, 
Cheery, son of Raumaug, the great sachem, who died a Christian a 
few years before, and others representing seventy souls residing at 
Pootatuck and New Milford, petitioned the General Court in May 
of the next year for like privileges. The Indians residin"^ at these 
two places, as we have seen, had never been but two clans of the 
same tribe, while still another small clan of the Pootatucks resided 
alternately at Bethlem, Litchfield and Nonnewaug, the location of 
the wigwam in Bethlem being near Mr. Seth Martin's dwelling- 
house. The latter have been known as the Bantam Indians. Nei- 
ther of these clans were in a well organized state at this time. The 
clan at New Milford, was entirely disbanded, "Weraumaug, their 
chief, having died a few years before, and the larger portion of the 
tribe joining the Scatacook tribe, which had but recently been formed 
under Gideon Mauwehu. Cheery, son of the deceased chief, and 
one of the signers of the petition, had not force enough to keep his 
clan together, and was never sachem. 

" To the Honourable gen Ass. sitting in Hartford May Anno Dom: 1742 
" The Humble memorial of Mowehu, Cheery and others. Hereunto Sub- 
scribing Being Indian Natives of this Land Humbly showeth that there are at 
New Milford and Potatuck the Places where we Dwell about seventy souls of 
us poor natives, who are now awakened, many of us to some curiosity of Being 
Taught the word of god and the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to obtain Eter- 

1 Colleges and Schools, vol. 1, pp. 104, 105. 

104 II I S T O U Y Of A N C I i: N T WOODBURY. 

nal Life tliroiifjli Him, and now Humbly Crave the care of this Ass. that we 
and our childrfn may be Tauj^lit to read the English tongue and may have 
some iniui>tLr appointed to preach the Gosjjel of Jesus Christ untuus; and 
Instruct us in the I'rineiples of the Christian Religion, and we also Humbly ask 
as a Deed of the Highest Cliarity to us, that the Goverment will Bestow some- 
thing upon ns to support some jjcrson or jjcrsons in Teaching of uss, and 
Preaching to uss, That our souls may not Perish for want of Vision in this 
Land of Lighl ; and if it may be the means of saving any Soul of uss, the gos- 
pel whicli you are favored with assures you that you Shall not Loose your 
Reward, and your Poor Petitioners hath hereunto put our marks 
" Hartford xMay 13th 1712.' 

Mowchu John Coksurc 

Job Pukin 

Sam John Slierman 

Peeney Cheery 


Forty of tliese Indians resided at Woodbury, and thirty at New 
Milford. The committee to whom this petition was referred reported 
favorably, proposing that the thirty Indians on the borders of New 
Milford should be assisted to attend school and public worship at 
New Milford ; and the forty residing at Pootatuck, on the borders of 
Woodbury, lie aided in attending school and preaching in Woodbury, 
or Newtown ; the ministers of New Milfoixl, Woodbury and New- 
town being requested to take them under their care and instruction. 
The report of the committee was accej^ted, and £26 were appropria- 
ted to aid the Indians at New Milford in these matters, and £25 to 
assist those at Woodbury ; the money being placed in the hands of 
Mr. Anthony Stoddard and the minister at Newtown. 

In 1733 the Pootatucks sold about three-fourths of their " reser- 
vation " in the south-west part of the present town of Southbury, and 
tlie larger portion removed to New Milford, and joined the other 
clan of their tribe residing there, so that the Indians residing at New 
Milfox'd at this time were quite numerous. Stragglers from other 
clans in Fairfield county also joined them. President Stiles states 
the number of warriors at about three hundred, and Rev. Stanley 
Griswold, in a century sermon preached at New Milford in 1801, 
estimates them at two hundred warriors. The latter estimate is 
doubtless nearer the truth than the former, though it maybe a pretty 
liberal one. The young and vigorous Indians of Pootatuck had 
for several years been moving to New Milford. About 1715, We- 

1 Indians, vol. 1, p. 240. 


raumaug, or Raumaug, an intelligent Pootatuck sagamore, joined the 
Wyantenuck clan, and soon became sachem. His residence was on 
a reservation at the falls on the Housatonic, about two miles below 
the village of New Milford, which the Indians long kept after they 
had sold the Indian field west of the river, opposite the village. 
Weraumaug also had a personal reservation of two thousand acres in 
the society of New Preston in the town of Washington. This reser- 
vation was called the " hunting grounds of Raumaug," and was after- 
ward sold by Cheere, son of the sachem. At the falls, called by the 
natives Mitichawon, was an excellent fishing place, especially in the 
spring, when shad and great numbers of lamprey eels swarmed up 
the river, and attempted to ascend the rapid descent of waters. 
Shad and other valuable fish are still taken on this river quite up to 
this point. At this romantic spot, on the banks of the river, stood 
the palace, or " great wigwam " of Weraumaug. On the inner walls 
of the palace, which were made of bark with the smooth side inward, 
were pictured every known species of beast, bird, fish and insect, 
from the largest down to the smallest. This was said to have been 
done by artists whom a friendly prince at'a great distance sent to 
him for that purpose, in the same manner as Hiram sent artists to 
Solomon. Pie died about 1735, as near as can be ascertained, and 
was buried in an Indian burying-ground at no great distance from the 
place of his residence. His grave is distinguished from those sur- 
rounding him, out of many of which large trees are growing, by its 
more ample diinensions. 

Weraumaug was a man of uncommon powers of mind, sober and 
regular in his life, and took much pains to suppress the vices of his 
people. The first minister of New Milford, Rev. Daniel Boardman, 
ordained in 1716, finding this Indian sachem to be a discreet and 
friendly man, became much interested in him, and took great pains 
to instruct him in the Christian religion. From the account he gives 
of him, it appears he died penitent, and cheered by the Christian's 
hope. In a letter to a friend he calls him 

" That distinguished sachem, whose great abilities and eminent virtues, 
joined with his extensive dominion, rendered him the most potent prince of 
that or any other day in this Colony; and his name ought to be remembered 
by the faithful historian as much as that of any crowned head since his was 
laid in the dust." 

Although this statement of Mr. Boardman is the best evidence 
that need be had of the power of this chief, and the extent of his 

106 nisTonv of ancient woodbury. 

tribe, yet it is hardly accurate to say that he Avas the most potent 
prince tliat had existed in Jlie Colony. It will not do to overlook 
King Philip and other sachems. During Weraumaug's last illness, 
Mr. lioardman constantly attended him, and endeavored to confirm 
his mind in the vital truths of Christianity. It was a sad [dace for 
the' dying chieftain; for the larger part of his people, and even his 
wife, were greatly opi)Osed to the religion of their white neighbors, 
and used all their influence to keep him true to the dark and cheer- 
less faith of his forefathers. Their conduct was not only rude and 
abusive of the minister, but in other respects such as comported little 
with the solemnity of the occasion. One day when Mr. Boardman 
Avas by the sachem's bedside, the latter asked him to pray, to which 
he assented. It happened that there was a sick child in the village, 
and a powwow was in attendance, who had undertaken to cure it 
with his wild and superstitious rites. As soon as the clergyman 
commenced his prayer, Weraumaug's wife sent for the medicine- 
man and ordered him to commence his exercises at the door of the 
lodge. The powwow at once set up a hideous shouting and howl- 
ing, and Mr. Boardman prayed louder, so that the sick man might 
hear him above the uproar. Each raised his voice louder and louder 
as he went on, while the Indians gathered around, solicitous for the 
success of their prophet. The powwow was determined to tire out 
the minister, and he, on his side, was quite as fully resolved not to be 
put to silence in the discharge of his duty by the blind worshiper of 
Satan. The invincible minister afterward gave it as his belief that 
he prayed full three hours before he was permitted to come off con- 
queror. The powwow having completely exhausted himself Avith 
his efforts, gave one unearthly yell, and then, taking to his heelS, 
never stopped till he was cooling himself up to his neck in the IIou- 

In 173G, a part of the Wyantenucks moved to Scatacook, one of 
their reservations, and located on the beautiful plain on the west side 
of the river. These Indians, in the years 1742 and 1743, were 
visited by the Moravian missionaries, under Count Zinzendorf. They 
remained with them several years, and to appearance, Avere very- 
religious and inoffensive men. They also visited the Indians still 
left at the Great Falls and Pootatuck, but these having in the former 
year applied to the General Assembly for the means of instruction, 
which had been granted them, gave little heed to the strangers. Tlie 
Scatacooks were at this -time, perhaps, the largest tribe left in the 
Colony. It was founded about 1728, by Gideon MauAvehu, a Pe- 


quot Indian, who was endowed with the same energy of character 
for which his nation was so distinguished. We first hear of hiim 
among the Paugussetts, where he was the leader of a small band, 
and settled one of his sons over a small clan at the falls on the JS^au- 
gatuck River, near Humphreysville. He next appeared, for a time 
among the Pootatucks, soon afterward at New Milford, and in 1729, 
he, with eleven others, signed a deed of " all the unsold lands in New 
Fairfield," now Sherman. He afterward moved to Dover, N. Y., on 
Ten Mile River, some ten miles west of Kent. After living there 
awhile, in one of his hunting excursions, from a mountain in Kent, 
west of the Housatonic, his eye fell upon that river, winding its way 
tlirough the fertile and beautiful valley, shut in by mountains, and 
covered with dense forests. The white man had not penetrated this 
beautiful sylvan retreat. It had only been used occasionally a^ their 
hunting and fishing ground by the Wyantenucks. He was enchanted 
with the capabilities of the place, and immediately moved thither 
with his family. Having invited his old friends among the Paugus- 
setts, Pootatucks, Wyantenucks, and others among the tribes with 
which he had lived, they flocked to him in considerable numbers. 
In 1736, after the death of Weraumaug, a considerable number 
joined him from New Milford as above. It is believed, that at this 
date he had more than one hundred wairriors. 

The Moravian missionaries began to preach to his tribe some tinue 
in 1742, and, although Mauwehu's name was among the signers of 
the petition to the General Assembly in May of that year, for reli- 
gious instruction from the colonists, yet he received them with great 
favor, and their labors had a happy influence on the tribe. In 1743', 
he accepted their faith, and was baptized, with about one hundred 
and fifty of his people. A church was built, and a large congrega- 
tion collected. Most of their conversation with the English was on 
religion, and they spent much of their time in devotional exercises. 
After a time, many of these Indians followed the missionaries to 
Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. The change of climate proved fatal to 
them, and they returned to their old homes. Here in the absence of 
their religious teachers, they seemed to forget their religion, became 
intemperate, and began to waste away. Such was the sad termina- 
tion of the most successful religious effort, perhaps, ever made among- 
the Indians of Connecticut. 

In Mav. 1759, the Pootatucks, or rather Tom Sherman, or Sho- 
ran, one of their number, to whom the rest had quit-claimed, their;- 


right the year before, sold their last acre of land, including their 
village of I'ootatuck, and took up their abode at Scatacook, except a 
few that lingered in the neighborhood of their old abodes, by the 
sufferance of the purchasers. In 1761, these consisted of one man, 
and two or three broken families. In 1774, they were reduced to 
nine, and at this date there were none remaining at New JMilford, and 
but sixty-two at Scatacook. In 1786, the latter were reduced to 
thirty-six males and thirty-five females, twenty of the number being 
children of suitable age for attending school. In ISOl, they num- 
bered thirty-five idle and intemperate beings, who cultivated six 
acres of ground. In the fall of 1849, the number of Indians remain- 
ing was eight or ten of the full blood, and twenty or thirty half breeds. 
A few of them are sober and industrious, cultivating good gardens, 
and living comfortably ; but the majority are of the opposite character. 
Three or four of them attend church, -and a few of the children go to 
school. They are under the care of an overseer, and their property 
consists of a considerable tract of land on the mountain too rough for 
cultivation, and about five thousand doillars kept at interest, which 
for the last forty years has more than paid the annual expenses of 
the tribe.* 

It will be seen tlmt the Indians of Woodbury, New Milford and 
Kent, have been treated as though tliey were one people, which is 
strictly correct, except in regard t© the Kent Indians. Although we 
find among the principal men in 1746, selling land, Samuel and 
Thomas Coksure, two of tlie sons of a sagamore of the name of Cock- 
shure at Pootatuck, and Cheere, son of Weraumaug, soon after, sell- 
ing his reservation in New Preston, yet Mauwehu, having resided 
in many other tribes, collected together many from them also. Be- 
yond this the dividing line between them is not discernable. Gideon 
Mauwehu, leader of the Kent clan, -was present in Woodbury at the 
■execution of two deeds next to the last, conveying lands at Pootatuck, 
giving his assent, and signing as witness, while two of his principal 
men, Jeremiah and Samuel Cokshure, were among the grantors. 

It is many years since the last remaining Pootatuck, an old squaw, 
«ame back to Pootatuck village to visit the graves of her ancestors. 
Looking up to the place where stood, and still stand the few remain- 
ing trees of " Tummasseete's old orchard," " There," she said, the 

' 1 The major portion of the foregoing account of the Wyantcnucks and Scatacooks, 
on the la>t tliree or fjur pages, "has been collected from the works of Dr. Trumbull, 
Barber, and De Forest. 


tears streaming down her wrinkled cheeks, " there is Pootatuck," 
After lingering near the graves of her people a few days, she re- 
turned to the place whence she came. A few monuments of the 
existence of the fated race now remain to tell us that here a former 
race once flourished, scarce sufficient, so fleeting is their nature, to 
arrest our attention. Arrow heads, stone chisels, hatchets, axes, 
gouges, knives and mortars are found in the " ancient territory." One 
of these localities is on Mr. Anthony Strong's land, opposite Mr. 
Fred. S. Atwood's dwelling-house, where they had a hunting village; 
and another on Mr. Frederick M. Minor's land, a few rods in rear 
of his dwelling-house. They are also found in Bethlem, near Seth 
Martin's dwelling-house, and at the locality of the village of Poota- 
tuck. Large deposits of clam and oyster shells are also found in the 
latter locality. This village was about two miles above Bennett's 
Bridge on the Housatonic, near where Pootatuck Brook, called by 
the Indians Cowams, enters into that river. In addition to the arti- 
cles mentioned above, some have been found which the natives evi- 
dently received from the English. Glass bottles, brass kettles, rings 
and jugs have been found. In digging for some purpose a few years 
ago, a brass kettle was found rimmed and bailed, and under it a piece 
of scarlet woolen cloth about the size of a dollar, in good preserva- 
tion. In this kettle were three rings and three thimbles. A finger 
bone with a ring on it, at another time, was found, the flesh under 
the ring being pretty well preserved. In " Hatchet meadow," on 
Cyrus Mitchell's land, the Indians left a spring protected by a tub 
made of a hollow tree. 

They had burying-grounds on the banks of the Housatonic near 
their village, where skeletons have been exhumed as late as the 
present date, (1853,) which were found buried in a sitting posture, 
having various trinkets and implements buried with them. Many 
were buried so near the banks of the river, that a great freshet that 
happened several years ago laid bare many skeletons. Some eighty 
rods further up the river, bones have been plowed out in throwing up 
the highway. Near the school-house in this locality, are many 
mounds of a circular form, depressed in the center. Many skeletons 
have been at various times exhumed a fourth of a mile lower down^ 
on the opposite side of the river, near Cockshure's Island, below Fort 
Hill. There was another burying-ground on the banks of the brook 
near the residence of David J. Stiles, Esq., in Southbury, now occu- 
pied by the ancient burying-ground of the first white settlers ; and 


anotlier still, at tlie upper end of Nonnewaug, on the East Sprain, 
where rest the remains of the chief of that name. 

Such are tljc simple annals of the unfortunate and benighted race 
that once had j)ossession of this fair heritage, and roamed in haughty 
inde|)endence through these sequestered vales. Not a Pootatuck 
remains in the territory of the '• ancient town," to revisit, with Indian 
wail and lamentation, the forsaken and almgst forgotten graves of 
his ancestors. When the floods, or the excavations of the present 
inhabitants, exhume the bones of a long-bliried brave, they are gath- 
ered up with eager interest, to grace a public museum or private 
collection of antique curiosities. Their sun has set in darkness and 
in gloom. Advancing civilization, so fortunate and hap]>y for the 
white race, brought nothing to the red man but disaster and decay. 
With a sad infatuation, he embraced its vices instead of its virtues. 
Before the white man touched these shores, they enjoyed their wild 
and savage mode of life without molestation. This was their own 
land. Here were their council fires. On the beautiful rivers they 
paddled the light canoe, and pursued their game in the unbroken 
forests. They went up by their mountains; they came down by 
their valleys ; they followed their own desires for happiness in wild, 
reckless exuberance. The mossy cliffs, and the dells in tlie thick 
woods, echoed back their shrill songs and fearful cry of war. But 
the white man took up his abode in their ancient hunting grounds. 
The strength of civilization met the weakness of barbarism. From 
that inauspicious hour the poor natives waned, and retreated farther 
into the wild solitudes. The children of the forest have passed 

" Alas, for them, their day is %'er — 
Tlieir fires are out from shore to shore! 
No more for them tlie wild deer bounds — 
The plow is on their hunting grounds." 

Their existence has become a matter of antiquarian research, and 
oft-told legend. Their brief history has been written in desolation. \ 
In the depth of the forest, in the silence of nature, away from thQ 
busy haunts of men, the contemplative mind is sometimes led invol- 
untarily to exclaim, " Where are they ?" and echo answers, " Where 
are they ?" In such solemn communion with nature and the spirits 
of the past, one is startled by the very depth of the silence around 


" Where are they, the forest rangers, 

Children of this western land, 
Who, to greet the pale-faced strangers, 

Stretched an unsuspecting hand ? 

" Were not these their own bright waters ? 

Were not these their natal skies? 
Reared they not their red-browed daughters 

Where our stately mansions rise ? 

^' From the vales their homes are banished^ 

From the streams their light canoe; 
.Chieftains and their tribes have vanished, 

liike the forests where they grew" 



1666 TO 1760 ; The Half-way Covenant Controversy at Stratford leads to 
THE Settlement of the Town of Woodbury; This Practice explained; 
Joseph Judson and others' Letters to Rev. Mr. Chauncy ; Church An- 
swer to the Men ; Town Proposition to Mr, Chauncy ; The Parties 
divide the Ministerial Lands in 1666; Rev. Zechariah Walker begins to 
preach to the Minority in 166S; Mr. Walker allowed the use of the 
Church two Hours each Sabbath ; Mr. Walker's Bill of particulars to 
THE General Court in 1669 ; Three Hours' use of the Church each Sab- 
bath all'^wed Mr. Walker; Mr. Walker excluded from the Church; 
Mr. Walker ordained over the Second Church of Stratford May 5, 
1670; Covenant; Second Church removes to Woodbury in 1672-3; Mr. 
Walker's Death and Character; State of the Church; Rev. Anthony 
Stoddard settled in 1700, and ordained in 1702 ; He preaches sixty years ; 
Great prosperity of the Church under his Ministry; Revivals; His 
Death in 1760 ; Second Church built in 1747 ; Old and New Style ; Char- 
acter of Mr. Stoddard ; Review of the last Ninety Years. 

Rich as the historical incidents relating to Ancient Woodbury 
have been from the very first, and endowed as it has ever been witli 
men of mark — minds of the first order — it is remarkable that this 
town has never found its historian. It has always occupied in deeds, 
if not in fame, a prominent place in all the historical events of the 
State. Wherever there has been labor to be performed, or deeds of 
valor to be done, the sons of Woodbury have ever been in the front 
rank. As in local position it is retired and secluded among the sweet 
valleys, surrounded by verdant hills ; so in historical position, her 
sons have allowed her to remain in the silent consciousness of unob- 
trusive worth, while later-born and less gifted sisters have occupied 
the fields of fame before her. Even now, at the end of nearly two 
centuries, the work of gathering the memorials of its long-buried 
worthies, the work of gratitude and reverence, is left to one not a 
native of the soil, nor bound by ties of consanguinity to the early 


fathers. Tlie first, and it might be said, the only history of the town, 
physical or biographical, if we except the brief paragraphs in Trum- 
bull's History of Connecticut, Pease & Niles' Gazetteer, and Barber's 
Collections, is comprised in the following extract : 

" Woodbury lies on the same river, (Osootonoe,) and resembles Kentish-Town. 
The township, twelve miles square, is divided into seven parishes, three o^ 
them Episcopal. In this town lives the Rev. Dr. Bellamy, who is a good 
scholar and a great preacher. He has attempted to shew a more excellent way 
to heaven than was known before. He may be called the Athenian of Con- 
necticut ; for he has published something new to the Christian world — Zuinglius 
may learn of him."' 

This seems to be rather a brief history, for a town of which so 
much may justly be said. It would have been fortunate had the 
present labor fallen into better hands, but it is proposed to supply in 
some measure the desideratum of an accurate local history. 

It has been before stated in these pages, that the settlement of 
"Woodbury was the result of religious dissensions among the people 
of Stratford. The principal cause of difference Avas in regard to 
church membership, baptism, and the discipline of church members. 
What the precise nature of the controversy was, could not be dis- 
tinctly understood by the most learned and pious even of that day. 
It was the same as that which existed at Hartford, "Wethersfield, 
and other places. One would say, at this distance of time, that the 
question to be decided was, whether the " Half-way Covenant Prac- 
tice " should be introduced into the church or not. Upon this ques- 
tion there was the most grave difference of opinion among the best 
and most distinguished men in New England. By this plan, a per- 
son of good moral character might own or renew the covenant of 
baptism, confessing the same creed as members of churches in full 
communion, and affirming his intention of becoming truly pious in 
heart and in life, and have the privilege of presenting himself and 
children for baptism. Nor did the privilege stop here ; he might 
also present for baptism his grandchildren, children bound to him 
as apprentices, and even his slaves, by giving a pledge for their reli- 
gious education. Persons thus owning the covenant were considered 
church members to all intents and purposes, except that they might 
not come to the communion table. For conduct unbecoming church 
members, they could be and were dealt with and punished in the 

1 Hist, of Conn., 1781, By a Gentleman of the Province. Printed at London. 


same manner as members in full communion. In this way a church 
couUl never mm down in point of niimliers, so long as unconvei'ted 
persons enou^li to keep it up were willing to own the covenant of 
baptism. Abundant proof of the foregoing statements is found in 
the first book of ministerial records of the Second Church of Strat- 
ford, now the First Church of "Woodbury, happily in a fine state of 
preservation. Consequent upon this practice, baptisms followed 
close upon births ; very many instances may be found upon these 
records, where the child was but from one to eight days old at the 
time of the ceremony. If the child appeared to be in danger of 
" non-continuance," it was baptized on the day of its birth. The 
children of ministers, deacons, and other leading men in the church, 
were generally less than a week old when presented for baptism. 
Young persons did not usually own the covenant till they became 
parents, and wished baptism for their children. 

Previous to 1650, great watchfulness had been exercised to admit 
only such as gave visible evidence of piety. The choice of pastors, 
also, had been confined exclusively to the church, and nearly all the 
honors and offices of the colony had been distributed to professors of 
religion, who in the New Haven colony were the only ones possessed 
of the right of suffrage, in meetings of a political character. In the 
colony of Connecticut, not only these, but also other orderly individ- 
uals, having a certain amount of property, were entitled to the privi- 
lege of being admitted freemen. During the lives of the early fathers, 
little trouble had arisen on these points, nearly all the first emigrants 
being professors of religion. But this generation had passed away, 
and a new one had succeeded, many of whom, on account of their not 
belonging to the church, were excluded from their proper influence 
in community. Most of them had been baptized, and by virtue of 
this, it was claimed, that they might own their covenant, have their 
children baptized, and thus perpetuate the church. All New Eng- 
land became interested in this controversy, and in 1657, the matter 
in dispute was referred to a council of the principal ministers who 
met at Boston, and declared 

"That it was the duty of those come to years of discretion, baptized in in- 
fancy, to own the covenant; that it is the duty of the church to call them to 
this ; that if they refuse, or are scandalous in any other way, they may be cen- 
sured by the Church. If they understand the grounds of religion, are not scan- 
dalous, and solemnly own the covenant, giving up themselves and tlieir children 
to the Lord, baptism may not be denied to their children." 

In consequence of this decision, many owned their covenant, and 


pi-esented their children for baptism, but did not unite with the 
church in the celebration of the supper, nor in most other duties of 
members in full communion. Hence it was termed the half-way cov- 
enant. In process of time, the privilege here mentioned was en- 
larged in some of the churches. Many churches in Connecticut never 
adopted this practice, and toward the end of the eighteenth century, it 
was generally abandoned throughout New England. 

The first church at Stratford would not adopt this practice, although 
a large and influential part of its members were in favor of it, togeth- 
er with a majority of the town, who were not church members. Rev. 
]Mr. Chauncy, who was not in favor of the practice, was settled over 
the church in Stratford, in 1665, though there was strong opposition 
to him on this and other accounts. The efforts of the dissenting 
party to settle their difficulties seem to have been sincere. Their 
communications to their brethren were couched in respectful and 
brotherly terms, and their arguments were not easily refuted. In 
fact, little pains seem to have been taken by the church proper dur- 
ing the whole controversy, to answer the reasoning of the dissatisfied 
party, but it seemed rather to throw itself back on its dignity, with 
an intention of allowing the malcontents to take their own course. 
The latter were in the majority in the town meetings, and John Mi- 
nor, one of their leaders, was town-clerk during the whole time of the 
controvei-sy, and for several years after, with the exception of a year. 
This fixmous controversy, so far as the records show it, is deemed of 
sufficient interest to be inserted here, almost entire. It opens with a 
letter from eight of the dissatisfied party, who were the advocates of 
the half-way covenant system, and who state their wishes as follows : 

" To Mr. Chancy and the rest of the Church at Stratford. 

*' Loving brethren and friends, God by his good providence having brought 
us hither, who are of his church and people, and separated us from tlie world' 
and of hi« free and abundant grace hatli taken us and our seed into covenant 
with himself and with his church and people, and hath given us an interest in 
himself to bee our God, and taken us to bee his own, giving us his own disci- 
pline and ordinances for our spiritual! and eternal good, and owning us hath 
given us equall right with yourselves in all his ordinances, his providence also 
having seiled us together in this plantation that we might jointly together wor- 
shipp him in all his ordinances, and that we should be mutuall helpers of one 
another in our Christian race. These lew lines are to informe you that wee 
whose names are underwritten doo declare to you our earnest desire to enjoy 
communion in all God's ordinances with you, that we may together worshipp 
him according to his holy will ; desiring also that wee and our posterity may be 
owned as immediate members of the Church of Christ by you; as Christ own- 
eth us and ours by his own institution, taking us into covenant, and solemnly 


setting his own seal upon us. We further declare, that owning it to be our 
iluty, and liDping it to bee our desire to account you our best friends, wljo shall 
use nienni's to convince us wiierein we have sinned, and bring us to tiie sight of 
our evills: wi- desire that if any man being converted according to God's rules, 
and doo not hold forth repentance, then no such person so remaining may bee 
admitted to communion, till he hold forth repentance. And whereas there 
hath beene ilitference about the calling of Mr. Chancy, and severall of us have 
declared our objections against his selling amongst us till those objections were 
answered, and we judge they never were unto satisfaction ; yet if you shall see 
cause to answer our earnest and reall desires in the premises, as we hope you 
will, wee shall passe by what hath beene, and endeavor lovingly to close to- 
gether and to walke together according to the rules of Gocl's holy word, hoping 
and desiring you will so farr respect us as to give us an ans%ver hereunto in 
writing as soone as you conveniently can. 

"Yours in all due respects and dosircous of unity according to the rules of 

"January Itj, 1CG5.' Joseph Judson, 

Richard Butler, 
David Mitchell, 
Henry Wakelyn, 
James Blalcman, 
John Minor, 
Samuel Sherman, 
Daniel Titterton."'^ 

This respectful and kind letter, offering to forget past grievances, 
and soliciting a union with the rest of the church in a truly fraternal 
and Christian feeling, received no attention, either from Mr. Cliauncy, 
or the remainder of the church, who were of his way of thinking. 
Accordingly on the 9th of the following month, the dissentients ad- 
dressed them another letter in the same spirit, still further making 
known their wishes, and mildly reproaching them for their want of 
courtesy and kindness : 

" Whereas wee have formerly made known onr mindes unto you in writing, 
as concerning our desire of communion in all God's ordinances with you ; hold- 
ing forth unto yon by way of preface, our right unto them, from the free grace 
of God owning us and externally sealing the priviledges of y' Covenant unto us ; 
have also declared our mindes concerning such letts as may hinder us from 
proceeding unto such attaynments mentioned in some clauses thereof; and 
comeing together to know how you stood affected to our desires, hoped you 
might have seen good soe farr to have betrusted those y' were to declare 

1 New Style, Jan. 27, 1666. 

2 This and the other papers relating to this controversy are to be found in the Sec- 
retary of State's office, m" Ecclesiastical," vol. 1, Nos. 18 to 37. 


yo' minde unto us as in conferring witli us to tiiice Ikrther knowledge of our 
desire pioj>oiinded ; and to putt us in a way of farther proceeding; should have 
bin glad soe farr to have bin tender by you that they might have took it into 
consideration. And if anything did on our j)art lye in y' way, have seriously 
appointed us a time for examining of us in respectof our fayth and knowledge : 
Accounting it requisite y' y' Minister may take perticular knowledge of all those 
y' are to have Comunion in the whole worshipp of God ; And herein (to deale 
plainely) y' nothing may hereafter bee laid as a block in our way; we desire 
that in this examination by ye minister or Ministers and Elder wee may issue 
in their questioning and examining onely. And whereas we have openly, sol- 
lemnly, wholly and onely ingaged ourselves to be the Lord's, who hath gra- 
ciously taken us into Covenant w"' himself and his faithful people ; we desire, 
y' in the owning liereof, wee may not be further troubled with any imposition 
of that nature. The exercise of yo'' tenderness unto us wee cannot but hope for, 
according as you are allowed. Ro. 14 : 1. 

"• February, 9"', 1605. Joseph hulson, 

Richard Butler, 
David Milchell, 
Henry Wakelyn, 
John Minor, 
James Blacknian, 
Samuel Sherman, 
Daniel Titterton." 

By this letter we learn that so great was their desire to be recon- 
ciled to the church, that they were willing to be again examined in 
regard to their "fayth and knowledge," that the church might be 
convinced, that their peculiar views had not, in any manner, under- 
mined their religious principles, or purity of character. More than 
two months elapsed before any answer was vouchsafed them, and 
then we find the following 

" Church Answer to the Men :" 

" Neighbours, whereas wee received fro you two writings the sum of both 
which was to hold forth your earnest desire as to communion in all the ordinan- 
ces of Christ with us. These are to give you to understand that our apprehen- 
sion concerning the order of discipline is the same that we have formerly man- 
ifested it to bee, both by our practice, and answer to your proposalls. And 
whereas you apprehend you haveequall right with ourselves in all the ordinan- 
ces of Christ in this place. These may certifie you at present that we are of a 
different apprehension from you in that matter. And whereas you desire that 
your posterity may : etc : wee would put you in mind that as yet the matter is 
in controversie among the learned and godly. Likewise whereas you seeme to 
intimate in the close of your first page that you have taken offence at our late 
proceedings, but as you say upon the granting of the premises are willing to 
pass it by ; we return no more at present but this; viz. wee hope if you had 


had suflicient f^iomicl so to doo, tlio '^oiUy aiul loJirncd would have spied it out, 
vind liavi! end vivorcd to convinco us of our evilU lijrein. Lastly, wlii-rcas in 
your latter pa;;e you prescribe the way wherein you desired to be att'ndfd : 
viz ; you account it requisite : etc : To which we answer in the words of Paul 
in another case, wee have no such custome nor the churches of Christ with 
whom we hold communion, and moreover it is practised you know by those 
whose principles in discipline are farr different from ours. And truly nei},'li- 
bours, as it relates to your case, (notwithstanding wee gladly and heartily de- 
sire yc increase and eidargcment of y^ Clnnch when it may bee attained in a 
rulable and satisfactory way yet,) wee must plainely tell you that we cannot at 
present see how it will stand with the glory of God the peace of ye Church ai d 
our and your mutuall edification (which ought to bee deare unto us, and 
earnestly sought by us) for you to embody with us in this society: The Apo<tle 
Paule exhorts the Coriutliiaiis, and so all that walk together in church fellow- 
ship : 1 Romans 10, to avoide divisions and to be perfectly joyned together in 
the same mind and in the same judgment, otherwise it is not likely we should 
keepe the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, to which we are exhorted, 
Epli. 4 : 3. And notwithstanding wee give this answer in generall to you all 
that were concerned in the yys presented to us; yet you may easily imagine 
that we have particular exertions as it relates to particular persons whereof we 
find that we are thereunto called, wee shall manage and desire satisfaction in 
before they are admitted to communion in all the ordinances. 
"Apr. IG'S 1GG6. 

This is a true Coppyeof y" 
answer given unto us as it was 
tryed by both papers. 
Church Answer to the men." 

One woukl think this a rather short and crispy reply to letters as 
humble and inoffensive as the two former had been. The " Church" 
begins with calling the dissenters " neighbors" and ends with char- 
acterizing them as " the men." They assume a very lofty, and some- 
what arrogant tone ; sufficiently so, one would think, to have pre- 
vented further efforts toward an accommodation of their differences. 
This was undoubtedly written by Mr. Chauncy, the former letters 
having been addressed to him, and it is probable that the remainder 
of the papers on the side of the church were written by him. 

Although by this communication they had been flatly refused ad- 
mittance to tlie church, even on a satisfactory examination, yet they 
persevered in their efforts to accomplish the desired end. It is to be 
recollected, that Stratford belonged to the Connecticut colony, and 
consequently had other freemen besides the members of the church. 
The freemen joined with the dissentients in their efforts. It is to be 
further notfd, that IMr. Cliauncy had been settled by a majority of 
the inciiilxTs oi' th(! cliureh alone, the otlier freemen of the town hav- 


ing no voice in the matter. As by the laws of the colony they were 
obliged to pay taxes for his support equally with the church mem- 
bers, they wished a voice in the selection of the minister. The dis- 
senting part of the church, together with the other freemen of the 
town, as we have seen, constituted a majority in the meetings of the 
freemen. So that although the chvrch could choose and settle a min- 
ister, it took a majority of the voters of the toion to provide for his 
support. Failing as individuals and members of his church to effect 
an arrangement with Mr. Chauncy, they held a town meeting, and 
passed a vote embracing the conditions under which they would con, 
tribute to his support. The vote is a very interesting one, as it con- 
tains a lucid explanation of the half-way covenant, and is as follows : 

" Townc propositions to Mr. Chauncey, May 13, '69. 

" Mr. Clianccy, 

" We a Christian people by the providence of God settled together in this 
l)lantation of Straltford Judging it our duty as from the command of God soe 
for our own iiccessary spirituall & eternall good to indeavo'' after maintain & 
uphoiild a minister orthodox in doctrine and practice y' y' word of life & salva- 
tion may be held forth unto us & all the ordinances of God disspenced amongst 
us. And whereas you have been some time amongst us we accounting rea- 
sonable, very necessary &c equall y' some mutuall agreem' be made in a Chris- 
tian way betu-een you & us ; We hereuppon think good to propound to you 
fo'yo"' settling & continuing w'*" us as foUoweth ; We desire y' you would per- 
form y= work of a Minister of y« Gospel unto us in y« preaching of y« word, and 
administering of the sacraments. More particularly we desire y' all they 
y profess fayth & obedience to the rules of Christ not scandalous in life and doe 
present themselves in owning y« covenant wherein they have given themselves 
unto the Lord in baptism may be admitted and accounted members of y= Church 
and uiider the care and discipline thereof as other members and have their 
children baptized. Yet notwithstanding we desire not that any thus admitted 
may approach unto the Lord's table till in and by examination and due tryali 
they make testimony unto the Judgment of Charity of their fitness thereunto. 
Moreover as God owneth the Infant children of believers in y= Covenant of 
Grace neither doth exclude ye same children w" grown up from keeping their 
standing in y' covenant while they soe walk as they doe not reject it. God 
owneth y"" and would not have y" grace of his covenant shortned or straitened 
nor put y™ from under the disspensations of his grace giving his ministers a 
soUemn charge to take care of & trains up such as a part of their flock : We 
desire also y' y^ children of churchmembers may be accounted churchinembers 
as well as their parents and y" tliey doe not cea?e to bee members by being 
grown up but that they doe still continue in y'^ church successively untill ac- 
cording to y« rules of Christ they bee cast out and y' they are still y« subjects of 
Church discipline even as other members, and y' they should have their chil- 
dren babtized notwithstanding their present unfittness for partaking of the 
Lord's supper. And farther wee assure you hopeing without the least suspi- 
cion you may creditt us y' uppony' accepting o"^ propositions and grunting them 


unto us wee shall according to o' abillity contribute fo' yo' comfortable subsist- 
ence amongst us. Expecting an answer t'roiu you hereunto in time convenient, 
subscribe in the y'name of y' Towne. • 

" June 1, liiGlj. Extracted from the original!; Thomas Fayrechilde, 

being Rccordiul ife therewith Joseph Judson, 

diligentlye compared y» 2G''' : 9-" : 'GS.> Henry Wakelyn, 
p Jolm Minor, Recorder. Thomas UlToote." 

It does not appear that Mf. Chauncy made any reply to this propo- 
sition, though, as the matter had now assumed a serious aspect, it 
was doubtless discussed during the next few months with much fre- 
quency by the two parties. Efforts were also made by the minority 
of the church, together with others of the town, to procure another 
minister for themselves, probably with the tacit consent of the other 
party ; and it would seem that they applied to Mr. Peter Bulkley to 
preach to them. It does not appear, however, that they were suc- 
cessful in obtaining him. But later in the year the two parties were 
able to agree, that each party should have its own minister, and also 
agreed upon a division of the land sequestered for the use of the 
ministry between the two ministers, as appears by the following 
vote : 

" D.'cember ISth 1666. 

" Att a lawfull Towns-meeting it was voated and agreed on y' there should 
bee in case yi it be found in nowayes contradictory to a courte order to have 
another Minister here in Strattford. a layingout of the sequestered land reserved 
for the ministry: viz: A quarter part of it to Mr Chancey and a quarter part 
of it to Mr Peter Bulkley. or any other man by y' party obteyned y' now in- 
deavo'' for Mr Bulkley And y' w^'' shall be laid out to Mr Chansey shall by 
him be improved as his own during his life or continuance in Strattford. And 
in case of reinoveall y= s'' land is to return to y* town again : Provided alwayes 
y' y^ town pay him for w' it is bettered by his improvement according as 
y*' Town and Mr Chansey shall agree, in case of difference then ; as it shall be 
judged better by indifferent men chosen by both parties : And in case of decease 
y" Town is to pay Mr Chansey his Heires w' y' whole accommodations together 
with y improvement shall be judged worth at his disease. It is further agreed 
on in case Mr Bulkley or any other Minister be obteyned hee shall have; liould 
and injoy his part in every respect as Mr. Chancey doth. It is further agreed 
on y' as respecting a house lott y' reserved land for y' purpose shall bee equally 
divided into two lotts and Mr Chancey is to have his choyce, w"^'' of y^ two he 
will please to have. It is further agreed on and voated y" IS''' 10''' : ("ii), in case 
of decease or removal of either of y'c aforesaid ministers y' y« Town shall joynt- 
ly make y'' payments y' will be due to y' deceased or removed minister. And 
y' party y' is destitute of a minister either by death or removall shall have free 

1 The year at this date began with the 25th of March; consequently 26''': 9'": 
was Nov. 26, 1668, 


libberty to provide for themselves another. And shall have ye same intrest in 
y' accommodations and improvement y' formerly they had. 

"Exactly transscribed and diligently compared w"' the originall records the 
24,hApr": 1669. 

\fl 7Z o^i '^cr^ ^.rfSYc c o-j~^i^ 

At the October session of the General Court in 1667, this action 
of the parties was approved and established on motion of Ens. Joseph 
Judson : 

*' Ensigne Joseph Judson moveing this courte for a confirmation of y' agree- 
ment of y« Town of Strattford made December 18"' 66. in relTerence to y« divis- 
ion of sequestred Land to Mr Chansey ye present Minister and Mr Peter Buikley 
or any other, etc; there haveing nothing appeared to this courte therein y' is 
contrary to law yecourt doth approve ofyesd agreement and desires Enssigned: 
Judson, Mr Fayrechilde, Mr Hawley: Leif Curtiss, Rich. Butler and Henry 
Waklyn to lay out ye land according to ye sd agreement. And that from hence- 
forth they shall all joyntly make payment of their proportions towards the 
mayntenance of Mr Chancey till theire bee another minister at Strattford there 

" This is a true.coppie out of y' originall diUigentlye transscribed and com- 
pared this 31st December 1667. 

" Per JOHN MINOR, Recorder." 

Early in the year 1668, the minority engaged Rev. Zechariah 
"Walker, of Jamaica, L. I., to perform pastoral labors among them. 
Having obtained a minister, they perceived they had no house of 
their own to worship in. They had contributed equally with Mr. 
Chauncy's party toward the construction of the meeting-house occu- 
pied by the first church, and the first idea that occurred to them 
was, that they might agree with the other party, to allow Mr. Walker 
to preach one part of each Sabbath in the meeting-house, and Mr. 
Chauncy the other part, thus joining the two congregations. They 
accordingly made known their proposition to Mr. Chauncy's party, 
to which they received two elaborate answers, in better spirit than 
former communications, and in which the plain word " neighbors " 
had been exchanged for " loving neighbors :" 


" 1st 
" OcK Answer to ouk Nkiuours IMotion 

" Loving Neibours, 

•« You are no strangers to the afllicting troubles which through the malice of 
the common adversary have bin occasioned amongst us by different persuasions 
as to order in the house of God, which we may truly say have cost us not a few 
prayres and tears, and no little aflliction of spirit ; fearing indeed whilst we 
have bin contending about the shell we have lost much of the kernal of reli- 
gion : Dill'erences continuing thus uncomfortable amongst us for a long time, 
at length it pleased the most High to guide us to a joint agreement whereby we 
did hoi)e through his blessing an end might be put to these our exercising 
troubles and differences and on earth have a better way found out for our mu- 
tual edification which in truth was the main thing scoped at by us in our 
agreement; And we for our parts (the generality of xis) did conclude that it 
was the intention of all, for the attaining of this end, that we should meet scp- 
erately and apart, one from another, we by ourselves, and you by yourselves, 
that we might enjoy the ordinances of God according as we are persuaded 
without disturbance each to other and therefore shall not cease to wonder at 
your motion (so different from our expectation and as we judge not a little 
predjudicial to your edification) for you and us to meet together publickly to 
worship God in the same place. Neverthelesse we have not bin wanting seri- 
ously to consider and earnestly to enquire, what may be the mind of God in 
this matter since we have had knowledge of this your motion and iuieution, 
(according to the little time allowed us.) And we do declare, 
1st That it is not our intention or desire in the least to deviate from the true 

sense and meaning of our agreement. 
2d That in our agreement we had still an eye to meeting in distinct places: 
3d As to Mr Walker that he is one whom we desire to honour and esteem in 

the Lord ; yet 
4th That wee cAnnot see how two though godly can walke together (especially 

two ministers) except they are agreed. 
5th We doe account ourselves bound by covenant to that order and dispensa- 
tion of the worship of God that hath hitherto bin peaceably practised in this 
church and other churches of Christ, holding communion with us ; this bond 
being upon us, we al^o continuing tlnis persuaded, we can (now) doe nothing 
against the truth, but for ilie initli. 
6th That though our differences be not about fundamentals, and essentials ol 
faith and Christian religion, yet it reacheth to the fundamentals of order in 
church administrations, which are styled Ezek. 4-4. .5. The comings in and 
the goings forth of the sanctuary ; how each party therfore can comfortably 
enjoy his own persuasion with edification (we all agreeing to meet in one 
place) at present we see not. 
7th That we desire to retain and maintain those dispensations which we have 
80 dearly bought and so long enjoyed without interruption siiouid we not 
possesse what the Lord our God hath given us to possesse as they said in 
another case: should we therefore consent to and be instrumental in thr 
parting of these out of our hands. We fear it would be a great dishonour 
and provocation to the Holy one of Israel : seeing that for the peaceable 


enjoyment of the truth that we now professe and practise some of us, among 
many others of the Lords servants have put our lives in our hands, and have 
said to our fathers, we have not seen them neither kave we acknowledged 
our brethren or kindred that we might keep the word of the Lord, and the 
covenant of our God. Deut. 33.6. Finally, at present as there are many 
difficulties in our way that forbid our consent to your motion, soe we cannot 
but declare tliat for you to Ibrce the attendance of your motion, we fear it 
will be a means to widen our ditferences and (as we judge) will be esteemed 
no less than opposition and disturbance. Now the very God of truth and 
peace guide us and you all, in his ways, that so the glory of his great name 
together with the comfort peace and edification one of another may still be 
aimed by us all. 

"Voted as an answer to our Neibours. 

"Nov. 11. 6S." 

Uniting their meetings was evidently not the best way of obtaining 
the end desired. Although their differences might not be " funda- 
mental," as admitted in this communication, yet their opinions being 
so diverse in regard to church membership, they could hardly have 
been much " edified," in being obliged to listen to the defense of what 
they did not believe. It would be not unlike the mingling of the wor- 
ship of the various religious denominations of the present day. "While 
the ministers might have confined themselves to points upon which 
all agreed, they would be in danger of treading, at times, on forbidden 
ground. It seems there had been some further explanation of their 
desires, before they received the following : 

"Hond and truly Respected. 

'* We have with all seriousnesse, weighed; prayed over, counselled upon the 

question that was left to our consideration, and the answer that is with us at 

present is as foHoweth. 

•' The question (as we tooke it up) that was left to our consideration, was, 

Q. Whether we could not consent to have Mr Walker preach in a transient 
way one i)art of the Sabbath untiU the next Gen" Court ? 

Ans. We the Church of x' at Stratford answer negatively, viz : we cannot 
consent, and that this our answer is not irrational, these few words further 
may be seriously weighed. 

Ist For neither can we hear in a transient way nor Mr Walker- so preach, 
because he is not, (as our Neibours say) a transient man, but hired accom- 
modated and settled, and in all respects equally priviledged with Mr Chaun- 
cy, and preaching part of his worke for which hired; therefore if we should 
ever admit him in such a way, our Neibours might begin to conclude settle- 

21y Our Agreement in intention, and as we understand it in termes also for- 
bids Our consent, discources also at the agreement making will help y' Inter- 
pretation so to your understanding. 

Sly The Court order forbids it : it being in opposition to the present settled 


approved minister, consent also of Neibonr Churches not being yet obtained: 
If it be said that Law is Null to us by virtue of the Courts conliru)ation of 
our a<;reenient, then what hinders our neibours, but that they may meet by 

41y We reason from our Neibours themselves, who are different in their per- 
suasions, and cannot carry on to satisfaction with us, which (as it hath ap- 
peared many wayes) so by the already withdrawing of some of tluni Irom 
us, propounding to themselves and us diflererit administrations, now how 
each minister can vindicate his own persuasion, and dilferend Administra- 
tions be carryed on together, and no disturbance each to other, but peace 
preserved, we see not. 

5Iy Rule forbids us, which gives a church power to choose her own feeders. 
Mr Walker was never chosen by us to be our feeder. 

61y As to Edification, which will be much hindred a reason fell from sjome of 
your worships, if different jjcrsuasions and different udministrations be at- 
tended in one place. 

71y We Query whether it can be judged rational or ruleable that a church 
should consent to silence their settled oiliccrone part of every Sabbath, which 
we judge we shall doe in consenting to ye motion propounded. 

Lastly. Much more we might have added but with this at present we con- 
clude, that we shall not admit any further consideration in this matter, untill 
our Neibours (whose worke it is and long ago was) have procured the appro- 
bation of the Gen" Court and the consent of Neibour Churches. And we hum- 
bly conceive Mr. Walker cannot account himself silenced, whde your worships 
shall maintain Churches priviledges, untill such time as he have liberty to 
preach orderly ; and we must needs crave leave to leave this further with 
your worship, that we rather tremble to thinke that we should deviate from 
any rule of x' and our ancient patterns and undervalue our ancient Lawes 
and Law-makers, then as some tremble to thinke what will be the end of sep- 
aration ; nor shall we dare to join where our consciences are persuaded x' 
would have us separate, having no farther at present we rest. 

Yours to serve and obey to our power, 
Stratford, Israel Chauncy, 

7''' (lOih) OS. I riiillip Graue. 

'In the name and with the consent of the Church of x' at Stratl'ord. 
The Church's answer to Mr. Gold's projjosition or Qu." 

In this answer of Mr. Chauncy to the proposition of Mr. Walker's 
party, made, as it seems, by Maj. Gold, of another town, for the pur- 
po*e of reconciliation, he a{)pears for the moment to have the best of 
the argument, but Mr. Walker was a man of decided abilities, and 
rejoins with effect, as will be seen by the following answer. 

" Beloved Neighbours, 

*' Wee have deliberately and wee hope duely weighed w' you were pleased to 
present unto us, relating to o'' former dilferences, & agreement and present trans- 

1 Dec. r, 1668. 


actions & intentions, in answer whereunto wee doo declare y' wee have been 
(at y' least) sharers w'*" you in y' afflicting sence of y' soe predudiciall incon- 
veniences offormer differences; neither are wee willing without thankfullness 
to y" Supreani dissposer to remind w' agreement his divine providence hath 
directed us unto, which was (as wee hope) on all hands designed to bee a totall 
abolition of those uncomfortable contentions y'had bin too long amongst us, and 
a provision for each part, to injoy their own persuasion without mutuall dis- 
turbance. But whereas you are pleased further to adde y' it was y' conclusion 
of y« generallitye of yciirselves y' a seperate meeting was intended by all, and 
y' as a necessary meanes to o' mutuall and undisturbed injoyment of y' ordi- 
nances of God according to o"' ditferent persuasions, and thereuppon y' you 
have an incessant admiration at o'' motion concerning meeting together, as be- 
ing disscrepant from y' expectations, & also (as you judge) predudiciall to 
o"' own edification. To y' wee answer y' wee have much more cause of admi- 
ration, y' you should soe far forgett yourselves as to disown y' which hath bin 
soe plainely and fully concluded amongst us at least as wee have alwayes un- 
derstood it : viz : y' motion of o'' joynt meeting, which wee doe affirm had your- 
selves (if not for its first parents yet at least) for its most careful nurses, being 
(if not first started) yet at least strongly urged by yourselves, before it was con- 
sented to by some of us, soe much wee hope may be a sufficient reply to your 
preface. As for w' you are farther pleased in sundry perticulers to declare unto 
us in your writing, wee further answer. First, as to your first perticular where- 
in you are pleased to intimate your desire not to deviate in the least from y* true 
sence of o'' former agreement; wee say no more but this, y' wee are as reall in 
these desires as yourselves can bee. 

"As to y' second \<'herein you affirm y' in your agreement you had still an 
eye at meeting in distinct places wee have in part answered it already, wee 
shall onely adde this y' if your intentions were different from your expressions 
y* blame of any mistake thereby occassioned is your.", and not ours, on y« other 
handif at o"^ former agreement your expressions and intentions were agreed, 
wee cannott but declare ourselves muchdissatisfyed with your present assertion 
having soe little affinity with truth according to our understanding of our 
agreement. And fo' your third perticular which is an expression of your re- 
spect to Mr. Walker, wee onely say this, y' it will hardly bee thought by indif- 
ferent judges, y' hee truly respects any minister as such, y' is unwilling to hear 
him preach. 

" As for your 4"', viz : your professed ignorance how too (though Godly) es- 
pecially ministers can walk together except they are agreed; wee answer y' if 
by walking together you understand meeting or sitting together in y' same house 
or seat; (which is our present question) and if by agreement you intend thier 
conjunction in affection, wee hope thier neither is, nor will bee in y' persons 
intended iny' your proposition any such mutuall dissaffection as may prejudice 
such an accomplishment of our desires. If by agreement you intend y" concur- 
rent apprehensions of y' partys intended in all matters controversall, and then 
conclude y' persons in y' sence not agreed, cannott sitt or meet together wee 
doe declare y' wee cannott understand y« reason of any such conclusion, being 
mindefull of y' exhortation once given to Christians, (y^ know but in part; & 
y' not in like measure but as God was pleased to distribute severally to each of 


them according to his own will) y' they siiouhl not forsake y' as^^embling of 
themselves together. 

"5th. As to your 5"" wlierein you acquaint us with y' sence of an obligation 
uppon you obieiging you to attend y' order and dispensation of y« worship of 
God formerlye practised and attended in this and otlier Churches, A: that there- 
fore you can doe nothing against the truth, but for the truth. Wee answer y' it 
is far from us to desire to disturb y' your order or hinder your most religious 
respect to any such obligation, as (in reason) you can intend, much less doe 
wee desire y' you should doe anything against the truth, but for the truth & 
y' (if God may incline your hearts) more y" hitherto you have done ; wee know 
nothing in our propositions or actions, y' hath any look or tendency to your 
prejudice in such respects; but by the way wee think it but rationall to desire 
y' wee may with like freedome from disturbance (at least in respect of you) an- 
swer these obligations of conscience y' are alike upon ourselves. 

"G. As for the sixth, if ye comeings in and goings forth of tlie Sanctuary in 
Ezek. 44, 5, intend as yourselves expound, not ye improvement of y» place of 
worship, but ecclesiasticall administrations y' attended wee cannott see y' this 
hath the least show of an argument : against w' wee desire ; w' is there in this 
y' can intimate any unsutableness, or inconveniency in meeting in ye same 
place uppon a joynt agreement, soe to doe (as yourselves propound itt) seeing 
y' yourselves sayy' ye place alleadged speakes not of the place, but of the form 
of worship. 

" 7. As to y' 7"' perticular, viz : y' you desire to rctayn and maiutayn these 
dispensations, you have soe derely bought, and soe long injoyed without inter- 
ruption, wee say y' wee desire not y' prejudice herein, but withall wee adde 
y* wee also desire to attayne those gosspell priviledges, y' many of us have as 
derely bought and hitherto longed to injoy without opposition. As for your 
inquiry in ye words of Jeptha, should wee not possesse what the Lord our God 
hath given us to possess.' we answer y' wee neither desire to hinder you, nor 
are wee willing in y^ like respects to bee hindred by you, to which wee may 
adde almost in your own words y' should wee therefore consent to, or bee in- 
strumentall in, ye parting with such gospell priviledges out of our hands, wee 
feare it would bee a great dishonor and provocation to ye holy one of Israeli ; 
seeing y' for ye peaceable injoyment of ye truth y' wee have professed & doe 
profess, and desire to practice; some of us amongst many others whether of 
ye same or ditferent persuasions, have adventured upon as great hardships, 
dangers <fc difficultyes as any or most in these parts, whose adventures and en- 
deavours in such respects have hitherto been more successfuU than ours. 

" Lastly, you declare that there are many dilficultyes in ye way forbidding 
your consent unto our motion, to which wee say that wee know not any dillicul- 
ty attending you y' will justifye your diverting from your rationall agreement ; 
a righteous man ingageth sometimes to his hurt ; yet changeth not but your case 
is easier then soe And whereas you adde y' for us to force the attendance of our 
motion will (as you feare) bee a meanes to widen our dilference, wee doe de- 
clare y' we are assured «Jc y' (as wee are persuaded) uppon far better grounds, 
y' for you to oppose ye attendance of our motion (being no other but ye accom- 
plishment of our ancient agreement) will evidence to all indilferent judges 
yt you were never reall in y' agreement ; and whereas fo' a conclusion you say 


y'ye prosecution of our motion will (as you judge) bee accounted no lessy" op- 
position and disturbance, we answer y' wee cannott see how either yourselves, 
or others y'are wise, uppon a serious perusal of y<^ former agreement, can soe 
judge, and for ye censures of those y' will judge a matter before they understand 
it ; we see as little reason to vallew y". 

This (as we esteem) may suffice, for an answer to what you were pleased to 
present to our consideration. To which we shall farther adde this y* there 
being nothing therein by you proposed of any vallidity to dissuade us from 
proceeding according to our formerly declan d intention we doe purpose and 
resolve y' next Sabbath, (God willing) to begin with the execution of y" sd 
intention viz : to hear our own minister viz. (Mr Walker) one part of day, and 
y« in y' place ordinarily used for such purposes and doe therefore desire y' wee 
may bee without disturbance in soe doeing, and for y« part of ye day you may 
please to intimate which you choose for your own performances and we shall 
take the other, (if not we doe purpose to take the latter part of the day.) No 
more at y^ present but to desire the God of peace to guide both us, and you to 
what may bee for our niutuall peace and comfort. 

" Strattford ye 13th November 1668. 

" An answer to Mr Chancy's particulars The Second." 

By this answer it seems that Mr. Walker's party was becoming 
somewhat incensed at the disposition shown by the other party. A 
question of veracity is raised between them, and we begin to see how 
really good men, as the individuals composing both these parties 
undoubtedly were, may forget themselves, and do things unworthy of 
their position and character. Some of the men of these two parties 
were among the leading men in the Colony, and none were more 
frequently appointed by the General Court to act on committees for 
composing similar differences elsewhere, than they. At the close of 
the communication, it will be seen that they gave notice of their 
intention of occupying their joint property, the meeting-house, on the 
next Sabbath. This design was not carried into execution, but the 
matter was compromised by allowing Mr. "Walker two hours in which 
to hold his services in the meeting-house on the Sabbath, in the mid- 
dle of the day, between the two services of Mr. Chauncy, till the 
meeting of the General Court in May, 1669. 

In May, 1669, both parties petitioned the General Court, and Mr. 
"Walker's party were directed to furnish a bill of particulars, or list 
of their demands. In compliance with this order we find the fol- 
lowing : 

"This honoured court having required us to bring in the grounds of our 
desires in writing respecting our joint improvement of our meeting-house y' is 
to hear our own minister one part of each Sabbath as well as Mr Chancy the 


other jiart : we humbly rcqiu-st that tlie Ibllowiiig particulars may be duely 
consiiltTfil : — 

1. That our a<;roenu'nt among ourselves did lead us toy' expectation of such 
an order in our |)roceeding. 

2. Tliat such our agreement being presented to y* lionoured Gen: Court, did 
receive y' approbation, & confirmation & wee yn granted & allowed to pro- 
cure a minister upon such an account, which our agreement as the ground 
of such proceedings in y' court hath been proved by testimony given in upon 
oath before y« lionoured generall court. 

3. That we have at least an equall interest in y« publick meeting house, with 
our present opposities & desire no other improvement of it than what religion, 
& law allowetli us. 

4. That our above said agreement having been allowed, & our desires therein 
granted by y« highest authority in this colony, we shall not be so ungrateful! 
to authority as to relinquish y' said grant, — but do humbly conceive we may 
improve it as our own, and do request your countenance and protection 

in y'' name of the rest concerned with him. 
"Hartford May IS, 1GG9." 

By this it appears that their principal difficulty continued to be 
in regard to the manner in which they should " enjoy the meeting 
house." Without reflecting upon the matter, one might say that the 
simplest way of arranging the difficulty would have been to have 
built another church. But it is to be borne in mind, that the country 
was new, and the inhabitants poor. It was a great undertaking to 
erect a suitable building, and heavy taxes for years were necessary 
to be laid to complete it. 

The petition of the first church, which follows, is indefinite, simply 
asking the General Court to take the case into consideration, and do 
something : 

" To the Hon'' Gen" Court assembled at Hartford May 14, 1069. 

"The petition of the church of Christ at Stratford with many of the inhabit- 
ants, humbly sheweth. That uncomfortable diflerences have too long bin, 
and yet remain amongst us in Stratford, to our no small attliction, and to the 
greife of many of our I'reinds, and that many of your Worships have bin ac- 
quainted with, and some of you (which we cannot but thankfully acknowledge) 
with great seriousnesse have travelled in, to your no small trouble; and seeing 
ditferences still remain notwithstanding some essayes for redresse, we cannot 
but account it our duty to be humbly and solicitously urgent with this Hon"" 
court at this time, that you will please to looke upon our condition and see our 
state and be pleased to hear us with patience, for to whom should we come but 
to your Worships, as such under Christ appointed for that end by him to leleive 
the opjiressed, and such we take ourselves to bee, and therefore again beseech 
you to hear and take our matters into your judicious consideration, aud doe 



something for our settlement, and you will thereby (we hope) give us occasion 
to gloril'y God in you, and shall not cease to pray that the wonderful counsellour 
may be still with you, and the spirit of counsel upon you in the great and 
weighty aliaires that are under your hands, and that you may be repairers of 
the breach, and restorers of paths to dwell in. 

" Stratford 7th (3^) 09. Your unworthy Petitioners 

Israel Chauncey John Curtis 

Phillip Graue 

Richard Boothe 

"William Curtis 

Joseph Hawley 

Isaack Niccolls 

John Brinsmead Sen' 

Moses Wheeler 

Thomas Kymberlye 

Francis Hill 

John Willcockson 

John Pickitt Sen' 

John Beach 

John Hurd Ju° 

James Blakman 

Jehiell Preston 

Timothy Wllcockson 

James Clarke 

John Fuller 

Benjamin Peat 

Jabez Hargar 

Israel Curtis 

John Peat Jun"" 

John Birdseye Sen' 
John Peatte Sen' 
Adam Hurd 
Henry Tomlinson 
John Peacoke 
Joseph Beardsly 
Nathaniel Porter 
Thomas Fayrechild Jun 
Samuell Beardsly 
Benjamin Beach 
Stephen Berritt 
Tho. Berritt 
John Brinsmead Jun' 
Jonas Tomlinson 
Daniell Beardsly 
Daniell Brendsmed 
John Piekitt Jun' 
James Pickitt 
Eliasaph Preston 
John Birdseye Jun' 
John Bostick 

"Mr Chancy and the Church of Stratford's petition May 14, 69." 

The Court took the ease into consideration, as desired, confirmed 
their choice of Mr. Chauncy, advised both parties to choose " some 
indifferent persons of piety and learning to compose their differences," 
and gave Mr. "Walker liberty to occupy the church three hours each 
Sabbath, in the middle of the day, between Mr. Chauncy's two ser- 
vices, till the October session. Previous to this session, several 
attempts were made by the parties to carry out the advice of the 
Court to submit their differences to arbitration, and several extended 
and learned communications passed between them. They however 
resulted in no definite action, as they could not agree upon the points 
to be submitted to the ax'bitrators. 

At' the October session the matter was again before the Court, 
which passed a resolution advising the first church to comply with 
the desire of Mr. Walker's party, to have union services, allowing 


Mr. Walker to preach one part of each Sabbath. Some communi- 
cations passed between tlie parties in relation to this advice, but the 
first church, instead of granting them this privilege, which they had 
so long sought, excluded them from the house entirely. After 
suffering this indignity, they only addressed a letter to the first 
church, complaining of the injustice done them, and proposed to 
divide the town into two parts, that they might go and live by them- 
selves, and have no more dissension. They further inform them 
that they shall ask the same of the General Court : 

" To the Elders of the church of Stratford with any others of our neighbours 
joyning with you. 

" Beloved neighbours, if the true intent of most solemn covenants and ingag- 
ments made betwixt you and us in the presence of him who must shortly be 
our judge and entered on, (at least on your part) with many serious pro- 

testations as we then esteemed you might have been accounted any obligation 
unto consciense and acordingly have been atended in practise we had not beene 
Buch causless suiBerers, as now we are ; nor had we had such an ocasion of 
making propositions to yourselves, or had our sutferings beene such as had 
terminated in ourselves, had not the house of God and religion suffered as well 
as we ; we might have excused ourselves in a silent sufering [An erasure] 
of our present injuries, but our case being as it is and that by your meanes we 
are nesesiated to present you with the following propositions 

1. -The first, and that which we chiefly desire is : that you would so far be- 
thinke yourselves what injury you have done unto us in excluding us from 
the place of publick worship wherein you know our right to be as good as 
yours, and how unwillingly yourselves would have beene to be so dealt with 
as to suffer us without any molestation or disturbance to return to the injoy- 
mentof that our right in the meeting house therein to have the improvement 
of our minister one part of each Sabbath 

2. Or Secondly, if you still wished to oppose and resist so rationall and just 
a proposition as this we then propose that for prevention of the continu- 
ance of seperate meetings in Stratford you would either allow to us that part 
of Stratford land contayned in the following limits: viz: from the place 
where the river commonly caled the saw mill River falls into the great 
river, to the head of the westermost branch of the said river and straight 
from thence to the head of Stratford bounds, and soe all that land that is in 
Stratford bounds betwixt that line and the great river that then we may setle 
ourselves in a distinct village or Township or else that with the like allow- 
ance from us you will remove thither for the same end : that so by the 
removall of one party, there may at length be a cessation of those so long 
lasting troubles that have been amongst us. 

3. Thirdly, that whether you or we shall so injoy the said land as above sayd, 
that both parties joyntly shalle be at the charge of clearing it from any other 
claymc, that may be made onto it. These propositions we desire you seri- 
ously to consider and seasonably to answer withall informing you that we 


intend to present something to the same purpose to the Generall court : now 
approaching, no more at present but to remayn. 

" Stratford September 29: 1G70. Your loving neibours 

Joseph Judson, 
John Minor, 
In tlie name of the rest." 

According to the notice here given they did apply to the General 
Court at its session in October, making the same proposal, and a com- 
mittee consisting of Captain Nathan Gold, Mr. James Bishop, Mr. 
Thomas Fitch, and Mr. John Holly, was appointed 

" To viewe the said lands desired, and to meet some time in November next 
to consider of the afoarsayd motion, and to labour to worke a complyance be- 
tween those two parties in Stratford; and if their endeauoures ])roue unsuc- 
cessful then they are desired and ordered to make returne to the Court in May 
next what they judg expedient to be attended in the case." 

Nothing was effected by this committee, nor did they even report 
to the General Court, as directed. There is no record of any other 
action in the matter, on the part of the authorities of the colony, till 
May, 1672, when, as we have seen, on the advice of Gov. AVinthrop, 
Mr. Walker and his church were allowed to found a new town at 

For tAvo years after Mr. Walker was called to preach to the dissent- 
ing party in Stratford, he had done so without ordination. Amid the 
other difficulties under which they labored, they had found no oppor- 
tunity to accomplish this desirable point. But now, being taunted by 
the first church on account of their disorganized state, being excluded 
the meeting-house, and there being no longer any hope of arrange- 
ment with the other party, they took the necessary steps to '• embody 
in church estate." But the following account of the event, by Mr. 
"Walker himself, in his quaint and beautiful style, more eloquently 
tells the story than any language the author can frame. 

"May, 1G70. 
'♦ A record of ye proceedings, «5c; afiaires of y^ 2"^ chh at Stratford, from its first 
beginning. By me n /) /v 

" After great indeavours for an union w^ y® former chh, & much patience 
therein, w" long experience had too plainly evidenced y' irremoveable resolu- 
tion, to oppose an union Wih us, though nothing had appeared of any such 
great distance in o' apprehensions, as might be inconsistent y''with : All hopes 
of success in such indeavours being at length taken away, we thought ourselves 
bound to seek after y^ injoynt of y^ ordinances of God in a distinct society, find- 
ing ye door shut agst or attaining it any other way : we did y'fore first more 


privately, (by reason of yc gretit opposition w'w,h we were attended) set apart 
a day of solemn hinniliation, w'in to seek unto God for guidance, A: a.s.^islanee, 
& (a considerable part y'of being si)int in prayer, & preaching) in y^ close of 
y^ day we did pnblickiy read over ye confession of faith extracted out of 
yc scriptures by yc assembly of divines at Westminster, Wch being publickly 
owned. A: [)rofessedly assented unto by us, we did enter into a solemn cove- 
nant y'by giving up o'selves, & ours unto y" lord, & ingaging o'selves one to 
another to walk together in chh society in attending ye ordinances, & institu- 
tions of cht. Afterwards o' way being more cleared we made ©'application 
unto neighbouring churches for y' approbation of o' chh standing (ye consent 
of ye court being suliiciently implied in y' confirmation of ye ancient agreement 
betwixt party, >fc party in Stratford, & by other acts of yi's relating to u?.) And 
having attained ye approbation of yechhes of Fairfield, Killingworth, tSc ye new 
chh at Windsor, we did solemnly renew oi^said covenant the first of May, 1G70. 
The covenant thus entered into by us, & renewed as is aboves'^ was as followeth. 
"The Covenant. 
" We whose names are hereunto subscribed, being (by ye all-disposing prov- 
idence of God, who determines yc bounds of mens habitations) cast into cohab- 
itation on w'" another, and being sensible of o' duty unto God, & one to anoth- 
er, & of o"" liableness to be forgetful!, & neglective of ye one, &: y^ other, do 
hereby (for ye further incitent of o^selves unto duty in either respect) solemnly 
give up o'selves & ours unto ye lord, engaging o'selves by his assisting grace to 
walk before him, in ye religious observance of his revealed will, as far as it is 
or shall bee made known unto us. We do also in ye presence of God solemnly 
ingage o'selves each to other, to walk together in church-society according to 
ye rules of ye gospel!, jointly attending all ye holy ordinances of God, as far as 
it shall please him to make way thereunto, and give opportunity y'of: and 
walking on w"' another in brotherly love, & chtian watchfullness for o' mutual 
edification, & furtherance in ye way to salvation. And jointly submitting 
o'selves, cV ours to ye goverment of cht in his church, in yc hand of such church 
governours, or officers as shall be set over us according to gospell institution. 
The good lord make us faithfuU in covenant with him & one wih another, to 
walk as becomes a people near unto himself, accept of o' offering up of o'selves, 
& ours unto him, & establish both us and y'" to be a people unto himself in his 
abundant mercy through cht jesns, who is o' only mediato'in whom alone we 
expect acceptance, justification and salvation : to him be glory & praise through 
all ages. Amen. 

"The names of ye persons y' subscribed this covenant, & again publickly 
owned it. May 5"', viz : yeday of my ordination, were as foUuweth. 
Zechariah Walker, Hope Washborn, 

Samuel Sherman, sen', Hugh Griflln, 

Jose[)h Judson, sen', Ephraim Stiles, 

John Hurd, sen', John Thompson, jun', 

Nicholas Knell, Theophilus Sherma, 

Robert Clark, Matthew Sherman, 

John Minor, John Judson, 

Samuel Sherman, jun', Samuel Mils, 

John Wheeler, Benjamin Stiles, 

Samuel Stiles, Edmond Shermond. 


" Persons since added. 
John Skeeles, Riclmrd Buller, 

Israel Curtiss, Robert Lane, 

Tliomas tfairechilde, Moses Johnson. 

Richard Harvy, 
" On ye a"" of May, 1670, I was ordained pasto' of ye 2'^ chh: at Stratford. 
The ministers present were ra' Wakeman, m'' Haines, ni' John Woodbridge, 
m' Benjamin Woodbridge. m' John Woodbridge was ye leading person, 
m' Benjamin Woodbridge was assistant in ye work of ordination." 

Thus it is seen, that at the ordination of Mr. "Walker, his church 
consisted of twenty male members. This number was as large as 
that of the other churches, at their organization, up to this date, with 
the exception of those in four or five of the larger towns. Seven 
more were added a few days after, and four males and six females 
were also added previous to the removal to "Woodbury, in 1G72. 
More than one-third of these were members by the half-way cove- 
nant system, yet it is seen, that they subscribed and publicly owned 
the same covenant, as those in full communion. This practice went 
on, and this identical covenant was owned, during the ministry of 
Mr. "Walker, and that of the Rev. Mr. Stoddard, the second minister, 
till the ordination of Rev. Noah Benedict, the third minister, in 1760, 
ninety years from the first gathering of the church, when it was 

In 1672, by permission of the General Court, the second church 
of Stratford made preparations for removing to Pomperaug, and 
early the next year a majority of its members emigrated thither. 
Mr. "Walker" ministered to his church in both places till June 27th, 
1678, when he took up his abode permanently in "U^oodbury.' The 
settlers had now become so numerous that it was no longer problem- 

1 A story has been related respecting the occasion of Mr. Walkers removing with 
his party to Woodbury, in substance as follows: 

" At the period of the first settlement of Woodbury, there were two licentiates 
preaching at Stratford, Mr. Walker and Mr. Reed. As there was some controversy 
who should leave and go with the Woodbury settlers, the two licentiates were re- 
quested to deliver a discourse on the day when it was to be decided, Mr. Walker in the 
forenoon, and Mr. Reed in the afternoon. Mr. VValker took for his text, " What went 
ye out into the wilderness for to see, a reec? shaken with the wind?" He enlarged 
upon the circumstance and propriety of a reed being found in the wilderness, &c. Mr. 
Reed, in the afternoon, took for his text, " Your adversary, the devil, walketh abotit," 
&c. In the course of his observations, he stated that the great adversary of men was 
a great walker, and instead of remainuig with the brethren, ought to be kept walking 
at a distance from them." 

This certainly is an amusing story, but it lacks one ingredient to make it entirely 
satisfactory, and that is truth. It is not historically Mr. Israel Chauncy was 


atical that the settlement wonUl be iiermanent. After the troubles 
in Stratford were settled by colonizing the new town, and the angry 
feelings that had been aroused had subsided, both Mr. Chauncy, who 
was an able and learned man, and INIr. Walker, became sensible that 
their conduct toward each other, during the long controversy, had 
not, at all times, been brotherly, and, after some time, made conces- 
sions to each other, became perfectly reconciled, and conducted them- 
selves toward each other with commendable affection. The two 
churches were also on the most friendly terms, and Mr. Chauncy, 
in 1702, after the death of Mr. Walker, assisted at the ordination of 
Mr. Stoddard, his successor in the ministry. 

The personal history of Mr. Walker, which has reached us, is very 
brief. He was the son of Robert Walker, of Boston, where he was 
born in 1G37. He was educated at Harvard College, but did not 
graduate. He preached as licentiate at Jamaica, Long Island, from 
1663 to 1668, when he removed to Stratford, and preached in the 
same capacity to the members of the second church in Stratford, till 
its regular organization, and his own installation over it as pastor. 
May 5, 1670. After the troubles growing out of King Philip's war 
were ended, he removed with his family to AVoodbuzy, and there 
spent the remainder of his days, which terminated on the 20th day 
of January, 1 699-1 700,* in the sixty-third year of his age. 

He was a man of solid attainments, as indeed he must be, to pass 
the rigid examination given him and other candidates for the minis- 
try in those days. They were examined not only in the "thi-ee 
learned languages," Latin, Greek and Hebrew, but in respect to doc- 
trinal points of theology, cases of conscience, and their ability to de- 
fend the tenets of Christianity against inlidels and gainsayers, as well 
as their own experimental knowledge of religion. He was a jiungent 
and jiowerful preacher, greatly beloved by the people of his charge. 
He conducted the aifaii's of his church with commendable discretion, 
and both it and the infant town flourished durinji his administration. 

settled over the first chui'ch in Stratford, in 16G5, and remained there till his death in 
1703, more t'.an thirty-seven years after the settlement of Mr. Walker over the second 
church. No person of the name of Reed ever preached, or oflered to preach, at Strat- 
ford, before the settlement of Woodbury. Eev. Peter Bulkier was solicited to preach 
by the dissenting party before Mr. Walker was engaged, but did not do so. The set- 
tlement of Woodbury became necessary in consequence of the disagreement of the 
parties of Jlessrs. Chauncy and Walker. The first mention of this tradition is made 
in Barber's Hist. Coll. of Conn., and it is suspected that a certain facetious friend of 
the author, residing in Woodbury, should have the honor of its paternity. 
1 This date, according to new style, is Jan. 31, 1700. 


Tlie number of persons admitted to membership in his church during 
his ministry was one hundred and eight, a part of whom had been re- 
ceived on the half-way covenant plan in the first instance, but nearly 
all the living members at his death were such in full communion. 
Three hundred and seventy-six persons, infant and adult, were by 
him baptized. Dea. John Minor and Dea. Samuel Miles were ap- 
pointed deacons at the organization of the church, and two others 
were subsequently chosen, on the death or resignation of the former, 
viz., Matthew Sherman, in 1682, and John Sherman, in 1GS5. Thus 
the infant church had secured a firm foundation, notwithstanding all 
the trials and hardships that beset its eai'lier years. 

After a life of usefulness, the revered Walker, " y<^ faithfull, wor- 
thy, beloved Minister of the Gospell, and much lamented Pastor of 
y<5 Chh of Christ," " was gathered to his fathers," and his remains 
repose in the southern part of the ancient burying-ground. He lies 
amid the faithful flock to whom he ministered in life. A rude head- 
stone of native rock, containing only his name, and the date of his 
death, so worn and obliterated by the storms of more than a century 
and a half, that the name can scarcely be deciphered, is all that re- 
mains to mark the place of sepulture of this " early father." It might 
seem strange to the casual visitor within our limits, that the town he 
so much improved and benefited by his labors, and honored by his 
public and private virtues, had not long since erected a fitting monu- 
ment to the memory of its earliest and most faithful servant. It is to 
be hoped, that the time is not far distant, when this debt of gratitude 
shall have been paid. 

After Mr. "Walker's death, the church was for a time without a 
pastor ; but the Rev. Anthony Stoddard, having become a licentiate 
in 1700, was engaged to supply the pulpit in this place. Being 
pleased with his labors, the church and town soon took the necessary 
steps toward his settlement in the ministry over them. Accordingly 
we find the following action on record : 

" At a lawful! Towns-meeting y= 13''' of August 1700 in ord"" to y° settling of 
Y" Reverend in"^ Anthony Stoddard amongst us, in y^ work of y'' ministry. And 
for his encouragem' so to do ; 

"It was Voted and agreed to allow him, as Mayntenance in y^ Work of y" 
Ministry, seventy pounds per Annu, in provision pay, or to his Satisfaction, in 
Case of faylure of provision pay. By provision pay, is intended, wheat, pease, 
Indian Corn & pork, proportionally : as also fire wood : 

" (Wee do also promise, to build him an house here in Woodberry of known 
Demensions ; y' is to say, the Carpenters work & Masons work ; hee providing 


nayles and glass; by building y' s*" house is intended, doors, floiins, niliiiK up 
and playsterinji and })a'titions, fini>liin),' it as also a well. 

••(We do also promise to acconunodate w''' a five and twenty Acre Accom- 
modations Hound y« is to say live A: twenty Acres of home lolt &c honielott 
division, five A: twenty acres of Meadow or lowland; five & twenty Acres of 
good hill Division, five and twenty of Woods Division. Twelve Acres and an 
halfe of pasture Division; !• cure Acres and an halfe of wliite-oak-plaine divis- 
ion so Cajled: And all as Conveniently as may bee: Vppon such Conditions 
as shall be hereafter Contracted lor and agreed to between hitn and us, and all 
other future divisions, successively w'*' other five and twenty Acre Accommo- 

" The Conditions of this engagement are; That in Case hee y' s"" m' Stod- 
dard, accepts of these o' proposalls and engages to live and Continue w'*' us in 
y« Work ofy' Ministry six years after y' Date hereof; Then w' is promised as 
to house niul Lands to bee a firm grant to him his Heires and Assigns forever 
to all inti^iiis \: purposes w'soever, in Case of a Removall from us y« building 
and lands lo reiurn to us againe, to yTown againe. we say a Removall w"'in 
y' s'' Teaim. Death is noways intended by y' s'' Removall, neither y= Towns 
enforcing him to a removall : In w'*" Covenant it is agreed on, y' in Case of a 
Removall : w'ever y' s"^ house or Accommodations, shall bee really bettered by 
y" s'' ni' Stoddards own expence or impiovem' y^ Town shall pay him lor 
that : 

" Since w^'' time at a Lawful! Towns-meeting y'^ QS'*" of Xovenib"' 1700 It 
was Voated and agreed y' y* aboves' specices for m' Stoddard's yearly mayn- 
tenance bee levyed at y" prices following: wheat at 4« 6'' pi" Bush ; pork at 
3= p"" lb: Indian Corn 2" 6 ' pr Bush: pease three shillings p' Bush" : And 
these prices fo'' this yeare y= Town will not vary from for ye future Exterordi- 
nary providences interposing being Exeeapted; 

"Recoidtd iVom ye originalls p' Jo" Minor Recorder, March 1700-1701. "i 

By this it will be perceived that the town not only voterl him a 
salary, but also a settlement in land. They granted him the largest 
quantity of land allowed to any person, thus making him at once as 
rich as the most opulent former. His salary was to be paid entirely 
in provisions, a fact which again brings to our notice the almost 
entire want of a currency at this time. The contract of the town 
was carried into effect with all possible dispatch, and the house, still 
in existence, the oldest in the county, a cut of which appears on the 
opposite page, was the result. It is built in the old lean-to style. In 
front is the portico, on the second floor of which was the parson's 
study, where he prepared his sermons for the long period of fifty- 
eight years. On the first floor of this projection, the probate courts 
for the district of Woodbury were held for more than forty years. 
It is located in the midst of this beautiful valley, with the hoary 

1 W. T. K., vol. 2, p. 24. 

# ^ 



Castle Rock for a background. It is a venerable relic of the early 
days of the town — one of tlie few links connecting us with a former 
generation. It is a thing of history in a historical locality. Long 
may it remain to remind us of the virtues of the departed, and all 
that is valuable in the past ! 

Mr. Stoddard did not preach in Woodbury all the time during the 
two years succeeding Mr. Walker's death. The pulpit was supplied 
a part of the time by others, among whom was Rev. Mr. Shove, of 
Danbury. No entries of any kind for these two years appear on 
the church records, except the following in Mr. Stoddard's hand- 
writing : 

" 99, 1700, 1, 2: In ye Vacancy of a Pastor." 

In May, 1702, he was admitted to full communion with the church, 
a measure then considered necessary, and ordained pastor soon after, 
as he informs us by the following entry on the records : 

"On May 27, 1702, I was ordained Pastor of ye Ch'' of Woodbury. The 
ministers acting in y' atfair were Mr. Chauncey, of Stratford, Mr. Webb, Mr. 
Janes, Mr. Charles Chauncey." 

The church was thus again supplied with an ordained minister, 
and one, who, fortunately, was to remain long with his people. Un- 
der the contract with him, which was a very liberal one for those 
days, rates were each year laid upon all the property in the territory, 
that the laborer might receive his " wages," the town taking receipts 
for the same, as appears by the following : 

" These may certifie w™ it may concern y' I ye subscriber have received to 
satisfaction all former Rates granted as annual saleryes to this day & have 
nothing to demand of y® town as a town on those accounts. Witness my hand 
ye i4tbjay of December, 1719. 

The ministry of Mr. Stoddard was remarkable for its duration 
and the peace and prosperity which attended it. From the date of 
his first sermon as a candidate, to that of his last, immediately prece- 
ding the brief illness that terminated his useful labors, he numbered 
sixty years in his holy calling. During all this time, the church was 
in a highly prosperous condition, notwithstanding the low state of the 
other churches in New England. There were but two years during 
the whole length of his ministry, in which there were not more or less 


admissions to the church. Groat peace and haniiony ever prevailed 
under his administrations, amid the intense excitement which occa- 
sionally existed, in relation to various matters, among the ministers 
and people of other churches in the colony. The number of commu- 
nicants was always large, notwithstanding four important societies 
were taken from his limits during his ministry. These were South- 
bury, in 1730, Bethlehem,' in 1730, Judea, in 1741, and Roxbury, in 
1743, and they have since become towns. 

The good work seemed constantly to glow under his hands, with a 
steadiness rarely equaled. But there were several seasons of revi- 
val, when a special interest in religious matters engaged the attention 
and aflfections of his people. During the years 1726 and 1727, being 
the year preceding, and the year of the " Great Sickness," there was 
a special awakening. Forty-one were received to full communion in 
the former year, and thirty-four in the latter. For seven years pre- 
ceding 1740, the beginning of the " Great Awakening" in all New 
England, a good deal of religious interest prevailed, and ninety-seven 
were added to the church. With the rest of the colony it also parti 
cipated in the " great revival," and nineteen were received in full 
communion in 1740, forty-five in 1741, and forty in 1742, making 
two hundred and one additions to the church in ten years. The 
whole number admitted to full communion during his ministry was 
four hundred and seventy-four, and one hundred and forty-two were 
admitted by the half-way covenant system. The most of these, dur- 
ing or after his ministry, were admitted to full communion. The 
number of persons baptized by him was fifteen hundred and forty. 
Five deacons were appointed during this period, — Zechariah Walker, 
son of the first minister, date not noted, Samuel Sherman in 1736, 
Samuel Minor in 1741, Jehu Minor in 1751, and Daniel Sherman 
in 1756. The latter remained in this ofl&ce thirty-seven years. 
Truly the labors of this " father in Israel" were highly blessed in in- 
ducing numbers to walk in the " paths of jieace and the ways oi" 

On the 24th of April, 1744, the ancient society, now called the 
first society, four others having been formed out of its original limits, 
voted to build a church, and in May following, petitioned the General 
Assembly to appoint a " wise and faithful committee," to determine 

1 The name of the ecclesiastical society is Bethlehem. It was intended to have the 
to\vn of the same name, but by an eiTor of the transcriber of the charter, the name of 
the town was spelled Bethlem. 


its location. On the 26th of September, 1744, the committee exam- 
ined the various locations, and reported at the October session of the 
Assembly, that they had located the house 

" On Broad street, 40 rods Xorth of the old house, on the hill, at the head of 
a street running Westward." 

The report was approved, the location established, and the building 
went forward. In May, 1745, the society's clerk reports that two 
rates had been laid to build the same, and the timber was i)rocured ; 
in May, 1746, that it was ready to raise, and the materials for finish- 
ing it obtained; and in October, 1747, that it was covered. The 
latter report, by the clerk. Col. Joseph Minor, is brief, to the point, 
and slightly grandiloquent, as will be seen : 

"To the Honble Assembly at New Haven, Octob'', 1747. 

" These may Inform your Honrs that the Prime Society in Woodbury Have 
set up a Meeting House in the place where the Court's Comtee set the stake. 
Have Covered & Inclosed it, & for its Bigness, Strength & Architecture it Does 
appear Transcendantly Magnificent ! 

^-wC. ^TUridnr society's Clerk. 

Woodbury, October, 1747. "i 

This house was located in the street, a little south of the hotel of 
Mr. John P. Marshall. This was the second church edifice in the 
first society, was dedicated immediately after the date above, and con- 
tinued the place for public worship till the dedication of the present 
church, January 13th, 1819, a period of seventy-two years. The 
first church had been used as such for more than seventy-five years 
before the dedication of the second, and afterward as a town hall, tiE 
after the close of the Revolutionary "War, and was pulled down, after 
it had attained the age of more than one hundred years. 

A word respecting the chronology of this work may as well be in- 
troduced here as elsewhere. It is well known that in September, 
1752, a change in dates occurs, occasioned by a correction of the 
style. In Hempstead's Diary, we find the following remark, next 
after September 2d : 

" Sept. 11, 1752. — Fair: — and such a day as we never had before ! By act 
of Parliament to bring Old Style into New Style, eleven days is taken out of 
this month at this place, and then the time to go on as heretofore." 

In this work, all dates of the month previous to the 14th of Sep- 
tember, 1752, are old style, and all after are new style. The year,. 

1 Ecclesiastical, vol. 7, index 28. 


however, between the 1st of January and the 25th of March, (before 
the adoption of new style,) is uniibrnily treated, where a double date 
is not given, as new style. As a brief explanation of the cause of 
the difference of style, we give the following. When the computa- 
tion by the Christian era was introduced, the commencement of the 
year was fixed on the day of the annunciation, or incarnation of 
Christ, which event (the nativity being fixed December 25th) was 
placed on the 25th of March. This continued the commencement of 
the year in England and her dominions, till the alteration of style in 
1752, when by the act of Parliament, above referred to, it was enacted 
that eleven days should be struck out of the month of September, 
that the 3d should be dated the 14th, that one day should be added 
to the month of February every fourth year, to conform their chro- 
nology to that of the other nations of Europe, (which had introduced 
a similar alteration previously in order to correct the error arising 
from the precession of the equinoxes ;) and that the year should 
commence with the 1st of January instead of the 25th of March. 
Before that time, to preserve a correspondency of dates with those of 
other nations, it had been usual to give a double date from the 1st of 
January to the 25th of March ; thus February 12th, 1721, was written 
"ffebruary y^ 12"', 17|f." The omission of the lower number would 
cause an error of a year.' 

After a life of arduous and successful labor, the second i)astor, at a 
good old age, came down to the grave like a " shock of corn fully ripe 
for the harvest." He died September 6th, 1760, in the eighty-third 
year of his age, and the sixty-first of his ministry, after a severe ill- 
ness of " about two days' continuance." We have contemplated him 
hitherto only as a minister of the gospel. But his labors ended not 
here. He was at the same time, minister, lawyer and physician. 
Like many of the early ministers of the colony, he prepared himself 
for the practice of physic, that he might administer to the wants of 
the body, as well as those of the mind. In this capacity he was often 
called. The only person the author has found who ever saw him, 
was Dea. Amos Squire, of Roxbury, who died two or three years 
ago, aged ninety-nine, and who recollected having seen him when a 
lad about eight years of age, while on a visit in- this capacity to his 
father, who had received a severe wound from an ax. He had also 
done what other ministers did not, and that was to perfect himself in 

1 Lambert's Hist, of New Haven. 


legal knowledge. This was the more necessary, as at the beginning 
of the eighteenth century there were few lawyers in the colony, and 
as late as 1730, an act was passed limiting the number of lawyers that 
might practice to three in Hartford county, and two in each of the 
other counties. 

He was clerk of probate for the district of "Woodbury, then com- 
prising many towns, for a period of forty years. In this capacity he 
drew most of the wills for his parishioners, and did nearly all the 
business of the office, the judge, for the time being, approving his 
acts. All the records of the court during the time he was clerk, ap- 
pear in his handwriting. He was also one of the largest farmers in 
the town, the inventory of his estate at his decease, amounting to 
£900, besides his books and wearing apparel. 

But, as we have seen, amid all his varied and onerous duties, he 
neglected not the spiritual wants of his parish. He was in " deed 
and in truth" a father to them, and by them greatly beloved. He 
lived and died enshrined in the hearts of his people. 

He was the son of Rev. Solomon Stoddard, of Northampton, Mass., 
where he was born August 9th, 1678. He was educated at Har- 
vard College, and graduated in 1697. He studied theology with his 
father in his native town, and with some of the able divines of Bos- 
ton, and, when fully prepared for his high calling, retired to this 
" dwelling-place of the wood," to spend his days in his Master's ser- 
vice. He was an able, earnest and experimental preacher. His in- 
tellect and acquirements were of a high order. As proof of this, he 
was appointed to preach the " election sermon," at the May session 
of the General Court, in 1716, an appointment bestowed on the more 
prominent ministers only of the colony. The following action was 
taken in the premises : 

" Richard Christophers and Peter Burr, Esqrs, are appointed a Comtee of 
this House to Joyn with a Comtee of the Lower House and Return the Thanks 
of this Assembly to the Rev*""* Mr. Anthony Stoddard for his sermon preached 
Yesterday on Occasion of the Election, and desire a Copy of it for the press. 
"Hartf: May ll"", 1716. 

" Past in the Tipper House, 
" Test. Hez: Wyllys, Sec'y." 

The lower house joined, and the resolution went into effect. 

The aged pastor was buried in the central part of the old burial- 
ground, and there reposes, surrounded by a numerous congregation, 
slumbering in death, to whom in life he had ministered, and very 
many of whom he bad himself, while living, followed to the grave. 

142 n I s T o n Y of ancient w o o d b u r v . 

As in life he was ever united to his people, so in death they are not 
divided. There let them rest together till the last " great trump" 
shall call them to a hriglit reunion around the throne of God. 

At this stand-point in the religious history of our town, ninety 
years having passed away, it is worth while to take a glance of retro- 
spection at the trials and difficulties that met the early fathers in the 
church. ]\Iany of them had good estates, and a comfortable position 
on the other side of the ocean, before coming to this wilderness land. 
But they came for " conscience' sake," and it was their design, in 
founding the several towns, to erect churches in strict accordance 
with Scripture example, and to transmit evangelical purity, with civil 
and religious liberty, to their posterity. All their acts and all their 
aims tended to this one grand design. Accordingly, we find that all 
persons were obliged by law, to contribute to the support of the 
church. All rates for the support of ministers, or for defraying any 
ecclesiastical expenses, were laid and collected in the same manner 
as the rates of the respective towns. Great care was taken, that all 
should attend the means of public instruction. The law obliged them 
to be present at the public worship on the Sabbath, and upon all days 
appointed by the civil authority for public fasts, or for thanksgiving. 
The Congregational mode of worship was adopted and established by 
law, but it was provided that all sober, orthodox persons, dissenting 
from them, should, on representing it to the General Court, be 
allowed peaceably to worship in their own way. Such, however, 
were beheld with distrust. Our fathers, who desired religious 
freedom, and periled all for it in this wilderness, probably had not . 
anticipated that they would speedily have an opportunity to extend 
that toleration to others, which, in the father-land, they had in vain 
sought for themselves. But while in their weakness, and with vivid 
recollections of the past, they viewed with alarm any deviations from 
their doctrines and order, they yet had the germ of toleration, and 
developed it with more rapidity, it is believed, than any other section 
of Christendom can show. 

The influence of the pastor in the early days was very great. 
Many of the clergy, who first came into the country, had property, 
and assisted their poor brethren in the expenses and difficulties en- 
countered in making the new settlements. The people were far 
more dependent on their ministers for everything at that time, than 
they have since been. The proportion of learned men was far 
smaller then, than at the present day. The clergy possessed a large 
part of the literature of the colony. They fitted the young men for 


college, and assisted tliem in their studies, and with their advice after- 
ward. By example, by counsel and by money, they encouraged the 
people in their difficult circumstances, and were ever active and 
abundant in their labors. They were also fellow-exiles and sufferers 
with them in this new and strange land. All these circumstances 
combined, gave them a remarkable influence over their hearers, of 
all ranks and dispositions. Perhaps in no government have the 
clergy had more influence, or been more rationally and sincerely re- 
spected and beloved, by the rulers and by the people, than in Con- 

All these influences exhibited their happy results in the actions 
and character of the people. The huge, old meeting-house was 
always filled with the " great congregation," in summer's heat, or 
wintei*'s cold. Although the idea of warming a meeting-house with 
a stove or a fireplace never entered the mind of the boldest innova- 
tor upon ancient customs, yet the attendance at the house of God 
was scarcely less in winter than in summer. The meeting-house was 
almost always built on the top of the highest hill, at the intersection 
of roads leading to the various parts of the town, as near the geo- 
graphical center of the territory as possible. But the people " went 
up to the temple" to worship for many miles around, though storms 
were in the air, and the cutting wind howled fiercely over the bleak 
hill of " the tabernacle." By means of the " ride-and-tie system, 
frequently, they managed to get to the place of worship, where, by 
the aid of warm clothing, close sitting, and a glowing fire in their 
"Sabbath-day houses," or at the parsonage, at intermission, they 
seemed not to be aware of the cold weather. By the ride-and-tie 
system, it was a common thing for a farmer, who had a good horse, 
either to go alone, or take his wife behind him, on a pillion, and ride 
half the way to church ; then dismount, and walk the rest of the way, 
leaving the horse fastened by the wayside, for a neighbor and his 
wife, who were on the road behind, and who would come up and 
share the accommodation thus afforded. The Sabbath-day house, 
liberty to erect which on the common around the church, was grant- 
ed by the town to such individuals as applied, consisted of a small 
structure, divided into two rooms, for the accommodation of the two 
sexes, in which was built a good fire, where they could partake of 
their refreshments, and spend the hour of intermission in such a man- 
ner as was suitable to holy time. The hours of the Sabbath, after 
the return from church, were generally spent in employments appro- 


priate to the conclusion of the day of rest, and such as were calcula- 
ted to fit them for the everlastinj^ Sabbath in heaven. 

But the early fathers have long since departed. Several genera- 
tions of their descendants sleep with them, and it is to be feared, that 
many of their valuable customs, and their strict purity of conduct, 
have departed with them. " Ancient Woodbury" has been greatly 
favored with able, learned and pious ministers. Within the period 
under contemplation, in 1750, and several years afterward, there 
were laboring, at the same time, within our limits. Rev. Anthony 
Stoddard, of the first society, Rev. John Graham, of Southbury, Rev* 
Dr. Bellamy, of Bethlem, Rev. Thomas Canfield, of Roxbury, and 
Rev. Daniel Brinsmade, of Judea societies ; a galaxy of talent, 
learning and piety, without its equal, perhaps, in a single town, at one 
time. The influence of those revered men has not entirely departed. 
It " still lives," and will go on blessing and improving those within 
its reach, till the latest " recorded syllable of time." 



Miscellaneous events from 1712 to 1775; Land Divisions; School-houses; 
Cider-mills; Great Sickness of 1727, 1749 and 17"60 ; Great Earth- 
quake; Aurora Borealis, 1719; Pootatuck Ferry, 1730; Hinman's Fer- 
ry, 1752; Bridge built near Hinman's Ferry by Gen. Washington, 
177S; Carlton's Bridge Lottery, 17S0; Sequestration of Burial 
Grounds, 1741; Parsonage Lands located, 1741; Parsonage Lands 
sold, 1744; Efforts to form a new County called Woodbury, in 174S, 
1751, 176S AND 1791; Mine Hill, 1724; Wolves and Wild-cats; Town- 
house Repaired ; Casualties; Relics; Tea-party at Parson Stoddard's; 
RuLooF Butchers' Estate ; Umbrellas and Calico first introduced ; 
Witchcraft — Moll Cramer ; List of Original Proprietors in 1751 ; 
War with Spain ; French Neutrals, 175G ; Louisburg taken, 1745 ; War 
WITH France — Expeditions of 1755, 175G and 1757 ; Alarm for the Relief 
OF Fort William Henry, 1757 ; Expeditions of 175S and 1759; Louisburg, 
Forts Frontenac, Duquesne and Niagara, Crown Point, Ticonderoga and 
Quebec taken. 

Again we betake ourselves to the task of gathering up the frag- 
ments that remain of the ci^■il history of the town, " that nothing may 
be lost." The limits assigned this work give warning, that each sub- 
ject must be briefly touched, and it is proposed to take heed to it. 

It has been before stated that all divisions made in the public lands 
of the town to the original proprietors, or their representatives, were 
proportioned to the home-lot, which Avas from two to five acres in 
size. The former divisions of land having been brought sulficiently 
under cultivation, new allotments were occasionally made, as neces- 
sity required. Accordingly in 1720, 

" The town grants a Division of thirty acres to each ten acre accommodation, 
and so proportionably according to articles, in the old township, half a mile 
from the town." 

In February, 1729, the town voted to lay out seventy-five acres to 
each " ten acre accommodation," making no allowance for waste land, 
and proportionally for the five acre, or " Bachelor's" accommodations. 


Previous to tliis date, in all the divisions of land, an account of waste 
or bad land had been taken, and more in quantity was given him to 
whom it fell, in the survey, or more land was given elsewhere to 
make his proportion equal to others. In 1734, the North Purchase, 
which had been granted to the town in 1703, purchased of the In- 
dians in 1710, and surveyed in 1724, was laid out into lots for the 
purpose of division among the original proprietors. Col. Joseph 
Minor. Rev. Anthony Stoddard and Dea. Noah Ilinman were ap- 
pointed a committee to draw the lots for the proprietors, according to 
a scheme previously agreed upon, 

" To begin att Waterbury bounds in the first or Soutli Tier, and mimljer 
west, and when the Lotts in that tier are finished, to begin in the second tier 
and so number West untill that be also finished, and so sucksessively untill the 
vholo Six tiers be finished." 

The lots were drawn by the committee appointed for this purpose 
January 14th, I73f. In 1733, the South Purchase was acquired of 
the Indians by a committee of the town. In 1738, the town voted 
to lay out 

"The South Purchase in the Southwest part of Woodbury bounds into 
Equal lots, and as many lots as there are original proprietors in Woodbury 

leaving necessary highways and lands to be appropriated for com- 
mons. INIr. Noah Ilinraan, Capt. Thomas Knowles, Capt. Richard 
Brownson, Mr. Knell Mitchell and Mr. Cornelius Brownson were 
appointed a committee to carry this vote into effect. They "judged 
convenient" to lay out highways 200 rods apart, over hill and dale, 
without regard to " circumstances." This committee also established 
the north line of the South Purchase, or the line between the old 
proprietors and the land to be divided, there being no disi)ute between 
the whites and Indians with regard to the lines between them. This 
line was to 

•' Run from New Milford bounds Eastward cross the falls att Shepoag River, 
and from thence Easterly up the brook that runs westerly into Shepoag River 
near the falls till we come against the head of Mine-Hill brook, and then East- 
erly down to the head of said brook, to a beach-tree marked, and down said 
brook to a Certain white oak tree marked, which tree stands on the South side 
of said brook." 

The committee reported that they had accomplished the object of 
their appointment in June, 1742, and their report was accepted. In 
November of the same year, the lots were drawn for the proprietors 



hy a committee appointed for the purpose, in proportion to the inter- 
est of each proprietor, who was also to pay his proportion of the ex- 
penses of the survey. In 1754, four acres were granted to each ac- 
commodation. In April, 1758, Joseph Pierce, Samuel "Wheeler and 
David Boland were appointed a committee to purchase the Indians' 
land at Pootatuck. This they immediately accomplished, with the 
exception of a small tract of land where the " wigwams" stood, and 
even this narrow foothold was purchased of them the next year. In 
the early part of this year, a committee was appointed to lay out the 
Pootatuck purchase into lots, in the same manner as had been done in 
the case of the South Purchase, which comprehended the north and 
west three-fourths of the ancient Indian Reservation. In March, 
1760, this committee made a report of their doings, which was ac- 
cepted by the proprietors, and another committee appointed to pre- 
pare drafts for the drawing of lots, to be so contrived, that each 
original proprietor, or his legal representatives, should have a lot in 
the Purchase, and so that the representatives of two or more original 
proprietorships could have their lots in one body. In 1771, a new 
division of five acres to each original propi'ietor, or his representa- 
tives, Avas granted, and the next year all the sequestered lands in the 
old township were in like manner divided between them. In Decem- 
ber, 1782, the last division among the proprietox's was granted in 
open meeting, and consisted of one acre to each " accommodation." 
Thus the original proprietors had been over one hundred years in 
dividing their surplus land, and there were yet remaining considera- 
ble tracts sequestered for various purposes, besides land in the South 
and Pootatuck Purchases. This might well be considered getting 
rich by degrees from " mother earth." 

Great attention was paid to the education of youth, and the found- 
ing of schools, from the very first settlement of the town. It is be- 
lieved that the people of this town were more particular in this re- 
spect than in many other towns in the Colony, or in New England 
generally, careful as they invariably were in these matters. Nearly 
all were educated in the first rudiments of knowledge. Few could be 
found who could not read and write. It is confidently asserted that 
an inspection of our early records will compare favorably with those 
of the present day, as evidencing the dissemination of common edu- 
cation among the people. Rare indeed was the instance of a person 
signing a deed, or other document with his mark. And yet there 
was but one school in the ancient territory for the first fifty years. 
The scholars had to come from all distances, from a fourth of a mile 


to six or eight miles, and return daily. Previous to the division of 
the town into soeieties, which commenced in 1730, a vote had been 
passed to build " Several School Houses," in various parts of the 
town, for the accommodation of the children. But in 1735, the for- 
mer vote not having been carried into effect, it was rescinded, and it 
was by " ye Town Commended to y' Several Societies, to proceed 
amongst themselves in y' best manner as may be for their Respective 

Accordingly, as each ecclesiastical society was incorporated, the 
first thing in order was to establish a school. 

One of the few luxuries of the early fathers, was the fruit of the 
orchard, and the beverage made fi'om it. The apple-tree was the 
constant attendant of all the early founders of towns, and followed 
them in all their wanderings. If the early patriarchs could not, like 
their eastern prototypes, " sit under their own vine and fig-tree," they 
made haste that they might as soon as possible, with equal satisfac- 
tion, sit under their own apple-trees. Nor does it appear that they 
had the fear of the " Maine Law" before iheir eyes, for they freely 
granted the privilege of erecting " Cyder Mills," to the inhabitants 
even in the highways, the place of greatest temptation. Accordingly, 
we find in the doings of a town meeting held May 31st, 1739, liberty 
granted to Matthew Minor " to set up a Cyder Mill in the Highway," 
and a like privilege granted to Ebenezer Strong. The same boon 
was granted to others in succeeding years. It seems, however, that 
they were in some sense " restrictionists," having the germ of " pro- 
hibition," as they did not allow "unlimited free trade" in the article. 

There have been several seasons of remai-kable and alarming mor- 
tality in the town, when men seemed to die as if fated, without the 
power of cure or restoration. One of these seasons was in the year 
1727, when disease seemed to make the burial places of the town, 
garner-houses for the dead. It is not now knoAvn what was the na- 
ture of this disease, which swept off the inhabitants of the new town 
like chaff. The records show forty-four deaths, which is probably 
not more than half the actual number, taking into consideration the 
defective state of the records, and the unusual neglect in causing 
deaths to be recorded, in such a time of calamity and alarm. The 
number of deaths entered for several years previous to, and succeed- 
ing this date, had been only from four to six each year. This was a 
sad decimation for a community that had struggled for years with all 
the w^ants and deprivations of the wilderness, together with the con- 
tinual alarms and attacks in the Indian wars, growing out of their 


frontier, exposed situation. The inhabitants, with the notions of that 
early day, had another cause of aUirm in the mighty earthquake that 
shook the earth throughout this great continent, October 29th, 1727. 
In deed and in truth could the people of Woodbury cry out in terror, 
'*The Lord is wroth ; He is swallowing up His people in His fierce 

In 1749, the town was again visited by the devouring scourge, as 
was also Waterbury. It was a very malignant disease, a sort of a 
nervous fever, called by some the yellow fever, as the bo(Jies of some 
of the patients turned yellow. The crisis of the disease was the ninth 
day, and if the patient survived that day, he had a fair chance of re- 
covery. From the. imperfection of the records, as before stated, the 
exact number of deaths can not be known. They show sixty-one, 
and there were doubtless many more in the extended limits of the 
town at this time. A similar disease had existed in Albany some 
three years before this date. The colony taxes were, for this reason, 
abated to the town of Waterbury, but though AYoodbury only applied 
for a postponement in the time of payment, for some reason, it was 
not granted. 

In 1760, another malignant fever severely afflicted Woodbury and 
some other places in this vicinity. The disease was extremely vio- 
lent, terminating on the third or fourth day. Medical aid seemed to 
be of little avail, but the disease finally disappeared with the appear- 
ance of frost. In the society of Bethlehem, thirty-four persons died, 
and at least as many more in the other parts of the ancient town must 
have perished. Mr. Canfield, in Roxbury parish, at the close of an 
entry of seven deaths, remarks in a note, " A very sickly, dying time 
in Bethlehem." ' There were not enough well persons to attend upon 
the sick, and great terror existed among the inhabitants. Almost 
every house wore the badges of mourning, and orphans walked about 
the streets. Notwithstanding these se^asons of extraordinary calami- 
ty, the ancient territory justly enjoys the reputation of possessing a 
healthy climate. From its location, its latitude, its breezy hills, its 
numerous fountains of cool, sweet, gushing waters, and a multitude 
of other circumstances, it would be wondei-ful if it wei'e otherwise. 

The first appearance of northern lights in this county, after its 
first settlement, was December 11th, 1719 ; * 

" When they were remarkably bright, and as people in general had never 
heard of such a phenomenon, they were extremely alarmed with the apprehen- 
sion of the final judgment. All amusements, all business and even sleep was 
interrupted, for want of a little knowledge of history." 


The more superstitious in "NVoo(ll)ury, as in other i^laces, were 
greatly ahirmed at this new manifestation of " Divine Providence," 
and for many days the quiet of this rural community was disturbed 
by the unusual occurrence. But in due time the sagacity of Parson 
Stoddard and others, restored things to a state of tranquillity. 

A ferry from Newtown to Woodbury was granted to Peter Ilub- 
bell, at Pootatuck, May 13th, 1730.' This was about an eighth of a 
mile below Fort Hill, which is located on the west side of the Hou- 
satonic, directly opposite the Indian village of Pootatuck, on the east 
side of that river. At these two points within gunshot of the river, 
the Indians had forts to protect themselves against the Mohawks, and 
after the introduction of fire-arms among the natives, a fleet of Mo- 
hawk canoes on the river Avould afford a capital mark for the practice 
of gunnery. The ferry was at the north end of Cockshure's Island, 
previously to this, owned by a sachem of that name, but since known 
as Ilubbell's Island, from the ferryman above mentioned. 

In 1752, a ferry was granted to Wait Ilinman, three miles below 
Pootatuck ferry, and was located about a mile below Bennett's 
Bridge. In 1775, this ferry was, by the General Assembly, " re- 
newed" to Samuel Hinman, son of the original grantee. In 1778, we 
find, by documents now existing in the archives of the State at Hart- 
ford, that 

"Gen. VVushingtoii, on liis march iu 177S, built a l:)ri(lge at Hinnian's 
ferry. "2 

A part of tlie bridge fell down during the next summer, and was 
rebuilt by Newtown and Woodbury, at an expense of £7,656 Gs. Qd., 
half of which was repaid by the quarter-master-general, by order of 
Gen. Green. The bridge was again impaired in 1780, and Wood- 
bury and Newtown petitioned the General Assembly for a lottery of 
£400, to enable them to rebuild it, which was granted. It was now 
called Carlton's Bridge, for what reason does not appear. Col. In- 
crease Moseley, Shadrach Osborn and Nathan Preston were appoint- 
ed managers of the lottery, and Col. Benjamin Ilinman and Edward 
Hinman, Esq., were appointed to take bonds of the managers. On 
i-eceiving a letter from Gen. Parsons, promising that the town should 
be aided from the public purse, £100 in bills of credit of the State of 
Connecticut were voted in a town meeting in November for the ira- 

1 Stiitc Papers, Travel, vol. 1, p. 174. 2 Travel, vol. 3, p. 329. 


mediate repair of the bridge on account of the extreme urgency of 
the public service. By this it seems that our ancient territory has 
been trod by the feet of the sainted " father of his country," though it 
was sechided in the wilderness, far removed from most of the Revo- 
lutionary battle-fields. He probably made his head-quarters during 
his brief stay, at Hon. Daniel Sherman's, who Avas that year, one of 
the council of safety, or at the house of Shadrach Osbom, who was 
commissary, and actively engaged in meeting the wants of the conti- 
nental and other troops. How swiftly does the bare allusion to the 
feet of the long past presence of " him who was first in war, first in 
peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," send a thrill to every 
patriotic heart. This was in the very heat of the contest, in the 
'• days that tried men's souls." 

Previous to 1741, by far the larger portion of the burials had been 
made in the '• ancient buryal ground," south of the Episcopal Church, 
and no action of the town in regard to places of sepulture appears on 
the records, till the early part of that year, when a vote passed 

" The committee for the Antient Society in Woodbury, and also for South- 
bury, to call for the committee for laying out Land, and lay out the burying Place 
in Each Society, and when the same is Laid out, it is hereby Sequestered for 
that use, and also to be returned to tlie town Clerk to be Recorded, and also 
the Inhabitants in the Destrick of Shepoage have the same Liberty of two 
burying places, and the Inhabitants of the West End of the North Purchase 
have like Liberty, and the Inhabitants of Bethlehem have the same liberty of 
one burying place." 

At the time of this vote, it is probable that the " ancient" burying 
ground had been more than once buried over, and interments in it 
should undoubtedly have ceased at that time ; but it has continued to 
be used till the present day with more or less frequency, the space of 
a century and a quarter more. Scarcely a grave is now dug there 
Avithout throwing up the remains of some former occupant of the 
" narrow house" appointed for all the living. No more interments in 
this locality should be allowed by the authorities of the town. The 
space of earth occupied by each lonely sleeper, after "life's fitful 
journey is over," is full small, and it should be " sequestered" to his 
use forever. The " city of the dead" should be guarded well by the 
living, free from intrusion — free from unhallowed tread. 

With the final resting places of those we loved in life, are many 
endearing associations and recollections. Besides, we should con- 
template it as our own home, for it is well to reflect that when 


" A few short years have rolled along, 

Willi mingled joy and pain. 
We all liave passed — a broken tone. 

An echo of a strain." 

There is to the contemplative mind a melancholy pleasure in visit- 
ing the home of the departed, and wandering among the couches of 
the lowly dead. A grandeur, a sublimity of thought, comes over one 
at such an hour. A degree of pensiveness, a holy chastening of 
feeling, is experienced, and the soul, filled with higher asjiirations, is 
brought nearer the throne of the Eternal. Under the influence of 
such an hour, he is a better being, and resolves to continue such from 
that time forth. Man, for a brief space, forgets the scenes of vice 
and misery with which he is suri'ounded, and contemplates the scenes 
of that far-off, better land, where, after the toils of this life are over, 
he may rest in eternal repose. As he wanders from shaft to shaft, 
and from tomb to tomb, in imagination, he passes in review the joys 
and sorrows, the various events in the life of each lonely sleeper, and 
endeavors to look away into that distant land, whither his spirit has 
winged its way. If some of his friends lie slumbering there, with 
what tender interest he recalls their familiar countenances ! How 
vividly the recollection of each little act of kindness comes up before 
the mind. And as he muses thus all earnestly, he seems again to 
enjoy communion with them, and their spirits appear to hover around 
him, to encourage and cheer him on in the journey of life. He feels 
sure that they are near him as his guardian angels, and he joyfully 

" They're with us yet, the holy dead ! 

By a thousand signs we know ; 

They're keeping e'er a spirit-watch, 

O'er those they loved below." 

By a vote of the town June 8th, 1702, a " twenty acre accommo- 
dation round, both upland, meadow and pasture divisions," in addition 
to what had already been granted to Mr. Walker and Mr. Stoddard, 
was sequestered for the use of a " future minister, and the ministry 
forever, established according to the Constitution of the Churches in 
this Government Established by law, viz : the Presbyterian and Con- 
gregational, so Called." In 1741, this vote was referred to, and the 
various divisions, which had been granted on this basis, were again 
dedicated to the same use and described as 

"More particularly the Sixty acres of Land Laid out att the Bent of the River, 
Sed to be laid out to the Parsonage ; the 2S acres at horse pound ; tlie OO acres 


Laid out to the Westward (at Shepaug) Sed to be Laid out for a pious use ; 
also the ten acres at ye good hill, and the four acres near the North End of Bare 
hill ; also that piece of Land laid out Near Bottle Swamp; and the 34 Lott in 
the Second tier in the North Purchase, Drawn on the parsonage Right ; and 
also the Divisions belonging to said twenty acre accomodation, not yet laid 

In November, 1744, a committee of one in each ecclesiastical soci- 
ety was appointed by the town .to sell these " Parsonage Accommo- 
dations." The committee consisted of Col. William Preston, Mr. 
Noah Hinman, Lt. Henry Castle, Capt. Hezekiah Hookei", and 
Sergt. Abraham Hurd. The land was sold at auction to the highest 
bidder. The funds were kept at interest by the selectmen for ten or 
twelve years, the interest being annually divided among the five so- 
cieties of the town, to be laid out for the support of the ministry, in 
accordance with the original intention of the proprietors. In 1759, 
the fund was divided among the several societies, and the amount 
belonging to the " ancient society" was £112 Os. 5c?. In 1763, the 
last time the records speak about it, there was remaining in the treas- 
ury of the same society £88 lis. 6c?. of this fund. 

In May, 1748, previous to the formation of the county of Litch- 
field, "Woodbury took action in relation to a new county. Col. Wil- 
liam Preston was chosen an agent to attend the General Assembly, 
and prefer a memorial for a new county to be called the county of 
Woodbury, having Woodbury for its county seat, and to consist of 
this town, Waterbury, Newtown, New Milford, Litchfield, New Fair- 
field, (now Sherman,) and as many of the new northern towns as 
should choose to join the new county. CoL Preston attended to the 
duties of his appointment, and Waterbury and Newtown gave their 
assent to the proposed arrangement, provided they were at no ex- 
pense for county buildings. The petition, howevei*, was negatived by 
the Assembly.^ 

In May, 1751, the subject of a new county having been further 
agitated. Col. WilHam Preston was chosen special agent, and Deacon 
Samuel Minor and Deacon Benjamin Ilicock were elected represent- 
atives to the May session of the Assembly at Hartford, that year, 
with full power to act for the town, to secure the new county, with 
Woodbury for its shire town. The town also voted to furnish the 
county buildings free of charge. The object was not attained at that 

1 Woodbury Proprietors' Book, p. 39. 

2 State Records, Civil Officers, vol. 3, p. 2£9. 



session, and Capt. Increase IMoselcy and Deacon Samuel Minor were 
sent to the General Assembly in October following, when a new 
county was indeed made, but its name was Litchfield, and Woodbury 
was left quite in its south-east corner.* Great was the dissatisfaction 
in Woodbury at the new aspect which affairs had taken. A town 
meeting was immediately called, and a vote passed to take measures 
to be released from tlie 

«« New County of Litchfield, & be continued as heretofore to the County of 
Fairfield, unless the Upper Towns in Litchfield County will appoint an agent 
from Every Town dissatisfied, to meet at some proper time & place to Confer 
about the matter & come to some other Conclusion respecting a County than is 
yet Determined." 

'* Mr. Benjamin Stiles & Capt. Elisha Stoddard are chosen agents to appear 
at the upper Towns, to Confer Respecting what measures may bethought Need- 
full Respecting the New County of Litchfield." 

In December following, 

" Mr. Noah Himnan was chosen an Agent for the Town of Woodbury, to 
meet at Kent, with those Gent, from the other Towns, with full Power to act in 
behalf of the Town, to Endeavor to be Released from the County of Litchfield '' 

The representatives sent to the next session in May, 1752, were 
instructed to endeavor to have the town set off again to Fairfield 
county, and gave them power to act in conjunction with the i*epre- 
sentatives of other towns, as should be judged proper, in relation to 
a " New County or Counties." Nothing having been effected at this 
session, the same representatives were sent to New Haven, at the 
October session, and two others were sent as agents, or " lobby mem- 
bers," to accomplish the desired end. Nothing, however, resulted 
from all these effoi'ts, and the county remained as at first constituted.' 

In 1768, a period of twenty years after the first attempt, applica- 
tion was again made to the General Assembly to make a new coun- 
ty, consisting of Woodbury, Waterbury, Newtown, New Milford and 

1 The tr.ailition is, that the county, consisting of the towns desired bj- Woodbury, 
with itself for a county seat, was on the point of being established, and would have 
been, but for an unaccountable change of mind in Deacon Minor just before the vote 
was taken. He arose and informed the astonished Assembly, that he, on prayerful 
reflection, was opposed to making Woodbury into a shire town. If it were made 
snch, a great many idle and profligate young men, and much " vain company," would 
flock to the center of the county, the morals of the youth would become corrupted, 
and in a short time there would be a sad departure from the "landmarks of the 
fathers." In consequence of this the vote failed, and at the same session Litchfield, 
•which had before been faintly talked of, was made the county seat. 


New Fairfield, to be called, as before requested, the county of Wood- 
bury, with that town for a county seat. Woodbury laid a rate of a 
penny and a half on the pound, in addition to their regular propor- 
tiw, to be applied toward defraying the expenses of the county 
buildings, and also granted the use of the town hall for a court house 
as long as the county should choose to occupy it for that purpose, 
with liberty to make such additions and alterations as should be judged 
necessary. This application was no more successful than the former, 
and all further efforts, on the part of Woodbury, were relinquished 
for a period of more than thirty years, when in 1791, another move 
was made for the formation of a new county, to consist of the towns 
of Woodbury, Bethlem, Southbury, Washington, Waterbury and^the 
parishes of AYestbury, Oxford and Farmingbury, with Woodbury for 
the county town. Plon. Nathaniel Smith, Ilezekiah Thompson, Esq., 
and Nathan Preston, Esq., were appointed a committee to meet like 
committees from the other towns mentioned, at Washington. After 
ineffectual efforts, this attempt like both the others, ended in failure, 
and the county of Litchfield, now on its second century, remains en- 
tire, with the exception of a parish of Woodbury, now the town of 
Southbury, which has been set off to New Haven county. 

The mine of spathic ore on Mine Hill, in Roxbury, which has been 
before described, was known as a mine thirty or forty years before 
Hurlbut and Hawley worked it, but what was the extent of the oper- 
ations there carried on, is not now known. It was owned by Hon. 
John Sherman, before 1724, and was by him leased to Thomas 
Cranne, of Stratford, and others. May IGth, 1724* for atenxi of years, 
reserving to himself one-sixteenth part of all the ore which should be 
there raised. John Crissey and his wife Mary also had some rights 
in the hill. Still later, Thomas and John Wheeler, Doctor Jonathan 
Atwood, and Doctor Thomas Leavenworth, acquired rights, by lease 
or otherwise, to said mine. The mining tract at this date was sup- 
posed to consist of six aci'es, and that is the number of acres men- 
tioned in the various deeds and mining leases that were then execu- 
ted. It is thus seen that the most valuable mine of " steel-iron ore" 
in the United States has been known about a hundred and fifty 
years, and has not yet been effectively worked for one of the most 
useful of metals. It is believed that the whole territory for several 
miles along the Shepaug River, is rich in this iron ore, and perhaps 
in copper also, and that at no distant day, this will become a prom- 
inent mining district. 

For nearly a hundred years after the first settlement of the town. 

156 II 1 S T O K Y OF A N C I n N- T "W O O D 15 U R Y . 

the inliabitants were much troublcil with tlic depredations of wolves 
and wild-eats. Bounties for their destruction were at various peri- 
ods ollered, both by the General Court, and by the town authorities. 
As late as 174(i, so i^reat was'the dread of the public concerning these 
animals, that it was in open town meeting, solemnly 

"Voted, tliiU he iliut funis a wolf, that by his track is gone into a swamp & 
there lodged, vk brings Intelligence into the town by two of the Clock afternoon 
on s'' Day, or any time before on s'' Day, shall have twenty shillings allowed 
him out of the Town Treasury, provided he be found there, !c five pounds to 
be allowed to the Company, If they shall kill s^ wolf, — out of the Town Treas- 

A wolf hunt was a common sport for leisure days in the Indian 
summer during these early times. Sometimes large parties of men 
with dogs, went for several days in succession, and sooured all the 
swamps for miles around. On some of these occasions, they met with 
fierce encounters from the pursued and infuriated beasts. The 
wolves have long ago disappeared from the territory, but the bounty 
for killing a wild-cat as late as 1761, was six shillings. And even 
at the present session of the General Assembly, (1853,) a law has 
been passed offering a bounty of five dollars apiece for their destruc- 

After the dedication of the second church, in 1747, the "ancient 
Meeting House'* had been used as a town hall till 1754, but the old 
building had seen many Avinters and vicissitudes, but no paint. It 
had, therefore, become considerably dilapidated, and it was voted to 
build a " House for the Town in the Place where the Old Meeting- 
House now stands." Afterwai'd there were other opinions, and it was 
thought by some, that the old house should be repaired rather than a 
new one erected. As is common in such cases, this difference of 
opinion resulted in doing nothing for several years. Finally, after 
holding town meetings much of the time for several years, in the new 
church, in 1759, a committee w\as appointed to repair the old house 
so far as they should think proper, which being accomplished in about 
two years, it was called the " Town-House," and a regular town 
meeting held in it January 12th, 17G1. 

There were, during the period under contemplation, but few casu- 
alties worthy of notice. There was, however, one afHictive accident 
at Southbury, about the year 1745. The house of Solomon Johnson 
took fire in the night, was burned to the ground, and his wife, daugh- 
ter of Deacon Benjamin Ilicock, perished in the fiaracs. 

Remember Baker, just before the Revolution, lost his life on Mine 


Hill, from the discharge of a gun in the hands of Abram Hurlbut. 
Baker had climbed a tree for some purpose, and Hurlbut, who nvas 
hunting, getting a glimpse of his head from a distance, and thinking 
it a wild-turkey, fired and killed him. 

Although there are no relics in town, so far as the author has been 
able to learn, that were brought over in the " Mayflower," that his- 
torical bark, which was so heavily freighted, if we are to beheve that 
it actually brought over all the articles attributed to it, and which are 
st\]l preserved; yet there is still in the possession of Treat Davidson, 
of Roxbury, an iron kettle, which was brought to this country some 
forty years later, in 1660, and has descended to the present owner 
from Nathan Botsford, one of his ancestors, who himself brought it 
from England. This, doubtless, is the oldest culinary utensil in the 

When tea was first introduced into town, during the first half of the 
eighteenth century, a small quantity was obtained by Parson Stod- 
dard, for use in " case of sickness," or on occasions when company 
was invited ; but before either of those contingences had happened, 
the parson's daughters took it into their heads to have a model tea 
party on a novel scale, and test the quality of the new article of lux- 
ury in advance of the "old folks." They accordingly invited their 
" sweethearts," and conducted the affair with great secrecy. On the 
evening of the proposed banquet, they admitted the young men whom 
they had invited, to the old parsonage, by means of a ladder placed 
at a back window. But a new difficulty presented itself. They did 
not know how to prepare the " article" for use, and under the " cir- 
cumstances," they were precluded from seeking advice and enlight- 
enment, in their accustomed manner, from their parental advisers. 
After much perplexing thought, and great tribulation, they put a 
quantity of the tea in an iron kettle, kindled a large fire under it, and 
kept it boiling violently for a long time, till they thought it sufficiently 
cooked. They then emptied the entire contents into a large platter, 
and consumed it in the form of soup, the herb serving as thickening. 
A Mr. Mitchell, of Southbury society, was one of the " preferred gen- 
tlemen" on this interesting occasion, and when an old man, for many 
years before his death, used to tell the story with a keen reUsh. 

After its organization in October, 1719, the Woodbury probate dis- 
trict comprised ancient Woodbury, Waterbury, in New Haven coun- 
ty, and all the settled portions of the present county of Litchfield. 
Indeed its northern and western boundaries were not well ascertained, 
as will be seen by the following entries on its records : 


" June 'Jlh, 17,]7. Cliristoiiher Dutcliers of Weatog, (Salisbury) presented to 
this Court the will of Riiloof Dutclu-rs, of said Weatog, for approval, which 
will is hereby approved by said Court." 

By this will. ;iinonf]r other thinj^s, he heciucathcd liis slaves to sev- 
eral devisees. In the latter part of the same year appears another 
entry : 

"Oct. 21, I7.'n yc Executor of ye above will, viz: Christopher Dutchcrs 
came and took ye will and yc business out of this oflice, his counsel leading him 
so to do, apprehending it not well consisting with Law to Settle ye Estate in 
and by this Probate." 

The doubt as to whetlier this was the right " Probate" or not, arose 
so far as can now be ascertained, from a doubt in relation to the 
boundaries between Connecticut and New York. Nothing further 
appears on our records in regard to the matter, and the estate was 
probably settled in the other colony. 

Umbrellas were introduced into town just before the Revolution, 
and were at first considered by the sturdy, rural population, as a very 
effeminate thing. Parasols were not used by the fair damsels till 
many years later. 

When calico was first introduced, it was sold for five or six shil- 
lings sterling per yard, and the favored woman who was able to have 
a gown of that fabric, was dressed in the ''Jirst fashion." She was 
the " observed of all observers," and the envied object of all " linsey- 
woolseydom." The finest and richest fabrics which the perfection of 
manufactures now creates, could not produce a greater sensation 
among the bright-eyed damsels of a country village at the present 
day, than did the article in question, coarse and homely as it was, 
among the primitive dames of our town. 

It may appear doubtful to some whether the absurd belief in 
witches ever had place in this town. But just as well might one be 
incredulous whether such a man as Cotton Mather and other cele- 
brated divines of his day also believed in Avitchcraft, and pledged 
their reputation to the truth of many cases which they said came un- 
der their own view. That they honestly believed what they related, 
can not be doubted by one who carefully peruses the original. Be- 
sides they could gain no advantage by a pretended belief in the su- 
pernatural developments, as they were afilictive, and that only, to the 
sons of men, and never subserved any useful public or private pur- 
pose. The excited state of public feeling existing at that day, con- 
spired more to keep up this strange belief in supernatural events, 
than ignorance and all other causes combined. It was difficult for 


the most pious and learned minds to give up the infatuated belief, 
even after prosecutions had ceased, and the blood of victims no longer 
drenched the thirsty earth. As proof of the assertion, witness the 
following extracts fi'om one of the ablest believers : 

" Flashy people may burlesque these things, but when hundreds of the most 
sober people in a country where they have as much mother wit, certainly, as 
the rest of mankind, know them to be true, nothing but the absurd and froward 
spirit of Saducism can question them. I have not yet mentioned one thing, 
that will not be justified, if it be required, by the oaths of more considerate per- 
sons than can ridicule this od phenomena." 

" But the worst part of this astonishing tragedy is yet behind ; wherein Sir 
William Phips,i at last being dropt as it were, from the machine of Heaven, 
was an instrument of easing the distresses of the land, now so darkned by the 
Lord of Hosts. There were very worthy men upon the Spot where the assault 
from hel was first made, who apprehended themselves called from the God of 
Heaven, to sift the business unto the bottom of it ;. and indeed, the continual 
impressiveness which the outcries and the havocks of the afflicted people, that 
lived nigh unto them, caused on their minds, gave no little edge. They did take 
it for granted, that there are witches, or wicked children of men, who upon 
covenanting with and commissioning of evil spirits, are attended by their min- 
istr}^to accomplish the things desired of them." 

" In fine, the last Courts that sate upon this thorny business, finding that it 
was impossible to penetrate into the whole meaning of the things that had hap- 
pened, and that so many unsearchable cheats were interwoven into the conclu- 
sion of a mysterious business, which perhaps bad not crept thereinto at the 
beginning of it, they cleared the accused as fast as they tried them ; and within 
a little while the afflicted were most of them delivered out of their troubles 
also ; and the land had peace restored unto it by the God of peace treading 
Satan under foot." 

Perhaps then, the people of Woodbury will be excused, if some of 
their number believed, they, at one time, had a veritable witch within 
their borders. That this belief existed can not be doubted. The 
name of the notorious personage was Moll Cramer. She was the 
wife of the elder Adam Cramer, a blacksmith, who lived somewhere 
in "West-Side, about the year 1753. As popular belief goes, he hved 
with Moll, his wife, and kept her in good temper and spirits as long 
as he could. He took especial pains not to offend her, for whenever 
he was so unlucky as to fall under her ire, everything went wrong 
with hun. If he was shoeing a horse, and she came round in wrath- 
ful mood, no shoe, however well secured to the hoof, no strength of 

1 Sh- William Phips, at this time (1691) Governor of Massachusetts, was the prin- 
cipal instrument in overthrowing the ridiculous notions concerning witchcraft. 


nails, was able to withstand lior inllueiice. The shoe would begin to 
loosen, and immediately fell ofl". 

After a while her conduct became so offensive and unendurable, 
that her character as a witch became established, and it was then 
necessary for Adam, in order to maintain a good character among his 
neighbors, and not be suspected as also " holding familiarity with 
Satan," to dismiss her from his presence, and she was accordingly 
driven from his house. She took with her a little son, and went to 
Good Hill, where she constructed a cabin of poles and boards to shel- 
ter herself and son from the storms of heaven. Here she lived and 
eked out a scanty subsistence by begging from the much annoyed 
neighborhood. Her son, who was believed to have been bewitched 
by her, and could not be separated from her, was her constant com- 
panion in all her begging peregrinations, as well as in the filthy straw 
of her cabin. No one of the neighbors dared refuse her anything she 
asked for. If, for instance, she asked for a piece of pork, and it was 
denied her, a blight fell upon that man's swine, and like the "lean 
kine," it was imj^ossible ever to fatten them sufficiently to render 
them a fit article of consumption. When Moll appeared abroad, she 
was an object of dread and ap[)rehension. None dared to offend her. 
The school children on her approach, fled to the school-house, and 
when they came rushing with fearful countenances into the room, it 
was always a sufficient' answer for the luckless little urchins, when 
inquired of by the teacher as to the cause of their mad haste, to say, 
" Moll's coming." If she visited a house where the process of spin- 
ning was going on, the band of the wheel would fly off, the thread 
would break, the flyers would become disengaged, or some unpleasant 
misfortune Avould continue to occur during her stay. 

One day she went into the house of a neighbor, who was churning 
cream. She conversed indifferently with the lady of the house about 
butter and other matters, and, after a time, retired. The churning 
went on during the afternoon and evening, but no butter was produced. 
Next morning the churning was resumed by the good dame and her 
husband, with no better success than before. After a long time, it 
occurred to them that Moll had been there the preceding day, and 
that she had doubtless bewitched the cream. The good man of the 
house, determining to burn the witch out of the cream, heated a horse- 
shoe and dropped it into the churn. A few moments after, the pro- 
cess of churning ceased, and the object desired was attained. 

One day a party of girls, one of them now an aged lady still living 
in the ancient territory, and who attests to the facts above related? 


together with this occurrence, went to gather grapes near Moll's 
cabin. They picked their way to the spot with great caution and 
secrecy, for fear of being seen by Moll, who would undoubtedly be- 
witch their grapes, so that they could not be eaten. AVliile gather- 
ing the grapes, they stationed a sentinel to give them warning if Moll 
appeared. After a while the sentinel observed her coming, and gave 
the alarm. They ran " across lots," kept out of her way, and, as 
they supposed, saved their fruit, but upon trial it was found to be 
utterly unfit for use. 

Such, in the language of Herodotus, are the " facts related to me in 
the neighborhood," and believed by many people, well informed on 
other subjects. They are to be classed and explained with similar 
events happening elsewhere in different ages and diverse climes. 

In October, 1751, as various divisions of land had been granted 
and were still to be granted, it was desirable to know, as accurately 
as possible, who were the original proprietors, and what was the ex- 
tent of their rights. Accordingly we find that at a town meeting of 
this date. Col. Joseph Minor and Capt. Thomas Knowles were ap- 
pointed a committee to 

"Endeavor to find out what is the propoitiou of Each proprietor according 
to their original grants." 

Two weeks later, October 21st, 1751, they reported a list of nana'es 
according to requirement, and the town took the following action in 
the premises : 

" The list of the Names of the proprietors, as they are hereafter Recorded, 
being Drawn by Col. Joseph Minor, and Capt. Thomas Knowles, a committee 
appointed for that purpose. In which meeting it was voted and Concluded as 
follows, viz ; Forasmuch as Many of the Names of the original proprietors of the 
Lands in Woodbury are lost, or torn out of said Proprietors Records, whicli 
would hereafter be likely to breed many unhappy Contentions, which to pre- 
vent, it is voted and concluded as follows, viz ; 

"That the List of the Names of the proprietors of Lands in Woodbury, pre- 
sented to this meeting by CIol. Joseph Minor and Capt. Thomas Knowles, a 
Committee appointed for that purpose. Shall be held good and valid, both as to 
the Number of proprietors, ami the bigness of Each accommodation alTixed in 
Said list unto the Name of Each proprietor, unless any one proprietor can Shew 
Evidently to the contrary.^ 
Jonathan Atwood 12 John Brooks, 
Thomas Applebee 10 Ebenezer Brownson 
James Beers 12 Thomas Bedient 

Samuel Bull 10 John Baker 

John Bartlet 12 Cornelius Brownson 

1 Proprietors' Book, p. 43, et : 


Richard Brownson, 



Samuel Blakelee 



Cornelius Bronson 



Henry Castle, Jr. 



Samuel Castle 




Jolin Curti-!s 


Nathaniel Hnrlbut 


John Nichols 


Steplii'ii Ciirliss 


JohnHnthwit 2 grants 5 

Samuel Nichols 


Lt. Israel ("iirtiss 


" Thomas Hurlbut 


Andrew Nichols 


Isr:u-ll Ciiitiss, Jr. 


Jonathan Hough 


Valentine Prentis 


Henry Cusile 2 


Benjamin Hieoek 


William Preston 


IsiuiC Civstle 


Lt. Joseph Judson 


Jehicl Preston 


Joshuii Ciiiliss 


John Judson first 


John Pierce 1 


William ta.Mle 


John Judson 2J 


John Pierce 2 


Tli.)in:)s DialJy 


Josepli Judson 


Hackaliah Preston 


John Davis •^runt 


Jonathan Judson 


the parsonage right 


Thomas linikly Vi ' 


David Jenkings 


the three Prestons 


Abraham Fullbrd 


Samuel Jcnner 


Mr. Samuel Slierman 


John Fern 


Moses Johnson first 


Capt. John Sherman 


Thomas Faircliiid 


John Johnson 


John Root 1 


William Fredrick 


Moses Johnson 2ii 


William Roberts 


Benjamin Galjjin 


Eliphalct Judson 


Josiah Root 


William Gaylord 


Josejih Judson :J' 


Mr. Anthony Stoddard 


Joseph (lalpin 


Horace Knowles 


Thomas Scjuire 1 


Joseph Ilmlbut, sen' 

■ 12 

Thomas Knowles 


Thomas Squire 2 


Joseph IIuilijuf2J 


Samuel Knowles 


Ebenezer Squire 


Cornelius Hurlbut 


Thomas Levenwortb 

1 12 

Samuel Sherman 


Jonathan Hnrlbut 


John Levenworth 


Adino Strong 


John Ilurlhut 


Thomas Le 


Francis Stiles 


Benjamin Kurd 


Capt. John Minor 


Benjamin Stiles 


Ebenezer Ilnrd 


William Martin 


John Skeel 1 


Robert Hurd 


John Minor 2 


John Skeel 2 


Josepli Hurd 


Samuel Minor 


Thomas Skeel 


Peter Hawiey 


Thomas Minor 


Lt. Samuel Stiles 


Joseph Hieoek 


Joseph Minor 


Samuel Squire 


John Hiilhwit 


Epluaini Minor 


John Squire 


Benjamin Hinman 


Josiali Minor 


Elnathan Strong 


Adam Hinman 


John Mitchel 1 


Jonathan Squire 


Edward Hinman 


John Mitcliel 2 


John Sherman 2 


Titus Hinman 


Mathew Mitchel 


John Stratton 


Samuel Hinman 


Jonathan Mitchel 


Joseph Seely 


Andrew Hinman 


Samuel Mun 1 


Roger Torrel 1 


Noah Hinman 


Samuel Mun 2 


Stephen Tin-rel 


Benjamin Hurd 2 


Josi'ph Martin 


Jeremiah Thomas 


Samuel Hieoek 


Aaron Mallary 


Nathaniel Tultle 


John Hurd 


first Mill accommod: 


Ephraim Tuttle 


Samuel Hull 




Hezekiah Tuttle 


John Hnr<l lirst 


■ William Mack 


Roger Terrel 2 


Joseph Hinick first 


Ditto for his sons 


John Thomas 2 


Denis Hart 


Samuel Martin 


Ezra Terrel 


Henry Hill 


Daniel Mun 


John Thomas 1 


Epliraim Hinman 


Thomas Mallary 


Ambrose Thompson 


Joseph, l!riij"\-, Sam' 

the 2 mill accomoda 


Ebenezer Warner 






Robert Warner 


Joseph Hinman 


Caleb Nichols 


Joseph Wallar 



Zacliariah Walker 12 Thomas Wheeler 12 Mr. Zacbariah Walker 25 
John Wheeler 1 IG John Wyat 10 Dr. Ebenezer Warner^ 5" 

John Wheeler 2 10 Timothy Walker 10 

This list is given entire, as it is probably an almost perfect list of 
the original proprietors to this time, and as such worthy of preserva- 

In the expedition against the Spanish West Indies, in 1740, "Wood- 
bury had some soldiers, but as most of the troops in that fatal cam- 
paign perished of pestilence, their names are lost. In May, 1743, 
and during the same troubles, it appears that some suspicious men 
were lurking about on the frontiers of the colony, and the circum- 
stance was deemed of sufficient importance to be brought to the atten- 
tion of the General Assembly then in session. The matter was re- 
ferred to a committee, who immediately reported, 

" That we are well informed, that there are Several Strangers, and we sup- 
pose that they are not of our Kings Subjects, but forraigners, which are Strug- 
gling about the inland parts of Fairfield County, and the Western parts of 
Hartford & Sometimes in New-Haven County, and that in a more especiall 
manner, they are conversant with those Indians, that Inhabite at podetuck in 
Woodbury, and those that live West of the Housatonick River Westward of the 
Town of Kent, * * * * ' * * 

and that the Indians are more and morfe estranged I'rorn his Majesty's Subjects 
by their means, and upon the whole we feare his Majesty's Interests may be 
greatly Indangered by Said Strangers.'"^ 

For which reasons they recommended the arrest of those " Stran- 
gers," and their examination. A resolution to that effect was ac- 
cordingly passed, but whether the men were arrested, or what the 
subsequent proceedings were, can not now be determined. 

The story of the unhappy inhabitants of Acadia, or the " French 
Neutrals," is well known — a story of wrong, oppression and outi'age 
upon humanity without excuse. Acadia, or Nova Scotia, after re- 
peated conquests and restorations, was at last, by the treaty of 
Utrecht, yielded to Great Britain. The old inhabitants remained on 
the soil they had subdued and cultivated, and for nearly forty years 
after the peace resulting from this treaty, they had been left to them- 
selves, and prospered in their seclusion from the great world. They 
had promised submission to England, but loving the language, usages 
and religion of their forefathers, they would not fight against the 
standard of France, or renounce its name. They had fertile and 

1 Proprietors' Book, p. 43, et seq. 2 War, vol. 4, pp. 126, 127. 

1 G4 n I s T o u T or a x c i e n t w o o d b r n t . 

cultivated fit-Ids, which were covered with tlieir flocks and herds. 
Tliey constructed lionses neatly built in clusters, which were well 
furnished with the comforts and conveniences of civilized life. They 
were happy in the abundance their own hands provided, and formed 
as it were, one great family. They were of pure morals, and actua- 
ted by unaffected devotion to the faith of their fathers. When Eng- 
land began to send numerous colonists to Nova Scotia, their priests 
beraific alarmed for the security of their church, and fomented dis- 
aifection. The arrogance of the British oflicers, and the cruelties 
inflicted on these unoffending people, greatly added to it. Their 
property was taken for the public service without their consent, and 
without stipulation with them in regard to payment. Compelled to 
fetch fire-wood, even, for their oppressors, they were assured, that if 
there was any delay in bringing it, the soldiers would " absolutely 
take their houses for fuel." Under frivolous pretenses they were 
compelled to give up their boats and their fire-arms, leaving them 
without the means of flight or defense. 

The region east of the St. Croix was entirely under the power of 
England, and no resistance was to be feared from the Acadians. 
They bowed in meek submission before their masters, willing to take 
the oath of allegiance to England, but still refusing to bear arms 
against their beloved France. Their taskmasters could have exer- 
cised clemency without the slightest danger to themselves, but they 
had determined otherwise. The edict had gone forth, that the 
French Neutrals should be carried away captive to other parts of the 
British dominions. Their haughty oppressors lusted after their 
comely houses and fruitful lands. No warning of their purpose was 
given, till it was ready to be executed. As soon as they perceived 
the dangers that awaited them, they offered to swear unconditional 
allegiance to the government, but they were not allowed to do so, 
being told that having once refused the oaths, they could not now be 
administered ; and some of the principal men were imprisoned. It 
was unanimously determined in solemn council, to send the French 
inhabitants out of the pi'ovince, and to distribute them among the 
several colonies of the continent, that they might not be able to re- 
turn and molest the intruders who should secure their beautiful 
homes and cultivated fields. 

They secured their persons by artifice. By pi-oclamation all the 
males from ten years old and upward were peremptorily ordered to 
appear at their respective posts, on the 5th of September, 1755. 


Tliey obeyed, and at one of the places of assembling, Avhich was a 
church, they were informed by the American commander 

" You ai-e convened together, to manifest to yon, his Majesty's final resolu- 
tion to the French inhabitants of this, his province. Your lands and tenements, 
cattle of all kinds, and live stock of all sorts, are forfeited to the crown, and you 
yourselves are to be removed from this his province. I am through his Majes- 
ty's goodness, directed to allow you liberty to carry oft' your money and house- 
hold goods, as many as you can, without discommoding the vessels you go in." 

They were then declared the king's prisoners, and their wives and 
families shared the same fate. " The blow was sudden ; they had 
left their homes but for the morning, and they never were to return. 
Their cattle were to stay unfed in the stalls, their fires to die out on 
their hearths. They had for that first day, even, no food for them- 
selves or their children, and were compelled to beg for their bread !" 

The l()th of September was the day appointed for the first embark- 
ation of the exiles. One hundred and sixty-one constituted the first 
company ordered to march on board the vessel, which was to take 
them from their homes forever. It was possible for them to leave 
their homes, their lands, and their garners, but it severed a sensitive 
chord in the human bosom, when called upon to leave their parents, 
wives and children. Neither the pen nor the imagination can paint 
the scene that followed. Forced by the bayonet, the men were driv- 
en on board, and the women and children were left till other trans- 
ports should arrive. The miserable people left behind were kept near 
the sea, without proper food, or clothing, or shelter, till their turn 
came, but the fierce winds of December' "had struck the shivering, 
half-clad, broken-hearted sufferers, before the last of them were re- 
moved." Seven thousand of these exiles were forced on board ships, 
and scattered among the colonies, from New Hampshire to Georgia, 
according to previous determination. Four hundred were sent into 
Connecticut, by Gov. Lawrence, and were distributed among the 
towns of the colony, according to their lists, by the General Assem- 
bly, which convened January 21, 1756, for that purpose. The share 
that fell to Woodbury, was nine. The names of four only are now 
known, Petre Beaumont, Henrie Scisceau, Alexandre Pettigree, and 
Philemon Cherevoy. The descendants of the latter are now resi- 
dents of the town. The selectmen of the several towns were desired 
to find accommodations for them, at some distance from the settle-- 
ments, and take care to keep them at some suitable emjjloyment. 


Thus wore these unhappy jioople scattered in small and sorrowful 
bands throu;?Iiout the land. They were without resources, and the 
households to which they belonged were scattered they knew not 
where. The newspapers of the day were burdened with advertise- 
ments from members of families, seeking those they had lost. They 
si'^hed for their native land, but, to prevent their return, it had been 
laid waste, and their much loved homes were but heaps of ruins. 
"A beautiful and fertile tract of country was reduced to a solitude." 
Misfortune pursued them wherever they fled. " I know not," says 
Bancroft, " if the aimals of the human race keep the record of sor- 
rows so wantonly inflicted, so bitter and so perennial as fell upon the 
French inhabitants of Acadia." " We have been true," said they of 
themselves, "to our religion,, and true to ourselves ; yet nature ap- 
pears to consider us only as the objects of public vengeance." 

In 1744, war was proclaimed between France and England. In 
1745, an expedition against Louisburg was planned- and put in exe- 
cution, and its capture was consummated. Connecticut furnished 
more than one thousand men for this expedition, commanded by Roger 
Wolcott, afterward governor of the colony. Woodbury furnished a 
portion of these, but how many is not now known. Zechariah Brins- 
made, to whom those now bearing the name in the ancient territory 
are related, was one of these soldiers. 

In 1755, this war was renewed, and during its continuance, there 
were four expeditions against Crown Point, in each of which men 
and officers from Woodbury figured. In short, during all the wars 
between France and the mother country, which affected the colonies, 
Woodbury furnished not only men but field-otficers. In the first year 
of this war, Connecticut i\aised one thousand men, under the com- 
mand of Col. Lyman and Elizur Goodrich, Esq. Woodbury fur- 
nished two Captains, Capt. Benjamin Ilinman, and Capt, Adam Hin- 
man, and a large number of soldiers. In the battle near Lake 
George, on the 8th of September, Capt. Adam Ilinman was wounded 
in the shoulder by a grape-shot. In 175G, twenty-five hundred men 
were raised in Connecticut for the invasion of Canada, and the quota 
from Woodbury was increased, under the command of the same offi- 
cers from the town as before. Next year, Capt. Benjamin Ilinman 
was again in the field by commission from Gov. Thomas Fiteli. In 
this year there was an " alarm" for the relief of Fort William Henry, 
near Lake George. Two companies marched from Woodbury with 
all haste. One numbered eighty men, under the command of Capt. 
Ebenezer Downs, and the other ninety-six, under the command of 


Capt. Wait Hinman. Among the rank and file of the latter compa- 
ny, were Hezekiah Thompson, Esq., the first regular lawyer in the 
town, and Doctor Joseph Perry. These companies were absent from 
town about three weeks. A full list of the men engaged will be 
found among the statistics at the close of the volume. Connecticut 
had already furnished fourteen hundred men for the campaign, and 
sent five thousand more in this " alarm." During this year, 1757, 
Adam Hinman was appointed captain of one of the companies that 
were raised in Connecticut, and placed under the command of the 
Earl of Loudoun, for resisting the encroachments of tlie French at 
Crown Point.' 

But hitherto colonial otRcers had had little standing among the 
" regulars." Every officer in the regular service, of whatever rank, 
took precedence of those in the colonial service. They were treated 
with the greatest hauteur, and even insolence, by the royal ofiicers 
sent here, swelling with pride, to domineer over the provincials, 
caring more to show their superiority over the latter than to advance 
the king's interests. Although the colonists had answered the sum- 
mons of the king with the greatest alacrity, yet their bui'ning ardor 
was unavailing, abused and frowned upon as they were. They were 
kept in close subjection to the regulars, and, remaining in idleness, 
as well as those who lorded it over them, they had no opportunity to 
exhibit the native courage which burned in their bosoms, and conse- 
quently had done nothing. Yet instances of courage and daring 
flashed up in every part of the colonies, disconnected with the royal 
service. During the years 175G and 1757, Abercrombie and the 
Earl of .Loudoun, though having large bodies of troops under their 
command, both regular and provincial, through indolence and imbe- 
cility, did absolutely nothing, while Montcalm and other French ofii- 
cers were pressing their successes in every direction. The campaign 
of 1757, ended most ingloriously. To the incapacity and pusillanimi- 
ty of these commanders, are to be attributed the constantly recurring 
losses of that yeai-. Had the colonies been left to themselves they 
would have done better. Indeed the ministry of England and the 
men employed by them were such that disaster and loss attended 
them in almost every part of the globe. Even a British historian, 
speaking of the campaign of 1757, says, " That it ended to the eter- 
nal disgrace of those who then commanded the armies, and directed 
the councils of Great Britain." Yet these imbecile men contrived to 

1 State Archives, War, vol. 6. 


satisfy the home government, by coni]>hiints of America. It was 
nothing that the few successes wliicli had been gained, had been prin- 
cipally the result of the efforts and bravery of the provincials. It was 
nothing that they had saved the remnants of Braddock's army ; noth- 
ing that they had conquered Acadia; nothing that they had defeated 
Dieskau at Luke George ; nothing, in their besotted imagination, 
could be done while there was no " viceroy or superintendent over all 
the provinces." 

With sufh imbecile commanders to ruin everything, the patriotism 
and means of the provincials were worse than wasted. It was of no 
avail, that with a ready zeal they rushed at each alarm to the scene 
of attack. It was of no avail that each little town, like Woodbury, 
sent a hundred and seventy-six men for the defense of a single fort. 
It was of no avail that that fort was defended by the gallant Munro, 
with a small but faithful corps — naught can save it. " How peacefully 
rest the waters of Lake George between their ramparts of highlands ! 
In their pellucid depths, the cliffs and the hills and the trees leave 
their image, and the beautiful region speaks to the heart, teaching 
affection for nature. As yet not a hamlet rose on its margin ; not a 
straggler had thatched a log hut in its neighborhood ; only at its 
.head, near the center of a wider opening between its mountains. Fort 
William Henry stood on its bank almost on a level with the lake. 
Lofty hills overhung and commanded the wild scene, but heavy artil- 
lery had not as yet accompanied war-parties into the wilderness.'" 
Such was the scene on the first of August, 1757. A few days later 
the gallant commander, the patriotic band, the fort itself, had disap- 
peared, and nothing remained to tell that civilization had, reposed 
upon its margin, but the charred remains of the fortification, and here 
and there among the hills a crucifix to mark a grave. 

But Pitt attaining power at this juncture, the P>arl of Loudolm was 
recalled, while other and better officers took his jdace. Lord Howe, 
Wolfe and Amherst were leading officers under the new regime, though 
Abercrombie was still nominally commander-in-chief. Pitt rejected 
the policy of degrading the colonists, adopted by his predecessors, 
and relied on the spontaneous patriotism of the people. He accord- 
ingly obtained the king's order, that every provincial officer of no 
higher grade than colonel, should have equal rank with the ]iritish, 
according to the date of their respective commissions. He infofmed 
tlic colonists that he expected nothing of them but the " levying, 

1 Buuoroft. 


clothing and pay of the men," and that for these expenses he -would 
'' strongly recommend to parliament to grant a proper compensation." 
Upon his summons more than twenty thousand men were, without 
difficulty, called into service. 

The new policy produced the most favorable results. In 1758, 
Connecticut raised five thousand men for the invasion of Canada, 
which were divided into four regiments. Col. Benjamin Hinman, of 
Woodbury, was commissioned by Gov. Fitch, as lieutenant-colonel 
of the third regiment, and captain of the second company of foot, and 
Israel Putnam, major of the same regiment, and captain of the third 
company under him. The greatest enthusiasm everywhere pre- 
vailed. Louisburg fell before the well-directed efforts of Amherst 
and Wolfe. Fort Frontenac yielded to Bradstreet, and Fort Du- 
quesne disappeared in smoke before the sagacity and perseverance of 
Washington under Forbes. The only misfortune of the year, the 
disgraceful and disastrous defeat at Ticonderoga, came through the 
miserable inefficiency and cowardice of Abercrombie, who had been 
retained in command by the partiality of Bute, against the judgment 
of Pitt. In this expedition perished the gallant Howe. Most of the 
soldiers from Woodbury went north with Abercrombie, and a large 
proportion of them never again saw their homes in this pleasant val- 
ley. Nearlyall that the sword spared, disease swept away. After 
this disastrous defeat, Abercrombie was recalled in November, and 
Amherst was appointed commander-in-chief. 

In 1759, Connecticut, as in the preceding year, raised five thou- 
sand men. Col. Benjamin Hinman and the other surviving officers 
of the previous year, from Woodbury, entered again into the service, 
with the full quota of men from our town. Among the subordinate 
officers were Lieut. Phineas Castle, Lieut. Nathan Tuttle, and Gra- 
ham Hurd. This campaign was rich in victories, though destructive 
to the troops. Sir William Johnson captured Fort Niagara, and 
Amherst forced the French to retire from Ticonderoga and Crown 
Point ; but by far the most glorious event of that campaign was the 
surrender of Quebec to the victorious army under Wolfe, who met 
death on the battle field, and whose " spirit escaped in the blaze of 
his glory." 

Of the soldiers from Woodbury who perished in this campaign, 
only three names are preserved, Amos Hurd, Benjamin Sanford and 
Lovewell Hurd. Great was the rejoicing in Woodbury, not unac- 
companied with sorrow for the loss of the slain, when the news of this 
victory arrived. Not here only was such the case, but everywhere. 



In the eloquent words of Bancroft, '• America rung with exultation ; 
the towns were bright with iUuniinations ; legislatures, the pulpit, the 
press, echoed the general joy ; province and families gave thanks to 
God. England too, which had shared the despondency of Wolfe, tri- 
umphed at his victory, and wept for his death. Joy, grief, curiosity, 
amazement, were on every countenance." "When the i)arliament as- 
sembled, Pitt modestly and gracefully put aside the praises that were 
showered upon him. " The more a man is versed in business," said 
he, " the more he finds the hand of Providence everywhere." 



Cause of the War; Convention of 1765; Boston Port Bill, 1774; Town 
ACTION 1774; Boston Alarm, 1774; First Measures of Resistance by 
THE Town, November, 1774; Association Articles; Capture of Ticon- 
derooa and Crown Point by Ethan Allen, 1775; Committees of Inspec- 
tion, AND Acts of the Town ; Toryism ; Jabez Bacon's Salt sold by the 
Committee of Inspection ; Tory Complaint ; Levies of Troops and Boun- 
ties ; Council of Safety ; Character of Hon. Daniel Sherman ; Com- 
mittees to provide for Soldiers' Families; Supplies; Commissary Os- 
born's Purchases ; $500,000 worth of Provisions furnished ; Salt $100 
per bushel; Events of 1775; Lexington Alarm; Northern Army; 150 
Woodbury Men in the Field; Events of 1776; All the Militia West 
of Connecticut River go to New York ; 500 Men furnished by the 
Town ; Detachment to Stamford ; New York Prisoners of War ; Beth- 
LEM Volunteers ; Census and Militia ; Prisoners at New York ; Ethan 
Allen and others Prisoners at Halifax; Events of 1777 ; Danbury 
Alarm ; Soldiers at Peekskill ; Supplies furnished ; Battle of Still- 
water ; Appearance of Troops ; Events of 177S ; Small Pox in the 
Army; Events of 1779; Affair at Norwalk ; Col. Moseley Resigns; 
Arnold turns Traitor; £45 Bounty offered for Enlistments; Enlist- 
ments TILL New York should be taken; Events of 1780 and 1781 ; La 
Fayette and his Army pass through Woodbury; Events of 1752; Bat- 
tle of Yorktown ; Surrender of Cornwallis ; Rejoicings of the Peo- 
ple ; Peace of 1783 ; Reflections. 

"We have now arrived at one of the most thrilling and interesting 
periods of the history,not only of our own town, but of the North Amer- 
ican continent. Many long years have rolled their slow course away, 
since the stirring scenes of the Revolution were acted, but they live, 
engraved in a manner never to be effaced, on the memories of the few 
individuals who have " come down to us from a former generation," 
witnesses of the events in the " times that tried men's souls." The 
brilliant events of that important period shall live, too, on the bright- 
est page of history, while thought shall endure, or the recollection of 
human greatness shall remain. Their fame shall be perennial with 


that noble langiiapjc in which they are recorded, now "spread more 
Avidely than any that has ever given expression to human tiiought," 
conveyinfT, as it does, the strong tendency to individuality and free- 
dom, of the Teutonic race, its Imppy possessor. The representatives 
of that language liave ever been famous for deeds of valor and high 
renown. In that most beautiful apostrophe of Bancroft, we would 
most fervently join : " Go forth, then, language of Milton and Hamp- 
den, language of my country ; take possession of the North American 
continent ! Gladden the waste places with every tone that has been 
rightly struck on the English lyre, with every English word that has 
been spoken well for liberty and for man ! Give an echo to the now 
silent and solitary mountains ; gush out with the fountains that as yet 
sing their anthems all day long without response ; fill the valleys with 
the voices of love in its purity, the pledges of friendsliip in its faith- 
fulness ; and as the morning sun drinks the dew drops from the flow- 
ers all the way from the dreary Atlantic to the Peaceful Ocean, meet 
him with the joyous hum of the early industry of freemen ! Utter 
boldly and spread widely through the world the thoughts of the com- 
ing apostles of the people's liberty, till the sound that cheers the desert 
shall thrill through the heart of humanity, and the lips of the messen- 
ger of the people's power, as he stands in beauty upon the mountains, 
shall proclaim the renovating tidings of equal freedom for the race !" 

It became generally known, that at the end of the war with France, 
new regulations would be introduced into the governments of the 
American colonies. The purpose of taxing them, and raising a rev- 
enue out of them, for the purpose of defraying the expenses of the 
colonial system, and for replenishing its needy exchequer, was now 
planned. The mother country wished also to punish some of the re- 
fractory colonies for their insubordination, and to repress the rising 
sentiments of freedom. Connecticut was said to be " little more than 
a mere democracy, most of them being upon a level, and each man 
thinking himself an able divine and politician," and to make its in- 
habitants a " good sort of people," it was supposed, all that was ne- 
cessary would be to take care that the " Church should be supported, 
and that the charters of that colony, and of its eastward neighbors, be 

It was therefore determined to tax the colonies, and human ingen- 
uity was brought under contribution to invent the most feasible way 
of doing it. The result of these efforts was the passage of the Stamp 
Act, a most odious and unjust measure, which it was further deter- 
mined should be executed among the colonists by men appointed from 


among their own number. This act required all the business of the 
colonies to be carried on upon stamped paper, on which a duty had 
been paid to the mother country, and rendered invalid all wills, deeds 
of sale, and instruments of all kinds, unless they were written on 
stamped paper. This struck a fatal blow at every interest, and the 
very existence of the commonwealth, unless the arbitrary provisions 
of that act were complied with. The passage of this act aroused the 
most intense excitement, alarm and indignation throughout the colo- 
nies. Absolute resistance to the execution of this measure every- 
where appeared, and the men who had been appointed by the crown 
as stamp-masters, were everywhere compelled by the excited people 
to resign their offices, by menaces, and in some instances, by force. 
Associations of the " Sons of Liberty" were formed in various parts 
of the country, and measures taken to excite the people to resistance 
to such an arbitrary and unjust law. 

On the 11th of February, 1766, a convention of nearly all the 
towns in Litchfield county was held, in which the leading men of 
Woodbury figured largely. By this body of men it was " resolved 
that the stamp act was unconstitutional, null and void, and that busi- 
ness of all kinds should go on as usual." Then, too, the hum of do- 
mestic industry was heard more and more ; young women would get 
together, and merrily and emulously drive the spinning wheel from 
sunrise till dark ; and every day the humor spread for being clad in 
homespun. Delegates of the " Sons of Liberty," from every town of 
Connecticut, met at Hartford, and were for establishing a union as 
the only security for liberty. 

No colony submitted to this law save Canada, Nova Scotia, and 
the Floridas, which were mere military governments. England be- 
gan to discover, that the law could not be executed, and sought a 
way to escape from the humiliating position. Pitt, true to the best 
interests of genuine liberty, took the side of the colonists in favor of 
the unconditional repeal of the hated and unfortunate law. It was 
repealed, and great rejoicing arose in all the colonies. 

But it soon became apparent to the colonists, that the mother 
country had by no means abandoned its darling purpose of bringing 
them under absolute and unconditional subjection. Discontent, jeal- 
ousies and contentions from various causes, followed till 1774, but the 
more prominent and immediate cause of the great and ever memora- 
ble struggle of the Revolution, was undoubtedly the passage of the 
Boston Port Bill. This outrageous and malicious act excited uni- 
versal sympathy for that town, throughout the colonies, but nowhere 


wju it manifested in a more lively or effective manner than in Con- 
necticut. The misery brought upon the great commercial emporium 
of New England, by this unnecessary act of the British parliament, 
raised a spirit of resistance never before witnessed in this sober " land 
of steady habits." The General Assembly, which was in session at 
Hartford, passed strong resolutions against the cruel and unjust act, 
and the several towns in the colony called large meetings, and passed 
resolutions expressing their disapprobation of the act, and their sym- 
pathy with the people of Boston. Donations were also sent from 
almost every town in the state, for the relief of the distressed inhab- 
itants of Boston and Charlestown. These consisted of money, live 
stock, and provisions of all sorts. The town meetings, during the 
year 1774, were conducted with the greatest propriety, and though 
the people continued to use loyal expressions in their resolutions, 
they breathed the utmost decision and firmness against oppression, 
and had a very great influence in arousing an almost universal spirit 
of resistance to British oppression, and a full determination to make 
common cause with the people of Boston, in their aiflictions. 

The people of Woodbury caught the prevailing spirit, and a town 
meeting was called September 20th, 1774, to take into consideration 
the " unhappy Differences and Difficulties," and the alarming cir- 
cumstances which threatened the people of the colonies, and espe- 
cially the sufferings of the inhabitants of Boston and Charlestown. 
The meeting was fully attended, and the following determination was 
the result of their assembling : 

" At a Meeting of the Inhabitants of the Town of Woodbury on the Twen- 
ty''' Day of September, A. D. 1774, being Legally Warned, Increase Moseley, 
Esq' was chosen Moderator, this meeting takeing into consideration the nnhapy 
Diferences and Disputes subsisting between Great Britain and her colonies, and 
Particularly the unhappy State of Boston and Charlestown and the many Greav- 
iences and. Dificulties the poor People in Each of those Towns Labour under 
occationed by sundry Late acts of Parliment. Voated that Capt Matthew 
minor Lieut Increase moseley CajH Elias Duning Mr Jonathan Fnrrand Mr 
Samuel Hurd and Capt Ebenezer Down be a com'ee to Receive Such Gifts and 
Donations as shall be Delivered to them by the Inhabitants of the Town of 
Woodbury for the support of the poor of the sd Towns of Boston and Charles 
town and Shall Send such Donations as they so Receive to the Select men of 
the Several Towns of Boston and Charles Town to be laid out by them for the 
Purpose afore sd in Such manner as they jude Right. 

"a*! voated that Increase moseley Esqr Gideon Walker Esq^ Daniel Everet 
Esqr Col Benjamin Hinman Thomas Warner Esqr Increase mosely Jun^ Dea 
John Pearse and Mr Hesekiah Thompson be a comtee of correspondence to 
Receive and Communicate Such Inteligence as may Find to mairiiain peace 
and union in this and the Neighbouring Colonies. The Right Rev'' Jonathan 


Shipley Bishop of St Asaphs speech in the house of Lords being read to this 
meeting voted to Desire onr Representatives to Recomend to the General As- 
sembly of this colony at their sessions in October Next that they return publick 
thanks to the sd Rev Doct Shipley for said Noble Patriotic speech in favour of 
British America! and to all other friends of America! in Great Britain. We 
Postpone any Particular Resolves Relative to the afair of Americai until the De- 
termination of the General Congress Shall be Known." 

It will be seen by this vote, that although there was sufficient loy- 
alty in expression, yet the committee of correspondence was expected 
to perform duties quite different from exciting loyalty to the king, 
while oppression continued on the part of his government. In ac- 
cordance with this vote, a respectable amount of " Gifts and Dona- 
tions" were collected and forwarded to Boston with all possible dis- 
patch. It is to be noted, that it was not forgotten by the meeting to 
take especial notice of the " noble, patriotic speech" delivered by the 
Rt. Rev. Dr. Shipley, of St. Asaph's, in the House of Lords, in favor 
of the American colonies. Besides, this meeting took place just after 
the " Great Boston Alarm," which occurred Sept. 3, 1774. On this 
occasion quite a number of soldiers marched from Woodbury, and 
joined the companies from the other towns, as not enough to make 
a full company of their own volunteered in time to march together. 
The cause of this alarm was a report that the ships of war were 
cannonading Boston, and the regular troops slaying the inhabitants, 
without distinction of age or sex. The news spread with the great- 
est expedition, in all directions, and in less than thirty-six hours, the 
country for nearly two hundred miles, was thoroughly rallied. " From 
the shores of Long Island Sound to the green hills of Berkshire, to 
arms, to arms, was the universal cry. Instantly, nothing was seen 
on all sides, but men of all ages cleansing and burnishing their arms, 
and furnishing themselves with provisions and warlike stores, and 
preparing for an immediate march ; gentlemen of rank and fortune 
exhorting and encouraging others by their advice and example. The 
roads were soon crowded with armed men, marching for Boston with 
great rapidity, but without noise or tumult. By the most moderate 
computation, there were in the colony of Connecticut alone, not less 
than twenty thousand men completely armed, actually on their 
march for that town, with full speed, until counter intelligence was 
received on the road."* 

As it had become apparent to thinking minds, that war with the 

1 Hinman's War of the American Revolution. 


inotlicr country was inevitable, their great ol)ject had been to form 
public opinion in favor of a contest with England. To do this, it be- 
came necessary to infuse into the people a proper appreciation of 
their just rights. This was best effected in that day of scarcity of 
newspapers, by holding town meetings, in which they could read 
publicly such papers as treated upon the subject of common interest, 
and discuss their rights and grievances. In this manner the people 
became highly excited and exasperated, and patriotism glowed with 
more or less intensity in the coldest breasts. " The Congregational 
clergy of New England were active in the cause of liberty during 
the Revolution, and taught the people from their pulpits, that the 
Christian religion was a stranger to mere despotic power, as the 
great Montesquieu declared." This was to be expected, as they 
were bound to no " Head of the Church," on the other side of the 
water, to whom they owed supremacy and allegiance, but were the 
representatives of a Christian democracy. 

Our fathers were fully up to the spirit of the times, and held fre- 
quent meetings to consult concerning the public weal. As soon as 
they had learned the action of the Continental Congress, and that of 
the October sesi,ion of their own legislature, a town meeting was duly 
warned to take action in regard to the subjects to which the attention 
of the several towns had been invited. With entire unanimity and cor- 
diality, they indorsed the action of the two bodies mentioned, and took 
the necessary measures to carry it into effect. This meeting was 
held Nov. 17, 1774, and copies of its votes follow. 

"At a meeting of the Inhabitants of the Town of Wooilbury Novemr the 17'*", 
1774 being Legally Warned Daniel Sherman Esqr Was chosen moderator. 
" The association of the Deligatesof the american Colonies in the Late General 
Congress held at Pheladelphia Was Read to this meeting, and also the Resolves 
Relative to it in House of Representatives at the Last Sessions of the General 
assembly of this Colony at New Haven, one of which was in these words 
Namely, Resolved that it be and it is hereby Recommended to the several Towns 
in this Colony to Chuse a Com'" of their own Body agreeable to the Eleventh 
article of Association for the purposes in s<^ article Expressed, this meeting ap- 
prove and accept said association and prorniss to act agreeable to it, and that 
the plan therein proposed may be Eliectually Carryed into Eccecution We Do 
appoint Daniel Sherman Esq Mr. Ilezikiah Thompson Cap' Gideon Stoddard 
Gideon Walker Esq Edward Hinman Andrew Graham iSIajor Increase Mose- 
ley Daniel Everit Esq Capt. Elias Duning James Hannah Jonathan Farrand 
Increase Moseley Esq Capt Nathan Hicok Thomas Warner Esq Cupt Thadeus 
Lacy Capt David Hurd Eleazer Mitchell, Joseph Tearse Esq and Justus Pearse 
a com'" Whose Business it shall be agreeable to the Eleventh article attentive- 
ly to observe the conduct of all persons Touching s'' association ice — and When 


it Shall be made to appear to the majority of ye s'^ com"^ that any Person With- 
in the Limits of this Town have violated the s** association, that s"' majority Do 
forthwith cause the truth of the case to be published in the Gazette to the End 
that all such foes to ye Rights of British americai may be publikly known and 
uiiivorsially Contenmod as Enemies to american Liberty, and thensforth we Do 
bind our selves to break off all Dealings With Such Persons and also with all 
Persons in other Towns and Citys who shall be found Guilty as above Ex- 
prcs:;ed, and that it shall be ye Duty and Business of the s'^ com*"' to Receive 
and Communicate all Such intelligence as they shall judge to be conducive to 
ye Peace and Tranquility of this and the Neighbouring Colonies ; this meeting 
presents their most thankfull acknowledgments to those truly Honourable and 
Worthy Gentleman members of y^ Congress who have Shewn themselves able 
advocates of the civil and Religious liberty of the american Colonys. 

" Voted that the doings of this meeting be Recorded by the Town Clerk and a 
Copy thereof be forthwith sent to one of the printers of the Conneticut Journal 
to be published accordingly. The Whole of the above Written as voated in 
said Meeting." 

The decisive step seemed now to be taken. Neither party could 
recede without betraying weakness or cowardice to the opposite 
party. The Rubicon seemed to have been passed, and all waited the 
next move with intense solicitude. Darkness and gloom had settled 
upon the moral vision, the vail of the future was drawn over the re- 
sult, and it was impossible for the man of greatest wisdom to raise 
that vail, and penetrate the mystery beyond. The articles of the 
" General Congress," referred to in the foregoing vote of the town, 
are of much interest, and were recorded by the town-clerk on the 
land records of the town. They are as follows : 

" Association of the Continental Congress held in the City of Philadelphia on 

the 5th day of September A. D. 1774 — 

"In the House of Representatives The Report of the Delegates of this Colony 
in the State Continental Congress held at Philadelphia being made, accepted 
and approved. Resolved that the Association entered into and signed by them 
in behalf of this Colony ought to be faithfully kept and observed, and that the 
Same may be fully known & understood Resolved that Said Association be 
printed together with this Resolve and Dispersed throughout this Colony ; and it 
is further Resolved that it be and it is hereby Recommended to the Several 
Towns in this Colony to Chuse a Committee of their own Body agreeable to the 
Eleventh Article of s"! Association for the purposes in s<* article Express"!. 

" Test Richard Law Clerk. 

" Association &c. 

" We his Majesty's most Loyal subjects the Delegates of the Several Colonys 

of New Hamshire, Massachusets Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, 

New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the three lower Counties of New Castle Kent & 

Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, 


Deputed to Represent tliem in a Continental Congress held in the Cityof Phila- 
delpliia on the S'*" Day of September 177-1, avowing our allegiance to his Maj- 
esty, onr airection and Regard for our fellow subjects in Great-Britain & EUs- 
wliere, atlected with tl»e Deepest anxiety and Most alarming apprehensions at 
those Grievances and Destresses with which his Majesty's American Subjects 
are 0|)pressed, and having taken under our Most Serious Deliberation the State 
of the whole Continent, find that the present unhappy Situation of our atlairs is 
occasioned by a Ruinous System of Colony administration adopted by the Brit- 
ish Ministry about the year 1703, Evidently Calculated for Enslaving these Col- 
onies and with them the British Empire, in prosecution of which System vari- 
ous acts of Parliament have been passed for Raising a Revenue in America, for 
Depriving the american Subjects in Many Instances of the Constitutional 
Tryal by Jury. Exposing their lives to Dangers by Directing a new and illegal 
Tryal beyond the Seas, for crimes alledged to have been Committed in amer- 
ica and in prosecution of the Same System, several late Cruel and oppressive 
acts have been passed Respecting the Town of Boston and the Masechusets 
Bay, and also an act for Extending the province of Quebec So as to Border on 
the Western frontier of these Colonys, Establishing an arbitrary Government 
therein and Discouraging the Settlement of British Subjects in Extended Coun- 
try ; thus by the Inlluence of Civil principles and antient prejudices to dispose 
the Inhabitants to act, with hostility against the Free Protostam Colonies ; 
whenever a Wicked Ministry Shall chuse so to direct them. 

"To obtain Redress of these grievances which Threatened Distruction to the 
Lives, Liberty and property of his Majesty's Subjects in Xorth amcrica. We are 
of opinion that a non Importation, non Consumpsion and non Exportation agree- 
ment faithfully adhered to Will prove the Most Speedy, Eftectualiy and peace- 
able Messure and therefore we do for ourselves and the Inhabitants of the Sev- 
eral Colonies Whom we Represent firmly agree and associate under the Sacred 
Ties of virtue and Honour &; Love of our Country as followeth 

" First— 

•' That from and after the first Day of December Nex we will not Transport 
into British america from Great Britain or Ireland any such goods wares or Mer- 
chandise as Shall have been Exported from Great Britain or Ireland, nor will We 
after that Day Import any East India Tea from any part of the world. Nor any 
Molasses, Syrups, paneles, Coffee, or pemento from the British Plantations or from 
Dominica, nor Wines from Mederia or y^ Western Islands nor Foreign Indigo 

" Second 

" that we will neither Import nor purchase any Slave Imported after the 
first Day of December Next . . after which time we will Wholly Descontinut/ the 
Slave trade, and will neither be concerned in it ourselves nor will we hire our 
vessels nor Sell our Commodities or Manufactuers to those who are Concerned 
jn it. 

" Third 

" as a non Consumption agreement Strictly adhered to will be an effectual 
Security for the observation of the non importation. We as above Solcnmly agree 
and associate that from this day we will not purchase or use any Tea Imported 
on account of the East India Company or any on which a Duty hath been or 
Shall be paid, and from and after the first Day of March Next, we Will not pur- 
chase or use any East India Tea whatever, nor Shall any person for or under 


us purchase or use any of those goods Wares or Merchandise We have agreed 
not to Import which we shall know or have cause to Suspect were Imported 
after the first Day of December, Except Such as come under the Rules and Di- 
rections of the tenth article hereafter Mentioned — 

" Fourth 

" The Earnest Desire we have not to Injure our fellow Subjects in Great 
Britain, Ireland or the west Indees Induces us to Suspend a non, Exportation 
untill *he tenth Day of September 1775 at which time if the s^ acts and part of 
acts of the British Parliament hereinafter mentioned are not Repealed, we will 
not Directly or Indirectly, Export any Merchandise or Comraodety Whatsoever 
to Great Britain, Ireland or the West Indies Except Rice to Europe — 

" Fifth 

" Such as are Merchants and use the British and Irish trade will give Orders 
as soon as possible to their factors, agents and Correspondents in Great Britain 
and Ireland, not to ship any goods to them on any pretence Whatsoever, as they 
Cannot be Received in america, and if any Merchant Resideing in Great Brit- 
ain or Ireland Shall Directly or indirectly Ship any goods Wares or Merchan- 
dise for america in order to Break the s*^ non importation agreement or in any 
Manner Contravene the Same, on such imworthy Conduct being well attested 
it ought to be Made Publick, and on the same being done we will not from 
henceforth have any Commercial Connexion With Such Merchant 

" Sixth 

" that such as are owners of vessels will give positive orders to their Cap- 
tains or Masters not ^to Receive on Board their vessels any goods prohibited 
by S'l non importation agreement on pain of emediate Dismission from their 
Serviss — 

" Seventh 

" We will use our utmost endeavours to improve the breed of Sheep and 
increase their number to the greatest Extent, and to that end we will use them as 
Sparringly as may be. Es])eceally those of the most profitable kind nor will we 
Export any to the west Indies or Elswhere, and those of us who are or may be 
overstocked with or can Conveniently Spare any Sheep will dispose of them to 
our Neighbours especeally the poorer sort on Moderate terms — 

" Eighth 

" That we will in our Several Stations Encourage frugallity, economy and 
Industry and promote agriculture arts ; and the Manufacturies of this Country 
Especially that of Wool, and Will Discountenance and Discourage Every Spe- 
cies of Extravagance and Dissipation, Especially all horse Raceing and all kinds 
ofGameing, Cock fighting. Exhibitions of Shows, plays and other Expensive 
Diversions and Entertainments, and on the Death of any Relation or friend none 
of us or any of our famely Will go into any further mourning Dress, than a black 
Crape or Riband on the arm or hat for Gentlemen and black Riband and Neck- 
lace for Ladies, and we Discontinue the giving of Gloves and Scarfs at funer- 


" that Such as are venders of goods or Merchandize Will not take advan- 
tage of the Scarcity of goods that may be occasioned by this association, but 
will sell the same at the rates we have been Respectively accustomed to do for 
twelve months last past and if any vender of goods or Merchandise Shall sell 


any Such goods on higher terms, or Shall in any manner or by any Divice 
Whatsoever violate or Depart from this agreement no person ought, nor will any 
of us Deal with any Such person or his or her factor or agent at any time there- 
after for any Commodity Whatsoever — 

" Tenth 

" in Case any Merchant, trader or other persons Shall Import any goods or 
merchandise after the first day of December and before the first day of February 
next, the same ought forthwith at the Election of the owner to be Either Re- 
shiped or delivred up to the Committee of the County or Town Wherein they 
shall be imported to be stored at the Risque of the Importer until the non 
importation agreement shall Cease, or be Sold under the direction of the 
Con»'ee ;iforo>'i, and in the last mentioned Case the owner or owners of Such 
goods Shall be reimbursed (out of the Sales) the first Cost and Charges, the 
profit if any to be applied towards Ilelieveing and imploying Such poor Inhab- 
itants of the Town of Boston as are Immediate Sulferes by the Boston port Bill, 
and a particular account of all goods so Returned, stored or sold to be inserted in 
the publick papers, and if any goods or rnercliandize shall be imported after the 
s<i first day of February the same ought forthwith to be sent back again Without 
breaking any of the packages thereof — 

*' Eleventh 

" That a Committee be Chosen in every County, City, or Town by Those 
who are quallified to voate for Representatives in the Legislature Whose busi- 
ness it shall be attentively to observe the Conduct of all persons touching this 
association, and When it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of a major- 
ity of any such Committee that any person within the limits of their appoint- 
ment has violated this association that such majority Do forthwith Cause the 
truth of the Case to be published in the Gazette to the End that all Such foes to 
the Rights of British America may be publickly known and universally con- 
temned as tlie Enemies of American Liberty, and thenceforth we Respectively 
break ofl' all Dealings with him or lier — 

" Twelfth 

" that the Committee of Correspondence in the Respective Colonies do fre- 
quently Inspect the Entries of tlieir Custom Houses and Enfbrm each other from 
time to time of the true State thereof, and of Every other material Circumstance 
that may occur Relative to this Association — 

«• Thirteenth 

" That all manufactriesof this Colony be Sold at Reasonable prices, so that 
no undue advantage betaken of a future scarcity of goods — 

" Fourteenth 

*' And we do further agree and Resolve, that we will have no trade. Com- 
merce, Dealing, or Intercoure Whatsoever with any Colony or Province in North 
america which shall not acceed to, or Which shall hereafter violate this Asso- 
ciation, but will hold them as unworthyof the Rights of ireemen and as Enemi- 
cal to the Liberties of their Country — and we do solemnly bind ourselves and 
our Constituents under the ties aforesd to adhear to this association until such 
of the several acts of Parliament passed since the Close of the last warr as Im- 
pose or Continue Duties on Tea, Wine, Molasses Syrup, pameles Colfee, Sugar, 
Pimento, Indigo, foreign paper, glass and jiainters colours Imported into Amer- 
ica, and Extend the powers of the admiralty Courts beyond aniient Limits, De- 



prive the American Subject of Tryal by Jury, authorize the Judges Certificate to 
Indemify the Prosecuter from Damages that he might otherwise be liable to, 
from a trial by his Peers, Require oppressive Securities from a Claimant of 
Ships of goods Seized before he Shall be allowed to defend his property, 
are Repealed, and until that part of the act of the 12 G. 3d Ch. 24 : Entitled, 
" an act for the better seeureing his Majestys Dock yards, magazines, Ships, 
ammunition and Stores by which any persons charged With Committing any 
of the offences therein Discribed in America may be tried in any Shire or Coun- 
ty within the Realm" is Repealed, and until the four acts passed in the last ses- 
sion of Parliament (viz) that for stoping the port and blocking up the harbour 
of Boston, that for altering the Charter and Government of the Machusetts Bay, 
and that Which is Entitled an act for the better a:dministration of Justice &c. 

" And that for Extending the limits of Quebec &c are Repealed, and we Re- 
commend it to the provincial Convention and to the Committees in the Respect- 
ive Colonysto Establish such further Regulations as they may think proper fojr 
Carrying into Execution this association. The foregoing association being de- 
termined upon by the Congress Was ordered to be subscribed by the several 
Members thereof, and thereupon we have hereunto set our Respective names 
accordingly in Congress. Philadelphia October 20th 1774 

Signed Peyton Randolph, President. 

New Hampshire . 

Massachusetts Bay 

Rhod Island . . 
Connecticut. . , 

New York . . . 

New Jersey 


New Castle &c 


C John Sullivan 

I Nathaniel Folsom 

C Thomas Cushing 

I Samuel Adams 

I John Adams 

( Robert Treat Pain 

C Ste[)hen Hopkins 

1 Samuel Ward 
r Eliphalet Dyer 

2 Roger Sherman 
f Silas Deane 

f Isaac Low 

John Alsop 
I John Jay 
■ James Duane 

William Floid 

Henry Wisner 

S: Boerum 

.lames Kinsey 

William Livingston 

Stephen Crane 
[Richard Smith 
r Joseph Galloway 
I John Dickinson 
I CharlesHumphreys, Mifflin 

Edward Biddle 
I John Morton 
[ George Ross 
C Cesar Rodney 
< Thomas McKean 
^ George Read 
f Mathew Tiglhman 

Thomas Johnson 

William Paca 

Samuel Chase 

182 HISTORY OF ANCir.XT -svooniiURT. 

f Richard H. Lee 
George Washington 
P. Ik-ury Jimr 
Riohard Bhunl Harrison 
E(hiiiui(l Pendleton 
C William Hooper 
Nortli Carolina . . -^ Joseph Hewes 
^R. Caswell 
f Henry Middleton 
I Thomas Lynch 
South Carolina . . . -J Christopher Gadsden 
I John Rutledge 
i Edward Rutledge" 

These articles are a history in themselves. They.give us a bird's- 
eye view of the urgency of the danger that threatened the colonists, 
and of the extreme, stern measures judged necessary by the coolest and 
wisest intellects of the colonies. It shows us, too, the caliber of the 
men who settled this new world, and sought here the suijreme blessing 
of freedom. Tlie colonies had been kept in dependence on the moth- 
er country for nearly all manufactured goods, and were therefore illy 
prepared to meet the struggle which must ensue. But putting their 
trust in the God of battles, and in the justice of their cause, they dared 
every evil that might befall them, earnestly pledging " their lives, 
their fortunes and their sacred honor" on the issue, and sacrificing all 
the dearest interests we know in life, on the altar of their country's 

In the exuberance of the materials in this part of our labor, circum- 
scribed as one must ever be in a work of local history, he hardly 
knows where to begin, what to select, or in what manner to arrange 
the wealth of facts and incidents that come ready to his hand. It will 
be most perspicuous, however, to continue an account of the action of 
the town, in the various emergencies which arose in that most event- 
ful struggle, that resulted in our independence from " every foreign 
prince and potentate." In that great contest, Connecticut was one of 
the foremost, if not the very first in the confederacy, in resisting the 
tyranny of Great Britain, and was lavish of blood and treasure in 
sustaining the conflict against her oppressions. Her soldiers were 
applauded by the commander-in-chief of the American armies, for 
their bravery and fidelity. The honor of the first conquest made by 
the united colonies during the Avar of the Revolution, belongs chiefly 
to Connecticut, and in a distinguishing manner, to the sons of "Wood- 
bury. This was the capture of Ticonderoga, May lOth, 1775 — one 
of the most brilliant exploits of the war. The projectors of this expe- 
dition were some patriotic members of the General Assembly, which 


convened at Hartford, in April of that year. They obtained the 
funds neccssaiy (£810) to carry out the design, from the colony treas- 
ury, as a loan, and gave their individual guarantee, with security for 
its repayment. The Assembly, in May, 1777, canceled the obliga- 
tion and charged the amount to the general government. Sixteen 
men were collected in Connecticut, who proceeded to Berkshire 
county, Massachusetts, where forty or fifty volunteers were added to 
their small force. The expedition continued its march to Benning- 
ton, Vermont, where it was joinecf by Ethan Allen, Seth Warner, and 
nearly one himdred volunteers. This little force of about one hun- 
dred and fifty men, marched to Castleton, where Col. Ethan Allen, a 
native of AVoodbury, Connecticut, was appointed commander ; Col. 
Seth "Warner, of the same place, was chosen to be third in command, 
and Capt. Remember Baker, also of the same town, held a subor- 
dinate station in the expedition. A part of this small force was 
sent to Skeensborough, after having sent Capt. Phelps to examine 
the fort. The remainder of the troops, amounting to only eighty- 
three chosen men, having secured the assistance of Nathan Beeman, 
as guide, and awaited the return of Capt. Phelps, assaulted the fort 
of Ticonderoga, on the morning of May 10th, 1775, and on the demand 
of surrender by Ethan Allen, in the name of the " Great Jehovah 
and the Continental Congress," its capture was secured without the 
loss of a man. The result of this first military operation of the war 
was of great advantage to the coloniesj supplying them with large 
quantities of arms and military stores, and opening to them an en- 
trance into Canada. Connecticut was also obliged to sustain the bur- 
den of maintaining the post acquired, although it was within the juris- 
diction of the colony of New York. One thousand men were sent 
from Connecticut, under the command of Col. Ilinman, of Woodbury, 
in 1775, to garrison the forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point. 
Eighty of these went from ancient Woodbury, a list of whose names 
is in the possession of the author, and will appear in a subsequent part 
of this volume. So in the war of 1812, in the first naval battle, the 
first flag struck was to a native of Connecticut ; and on land, the first 
flag which was taken, was surrendered to a son of her soil. Our 
State has never had full justice done her Revolutionary career, in any 
published account. No State did more according to her population 
than Connecticut, to carry on the war, or more to bring that war to 
a successful and glorious issue. Her troops were found in almost 
every battle of the United Colonies. 

Woodbury was noted for the vigilance with which it watched the 


movements of the enemies of the country, or tones within its borders, 
of which it had a few, as well jus for its active cooperation in every- 
thing necessary to carry on the great struggle which had now begun 
in good earnest. A committee of inspection and observation of the 
conduct of the inhabitants of the town was appointed from its chief 
men and patriots. The duties which this committee felt themselves 
called upon to perform, were of the most delicate and difficult nature. 
In the struggle for freedom from the mother country, it seemed to 
them necessary to suppress all Action, and every expression of 
thought, which did not run in the popular direction — the independ- 
ence of the country. A species of inspection and interference in 
men's private affairs thus became necessary, which could only be jus- 
tified in such a case of emergency — a question of life and death — as 
was then existing. None in any station escaped its exactions, from 
* priest to common people." Slight causes often attracted the atten- 
tion of this body — an unguarded word spoken, or a thoughtless act 
done, when the delinquent was forthwith brought before the " com- 
mittee," to be dealt with as the " law^ directs." There is no doul)t 
that the peculiar dangers and alarms of the period, justified all this, 
and there is scarcely less reason to doubt that many innocent persons 
unjustly fell under the odium of suspicion of being enemies to their 
country. Certain it is, that some of the most respectable and prom- 
inent citizens fell under the suspicion of toryism, early in the contest. 
Rev. John R. Marshall, the first Episcopal clergyman of this town, 
together with a considerable number of his church, fell under the 
suspicion of " wishing well to the mother country." He was sum- 
moned before the committee of inspection, and " put on the limits," 
or forbidden to go beyond certain prescribed bounds. During the 
war, he petitioned the General Assembly for liberty to go to New 
York, then occupied by the British army, to see his relatives. In 
this petition he states, that he lost his parents in New York, when he 
was four years of age, and was left to the care of three maiden aunts, 
who gave him a liberal education, and designed to make him their 
heir ; that the only survivor of these was eighty-two years old, and 
he wished to go, and return with the property of the deceased. This 
petition was granted, and he w%as allowed to go to New York.' Jan- 
uary 9th, 1783, he petitioned for liberty to go apiin to New York, to 
visit his surviving aunt, "whose estate is wortli £15,000, and bring 
home clothing, plate and money." This he was allowed to do on 

1 State Archives, Rev. War, vol. 2, p. 150. 


condition that he should only bring articles for the use of his own 
family. It would seem by this, that the government of the state had 
full confidence in his word of honor. He was, however, subjected to 
many inconveniences in this town, in common with others, suspected 
of being in favor of the home government. One of the regulations of 
the committee of inspection was, that no grain should be ground for 
such persons at the gristmills, thus rendering a return to the samp 
mortars of the " early fathers" necessary. Consequently they were 
obliged to get this important service done in the names of their whig 

The Episcopal church and its ministers, during this eventful strug- 
gle, fell under great suspicion on account of their subjection in church 
government to the English establishment. In many places their 
churches were closed 

" From the time whoii it became unlawful to pray for the king as our king, 
till the time when the recognition of our independence made it canonical to 
omit praying for him. Some ministers of that denomination, like the late excel- 
lent Bishop White, of Pennsylvania, who was one of the chaplains to Congress, 
yielded to their patriotic sympathies, and felt that no vow of canonicarobedi- 
ence could be of force to annihilate their duty to their country. Others, whose 
conscientiousness ought not to be questioned, while their hearts were on the 
side of the country, were perplexed by their ecclesiastical subjection to the 
church of England ; and in the absence of any ecclesiastical authority in this 
country, which they could recognize, they dared not to deviate from the foraas 
and orders of the English liturgy. Nor are those to be judged harshly, whose 
sympathies in the conflict were altogether with the parent country. England 
was as their home; thence they had long received their subsistence; thither 
they had been accustomed to look with grateful and humble veneration ; there 
were their patrons and spiritual superiors; and there were all their hopes of 
prevailing against the dissenters, and of building up in this wehtern world what 
they esteemed the only true church. No church has gained more than theirs 
by the very revolution which they so much dreaded, for that revolution gave to 
their church ecclesiastical independence, and the power of self-reformation. "i 

In this view, could Rev. Mr. Marshall and his followers be ex- 
cused for any partialities they might possess. There were others 
who were also supposed to be "conservatives." On one occasion 
Gen. Arnold, before he turned traitor himself, ordered the deputy 
commissary general, Peter Colt, to seize certain provisions at Derby 
belonging to Jabez Bacon and Capt. Isaac Tomlinson, of Woodbury, 
as they were supposed to be unfriendly to the country, and intended 
them for the use of the enemy. They were afterward tried as ene- 

1 Bacon's Historical Discourses, p. 256. 


186 n I S T O U Y OF A N- C r E X T -WOODBURY. 

mies, but were acquitted.' IMany others at intervals, during the 
progress of the war were tried, found guihy, and their estates were 
confiscated. Quhe a file of the proceedings in the settlement of 
such estates is now in the probate office in the district of "Woodbury, 
but as it can serve no useful purpose to drag into the light the 
names of such as were tories in the Revolution, and as many of their 
descendants are among the most respectable and useful of our citi- 
zens, and among the best lovers of tlieir country, it has been deemed 
appropriate to omit the list. The number was insignificant when 
compared with that of the " Sons of Liberty," who rushed forth to 
fisht the battles of their country at every call. 

During almost the entire length of the war, the article of salt was 
one of prime importance, and most difficult to be obtained. As has 
been seen, it was one the "Articles" agreed upon, not to raise the 
price of the necessaries of life for a certain period. At the expira- 
tion of that time, traders, like the rest of the world in other times, 
demanded such prices as the exigencies of their pockets required, or 
their avarice deemed most convenient and consoling to its voracious 
appetite. At one period Mr. Jabez Bacon, the most opulent mer- 
chant of the town and vicinity, had ou hand a large quantity of this 
article, for which, it was deemed, he asked an exhorbitant price. 
Accordingly the committee of inspection, in the "due exercise of 
their powers," as they judged, took possession of the store, estab- 
lished what they considered to be a sufficiently remunerative price 
to Mr. Bacon, and gave notice to the inhabitants that on a certain 
day named, salt in proper quantities, according to the necessities of 
the purchasers, would be for sale. On the day appointed, a crowd 
of hungi'y applicants appeared at the rendezvous, the " Hollow Store" 
" to be salted." Among the rest, who were in pressing need of the 
culinary article, came Doct. Obadiah "Wheeler, who was understood 
to entertain affectionate feelings for the "mother country," and who 
frequently reprehended mobs, — with his measure for the reception of 
the " coveted necessary," which should fall to his lot to obtain. On 
seeing him approach, an ardent whig cried out, " Ah Doctor, I thought 
you were a hater of mobs ; why do you show yourself here ?" The 
doctor replied, " It is true, I hate mobs like the d — 1, but necessity is 
the mother of many shifts — I must have salt!" The ready answer 
of the doctor saved him, perhaps, from inconvenience, and concilia- 

1 State Archives, Rev. War, 15 vol., p. 66. 


ted the multitude in such a manner, that he was permitted to carry 
off his share of salt under the same regulations as the rest. 

The " Committees of Lispection," it will he seen, were of great 
consequence during the war, and had manifold duties to perform, 
which they executed without flinching : 

" At a Legal Meeting of the Freemen of the Town of Woodbury, September 
the 19th, 1775. 

" Abijah Mitchell was Chosen Moderator for said meeting. 

" Gideon Walker was chosen Clerk for s^l Meeting. 

"Capt. Gideon Stoddard, Daniel Sherman, Esqr, Gideon Walker, Esq'', Dca. 
Clement Minor, Capt. Thomas Bull, Doct. Andrew Graham, Col. Increase 
Mosely, Agur Curtiss, Edward Hinman, Esqr, Timothy Osborn, Daniel Ev- 
erit Esqr, Capt. Elias Dunning, Amos Clark, James Hannah, Timothy Strong, 
Increase Mosely Esqr, Jonathan Farrand, Capt Kathan fiicok, Doct. John 
Calhoon, Elihu Smith, Thomas Warner Esqr, Samll Hurd, Abraham Brown- 
son, David Hurd, Ebenezer Hull, Elijah Hinman, Thomas Tousey, Capt. 
Down, Comfort Hubbell, and Robert Edmond, Were Chosen a Committee of 
Inspection or Observation." 

Here we have a committee of thirty of the principal men from all 
parts of the " ancient town," lawyers, doctors, deacons, farmers and 
militai-y men. They were men upon whom dependence could be 
placed in times of difficulty and danger. Well did they play their 
parts in this and various other capacities during the war. They 
continued without change in their number, except by death, till the 
close of the war. They continued their " fatherly care" over the 
sentiments of the town even after peace was proclaimed and our in- 
dependence gained. To their influence, in part, though their office 
had become vacant, may be ascribed the following vote, though when 
once proposed it met the unanimous support of the town : 

"At a Lawful Town Meeting held April 12, 17S4. 

" Doct. Andrew Graham was Chosen Moderator. 

"Voted, that those persons who joined the enemies of the United States in 
the course of the late civil war of what description soever are denyed a resi- 
dence in this Town from this date until the Gen" Assembly shall grant them 
fuU liberty for that purpose." i 

This was the last action taken by the town in relation to this por- 
tion of its citizens. Provision was soon made that they might be 
restored to the rights of citizenship, and in some cases to their prop- 
erty, on taking what was called the " Oath of Fidelity." According- 

1 ToTra Journal. 


ly we find them roluming at intervals and taking that oath. The 
records show a number of such instances till some years afterward, 
when all fear had subsided, it fell into disuse. As a matter of curi- 
ous record a copy of an original complaint is subjoined which ex- 
plains itself: 

" To the Com" of Observation in & for the Town of Woodbury in Litchfield 
County I the subscriber hereunto Do hereby Informe Complain and Give you 
gentelmcn to understand that Docir Benjamin Hawley of sJ Woodbury (in my 
opinion) has been Guilty of Violating the Association of the Late Continental 
Congress llecomended by the General Assembly of this Colony by Expressly 
Disavowing the whole Doings of sd Congress & said Association & Declaring 
that he would Pay no Regard to the Same and Maintaining the acts of Parlia- 
ment Complained of as Grievances are Constitutional and that the Brittish 
Parliament have a Constitutional Authority to imposetaxes on the Inhabitants 
of America & by his Boldly Declaring the Colonists to be in a State of actual 
Rebellion against the Crown of Great Brittian & by his Treating with open Con- 
tempt the Measures and Proceedings of the Americans for Obtaining Redress 
of ihcire Grievances and by Endeavouring in his Conversation to inspire oth- 
ers with his above Described Sentiments he Discovers himself to be obstinately 
fixed in the most Criminal opposition to the Rights and Liberties of ameraica 
&c which Conduct of said Hawley (in my opion) Claimes the attention of 
sd Comtt who are hereby Requested to take the matter into their Consideration 
and proceed there in according to the advice of sd Congress I am Gentelmen 
your mostObedt Ilumll Ser' Woodbury Augt 2<l A. D. 1775. 

James Hannah. 

To Doctr Benjn Hawely of Woodbury in Litchfield County these are to noti- 
fie you to appear before the Com" of Observation for the Town of Woodbury 
at the Dwelling house of Gideon Walker Esq' in sd Woodbury on the third 
monday of Instant augt at Ten of the Clock in the fore noon (if you see cause) 
then and there to answer unto the foregoing Information and Shew Reasons if 
any you Can why you should not be proceeded against and dealt with accord- 
ing to the advic of the Continantal Congress Dated at Woodbury the 14th Day 
of Augt A. D. 1775. 

Daniel Everit. 

One of Said Comtt 

The within is' a true Coppy of the origonal Complaint an Citation 

C Signer of the Complaint cVr one 
Test . . James Hannah < of the Committe of Observation 

( for the Town of Woodbury." 

During the first two years of the war, the larger jiart of the mili- 
tia, which comprised all the able bodied men from the age of sixteen 
to fifty years old, had been called to serve at various posts, and on 
various expeditions a great part of the time. Early in 1777, enlist- 
ments for three years, or during the war, were called for, and the 
quota for each town established. It was a severe levy on the already 


weakened strength of the town. But they met the call with a ready 
zeal, and an undaunted perseverance. Large bounties were offered 
to those who would enlist, and heavy taxes laid on the property of 
the inhabitants who were not liable to military duty, or did not en- 
list into the army. Immediately on the reception of the order for 
new levies of troops, the town was convened in lawful meeting and 
had the following action : 

" At a Legal meeting of the Inhabitants of the Town of Woodbury April 
3d, 1777: 

"Daniel Sherman, Esq., was Chosen Moderator. Voted, that the Select 
men in this Town for the time being be a Com^e as is specified in the Resolve 
Issued by his Honour the Governour and Committee of Safety. Dated March 
tlie IS'li 1777, to take Care of such Soldier's Famelys, as shall Inlist into the 
Continental Army, 

" Voatcd, that Each Able Bodied Effective man, who hath or shall volunta- 
rily Inlist into the Continental Army in such way and Manner toward makeing 
the Quota of this Town for the space of Three years, or during the War, shall 
be Intitled to Receive out of the j^ublick Treasury of this Town the sum of 
Twenty Shillings Lawful money, as an Addition to Each month's Wages he 
shall continue in the service, to be paid to him, or his order, at the End of 
Each six month's serviss." ' 

This was in addition to the wages the soldier received from the 
authorities of the confederation, and a tax of eight pence on the 
pound was at the same meeting laid " on the Poles and Rateable Es- 
tate of the Inhabitants" to pay the bounty thus offered. It will be 
seen that this order was given by the governor, with the advice and 
consent of the " Council of Safety." This council was appointed 
annually by the Assembly, and was composed of from nine to four- 
teen of the most distinguished men in the state, whose duty it was 
to assist the governor, when the assembly was not in session ; with 
authority to direct the militia and navy of the state, marches and 
stations of the troops, either in whole or in part, and give all neces- 
sary orders for furnishing said militia, troops and navy, in every re- 
spect, to render the defence of the state effectual ; to fulfil and exe- 
cute every trust already reposed by the assembly in the governor, 
with power and authority in the governor to notify and convene the 
whole of said councd on all important occasions. But in cases where 
necessity and safety required immediate action, or on small matters, 
the governor, at his discretion, was authorized to convene a part of 
said council, not less than five, to act with him. The per diem al- 

1 Town Journal. 

190 Tl I S T O n Y OF ANCIENT AV O D B TJ R Y . 

lowance to each of the council for this service, including their ex- 
penses, was settled at eight shillings per day. Woodbury was for 
four years from ■Nlay, 1777, represented in this council, by Daniel 
Sherman.* His colleagues the first year Avere Hon. ^Matthew Gris- 
wold, "William Pitkin, Roger Sherman, Abraham Davenport, "Wil- 
liam "Williams, Titus Ilosmer, Benjamin Payne, Gen. James "Wads- 
worth, Bonj. Huntington, "William Hillhouse, Thaddeus Burr, Na- 
thaniel Wales, Jr., and Andrew Adams. A more brilliant array of 
names, perhaps, could not have been selected. This committee were 
frequently in session, and the most responsible, arduous and difficult 
details of the service were confided to their care. Perhaps no body 
of men of similar numbers contributed more by wise councils and 
vigorous action to the success of the general cjiusc than this. For 
his attendance and services during the years 1777 and 1778, Daniel 
Sherman's bill was £56, 8s., showing an attendance of 141 days, at 
the established price. He was called to Hartford on public duties 
four times during 1779, and was in attendance forty-five days. 

Daniel Sherman was perhaps the most distinguished man that had 
arisen in the town previous to his day. He was a descendant of 
Samuel Sherman, of Stratford, who emigrated to this country from 
England, in company with his brother Rev. John Sherman, and his 
nephew, Capt. John Shei-man, ancestor of Hon. Roger Sherman. 
He was a justice of the quorum for twenty-five years, and judge of 
the Litchfield County Court five years from 1786. For sixteen 
years he was probate clerk for the district of "Woodbury, and judge 
of that district thirty-seven years. He represented his native town 
in the General Assembly sixty-five sessions," retaining the unbound- 
ed confidence of his fellow-citizens. This was by far the longest pe- 
riod of time any one has ever represented the town. He was a man 

1 Hinman's Revolution. 

2 Mr. Slierman Avas a representative at tlie May Session of tlie General Assembly 
in 1791, and, it is related, desired to be elected to the October Session of the same 
year, in order to make the fiiU number of thirty-three years that he would then have 
represented the town. But at tlie time of the election for the October Session, the 
moderator of the meeting happened to think that he had had his share of honors, and 
in order to turn the tide of feelmg in Mr. Shennan's favor agamst hmi, if possible, 
when he made proclamation that the ballot bos was open for the reception of votes, 
remarked in a loud tone of voice, " Gentlemen, the box is now open ; you will please 
to bring in yom* ballots for him whom you idllhave for your first representative — Hon. 
Dankl Sherman, of course /" This simple incident gave a ch;inge to tlie popular cur- 
rent, and on counting the votes it was found that Hon. Nathaniel Smith was elected 
instead of Mr. Sherman- 


of commauding powers of mind, of sterling integrity, and every way 
qualified for the various public trusts confided to his care. He died 
at a good old age, full of honors, and was followed by the affection- 
ate recollections of the inhabitants of the town among whom he had 
so long lived. 

One inducement which the town held out to men to enlist into the 
army, besides increased wages, was a provision which required it to 
take care of and support their families during their absence in their 
country's service. Committees were annually appointed to carry 
this provision into effect. At the annual town meeting, Dec. 20, 
1779, the committee thus appointed consisted of 

" James Juclson, John Minor, Elisba Atwood, Jehiel Preston, Alexander Kas- 
son, Moses Galpin, Amos Martin, Jonathan Mitchell, Eleazur Knowles, Gideon 
Hicok, Israel Minor ic Isaac Hunt." 

In March, 1780, Solomon Minor, Thaddeus Judson, Jonathan Jud- 
son and Daniel Tuttle were added to this committee. In December, 
the same year, the following persons were " Chosen a Committee to 
provide for the Soldiers' "Wives :" 

" Elisha Stoddard, Will™ Preston, Solomon Strong, Tho^ Smith, Jonas Mar- 
tin, Dea. Stephen Curtiss, Alexander Kasson, Ja' Kasson, Jr., Tho« Roots and 
John Hunt." 

In March, 1782, Samuel Carr was appointed on this committee in 
place of Thomas Smith, andSeth Stoddard, Jesse Roots, Capt. Timothy 
Judson and Capt. Nathaniel Tuttle added to it. In December of the 
same year, Ebenezer Bird, Elisha Stoddard, David Mitchell, John 
Martin, and Amos Martin were appointed to take care of the families 
of the absent soldiers. March 3, 1783, Barzillai Hendee and Lee 
TerriU were added to this committee. From a return to the Gen- 
eral Assembly, Oct. 22, 1783, we learn that £2,718, 7s. Sd. worth of 
provisions had been furnished to soldiers' families by one man, John 
Sherman. Such was the care of the town to support and defend 
those nearest and dearest to the brave men, who were manfully fight- 
ing the battles, and consecrating with their blood every battle-field 
of their country. Those who went forth to war suffered extreme 
hardships, in common vrith their brethren from other parts of our 
country, and those who remained at home, sufiered hardships scarcely 
less severe, in the heavy taxes to be paid for the soldiei's' bounties, 
and the support of their families, while their own business was crip- 
pled and nearly ruined. 


No colony was more liberal in furnishing supplies than Connecti- 
cut, and AVootlbury was a prominent point for their collection. The 
streets of the village, in those days, were piled high, on either side, 
with barrels and hogsheads of pork, beef, lard, Hour, and other mili- 
tary stores for the use of the army. Nor was the supply of clothing 
of every kind, less profuse in quantity. In 1780, the selectmen were 
directed to give orders on the town treasury for all sums necessary 
for the purchase of clothing for all the soldiers in the Continental 
army from this town. Eleazur Knowles Avas appointed a committee 
to provide salt and other provisions for the soldiers. At this time it 
was difficult to obtain salt at any price, in sufficient quantities for the 
use of the army, and the inhabitants generally. On the 8th of Jan- 
uary, 1781, William Preston, Capt. Amos Ilicock, Daniel Hinman, 
Waitstill Goodrich, and Samuel Ilurd were appointed a committee 
to '• Provide Clothing for the Army." In July following, a tax of 
four pence on the pound was levied, to purchase " Beef Cattle" for 
the use of the soldiers, and Israel Stoddard was appointed to collect 
the tax, and buy the cattle. 

The exact amount of provisions, furnished by the town, is not now 
known, but it may be estimated, from isolated facts that remain. In 
July, 1775, the selectmen furnished £10 worth of powder, lead and 
Hints, for the companies under the command of Col. Hinman and 
Cupt. Tuttle, that marched to Ticouderoga. In 1776, the town fur- 
nished £102, Is. Id. worth of arms, saltpetre and lead.' Nov. 18, 
1777, blankets and military stores to the amount of £46, 13s. 5d. 
were sent to the army by Capt. Nathan Stoddard and Lieut. John 
Strong. March 12, 1778, the selectmen furnished for the use of the 
soldiers, 159 pairs of shoes, 165 pairs of stockings, 141 woolen shirts, 
6 linen shirts, 117 fulled overalls, 29 linen overalls, 2 great-coats, 1 
pair of leather breeches, 1 pair of breeches and 1 vest ; the whole 
being valued at £763, Is. Od. In 1779, the town petitioned the Gen- 
eral Assembly for liberty to " forward the clothing furnished" by its 
citizens, " directly to their own soldiers in camp," but whether the 
request was granted, and if so, what was the amoimt forwarded, is 
not known. Enough appears from the foregoing to assure us, that 
our revolutionary fathers were not wanting in labors and sacrifices in 
the cause of their country, even those of them exempt by disease or 
age, from going into actual service. 

Besides the amount of provisions furnished for the army during the 

1 State Archives, Eev. War, vol. 6. 


war, large quantities were purchased of the inhabitants of this and 
neighboring towns, by Shadrach Osborn, of Woodbury, who was 
assistant commissary of purchases, and also an issuing commissary. 
•His first service in this department was in 1775, when he purchased 
and furnished supplies to the army at Ticonderoga, in conjunction 
with Truman Hinman. He seems also to have acted, during that 
year, as a sutler to the army. The volume from which the following 
items are taken, is entitled " Truman Hinman «fc Shadrach Osborn's 
Book of Accounts Kept in Connecticut Courancy — began at Ticon- 
deroga, June 21st 1775." The reason why it is supposed they acted 
as sutlers, on this occasion, is, that there are frequent entries on the 
book Uke the following : 

" Col" Easton, Dr. To 1 Xip Brandy Toddy £0—0—9 

Esq' palmer Dr. To 1 Bowl Brandy Toddy 0—1—6" 

They were with the array, and dealt out to the soldiers whatever 
they wanted. Shadrach Osborn's accounts, as regular assistant com- 
missary of purchases, begin with Nov. 17, 1777. He rendered his 
accounts to Coh Peter Colt, deputy commissary general of purchases, 
and by them we learn, that he expended in purchases as follows : 





March 1, 







Sept. 2N, 







Oct. 31, 







Apl. 30, 







Oct. 31, 







Aug. 2, 




This amount, at twenty shillings to the pound, would be more than 
S381,000. There were other expenditures and disbursements con- 
nected with his office, which were considerable, the exact amount of 
which cannot now be ascertained. Add to this the amount furnished 
by the authorities of the town, and we have more than half a million 
dollars worth of supplies, furnished by this town and vicinity towards , 
the grand amount necessary to achieve our country's independence. 
This is indeed a showing of which any town may be proud. 

All this was accomplished under the pressure of most unparalleled 
'financial difficulties. The continental money, by means of British 
counterfeiting, and the unavoidable loss of credit, arising from so long 
and sanguinary a struggle, constantly depreciated, and at last became 
nearly valueless. By Mr. Osborn's accounts we see, that on the 
30th of January, 1780, the depreciation was so great, that one dollar 


or pound in specie, was equal to tliirtj-thrcc and one third of conti- 
nental money ; and in 1783, the ratio was one for seventy-two. "We 
also find in these accounts, pork carried out at eight shillings per 
pound, tallow at twenty shillmgs, flour at eighteen pounds per cwt., 
and salt at one hundred dollars per bushel. Money had become an 
article in great demand, as early as 1774; so much so, that we find 
Elisha Steele, of "Woodbury, petitioning the General Assembly in 
that year for a reimbursement of two twenty shilling bills, which he 
had lost the year before while plowing, and wliich his hired man had 
foimd moulded and destroyed in his pocket-book. It would seem a 
very trivial loss, at the present day, but the matter engaged the at- 
tention of the legislature, and the prayer of the petition was granted. 
At the same session, a state cei-tificate for £5, 10s. was reimbursed 
to Daniel Ilinman, Jr., which had been burned with his house.* 
This depreciation went on from bad to worse, till, at last, when the 
soldiers of the continental army were discharged after the peace of 
1 783, many of them were forced to beg their way home, their wages 
being scarcely sufficient to buy them a dinner. 

1775. But "Woodbury, in a far more important manner, contrib- 
uted towards a successful issue of the dispute wuth Great Britain. 
This was accomplished by sending large numbers of her best sous to 
the field of battle. In the number and valor of her troops, it is be- 
lieved that few towns of similar territorial and numerical strength 
can vie with her. Their heroic deeds should grace a bright page of 
history. A list of nearly a thousand of her sons will be found in the 
succeeding pages of this volume, who "did battle for their country," 
and the list is by no means complete. It is believed that several hun- 
dred more names are irrecoverably lost, so that the pen of the histo- 
rian can not do them the justice they so hardly earned, and so richly 
merit. Their glorious achievements, their noble deeds, their peren- 
nial fame, survive ; but their names have perished. The sacred turf 
covers them, but the consecrated places may not be found to be wet 
with the grateful tears of a free and happy people. Tliey sleep 
well ; let them rest in then- glory, till the final consummation of all 
thmgs, when they shall be raised to a bright reward. 

In April, 1775, after the battle of Lexington, there was an " alarm," 
called the " Lexington alarm," on which more tlian fifty towns sent 
companies of soldiers with all haste to the point of attack. "Wood- 

1 State Archives, Miscellaneous, vol. iii., p. 335. 


bury sent a full company on this occasion, but the roll is lost, and the 
names cannot be recorded. 

At the commencement of the war, Col. Hinman's, or the 13th 
regiment of militia, comprised only the three towns of "Woodbury, 
Kent and New Milford. From this regiment in 1775, marched 
eight companies to garrison Ticonderoga and Crown Point, after it 
had been taken by the gallant conduct of Ethan' Allen and the brave 
men under his command. The precise proportion of these companies 
furnished by "Woodbury, cannot be stalled ; but as it contained two- 
thirds of the soldiers in the regiment, it is believed that its quota was 
in the same ratio.' Eighty names have been collected, and appear 
in the " Revolutionary list" of this volume. It is certain that the 
number of soldiers furnished for the continental army, exclusive of 
those in the Lexington alarm, was one hundred and fifty, as this was 
the number whose " PoU taxes" were abated that year by the Gen- 
eral Assembly, on account of their service.^ 

1776. The sun of 1776, although our armies had been successful 
the preceding year, arose clouded and in gloom. The " note of prep- 
aration" was sounded throughout the land. There was a " hurrying 
to and fro" throughout the country on business of the most solemn 
import, affecting the dearest interests we know in life. The General 
Assembly was early in the field. Five sessions of that body, three 

1 At this date the officers of the regimeut were as follows : 

"March 21=1: 1775. The Digiiification of the Several Companies in the W^ Eegt: 
in the Colony of Connecticut — 
The I'l: Company. Cap'. Tim': Judson Woodbury old Society 
2"^. Co. Southbury — Capi. Truman Hiuman 
3'i Co. N. Mihbrd— N. C". Epenetus Piatt 
4. Co. Eoxbury . . . David Leavenworth 
5ib Co. Bethlem . . . EUas Dunning 
6. Co. Kent 1^<- G". . Abraham Trailer 

7 C". Judea . . . David Judson 

8 C^. N. Milford S. C-^. . Isaac Bostwick 

9 Co. E. Greenwich . , Jos: Carter 
10th. C". N. Preston . . . W'". Cogswell 
11 Co. S.bury N. Co. . . Jno. Hmman 
12cii C'^ S. Britton . . . Eleazar Mitchel 

Byn8 TBenj" Hmman 1 Field 

< Increase Moselev Jm > Otficers of 
( Samuel Canfield ) s-i Reg'" 3 

2 State Archives, Eev. "War, voL 6, 63. 

3 There were more commissioned officers during the war, of the name of Hinman, 
in Connecticut, than of any other name, bemg thirteen in number, all of whom were 
natives of Woodburs', viz: one colonel, five captains, four heutenants, two ensigns, 
one war-slaip captain, (Elisha Hinman, of New London, captain of the Alfred,) and one 


of which were special, were heUl during the year. Among the acts 
passed at the May session, was one requiring a draft, or enlistment, 
of one-third of the soldiers in the 2d, 3d, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th and "iOth 
regiments ; and one-fourth of all the rest. By an order dated June 
10, 177G, Col. Benjamin llinman commanded Capt. David Leaven- 
worth,'and the other officers of his rank in the 13th regiment, to 
draft, or enlist, one-fourth of the men in their companies forthwith, and 
have them ready for service. Capt. Leavenworth's company was 
No. 4, in the regiment. It is not now known how large his company 
was at this time, consequently it cannot be determined how many 
were enlisted on this occasion. 

After the evacuation of Boston by the British, and Gen. Wash- 
ington had taken possession of this town, the British commander 
changed tlie plan of the campaign, and concentrated his forces near 
New York. At this time of danger and apprehension, Washington 
in like manner prepared to defend that post. In August, 177G, he 
sent a very urgent request to Gov. Trumbull, to order to his aid the 
whole of the militia west of Connecticut River. Accordingly the 
whole militia was ordered to New York, and at this time there were 
not less than 20,000 men in the service from Connecticut. Col. Ilin- 
man's order to Capt. Leavenworth is here given, and a like copy was 
sent to each of the other captains in the limits of the town : 

" To Cap' David Leavenworth, Capt of the 4'h Millitary Comiiany in the 
13th Rcgt in the Colony of Connecticut, Greeting, 

" Whereas I have received order from his Hon^ Gov-r Trumbull to call forth 
(on notice given by Genl Washington, that Assistince is Necessary) and March 
the sd Regt for the Defence of the Colonies to bo under the Commander-in-chief 
of the American Army. And having this day Received a Request from 
Gen' Washington to March s^ Regt immediately to New York, Armed i.Vc. 

" These are therefore to order you without delay to call forth the company 
under your command, & see that they are Equip'J with Arms, Blankets, Amu- 
nition ifcc. and march them immediately to New York, at which place I expect 
to join you. 

" Dated at Woodbury the 10th day of August A. D. 177G. 

"Benjn Hinman, Colo, 13th Regt. 

" N. B. You will make Necessary provision ibr the March of your Company, 
which expense will be paid as usual." 

By this it will be seen that this company was ordered out on the 
10th of August. It was mustered on the 11th, marched on the 12th, 
and most of the men were gone till their discharge on the 25th of 
September following. IIow many were called out by this oi'der does 


not appear. It comprised all the able-bodied men between the ages 
of sixteen and fifty years. It was probably not far from 500 men. 

The soldiers had just arrived from this expedition at their homes, 
and greeted their wives and children, when they were again ordered 
into service by a resolve of the legislature, as will be seen by the fol- 
lowing : 

" To David Leavenworth, Cap'n of the 4tl> Military Company in the 13th 
Regt in Connecticut; Greeting — 

" In pursuance of a Late Resolve of the General Assembly of this State, and 
an order from Major General Wooster, you are hereby ordered 6c directed to 
call forth the Company under your Command, Such of them as are fit for Ser-' 
vice, and others, Householders &c. who are able bodied. Elective Men, within 
the limits thereof; without Loss of time & have them well Armed & Equiped: 
and you are further directed to March tliem immediately to Stamford in Fair- 
field Coimty, and there wait for further Orders. 

" Dated at Woodbury this 2t5th day of October A. D. 1776. 

"Increase Moseley, Jr. Col°of s'^ Regt. 

" N. B. Usual Provision will be made for you on the March." 

Unfortunately the length of the service on this occasion, and the 
list of the men are lost. These excessive drafts had exceedingly in- 
jured the agricultural interests of the town, and it had scarcely suffi- 
cient to support the inhabitants during the winter. The crops had 
been neglected, and consequently there was little food to be garnered. 

The committee of safety of Xew York sent to Woodbury, October 
21st, 1776, eight sailor prisoners, and a child belonging to one of 
them, for safe keeping. Their names were James Wilson, John 
Murray, Samuel Coppin, Jeremiah Rierden, Henry Killigrove, Mi- 
chael Couney, Caesar Freeman, William Patterson, and his daughter, 
Mary Ann Patterson. The General Assembly ordered the committee 
of inspection of the town to give such assistance as was necessary till 
further orders, which was accordingly done. The Assembly next 
year reimbursed the expenses to Edward Hinman, Esq., chairman of 
the committee, to the amount of £22, 16s. dd.^ 

The spirit of the people was well exemplified by their action in the 
society of Bethlehem during this year, as will be seen by the follow- 
ing : 

"We the subscribers in Bethlem, Considering the great Danger we are in 
from our unnatural Enemies do voluntarily Ingago to Equip ourselves as soon 
as we Can with a Good Gun, Sword or Bayonet,' & Carterage Box for any Es- 
pecial Emergency, for the Defence of our Invaluable Rights &: Priveleges 6c 
Promise to support the same with our' Lives & fortunes, as witness our hands 
the 18th day of July A. D. 1776."2 

1 Rev. War, vol. 5, p. 438. 2 Do. vol. 5, p. 9. 


This agreement was signed by Cai)t. Andrew Martin, and forty- 
four others. By such means as this was the jjatriotism of the people 
kept glowing during all the vicissitudes of the protracted warfare. 
This was a company of householders, exempt from military duty, 
who thus formed themselves into a volunteer company for the com- 
mon defence, on any sudden emergency. It was formed in accord- 
ance with a recommendation of the governor and council of war, to 
this class of citizens, in all the towns. 

Toward the close of this year, a census Qf the town was taken, 
which showed a population of 5325 souls. The number of ofHcers 
and soldiers on the military rolls was 5G4, and the number of " Able 
bodied Men between 16 & 45 not on the Militia Rolls" was 318, 
making a total of 882 eifective men, a decided majority of whom 
were subject to draft or detachment, and the remainder, if tliey chose, 
could enlist into the service. Besides these, there were then " 248 
Men in the Continental Army." So that in the two calls for the 
whole militia of the town, Woodbury had furnished the whole of the 
above number of 564, except such of them as were sick, or became 
liable to the usual forfeiture. But we are not left to conjecture on 
this point. We have the exact number of those who thought it bet- 
ter for them to pay the fine than to leave their business. A petition 
was sent to the General Assembly, signed by thirty-nine persons, who 
did not march at the, call of the commanding officers. They peti- 
tioned to be released from bonds for not marching when called on for 
this service. They urged that they " were overburdened : that they 
either had to go into service nearly all the time, or have their estates 
ruined.'" The Assembly took the petition into consideration, but 
negatived the prayer thereof, not deeming it best by any act of clem- 
ency to countenance insubordination. We can, therefore, state con- 
clusively, that more than 500 men from Woodbury were on duty in 
these two calls, Avhich, Avith the 248 men who had enlisted into the 
continental army, made a sum total of more than 850 men from 
''Ancient Woodbury," in the service of the country at one time. 
This " raw militia" was present in the unfortunate operations on Long 
Island, toward the close of this year, and in Washington's retreat 
from New York, soon after which they were discharged. 

One would have thought that it would be impossible to arouse and 
lead to the field of battle, at a moment's warning all the able-bodied 
men in the militia of a town, in this manner, but the interests at stake 

1 State Archives, Rev. War, vol. 10. p. 347. 


were great, and tlie most prominent and popular men in the commu- 
nity were in the movement "heart and hand." The officers addressed 
the soldiers in the most patriotic and urgent language, and even the 
pulpit lent its powerful aid to the cause by prayers to the Almighty, 
by encouraging the soldiers, and by volunteering to go with them as 
chaplains, on their expeditions against the common enemy. In ac- 
cordance with this spirit, Rev. Mr. "Wildman, of Southbury society, 
went as chaplain upon one of the calls made upon the soldiery of the 
town. As a specimen of the appeals made to the militia and enlisted 
soldiers by the regimental officers, the following order is given, which 
was sent particularly to the enlisted troops that had not yet mustered 
into service : 

"ToCapt 4th July, 177G. 

"You are hereby ordered to march oil" immediately. Spare no pains, nor 
loose one Moments time, as our army is in the Greatest distress. For God's 
sake push off every man you have inlisted immediately, beg of the people to go 
on to carry off Soldiers. Forward them with all your Might. Send Expresses 
off to your other Officers immediately. Beg of the Militia, as many as can find 
it in their Hearts to go on for the help of the Lord against our Inveterate ene- 
mies. Unless our Army have help immediately we are gone. Now is the 
Crisis ! Press Horses if you want, & go off immediately. 

T. F , Col>^." 

From the commencement of the war to the time of the action at 
White Plains, in which about a hundred and fifty Avere killed and 
wounded in the short space of an hour, the soldiers from Woodbury 
had been remarkably fortunate. Scarcely one had been killed or 
wounded, though many had been sick of smallpox, at Ticonderoga 
the year before, insomuch that it became a common remark that the 
" balls Avould not hit the Woodbury boys." In consequence of this 
feeling of security, enlistments went on briskly, and to this feeling, in 
part, is to be attributed the large number of soldiers who volunteered 
to go into service. But at this action quite a number of the soldiers 
were killed, several others severely wounded, and the spell was 
broken. They could rely no longer upon the preservation of " blind 
chance," but must put their trust in the protection of an overruling 

At the capture of Fort Washington by the British, a large number 
of soldiers were taken prisoners, carried to New York, and confined 
in the sugar-house, where great ci'uelties and sufferings were inflicted 
upon them. The larger part, being deprived of food and drink, and 
crowded together in dense masses, literally died of starvation. In an 


extract from a letter of a distinguislieil person in New York, from 
Connceticut, dated 2Gtli December, 177G, it is stated tliat 

" The distress of the prrsonors cannot be communicated by words. Twenty 
or thirty die every day — tlicy lie in he:i{)s nnburied ! What numbers of my 
countrynu-n have died by cold and hunger, perishqd for the want of the neces- 
saries of life ! I have seen it! 

" This, sir, is the boasted British clemency — I had nigh perished — New Eng- 
land people can have no idea of such barbarous policy ; nothing can stop such 
treatment but retaliation. It is due to the Manes of our murdered countrymen, 
to protect the survivors, rather than experience their barbarity and insults. 
May I fall by the swords of the Hessians."i 

Woodbury had some representatives in this scene of misery, but it 
is not now known that any of them died there. With the large num- 
ber of men it had in service, it could not fail to be represented on 
every field of battle, during the eventful struggle in which our inde- 
pendence was gained, and the mother country humbled in the dust. 

At the October session of the General Assembly, 177G, it was rep- 
resented by letters from Col. Ethan Allen, that himself, together with 
about eighteen other natives of Connecticut, among whom was Zech- 
ariah Brinsmade, of Woodbury, had been taken prisoners while in 
the service of the United States, by a party of British troops, near 
Montreal, in the province of Quebec, September 25th, 1775 ; that 
they had suffered great hardships during their captivity ; and that 
they were then confined in a suffering condition, incarcerated in a 
common goal, in Halifax, " in one room, among felons, thieves and 
negroes." The Assembly voted £120 lawful money, to be sent by 
Levi Allen, who was about to go to see his brother Ethan, that thus 
the prisoners might receive their wages, and be relieved from their 
pressing necessities. The governor was requested to write a letter 
to General Washington, the Continental Congress, or the commander 
in Boston, or all of them, to solicit their seasonable interposition to 
effect an exchange of prisoners.^ 

At an adjourned session of the General Assembly, hold December, 
177G, considering the organization not adequate to the defence re- 
quired, the militia was reorganized into six brigades, and all male 
persons between the ages of sixteen and sixty years, not included in 
the trainband, with certain exceptions, and exempted from ordinary 
training, should constitute an alarm list, fully equip themselves, and 
hold themselves ready to march at a moment's warning, in case of 

1 Ilinman's Revolution, p. 121. 2 State Records, (Hinnian) p. 242. 


" an alarm." It was, liowever, provided that all persons above sixty 
years of age should not be compelled to march out of this State. In 
accordance with this enactment " alarm companies" were formed 
throughout the ancient territory, and had abundant occasion to " see 
service" before the termination of the war. 

1777. The campaign this year opened on the part of the British, 
by an invasion of Connecticut ; an event which our people had so 
long feared. Troops were called for to defend the coasts, and Col. 
Moseley's regiment marched to Fairfield. After a time, as it did 
not appear that the enemy would make this the point of attack, this 
regiment was dismissed, as appears by the following : 

"Fairfield March 23rd: 1777 
" Brit^ade orders — 

" Pursuant to Orders Received from the Governour the Genl. Dismisses 
Colo. Moseley & the Troops under his Command that were ordered in here, as 
their Service is called for in another place: and Returns the Officers & Soldiers 
his thanks for the readiness with which they have marched 

" G Selleck Silliraan Brigr; Gena." 

On the 2Gth of April, 1777, there was a sudden call for troops to 
go to Danbury, as the British troops had arrived there and were 
burning the houses and destroying the property of the inhabitants. 
The alarm lists and militia of "Woodbury were immediately put in 
motion, and as fast as a considerable number convened at their posts, 
they marched to the scene of conflict. A considerable number arri- 
ved in time to take part in the action of next day, in which Maj. 
Gen. "Wooster was mortally wounded. Several of the Woodbury 
soldiers were wounded. Hon. William Edmond, afterwards a judge 
of the superior court, was wounded in the right thigh, from which 
he experienced much pain and uneasiness for many year^ after. 
Thomas Torrance Was also severely wounded, and brought home on 
a litter. Others were more or less wounded, and some taken prison- 
ers and carried to New York. Among the latter were Simeon and 
Timothy Minor. 

May 8, 1777, one-fourth of the militia of the 13th and other regi- 
ments, were detached, and ordered to Horseneck. About one hun- 
dred and fifty men from Woodbury went on this service. 

At the battle of Bennington, Aug. 16, 1777, under the gallant 
Gen. Stark, Col. Seth Warner, of Woodbury, with a part of his reg- 
iment, in which was many soldiers who had joined the continental 
army from this town, did good service. Yet the larger part of the 
troops, that had been raised in Connecticut during this year, and 


who were early in the field, Aveie assigned for the defense of the im- 
portant military posts about the Highlands, on the Hudson Kiver. 
This great thoroughfare of communication between the northern, 
southern and middle states, was maintained throughout the war 
mostly by Connecticut forces.' 

Early in March, 1777, on Gen. Washington's requisition, there 
had been a draft on the militia to march to Peekskill, N. Y., to rein- 
force the army on that station under Gen. Putnam. Two thousand 
men were sent on under Gen. Wadsworth, in ten regiments. The 
quota of the 13th regiment, under Col. Moseley, consisting of two and 
a half companies, containing 240 men, was discharged on the 18th 
of August, for reasons stated in the following : 

" Head Quarters Peekes Kill august IStli 1777. 
'• The General considering the busy Season with farmers The Importance of 
the Fruits of the Earthbeing Gathered — That the militia many of them came 
out in the alarm leaving their affairs in an ill'Setuation to tarry long — and the 
dangers that seemed then immedeately threatening, removed further off — upon 
their own Earnest Importunety urging these matters — has seen fit to release 
Col iMosely &: the Regiment of militia under his Command and they are hereby 
discharged from any further Service at this Time to return to their respective 
homes — with the Generals Thanks for their alacrity in Turning out on the 
alarm, and the good Services they have rendered to the publick — Trusting that, 
they, one-third of them at least, will hold themselves in readiness to march on 
the Shortest notice on any future occasion — & Special Care is to be taken that 
the Camp utensils and all accoutrements & amunition, drawn from the Stores 
here be returned before the Militia go away 

" J Root D Adju': General." 

On the 12th of September, the Governor and Council of "War re- 
solved, that each town in the state should procure immediately, one 
shirt or more, either linen or flannel ; one hunting shirt or frock ; one 
pair of linen overalls ; one or two pairs of stockings, and a pair of 
good shoes, for each non-commissioned officer and soldier in the con- 
tinental army, belonging to such town. If any wished to send such 
articles directly to their relatives or friends in the army, they were 
permitted to do so by preparing their packages, properly marked and 
directed, and have the same accounted for as a part oi the town's 
quota, provided no more was sent in each bundle than the quantity 
prescribed for a single person. Under this resolve the people of 
AVoodbury sent, among other 'articles, 159 pairs of shoes and 1G5 
pairs of stockings, showing the number of men in the army from 


this town at that time. The same rule was in force the next year, and 
about the same quantity of articles were sent as in the preceding 

In September, 1777, after the action between Generals Washing- 
ton and Ilowe at Chadsford, most of the regular army being called 
to reinforce Gen. Washington, there was another draft on the militia, 
which called for one-half of their number. Not far from 300 men 
marched from Woodbury on this occasion. Gen. Silliman's order of 
detachment to Col. Moseley, together with a copy of Gen. Putnam's 
letter, follows : 

"Fairfield Septemr 15, 1777 
11 oClock P. M. 


" I have this Moment by Express reed: a Letter from Gen' Putnam in the 
following Words viz. 

" Peekskill Uth Sepr 1777 10 oClock P. M. 

" Dear Sir. A large Bod}- of the Enemy have crossed the North River at Fort 
" Lee with a Number of Field Peices. — have advanced above Hackinsack, 
" whether to attack this Post or penetrate into Jersies is uncertain ; & thisMo- 
" ment arrived an Express from Congress informing that a severe Action has 
" been between Gem Washington and How at Chadsford in which the former 
" has been obliged to leave the Ground with the Loss of a number of Field 
" Peices 7 or 8 and has retired behind Chester ; and Congress has ordered 1500 
" Men to be sent from this Post immediately to reinforce Genl Washington, 
" which obliges me to require you to send as many of the Militia and other 
" Troops as you possibly can without Loss of Time to the Succour of this Post 
" to be draughted untill the first of January next. Gen' McDougal with four 
" Regiments crossed the River yesterday to pursue the Enemy at Hackinsack. 
" Genl Parsons is below the White Plains. 
*' P. S. Let the Men be furnished ) from Your very Hume Serv^ 

with Ammunition as far as they can ) Israel Putnam" 

" I hope & trust that on this alarming Occasion every Officer & Soldier will 
be fully convinced of the absolute Necessity there is at this Time of turning out 
freely; I have therefore to desire & direct you forthwith to detach the One-half 
of every Company in your Regiment & a proper Number of Captains & Subal- 
tern Officers to command them & to see that they are directly furnished with 
good Arms Blankets & Knapsacks & Twenty-four Rounds of Cartriges each, 
and that they be in Readiness to march to Peekskill at an Hour's Warning 
where they are to continue in Service untill the first of January next unless 
sooner dismissed. Your Major is directed to march with them, & You Yourself 
are to march & command them and also the One-half of Col' I. Piatt Cook's 
Regiment with his Lieut Colonel who are under the like Orders and are to be 
under Your Command. I expect an Express on Wensday from the Governour 
when You will be ordered to march. 

" G. Selleck Silliman Brign Genl. 

•' P. S. 20s pr man I shall advance to Your Soldiers as soon as You send me 
An Account of how many are draughted." 

204 II I s T o u Y o r ancient av o o d b u r y . 

Major Thomas l5ull was also onlcred to join the troops at Fishkill, 
with his coini)any of '* Light Horse." So that at this call a large 
number of soldiers from this town responded, and marched to head- 

During this year, as we have seen, enlistments for three years or 
for the duration of the war, were called for, and « quota for each 
town established. The towns, as an encouragement to enlistment, 
were to take care of the families of sucli soldiers as had them. It is 
not possible now to state the exact number that enlisted into the ser- 
vice for three years. The return made by the town authorities to 
the General Assembly, of the number of families provided for by 
them, is still extant, and shows a list of one hundred and twenty-four. 
This does not show the entire number that enlisted, but only those 
who had families to be supported. A considerable proportion of the 
soldiers were unmarried men, between the ages of sixteen and twenty- 
one. The number stated, therefore, probably includes little more 
than half the actual number enlisted. 

In all the alarms of the several years of the war, when the largest 
part of the militia turned out, "Woodbury had from two to three hun- 
dred men. There were eight companies in the town, and from 
twenty-five to thirty men in a company always turned out at each 
call, and sometimes a greater number. Thus in the " Danbury 
Alarm," forty-two Avent from Capt. Leavenworth's company, and 
twenty-six to Peekskill where they were ordered October, 1777, to 
save that post. 

Towards the close of this year, the soldiers suffered greatly for the 
want of proper food, in sufficient quantities to sustain life. They 
were driven to great straits, and the purchasing commissaries were 
most urgent in their calls upon the peojde to furnish supplies for the 
army. An idea of the distress of tlie times in this respect, may be 
obtained from the following address to the people of Woodbury, by 
the commissary general of purchases : 

" To the Inhabitants of the Town of Woodbury 

"Gentleman from a Variety of causes, the Public Magazines of Provision 
for the Armies of the United States — are ahnost exhausted, and tlieir is ilie 
greatest Reason to fear the Army will be obliged to be fed on It-au Beef, or at 
least on fresh meet intirely, cither of which wou'd be injurious to tlicir liealtli 
& might perhaps totally destroy them. 

" You are therefore earnestly requested to part with so much of your salted 
meet as you can spare, & you shall Receive a Generous price for it — I flatter 
myself every Friend of the United States will exert themselves in this important 
occation — and that those who have lean Cattle, will fatten them as speedily as 


possibel — as tlie Enemy are now makaing their last Efforts ; & it is the Oppin- 
ion of those, best able to Judge, that their Vengencewill be levelled at this State 
in particular. — & unless we can feed the Continental army we cant expect 
their assistance. 

"Jereh Wadsworth C. G. P." 

In the memorable and glorious achievement of the victory of Sara- 
toga, Connecticut had her full share of men on the ground, and to 
fill the required numbei", Woodbury, with the other western to\vns, 
stood a heavy draft. Her soldiers, on this occasion as ever, fully sus- 
tained the high character they had previously earned for skill and 
bravery. At the battle of White Plains, the preceding year, the 
troops from Woodbury had suffered much in killed and wounded, 
being exposed in the " fore front" of the battle. Nathaniel Church 
was wounded by a grape shot, and disabled for life. Daniel Downs 
was killed by a cannon ball, and his brains were spattered upon Amos 
Johnson, who stood next to him. Simeon Rood was shot through 
the thigh. Isaac Thomas was wounded by a cannon ball, brought to 
Woodbury by his father, and died Dec. 9, 1776. Capt. Nathan Stod- 
dard was killed by a cannon ball, Nov. 15, 1777, at Mud Fort, on the 
Delaware. He raised himself up from the trench to see how the 
battle progressed, and the ball struck his head, cutting it entirely from 
his body. The late Lieutenant John Strong, a very worthy man, 
was standing near him at the time, and, in his life-time, frequently 
related, that for a moment after the occurrence, the body of Capt. 
Stoddard stood erect, as in life, without a head, before falhng. 

As the militia rallied on the several calls and detachments, at a 
minute, or an hour's warning, in whatever clothes they happened to 
have on, with whatever weapon of war that came first to hand, or had 
descended to them from their fathers, they often presented a very 
grotesque appearance. A venerable octogenarian has given to the 
authors of a recent work,^ a description of a body of soldiers, gath- 
ered as these were, in a neighboring state, during this period, and 
whose appearance was no doubt a fac simile of our own. " To a 
man," he says, " they wore small-clothes, coming down and fastening 
just below the knee, and long stockings with cowliide shoes, orna- 
mented by large buckles, while not a pair of boots graced the com- 
pany. The coats and waistcoats were loose and of huge dimensions, 
with colors as various as the barks of the oak, sumach and other 
trees of our hills and swamps could make them, and their shirts were 

1 History of New Ipswich, N. H. 



all made of flax, ami like every other part of the dress -were home- 
spun. On their heads was worn a large round top and broad brim- 
med hat. Their arms were as various as their costume ; here and 
there an old soldier carried a heavy queen's arm, with which he had 
done service at the conquest of Canada twenty years previous, while 
by his side walked a stripling boy, with a Spanish fuzee not half its 
weight or calibre, which liis grandfather may have taken at Havana, 
while not a few had old French pieces, that dated back to the reduc- 
tion of Louisburg. Instead of the cartridge-box, a large powder- 
horn was slung under the arm, and occasionally a bayonet might be 
seen bristling in the ranks. Some of the swords of the officers had 
been made by our province blacksmiths, perhaps from some farming 
utensil ; they looked serviceable, but heavy and uncouth. Such was 
the appearance of the continentals, to whom a well-appointed army 
was soon to lay down their arms.'" 

1778. Although so large a number had inlisted in 1777 into the 
continental army, it became necessary to draft thirteen men from 
each company in town, " into the continental army, to fill it up." 
This would make a sum total from the eight companies of the town, 
of one hundred and four. This was done by order of the General 
Assembly, which enacted, that if the quota in any town for the bat- 
talions then raising in the state, sh ould not be filled by voluntary 
enlistment by the 20tli of February, that the deficiency should be 
raised by peremptory detachment, to serve till January 1, 1779. 

On account of the prevalence of the small pox at the various mili- 
tary posts, and the fear occasioned by it, the battalions of " three years' 
men" during the preceding year, had filled up slowly, as we have 
seen, and it became necessary to resort to a draft to fill up the defi- 
ciency, and even those who had enlisted, repaired slowly to their 
posts. It took all the vigilance and perseverance of the officers to 
effisct this with sufficient promptness for the public service, as will be 
seen by Gen. Silliman's letter, which follows : 

" Fairfield, April 30*, 1773. 
" Sir, 

" I have this Moment received a Letter from his Excellency the Govornor, 
and I give You a Coppy of Two Paragraphs in it which are in the words fol- 
lowing viz'. 

" This is therefore to Command You in the most positive Terms, to see that 
" all the Recruits as well draughted as inlisted within Your Brigade for the 
" Continental Army be marched to New Haven on or before Tuesday tlio -I"' Daj' 

1 Burgoyiic's army. 


" of May next. The Necessity of the Men Joining the Army is very great and 
" will not admit the least Excuse for Neglect or Delay in the Execution of this 
" Ortier. I am Sir Your Humle Servt 

Jontli Trumbull. 
" 'iou will therefore immediately on the receipt of this loose not a moment 
but mount Your Horse and Collect every Man in Your Regiment that is in- 
listed or draughted for the Continental Army & see them every Soul marched to 
New Haven by Tuesday next and You may not fail on any account whatever 
& make report to me on Tuesday Evening that I may know what answer to 
give to his Excellency. 

" G. Selleck Silliman, Brig.r Gen"." 

It was not strange under the painful circumstances and sad re- 
verses of the close of 1777, when the troops under Washington had 
worn out their shoes and clothing, and could be tracked in their 
marches by the blood of their feet, that new recruits were obtained 
with difficulty. It was emphatically the midnight of the revolution. 
The hearts of men, in some instances, " failed them for fear." It 
was at this time that the members of Congress found it necessary to 
frame a league by which their power might be increased, and their 
determinations enforced. For this purpose " articles of confedera- 
tion" were framed, and accepted by each State. The war was now 
vigorously prosecuted in all directions, aided by the French. In all 
the engagements of this year, Woodbury had soldiers, and the blood 
of its sons moistened all the battle fields. There was so large a num- 
ber of " three years' men" in the continental army, that they were 
moi-e or less scattered among the various divisions sent to all parts of 
the United States. Probably no town was more widely represented 
on the various revolutionary battle-grounds than our own. 

1779. The principal operations during this year were carried on 
in the South, but the various garrisons were kept up with such forces 
as were judged necessary. In February, there was an " alarm" for 
the defence of Norwalk, in which the whole militia, under Col. Mose- 
ley, and the regiment of " light horse," under Major Thomas Bull, 
were ordered to that place by Gen. Silliman, as will appear by his 
order which follows : 

" New Haven Feby 26th 1779 6 Clock P. M. 
" Gent Mr. Titus Mead, a man to be depended on, is this moment ariv'd 
Express from Col. Mead, with a Message by word of mouth only, from Col. 
Mead; for their circumstances were Such that Col. Mead could not write. He 
Says that when he left Horse Neck (which was early this Morning) a Body of 
about 600 Men, and a Body of Horse, had pushed up the road into Horse Neck. 
and were on this Side of Knap's Tavern ; and it was reported that a Body of 
two or thres Thousand more were not far behind. You are therefore directed 

208 H I S T O U Y OF A X C I K N T "\V O O D B U U Y . 

to Muster & niaroh your Regiments, forthwith to Norwalk to oppose the Ene - 
my, &; where you will receive further Orders, loose not a Moment neither by 
Night nor day. G. Sclleek Silliman, BrigrGenl of Foot 

and Col. Ct of Horse. 
^'To Col. Moseley & Maj^ Bull, Woodhiny 

The militia turncil out ])ursuaiit lo (lie call, but there was no gen- 
eral action at that time. In May, a detachment of one hundred was 
ordered out of the thirteenth regiment, and ia the action which fol- 
lowed, several of them fell, and a number more were wounded. The 
original order of Col. AVhiting on this occasion folloAvs : 

"Sir, Pur.'^uant to orders from his Excellency the Governor directed to 
Gcu' Sillimiui, v\-ho is now absent, and consequently, as I am the oldest Colonel 
m the 4th Brigade, am Comniandant, You are hereby required and Ordered to 
Detach one hundred Men Exclusive of ollicers from your Regiment: and you 
are to See that they are properly Officer'd &; equip'd,and Order them to marcli 
to Horse-Neck, without loss of time, there to eoutnuie for the defence of the 
Sea-Coast in the western part of this State, not exceeding one month. 

" Stratford, May 4th, 177^. 

Sam' Whiting, Colol Comm^le." 

'• To Colonel Increase Moseley." 

The number that marched from Capt. Leavenworth's company, on 
this occasion, was fifty-seven, being more than his quota. It was 
during these occurrences that Gen. Putnam made his famous " escape 
at Horseneck," by spurring his horse, when hotly pursued, down a 
steep precipice, at full gallop. Late in November, 1779, the army 
was again in great need of supplies, being really in a suffering condi- 
tion. In this emergency. Gen. Stark looked to the Woodbury issu- 
ing and purchasing commissary. "We learn this from the following 
veiy urgent letter from Gen. Stark : 

"Danbury, 2Gth Nov^, 1779. 
" Sir, Uppon my arrival here, find no flour for my Brigade, the Troops now 
are entirely out & very little expected except wliat comes from you — You wil' 
therefore without loss of time purchase and send forward to this place all the 
Hour ifc meal you can possibly collect. Gen. Poor's Brigade is expected in this 
day, which will be stationed here through the winter. If you have as much as 
twenty or 10 Barrels let it be sent immediately, give Orders for the Teams to 
Drive night & Day untill they shall arrive here, & in the mean time do employ 
all the Mills in your Quarter to Grind for the Army untill a suHicient Quantity 
is procured for the present necessity of this army. 

I am Sir your most 

obedent Humble Ser 
'■ N. B. You will send me an John Stark, Bg. 

Answer by the bearer what 
supplies I am to expect from you. 


1780. During the winter the troops had sufFei'ed greatly in their 
quarters from the want of food and clothing. They were paid off in 
continental money, as it was called, and with it they could buy neither 
food nor clothing. It was with the greatest difficulty that Washing- 
ton, by the most solemn and urgent entreaties with Congress, and by 
the most patriotic appeals to the people in all parts of the country^ 
saved his army from total destruction. 

In February, 1780, Col. Moseley resigned his commission as 
colonel, having filled the office for the space of nearly three years. 
He informed the General Assembly that he was " induced to accept 
the appointment out of Affection to my Country, and an Ardent de- 
sire to render my best services for promoting the Good of the same." 
He resigned the office, as he states, on account of infirm health, which 
unfitted him for long tours of service, and on account of his embar- 
rassed financial matters. The urgency of the public service, pre- 
vented his resignation being a.ccepted at this time. In the latter part 
of October, he resigned again, and this time the Assembly accepted 
his resignation. 

At this period of the war, the prospects of the country were gloomy 
in the extreme. Only the most hopeful and persevering could see 
relief in the dark aspect of the forbidding future. Successive defeats 
and rampant toryism disheartened the American forces at the South, 
and the uninterrupted drain of men and money had produced poverty 
and wretchedness at the North. The soldiers in their winter quar- 
ters, had suffered all the tortures of famine and nakedness. 

In this gloomy state of affairs, the treachery of the execrable Ar- 
nold came to light. He had previously been a brave and gallant 
officer, and had done his country good service. But luxurious habits 
had induced him to embezzle government funds, and this had brought 
a court-martial, and a reprimand. In revenge he proved traitor to 
his country. He became active, violent and cruel in his new rela- 
tions, and his name was branded with infamy. He has the sad pre- 
eminence of standing alone among all the officers of the Revolution, 
as a traitor to the country that gave him birth. Quite a number of 
"Woodbury soldiers were at "West Point at the time Arnold concerted 
with Andre to deliver that post to the enemy. Abel "Wakeley, who 
served during the whole war, having entered the service in his six- 
teenth year, was one of them. He died at Greenville, Greene coun- 
ty, New York, April 13th, 1850, in the ninetieth year of his age, and 
used frequently to relate the scene of the traitor's escape from West 
Point, of which he was an eye witness. 


So worn down ami cxliaustoil had the people become wiih constant 
service, that the anthorities of the town had the greatest difficulty in 
filling the required quota from this date till the close of the war. 
Large bounties were offered for recruits, and heavy taxes laid to pay 
the expenses thus incurred. This will be seen by the following town 
action : 

" At A Mooting of tlio IiihabitaiUs of the Town of Woodbury, Juno tho 26th, 

"Daniol Shorman Esqr was Choson Moderator for this Mooting;. 

"Voatod, that Each Able Budyed Ellective Man, Who shall Inlist into the 
Continental Army for three years shall Receive as A Bounty from this Town 
over and above the States' Bounty £l.'3 Lawful Money in silver at C/S p ounce 
or Currency Equivilent, to be [v.ud on his Inlistment & being Mustered into 
service the sum of £20 : and on the Commencement of the second year j£l5 : 
more, and on the Commencement of ye 3J year the other £10 : provided he 
Continues in the serviss. And such Able Bodyd Men Who shall Inlist During 
the War shall Receive tlie same Bounty, and Also J£l5 : on the Commence- 
ment of the 4Hiyear, Provided they Continue in the service, provided also that 
such Inlisted Soldiers shall be accounted a part of the Quoto of this town ; 
Provide they be not Inlisted to the 20/ P Month heretofore Granted to Soldiers 
in this Town, the Comition Officers of Each Military Company for the time be- 
ing are Appointed a Committee for the time being." 

To meet the payment of these large bounties, a tax of four pence 
on the pound was laid on the property of the inhabitants. In No- 
vember, a tax of two pence on the pound was laid for the same pur- 
pose, and the selectmen were made a committee to "find out the De- 
fitionces in the Continental Army, and make report to the next meet- 
ing." In December, Aaron liinman, William Preston, Sheldon 
Clark, Capt. Elijah liinman, Lieut. Samuel Curtiss, and Capt. David 
Leavenworth were chosen a committee to hire soldiers. On the fif- 
teenth of January following, fifteen others were appointed a commit- 
tee to assist the former committee in the performance of their duties. 

The army this year were again in the greatest Avant of the necessa- 
ries of life, clothing in particular. In this emergency, Woodbury 
" Sent to the Connecticut Line by INIr. Hubbard, Nov"- 7"' 1780, 1788 
p' stockings, 1582 p"^ Woolen Overalls, 379 Shirts, 570 vests, 1937 
p"^ of Shoes, and G50 Blankets." This was a pretty liberal amount 
to be sent by one exhausted town. 

In August, 1780, Washington conceived the plan of taking New 
York from the enemy, and consequently desired a force that would 
not be constantly leaving him by the expiration of the time of their 
enlistment. lie therefore suggested to his general officers the policy 
of enlisting "vokmteers till New York should be taken." General 


Parsons communicated tlie plan to the captains under his command, 
in the following letter : 


" His Excellency General Washington informs me, that in Case the States 
furnish their Quota of Money and Supplies, he designs New York for the object 
of his Operations this Campaign, and desires me to Encourage Volunteer Com- 
panies to Inlist on the following Terms, viz. That they sign their Names to A 
written Ingagement to abide with the Army, subject to the Orders & Regula- 
tions by which they are Governd untill the City of New York is taken, or the 
seige kaisd, unless they are sooner discharge, and that the persons thus Inga- 
ging hold themselves in Readiness to marck whenever the General calls for 
them ; for the express purpose of attacking New York, &: for no other purpose. 
Every 50 Rank & File are entitled to have 1 Capt, 1 Lt, &d 1 Ensign, & 3 Ser- 
jeants, to be Elected by themselves, and so in proportion for a less number. 
Under these Circumstances I have to request you to Confer with the Gentlemen 
in your Vicinity, &; Endeavour to procure A Company to be engagd for this 
purpose. I would thank you to acquaint me as soon as you can of your pros- 
pects in this Matter. Pay and Rations Commence from the Time of their 
taking the Field 21st August, 17S0. 

"I am, Sir, yr obedt Scrvt 

Saml H. Parsons. 
" To Capt. David Leavenworth and Capt. Jon^ Brown. 

" We whose Names are hereunto Subscribed do Voluntarily Inlist & Engage 
ourselves to serve in A Company of Volunteers to be rais'' in pursuance of his 
Excellency General Washington's Requisition to General Parsons, and to abide 
by and Conform ourselves in every respect agreeable to the within Mention<i 
plan exhibited for this purpose. 

" Adam Ilurlbut, Lovewell liurd, John C. Case, Ezra Lacey, Moses Hurd, 
Aaron Hall, David Leavenworth, Edward Lake, Wm. Torrance, Sam- 
no] Hurd, Ebenezer Lacey, Abijah Brunson, Issacher Norton, John Mal- 
lory, Eben' Thomas, Curtis Hurd, David Booth, John Baker, Thomas 
Torrance, George Norton, Nathan Rumsey, Eldad Baker." 

Scarcely any thing could show the indomitable spirit of the people 
better than this inhstment out of a single company, under the circum- 
stances in which it was made. It was but a few days previous, that 
Col. Moseley had been ordered by Gen. Parsons to make a very 
heavy detachment, as will appear by Col. Moseley's letter to the 
general : 

" Woodbury August 2Gth. 17S0. 
" Bond Sir— 

" I Received your Orders of the 20th. Instant, & have given out Orders ac- 
cordingly ; with directions to the Detaching-Officers to deliver their draughted 
Men, to such Officer & Lieut. Col. Wells should appoint to receive them ; at Col. 
Canfield's in New Milford on the 2Sth. Instant ; and have Wrote to Col. Wells, 
Informing him of the time & place. This draught compleats 440 Men that 


have been cali'd for from this Reg^ since May hist — The last Return of men fit 
for duty luulor fifty years of Aye could not exceed 4&0 — There has been a con- 
siderable number who have njov'd away since last Return ; so that some of the 
Oflicers say that they can not find Enough to compleat their Details without 
taking such as have been out the last two Months : but I hope they will make 
out some how. Capt. Iline of New Milford inform 'd me to day, that there is a 
dilllculty attends getting the Men in that Town : which is, that in Consetiuence 
of an Order or Recommendation, sent by Gen'. Parsons to the Minister of that 
Town, to raise a Company of Volunteers, a great part of the Men there, have 
Inlisted for that purpose; & have proceeded so far as to Nominate their Cap*. 
&c. in full expectation of soon compleating a full Company in that Quarter: 
and that the Oliicers there could not make the last draugl)t without taking the 
Men out of those Inlisted Volunteers; which they apprehend would frustrate 
the whole plan of raising such a Company; It being a favourite j)lan among 
them, which they are Zealously pursuing; they desired Capt. Hine to come to 
me ifc see if they could not be indulged the favour not to make the draught. I 
told Capt. Hine, that I was much in favour of having Volunteer Companies; 
but as our Minister had not yet Received any orders on that subject, I was un- 
acquainted with the General Plan ; therefore could not relinquish any part of 
the draugliting Orders; but told him I would Represent the matter to your 
Honr. and if any allowance could be mude on account of Volunteers, you would 
doubtless grant it. I understand that similar Orders arc sent to the Ministers 
of Kent ifc Litchfield; and that it Originated from a Requisition from his Ex- 
celly Genl. Washington for that purpose : but have seen nothing of the kind in 
this Town and Hardly know what to depend on about it. 

" I am &rc. " I. Moseloy." 

By tins letter it can be seen, in a vivid liglit, how much the regi- 
ment had become reduced in point of numbers, more than two years 
before the close of the war. 

1781. In May of this year, the Assembly, u[)OU the representa- 
tion of Gen. Washington, that there was a pressing necessity of hav- 
ing fifteen hundred men ready to march on the shortest notice, to be 
held in service three months after joining the army, and also of rais- 
ing a number of men equal to one-sixth part of this state's quota in 
the continental army, to supply deficiencies which had taken place 
from the various casualties incident to an army, resolved to raise by 
voluntary inlistment, 2,100 men, by the 1st of July following, and if 
the number was not filled by that time, to complete it by peremptory 
detachment from those towns which had not raised their full quota of 
men. The larger part of the men raised in this regiment was sent 
to Horseneck. In the early part of January, a committee of seven- 
teen were appointed to hire soldiers for that post. In July, another 
town meeting was held, in which it was voted, 

"That the IS Men to fill up our Quota of the Continental Army & Likewise 


the 11 Men for the State Guards at Horse Neck bchii'^ by a Committee as here- 
tofore for that Purpose." 


The committee was appointed, and the desired number raised. In 
February, it had been, voted, to give tlie State bounty of £30 given 
to the several towns for each recruit furnished, to eacli soldier who 
should enlist and muster into service. This vote materially lightened 
the labor of procuring enlistments. This will be seen from the fact, 
that twenty-two were obtained from one company, Capt. Thaddeus 
Kurd's. The quota for this year was one hundred and six. The 
number in service in May was eighty-one, and consequently the defi- 
ciency was twenty-five. These were hired by the committee ap- 
pointed for that purpose. 

During this year, the French army under Gen. La Fayette, passed 
through this town on their journey south to join Gen. Washington, 
in his operations against Cornwallis. This was a pretty direct route 
from Boston, and it was the general's design to keep at a safe dis- 
tance from the coasts. They came through White Deer rocks, where 
they were obliged to cut away trees, and remove stones, in order to 
transport their heavy baggage through the defile. The army en- 
camped for the night in town, in such companies as suited their con- 
venience, and when they had pitched their tents, they extended all 
the way from Middle Quarter to White Oak, a distance of nearly 
three miles. That part which encamped near the house then occu- 
pied by David Sherman, and since by the late Gideon Sherman, eat 
for him, with his consent, twelve bushels of apples, as is related, and 
drank seven or eight barrels of new cider at his mill. During the 
evening they had a dance in which some of the Woodbury damsels 
joined with the polite French officers, in their gay uniforms, while 
others looked on. Multitudes of the inhabitants pressed about the 
tents of those patriotic foreigners, who had come so far to fight the 
battle of freedom for a sufi'ering people, and destined to act go distin- 
guished a part in bringing the long and bloody contest to a close. 
La Fayette, with his chief officers, lodged at the house of Hon. Dan 
iel Sherman, and was waited on by all the principal men, of the town. 
The late Mr. Ashbel Moody, and two or three other aged people, 
who recollected the scene, gave the writer a vivid description of the 
incidents of the occasion. Fired anew with martial courage by the 
fine display of the French troops, a considerable number of soldiers 
volunteered on the spot, and marched with them on the following 
morning. Among these were Capt. Joseph Walker, Lieut. Nathan 
Beers, Lieut. John Sherman, Ebenezer Hicock, Wait Hurlbut, and 


Enoch Spcriy. After the surroiuler of Cornwallis at Yorktown, the 
army pa>seil through town again on their return to take shijjfor their 
homes. The soldiers encamped on Breakneck Hill in Middlebury, 
about a mile north of the meeting-house, it derives its name from 
the circumstance of one of the cattle falling and breaking its neck in 
descending the hill, while employed in transporting the baggage of 
the troops. La Fayette and some of his officers lodged in a tavern, 
ill a valley eastward, then kept by Mr. Isaac Bronson. A new house 
has since been erected on its site by a grandson of the former owner. 
1782. The campaign opened early this year, and a meeting of the 
town was held, Feb. 25th, at which it was 

" A'otid that the 16 Chisses that are uheacly fixed hire, each of said CIas.«es 
liire one Man to serve in the State Guard, & three soklicrs be raised by the 
Town to Serve in sd State Guard." 

The burdens of the war fell very heavily on Connecticut, because 
that in addition to furnishing its full quota in the continental anny> 
it was obliged to keep many of its soldiers on duty at the several posts 
in the State for its defense. 

On the 18th of December, another town-meeting was held, at 
which it was 

" Voted to fill up our Quota to the Xumber of lOtj Men. 

" Voted that the Town Raise 12 Men & that the Select Men Divide the Town 
into 12 Classes Each Class to Raise one Man on the List of 17S1." 

This proved to be the last time the town was to be called upon to 
show its devotion to the interests of the country during the war of 
independence. It will be seen that the efforts of the town to sub- 
serve the good cause, in common with the whole country, had con- 
stantly grown weaker and weaker, as the strength of its soldiers 
wasted away before the pestilence, and the deadly struggle on the 
field of battle, and its wealth disappeared under the ever fresh levies 
of supplies for the army, and the support of the troops. It would 
seem, that overwhelmed with debt as the country then was, it could 
hardly have held out much longer. But, however that may have 
been, it seems that a kind Providence had designed, in his wisdom, 
to spare them the trial. To Him, " who tempers the wind to the 
shorn lamb," it seemed good to say to pride, power and oppression, 
" thus far shalt thou go and no farther." 

A part of these last levies were present at the ever memorable 
siege of Yorktown in October, and at the surrender of Cornwallis on 
the 10th of that month, which virtually closed the war. Abel Wake- 


ley was one of these, and others who had inlisted during the war, to- 
gether with the most of those that went south with La Fayette. The 
eyes of these survivors of a ruthless warfare beheld a glad sight on 
the morn of the 19th of October, when in solemn silence — not amid 
the smoke and carnage of the battle-field — they saw the brave Gen. 
Lincoln receive the sword of Lord Cornwallis — the strength and 
glory of the British army on this side of the water, broken and de- 
stroyed. Well might the news of this auspicious event spread uni- 
versal joy, as it did, throughout the country. Well might all hearts 
unite in praise and thanksgiving to God for this signal blessing, 
which was to terminate our struggle for independence. It was not 
inappropriate that Washington ordered divine service to be perform- 
ed throughout the army ; and that Congress proceeded in solemn 
procession to the house of God, to acknowledge their grateful sense 
of this special favor.^ It was, indeed, the final blow, the immediate 
precursor of peace. The voice of the whole British people called in 
earnest tones for an immediate termination of the war ; so earnest 
indeed, that it penetrated even to an unrelenting throne. Early next 
year, just eight years after the battle of Lexington, Great Britain 
proposed peace, and hostilities terminated. John Adams, Benjamin 
Franklin, John Jay and Henry Laurens, were appointed agents by 
the United States to conclude the terms of peace. Preliminary arti- 
cles were signed at Paris, Nov. 30, 1782, and on the 19lh day of 
April; 1783, a formal proclamation of the cessation of hostilities an- 
nounced the glad tidings to a disenthralled nation. 

It would be a pleasing occupation to linger for a moment and 
gather up the personal incidents scattered thickly throughout the 
whole of this long and eventful period; but the limits of our work 
will not allow us that gratification. They will be found, however, in 
the biographical and genealogical history, which will occupy the ma- 
jor portion of the remainder of this volume, and also in the list of 
revolutionary soldiers from this town, among the statistics, at its 

1 On the -west side of the Pomperaug River, three-fourths of a mile from the main 
street in Southbrn^i-, lived three brothers, sturdy young men. Their names -n-ere Jus- 
tus, Amos and Jiloses Asa Johnson. "When the news of the surrender of Cornwallis 
reached town, the people assembled at the meetmg-house, and the greatest enthusiasm 
prevailed. The bell pealed forth in merrj', violent tones, and every heart was full of 
joy. The Johnsons supposed the bell was ringuig for an alann, as it scarcely rmig for 
any thing else except on Sundays. In an horn- or two, two of them appeared at the 
alarm post, fully armed and equipped, their knapsacks filled with provisions for an 
immediate march. Such was a specimen of the patriotism of those days. 



" TIic colonies must Ix' faxed!" Wliat a world of inten'.>t-; was 
affected by that steni and unjust decision. Little dreamed he who 
spake it, that it would inflame a continent, and rend from Old Eng- 
land her fairest possession, her gem of greatest value. But the word 
was spoken — the decree gone forth ! '' Whom the gods wish to de- 
stroy they first make mad." With a fated madness, an unaccounta- 
ble folly, the mother country took her furious course. Her children, 
driven by her cruelty into the savage wilds of a distant continent, 
were pursued with ruthless barbarity. She little knew and little 
cared, if far away over the mighty Atlantic, her arbitrary acts was 
creating the " land of the free and the home of the brave." Then 
came the war of the Revolution to blast the dearest hopes of the 
people of the new world, yet from its gloomy shades gleamed forth 
the light of liberty, which now shines with such dazzling splendor. 
But it was to be obtained by blood and toil and miseries with scarce- 
ly an equal in the annals of mankind. The blood of the dwellers in 
these fiiir vales, and in each town and hamlet of our land, was shed 
like water oil every glorious battle field of our country, from the 
skirmish at Lexington to the ever memorable seige of Yorktown — 
from the sad massacre of the fair and poetic vale of Wyoming to the 
field of honor on the heights of Saratoga ! Ttteir hardly earned 
worldly goods were freely offered on the altar of their country's good. 
Hunger, cold and privation of every sort were cheerfully endured. 
Every tie which nature holds dear, and which binds the hearts of 
men in conjugal, paternal, or fraternal bands to the well-known 
liearthstone, were sundered at the call of our suffering country in her 
hour of need and of peril. Tfiey went forth with bounding hearts, 
and athletic, manly forms. Many of them found honored graves in 
various parts of our land, and many more returned with dire diseases, 
mutilated frames and shattered health — the merest wreck of what 
they were — to the firesides \vhich had missed their presence for 
months and years. 

But the result of their labors was glorious beyond the expectation, 
or even the dreams of the most hopeful. They wrought well — a re- 
deemed and widely extended people now rejoices in the results of 
their toils and sufferings. If there be a " recompense of reward" for 
those that do well, surely our patriot sires have long since entered on 
a bright fruition. Great indeed have been the results of the Revo- 
lution, not only to our own favored land, but to the world. Since 
that hour of " deadly peril was overpast," our nation has gone pros- 
perously on, and we are almost miraculously increased from tliree to 
more than twenty millions of freemen. Liberty and equality are in- 


terwoven with every fibre of our institutions. Freedom of thought 
and of conscience is the pole-star of our existence. Knowledge infi- 
nitely more varied and extended than was ever before known, has 
embraced all classes, and it will have its " perfect work," till the 
humblest operative shall become a man of science. Literature, art, 
science, a brilliant triad, is the proud possession of our country, and 
she will continue to enjoy it till the " last of earth" shall have been 
experienced by the last of the race. The universal diffusion of 
knowledge is the grand characteristic of our country. By means of 
this the most distant member of our population, which surges to and 
fro like the waves of the ocean, is visited in his home on the broad 
prairie, or among the everlasting hills, and prepared to act his part in 
the great system of republican institutions. The active and enter- 
prising spirit of the age has given us a vigorous and original litera- 
ture. The useful, the practical, in science, in art, in every thing, is 
the grand desideratum. Improvements are made in every thing. 
Even news, Avhich has in all ages been noted for its agiUty, no longer 
takes its slow course by stage, or by railroad ; nor yet, in the poeti- 
cal language of Scripture, does it " take the wings of the morning, 
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea ;" but it seizes on the 
" firey bolt of Jove,"" and outstrips the '' swift wind." The time is 
not far distant, when the far dweller in Oregon shall whisper words 
of affection " hy telegraph" to an Atlantic lady-love, all too impatient 
to wait the slow delay of the " lumbering mail." 

"A destiny for us may be predicted far more glorious than ever the 
most illustrious days of Greece or Eome, or even the bright Bi-itish 
Isles have gloried in. The day may not be distant, when America, 
compared wuth England, shall be as a fair and blooming daughter 
beside an old and decrepid mother." In the spirit of liberty lies the 
secret of the present aspect of mankind. Exalted indeed is the posi- 
tion of the men of the nineteenth century. They stand amid the 
mighty ruins of the past, while the clear light of liberty has just 
dawned in full effulgence upon the world. Every thing proceeds 
with the utmost velooity, and one must cast himself upon the rolling 
flood, and rule and direct the storm, or be overwhelmed by it. " For 
them has been reserved the glorious yet perilous task of remodelling 
society — for them a vital share in the final regeneration of mankind." 
Their trust is in the lofty patriotism and intelligence of the people, 
and they are cheered on by the hope that the perfection of humanity, 
having sought in vain throughout the whole world for a permanent 
resting place, may here, in this western land, take up its final abode. 



1731 TO 1S53; Petition for a Society, 1730; Incorporated in May, 1731; 
63 remonstrate at the next session; First Meeting House in White 
Oak, 1735; Rev. John Graham settled, 1732; List of First Church 
Members ; Character of Mr. Graham ; Method of Singino ; Rev. Ben- 
jamin Wildman settled in 1765; Second Church finished, 1772; Church 
Bell obtained in 1775; Mr. Wildman's Character and Death; Rev. 
Elijah Wood settled, 1813; Rev. Daniel A. Clark settled, 1S16; Rev. 
Thomas L. Shipman, 1826; Rev. Williams H. Whittemore settled, 
1836; Pulpit now supplied by Rev. George P. Prudden ; Llst of Dea- 
cons; South Britain petitions for vs^inter privileges, 1761, which aee 
granted; Incorporated as a Society, May, 1766; First Meeting Hou«e, 
1770; Rev. Jehu Minor settled and Church gathered, 1769; Settle- 
ment OF Ministers — Remarks; List of First Church Members; Rev 
Matthias Cazier settled, 1799; Rev. Dr. Ty'ler settled, ISOS, and 
dismissed, 1822; Rev. Noah Smith settled, 1S22; Rev. Oliver B. But- 


of Deacons; Town of Southbury Incorporated, 17S7; Pre.sent state of 
THE Town ; Census. 

For a period of more than fifty-seven years after the first settle- 
ment of Pomperaug, the inhabitants had formed but one ecclesiastical 
society. On the day of sacred rest and on other occasions, our 
fathers, the hardy pioneers in this forest town, had assembled at the 
old meeting-house of the " ancient society" in this lovely valley, and 
offered up their devotions to the ever-living God as an " undivided 
whole." For six or eight miles in all directions, these men of God 
descended from the breezy, life-invigorating hills, and emerged from 
their rural homes in the sweet vallies, hastening " to the temple" to 
worship the benign Ruler of the universe. In storm and in sunshine, 
in summer's heat and winter's cold, they paid this " debt of duty," 
and forgot not the " assembling of themselves together." Amidst the 
wilds tliey sung the high praises of the Great Creator, and the star.-; 


heanl and the lea ! Their affections during this long period had en- 
twined themselves around the " old sanctuary." They loved their 
aged pastor, and scarcely the great inconveniences of the remote 
parts of their town could induce them to think of forming new socie- 
ties, and new church relations. 

But the time at length came, when it seemed necessary to manv to 
separate from the " ancient society," and attempt the formation of a 
new one, so that a place of worship might he obtained in a location 
which would better accommodate them. By a petition sent to the 
May session of the General Assembly, 1730, we learn that early in 
1718, upon the question arising whether the first meeting-house 
"should be added to, or a new one built/* it was agreed after consid- 
erable discussion, that all should unite in repairing the old house, and 
that at the end of twelve years, the inhabitants of the south pai't of 
the town should have liberty with the consent of the legislature, to 
become a distinct ecclesiastical society, and the inhabitants of the 
north part by a previous agreement, were to have a like liberty in 
twelve years from 1716. They therefore say that having complied 
with the terms of the agreement on their side, and the time having 
expired they wish to be incorporated into a society accordingly, es- 
pecially " the old meeting-house being gone to decay and now not 
big enough to accommodate the inhabitants of s'* Town." They also 
desire " that the line to divide them may be the same that divides 
their Train Bands." This petition was signed by " Titus Hinman, 
Sen, Benjamin Hicock, and Andrew Hinman in behalf of the 
Rest."' A committee was appointed to "view the circumstances and 
report." This committee having attended to the duties of their ap- 
pointment, reported favorably, and the second ecclesiastical society 
in "Woodbury was incorporated and called Southbury, May, 1731. 

This act was displeasing to many in both societies. Accordinglv a 
petition signed by thirty-three persons in the north, or " ancient soci- 
ety," and thirty in Southbury society, was preferred to the October 
session of the Assembly, in 1731, asking for a reconsideration of the 
vote incorporating the new society. They assign as reasons, 

1 . The north society is left very narrow. 

2. Mr. Toucey, one of the committee, is interested, "having a 
large farm near the center of the new society." 

3. They allege, among other things, that those of the south society 
who must bear half of the burden and expenses, are averse to the 

1 State Archives, Ecclesiastical, vol. 5, p. 193, et seq. 

220 n I S T O K Y OF ANCIENT "VV O O D IJ U R Y . 

separation, and live as near the old house as the proposed new one. 
Besides they " have Lived under y'" Ministry of the present Minister 
(Mr. Stoddard) with very Great Delight for nearly 30 years whom 
they chose and Stipulated with, and are of opinion they ought not to 
be forced to break oft' from and forsake their Minister." 

4. The south society will not harmonize. 

5. It would be a great " hardship to the ancient minister to jduck 
up stakes and move, or travel far." 

G. The town, in the vote alluded to, did not contemplate a forcible 

The signers of this petition, who lived in the new society were 
William Preston, Peter Mjpor, Hezekiah Culver, Samuel Sherman, 
Adino Strong, Sen., Andrew Ward, Thomas Squire, Josiah Minor, 
David Squire, Isaac Knowles, Richard Peet, Ephraim Tuttle, Na- 
than Curtiss, Nathaniel Hurlbut, Samuel Waller, Lemuel Wheeler, 
John Curtiss, Jr., Caleb Wheeler, Thomas Knowles, John Crissy, 
^Matthew Mitchell, Adino Strong, Jr., John Curtis^, Jr., Benjamin 
Wheeler, John Squire, Ezra Sherman, Joseph Tuttle, Sarah Wheel- 
er, Sarah Curtiss, (widow,) David Carman. 

The Woodbury signers were Joseph Minor, Zechariah Walker, 
Joseph Judson, Samuel Bull, Jonathan Atwood, Stephen Terrill, 
Valentine Prentice, Nathan Hurd, Samuel Galpin, Alexander Ale- 
horn, Jonathan Mitchell, David Hurd, John Nichols, Caleb Martin, 
Robert Warner, Isaac Peet, Samuel Martin, Eliakim Stoddard, John 
Mitchell, Jr., Knell Mitchell, Roger Terrill, Timothy Minor, David 
Mitchell, Zadock Hurd, Epin-aim jMinor, Widow Sai-ah Judson, Pe- 
ter Walker, Joseph Roots, John Roots, Elizabeth Squire, Samuel 
Minor, ThomaS Minor, Joseph Martin. 

The Assembly took the petition into consideration, but negatived 
its prayer. During the same session, however, it was proposed and 
passed in the " Upper House," that the dissatisfied members of the 
south society might return to the old society again, but the " Lower 
House" dissented. At the May session of next year, twenty-three 
persons in the south, and twenty-seven in the north renewed their 
petition for a reconsideration of the act of incorporation. Taking into 
consideration " the unhappy differences," the Assembly appointed 
James Wadsworth, Esq., Capt. Thomas Wells and Capt. Isaac Dike- 
man a committee to " view the circumstances," hear grievances, ex- 
amine location, and report. This committee reported at the October 
session, 1732, that there was no hope of healing the differences in the 
south society. " On the whole" they say, " we are forced to look 


upon TToodbury in two societies ; and as to the northers society, we 
suppose them well agreed and at unity among themselves, but very 
much to the contrary in the southern society." Though there was 
more than one-hj<!f, there was nothing like two-thirds of them, who 
can agree to settle a minister, build a meeting-house, and carry on the 
other necessary business pertaining to a society. But they could not 
persuade them to go back to the old society. For these reasons they 
proposed a new division-line farther south, and that the firat society 
should pay the south £200, and if the south society dfd not then 
agree to said proposals within five months, and " go forward as a 
society," then they should be united again and " meet in y^ old Meet- 
ing House as formerly." The Assembly, on this report being made, 
raised the amount to be paid to £300, including £55, 10s. subscribed 
by individuals, and then passed the proposition into a law. At the 
same session, the two houses were informed that Southbury society 
had voted to build a meeting-house, and asked a committee to locate 
the same according to law. For some reason the houses disagreed 
as to the men to be appointed, and nothing was done in the premises. 

On the 29th of November, 1732, the society voted unanimously 
" except one man" to'-build a meeting-house, and asked a committee 
of location, upon which TTilliam Hicock, Joseph Lewis and Thomas 
Clark were appointed to perform that duty. Having examined the 
premises, the committee located the house May, 1733, "at a stake 
picht Down on a hill Between Lieut. Andrew Hinman's Heirs, and 
the house that was Elnathan Strong's," and reported the same. May 
1733, to the Assembly, which accepted the report and established the 
location. The place thus established was the point of land between 
the two highways, nearly in front of the White Oak school-house. 

The society voted to build a house forty-six feet in length by thir- 
ty-five in width, with twenty-three feet posts. Deacon Benjamin 
Hicock, Kichard Brownson, Moses Johnson, Solomon Johnson and 
Noah Hinman were appointed a. committee " for carrying on the 
building of the Meeting House." The committee represented to the 
General Assembly that the new line established by it, in accordance 
with the report of the committee appointed to determine the bounda- 
ries, cut oif half of the grand list of the society, as at first established 
leaving it a Ust of but £2,000, and that they had laid two taxes of Is- 
and 2 s., which were inadequate to defray the expenses. Besides, the 
north society claimed the " Parsonage Lands" lying in Southbury, 
and had leased them. They therefore asked a " comtee and libei-ty to 
lay a land tax," but the motion was denied. October 19th, 1733, the 

222 HISTORY OF ancient avoodbuuv. 

clerk of the society reported to the Assembly that the house was raised, 
and the materials procured for completing the same. The committee, 
at the same session, petitioned for a land tax of one jienny on the 
acre, which was granted. In October, 1735, the clerk reported that 
the house was covered, some of the ghass and two doors put in, and 
'' most of the under floors" had been laid, " So that it is in some 
measure comfortable to attend y^ worship of God in." Three years 
later, October 17^8, he again reports that little progress had been 
made in completing the house, which he said was to be attributed 
*' not to the want of a willing mind, but to the smallness of numbers 
and other bui'dens." The committee stated, that by the last line 
established for their society, they were left with only twenty-eight 
families, and they were unable to finish their meeting-house, which 
had no pulpit, or proper seats, and that their minister's rate was very 
heavy. They asked the " benefit of the County rate," but it was de- 
nied them. At what precise time the house was entirely finished is 
not now known — probably not till several years after this date. It was 
used as a church more than forty years. It will be noted that the 
clerk reported the house to the Assembly as " comfortable" when it 
had only been covered, and had a part of the ground floor laid. A 
very good idea of what our fathers denominated " comfortable," may 
be gained, when we consider that the idea of warming a meeting- 
house had at that day never entered the minds of men. It would 
have been a difficult task, as stoves were then unknown. In the 
state it was then in, it could not have been as comfortable as an 
ordinary barn. It is difficult for us of the present day to obtain a 
just conception of the extreme trials, difficulties and privations of 
those eax'ly times. 

Notwithstanding these difficult circumstances, as soon as remon- 
strances to the establishment of the society ceased, they proceeded 
at once, November 29th, 1732, to call and settle a minister. They 
voted him a respectable salary for the times, and made other provis- 
ions for his comfortable maintenance, as will be seen by the follow- 
ing votes : 

" Nov. 29, 1732. Votes Respecting the culliiig and settling a Minister in 

" 1. Voted to give the Reverend Mr John Graham now present amongst us 
a call to the work of the ministry amongst us, and to take the pastorall charge 
of the church in Southbury, with the approbation of the Reverend association 
in Farefleld County. 

" 21y. Voted that we will give the Reverend Mr Graham for his incourage- 
meut to settle amongst us that orchard of capt titus Hinman's which was for- 


rnerly the orchard of Samuel Hinmau of Woodbury Dect with one acre of that 
land of Wait Hinman's next adjoining to it, also a building on sJ land, a 
dwelling house two stories high forty foots long and twenty foots wide, and to 
finish ye out side complete, and to finish the inclosing fences with the chimneys. 

" 3.1y. Voted to give the Reverend Mr Graham as a yearly salary one hundred 
Pounds, pr year to be ))ayed in money or provissions at the markitt jirice. 

"4;ly. Voted that the ReuJ Mr Graham shall have the use of the parsonage 
lands within this parish during his life, or ministry amongst us." 

On being informed of these votes, while the society meeting was 
still in session, Mr. Graham suggested some verbal alterations in the 
second and fourth votes, which were adopted by the meeting, and Mr. 
Graham's answer to their call was immediately sent in, a copy of 
which follows : 

" To the inhabitants of Southbury in their present meeting by adjournment 
December 19th, 1732: Grace and peace be multiplied : Dearly beloved foras- 
much as your Com" have in your name and no doubt by your order, called 
and invited me to settle with you in the sacred work of the gospel minstry : I : 
must say that as our first coming together was wholly providential and your 
vote of the call clear and unanimous : and hoping ye sincerity of your aim att 
the glory of God and the spiritual and eternal good of yourselues and children: 
I : have Reason in these Regards to look upon it : as a call from the great Lord 
of the haruest and therefore : tho : I: must acknowledge myself weak and in- 
sufficient for ye great work whereunto : I : am called yet through Christ 
strengthening me : (I know) : I : can do all things and therefore pray that his 
grace may be sufficient for me and his Divine strength be perfect in my weak- 
ness : (I hope) : your continual fervent prayer to the God of all grace for 
me:=: I: return you humble and hearty thanks for the generous olfers you 
have made me of the severall good things for the support of me and my family, 
and do hereby accept the votes of your meeting November : 29^'^ last past with 
ye limitation and alteration, which in your present adjourned meeting you have 
made of the second and fourth votes : upon my own request, and do hereby 
declare against accepting them otherwise than with such alterations : Now that 
ye God of all peace with you and succeed all your lawfuU and'lauda- 
ble endeauers for the establishment of his gospel ministry and ordinances 
amongst you, that he may graciously fit you for and bountfully bestow upon 
you all those great and inestimable blessings and privileges which render you 
capable of gloryfying his name here and fitt you for the enjoyment of himself 
as your everlasting portion hereafter, is the hearty desire and shall be (I hope) : 
the constant prayer of your most affectionate friend and seru' in the Lord : 

"Southbury: December: 19th: 1732." 

J'o/S^ ^iy^,^^ 

ci^'Tr's^, -^ 

The house thus furnished Mr. Graham stood on the site now oc- 
cupied by the residence of Mrs. Whitlock. The salary given to 


him by the preceding vote was £100 per annum. Next year it was 
raised to £130, and it was trradually increased afterward, as the cur- 
rency varied in value till 1747, when it was £400. In 1748, it was 
again reduced to £100. At a meeting of the society held January 
22d, 1753, it was voted 

" That they would give the ReJ M^ Graham, as a yearly salary for iireaching 
the gospel among us so long as he shall remain our minister the full sum of one 
hundred and ten pounds to be paid in the following manner, viz : in good 
wheat at six shillings per bushel, in rie at four shillings per bushel, in Indian 
corn at three shillings per bushel, or in Money Equivalent to the albresaid spe- 
cies at the albresaid prices; and a sufliciency of firewood delivered at the said 
Mr Graham's Door." 

On being informed of the vote of the society, Mr. Graham replied 
as follows : 

" I tliankfully accept the above agreement and vote, and take satisfaction 
therewith as witness my hand. 

"John Graham." 

On the 31st of December, 1764, it was by the society 

"Voted, that whereas the Reverend Mr. Graham, by reason of age and In- 
firmity of body at present is incapable of supplying the pulpit, and likely never 
will be able for the future to supply the same," tliat certain persons named be 
a " Committee in behalf of this Society to confer with Mr. Graham, and see if 
they can agree with him upon a sutable support for him during his life." 

The committee effected an arrangement with him, and immedi- 
ately proceeded to settle a colleague, as will presently be seen. 

Immediately after the settlement of Mr. Graham, measures were 
taken to " embody into church estate," and take their proper position 
among sister churches. This was accomplished Jan. 17th, 173|, 
and the following is a list of the first members : — Rev. John Graham, 
Capt. Titus liinman, Deac. Benjamin Hicock, John Pierce, Nathan- 
iel Sanford, Sen., Ephi-aim Hinman, Ebenezer Squire, Joseph Iliu- 
man, Richard Brownson, Deac. Noah Hinman, Lieut. Andrew Hin- 
man, Titus Hinman, Jr., Solomon Johnson, Stephen Hicock, Timo- 
thy Brownson, Thomas Drakely, Roger Karby, Ebenezer Down, 
Nathaniel Sanford, Jr., Abigail Brownson, Hannah Hicock, Eliza- 
beth Hinman, Abigail Graham, Mary Hinman, ^laney Hinman, 
Eleanor Squire, Mary Brownson, Hester Hinman, Bethia Sanford, 
Prudence Johnson, Comfort Pierce, Sarah Hinman, Dinah Down, 
Bethiah Hicock, Maney Jolnison, Sarah Hinman, Eunice Drakely, 
Sarah Porter, Abigail Brownson, Ann Hinman, Lois Hicock. 


•'The abovesaid Persons were the first members of the Church of Christ in 
Southbiuy. The males were embodied into Church estate on Wednesday ye 
17ih of Juiiry, 1733, being also ye Day v.-hereon the Gospel ministry was settled 
in Soiithbury, and the females admitted on ye 2-5th of said month." 

From what has preceded and will follow, we perceive that Mr. 
Graham had preached to the people of Southburj from his ordina- 
tion early in 1733, to ;^lie month of August, 1766, or thirty-three 
years. lie had previously preached some twenty-one years at other 
places before removing to Southbury. At the latter date, being 
borne down by severe bodily disease, it had become necessary to set- 
tle a colleague with him, which was accordingly done. He came to 
this field of labor ere it was fully a place for the laborer, but strength 
grew out of weakness. The new church prospered under his care. 
During his ministry, 300 members were received into its folds, and 
827 persons were by him baptized. At its organization, Benjamin 
Hicock and Noah Hinman were appointed deacons. Whether there 
"were changes in this office during the period of his labors, does not 
now appear, on account of the defectiveness of the church records. 
He ever maintained the affection of his parishioners, even after bod- 
ily infirmity rendered his further ministrations to them impossible. 
He lived A^ith his people till 1774, when he was "gathered to his 
fathers," and slept in peace, after bearing the " glad tidings of the 
gospel" for the space of o-l years. 

Mr. Graham was settled in Stafibrd, before his removal to South- 
bury, as we learn from an entry in his own hand-writing, the first 
passage of which is here inserted : 

" On Tuesday, December ye IS^h 1722, Mr. Jolm Graham, a candidate for 
ye ministry (from Ireland) in his travels from y® eastern parts of N. England 
(where he had preached some years) into this Colony of Connecticut, was prov- 
identially cast into this town of Stafford, where he tarried that night, and next 
morning being Invited by Mr. Josiah Standish (one of the committee) he 
preached there the next Sabbath." 

His settlement over the church immediately followed. By the 
same minutes we learn, that he had preached at Exeter, N. H., 
" some years" before removing to Stafibrd. By his tombstone we 
are informed that he died in the eighty-first year of his age, and the 
fifty-fourth of his ministry.' He preached in StaiFord and Southbury 

1 The whole uiscription reads — " In truth at best — here Hes the Kev. John Graham, 
■who departed this hfe, December 11th, A. D. 1774 in the 81st year of his age and 54th 
of Ms minis trv." 


forty-five years, and by liis own entry it appears, that he had preach- 
ed " some years" before comuig to the former phice. For more than 
eight years before his death, he was unable to perform pastoral la- 
bors. Before entering the ministry he had been educated in Scot- 
land, as a i)hysician, and entered on the practice of that profession, 
but was induced to relinquish it and become a clergyman. It is not 
known whether this change occurred before, or after he came to this 
country. Mr. Graham was a descendant of the Duke of Montrose, 
as appears by the grave-stone erected to the memory of his son, 
DOct. Andrew Grahanj, one of the first physicians in Southbury 
society, by John A. Graham, LL. D., a lawyer in the city of New 
York. Hon. John Lorimer Graham, a lawyer of the same city, is 
a son of Doctor John A. Graham, here mentioned, and conse- 
quently great-grandson of the minister. He was a man of medium 
size, an intelligent and earnest preacher, an affectionate pastor, and 
an excellent man, exemplary and faithful in all the relations and du- 
ties of life. He was learned in the various branches of knowledge, 
and frequently engaged with great prudence and power in the po- 
lemic discussions of the day. In 1737, Yale College conferred on 
him the honorary degree of Master of Arts. 

In these early days prevailed a custom, which has long since be- 
come obsolete in the Congregational churches, though it is still prac- 
ticed in the congregations of some bodies of professing Christians at 
the present day. The custom alluded to is the mode of singing, 
which was done in this manner. A person was appointed to act as 
chorister, or " to set the psalm," who selected and " pitched" the 
tunes ; then jai, line or two was read off, when the whole congregation 
joined in singing them, and thus proceeding alternately to read and 
sing the lines, in this manner, till the whole psalm had been sung. 
It seems, that soon after the formation of this society, it had been dis- 
cussed whether the church would adopt the new mode of having the 
singing conducted by a choir for that purpose, or carry it on by the 
congregation as before. The action taken by the society on this oc- 
casion is somewhat interesting, and is here introduced : 

" At a gen' Church meeting December 19'*» 1734, appointed in order to agree 
uf)on the mode of Singing the praises of God in publick— and ye appointment 
of a Chorister, Voted and agreed, that we will continue to Sing the praises of 
God in the public worship on the Sabbath, in the common way wherein we 
have hitherto gone on, Leaving every one to their liberty of learning or not 
learning to Sing the Regular way, and that when persons have generally 
Learned to sing by Rule, yet that way of Singing shall not be introduced into 
the Congregation here, but upon farther agreement and in an orderly way. 


"2 Voted and agreed that Capi» Aiuliew Ilinman (If lie will accept it) be 
the person to set the psalm, and Lead iis in the piiblick praises of God, and 
that, if Capin Ilinman do not accept, tlun Joseph Ilinman shall be the man. 

" 3 Voted and agreed that he who Setts the psalm shall be at his Liberty. 
what tunes to Sing on Lecture days." 

On the 1st of July, 17G5, and again on the 18th of August, 17G6, 
the society voted to give Rev. Benjamin WiUhiian a call to settle 
over the church as " Colleague with the Rev'^ M''. Graham," with a 
settlement of £350, to be paid in four equal yearly payments, and an 
annual salary of £50, together with his firewood ; and after the fourth 
year this salary was to be raised to £75 per annum. The firewood 
judged necessary for his family was thirty cords, which might strike 
one, at first glance, as a liberal allowance for a single family, but a 
little reflection will show, that it was quite a different matter to pro- 
vide a year's fuel for a house in those days, not well finished, with its 
huge stone chimney, and all-devouring fire-place. Mr. Wildman's 
letter of acceptance of this call, is a model, brief, to the point, and 
covering the whole ground : 

" To the Society of Soathbury in Woodbury in Litchfield County, grace, 
peace, &c. 

" Whereas sfl Society in Their Meeting on the ISth of August 177G, by their 
vote called and invited me to Settle with thern in the work of the gospel minis- 
try, I having weigh'i the Call and Votes of the Society for my Support Do agree 
to accept their oilers, and hereby do accept and engage Tliro' Divine Assist- 
ance to serve them in the great work unto which they have called me so far as 
my abilities admit. 

" Benj. Wildman." 

Although the first meeting-house had been so long^' in building," 
yet in about twenty years after it was fully completed, another was 
thought necessary. Accordingly, the society voted to build a new 
one, Nov. 30th, 1760, during the latter part of Mr. Graham's active 
ministerial labors. But the great bane of religious and school socie- 
ties, the question of location, intervened at this point, and a vigorous 
and somewhat bitter contest was carried on for many years, so that 
it was more than twelve years before the house was completed. In 
November, 1760, the county court, which now had jurisdiction over 
this matter, appointed a committee to locate the new house, which 
duty they performed in April, 1761, and placed a stake " on Benja- 
min Hinman's lot." A remonstrance followed, and another commit- 
tee was appointed, which located it three-fourths of a mile further 
north, at which place they could not get a vote of the society to 


build. The Assembly was asked by the society's agent, May, 1762, 
for a new committee to locate, but the request was denied. The 
same request was renewed at the next May session, stating that the 
nouse was located within one mile and a fourth of the northern 
boundary of the society. Tlie doings of the county court were set 
aside, and a committee appointed, who reported at the October ses- 
sion, the same year, that they had located it in the " Main Street, 
40 rods South of the last location." The northern part of the soci- 
ety remonstrated, but the location was confirmed. In May, 17G4, 
fifty-five of the southern inhabitants of the society represented to the 
General Assembly, that they " cannot get a vote to build in the last 
place fixed upon, and mountains separate the western inhabitants, 
some of whom go round South, and some go round North ;" and 
therefore pray that there may be a division into north and south so- 
cieties ; but this petition was not granted. Finding that no more 
committees would be appointed, the society, in some measure, acqui- 
esced in the stern necessity, as they thought it, and laid a land tax of 
one shilling in the pound to build the edifice. In 1770, a further tax 
of sixpence in the pound was laid to complete it. In December, 
1767, a vote was passed to " get all ready to frame the meeting-house 
by the 1st of April next," and in December, 1770, another vote was 
passed, " to proceed to finish the meeting-house by the 1st of January, 
1772." The church was finally finished, and a bell procured for its 
use in 1775. This was one of the largest, and most expensive 
churches in this region, and was an imitation, in its architecture, of 
one previously built in Litchfield. It was located, as will be seen, in 
the street near the lane that leads down to the new burying-ground, 
and was used as a chui'ch seventy-two years, till the dedication of 
the present church edifice in 1844. 

Mr. Wildman became pastor in the midst of these troubles, but 
soon after his accession, a better feeling began to prevail, and tlie re- 
sult was a fine church edifice, as we have seen. His ministry com- 
menced October 22d, 17G6, and closed, with his death, in 1812. Dur- 
ing his ministry, the prosperity of his church was at first impeded by 
the meeting-house controversy, and immediately after by the events 
of the Revolutionary War ; yet one hundred and one persons were 
added to its members, and two hundred and twenty-one were bapti- 
zed by him. Under his ministry, Stephen Curtiss, Samuel Strong 
and Jonathan Mitchell, acted as deacons — perhaps others ; the rec- 
ords are very imperfect. 

Mr. Wildman was a native of Danbury, and was a man of noble 


bearing, both in stature, manners and mind. He was easy of access, 
pleasing and instructive in his conversation, and warm in his friend- 
ship. He graduated at Yale College in 1753. It is not known how 
he spent the eight years between his graduation and his entrance on 
his ministerial duties. Perhaps he had not the moral qualities deem- 
ed necessary to fit him for that high calling, for in playful allusion to 
the name he bore, in former years, he frequently remarked, that when 
in college, he was a wild-man ! Even after he had become a luinister, 
an humble, pious man, his forte was wit and humor. Not even se- 
vere and long protracted trials and afflictions, were sufficient to drive 
from his temperament this constitutional tendency to wit. In this 
department, he was always the equal of his Bethlehem neighbor, Dr. 
Bellamy, although the Dr. was his superior in some other things. 
He once consulted Dr. Bellamy as to the best means to be usecl to 
get his people to meeting. The specific recommended by the learned 
Doctor, was to place a barrel of rum under the pulpit. " Ah," said 
Mr. Wildman, "I' am afraid to do this, for I should have the attend- 
ance of half of the church in Bethlehem every Sabbath." As a case 
of discipline for intemperance was then pending in the Doctor's 
church, the witticism cut close home. The people of his parish were 
accustomed to have, every year, what was termed a " wood bee," to 
furnish the pastor with the quantity of wood stipulated in their arti- 
cles of settlement. It was also in accordance with the customs of the 
times, for the pastor to invite his parishioners to " take something to 
drink," on arriving at his wood-yard, before unloading their wood. 
A certain poor, but jocose man, who had no team, but who liked well 
the customary " treat," on one occasion, took a large log on his shoul- 
der, and bore it with much difficulty into the yard. His pastor was 
ready to welcome him, and said, " come, come, good friend, come in 
and drink before you unload P' Some one once spoke to Mr. "Wild- 
man about his pleasant relations Avith Mr. Benedict of Woodbury, 
and the remarkable coincidences in their lives. They were origin- 
ally townsmen ; settled unusually near together ; had lived long and 
harmoniously in the ministry ; had acted much in concert, and for 
their mutual accommodation and gratification. " Yes," said he, " it 
has been remarkable and pleasant ; but there has been one great con- 
trast ; brother Benedict was born a minister, but I was born a wild- 
ass' colt;" On all occasions, whenever wit was possible, he was ever 
ready with his joke. 

His afflictions were numerous, of great severity, and of long con- 
tinuance. The unfortunate habits of a son-in-law, made it necessary 


for him to support a tlaughtei- with her large family of chilrlrcn. 
His wife was an invalid, and suffered great pain, which for many- 
years she could only endure under the. constant infhience of opiates. 
None of these things bowed liim down, for he had a constitution, and 
a grace to be buoyant to the last. " He was fitted not only to endure, 
but to be a submissive and exemplary Christian ; an active and faithful 
pastor ; a preacher orthodox, instructive, animated, able and popu- 
lar." His death, August 2, 1812, at the age of seventy-six, termina- 
ted a ministry of more than forty -five years. Rev. Dr. Backus, of 
Bethlehem, preached his funeral sermon, in which occurs an account 
of what Mr. Wildman said to one of his ministerial brethren a short 
time before the close of his life. It was on an occasion of a public 
meeting of ministers. " I feel," said he, " that this is the last time I 
shall ever meet you. I shall soon go the way of all the earth. I 
wush for no parade at my funeral. If, as usual, many good things 
are said of my character, they will not be truth. I Avas a gay, and 
alas a thoughtless youth — a Wildman by name, and a wild-man by 
nature ! If the Lord has ever made me to differ from others, it has 
been wholly an effort of divine power, and by a series of merciful 
and fatherly chastisements. I bless God for them, for I needed more 
chastisements than any two men I ever saw. Of all saved sinners, 
it will be most proper for me to cast my crown at my Saviour's 

In 1813, the year succeeding the death of Mr. "Wildman, Rev. 
Elijah Wood was ordained pastor over the church and people of 
Southbury. During the year of his ordination a x-evival took place 
which added twenty members to the church. He was a good man 
and devoted Christian, but his ministry was short. He died in June, 

In January, 1816, Rev. Daniel A. Clark was called and ordained 
over the chui'ch, and dismissed September, 1819, after a ministry of 
a little less than' four years. As a vigorous writer and an eloquent 
preacher, Mr. Clark was considered by good judges as having few 
equals in the county. Yet he was regarded by some as unfortunately 
deficient in some important qualifications for usefulness in the sacred 
office. After leaving Southbury, he was successively settled in Am- 
herst, Mass., Bennington, Vt., and in a town in the state of New 
York. He was the author of a premium tract, " The Rich Believer 

1 For tlic principal part of tliis sketch of ]\Ir. Wildman, tlie author is indebted to 
Dr. JIcKwen's Discourse at Litchfield in 1852, and to the minutes of Rev. Williams II. 


Bountiful ;" also a highly popular sermon, " The Church Safe," be- 
sides three volumes of sermons, and some posthumous works. He 
departed this life about 1842, and his remains -were carried to New 
Haven for interment. 

After Mr. Clark's dismissal, there was no settled pastor over the 
church till June, 1826. Among the ministers who preached there for 
a longer or shorter time, during these years, the names of three occur 
to the writer. Rev. Levi Smith, the eloquent Carlos Wilcox, and a 
brother of the Rev. Dr. Payson. 

In June, 1826, Rev. Thomas L. Shipman became pastox', and con- 
tinued in that relation till June, 1836. He graduated at Yale Col- 
lege in 1818. "While here he proved an intelligent, faithful and suc- 
cessful minister. In 1821, during the great revival of that year 
throughout the country, twenty-five were added to this church, and 
in 1827, was another in which eight were received as members. On 
occasions like these, he was ardent and successful in his labors. 

On the 16th of November, 1836, Rev. Williams H. Whittemore 
was installed into the pastoral office over the church, and remained 
till his dismissal in 1850. He graduated at Yale College in 1825, 
and preachedthree years each at Rye, N. Y. and Charlestown, Mass., 
before his settlement in Southbury. He is now Principal of a Young 
Ladies Seminary at New Haven. Since his removal, there has been 
no settled preacher over this church. The pulpit is at present sup- 
plied by the Rev. George P. Prudden, a graduate of Yale, who gives 
good satisfaction to the people. The state of his health does not 
allow him to make a permanent engagement anywhere. 

Among those who have held the office of deacon in this church 
since the days of Rev. Mr. Wildman, are Timothy Osborn, Adam 
Wheelei', Marcus D. Mallory, and Noah Kelsey. There have been 
others, but their names are unknown to the writer for reasons here- 
tofore given. 

Thirty years after the incorporation of Southbury society, and a 
few years after the purchase of lands made of the Indians, called the 
South Purchase, had been settled, there was a desire to have reli- 
gious meetings during the winter months, in a place beyond the 
" mountains," now called South Britain. The high hills between the 
eastern and western parts of the present town of Southbury had very 
soon after the settlement beyond them, niade differences among the 
members of that society. Accordingly, we find twenty-nine persons, 
who lived in " Southbury new purchase," petitioning the Assembly in 
October, 1761, for four months' "winter preaching" each year, on 


the ground of their "Hviug far from the place of Avorship," and the 
bad state of the roads. The prayer of their petition was granted at 
the same session, and they were allowed to " choose the necessary 
officers." Three years later, thirty-eight petitioners said the society 
was nine miles in extent east and west, and seven miles north and 
south, and had a list of £12,000. On account of the mountains, no 
spot for a meeting-house could accommodate all the society, and they 
therefore prayed for another ecclesiastical society, the line to be run 
by the course of the mountains. Sixty-nine persons signed a remon- 
strance, alleging that this would leave the society in a bad shape, that 
it was a time of heavy public taxes, that Mr. Graham was old, and 
they must proceed to settle another minister, that the memorialists 
are not able to pay the expenses of a new society, that those within 
the proposed limits were not united, and that those limits did not fol- 
low the natural boundary. Fourteen other persons, living within the 
proposed new society, remonstrated, asserting that the lines were not 
such as would accommodate a society, that the " winter parish" is 
now divided, and that the application was got up by a few, who 
wished to live in the center of a society. The application, in conse- 
quence of these objections, and somewhat numerous reasons, failed. 
At the May session of the Assembly, 1765, the petition for a new 
society was renewed by forty-five individuals. They urged that it 
would save them more than one-half of their travel to a place of pub- 
lic worship. "Xo one place can accommodate the whole society." 
A tax of " 12'^ in the pound" had been laid to build a meeting-house. 
They therefore prayed for a new society, or a release from taxes. 
The petition was signed by the following persons : Wait Hinman, 
Ebenezer Down, James Edmonds, Samuel TTheeler, Ebenezer Hin- 
man, John Pearce, Samuel Hinman, Eleazer Mitchell, Ebenezer 
Squire, Benjamin Allen, John Garrit, Aaron Down, Zebulon Nor- 
ton, David Pearce, Robert Edmonds, John Mallory, Moses Johnson, 
Abraham Pearce, Gideon Curtiss, Michael Han, Samuel Curtiss, 
Joseph Darling, Ichabod Tuttle, John Park, Timothy Allen, Gideon 
Booth, Matthew Hubbell, Amos Brownson, Comfort Hubbell, Samuel 
Hicock, Thomas Tousey, Moses Down, John Hobart, John Johnson, 
Solomon Johnson, James Edmonds, Jr., Silas Hubbell, Russell 
Franklin, James Stanclift, Joseph Baldwin, Joseph Baldwin, Jr., 
Elijah Hinman, Ebenezer Downs, Bethel Hinman, Samuel Pearce. 
The petition was continued to the October session of the Assembly, 
when a committee was appointed to inquire into the matter and re- 
port. The committee reported at the May session, 17GG, that the 


" mountain renders the meeting in one society impracticable," and 
recommended the incorporation of a new society. The report -was 
accepted, the society incorporated, called South Britain, and released 
from the 12'i tax, notwithstanding twenty-one persons remonstrated, 
preferring to remain with the old society, as they had joined with 
them in a contract for a new meeting-house. In October, 1770, they 
report to the General Assembly that they have settled a minister, 
have begun to build a meeting-house, that the list of the society was 
only £4,379, 4s. Qd., that a large land interest was owned by persons 
living in other parishes, which was increased in value by the incor- 
poration of the new society, and that they therefore asked aland tax. 
The request was grantedf, and a tax of 2'^ per acre allowed for three 
years. The society had previously voted a tax of # in the pound of 
the grand list for each of the two preceding years, toward building 
the house. In December, 1770, the building committee report it 
enclosed, and the society in debt £80 or £90 in consequence. 

From the foregoing, it will be perceived, that the people of 
South Britain had " winter privileges" for five years before their in- 
corporation into a distinct society. The particulars of the organiza- 
tion of the church can not now be ascertained, on account of the 
almost entire want of church records. A few entries, on loose sheets 
of paper, are all that remain to cast a glimpse of information on the 
benighted world. No minister was settled over the church till three 
years after the incorporation of the society. Rev. Jehu Minor, the 
first pastor, was settled early in 1769. The society gave him a set- 
tlement of £200, and a salary of £70 per annum. The settlement 
granted the ministers on their being installed over a church, in those 
early days, was a very convenient thing for a young man, who per- 
haps had spent his last penny in fitting himself to assume the respon- 
sible duties of his high calling. It enabled him to sustain himself 
with dignity and independence among his parishioners, and to dis- 
pense chai'ities among the needy of his congregation, instead of being 
as now — in some sense a beggar — dependent upon niggardly salaries 
for a livelihood. Under the old regime, the ministers held a respect- 
able position among the wealthy families of their parishes, and their 
descendants could remain in the town of their birth, and become 
prominent in the various relations of life. For instance, we have to- 
day, in the ancient town, the descendants of a Bellamy, a Brinsmade, 
a Stoddard, and a Graham. One or two hundred years have not 
Ijeen able to scatter their descendants from the territories their an- 
cestors did so much to improve and bless. Heaven knows where the 

234 II I s T o n Y OF ancient av o o d b u u y . 

children of later ministers are, or where those of the present ■will be 
after the lapse of a few years. Under the present system, the de- 
scendants of the ministers are doomed to be poor, and to be scattered 
from the place of their birth to seek a better fortune elsewhere. 
Change is the order of the day — nothing is stable. However much 
men may regard the " higher calls of duty" to enter this holy em- 
ployment, yet many will feel themselves imperatively called to other 
fields of usefulness, when they behold in this, only a moderate sus- 
tenance for themselves, and pauperism for their children. Much of 
the best order of intellect is and will be engaged in other profes- 
sions and employments, which would be found in this, but for this 
ever-present spectacle of sadness. " The laborer is worthy of his 
hire," saith the '* Book of Books." There is no reason why he who 
labors in " things spiritual," should be reduced to starvation in per- 
son, or in posterity, any more than he who labors in " things temporal." 
This is a matter which needs reformation. 

At the organization of the church in 1769, John Pearce and Eben- 
ezer Down were chosen deacons, and the church consisted of forty- 
two members. Their names were John Minor, Ebenezer Down, 
James Edmonds, John Pearce, Ebenezer Hinman, Ebenezer Squire, 
Silas Ilubbell, John Parks, Timothy Allen, Justice Hicock, John 
Garret, Samuel Pearce, Nathan Pearce, David Pearce, Aaron Down, 
Matthew Hubbell, Eleazer Mitchell, Joseph Pearce, Stephen Brown- 
son, John Skeel, William Youngs, Gideon Booth, Abraham Pearce, 
Prudence Johnson, Dinah Down, Mary Edmonds, Hannah Pearce, 
Elizabeth Hinman, Ann Squire, Ann Hinman, Rebecca Wheeler, 
Sarah Allen, Lois Hicock, Mary Edmonds, Jr., Eunice Pearce, Pru- 
dence Johnson, Jr., Olive Mitchell, Mary Pearce, Mary Brownson, 
Mary Youngs, Sarah Booth, Elizabeth Pearce. The church, durin" 
Mr. Minor's ministrations, was prosperous. Twenty-two were added 
to his church in 1785, and 109 during the twenty-one years he resided 
with his people ; and five were added during the five years' ministry 
of his successor. One hundred and thirty-eight persons were baptiz- 
ed by him. He was dismissed by the mutual consent of himself 
and his church, June, 1790. He was a native of Woodbury, gradu- 
ated at Yale College, and was settled in the ministry over the church 
in South Britain, two years later. He was a good man, and served 
his people acceptably for many years. Toward the close of his min- 
istry he became much engrossed in farming, to the neglect of his pa- 
rochial duties, which was the ultimate cause of his asking a dismission 
from ministerial labor. His succcssorin the pastoral otfice was Mat- 


thias Cazier, who was settled in 1799, and dismissed in 1804. On 
his dismission, the church voted, " that they very cordially esteem 
their pastor, the RevJ Matthias Cazier, as of good moral character* 
and as an able and conscientious JVlinister of the New Testament, and 
sound in the faith." He was of French extraction, His father and 
mother were born in France, but he was born in New Jersey, and 
married a Miss Crane, of Newark. Previous to his settlement in 
this place, he had preached in Vermont, and Pelham, Mass. After 
his dismission here, he removed to the State of New York. Previous 
to his settlement, there had been an interregnum of nine years, 
after Mr. Minor's dismissal, during which time, the pulpit was sup- 
plied by various ministers, and in which had occurred one revival, 
and eleven admissions to the church. The church was again with- 
out a settled pastor for four years, when Rev. Bennett Tyler, D. D: 
was ordained, June 1, 1808. He remained in this pastoral charge 
fourteen years, when he was dismissed at his own request, March 
26th, 1822, having been elected President of Dartmouth College. 
Under the ministration of Dr. Tyler, the church enjoyed great peace 
and prosperity. A hundred and eight persons were added to the 
number of its members. 

Dr. Tyler was born in that part of Woodbury which now belongs 
to Middlebury, near Quassapaug Lake, July 6th, 1783. He gradua- 
ted at Yale College in 1804, and after graduation was for one year 
preceptor of the academy in Weston, now Easton, in Fairfield 
county. He studied theology with the Rev. Asahel ifooker, of Go- 
shen, and was licensed to preach in the fall of 1806. He was or- 
dained pastor of this chui-ch two years later, and after a pleasant 
ministry of fourteen years, he was, in 1822, appointed President of 
Dartmouth College, as stated, soon after which the degree of doctor 
in divinity was conferred upon him by Middlebury College. He 
fiUed this office six years, during Avhich time he had the satisfac- 
tion to witness the constantly increasing prosperity of the institution. 
In June, 1828, he unexpectedly received a call to take the pastoral 
charge of the second church in Portland, Maine, as successor of the 
Rev. Dr. Payson," in '' the great congregation where he had long 
preached, and prayed so like an angel." After much serious de- 
liberation he was induced to accept this call. Here he enjoyed the 
confidence and affection of a large and united church and society, tiU 
he was appointed President and Professor of Christian Theology in 
the Theological Institute of Connecticut. He entered on the dis- 
charge of the duties of these offices in 1834, and continues to dis- 


charge them still. Dr. Tyler " still lives," " his praise is in all the 
churches," and comment on his life and character is unnecessary. 

Immediately after the dismission of Dr. Tyler, Rev. Noah Smith 
was invited to settle over the church and society, which call he ac- 
cepted, and his pastoral labors immediately commenced. His ministry 
was of considerable length, useful and happy. He died in the midst 
of his labors, among his people, October 10th, 1830, at an early age. 
During his ministry,eighteen members were added to the church. In 
the following seven years the church was without a settled pastor, but 
was supplied by various ministers. During this vacancy in tlie pas- 
toi'shij), the church enjoyed unusual prosperity. No less than six 
revivals took place, and 1G2 persons were added to the church. Mr. 
Smith was born in Hanover, N. II., March 8th, 1794, made a profes- 
sion of religion at Albany, N. Y., March Gth, 1813, began to prepare 
for college, March, 1813, graduated at Dartmouth College, August, 
1818, studied theology at Andover Seminary, was licensed to preach 
June Gth, 1821, ordained "Evangelist," October, 1821, and installed 
pastor over this church, October 9th, 1822. On the 28th of June, 
1837, Rev. Oliver B. Butterfield was ordained, and continued to dis- 
charge the duties of his pastoral relation to his church, with pleasure 
to himself, and profit to his people, till his death in 1849. Forty -five 
were admitted to the church during his administration. Mr, Butter- 
field was born in Montrose, Penn., June 18th, 1804. He entered 
Yale College, and pursued his studies there for three years, until ill 
health compelled him to desist. He traveled about two years for his 
health, when he returned, and entered the Yale College Theological 
School, where he graduated in 1836. He received the honorary de- 
gree of Master of Arts from Yale in 1845. In 1851, the present pas- 
tor, Rev. Amos E. Lawrence, was settled. 

As far as can be collected from records, the following persons have 
borne the office of deacon in the church : 

John Pearce, 1769; Solomon Seward, Simeon Piatt, 1827; 
Ebenezer Down, " Joseph Bassett, Anson Bradley, 1835; 

Eleazer Mitchell, Isaac Curtiss, 1798; Elliot Beardsley, " 

Stephen Piatt, Warren Mitchell, 1801. 

In April, 1786, a petition was served on the town of Woodbury, 
preliminary to sending it to the General Assembly, praying that the 
'' societies of Southbury, South Britain, and that part of Oxford," 

1 Seven families from the town of Woodbury were included in the Society of Ox- 
ford at its incorporation in 1741 ; but how many families there were at this date, the 
author has no means of detenuinijig. 


which belongs to the town of Woodbury, may be incorporated into 
one town, and have all the privileges, which by Law the other towns 
in this State have." It stated its list at £14,000*or £15,000, and the 
number of its families at 400. Col. Benjamin Hinman was appointed 
an agent to attend the Assembly, to urge the petition at the May ses- 
sion, but the project failed. In October, 1786, the petitioners ob- 
tained the consent of Woodbury to their application for a new town, 
as will appear by the following vote : 

• « ©ct. 17th, 17S6. 

" Voted not to oppose the grant of a petition from the Inhabitants of South- 
bury, South Britain, and that part of the parish of Oxford which belongs to the 
town of Woodbury. 

" Voted to request the Genl Assembly that in case they should incorporate the 
parish of South Britain, Southbury, and part of Oxford parish into a sepirate 
town, or the parish of Bethlehem, or the parish of Roxbury, that they would 
order and decree that each inhabitant, that has land lying in the bounds of 
Woodbury, as the bounds now are, shall put all his lands into the list in that 
town where the owner shall reside after such Incorporation." 

This petition was granted at the May session of the General As- 
sembly, 1787 ; and the town incorporated by the name of South- 
bury. It is believed, though the proof is not now at hand, that the 
stipulation contained in the foregoing vote of the town, was inserted 
into this charter. The town now had all the rights and pi-ivileges, 
and has followed on, in the staid, beaten track of other Connecticut 
towns. The history of any town, since the Revolution, must be brief 
indeed. The actors in the various important events, are, for the most 
part, now alive, and it might seem the part of flattery to attempt to 
characterize them justly. Besides, in tracing the leading historical 
events, the towns composing the " ancient town," have been treated 
as a unit. Such, it was deemed, was the more appropriate and satis- 
factory manner in which to ti-eat the subjects coming under view. 

Southbury now constitutes a beautiful, fertile farming town, well 
watered by the Pomperaug River, its branches and other streams. 
Its average length from east to west is about eight miles, and its 
breadth about four. Like the parent town, it formerly bolonged to 
Litchfield county, but was many years since annexed to New Haren 
county. There are two Congregational societies and two Methodist, 
each of which is furnished with a commodious house for public wor- 
ship. There are in the town three taverns, four blacksmith shops, 
several shoe shops, one saddler's shop, four grist mills, ten saw mills, 
one paper mill, one manufactory for edge tools, &c., several wool- 


hat manuractories, one sattinet manufactory, one shear do., one 
tin ware do., and seven stores. Some eighty to one hundred thou- 
sand dolla* are invested in these various mercantile and manufac- 
turing operations. There is also at South Britain a water-power 
company, which has laid out a large amount of money in bringing to 
a single point, the united water-power of the Pomperaug River and 
Transylvania stream. By this means they obtain a most excellent 
power, sufficient for an indefinite number of manufactories of the va- 
rious kinds. The population of the town, by the census of 1850, is 
1484. There reside in the town one lawyer, three ministers, and 
thi-ce physicians. 



173S TO 1S53 ; First Settlers ; " Winter Privileges" granted 1738 ; Society 
Incorporated Oct., 1739; First Meeting House, 1744; Dr. Joseph Bell.\- 
MV Begins to Preach, 173S— Ordained in 1740 ; Church Gathered, 1740 ; 
Mr. Bellamy's Church History ; Great Sickness of 1750 ; Half way 
Coven.\nt abolished in 1750; Mr. Bellamy Itinerates ; Seperates ; Old 
AND New Lights ; Church and Pastor invite all Orthodox Ministers to 
the Pulpit in Bethlehem, 1742; Early Times; First Currant Bushes ; 
Second Church Edifice, 1768; Singers allowed to sit in the Gallery, 
1774; People of South Farms apply for Admission into the Society; 
Death and Character of Mr. Bellamy ; First Sabbath School ; Dr. Azel 
Backus Settled in 1791 ; Revivals; Life and Character of Dr. Backus; 
Rev. John Langdon Settled in 1S16 ; Rev. Benjamin F. Stanton in 1825 ; 
Rev. Paul Couch, 1829; Rev. Fosdick Harrison, 1835; Rev. Aretus G. 
LooMis, 1850; List of Deacons; Various Applications for a new town ; 
Bethlem made a Town, 1787 ; Third Church 1S3G ; Present State of the 

For more tlian sixty years after the settlement of Woodbury, that 
part of the town, known as the east part of the North Purchase, had 
remained an unbroken forest, visited only by the Indians, yrild beasts 
of the thick woods, and now and then a pioneer of the white race. 
The North Purchase had been granted to the town in 1703, pur- 
chased of the Indians in 1710, and surveyed in 1723 ; but it was aiot 
divided among the proprietors of the town till 1734. As soon as this 
was done, and each proprietor had " drawn his lot," it Vas open for 
sale, and accordingly a few settlers moved there that year. Previous 
to this, the settled part of Woodbury had extended northward but 
little farther than the north end of " East Meadow." The name of 
the first settler, and the place whence he came, is now lost ; but the 
first house built in the society, was located in a lot now owned by 
Joseph Hannah, where traces of the cellar still exist. The principal 

240 HISTORY 01' ANCIENT "\V O O D B U E Y . 

location of the first few families was on the road running east and 
west, about half a mile north of the present center of the town. 
Among the first settlers were Capt. Ilezekiah Hooker, of Kensing- 
ton, a })arish of Farmington, now Berlin, a descendant of the celebra- 
ted Rev, Thomas Hooker, of Hartford ; and Jonathan Kelsey, of 
"Waterbury, who afterward became deacons in the church in this so- 
ciety. With Dea. Hooker, came two of his sons, Hezekiah, Jr. and 
James. From the first society came Reuben and Josiah Avered, 
Francis and Joshua Guiteau, Caleb and Ebenezer Lewis, Isaac Hill, 
Jr., Isaac Hotchkiss, Nathaniel Porter, and Samuel Steele, formerly 
of Farmington. From Farmington came John Steele ; from Litch- 
field, Thomas and Ebenezer Thompson, and Ephraim Tyler from 
New Cheshire. 

Pour years after the first settlement, the number of families 
amounted to only fourteen ; yet this handful of people felt able 
to support a minister a part of the time, and accordingly peti- 
tioned the General Assembly at its October session, 1738, for liberty 
to have " winter privileges," for five months, " in the most difficult 
season of the yeai", viz., November, December, January, February 
and March," as they lived so far from church, it was impossible to 
attend. They also asked to be exempted from taxes for repairing the 
old meeting-house in the first society. This was to be done till they 
could hire a minister all the time. These privileges were granted 
them on condition that they hired an " orthodox minister," and re- 
frained from voting in the first society, in relation to the meeting- 
house. In jNIay, 1739, they petitioned to be released from parish 
taxes as long as they should hire a minister, and from school taxes, 
on establishing a school of their own, " the school in the first society 
being so far off it was of no use to them." The request was granted, 
and they were permitted to hire a " minister and set up a school." 
At the October session of the same year, they petitioned that the 
*• east half of the North Purchase" might be set off as a distinct ec- 
clesiastical society. The petitioners alleged, that they are " near ten 
miles distant from the first society," that it is difficult to attend 
church there, and that 

" If we were set off in a Distinct Society we should be under better advan- 
tage to obtain the Preaching of the Gospel among us, and also the Ancient So- 
ciety, as we apprehend, are rather for encouraging than hindering of us in our 

The signers to these several petitions were Hezekiah Hooker, John 
Steel, Nathaniel Porter, Francis Guiteau, Caleb Lewis, Joseph 


Clark, Josiah Avered, Ebenezer Lewis, C. Gibbs, Jonathan Seley, 
Edmond Tompkins, Isaac Hill, John Parkis, Reuben Avered, Ephraim 
Tyler, Caleb "Wheeler, Ebenezer Thompson, Beriah Dudley, Seth 

The prayer of the petition was granted, the society was incorpo- 
rated and named Bethlehem. 

Having now become a society, they voted, May 1st, 1740, to build 
a meeting-house, and petitioned the Assembly that a part of Litchfield, 
running the length of the society, and one mile in width, might be 
annexed to the society. On the 14th of the same month, an agent 
was appointed to advocate the measure, and ask for a committee to 
locate the house on a spot they themselves " had fixed," " if s'^ part of 
Litchfield is annexed, and as lands will be benefitted," he was in- 
structed further to ask a land tax. Benjamin Hall, John Southmayd 
and Stephen Hopkins, were appointed a committee of location, who 
for some reason did not report till the May session of 1742, when 
they informed the Assembly, that they had " marked a black oak 
bush on y^ High Land of y® Run, that Runs on y^ East side of y^ South 
End of y^ Bear Hill so called." This location is the spot, a few^ feet 
south of the dwelling-house erected some years since by Dr. North. 
A petition was preferred to the General Assembly, October, 1741, 
for a land tax, representing that " they are few in number, and there 
are 83 rights or allotments of land, which 6 years ago sold for £80 ; 
now since they have a settled minister, these ax-e worth £500." They 
asked for a tax of forty shillings on each right. A tax of thirty shil- 
lings on each right was granted them at the next session, May, 1742, 
and Joseph Clai'k was appointed collector. This tax made non-resi- 
dent proprietoi'S, who at this time held much the largest part of the 
land in the society, bear their equal proportion of its burdens. The 
clerk of the society in 1743, reported the house covered, and in May, 
1744, that materials were provided for finishing the inside of the 
house. Such,' in brief, is the history of the establishment of the so- 
ciety, and the preparation of a house of worship, which was a small 
structure, and was used for the purpose of its erection about twenty- 
five years. 

On the 2d of November, 1738, immediately after " winter privile" 
ges" were obtained. Rev. Joseph Bellamy, then about tw^enty-two 
years of age, was called by the people, and commenced his labors 
among them. He preached, as is believed, the first sermon ever 

1 State Ai-cliives, Ecclesiastical, vol. vi. 


delivered in this society. He held his first meeting in a barn, which 
stood near the north-east corner of the meadow immediately south 
of the present school-house, in the second school district. After la- 
boring with the people for fifteen months, he received a regular call 
to preach to them, who were now formed into a regular church. But 
there exists a little book of records of this church, in which is found 
an account of these transactions in Dr. Bellamy's hand-writing, which 
follows, and more vividly presents the transactions to the mind, than 
any language the author might invent : 

"A. D. 173S, Nov. 2, Came Joseph Bellamy A. M., upon the Desire of the 
people of the Eastern part of the North Purchase of Woodbury (afterwards 
called Rethlem,!) to preach the gospel among them (they having obtained a tem- 
porary license to hold a meeting among themselves.)" 

"A. D. 1739, Oct. They obtain society privileges from the Gen' Assembly, 
and are called Bethlem." 

" A. D. 1740 Feb. 20. The Society of Bethlem being thereto advised by the 
Eastern Association of Fairfield County, Do unanimously give to said J. Bella- 
my, who had been preaching the gospel among ^hem for about one year and 
three months, a call to settle among them in the work of the Ministry. 

"March 12. He accepts the call. Mar. 27. A day of fasting and iirayer 
previous to the ordination is attended, and the chh. is gathered. 

" April 2. The said J. B. was ordained to the work of the ministry and had 
the chli. and people of Bethlem committed to his care." 

The church, at its organization, contained forty-four members, 
twenty males and twenty-four females, and in the list is probably 
found nearly or quite all the names of the fourteen families, which 
Dr. Bellamy found there in 1738. 

There is also a brief history of the church for the first fifteen years, 
by Dr. Bellamy, in the ministerial records to which allusion has al- 
ready been made, which for the great interest attached to it is deemed 
worthy of a place in this volume. It explains itself. 

"A brief and faitliful account of the success of the Gospel in Bethlem from 
the year 1738, and on— 

"In the year 1738, in the Beginning of November, the publick Worship of 
God was set up in (yt part of the North Purchase afterwards called) Bethlem ; 
& the first fruits of the gospel very soon appeared ; The place was new and 
small, of but four years standing, and consisting of but fourteen families, & yet 
witliin about half a year, there were nineteen added to the chh. and these 

1 Dr. Bellamy always spelled this word, Bethlem, though in the act of incorpora- 
tion it is Bethlehem. 


chiefly young persons, a number of whom to this day continue to give good 
evidence that they were savingly converted. Some of the first sermons preach- 
ed in this place had a visible effect upon many of y^ people, especially upon 
youth — they soon became serious, left off spending their leisure hours in vanity, 
& gave themselves to reading, meditation & secret prayer — and not long after, 
some appeared to be under deep and thorough conviction of sin, &■ the concern 
was so great & general, that some weeks, altho' the people were so few, the 
place so small, yet almost every day, there were some going to their spiritual 
guide for direction & some time after were enlightened and comforted. But the 
religious impressions began to wane oif in the Spring and Summer following, 
A. D. 1739, and some fell away to their former carelessness, and by a conten- 
tion that fell out in the Winter of 1639, 40, serious Godliness was almost ban- 
ished and hid in obscurity. It was confined to the closet & maintained but by 
a very few there, and the preacht gospel seemed wholly unsuccessfut-^the gen- 
erality of people in a deep sleep of security. 

" In the fall of 1740, a little after Mr. Whitefield preacht through the country 
& in the Winter & Spring & Summer following, religion was again greatly re- 
vived & flourisht wonderfully. Every man, woman, and child, about 5 or 6 
years old iV upwards were under religious concern, more or less. Quarrels 
were ended, and frolicks flung up. Praying meetings began & matters of re- 
ligion were all the talk. The universal concern about religion in its height, 
many were seemingly converted, but there were false comfort & experiences 
among the rest which laid a foundation, 

(1) For false religion to rise & prevail (2) Many that were beat down, some 
fell into a melancholy, sour frame of spirit, bordering on despair, & others into 
carnal security ; and the truly Godly seemed to be but a very few! And now 
very trying times follow, for (l)a number of the more elderly people being am- 
bitious (fc having a grudge at each other are continually fomenting contention, 
strife and division about society afl'airs, (2) A number of the middle aged stand 
up for false religion &: plead for the seperatists, (3) A number of the younger 
sort set themselves so set up frolicking & serving the flesh — true joiety & serious 
Godlines, are almost banished — this is a summary view of things from 1740 to 
17.50, & much so has it been in other places." 

" 1750. In the spring the anger of the Lord began to burn hot against this 
people for all their abominations «fc he sent a destroying Angel among them, 
who slew about thirty of them & filled the jolace with great distress — Th^ ner- 
vous fever, very malignant, spread & prevailed, 4 or 5 months. The well were 
not sufficient to tend the sick. Some died stupid, some in dreadful despair, 
some comfortably, &: one in special dyed as she had lived like a shining Chris- 
tian. But for all this, the residue turned not to the Lord. 1753. However, in 
some things, a reformation followed ; for after the sickness, the contentious dis- 
positions, the seperate spirit & the rude frolicking temper did not appear as be- 
fore, & they became in a good measure a peaceable, orderly people." 

In October, 1750, a petition from the committee of the society in- 
formed the General Assembly that a " mortal distemper has carried off 
30 persons, generally in the prime of life, to the grave, and people 
have been called off from their common business" to attend the sick. 


They therefore asked to be released from ])aying " County rates," 
^ which was granted. 

In a former chapter, the baptismal, or half-way covenant was ex- 
plained. It was not universally received in Connecticut. And in 
those places where it had prevailed, soon after the " Great Awaken- 
ing," it began to fall into general disuse. Dr. Bellamy was one of 
the first to set his face against it. Accordingly, we find upon the 
records of his church the following : 

" Upon the jniblishing of Mr. Edward's Book on the Sacrament (1750), this 
Practice was laid aside, as not warranted by the holy scriptures — there being 
no other scriptural owning of the covenant, but what implies a profession of 

Thus was this practice removed from his own church, and he con- 
tinued to use his influence against it elsewhere, whenever occasion 
offered. He also published a pamphlet against it. 

The " Seperatists," referred to by Dr. Bellamy, in the preceding 
sketch, were a body of religionists that sprung out of the several 
established societies, in consequence of what is called by some the 
" Great Awakening," and by others the " Old and New Light" time, 
between the years 1740 and 1750. The " New Lights" Avere active 
and zealous in the discharge of every thing which they conceived to 
be their religious duty, and were in favor of Mr. Whitefield and 
others, who were itinerating through the country, preaching and stir- 
ring up the people to repentance and reform. The " Old Lights" 
considered much of their zeal as wild-fire, and endeavored to suppress 
it. The contention between these two parties grew so bitter, that 
those who were of the " New Light" party, withdrew and formed 
separate churches from those of the standing order. Hence they 
were called " Separates," or " Separatists." 

In 1740 and 1741, was witnessed the greatest revival of religion 
that has ever been known in this country. Its influence was all- 
absorbing, and an earnest concern about the things of religion and the 
eternal world was prevalent throughout New England. All conver- 
sation, in aU kinds of company, and on all occasions, except about 
religious matters, and the future welfare of the soul in another world, 
was thrown by. All hearts seemed to be actuated by one feeling, and 
no more attention was paid to their worldly affairs than was absolute- 
ly necessary. They crowded the houses of their ministers. They 
wished to have meetings held a large portion of the time. Scarcely 
a person in the towns affected by this revival, young or old, was left 
unconcerned about this religious interests, and those who had been 


previously scoffers at religion, were the first to become " believers." 
"In many places, people would cry out in time of public worship un- 
der a sense of the overbearing guilt and misery, and the all-consum- 
ing wrath of God, due to them for their iniquities ; others would 
faint and swoon under the affecting views which they had of Christ ; 
some would weep and sob, and there would sometimes be so much 
noise among the people in particular places, that it was with difficulty 
that the preacher could be heard." In some few instances, it seems, 
^hat the minister was not allowed to finish his discourse, there was so 
much crying out and disturbance. 

There is no doubt that this revival was of great importance to the 
cause of true religion, and on the whole greatly advanced its interests. 
The state of society was very much benefited by its influence. But 
there were very great excesses and improprieties committed by heat- ■ 
ed and over-zealous persons during its continuance, which were pro- 
ductive of very unhappy effects. Bodily agitations and outcries 
were encouraged by Davenport and others, and pronounced unmis- 
takeable signs of conversion. These men pretended to know by 
some divine "perception communicated to them from above, who were 
true Christians and who were not ; and not unfrequently would, pub- 
licly declare other ministers of the gospel unconverted, who to all ap- 
pearance, were men of as much grace and piety, at least, as them-^ 
selves. These proceedings gave rise to many errors, which sprang 
up in the churches. They did not seem to follow truth, or reason, or 
indeed any fixed rules of conduct, but were wholly governed by in- 
ward impulses, pretending, as before mentioned, to know the state of 
men's hearts by some spiritual instinct, quicker and surer than the 
old common sense, Bible process of learning the state of the heart 
from a man's character and conduct in life. " Another phenomenon 
of the times," says Dr. Bacon in his " Historical Discourses," was the 
class of itinerating ministers, who either having no charge of their 
own, or without call, forsaking their proper fields of labor, went up and 
down in the land making their own arrangements and appointments, 
and operating in ways which tended more to disorganize than to build 
up the churches. I do not mean such men as Wheelock, Pomeroy, 
Bellamy and Edwards himself, who went where they were invited, and 
calculated to demean themselves everywhere with Christian courtesy 
and propriety, and whose preaching wherever they went — certainly 
the two latter — was much better than the preaching of Whitefield, for 
every purpose but popular excitement. I mean those men of far infe- 
rior qualifications, who, moved by an unbalanced excitement, or by 


tlie aml)ition of makinjr a noise, or by the irksoraeness of regular and 
steady toil, " shot madly" from their appropriate spheres, if they had 
any, and went wherever they could find or force a way among the 
churches, spreading as they went, denunciation, calumny, contention, 
spiritual pride and confusion." * 

]\Ir. Bellamy, and INIr. Graham, of Southbury society, favored the 
work then going on, and spent much time in preaching in all parts of 
the colony. They were very popular, and their labors were gener- 
ally acceptable to their brethren, and useful to the people. They 
were not noisy preachers, but grave, sentimental, searching and pun- 

In 1741, a council of ministers from all parts of the colony met at 
Guilford, and passed various resolutions relating to the existing state 
ofaffixirs, one of which pronounced it disorderly "for a minister to 
enter into another minister's parish and preach, or administer the 
seals of the covenant, without the consent of, or in opposition to the 
settled minister of the parish." This was followed by an act on the 
part of the General Assembly, in May, 1742, prohibiting any ordained 
or licensed minister to preach or exhort, in any society not under his 
care, Avithout the invitation of the settled minister, and a major part 
of the church and society, on pain .of being excluded from the benefit 
of the law for the support of the ministry f also to prohibit any one, 
not a settled or oi'dained minister, from going into any parish to teach 
and exhort the people, without like permission, on penalty of being 
bound to good behavior ; and there was a further clause, that if any 
foreigner, whether licensed to preach or not, should offend in this par- 
ticular, he should be sent as a vagrant, by warrant, from constable to 
constable, out of the colony. This was entitled " an act for regula- 
ting abuses and correcting disorders in ecclesiastical affairs." 

This law was aimed at the whole movement, in order to discoun- 
tenance and overthrow it. Notwithstanding this, two associations 
bore witness to the " Awakening" as a glorious woi'k of God. These 
were the association of Windham county, and the association of the 
eastern district of Fairfield country. In the latter district, were the 
four ministers from the four societies of "Woodbury, viz : Anthony 
Stoddard, of the first, John Graham, of the second, Joseph Bellamy, 
of the third, and Reuben Judd, of the fourth, who were present, and 
bore affirmative testimony. 

1 Dr. TrumbuU. 


Dr. Bellamy's church also, in reference to this law, had a meeting, 
and passed the following vote : 

"June IS, 1742. At a clmrch meeting unanimously voted and agreed, that 
whereas an act prohibiting the ministers of Christ preaching in another minis- 
ters parish without the consent of the major part of the church there, as well 
as of the minister has been passed by our Genl Assembly : 

" Voted by the Ch of Christ in Bethlehem A general and liniversal invitation 
to all approved, orthodox preachers and ministers of the gospel, that manifestly 
appear friends to the present religious concern in the land, that they would, as 
they have opportunity, come in to the help of the Lord among us. The same 
publicly concurred with by the pastor." 

We can gain a slight conception of the diiEculties which surround- 
ed the first settlers of this society, by the prices paid for provisions, 
and other articles necessary for sustaining life, and later from the ex- 
treme difficulty which attended the building of a second meeting- 
house. In 1747, Mr. Bellamy's salary was £190, payable in wheat 
at 12s. per bushel, rye at 9s. and Indian com at 7s. per bushel. In 
1754, we learn by a vote of the society that " 27 shillings were paid 
for a Lock & Kee for the Meeting House." The settlers here, as in 
the " ancient society" were hardy, enterprising, self-denying men, and 
nearly all of them were of large stature, and athletic frames. Their 
traits of character are indicated by their readiness to encounter the 
labors, perils and privations to which they were subjected in the set- 
tlement of the wilderness. The men of the present day may smile at 
the idea of our fathers thinking so much of a journey from the sea- 
coast, or even from "VToodbury to Bethlem, as we are told they did. 
But they forget the obstacles and dangers they had to encounter. 
They forget that there were then no public roads ; no vehicles which 
could be employed for the transportation of their goods. There were 
no steamboats, nor railroads, running with the swiftness of the wind 
in all directions. The first females, as well as the males, went on 
foot, or on horseback, through a trackless wilderness, guided by marks 
upon the trees, or feeling their way wherever they could find room 
to pass. In the midst of the first drear winter, their provisions gave 
out, and the inhabitants had to take their way through the pathless 
forests to the older settlements for food to sustain themselves during 
the remaining winter months. Samuel and John Steele went to 
Farmiugton with a hand-sled, and returned loaded with ears of com 
for their pressing necessities. The men of the present day can not 
imagine the dangers and difiiculties that surrounded those early 
pioneers, exposed to all the perils and privations of the interior for- 
ests. But they were men fearing God, and putting their trust in His 


promises. That fourteen families in the wilderness, before they had 
had time to provide for their own pressing wants, should undertake 
to support a preacher of the gospel, shows the enduring confidence, 
the lofty trust of those men of iron nerve. 

It is related that the first currant bushes ever planted in this society 
were brought from Guilford, by a Mrs. Parks, on horseback. So in 
the first society, \he first elm tree ever set out was used as a whip to 
drive a horse from Stratford to Woodbury. It was employed by an 
ancestor of the late Reuben Walker, for the purpose indicated, and 
then stuck down in a wet place north of John Bacon's house. It be- 
came in time the enormous tree so well known to the inhabitants of 
the town, which was struck by lightning about two years ago, and so 
much injured that it has since fallen down. That tree had watched 
over the town as a sentinel through all its varying interests — throuo-li 
prosperity and. adversity — and it is a pity it could not have been pre- 
served as a matter of historical interest. 

The first house in the society after a time was deemed too small 
for its accommodation. Accordingly on the 4th of January, 1764, 
when there were about one hundred within its limits that paid taxes, 
they voted to build a second church. On the 28th of the next month, 
they voted again to build the house, " and to begin and go on moder- 
ately and Little by Little." At the same time it was voted that no 
tax higher than four pence on the pound should be paid at one time, 
till the house was completed. But this was soon violated, and more 
than once they laid a tax of more than Is. on the pound. They then 
adjourned for the purpose of viewing a place of location, and set their 
stake " at the north-east corner of Mr. Daniel Thompson's lot, next to 
the Rev. Mr. Joseph Bellamy's House." This location was on the 
common in front of the residence of the late Hon. Joseph H. Bellamy, 
grandson of the pastor. On the 24th of May following, Samuel Jack- 
son, Archibald Kasson and Lieut. John Steele, were chosen building 
committee, to take charge of building the house, on the spot thus 
selected, and approved by the county court ; the house to be " 60 by 
43 feet, and just as high as ye Meeting House in ye old Society." 
Three years later, the society voted to " hire the Meeting House 
raised, and to give each man 4s. per day, that shall raise ye Meeting 
House, they find themselves all but Rnu5r, and their wages shall go 
towards their Meeting house Rates." By a vote of the society, Octo- 
ber 20th, 17G8, directing the society's committee to "seat the new 
Meeting House," " and dignify the Pues" therein, we learn when it 
was finished and ready for worship. In December, 1793, a tax of 


sixpence on the pound was laid to build a steeple, provided money 
enough to purchase a " good decent bell and a Lightning rod" for the 
same should be raised by subscription. Eighty pounds were soon 
subscribed, and the bell was obtained. In September, 1774, the 

"•Voted that the singers may sit up Gallery all day, if they please, but to keep 
to their own seat, the men not to infringe on the women pues." 

From this it appears, that at this date the old method of performing 
this part of divine service by the congregation was not yet dispensed 
with in this society, but for what reason it was necessary to pass a 
solemn vote to keep the males from infringing on the ladies' rights, 
does not appear. 

On the 28th of February, 1764, " the people of "Woodbury Farms' 
by their representatives, Barzillai Hendee, Oliver Atwood and Chris- 
topher Prentiss, petitioned to be admitted into Bethlehem society, and 
were admitted on condition that they would help build a Meeting 
House in Bethlehem center." This request was made as this society 
was the most convenient place at which to attend church. Perhaps 
the fame of the pastor had not a little to do in inducing them to make 
this application to their Bethlehem neighbors. 

As will have been seen by what has preceded, the church in Beth- 
lehem, imder the ministrations of Mr. Bellamy, was generally pros- 
perous. There were several occasions of revival of religion, and a 
considerable number of members were added to his church. It is 
not possible now to relate the particulars concerning them, as the 
records of the church throw no light on the subject, and no accounts 
of them have ever been published. 

Rev. Dr. Bellamy, who became so celebrated as a divine, and who 
was in very many respects extraordinary, not only as a minister but 
as a man, was a native of Cheshire, in this state. He was educated 
at Yale College, and graduated at that institution in 1735, at the age 
of sixteen years. Soon after this he became a religious youth, and 
at the age of eighteen, a minister of the gospel. It Avas a spectacle 
not often to be met with, at the present day, to see a youth of eight- 
een years, traveling from place to place, and preaching to the ac- 
ceptance of his hearers, in the various Congregational pulpits of this 
state. In this manner he itinerated for about four years, as he was 
not settled in Bethlehem till he was about twenty-two years of age. 

1 Litchfield South Farms probably. 


For two of these years, however, he spent the larger part of the time 
in this society, as he was engaged to supply the pulpit during the 
season of the " winter privilege." In 1740, he was regularly settled 
over the church ; but at that time, the " Great Awakening" having 
attained its height, and Mr. Bellamy's heart and mental powers being 
enlisted in it, having procured a supply for his own pulpit, he went 
everywhere he was invited, preaching especially in places where 
there was a "revival." His labors were much blessed, wherever he 
went, especially to the people of the new and small parish of his 
usual abode. " When that revival began to be marred by wildness 
and disorder, the prudent young minister retired to his little church, 
and here, with few books, and with small opportunity for improve- 
ment by association with men, he bent himself to a course of study, 
which resulted in attainments in the science of theology, which gave 
him rank among the great divines of every country and every iige. 
He never displayed, nor tried to display himself, as a general scholar. 
In theology, he read deeply, but more deeply thought. Vigilant to 
defeat error, he was sagacious and powerful to refute it. His two 
great companions in this country were Edwards and Burr. His 
principal foreign correspondent was Rev. John Erskine, D. D., of 
Edinburgh. Human nature — men in their varieties — he knew re- 
markably well. But the action of his mighty intellect in retirement, 
contributed mainly to his greatness." At the age of thirty, he pub- 
lished his greatest work, " True Religion Delineated." At forty- 
eight, in 1768, he was made doctor in divinity by the University of 
Aberdeen. In May, 1762, he preached the " Election Sermon" to the 
Assembly. AVhen he was about twenty years of age, the Rev. Jon- 
athan Edwards, Jr., of Northampton, published an able and interest- 
ing work on the qualifications for church membership. The object 
of the book was to overthrow the practice of the half-way covenant 
in the churches, and to abolish the use of baptism and the Lord's 
Sui)per, as converting ordinances. Before the book appeared, Mr. 
Bellamy, though living in a region where the practice was prevalent, 
dissented from it, and had prepared and preached to his people a 
sermon agreeing in sentiment with the Northampton publication. 
As soon as the book came to hand, he was so much interested in it, 
that he immediately set out to find its autlior. Arriving at Mr. Ed- 
wards' house on Saturday, and acquainting him with the fact of his 
being a licentiate, he was invited to stay, and preach a part of the 
next day. In the forenoon he preached that sermon. During its 
delivery, Mr. Edwards was seen to be much interested and excited, 


and constantly bending forward to get a full view of the young man's 
face. When the service closed, and the "great congregation" were 
retiring, the two ministers were seen in the midst of them, engaged 
and lost in earnest conversation. Indeed they had gone some dis- 
tance from the door, before either discovered that Mr. Edwards had 
forgotten to take his hat. 

Dr. Bellamy was a large and well built man, of a commanding ap- 
pearance, lie had a voice of great power and compass. He could 
fill the largest house with the utmost ease, and without any forced 
elevation. He possessed a truly great mind, generally preached 
without notes, and having some great point of doctrine or practice to 
establish, would keep close to his point, till he had clearly and fully 
illustrated it, in the most clear, ingenious and pungent manner, care- 
fully making some striking application. So well was he acquainted 
with the various matters, things, and business of common life, that 
he bad a vast storehouse of imagery to draw from, suitable to his 
hearers of every class. " Preaching once to farmers, the doctrine 
that, in man, sin is indigenous, but holiness is the product of grace, 
he said, ' Sin is bent-grass, holiness, herds-gr^s.' " " When he felt 
well, and was animated by a large and attentive audience, he preached 
incomparably ; though he paid little attention to language, yet when 
he became warm with the subject, he would, from the native vigor 
of his soul, produce the most commanding strokes of eloquence, mak- 
ing his audience alive. There is nothing to be found in his writings, 
though a great and able divine, to be compared with what was seen 
and heard in. his preaching." His pulpit talents exceeded all his 
other gifts. It is difficult for us of the present day, who have never 
heard him, or perhaps any like him, by the description we have from 
those who did hear him, to form any just idea of the power and 
beauty of his preaching. 

The following extract from Dr. McEwen's Centennial Discourse 
at the Litchfield County Consociation anniversary, will illustrate a 
trait in Mr. Bellamy's character : 

" He became early in his ministerial life, a teacher in theology ; and at Beth- 
lem, for years, he kept the principal school in the United States, to prepare 
young men for the ministry. The great body of the living fathers in this pro- 
fession, who adorned the closing part of the eighteenth century, were his pu- 
pils. A volume of anecdotes, related by them concerning his teaching, and 
discipline, and his domestic habits, might be collected. He reigned as a sove- 
reign in his school : still the members of it venerated and loved him. His crit- 
icisms were characterized by sarcasm and severity. Dr. Levi Hart — who ul- 
timately married his daughter — said that he observed that Dr. Bellamy allowed 

252 nisTOUY of ancient woodburt. 

himself great latitude in expressing the faults of the first sermon preached by a 
candidate. When Hart's turn came, he said, that he determined that his ser- 
mon should be faultless. A lecture was appointed for him, at a small house in 
a remote part of the parish, and the procession started on horseback ; the 
preacher at the doctor's right hand, and the sirs, two and two, in due order, 
following. The sermon, on delivery, seemed to Hart better than he expected, 
and raised him above fear from remarks of his teacher. The troop remounted 
for their return. The whole body of rear riders pressed as closely as possible 
to the two leaders, to hear what might be said by the chief in wisdom and au- 
thority. The doctor talked on different subjects, and the orator of the day said 
that his fears of criticism diminished at every step, until he triumphed in the 
conviction that he had silenced the wily remarker. When near home, they 
passed a field of buckwheat. The stem was large, reaching to the top of the 
fence, but there was no seed. ' Hart,' the doctor exclaimed loudly, ' you see 
that buckwheat ?' There is your sermon.' One student in the school, had the 
tact to ask crotchical quef-tions. In the midst of a favorite discussion of the 
teacher, he was brought up by one of these annoying interrogatories. ' Nat 
Niles,' said the speaker, ' 1 wish you was dead.' These pupils, long after they 
had entered the pastoral life, said that some of Mr. Bellamy's playful reproofs 
and commendations weie true {jrophecy. In the presence of his family and 
school, on one occasion, he said, Some years hence I shall take a Journey. 
Coming into a parish, where I shall be a stranger, I shall stoji at a tavern. 
When the landlady is ijoyring the tea, I shall inquire, ' Who is your minister .'' 
'Mr. Benedict,' her rr])]y will be. 'Mr Benedict! What Benedict ?' 'Mr. 
Joel Benedict,' she will answer. ' What sort of a man is he.'' I shall ask. 'Oh, 
he is a prudent, gooti minister; he gives great satisfaction to this people.' I 
shall, the doctor rciuaiked, be glad to hear this, and shall journey home. 

" Some time after iliis, as we are sitting here by the fire, a man will come 
in, and say, 'Does Mi. Bellamy live here?' ' Yes, sir, I am the man.' The 
stranger will proceed, > I live av/ay up the country — was coming down to Con- 
necticut, and the cnuimitteeof our parish told me, that I must get a candidate ; 
if I did not hear oi om-, I must call on Dr. Bellamy, for information.' 1, said 
the doctor, shall inquire, 'Who, sir, was your last minister?' 'Mr. Niles.' 
« What Mr. Niks?" 'Mr. Nathaniel Niles.' I, said the doctor to his wife, 
shall turn to you and say, ' Nat Niles is dead.' ' Oh no,' the man will reply, 
« he has turueil luiidel."'' 

He was married twice. The name of his first wife was Frances 
Sherman, of New Haven, whom he married about the year 1744, 
and who died in 1785, aged sixty-two years. In 1786, he married 
Mrs. Storrs, widow of Rev. Andrew Storrs, of Watertown. One 
year after this, he was prostrated by paralysis, and after languishing 
three years, he died March 6th, 1790, in the seventy rsecond year of 

1 This sketch of Dr. Bellamy is taken principally from Dr. Trumbull's History of 
Connecticut, and Dr. McEwen's discourse at the Centennial Anniversary of the North 
.and South Consociations, at Litchfield, 1852. 


his age, and the fiftieth of his ministry, after his regular settlement 
in Bethlehem.' Two of his children died before him — Jonathan, a 
young lawyer, who was a soldier of the revolution, and Rebecca, the 
wife of Rev. Levi Hart, of Preston. David, his son, lived to a good 
old age in his native place. The late lamented Hon. Joseph H. Bel- 
lamy, was the son of the latter, and named after his distinguished 
grandfather. After Dr. Bellamy's death, his library was advertised 
for sale, and there was a large attendance of the clergy in the neigh- 
borhood at the auction, in order to secure some of his valuable books. 
But their disappointment may be imagined, Avhen on examination, it 
was found to be made up, principally, of the publications of infidels 
and heretics. The good man sleeps among his people, and the cem- 
etery of Bethlem is honored with his sacred dust. 

After the death of Mr. Bellamy, a Rev. Mr. Collins supplied the 
pulpit for a time, and received a call from the church and society to 
settle among them ; but although they offered him a settlement of 
$900, and an annual salary of $900 more, yet he did not, for some 
reason, think proper to accept it. 

In 1791, Rev. Azel Backus received a call from this church, which 
he accepted, and was installed on the 6th of April in that year. He 
was dismissed in October, 1812, that he might accept the presidency 
of Hamilton College. He remained in this situation till December 
9th, 1817, when he was removed from his useful labors, by the hand 
of death, aged fifty-three years. During his residence in Bethlem, 
in addition to his pastoral labors, he established and instructed a 
school, and acquired a distinguished reputation as a man of science, 
and an instructor of youth. This undoubtedly procured for him his 
appointment as president of the college. He was distinguished for 
remarkable vigor of mind. He was both respected and beloved by 
his pupils. He was not only an able divine, but also eminent for his 
social virtues, the mildness of his disposition and the complacency of 
his temper. 

The church under Dr. Backus' care was highly prosperous. In 

1 The origin of Sabbath Schools, and the name of their founder, has always been a 
matter of interesting inquiry to the friends of those nurseries of morahty and religion. 
It is deemed proper to state a fact here, which there is no reason to doubt, that Dr. 
Bellamy had a Sabbath school in his church from the beginning. The school was 
composed of two classes, the eldest instructed by Dr. Bellamy himself in the Bible, 
from which they learned portions, and were questioned upon them, and the second 
class studied the " Assembly's Catechism," under the instruction of a deacon, or some 
other prominent member of the church. — Dr. Hooker's Discourse at Litchfield, 1852. 

254 nisTORY OF ancient avoodbury. 

1792, the second year of his ministry, eighteen were added to it ; in 
1800, eighteen more, and in 1808, twenty. In 1815, while the 
church was without a pastor, seventeen were added. During the la- 
bors of ]\Ir. Langdon, the third minister, in the years 1821 and 1822, 
forty-two members were received, and twenty-three in 1824. Dur- 
ing the hist year of Mr. Couch's ministry, in 1834, thirty-eight mem- 
bers were added to the church, and numbers more in other years. 

Perhaps the sketch of Di\ Backus could be closed in no better 
way, than by an extract from Dr. McEwen's Discourse, so frequently 
quoted in these pages. After having given a sketch of Dr. Bellamy, 
he goes on to say : 

" Tliis unique pastor of the church in Bethlem was succeeded in office by a 
man quite as extraordinary, and of little less celebrity. The Rev. Azel Backus 
was ordained pastor in the year 1791. Comparisons are said to be odious ; but 
odious or not, these two men, occupying in succession the same station, chal- 
lenging attention and admiration — and as unlike as two good and mighty men 
could be — have inevitably been compared with each other. A pious and aged 
negro in the church, was asked how he liked Mr. Backus, the pastor, and 
whether he thought him equal to Mr. Bellamy. His reply immortalized him- 
self, and his two ministers. 'Like Master Backus very much — great man, 
good minister, but not equal to Master Bellamy. Master Backus make God 
big ; but Master Bellamy make God bigger.' " 

" Soon after his settlement, Mr. Backus preached one of his poignant, 
awful sermons in a neighboring parish. A hearer, alarmed for the 
young preacher, asked him, ' Mr. Backus, dare you preach such 
sermons as this at home in Bethlem ?' ' Yes,' he replied, ' I am 
obliged to preach there in this style ; the people have been so long 
kicked and spurred by Dr. Bellamy, that they will not feel gentle 
preaching at all ; this sermon which you have heard is a mere hazel 
switch ; when I am at home I use a sled-stake.' Neither his wit, nor 
even his drollery, could he keep out of the pulpit. His preaching was 
of the most popular kind. The effect, however, of some of the most 
touching sermons which were ever delivered, was diminished by this 
contraband article, which he perhaps unconsciously smuggled in. He 
could weep whenever he pleased — in the pulpit or out of it — and 
make others weep more frequently than any man whom I ever 
saw. lie could not refrain from tears ; his quickest and most profuse 
sensibility was religious. Almost every occurrence reminded him of 
human depravity, and the peril of the soul — of divine grace — its 
mercy and richness ; and lo, his head was waters, and his eyes a 
fountain of tears. He could laugh himself — a passion and power he 
had for making others laugh. He could take a joke, but woe to the 


man who gave it. If in any particulars he excelled Dr. Bellamy, he 
did in repartee, and in the delineation of character. "When he 
preached his unrivaled election sermon, in which he portrayed the 
demagogue from the words of Absalom, ' Oh, that I were made judge 
in the land,' &c., his classmate, Gideon Granger, said to him, as he 
came from the pulpit, ' Backus, had I known what was coming, I 
should have stood up.' Down to this day, the parish of Bethlem 
continued to oe of moderate size ; his salary was not large, and was 
quite insufficient to meet the wants of a man of his generosity and 
hospitality. He instructed a few individual candidates for the minis- 
try in theology ; but his great expedient for eking out a livelihood, 
and for serving efficiently his generation, was that of fitting youth for 
college. In teaching Latin and Greek, and in disciplining boys of 
every grade and constitution, he had unborrowed tact, and unrivaled 
success. In this employment, of so little pretension for a great man, 
he became renowned. From the north and the south, young candi- 
dates for public education flocked to his house ; and there many a twig 
was so bent that it is now a tree, stately and prolific. With whom 
the instructor was the most popular, it were difficult to say, the pu- 
pils, the parents, or the faculty of college. Gen. Wade Hampton, of 
South Carolina, placed his sons there, visited them and saw the scanty 
resources, and the devices and labors of the great man for a living ; 
and the general inquired of the doctor why he did not avail himself 
of owning and cultivating land. The reply was, ' Land can not be 
procured.' ' Whose lot is that ?' said Hampton, pointing to a fine 
mowing-field adjacent to the clergyman's garden. ' Mr. Bellamy's,' 
was the answer. * Is Mr. Bellamy fond. of land?' the inquirer 
added. ' Not very,' said Backus ; ' he only wants that which joins 
him.' After the visitor had left and gone homeward, a letter came 
back, inclosing a deed of the mowing-field. Though David Bellamy 
was reluctant to let Backus have his land, even for money, still as 
neighbors, and as minister and parishioner, they lived on excellent 
terms. Bellamy took the large newspapers — did not read them — but 
on their arrival, sent them over to Backus. His duty, delight and 
glory it was, to keep his patron well posted up in the news." 

" The personal appearance of Dr. Backus was impressive and win- 
ning. Not tall, but of rotund and well-proportioned figure, a massive 
head, a face expressive of sensibility, benignity and intelligence. 
After Dr. John Mason had made his first circuit about New Eng- 
land, he was asked what he thought of the clergy of that section of 
country. His answer was, ' I did not see any men of great learning, 


but I saw one man, who had half a bushel of brains.' That was Azel 
Backus. lie was a native of Franklin, in this state ; the son of a 
widow, who married a man distinguished neither for industry, pru- 
dence nor probity. After Azel had become a man of note, some new 
acquaintances inciuired of him, ' You are the son of Dr. Backus, of 
Somers ?' * No,' he replied ; * he was my uncle. I was the son of 

Bill ,' mentioning the name of his stepfather — *hc married my 

mother and lived on her farm.' ' How did he tducate you ?' 
' Took me with him to steal hoop-poles,' was the remainder of the 
colloquy. He was educated at Yale College — graduated 1737 — re- 
ceived the degree of D. D. from Nassau Hall — was removed from 
bis charge in Bethlem to become President of Hamilton College, in 
1813, where, three years afterward, of acute disease he died, not an 
old man. The warmth and humility of his piety appeared, as it pre- 
viously did, at the last moment of life. When told that he was dying, 
he could not be prevented from throwing himself from his bed upon 
his knees, that with his last breath he might commit to God his de- 
parting spirit." 

After the dismission of Dr. Backus in 1812, the church gave invi- 
tations successively to Rev. Messrs. Zephaniah Swift, Cyrus Yale 
and Caleb J. Tenney, who did not accept the call made. In Janua- 
ry, 1816, a call was tendered to Rev. John Langdon, who accepted 
it and was ordained June IGth, 1816. He was dismissed in June, 
1825, at his own request, on account of ill health, and died February 
28th, 1830, aged forty years. He graduated at Yale College, in 
1809, and was a tutor in that institution from 1811 to 1815. He 
was characterized by a sound, well-disciplined and well-furnished 
mind — by love of study, great decision, and pious devotion to his 
work, amid many infirmities. A residence of five years with his 
former church, after he had ceased to be their pastor, was marked 
with many substantial tokens of their love and confidence. " Few 
churches, if any, ever received from Zion's King, three pastors in 
succession, so distinguished as Drs. Bellamy and Backus, and Mr. 

Rev. Benjamin F. Stanton, the fourth pastor, was installed De- 
cember, 1825, and dismissed, at his own request, March 4th, 1829. 
Rev. Paul Couch, a graduate of Dartmouth College, in 1823, the fifth 
pastor, was installed October, 1829, and dismissed, at his own request, 
November, 1834. Rev. Fosdick Harrison was ordained sixth pas- 

1 Rev. Mr. Yale's Discourse, 


tor, July 22d, 1835; closed his labors with the church March 1st, 
1849, and was dismissed, June 4th, 1850. He is now preaching at 
North Guilford, in this state. In 1815, Yale College conferred on 
him the honorary degree of master of arts. 

In 1850, the present pastor, Aretus G. Loomis, was installed over 
the church and people. 

The following is as correct a list of those who have held the office 
of deacon in this church, as the records show : 

Jabez Whittlesey, 1740. Ebenezer Perkins, 25th April, 1799. 

Jonathan Kelsey, " Myar H. Bronson, 1S15. 

Hezekiah Hooker, Jonathan Smith, 

Ens. Samuel Strong, 2oth Dec, 17')3. Nehemiah Lambert, iCth July, 1S24. 

David Hawley, 4th November, I75G. Phineas Crane, 20th February, 1825. 

Archibald Kasson, 31st March, 1775. Adam C. Kasson, 14th February, 1S31. 

Oliver Parmclee, 1st March, 17S4. Joshua Bird, 2Gth December, 1S39. 

Richard Garnsey, 10th January, 1792. John N. Crane, 2Gth December, 1839, 

Benjamin Frisbie, 

As early as September, 1781, the society voted their desire to be 
set off as a separate town, and appointed Daniel Everit, Esq., to pre- 
fer a memorial to the General Assembly for that purpose. At a 
town meeting, held April 18th, 1782, "Woodbury voted to oppose 
this application, and appointed Col. Increase Moseley and Hezekiah 
Thompson, Esq., agents to attend the session of the Assembly, for 
the purpose of opposition. The application failed, and no further 
movement was made till the May session, 178G, when the society 
appointed Robert Crane and David Bird, agents for the purpose of 
pressing an application for a new town on the attention ofthe Assem- 
bly. The appHcation, which stated the list to be £11,000, and the 
number of families 250, was continued to the October session, pre- 
vious to which, they obtained a vote in town meeting, 173 to 153, 
that the town should not oppose the application, on condition the 
petitioners should pay their proportion of the debts of the town. 
The application did not, however, for some reason, succeed at that 
session, but next year. May, 1787, the society at Bethlehem was 
duly incorporated into a town of the same name, but by an error in 
the transcriber, it was written Bethlem, and has been so written ever 

In 1836, the present Congregational church, the third since the 
organization of the society, was built, and the church met for the last 
time in the old edifice, April 10th, 1836, which had now reached the 
advanced age of sixty -eight years. 

258 HISTORY OF A X C I E N T AV O O D B r R Y . 

The other incidents conneeted with the new town having heen con- 
sidered in connection with the history of the " ancient town" as a 
whole, will not be repeated here. 

Bethlem is a small town, its average length being four and a half 
miles, and its breadth four miles. Its population by the census of 
1850, was 815. It is almost wholly an agricultural town, its soil be- 
in" fertile, with little waste land. It has, however, one woolen man- 
ufactory, two wagon shops, three saw-mills, one grist-mill, three cider 
distilleries, one blacksmith's shop, one shoemaker's shop, and three 
mercantile stores. It also has two churches, a town hall, a flourish- 
ing lyceum, two ministers and one physician. 



1739 TO 1853; Society settled, 1734; Winter Privileges granted, 1739; 
Society incorporated, 1741 ; Kev. ReOben Judd settled, and the church 
gathered, 174'2; List of First Church Members; Rev. Damel Brins- 
made ordained, 1749; Rev. Noah IMerwin installed, 17S5; Rev. Dr. 
Ebenezer Porter ordained, 1796; His Character; First Church, 1742; 
Second Church, 1751 — burned in ISOO; Third Church, ISOl ; Admis- 
sions to the Church; Putrid Fever, 1753; Murders and Casualties; 
Rev. Cyrus W. Gray settled, 1813; Rev. Stephen Mason installed, 
ISIS ; Rev. Gordon Hayes settled, 1S29; Rev. Ephraim Lyrian installed, 
1S52; Revivals; List of Deacons; Winter Privileges granted to New 
Preston, 174b; Society incorporated, 1753; First Church built, 1756; 
Second Church, 1769; Third Church, 1S25 ; Raumaug Church, 1S53; 
Church gathered and Rev. Noah Wadhams settled, 1757 ; Rev. Jeremiah 
Day settled, 1770; Rev. Samuel Whittlesey settled, 1S07; Rev. Charles 
A. Boardman settled, 1S18 ; Rev. Robert B. Campfield, 1S21 ; Rev. Ben- 
jamin B. Parsons settled, 1339; Rev. Hollis Read, 1845; Revivals; 
Deacons; Town of Washington incorporated, 1779; Casualties; Pres- 
ent State of the Town. 

The present town of Washington is made up of territory taken 
from the towns of Woodbury, New Milford, Kent, and Litchfield, and 
is about six miles square. It contains two ecclesiastical societies, 
Judea and New Preston, though not the whole of the latter is in- 
cluded within the town. Judea society embraces all the territory 
taken from Woodbury and Litchfield, and constitutes about two-thirds 
of the extent of the town. But a small portion of this is contributed 
by Litchfield. New Preston embraces all the territory taken from 
Kent and New Milford. In both of these societies are Episcopal 
churches, having houses for religious worship. The first settlement 
in the town was made in Judea society, in 1734, the year this society 
and Bethlehem were divided among the proprietors of Woodbury. 
Joseph Hurlbut was the first settler, and the first framed house was 
built in 1736. The next settlers after Hurlbut were Increase Mose- 


ley, Nathaniel Diirkce, John Baker, Friend Weeks, Joseph Gillett 
and Samuel Piteher. Tlie first sermon preached in the society was 
by Isaac Baldwin, of Litchfield, who afterward relinciuished his pro- 
fession, and became the first clerk of the coimty court for Litchfield 

Five years later, the inhabitants had become more numerous, and 
twenty persons preferred a memorial to the General Assembly, at its 
May session, 1739, representing that they lived " full eight miles 
from the Meeting House," and that their wives and children had " to 
tarry at home from the worship of God about half of the year," and 
therefore they pray for " liberty to have preaching six months in the 
winter," and to be released from paying taxes for a new school-house 
just built in the first society, and also from parish taxes, that they 
may build a school-house of their own. The privilege asked for was 
granted, to continue two years, and they were released from one-half 
of the parish taxes, and from taxes to build a new meeting-house, 
provided they were " in no ways Active in the Affair of Building a 
new Meeting House in said first Society."^ At the October session, 
1741, twenty-six individuals petitioned to be incorporated into an ec- 
clesiastical society, and appointed " Our Trusty and well-beloved 
friend. Friend Weeks, agent and attorney to prosecute our Petition." 
The i^etition was signed by Nathaniel Durkee, John Baker, Joseph 
Gillett, Joseph Chittenden, Elisha Stone, Samuel Pitcher, Jr., James 
Pitcher, Increase Moseley, Lemuel Baker, Daniel Castle, Samuel 
Branton, Ezra Terrill, Jr., Ebenezer Allen, Zadock Clark, Elijah 
Hurd, Joseph Hurd, Joseph Ilurlbut, Benjamin Ingraham, Jr., Rob- 
ert Durkee, Samuel Bell, Jonah Titus, Benjamin Ingraham, John 
Royce, John Hurd, Jr., Jedediah Hurd, Benjamin Hinman. 

Col. Benjamin Hull, John Southmayd, Esq., and Mr. Stephen 
Hopkins, were at once appointed a committee, to inquire into the 
reasonableness of the request, who reported at the same session in 
favor of a new society, with the following boundaries : 

"Beginning att Coin Johnson's line at New Milford bounds, and from thence 
Running Eastward in sd line until) it Comes to the line Dividing Between Beth- 
lehem, and the West part of the North Purchase, and thence to Extend North 
to the north line of sd purchase, and thence Westward to New Milford line, and 
thence Southward to the first mentioned place, at the End of Coll. Johnson's 
line at New Milford bounds." 

1 State Archives, Ecclesiastical, vol. 6, index, et seq. 


The territory thus bounded was immediately, October, 1741, incor- 
porated into an ecclesiastical society, and named " Judeah." ' At 
the same session, twenty-four persons petitioned for a land tax of 30s. 
per lot, on the ground that tlie " inhabitants are few in number, most 
of the territory is uninhabited, and the non-resident owners will not 
sell to settlers." Thirteen non-resident owners also sent in a written 
assent to such a measure, and it was granted for the space of four 

At the May session, 1742, twenty-six petitioners stated, that they 
had " Unanymously and Lovingly Agreed upon A Place for to Set 
a Meeting House," near the center of the parish, and wished to have 
it confirmed. It was accordingly confirmed without opposition, and 
the house built that year by eight proprietors. 

At the first meeting held in this society, all the inhabitants were 
present, and were accommodated in a small room of Mr. Hurlbut's 
dwelling-house. After the organization of the society. Rev. Eeuben 
Judd, a graduate of YtJe College in 1741, was the first minister set- 
tled in it, and was ordained September 1, 1742. The ordination cer- 
emonies took place in a grove, near Mr. Samuel Pitcher's, who then 
resided about half a mile south of the dwelling-house of the late Hon. 
Daniel N. Brinsmade. The church was gathered in the same place 
on the same day, and consisted of twelve members whose names 
foUow : — Rev. Reuben Judd, Joseph Gillett, Benjamin Hurd, Dea. 
Increase Moseley, Allen Curtiss, Timothy Hurd, Dea. Joseph Hurd, 
Joseph Chittenden, John Royce, John Baker, Elijah Hurd, Samuel 
Bell. On the 5th of November succeeding, the following females 
were also received into the new church : Deborah Moseley. Ann 
Hurd, Rachel "Weeks, Jerusha Baker, Abigail Hurd, Mary Hurd, 
Tabitha Hurd, Dorcas Royce, Mary Durkee and Esther Durkee. 
From this time to May, 174G, forty-seven other persons were added 
to the church, making in the whole the number of seventy received 
during Mr. Judd's ministry. Eighty-one baptisms are recorded in 
the same period. Mr. Judd did not remain in the pastoral otRce over 
this church quite five years. He was dismissed, May 6, 1747, and 
from writings that remain, his character and the occasion of his dis- 
mission do not distinctly appear. The tradition is, that he was not of 
that good report, that became one in his sacred office. 

It would be a matter of intei'est to point out the exact location of 
the homesteads of the first settlers, did time and space permit. A 

1 This is the spelling in the original charter, though it is now always written Judea. 

262 niSTORT OF ancient WOODBURY. 

few must .sullicc. Joseph Ilurlbut, the first settler, lived a little east 
of where Samuel Frisbie now lives. Increase Moseley, E?.q., lived 
near John Smith's dwelling-house ; Nathaniel Durkee, near Samuel 

Clark's ; John Baker, near the new house of Benjamin ; Capt. 

Friend Weeks, near Capt. Smith's ; Joseph Gillett, near Sherman 
Brinsmade's, and Samuel Pitcher about half a mile from Judge Brins- 
made's. Before the ordination of Mr. Judd, besides INIr. Baldwin, 
Rev. INIr. Cowles, of Farmington, Rev. Ebenezer Mills, of Wethers- 
field, Rev. INIr. Meade, of Horse Neck, and Rev. Mr. Case, of New- 
town, who afterward settled at New Fairfield, preached in this so- 
ciety more or less, as they had opportunity. 

In September, 1748, Mr. Daniel Brinsmade was invited to preach 
in this society, as a candidate, and was ordained, March 9, 1749. 
The ministers officiating at the ordination, were Mr. Beebee, Mr. 
John Graham, Dr. Bellamy and Mr. Thomas Canfield. He died 
here, forty-four years and nearly two months after his ordination, 
of pneumonia, April 23, 1793, aged seventy-four years. He gradua- 
ted at Yale College in 1745. He had a clear and comprehensive 
mind, and was a pious and able instructorj but was not distinguished 
for pulpit eloquence, or for laborio'us preparation for the Sabbath. He 
had a casuistical turn, and was rather argumentative in his sermons. 
The want of firm union, so common to new societies, and Mr. Brins- 
made's conscientious and inflexible attachment to the doctrines of 
pure Christianity, occasioned him some difiiculties, early in his min- 
istry, which increased and abated, by turns, according to circumstan- 
ces, till the troubles arose which involved the country in the war of 
the Revolution. The unhappy divisions in this society then arose to 
a high pitcli. Almost the entire people became dissatisfied with their 
minister, though no heresy nor scandal was alleged against him. 
This contention finally ceased, after which Mr. Brinsmade was much 
respected till his death, and is still spoken of as a faithful, pious min- 
ister. In the year 1784, the Rev. Noah Merwin, who had been dis- 
missed from Torrington, for want of support, was invited to preach. 
With a remarkable unanimity he was installed colleague with Mr. 
Brinsmade, in March, 1785. He died of scirrhous disease in the 
stomach, two years after Mr. Brinsmade, April 12, 1795. Though 
not accustomed to diligent study, and close investigation of subjects, 
he was Calvinistic in sentiment, had an easy flow of thought, an en- 
gaging address, and treated subjects in a manner so familiar, as to 
please and instruct his hearers. His knowledge of mankind, his af- 
fable and winning manners, gave him more than an ordinary share 


of the confidence and affection of his people. He graduated at Yale 
College in 1773. 

For about seven months after the death of Mr. Merwin, the church 
were supplied by the neighboring ministers, and by Mr. Piatt Bas- 
sett and Amasa Porter, candidates for settlement. In December, 
1795, Rev. Ebenezer Porter came here and preached the greater 
part of the time till his ordination Sept. 7, 1796. At the ceremony 
flf his installation, Rev. Benjamin Wildman offered the introductory 
prayer. Rev. John Smalley, D. D., preached the ordination sermon, 
Rev. Noah Benedict made the consecrating prayer, Rev. Judah Cham- 
pion gave the charge. Rev. Simon Waterman gave the right hand of 
fellowship, and Rev. Jeremiah Day offered the concluding prayer. In 
relation to this interesting occasion, and another equally interesting, 
we find on the ministerial records of the church the following entry, 
in Dr. Porter's handwriting : 

" The assembly was large and serious, the day was pleasant, and was to me 
the most solemn day of my life. O that the light, and warmth of Divine grace 
from the infinite Fountain may shine into my heart, and influence all my con- 
duct, that I may fulfil this ministry faithfully, find this great work a pleasant 
work, and be ready, when called to my last account. 

"On the 14th of May, 1797, I was married to Lucy Pierce Merwin, eldest 
daughter of my predecessor, my age being twenty-four years on the S^h of Oc- 
tober, and hers seventeen years the Sis' Dee. 1796. The marriage covenant 
was administered by Rev. Nathaniel Taylor of New Milford, at the close of 
public exercises on the Sabbath." 

Dr. Porter was dismissed from his pastoral charge, Dec. 18, 1811, 
having been elected Professor of Andover Theological Seminary. 
But the sketch of his life and labors can in no way be better closed, 
than by an extract from the Rev. Cyrus Yale's Discourse at the Con- 
sociation Anniversary at Litchfield in 1852: 

" My instructor at Washington — a choice man to head the list of deceased 
pastors, LOW rapidly to pass before us — was a native of Cornwall, a graduate 
at Dartiiioutli, a student in theology with Dr. Smalley. He was ordained pastor 
of the chuiuh in Washington, 1790. Here, for fifteen years, he labored with 
much ardor, ability and success, ' in the glorious Gospel of the blessed God,' 
until invited to a new and broader field of usefulness. At this time of intense 
interest with Dr. Porter, his ill health seemed to give him more prospect of early 
rest in heaven, than of longer toil on earth. Pale and feeble, from recent hem- 
orrhage of lungs, and from low diet by order of anxious physicians, I well re- 
member liis cadaverous look, his tremulous, tall form, his slow and careful 
step, his hoarse voice, his irritation of throat, his avoidance of excitement and 
of company. Yet, he calmly commits his way to the Lord, and the consocia- 
tion is called with the concurrence of his people, to indicate what the mind of 


the Lord is. That body votes unnnimously in favor of his removal to Andover. 
And now, with characteristic courage and resolution, and in firm reliance on 
his past great Helper, the pale invalid ventures to assume the responsibilities 
of a professorship, so high in its demands, that recently, some of our theological 
seminaries have dropped its imi)osing name, lest it should raise an expectation 
beyond the ability of any mortal to meet. Nor was the solicitude of the new 
professor lessened at all, by a frank and friendly visitor about this time. ' Broth- 
er Porter,' said this honest friend, • will you step here to the window .'' Point- 
ing to the top of the church steeple on the adjacent green, • Do you see that 
painter ? He can go up no higher, and is in some danger of falling. In that 
man, brother, I see yourself. You are at the top of the ladder, and may fall.' 
But as the late John Q. Adams, after reaching the dizziest oflicial elevation in 
the gift of his country, or of the world even, actually went np still higher, and 
higher, in true fame and solid worth, so this jirofessor, this ultimate president 
of the Andover Seminary, in the estimate of an admiring Christian public, 
went up far above the height reached, at the time of his tremulous consent to 
succeed the splendid Griffin in the chair of Sacred Rhetoric, in the pioneer in- 
stitution of the kind, not far from the so-called ' Athens of America.' -And this 
proud name of New England's metropolis, at the date of Dr. Porter's inaugura- 
tion, reminds us alike of the learning of ancient Athens, and the inscription on 
one of its altars — ' To the Unknown God.' 

*' But the liiglily useful course of the Bartlett professor, for more than twenty 
years, amid crippling infirmities at every step, shows how much a well-furnish- 
ed, active, resolute mind, seconded by a large and glowing heart, even in a fee- 
ble body, may do for God and his church, with Christ to strengthen and give 

"I might mention Dr. Porter's love of intense study^/"a/a//y intense — his 
strong common sense, his great graphic power : also the entire consecration of 
himself — first to the Christian ministry as a pastor — afterward, to the more dif- 
ficult labor, under God, of training pious young men for the pastoral office at 
home, or for missionary toil and usefulness in heathen lands. But the Chris- 
tian world has his memoir by a competent hand — a full length portrait — true 
to the original : there is now time to give only the epitome of that memoir — the 
miniature of that picture on the last page of the book. It is taken from the 
monument to his memory in the cemetery of his beloved institution. 
To THE Memory of 
Who died 1S34, aged sixty-two yeaus. 
Was graduated at Dartmouth College, 1702, 
Ordained as Pastor at Washington, Conn , 17'.)i), 
Inaugurated as Professor of Sacred Rhetoric: in the 
Theological Seminary at Andover, 1S12, 
Appointed President of the Same, 1S27. 
Of Cultivated Understanding, Refined Taste, Solid 
Judgment, Sound Faith, and Ardent Piety ; 
Distinguished for Strict Integrity and Uprightness, Kind 
And Gentle Deportment, Simplicity and Godly Sinceritv. 


A Father to the Institution with which He was 


A Highly Useful Instructor, 

A Zealous Patron of the Benevolent Societies of 

, The Times in which he Lived, 

A True Friend to the Temporal and Eternal 

Interests of His Fellow-Beings. 

Living He was Peculiarly Loved and Revered; 

Dying, He was Universally Lamented." 

The first settlers of the society usually met for public worship in a 
barn. The first church, built in 1742, was a small edifice ; a second 
was raised in 1751, and about 1786, a steeple was added to it, and a 
bell procured. In July, 1800, it was set on fire, by a crazy man, 
named David Titus, but by an early discovery of the fire, and the 
exertions of the people in the neighborhood, the night being calm, 
the flames were extinguished in an hour. On the night of April 30, 
, 1801, the church was again set on fire by this man, previous to which 
time it had not been disf^overed that he was guilty of the former mis- 
chief. The fire was put in the steeple, in the middle of the night, 
and the flames had made such progress before it was discovered, that 
no human aid could save it. The witnesses to this sad scene were 
scarcely able to save the surrounding buildings from the devouring 
element. As no alarm could be given by the bell, that being the 
place of the fire, many of the inhabitants, and some within the dis- 
tance of half a mile, were ignorant of the calamity, until the next 
morning. The following week, at a meeting of the society, it was 
unanimously voted to build another church, and with like unanimity 
they soon agreed on the place of location. With heart and hand, they 
vigorously commenced the work May, 1801, and within six months 
from the beginning, the building was so far advanced, that the people 
assembled in it on Thanksgiving day, in November following ; and 
within about a year and a half from the first stroke, it was completely 
finished. Although the expense was about six thousand dollars, and 
immediate payment was necessary, yet no person was called on by- 
legal process to pay his rate. 

During the first seventy years after the establishment of the church, 
the people of Judea were uniformly prosperous and happy. They 
were never divided — never split into sects — but deservedly acquired 
the reputation of being industrious, orderly and harmonious, with but 
one exception. The exception alluded to, was during the last ten 
years of Mr. Brinsmade's ministrations, from 1774 to 1784. This 
was a contention concerning the half-way covenant system, and it is 


worthy of notice, that during tliis whole period of ten years, but three 
members were added to the church. Thus do contentions, even for 
just causes, ever diminish the prosperity of the church. 

With regard to the numbers admitted into the church, and those 
who received baptism, the following entries are given : 

By Mr. Judd, 09 admissions and 81 baptisms. 

By Mr. Brinsmade, 130 « « 306 « 

By Mr. Merwin, 35 " " 78 " 

By Dr. Porter, 135 " « 225 " 

During the same time, Mr. Brinsmade celebrated 128 marria- 
ges ; Mr. Merwin, 37 ; Dr. Porter, 86, and the magistrates of the 
society and town, 44 ; making a total of 295. 

In 1753, a putrid fever prevailed in this society, of which twenty 
or thirty died in six months. In 1776, the dysentery prevailed with 
great mortality. About thirty persons were swept away by it to the 
grave. During the preceding year, not a single death occurred, and 
for the last twenty years preceding 1812, the average mortality in 
the society was but about one per cent, of the population per 

Twenty-one persons have died in this society, either by violent or 
untimely deaths : of which number, six were drowned ; three were 
killed with fire-arms ; four were found abroad, dying or dead ; one 
was killed with a penknife ; two children were burnt to death in a 
coal-pit ; and five were murdered. 

The following account of the murders is taken from Morris' Sta- 
tistical Account of Litchfield County : 

" The murder was committed by Barnett Davenport; and, taken with all the 
attending circumstances, it was one of tlic most inhuman, atrocious, and horri- 
ble deeds, ever perpetrated in New England. From the criminal's own confes- 
sion, it appears, that his parentage and early education were exactly fitted to 
prodi^ce his wicked life and tragical end. Untutored and unrestrained by pa- 
rental government, he was left to grow up at random. In the morning of life, 
no morality was inculcated in him, and no sense of religion, either by precept 
or example. On the contrary, he was, from early years, unprincipled, profane, 
and impious. Before he was nine years old, he was expert in cursing and 
swearing, and an adept in mischief. At eleven years, he began to pilfer. At 
thirteen, he stole money. At fifteen, he entertained thoughts of murder, and 
rapidly waxed harder and bolder in wickedness. At nineteen, he actually mur- 
dered a family in cold blood. As a friendless, wandering stranger, he was taken 
into the house of Mr. Caleb Mallory, and treated with the utmost kindness, in 
the month of December, 1779. Scarcely had two months elapsed, before the 
murder was determined upon. The night of the 3d of February, 17S0, was 
fixed on, to execute the horrid purpose. With a heart hard as adamant, he 
lighted a candle, went into the lodging-room of his benefactors, and beat them 


to death with a club. A little grandchild, being with its grandparents, shared 
the same fate ; and two others were left, in sound sleep, to perish in the flames. 
Having kindled a fire in three of the rooms, he fled from the murderc-d family 
and burning house, after robbing the house of its most valuable articles. But 
from an accusing conscience, and the hand of justice, which followed hard upon 
his steps, he was unable to flee. He was taken and executed, by sentence of 
court, the May ensuing, at Litchfield. What a lesson is this, to parents, who 
neglect the religious education of their families! When children are trained 
up without the worship and fear of God, let it be not thought strange, if their 
mouths are full of cursing, and their feet swift to shed blood.' " 

A fact has been related, which occurred after Mr. Judd's dismis- 
sion, during the time the pulpit was supplied by Rev. John Searle, 
who was afterward settled in the ministry at Sharon. A number of 
young persons met one evening at a tavern, about a quarter of a mile 
south of the present meeting-house, and indulged in noisy and riotous 
mirth. On the next Sabbath, Mr. Searle, like a faithful pastor, took 
occasion to reprove their conduct in a sermon against vain i-ecrea- 
tions. "While he was speaking, one of the young men rose from his 
seat with expressions of the greatest contempt, and went out of the 
church. After a moment's pause, and while the young man was yet 
in the house, the preacher addressed him to this effect : " Perhaps 
you may never have another opportunity to come to this place ; but 
I leave it with the great God." The young man went home, was 
taken sick, languished a few days, and died without any bodily 

After the dismissal of Dr. Porter, the church was without a settled 
preacher nearly two years, when Rev. Cyrus "W. Gray accepted a 
call to settle with the people of this parish, and was installed over the 
church, on the third Wednesday of April, 1813. He remained here 
about two years, when he was dismissed, August 18, 1815. The 
church was again without a pastor fcr nearly three years, when Rev. 
Stephen Mason was settled, on the third Wednesday of February, 
1818. He remained, with pleasure to himself, and usefulness to his- 
charge, for the space of about ten years, and was dismissed, Decem- 
ber 17, 1823. Rev. Gordon Hayes was installed over the church, 
Oct. 28, 1829, and dismissed June 1, 1852. He is a graduate of 
Yale — class of 1828. He is now principal of a flourishing academy 
in Vermont. The present pastor, Rev. Ephraim Lyman, was in- 
stalled June 30, 1852. 

There have been several revivals, by which considerable numbers 
were added to the church, as follows: fifty-four in 1804; twenty in 


181G; fifty-eight in 1821; twenty-nine in 1825; twenty-two in 
1827 ; and one hundred and thirty-one in 1831. 

The following persons have borne the office of deacon in this 
church: Increase Moseley, appointed in 1742; Joseph Hurd, in 
1742 ; Ebenezer Clark, John Powell, William Gibson, Joseph Fer- 
ry — dates not noted ; Preston S. HoUister and Sherman P. Hollister 
in 1805; David Punderson in 1821, and Daniel B. Brinsmade in 

In October, 1748,*eleven persons dwelling in the south-eastern part 
of Kent, and nine living in the north-eastern part of New Milford, 
petitioned the General Assembly for liberty to hire a minister six 
months in the year, on the ground of their living " from seven to ten 
miles from their places of worship in New Milford and Kent." This 
request was granted, to continue four years, with exemption from 
parish rates. Before the end of the four years, in May, 1752, forty- 
one individuals petitioned for a new ecclesiastical society. Their 
names w^ere Samuel Averill, Caleb Rude, Samuel Lake, Moses Aver- 
ill, Henry Davis, Jehiel Murray, Isaac Averill, Joseph Carey, John 
Guthrie, Daniel Averill, Zebulon Palmer, Jacob Kinne, vSamuel Cogs- 
well, Thomas Hodgship, Thos. Morris, Benj. Darling, Samuel Wal- 
ler, Nathaniel Deuine, Enoch Whittlesey, Joseph Jons, Stephen Bos- 
worth, Thomas Beeman, John Benedict, Stephen Noble, Gilead 
Sperry, Elnathan Curtis, John Bostwick, Benajah Bostwick, Mat- 
thew Beale, John Cogswell, Zephaniah Branch, Edward Cogswell, 
Emerson Cogswell, Josiah Cogswell, James Terrill, Joseph Miles, 
Natlian Hawley, Samuel Cogswell, John Cobb, Benjamin Capuen. 

At the same session, sixteen persons of P2ast Green wicli, (now 
Warren,) remonstrated against the -incorporation of a new society, 
stating that their society had lost " thirty-five rateable persons, and 
£1467 on their list," and that they therefore protest against having 
any part of their society cut off, as no families can be spared. Kent, 
at the same time, passed a vote, that this statement was true. New 
Milford also sent a committee to oppose the application, and it failed. 
In October, 1753, thirty-nine persons " in the Northern part of New 
Milford, and the South and South East part of Kent, and a place 
Called Merry-all," renewed the application for an ecclesiastical soci- 
ety, which was granted, and the society called New Preston, with the 
following boundaries : 

" Beginning at the South east corner of New Milford North Purchase, then 
running Southwardly joining upon Woodbury line one mile, from thence run- 
ning a West line to ye part of the Long Mountain, South West of Capt. Best- 


wick's farm, then a North line to the place called the Rockhorse Cobble, and so 
that course to Merryall line, and then across Merryall to Kent line, and then 
Running East to the South West corner of James Lake's farm North Easterly 
to the North West corner of John Henderson's farm, that he now lives on, then 
running East to East Greenwich line, then running South to ye South West 
corner of East Greenwich line to Sheppauge river, then running Southwardly 
upon sd river to Woodbury line, then running Westwardly on Woodbury line 
to ye lirst mentioned bounds," &c. 

The first meeting of the society was held at the house of Jacob 
Kinne, Nov. 23, 1753. The officers chosen were Benajah Bostwick^ 
Clerk, and Samuel Waller, Stephen Noble and Joseph Gary, Socie- 
ty's Committee. A vote was then passed to " meet at Jacob Kinne's 
house for 3 months for public Worship in the winter season," provi- 
ded they could obtain a minister. John Bostwick, Samuel Waller 
and Samuel Averill, were appointed a committee to hire a minister 
for three months. On the first Monday in December following, the 
society laid a tax of 12c?. on the pound, to hire a minister " for a sea- 
son." They also voted to build by subscription, " two school-houses 
for the use of the society, one to be located between Nathaniel Bost- 
wick's house and Steep Brook, in y® Highway, and the other near 
Joseph Cary's in the Highway." The following vote also passed : 

" Whereas Jacob Kinne hath Freely Given the use of his Little old house to 
ye Society of New Preston for to Keep School in When Neaded — Voted yt sd 
house shall be a Lawful School house for s<l Society." 

On the 14th of November, 1754, the society voted to build a meet- 
ing-house. They represented to the Assembly, that they had voted 
to build a meeting-house, and that there was much unimproved 
land owned by non-residents, and they therefore prayed for a land- 
tax of Id. an acre for four years, and also an exemption from the 
land-tax in New Milford. The tax was granted for two years, and 
the exemption was allowed. This house was thirty-six feet long, 
twenty-six wide, ten high, and stood about one hundred rods westerly 
from the present meeting-house. January 30, 1755, a call was ex- 
tended to Rev. Benjamin Chapman to preach on probation. At this 
meeting, also, a vote passed to have " 3 months preaching in the sum- 
mer season," and to join with East Greenwich in procuring a minis- 
ter for " 6 months, being 3 each." March 4, 1756, it was determin- 
ed that the church should be thirty-six feet by twenty-six, with posts 
ten feet high. There were to be " 5 windows with 12 panes of glass 
in each." At a meeting of the society, held September 16, 1756, a 
vote passed to invite Rev. Noah Wadhams to preach on probation, 


and another appointing Matthew Beal as " Quorister to set the Psalm 
in this Society."' On the 29th of December, 1766, it wat, voted to 
build " another Meeting House, 50 by 40, and 22 high." This house 
was inclosed three years later, but not entirely finished till 1798. 
January 19, 1825, tlie third meeting-house, a convenient edifice of 
stone, was dedicated. This bouse is fifty-four feet by forty-four, 
twenty-four feet high, and stands entirely on solid rock. Besides 
this, the society is now building a new church at the " Upper City," 
or Raumaug. 

The church was fully organized in 1757, and Rev. Noah "Wad- 
hams, as we have seen, was its first minister. At its organization, it 
was constituted of thirty-nine members, and fifty-four more were ad- 
ded during the ministry of Mr. Wadliams. He was a graduate of 
Nassau Hall College, of the class of 1754, and Yale College confer- 
red the degree of Master of Arts on him in 1764. 

The second minister was Rev. Jeremiah Day, who was ordained 
over the church, January 31, 1770, and died September 12, 1806, in 
the seventieth year of his age. During the long period of his minis- 
trations, one hundred and twenty-three persons were admitted to the 
church, and three hundred were baptized. The church enjoyed dur- 
ing tliis time, much peace and prosperity. Mr. Day graduated ai. 
Yale College in 1756. He was the father of Rev. Jeremiah Day, 
D. D., LL. D., ex-president of Yale College, and of Hon. Thomas 
Day, LL. D., reporter of judicial decisions for the State of Con- 

Rev, Samuel TVhittlesey was the third minister, and was installed 
Over the church and society December 30, 1807, and dismissed Api-il 
30, 1817. A hundred and forty-two were added to the church dur- 
ing the time of his ministry, and one hundred and sixty-seven were 
by him baptized. After a successful ministry of ten years in this 
parish, he was connected with the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb 
in Hartford, and subsequently, for several years, acted as editor of the 
Mother's Magazine in New York. He was a pleasant, gentlemanly 
man, of a versatility of talent to meet the variety of his employ- 

Rev. Charles A. Boardman was installed June 24, 1818, and dis- 
missed March 9, 1830. During his ministry, one hundred and thirty- 
four were admitted to the church, and two hundred baptized. In 
1819, lie received the honorary degree of Master of Arts from Yale 

1 State Archives — Ecclesiastical, II., vol. 1. 


College. The whole number of members admitted to the church be- 
tween the years 1757 and 1825, was three hundred and nineteen. 

Rev. Robert B. Campfield was ordained over the church Novem- 
ber 16, 1831. Eighty-eight persons were added to the church dur- 
ing his continuance over it, and there were seventy-nine baptisms. 

Rev. Benjamin B. Parsons was ordained, in 1839, to the work of 
the ministry in this society, and was dismissed on his resignation of 
the ministerial office, 1842. Rev. Hollis Read was settled in 1845, 
and dismissed in 1851. The church is now without a settled pastor. 

There have been several revivals, which added considerable num- 
bers to the church : thirty in 1780 ; twenty-five in 1804 ; thirteen in 
1812 ; eighty in 1816 ; forty-one in 1821 ; thirteen in 1826 ; thirty- 
eight in 1827 ; and thirteen in 1829. 

The following persons have borne the office of deacon in this church. 
Eliphalet Whittlesey, date not given ; Moses Averill and Isaac Day- 
ton, in 1783; Jonah Camp, 1784; Joseph Bassett, 1803; Daniel 
Whittlesey, 1807; Samuel B. Buck, 1812; Clark Hatch, 1822; 
Charles Whittlesey and Benjamin B. Knapp, 1826. 

Washington, composed of the two societies of Judea and New 
Preston, was the first town incorporated in the state, after the decla- 
ration of independence. It was incorporated at a special session of 
the General Assembly, January 7, 1779. The petitioners, who num- 
bered forty-seven in Kent, one hundred and seventy-six in Woodbury, 
twenty in Litchfield, and twenty in New Milford, desired the Assem- 
bly to call their town by the name of Hampden, but their agents were 
persuaded to consent to have it called Washington, in honor of the 
commander-in-chief of the American armies. Its first meeting was 
held February 11, 1779, and William Cogswell was the first mod- 

Its boundaries are as follows : 

" Beginning at the south-west corner of Judea parish ; thence running a 
straight line easterly, to the south-west corner of Bethlehem, five miles and 
about one quarter of a mile ; thence North by Bethlehem to Litchfield line, it 
being the north-west corner of Bethlehem ; thence continuing north in a straight 
line, to the north-east corner of the tract annexed from Litchfield ; (the east 
line of "Washington, so far as it is straight, is between five and six miles ;) 
thence in a north-westerly direction, across the western part of Mount Tom, to 
Mount Tom bridge, crossing the western branch of Sheppauge river : thence in 
a line westerly, between "Washington and "Warren, to the "West Pond ; thence 
across said pond ninety rods to Fairweather's Grant. The diagonal line from 
the northeast corner of "Washington to Mount Tom bridge, is about two miles 
and an half: the north line is about five miles in length. From the northwest 
corner of Washington the line runs about South, between Washington and 


Kent, one mile and a half to New Milford line; thence still South to the South 
line of New Milford, north purchase ; thence Southerly to the South-east bounds 
of the jiarish of New Preston, about one mile and an naif; thence by New Mil- 
ford, about three miles and an half to the first mentioned bounds." 

The only incident in the possession of the author, not before no- 
ticed in these pages, is here introduced. Rhoda Logan, daughter of 
John Logan, during the Revolution, was shot by her brother while 
standing in the front door of her father's house, under the following 
circumstances. A few persons opposed to the Revolution, then going 
on, were assembled in Davis' Hollow, a mile or two north of Lo- 
gan's. The whigs in his neighborhood wished to dislodge them, and 
had assembled at his house to devise the best method of doing it. 
While they were in council, young Logan went to a neighbor's, and 
returned with a musket, when his sister, seeing him in warlike mood, 
asked him what he was going to do with the gun. He replied, 
" Shoot tories." She rejoined, " You kill tories ; you have not cour- 
age enough to fire the gun." He said he had. " Then shoot me," 
she said playfully. Upon which he fired, and she fell dead at his 

This is a good agricultural town, and has a considerable man- 
ufacturing interest. There are within its limits, six mercantile stores, 
employing a capital of from $12,000 to $15,000 ; one woolen manu- 
factory, employing a capital of some $10,000, and making from 
70,000 to 80,000 yards of cloth annually. There are two forges, not 
now in operation, and one cotton manufactory. There are two pocket 
furnaces with machine shops attached, employing from twelve to 
twenty men each, four wagon shops, one saddler's shop, one tannery, 
one chair and cabinet shop, one manufactory for making carpet yarn 
and seine twine, and fourteen saw-mills. From 600 to 1,000 casks 
of lime are annually burned, and from 25,000 to 30,000 feet of mar- 
ble per annum, are quarried and sawed. There are three Congrega- 
tional churches, and two Episcopal ; a celebrated female seminary, 
under the care of Miss Brinsmade, and a select school for boys, un- 
der the care of Frederick W. Gunn, A. B. There is also a good 
circulating library. The population of the town, by the census of 
1850, is 1,802. 



1731 TO 1S53; Shepauo first settled, 1713; First Settlers; Four Months' 
Winter Preachimg Granted, 1731 ; Nine years spent in efforts to obtain 
A New Society; Roxbury Society incorporated, 1713; First Church 
built about 1732 ; Second Church built, 1746; Church gathered, and 
Rev. Thomas Canfield settled, 1744; Mr. Canfield's Church History; 
Rev. Zephaniah Swift Installed, 1795; Rev. Fosdick Harrison ordained, 
June, JS13; Rev. Austin Isham Installed, 1839; Third Church built, 
1795 ; Revivals ; Deacons ; Ten years spent in efforts to obtain a Town 
Charter; Roxbury Incorporated into a Town, 1796; Casualties; Pres- 
ent State of the Town. 

The first settlement in Shepaug was made about the year 1713, 
by a man of the name of Hurlbut, who was soon joined by some of 
his relations. He located on the spot a few rods north of the house 
now occupied by Mr. Treat Davidson, a little south-east of the house 
once occupied by Peace Minor. This section was afterward called 
the " Upper Farms." Here they built a small fort for security 
against the Indians, to which they resorted at night. Sometimes 
when war existed with the Indians, in any direction, Woodbury sent 
a small number of soldiers to garrison this fort. One of the Hurl- 
buts soon married a Baker, and a number of her relations were in- 
duced to join the new settlement. Hence originated the Bakers, 
who were afterward of some notoriety in the society. Some repre- 
sentatives of this blood, in the female line, afterward became famous 
throughout the country. One of these was Col. Ethan Allen, the 
hero of Ticonderoga, and Col. Seth Warner, his intimate friend 
and military associate. Capt. Remember Baker, also, a cousin of 
these, of the Baker name, was intimately associated with them in 
all their undertakings of moment, before and during the early part of 
the Revolutionary War. 

It is said by some, that a family of Hurds built the first house in 


the present town of Roxbuiy, on the top of Good Hill, east of the 
house now occupied by ]\Ir. Botsford. There, too, they built a small 
fort. The two settlements probably commenced about the same 
time. In about two years, Henry Castle settled on the spot where 
"William Pierce, Esq., formerly lived. This location, to distinguish 
it from the other settlement, was called the " Lower Farms." Dr. 
Ebenezer Warner next removed here from the old society, having 
bought Promiseck, heretofore mentioned, of the Indians. Numbers 
of his descendants, in each generation, down to the fifth, were phy- 
sicians, some of whom gained a commendable notoriety. After these 
came a number of Castle families, and settled on what is called the 
" Lower Road." For some twenty years, the inhabitants attended 
divine worship in the "ancient Society." This was done both sum- 
mer and winter, by male and female, often on foot, the males carry- 
ing their fire-arms to protect themselves from the assaults of savage 

This state of affairs continued till October, 1731, when "21 "West- 
ern inhabitants at Shippaug in "Woodbvry," constituted Henry Castle 
their attorney, to petition the General Assembly for liberty to hire a 
preacher in the " difficult parts of the year," on the ground of their 
living " from 4 to 7 miles from the Meeting House," and the bad state 
of the roads. The petition was granted, and they were allowed to 
hire a minister four months in the winter. They sent a petition to 
the October session of the Assembly next year, to have the time in- 
creased to six months each year, but the request was denied. Things 
remained in this state till the May session, 1736, when thirty-one 
persons petitioned the Assembly to be constituted into a distinct ec- 
clesiastical society. They urged that they lived six miles from the 
place of worship, and the roads were rough ; that they had a list of 
£2,200, which was increasing. They asked an extension of privile- 
ges to advance both their " temporal and spiritual interests." They 
prayed to be made a society with a portion of the territory of the 
North Purchase and New Milford, to be called "Westbury. They 
wished the east line of the society drawn two and a half miles west 
from " Woodbury Meeting House," or have a committee appointed 
to establish it. A committee was appointed, who reported at the 
October session the same year, that it was difficult for them to attend 
" worship at Woodbury, but at present they are unable to bear the 
expenses of a parish, but may be able in two years." Their appli- 
cation was accordingly dismissed. In May, 1739, they renewed, and 
then withdrew their application for a new society. At the October 


session, 1740, the application for incorporation was again renewed. 
Among other things they urged, that having '' experienced y^ comfort 
and benefit of preaching amongst ourselves by the fatherly indulgence 
of this assembly and thereby learning how much more beneficial it 
would in all regards be, both to us and our children, to have the Gos- 
pel ministry fully settled among us,", they the more ardently desired 
to be set off into a distinct society. This petition was signed by 
Jonathan Hurlbut, Tilley Blakslee, Samuel Castle, David Foot, Mo- 
ses Hurlbut, Daniel Castle, Consider Hurlbut, Gideon Hurlbut, John 
Baker, Sen., Ebenezer Warner, Sen., William Harris, Wm. Harris, 
Jr., Henry Castle, Solomon Squire, Samuel Blakslee, Jehamah Castle, 
Aaron Hurlbut, Elijah Baker, John Burritt, John Hunt. 

At the same session, David and Adam Hurd, John and Zebulon 
Leavenworth, and Jonathan Sanford, sent a remonstrance, wishing 
to remain with the " Prime Society." Elijah Hurd, Joseph Hurd 
and Salmon Hurlbut, sent a petition, wishing to " belong to the North 
Purchase." The " Prime Society" appointed Ephraim Minor as 
agent, to oppose the application for a new society. Later in the ses- 
sion, the following sent* on a petition in aid of the application, saying 
that they had not had an opportunity to sign that first senl : John 
Baker, Nathan Hurlbut, Cornelius Hurlbut, Jesse Baker, Alexander 
Alehouse, Abraham Hurd, AUin Curtis, Gamaliel Hurlbut, Benja- 
min Warner, and Jeremiah Thomas. 

The petition again failed, and was again renewed, May, 1741, stat- 
ing, among other things, that having repeatedly applied to the Gen- 
eral Assembly, and the " Prime Society," and been denied their 
wish, and being still in " distressing circumstances, now again Be- 
seech and intreat this Honorable Assembly in the bowels of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, and in tender pitty and compassion to our Souls and the 
Souls of our Children, that they would in their Wonted Goodness es- 
tablish us a Distinct Society, with Liberty to settle an Orthodox Gos- 
pell Ministry, and Imbody in Church order." They further urged, 
that " Many were crying what shall we do to be saved, and were una- 
ble to attend on Rev. Mr. Stoddard, their pastor." Notwithstanding 
all this, the Assembly was still deaf to their " cries," and refused to 
grant their request. Nothing further was done in the premises till 
October, 1742, when they again renewed their application, for which 
they gave the following reasons : 

*' 1. The distance is great, and the roads bad, the distance from "Woodbury 
Meeting House to the bounds they ask being three miles, and Guiles 100 rods 
to New Milford bounds. 



" 2. i of the people (^:iri ot iitti'iul at Woodbury. 
" 3. The old society would still be large." 

A committee was appointed to " view the circumstances," who re- 
ported at the same session, that two more societies are needed in the 
west part of the town, when able to support the gospel, " bounded by 
aline 2}, miles west from Woodbury Ancient Meeting House, 1 north 
& 1 south of Col. Johnson's line." This report was accepted; and 
the north part having been set off and calhid Judea, in 1731, on the 
application of the Shepaug agent, the south part was incorporated, 
May, 1743, and called lioxbury.' 

During the time the people of this society had had " winter preach- 
ing," they had built for their accommodation, a small church, near 
the " ancient burial-ground, probably about 1732 or 1733." This 
became too small, in process of time, to accommodate them, and May 
15, 1744, the society voted to build another. They applied to the 
Assembly for a committee to locate the same, who reported the place 
where the " old Meeting House Stands," which was confirmed. At 
the May session, 1745, twenty-seven memorialists inform the Assem- 
bly that the location is too far east, that it occasions a great deal of 
uneasinfess, and hinders them from going forward with the building 
and that they therefore ask another committee to locate. A new 
committee was appointed, who reported the same location, October, 
1745, and it was again confirmed. The agent of the society, at the 
next session, represented that they were settling a minister, and build- 
ing their church ; that the value of th ■ land was increased by the 
new society, and he therefore asked a land tax. The request was 
complied with, and a land tax of Gd., old tenor, was granted, to con- 
tinue four years. 

While the people of this society were only allowed " winter privi- 
leges," a Mr. Chase was sometimes employed to preach. Others 
were in turn employed, till after the incorporation of the society. 
On the 20th of November, 1743, Rev. Thomas Canfield, a young li- 
centiate, a native of Durham, in this state, was employed to preach 
in the parish, and continued to do so, till August 22, 1744, when the 
church was gathered, and he was installed over it as its first pastor. 
The persons most active in his settlement were Henry Castle, Ben- 
jamin Warner, Esq., Thomas Castle and Daniel Castle. How many 
communicants the church contained, for many years, it is impossible 

IVState Archives— Ecclesiastical, vol. 7, Index, 26, 26, 27. 


to ascertain, on account of the imperfection of its early records. 
Eighteen males and nine females subscribed the covenant at its for- 
mation. The whole number of communicants found on Mr. Canfield's 
record, for the long space of more than fifty years, is fifty-five males 
and fifty-eight females. The names of some known to have been 
members of the church, are not found in it. Nor do we find any ac- 
count of admissions after 1761, although it is certain that some, and 
probably many, were by him admitted after that date. Of the forma- 
tion of the church, and his own ordination, Mr. Canfield has left a 
very particular account, which although somewhat minute in detail, 
is deemed of sufficient interest to merit an insertion. By it we may 
see how an ordination, in the glden days, compares with one at the 
present time : 

"A Record of my proceedings as to settling in ye Work of ye Ministry, But 
more especially Respecting ye Parish of Roxbury in Woodbury. Also con- 
taining a Record of Chh Members, Baptisms, Births, Deaths 5cc. in s^ Parish 
Anno Domini, 1744. 

" In ye first Place I made application to ye ReVi Association of New Haven 
County, and obtained the following License. 

" At a Meeting of ye Association of New Haven County, Regularly Convened 
Wallingford, Septr2S, 1742. 

"This may Certify whom it Concerns That Mr. Thomas Canfield, having 
been examined as a Candidate for ye Ministry, was approved, And is by this 
Association Licensed to Preach the Gospel when and where he shall be Regu- 
larly Called thereunto, And as a Person Qualified therefor, Do Recommend 
him to ye Improvement of ye Churches of Christ. 

" Test. Thomas Ruggles, Scribe. 

" The firstof my Preaching was at Branford, Nov. 2S, 1742, on Luke 11, 23. 
I having aii Invitation to go & Preach at ye Mountain, now called Cambridge 
in Farmi"gton, wch I accepting acordingly Preach"! yre ye next Sabbath, it be- 
ing ye Gth of Deer & from yttiine till ye latter end of Octobr 1743. On ye 4* of 
Octobr afores"! Mr 3n° Liimm one of Oxford Society Came & gave me an Invi- 
tation to Preach yre on Probation. Accordingly I gave Some Encouragement 
of Coming. I also went & Preachd 3 Sabbaths; viz : ye last in sd Oct' & ye 2 
first in Novr — On ye 12th of b"! Octr came Mr. Ju" Baker one of ye Society Com- 
tee of Roxbury &;c. I gave him some Encouragement. I went & Preachd 
yre on je Sd Sabbath : Viz: on ye 20 Day of Novr and on ye first Sabbath, 
i. e. 4 day of Deer. Whereupon ye people of sd Parish of Roxbury, being 
timely warned, Did meet on ye 5th of jd Dec' & in sJ meeting unanimously 
Voted to Give me a Call on Probation in order to Settlement in ye work 
of ye Ministry. In sd Meeting were chosen Capt. Jn" Baker, Lieut. Henry 
Castle, Ebzer Thomas, Benjn Warner, Dan" Castle as a Comtee to act in be- 
half of s"* Society for ye year ensuing, wch Comtee Conferring with me Con- 
cerning ye aforesil Vote, I Consented to Preach amongst them on Probation as 
aforesd. But I having given Encouragement of Preaching at Oxford 3 Sab- 


baths more, I rcturiieil thither until ye time was Expired & then Returned to 
sJ Roxbiiry on Dl-c"" 29, on the terms pro[)osed (k Continued Preaching with 
them on s'> terms untill April 16, 1744, when ye people of b^l Parish Meeting 
voted to give me a Call for Settlement, in ye Work of ye Gospel Ministry among 
them ; I yielding to it Accordingly on May 30, ye People of sd Parish meeting 
again, made Proposals of Settlement & Salary wch were these (viz) to give me 
75jG Lawfid Money Equal to silver at 6s — bd pr ounce, paying in 3 years i. e. 
£25, pr annum. During w^h time giving me £27, 10s. salary pr annum, & 
afterwards iny Salary to rise £2, 9s pr annum till it amount to £40. On June 
13, 1744, I returned answer to ye aboves'l Proposals to ye acceptance of ye So- 
ciety, it being in a Regular Society Meeting, ye People then Preceded to ap- 
point by a Gen" vote a Day for my ordination, viz. ye 3^ "Wednesday, i. e. ye 
15th Day of ye next August ensuing, and also a Day of fasting & Prayer Previ- 
ous thereunto, on ye 8 day of st^ August. The Ministers Pitch^ upon by ye 
Comtee for ye performance of ye Publik Duties of ye said fast, were ye Rev'^ 
Messrs Stoddard & Graham. 

Accordingly on s>l 8th Day of August, Rev'J Mr Graham appearing for s^^ busi- 
ness, (Revd Mr Stoddard failing by reason of bodily indisposition,) he perlbrm- 
ed ye Publik Service of ye Day. And whereas there being a Publick Fast ap- 
pointed on ye Day prefixed for Ordination; Therefore on this S'li Dayof August, 
(it being also a warned Society meeting,) there was a unanimous vote passed, 
yt ye Day of Ordination should be ye 22(1 i. e. ye fourth Wednesday of s^ August. 
Acccordingly, Circular Letters were immediately issued out to all ye Ministers 
& messengers of ye Eastern Consociation of Fairfield County, signed by ye 
Com^ee, ye form of w^h is hereafter inserted. 

Accordingly on ye Evening before Ordination, viz ; 2lst of August, Came 
Revd Messurs Kent with his messenger. Case with his messenger, who was 
afterward dismissed, Judson with his messenger & Lewis, Next Morning 
Came Mr. Stoddard with his Messenr, and then tlicy began to embody to Pro- 
ceed in ye form of an Ordaining Council. Mr. Judd Corning also with his 
messenr. Revd Mr. Stoddard was chosen Modetor — Mr. Kent, Scribe. Then 
ye Council Proceeded to my examination by asking questions Concerning fund- 
amentals of Religion — then it was Concluded it might be Convenient, yt I 
should Relate my experiences in Religion, in wch Season Came in Revd Mr. 
Mills & his Messenr, Mr. Graham & Mr. Treat of Pennsylvania, &: when ex- 
amination was ended. Came in Mr. Bellamy & his Mesenr, who professil he 
was free to act from former acquaintance with me, and all ye Council profess** 
Satisfaction as to my Relation, Wliereupon it was tho't convenient yt I should 
read ye profession of Faith & C^h Covt to so many C^h Members as were then 
present at Lieut. Henry Castle's, ye place where ye Venerable Council was 
Convened, w^h accordingly I did. 

" Then ye Publick Worship &: Solemnity was attended after this form. The 
Revd Mr. Bellamy made ye first Prayer, Rev'l Mr. Mills Preached on 1 Pet. 1. 
15,16. TheRevdMr. gathered the Church in this wise. First Read- 
ing yc Parish Grant, which is as Ibllowcth : 

"Atta Generall Assembly Ilolden at Hartford on yc 2*1 Thursday of May, 
A. D., 1743. 

" U[)ou ye Memorial of ye Inhabitants of that part of Woodbury called 
Shippauge, Praying this Assembly to be made a District Ecclesiastical Society, 


«« Granted by this Assembly, that ye sd Inhabitants within sd limits be and 
they are hereby made one Distinct Ecclesiastical Society, with the Powers and 
Privileges of other Ecclesiastical yocieties in this Colony, & shall be called & 
known by ye Name of Roxbury.— A True Copy &c. 

" Test. George Wyllys, Secret/- 

" 2dly was Read ye associations advise, viz : 

"At a xMeeting of ye Association in Soiuhbury, Oct. 5, 1743, the Society of 
Roxbury [asked] for advise for a suitable person to preach the Gospel among 
them for a season, & were advised to ye worthy Mr. Canfield, and in Case he 
should fail, to apply themselves to the ministers of Woodbury for further di- 

" A true Copy—test John Graham, Scribe. 

"3dly was Read ye Society's call and my answer as follows, 

"April ye 16th Day A. D. 1744. At a meeting of ye Society of Roxbury, it 

was voted to give Mr. Thomas Canfield a Call for Settlement in ye work of ye 


"Agreeable whereunto on ye 13 day of June, at a Society Meeting, ye sdMr. 

Canfield Returned answer to ye acceptance of ye Society. 

"A true Copy, Test. Tilley Blakslee, Society Clark. 

" Next was read my Recommendation as follows : 
" Branford, July 29th, 1744. 

"This may certify whom it may Concern, That on ye 28th Day of Decemr 
A. D. 1740, Mr. Thomas Canfield was admitted a member in full communion 
with the first Church m Branford, & has behaved Regularly during his abode 
with us. And now upon his desire he is Dismissed from us, & Recommended 
as a person of a regular Conversation, & in good Standing to be incorporated, 
or have communion with any Cch of Christ wherever Providence shall place 

" by Philemon Robins 
Pastor of sd C^h in Branford, with Consent of ye Bretliren. 

" Then was Read ye Recommendations of Church members, wch js as fol- 

" Revd & Beloved — Whereas the Inhabitants of ye Parish of Eoxburyin 
Woodbury have (thro ye orderance of Divine Providence.) a Prospect of hav- 
ing one set over them (speedily) in ye work of ye Lord & taking ye Pastoral 
Care of them, &o many of sd Inhabitants Standing in Special Relation to them 
ye 1st Crhof Christ in Woodbury. As &c. 

"These may certify, yt all ye abovenamed persons are members of ye 1st 
Crh of Christ in Woodbury in full Communion, &: in good Standing, & upon 
their Desire, as matters stand, are Discharged from their Immediate Relation 
to sd Church. 

" Thus Certifieth Anthony Stoddard, Pastor of ye 1st Cch of X with ye Con- 
sent of sd Church. 

" Whereas they having before assented, & subscribed to ye Profession of 
faith, & Church Covt. They were now asked whether they now made Choice 
of me to take ye Pastoral Care of them, to wch yy assented. Then I being also 
aisked whether I complied with their Desire & Invitation to take ye Pastoral 


Care of tliem, to wch J gave my assent. Then they being Declared a true 
Cchof Christ. The Rev' Mr. Stoddard Proceeded to Pray with the laying on 
of hands of yc Elders. And then also, gave me my Pastoral Charge, which is 
as followeth. 

"Wc> ordain thee, Tlio* a minister of Jesus X, & a Pastor of ye flock of X, 
who will Judge yc Quick cV yc Dead at his appearing ik Kingil'". Take heed 
to thyself, tc to all ye Hock over w"» you are made an overseer to feed it : feed 
ye Sheep, feed ye Lambs ; Give attendance to reading, to exhorta"- & to Doc- 
trine ; Neglect not ye gift yt is in ye; Meditate on these things, give thyself 
wholly unto them, ytthy profiting may appear unto all ; In Doctrine, shew un- 
eorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, yt cannot be condc ned, yt he 
W^h is oi' ye contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil to say of you : In 
meekness instructing yose yt o[)pose ym^eives: feed this Hock of God, taking 
ye oversight thereof, not of constraint, but willingly, not for filthy Lucre, but 
of a ready mind; not as being Lord over God's heritage, but being an ensample 
to ye flock ; Give thyself to prayer, & to ye Ministry of ye word ; Study to 
show thyself a workman, yt needeth not to be ashamed, Rightly dividing ye 
word of truth ; And remember you stand as a watchman, and art to observe 
approaching danger to give warning from God, and know yt if you warn not 
ye wicked, when called thereto, ye wicked will die in his iniquity, but their 
blood will be required at your own hand ; but if you warn yc M'icked as you 
ought, & he will not hear, tho he die in his Iniquity, thou hast delivered thy 

" Administer ye Sacraments to such as are y® proper subjects of y™, giving 
each one his portion as a faithful stewrrt Dispense censure, as sorrowful 
occasions offer ; they yt sin, rebuke before all, yt others also may fear ; And we 
bharge you before God,& ye Elect Angels, yt you observe ye Divine rule with- 
out preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. And as to your 
Conversation ; Remember yc instruction, yt a Bishop must be blameless, vigi- 
lant, sober, of good behaviour, given to Hospitality, not given to \*'ine, no 
striker, not given to filthy Lucre, but patient, not a brawler, not covetous : tiee 
youthful lusts; but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace with all them y' 
call upon ye Lord out of a pure heart; but foolish and unlearned questions 
avoid ; and be thou an example of ye believer, in word, conversation, in chari- 
ty, in spirit, in faith, in j)urity. Take heed to thyself as to thy Doctrines; Sc 
if you be faithful to him, yt hath called you, depend on it, your Labour will 
not be in vain in the Lord ; but when ye Chief Shepherd shall appear, you 
shall receive a Crown that fadeth not away. 

"Then Mr. Kent Prayed with Laying on, &c. 

" Rev"! Mr. Case gave ye right baud of fellowship. Concluded with singing 
in ye 6Sth Psalm." 

Mr. Canfield graduated at Yale College in 1739, and spent a long 
life with this people, useful as a pastor, kind and affable, equal to all 
emergencies, beloved as a man in all the relations of life. During 
the long period of more than half a century, his people enjoyed his 
acceptable ministrations, living in peace, a happy and united church 
and society. Fifty years, five months and twenty-four days, did he 


remain doing service " in the vineyard of the Lord," and died Jan. 
16th, 1795, aged seventy-four years. 

After the death of Mr. Canfiekl, the church remained destitute of 
a pastor about two years and a half, during which time the pulpit 
was supplied by vai-ious candidates for the ministry. On the 5th of 
July, 1795, Rev. Zephaniah Swift was installed second pastor of this 
church, and was dismissed April 1, 1812. 

The church then remained destitute of a pastor till June 2, 1813, 
when Rev. Fosdick Harrison, its third pastor, was installed. After 
a successful ministry of twenty-two years, he was dismissed June 
30, 1835. 

The church was now again destitute of a pastor for some four years, 
when the present pastor. Rev. Austin Isham, was ordained over it in 
the pastoral relation, in 1839. Mr. Isham graduated at Yale Col- 
lege in 1836, and has remained fourteen years with the people of 
Roxbury — a sufficient proof of the estimation in which he is held 
by his people, in this day of sudden changes. 

In February, 1794, the society voted to build their third meeting- 
house by a vote of twenty-nine to three. On the 9th of December, the 
same year, they voted again, thirty-six to three, to build the house, 
at a "heap of stones in the Daniel Hinman meadow about 11 rods 
northerly from David Hammond's shop." 

There have been several revivals with additions to the church, as 
follows: thirty-five in 1805; nineteen in 1813; sixteen in 1816; 
nineteen in 1821 ; and fifty-seven in 1828. 

The following have been deacons in this church. Tilley Blakelee 
and Capt. John Baker, appointed in 1747 ; Charles Thomas, date not 
noted; Ezekiel Frisbie, 1783; David Gillet, no date ; Abner Wake- 
lee, 1798; Ichabod Ward, 1806; Enos Warner, 1808; John Tliom- 
as, 1809 ; Ephraim Beardslee and Elihu Canfiekl, 1812; Chauncey 
Whittlesey, 1817 ; T. More, Eli M. Smith and Thomas Hurd, 1829 ; 
Curtis Blakelee, 1836; and Josiah Bronson. 

The struggle of Roxbury society to be incorporated into a sepa- 
rate town was long and severe. For ten years, there was one con- 
tinued round of eftbrts on the part of its citizens. The first vote by 
the society in relation to the subject, was Oct. 2, 1786, when they 
voted to make application to the Assembly to be set off as a sepa- 
rate town, and at a meeting held Oct. 23, 1786, they voted discre- 
tionary powers to Curtis Hurd, to pursue a petition before that body 
to accomplish this end. On the l7th of the same month, Woodbury 
voted, one hundred and four to eighty-six, to oppose the prayer of said 


petition. Oct. 9, 1787, the society laid a tax of three farthings in the 
pound to pay the expenses of tlie effort to obtain a town charter. Wood- 
bury this time voted not to oppose the incorporation. Jan. 12, 1789, they 
again voted to renew their application, and appointed John Hunt 
their agent for this purpose. On the 11th of May following, a tax 
of half a penny on the pound was laid for the same purpose as be- 
fore, and Lt. Lamberton Painter was appointed agent to " pursue the 
petition." In September, the same year, a committee was appointed 
" to see if "Woodbury would relinquish one deputy in the General 
Assembly if Roxbury should be a town." At a town meeting in 
Woodbury, held April 13, 1789, the following vote passed : 

' Voted not to oppose the grtuit of a jjotition from tlie Society of Koxbiiiy 
now lying before the Genl Assembly of this State to be incurporateil into a 
separate town — voted ncmine contradiccnte." 

Notwithstanding this, the charter was not granted. In May, 1790, 
as the contest grew warmer and warmer, they began to employ legal 
gentlemen to assist them in their efforts, and Ilezekiah Thompson 
and Nathaniel Smith, Esqrs., were employed to prosecute their ap- 
plication. At the October session this year, Mr. Daniel Sherman was 
also appointed to assist. In October, 1791, Capt. Roswell Ransom was 
appointed agent to urge the incorporation, and Hon. Nathaniel Smith 
in May, 1792. In September, 1795, Samuel Weller was appointed for 
the same purpose, and the petition was again pressed with vigor at the 
October session, 179G, when it proved successful, and the society of 
Roxbury was incorporated into a town of the same name. 

One or two casualties have occurred in this town, wox'thy of notice. 
The first illustrates the danger of a cai-cless use of fire-arms. Sixty- 
six years ago, a tavern, kept by Roswell Ransom, was located on the 
spot where the Episcopal church now stands. On the 31st of Octo- 
ber, 1787, a "training" of the militia soldiers was held at this place . 
About four o'clock in the afternoon of that day, David Downs left 
his house, now occupied by Treat Davidson, and went to the tavei'n 
for the purpose of getting his son excused from going to the " General 
Training," to be held the next day at Southbury. Thomas Hurlbut 
was present with a gun, in the house of Ransom, and one Hitchcock 
asked him if his gun Avas a good one. lie replied " Try it and see." 
On being asked by Hitchcock if it was loaded, he replied in the neg- 
ative, on which he pulled the trigger, and the gun being loaded, the 
ball which it contained passed through the head of David Downs, 
above the eyes, and dashed his brains on the wall, or ceiling, near 


which he stood, the stain from which remained indelible for many- 
years after. 

In a graveyard north of the Episcopal church is a monument con- 
taining the following inscription : 

" In memory of Lieut. Thomas Weller, an officer in the United States army, 
who was murdered by Archibald W. Knapp, May 16th, 1814, aged 25 years 
and 9 mo., son of Thomas and Polly Weller " 

The circumstances of this murder are thus related by Barber : 

" The circumstances respecting the death of Lieut. Weller, appear to be 
these. In the last war with Great Britain, Knapp enlisted as a soldier. The 
time having arrived for him to march on to the lines, he refused to go ; Weller, 
with three or four soldiers, went to Knapp's residence in the lower part of New 
Milford, in order to take him by force. Knapp meeting him at the door, told 
him that he had no ill-will against him, but if he advanced any farther towards 
him he was a dead man. Weller disregarding his threats, advanced to take 
him. Knapp then shot him in the groin, which caused his death in about 
fifteen minutes. Knapp made his escape into the State of New York, where it 
is believed he now resides. It is stated that Knapp was arrested a few years 
since, on account of this crime, but was rescued out of the Ijands of the ofiicer 
by some soldiers of an independent militia comjoany, of which he was a mem- 
ber, who were out on a military review." 

Eoxbury is almost wholly a fanning town. It is about six and a 
half miles in length, and nearly four in breadth. It has two church- 
es, one Congregational and one Episcopal, two ministers and two 
doctors. It contains four mercantile stores, employing a capital of 
about ten thousand dollars, five hatting establishments, employing 
about as much more capital, two manufactories for forming hat bodies, 
one grist-mill, ten saw-mills, and two foundries. By the census of 
1850, its population was 1,114. 



1740 TO 1853; History of St. Paul's Church, Woodbury; Progress of 
Toleration; Zechariah Beers' " SiONiNO-Opf" Certificate; Parish or- 
ganized, 1740; Col. Seth Warner's Grave; Rev. John R. Marshall, 
First Rector, 1771; Church erected by seventy persons in 17S5; con- 
secrated, 1822 ; Mr. Sayre succeeds Mr. Marshall, 1791 ; Constitution 
accepted by the Church in 1794; Mr. Elijah Sherman's Secession and 
Character; Glebe House erected, 1S37; Church ceased to be a Plu- 
rality, 1838; List of Clergymen; List of Native Clergymen; Christ 
Church, Roxbury; First Church Edifice, 17G4; St. John's Church, 
Washington; St. Andrews' Church, New Preston; Christ Church, Beth- 
LEM ; Baptist Church, Roxbury ; Methodist Church, Woodbury ; First 
Preaching in the Street near " Lodge Rock ;" Next in Mr. Elijah Sher- 
man's House ; Methodist Churches at South Britain and Soutubury ; 

For nearly seventy years after the first settling of the town, there 
were no other churches within its limits, except those of the Congre- 
gational " or standing oi'der." Our fathers emigrated to this country 
to enjoy their religion, not only free from persecution but without 
interruption from Christians of different sentiments. They were de- 
sirous of maintaining a uniformity of doctrine and worship. Correct 
principles of religious liberty were not then known in any Christian 
country, and toleration was not the virtue of that age. On their ar- 
i-ival in this new world, they formed an ecclesiastical constitution, and 
passed a statute that no persons should " embody themselves into 
church estate" without the consent of the General Court, and the ap- 
probation of the neighboring churches, and that no church adminis- 
tration should be set up contrary to the established order. Laws 
were made to compel every person to pay taxes to the established 
religious organization, and for the support of the "approved minis- 
ter." In 1708, an act of toleration passed, allowing all persons who 
should conform to it, the liberty of worshiping God in a way scpa- 


rate from that established by hiw, but it ilid not excuse them from 
paying taxes to the approved, settled ministers of the churches. In 
1727, the members of the church of England made an apphcation to 
the legislature to be exempted from paying taxes for the support of 
the ministry of any other denomination, and for liberty to tax them- 
selves for the support of their own ministry. Accordingly an act 
was passed, directing that all persons within the limits of a parish, 
belonging to the church of England, and to the churches established 
by law, should be taxed by the same rule, and in the same propor- 
tion, for the support of the ministry in such parish, arid where there 
was a society of the church of England, so near to any person who 
had declared himself to be of that church, that he could conveniently 
and did ordinarily attend public worship there, then the collector of 
the tax, on levying the same, should pay it to that minister of the 
church of England on which such person attended, who should have 
power to receive and recover the same ; and when the amount so 
obtained should be insufficient for the support of any such minister, 
the members of the society were vested with the power of taxing 
themselves, and they were also exempted from paying taxes for 
building or repairing the meeting-houses of the established churches. 
The same privileges were afterward granted to other dissenters from 
the established faith. In the revision of 1784, all dissenters were ex- 
empted from paying taxes to the established societies, where they had 
a society of their own and contributed to its support, on lodging a cer- 
tificate from such church or society, properly authenticated, of the fact 
of such membership. Some disputes having arisen as to the validity 
of such certificates, and suspicions arising that an undue advantage was 
taken of the law, an act was passed, May, 1791, directing that certi- 
ficates to be valid, must be approved by a justice of the peace. This 
law excited general disapprobation, and in October, the same year, an 
act was passed, authorizing dissenters to make certificates in their own 
names, and lodge them with the clerk of the society, in the limits of 
which they lived, which should exempt them from taxes as long as 
they ordinarily attended public worship in the society which they 
joined, and dissenting societies were authorized to tax themselves for 
all the purposes of other ecclesiastical societies. This was in effect 
placing all religious denominations on the same footing. Yet there 
was a nominal distinction, members of one society being obliged to 
lodge certificates with another. But now by the constitution, all dis- 
tinction among societies is done away, and all denominations are 
placed on equal ground. The support of religion and religious insti- 


tutions ilcpcnds entirely upon llieir own consent and voluntary con- 
tribution. Tiie ollice of the present law is only to give them tlie 
power of j)roviding for their support in such a manner as they may 
think pro^jcr. " Thus the people of this state, in less than two cen- 
turies, have passed from a religious establishment, through various 
changes, to perfect freedom ; and it may be added, that these changes 
have not broken up any of the located societies, but public worship 
continues to be duly attended in them alh'" 

Under the law allowing each one to lodge a certificate with the 
clerks of the several established societies, or as it was usually ex- 
pressed, " to sign oif," considerable scope w-as allow^ed for the imagin- 
ation. Many specimens of wit, of malice, or of sarcasm were, in con- 
set^cnce, lodged in the archives of the several societies. Some gave 
the clerk of the " standing order" " distinctly to understand," that 
they should attend his " meeting" no more forever. Others gave the 
notice in a quiet business way. As a specimen of the "mirthful de- 
parture" from the established order, the following "signing-ofF" cer- 
tificate of Zachariah Beers, a poetical genius of whom more Avill be 
said hereafter, is inserted. This certificate was lodged with Matthew 
]\Iinor, Jr., Esq., clei-k of the first Congregational society in Wood- 
bury : 

'• Matthew Minor, Jun'', Esquire, 
Hear ye the words ofZechariah. 
Under the Law, the State now orders, 
In serving God we choose our quarters, 
And as I never yet have stated, 
Where long my mind has been located, 
This information I send (greeting,) 
Where I expect to go to meeting. 
I joine the Church Episcopalian, 
Tho Sata^ terms it a rebellion ; 
And to avoid all further evil. 
Renounce the world, the flesh and Devil. 
Woodbury, Jan. 1st, ISll. Zechariah Beers." 

A short time previous to 1740, some few families in this town 
adopted the sentiments of the church of England, and at this date 
they were occasionally supplied by the missionaries of the " Society 
for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts." A church was sub- 
sequently formed, for the following interesting history of whicli, the 
author is indebted to Hon. Charles B. Phelps, a member of that 

1 Statutes of Connecticut, revision of 1821. 


communion. Rev. Solomon G. Hitchcock, a former pastor of the 
church, had very kindly furnished the author with copious minutes in 
relation to the church, of which use is made in the biographical 
sketches in a subsequent part of this volume, but it was deemed best 
to give Judge Phelps' sketch entire, rather than rewrite an article 
from all the sources of information at hand. 

Episcopal Church, Woodbury 
At an early period of the polemic controversy arising from Doctor 
Johnson's conversion to Episcopacy, divine service, according to the 
ritual of the English Episcopal Church, was celebrated within the 
limits of the ancient town of Woodbury, by the missionaries of " The 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts." In 
1732, Doctor Graham, the Congregational minister of Southbury, 
then a part of Woodbury, published a pamphlet antagonistic to the 
publication on Episcopacy, by Doctor Johnson and Rev. John Beach, 
of Newtown. After this controversy, some few families of this town- 
ship adopted Episcopal opinions ; they were, about 1740, organized 
into a parish. The names of Masters, Castle, Squire, Warner and 
Ward, occur in the early annals. About this time, a church edifice 
was erected within the township, on the hill between the present cen- 
ter of Roxbury and Transylvania, near the old graveyard, now 
dilapidated and thrown to the commons, where the bones of Col. Setk 
Warner repose in disgi'aceful negligence, marked by a broken slab, 
reproaching the inheritors of that liberty his valiant arm so essen- 
tially contributed to establish. 

The pi'incipal portion of the inhabitants of the society, lived in 
the south section of Roxbury, and Grassy Hill. The cellar of the 
masters mansion house now remains visible on the lot next north of 
the present dwelling-house of Wm. N. Sbelton, on the west side of 
the way, and overlooks the Woodbury valley. 

For a season, the Episcopal families in the vaUey, were an ad- 
junct of the Roxbury church, and for many years, worshiped there 
more or less. Ashbel Moody lately deceased, was baptized at that 
church, Dec. 8, 1765, by the Rev. Thomas Davies. 

The old town house on the ground now occupied by the carriage 
house of N. B. Smith, Esq., was, after the erection of the new Con- 
gregational house in 1747, occupied by the Episcopalians for seated 
worship until the erection of the present Church edifice in 1785. 

Within the ancient limits of the township, another Episcopal church 
was erected at Judea, now Washington, in Davis HoUow, near the 
present dwelling-house of Capt. Center. 

288 H I S T O i: Y OF a N C I K N T WOODBURY. 

This was built in-incipally by tlie Davies family, to whose lineage 
the Rov. Tiiomas Davies belonged, a family distinguished during a 
century for their intellectual superiority and indomitable persever- 

The Rev. .Tohn R. IMarshall assumed the charge of the present 
parisli at Woodbury, in 1771. He was a citizen of New York, and 
cdu.atcil in the Reformed Dutch faith. During the discussion of 
apostolical authority, and the imparity of the priesthood, Mr. Mar- 
shall followed the opinions of Dr. Johnson, Doct. Leming and Mr. 
Beach, and having graduated at King's (now Columbia) College, and 
laid the foundation of a theological education, he sailed to England 
to be cpiscopally ordained, and was in that year ordained deacon and 
priest at the chapel of Fulham,by Richard Terrick, D. D., Bishop of 
London, and returning came to Woodbury to commence his professional 
life in the same year. A glebe was purchased and conveyed to the 
society, the place now improved and occupied by Gideon B. Bots- 
ford, Esq., as his residence. The parish was a plurality, and flour- 
ished under his ministration until the breaking out of the Revolu- 
tionary War, when its progress was retarded by the invincible hostil- 
ity of the public mind to everything English. Without adverting 
to the inhuman violence inflicted by passion and bigotry on Mr. 
Marshall, all is to be regarded as the eflPervescence of the public 
mind at an excited period, as the error of the age modified by the 
crisis. ; 

The church was erected by the contributions of seventy persons 
in sums ranging from three shillings to forty-three pounds. Mr. 
Marshall gave the glass and nails. 

John Clark paid, . . . _ 

]\Iitchell Lamson, 

Elijah Sherman, . . . . 

Doct. Samuel Orton, _ _ . _ 

Ilezekiah Thompson, 

None of the original subscribers are now living. 

Only seven persons, children of the original subscribers, reside in 
Woodbury. Nathan Preston and John P. Marshall are the only 
children of the original subscribers who worship in this faith. 

The proceeds of the glebe, sold to build a church, added to the 
other expenses, were only adequate to the inclosure of the church 
edifice, laying the floors, plastei'ing and building some side pews, and 
a coarse pulpit temporarily constructed. It was in this condition, 
at the death of INIr. Marshall, in January, 1789, and so continued until 

















1812. About this time a ntnv steeple was erected, the lioiise finish- 
ed mucli in its present form, and painted within and without. 

In 1809, by the exertions of Coh Moseley, a bell was obtained, 
which being broken in 18-18, another was supplied. 

The society made grants of the floor to individuals to be holden in 
perpetuity, but no such grants were made after the death of the first 
rector. It was probably a project of his derived from similar 
ownership of pews in New York. His opinions were much regard- 
ed by his follow^ers. 

In finishing the inside of the church, Thomas Prentice fell from 
the upper wall to the floor, and was killed. 

The church was consecrated by Bishop Brownell in October, 1822. 
The name of this church is " St. Paul's Church, TToodbury." 

At the death of Mr. IMarshall, the parish enumerated several 
families living within the present townships of Southbury, Bethlem 
and Middlebury. The Wheelers, Benliam, Osborne of Southbury, 
Doct. Hull, and Prentices of Bethlem belonged to this parish. 

From the extension of the parish during the war, and immediately 
after its close, embarrassed by the many obstacles that resisted its 
progress, and the know^n capacity, devotion, perseverance and apti- 
tude of Mr. Marshall's mind, it is probable it would have been a 
strong parish, had his life been spared. In the measures connected 
with the establishment of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the 
United States, Mr. Marshall bore a conspicuous and efficient part- 
In 1784, with a view to the union of this communion into one eccle- 
siastical body, Mr. Marshall was elected a delegate from Connecticut 
to the convocation of the Episcopal clergy in the council convened 
at New York. Connecticut before this time had held a convocation 
of her clergy, and sent Rev. Mr. Seabury to England for ordination 
as a bishop. 

Before the convocation, Mr. Marshall read a paper, declaring that 
Mr. Seabury was on his way to Europe, and Connecticut would take 
no action in the convocation until the result of Mr. Seabury's appli- 
cation for consecration was known ; and should that prove propitious, 
Connecticut would lend her whole energies to aid in the consolida- 
tion of the Episcopal interests of the Union. This measure had its 
effect ; and to its adoption, the union and harmony of the subsequent 
action may, in a good measure, be referred. 

This communion by the agency of its articles and ritual being es- 
sentially conservative in its tendencies and character, this parish has 
been little agitated by controversy. The Eev. James Sayre, who in 

200 nisTOuv OF axciknt woodijuky. 

1701, followed Mr. Marshall in ministering to this flock, was opposed 
to the adoption of the State Constitution, and gave in the convoca- 
tion his sole negative vote. When the constitution was subsecjuently 
referred to the families for adoption, Mr. Sayre in this parish, com- 
menced a bitter opposition to its adoption for some year or two. 
After Mr. Sayre left the parish, they refused to act upon it. The 
Episcojjal convention under the constitution declined exercising any 
jurisdiction over its interests. This engendered on Mr. Sayre's part 
violent hostility and imputations upon the bishop and clergy, in 
which some of the parish, who had become attached to him, more or 
less, participated. A committee of the convention, consisting of Rev. 
Messrs. Phillip, Perry, Truman, Marsh and Ives, were appointed ; 
who conferred with Doct. Orton, John Clark and R. B. Marshall, a 
committee from the parish. The whole tei'minated in accepting the 
constitution Nov. 10, 1704. During this controversy Mr. Sayre left 
the parish. While in the parish he was eccentric, rash and incon- 
sistent, probably from the incipient stages of insanity. Not much was 
known of him after his departure. He died the tenant of a mad- 
house. In this agitation, a worthy member of the communion, Eli- 
jah Sherman, was involved and ultimately abandoned the society. 

The principal objection to the constitution as well as can now be 
ascertained, was that the clergy were invested with too much power, 
and the parishioners with too little, not having discovered that the 
real authority resided in those who furnish the means. The king 
may declare war, but the commons may refuse supplies to sustain it, 
thus possessing the ultimate power. 

The temperament of Mr. Sherman was humble, earnest, and emi- 
nently conscientious ; firm in his adhesion to what he deemed to be 
the line of duty. He could not adopt Calvinistic opinions, then 
ardently pressed upon the public mind, in all the Congregational pul- 
pits. Swayed by an enthusiastic spiritualism, his sympathies were 
with those humble heralds of the cross, so efficiently blessed in the 
morn of Methodism. For twenty years, with some few companions, 
himself an elder, the worshipers in this faith, assembled in his own 
house. His religious experiences gave him new developments in 
Christian duty. Chastened by the death of several children, his 
faith and zeal and knowledge grew deeper, more ardent and expan- 
ded. He became an eminent example of Christian excellence. Un- 
der that humble roof, from subdued and pure hearts, prayers gushed 
forth, not surpassed in pathos and piety by a Massillon or a Bour- 
daloue. Souls now looking to the great judgment seat with confidence 



and holy hope, recall with devout gratitude his ardent aspirations in 
that lowly temple. Had he received the advantages of early edu- 
cation and training, with the compass and melody of his voice, he 
would probably have made an eloquent and powei-ful preacher. He 
lived to see the erection of a INIethodist church on his own home- 
stead, and a numerous and devout company of believers worshiping 
there. He was gathered to his fathers at the advanced age of ninety, 
in the month of January, iS-l-l. 

None of his descendants worship at the church. Rev. Henry B. 
Sherman, rector of a church at Bellville, N. J., is his grandson. 

The glebe house was erected in 1837, and by its original limita- 
tion can not be alienated to any other use. It cost about two thousand 
dollars, and has been hitherto the residence of the clergymen having 

Until 1838, the society labored under the enervating influence of 
the phirality system. Under the auspices of the truly faithful and 
talented exertions of the Rev. S. G. Hitchcock, a change was effect- 
ed, and has without interruption been continued to this time. The 
church now has a minister during the whole time. 

After the death of Mr. Marshall, the feud in relation to the consti- 
tution, the defection of Mr. Sherman, and the death of some promi- 
nent parishioners, reduced the society to a feeble condition. After 
the Rev. Dr. Judd left the parish, in August, 1801, the parish was 
without a minister, until the accession of Rev. Mr. Welton, in 1809. 
The surrounding clergy occasionally ministered to them. Rev. Mr. 
Marsh, Dr. Burhans, Rev. Mr. Prindle, Rev. Mr. Wheeler, preserved 
some watchfulness over their interests. "Without a minister, with an 
unfinished church in a state of dilapidation, and a scattered, wander- 
ing flock, extinction seemed to be its only fate ; yet Providence or- 
dained it otherwise. From 1809, it has gradually risen to a respect- 
able position and character. 

List of Clergymen who have officiated in St. Paul's Church, Woodbury. 





, 1771, 

Rev. John Rutgers Marshall, 

died January- 


, 1789. 


" James Sayre, 



" Seth Flint, 



" Reuben Ives, 



" Tillotson Bronson, D. D., 



« Bethel Judd, D. D... 





" Joseph D. Welton, 





" Sturges Gilbert, 




" Bennett Glover^ 



II I S T lO 

O F A X C I K X T WOOD li U U Y . 




Samuel Fuller, Jr , D. D , 


1S2S . 


William II. Jud.l, 




William Lucas, 



Ulysses M. Wheeler, 



Daniel Huriians, D. D., 





Joseph Scott, 




Joliii Dowdney, 




Edmund C. Bull, 





P. Teller Babbitt, 





Solomon G. Hitchcock, 





Richard Coxe, 





David r. Sanlbid, 





Charles S. Putnam, 





P. Teller Babbitt, 






Robert C. Ro-ers, 
F. D. Harriman. 



The following persons born in this parisli, and receiving their reli- 
gious impressions and culture in the Episcopal church, have been or- 
dained priests and officiated as such : 

Rev. Phillips Perrj, Rev. William Preston, 

" Philo Perrj, " Martin Moody, 

" James Thompson, " Thaddeus Leavenworth, 

" Rufus Murray, " Henry B. Sherman. 

Episcopal Church, Roxbury. 
This is probably the oldest Episcopal parish in the county of Litch- 
field, dating its organization as far back as the year 1740, a period 
earlier than that of any other parish of which we have any written 
records. It was organized by Rev. Mr. Reach, of Newtown, and was 
for a considerable time the only Episcopal parish within the limits of 
the town of Woodbury, of which, at tliat time, Roxbury formed a 
part. Some account is given by Mr. Davies, of its house of worship, 
in his correspondence with the society. In a letter dated April 13th, 
1702, he speaks of his having received invitations to preach in 
Hartford and Woodbury, and says, " In each of the above-named 
places, the people are resolved to erect Churches." Writing again, 
June 2oth, 1764, he says, " In Roxbury, a parish in Woodbury, there 
is a pretty Church, neatly finished." This church stood on the hill 
between Transylvania and the center of Roxbury. During the time 
that Rev. Mr. Davies preached in Litchfield county, he occupied this 
pulpit one-fifth of the time. At that date, the parish consisted of 
thirty-four families, out of which were twenty-eight communicants. 
Since that day the old church has gone to decay, and a new one has 


been erected in the center of the present town of Roxburj. By a 
letter to the author from Rev. George L. Foote, then pastor of the 
church, dated August 21st, 1848, we learn that the early records of 
this church are all lost, and therefore the list of ministers, and other 
interesting*particulars of its history can not be given. It has been a 
" plurality," and for this reason, among others, information in regai-d 
to it is obtained with ditficulty. The name of this church is " Christ 
Church, Roxbury." 

Episcopal Churches in Judea and New Preston, Washington. 

For the account of these churches, the author is indebted wholly 
to Rev. James L. Scott, their present rector. A full and accurate 
history of them is impossible, on account of the defective state of 
their records, and the scanty means of information still left us. Like 
many other churches, they have laboi-ed amid numerous difficulties, 
and discouragements of various kinds. 

The beginning of the parish, the church edifice of which now 
stands on "Washington " green," seems to have been on this wise : 
About the year A. D. 17'62, a few Episcopal families resided in what 
was then called Judea, now Washington, though not sufficiently nu- 
merous or wealthy to organize a paxish, or to erect for themselves a 
house of worship. Therefore, the Rev. Thomas Davies, A. M., a 
missionary of the society in England " For Propagating the Gospel 
in Foreign Parts," held occasional services and baptisms in houses, 
or wherever he could obtain admittance. After the separation of 
what was called Bix-ch Plains or Davies' Hollow, from the township 
of Litchfield, the Davies family, one of considerable note, and zeal- 
ously attached to the church, withdrew from the Litchfield parish, 
and built a church edifice of their own in Davies' Hollow, where, 
with assistance from some few families who resided near, they sus- 
tained religious services according to the liturgy of the church of 
England, and kept up a distinct parochial organization for some con- 
siderable period. 

The following is a copy of a deed given by John Davies, senior, 
the father of Rev. Thomas Davies, to the churchmen in Washington, 
making to them a conveyance of the land upon which this house of 
worship was erected : 

" Know ye that I John Davies, of that part of Washington formerly belong- 
ing to Litcliliold, and known and called by the name of Birch Plain, in the 
county of Litchfield, for the consideration of an agreement and promise made 
with, and to, my honored father, John Davies, late of Birch Plain, in said 
Litchfield, deceased, and for the love and affection I have and bear towards 

294 nisTonv of ancient woodbuut. 

the people of the church of England, now in said town of Wawinj^fon, and 
securing and settling the service and worship of God among us, according to 
the usage of our most excellent Episcopal Church, whenever there shall be one 
legally organized in said Washington, and all times forever hereafter, do there- 
fore demise," fcc. 

Tlic measurement of the land, as described in the deed,'mupt have 
been ecjual to ninety-six square rods, and it was restricted to being 
used for a pubHc burying-ground, and for the purpose of having a 
suitable phvce of worship erected upon it. The same condition was 
annexed to it as that which was expressed in the deed given by his 
father to the church in Litchfiekl, viz., the requirement of one 'pep'per 
corn to be paid annually on the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, 
if demanded. The above deed was given on the 22d of January, 
1794. Upon the ground, principally at his own expense, an Episco- 
pal church was subsequently erected. Aged and infirm, and seated 
in an arm-chair, at the door of his house, he witnessed the raising of 
the edifice with a feeling similar to that of pious Simeon, when he 
said, " Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace." He 
survived about three years, and at the age of eighty-six years, he 
died on the 19th of May, 1797, and was buried in the family grave- 
yard in Davies' Hollow. 

The first entry of services in Judea, made in the Notitia Parochi- 
alis of the Rev. Thomas Davis, is this: " 1764, April 11, Judeah, 
[preached from] 1 John ii : 1*2, John iii : 8, the Colony Fast." 

The following are the first records of baptisms ; " 17G4, August 
28th, Judeah, 1 Peter iv : 18, baptized a daughter of Mrs. Ingram. 
1765, April 17th, Colony Fast, Judeah, Micah, vi : 8, christened a 
daughter of Abel Mix." 

As the number of inhabitants had decreased in Davies' Hollow, 
and most of the parishioners lived in other parts of the town, it was 
thought best to move the church edifice to its present site. Finally 
by consent of the Davies family, now very few, it was removed in the 
year of our Lord, 1813. It received the name " St. John's." It has 
gallantly persevered among discouraging circumstances, and because 
of only occasional services, at one time, not oftener than once in three 
months, then once in six weeks, it has not enjoyed any large increase. 
It now has services on every other Sunday. The following is a copy 
of the rector's report to the lit. Rev. Bishop, in 1853, for the year 
last past : 

" The Rev.' James L. Scott, Rector. 
" Families, 33. Baptisms — infants, 5. Confirmations, 6. Communicants, 


hdded anew, 6. Lost by removal, 1 ; by death, 2. Present number, 35. Bu- 
rials, 6. Sunday School Teachers, 3 ; Scholars, 15. Missionary and charita- 
ble contributions, $24.50," exclusive of the communion offerings. 

There is another Episcopal church within the Hmits of the town of 
Washington, usually known as " St Andrew's, New Preston." The 
first church edifice stood in the village called " "Waraumaug" or 
" Upper City." It was built before the Eevolution, and during that 
period was unused, or rarely used, and finally pulled down. In 179G, 
the Episcopalians of the neighborhood purchased the building former- 
ly occupied by Jemima Wilkinson and her followers, situated about 
two miles south, and just within the limits of New Milford. 

This parish is also under obligation to the missionary labors of the 
Rev. Thomas Davies, A. M. In a letter written June 25th, 1764, 
this indefatigable clergyman writes : " In New Preston, a parish in 
Kent, they have most of the materials for building a church, which 
they determine to erect and finish next summer, 45 by 35." This is 
probably an allusion to the church which was built in Waraumaug. 
New Preston is not a parish in Kent, but as a school society includes 
a part of Kent, New Milford and Washington. 

The first record of ministerial acts in New Preston, found in the 
Notitia Parochialis of Rev. Thomas Davies, A. M., is the following : 
" 1764, January 4, New Preston, a lecture, Matthew xxii : 14, bapti- 
zed Ephraim, son of H. Dean, Margaret Ann of Sharp." Same year, 
" June 2, East Greenwich, Heb. ii : 3, baptized Freelove Reney, a 
daughter of Zadock Bostwick, a daughter of Stephen Lee, and a 
child of Morgan's son-in-law." 

The meeting-house formerly used by Jemima Wilkinson, was oc- 
cupied by the churchmen till about A. D. 1822, when the substantial 
brick building, now standing in Marbledale, was finished and conse- 
crated by the Rt. Rev. T. C. Brownell, D. D., LL. D. The history 
of this parish is like that of most other Episcopal parishes in the 
land, one of severe struggle and hardship. But now it is gaining a 
strong footing, and will soon, to all appearance, be equal to most 
country parishes, in numbers and prosperity. A parsonage and 
grounds have of late, (Easter Monday, 1853,) been presented to the 
parish by the Rev. N. S. Wheaton, D. D., who is a native of this town, 
and owns this as his native parish. The i^resent church edifice will 
probably be soon enlarged, in order to supply the increased demand 
for pews. The Rev. David Baldwin preached his first sermon in 
this parish, probably in the old building once standing in the " Upper 
City." We find on the records, under date April 4th, 1785, that 

296 niSTORY OF ancient WOODBURY. 

"the committee reported that we can have Mi*. Baldwin, if he can 
not form his mission nearer his home, Sec, and that he will preach to 
to us for 25. Gd. per day as a candidate." The preaching was proba- 
bly a reading of printed sermons, and " a candidate" was probably a 
candidate for holy orders. 

The following is a transcript from the records, and is probably a 
note of the first organization of the parish. The " East Greenwich" 
spoken of, was a part of the present town of Warren, near which the 
old and first church stood. 

"June ye 2G Ad. 17S4. 

" the Inhabitants of New-preston and Eastgrinwitch of the Denomination of 
the church of England so eauled parishes, Having formed them Selves into a 
Lawful! Society acording to A late act of the gineral Assembly of this State of 
Connecticut, We the Subscribors Whose Names are undor Written being Desir- 
ous for the promoting of Religon and good Ordor do acknoledg our Selves to be 
and bcloung to aboue sd Body and do by these Tresents Joine and incorporate 
into sd Society us witness our Hands." 

Below is another extract from the records : 

" These are to warn all the Professors of the Cliurch of England, so called, 
in the Parishes of New Preston & East Greenwich to meet at the churcli in 
New Preston upon Augt ye 23: 17S4, at one o'clock in the afternoon : First to 
choose a Moderator; 2il to hire preaching, or some candidate to read prayers ; 
3J to raise money for the aforesaid purpose, and to purchase a Prayer Book and 
Bible, and in what way; 4th to choose Collectors and all necessary officers for 
said Parishes; .')th in what way the meetings shall be warned for the future; 
6^'^ and to act any other business as shall be necessary for the aforesaid purpose. 
" By order of the committee, 
" July the 211 A. d 17S4. Test by me, 

" Stephen Morehouse, 

The last report to the Rt. Rev. Bishop, for the year ending Jime, 
1853, is as follows : 

" The llev. James L. Scott, Rector. 
" Families, 75. Baptisms — infants, 4. Confirmations, 2. Communicants, 
added anew, 5 ; present number, S9. Marriage, 1. Burials, 7. Sunday 
School — Teachers, S ; Scholars, 45. Missionary and charitable contributions, 
exclusive of the communion offerings, $iO 2ij." 

Of late years, these two parishes have united in engaging the same 
minister, and have divided the time accoijding to their respective 
ability to contribute toward the salary. During the last four years, 
services have been held alternate Sundays in each parish, but St. 
Andrew's, New Preston, will probably soon have the entire service 
of a clergyman. 


The names of some of the clergymen who have officiated are Clark, 
Baldwin, Benham, Marsh, Jones, Andrews, Kellogg, Lucas, Atwater, 
Huntington, Gordon, Hitchcock, Sherman, Long and Scott. 

Episcopal Church, Bethlem. 

A few families from Newtown moved into this town in the early 
part of the present century, who were churchmen. These, joined by 
some of the former inhabitants, organized a parish, March 30th, 1807. 
The names of those belonging to the society, at its first organization, 
are as follows : 

Christopher Prentice, Benjamin Hawley, John Sperry, Michael 
Judd, Abel Hard, Glover Skidmore, Ebenezer L. Thompson, Robert 
Porter, Samuel Bloss, Reuben Tinker, Samuel Blackman, Daniel 
Skidmore, Henry Jackson, Amos Lake, David Pulford, and Benja- 
min T. Lake. 

No church edifice was erected for some time, but the society voted 
January, 1829, that " Robert Porter be a committee to circulate a 
subscription paper for the purpose of raising money to build a 
church." The church was accordingly erected, and occupied some 
time before consecration. On the 23d of September, 1835, it was 
consecrated by the bishop, and named " Christ Church, Bethlem." 
The same cause prevents an extended history of this as of other so- 
cieties, the want or defectiveness of the records. It has been a 
" plurality," having a minister to officiate all the time but a few 
years since its organization. The following is a list of ministers who 
have preached in this parish, as far as it has been possible to cellect 
them, together with the date of the commencement of their labors. 


. Russel Wheeler, 



. William Watson, 



Willard Welton, 



T. W. Snow, 



Sturges Gilbert, 



Isaac H. Tuttle, 



Isaac Jones, 



Wm. Henry Frisbie, 



Joseph Scott, 



Joseph S. Co veil. 



John Dowdney, 



J. D. Berry, D. D., 


Baptist Church, Roxbury. 
This churcli was constituted in South Britain, January 21st, 1790, 
at the house of Justus Pierce, by a meeting of delegates from several 
churches of the " Baptist order." Elder Higbee, of Stratfield, was 
moderator, and Elder Hull, of Ridgefield, clerk. Elder Finch, of 
Danbury, preached on the occasion. The church thus organized, 
consisted often males, and twelve females, residing at South Britain, 

298 nisTOUY of ancient woodburt. 

Roxhury and Zoar Bridge, in Newtown. In April, 1794, a portion 
of tliis cliiircli, with others, were organized into a new church, at 
Zoar Bridge. In January, 1803, the 

" Society aj^recd younaniinous to have IMr. Fuller ordained as an Elder in 
said yoeifty." 

He was accordingly ordained, May 18th, 1803, at the meeting- 
house in Roxbury, the churches represented in the ordaining council 
being those at Colebrook, Bristol, Newtown, Danbury, Winchester 
and Warren. The records show seventy members admitted to the 
church before Mr. Fuller's ordination, and forty-one since. Mr. 
Fuller moved to Vermont, in 1821. 

December 30th, 1800, the society voted to build a meeting-house, 
" a little this side of Benjamin Rumsey's," to be thirty feet long, 
twenty-five wide, with ten feet posts. This building was finished and 
ready for use the next year. It was turned into a school-house in 
1825, reserving the right to hold meetings in it. 

In 1809, a vote was passed by the society, " that the names of such 
persons as have certified to our society, but have never attended our 
meetings, nor given any thing to support our ministers, be handed 
over to the presbuterian Society's Clerk, as the names of persons who 
do not belong to our society." From 1821 to 1833, there is no entry 
on the church records. At the latter date, there were twenty-one 
members of the church remaining. Since 1833, there is no entry on 
the records. The present number of members probably does not ex- 
ceed ten, although they have preaching once in four weeks, by Elder 
Biddle, of Brookfield. 

Methodist Church, Woodbury. 

In 1789, Connecticut was visited by Jesse Lee, a distinguished and 
devoted preacher of the Methodist denomination, who preached all 
over the state, laying here as in the rest of New England, the foun- 
dation of Methodism. This denomination rapidly increased, and it 
has continued to be prosperous, beyond precedent, till the present 
day. The church had gained some footing in New York as early as 

About the year 1790, before the general conference was formed 
in 1792, the first Methodist sermon in Woodbury was preached 
in the open air, in the street under the Rock, on which the 
I^Iasonic Hall stands, by Rev. Samuel Wigdon, who was sent to 
preach in Litchfield circuit. This town was added to that circuit, and 


there was occasional preaching here after that to ■ such as would 
" hear the word." The first class was formed some time between the 
date of the first sermon and the year 1800. The church continued 
in a feeble condition till 1812, when EHjah Sherman, senior, better 
known to the people of this communion, and of the town, by the name 
of " Father Sherman," became dissatisfied with the Episcopal church, 
on account of some difference of opinion, as is understood, in relation 
to the adoption of the Episcopal church constitution, joined the Meth- 
odist denomination, and became very active and zealous in advancing 
its interests. The exact date of this transaction is not now at hand, 
but he was appointed the first regular class leader in 1812. Previ- 
ous to this, the several ministers who had officiated here, had fulfilled 
the duties of that office. At this organization of the class, in 1812, 
the number of communicants was forty. From this time till 1824, 
" Father Sherman" threw open the doors of his house, and it became 
the place of pubhc Avorship for this church. Having increased in 
numbers and means, they erected the first meeting-house on the site 
of the present church edifice, in 1824. But the class and social 
meetings of the society continued to be held at the house of Mr. 
Sherman, till the erection of the present commodious church, in 1839. 
This edifice is fui'nished with a good basement, and from that date 
the social meetings of the church have been held in it. Tlie society 
here continued to constitute a part of some other circuit till 1832, 
when the circuit of Woodbury was formed, and this became the place 
of residence for its ministers. Rev. Raphael Gilbert was the first 
minister Avho statedly resided here. This has continued to be a cir- 
cuit or station, and the residence of the stated minister, ever since. 
It has for some years been a station, and enjoyed the undivided labors 
of a minister. From the first meetings in the dwelling of " Father 
Sherman," the church has enjoyed a continued prosperity till the 
present day, and now numbers within its folds 215 communicants. 
"The Lord of the harvest" has smiled upon it, and it now occupies a 
useful and honorable position among " sister churches." 

Methodist Churches in Southbury. 

The first society of the Methodist Episcopal church, in the present 
town of Southbury, was organized at the south part of the town, on 
"George's Hill," about the year 1803, and consisted of about six 
members. They met at that time in a building formerly occupied as 
a school-house. But, in a few years, it was greatly enlarged, remod- 
eled, and made more convenient and ample in its accommodations. 


The society continued to increase in numbers until the church was 
filled to its utmost capacity. It soon became quite too small to ac- 
commodate the worshiping congregation. 

In the year 1832, the society erected and dedicated a larger and 
more convenient house in Soutli Britain. There they worshiped 
until the year 1851, when the edifice was enlarged and made a neat 
and elegant house of worship. The society now (1853) numbers about 
eixty-live communicants, and the church is well filled with a devout 
worshiping congregation. 

The second society of the Methodist Episcopal church in the town 
was organized at Southbury several years ago, and consisted of one 
small class. About the same time, another class, or small church, 
was organized at Southford. They worshiped for several years in a 
small church which is now completely out of repair. In the mean 
time the church at Southbury met in the brick school-house, and 
were under the pastoral care of the Rev. Sylvester Smith. In the 
year 1847, the two societies united, and the same year erected a neat 
and commodious church, in the village of Southbury. 

The church at Southbury now (1853) numbers sixty-five communi- 
cants, and their house of worship is well filled with a respectable and 
devoted congregation. 

Thus have we traced the various forms of church government and 
religious belief, as they have exhibited themselves in our town, and 
are full of the conviction, that not the form, not the particular creed, 
is of so much importance as a pure heart and a guileless life ; and 
that these may subsist, in full perfection, under all the various forms 
and ceremonies and creeds of the several evangehcal churches. For 
this reason it Avill ever be a matter of astonishment to the lofty intel- 
lect, the mind of extended and liberal views, when it sees bitter con- 
tentions among professing Christians, " about quips and quibbles and 
non-essential points." 



17G0 TO 1853; Rev. Noah Benedict settled, 1760; Half-way Covenant 
System abolished, 17G0 ; State of the Church ; Rev. Worthinston 
Wright settled Colleague v^^ith Mr. Benedict, 1811, and dismissed, 
1813; Death of Mr. Benedict, 1813; His Character; Rev. Henry P. 
Strong settled, 1814 — dismissed, 1816 ; Rev. Samuel R, Andrew in- 
stalled Pastor, 1817 — dismissed 1846; Third Church dedicated 1819; 
Sketch of Mr. Andrew's Life; Rev. Lucius Curtis settled, 1846; 
Church Statistics ; Ministerial Fund ; Hon. Noah B. Benedict's Devisk 
to the Society ; Remarks. 

In a former chapter we traced the history of the " Second Church 
in Stratford," or first church in Woodbury, from its commencement, 
its stormy origin, for ninety years, " down the stream of time." In 
the early part of 17G0, Mr. Stoddard having become very aged, the 
church and society took the necessa'ry measures to settle a colleague 
with him. The matter was all arranged. Rev. Noah Benedict had 
been called, and the day for his ordination had been appointed before 
Mr. Stoddard's death. He was, however, suddenly taken ill, and 
died after a sickness of two days, not long before the day of ordina- 
tion. This event took place October 22d, 1760. It is thus recorded 
on the church records by Mr. Benedict : 

" October 22, 1700. This Day was ordained to the Work of the Ministry, in 
the first Society in Woodbury, 

on the call of the Church and Congregation : the Sermon was preachd by the 
Rev. Mr: Bellamy from 1 Tim. 5, 21, the ordaining Prayer and Charge by Rer. 
Mr: Graham, the right hand of fellowship by Rev. Mr. Brinsmade, the conclu- 
ding Prayer by Rev. Mr: Canfield." 

It is to be noted, that the church did not go out of town for minis- 
ters to assist in the ordination services. The four ministers men- 


tionctl veiv all then sfttled within the limits of the ancient town, and 
reinainod with their people till the death of each separated them 
from all earthly friends. 

At the death of Mr. Stoddard, the half-way covenant system was 
not yet done away. He, as w(;ll as his father, Rev. Solomon Stod- 
dard, were advocates of the system, though Rev. Mr. Edwards, the 
grandson of the latter, taking a different view of the matter, had 
done so much to overthrow it, wherever it existed. As we have 
seen, it had been voted out of Mr. Bellamy's church nearly twenty 
years before. It existed here only in a mild, or rather a strict form. 
Many of the church had for some years been against the practice, 
yet from respect to their aged and beloved pastor, they had " held 
their peace." But Mr. Stoddard was now dead, and the system was 
not in accordance with Mr. Benedict's views. Within two weeks, 
therefore, after his settlement, we find the following action on the part 
of the church : 

" Nov. 6, 17G0. At a meeting of tlie Members of the Clih. at the Meeting 
House, the following things were voted, (viz.) 

" 1st that Baptism and the Lord's Supper are seals of the Covenant of Grace. 

" 21y, that the Covenant of Grace is but one Covenant. 

" 31y, that whosoever makes a credible Profession, that he believes and em- 
braces the covenant of Grace, and appears to walk accordingly, has a right to 
Sealing ordinances. 

" 41y, that he, that has a right to Sealing ordiiiiinces for himself, has also a 
right to Baptism for his children. 

" 51y, that the Lord's Supper is not more holy than Baptism. 

" It was likewise voated, that those Persons, that had own^ the Covenant, 
and yet had absented themselves from the Lord's Supper, had own"^ a Cove- 
nant of Grace, and upon their manifesting that they mean to be understood as 
having own'l a Covenant of Grace, shall be looked upon as Members in com- 
pleat Standing, and admitted to the Seals of the Covenant." 

This was a mild way of getting rid of the practice. As these 
half-way members had professed and taken upon themselves precisely 
the same covenant as the members in full communion, they were now 
called to show whether they had made that profession sincerely or 
not. If so, they were members in "complete standing," like the rest 
of the church ; if not, then they w^ere entitled to no privileges from 
the step they had taken. At the same meeting a covenant and pro- 
fession of faith were drawn up and approved by the church, which 
with slight verbal alterations is the same now used by the church on 
the admission of members. It is a fact worthy of notice, that the 
first church covenant, adopted by our fathers just before removing 
into this wilderness, stood unaltered for the long space of ninety 


years, and that the second, the one now in use, is the same adopted 
ninety -three years ago. 

Mr. Benedict spent a long and useful life among his people. Few 
contests, or differences in feeling and action, arose among the people 
of his charge, during the long period of his ministrations, till near 
its close. This was a controversy in regard to the location and build- 
ing of the third meeting-house. That everlasting source of bitter 
animosity and mischief, the location of public buildings, was the only 
thing that disturbed the serenity and happiness of a period of pasto- 
ral labor extending through more than half a century. But he 
lived not to see the heat of the battle, having departed this life about 
three years before the final disruption of his church. He died April 
20, 1813, in the seventy-sixth year of his age, and the fifty -third of 
his ministry. The church was prosperous under his administration 
of the ordinances. The number of persons admitted to the com- 
munion of the church under his pastoral care, was 272, and 758 
persons were baptized. The following were chosen deacons : 

Capt. Gideon Stoddard, August 19th, 1767 ; Clement Minor, Feb- 
ruary 10th, 1773 ; Jonah Minor, October 1st, 1782 ; Matthew Minor, 
November 25th, 1793; Daniel Huntingdon, November 25th, 1793; 
Nathan Atwood, January 4th, 1803; Ens. Seth Minor, Jr., Septem- 
ber 26th, 1805 ; Benjamin Judson, Jr., August 31st, 1806. 

There were several revivals of religion under Mr. Benedict's min- 
istry, the last near the close of his earthly labors. 

As early as 1810, the society gave Rev. Gordon Hall a call to 
settle as colleague with Mr. Benedict, with a salary of $G00, but he 
did not see fit to accept the invitation. During the same year, the 
same offer was made to Rev. "Worthington Wright. He accepted 
the call, and was ordained as colleague to Mr. Benedict, on the last 
"Wednesday of January, 1811, and dismissed early in 1813, at his 
own request, before Mr. Benedict's death, on account of an affection 
of the eyes, which prevented his application to study. After his 
ordination, the ministers present on that occasion, among whom were 
Dr. Beecher, President Tyler, Rev. Mr. Swift, Rev. Mr. Clark, Dr. 
Backus, Rev. Philo Judson and the newly ordained minister, retired 
to Bethel Rock, and there held a prayer-meeting, in imitation of the 
early fathers, who amid the dangers which beset the early settlers, 
retired to this secluded dell for the same purpose.' 

Shortly after Mr. Wright's dismission, Mr. Benedict was called 

1 Rev. Philo Judson informed the author of this incident. 


Worn this earthly scene of toil and labor. He was a man of sound 
l)icly, and of great dignity and amiability of character. He held an 
honored place in the aftections of his people. He was successful as 
a spiritual teacher, and was followed to the tomb by his parishioners, 
with hearts throbbing with grief. This church has been noted for 
the lenjrth of time it has enjoyed the services of its ministers. There 
is. pcihaps, no other instance in the country, where a church has 
been presided over by three pastors, as has been the case with this, 
for the long period of 143 years. 

Mr. Benedict was a native of Danbury, and graduated at Nassau 
Hall, in 1757. He received the degree of Master of Arts ad eun- 
di'in from Yale College, in 1760, and was a fellow of that institution 
from 1801 to 1812. 

" Mr. Benedict was spoken of, during his life, and is remembered, as one of 
the I'iiii-fst specimens of the good clergymen of Gormecticut. Constitutionally 
he had a well-balanced mind; singularly discreet and exemplary in his every- 
day deportment, and in all the relations of life ; as a preacher and counselor, he 
held a high rank. His temper was even, and his condition was placid and easy. 
Tciui)tations he was cautious, and even zealous, to put, if possible, out of his 
way. He once had a favorite horse, young, sound, gentle, active and graceful ; 
the animal was admired by his rider's parishioners. But Mr. Benedict, to the 
surprise of all, sold the liorse. A neighbor expressed his astonishment at the 
event, ami iiuiuin'd the reason of it. ' He was growing unruly,' was the grave 
pastor's re])ly. ' But I thought,' said the man, ' that he was a very orderly 
horse.' ' No,' was the rejoinder, ' he was growing quite unruly; he once got 
into the pulpit, and I thought it was time to part with him.' This minister 
was blessed in his family, and honored in the alliances of his children by mar- 
riage, and by their eminent usefulness, and the distinctions to which they at- 
tained in public offices and employments. His people never desired his sepa- 
ration from them; death effected it in the year, 1S13. He lives in the sweet 
and grateful remembrance of the aged in liis parish, and out of it; and the 
present generation of Woodbury have heard from the reverential and affection- 
ate, the story of his goodness."! 

After the death of Mr. Benedict, Rev. Dr. Tyler was appointed 
moderator of the church, and continued in that office, till May 25th, 
1814, when Rev. Henry P. Strong, a native of Sali.sbury, was in- 
stalled pastor over the church. He was dismissed, January, 1816, 
less than two years after his ordination. In some particulars, he was 
not fitted for his holy calling. It did not engage his careful, or best 
attention. He appeared to be much more interested in having the 
best animals of the male gender, of all the domestic kinds, than in 

1 l!cv. Dr. SIcEwen's Discourse at Litchfield, 1852, p. 74. 


advancing the interests of his " Master in the vineyard of the Lord." 
The church and people of the town will always recollect him, for 
one thing, with no great pleasure, and that is the loss, through his 
heedless recklessness, of a valuable volume of church records, con- 
taining, among other things, a complete list of marriages for nearly 
150 yeai's. That loss has been severely felt by business and other 
men, and can never be repaired. Thirty-eight persons were admit- 
ted to the church in the interval between Mr. Benedict's death, and 
the settlement of Mr. Andrew. 

After the dismissal of Mr. Strong, Rev. Fosdick Harrison was 
appointed moderator of the church, till the installation of Rev. Sam- 
uel R. Andrew, after a unanimous call of the church and society, as 
pastor over this church and people, October 8th, 1817. He preached 
his farewell discourse, January 4th, 1846, and was dismissed during 
the same year, on account of failing health. The division in the 
church, caused by disagreement about the location of the new meet- 
ing-house, had ended in the formation of another church before his 
installation into the pastoral office, and the church, under his care, 
for nearly twenty-nine years, continued to enjoy uninterrupted peace 
and prosperity. Two hundred and sixty-three members were added 
to the communion of the church, and two hundred and forty-three 
persons were by him baptized. The present church edifice was dedi- 
cated to the purposes of public worship, January 13th, 1819, seventy- 
two years after the dedication of the second church. Three revivals 
of religion took place during his ministry, in one of which forty per- 
sons became converts, and twenty-six joined the church on one day, 
being the largest number by one, that has ever joined the church on 
one occasion, since its organization in 1670. During his ministry, 
three deacons were appointed — Judson Blackman, July 2d, 1818, 
Eli Summers, 1830, and Truman Minor, June 29th, 1838. 

Mr. Andrew is the only son of Samuel Andrew, who was grand- 
son of Rev. Samuel Andrew of Milford, one of the founders of Yale 
College, a fellow and pro tempore a rector of that institution, and 
for fifty years pastor of the first church in Milford. Mr. Andrew- 
was boi'n at Milford, May, 1787, and graduated at Yale College, in 
1807. He studied law for a year or two, and spent a few years at 
the South in editing a newspaper, and in teaching. He studied 
theology with Rev. B. Pinneo, of Milford, and was ordained pastor 
over this church in 1817. He was chosen a fellow of Yale College, 
in 1837, which office he resigned in 1847, on moving out of the 
county of Litchfield, and was at the same time appointed secretaxy 

306 nisTOUY OF ancient wood hurt. 

of the college, which office he still holds. In 1848, he was chosen 
a member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences. Mr. 
Andrew now resides at New Haven, his health not allowin;.' liini to 
assume a pastoral charge. 

Immediately after the resignation of Mr. Andrew, Rev. Lucius 
Curtis received a call from the church and society, was installed pas- 
tor over the church, July 8th, 1846, and still remains in his pastoral 
relation to the people. He is a native of Torrington, a graduate of 
"Williams College, class of 1835, and of the Andover Theological 
Seminary, class of 1845. During his administration, the church has 
been very prosperous, eighty members having been added to its num- 
bers, and thirty-six persons baptized. Its present number of mem- 
bers is 222, not including some twenty-five absent members whose 
location is not known. 

The whole number of admissions to the church since its organiza- 
tion in 1670, is 1,377, and the whole number of baptisms, infant and 
'adult, 2,953. 

In June, 1816, a fund of more than $6,000 was raised by subscrip- 
tion among the members of the society, 

" To be and remain a perpetual fund ; and the interest arising thereon shall 
he appropriated exclusively to the support of a presbyterian minister, to be ap- 
proved by the Association of ministers in whose limits we live, and who shall 
preach the pure doctrines of the Gospel generally called Calvinistic, or in con- 
formity to the shorter catechism of the Westminister Assembly of Divines. It 
is also expressly stipulated, that no part of the interest of this Fund, shall be 
applied for preaching the Gospel in any house of publick worship. North of 
the place fixed for a Meeting House by a Committee of the General Assembly, 
appointed in May, A. D. 1814, & whose report was accepted in October, A. D. 
1S14, which committee was composed of Daniel Porter, Daniel St. John. & 
Diodate SilUman, Esqr, nor South of the present Meeting House in said society." 

The church then occupied was the second one built in town, which 
was located near Mr. Marshall's hotel, and the other location men- 
tioned above, was that now occupied by the present church of this 
society. This fund Avill perhaps have some influence in preventing 
quarrels about the location of a meeting-house in future. It now 
amounts to $6,347. Besides this, the society has by a devise in the 
will of the late Hon. Noah B. Benedict the right of reversion to 
his homestead, and some fifteen acres of valuable land, as will be 
seen by the following : 

" I give and devise to the First Congregational or Presbyterian Society in 
Woodbury, whereof the Rev. Samuel K. Andrew is now Pastor, the land and 


buildings" above alluded to, " to be by said Soriety used and forever improved 
as a parsonage, and never, under any pretence, or supposed benefit whatever, 
to be disposed of, or alienated ; and any alienation of the same by said Society 
shall work a forfeiture thereof, to my heirs at law. But it is further to be un- 
derstood, that it is my will, that the use of said property shall be appropriated 
to the Support of the preaching of the Gospel in no house of public worship, 
farther North than the present house, or Church, which has been built within 
a few years, and is now occupied by said Society ; nor shall said Society take 
benefit of this bequest, if it shall hereafter cease to maintain the pure doctrines 
of the Gospel, as now held, preached and understood by our Pastor, and his 
people. If the said society shall become extinct, or shall cease to maintain the 
preaching of the Gospel for such unreasonable length of time, as to show it is not 
intended permanently to support the public worship of God therein, this devise 
shall cease, and the estate revert to my heirs."' 

Thus have we traced the history of this branch of the " Church 
universal" for 183 years. It is the honored mother of six useful and 
extended churches — six " well-settled children," which were nui-tured 
in the " old homestead," and have arrived at a vigorous maturity. 
At times, ever since its own unquiet infancy, the storm and the whirl- 
wind have passed over it, but by the kindness of Providence, it still 
stands secure and prosperous, in a '■ ripe old age," among its children 
and '• sister churches" of the various denominations. 

l' Woodbury Probate Records, vol. 16, p. 276. 



1816 TO 1853 ; Differences of opinion in regard to thk Location of a Meet- 


PROVING Satisfactory, SEVENTY-ONE "Sign Off," 1814; They prepare to 
BUILD A Church — are stopped by the State's Attorney ; They there- 

Congregational Society incorporated, 1816 ; Church gathered, by Rev. 
Dr. Tyler, 1816; Church Edifice commenced in 1S15 — Finished in ISIS — 
Dedicated, 1819; Rev. Grove L. Brownell ordained First Pastor, 1S17; 
Dismissed in 1S40 — Success of his Ministry ; Rev. John Churchill in- 
stalled, 1S40 ; Statistics and State of the Church ; Ministerial Fi:nd. 

For more than a hundred and forty-six years after the gathering 
of the first church of Woodbury, it had remained a unit, firm and un- 
divided, while one part of the territory of the town after another had 
been incorporated into distinct ecclesiastical societies, to accommo- 
date the extension of the town, and the wants of its increasing popu- 
lation. The ancient church, under the successive ministrations of its 
first three worthy and revered pastors, had enjoyed great peace and 
prosperity. But the first society had, about the year 1794, become 
thickly settled in its northern limits, so that a majority of its mem- 
bers were located in that part of its territory. The ancient meeting- 
house was within about two miles of the southern boundary of the 
society, while a part of the inhabitants lived nearly five miles north 
of the church. In March, 1791, the feeling to have a church edi- 
fice nearer the center of the parish became decided, and a vote was 
passed in a meeting of the society, 111 to 81, 


"To build a Meeting House in the 1st Society for the greater convenience 
of said Society, on or near the Northwest corner of the land of John Martin, 
on the'great plain, so called." 

In December, ihe same year, the society appointed Gen. Ilermon 
Swift, Aaron Austin, Esq., and Gen. David Smith, then judges of the 
Litchfiekl County Court, a committee to give advice " respecting the 
moving of the old, or buikling a new Meeting House." Tliis com- 
mittee reported in March, 17'J5, that they would recommend the so- 
ciety, at some convenient future time, to build a new meeting-house 
about one mile north of the old house, near the dwelling-house of Mr. 
Elijah Sherman, Sen., beitig the place where the present north church 
stands ; but advised them " neither to hurry, as the old house was 
comfortable, nor to lay out more money in its repair." On the 7th 
of February, 1796, the society 

" Voted, that Noah Judson be aiipointed agent to draw a petition to the next 
County Court for the appointment of a Committee to fix a place for a meeting- 
house in the 1st Society." 

The matter seems to have been dropped at this point, as no further 
action in regard to it was taken in the society, till April 23, 1810, 
when it was 

"Voted either to build a new Meeting House, or move the old one, between 
April 1813 and April, 1S16, to such place as shall be established by a 
tee appointed by the General Assembly, said Committee to fix the^place in the 
month of January 1813." 

" Voted, that Nathaniel Bacon and Noah B. Benedict, Esq., be agents to pre- 
fer a memorial to the General Assembly for this purpose." 

At the following May session of the Assembly, a committee, con- 
sisting of Hon. Asher Miller, Hon. Jonathan Brace, Birdseye Nor- 
ton, John Kingsbury, and Samuel W. Johnson, Esquires, was ap- 
pointed, from which the society's clerk was to draw three, and they 
were to proceed to determine the matter in issue according to the 
foregoing vote. But this arrangement affected nothing, and the rec- 
ords show no farther action on the part of the society till the third 
Monday of February, 1814, when a vote passed 

" To build a new, or remove the old Meeting House between 1 June, 1S14 & 
1 June, 1817, as the General Assembly's Comtee appointed in May Session 
next shall determine." 

At the May session, Diodate Silliman, Daniel Potter and Daniel 
St. John, were appointed a committee 


" To decide whetluT a new IIou«e lor public worship should bo built, or the 
old one rppaired, and to fix the place for said Meeting house, within 1(0 days 
from tlie rising of the Assembly." 

This committee reported to the General Assembly at the October 
session, 1814, that 

" A new Meeting House should be built on the West side of the Highway, at 
the junction of the Middle Road Turnpike, Washington Turnpike, and the 
Litchfield County Road," and that they had " fixed a Stake 2 rods North of the 
North West corner of Hermon Stoddard's Dwelling house." 

The location here inilicated, is that now occupied by the South 
Con"-refTational Church, whidi the first society voted unanimously to 
build, March 27, 1817, after the secession of the northern inhabitants, 
so that this house stands at the place appointed by the Assembly. 
The northern inhabitants were still dissatisfied, and procured the 
passage of a vote in the society, " to oppose the acceptance of the re- 
port," which they knew was to be made at the October session, and 
appointed Benjamin Judson, Reuben Martin and William O. Bron- 
son, agents for this purpose. But the report was accepted by the 
Assembly, and on the 29th of November following, Hon. Charles B. 
Phelps, Avho, at this time, acted with the northern inhabitants, to- 
gether with seventy others, lodged a certificate with the clerk of the 
first society, giving him " distinctly to understand," that 

"We do not belong to the first, or Presbyterian Society in this Town, but 
for conscience and duty sake do pronounce and hereby certify whomsoever it 
may concern, that we, and each of us, are of and do belong to the sect or persua- 
sion denominated Independent and Strict Congregationalists, to follow their doc- 
trines and discipline, strictly and without deviation. You [the society's clerk] 
and your successors are therefore directed, according to a statute law of this 
State, in sucli case made and provided, to consider each and every one of us ever 
hereafter as strict and independent Congregationalists, and distinct from your 
society, and exempt from all further taxes, or rates, or from any benefits and 
immunities of, in or belonging, in any view, to said first society in Woodbury. 

"Witness our hands this seventh day of November, A. D. 1814." 

In order to understand the design and effect of these proceedings, 
a word in relation to the law existing at that time is necessary. Be- 
fore the constitution of 1818, all the territory of the state was carved 
out into ecclesiastical societies. As various causes led to the erec- 
tion of new societies, they were, with few exceptions, incorporated 
by the Assembly with local limits. A few irregular parishes, ac- 
knowledging the general faith of the churches, made such by slight 


differences of opinion, were, after 1784, designated by enrollment. 
With these few exceptions, which had been made for cause, two dis- 
tinct societies of the " standing order," were not allowed to occupy 
the same territory. It therefore became necessary for the northern 
inhabitants to call themselves by some other name in order to be re- 
leased from the regular society. 

By an act, passed in 1748, soon after the feud between the " Old 
Lights" and " New Lights" had agitated the religious community, 
entitled " An Act directing how to proceed when it shall be neces- 
sary to build a Meeting-House for divine "Worship," it was provided, 
that when by a two-thirds vote a society should declare it to be nec- 
essary to build a meeting-house, the county court in the county where 
the society was located, should " appoint and affix the place whereon" 
the house should be erected. It was further enacted, that it should 
not be lawful for any society, or part of a society, "• to build, or set 
up any meeting-house for religious worship," without first procuring 
the ap))ointment of a place by the county court, under penalty of 
$134, " to the treasury of the county; to be recovered before the 
county court, in the county where the transgression is committed." 

After repeated efforts on the part of the northern interest, as we 
hj^e seen, to procure a location, acceptable to themselves, and for 
which they several times obtained a major vote in the society, but 
never the necessary two-thirds, a voluntary Subscription was started 
by them, in 1814, to build a house on the site occupied by the 
present North Congregational Church. This subscription embraced 
some persons not members of the society, and a day was appointed 
to transport the timber to the place appointed. At this crisis. Gen. 
Elisha Sterling, state's attorney for Litchfield county, addressed a let- 
ter to some of the leaders in this project, declaring their conduct to 
be illegal, that each person engaged in the enterprise Mould incur the 
penalty of the statute, and that it would become his duty to prose- 
cute the offenders, which he should not omit to do. Accompanying 
this letter was an opinion of Judge Reeve, then on the last year of 
his judicial authority, confirming this position of Gen. Sterling. Dr. 
Lyman Beecher also addressed a letter to some members of the 
church, remonstrating against these measures, as inconsistent with 
their religious obligations and duties. 

To avoid these penalties, and the formidable array of enemies to 
" their movement," it was necessary to take some other measures. 
They believed that Dr. Beecher, and the other surrounding clergy- 
men, were adverse to their interests, and, asserting the same right of 


indepciuienov, tliat our Puritan fathers asserted in their conflict with 
ecclesiastical and political power in P'ngland, they determined to cs- 
tahlish a " church, free and independent." A committee, on which 
was Hon. Charles B. rhcli)S, was raised to frame a constitution for 
the government of the church and society. The first proposition of 
this constitution was, 

" This Chinch under God is free and independent of nil 8ynnd.«, Consisto- 
ries, Associations, Conventions, Classis, and all other Eccle.-^iai^tical authority, 
save that of the Lord Jesus." 

In its o-eneral tenor, it gave large authority to the church and so- 
ciety, in all matters relating to their interests ; but this power was 
modified by the appointment of a ruling elder, who was, ex officio, 
moderator of all church meetings, and possessed an unqualified veto 
upon all votes of the church, which did not meet his approbation. 
Benjamin Judson was appointed ruling elder, the name of the " Bap- 
tist Church" was adopted, and a minister of that denomination em- 
ployed, for a time, to preach to the church, i 

In May, 1816, an application was made to -the General Assembly 
by this church, for incorporation into an ecclesiastical society, with 
the same privileges as other societies, but it failed. At the October 
session, the same year, a petition signed by 102 individuals renewed 
the application for society privileges, which were granted, and the ap- 
plicants were incorporated by the name of the " Strict Congregational 
Society" in Woodbury, with the same limits as the fii'st society, leav- 
ing all persons within those limits to signify in the month of March 
annually, to what society they chose to belong, by leaving with the 
clerk of such society, a certificate to that effect, which is by him en- 
rolled on the records of the society.- 

1 Tlie chairman of the coitimittee that drafted this constitution, informed the au- 
thor, that the theological posUilata advanced in it " -were gathered up and down the 
Scriptures, Confessions, Catechisms, Platforms, Articles, Theses and Creeds — where- 
ever a word of seasonable doctrhie could be found. The precise amount of author- 
ity for it could not now be stated." He further remarked, that, in his opinion, not- 
withstanding this excellent constitution, the church had very soon after their regular 
incorporation into an ecclesiastical society, in 1816, by a process of ^^ tinconscious mttr- 
iation" relapsed into a close aflinity with the " associated churches." 

2 The late Reuben Walker, availing himself of this privilege, lodged with the clerk 
of the Strict Congregational Society, the following certificate: 

" To Lemau Sherman, Clerk of the North Society. 

Hear the words of Reuben with the strictest propriety. 
This may certify to all who gather tithes, 
Tliat Reuben has done with the South Societv till he dies. 


After the incorporation of the new society, the bitterness of feeling 
began to wear off. Even before the incorporation, a committee had 
been appointed by the south part of the first society, consisting of 
Stiles Curtiss, John Strong, Esq., Simeon Pearce, .Jesse Minor, and 
Moses Clark, 

" To meet and confer with a committee from the northern part of the society, 
on the situation and affairs of the society, and to devise some method for the 
reconciliation of the existing differences in the same, and make report." 

The " differences," however, were not healed, as has appeared, and 
considerable feeling existed for many years — in short, some of it has 
even reached the present day. But it is mentioned with profound 
gratitude, that the present generation meet each other on a more 
generous footing, laying aside, in a good degree, the prejudices of 
the " fathers ;" and the ministers of the two societies meet and ex- 
change pulpits with each other, in the bonds of true Christian fellow- 
ship. It is gratifying to see this, for there is no need of contention, 
and surely there is no pleasure or profit in it. There is room enough 
for both societies, and both are in a very flourishing condition. 
Doubtless there are at present more professing Christians in the two 
churches than there would have been in one. Two laborers have 
effected more than could have been done by one. Let them continue 
on in this course, and show the world " how good and pleasant it is 
for brethren to dwell together in unity." 

The north church was organized December 25th, 181G. The per- 
sons who composed it were all of them members of the first church, 
and had been, at their own request, formally dismissed from that 
church, and recommended as in good and regular standing, for the 
purpose of being constituted into a separate church. The church 
was formed by Rev. Dr. Tyler, then pastor of the church in South 
Britain. By special request, he came and preached a sermon, and 
after its delivery he read the articles, or confession of faith, that had 
been prepared, which were assented to by thirty-one persons, eleven 
males and twenty females, upon which he pronounced them a church. 
The sermon preached on this occasion was on Ephesians iv. 3. 
" Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace." 
The church was constituted such, it seems, by a voluntary act, on 
their part, in assenting to certain articles of faith, and adopting a mu- 

Therefore wish to be considered not as one of the Theologicalists, 
But as belonging to the Strict CoDgregationalists. 
Woodburv, March 13th, 1818. Reuben Walker.' 


31-i H I S T,0 H Y O V A X C I E N T AV O O I) B U K T . 

tual covenant. The only ministers present, it is believed, were Rev. 
Dr. Tyler and Rev. Mr. Dwight, The latter was at this time offi- 
ciating]^ as minister to this peojjle. Since this organization, though 
nominally not connected with the Litchfield South Consociation, it 
has usually been represented in its deliberations. During the year 
previous, tlie present north meeting-house had been erected, and was 
at the time of the organization of the church, inclosed, but not fin- 
ished at all in the inside. A congregation had been for some time in 
the habit of meeting here for the purpose of religious worship, and 
the duties of the ministry had been discharged by Rev. Mr. "Weeks, 
afterward Rev. Dr. Weeks, of Newark, N. J. 

Thus was the church constituted and brought into a formal exist- 
ence. As yet, however, it was without pastor or deacon. Five days 
after its organization, Benjamin Judson was chosen deacon, Decem- 
ber 30th, 1816, and Deacon Nathaniel Minor, who still holds that 
office, was chosen the following year, 1817. He has consequently 
discharged the duties of that office about thirty-six years. 

It has already been stated that the church edifice, at the time of 
the organization of the church, was only inclosed. It was not fin- 
ished till two years after this time. Plain benches formed the seats 
of the worshipers, and a few boards only, an elevation for the pulpit, 
during that time. It is believed that the first sermon ever preached 
in the house, was delivered on the last Sabbath in July, 1816, from 
these words : " Behold ye trust in lying wonders, that can not profit." 
Jeremiah vii. 8. 

In February, 1817, came Rev. Grove L. Brownell, who com- 
menced preaching to this church, and continued to do so till the fol- 
lowing July, when he was ordained first pastor over the church and 
congregation. The sermon was preached by Rev. Mr. Catlin, of 
New Marlborough, Mass., from 1 Thessalonians ii. 4. " But as Ave 
were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we 
speak, not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts." Shortly 
after the formation of the church, eight members were received into 
it, and in the following April, eleven more were added, so that at the 
ordination of the first pastor, the church consisted of fifty members, 
eighteen males and thirty-two females, eleven of whom had been 
added after he commenced his labors here. The church was dedi- 
cated January 7th, 1819. The sermon on the occasion was preached 
by Dr. Lyman Beecher. In 1821, there was a revival of religion in 
the church, and about thirty members were added to it. In 1827, 
there was another revival, which, from the records of the church, 


would seem to have continued some years. From 1827 to 1839, a 
period of about eleven years, 167 persons were added to the church. 
The following is taken from a manuscript sermon of Rev. John 
Churchill, present pastor of the church, to which we are indebted for 
a statement of many of the facts in its history : 

" There were no additions to the church subsequent to 1S3S, during the min- 
istry of the former pastor, (Mr. Brownell,) which continued for nearly twenty- 
three years. During that period of time there were received into the church by 
profession, under the ministry of the former pastor, two hundred and thirty-six 
persons, who may be regarded as the proper fruits of his ministry. Tliere can 
be no better encomium passed ui)on the labors of your former pastor, than that 
during his ministry, he was tlie honored instrument of leading 236 of your 
number, your relations and friends, and many of yourselves, to the Lord Jesus 
Christ. No one can look at these fruits, without the conviction that his labors 
were not in vain in the Lord. I take pleasure in testifying from the records of 
the church, and from living records, which are known and read of many, that 
his ministry was a highly useful ministry. It would be a matter of devoitt joy 
and thanksgiving, could his successor ever be permitted to look back upon such 
proof of the usefulness of his labors for the cause of Christ." 

" Besides those who were connected with this church by profession, there 
were added to it under the ministry of Mr. Brownell, by letters from other 
churches, fifty-six, making the whole number acjded, from the time he began 
his ministry, 292. If we add to this number, thirty-nine, who were connected 
with the church when became, it will make the whole number of persons con- 
nected with the church durhig his ministry, 331. Thenumber of children bap- 
tized by liim was 1'<S." 

Two deacons were chosen during the ministrations of Mr. Brownell, 
Moses Clark, in 1821, and Elijah Sherman, Jr., to.succeed him at his 
death, in 1831. Mx-. Brownell graduated at the University of Ver- 
mont, in 1813, and received the degree of master of arts from Yale 
College, in 1816. He now resides in Sharon, Conn., and is the prin- 
cipal of a flourishing academy at that place. 

On the dismission of the first pastor. Rev. John Churchill received 
a unanimous call from the church and society, to settle with them, and 
was installed into the sacred office, April 22d, 1840. Mr. Churchill 
graduated at the theological department of Yale College, in 1889, the 
year preceding his installation here, and received the honorary de- 
gree of master of arts from the same college in 1844. 

Under the care of the present pastor, who has noAV accomplished 
his twelfth year in the duties of the ministry, the church has greatly 
prospered, steadily advancing in strength and numbers. At the ac- 
cession of Mr. Churchill, twelve years ago, there were living, 183 
members of the church. Of these, thirty have died, and thirty-one 


have bo(>n dismispod to other churches, leaving now 122 members, 
that were such before that date. During his ministry, 165 persona 
have been added to the churdi, thirteen of whom have died, and 
twenty-two have been dismissed to other churches, leaving 130 who 
still remain members of the church, of those who have joined it with- 
in twelve years. The whole number of members of the church, at 
the present moment, leaving out, as has been done in the foregoing 
estimates, absent members of whom little or nothing is known, is 250. 
Of absent members not included in the above statistics, there are 
some fifteen or twenty. There are but six persons of the thirty-one 
who formed this cluirch, thirty-six years ago, now remaining among 
the living. Of the eight that next joined the church, not one re- 
mains, and two only are living of the eleven who joined next year. 
There are only thirty-three out of the whole number of 155 who 
united with the church up to 1830, now living. More than 125 
members have been removed by death since the church was organ- 
ized, thirty-six years ago. 

From a sermon delivered by the present pastor, in April, 1853, the 
following extracts are taken to show the present state, and also the 
prosperity of the church, past and present : 

" It is due to tlie kind providence of God, my friends, to remember with 
gratitude the fact, that for twelve years, and even ever since yoHr organization 
as a society, you have been uniformly prospered — not always equally, but still, 
more or less, prospered. Very little, perhaps I may say nothing has occurred, 
since you became a society for Christian purposes, to disturb, essentially, your 
unity, or the harmony of your counsels and your operations. But from the first 
till now, during a period of thirty-six years, you have had a very steady and 
uniform prosperity. When this house was first erected, you were comparative- 
ly few, yet through the good resolution, firmness, and self-sacrilicing sjiirit of 
the men of that day, most of whom have been gathered to their fathers, it was 
so far completed as to be a comfortable place for Christian worship, and at the 
expiration of two years, it was finished in a style to compare with the churches 
of that day. Under these favorable auspices, your numbers, as your popula- 
tion, increased, and during almost the entire ministry of my predecessor, to 
whom I have not a doubt, we are all of us indebted, for, at least, a considera- 
ble portion of the harmony and prosperity that we have enjoyed here, your 
course was onward. You were not broken up by divisions of sentiment, or by 
changes in the pastoral office ; and in consequence of frequent revivals of reli- 
gion during all that period, you were decidedly strengthened as a society. 
* * • « * * * 

" Our peace has been mostly uniform — never seriously broken — and, conse- 
quently, we have been able to go on in the ordinary use of the means of grace, 
without having to turn aside and rectify evils among ourselves. Our meetings 
as a church, have no*, been, except in a very few instances, meetings for the 
settlement of difficulties, but for spiritual edification. This has been true of 


US for the past twelve years, to an extent that is by no means common among the 
churches throughout the country, and it should be regarded as an occasion for 
gratitude and praise to God." 

" Such indeed has been the spiritual prosperity of this church during the 
past twelve years, that we now have nearly the whole adult portion of the con- 
gregation included in the church, or among those who entt-rtain the hope of 
salvation. It is confidently believed, that there is not another congregation in 
the State, where so large a proportion of them are regarded as Christians — 
where there are so few irreligious persons in proportion to the whole number." 

One deacon has been appointed during the ministry of Mr. Church- 
ill, Reuben H. Hotchkiss, November 4th, 18-42, in place of of Dea. 
Sherman, who had resigned. In 1846, a commodious chapel was 
built for the use of the society near the church, and another in 
Hotchkissville, for the use of the people of that neighborhood. 

In 1821, a fund of $5,163 was raised by subscription among the 
members of the society, to 

" Be and remain a perpetual fund, and the interest arising thereon shall be 
appropriated and applied exclusively for the support of a Minister to be ap- 
proved by the association of Ministers within the limits of which we live, and 
who shall preach the pure doctrines of the Gospel, generally called Calvinis- 
tick, or in conformity to the Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly 
of Divines; and no Minister shall be entitled to receive support from this fund, 
unless he is approved by three-fourths of the male members of the church in 
the aforesaid Society. And it is explicitly stipulated, that the ihterest of this 
fund shall be applied for preaching the Gospel, in the present Meeting House 
of said Society, or in a house erected for public worship at the same place 
where their said Meeting House is now standing, and that no part of such in- 
terest shall be applied for preaching tlie Gospel in a house of publick worship 
at any other place." 

On the failure of the Eagle Bank in New Haven, some years ago, 
$1,000 of this fund, which had been invested in the stock of that 
bank, was lost. Another loss of $95 has occurred. There still re- 
mains of the fund, the income of Avhich is appropriated for the purposes 
for which it was originally raised, $4,068. Of this sum, $500 is m- 
vested m the stock of the Woodbury Bank. It will be seen, that 
here, as in the first society, the location of the present meeting-house 
is made perpetual, so far as the fund can do it. 




Miscellaneous Events from 1775 to 1S53 ; Slavery ; " Redemptioners" — Hex. 
Matthew Lyon ; Pest-Houses ; Approval of the Constitution of the 
United States, 17S7 ; Ravages of Canker Worms ; Public Library, 1772, 
1823 AND IS ')0 ; Robbery at Guernsey Town; Obsequies of Washington, 
1800; New MiLFORD Fever; War of 1812; Hartford Convention, 1814; 
State Constitution, 1818; Daniel Bacon's Town Hall, 1S23; New Town 
Hall, 1S45; Sectional Feeling ; Burial Customs; New Burial Ground, 
1820; North Academy, 1846; South Academy, 1851; Masonic Lodge 
founded, 17G5 ; Masonic Hall, 1^39; Fidelity Chapter, 1S09; Pomperaug 
Division, S. of T., 1847; Bethel Rock Lodge, I. O. O. F., 1847 ; Woodbury 
Bank, 1851 ; Woodbury Savings Bank and Building Association, 1S53 ; 
Trade and Manufactures ; Remarks. 

Again we address ourselves to the task of collecting and treasur- 
ing up the isolated facts and incidents in the history of the town, 
and this time the last, in this our undertaking. Although the labor 
has been arduous in the extreme, as we have slowly traced our way 
through the long years gone by, yet we can scarcely leave these com- 
munings Avith the past without regret. We part from the actors and 
their deeds as from old friends, and join again the thronging, rusliing 
tide of busy life. 

It will scarcely be believed by some, who have imbibed cer- 
tain notions so prevalent in the north, that Connecticut was 
ever a slave state, and that in this sequestered spot, in these re- 
ligious Vales, in this Puritanic '' dwelling-place in the wood," have 
been heard the " clanking chains of slavery." Yet it is but five 
years since that " institution" was unconditionally abolished in this 
state. Up to this time, slavery had existed in Woodbury, although 
it has been for many years reduced to the person of one superannua- 
ted negro, who was and is supported on the estate of bis former owner.' 

1 An act parsed Jlaj-, 1848, abolishing slavery. There had been for a long period of 
years but a few superannuated slaves in this state, supported by their former masters, 
or their families, as was their duty to do by the statute. One such instance still ex- 
' »ts in Woodbury. 


It will be difficult for a portion of our community to believe, that the 
sainted Walker, Stoddard and Marshall, those men of God, those 
lights to the people in this wilderness for so many years, were slave- 
holders ; and yet such is the fact. All the leading men and men of 
property, in the early days, owned slaves. The fact is attested by 
all our records, town, probate and ecclesiastical. It is true that 
they were treated kindly, educated, presented in baptism, their reli- 
gious interests cared for, standing rather in the light of children of 
the household, than that of slaves ; yet were they such, bought and 
sold, and at the will and pleasure of their masters. During the 
whole of the eighteenth century, the institution flourished here, though 
in a mild form. The vai'ious records show, that a considerable pro- 
portion of the personal estate of the more opulent of the inhabitants 
consisted of negro servants. They became attached, in many instan- 
ces, to the place where they had been brought up, and lingered 
around the " old homesteads," long after some of them were entitled 
to go free by virtue of law. 

Although slaveiy was never directly established by statute in this 
state, yet it was introduced in the seventeenth century, has been in- 
directly sanctioned by several statutes, and frequently recognized by 
the courts, so that it may be said to have been established by law. 
Importation of slaves into the state was never large, and in 1771, 
their importation was prohibited altogether. In the war of the 
Revolution, freedom was granted to all slaves, who would enlist and 
serve during the war. To avail themselves of this provision, some 
twenty-five of their number in this town enlisted at various periods 
of the war, and made good soldiers, fighting valiantly for the liber- 
ties of the country. Several of these, having survived the perils of 
the war, returned and resided in "Woodbury, and received pensions 
from the general government, in common with others, for their mili- 
tary services. 

After the close of the war, in 1784, the legislature to effect the 
gradual abolition of slavery, assuming that " Policy requires that the 
Abolition of Slavery should be effected as soon as may be consistent 
with the Eights of Individuals and the public Safety and Welfare," 
enacted that no negro or mulatto child born after the first day of 
March, 1784, should be held in servitude longer than till they arrived 
at the age of twenty-five years ; and also provided for the emancipa- 
tion of slaves by masters without being liable for their support on 
application to the civil authority of the town, if they were in good 
health, were desii-ous of emancipation, and were between the a"-es of 


twcnly-fivc and forty-five years. To i)revent those entitled to free- 
dom at the age of twenty -five years from being held longer by imseru- 
pulous masters, a statute was passed in 1788, requiring all masters, 
within six months after the birth of each slave, to send in to the 
town-clerk their own names, ajid the names and ages of such children, 
under a penalty of seven dollars for each month's neglect. In 171)7, 
children of slave mothers, born after August of that year, were to be 
free at the age of twenty-one years. All slaves, set free by their 
masters, in any other ibrm, than is above expressed, and all who 
served for a time, were to be supported by their masters, if they ever 
came to want. Another regulation was made, that no one should 
carry slaves out of the state for sale. In consequence of these stat- 
utes, slavery gradually decreased, and had virtually disappeared, 
when in 1848, a statute was passed abolishing it pro forma. 

By an act under the title of " Arrest" in the code of law^s com- 
piled in IGoO, and not repealed till more than one hundred and sixty- 
five years afterward, it was provided that if no other means could 
be found to pay a debt for which a debtor was imprisoned, if the 
creditor required it, and the court judged it reasonable, the debtor 
might be disposed of in service to satisfy the debt. It is asserted to 
have been a common practice, for poor foreigners, who were unable 
to pay their passage money, to engage their passage by stipulating 
with the captain of the vessel which brought them to this country, 
that he might assign them in service to raise the money which was 
his due, on arrival at the port of destination. Persons assigned in 
this manner, were called " Redemptioners," and more than one was 
so held in Ancient Woodbury. Among the number was Matthew 
Lyon, a native of Ireland, who was assigned on his arrival in New 
York, to Jabez Bacon of Woodbury, who brought him home, and 
after enjoying his services for some time, he assigned him for the 
remainder of the 1:ime of service to Hugh Hannah of Litchfield, 
for a pair of stags, valued at £12. By dint of sterling native talent, 
under these most disheartening circumstances, he fought his way to 
fame and eminence, and was afterward a member of Congress from 
Vermont, and also from Kentucky. He was one of the number con- 
victed under the famous " Alien and Sedition" law, and fined, but the 
fine was subsequently remitted by Congress. Lyon's success furnish- 
es a striking example of the genius of the institutions of our favored 

About the time of the Revolution, the small-pox was the great 
courge of the colonies, and during that period, the soldiers were 



constantly dying of this disetise. The returning soldiers frequently 
came home with it, and scattered it among their neig-hbors in this 
retired valley. So great was the affliction and alarm growing out of 
the prevalence of this disease, tliat scarcely any one dared to under- 
take a journey of any length without first being inoculated with the 
small-pox. During the Revolution, upon the representation of Gen. 
Putnam that soldiers should be inoculated, liberty was granted to 
Dr. Isaac Foster to set up a house, or hospital for the inoculation of 
this disease in Woodbury. It was located east of the Orenaug Rocks. 
In December, 1789, it was voted that 

" Doct. Joseph Perry have hberty to set up the business of Inoculation in 
this town under such regulations as a conitee Judge proper which the town 
should appoint." 

He accordingly took charge of this business for many years. At 
the present day, the matter is much more easily managed by inocu- 
lation with the vaccine or kine pox. 

As the town had been true to the cause of independence, during 
the dark and gloomy night of the Revolution, and expended freely its 
blood and treasure in the acquisition of free institutions ; so after 
that event it was among the first to take advantage of the rights and 
privileges that had been gained', by a right direction of public opin- 
ion. On the 12th of November, 1787, after the fopmation of the 
Constitution of the United States, and its presentation for ratification, 
a special town meeting was called, at which Hon. Daniel Sherman 
presided as moderator, and it was 

" Voted, that this meeting approve of the system of government recommend- 
ed by the Convention of the United States." 

At the same meeting Doct. Samuel Orton and Hon. Daniel Sher- 
man were chosen delegates to the state convention at Hartford, for 
the ratification of that instrument, fraught with so many interests of 
this widely extended country. By their active exertions they did 
much toward the consummation of this auspicious event. Though 
impressed with the right views, and taking the right course of action, 
little did they dream of the vast importance of that action, and the 
glory that should dawn on their country by the adoption of that char- 
ter of our liberties. 

The convention met at Hartford, January 3rd, 1788. Woodbury 
at this date had parted with territory sufficient for three towns, 
Washington, Bethlem, and Southbury. These children of the old 
town were also represented in the convention, and imitated the ex- 

322 n I s T o n Y or ancient w o o d u u r y . 

ample of the motlier-town. Bellilcni was represented by Mosc- 
Hawley, P2sq. ; Wjisliington by John Wliittlesey and Dani«3l N, 
Brinsinade, Esqrs. ; and Southbury by Benjamin Stiles, Esq. Tlie 
entire delegation of the aneient territory gave an alfirniative vote on 
the question of ratification, showing themselves true to the best in- 
terests of the countr}', though the jtroposed constitution met much 
opjiosition in some quarters. 

In 1791, the canker-worms devoured the orchards, not only here, 
but all over the New England states ; and their ravages were re- 
peated the two following years. Orchards standing in stift' clay soil, 
and in low grounds, which are wet in the spring, escaped ; but on all 
kinds of light and dry soil, the trees were almost as dry on the first 
of June, as on the first of January. The same insect has this year 
(1853) attacked the orchards in the same manner, and with tlie 
same result. The trees on the fifteenth of June, Avere as brown as in 
autumn, and almost entirely stripped of foliage. The fruit lias been 
entirely ruined, although at the present writing, (August,) the trees 
have again put on a fresh garment of foliage. The eye of man could 
not well behold a denser shower of vermin than these trees presented. 

In 1772, a public library for the use of those disposed to avail 
themselves of its advantages was established in the town. The best 
information that Ave have of it is contained in an extract from a let- 
ter Avritten by Rev. Noali Benedict to Dr. Stiles, president of Yale 
College, dated December 17th, 1798; 

" There is one public library in the Town. It was set up in tlie year 17""^. 
It contains about ISO volumes, consisting principally of Books upon Divinity 
and Ecclesiastical History. However, there are other histories, and some books 
of amusement." 

It is highly probable, that the " books of amusement" constituted 
no large proportion of the library, when we reflect what were the 
notions of that day, and even they might not be classed under the 
head of " amusement," Avere we of the present day called upon to 
make the classification. This library association Avas broken up some 
time after 1800, and there Avas nothing of the kind in toAvn for some 
years after. 

In 1823, another circulating library Avas established by about forty 
of the principal inhabitants of the toAvn, under the name of tlie 
"Woodbury Union Library Comjiany. This company also " ran Avell 
for a season," and acquired a rcspcctal)le number of interesting and 
useful books. Like other human institutions it had its rise and fall. 


It held its last meeting in 1836. Its books became scattered among 
those of its members who were probably the best readers, and finally 
went out in darkness. 

The town depended on the " light of nature," and the use of pri- 
vate libraries, from this date till the organization of the present 
library in January, 1850. This library was organized on a different 
principle from either of the others, and thus far has prospered be- 
yond any former experiment. By its rules every book is to be re- 
turned to the library on the first Thursday of each month under 
severe penalty, so that each member may know, that at each succeed- 
ing monthly meeting all the books will be in the library. The use of 
the books each succeeding month, is then put up at auction, and 
struck off to the highest bidder. A fund is thus raised without in- 
convenience to the members, sufficient without taxation, which for 
some, reason is always odious, to make a fine addition of books to the 
library at each succeeding annual meeting. It has been incorporated 
as a body politic and corporate under a public statute of this state, 
enacted fur such purpose, and is thus enabled to carry its regulations 
into effect. Its corporate name is the Woodbuiy Library Associa- 
tion, and it has about 300 volumes of well selected books on 
various subjects of interest, civil, ecclesiastical and miscellaneous. 
Its officers are Rev. Lucius Curtiss, president, "William Cothren, 
treasurer and librarian, and Lucius Curtiss, William Cothren, George 
Drakeley, Garwood H. Atwood and John E. Strong, executive com- 
mittee. Its infiuence has been for good, and has induced an increas- 
ed desire for reading useful books. There is no reason to doubt, that 
if the present system is strictly followed, there will be, in a few years, 
a library of which the town may well be proud. 

In the spring of 1778 or 1779, an occurrence took place at Guern- 
sey Town, which is thus related by Barber in his Historical Collec- 
tions of Connecticut : 

" A robbery, which at the time caused considerable excitement in the com- 
munity, took place in the east jiart of the parish of Bethlem, called Guernsey 
Town, in the spring of the year 1778 or 1779, at the house of Ebenezer Guern- 
sey, a wealthy farmer. Mr. Guernsey had sold his farm some time before, to 
Isaac Baldwin of Woodbridge, who had moved in with Mr. Guernsey, and had 
paid him a large sum of money. Mr. Guernsey had a number of men in his 
employ in building a house on an adjoining farm. All in the house had retired 
to rest, it being late at night, except Mr. Baldwin and wife, and two young men 
who were in another room. Two of the robbers came in, their faces being 
blackened, one being armed with a gun, the other with a pistol, and ordered 
Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin into the room where the young men were, to be bound, 


throiU(iiiii<,' tlu-m with iiiimediate dcjuli if tlu'v luiulc any resistance. One of 
the young men niado his escape; tli.y iioinid tin- uilirr, and while altemptinj; 
to bind Mr. Baldwin, who was a very active man, he wnnched the pistol from 
one of the robbers, at which the other attemiUed to slu*t hiui, but he manageil 
to keep behind the other rubber till another from without came in and knocked 
Mr. Baldwin down with the breech of a gun, and wounded him badly. Mr. 
Guernsey, although somewhat deaf, was awakened by the uncommon noise, 
and coming into the room was knocked down and had his skull fractured; the 
rest of the family made their escape or hid themselves. The robbers rifled the 
house of many valuable things, but in retiring, dropped Mr. Guernsey's pocket 
book, which contained a large amount of continental money. One ol theyonng 
men who escajied ran three miles to Bethlem meeting-house, witliout stopping 
10 give any alarm."' 

Under the date of the 14th day of April, 1800, there appears ou 
the town records the following interesting vote : 

"Voted that the town ])ay Major Cunningham 2^/^^, the expense of Musick 
at thi! time the death of Gen' Washington was kept."i 

Thus it is seen, that "Woodbury, in common with the rest of our 
favored land, mourned with public rites the death of the " father of 
his country." Amid the tolling of bells, and the booming of minute 
guns, the participation of our quiet valley in the general grief was 
betokened. A public eulogy was pronounced in commemoration of 
the virtues of the nation's greatest benefactor, and of the public grief 
at the country's greatest loss. That was a sad day in the vale of 
"Woodbury. No man in this country, if in the Avorld, was ever 
mourned so widely and sincerely as Washington. In every part of 
the United States, the most distinguished men pronounced eulogies 
on his public and private character ; the pulpit spoke forth his praise ; 
and some mark of respect was offered in every little hamlet in the 
country. • There is no extravagance in the assertion, that a nation 
was in tears at his death. There have been other men, great and 
popular in their day and generation, and lamented with deep sorrow 
at their death, but their fame has soon passed away. Not so Avith 
that of Washington. His fame has continued to grow brighter with 
the lapse of years, and thus it shall go on as time glides by, till the 
last great day. 

In 1813, the town, which was then reduced to its present limits, 
was visited with another fatal scourge, or " Great Sickness." It was 
called the " New Milford fever," from the fact of its having first orig- 

1 Town Book, vol. 1. 


inatcd there. The disease was very destructive of human life, ter- 
minating in death, apparently, without remedy. Medical aid, for a 
time, seemed to be of no avail. After a while, Doct. Josiah R. East- 
man, of Roxbury parish, hit upon a mode of practice, which though 
not so scientific, perhaps, as that of his brethren in the profession, 
proved efficacious in this disease, and he was called to attend patients 
in all directions, and always with great success, till the disease finally 
disappeared late in the year. Forty-four deaths occurred in the 
present town of "Woodbury during the year, while the number of 
deaths for many years preceding and succeeding this date, had only 
been from ten to twenty-five each year. The records show twenty- 
two deaths in Roxbury, twenty-seven in Washington, and in the same 
ratio in Southbury. So that there were, undoubtedly, as many as 
one hundred and fifty deaths, in the " ancient territory," during this 
year. Surely this was a sad and trying time for the dwellers among 
these verdant hills and smiling valleys. 

On the 28th of June, 1812, war was declared between the United 
States and Great Britain. From the war message of President Mad- 
ison, we learn as causes for the declaration, that British cruisers had 
been in the continual practice of violating the American flag on the 
great highway of nations, and seizing and carrying off persons sailing 
under it ; not in the exercise of a belligei-ent right, founded on the 
law of nations, against an enemy, but of a municipal prerogative over 
British subjects. That so far from British subjects alone being affect- 
ed by this practice, under the pretext of searching for these, thousands 
of American citizens, under the safeguard of national law and of their 
national flag, had been torn from their country and everything dear 
to them ; had been dragged on board the ships of war of a foreign 
nation, and exposed, under the severities of their discipline, to be ex- 
iled to the most distant and deadly climes, to risk their lives in the 
battles of their oppressors, and to be the melancholy instruments of 
taking away those of their own brethren. That British cruisers had 
been in the practice, also, of violating the rights and peace of our 
coasts, hovering over and harassing our entering and departing com- 
merce. To the most insulting pretensions, they had added the most 
lawless proceedings in our very harbors, and had wantonly spilt Amer- 
ican blood within the sanctuary of our territorial jurisdiction. That 
although for a series of years our government had made every effort 
to induce England to discontinue these untenable pretensions, yet 
such was the spectacle of injuries and indignities, which had been 
heaped upon our country, and such the crisis which its unexampled 


forboarance and conciliatory efforts had not been able to avert. Our 
moderation and forbearance had had no other effect than to encourage 
perseverance, and to enlarge pretensions. For these and other causes, 
was it deemed just by the administration of Madison, that war should 
be proclaimed, although there was a large and respectable party, 
which thought that war might yet be avoided by conciliation. 

During this conflict, in our naval warfare against Great Britain, 
our nation had a gloi'ious beginning. Astonishment and mortification 
seized the British at the brilliant success of our little navy, which 
they had so much despised, and which added such glory to the Ameri- 
can name. In the laconic language of the gallant Perry, it " met the 
enemy and they were ours." Nor were the operations on land less 
successful than on the sea, after a little discipline and experience. 

During this war, the situation of Connecticut, and indeed of all the 
New England states, was in the highest degree critical and dangerous. 
The services of the militia, during its whole continuance, -were ex- 
tremely severe. They were constantly taken from their farms and 
from their ordinary occupations, to defend the coasts ; and in addition 
to all the numerous and severe losses which this state of things pro- 
duced, they were further subjected to the hardships and dangers of 
the camp, and the life of a soldier in the regular service. Sometimes 
whole companies were called to march, without delay, to New London 
and other exposed places. On one of these occasions, a whole com- 
pany, the artillery company of AYashington, under Capt. Nathaniel 
Farrand, marched to the former place. Levies on the militia in the 
ancient territory were constantly made, which were as constantly an- 
swered by the required number of men. Although from the short 
terms of service and other causes, it is not now possible to determine 
how many from the territory served their country in this war, yet the 
number is believed to have been more than two hundred. A hun- 
dred and twelve names are still preserved, and a list of them may 
be found at the close of this volume. As on all former occasions^ 
both while under the colony, and under the government of the free 
and independent state, the sons of Woodbury were found at the post 
of duty. 

Notwithstanding the great services of Massachusetts and Connect- 
icut, Congress withheld all sui)plies for the maintenance of the militia 
for the year 1814, in both those states, and thus forced upon them 
the burden of supporting the troops employed in defending their coasts 
from invasion, and their towns from being destroyed. Meanwhile 
the taxes laid by the general goveniment for the prosecution of the 


war, were exacted from these states with the most rigorous prompt- 
ness. It became apparent that if tlie New England states were res- 
cued at all from these calamities, it must depend, as far as human 
means were concerned, upon their own exertions. The inhabitants 
on the sea-coast of Massachusetts spread the alarm, and early in 
1814, petitions and memorials from a large number of towns were 
sent to the legislature, praying to be protected in their constitutional 
rights and privileges, and suggesting the expediency of appointing 

" To meet delegates from such other states as miglit think proper to appoint 
them, for the purj)o.=e of devising proper measures to procure the united efforts 
of the commercial states to obtain such amendments and explanations of the 
constitution, as will secure them from further evils." 

The legislature referred the matter to a committee, who reported 
in favor of a convention of those states favoring the enterprise, by a 
vote of 220 to 67, in a convention of both houses. 

A circular was addressed to the several states, inviting them to 
meet in convention with them, stating the object of the convention to 
be, to deliberate upon dangers to which the eastern section was ex- 
posed by the course of the war, and to devise, if possible, means of 
security and defense, which might be consistent with the preserva- 
tion of their resources from total ruin, and not repugnant to their ob- 
ligations as members of the union ; and also to deliberate on the ques- 
tion of amending the constitution of the United States. Accordingly 
a convention was agreed upon, to meet at Hartford, Dec. 15th, 1814, 
and Massachusetts sent twelve delegates, Connecticut seven, Rhode 
Island four, all appointed by the several legislatures, and New Hamp- 
shire and Vermont three, appointed by local conventions. These 
were among the most distinguished men in the union. The conven- 
tion assembled at the time appointed, and their proceedings took 
place with closed doors, though their journal was afterward made 
public. The convention immediately published a report, containing 
their views, which was extensively circulated. 

News of peace soon after arrived, and the subjects mooted in the 
convention were no longer agitated. As all the delegates appointed 
to the convention belonged to the party opposed to the administra- 
tion, they were denounced by its friends, both before and after their 
meeting, in the bitterest terms, as treasonable to the general govern- 
ment, and the name of the " Hartford Convention" became, with the 
administration party, a term of reproach. "Woodbury was represent- 
ed in that convention, in the person of the late distinguished Judge 


Nathaniel Smith, to whose cool judgment, wise reasoning, and bnrn- 
in'' eloquence, much may be attributed in bringing the determina- 
tions of the convention to a rational conclusion, without detracting 
from the merits of others. To the hem of the garments of that pure 
patriot and' upright statesman, no stain attaches. 

Previous to September 15th, 1818, the state had continued to live 
under the charter of 1(502, granted by Charles II. For some time 
previous to this date, it had been thought by many, that it was unbe- 
coming the spirit of progress, and the genius of our institutions, to re- 
main under a charter granted by a king. Others thought the pro- 
visions of the charter eminently free, and having for a long period of 
years prospered under it, wished no change, or at least none at the 
risk of what an attempt at change might introduce. Parties were 
formed upon the question, and the spirit of party ran high. The re- 
sult of the discussion was a convention, and the subsequent adoption 
of our present state constitution. 

January 15, 1818, the town of Woodbury acted on the question, 
and, in a town-meeting held on that date, passed the following vote : 

" That the representatives of this town in the next General Assembly be and are 
hereby requested to use their influence and exertions that suitable measure!" 
be taken for forming a written constitution of civil government for the State of 

It was further voted, that the town-clerk furnish a copy of this 
vote to each of the representatives to the May session of the General 
Assembly, and that Mr. Garry Bacon should procure and forward a 
like copy to the editor of the Columbian Register, at New Haven, for 
publication. The representatives to the May session were Nathan 
Preston and Philo Murrey, Esquires. At this session a convention 
was called to meet in August following, to form a constitution. Dan- 
iel Bacon, Esq., and Doct. Nathaniel Perry, were appointed dele- 
f^ates from Woodbury to the convention, which closed its labors Sept 
15, 1818, having framed the constitution, under which we now live. 

Previous to 1823, there had been an effort to locate and build a 
new town hall for the use of the town, but as is usual in such cases, 
a "reat deal of bickering and bad feeling had arisen on the occasion, 
and no conclusion was arrived at. Finally, to end the ditfu-ulty, ]\Ir. 
Daniel Bacon built a new two story building, near his dwelling-house, 
now owned by his son. Rev. AVilliam T. Bacon, and offered the use 
of the second story, rent free, to the town for its meetings. At a 

1 Town Jonmal, toI. 1. 


meeting of the town, Dec. 29, 1823, Dea. Elijah Sherman being 
moderator, it was 

" Voted to adjourn this meeting to ilr. Daniel Bacon's new Building, to meet 
in the Chamber of s^ Building immediately." 

This continued to be used as the place for all meetings of the 
town till 1845, when the present commodious town-hall was built. 

At that date, it was thought that the old town-hall did not answer 
the necessities of the town, and that a new and more commodious 
building should be erected. In the conclusion that a new building 
should be erected, all agi^ed ; but the location was quite another 
matter. In this the " ends" of the town were widely at variance. It 
was an occasion which could not pass without an exhibition of the 
" old feeling," which began in Stratford, caused the settlement of the 
town, showed its controlling power in the location of each successive 
church building that the increasing w^ants of the community demand- 
ed, and had finally rent the church of God in twain. A meeting 
was called in the " dead of winter," to determine the question of loca- 
tion, and after a spirited debate, a respectable majority voted to locate 
the building in the spot it now occupies. But there being a suspi- 
cion of unfairness in the vote, application was made to the select- 
men to appoint another meeting to try the question anew. The 
meeting was called, and though Providence, the evening before the 
appointed day, shed down some two feet of snow, enough one would 
think, to cool the feelings of the belligerent parties, yet the high piled 
drifts were penetrated in every direction, and almost every legal 
voter appeared at the meeting for the decision of the momentous ques- 
tion of a difference in distance of one or two hundred rods ! The 
vote was taken by ballot, and the former location ratified by an in- 
creased majority. 

To the inhabitants bred and born in this goodly valley, this ques- 
tion of feet and inches has an importance, a magnitude, totally un- 
appreciable by those bom in a different latitude. On this question, 
the author, who is not to»the " manor bom," speaks with a freedom 
and an impartiality, which, in the eyes of some of his readers, may 
amount to recklessness ; but he verily believes, that he speaks the 
words of " truth and soberness." The general prosperity and advan- 
tage of the whole town are greatly to be desired, and it is most can- 
didly conceived that this infatuated localism is the bane of every 
scheme for the town's best interest. Men of mind and expanded 
views ought to look beyond the insignificant toadstool which they 

330 HISTORY or ancient w o o d b u r v . 

themselves occupy. "Wiisliington would never have achieved the in- 
dependence of the United States, if he had studied the interests, alone, 
of his own plantation, and the health and condition of his own ne- 
groes. It is hy expanded views, by the banishment of self, that great 
objects are accomplished. "Woodbury possesses great natural advan- 
tages. Only the warring of localism could have prevented it from 
availing itself of the advantages which God and nature have furnished 
it with a lavish hand. No locality in our country boasts of a fairer 
heritage, a more beautiful succession of hills and dales. Scarcely 
any in our state can excel us in agricultural or manufacturing facil- 
ities. No territory is richer in historical associations. None pos- 
sess advantages of all kinds, calculated to awaken a whole town pride, 
more numerous than ours ; and yet we linger behind sister towns, to 
whom nature has been less bountiful of her favors. In all natural 
advantages, Woodbury is the equal, perhaps the superior, of "Water- 
bury. In wealth of intellect and wealth of purse, Woodbury was the 
equal of Waterbury, till within a limited number of years. And now 
Waterbury is a flourishing city, while Woodbury is traveling in the 
footsteps of its illustrious fathers. What has caused the difterence ? 
Why has the one advanced, and the other remained almost station- 
ary ? It is because the one has had no localism, that did not em- 
brace the whole toAvn ; no contention, except that " noble contention 
of who best can labor, best agree." The inhabitants of the one have 
had minds expanded enough to take in the whole town, and to labor 
for its advancement ; the other has had the mind fixed on minute tri- 
fles, light as air. The one has seen his own prosperity in that of 
every neighbor, while the other has seen the prosperity of every 
other antagonistic to his own. To this fell spirit of localism, in good 
part, may we attribute the financial disasters under which the whole 
town has " been in travail" for the last few months. A nice care for 
sectional interest enabled unscrupulous financiers to w^ork the destruc- 
tion of our monetary interests. It is to be hoped for the honor of the 
town, and of the human race, that this diseased state of feeling will 
speedily pass away. It is believed, and ijientioned with devout grat- 
itude to heaven, that the generation now coming on the stage of ac- 
tion, as has been before asserted, are beginning to be divested of these 
fatal prejudices. Happy the day, when not the ends of the earth, 
but the ends of the town, shall act together for the common interests. 
We do not say that the millennium will then have come, but peace 
will be within our border*, and " prosi)erity within our palaces." 



For a long period of years it was the custom of the people, when 
a death occurred, to have the coevals of the deceased attend the fu- 
neral, bear him to the place of interment, and in the presence of the 
mourners, take turns in filling the grave. In small rural communi- 
ties, the death and burial of an individual were a matter of general 
concern, and all were accustomed to assemble to take a last look at 
the remains of an associate, and to pay them the last honors. In 
earlier years it was expected that the rites of hospitality would be 
dispensed at the house of the deceased, and, especially in the days 
when ardent spirits were freely used, sometimes scenes of convivial- 
ity usurped the place of real grief and sober lamentation. But the 
custom of friends filling the grave, after a time became burdensome, 
as the duty was left to be performed by a few, in all cases, who felt 
called upon to do that duty, as no others offered. Finally, at the an- 
nual town meeting in October, 1826, it was "voted that it shall be 
the duty of the sexton to fill the graves at all burials in this town." 
Accordingly, since that date, this duty has been performed by that 

At the same meeting a vote was passed to buy a new burying- 
ground, of Capt. Elijah Sherman ; and John Strong, Jr., James 
Moody, Noah B. Benedict, Judson Blackman, Jeremiah Peck, Jesse 
Minor, Leman Sherman, Nathan Preston and Chauncey Crafts were 
appointed a committee to lay it out into lots. A majority of those 
who have died since that date, have been buried in that place, Thalia 
Judson being the first occupant, November 28th, 1826. 

True to her military instincts, Woodbury furnished three soldiers 
for the war with Mexico, in 1847. As the nation was at that day 
careering in the fullness of its power, it needed not the services of 
many of our citizens. But she furnished this small quota for the 
conquest of the " Halls of the Montezumas," and the extension of 
the " area of freedom." 

In 1846, the North Congregational Society built a commodious 
building for a lecture room and academy, and a flourishing school has 
since been there sustained. In 1851, an academic association was 
formed by the inhabitants in the south part of the town, with suffi- 
cient means, and made a body corporate and politic, under the statute 
for that purpose. The association erected a structure of convenient 
size and beautiful architecture, in the lower story of which a success- 
ful school has been maintained, the second story being used for the 
accommodation of the Woodbury Bank. 

Masonry was established in this vicinity in 1765, and consequently 

332 nisTonY of ancient wood bury. 

the institution licre has become time-honored, having reached the 
venerable age of nearly a hundred years, through all varying vicissi- 
tudes. The lodge which now exists in this town, seems in its organ- 
ization to have been constituted of brothers residing both here and 
in Waterbury. It appears, however, to have been located in "Wood- 
bury, though the means of information in regard to it are very scanty, 
all the records except the charter from its first organization till 1782, 
being no longer in existence. At this time it was reorganized under 
the most favorable auspices. The charter remains nearly entire, the 
venerable and sole relic of the early history of the lodge. 

By it we learn that application was made to the Provincial Grand 
Lodge of IMassachusetts, sitting at Boston, by " Joel Clark, James 
Reynolds, and sundry other Brethren of the Ancient and Honorable 
Society of Free and Accei)ted Masons, now residing at or near "Wa- 
terbury," for a charter, which was granted July 17th, 17G5, and 
" Mr. John Ilotchkiss our Eight Worshipful and well Beloved Broth- 
er," was appointed the first master of the lodge, and empowered to 
" Congregate the Brethren together, and Form them into a Regular 
Lodge, he taking Especial Care in Choosing Two Wardens and Oth- 
er Officers necessary for the due Regulations thereof for One Year, 
at the End thereof the Lodge shall have full Power to Choose and 
Appoint their Master and other Officers, and so Annually." This 
charter was granted and delivered by the " Command of the Provin- 
cial Grand Master, Jeremiah Gridley, Esq., and signed by J. Rowe, 
Dep. Grand Master, and Edmund Quincy, G. Sec'y." Of the pros- 
perity of the lodge during the first seventeen years, we have no re- 
liable information, from the fact heretofore mentioned. The tradition 
is that it was highly prosperous, during a part of the time, though 
toward the latter part of that period, for some cause, it was not so 
successful. It must have been prosperous in its former years, for at 
its revival, August 6th, 1782, fifty-six old members were present. 
After the organization of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut in 1791 
this charter was registered in the records of the Grand Lodge pf the 
State, by Elias Shipman, Esq., G. Secretary. It received a new 
charter from the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, and became King Sol- 
omon's Lodge, No. 7, of this jurisdiction. 

At the reorganization of the lodge in 1782, which took place at 
the house of Peter Gilchrist, now occupied by George B. Lewis, 
there were present P. M. Doctor Anthony Burritt, Joseph Perry, 
M. D., P. M. Hezckiah Thompson, Esq., Hon. Ephraim Kirby, Na- 
than Preston, Esq., and fifty-one other members. The records from 


this date are in a good state of preservation. By them it appears, 
that at this meeting,- John Clark was installed W. M., Josiah Beers, 
S. W., and Doctor Anthony Burritt, J. AV. The lodge met once a 
month, at the same place as at first. The same officers continued to 
be annually re-elected till December, 1787, with the exception of the 
latter, whose place was filled by the election of Samuel Woodman. 
During this period, there had been eleven admissions, among them 
Bartimeus Fabrique and Rev. John E. Marshall. 

In 1787, Nathan Preston was elected W. M., Samuel Woodman, 
S. W., and Adam Lum, J. W. The same officers were re-elected 
the next year. This year two members were added. In 1789, the 
first two were again elected to the offices previously held by them, 
and Doctor Anthony Burritt chosen J. W. 

In December, 1790, Nathan Preston was again chosen W. M., 
Anthony Burritt, S. W., and Elijah Sherman, J. W. The latter and 
four others had been admitted as members during this year. The 
next year the same officers were re-elected, and Rutgers B. Marshall, 
Benjamin Stiles, Esq., and three others were added to the Lodge. 

In 1792, Nathan Preston was W. M., Elijah Sherman S. W., and 
Garwood H. Cunningham J. W. Masonry this year, after the es- 
tablishing of the Grand Lodge of this state the preceding year, 
seems to have revived, and admissions were frequent. Twelve mem- 
bers were received, among whom was Col. Joel Hinman. About 
this time, the exact date not being known, the lodge established a 
library for the use of its members, and by additions, in a few years 
had collected between two and three hundred volumes of useful and 
valuable books. The library in its best state, was worth some $500. 
After a time its books became somewhat scattered, and the remain- 
der, by vote of the lodge, was collected and sold. 

In 1793, Garwood H. Cunningham was chosen W. M., Benjamin 
Stiles, Jr., S. W., and N. Sherman Judson, J. W. The next year 
they were again elected. In the former year ten new members were 
added to the lodge, among whom was Capt. Timothy Hinman ; and 
in the latter year four were admitted. The funds of the lodge in 
December of the former year, were £100, 9s. 3d. At the festival of 
St. John the Baptist, in the latter year, Rev. Azel Backus, of Beth- 
lem, preached a sermon to the lodge. 

In 1795, nine members were received, and Benjamin Stiles, Jr., 
made W. M., R. B. Marshall, S. W. and William Moody, J. W. 

In 1796, Nathan Preston was chosen W. M., G. H. Cunningham, 
S. W. and Benjamin Stiles, Jr., J. W. Two members were re- 


ceived. In October of this year, David Tallman agreed to prepare a 
room in "Widow Gilchrist's house, and furnish the same for the lodge 
for twentj-five years, from the first of March, 1707, for £114. This 
was the house now occupied by Lucius H. Foote, as a hotel. Ac- 
cordingly the lodge convened in this place during the length of the 
time agreed on, when its meetings were held in Alvah Mcrriman's 
building, about fifteen years, from which place it removed to the old 
lodge room for some two years, till the dedication of the present hall 
in 1830. 

In 1707, the officers were G. H. Cunningham, "W. M., Benjamin 
Stiles, S. W., and "William Moody, J. W. This was a year of unu- 
sual prosperity in the lodge. Twenty-five of the principal citizens 
of the town were added to its numbers, being the largest number ever 
received by the lodge in one year. Among these were Daniel Ba- 
con, Esq., Doctor Nathaniel Perry, and Deacon Scovill Hinman, of 
New Haven. The latter is still living, and is the oldest initiated 
member of the lodge. 

In 1708, "William Moscley was chosen TV. M., Doctor Nathaniel 
Perry, S. W., and Philo Murray, J. W. The same officers were re- 
elected the next year. Eight members were received in the former 
year, among whom was Jesse Minor, the second oldest living member 
of the lodge, and two were added in the latter year. 

In 1800, Doctor Nathaniel Perry was elected "W. M., "V^^illiam 
Hawley, S. V{., and B. Seward, J. W. The first two were re-elected 
next year, and Doctor Samuel Orton elected to the J. "W's station. 
Three members were admitted in the former and four in the latter 

Two members were added in 1802, and Nathan Preston was made 
"W. M., G. H. Cunningham, S. "W., and "\Yilliam Hawley, J. "W. 

G. H. Cunningham succeeded in 1803 as "W. M., Noah Martin as 
S. "W., and King "W'illiam Sampson as J. "W. Twelve brothers were 
initiated this year. 

In 1804, ten members were added, and Doctor Nathaniel Perry 
was chosen "W. M., Noah Martin. S. W., and Benjamin Andrews, 
J. W. 

Three were admitted to membership in 1805, and Nathan Preston 
was elected "W. M., Nathan S. Judson, S.."W., and Benjamin An- 
drews, J. "W. 

In 180G, Nathan S. Judson was selected as "W. M., Richard Smith, 
S. "NY., and Daniel Hurlbut, J. W. The next year Doctor Nathan- 
iel Perry filled the master's chair, and the other officers remained the 



same as before. Seven new members were added in each of these 

In 1808, William Moseley was W. i\I.. Daniel Hiirlbut, S. W., 
and Ebenezer Weed, J. W. The next year Abraham Somers, now 
living, took the place of the latter, and the other two were re-elected. 
Three joined in the former and four in the latter year. 

In 1810, Doctor Nathaniel Perry was again elected "W. M., Abra- 
ham Somers, S. W., and Samuel Frazier, J. W. Four additional 
members were received. 

In 1811, Richard Smith was W. M., Nathaniel Tuttle, S. W., and 
Abijah S. Hatch, J. TV. 

Eight new members were added in 181'2, among whom were Hon. 
Charles B. Phelps, now judge of the county court for Litchfield 
county, and Hon. Curtiss Hinman, afterward member of the senate 
of this state, when that body was elected by general ticket. The offi- 
cers this year were Nathaniel Tuttle, W. M., William A. Bronson, 
S. W., and Nathaniel Bacon 2d, J. W. The next year the same offi- 
cers were re-elected, except that Charles B. Phelps, Esq., took the 
junior Avarden's seat. Six new members were admitted this year. 

In 1814, five members were added to the lodge, among whom was 
Gen. Chauncey Crafts. Hon. Charles B. Phelps was elected W. M., 
Hon. Curtiss Hinman, S. W., and Erastus Osborn, J. W. 

In 1815, Nathaniel Tuttle was selected as W. M., William A. 
Bronson, S. W., and Reuben Fairchild, J. W. Three members were 

In 181 G, William A. Bronson was chosen W. M., Reuben Fair- 
child, S. W., and Joel Scovill, J. W., and two persons joined the 

In 1817, two persons joined the lodge, one of whom was Nehe- 
raiah C. Sanford, Esq., and Doctor Nathaniel Perry was elected W. 
M., Reuben Fairchild, S. W., and Austin Lum, J. W. 

In 1818, Thomas S. Shelton was chosen W. M., Reuben Fair- 
child, S. W., and James Manvill, J. W. The next two years the 
same officers were re-elected, except that William Hicock took the 
place of junior warden. In the first of these years eight members 
were added, in the second, five, and in the last, one. 

In 1821, Phineas S. Bradley was elected W. M., William Hicock, 
S. W., and Garry H. Wheeler, J. W. Under this administration 
twelve members were admitted. 

In 1822, William Hicock was chosen W. M., Garry H. Wheeler, 
S. W., and Benjamin Doolittle, J. W. Next year Benjamin Doo- 

336 niSTOKY OF ancient WOODBURY. 

little was elected S. "W., and Charles Brouson took his place. Iii 
1822, six new members were admitted, among whom was Rev. Stur- 
ges Gilbert, and tlie next year five, among whom was Hon. Edward 
Ilinman, late judge of New Haven county court. On the 18th of 
September, the lodge moved to tlieir room at Col. French's build- 
ing, now Mr. Merriam's. 

In 1824, E. B. Foote was elected W. M., Benjamin Doolittle, S. 
W., and Chai-les Ransom, J. TV. Next year the latter held the same 
station, while Nehemiah C. Sanford, Esq., was W. M., and Phineas 
.S. Bradley, S. "\V. In 1824, four persons were made masons, and 
three next year, among whom was Doctor Samuel Steele. 

In 182G, Samuel Steele was chosen W. M., Charles Ransom, S. 
"W., and Roderick C. Steele, J. W. Next year the latter was made 
W. M., and Nathan Preston, J. ^V., the S. W. retaining his place. 
Nine members were added in 1826, and four in 1827. It will be 
seen by the above, that notwithstanding the anti-masonic storm which 
had swept over the land for several years, and lasted for ten years, 
that admissions to this lodge did not cease. 

In the years 1829 and 1835 one member each was admitted. For 
the six years intervening between these two dates the same causes 
were at work to hinder admission here, as elsewhere, and had their 
effect. In 1836 and 1837, two members each year were admitted. 
Next year fifteen were added to the numbers of the lodge. In 1839, 
six were admitted; in 1840, two; in 1841, three ; and two in 1842. 
In 1847, one was initiated; in 1849, three; in 1851, seven; and 
from that date to the present, eighteen. 

The lodge was very prosperous for several years previous to 
1841. From that time for several years, on account of removals and 
other causes, it rapidly declined in point of numbers and efficiency, 
so much so that its annual report to the Grand Lodge was not sent 
in for three years. In consequence of this, in May, 1846, its charter 
was declared forfeited, and in October of that year a committee of 
the Grand Lodge waited upon the former officers, and requested the 
surrender of the charter. After satisfactory explanations, the charter 
was given up on a promise that the lodge should have a dispensa- 
tion till the next session of the Grand Lodge, and a return of the 
charter at that time upon payment of their dues. The last meeting 
before the forfeiture of the charter, was held January 10th, 1844. 
The dispensation was received in December, 1846, and a meeting 
(Was held January 6th, 1847, at which officers were elected, and the 
business of the lodge went on. The charter was also restored ac- 


cording to stipulation. The present beautiful and commodious Lodge 
Ilall, one of the best in the county, whose location on a bluff of trap 
rock, some thirty feet above the main street of the village, makes it a 
prominent object of attention as the stranger enters our village, 
was built in 1839, and dedicated to the use of the lodge on the twen- 
ty-fifth of June, in that year. By the construction of this building* 
the lodge was burdened with a debt of some five hundred dollars, 
which contribuOBd not a little to the misfortunes that subsequently fell 
upon it. About two years ago, the lodge again became prosperous ; 
the debt which proved such an incubus is removed, and the lodge 
goes on successfully. Since its reorganization in 1782, three hundred 
and sixty-two members have been admitted, ninety-eight of whom 
still survive. As we have now arrived at the time of the present 
actors in the lodge, it will hardly be expected that we should pro- 
nounce an eulogy on the living. We will only return and give a list 
of the officers till the present time, and close our sketch. 

In 1828, Roderick C. Steele was re-elected W. M., Charles Ran- 
som, S. ^y., and Xathan Preston, J. TV. 

In 1829, Martin Moody was elected W. M., Garry Riggs, S. W., 
and Gad Hitchcock, J. ^Y. 

In 1830,'IVIartin Moody was re-elected TY. M., Nathan Preston, S. 
"W., and James Manville, J. W. 

In 1831, Nathan Preston was elected W. M., James Manville, S. 
W., W. H. Atwood, J. "NY., and in 1832, these officers were re- 

In 1833, Samuel Steele was elected W. M., James Manville, S. 
^X., and ^Y. H. Atwood, J. W. 

In 1831, W. H. Atwood was W. M., James Manville, S. TY., and 
Selick Galpin, J. W. 

In 1835, Garry Riggs was chosen W. M., Benjamin Doolittle, S. 
^y., and James Manville, J. W. 

In 1836, Benjamin Doolittle was elected W. M., W. H. Atwood* 
S. W., and John M. SafFord, J. W. In 1837, the W. M. and S. W. 
were re-elected, and James Manville made J. W. 

In 1838, Charles H. Webb was chosen W. M., Mitchell S. Mitch- 
ell, S. W., and Charles S. Peck, J. W. 

In 1839, Mitchell S. Mitchell was elected W. M., Charles S. Peck, 
S. W., and Edwin Hull, J. W. 

In 1840, Bethel S. Castle was elected "VY. M., TT. II. Atwood, S. 
"W., and Lucius Ives, J. \Y. 


In ISn, Charles B. riiolps was cliosen W. M., Mitcliell S. Mitch- 
rll, S. Vr., and Chark-s II. AVebb, J. W. 

In 1842, Charles II. TVebb was chosen "W. M., Benjamin Doolit- 
tle, S. W., and Wyllys Jiidd, J. W. In 1843, the same oiliccrs were 
re-eleeled, and were the officers when the charter was given u[). 

In 1847, on the reception of the dispensation, Benjamin Doolittle 
was elected W. M., "NVyllys Judd, S. W. and Albert Thompson, J. 
W., who served till December, the same year. In December, 1847, 
the same officers were re-elected for the succeeding year. 

In 1848, Wyllys Judd was elected W. M., Albert Thompson, S. 
W., and Eri Riggs, J. W. February 0th, 1849, on Mr. Judd's res- 
ignation, Benjamin Doolittle was elected to fill his place. 

In 1849, Benjamin Doolittle was reelected W. M., Eleazer Wel- 
ton, S. W., and Eri Riggs, J. W. In 1850, the same officers were 

In 1851, Benjamin Doolittle was elected "W. M., William Coth- 
ren, S. W., and E. ^Y. Atwood, J. W. 

In December, 1852, being the month of the annual election, Wil- 
liam Cothren was elected W. M., E. W. Atwood, S. W., and W. R. 
Galpin, J. W. 

Rising Sun Lodge, No. 27, of Washington, was founded by a col- 
ony from this lodge. That lodge was for many years in a very flour- 
ishing condition, had many valuable members, but has not been work- 
ing for some years ; consequently its charter has been revoked. 

Fidelity Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, was organized in Wood- 
bury, January 25th, 1809. It went alojig prosperously for about five 
years, Hon. Charles B. Phelps, being the last member received, 
January 31st, 1814. The whole number of admissions was thirty- 
two. The location of the chapter was changed to Washington about 
the year 1815, the last meeting at Woodbury being held that year. 
The first meeting held in Washington, of which the records speak, 
was in 1823. While located here, forty-five members were admit- 
ted. Its location was changed again to Woodbury in 1842, since 
which time no meeting has been held. 

List of High Priests. 
Benjamin Stiles, Esq., Hon. Daniel N. Brinsmado, 

Doct. Nathaniel Perry, Hon. Daniel B. Brinsmade, 

Richard Smifh, Esq., Doct. Manly Peters, 

William A. Bronson, Esq. 


A (livi.-ion of the Sons of Temperance was organized in this town 
February 8th, 184:7, and called Pomperaug Division, Ko. 27. John 
W. Kogers, James R. Young, John J/Bcecher, Sheldon T. Allen, 
John S. Bennet, Ezra Toucey, James R. Thomas, Edwin Roberts, 
and George A. Capewell, were appointed the first officers, and the 
society went on prosperously for several years. One hundred and 
five were received as members. Dissensions finally arose among the 
members of the society, the interest in it subsided, and early in tlie 
spring of 1853, it divided its funds among its remaining members, 
and '• parted to meet no more." 

List of Worthy Patriarchs. 

John Roberts, Robert Peck, Edward W. Atwood, 

John W. Rogers, George De Forest, George L. Tpeple, 

Benjamin Doolittle, John E. Blackman, Jerome Ilubbell, 

James R. Thomas, Stephen B. Fairchild, Orley M. Parker, 

Monroe C. Sherman, Jo. T. Capewell, Philo J. Isbell, 

Leander Hodge, John II. Doolittle, George II. Hitchcock. 

William Way, John Way, 

On the application of Silas Chapman, Chai'les G. Judson, William 
E. Woodruff", Enos Benham and Clark Linsley, to the Grand Mas- 
ter of the Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows 
for the State of Connecticut, the grand oificers of said lodge convened 
at Woodbury, April 16, 1847, and formed the applicants into a lodge 
under the name of Bethel Rock Lodge, No. 44. The same day, 
William Cothren, John P. De Forest, John A. Candee, Norman 
Pai-ker, Noble Parker, Rollin Wooster, Aaron MuUings, Charles H. 
Webb*, and Charles A. Somers, were received into the society by in- 
itiation. From that day to the present, the society has had a slow, 
but sure progress. In addition to those above named, it has received 
fifty-seven members, making seventy-one in the whole, and now has 
sixty-five acting members. 

Its object, like that of the two preceding societies, is the relief of 
the necessities and sufferings of its members, and of the human race. 
It possesses a fund for these objects, which is constantly increasing, 
of about nine hundred dollars, which it keeps at interest, safely in- 
vested. To secure itself against loss, it has organized itself into a 
body corporate and politic, under a public statute of this state, enacted 
for such purposes. 


Li^t of Noble Grands. 
Silas Cluipin, William Cothren, Edwunl E. Bradley, 

Charles G. Jiulson, Gilead II. Smith, Norman Parker, 

John P. Do Forest, Benjamin S. Curtiss, Hiram Manville, 
Charles XL "Webb, Henry Elinor, Isaac Smith. 

Luke S. Putnam, Norman Parker, 

List of Vice Grands. 
Charles G. Judson, William Cothren, Ed. E. Bradley, 

John P. De Forest, Gilead H. Smith, AVm. E. Woodruff, 

Chai-les II. Webb, Charles A. Somers, Hiram Manville, 
Clark Linsley, Benjamin S. Curtiss, Isaac Smith, 

Luke S. Putnam, Henry Minor, Phineas A. Judson. 

At the session of the General Assembly in 1851, a bank, to be lo- 
cated in Woodbury, was chartered, under the name of the " Wood- 
bury Bank." Its capital was $100,000. In taking up the stock of 
the bank, a small majority of it fell into the hands of one William E. 
Chittenden, a broker in the city of New York, who was heavily enga- 
ged in wild and daring railroad si^eculations in the west. Considera- 
ble opposition on the part of some of the home stockholders was man- 
ifested to this state of affairs at the beginning. Mr. Chittenden, how- 
ever, moved his family to Woodbury, made himself a director by 
means of his majority of the stock, and at once controlled the opera- 
tions of the bank. It commenced business in November, 1851, and 
continued till Mai'ch, 1853, when Chittenden failed in business for a 
large amount, carrying down with him the Woodbury and Eastern 
Banks, and injuring the credit of the Bank of Litchfield County, 
being indebted to it in a sum greater than one-half of its capital. 

At the time of his failure, he owed the Woodbury Bank more than 
•$175,000. To secure this, there were some $7G,000, in collaterals 
of various kinds, most of which were not immediately available, leav- 
ing nearly $100,000, unprovided for and unsecured. The assets of 
the bank went into the hands of receivers, and after some time a com- 
promise was made with Chittenden, by which he assigned his stock 
and collaterals to the bank at their par value, and contracted to pay 
the remainder of his indebtedness in the bills of the bank. This 
agreement he has fulfilled in part, $30,000 having been paid by him. 
Besides this, there is an attachment on property sufficient, it is be- 
lieved, to secure his indebtedness to the bank within about $10,000. 
The friends of the Killingly bank having procured a requisition on 


the governor of New York for his person, on a criminal complaint, 
he found it not advisable to remain longer in that state. Though 
thus disa2)pointed in the promises of this man, the citizens of Wood- 
bury liave come forward, taken said stock so assigned, and paid its 
par value into the bank. The result of this noble conduct on the 
part of the inhabitants, is, that the bank has been able to resume 
business on a firm footing, and its oihcers having learned " wisdom 
by experience," it will go on successfully. 

Its officers are Daniel Gurtiss, president ; James M. Dickinson, 
cashier, and George B. Lewis, Lewis Judd, David C. Bacon, John 
Abernethy, Monroe C. Sherman, Philo H. Skidmore, George Smith 
and "William Cothren,' directors. 

While these pages have been going through the press, a savings 
institution has been organized in the village, under the name of the 
Woodbury Savings Bank and Building Association, It is a corpo- 
ration under the general law authorizing such institutions. It can 
hardly be said to be fully organized, and yet it has already a capital 
of about fifty thousand dollars, and several thousand dollars on de- 
posit. It bids fair to be a very successful institution, and with good 
management, it can not be otherwise than safe. Its officers are 

Nathaniel B. Smith, President. 

William Cothren, Vice President. 

Thomas Bull, Secretary and Treasurer. 

Benjamin Fabriquc, 

Loren Forbes, 

Robert J. Tolles, 

Charles A. Somers, 

George Drakeley, 

Benjamin S. Curtiss, 

The manufactures and mechanical employments of the town, inde- 
pendent of those of a domestic character, consist of one tinner's fac- 
tory, three grain mills, one clover mill, seven saw-mills, two tanneries, 
two cider distilleries, four tailor shops, five blacksmith shops, one 
silver spoon shop, one spectacle shop, three shoe manufactories, two 
carriage shops, one button factory, one powder flask manufactory. 
two cigar shops, one felt cloth manufactory, two cassimere manu- 
factories, one shear manufactory, one thimble manufactory, one shawl 
manufactory, one establishment for " leathering carpet tacks," one 

1 The latter has been elected since the financial difficulties of the bank; all the oth- 
ers were its former officers. 



suspender huckle shoj) ; all together employing more than $200,000 
capital. Tliere are fifteen mercantile stores, and three hotels, enii»loy- 
ing some $50,000 capital. There are also fourteen school district 
and primary schools, two academies, one social library, two attorneys, 
four clergymen, and four physicians. 

The amount of the last grand list was $39,053.83, and the valua- 
tion of the lands and buildings of the town, in 1815, for the levy of 
the direct tax of the United States, which comprised 19,528 acres, 
amounted to $004,175, being an average value of nearly $34 per 
acre. In 1799, the real estate of this town, together with Southbury, 
was ai)praiscd at $847,9GG. 

Thus have we gathered up the fragments of information scattered 
by the wayside, however trivial, and deposited tliem in the great gar- 
ner-house of history, if happily they may engage the attention of the 
curious reader in some gliding year of the distant future, who may 
possibly take the same kindly interest in the items of information that 
concern us of this day, " simple annals of the poor," that we now be- 
stow on each recorded trace of the doings and sayings of our early 
fathers. However trivial these matters may appear to the careless 
observer, the man of thought, of wise forecast, will ever find instruc- 
tion and food for deepest contemplation in every such recital. 



Biography is that part of history which relates to the history of 
the life and character of men. It embraces the consideration of all 
that appertains to our moral, intellectual, social and professional char- 
acter. It is said that " history is philosophy teaching by example," 
and biography is ever one of the principal elements of history. Men 
and their acts are the great theme of the historian's pen. It is this 
element that furnishes most of the pleasure we enjoy in all historical 
accounts. The life and progress of men, their virtues and vices, their 
successes and failures, their motives and their actions, not only affect 
their own position and happiness, but their influence extends to all 
within their reach, and descends influencing the character and des- 
tiny of unborn millions. The good deeds that men do live after them, 
and so do the bad. The influence of a good or a bad action, once 
committed, can never be recalled. As one who, standing by the sea- 
side, casts a stone into the waters, as they lie calmly sleeping in the 
golden sunlight, will immediately see a small circular ripple extend- 
ing itself in all directions, gradually increasing the circle of its cir- 
cumference, till it is lost to his view in the ocean's depths ; so the 
influence of a good or a bad action, however insignificant we may es- 
teem it, never ceases, but goes on, extending the sphere of its influ- 
ence, in an ever increasing ratio, till the end of time. Hence it is 
well, that the lives of the eminent should be written, that their good 
deeds and wise teachings may be extended, so that they may ulti- 
mately take in the human race. Example and competition form the 
character of nations. " To commemorate the virtues, wisdom and 
patriotism of their heroes and their statesmen, their philosophers and 
their poets, has ever been the noblest office of the noblest nations. 


The voice of eulogy, tlie page of liisfory, monuments, mausoleums, 
tro])liies and triumi)lis, were the proud testimonials to the splendor of 
their arhievements, and the gratitude of their countrymen. Emula- 
tion blazed high in every bosom — worth became sympathetic and he- 
reditary — infancy caught the sacred flame of patriotism from the hon- 
ored and hallowed ashes of its ancestry, and in beholding the bright 
escutcheons of war and victory, the tottering and enfeebled limbs of 
hoary ar/e itself glowed and strengthened into the ardor and energy 
of second vouth. Thus all the diversified departments of their admi- 
rable svstem? of government, civil as well as military, contributed to 
inspirit, to sujiportand dignify each other ; and while moving in their 
own respective orbits, like the inexhaustible luminaries of heaven, 
they reciprocally borrowed and reflected light, and shed their com- 
bined luster and glory upon an astonished world." 

The influence of great example diffuses itself over the world, and if 
we should strike out of history its earlier annals, it would be like 
striking out the acquirements and experience of youth, in its evil 
consequences upon the hopes and happiness of mature age. It would 
be to expect the harvest without the seed-time, the genial influences 
of summer, or the ripening power of early autumn. But biography 
is important, not only as a record of the virtues of men, but also of 
their follies and vices. Even the records of these have their salutary 
uses. They serve to check us in a career which might otherwise be- 
come reckless and disastrous. They are like beacons set up to guard 
us against those evils into which others have fallen, and to direct our 
attention to the acquisition of the opposite virtues, and the securing 
of those " temporal and eternal blessings, which are too often wantonly 
disregarded, and perhaps irretrievably lost." 

In a work like the present, there is not space sufficient for the in- 
troduction of biographies, properly so called. We can only give 
such brief statistics as have come to hand, from which extended me- 
moirs can be made, when the requisite time, ability and encourage- 
ment shall call to the execution of that pleasant duty. Much diffi- 
culty has been experienced in collecting materials for the personal 
history of individuals, on account of the want of interest and slug- 
gishness of those who alone could give the information," and if the 
following brief sketches shall be exceptionable to any, on account of 
their meagerness, it is hoped that it will be attributed by the intelli- 
gent reader, to the appropriate causes. 


Most of the readers of this vohime will recollect the aged, yet 
noble form — so lately in our midst — of the subject of this sketch* 
For more than twenty -five years, he " went out and in" among us, 
approving himself in all the relations of life. To see him about 
among the people, dispensing the charities of his humane and useful 
profession, had become a sort of " second nature" — a thing of course. 
Unusually attentive to the calls of the arduous profession of which 
he was so conspicuous an ornament, he was ever found at the post of 
duty, " in the forefront of the battle," in the conflict with dire dis- 
ease. The high moral and rehgious traits of his character were 
" known and read of all men" — of which we all are witnesses. His 
gentlemanly and friendly deportment toward all whom he was called 
to meet, in the various relations and duties of life, are known to the 
entire circle of his acquaintance. To the author he particularly 
endeared himself by his wise counsels in the various emergencies of 
the early days in his professional labors, and by his unwavering 
friendship, when the " love of many had waxed cold," and that of 
most was lukewarm. He was a friend in need. Many were the 
happy hours spent with him in interesting and useful conversation on 
all the various topics of human thought. He can almost imagine at 
times of a pleasant afternoon, he sees that aged and revered form 
coming toward his office, and can almost hear those manly, kindly 
tones in which he was wont to hold intercourse with intimate friends. 
Anon the illusion vanishes, and he finds himself alone, with a sense 
of having experienced some great loss. To know the full worth of 
such a man as Dr. Abernethy, one must know him intimately — must 
hold communion with his very soul. We see few such men in our 
world. His death has created a void, that will not soon again be 
filled. He will Uve, while life remains, in the affectionate remem- 
brances of his numerous acquaintances and friends. 

For much of what follows, we are indebted to the sermon preach- 
ed at his funeral by Rev. Lucius Curtis, pastor of the church at 
which Dr. Abernethy attended. His character was, on that occa- 
sion, so well drawn, that it seemed to the writer like a waste of time 
to go over the ground again. 

Dr. Roswell Abernethy was born in Harwinton, Conn., in the year 
1774. He applied himself very early in hfe to the study of medi- 
cine, under the instruction of his father, Dr. William Abernethy, 
who was at that time the principal physician in his native town. In 

346 nisTOUY of ancient -woodbury. 

1795, while in his twenty-first year, he commenced the practice of 
his profession in New Hartford, an adjoining town, where he remain- 
ed six years. During this period, he formed the acquaintance of Dr. 
Grithn, the celebrated pulpit orator and divine, who had then just 
commenced his ministerial labors in that town. This acquaintance 
soon ripened into a friendship, which continued long after they were 
separated by removal. They were fitted by the character of their 
minds to sympathize, not only as friends, but as thinkers on impor- 
tant subjects. From New Hartford he removed to his native town, 
and continued the practice of his profession there till 1825. The 
reputation he had acquired as a physician and as a man, made him 
known abroad ; and a vacancy having occurred in this town, many 
desired to secure his settlement here. Accordingly the citizens of 
"Woodbury, without distinction of party or sect, extended to him a 
formal " call," or invitation' to settle, which he accepted. He came 
here not only by this general invitation, but with the warmest testi- 
monials of confidence and regard from the citizens of his native town ; 
and for twenty-five years he continued here, enjoying the confidence 
and esteem of the community. The extent of his practice was such 
as to gain for him a generous competence, and during the last few 
years of his life, he often expressed a desire to retire from the active 
duties of his profession, which he followed without intermission for 
fifty-six years. It is remarkable, that just before his last sickness, 
and while in the midst of his professional labors, as soon as he had 
come, voluntarily, to the firm conclusion to retire from them, a higher 
summons came, calling him to close, at once, his professional labors 
and his life. As if by some presentiment anticipating the time of 
his departure, he had " set his house in order;" and none who knew 
him can doubt, that in all respects he was ready for the final sum- 
mons. After a sickness of little more than two weeks, during which 
he had but little acute suffering, he went at the age of seventy-seven, 
quietly and sweetly to his rest. 

With a mind completely balanced and harmonized, shaped in its 
very structure to the finest proportions, he had an uncommonly 
marked and strong character. With none of those eccentricities 
which give brilliancy and notoriety by their extravagance, there was 
a depth, and tone, and fullness, pervading the whole man, giving 
strength without contrast, and proportion Avithout weakness ; consti- 

1 This invitation was signed by some twenty-five or thii-ty of the principal inhab- 
itants of the to'.vn. 



tutiiig, in a woi'd, one of the noblest characters, and one which is fit- 
ted to strengthen our conviction, that man was formed in the image of 
liis Maker. A stranger would at once mark him in the crowd ; not 
merely from the upright position, the manly proportions, and the 
polite, dignified bearing of his form, but from the intellectual cast, 
and the earnest, benignant aspect of his countenance, and the elevated 
and commanding appearance of his whole person. It would be diffi- 
cult to tell which trait in him was most prominent ; and it would be 
quite as difficult to tell in which he was defective, according to 
human standard. The essential qualities which belong to native 
strength of mind, and true nobility of character, were found in him. 

His intellect fitted him especially for reasoning and reflection, 
though he was not wanting in the power of observation. By the 
natural gifts of his mind, together with his habits of assiduous appli- 
cation, he placed himself, without the advantages of a collegiate edu- 
cation, or even of a professional school, in a position far above that 
of multitudes who have enjoyed both. He loved and faithfully 
studied his profession. Well read in its theory, keeping up with the 
discoveries and improvements of progressive science, he was also 
skillful and patient in the details of practice. A characteristic pru- 
dence and caution ever kept him from trifling with the life of a pa- 
tient by rash experiment ; and a sense of responsibility, and the gen- 
eral seriousness of his characten^ prompted a faithfulness and a pa- 
tient self-denial in the examination and treatment of his cases, which 
a mere love of pi'ofessional reputation would have failed to secure. 
"With great delicacy and refinement of feeling, and habitual conscien- 
tiousness, he studied both the health and the feelings of his patient. 
His dignified, gentle and courteous bearing, was a part of the man. 
It was never put on for an object or an occasion ; and it was never 
put off. None, who intrusted him with a secret, as a physician or as 
a man, ever had occasion to regret a confidence misplaced. 

But while he was faithful and laborious in his profession, his 
thoughts took a wider range. By his habit of general and well- 
selected reading, he look an intelligent survey of the topics discussed 
by the press, and of the general movements in society. Subjects 
especially of permanent interest to the citizen, to the philanthropist, 
to the Christian, he investigated with rare thoroughness and ability. 
Questions of a theological and biblical nature, which are fundamental, 
engaged his most earnest attention ; and the results of his inquiries 
upon these subjects he often committed to paper. Though he did not 
hold a ready or a prolific pen, his literary productions, notwithstand- 

348 niSTORT OF ancient WOODBURY. 

inf his want of early discipline, exhibit a coramand of the best 
language, the power of full and accurate expression, method, ele- 
gance, precision, perspicuity, and force. The qualities of his mind 
were impressed upon his style, as well as upon his general demeanor 
and action. 

His judgment was sound and discriminating. He investigated 
with candor, and when he arrived at a satisfactory conclusion, he 
was neither fickle in abandoning it, nor obstinate in retaining it. 
But his mind was settled. He was clear and firm in his convictions. 
They took a strong hold upon his nature. He was decided. Once 
planted, you always knew where to find him ; because you knew that 
his opinions were above the reach of caprice, or favor, or interest. 
And yet, with all his firmness and decision, he was open to truth, 
liberal-minded, generous and kind, as an opponent. He accorded to 
others what he claimed for himself, an independent judgment. He 
loved agreement, but he loved truth more. He loved peace ; but 
he held fast to right and justice. Hence with all his gentleness, his 
amiable and courteous bearing, he was stable, conservative, iuilex- 

The delicacy of his feelings, and his wise sense of propriety, 
would have made him sensitive to ridicule, bad not those qualities 
been joined to a kindness of feeling, and a noble bearing, which 
never exposed him to its power. It is difficult to attack, with any 
weapons whatever, an unobtrusive modesty, or a manly dignity 
which commands respect. He possessed both ; and was thus doubly 
guarded, by both his inofiensiveness and his strength, against many 
social evils to which most men are exposed. 

Hence, in social life, he was fitted for enjoyment and usefulness. 
His habits of study and reflection did not disqualify him from ming- 
ling with lively and cheerful pleasure in the intercourse of social 
life. He loved the circle of friends ; and with all his dignity, every 
one felt at home in his presence. Never distant, nor overbearing ; 
easy of access, familiar ; interesting himself in the welfare of others, 
careful of their feelings, attentive to their wants, he was everywhere 
welcome. Uniting definite and varied information with good conver- 
sational powers ; and a peculiar blandness and urbanity of manner 
with genuine refinement and a high-toned moral sentiment, his socie- 
ty was always instructive, pleasing and elevating. In his attach- 
ments there were strength and constancy, and into all pure, social 
enjoyments he entered with a warm zest. Though not incapable of 
discerning the faults of othei's, he did not seem to think of them. 


At least, he was unsuspicious — he never delighted to search them 
out — and if they came in his way, he had no tongue to speak of 
them, and no heart to remember them. No malicious or unguarded 
word from him ever tarnished a good name, or wounded the peace of 
a family. Though frank and judicious in giving counsel where it 
was asked, he never intruded. Unambitious of notoriety, or of pre- 
ferment, he seemed only to covet esteem and usefulness ; and there 
was such evident sincerity and truthfulness in his bearing, he was 
so conscientious, open and manly in all his conduct, so far above 
every species of artifice and management, that you knew him by in- 
tuition to be as incapable of a mean action, as he was of injustice 
and fraud. To the poor he was kind and generous. In his profes- 
sional practice he often gave them, not only an unrewarded service 
as physician, but friendly assistance as a neighbor and a man. 
Many a poor family, as well as the various objects of Christian be- 
nevolence at home aad abroad, could bear testimony to the substan- 
tial tokens of his sympathy, and of his unostentatious, but liberal 
charity. In the family circle, as husband and father, with the ten- 
derness of an affectionate nature, the gentleness of a kind spirit, and 
the unclouded light of a cheerful disposition, reflected from his noble 
countenance in a smile so beaming and benignant, he threw a pleas- 
ant sunshine around his home, and made it ever attractive and genial. 
In his general intercourse with men, he was the Christian gentleman, 
uniting the high bearing and humble spirit of the school of Wash- 
ington and the school of Christ. 

But his religious character was as strongly marked as his intellect- 
ual and social. He made a profession of his faith in 1805, at the 
age of thirty-one, by uniting with the Congregational church in his 
native town ; and when he removed to "Woodbury, he transferred his 
relations to this church. Here for a quarter of a century, the con- 
sistency of his daily walk and the growing elevation of his Christian 
character were witnessed by all. The duties of an arduous profes- 
sion seldom furnished him an excuse for absence from the public 
worship of the Sabbath, or from the weekly meeting for prayer and 
conference. " He loved the house of God, and the place where His 
honor dwelleth." Devout and reverential in his piety, he loved aU 
those doctrines, which exalt God as a righteous sovereign " upon the 
throne of his holiness." He had an enlarged and consistent view of 
the divine attributes, and he loved to contemplate the divine per- 
fections in their purity and majesty. Religious truth opened to him 
a field in which his mind and heart loved to range. His text-book 


was his Bible. Next to this, he loved those books, which unfolded 
its meaning with clearness, and enforced its truth with an evangeli- 
cal and devout spirit. The pleasure which he found in Bible truth 
was superior to every other. Very few, who are not themselves 
religious teachers, become so thoroughly indoctrinated into the truths 
of the Scriptures as a system, or so deeply imbued with their spirit. 
He rested in them with unshaken convictions, with perfect satisfac- 
tion, and with that conscious security which reposes in immutable 

Dr. Abernethy died September 24th, 1851, aged seventy-seven 
years. He left a widow and three children. John J., a surgeon in 
the U. S. Navy, Charles, a merchant in New York, and Anna, wife 
of Alvin Bradley, Esq., of Whitestown, N. Y. In 1825, the hono- 
rary degree of Doctor of Medicine was conferred on him by the cor- 
poration of Yale College. 


The subject of this sketch came early to "Woodbury. His name 
appears in the list of settlers as early as 1701. He is the father of 
all of the name in this part of the state, and many other places — a 
numerous and extended posterity. He was an emigrant from En- 
gland. His house stood not far from the old " Town House," and 
he owned land on both sides of the highway, so that the present 
Doct. Atwood, his descendant in the fifth generation, has his home- 
stead on land that belonged to the first doctor of the name. "We 
have no printed accounts of his standing as a physician or as a man. 
By the book of town acts it appears that he was frequently interest- 
ed with the management of the various interests of his fellow-towns- 
men. It seems also that they were satisfied with his services as a 
physician, as he remained for some years the only physician beside 
Parson Stoddard in that part of the ancient town, after the first Doc- 
tor "Warner's removal to Roxbury. The state of medical science 
wa?, however, very low at this date, and men owed their recovery 
from disease more to the blessing of sound constitutions, than to any 
aid from the physician. "We can gain some idea of the state of 
medical science as exemplified in "Woodbury, from the inventory of 
Doctor Atwood's case of medicine and medical library, which fol- 
lows : 


" A sett of lancetts 4s. Gd. , Physical Drugs 5s. Sd. , 25 glass viols 4s. Gd. , 5 vials 
Os. lOd., 5 small glass bottles, Is. Sd., 2 glass bottles, 2s. Od., 5 gallypots. Is. Sd., 
quicksilver, G oz., lOd., aloes, 2oz. 2d., Salve, diackylon, Sd.,a. Physick book — 
Salmon £1, 5s. Do.-Hartman, 6s." 

To us of the present day, who swallow whole drug stores as a 
matter of coui'se, five shillings eight pence worth of " Physical 
Drugs," with two ounces of aloes, and eight pence worth of salve, 
would seem rather a limited allowance, for nearly a whole town, es- 
pecially, when we consider, that on account of bad roads and defec- 
tive modes of conveyance, the practitioner could not easily replenish 
his " stock in trade," in an emergency. Doct. Atwood died January 
1st, 1732-3, leaving a widow and four children, of whom informa- 
tion will be found in the genealogies. 


Son of Harvey Atwood, was born in Woodbury, December 4th, 
1818, graduated at Yale College in 1840, and in the medical depart- 
ment of the same college in 1844. He commenced the practice of his 
profession in his native town in 1842, where he has continued to re- 
side in full practice till the present. On the 1st of May, 1848, he 
was united in marriage to Henrietta E. Judson of Woodbury. They 
have two chikben. 


Persons of distinguished, useful characteristics have a right to bb 
signally named for the benefit of posterity. One such was Jabez 
Bacon, Esq., whhout qualification the most eminent and successful 
merchant that this town or portion of the state had ever known, or 
has known, down to this day. Some of the facts, indeed, that exhibit 
his remarkable business characteristics, are almost beyond credence- 
He was born at Middlefield, a parish of Middletown, July 16, 
1731. He was a direct descendant (a great-grandson) of Nathaniel 
Bacon, who was evidently the ancestor of all, or nearly all, of the 
Bacons of this state. This Nathaniel was the son of AVilliam Bacon, 
of the town of Stretton, Rutland county, England, and the nephew 
of Andrew Bacon, who was one of the leading men of the colony 


that settled Hartford under Ilayncs and Hooker, but who died at 
Iladley without male issue. 

The subject of this notice was the son of Nathaniel, who was the 
third child of Andrew, who was the sixth child of Nathaniel. He 
seems to have been very poor, as was doubtless his father before 
him ; for that father came in later life to visit his son in his after- 
wards great prosjierity at Woodbury, where he died and was buried. 
A plain red sand-stone slab marks the place of his deposit. 

Jabcz in early life exhibited the qualities that afterwards secured 
his great prosperity. He was first apprenticed to a tanner and cur- 
rier, — there is no evidence however, that he continued at this voca- 
tion beyond his apprenticeship, but he early betook himself to the 
business of selling needles, pins, tapes, &c., &c. — in short, all the 
paraiihernalia of a pedlar's box ; from which, by his indomitable per- 
severance and business ability, he soon stepped into a lucrative posi- 
tion, and became the very first man T« business, mercantile credit 
and wealth, in this section of the state. Royal R. Hinman, Esq., 
in his valuable statistical work compiled from the colonial records at 
Hartford, says he died worth nme hundred thousand dollars. This 
is a mistake, his estate having been inventoried at about one-half that 

As a man he was one to make an imjiression on every one 
that came near him. The energy of the man was amazing, and, this 
directing all his powers to the single business of accumulation, wealth 
flowed into his coffers on every side. He was for years the sole 
merchant of this town and all the neighboring towns ; and so large 
at times was his stock in trade, that, it is credibly reported, merchants 
from New Haven sometimes visited AVoodbury, and purchased from 
Jabez Bacon goods to retail afterwards in that city. 

His way of doing business was often rash, apparently, and seem- 
ingly no safe rule for others. An aged "merchant of New York told 
the writer of this many years ago, that he (Mr. Bacon) would some- 
times visit his store, make him a bid for a whole tier of shelf goods 
from lloor to ceiling, amounting in value to thousands of dollars, and 
have the whole boxed and shipped in an hour to the sloop at the foot 
of Peck Slip bound for Derby. His vast wealth also, together with 
his business skill, sometimes gave him the command of the New 
York market so that, to a degree moderns can hardly credit, he could, 
with a turn of his hand, " put the screws" on an article, and make 


its price in the great metropolis rise and fall like a barometer. An 
anecdote, an unquestionable fact, illustrates this. He was a large 
dealer in pork, this being the " circulating medium," it would seem, 
for this region, judging from the vast quantities of it that found their 
way to " the old red store in the hollow," as it was called, thence 
down to " Darby Narrors" where it was shipped to New York. The 
old gentleman had once shipped an exceedingly fine lot of this arti- 
cle for the city, but when he arrived there he found his purchasers 
indisposed to his price, as two injmense ship loads were that day ex- 
pected from Maine. The old gentleman merely set his teeth firm, 
an ominous trick of his in a bargain, and left the store. He in- 
stantly took a horse, rode some six miles up the East River shore, 
to about what is now Blackwell's Island, boarded the sloops as they 
came along, and pui'chased every pound of their cargoes, staking his 
whole fortune for it. This at that day put the whole New York 
market in his hands, and tradition says he cleared forty thousand 
dollars by this single operation. 

He was kind-hearted, open and generous, though in a bargain 
close to a fault. His hospitality was unbounded. A long table was 
kept set forth in the west parlor of what is now the residence of 
Daniel Curtiss, Esq., the whole year round. This might have 
been policy, but it was also a part of a large heart, that took pleas- 
ure in giving in this form. As a citizen he was public-spirited and 
useful for his day. As a husband and father his affections were en- 
dearing and indulgent, and he was the centre of a large circle of 
relatives and friends. But it was as a business "man where he de- 
serves to be noted ; where he deserves signal mention for posterity. 
He was the centre of a great commotion ; the main-spring of a 
mighty watch, such as we in this day almost consider apocryphal ; 
and with him has passed away a business era, such as shall not 
soon be seen in this valley again. 

The old store, in which his vast wealth was accumulated, still 
stands. And if a man has nothing else to do, it may be instructive 
to pass into it, look up at its old beams, its huge, old-fashioned door, 
and wind through its passages up and down, thinking of the great 
past that once existed there, and feel it impressed on his whole na- 
ture — " what shadows we all be." 

He died September 10th, 1806. 



"Was the son of Rev. Daniel Brinsmade, second pastor of the 
church in Judea society, and graduated at Yale College, in 1772. 
He read law witli Samuel Canfiekl, Esq., of Sharon, and settled in 
the practice of his profession in his native place, which had now 
become the town of "Washington, where he continued to reside till 
his death in 182G, at the age of seventy-five. He was justice 
of the quorum, an assistant judge of the county court for sixteen 
years from 1802, ten of which he sat on the bench. He Avas longer 
in public life than any other man in that part of the ancient territory 
of Woodbury. Gen. Daniel B. Brinsmade of Washington is his son. 


Wm. T. Bacon was born at AYoodbury, in Litchfield county, 
August 24th, 1814. At the age of twelve he was sent to the "Epis- 
copal Academy," at Cheshire, to be fitted for college, but, after two 
years, he determined to engage in a mercantile life, and became a 
clerk in the city of New York. After three years, at the age of 
seventeen, he established himself in business in New Haven, Conn. 
In a short time, however, he withdrew from his mercantile connec- 
tion, and devoted himself to study. He entered Yale College, in 
1833, where he was regularly graduated in 1837, and was appointed 
by his class to deliver the valedictory poem, at the time of leaving 
the institution. During the following autumn, he entered the divin- 
ity school at New Haven, and, after the usual term of study, was 
licensed as a minister in the Congregational denomination. On leav- 
ing that institution, he was married to a daughter of Prof. Jonathan 
Knight, of the medical department of Yale College, and, in 1842, 
was settled over the Congregational church and society in the town 
of Trumbull, where he remained till 1845, when ill health compelled 
him to ask a dismission. He subsequently became one of the edit- 
ors of the " New ^glander," a quarterly magazine of great ability. 
He was also for a few years the editor and proprietor of the New 
Haven daily and weekly " Journal and Courier," which he conducted 
with marked ability and success. He subsequently supplied the pul- 

1 This sketch is taken principally from Kilbourue's Litclifield Biographies. 


pit in South Britain for a time, and is now engaged in his ministe- 
rial hibors in his old church at Trumbull. But he is not settled 
there. He resides in the old " Bacon Homestead," in his native 
town, having repaired and greatly improved it. 

Soon after leaving college, Mr. Bacon published a volume of 
poems from a Boston press, which, in 1840, passed into a third edi- 
tion, revised and enlarged. In 1848, a new volume of poems from 
his pen, was published by Mr. Putnam of New York, containing 
two hundred and seventy-five pages. Plis lighter poems possess 
much simplicity and grace. He has a fine perception of natural 
beauty, and his graver productions are pervaded by a current of 
deeply reflective, moral and religious sentiment. They have received 
the examination, and elicited the general commendation of severe 
critics. It would be pleasing to introduce some specimens of his 
poetry, but the limits of this work forbid. 


Joseph Hart Bellamy was the only child of David Bellamy, Esq., 
and grandson of Dr. Joseph Bellamy, the first pastor of the Congre- 
gational church in Bethlehem. 

He was boi-n in Bethlehem, graduated at Yale College in 1808, 
was admitted to the bar of Litchfield County about 1812, after 
which, in connection with the superintendence of a farm, he prac- 
ticed law in his native town till the time of his decease. 

Mr. Bellamy possessed qualities, and sustained a character, which 
secured the confidence and respect of all who knew him, and the 
warm affection of his chosen friends. Although his political princi- 
ples were often opposed to those of the majority in the town, yet such, 
in the view of all, was the integrity and uprightness of his character, 
that he was permitted uniformly to retain some of the most important 
and responsible offices in the gift of the town, and was repeatedly 
called to represent it in the legislature of the state. He was also 
honored with a seat in the senate, in 1841, and had been county com- 
missioner for Litchfield county, two years earlier. 

In his profession he was esteemed a wise, judicious counselor, and 
held a fair standing as an advocate. A distinguished member of the 
bar affirmed, that " had Bellamy been exclusively devoted to the law, 
he might have gained a position in the first class of lawyers." 

He possessed a fund of knowledge of men and things, and a strik- 

356 niSTORT OF ancient WOODBURY. 

ing ori^iinality in his illustrations and anecdotes, which rendered his 
society and conversation peculiarly interesting and instructive. 

His general character is briefly given in the following, extracted 
from an address at hia funeral. 

"IMuch as I loved and rfspeclc'd ^Mr. Bellamy," said the speaker, "I am not 
about to claim for him perfection : he did not claim it for himself. No man 
knew his imperfections and infirmities better than himself. He made no pub- 
lic profession of pietj-, and I suppose doubted whether he possessed and en- 
joyed it. 

'• Notwithstanding his own views on the subject, we think those who knew 
him best, might find some evidence of its existence. Favored from early life 
with the best literary and religious advantages, among other things he studied 
the Bible. He also read intelligently the works of the best theological writers, • 
and was an habitual, attentive and intelligent hearer of the gospel. He was a 
firm believer in what are distinctively known as the doctrines of grace. The 
great doctrine of the reformation, justification by faith in the merits of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, was with him (as we well know) a favorite, a cardinal topic, and 
one of the last topics which in broken accents escaped his lips, while they were 
yet quivering in the agonies of death. That he was a man of strict moral hon- 
esty and integrity, has never, we believe, been for a moment doubted. Nay, 
it has been fully demonstrated in the unlimited confidence reposed in him by 
individuals and public bodies. 

" He was a firm friend of good morals; ' a terror to evil doers, and a praise 
to such as do well.' 

" He ever maintained a firm and unyielding adherence to that which he was 
convinced was right ; and no motives of personal or selfish interest, of party or 
political favor, could divert him irom his course. 

" He was preeminently a jsatriot, a lover of his country, and ever manifested 
a deep, absorbing interest in her peace, purity and prosperity And we fear 
not to ask, were not the blessings of the peace-maker his ? When irritated and 
contending parties sought his aid, while he was ready to administer relief to 
the injured and oppressed, he was not willing to embark even as a professional 
man, in the unrighteous cause, for the sake of personal, party or pecuniary in- 
terest. Rather would he strive to allay the unruly passions, to suggest and rec- 
ommend the ' things which make for peace,' which tend to secure harmony 
and right. 

" We have intimated, that like a true son of New England he was the firm 
friend of the Bible, the Sabbath, the public worship of God, and the ordinances 
and institutions of his house ; this he manifested by his cortinued and untiring 
efforts to sustain these institutions. We fear no contradiction when we say, 
that his counsels, influence and exertions, were ever regarded by the members 
of the ecclesiastical society to which he belonged, as highly conducive to its 
best interests. Said a plain, unlettered man, lamenting his departure, 'when 
we have come together as a society, with different views and divided feelings, 
Bellamy would get up and tell us what was right, and make us see and feel 
that it was right, and straighten us out.' 

" A little before his death he remarked, ' This society, in its business meet- 


ings, is never characterized by discord or unkind remarks.' We may add, if it 
ever should be thus characterized, it may be more apparent to whose inlluence 
its former harmony should be in part attributed. If we mistake not, its records 
will show, that a single vote, which with much care and skill he prepared, vir- 
tually erected and completed the commodious house of worship which the so- 
ciety now enjoys. When its members came together to deliberate and decide 
upon a great subject, one which has divided and distracted many ecclesiastical 
communities, the vote, previously prepared, was presented and explained, and 
the members had only to raise their hands, which they did with entire unanim- 
ity, and the deed was done, or committed to hands in which all had confidence 
that it would be satisfactorily done. 

" Being a direct descendant of one of the most able and useful ministers of 
the gospel with which this land was ever blessed, Mr. Bellamy loved and re- 
spected all accredited ministers of Christ. While he was an active memlier of 
"the society, it had five different individuals as its ministers — men difiering as 
much in their general character, disposition and temperament, as it is possible 
perhaps for five good men to ditfer. Yet he manifestly loved and respected 
them aM. They all recognized him as a valuable and faithful friend. Though 
there are many who have Jieard him speak freel}'' in regard to them all, they 
do not recollect ever to have heard him utter an unkind, disrespectful, com- 
plaining word or insinuation in regard to any one of them. 

" He well understood that trials and embarrassments tended to hinder the 
minister of the gospel in the performance of his arduous work; hence, instead 
of endeavoring, like some, to multiply and increase his burdens, it was his 
pleasure to do what he consistently could to relieve them. 

" He had confidence in God as a prayer-hearing God. Often and in difler- 
ent ways did he manifest his confidence in the efficacy of prayer. ,Even down 
to the last hour of life he expressed his desire to be interested in the prayers of 
God's people. His standard of piety was higher than that of many others. 
This was probably the ground of his doubts in regard to his own personal in- 
terest in the religion of the gospel. 

" It is an interesting fact that the day, and probably the hour on which Mr. 
Bellamy died, Nov. 2d, 1S4S, completed the exact term of one hundred and ten 
years, since Dr. Joseph Bellamy, his grandfather, commenced his labors in the 
parish of Bethlehem. During that period the name of Bellamy has always 
been somewhat prominent in the place ; by the removal of the subject of this 
sketch, in the male line, it became extinct. "i 


. Noah B. Benedict was the son of Rev. Noah Benedict, and was 
born at Woodbury, April 2, 1771. He graduated at Yale College 
in 1788, and was admitted to the bar in Litchfield county in 1792. 
He was appointed judge of probate in 1805, and resigned in 1816, 

1 This sketch is extracted from the minutes of Rev. Fosdick Han-ison. 


on bcinpr clecteil an assistant, or member of the council, which office 
he filled two years. He was elected a member of the House of Kep- 
resentalives in October, 179G, anil was reelected to ten sessions sub- 
hiequently, between this date and May, 1827. He was clerk of the 
House in 1809, and May, 1810. 

In the third week in June, 1831, Mr. Benedict came to Litchfield, 
to argue, among other cases, that of Faii-man v. Bacon, 8 Conn. Kep., 
418. Just before that case came on, he was taken ill at his lodgings, 
and could only send in the brief he had prepared. He was carried 
home, but survived only a few days. Judge Daggett, in giving the 
opinion of the court, in the case referred to, says, he made " great 
use of the brief furnished by Mr. B., because he found it presented 
the argument in that dense, yet luminous view, for which that gen- 
tleman was so conspicuous, and by which the court were so often in- 
structed and enlightened ; and i-arely more so than in this, one of his 
last efforts.'" His death occurred July 2, 1831, at the age of sixty 
years. He was twice married, but died without issue. His last con- 
sort still survives, and resides in the " old homestead." " He was 
honorably distinguished in his profession, courteous, affisctionate and 
kind in his feelings, and endeared to the circle of his relatives and 
friends by his numerous virtues." Such is the modest record on his 


The subject of this notice Avas the son of Benjamin and Mary Bur- 
ritt, and born in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 4, 1752. He studied medi- 
cine with Doct. Joseph Perry, of Woodbury, and commenced the 
practice of the profession in Southbury society, a short time before 
the Revolution. During a part of that period, he acted as surgeon's 
mate in the service. He was taken prisoner, and carried to Long 
Island. Jabez Bacon, of Woodbury, a friend of his, happening to 
come where he was, and finding in what condition he was there held, 
interceded with the British authorities, and induced them to release 
him. He was of respectable attainments, and had good success in 
his practice. He died April 12, 1839. 

1 In this sketch of Mr. Benedict, the author lias restricted liimself to a mere statist- 
ical account, at the request of the one most nearly interested in him. 



Son of the px'eceding, Avas born in Southbmy, January 12, 1810 ; 
studied medicine with his father, and Docts. Abraham L. Smith and 
Joseph L. Tomhnson, and graduated at the medical department of 
Yale College, in 1832. Commenced practice in his nati\e town im- 
mediately, and is now in practice there. 


"Woodbury has not been prolific in poets. About the time of the 
Revolution, however, the subject of this sketch was in full life, and 
possessed a decided talent for versifying. He would with the great- 
est ease and fluency, turn an account of any or all the ordinary inci- 
dents of everj-^-day life into rhyme. He never had the opportunity of 
improving his mind by culture, and therefore most of his productions 
were of an exceedingly crude nature, wanting all the finish of gi'am- 
matical construction, and true poetical polish. Accordingly, his 
rhymes all of the Hudibrastic order, but there were frequent 
specimens of high poetic ability, which, if it had been preceded by 
proper culture, would have enabled him to rival the McFingal of 
John Trumbull. He was a soldier of the Revolution, and entered 
heartily into the spirit of the times. As a mediocre specimen of his 
powers, the following is given, entitled by its author, 


" Come, freemen, come, ussist to sing 

The blessings that surround us ; 
'Tis true we've lost a sapient king, 

But liberty lias found us. 

Then join your voices from the heart, 

A heavenly chorus lend us ; 
We never but with life will part 

With glorious Independence. 
Let idiots talk of state and rank, 

And bend to those who care it ; 
Our freedom is a common Bank, 

And equally we'll share it. 

oGO nisTonr of ancient "woodburt. 

In sevonty-pix, 'twas founded here, 

And lias this wondrous tally ; 
The oftener divide our sliare, 

The greater is its value. 

God gave the charter first to Man, 

But Priests and Kings concealed it; 
Columbia's sons regained the plan, 

And with their blood they sealed it. 

Let us, who share her stock look in, 

And frequently inspect her ; 
'Twill jilease the Cashier, Gallatin, 

And Jefferson, director." 

A Doct. Enos TVeed, of Stamford, some fifty years ago, published 
a long advertisement, setting forth that he, as an itinerant physician, 
would travel through the country, and cure all diseases " that flesh is 
heir to," by a long list of patent medicines, of which he possessed the 
right. Ml-. Beers paraphrased the whole of his long and bombastic 
notice, with inimitable sarcasm, too long, and too free in its details, 
to be admitted into these pages, but a few passages are given as a 
specimen of the style. It was printed in a Danbury paper. 

" Pandora long a pest to human ease, 

Mother of ills, and mistress of disease, 

Slipped, one by one, from her envenomed chest. 

Till mortals all were near deprived of rest ; 

Until the namesake of old Jacob's son, , 

Enters the list, and bids distress begone ; \ 

Lays in. of antidotes so large a store. 

That De'il shall rage and reign no more ; 

And by a long detail their virtue shows. 

With patent right, just brought from Lee &: Co's. 

Oh ! happy land where remedies will cure, 

And, legal made, infallible and sure ! 

The exulting muse without Poetic fame 

Delights to call each Antidote by Name; 

And as she sings their efficacy o'er. 

Without a Patent — blesses Baltimore, 

Whence Hamilton's Elixir must arrive 

To keep the people of these states alive — 

From thence to here, consigned to Doct. Dar — 

Who dares infection to begin the war ! " 

After going through the whole advertisement, characterizing each 


fintidote on his way, and giving by far the best description of a pill, 
extant, he closes as follows : 

" At last the Patent right is made so sure, 
It helps his purse — if it performs no cure. 
This tee believe — Oh ! Faith, what is thy power 
To help poor mortals in a dangerous hour ! 
An Antediluvian race will soon arrive, 
. And people here for many centuries live ; 

And then, by patent rights, all crimes forgiven. 
Wear out at last — and gently go to Heaven !" 


Son of William and Hannah Cothren, was born at Farmington, 
Maine, November 28, 1819. He fitted for college at the Farmington 
Academy ; graduated at Bowdoin College, Maine, in 1 843 ; received 
his second degree in course at the same institution in 18-4G, and the 
degree of Master of Arts, ad eundem, from Yale College, in 1847. 
He studied law under the direction of Hon. Robert Goodenough, of 
Farmington, Me., late member of Congress from his district, and with, 
the Hon. Charles B. Phelps, of Woodbury. He came to Woodbury in 
1844, taught school for a while, and was admitted to the Litchfield 
county bar, 1845. He commenced the practice of his profession in 
Woodburj', immediately after, and has there continued in the per- 
formance of its duties till the present time. He was elected corres- 
ponding member of the New England Historic, Genealogical Society 
at Boston, Mass., May 5, 1847, and a member of the Connecticut 
Historical Society, November 23, 1852. He was also elected a 
county commissioner for Litchfield county, at the May session of the 
General Assembly, 1851. 


Was a practicing physician and surgeon in the town of Bethlem 
nearly twenty years. He came there about 1818, when what was 
called the " New Milford fever," was extensively prevailing, and very 
fatal. He was the immediate successor of Dr. Fowler, who had him- 
self fallen a victim to the epidemic. Seldom has a physician, a 
young man, an entire stranger, risen so rapidly in the esteem and 
confidence of the community, and obtained so permanent and exten- 



sive a practice as the subject of this notice. The immediate cause 
of this, was, doubtless, his success in the treatment of the prevaihng 
epidemic, and the favorable influence of Dr. Perry, of Woodbury, 
but the continuance and increase of this confidence must have de- 
pended on something more. This may be found not only in his gen- 
eral skill and industry in the practice of his profession, but in his 
sterling worth as a man and a citizen. Few men ever possessed in 
a hif^hcr degree those rare virtues in their intercourse with others, 
which command respect, confidence and esteem. 

Left penniless at the age of fourteen, by the death of his father, 
Daniel Cathn, of Harwinton, he succeeded by untiring zeal, in securing 
a fiiir academic education, and then paid his way through five years' 
study of medicine, commencing practice at the age of twenty-one. 
During all this time, he was one of three sons, who supported an in- 
firm and feeble mother. He commenced practice fifty dollars in 
debt, for his horse and saddle. Notwithst;\nding an expensive family, 
and a connection in mercantile business which met with frequent and 
heavy losses, his heirs received nearly $2,500 from his estate, while 
about the same amount in worthless debts was found upon his books. 
His practice was universal in the town of Bethlem, and extended 
largely into the adjoining towns. If he w^as successful in winning 
the confidence and esteem of his patrons and the public, he was emi- 
nently so in securing that of his medical brethren in the county and 
state. The records of the Litchfield County IMedical Society fully 
attest this. His mind seemed wholly absorbed in his profession, often 
to the neglect of his pecuniary aflfairs ; and few men, it is believed, 
have contributed more largely than he, both by his pen, counsel and 
practice, to elevate the dignity of his profession in this county. Per- 
haps no paper has contributed more to this end, than his truthful 
yet sarcastic and scathing treatise on " Quacks and Quackery," read 
before the county society, about the year 1820. Its peculiar adapt- 
ation to the existing state of things at the time, as well as its correc- 
tive influence, is within the memory of all the older physicians now 
livinfT in the county. The honorary degree of M. D. was conferred 
on him by Yale College, in 1828, and at the time of his death he was 
corresponding in regard to a professorship in that institution, which 
was about to be tendered to him. 

In private life, in the social circle, he was beloved by all. Unas- 
suming in manners, remarkable for the paucity of his words, calm, 
clear and dispassionate, yd firm in the expression of an opinion, his 
remarks were always instructive, and commanded a powerful though 


often a quiet influence. Usually sedate, lie was nevertheless apt to 
arouse the mirth of the company by an unexpected though opportune 
joke. Naturally quick in temper, he had succeeded in obtaining an 
almost perfect control over it, and scarcely an instance is remembered 
where his anger found vent in words. He was a consistent Chris- 
tian, warmly attached to the Congregational church, of which he was 
a member, but liberal in his sentiments toward all denominations. 
At the age of twenty-one he was seriously attacked, several times, 
with hemorrhage from the lungs, and during the remainder of his 
life he was troubled with consequent infirmities. He often remarked 
in his last years that " horseback riding had prolonged his life many 
years." He died in June, 1830, beloved and esteemed by all, and his 
memory is still cherished by his cotemporaries in Bethlem. They 
feel that his loss has never been supplied. His disease was called 
consumption, though not well defined. He wore himself out by years 
of laborious practice. His age was forty-one. 


"U^as for many years a practitioner of medicine in Washington. 
He was a very respectable man, and an approved physician. He 
was much engaged in the public business of the town, and died leav- 
ing a somewhat numerous posterity, many of whom have become 
noted in the various professions of life. His children were, Daniel, 
Calvin, Jedediah, Joseph and Philo. 


TTas the son of Azariah Eastman, and born at New Fairfield, now 
Sherman, Conn., August 5th, 174G. At the age of twenty, he com- 
menced the study of medicine with Doctor James Potter, of his na- 
tive place, and was licensed to practice the profession, October, 1768. 
He removed to Roxbury, a parish in Woodbury, and entered into 
practice, in which he continued for many years with great success, 
and obtained a high eminence not only in his profession, but as a firm 
supporter of those principles which elevate and ennoble man. He 
died May 27th, 1818, and was buried in the old burial ground near 
the place where the first meeting-house stood. 


Son of the preceding, was born in Roxbury society, February 14th, 
1771, and in the nineteenth year of his age,he commenced the study of 
medicine and surgery, with Dr. Nathaniel Thayer, a physician of liis 
native parish. He studied two years with him, and the rest of tlie 
time spent in preparatory studies, he passed under tlie tuition of Dr. 
James Potter, of Sherman. He was licensed to practice, May 2d, 
1793, by the Medical Socielj^ of Fairfield connty, at a meeting held 
in Danbury. 

Previous to his license, he had intended to settle in East Haven, 
but the scarlet fever being at this time very prevalent in his native 
place, he returned there, and immediately entered into the practice of 
his profession. The skill and judgment Avhich he manifested in the 
management of the prevailing epidemic, laid the foundation for his 
permanent residence and future usefulness in Roxbury. He was the 
only permanently settled physician in his native society for nearly 
thirty-four years. Dui-ing all this period he was called to practice 
extensively in the adjoining towns, and frequently to meet his pro- 
fessional brethren in council, in difficult cases. His success in his 
profession may not be traced directly to his early acquirements in 
medical science, but to an inherent, native genius. In 1813, when an 
epidemic fever prevailed in the southern part of Litchfield county, 
and nearly all who were attacked fell before it, under the treatment 
of the most eminent physicians, he introduced a mode of treatment 
not recognized by any author, with such marked success, that he 
gained for himself an extended reputation. 

He became religious in early life, and connected himself with the 
Congregational church in Roxbury. He remained during his whole 
life one of its most efficient and useful members. He was, also elected 
to various civil offices in his town, and in all his ministerial and judi- 
cial acts was traceable the divine precept, " Do unto others as you 
would that they should do unto you." 

Dr. Fansher was a native of Plymouth, Conn., but resided for 
many years in Southbury. He devoted more than fifty years of his 
life to the extension of the vaccine or kine pock inoculation, as a rem- 
edy against that scourge of the human race, the small-pox. For his 


discoveries in expediting the kine pock, he received a diploma from 
the " Royal Jennerian Society of London." About the year 1802, 
when the kine pock had become apparently extinct in this country, it 
was found that a number of persons in Danbury and Goshen had 
taken the infection, or virus, from milking cows. Dr. Fansher sta- 
ted that he took the virus from the pustule on the milkmaid's arm, 
and inoculated an infant with it, which proved to be the genuine kine 
pock. He also stated that he had known several instances where 
the infection was taken without any connection with the cow ; and it 
was his belief that the infection is taken from some shrub or plant, 
from which, when discovered, we shall know something of the origin 
of the small pox, and have a sovereign remedy against it, at hand. 
Dr. Fansher died two or three years ago, after a long life devoted to 
the investigation of this subject.^ 


"Was the immediate successor, in the parish of Bethlem, of Doctors 
Z. Hull and John Meigs. He was a very skillful physician, and a 
highly respectable man. 


Studied the profession of medicine with Dr. Sheldon, and com- 
menced its practice in Judea society, in Washington, about the year 
1810. He continued in the practice of his profession till his death in 
1826. He was of excellent repute, both as a man and a physician. 
In 1818, he received from Yale College the honorary degree of doc- 
tor in medicine. He married Polly Hanford, and had two children, 
Henry, a respectable physician at South Bend, Indiana, and George, 
who died young. 


Is a brother of the preceding, and studied medicine with him. He 
also settled in Washington, and still continues there in full practice, 
respected as a man and a physician. In 1834, Yale College confer- 
red on him the honorary degi-ee of doctor in medicine. He has been 
twice married, and has had thi-ee children, Maria, who married Doc- 

1 Barber's Historical Collections of Connecticut. 

366 iiisTonv of anciknt woodburt. 

tor Seth Porter Ford, and resides at the Sandwich Islands ; Jane, 
who married William W. Lcavitt, and Harriet, who also resides at 
the Sandwich Islands. 


Is a native of Newtown, Conn. lie studied medicine the usual 
length of time, and after taking a course of medical lectures, was 
licensed to practice. Immediately after this he removed to Wood- 
bury, and is now engaged in the active duties of his prol'ession. 


Was the son of Rev. John Graham, the first minister of Sonthbury 
society, and born at Stafford, Conn., in 1728. Having prepared liim- 
self for the practice of medicine, he settled in that profession in South- 
bury parish, about 1750, and continued in its practice till his death, 
June 17th, 1785, at the age of fifty-seven years. He resided in the 
house next south of the White Oak school-house. He obtained a 
fair reputation as a physician, and an unsullied reputation as a man. 
He was much employed in the public business of the town, especially 
during the period of the Revolutionary War. He was for a time 
surgeon's mate in the army. He was a jovial, agreeable and com- 
panionable man, much endeared to his neighbors and friends. John 
A. Graham, LL. D., a lawyer of New York, was his son, and erected 
a plain monument over his grave some years ago, on which is the 
following inscription : 

«' Andrew Graham, M. D., a dcfc-eiulaiit of the Duke of Montrose, departed 
this for another and better world, in .Iiuie, 1785, aged 57 years. Out of respect 
to the memory of an honest man, this marble is placed by liis son, Jolin A. 
Graham, LL. D. 

"New Yorli,lS05. Ne oublie." 


Was born in Cheshire, Conn., in the year 1728 ; studied the pro- 
fession of medicine at an early age ; married Hannah Cook, ]\Iarch 
28th, 1749, and soon removed to Bethlehem, in Woodbury, probably 
on account of the influence of Dr. Bellamy, who was a native of the 
same town, and a few years his senior. He died November 10th, 
17G0, the same day with his wife, in the " Great Sickness." They 


were buried in one grave, and two of his children, and a young man 
living in his house, died a few days later. Soon after these deaths, 
and while others were sick in the house, a Deacon Strong going by> 
raised a flock of eleven quails, Avhich flew over the house and dropped 
in the garden. Immediately after three of them rose and flew into 
the bushes, but the other eight were found dead, and in an hour after 
putrefied, became offensive and were buried.' As a physician, and 
as a man, he ever sustained a high character in the place of his 


Son of the last, was born in Bethlehem parish, March 25th, 1751 ; 
was the eldest of his surviving children, and lived with an uncle at 
Cheshire, some six years. After this he studied medicine with Doc- 
tor Seth Bird, an eminent physician of Litchfield ; settled on the 
farm owned by his father, now occupied by Benjamin T. Lake, and 
resided there till 1805. lie then removed to Danbury, Conn., where 
he resided two years, when he removed to the state of New York. 
He Avas a respectable physician, and perhaps more celebrated in 
treating diseases of the bowels, particularly every variety of colic, 
than any other man in the state, in his day. 


Is a native of Strong, Maine. He prepared for college at Far- 
mington Academy, Maine ; entered "Wesleyan University, at Middle- 
town, Conn., in 1837, for the purpose of taking the " scientific 
course" in that institution, and graduated as bachelor of science, in 
1841. He studied law with Hon. William W. Ellsworth, at Hart- 
ford, a judge of the superior court ; commenced the practice of his 
profession at Suffield, Conn., in 1843, whence he removed to Wood- 
bury, in 1845. In 1846, being engaged in the invention of a ma- 
chine for the making of cigars, he removed to the city of New York, 
where he has since continued to reside. He realized some $15,000 
from his invention, and is now a land broker in New York. 

1 This fact is taken from a letter Tvritteu at the tune, dated December 20th, 1760. 



Studied medicine with Doctor Joseph Perry, and commenced the 
practice of his profession in Woodbury about the year 17G7. He 
was the lirst postmaster of the town, from 1797 to 1814, when he re- 
signed his oflice. For several years before the close of his life, he 
relinquished the active duties of his profession, and confined his at- 
tention to his drug store. He was a very celebrated chemical com- 
pounder. He died February 19th, 1819, aged seventy-four. 


Came to Woodbury about the year 1834, and settled in the prac- 
tice of his profession. He was married to Mary L. Minor, daughter 
of the late Matthew Minor, Jr., Esq., July 14th, 1837. After some 
years spent in practice in this town, there being a vacancy in Go- 
shen, Conn., he removed there, where he has since remained in an 
extensive practice. 


Commenced the practice of the medical profession in the parish of 
Bethlehem, some time preceding the date of the Revolution. He was 
distinguished as a physician in his time. He died September 11th, 
1813, during the time of the "New Milford fever," at the age of 
seventy years. 


Was born at Redding, Conn., and was a graduate of Yale College, 
class of 1789. He acquired his professional education under Thad- 
deus Benedict, Esq. ; was admitted to the bar in 1791 ; and soon 
after commenced the practice of law at Greenwich, Conn., and sub- 
sequently at Redding, whei-e he continued until 1798, when he re- 
moved to Woodbury, and there continued in practice until 1803, 
which he then relinquished for other pursuits, chiefly of a mercantile 
character. He was a member of the House of Rejiresentatives, in 
1802 and 1805. 



Was born in Washington, December 14tli, 1817, and graduated 
at Yale College in 1840. He immediately commenced the study of 
law under the direction of Hon. David Daggett, afterward pursued 
the same in the office of Hon. Origen S. Seymour, and was admitted 
to the bar of Litchfield county in April, 1842. He then opened an 
ofiice in Woodbury, and continued the practice of his profession with 
good success for about two years, when he was induced to remove to 
Litchfield, where he immediately entered into a highly successful 
and lucrative practice, in which he is at present engaged. Few men 
in the legal profession have been favored with a more steady and 
unvarying success. Within the last two years he has prepared two 
works for the press, one of which has already been given to the 
world, and elicited the warm commendation of critics as well as of 
friends. This is a historical novel entitled " Mount Hope," and the 
other about to be published is of a similar character. He is also 
engaged in writing a history of Connecticut, a work very much needed, 
and one which will be awaited with eager interest and curiosity by 
all. He is a writer of marked ability, and in the opinion of his 
friends, he would do well for the world, and for his own fame, to de- 
vote himself entirely to this field of labor, notwithstanding his suc- 
cessful efforts at the bar. 


Was the son of Dea. Noah Hinman, and was born in Woodbury, 
about 1740. He was one of the first two lawyers in the town, and 
resided in White Oak. It is believed that he studied his profession 
with Col. Walker of Stratford, though it is not now certainly known. 
Soon after his establishment in practice he became familiarly known 
to his fellow-townsmen by the appellation of "Lawyer Ned," an 
appellation which he retained during life, though he lived to a good 
old age. He was a man of clear and strong intellect. Nathan Pres- 
ton, Esq., once said of him, that " he was a greater man than Wash- 
ington." This was, of course, an exceedingly extravagant statement, 
but tends to show the estimation in which he was held by members 
of his own profession. In one particular, he was a much greater 
man than Washington, and that is in corpulency. He was one of 
the most corpulent men of his day. When he was seated his abdo- 


men projected entirely over his knees. lie was accustomed to use 
great brevity of speech, but always spoke to the point. His voice 
was not good — he spoke witli a strong, nasal twang. lie was much 
addicted to the use of hyi)erbolical expressions. It is said, that when 
in court his brevity of speech was as great as elsewhere, but a few- 
words from him had more weight with the court and jury, than a 
multitude from his comj^etitors.' 


Is the son of Timothy Ilinman, and the grandson of " Lawyer 
Ned" on the side of his mother, who was his daughter. He pre- 
pared himself for the practice of law, and took up his abode in his 
native town, where he has continued to practice his profession. He 
has borne various public offices in the town, and has been for two 
years judge of the county court for New Haven county. He is 
wealthy, and has passed on thus far to a respectable age in a " state 
of single blessedness." He was a member of the State Senate in 


Was born in Southbury, and graduated at Yale College in 1804, 
in the class with Hon. John C. Calhoun and other distinguished men. 
He studied law with Hon. D. S. Boardman, Hon. Noah B. Benedict 
and Judge Reeve, practiced his profession in Roxbury about twenty 
years, and about two years at Southington in Hartford county. He 
represented the town of Roxbury, four years in the General Assem- 
bly, between 1814 and 1831, was elected Secretary of State, as 
successor of Hon. Thomas Day, in 1835, and was annually re-elected 
for seven years after that date. While he was secretary in 183G, he 
published a volume of the correspondence of the kings and queens 
of England, which had remained on the shelves of the office for two 
hundred years, entitled "Antiquities of Connecticut." In 1842, he 
published a volume of six hundred and forty-three pages, large octavo? 
entitled " A Historical Collection, from Official Records, Files, &:c., 

1 For the facts in this and several other sketches, the author is indebted to George 
Ilinman, Esq., of Sullivan, Maine, a native of the ancient territory. 


of tlie part sustained by Connecticut during the War of the Revo- 
lution," with an appendix containing very important matters, verified 
from the records. This is a very valuable book, and does both the 
state and the author great credit. In 1846, he published a cata- 
logue of the names of the first Puritan settlers of the colony of 
Connecticut, extending to five numbers, and containing three hundred 
and thirty-six pages. lie is at the present moment publishing under a 
similar title, a large and extended work of a similar character. In 
1835, he was appointed chairman of a committee consisting of him- 
self, Leman Church, Esq., and Hon. Elisha Phelps, to revise the 
public statutes of Connecticut, which they accomplished in a book of 
about six hundred pages. In 1835 and '6, the same committee was 
appointed to compile and publish the private or special acts of the 
state, particularly those of a date later than 1789, up to the time of 
publication. This duty was performed, and a book of sixteen hun- 
dred and forty pages was published for the use of the people of the 
state. In 1838, Mr. Hinman and Thomas C. Perkins of Hartford 
were appointed to make a revision of the statutes of the state, which 
duty was accomplished, and the " Revision of 1838," containing 
seven hundred and seventeen pages, was the result. It is said, that 
no man in the state has prepared and published so large a number of 
pages for the state as Mr. Hinman. He was one of the original in- 
corporators of the revised charter of the "Connecticut Historical 
Society" in 1839, and is also an honorary member of the New Jer- 
sey Historical Society, and of the Massachusetts Historical Society. 
In his various antiquarian works, he has done a great work for pos- 
terity by rescuing a multitude of interesting facts from oblivion. 
On the 18th day of September, 1844, he was appointed collector of 
customs for the district of New Haven, which office he held until March 
4th, 1845, and was also supervisor ofthe light-houses in the district of 
New Haven during the same period. He was admitted as a coun- 
selor in the supreme court of the state of New York, in Albany, at 
its February term, in 1827. He now resides in Harlem, N. Y. 


Was bom in the town of Woodbury, in this state, in the year 
1720. His ancestors came from England, in the early settlement of 
this colony. He served against the French in Canada, as early as 
1751, under a commission as quarter-master of the troop of horse in 

372 nisTOKr of ancient woodbury. 

the thirteenth regiment, in this colony, under the hand of Roger 
Wolcott, then governor of the colony. On the 19th day of Ajn-il, 
1755, he was commissioned by Gov. Fitch, at Norwalk, a captain of 
the sixth company of foot, in Col. Elizur Goodrich's regiment, 
being a part of the forces raised in the colony for the defense and 
protection of His Majesty's territories from any further encroach- 
ments by the French, at Crown-Point, and upon Lake Iroquois, (call- 
ed at that time by the French, Lake Champlain,) and to remove en- 
croachments then made there ; of which forces William Johnson was 
commander-in-chief. During the French war in Canada, on the 1st 
of October, 1755, Col. Hinman being stationed near a lake, walked 
out alone about three-fourths of a mile from his men, and stopped 
near the lake in the woods. He heard a noise behind him, and turning 
briskly around, with his gun at rest, he found a French soldier with- 
in six yards of him. The soldier was as much surprised at his com- 
pany as was Col. Hinman. The soldier at once cried for quarter, 
and held out to the colonel the helve of his hatchet in token of his 
submission, which Col. Hinman took from him, and marched him 
into camp, as a prisoner. 

On the 30th day of May, 1751, he was commissioned major of 
said thirteenth regiment of foot and horse, by John Fitch, Esq., then 
governor of the colony. In the year 1758, he was commissioned 
lieutenant-colonel of the third regiment of foot, in the forces raised 
in the colony for invading Canada, to proceed under the supreme 
command of His Majesty's commander-in-chief in North America ; 
and also a captain in the second company in said regiment; which 
commission was signed by Thomas Fitch, governor of this colony. 
On the 31st day of October, 1767, he was commissioned by William 
Pitkin, governor of the colony, a lieutenant-colonel of the thirteenth 
regiment of horse and foot, " under and in the eighth year of the 
reign of Lord George the Third, King of Great Britain, &c." 

On the 1st of November, 1771, he was commissioned colonel of 
the thirteenth regiment of foot and horse, by J. Trumbull, governor. 
Early in the war of the Revolution, on the 1st day of May, 1775, he 
was appointed colonel of the fourth regiment of enlisted and assem- 
bled troops for the defense of the colony ; and was ordered, by Gov. 
Trumbull, on the 20th day of May, 1775, forthwith to march with 
five companies, to rendezvous at or near Greenwich, in this state, 
and to send three companies, to take post at Salisbury, under Major 
Elmore, to be in readiness to march with them under such orders as 
Maj. Elmore should receive from the General Assembly, or the 


governor. During the same year he ^vas ordered to Ticonderoga, 
where he remained in command of a regiment for some time. In 
the year 1776, he was ordered, with his regiment, to New York ; 
and was at New York at its capture by the Brhish ; after which he 
was stationed at Horse Neck, and other places on the Sound, but re- 
turned home in ill health, in January, 1777, and did not again join 
the army. He died at Southbury, on the 22d day of March, 1810, 
at the ripe old age of ninety years. ' 


This gentleman was intimately and favorably known in " ancient 
"Woodbury," as a shrewd and talented man. He was the son of 
Edward Hinman — " Lawyer Ned," as he was famiharly called. 

Simeon commenced his legal practice about 1793, and continued 
it until about 1809, when he abandoned all business, and rusted out. 
Had he been goaded by necessity to exertion he would probably 
have attained a high character. Native talent of a high order he 
certainly possessed. He was never married, and died in 1825. He 
was a graduate of Yale, and lived and died at Southbury, in the 
mansion house occupied by his father. 


Eobinson S. Hinman was born in South Britain, a parish of South- 
bury, in 1801. 

His father, Jonathan Hinman, was of the Southbury family of that 
name. His mother was a Jennings, who derived her descent remotely 
from an Englishman of the same name who migrated to Stratford, 
about the middle of the sixteenth century. Men of this name have 
within the last twenty years, entertained exalted hopes of the acqui- 
sition of wealth by inheritance of an estate in the English chancery 
standing in that name, but as has been uniformly the case were chill- 
ed by disappointment. 

Simeon Hinman, the elder brother of Eobinson, about 1847, was 
sent to England as the family agent. He returned, having acquired 
neither money, knowledge or hope by the voyage. 

No particular opportunities were afforded Eobinson for attaining 

1 U. E. Hiiimau's War of the Revolution. 

374 II 1 S T O U T OF A X C I K N T "NV O O D B U K Y . 

an education beyond those found in a district scliool of that period, 
save a vilhige library, and an earnest and inquiring spirit that rose 
with the opposing circumstances. 

Gen. Ephraini Ilinman, of Koxbury, discovered mind and capacity 
in his kinsman of no ordinary grade. In 1821, at liis request, he be- 
came a member of the familj^ at Roxbury. " Gen. Epliraim" was 
in many respects, eminently beneficial to young men advancing to 
manhood ; his familiar intercourse with the aflfliirs of the Revolution- 
ary "War, his gentlemanly deportment, elevation above low objects, 
and his varied experience with men and things, gave him a salutary 
influence over the young. In this year Robinson entered the office 
of Hon. Royal R. Hinman, then a practicing lawyer at Roxbury, 
and studied, not read, law. In 1824, he changed his domicil, and en- 
tered the otBce of Charles B. Phelps, Esq., of Woodbury,'and was 
clerk in the pi-obate oifice, then a lai-ge district. In February, 1825, 
he entered the oifice of Judge Chapman, Avho had established a law 
school in New Haven. 

In June of this year he offered himself for an examination, but was 
refused by the force of an obsolete rule of that court requiring a resi- 
dence in that county of six months next previous to the examination. 
This rule was brought to notice by Judge Bronson, then on the county 
court bench in that county. He returned to Woodbury and re-en- 
tered the oifice of Mr. Phelps. Mr. P. being thrown from a buggy 
in August of that year and greatly injured, Mr. Hinman conducted 
his business until September, 1825, when he was admitted at Litch- 
field. A partnership with Mr. P. immediately followed, which contin- 
ued nearly two years. During the year 1827, he removed to Utica, 
New York, and entered the oifice of John Jay Hinman, then high 
sheriff of Oneida. Among the Hinmans, there has always existed 
a clannish spirit. Robinson was the proter/e of Col. Hinman. He 
subsequently v.-as admitted to practice in New York, removed to 
the city of New York, formed a partnership with a professional 
oentleman there, and held a tolerable practice in the marine court. 
Robinson felt he was made for higher objects than a practice in that 
jurisdiction then afforded, and in 1828 removed to Naugatuck in 
New Haven county. Here his habits of order, industry and punctual- 
ity soon secured to him an extensive practice, and he had the consola- 
tion of witnessing the advancement of his reputation, and the rapid 
growth of confidence in his integrity and intellectual pursuits. In 
1830, he was appointed postmaster at that village, in 1831 he re- 
moved to New Haven, was appointed clerk of the county and 


superior court, and continued his professional habits. In 1838, a 
change of poHtical power occurred, and he retired to private life with 
a practice diminished by the interference of his official duties. In 
1842, he was appointed judge of probate for New Haven district, 
the most lucrative office in the gift of the state authorities, and was 
reappointed in 1848. During the summer of that year, tliat insidious 
enemy of human life, the consumption, asserted its dominion over his 
constitution. Struggling against its progress, hope gave strength while 
life was sapped at its foundation. He died November, 1843, at New 
Haven. A monument to his memory may be found in the beautiful 
cemetery in that city erected by the society of Odd Fellows, of which 
association he Avas a prominent member. He was never married. In 
183G, he entered military life a brigade major, and by gradation 
rose to the place of brigadier general. 

The prominent traits of his character were constitutional honesty, 
veracity, benevolence, order, industry and an untiring desire to do- 
good. He possessed strong attachments to his friends and no hostil- 
ity to those who chose to make themselves his enemies. He scru- 
pulously avoided evil speaking and never imputed a bad motive, un- 
less compelled to do so by irrefragable evidence. He was prompt and 
accurate in all his dealings. 

With quick and rapid perceptions and a retentive memory, he inves- 
tigated eifectively, and followed the sequence in all its ramifications. 
When at Naugatuck and New Haven, he evinced strong tendencies 
for public improvement. At the former place, he projected the estab- 
lishment of the public square, the erection of the houses of pub- 
lic worship thereon, and the survey of the public avenue passing by 
them. The Episcopal church of that parish was at Gun Town, some 
two miles west of its present location, but was taken down and re- 
erected in its present location. 

At New Haven he essentially aided in the erection of the Lan- 
easterian school there, and also in the grading of the streets. 

His love of order was evinced in many improvements in the clerk's 
office, which have remained to this day, and are gratefully remem- 
bered by the court and bar. He enjoyed the reputation of an experi- 
enced druaghtsman of legal papers. He was attaclied to tlie democrat- 
ic party in politics, and his effi^rts were sometimes important. He 
worshiped in the Episcopal church, and was sincerely devoted to 
its advancement. Few men have deceased more lamented by all 
classes with whom he had intercourse. 

There is something inexpressibly melancholy in witnessing the 


death of one gifteil by nature, and trained to the capacity of accom- 
plishing ends beneficial to himself and his fellow-men. 


Among the distinguished characters of Ancient Woodbury, the 
name of Gen. Ephraim Ilinman claims a prominent place. 

The individual who undertakes to write the history of one so un- 
like all other men, must enter upon the work under the conviction 
that it is not an easy task. The peculiarities of his eccentric charac- 
ter can not be well delineated. Some of the outlines will be attempt- 
ed ; but to know him, one must have seen and heard him. 

He was born April 5th, 1753, in that part of the town now called 
Southbury. His ancestors were among the early emigrants from 
Stratford. Edward Hinman, the first of the name in New England, 
and the only one, settled in that town about 1650, and died there in 
1681. Benjamin, his second son, was born in 1662, and married 
Elizabetli Lumm, of Woodbury, in 1684. He lived in the district 
now called Bullet Hill, in Southbury, where numbers of his descend- 
ants still remain. He had six sons and six daughters, one of Avhom, 
Benjamin, l)orn 1692, married Sarah Sherman in 1718. They resi- 
ded in Southbuiy until 1727, where they both died in the same 
month, leaving three children. 

The oldest son. Col. Benjamin, was of some eminence in tlic French 
war, and in the war of the Revolution. 

David, their second son, born 1722, married Sarah Ilinman, a lin- 
eal descendant of the first Edward. These being the parents of the 
subject of this memoir, he was truly a Hinman of the Hinmans. He 
married Sylvania, daughter of William French, of Southbury, Feb. 
3d, 1779, by whom he had two sons and two daughters. His eldest 
son died in infancy. His second son, R. R. Hinman, graduated at 
Yale College, and afterward pursued the practice of law in Roxbury, 
Ct., until he became secretary of state, which office he retained for 
several years. 

Gen. Hinman removed to Roxbury about the year 1784, and built 
a house in the center of the village, which for a Country residence at 
that period, was regarded as belonging to the first class. For about 
thirty years he was engaged in mercantile pursuits. During this 
time he became an extensive landholder, having in his possession at 
one time, about one thousand acres. He was not a practical ftirmer, 


but his love of real estate induced him to retain it, until the interest 
he paid, connected with losses he sustained, greatly embarrassed him 
in his declining years, and thus operated di^^astrously on theiiecun- 
iary interests of his son, who became involved in attempting to re- 
lieve his father. 

All who know the history of that period, " when Ephraim was a 
child," are aware that the means for the attainment of even a common 
education were very limited. In addition to this, the subject of this 
memoir, by the death of his fatlier, at the early age of four years, 
was deprived of those restraints and instructions which a mind of his 
temperament peculiarly needed. Some of the circumstances in which 
he was unfortunately placed in his youth, were most skillfully adapted 
to darken his mind, depress his energies, and corrupt his morals. To 
a miaid of a different cast, they might have proved more disastrous. 
If he was not through life a sufferer in consequence of these things, 
it was apparent to those who knew him best, that he did not attain 
that distinction to which he might otherwise have arisen. Not hav- 
ing the advantages of an early education, he of course possessed but 
a limited knowledge of books ; but he was endowed with a vi"-orous. 
active mind, a quick, discriminating perception of men and things. 
Few men could read the character of a stranger so readily and cor- 
rectly as he. A young lady, an intimate friend, called on him on 
her bridal tour, to show her husband. The general walked with him 
into his garden and fruit-yard, which were among the best in the vi- 
cinity. On his return to the house, the bride inquired privately, 
what he thought of her husband. He replied, " H., he will always 
cut off his pigs' tails, because it will require one ear of corn extra to 
fat the tail." The young bride ultimately learned that his judgment 
was correct. 

He was also blessed with a retentive memory. Hence by obser- 
vation, conversation, and constant intercourse with the world, (if not 
by intuition,) he acquired a fund of knowledge. Had he in addition 
to these endowments, been fjxvored with a classical education, he 
would doubtless have been in many respects, one of the most distin- 
guished characters of -his age. As it was, he was a man of rare 

In appearance, he was peculiarly dignified and imposing; above 
the medium height, of portly dimensions, a symmetrical form, fine 
countenance, and stately movements. Until a few of his last years, 
his dress was that of gentlemen of an earlier period, termed small 
clothes ; and he uniformly followed his early custom of wearing his 

378 HISTORY OP ancient woodbury. 

hair braided, turned up, fastened upon the top of his head and pow- 

One liad only to see him, to be impressed with the Conviction that 
he was one of nature's noblemen, born to command. In his deport- 
ment he was a gentleman. lie api)eared fomiliar with, and a careful 
observer of all the rules of etitjuette common in his day ; nor did he 
regard advancing years as any apology for their neglect. He could 
readily accommodate himself to all classes, and render himself inter- 
esting to all, by an unusual amount of wit and humor, and by the 
originality of his anecdotes and illustrations. 

He was ardent in his attachment to his friends, and could long re- 
member an act of kindness ; but was somewhat vindictive toward 
his enemies, and could not readily forget an injury. Concerning 
some by whom he felt himself sorely abused, he was heard to say, 
" If the Lord should see fit to take them away, he should be very 
much resigned to his will." 

He had a peculiar fondness for society, and was apparently restive 
when alone. The night to him was sometimes long. Few of his 
neighbors ever rose so early, but they might see him walking in the 
open air with uncovered head. 

He felt a strong aversion to every offense against neatness, and in 
regard to food and drink, might have been called fastidious. It was 
annoying to him to see persons come to his well upon the Sabbath, 
and drink directly from the bucket, an act which he considered vul- 
gar and unkind. He therefore sunk a well on the opposite side of 
his house, for the use of those ill-bred people, and forbade their com- 
ing to his family well. 

Not only his conversation, but many other things, exhibited marks 
of eccentricity and originality. Even the staif on which he leaned 
in his advanced years, indicated his taste and character, being a bam- 
boo, some five feet in length, and of Herculean size. Similar to this 
in strength and dimensions, were various implements about his prem- 
ises, as also the stone wall which inclosed his dwelling. An unwieldy 
plow and crow-bar are recollected, and in connection with the latter, 
an anecdote which may be worth inserting. 'He apphed to a careful 
neighbor for the loan of a flax-brake. The owner declined having it 
removed from his barn, but consented that the general should carry 
his flax there, and use the instrument. In process of time, this neigh- 
bor had occasion to move some heavy rocks, and applied to the gen- 
eral for the use of his crow-bar, as well adapted to the object. The 
general replied, that " he did not like to have the bar removed from 


his premises, but would be glad to have his neighbor bring to it all 
the rocks he pleased, and pry them up." 

In regard to his political character, he was originally a stanch 
federalist of the old school. Such he continued until Gen. Jackson 
became a candidate for the presidency. He had a character, pos- 
sessed qualities, and had performed sei'vices, which secured the ad- 
miration and hearty support of Gen. Hinman. From that period, it 
is believed his politics were what were then known as of the Jackson 
stamp. He held some offices in the gift of the town. He was one 
of the principal agents appouited by the parish of Roxbury, to secure 
its incorporation as a town. In 1798, and in subsequent years, he 
represented it in the state legislature. It was, however, apparent to 
all who knew him, that military office, honors and services, were 
more congenial to his feelings, and better adapted to his genius, than 
those of a civil character. Here he uniformly shone to the best ad- 
vantage, and found full scope for his commanding powers. While 
he was yet young, and the post of corporal in the militia of" the state 
was regarded as more honorable than that of colonel at the present 
day; when men who obtained office in the higher ranks, ordinarily 
rose by a regular and protracted gradation ; the ascent of young Hin- 
man was more rapid and irregular. While he was yet a private in 
a military company in his native town, the captaincy became vacant. 
His father-in-law, by whom he was not very ardently beloved, was 
lieutenant. But instead of adhering to the oxxiinary routine of ele- 
vation, Hinman was taken from the ranks, and placed in command of 
those who were his seniors in age and office. 

Although he was but thirty years of age when the war of the Rev- 
olution closed, for four or five previous years, he had sustained vari- 
ous important and responsible offices, principally connected with the 
commissary department. That he faithfully and satisfactorily dis- 
charged the duties assigned him, is manifest from numerous letters 
still in existence, designating the service required, written by vari- 
ous officers of distinction in the army. That he enjoyed the confi- 
dence of the appointing power, is also manifest from the fact, that he 
was continued in office, with an occasional promotion,, from the date 
of his appointment in 1778, until the close of the war rendered fur- 
ther service unnecessary. After the war, he received the office of 
major in the thirteenth regiment of Connecticut militia, and was soon 
advanced to the rank of a colonel of the same regiment. In May, 
1805, he received the appointment of brigadier-general of the eighth 
brigade of Connecticut infantry. His jurisdiction at that time, ex- 

380 II 1 s T o 11 y OF A X CI i: N T -sv o o d b u r y . 

tended from Southington, in Ilarlford county, on the cast, to the line 
of the state on the west ; and most of the time he was in oirice, inclu- 
ded the cavalry in that section of the state. 

This office he held at a period when something more was required 
than merely to gain a military title and retire. He performed its 
duties annually, and we believe faithfully, for thirteen years. It may • 
be truly said of him that he "magnified his office." The prosperity 
of the military cause under his long and successful administration, 
tells all that need be said in commendation of its presiding genius. 

It may be asked, what were his religious principles ? And some 
who saw and heard him only in particular circumstances, as with 
his military associates, or when his peculiarly ardent temperament 
was under strong excitement, might conclude that he had little re- 
gard for religion, and but little fear of a supreme power. And al- 
though men of this stamp, men adopting liberal principles, might 
have claimed him as one of their class, such was not the fact. He 
was a member of no church, nor is it known to the writer that he laid 
any claim to experimental piety ; yet he was a believer in the essen- 
tial doctrines of the gospel, as they were believed and taught by the 
orthodox clergy of that period, in the Congregational church of New 
England. He believed in the entire native depravity of the human 
heart, in the necessity of a radical change in the aftections and life, 
in order to enter heaven. He had great confidence in the efficacy of 
prayer, and sought the prayers of God's people when himself or fam- 
ily were in circumstances of danger. At one period when there was 
some special religious interest in the town, a morning prayer-meeting 
was held in a little factory in the village. This at first drew from the 
general some remarks of disapproval. Ere long, as the pastor was 
on his way to the meeting, he saw the general approaching him, and 
was fearful that something un})leasant might ensue. Judge of his 
surprise when he saw the tears coursing down the cheeks of the im- 
aofined opposer, and learned from a choked utterance, that he had 
come out to ask that a little grandchild, which he supposed to be at 
the point of death,