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Full text of "History of Windham County, Connecticut"

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center 



http://www.archive.org/details/historyofwindham02larn 



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ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 



3 1833 01150 6513 

Gc 974.601 W72U v. 2 

Lamed, Ellen D- 

History of Windham County, 

Connecticut 



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MAJ. GtN. ISRAE.L PUTNAM 



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HISTOEY 



OF 



WINDHAM COUNTY, 



CONNECTICUT. 



BY ELLEN D. LARNED. 



" If, when we lay down our pen, we cannot say in the sight of God, ' upon strict examination; I 
have not knowingly written anything that Is not true ' . . . . then study and literature render 
us unrighteous and sinful." — Niebuhr. 



VOLUME II. 

1760-1880. 



rUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR 

1880. 



WORCESTER, MASS.: 

PRINTED BY CHARLES HAMILTON, 

311 MAIN STREET. 

MPCCCLXXX. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, by 

ELLEN D. LARNED, 
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 



1135524 



!4 
\ 



i 



K 




rORTRAITS. 



1. Maior General Israel Putnam, Brooklyn, Frontispiece. 

PAOB. 

2. General Samuel McClellan, Woodstock, 1-47 

3. Hon. Samuel Huntington, Scotland, signer of the Declaration of Inde- 

pendence, President of the Continental Congress, Governor of 
Connecticut, .... • 236 

4. Colonel Thomas Grosvenor, Pomfret, 2G5 

5. Rev. Jo.siah Whitney, U. D., Brooklyn, . - 464 

6. Rev. Daniel Dow, D. D., Thompson • ... 536 

7. General Lemuel Grosvenor, Pomfret, 543 

8. Smith Wilkinson, Esq., Putnam, pioneer of Cotton manufacturing 

in Connecticut • 547 

9. General Nathaniel Lyon, Eastford, 567 

10. lion. David Gallup, Plaiufleld, 573 

County Map -. 551 



P H E F A C E 



It is perhaps Init natural in completiiis^ a work of this charac- 
ter, attempting to cover so hirge a Hchl, tliat the author shouhl 
be more conscious of its omissions than its inchisions- To show 
what had been accomplished by Wikdham County in the past it 
was necessary to include the present — a delicate and difficult 
matter, rather within the province of the gazetteer than the 
historian. Passing events and conditions have been touched as 
briefly as possible and present actors very sparingly introduced. 
Critics will note with more asperity of judgment the absence of 
statistical details and tabulated statements, especially with refer- 
ence to the three wars in which Windham bore a part ; as also of 
genealogical and topographical data, so essential to a thorough 
knowledge of any particular section, A future supplement may 
supply these facts, which it has been impossible for the author to 
collect at the present time. She has achieved, she trusts, a clear 
and truthful narrative of the settlement and development of the 
towns comprising Windham County, gathered from the archives 
of the towns and State and from innumerable other sources — a 
narrative which though strictly confined to county limits, very 
strikingly sets forth the growth and development of the Nation, 
and its institutions. The observing reader will see in how many 
ways this little corner has sent out its influence, and how vitally 
it is connected with the growth of the body politic. Great 
pains have been taken to represent its social character and 
changes, and to gather up and collate every possible detail of 
the lives and services of those residents most connected with its 
development. Undoubtedly with all this care persons worthy 



VI, PREFACE. 

of mention have I)cen omitted, and undue prominence may have 
been given to others. Mistakes and misapprehensions in a work 
of this kind cannot be avoided, especially in such matters as were 
never before brought into history, derived from many independ- 
ent sources. But it is believed that these defects and errors are 
comparatively trilling, and that the friends of Windham County 
have good reason to be satisfied witli this record. Especially 
will they be gratified with the faces of honored citizens, familiar 
still to some and greatly revered by all, that enrich its pages. 
Long cherished as priceless treasures by descendants and friends, 
they will be warmly welcomed in many Windham County homes, 
and will give to future generations a more vivid realization of 
the days and scenes with which they were connected. The 
public will join with the writer in thanks to the kind friends who 
have generously aided in the reproduction of these valued por- 
traits ; others which were greatly desired it was impossible for 
various reasons to secure. As the record of events comes down 
to the present, it seemed but fitting that our picture gallery 
sliould include a living representative — our chief ofiicial resident, 
the present lieutenant-governor of Connecticut — which his friends 
and constituents will highly value. 

Grateful thanks are also due to the many friends who have 
given valuable information. Especial mention should be made 
of our efficient State Librarian, Charles J. Hoadly, Esq., who 
furnished needful material and opened many sources of informa- 
tion. Reports of interesting incidents, not to be found in the 
County, were sent back from the papers of the late Hon. 
Ephraim Cutler, Marietta, Ohio. J. R. Simms, Esq., Fort 
Plain, New York, author of the History of Schoharie County, 
and other historical works ; Mr. George Webb, EHzabeth, New 
Jersey ; Mr. Pulaski Carter, Providence, Pa.; Mr. J. Q. Adams, 
Natick, II. L — former residents of Windham County — have 
kindly contributed many valuable notes, incidents and remi- 
niscences. Documents collected by the late William L. 



PREFACE. Vll. 

Weaver, Esq., received from Mr. Thomas S. "Weaver, and 
excerpts from his local notes and genealogical jiajiers, pre- 
served by l*rof. Cleveland Abbe, of Washington, D. C, 
were especially helpful. Very valuable papers and pamphlets 
were found in the collection left by John McClellan, Esq., 
Woodstock. For these man}' favors, and the innumerable 
details furnished by residents of every town, for the sympa- 
thy and aid received from so many sources, the writer can 
only express lier appreciative thanks, and her hope that their 
expectations may be fully realized. In completing a work which 
has given her a much higher estimate of Windham County's 
past standing, the writer cannot but hope that it may excite a 
truer appreciation in others, and by stimulating county feeling 
and healthy emulation, help to make its onward course yet more 
prosperons. and its future record yet fairer and more honorable. 

E. D. L. 

Thompson, June 30, 1880. 



TOPICAL INDEX. 



Aboriginal Inhabitants, I., 1-11, 33, 8-43, 58; 143, 54, 71-3, 85. 6; 570. II., 

389, 90; 532, 40. 
Ashford Whipping, II., 27, 8; 303. 
Bacchus, II., 172, 3; 218; 560. 
Boundary Disputes and Settlements. I., 13-15, 21, 37, 50, 63-5, 89 ; 120-8, 33- 

36, 7, 42, 6, 8, 9, 55-7, 68, 9, 75; 226-9, 37, 8, 40, 53-5, 94-6; 341; 487- 

95. II., 107-9; 456; 527. 
Canal and Railroad Projects, II., 76; 502, 3, 7, 52, 7, 8. 
College Graduates, I., 507, 54, 72, 3. II., 17, 91; 305. 
Connecticut Path, I., 2, 19, 29. II., 87. 
Dark Day, II., 373. 

Ecclesiastic Constitution, I., 263; 425, G9, 70, 7-85. II., 221-5, 74, 96; 465-7. 
Emigration, I., 287; 556-60. II., 19, 51, 77; 105; 317, 18, 41-3. 
Executions and Murders, I., 39 ; 231, 2, 88, 9 ; 363, 4. II., 290-3 ; 303, 60, 1, 81 ; 

479. 
Land Bank Scheme, 383, 4. 
Medical Society, II., 269. 

Military Organization, I., 269, 99. II., 137, 9, 40. 
Probate Courts Constituted, I., 260; 526, 39. 
Population, L, 261 ; 570. II. ; 142 ; 388 ; 589, 90. 
September Gale. II., 429, 36, 40. 
Singing, I., 60; 522. II., 98; 103; 259; 369; 450. 
Slaves, I., 551, 2, 70. II., 220; 389; 593. 
Social Condition, I., 262, 3; 570. II., 52; 388-90, 4-7; 414; 588-90. 



C O N TENTS. 



BOOK V. 1740-1775. 

-l- PAOE. 

Pomfret. Brooklyn Parish. Putnam. Malbone. Rival Church Edifices. 
General Affairs 1 

II. 
Ashford. General Town Affairs. Westford Society. First Baptist 
Church. Eastford Society. Corbin Land Claim 19 

III. 
Affairs in Canterbury. Whitefield's Visit. Separates. Baptists. West- 
minster Society 37 

IV. 
Town Affairs in Windham. Wyoming Emii^ration. Social Life- Scot- 
land Parish , 46 

V. 
Canada Parish. Pew Dispute. School Districts. Troubles with Rev. 
Samuel Mosely. Voluntown 57 

VI. 
Religious Settlement in Plainfield. General Town Affairs 71 

VII. 
Town Affairs in Killingly. Thompson Parish. Baptist Church Formed. 
Killingly Hill. South Killingly Church. Chestnut Hill. Baptist 
Church '^ 77 

VIII. 
Woodstock's Three Parishes. Baptist Church. Town Affairs. Troubles 
with Massachusetts 97 



BOOK VI. 176^-1783. 

WINDHAM IN THE KEVOLUTION. 

I. 

Opposition to Stamp Act. Non-importation. Food for Boston. Resolves 
and Onsets, A Great Uprising Ill 

II. 

Preparation for the Conflict. Onward to Cambridge. Bunker Hill. Home 
Affairs. Death of Rev. Joseph Howe 137 

D 



X. COxVTENTS. 

III. 
Campaien of 177G. Stnipgles and Disasters. Death of Knowltdii. Town 
Ri'soliiiious. Campaigns of 1777-78. Discourageincnis ].")9 

IV. 
Gloomy Days. Kndnianoc. Home Affairs. Urighteninj^ I'lospects. 
Victory 183 



BOOK VII. 1783-1807. 
I. 

Banishment of Tories. SuttVrings of Soldiers. War Settlements. Adop- 
tion of Federal Constitution 205 

II. 
Windham's Prosperity. The Wi7idham Phenix. Religious Declension. 
Political Agitation 213 

III. 
Scotland's First Bell. Life at the Parsonage. Ciianges. Trouble with 
Dr. Cogswell 230 

IV. 
Hampton Set Oft'. Death of Mr. Mosely. Prosperity and Progress. Gren- 
adier Company. Grow Ciuirch. Deacon Benjamin Chaplin .... 238 

V. 
Organization of Brooklyn. Adams' District. Last Years of General 
Putnam. Colonel Malbone. Captain Tyler. Growth and Pros- 
perity 249 

VI. 

Pomfret's Progress. Oliver Dodge. Reformed Church. Methoilists. 
Baptists. Tunipil<es. Trial and Execution of Caleb Adams .... 265 

VII. 
General Affairs in Ashford. Visit from President Washington. Turnpike 
Enterprise. David Bolles and the Baptist Petition. Congregational 
and Baptist Churches 203 

VIII. 
Canterbury Bridges. Enterprising Young Men. Master Adams' School. 
Town and Ciiurch Affairs. Westminster Society. Cleveland .... 304 

IX. 

Plaintieid Church in Pursuit of a Pastor. New Meeting-house. Dr. Bene- 
dict. I'iainffeld Academy. Distinguished Citizens. Town Affairs . 310 

X. 

Killin^ly Established. North Society. Trials of Baptists. South 
Killingly Church and Trainings. West Killingly Church. Emigration 
to Ohio 330 

XI. 

Town Organization in Tiiompson. Business Enterprise. Ordinations of 
Daniel Dow and Pearson Crosby. Report of School Inspectors. 
Sale of Thompson Tract. Improvements and Excitements. Counter- 
feitin'T 343 



CONTENTS. XI. 

XII. 

Town and Clinrch Affairs m Woodstock. Academy Founded. Thief 
Detecling Society. JMurder of Marcus Lyon. Losses and Changes . 302 

XIII. 
Organization of Sterling. Meeting-liouse Erected. Town and Chnrcli 
. Artairs in Voluutown. Line Meetiug-honse 383 

XIV. 

Windliain County in 181)0. Population. Business. Morals. Religion. 
Schools. Social Condition 388 



BOOK VIII. 1S07-182O. 



I. 

The Carding Machine. Pomfret Manufacturing Company. Manufacturing 
Furor. War of 1812-14 ^ 399 

II. 

Windham Enterprise and Difficulties. Fun and Fishing. Church Affairs . 411 

III. 
Town and Church Affairs in Hampton. Chaplin Society. Organization of 
Church. Meeting-house and Minister 417 

IV. 
Enterprise iu Canterbury. Fatal Accident. Church Affairs 422 

V. 

Plainficld Manufacturers. Death of Dr. Benedict. Highways and Bridges. 
Sterling. Voluutown 427 

VI. 
Manufacturing Excitement in Killingly. Church Affairs. United Tract 
Society -^Sl 

VII. 
Thompson's Manufacturing Companies. Village Growth and Improve- 
meuls. The Great Revival of 1S13-14 438 

VIII. 
The Revival in Pomfret. Business Affairs. Moral and Agricultural 
Societies ^'^^ 

IX. 
Business in Woodstock. Churches. Academy. Thefts and Whipping. 
Dudley Land Case *51 

X. 
Town and Church Affairs in Ashford ^orG 

XL 
Town Affairs in Brooklyn. Unitarian Controversy. The New Constitu- 
tion. Change of County Seat ■^^^ 



Xll. CONTENTS. 

BOOK IX. 1820-184:5. 



I. 

TraiisAMTcnco of Courts. Brooklyn Enterprise. Death of Dr. Whitney. 
Ministry of Siunuel J. May. Execution of Watkins 471 

IF. 

Temperance Work in Windham County. Organization of County Temper- 
ance Society. Eflbrts and Results 480 

III. 
Miss Crandall's Schools—White and Colored. Canterbury in Danger. 
Excitement. Expulsion 4!)0 

IV. 

Canterbury. Plainfleld. Voluntown. Sterling 502 

V. 

AVindham. Willimantic Village. Chaplin 511 

VI. 

Hampton. Ashford. Eastford Parish 520 

VII. 

Woodstock. Thompson 527 

VIII. 
Killingly. Porafret. Pomfret Factory 539 



BOOK X. 184:0-1880. 



The Present Outlook. Putnam. Danielsonville. Willimantic. Windham 
Green. North and South Windham. Scotland. Chaplin. Hamp- 
ton. Ashford. Eastford. Brooklyn. Canterbury. Voluntown. 
Sterling. Plainfield. Central Village. Moosup. Wauregan. Day- 
ville. Williamsvillc. East and South Killinglj'. Grosvenordale. 
Thompson. Pomfret. Woodstock. Notable Meetings of Woodstock. 
Windham County's Latest War-Record. The Army of Emigrants. 
To-day and To-morrow 551 

Appendix. A. — Origin of Town Names 591 

B.— English Report of Putnam's Wolf Fight 591 

C— The Battle of the Frogs 592 

D.— A Relic of Slavery 593 



BOOK V. 



I. 

POMFRET. BROOKLYN SOCIETY. PUTNAM. ^lALBONE. RIVAL 
CHURCH EDIFICES. GENERAL AFFAIRS. 

rr^HE heavy burden borne by Windham County through the weari- 
-E- some French and Indian war was not without its compensations. 
Stringent compulsory demands called out the energies of the towns 
and developed their resources. Wider experience, and the stimulat- 
ing discipline of camp and battle, made stronger men of those engaged 
in warfare, and fitted them for greater usefulness at home. No town 
was more favored in this respect than Pomfret. Her sons greatly 
distinguished themselves in the war, and returned to engage with 
equal zeal and fidelity in the service of town and county- At the 
annual meeting of the town, December 1, 1760, many of these returned 
soldiers were elected to town offices. Deacon Jonathan Dresser served 
as moderator. More than fitty men were needed to fill the various 
public offices. Ebenezer Williams, Esq., Captain John Grosvenor, 
Captain Zachariah Spalding, Deacons Edward Ruggles and David Wil- 
liams were chosen selectmen ; Timothy Sabin, town clerk and treasurer; 
Ensign Nathaniel Clark, Ej)hraim Ingalls and Samuel Williams, con- 
stables — one for each society ; Rufus Herrick, John Gilbert, William 
Allworth; Paul Adams, Solomon Griggs, Daniel Cheney, Jonathan 
White, George Sumner, Samuel Cotton, Ebenezer Deming, Ebenezer 
Williams, Esq., David Chandler, Amasa Sessions, Jacob Goodell and 
Nathaniel Abbott, highway surveyors ; Abijah Williams and John 
Weld, fence viewers ; John Parkhurst, Jun., Josiah Sabin, Ephraim 
Tucker, Jun., Joseph Scarborough, Thomas Williams, Deacon Samuel 
Craft and Ebenezer Goodell, listers ; John Williams, Jun., xVdonijah 
Fasset and John Williams, grand-jurors; Jedidiah Ashcraft, James 
Copeland, Joseph Philips, Nathaniel Rogers, Ephraim Griggs and John 
Holbrook, tithing-men ; William Sabin, John Davison, Jonathan Allen, 
Josiah Wheeler and Captain Zachariah Spalding, horse-branders ; Ben- 
jamin Smith and Benjamin Sharpe, weight-sealers ; Sauuiel Carpenter, 
excise collector ; Ensign Nathaniel Clark, town-collector; Benjamm 
1 



2 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Giiftin, key -keeper. Most of these officers will be recognized as descend- 
ants of the early settlers of Ponifret. The sole survivor of the first 
settlers at this date was apparently Mr. Nathaniel Sessions, "a sober 
man and useful member of society, " who forty years before had opened 
the first cart road from Providence. Now in serene old age, resting 
from his labors in his pleasant home in Abington, he was ever ready to 
aid the town with his counsel and suggestions, and passed his leisure 
hours in the study of the Scriptures, committing a large ])art of them to 
memory in fear that he should be deprived of his eyesiglit. 

The mill site on tlie Quinebaug liad now changed owners. In 1760, 
the land between the Quinebaug and Mill Rivers, with privilege of- 
the Falls, mills, dwelling-house, malt house, dye-house, and all their 
appurtenances, was sold by Nathaniel Daniels to Benjamin Cargill, of 
South Kingston, R. I., a descendant of Rev. Donald Cargill, of Scot- 
land. Mr. Cargill at once took possession of his purchase and by his 
shrewdness and good management so improved its business facilities 
that " Cargill's Mills " soon became a noted place of resort for all the 
surrounding country ; malting, dyeing and grinding for parts of 
Pomfret, Woodstock, Killingly and Thompson Parish. 

Town affairs required very little attention. New roads were dis- 
cussed and other public improvements, but nothing undertaken. 
The energies of the first society were now wholly absorbed in 
building the long projected meeting-house. After a year's sus- 
pension work was resumed. At a society meeting, December 4, 
1761, William Sabin was chosen moderator; John Payson, clerk; 
Captain John Grosvenor, Gershom Sharpe and Samuel Carpenter, 
committee. It was then voted to raise money and go forward with 
the finishing of the house — money to be raised by a tax of ninepence 
per pound on the list. A stalwart body of seats in the centre of the 
bouse had already been ei'ected. Forty-four pews were now ordered 
— twenty-six against the walls ; eighteen ranged behind the body seats. 
It was also voted, " That those forty-three persons that are highest in 
the list shall have the liberty of drawing forty-thiee of the pews ; they 
building each one his own pew and finishing the wall of said house, 
adjoining to his pew, to the first girth ; he that is highest in the list 
to have the first choice, and so on till they have done drawing ; re- 
serving room for one \)ew for the ministry in said society, where the 
Rev. Mr. Aaron Putnam shall choose it. " The ditficulties and ditfer- 
ences which delayed so long the initiation of this work had now sub- 
sided, and all i)arties united with great apparent zeal and heartiness in 
its })rogress and completion. Thomas Stedman, the skillful architect 
of the new meeting-house in Canada Parish, was employed as master- 
builder. Galleries were built around the sides of the house, a hi^h 



POMFKET, BROOKLYN SOCIETY, ETC. 3 

pulpit and massive canopy erected, and the outside " cullered " in the 
most approved fashion of the day — the body deep orange with doors 
and bottom-boards of chocolate color, " window-jets, " corner and 
weather-boards, white. This fanciful "cullering" was greatly ad- 
mired and copied, and the house when completed was probably the 
largest and finest in the county. The formal dedication of houses of 
worship was not then in vogue, but a preliminary " lecture sermon " 
was preaclied in this by Mr. Putnam, Thursday, January 20, 1763. The 
old meeting-house and training-field adjacent were sold by order of the 
society, and lil)erty granted to build sheds on the east line of the 
common within four rods of Ilev. Mr. Aaron Putnam's house. 

Brooklyn society was increasing in strength and numbers. Ebenezer 
Witter of Preston, John and Israel Litchfield, .James and Thomas 
Eldredge, William and Xehemiah Prince, Stephen Baker, Rufus Herrick 
and Andrew Lester had become its residents. The original settlers 
were represented by many thriving families. A remodeling of school 
districts, in 1762, shows the distribution of the inhabitants : — 

"District 1. Containing Captain Spalding, Prince's place, that farm that was 
the Reverend Mr. Avery's, Nathan Cad)', Adonijah Fasset, David Kendall, 
John Kimball, Rev. Mr. Whitney', Stephen Baker, Ezekiel Cady, Uriah Cady, 
Daniel Tyler. Thomas Williams, Samuel Cleveland and Joseph Cady. 

District 2. All the lands and houses of Colonel Malbone that are in 
the society, William Earl, Moses Earl, Jonas Frost, Jedidiah Ashcraft, 
Joseph Hul>bard, Al)ner Adams, Benjamin Fasset, Nehemiah Adams. John 
Hubbard, Daniel Adans. Noah and Paul Adams and Samuel Wilson. 

District 3. To contain Peter and Richard Adams, Widow AUyn, Lieutenant 
Smith, Sergeant Woodward, Reuben Darbe, Jonas Cleveland, Josiah. James and 
Joseph Fasset, John Allyn, Lieutenant Spalding, Elijah Monro.se, Joseph 
Dyer, Jonathan Backus, Andrew Lester, Captain Prince, Nehemiah Prince, 
Thomas Wheeler, William Copeland and Moses Smith. 

District 4. To contain Nehemiah Bacon, Joseph Scarborough, Samuel 
Jacques, James Bennet, Joseph Ross, Widow Barret, Lieutenant Smith, Dr. 
Walton, Barnabas Wood, Deacon Scarborough, Colonel Putnam and Thomas 
Eldredge. 

District '>. To contain Samuel Williams, Jun., William Williams, Jun., 
Deacon Williams, Samuel Williams, Ebenezer Weeks, Rufus Herrick, Jedidiah 
Downing, Widow Davyson, Banjamin Fasset, Jun., and Amoral Chapman. 

District 6. To contain John Litchfield, Israel Litchtield, Dai'ius Cady, 
James Darbe, Senior and Junior, Samuel and Eleazer Darbe, Nathan Kim- 
ball, Benjamin Shepard, Nehemiah Cady, Caleb Spalding, Daniel, Nahum, 
John, Henry and Benjamin Cady. 

District 7. John Fasset, James Copeland, Gidion Cady, Samuel Winter, 
Nathan Witter, Asa Tyler, Lieutenant Hunt, the farm that was Thomas Stan- 
ton's, Jacob Staples, Jethro Rogers, James Bidlack and Aaron Fuller." 

The central school-house was now moved to a suitable place in one 
corner of the common, and "fitted upas well as it was before," and 
school houses provided as soon as possible for the surrounding districts. 
A school was kept at least two and one-fifth months a year in each dis- 
trict. Faithful men were appointed to take charge of the school 
money. Innovations in public religious worship ne.vt claimed the 
attention of Brooklyn society. In 1763, the church concluded that the 



4 HISTORY OF AVINDHAM COUNTY. 

pastor sliould read the Holy Scriptures for the time to come on Lord's 
dav, viz. : a portion in the morning out of tlie Old Testament, and in 
the afternoon out of the New Testament, in course, immediately before 
first singing ; omitting such chapters as should be tliought less instruc- 
tive. The society voted meanwhile, to provide a cushion for the pul- 
pit. Also — 

" To mend ye glass and frames and casements of ye meeting-liouse, and 
■where ye clapboards are ofl" or split to put on more, and put on .shingles 
where they are wanted, and rectify ye under-pinning — Daniel Tyler to be the 
man to see that ye meeting-house be repain-d." 

These repairs were unsatisfactory. The house though but thirty 
years old, was rude and shabby. The elegant church edifices lately 
erected by the first and third societies of Ponifret excited envy 
and emulation. Brooklyn was increasing more rapidly than the other 
societies; its affairs were managed by men of energy and public s[)irit ; 
its young pastor was eager for progress and improvement, and it cotild 
not long rest satisfied with inferior accommodations. In 1766, it was 
accordingly proposed to build a new meeting-house, but the society 
declined to consider the question and only voted — 

" To put up a new window on the north side of the meeting-house, and 
board up the window that is broken against the front gallerj-, and put some 
new shingles on the roof where the water runs through, and put a new clap- 
board on the north side where one is ofl", and give Mr. Joseph Davison 27s. 
to do the same. " 

This vote gave great offence to the '• young American " element in the 
society, especially to Dr. Walton, who berated the conservatives for 
raeaimess and lack of public spirit, and declared the present house "old, 
shaky and not fit to meet in. " 

The return of Colonel Putnam to Pomfret in 1765 gave a now im- 
pulse to public improvements in town and society. Tlie distinguished 
success of this gallant officer iti the field had greatly changed liis 
position at home. Enemies more formidable tlian wolves had now 
been overcome. The obscure Mortlake farmer had 'proved himself 
equal to every emergency. His valorous exploits dtu-ing the war had 
captivated the po[)ular fancy. His services at Havana and Detroit had 
brought him i)romiiiently before the ])ublic and added dignity to his 
reputation, and no ofiiccr in the American ranks was more widely known 
or applauded. Time had blunted tlie edge of sectional prejudice, and 
he was welcomed home after ten years absence as one whom all 
delighted to honor. His fellow-citizens once so chary of their favors 
now loaded him with public offices. He was called to preside as modera- 
tor at town and society meetings. He was made first selectman, and 
sent as deputy to the General Assembly. He devised and laid 
out roads, he set out school-districts, he deliberated upon the great 



POMFEET, BROOKLYN SOCIETY, ETC. 5 

question wbetlier to repair or pull down the nieetiiiG:-]i()U>c ; nor did 
he disdain to " hii-e tlie niastei', " seat the meeting-house, collect 
parish rates, nor even to receive crows' heads and pay out the 
bounty money. Uniting- with the church soon after his leturn he 
was sent as its "messenger" upon many important occasions, his 
military experience giving him, it may have been supposed, ]ieculiar 
aptitude in disentangling and settling ecclesiastic contro\ersies and 
complications. Tliese various duties were discharged with cliaracter- 
istic Iieartiness and fidelity. His eye was quick, liis judgment sound 
and practical, and whatever he devised he was sure to carry through 
with promptitude. Imiu'ovements on his house and farm soon boi'e 
witness to his untiring energy. Sword and gun were gladly exclianged 
for plow and pruning knife. He inq)orted new stock, set out young 
trees and engaged in various agricultural experiments. But with all 
his private and public duties he was evei' ready to aid his neighbors 
by advice or service. AVhen an alarm of fire was heai'il in the neigh- 
borhood he was the first man on the ground, and with his own brawny 
arms bi'ought up from the cellar the well-tilled pork barrel that was to 
furnish food for the needy household, and none was more pronq>t in 
relieving the wants of the destitute. 

But Putnam was not permitted to restrict his energies to his own 
farm and neighljorhood. He returned at a great political crisis. The 
revolutionary contlicl had opened. Tlie Stamp Act had just been ])ro- 
mulgated, and all the Colonies were ablaze with indignation. No 
man was more imbued with tlie spirit of the times, moi'e resolute in 
determination to resist farther encroachment upon colonial liberties, and 
he had the art of infusing his sjjirit into others. As the avowed opponent 
of the Stamp Act he was welcomed home with acclamation, and ardent 
patriots rallied around him as their chanqjion and leader in lesislauce 
and aggression. He was called upon to preside at indignation meet- 
ings in various parts of Windham County. His pungent, pithy 
Avords had great eifect upon his hearers. The foray u[)on Ingersoll 
and other demonstrations of popular feeling were said to have been 
instigated by Putnam, and the prominence of Windham County in the 
subsequent struggle was ascribed in great measure to his presence and 
influence. 

Putnam's triumphant return was shadowed by a great domestic 
afliiction — the death of his beloved wife — in the autumn of 17(35. Shu 
left seven living children — Israel, the oldest, now twenty-tive years of 
age, and the youngest, Peter Schuyler, an infant of a few montlis. In 
1767, Colonel Putnam was married to Madam Deborah Gardiner, a 
lady long known to him as the wife of Brooklyn's first minister, Pev. 
Ephraim Avery, and afterwards of John Gardiner, Esq., of Gardiner's 



6 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Island. Tliis ninniagc gave new dignity to his social position, bring- 
ing liini into connection with many prominent families, and with that 
ecclesiastic eletnent so potent in Connecticut at this period. Mrs. Put- 
nam had a large circle of friends and much social experience. Her 
husband was the most popular man of the day. Their hospitable home 
drew throngs of visitants. Every soldier passing through Windham 
County would go out of his way to call upon his beloved colonel. Rela- 
tives, friends, traveling ministers, distinguished strangers and gush- 
ing patriots came in such numbers that their entertainment became 
very burdensome. A Virginian Jefferson would submit to such an 
invasion though it made him bankrupt ; a Yankee Putnam could con- 
trive to turn it into profit, or at least save himself from ruin. Finding 
that his estate could not support such an excessive outlay, Putnam 
met the emergency with one of his sudden strokes, removed his resi- 
dence to the Avery estate on Brooklyn Green, and opened his house for 
general public accommodation. A full-length representation of its 
proprietor as "General Wolf,'' in appropriate military costume, hung 
before the door, its outstretched hand inviting all to enter. That 
Brooklyn tavern, with Putnam for its landlord and Mrs. Avery Gardi- 
ner Putnam as mistress, became one of the most noted gathering places 
in Eastern Connecticut, and witnessed many a thrilling scene of the 
great Revolutionary drama. 

Putnam's return to Pomfret was nearly cotemporaiy with the advent 
of another distingiiished personage of very different charcter and 
proclivities — Godfrey Malbone, of Newport. An aristocrat by birth 
and sympathies ; a loyalist, devoted to the Crown and Church 
of England — untoward fate brought him to finish his days amid 
the rude, rebel yeomanry of Pomfret, in the same neiglil)orhood with 
the great champion of j)Opulai- rights and liberties. Colonel Mal- 
bone was a man of varied experience and accomplishments. He was 
educated at King's College, Oxford, had traveled much and moved in 
the first circles of Europe and America. Inheriting a lai'ge estate 
from his father, he had lived in a style of princely luxury and magnifi- 
cence. His country-house, a mile from Newport state-house, was called 
" the most splendid edifice in all the Colonies. " Com]>leted at great 
cost after long delay, it was destroyed by fire in the midst of house- 
warming festivities. Colonel ]Malbone's financial affairs had become 
seriously embarrassed. His commercial enterprises had been thwarted 
by the insubordination of the Colonies. His shii)S had been taken by 
l>rivateeis, and his property destroyed by Newport mobs, and now that 
his elegant edifice was consumed, he refused to battle longer with fate 
and opposing elements, and, early m 1766, buried himself in the wilds 
of Pomfret. Some three thousand acres of land, bought from Belcher, 



POMFRET, BROOKLYN SOCIETY, ETC. 7 

Williams aiul others, had been made over to him at the decease of his 
tather, well stocked with cows, horses, sheep, swine, goats and negroes. 
These slaves according to common report were a part of a cargo 
brought from Holland who helped repel a piratical assault, and weie 
retained for life and comfortably supjjorted. Amid such rude, uncon- 
genial surroundings, Malbone made his home, exchanging his palatial 
residence for a common tenant-house, and renouncing all business 
interests but the cultivation of his land and the utilization of his 
negro forces. With the town's people he held as little intercourse as 
possible. They belonged to a class and world of which he had a very im- 
perfect conception. Such gentlemen as called upon liim were received 
with politeness ; poor people asking aid were relieved ; town and 
church rates were paid witliout demur or question, but all without the 
slightest personal interest. Of their schools and churches, their town 
government and projected improvements, he knew or cared nothing. 
Their political aspirations and declamations he looked upon with scorn 
beyond expression. 

It was not till he discovered that these insignificant countiy people 
were concerting a project very detrimental to his own interests that 
Colonel Malbone was roused from his lofty inditference. Brooklyn 
Society was bent upon a new meeting house. Putnam's removal to tlie 
village had given a new impetus to the movement. With such a 
famous tavern and troops of fine company, how could the ])eople con- 
descend to attend religious worship in an old shaky house, with patched 
roof and boarded windows. Again, in the autumn of 1768, a meeting 
was called to consider this important question. Great eifoits were 
made to secure a full vote, and as an argument for a new building it 
was currently whispered that the Malbone estate, now I'ising in value, 
would pay a large percentage of the outlay. So ignorant was Colonel 
Malbone of neighborhood affairs that he did not even know that such a 
question was pending. " A strange sort of notification " affixed to 
the public sign-post had for him no significance. He paid no heed to 
town or society meetings, and the vote might have been carried with- 
out his participation or knowledge had not one of his tenants thought 
it his duty to apprize him on the very day preceding the meeting. 
Alarmed by the tidings he at once waited upon Mr. Whitney, whom 
he had ever treated with the respectdue to his position and character, 
and represented to him the imprudence as well as inexpediency of such 
a step at a juncture when every one complained of the great hardsliiiis 
of the time and extreme scarceness of money. To convince hiui of its 
necessity Mr. Whitney took him to the meeting-house, which lie had 
never before deigned to enter, but though joined " by an Esquii-e, Col- 
onel and farmer," (probably Holland, Putnam and Williams), all their 



8 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

aru'unu'iits were ineffectual. The priinilive ineeting-honse seemed to 
him ([uitegood enough for the congregation, a few triiiing repairs were 
all that was needed, and if really too small its enlargement was practi- 
cable. So much uneasiness was manifested at the latter suggestion, 
and such determined resolution to build at all events that Colonel 
Malbone saw clearly that the measure was likely to be carried, and 
without returning home galloped over to Plainfield to consult with the 
only churchman of any note in the vicinity — John Aplin, Esq., a lawyer 
lately removed from Providence, a staunch loyalist, greatly embittered 
against the colonists. He assured Malbone that as the laws stood 
he could not possibly help himself; that if those people had a mind to 
erect a square building this year and pull it down and build a round 
one the next, he must submit to the expense unless they had a church 
of their own, or got lelief from England. Convinced of the necessity 
of vigorous opposition. Colonel Malbone next day attended the society 
meeting, " debated the question with the Esquire in veiy regular 
fashion," and had the satisfaction of seeing it thoroughly defeated — 
"tlie odds against building being very great when put to vote. " 

Op})ositi()n only made the minority more determined. They con- 
tinued to agitate the matter both in public and private, and were "so 
extremely industrious and indefatigable, promising to pay the rates for 
those who could not afford it, " that they gained many adherents. In 
September, 17G1), another society meeting was called, when Colonel 
Malbone again ap])eared with the following protest : — 

'• 1. 1 deem the present house with a very few trifling repairs altoirether 
suHicieiit iiiul proper to answer the purpose designed, it being no way anti- 
quated, and with small expense may be made equal to when it waslirsttiu- 
ished and full as decent as the situation of the parish will allow of, and cer- 
tainly much more suitable to our circumstances than the superb edifice pro- 
posed to be erected — God Almighty not being so much delighted with temples 
made with hands as with meek, humble and upright hearts. 

2. If the building had been really necessary it would be prudent to post- 
pone it rather than to burden the inhal)itants at this distressful season, when 
there is scarce a farthing of money circulated among us, and the most wealth}'' 
obliged to send the produce of their lands to markets for distress to raise a 
sulliciency for payment of taxes for the support of the ministry only, and the 
generality scarce able, though we pay no province tax, to live a poor, wretched, 
miserable life. 

?>. I was born and educated in the principles and profession of the Estab- 
lished National Cliurcli, and determine to persevere in those i)rlnciples to the 
clay of my death; therefore, decline from entering into so great an expense — 
a full eighth of the whole charge — wherefore, in presence of this meeting, I 
do publicly repeat my dissent and absolutely protest. " 

l"])on putting the question to vote a majority of o/ie declared 
against Ijuilding; but as three of the prominent advocates were absent 
at a funeral the point was virtually carried. Elated with the pros- 
pect of success, the friends of tlie new house now indulged in some 
natural expressions of triumph. That Malbone's opposition had in- 



POlVrFEET, BROOKLYN SOCIETY, ETC. 9 

creased their spirit and determination is quite probable. Wliile he 
esteemed his country neighbors as boors and clowns, characterized by 
" cant, cunning, hypocrisy and lowness of manners," they had sufficient 
acuteness to detect and reciprocate his ill opinion, and resent his attempt 
to thwart them in their dearest legal and local privilege. His scornful 
contempt was now repaid by downright insolence, and these canting 
clowns did not hesitate to say in the most public manner, " that as 
churchmen had made them pay in other places, they had the right and 
would make use of it to make churchmen pay here, " and " that by sell- 
ing off a few of his negroes to pay his building rate, the damage would 
not be very great. " These "insults " added to the "intended oppres- 
sion " roused the high spirited MaDjone to immediate resolution and 
action. For nearly thirty years his estate had paid for the support of 
religious worship in this society. Although as non-resident Episco- 
palians they might have obtained exemption from government, yet as 
the tax was comparatively light, the value of the property enhanced l)y 
the maintenance of this worship, and father and son exceedingly lil)eral 
and open handed, they had paid it witliout protesting. Removing to 
Biooklyn, Malboue still disdained to ipiestion it till confronted by tliis 
large itnpost. As a resident of the parish he would be compelled by 
law to pay it unless he could attend public woi'ship elsewhere. To 
help those who had thus insulted him, to yield the point to his 
opponents, to be instrumental in erecting " what some called a schism- 
shop, " was wholly repugnant to him. The church at Norwich was 
practically inaccessible. Relief might be obtained by appealing to the 
King, but this implied negotiation and delay. A more instant and 
efiectual reiiiedy was needed and devised. Malbone was an ardent 
royalist, devoted heart and soul to the interests of the British Govern- 
ment. Tlie English Church was one with the Crown. By establishing 
Episcopal worship in his own neighborhood, he could not only secure 
himself from taxation and discomtit his opponents, but strengthen the 
hands of his King and countiy, and bring new adherents to their 
cause. These considerations were too weighty to be rejected. 
They appealed to the strongest and deepest sympathies of his nature, 
and with characteristic impulsiveness he emerged tVom his retirement 
and devoted himself with all his energies and resources to the establish- 
ment of the Church of England on the very land purchased by Black- 
well for a Puritan Colony. 

Followers soon rallied around him. The few Tories in the neigh- 
borhood were eager to join him. Dr. Walton, who had made himself 
obnoxious by his political course and was now " debarred from church 
privileges for rough speaking," came out boldly for Episcopacy and 
Malbone. Aplin of Plainfield, was ready with aid and counsel. Brook- 
2 



10 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

]yn, like othfr parishes, had its iiialcoiiteiils, its aggricvecl rate-payeis, 
ready to avenge old wrongs aud forestall future assessments by uniting 
with a new organization. A paper cireulated by Dr. Walton procured 
the signatures of nineteen perso!is, heads of families, agreeing to 
become members of the Clnirch of Englai;d when eluircli edifice and 
missionary should be provided. To piovide these essentials was a 
matter of great difficulty. Every argument urged by Malbone against 
the building of the IJrooklyn meeting-liouse ap))lied with greater force 
to his own project. Times weie hard, money scarce, his own pecuni- 
aiy affairs endiarrassed, his proselytes mainly of the poorer classes. 
The Society for the Pi-0])agation of the Gospel in foreign parts, indig 
nant at the giowing insubordination of the colonies, had "determined 
not to make any new missions in New England." But Malbone had 
friends and infiuence abroad, and a ready wit and pen of his own — 
"himself a host," able to overcome all opposing obstacles. In gi'ace- 
ful letteis admirably adapted to the various recipients he told his story. 
To former boon companions, wdio might " I'easonably be suri>iized that 
he had undertaken to make proselytes and build chui'ches," he wouM 
not pretend that he was induced to this l>y religious motives merely. 
That would "border very near uj)on that damnal)le sin of hypocrisy 
and I'alsehood, from the schools of which he was endeavoring to bring 
over as many as he should be able by the utmost pains and assiduity." 
To them he dwelt mainly upon the unpleasantness of his personal 
position, and the folly of this ridiculous vain people " of Brooklyn, 
who, from a ridiculous spirit of {uide and emulation, were about to 
demolish a structure as sound and good as when first finished, that 
they might build one newer, larger, and probably yelloicer than a 
monstrous great unformed new one that looked like a baru, painted all 
over a very bright yellow, recently erected in Pomfret." To clerical 
friends he expressed his repugnance to saddling his estate already too 
much encumbered with an expense of perhaps two hundred pounds — 
and for what — to build an Independent meeting-house ! to furnish 
money for what could only be a considerable prejudice to the cause of 
their religion, and begged their utmost assistance from pi'inciple. 
Presbyterianism, he averred, so abhorrent to the true princijiles of the 
English Constitution that he considered the man who endeavored by 
every mild and moderate method to propagate the worship of the 
Church of England, as aiming at a very great national service. In a 
very able letter addi-essed to the Bishop of Bangor — his former class- 
mate at Oxford — he declared that "the ministry could not take a 
more effectual step to humble the oveigrown ])ride of the Independ- 
ents in these Colonies (who, notwithstanding their much vaunted 
loyalty, would very gladly exchange monarchy for a republic, so very 



POMFRET, BROOKLYN SOCIETY, ETC. 11 

compatible with theii- religious system), that) to encourage the growth 
of the cluirch," and he adjured all having any intluence with I>ishops 
or dignitaries to endeavoi' to procure an order from his Majesty, 
exemjjting all churchmen "from tlie shameful necessity of contril)Ut- 
ing to the su])port of liissenting worship." These pleas and re})iesenta- 
tioiis secured from the Venerable Society the promise of aid in the 
support of a minister, and various sums of money for the clnirch 
edifice. A hundred pounds was given by Malbone, ten pounds by Dr. 
Walton and smaller sums by others. An eligible building site on the 
Adams tract, south of MaU>t>ne's land, was given by Azariah Adams. 
So expeditious were the movements of the churchmen, that before the 
middle of November, Malbone had already executed a plan for a 
building, and made arrangements for providing materials. 

This unexpected departure and revolt, and the [)rospect of an 
Episcopal house of worship, only stimulated the zeal of the friends of 
the pai'ish meeting-liouse. Great effoits were made to biing the 
neuti-al and wavering to a decision, the leaders of each party offering 
to pay the building-rate of such poor persons as should declare in its 
favor. The decisive vote was taken Feb. 6, 1770, "and there were 
seventy-two voted to build and twenty-one lawful voters against it." 
It was also voted at a subsequent meeting, that the meeting-house 
should be built by a rate upon the jM-evious tax list. The injustice of 
this attempt to extort a building-rate from the churchmen enlisted 
public sympathy in their favor, and some of the leading men in the 
society joined with Malbone in protesting against it. From neighbor- 
ing towns he received aid and sui»port. Residents of Plainfield and 
Canterbury, alienated from their own churches by bitter religious 
dissensions gave him their names and intluence, so that with a strong 
party to uphold him he thus ap[)ealed to the General Court for relief 
and exemption : — 

"Your petitioners, desirous of worsliippiiii? God in public according; to 
their i.wu senlimeiUs and tlie direction of tlu'ir consciences, in the beginning 
of October, ITG'.t, did assemble themselves together, and enter into engage- 
ments for building within said parish of Brooklyn, a house of worship 
accoriling to the model of the Church of England, and for supplynig the 
same wiih a minister duly qnalitied, and have carried the same nito execution, 
so that public worship will be performed therein in a few montlis. Public 
meeting-house is of suffleient dimensions and with some few repairs would 
mal^e a good and decent house; that soon after their purpose was known 
tlie inhabitants of Brooklyn, at a society meeting, held Feb. 6, l/.O, did 
vote that said meeting-house should be pulled down and a new one erected, 
the expense to be paid by an assessment of the parish ; and to precipitate tlie 
transaction the society voted on March 9, That the assessment should be com- 
pleted according to the list of ratable estates given in the September pre- 
vious, although'the said tax by said vote is not made payable till the hrst ot 
Dec, 1770, bv which illegal and nnprecetlentcd act, it is manifest that the 
whole was passed with" a design to include such of your petitioners a.s 
belonged to Brooklyn in the taxation, although the church should betore that 



12 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY, 



time be erected in Brooklyn, and themselves excused by colony statute. 
Whereupon your memorialists pray, that on condition the church intended to 
be built shall be by them built, so that public worship be performed at or 
before the said lirst day of Dec, they may stand acquitted and discharged 
from said tax. 



Godfrey Malbone. 
Joseph Hubbard. 
Jorre Cleveland. 
Timothy Lowe. 
Jedidiah Ashcroft, Sen. 
Ahaziah Adams. 
Jacob Staple. 
Daniel McCIoud. 
Caleb Spalding. 
Benjamin Jewett. 



John Allyn. 
John Wheeler. 
Leonard Cady. 
Noah Adams. 
Henry Cady. 
Thomas Adams. 
Isaac Adams. 
Samuel Adams. 
Elisha Ada.ms. 
James Darbe, Jun. 



Jonathan Wheeler. 
Jacob Gcor. 
William Walton. 
Jonas Cleveland. 
Jabez Allyn. 
Nehcmiah Adams. 
Benjamin Cady. 
John Ashcraft. 
Seth Sabiu. 
James Eldridge. 



Subscribers adjacent to Brooklyn, united in building a church, recommend 
the petition as reasonable and fit to be granted. 



John Pellet. 
John Tyler. 
Zebulon Tyler. 
Samuel Adams. 
John Aplin. 
Timothy Adams. 
Philemon Holt. 
Phineas Tyler. 
Peter Lort. 



William Pellet. 
David Hide. 
Asa Stevens. 
Eobert Durkee. 
Richard Smith. 
Thomas Pellet. 
David Pellet. 
Joseph Pellet. 
Morgan Carmans. 



Jonathan Downing. 
Caleb Faulkner. 
Abijah Cady. 
Edward Cleveland. 
Kichard Butts. 
Dudley Wade. 
Samuel Cleveland. 
Jedidiah Ashcroft, Jun. 

April 10, 1770." 

Consideration of this memorial was deferred until October, when it 
was opposed by Thomas Williams in behalf of tlie society. Relief 
was granted to Malbone, as an acknowledged churchman, bnt denied 
to his associates, from lack of contidence in the sincerity of their 
motives. 

Meanwhile the rival edifices were in progress. A connnittee from 
the County Court, summoned by Joseph Scarborough, and waited 
upon by Daniel Tyler and Seth Paine, affixed for the society a build- 
ing spot on the Green, a few rods southeast of the old meeting house 
— " its front foreside facing the road." JNIr. Daniel Tyler, the super- 
visor of the first house, again served as master-builder. His experi- 
ence and judgment, aided perhaps by the pujigent strictures of 
Colonel Malbone, enabled him to construct an edifice far less amenable 
to criticism than the Pomfret model — pronounced by connuon consent 
"a very genteel meeting-house." It was of ample size and graceful 
proportions, with a convenient porch and handsome steeple, built at 
their own expense by Daniel Tyler and others. A special vote pro- 
vided "that our new meeting-house be colored white." Five seats 
eleven feet long were ranged each side the broad alley. The remain- 
der of the floor was occu[)ied by capacious pews. " Forty-three 
persons that pay the greatest rates that are on that list, which contains 
no man's poll and ratable estate than what was under their immediate 
care and occupancy," were allowed the floor to build pews on. The 



POMFRET, BKOOKLYJSr SOCIETY, ETC. 13 

top of the floor of the wall pews was to be nine inches above the top 
of the floor of the house, that of the body pews to be fonr-and a-half 
inches above the same ; all to be neatly finished with banisters. A 
competent committee was appointed to decide upon the builders of 
these pews — viz. : Thomas Williams, Daniel Tyler, Seth Paine, 
Colonel Putnam, Deacon Scarborough, Captain Pierce, Joseph Holland, 
Samuel Williams, Sen. and Junior. These gentlemen with the society's 
committee and the pastor weie to determine " where each pew as well 
as the minister's and pulpit should be." I>y a be(piest from Mr. 
Joseph Scaiborough, who died before the house was completed, a 
bell was provided and hung — the second in the county. Private 
enterprise placed a convenient clock iu the steeple. The progressive 
spirit of the Brooklyn peojile was further manifested by their voting, 
" That an Eleclaiick Rod may be set up at the new meeting-house, 
provided it be done without cost to the society." This house was 
probably occupied in the summer of 1771, but there is no record of 
any especial observance of its opening. The formal dedication of 
church edifices was one of the Pai)al practices long eschewed by 
Dissenting churches. The society showed its regard for the meeting- 
house so hardly obtained by entrusting its care to its most honored 
public citizen, voting — 

" That Colonel Putnam take care of the new meetiiig-house and ring the 
bell at three pounds a year." 

When the Colonel went to the war, his minister took his place as bell 
ringer. Only the first men in the society were deemed worthy of such 
an honor. It was ordered " that the bell should be rung on Sabbaths, 
Fasts, Thanksgivings and lectures, as was customary in other })1aces 
where they have bells, also at twelve at noon and nine at night." 

The Malbone Chuich, as it was commonly called, was completed in 
advance of its rival. It was a neat, unpi-etentious structure, chjsely 
copying its namesake — Trinity Church, of Newport — in its interior ar- 
rangement. To prepare his proselytes for participation in the church 
service, of which he avowed "they were as ignorant as so many of the 
Iroquois," Malbone himself invaded "the sacred ofiice of jiriesthood," 
conducting worshijj in his own house till the church was ready. The 
novelty of the service attracted many hearers. The Pev. John Tyler, 
church missionary at Norwich, ever ready to forward the work of 
church extension in Eastern Connecticut, preached in Ashcroft's house, 
in February, to a number of most attentive hearers. April 12, 1771, 
he officiated at the public opening of the new church edifice. The oc- 
casion was felt to be one of unusual interest and importance, confirm- 
ing and establishing the worship of the Episcopal Church in a section 
of country long given over to Dissentei's. It was also memorable as 



14 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

the first- foi'mal rlcilication service held in Windham County. The 
Kev. Samuel Peters, churcli missionary at Hebron, assisted in the ser- 
vice. The seimon, by Mr. Tyler, very ap])ropriately discussed "the 
Sanctity of a Christian Temple," and otfered many sound and scrip- 
tural reasons for its outward and visible consecration. Public services 
on the following Sabbath were conducted by Mr. Tyler, and on various 
other occasions. No minister was procured till Sej^tember, when Mr. 
Richard Mosely oifered his services. He had been chaplain in the 
British Naval service, and brought with him letters from some of Mal- 
bone's Boston friends, but no clerical endorsement. His agreeable 
manners won the favor of Col. Malbone, who retained him in cltarge 
throughout the winter, although Dr. Caner and other Boston clergy- 
men declined to sanction his appointment. Notwithstanding their 
disa|)proval Mr. Mosely became very [»opular, and not only conducted 
the regular service in Trinity Cliui'ch, but preached and lectured in 
Plainfield and Canterbury, having "a great audience each time." The 
popularity of Malb(jne's minister, and the freedom and openness of his 
manners, naturally excited much remark and criticism. The ancient 
church and ecclesiastic society of Brooklyn hatl been greatly disturbed 
by the establishment of this English church and tiie number of prose- 
lytes it had secured. The vigorous opposition and stinging sarcasms 
of Col. Malbone had excited much bitterness, and predisposed them to 
severity of judgment. Local wits had tried to meet him with similar 
weapons. The ceremonials at the opening of the church edifice and at 
the christening of the fiist child had been ridiculed in sprightly dog- 
gerel, but now more earnest action was demanded. They had heard 
much of the corruption of the Church of England, and the disreputable 
character and lives of many of its clergy, and here was one ofiiciating 
in their own parish, and drawing great numbers to hear him, who, it 
was whispered, was not even eutlorsed by his own church, and whose 
ministerial standing and qualifications were extremely doubtful. As 
the legal censors of religious ordei' and public morality, tiie committee 
of tlie society felt it theii- duty to inquire into the matter, and accord- 
ingly called at the house of Colonel Malbone. That gentleman, who 
was apprized in advance of their coming, received them with great 
calmness and composure, and "suffered them to give full discharge of 
their embassy," which was, he reports, " to inspect iNIosely's letters of 
orders, and find by wliat right he had placed him as minister." Col. 
Malljone expix'ssed his entire willingness to satisfy them, j)i"ovided they 
would sign a jJMper he had prepared for them — a most absurd docu- 
ment, setting forth in inflated, ridiculous and Quixotic terms their 
authority and power, as committee of the society of Brooklyn, 
town of Pomfret, county of Windham, and colony of Connecticut, for 



POMFKET, BROOKLYN SOCIETY, ETC. 15 

tlie inspection and transaction of religious concerns, and preventino- 
every possibility of chicanery, fraud, or collusion in those who had 
seceded from theii' Independent Congi-egational meeting," tkc. They 
indignantly refused to sign, Malbcuie refused to gi'atify them on any 
otlier terms, and " away they went," he writes, "like fools as tliey 
came," threatening "vengeance, tire and fagot," and refrained 
thenceforward from further inteil'erence with one so fuinished with 
olfensive and defensive weapons. 

Mr. Mosely somewhat i-eluctantly left the tield in April, declaring 
that every man in the parish would gladly have retained him, and it 
may be added that his sul)sequeut career justitied the suspicions of his 
ministerial unfitness. His successor, lie v. Daniel Fogg, received upon 
recommendation of clergymen in Boston, in May, 1772, was a man of 
very dilferent antecedents and character, sober, quiet, discreet and de- 
vout. Devoting himself diligently to his pastoi'al duties, tie soon 
brought his motley tlock into more regular ordei' and discipline, and 
won the esteem and confidence of all. About twenty-i.ve families were 
enrolled as his parishioners. A stipend of thirty i)ounds a yeai' was 
allowed by the English Missionary Society, and a similar amount 
raised by his peo[)le. The"Malbone Church," thus comlortably set 
tied and sustained, puisued its way quietly, slowly inci easing in num- 
bers, and suffering no iarther inconvenience than occasional tiifiing 
'• distrainments " upon some of its members. 

With all its interest in ecclesiastic and public affairs, Pomfret was 
not unmindful of its early literaiy aspirations. Tiie United Library 
Association retained its hold on popular favor. As older members 
passed away their places were filled by others. At a meeting of the 
proprietors of the Library, at the house of Col. Ebenezer Williams, 
March 20, 1766, Kev. Daniel liipley was chosen moderator. The so- 
ciety then voted, viz.: — 

"1. To admit as members of said company the following persons, viz., 
Nathaniel Carpenter, Samuel Dana, Sen., Dea. Jonathan Dresser, Abijali Wil- 
liams, Isaac Sabin, Joseph Scarborongh, Nathan Friuk, Dr. William Walton, 
Samuel Wilson, Dea. Edward Kuggles. 

2. To admit Joseph Gritfiu, instead of John Davison, moved out of town, 
of whom said Gritlin bought his right, as appears by cerliticate. 

3. To admit Daniel Waldo to a right, instead of Jonathan Waldo, of whom 
he purchased said right, as appears by certiticate. 

4. To admit En.>.ign Samuel Sumner, instead of Joseph Bowman. 

5. To admit Mr. Ebenezer Weeks to a right in ye Library, instead of Wil- 
liam Prince. 

6. To recall ye vote past ou June Id, 1756, and to receive into ye Library, 
Chambers' Dictionary and Colmett's Ditto. 

7. That Col. Williams be ye Library-keeper." 

Lieut. Joshua Grosvenor, Simon Cotton, Simeon Sessions, William 
Sabin, Elijah Williams, John Grosvenor, Elijah Dana and Phinehas 



16 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Davison were also admitted members of the company in fallowing 
years. Pope's Essay on Man, the Life of Peter the Great, and Bishoj) 
Kidder's Demonstrations of tlie Messiah were added to the Library. In 
]77a, a library association was formed in Brooklyn society, and a hun- 
dred volumes procured for the foundation of a library. 

Roads and bridges demanded the usual care and legislation. In 
1770, Pomfret joined with Killingly in rebuilding what was known as 
"])anielson's Bridge" — Colonel Putnam, Seth Paine, county surveyor, 
and Samuel Williams, committee. In the following year, " Cargill's 
Bridge " was rebuilt — John Grosvenor, Samuel Perrin and Benjamin 
Cargill, committee. Putnam was foremost in a movement for procur- 
ing a new road through Pomfret to Norwich and New Haven, but 
failed to secure it. An attempt to lay out a more direct route from 
Ashford's east line to Cargill's Bridge was equally unsuccessful. Not- 
withstanding all the pains taken to secure easy communication with 
Providence, rendered so needful by intimate business and social rela- 
tions, the road thither was still veiy stony and rough, and the journey 
laboi'ious. So late as 177(), when ]Mr. S. Thurber drove over it in the 
first chaise, he "could luH ride out of a slow walk l)ut very little of the 
way, and was near two days in going." Pomfret was much interested 
in a project for deepening the channel of the Quinebaug, so as to make 
it passable for boats, Ebenezer and John Grosvenor petitioning with 
citizens of other towns for this object. One of the first dams u|)on the 
Quinebaug was accumplished by Jabez Allen, near the mouth of Bea- 
ver's Bi'ook, about 1770. A large grist-mill was here erected by him, 
and carried on successfully for a few years. A change of county 
bounds or county seat was one of the public questions in which Pom- 
fret was deei)ly concerned. A very earnest meeting was held at the 
house of Colonel Israel Putnam, Feb. 11, 1771, "to consult in regard 
to some new bound for the county." Delegates from Woodstock, Kil- 
lingly, Tiiompson Parish, Plainfield, Canteibniy, Ashford, and Union 
discussed the situation with much spirit, but as both Pomfret and 
Woodstock aspired to the shireship, and times were unpropitious for 
any important change, no movement was undertaken. 

The taverns of Pomfret enjoyed a high repute during these years 
with such noted landlords as Putnam, Ebenezer Giosvenor, James 
Ingalls, Simon Cotton, William Sumner and Jose])h Abbott. In these 
stirring times these resorts were much frequented, and rum and debate 
flowed with equal freedom. A grocery store opened in Pomfret, 
in 17G2, by Joseph Carter, of Canterbury, enabled families to procure 
comfortable sui)plies of vital necessaries. Beside all that was drunk 
on the })remises, or {)aid for upon delivery, he had charged in his first 
fortnight more than twenty-five gallons of West India rum. Some 



POMFRET, BROOKLYN SOCIETY, ETC. 17 

families carried away eacli several gallons. A single gallon usually 
sufficed Rev. Mr. Whitney. This excessive drinking may have con- 
tributed to keep PonitVet's physicians in practice. Dr. Lord was 
handsomely sustained in Abington ; Dr. Walton had his friends and 
patients in Brooklyn and Killingly ; and old Dr. Weld ministered 
to the sick in Pomfret society. Dr. David Hall removed to Vermont, 
after the loss of his wife and several children. He was succeeded in 
practice by Albigence, son of Zechariah Waldo, a young man of 
uncommon enei'gy and promise, who had studied for the profession 
with Di'. John Spalding of Canterbury. Nathan Fiink, as King's 
attorney, still practiced law in Pomfret and adjoining towns. Thomas, 
son of John Grosvenor, Esq., after graduation from Yale College in 
1765, and pre2)aratory legal studies, also opened a law office on 
Pomfret street. The young men of this town were still emulous for 
collegiate education, and its three ministers were much engaged in 
fitting them for admission. It will be remembered that eight Pom- 
fret boys were graduated from Yale in 1759. In 1760, Joseph Dana 
was graduated ; in 1761, John and Ephraim Avery and Jesse Goodell ; 
in 1766, Asa H. Lyon; in 1767, Elisha Williams; in 17G9, Daniel 
Grosvenor ; in 1770, Joseph Pope was graduated from Harvard College. 
It is said that a lady visitant from Massachusetts querying for wliat 
purpose they were training so many young men, was told that they 
were to be sent as missionaries to that State, and it so chanced that 
very many of them did settle as ministers there, and filled positions 
of honor and usefulness. Oiie Pomfret youth, not a college graduate, 
engaged in most useful missionary work in Connecticut. Willard, son 
of Benjamin Hubbard, succeeded Robert Clelland in teaching 
Mohegan children about 1764, and continued for many years in 
this most difficult and thankless service. A small salary was allowed 
by the English Missionary Society, insufficient for the support of 
his family even by the addition of his own labor out of school-hours, 
and it was with great difficulty and many urgent appeals that he 
obtained relief from the Assembly. He was often obliged to supply 
the hungry children with bread as well as instruction, and to repair 
with his own hands and means the dilapidated school-house, nor were 
the apparent results commensurate Avith the labor and self-sacrifice. 

Little of special note occurred in Abington Parish during this period. 
Rev. David Ripley officiated to public acceptance, and taught a gram- 
mar school in his own house till disabled by bodily infirmity. Paro- 
chial and school aflfairs were wisely managed by competent committees. 
John Holbrook, Amasa Sessions, W^illiam Osgood, James Ingalls, 
Dr. Lord, and many other Abington residents were active in general 

town aliairs. 
3 



18 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Much of its land M-as still held by descendants of the original 
proprietors. Nine hundred acres originally laid out to Thomas 
Mowry, descended to Miss Elizabeth Pierpont, of Boston, who took 
personal possession after her marriage with Captain Peter Cunningham, 
building a substantial dwelling-house near the Mashamoquet. Part 
of this land was already laid out in forms and occupied by Benjamin 
Craft and other tenants. Land in the soutli part of tlie society, 
afterwards known as Jericho, was occupied piior to 17(10, by descend- 
ants of William Shai-pe. The venerable Nathaniel Sessions, long the 
last survivor of the first settlers of Pomfret, died in 1771. The 
Jr'rovidence Gazette gives this notice : — 

" Sept. 25. Died, at Pomfret, Conn., Nathaniel Sessions, in the ninety- 
sixth year of his age— father of Hon. Darius Sessions, of Providence, 
Deputy-Governor — one of the tir.st settlers in Pumlret, in 1704 : the first that 
opened a cart road through the woods from Connecticut to Providence in 
1721, and transported the first cart-load of West India goods from Provi- 
dence thither. His wife died about three months before him with whom he 
had lived sixty-five years, had nine sous and three daughtei's. Could repeat 
the New Testament, Psalms autl most of the moral and practical writings of 
the Old Testament, the greater part of which he committed to memory after 
he was eighty, from fear that he should be deprived of his eye-sight, which 
happened two years before his death. A sober man and useful member of 
society." 

The Worcester ^Sp>/, July 19, 1773, thus records tlie death of 
another valued resident of Pomfret : — 

" On Saturday last, departed this life in a sudden and affecting manner, the 
very amiable consort of the Rev. Aaron Putnam, of Pomfret, in the thirty- 
sixth year of her age. She had been unwell for some years, and for the 
promoting of health had been riding out a little way. and now returning 
back she desired Mr. Putnam to stop the chaise and pick her some useful 
herbs which she observed as they were passing. Accordingly, apprehending 
no danger, he got out of the chaise and was doing as she proposed, at which 
time tlie horse in the carriage took some start and running with one wheel 
over a rock, she was thrown out of the chaise, which gave her such a shock, 
as proved her death in about three hours space. She was a daughter of Rev. 
David Hall, of Sutton. From her very early years a professor of godliness, 
and of a very serious and exemplary deportment, a person of distinguishing 
endowment, a good wife, a tender and indulgent mother, one beloved by her 
acquaintances abroad and by the people among whom she lived. 

She hath left her husband in deep attliction and sorrow for his great loss; 
hath also left three young chihiren. On the next (being Lord's) day, her 
remains were decently interred a little before sunset. The Rev. Mr. Whitney, 
of IJrooklyn parish, tielivered at Pomfret, on that day, two very suitable dis- 
courses, that in the afternoon more particularly adapted to the mournful 
occasion." 

Though Pomfret was in many respects so highly favored, she could 
not retain her increase. Her best land w-as held by descendants of 
early settlers and could not easily be purchased. Large families were 
the fashion. It is said that in the households of three neighbors, 
Captain Nathaniel Clark, Capt. Stephen Keyes and Ebenezer Grosven- 
or, theie were thirty-three children growing up. To provide food for 



ASHFORD, GENERAL TOWN AFFAIRS, ETC, 19 

SO many mouths and work for so many hands, was somethiies a difficult 
matter. New countries were opening where land was cheap and facil- 
ities for settlement more abundant. As early as 1735, Deacon Samuel 
Sumner, Isaac Dana and others from Pomfret, had attempted to pur- 
chase a township in the Equivalent Lands. In 1761, Dana received a 
patent from Governor Wentworth for a township in the New Hamp- 
shire Grants on right of land granted to John White. This land was 
laid out as the township of Pomfret. Its first settler was Benjamin 
Durkee, with wife and five children, journeying thither from its Con- 
necticut namesake. 



II. 

ASFIFORD. GENERAL TOWN AFFAIRS. WESTFORD SOCIETY". 

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH. EASTFORD SOCIETY. 

CORBIN LAND CLAIM. 

ASHFORD, in 1760, was prominent among Windham County 
townships. Its position on one of the great thoroughfares of 
the country brought it into constant communication with Boston, Hart- 
ford, and other business centres, and kept it awake and stirring. It 
was especially noted for high military spirit and keen interest in public 
atfiiirs, and no town was more ready to speak its mind and bear its part 
whenever occasion demanded. Descendants of many of the first set- 
tlers now filled the places of their fathers, and new families of respec- 
tability and influence had established themselves in various localities, 
and identified themselves with the interests of the town. Ebenezer 
Byles, upon coming of age, settled about a mile west of Ashford 
Green, on land purchased in 1726 by Josiah Byles of Boston. William 
Knowlton of Boxford, a relative of Robert Knowlton, purchased a 
farm of four hundred acres in the west part of Ashford, divided in time be- 
tween his sons Daniel and Thomas, who, after serving brilliantly in the 
French War, engaged with equal ardor in cultivating their land and 
discharging the ordinary civil and military duties of good citizens at 
that period. Ephraira Lyon removed from Woodstock to the east part 
of the town, and was greatly esteemed as a man of shrewdness and 
sound judgment. Daniel Dow of Voluntown, settled north of the 
Green, with a rising family of great promise. David Bolles of New 
London, established himself near the present Eastford village, with a 
license to exercise " the art and mystery of tanning leather," and great 
skill and experience in working up the same into serviceable shoes. 
Stephen Keyes, Theophilus Clark and Amos Babcock were admitted 
freemen prior to 1760. Samuel Woodcock of Dedham, succeeded to 



20 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

the farm once held by Jacob Parker ; Jedidiah Dana to that of John 
Paine. Tlie remaining part of the Stoddard Tract fell to Martha, 
dnnghler of Anthony Stoddard, and wife of Captain John Stevens of 
Boston, who, in 1757, laid it out and divided it into thirty-one lots or 
farms, which were sold to John Chapin, Abel Simmons, James Parker, 
Robert Snow and others. A large and valuable farm near the site of 
the present Phcenixvilie, known as the Beaver Dam farm, was retained 
and occupied by Captain and Mrs. Stevens, and brouglit under very high 
cultivation. President Stiles, Journeying througli Ashford, in 1764, 
was very much interested in Captain Stevens's agricultural opei'ations. 
He reported him as holding six thousand acres of land in the town. 
He had thirty acres of hemp growing tended by one man, and employed 
thirty hands in pulling time. He expected to harvest twenty tons of 
hemp and two liundred bushels of seeds. The people of Ashford testi- 
fied their respect for their distinguished residents by voting, that Capt. 
John Stevens and his family have liberty to sit in the ministerial pew 
during the town's pleasure. Captain Benjamin Sumner, Captain Elisha 
Wales, Elijah Whiton and Amos Babcock were prominent men in town. 
The latter had " a shop," and engaged quite extensively in trade. 
Three young physicians — Doctors Joseph Palmer, Nehemiah Howe and 
Thomas Huntington — cared for the bodily health of the town. The 
various tavern-keepers licensed in 1762 were Benjamin Sumner, Joseph 
Palmer, Benjamin Clark, Jedidiah Fay, Ezra Smith, Samuel Eastman 
and Elijah Babcock. Mills were run by Solomon Mason and others. 

Town aifairs were managed with the usual formalities. At the an- 
nual town meeting, December 1, 1760, Amos Babcock was chosen 
moderator and first selectman ; Ebenezer Byles, Jedidiah Dana, Captain 
Benjamin Sumner and Ezra Smith, the remaining selectmen ; Mr. 
Byles, town clerk and treasuier ; Ezekiel Tiffany, constable and clerk 
for the west end of the town ; Samuel Holmes, constable and collector 
for the middle of the town ; Benjamin Russel, constable and collector 
for the east end of the town, and also for colony rales ; Timothy East- 
man, Josiah Spalding, Benjamin Carpenter, Amasa Watkins, Samuel 
Allen, Jedidiah Dana, Stephen Abbot, John Bicknell, Benjamin Walker, 
Jonathan Chaffee, Job Tyler, Benjamin Clark, David Chaffee, William 
Preston, surveyors of highways ; Jonathan Burnhain, Josiah Eaton, 
fence-viewers; Benjamin Clark, Josiah Holmes, Benjamin Russel, Jedi- 
diah Blanchard, Asaph Smith, listers ; Nehemiah Smith, Jonathan 
Burnham, grand-jurors ; Josiah Rogers, Stephen Snow, William Chub, 
tithing-men ; Benjamin Russel, brander, pound kee])er and collector of 
excise ; Caleb Hende and Josiah Chaffee, branders and pound-keepers ; 
Samuel Snow, sealer of weights and measures ; Asaph Smith, sealer of 
leather. 



ASHFORD, GENERAL TOWN AFFAIRS, ETC. 21 

Though in the main thrifty and prosperous, Ashford still suffered 
from "providential visitations" of drought and frost, together with land 
disputes and religious dissensions. The excellent town clerk, Ebenezer 
Byles, jots down among his recoi'ds some meteorological items whicli 
elucidate the former phenomena : — 

" The 5th 6iiy of May, 1761— a very stormy day of snow, an awful siglit, 
the trees green and the ground while ; the Gth day, the trees in the blow and 
the tields covered with snow. 

The 19lh day of May, 1763, a bad storm of hail and rain and very cold, fol- 
lowing which froze ye ground and puddles of water. 

The 17th day of October, 1763, it snowed, and ye 18th in ye morning the trees 
and the ground were all covered with ice and snow, whicli made it look like 
ye dead of winter." 

Religious dissensions were only heightened by the settlement of Rev. 
Timothy Allen as minister of the town. A devout Christian and a 
fervent and eloquent speaker, he was erratic, visionary and im- 
prudent in speech and conduct. Earnest eii'orts were now made for 
the division of the town into religious societies. " Two months preach- 
ing in the winter paid out of the common stock " emboldened the west- 
ern inhabitants to ask for ftill society privileges. "The use of their 
whole ministerial rate to maintain preaching by themselves," granted 
by the town, only made them more an.xious to gain liberty to dispose 
of it as they pleased. The " great and almost impossible difficulties " 
of attending worship in the distant centre incited the eastern inhabit- 
ants to join in the struggle for territorial division. At the town meet- 
ing, April, 1762, Captain Benjamin Sumner was chosen moderator, 
and after a long and vehement discussion it was voted by a majority of 
one, That the town will divide in three equal societies. A year later it 
was further voted, "That eacli part shall have one-third of all the i)ub- 
lic money." Captain Sumner, Edward Tii^any, Benjamin Russel, Amos 
Babcock, Jedidiah Dana, Ca[)tain Benjamin Clark and Jedidiah Fay, 
Samuel Knox and Ezra Smith were ai>pointed a committee " to con- 
sult and advise in what form it was best to divide," who agieed and 
concluded, March, 1704, " that the town shall be divided in the follow- 
ing maimer," ^. e. : — 

" That the east part shall have one-third part of said town for quantity set 
off to them for au ecclesiastic society, Avhich shall extend west and bound ou 
Bigelow River, provided there is one-third part on the east side of said river, 
and that the northwest part shall extenrl from the northwest corner of said 
township live and one-fourth miles south on the west line of said town, from 
thence a strait line to the crotch of Mount Hope Kiver, and thence a 
strait line to Jolin Dimmock's south line, where .said line crosses Bigelow 
River, thence north on said Bigelow River to Union line, and the remaining 
part remain to the middle society." 

As usual in such cases this decision satisfied no one, and all parties 
hastened to the General Assembly with their objections. Sixty-seven 
residents of the central and eastern sections, including such men as 



22 ' HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Joseph Snow, Thomas Knowlton, Edward Byles, Ebenezev Eaton, 
Phili[) Squire, Daniel Dow, Josliua Kendall, Zebulon Marcy, Josiah 
Spalding and Ephraim Lyon declared : — 

" 1. That the fonn of the proposed new society is sucli thnt said old socie- 
ty will be seven miles in length and three in width, and that tlie meeting- 
house will be left within one mile of the east end, so we shall be put to the ex- 
pense of building a new one. 

2. By the manner of being done at the expense of town. We think it (juite 
sullicient to bear our own expenses and not those of others. 

3. For that we are small and poor, being the oldest part of tlie town, and 
our land almost all under improvement and so not capable of growing much 
better i)y improvement; are not quite four thousand pounds on the list, and 
would further suggest that the votes of the town in choosing committee to 
make division, in accepting reports and in choosing agents to prefer a me- 
morial, &c., ought not to have any influence in the afiair, because it appears 
that about two-thirds of the town in the two ends move jointly at one time to 
be made two societies, and what cante or wont they do as a town towards 
crowding us, the minor part, into a corner and loading us with cost unless 
your Honors interfere, and we think the whole town hardly able to l)ear the 
necessary expenses by reason of the bitter ertVcts that we yet forcibly feel of 
a long and tedious war, scorching droughts, blasting frosts, and many strong 
and unhappy misfortunes which of late befel us, and we would farther suggest 
that the vote of the town was delayed till near night while many of the voters 
were retired and obtained but by one majority. VVe pray you to dismiss the 
memorial, for if it is done, it will make such an uneasiness and so discourage 
and impoverish us, that the whole design thereof will be defeated. October, 
17G4." 

The western inhabitants objected to the report, in that — 

"I. The doings of said committee were not equal. The land in northwest 
section is not one-third of the town by more than a thousand acres, and some 
thousands of it are utterly unfit for settlement and destitute of inhal)itants. 

2. Said northwest society not ecpial as to list. 

3. We think the addition from Willington prayed for will not make it equal 
to the other societies, nor to the necessary charges of an ecclesiastic society, 
by reason of the badness of the hind and smallness of the list of the inhabit- 
ants. Choose rather to enjoy our privileges in one ecclesiastic society but are 
willing to have a committee sent as prayed for. 

Elijah Whiton. Benjamin Chaffee. Jedidiah Blanchard. 

Abijah Brooks. Ebenezer Walker. Joseph Whiton. 

Timothy Diinock. Benjamin Walker. James Whiton. 

Simeon Smith. John Ware. Zeph. Davison. 

Josiah Uogcrs. Ezra Smith. Christopiier Davison. 

Samuel Blanchard. P^dmond Drummer. John Smith. 

Samuel Mosely. Samuel Eastman. William Preston. 

Medinah Preston. Peter Eastman. James Atwell. 

Oct. 5, 17C4." 

The " addition from Willington " leferred to a petition just presented 
by some twenty subscribers, inliabitants of the eastern part of that 
town formerly taken from Ashford, wlio being very remote from the 
public worship of God, desired to be joined with the northwest of 
Ashford in a society. This recpiest was refused and consideration of 
the other memorials deferred till the following spring, when, upon 
farther petition from Elijah Whiton and others, Zebulon West, 
Erastus Wolcott and William Pitkin were appointed a committee 
to repair to Ashford, view and rej)ort. In this task they were aided 



ASHFORD, GENERAL TOWN AFFAIRS, ETC. 23 

by the subjoined paper, submitted to thein by two clear-headed and 
public-spirited loonien, residents of northwest Ashtord, who, impatient 
of the long delay, felt moved to state succinctly the " Reasons to be 
set oft'" as follows: — 

" 1. Our great distance from iiieetiDg-hoiise. 

2. Large number of inluibitence. 

3. Meeting-honse too small. 

4. No settled minister. 

5. Broken and divided surcurnistances which it is not likely can be settled 
till the town is divided. 

6.. The town's refusing to do anything about dividing or to let the inhabit- 
euces in the northwest part have any preaching as they liave done heretofore. 

7. Our not taking but one-tlnrd of the land and about one-fourth of list. 

8. That every person in our place will be considerably nearer to meeting. 

9. The town has manifested a necessity for division for eleven years past, 
as appears by their votes. 

10. They have not opposed the new part being set ofj' by anything they 
have done this spring, they have been warned with the plan anil memorial 
and not opposed it. \_Note. — We don't know that any person is against a 
society being set ofl' in the northwest of the town, but 'only that some don't 
like this shape, and some another, and those that oppose this plan yet allow 
that the new part must be a societj', even Captain Fay himself and Mr. 
Walker, the most active opposers of this plan, and the dillicult surcurm- 
stauces of the town require a division, in which all parties seem to agree."] 

These reasons were eftectual. The committee after due survey 
reported that they found the town to contain 40,0 JO acres of land ; 
list £13,700. The west society limits would include l;i^,oOO acres, 
80 families, £3,50J. Families live five, six and seven miles from the 
town meeting house, and all very remote from any place of worship, 
and roads generally bad, and considered it reasonable and expedient 
that a new society be formed. The report was accepted and a bill 
granted in October, 1765, erecting Westford Society according to the 
bounds prescribed by the town's committee, although an attempt was 
made by Robert Knowltou to include the sciip of land "left out 
ou the south." 

The rejoicing inhabitants hastened to improve their new privileges. 
Their first society meeting was held Nov. 23, 176.', at the house of 
Captain Ichabod Ward, a distant relative of the William Ward so 
prominent in the early histoiy of Ashford. Benjamin Walker was 
chosen moderator; Ezra Smith, Manasseh Farnum and Samuel East- 
man, conuiiittee ; Ezekiel Tift'any, collector. It was agreed to hold 
society meetings at difterent private houses, warnings for meetings 
"to be set up at Solomon Mason's mills and Zejihaniah Davison's 
shop." Dec. 9, it was voted to build a meeting-house, and hire 
preaching ; to raise a tax of twopence to pay for preaching ; that the 
meetings shotild begin the first Sabbath of April ; that Esquire 
Whiton should procure a minister, and Ebenezer Dimmock, Christo- 
pher Davison, Manasseh P'arnum and Joseph Barney be a committee 
to count the cost. A minister was procured according to vote — the 



24: HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

society further voting to meet at Captain Ward's for divine worsliip 
during his pleasure. June 9, it was voted " to choose a committee of 
three able and judicious men to fix a place for the meeting-house, also 
five more, /. e., Ezra Smith, Samuel P^astman, Benjamin Walker, 
Christopher Davison and Samuel Knox, to notify the first and get 
them out." By their efforts the Court appointed Nehemiah Lyon of 
Woodstock, Prhice Tracy of Windhain, and John Curtis of Canter- 
bury, who selected a spot near the centre of the society on land 
offered by Captain Ward, north of his residence, west side of the 
highway leading to Union, "for the public benefit and use of Westford 
Society for a meeting-house green, so long as said society should want 
it for said use." Negotiations were then opened with certain proprie- 
tors in Brimfield, and a convenient meeting-house frame purchased 
for thiity pounds, provided tlie same could be taken down without 
damage. Esquire -Whiton was now chosen treasurer, a committee 
appointed to receive a deed of the meeting-house green from Capt. 
Ward, and another to take oversight of the building. Very particular 
instructions were given as to the number, size, price and quality of 
nails, shingles and clapboards. March 13, 1767, voted ttiat said 
society would dig in the ground a suitable depth and fill the same 
with stone for laying the foundation of the meeting-house thereon ; 
June 2, that tlie meeting-house frame ])urchased in Brimfield should 
be brought to Westford by June 13. Tiiis being safely accomplished, 
its re-raising was next in order. The character of the liquor deemed 
needful on this important occasion called out as much discussion as 
the fitness of a ministerial candidate. It was first voted *' to have gin 
to raise the frame with — meeting-house committee to provide gin," but 
considering quantity of more consequencte than quality, it was after- 
wards decided to provide one barrel of rum, and one quarter of a 
barrel of sugar for the raising said frame — Ensign Walker to provide 
the same, and money taken out of the treasury to buy said rum and 
sugar. It was further stipulated, that West India rum be procured. 
Under this potent stinuilant the meeting-house was raised without 
apparent accident, and hurried on to completion, workmen being 
allowed two shillings and sixpence per day, they victualing themselves, 
and two shillings duiing the winter. 

After hearing several " supplies," Ebenezer Martin of Canada Parish, 
was invited to preach for the winter. A committee was now chosen 
to inquire into his character and temporal circumstances, and take 
advice of the Reverend Association as to the propriety of giving him 
a call. Reports proving favorable, February 11, 1768, was set apart 
as a day of solemn fasting and prayer in order to the gathering of a 
church and calling of a minister. Rev. Gideon Noble of Willington, 



ASHFORD, GENERAL TOWN" AFFAIRS, ETC. 25 

conducted the service, assisted by Deacon Nathaniel Loomis, and 
Deacons Wright and Dana from the old Ashford church. A suitable 
covenant was presented and subscribed in the following order : — James 
Ould, Ezekiel Tiffany, Ezekiel Holt, Elijah Whiton, Joseph Barney, 
Ezra Smith, James Whiton, Joseph Whiton, Benjamin Walker, 
Thomas Chapman, Manasseh Farnuin, John Smith, Jonathan Abbe, 
Josiah Chaffee. At a church meeting four days later it was voted to 
call the Rev. Mr. Ebenezer Martin to settle in the gospel ministry in 
this place, at which time the covenant was probably signed by the 
pastor-elect and the following brethren, viz. : Joseph Whiton, David 
Chaffee, Ebenezer Walker, Christopher Davison and Jonathan Chaffee. 
The wives of many of these brethren — together with Stephen Nott, 
Daniel Eldredge, Hezekiah Eldredge, Icliabod Ward, David Kendall 
and Jacob Fuller were ere long added, making a membership of tifty- 
five. 

The society concurred in the call to Mr. Martin, offering sixty 
pounds salary, rising to seventy, paid half in money, half in produce, 
viz., wheat, Indian corn, oats, ])ork and l)eef. Twenty [)ounds in land 
and sixty pounds towards building a dwelling-house secured acce))tance 
of the call, and, on June 15, he was ordained with the usual solemnities. 
Work on the meeting-house was slowly carried forward. The floor 
was laid during the year, and twenty pews were ordered, "as like the 
pews in the meeting house at Union, as conveniently may be." Capt. 
Abijah Larned of Union, John Phelps and John Blygt of Staf- 
ford were chosen as a disinterested committee " to dignify and price 
the places for said pews." A large number of the inhabitants received 
liberty to build stables for their horses on the meeting-house green, 
provided they were "set so as not to encroach on any road." June 14, 
1770, a meeting was held in the meeting house, to hear the report of 
the pew committee. Each pew was to be occupied by two families. 
Forty inhabitants, highest on the list, were to draw said pews accord- 
ing to their list ; build the pews and ceil up to the gallery girths. This 
report was accepted, and the pew-spots thus distributed: — 

1. Benjamin Walker, Elijah Whiton. 

2. Ebenezer Dimmock, Ichabod Ward. 

3. Thomas Chapman, Ebenezer Walker. 

4. Joseph Woodward, Zacoheus Hill. 

5. Ezra Smith, Ebenezer Walker. 

6. David Chaffee, William Thompson. 

7. David Rol)bins, George Smith. 

8. Adonijah Baker, Josiah Chaffee. 

9. John Warren, Josiah Rogers. 

10. Ezekiel Titlany, Benjamin Chaffee. 

11. Jedidiah Blanchard, Benjamin Walker, Jan. 

12. William Hentield, James Whiton. 

13. Samuel Eastman, Henry Works. 



26 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

14. James Averill, Job Tvler. 

15. Ezekiel Holt, David Chaffee. 

16. James Ould, Stepheu Cove. 

17. Abijali Brooks, Simon Smith. 

18. Ephraini Walker, Jonathan Abbe. 

19. Jacob Fuller, William Preston. 

The committee was now ordered to lay the g-allery floor, and build a 
breastwork aroxind the gallery and the fore seat, which being accom- 
plished during another year, David Kendall was employed to sweep 
the meeting-house " twelve times the year ensuing for six shillings." 
The society would gladly have enlarged its borders by reannexing the 
strip ceded yeai's before to Willington, but thougli many petitions were 
preferred by its residents, showing that the meeting house in Westford 
would much more gieatly commode tliem, they were unable to obtain a 
hearing. Among newly arrived citizens bringing them additional 
strength was Stephen Nott, the father of sons of great promise, and Dr. 
Thomas Huntington of Lebanon, who proved a most valuable acquisi- 
tion to society and town. 

The inhabitants of the eastern section preferred to delay separation 
for a season, and shared in the numerous trials and difficulties that be- 
set the first society, in consequence of the increasing number of Bap- 
tists and sectarians, and the great unpopularity of Mr. Allen. Many of 
his own people declined to hear him preach or to pay for his support, 
and in attempting to supply the deficit by trading in land he became 
so involved that his creditors sent him to jail. This unfortunate affair 
brought matters to a crisis. A council was called which dismissed Mr. 
Allen from his pastorate, though clearing him from every serious 
charge. Deacons Jedidiah Dana and John Wright were appointed a 
committee to supply the pulpit, and it was voted, "To settle a minis- 
ter as soon as may he," but several years passed before such settlement 
Avas effected. During this interval the church was greatly weakened 
and scattered, but still continued its efforts to secure a minister and 
preserve order. Baptisms were administered from time to time by the 
neighboring ministers. Days of fasting and prayer were held in 
1766 and '68, "for direction and assistance in the affair of choosing a 
minister," and church and society at length happily i; :.ited in choice of 
Rev. James Messinger of Wrentham, a graduate of Harvard College, 
who was installed into the pastorate Feb. 15, 1769. Taught by painful 
experience the fallibility of ministers and councils the chuich had 
previousl)' voted : — 

" That this church do believe that the minister of a church has not power 
from Christ to negative the votes of his church, and we mean not to be sub- 
jected to any such power of a minister of the church, any former vote notwith- 
standing. 

That in all cases hereafter we will not be holden to any council of other 
churches, but such as we shall choose ourselves mutually." 



ASHFOED, GENERAL TOWN AFFAIRS, ETC. 27 

Fortunately in this instance these precautions proved superfluous. 
Mr. Messinger made no attempt to exercise undue authority, and by 
bis wisdom and piety soon won the eontidence of his })eople and was 
held in high repute as "a much beloved spiritual guide." Despite the 
political distractions of the times the church increased in numbers and 
regained something of its primitive standing. The venerable Isaac 
Kendall, elected deacon of the church with so much formality at its 
first organization, continued in office through all the changes and pas- 
torates, and died Oct. 8, 1773, in the SSth year of his age, and fifty- 
second of his deaconship. Benjamin Sumner, one of the fathers of the 
town, Jedidiah Dana and John Wright also served as deacons. 
Deacon Elijah Whitou was dismissed to the church in Westford 
society. 

Baptists had been numerous in Ashford for many years, but suffered 
greatly for lack of a local cliurch organization. A few were connected 
with the Baptist Church of Soutli Bi-imfield, others united with the 
church at West Woodstock. Amos Babcock and Abraham, son of 
Robert Knowlton, were among the most prominent of these early Bap- 
tists. A notable accession to the Bai)tist strength was David Bolles, 
a man of great religious fervor, belonging to a family long distinguished 
for devotion to Baptist principles and opposition to the churcli estab- 
lishment of Connecticut. Otiier Baptists might obtain release from 
rate-paying by lodging certificates of their attendance upon some place 
of public worship, but he, like Backus and the more advanced of his 
brethren, ''had been brought to a stop about paying so much regard to 
the laws as to give in certificates," and was soon involved in contro- 
versy with the town authorities. Two of liis cows were seized and 
sold to pay rates for the minister, and then his household treasures 
were invaded. The shining array of pewter so dear to the heart of the 
housewife, was thrust into bags and carried off to the town-post in 
spite of the tears and remonstrances of Mrs. Bolles, but when put up 
for sale not a man had the face to bid for it, and the discomfited col- 
lector was forced to take it back to its owners with the insulting expla- 
nation, "that the pewter was such poor stuff nobody wanted it." His 
fellow sufferer, Abraham Knowlton, after paying rates for many years, 
freed himself from further extortions by turning out to the collector a 
new pair of buckskin breeches. The public notification that a pair of 
breeches were to be sold for a priest-tax, and their actual presentation 
at the town post on the day appointed, called out such volleys of indig- 
nation and ridicule that no one dared thereafter to approach Mr. Knowl- 
ton with a rate-bill, and the buckskins served the purpose of a lifetime 
certificate. It was probably during this period of sectarian strife and 
bitterness that some incident occurred which gave rise to the famous 



28 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

" \vliii)pin<^ story," tlius reported by Barber iu his Connecticut Histori- 
cal Collections : — 

"A concourse of people were assembled on the hill, in front of the meeting- 
house, to -witness the pnnishment of a man who had been convicted of neglect- 
ing to go to meeting on the Sabbath for a period of three months. According 
to the existing law for snch delincnieney, the cnlprit was to be pnblicly 
whipped at the post. Just as the whip was about to be applied, a stranger on 
horseback appeared, rode up to the crowd of spectators, and inquired for 
what purpose they were assembled. Being informed of the state of the case, 
the strange gentleman rose upright in his stirrups, and with emphasis, ad- 
dressed the astonished multitude as follows : 

'You men of Ashford serve God as if the Devil was in you ! Do you think 
you can whip the grace of God into men? Christ will have none but volun- 
teers.' 

The people stared, while the speaker, probably not caring to be arraigned 
for contempt ot court, put spurs to his horse, and was soon out of sigiit; nor 
was he ever more seen or heard of by the good people of Ashford." 

This story like many other popular traditions cannot be autlienti- 
cated. No law then or ever existed in Connecticut, prescribing- the 
penalty of a public whipping for even total abstinence from meeting- 
going, and it may be doubted if any justice would dare enforce an 
illegal punishment. Details of the affair are conflicting and irrecon- 
cilable. Ttro men were arraigned, according to one version, one of 
whom evaded his share of the blows by means of a cloak dexterously 
thrown over him by Amos Babcock. A report of the whole transac- 
tion quickly traveled to Boston, and upon liis next trip to the city, Mr. 
Babcock found himself quite a hero. His fellow-inerchants greatly 
applauded his chivalrous interposition, and declaring that he should 
not wear "a whipped cloak," made up a purse and presented him with 
a new one. Another version gives but a single culprit and ascribes 
his relief to no less a person than Thomas Knowlton, who, observing 
iu the warrant the omission of the usual clause requiring the stripes to 
be applied to the bare back, " tlirew ids own overcoat over the shoulders 
of the victim whereby the torture was greatly mitigated." The 
mysterious visitant of Barber's narrative appearing and vanishing like 
the " phantom horseman " of romance is transformed ttpon closer 
inquiry into an eccentric citizen of Ashford, distmguished for bitter 
oj)i)Osilion to the standing order, while the party or parties receiving 
the whipping have become extremely mythical. These various reports 
are wholly traditional. No allusion to the circumstance has been 
found in ancient document or newspaper, and thus it is impossible to 
ascertain the real truth. That some opponent of the estal)lished 
church was whipped under aggravating circumstances, perhaps for 
]'esisting or reviling a rate collector, is highly prol>able. The inven- 
tion of this story with its miimtia^ of detail, and its universal accept- 
ance in the community, wotild be almost as great a marvel as the 



ASHFORD, GENERAL TOWN AFFAIRS, ETC. 29 

whipping, but the bottom facts of tlie case will probaby never bo 
recovered. 

Tliese collisions and extortions greatly weakened the old churcli of 
Ashford, and furnished a powerful argument for the Baptists, wdio, 
with increasing strength and immbers, wei'e able to establish religious 
worship within the town boixlers. A Baptist Society was organized, 
July 15, 1774, and Uavid Bolles, Josiah Rogers and William Whii)ple 
appointed committee "to receive and pay all money that shall 1)6 
generously given towards maintaining and su]iporting a Baptist 
gospel minister." Another committee was chosen in February follow- 
ing, to select "the most proper i)lace to build a meeting-house on." 
Land in the southwest part of the town was selected, and a committee 
"to be under tlie immediate direction of the Baptist Society," was 
authorized to receive all money and specie that should be given 
towards building a Baptist meetinghouse. Abraham Knowlton, 
chairman of the committee, and clerk and treasurer of the society, 
made a liberal offering. His example was quickly followed by others, 
and soon an ample sum had been subscriljed. Materials were pro- 
cured, a fiame laised and covered, so that l)y the tirst of June the 
house was ready for service. Tlie leaders of the society, tluslied 
with their success, had applied to President ^Manning, of Brown 
University, for a minister, who thus represented the field to Mr. 
Thomas Ustick, a young graduate of Brown, then teaching school 
in New York : — 

"This start for a Baptist minister is a new tiling, but tlie.v snbscriljecl last 
week near five luinclred pounds lawful luouey, towards building a new 
nieetiiig-house. Town large and rich, am told that full one-third have 
declared for the Baptists, and should tliey get a mau of abilities probal)i.y 
much above half the town will attend their meetings. The richest men are 
on our side, and say they believe iu supporting a minister handsomely." 

Mr. Ustick was unable to accept at once, and Mr. Elienezer 
Lamson of Charlton, was apin\rently the first ministei" em])loyed by 
the society. Ariangements for the transferrence of the chui-ch to 
Ashford, were now in progress. The ancient clrarch in Soutli Bi'im- 
field, after many trials and vicissitudes, had reorganized a tew years 
previous ujion a basis distasteful to its non-resident meml)ers, who now 
held a council, and in their turn enacted a new de])artnre, ^■iz : — 

" Stafford, May ye 29th, 1775. 
At a meeting of the First Baptist Church of Christ in South Brimfleid, 
legally warned and met and opened by prayer — whereas there is a second 
church of the same Denomination lately built up in South Brimtield and a 
minister settled over them, and whereas many of this churcli consists of 
inhabitants in the towns of Ashford, JNIanstield, and Willington, and for tlie 
conveniancy of meeting for worship on tlie Sabiiath, and the question was 
put whether for the future the place for pulilic meeting for worship should be 
at Ashford iu general, where the new meeting-house now is, aud that the 



30 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

church for the future shall be known by the name of the Baptist Church of 
Christ in Ashford — voted in the affirmative. 

■JdIui Wesson and Amos Babcock added to the committee. John Wesson 
cliose church clerk." 

How many members were transferred with the church is not recorded 
but probably not a large number. A part of its membership and both 
its deacons were non-residents. Public worship was instituted and 
carried on with a great deal of spirit and enjoyment, but it is doubtful 
if anything like "half the town " could atteiid their meetings. David 
Bolles and many of the Eastern Baptists still found it more conveni- 
ent to resort to Woodstock. Mr. Ustick succeeded Mr. Larason as 
soon as he was at liberty, and was welcomed as a young man of 
education and promise. At the second recorded "church meeting in 
the Baptist meeting-house in Ashford," Nov. 26, 1776, their former 
pastor, Elder Motilton, was present and served as moderator. It was 
voted to have Mr. Thomas Ustick supply our pulpit for six months, 
and an unsuccessful attem])t was made to choose a deacon. The action 
of the church in changing its local habitation and name had been 
entirely independent in accordance with Baptist polity and practice, 
but now they felt desirous to receive fellowship and recognition from 
sister churches. Invitations to a conference were accordingly sent out, 
and, Feb. 19, 1777, a number of Baptist elders and delegates met with 
the Ashford church to confer as to its state, standing and regularity : — 

" And after prayers for Divine direction, proceeded to choose Elder Elijah 
Coddinu, moderator, and brother Thomas Ustick, clerk. After nuitual con- 
ference upon the oriirlnal and present state and standini? of the church, the 
delegates from the churches of Brimfield, Woodstock and Abini^ton, upon the 
qui^stion whether the body of people that meet now at Ashford under the 
appellation of the Baptist church there, be a visible church of Christ — deter- 
mined unanimously in the affirmative, viz: That in our opinion the said body 
are a visible church of Christ. 

The deleiiates then proceeded in order to gain fellowship with the aforesaid 
church to query as foUoweth : — 

1. Whether the church believed that it is their duty to search up such 
members as have absented from church duties for a considerable time, and 
mean as soon as may be to treat with such? To which the church consented. 

2. Whether the church believe that the majority ouuht to be submitted to 
by the minority in all matters of rule and determination, yea or nay? 
Answered in the affirmative. 

3. AVhether or not the sisters of the church take hold of the sword of dis- 
cipline, or have any weight in matters of rule and determination with the 
male members? Answered in the negative, that they may not. 

4. Whether or not it is the duty of the church to maintain their minister in 
such manner as that he, with his family, rise in proportion as the members 
in ixcneral do, as to their temporal estate? Answered in the athrmative. 

After which queries the delegates from the aforesaid churches unanimously 
concluded to give fellowship to the church in Ashford, as a church of Christ 
iu the order and fellowship of the gospel. 

Signed iu behalf of the whole. 

Elijah Codding, Moderator. 
Thomas Ustick, Clerk. 
John Weston, Church Clerk. 



ASHFORD, GENERAL TOWN AFFAIRS, ETC. 31 

Thus established and acknowledged with a new meeting-house and 
active young minister, it niiglit have been hoped that this church 
would go prosperously onward, with increasing strength and intluence, 
but it soon became involved in manifold difficulties. Its external 
relations were unfavorable to growth and hai-mony. A strong society 
organized independently of the church and taking the initiative 
in establishing public worship, was a troublesonie factor in the case, 
and to add to the complication the meeting-house itself was owned 
by a third independent body, i. e., the proprietors who had borne 
the cost of its erection. Dissatisfaction was first manifested in a 
vote respecting the minister. It may be that the preaching of the 
young college graduate was distastefid to the plain, old-fashioned 
church members who cared so little for human learning, and occasioned 
the following action: "April 16, 1777, after some conversation the 
mind of the church was tried whether they would desire Mr. Ustick 
to preach any longer than the time which we had agreed with him for; 
or whether they chose to hear some other man. Voted, to hear some 
other man, and then voted to send to Mr. Lamson to come and preach 
with us four Sabbaths if he can be obtained." The society thereupon 
voted that they did not concur with the chuicli in dismissing Mr. Us- 
tick, but showed its willingness to provide all needful temporalities by 
farther instructing a suitable person " to provide bread-corn for Mr. 
Lamson's family." Both ministers occupied the field for a season, Mr. 
Ustick employed by the society, Mr. Lamson by the church. The 
church attempted to exercise what it deemed its lawful prerogative by 
choosing " Brother Abraham Knowlton as a trustee to take a deed of 
a certain piece of land in belialf of said church, of Mr. Josiah Chatfee, 
on which the Baptist meeting-house now stands in Ashford," and also 
emposvering Brother Samuel Johnson " to give a bond to Mr. Josiah 
Chaflee in behalf of the church for the delivery of the meeting-house 
spot to said Chaffee when not any longer wanted by said chui-ch for a 
meeting-house spot." These conflicting claims, ministers and services 
excited much ill-will and animosity. Many hard things were said on 
both sides, and certain remarks derogatory to the Christian and minis- 
terial character of Mr. Ustick so aroused the spirit of this young can- 
didate that he applied to his friends in the Warren Association, R. I., 
for advice and assistance, who delegated a committee for that service. 
Amos Babcock, Elnathan Brigham and Abraham Knowlton were there- 
upon appointed by the church, " to wait upon the honorable committee 
appointed by the honorable Baptist Association of Warren, to come 
and look into our difficult circumstances at Ashford, viz., the Honored 
Elder Manning, Honored Elder Backus and Honored Elder Led(jit." 
This meeting was held Nov. 6, 1777. Notwithstanding the high char- 



32 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

acter of the assembly, the session was stormy. The society set forth 
its grievances toucliing meeting-honse and minister ; the church main- 
tained its rights with equal fii'mness and persistence. Mr. Babcock, ia 
Lis earnestness, even followed the Honorable Committee to their lodg- 
ings, "assuming very high ground in relation to church prerogative," 
taking, indeed, the position of the previous Separates, "' that a religious 
society could not exist without a church. The committee did not 
relish such doctrine nor act upon it," and they exculpated Mr. Ustick 
from unfavoi'able charges. The church was greatly dissatisfied witli 
the result of this investigation, and appointed a committee to treat 
with uneasy members of the society and see what they wanted of the 
church to make them easy. This they found to be that they should 
" sell their right to the meeting-house," or divide the improvement of 
it according to the proprietors' riglits. The church after consultation 
" thought there was no propriety " in such relinquishment, and pro- 
ceeded to arrange affairs according to their own pleasure. Having 
given Mr. Lamson a call, they further desired him " to relate to them 
the work of gi-ace upon his heart, and also his call to the work of the 
ministry," which proving satisfactory, they confirmed the call without 
apijarent reference to the society. In February, 1778, committees were 
chosen to hire a place for the minister to live on, give certificates to 
those that desire to join with us in worship and in principles, and to 
settle with those pro[)rietors of the meeting-house that manifest an un- 
easiness or submit the atl'air to indiiferent men. Upon recommendation 
of the Baptist Chuich in Charlton, Mr. Lamson was received as a 
proper member of the church in Ashford, preparatory to ordination. 
Delegates from the Bai)tist churches in New London, Charlton, Wil- 
braham and Abington met in council June 9, 1778. After inquiring in- 
to the church's standing and calling their candidate to the work, they 
found it "scriptural to their satisfaction." Tliey proceeded to inquire 
into his experience and call to the ministry, especially to this church, 
and were fully satisfied with it. 

" Then certain gentloraen cast in a written objectiou ag;>iust the church for 
breach of covenant which the couucil closel}' inquired into, and find it was 
not tlie cluirch only three of their members, which when we had closely ex- 
amined we conclude it was a misiuiderstanding in these gentlemen, &c., and 
we know not but that the church has been up to their agreement in every par- 
ticular, therefore we proceeded. June ye 10 met agnin, and«ccording to before 
appointment we proceeded to ordain I5rother Ebunezer Lamson. Elder Joshua 
Morse made the first prayer and preached a suitable discourse from 1st Peter, 
ye four first vei'ses ; then prayed and laid on hands. Elder Ntithaniel Green 
made the prayer and gave the ciuirge, and Elder William Grow gave the right 
hand of fellowship, then concluded with laying on of hands and prayer. Elder 
Clark made the prayer, all of which was done decently and in order. After 
which there were some exhortations that were to the comforting of saints, 
and we hope will prove convicting to sinners. 

Joshua Morse, Moderator." 



EASTFORD SOCIETY. 33 

Abraham Kno^^lton and John Hanks were now installed as deacons. 
Mr. LTstick, who up to this date had remained in Ashford, preacliing at 
times tliough "not statedly" to his particular adherents, was now satis- 
fied that it would not be best for him to continue there, and after his 
withdrawal the difficulties gradually subsided, and church and society 
resumed harmonious relations. Various cases of discipline claimed the 
attention of the church. Some of these might have been settled by an 
appeal to the dixtionanj. as for example that of Brother Ezekiel Sib- 
ley, who thus defines his position : — 

"To the Baptist Church of Ashford : In answer why I withdrew from you 
is as followeth, rehitiug to your fellowshipiug the church at \Villiu2;ton in a 
corrupt failh, to wit, they believe they ought to contribute to the gospel ex- 
penses according to their abilities and Previlcdf/es, whicli word ' Previledges' is 
a corrupt faith and never was introduced by the commands of God. Neither 
do I tliink it ever was in any church since the world began it being full of so 
many evils. It not only brings contempt upon the divine authority, but would 
have broke up all churches. 

And your tolerating and fellowshiplng them in it, it brings divers from our 
professed faith. You have broke your faith with me, and got yourselves 
where I cannot follow you. By which unguarded proceedings you have 
ofl'en<led your grieved brother." 

The church out of consideration for such conscientious scruples and 
the possible heresies that might lurk in tlie inscrutable "previledges," 
discharged the brother with "a gentle admonition." The support of 
the minister occasioned much discussion and trouble. According to 
Baptist theory and practice he was to be supported by " free contribu- 
tions." No precise sum was specified, but he was " to rise in propor- 
tion as the members in general do as to their temporal estate." Any- 
thing like rate-paying was most abhorrent to tlie primitive Baptist, but 
freedom in supporting the minister was hardly compatible with the 
means adopted for making each brother pay his proportion, viz. : — 

"Oct. 8, 1781, vote put whether the church mean to enspect each member 
respecting the support of the Gospel amongst us when it becomes necessary? 
Voted in the affirmative." 

Despite these various trials and hindrances the Ashford Baptist 
Church maintained a respectable standing in town and denomination, 
and gained a strong membership though weakened after a few years 
by withdrawals to Willington and Mansfield. 

The eastern inhabitants delayed sepaiate organization till October, 
1777, when upon petition of Benjamin Sumner and others, showing 
that they were of ability to support the gospel in two societies, they 
were endowed with distinct society privileges, " according to a line 
previously agreed upon beginning at Bigelovv River at Mansfield's north 
line, thence running up said river to the north line of the town." At a 
society meeting, Jan. 7, 1778, it was voted, "That Mr. Elisha Hutchin- 
son be our gospel minister." Failing to carry out this enactment, a 
5 



34 HISTOKY OF WIXDHAM COTNTT. 

meetinix was held. May 25. at the house of Lieut. John Rnssel, when 
Josiah Spakling. Benjamin Suiuner and Jonathan Chapman were chosen 
a committee to hire preaching, with instructions "to employ Mr. An- 
drew Judson of Stratford, with a view of settling among us, provided 
he don't stay with ns then to hire some other gentleman.'" Notwith- 
standing the heavy burden now laid upon all classes by the war. the 
number of absent citizens, and the many pressing public duties, the 
residents of Eastford Society manifested great spirit and readiness in 
establishinor public worship. At this same meetinor it was also voted, 
" To build a meeting-house in Eastford Society, ab«)ut four or five rods 
northwest from where Captain Benjamin Riissel's old shop used to 
stand.'" Ahiel Simmons wa>: chosen collector ; Ingoldsby Work. " agent 
to piay out a committee to set a stake for a meeting-house spot : also, 
a committee to treat with such committee as the County Court siiould 
send to stick the stake aforesaid.'" June 30. it was farther voted. *• That 
the County Court's committee should stick st;vke on Lieut. John Rus- 
sel's land." This being accomplished to the satisfaction of all a sub- 
scription was circulated, the society first agreeing. •' That those that sub- 
scribe towards building a meeting-house have liberty to build it of 
equal bigness with Woodstock's West Society's meeting-house, i. e., 
45x35." 

Mr. Judson consenting to preach as a candidate, public sei-vices were 
held September 23. 177?. when '-Andrew Ju'lson. Benjamin Sumner, 
Samuel Snow, Jonathan Chapman, Elisha Wales and Simeon Deane 
entered into church covenant in presence of the Reverends Stephen 
Willi;ims, John Ston-s and Elisha Hutchinson, making a solemn and 
fresh dedication of themselves, and being formed into a church.'' Few 
in number, they were all the more zealous for doctrinal soundness and 
purity, desiiing to embody " according to the word of God, and in par- 
ticular according to the light of the following texts, /. e., Deut. 29 : 12, 
13 ; Jer. 50 : 55 ; Second Cor. 8:5; Isaiah 44 : 5 ; Xehe. 9:38; Isaiah 10 : 
28, 29, in an evangelical manner, and not in a legal frame of spirit." 
Oct. 13. the church unanimously voted Mr. Andrew Judson to be their 
gospel minister, the society concurring in the call, and offering £500 
settlement, £70 salaiy. Ordination services were held Dee. 1, when 
" it being through kind Piovidence a very pleasant day, the solemnities 
were perforaied to the pleasure and satisfaction of a large concourse 
of people.'' Rev. Ephraim Judson of Norwich, a relative of the new 
pastor, preached the ordination sermon, and neighboring ministers as- 
sisted in the other exercises. Benjamin Sumner, Esq., and Jonathan 
Chapman were ere long appointed deacons. Vanous membei^s were 
received by a dismissive and recommendatory letter from the First 
Church of Ashford. 



EASTFOED SOCIFTY. 35 

"Work on the meeting-house was greatly impeded by scarcity of men 
and money. The frame was raised in the summer of 1 779, and partly 
covered so that business meetings were held in it, but religious services 
were conducted "at the house of Mr. Aaron TutFts, or Lieut. Russel's, 
or Captain Josiah Spalding's." It was voted, ''To purchase about an 
acre of land of Lieut. Russel, in addition to the two acres that the same 
has promised to give the society for a meeting-house spot." A commit- 
tee was appointed this summer to treat with Mr. Judson how he must 
have his salary paid in this paper money, which agreed upon ''the rate, 
of txfenty pounds for one."' In 1780. voted, '• To sell the pew ground 
at vendue, and the money used in finishing the meeting-house — the tier 
of pews within the body of seats." These pew spots were purchased by 
Dea. Chapman, Ebenezer Eastman, Jonathan Hayward. John Kussel, 
Jabez Ward. Simeon Deane, John Scaiborough, John Work. Benj. 
Sumner. Joseph andlngoldsby Work, Ebenezer Bosworth, James Sum- 
ner, Benjamin Cates. Stephen Foster, Benj. IIaywa;d. Jonathan Bc^mis, 
John Frink. John Russel, Jun., Josiah Spalding, Xoah Paine, Ensign 
Joseph Kendall, Peter Tutits and Samuel Snow, showing it to be a 
strong society. It was voted, '■ To purchase half a box of glass to glaze 
the meeting-house, and hire it under-]iinned in the cheapest and best 
way." Glass being found too expensive the order was countermanded, 
and the " windows boarded up " till times were more propitious. It 
was voted, '"To abate the rates of all those Baptists that have brought a 
certificate and those that frequently attend the Baptist meeting." The 
following certificate procured exemption for two Quakers: — 

" Jeremiah Morv belonn:? to the Frieuds' meetinir, and so Daniel Bartlett 
doth sup of the same cnp with me. and we own him to be one of our brethren, 
as I take care of my friends. lu the presence of us, which we are ready to 
answer to, this : 

A A QC: CT'^^ .Jeremiah Mory, 

-LJlOOO'V^ Thomas Smith, 

JoHX Bartlett. 
Gloxicester, JTarch 16, 1774."' 

During these years of sectaiian and political agitation. Ashford was 
also implicated in a prolonged litigation growing out of the ancient 
" Corbiu land claims," and carried on by Benjamin and Ashael Marcy as 
legal representatives of James Corbiu. Elijah Whiton. Ezra Smith, 
Elisha Wales. Benjamin Clark and Ebenezer Byles were appointed in 
1769, "To search the book of recor<ls with respect to the town's com- 
mons and Corbins land." who reported that 2.500 acres were allowed to 
Corbin in 1719, and that over 4000 acres had been laid out to him. 
The Marcys carried their claim to the Assembly, who appointed Joseph 
Spencer. Benjamin Lowe and Captain Jonathan Welles a committee of 
investigation. A meeting was held at Clark's tavern, iu Ashford. 3Liy 



36 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

4, 1774, Elijah Wliiton and Ezra Smith appearing as agents for the 
town. Full details of the original purchase and subsequent agreements 
were pi'esented, and a foi'midable array of deeds and figures showing 
plainly that Corbin had received some hundied acres more than his 
due, while the petitioners demonstrated with equal certainty that a still 
larger number was lacking. The committee in due time reported, '' That 
Corbin's land had not been taken up, that 910 acres still remained due 
to his heirs ; also, that Corbin's partners had failed to pay taxes, and 
their shares should revert to him." The Assembly, after consideration 
of the report, was of opijiion that 910 acres were due to Corbin under 
the settlement of 1719, and 375 acres under the patent of 1725, and 
granted that the petitioners should take them up in the town's com- 
mons. They also affirmed, that the patent gianted to Corbin in 1725, 
should be considered as an addition to the claim of 1719. The towu 
refused to accept this decision so contrary to the common understand 
ing of the case, and to the facts adduced by Captain Chandler and 
others when the patent was granted, and when the Marcys entered 
upon land proceeded " to prosecute those who had got our conmion 
land into their possession." The Superior Court gave verdict in favor 
of the town. Marcy again appealed to the Assembly, complaining of 
error in the judgment of the Superior Court, whereupon it was resolved 
by that body : — 

" That the said Superior Court in takiiiij cog^nizance of said petition mani- 
festly erred, aud misitook tlie law, and that the said jud^meiit is iiereby re- 
versed and set asiide, and tlie petitioner restored to Uie cost, and the petition 
remain as before entei'ed iu the docket of said ISiiperior Court." 

The town debarred from farther action at court was compelled to yield 
up its commons. So far as regards the light ot jurtsdictlon in this 
case the decision may have been legal, but with regard to the owner- 
ship of the land a careful study of all the facts would give it to the 
town. That the settlement of 1725 granted Corbin an addition to his 
immense original claim seems especially untenable, and in view of all 
the circumstances of the case, suggests the query, if the art of lobby- 
ing be strictly a modern invention. One result of this controversy 
was the copying of the original ''town book " by the faithful town 
clerk, Ebenezer Byles, in 1770. 

In 1771, Ashford appointed a committee to pray for county lecon- 
struction on the following basis: Ashford with Woodstock, Killingly, 
Pomfret, Union, Staflord, ToUaixl and Willington to form a new north- 
ern county, and " C'olchester and Hebron to be added to the remains of 
Windham." 



CANTERBURY, WHITEFIELD S VISIT, ETC. 



III. 

AFFAIRS IN CANTERBURY. WHITEFIELD'S VISIT. SEPARATES. 
BAPTISTS. ORGANIZATION OF WESTMINSTER SOCIETY. 

CANTERBURY" was much occupied at tliis dale in resettling 
her parishes and repairing her bridges. In 1760, her ])eaee 
was greatly distnibed by the attempted secession of a number of her 
southeast residents, who asked to be incorporated with residents of 
adjoining towns into a new religious society. John Hebard, aj)pointed 
to oppose this petition, remonstrated : — 

" 1. That Canterbury had already parted with a mile or two of land on 
the north to help form Brooklyn parish, leavini'- tirst society in Canterbury 
eii^ht miles by five in extent — wisely and cautiously done to acconnuodate two 
parishes within herself when planters should be multiplied. 

2. Inhabitants were settled all over said parish from east to west, north 
to south bounds; that the distribution of said parish into two parishes within 
themselves has been the governing motive to many planters to settle and 
build there; that winter preaching was allowed to the north and northwest 
quarter, and division to be made when public charges were less heavy; that 
dividing parishes into such small ones weakens the whole colony and is 
hurtful to its civil and religious interests." 

Even this last consideration, usually deemed so weighty, was ineffect- 
ual in tliis instance. The Assembly taking time for deliljeration, Mr. 
Hebard farther urged, that the scheme wotild '■'■ destroi/ one society 
in Canterbury, destroy the well-heing of one in Newent, and wound 
and ireaken a third in Scotland." In spite of these dismal prognos- 
tications, the petitioners carried the day, and secured in 17C1, the 
erection of the new society of Hanover from parts of Canterbury, 
Scotland I'arish and Newent. 

Town affairs required much care and deliberation. Colonel John 
Dyer and others of the second generation of settlers were no longer 
in active life. At the town meeting, 1761, John Curtis was chosen 
moderator ; Captain Obediah Johnson, Stephen Frost, Josiah Butt, 
Captain Benjamin Price, selectmen; Steplien Frost, town clerk; 
Deacon Samuel Huntington, treasurer ; Simon Forbes, constable and 
collector of excise ; Timothy Cleveland, Obediah Johnson, Joseph 
Dyer, James Daley, William Bradford, Josiah Morse, Fredeiic 
Curtis, Gideon Cobb, Joseph Safford, John Hebard, Matthew 
Button, Zechariah Waldo, highway surveyors; Nathaniel Aspiinvall, 
Samuel Adams, fence-viewers ; Solomon Faine, Asa Cleveland, 
Ebenezer Spalding, Robert Herrick, Silas Cleveland, Jedidiah Dodge, 
listers ; Robert Hei-rick, Abijah Cady, leather sealers ; John Hebard, 
Nehemiah Ensworth, Ezekiel Spalding, Elisha Faine, Isaiah Williams, 
grand-jurymen ; Shubael Butts, Hezekiah Pellet, Daniel Paine, 



38 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

William Bradford, titliiiijj^men : Gideon Cobb, ganger and packer; 
Aliaziah Adams, l)raiKk'r and toller; William Bond, Ezekiel Spald- 
ing, key-keepers. Ezra Enswortli, having managed at great, cost 
and labor to construct a dam across the Quinebaug in the sonth part 
of the town, was granted liberty to mend and '■ keep in re])air the 
same, for the benefit of his corn-mill where it now stands, the same 
highth and length as it now is." This unusual privilege was only 
obtained by very strenuous efforts. Anything that obstructed the 
annual ascent of shad and salmon on which they so ranch de])ended 
was most vigorously resisted by all the residents of the Quinebaug 
valley — and in addition to this great damage and loss this mischievous 
dam was charged with undermining and greatly damaging Butts 
Bridge just below it. This most convenient bridge, erected by Samuel 
Butts in 1733, had been kept in repair by private subscription, and 
now in 1760, the neighbors had again rebuilt it, "supposing that 
Canterbury would order the dam removed." Tiieir fears and fore- 
bodings were only too quickly realized. The very next winter, ice 
falling over the dam again carried off the bridge. The dam, it is 
believed, was also destroyed by the same flood and never rebuilt; but 
none the less did the aggrieved neighbors refuse to rebuild the bridge. 
The town, com|)elled to join with Plainfield in maintaining Nevins 
]5ridge on the great public thoroughfare, and a ford way near Shepard's 
Hill in the north part of the town, and to keep up other bridges over 
Rowland's Brook and Little River, positively declined to assist iu 
rebuilding Butts Bridge. So great were the inconveniences and 
difficulties resulting from this negligence, that a large number of 
petitioners from Plainfield, Preston and other towns lepresented 
the case to the Assembly, and prayed that Canterbury nnght be 
compelled to support said bridge, as a place of ranch travel. A 
special act of the assembly in 1763, thereupon provided that Canter- 
bury should build and keep in order a bridge at this place, under the 
direction of a county committee. Seth Paine of Brooklyn Parish, 
Nathaniel Webb of Windham, and Asa Smith of Woodstock, were 
accordingly jdaced in cliarge of the work. 

The increasing travel through the- town made it needful to keep 
its highways in good order. Many of its own citizens were carried 
away by emigration. Abraliam Paine, Elisha Cleveland, and others 
removed to Nine Partners, New York. Joshua Hide and Joshua 
Parke were among tlie early settlers of Vermont. Captain James 
Bidlack, Sanmel Ransom and many other families joined the great 
out-flow to Wyoming. A jury was ordered by the County Court to 
meet at the house of Tiraothy Backus, and lay out a highway from 
the dividing line bctw*een Windham and Canteibury, four-and-a-half 



CANTERBURY, WHITEFIELd's VISIT, ETC. 39 

miles east, to the highway leading from Xorwicli to Canterbury, and 
thence to the Great Bridge over the Quinebaug. This highway, tlms 
relaid and carefully maintained, aecoininodated a great i>art of the ti-avel 
from Providence to Hartford and farther westward. In 177;5, Colonel 
Jabez Fitch was chosen agent by the town to oi)pose tlie inc'inorial of 
Colonel Israel Putnam and others "for an open and public liighway 
to be laid out through the towns of Killingl), Pomfret and Canter- 
bury, in oixler the better to accommodate traveling from Boston to 
New Haven and New York," — a project which its renowned advocate 
failed apparently to accomplish. A dam was allowed over Rowland's 
Brook in the north part of the town, and various mills kept in opera- 
tion. Tannery works were also cairied on by Benjamin Morse. 

The various taverns needed upon the jniblic roads and other parts 
of the town, were kept by Timothy Backus, John Park, Ebenezer 
Spalding, Robert Ransom and David Reed. Dr. Gideon Welles con- 
tinued his medical itractice in Canterbury and Plantield. A son of 
Canterbury, Dr. .John Spalding, also established himself in his native 
town. Dr. David Adams, son of David Adams, residing in Scotland 
and afterward in Pi'eston, was often employed in his old home. 

Rev James Cogswell continued in charge of the Fii-st church, 
which though weakened by secession and emigiation maintained a 
respectable standing, and its old dislike of se])aration. A visit from 
Mr. Whitetield in 1764, excited nuich consternation. This distinguished 
preacher had lost favor with the more rigid churches and jiastors. 
Mr. Cogswell was greatly exercised in spirit by the rumor of his 
coming, "not knowing how to conduct, viz: whether to desire him 
to preach," — but, aftei' deliberation and prayer, determined " to keep 
about his duty, viz: what would have been his duty if he had heard 
nothing of his arrival." Tidings of his actual arrival and entertain- 
ment at Colonel Dyer's failed to change the decision of the timid divine, 
whose natural politeness and curiosity were quite overborne by fear 
of ministerial censure, but at the request of a number of his people 
he ventured to call upon the great preacher and held considerable 
discourse, which he thus recorded in his diary : — 

" He professed much uuconcernediiess at j^e thousht of death. He ap- 
peared a jireat enemy to Sanderaan. He was gross in body but poor in health 
and declined preaching; wish I may be so weaned from the world and ready 
to die as he professed to be; can't think, however, there is the greatest 
propriety in being f(jnd of speaking in such a manner to strangers. 

Feb. U, Mr. Whitetield came along; people seemed very fond of gazing on 
him. He rode in his chariot with a gentleman— had a waiter to attend on him, 
and Sampson Occam, ve Indian preacher, who rode on one of the horses, 
there being three to ye' chariot. [Reverends] Messrs. Breck and Whitney 
came and dined here. Mr. Breck said he did not know but I was right 
iu asking Mr. Whitefleld to preach ; however he believed he should not have 
doue it." 



40 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTT. 

If" ^Ir. Breck of Sprinixfield, always inclined to Aniiinianism and 
hetorodoxy, could thus sciuple, it may be seen tliat tlie cautious 
})astor did indeed run some ii.sk in extending; civilities to the great 
pulpit orator. 

.Air. Cogswell's diary gives us a parting glimpse of another once- 
famed preacher and religious leader — liis old antagonist, Elisha Paine, 
revisiting Cauteibiiry after many years absence: — 

" March 26, 1769. Lawyer Paine sent for me in the evcninir, said that he 
Avanted to see me hut did not desire I should tarry lecture, as Stephen 
Bacl^us told me; however, when I came there tlie old gentleman said he had 
noihin^ special to say, and tliat he only sent word that he was going to 
preach, and began lecture soon. But I thought I would not go away iuiuie- 
diutely — was not sorry I tarried as 1 have not heard a Separate teacher in a 
great while. He is much more moderate than formerly and indeed is a dull 
preacher; some pari of his discourse was good but he preaciied many things 
erroneous as I thought, as that all religion which was established b,y civil au- 
thority was false; .... that all Christians have assurance, and those who think 
they liave not are to be suspected of knowing nothing of Christ's beauty 
experimentally. Tliat though men sliould live peaceably togetlier yet it wa.s 
a vain and wicked attempt to reconcile converted and unc(jnverlecl men for 
they would always have implacable enemity; and tho' thej' should agree ever 
so well on an outward plan of church g(jvernment which he called a hiarchee, 
meaning as I suppose an Hierarchy, it would l)e of no service unless men 
were converted — and several other exceptional things. 

27th. Mr. Paine visited me. Discoursed in a friendly manner. I mentioned 
to him his meddling with Connecticut Establishment in his sermon; he said 
he did not mean so much Connecticut Establishment as all Establishments. 
I mentioned his notion of saving faith consisting in assurance. He in effect 
gave up the point, for he said he believed many were good Christians who 
had not assurance but did not own he was wrong. He discoursed against 
several practices. — Presbyterian ordination, ministers being supported by a 
salary, &c., but with a pleasant countenance and to appearance with a temper 
much less Ijitter and severe than when be lived in town — but 1 believe he 
holds much the same doctrines."* 

The Separate church once so flourishing had suflered many losses. 
The venerable Obadiah Johnson, one of the early settlers of tlie town, 
and a pillar of this church, died in 1V65. Mary, wife of \Villi:im 
Bradford and sister of John and Ebenezer Cleveland, — "an ornament to 
her sex tiiid indeed to all her 'Christian friends," — died the same year 
upon the birth of her fourteenth child, " in a perfect calm resignation 
to the will of (iod and assurance of faith." Her father, Josiah Cleve- 
land, dying some years previous had shown his luve to this "Congre- 
gational church in Canterbury '" (as its members called it), by bequeath- 
ing to it his whole part of the meeting-house, and £20 J in bills of 
credit. Deacon Johnson left "the improvement of a farm and build- 
ings for the benefit of said church as for the poor of said church," and 
also twenty acres to supply firewood for tlie minister. But money 



* The remaining years of the great Separate leader were spent in peaceful 
seclusion, preaching to his tieloved flock at Briilgehampton, h. 1., until 
within two weeks of his decease, which occurred Aug. 26, 1775, at the age of 
eighty-four. 



CANTERBURY, WHITEFIELd's VISIT, ETC. 41 

and land could not make up the loss in irierabership. Einigration and 
disaffection had carried away many. The vote by whicli they had 
gained society privileges and exemption from ratepaying, gave great 
oftence to many ardent brethren, and after many stringent letters from 
Ebenezer Frothingham of Middletown, the church decided to recon- 
sider the matter ; renewed their covenant one by one — dming which 
God drew near and united tlieir hearts in the love of the gospel — and 
appointed a committee, who reported : — 

"May 21, 176(5. 1. The Separate voting or acting with the society was 
wrong, as that civil body acted in a matter of couscieuce, or in au ecciesias- 
tic afl'air." 

The church assented to this " as their minds, and what they meant 
to abide by, and acknowledged their fault in so far as any of them 
had been active in those things." Its relations with its pastor were 
next brought under consideration. This good brother was ardent and 
zealous to a fault, and oifended many of his people by bluntness of 
speech and lack of discretion. After long labor and agitation a coun- 
cil was held. May 29, 1768, which decided " that brother Joseph Marshall 
be dismissed from the pastoral care of this church, on account of the 
contentions in church respecting his gifts and ordination, wliicli ren- 
ders his improvement unprofitable." Mr. Marshall then followed some 
members of his flock to the new settlements in Western Connecticut, 
New York and Vermont, where his labors were greatly blessed. The 
Canterbury Separate church did not succeed in settling another 
minister and steadily declined in numbers. Some of its members 
signified their desire to attend worship with the First society, provided 
they might pay their part of the expenses by way of contributing and 
not by rate, whereupon that body voted, " That we are willing and 
desirous that they should attend public worship with us, and will 
never levy any tax or assessment upon them contrary to their minds, 
but will leave it with them to give what, and in what manner, they 
please " The increase of Baptist sentiments was very annoying to tlie 
Separates as well as the standing order. Mr. Cogswell heard with 
great grief "that several of his people and many of the Separates had 
attended at Mr. Backus's to hear Ebenezer Lyon, the Baptist teaclier," 
and hoped that God would " convince them of their folly." Notwith- 
standing this opposition, " Lyon, the Bai)tist," continued his irregular 
services for many years, edifying a small number of hearers. These 
Baptists with the Canterbury Separates held to what was called 
"mixed communion," and often joined in worship and ordinances 
with Separate churches. 

A division of the First society was accomplished during this period. 
Population had gathered in the western part of the town. Deacon 
6 



42 . HISTORY OF WINDHAM COCJNTT- 

Stepben Frost, sons of Sanmcl Butts, and other influential families 
were among these residents, and in the spring of 1767, petitioned for 
society privileges. A measnre and survey were ordered and divisional 
line run. The society accepted the report and voted to divide into dis- 
tinct ecclesiastic societies by a north and south line at the centre of the 
parish parallel with the line between Windham and Canterbury — line 
to leave 11,736 acres on each side; rate on east side £5,759; west 
side £4,251. With this vote the western inhabitants, viz: — 

Stephen Frost, Robert and John Herrick, Solomon Adams, Ebenezer Deaiie, 
Ezra and Amos Woodward, Ebenezer Goodell, Stephen Downing, Benjamin 
and Natlianiel Clevehand, Samuel Parish, Matthias Button, Benjamin andJohn 
Durfee, David Monro, Solomon Allen, Stephen Ford, Jnn., Joseph Burgess, 
Josinli, Joseph and Sherebiah Butts, Joseph Leach, John Curtis, William 
Foster. Benjamin Jewett, David Canada, Eliphalet and Zebulou Faruham, 
W^illiam Hebard, Frederic Carter, John Lewis, Jonas Bond — 

appeared before the Asseml)ly, and secured a committee which 
reported in tavor of division. A favorable decision was confidently 
expected when to the consternation of the petitioners opposition was 
manifested. Notwithstanding previous declarations and agreements, 
fifty remonstrants headed by Elijah Dyer, Jabez Fitch and John 
Bacon now represented : — 

" That the vote to divide was hastily passed ; that the inhabitants princi- 
pallj^ settled in the east; that a number of inhabitants settled afterwards iu 
the west, and, not considering that the contemplated division would inevita- 
bly ruin said society, voted it by a bare majority; list of whole, only nine 
thousand, exclusive of separate society; give a minister now but seventy 
pounds a year which by no means supports him, and we are very much put to 
collect that now in this distressing time; people behindhand on account of 
great changes and scarcity of money, and to divide in the way proposed will 
certainly ruin and break up the whole." 

Residents near the centre of the town, viz., Thomas Bradford, Jo- 
seph Withe, Abijah Cady, Jacob Smith, John Wheeler, Jacob Green 
and John Pellet also remonstrated, declaring: — 

" That the society will be eight miles iu length and two and a-half in width, 
and that we live quite at the east part of new society, and have a good road 
to the meeting-house, and if we are stated to the west society shall be as far 
from their meeting house, if they ever build one, as we are now, with no road 
to travel on, and ilie way so bad that it is ijupossible there will ever be a good 
one made, and pray to be allowed to stay in the east society." 

To forestall division it was now proposed that a new meeting-house 
should be erected in the centre of the town, but no vote could be ob- 
tained for it. In May, 1760, the western inhabitants farther repre- 
sented that their number had greatly multiplied and was constantly in- 
creasing, that the society would not allow them to be set off or build a 
new meeting-house in the centre, and begged for relief. Their ]-equest 
was continued till October, and tHqs answered : — 

" Upon memorial of Stephen Frost, Robert Herrick, Ebenezer Goodell and 
others, inhabitants of first society of town of Canterbury, situated iu west 



CANTEEBUKY, WHITEFIELd's VISIT, ETC. 43 

part of said society, showing to tliis Assembly their great distance from the 
established place of public worship in said society, whereby they and their 
numerous families are very unable to attend the same; also, showing to the 
Assembly the vote of said society signifying their consent to have the same 
equally divided into distinct ecclesiastic societies by a north and south line 
parallel with the line dividing between the towns of Windham and Canter- 
bury, at the centre of said tirst society, ascertained by a late survey made by 
Seth Paine, county surveyor, approved by said society — prayincrthis Assembly 
to make and constitute the men situate on the west side of said north and 
south line a distinct ecclesiastic society according to the form and extent of 
said vote, and to be invested with all the rights and privileges to such socie- 
ties appertaining (except such inhabitants as by law are exempt from contri- 
buting to the support of the established iniuistry). It is resolved by this As- 
sembly, that the inhabitants living within the limits aforesaid (excepting as 
before excepted) shall be, and they arc hereby made, erected and constituted 
a distinct ecclesiastic society, endowed with all the powers, privileges and 
immunities usually belonging to ecclesiastic societies in this colony, and shall 
be known and called by the name of Westminster. October, 1769." 

The organization of the new society was speedily effected. The re- 
ports of the tirst meetings have not been preserved, but tliere was evi- 
dently no lack of spirit and enthusiasm. Arrangements were soon 
made for building a meeting-house. There was no occasion here for 
quarrelling over its site. "Natural fitness " at once assigned it to a 
broad hill-summit near the centre of the society. About four acres of 
land at the crossing of the roads were given by John Parks for meet- 
ing-house spot, burial groinid and common. The bushes were at once 
cleared off and ground made ready for building. Capt. Sherebiah 
Butts was employed as master builder, and served so efficiently that the 
house was made ready for occupation during the following summer, that 
same busy season in which the rival edifices of Brooklyn Parish were 
in progress. " At a convention of professing Christians belonging to 
Westminster society Nov. 2, 1770," arrangements were made for church 
organization. The neighboring ministers — Reverends Samuel Mosely, 
James Cogswell, Josiah Whitney — and Capt. John Howard, Dr. Jabez 
Fitch, Dea. Nathaniel Brown and Col. Israel Putnam, messengers, 
comprised the council. A number of brethren appeared before it, and 
after professing their belief in the articles of the Chi'istian faith revealed 
in the Word of God, and engaging to walk together agreeably to the 
directions of his word, signed the following covenant and were acknow- 
ledged as a regular chiu'ch of Christ : — 

"1. We do take the Holy Scriptures as the only ultimate rule of our faith and 
manners, and in subordination hereto, the confession of faith called the West- 
minster,* which we look upon to be agreeable to the Word of God 

3. We submit ourselves to the watch and discipline of Christ's church, ac- 
cording to Cambridge platform. 

Stephen Frost. Thomas Bradford. Amos Woodward. 

Robert Herrick. William Bond. Ebenezer Davis. 

John Lewis. Jacob Foster. Anthony Class. 

Isaac Woodward. Enos Woodward. John Herrick. 

Daniel Davis. Peter Woodward. 

Westminster, Xoc. 20, 1770." 



*It is not improbable that the socioty adopted its stately name in honor of 
this venerable confession which held so high a place in their esteem. 



44 . HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Witliin a few months John Staples of Taunton, Mass., was called to 
the pastorate and ordained Ai)iil 17, 1772. Stephen Frost, John Her- 
ric'k and Jonas Bond were chosen to sei've as deacons; many were 
added to the church, and the society pursued its way in much peace 
and prosperity. 

Although the First society in Cantei'bury managed to maintain its 
existence after the division of its territory, it did not escape many of the 
evils so dismally foreboded. Dui-ing tlie preceding controversy ani 
mosities had been engendered, and it was found imjjossible to effect a 
peaceable settlement. Dea. Frost, for some unassigned reason, chose 
to retain the society records and papers, and also the school-fund money 
previously entrusted to him. John Felch was now society clerk and 
treasurer; Jabez Fitch, Jun., Eliashib Adams and Joseph Woodward 
were the committee. At a society meeting Feb. 7, 1770, Capt. Dyer 
was appointed "agent, to go immediately in the name of society and 
demand the record books and other papers belonging to the society 
now in the hands of Dea. Stephen Frost, and in case of refusal, prose- 
cute." Asa Bacon was also empowered "to recover loan school money 
in the hands of Dea. Frost." These efforts proving unsuccessful, the 
society committee was instructed to sue for school money. An agent 
was afterwards appointed to lay the case before the Assembly. Finally, 
April 22, 1771, the leading men in the society, viz., John Felch, Capt. 
Elijah Dyer, Dea. Eliashib Adams and Captains Elkanah Cobb and 
Aaron Cleveland, were chosen " to treat with Westminster society about 
an amicable settlement of the dispute between said societies res{)ecting 
loan school money, and also to make a final settlement and full con- 
clusion of all other matters of controversy subsisting between said so- 
cieties respecting a part of Mr. Cogswell's salary for the year in which 
said society was divided." Through their mediation the various diffi- 
culties were in some measure surmounted. 

The most serious evil resulting from society division was the loss of 
Mr. Cogswell. The P'irst society was unable to raise what he deemed 
needful for his support, or even to pay arrearages in full, and consented 
" to his quiet and ])eaceable dismission." The church, "taking into 
consideration our difficult cii-cumstances, with much reluctance consent 
that our pastor be dismissed ; testify our sincerest regards and part 
with him not because we are dissatisfied with him as to anything relat- 
ing to his ministerial conduct, but think it may be for the good and 
peace of the society, and most cordially recommend him." Mr. Cogs- 
well preached for a short time at East Haddam, where his good fiiend 
and adherent, Deacon Samuel Huntington, had lately removed, and then 
returned to Scotland Parish. The Canterbury church remained for 
many years without a settled pastor to its great detriment. Nathaniel 



WESTMINSTER SOCIETY. 45 

Niles of Norwieli, preached for a season but declinerl a call to settle- 
ment. Sanuiel Spring, Job Swift and Epliraini Jiulson also served as 
supplies during tliis unsettled period. Eliashib Adams succeeded to 
the deacon's otKce on the removal of Dea. Huntington in 1769. Jabez 
Fitch, Jun., was elected deacon two years latei-. William Bingham, 
William Darbe and Benjamin Bacon were made choristers. Though 
destitute of a settled pastor, public worship was maintained with con- 
siderable regularity. Jabez Fitch, Esq., Timothy Baldwin, Jabez Ens- 
worth, John Bacon and Elijah Dyer looked aftei' the proper seating of 
the meeting-house, and ordered needful repairs, and " if swept twelve 
times a year" paid twenty shillings for it. Tixhall Ensworth held the 
responsible position of key-keeper. In 1773 the resources of the so- 
ciety were somewhat enlarged by the annexation of Black Ilill, the 
lands in possession of Timothy Backus, Isaac Allerton, William Under- 
wood, Joab Johnson, Curtis and Ezekiel Spalding, Jabez Fitch, Jun., 
William Bingham, John Hough, Elkanah Cobb and Obadiah Johnson 
being joined by act of Assembly "with the First Society of Canter- 
bury for society and ecclesiastic privileges, but not for schooling, mili- 
tary and other purposes." 

Schools in Canterbuiy up to this date were receiving little attention, 
and the old system of " squadrons " was still maintained. In 1770, 
Ezekiel Park, Captain Elijah Dyer, Nathan Waldo, Jose})h Clark, Jo- 
seph Woodward, Asa and Joseph Stevens were ordered, "To take care 
of the schools in their respective squadrons, and to hire suitable i)er- 
sons to keep the schools." A division into twenty-three districts was 
soon after effected and the number of schools incieased. Private 
schools were often supported in ditferent neighborhoods. A " night 
school" was kept at one time by Joseph Carter in "the school-house 
nighest to Westminster meeting-house." After his mercantile experi- 
ment in Pomfret this young man returned to Canterbury, keeping store 
or school as occasion oftered, and, like a true-born Yankee, turning his 
hand to anything. Succeeding in time to the otfice of deputy-sheiiif, 
he combined with it a carrying trade, conveying letters and packages 
back and forth with his prisoners, and serving his neighbors with house- 
hold supplies as well as wan-ants. With all his Yankee facility one 
duty came hard to him. He did not mind ap})lying the lash to the 
bare back of a male culpiit, but he hated to it^Jdp a tcoman, and unfor- 
tunately for him the number of female offenders was very large. Steal- 
ing, vagrancy and worse offences brought many a hapless victim to the 
public whipping-post. The compassionate sympathy of the tender- 
hearted sheriff led him on one occasion to employ a substitute, but the 
neophyte in his zeal for justice inflicted the blows with so much more 
spirit and cogency that he was fain to submit thereafter to do his owu 



46 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

whipping. One petty pilferer escaped with a lighter punishment. A 
very respectable citizen living north of the Green was led to suspect 
that one of his neighbors was helping himself to his hay, and keeping 
a sharp look-out at last espied the oftender creeping up to his barn one 
evening and coming out with a large bundle tied up with a rope. The 
good man might have roused the neighborhood with a hue-and-cry, 
but with sudden impulse he hurried into his house, snatched a blazing 
fire-brand, and managed unseen to overtake the thief, and thrust the 
brand into the bundle. Crackling fiames suddenly bursting over his 
head terrified the poor fellow almost out of his senses, and thinking 
that the Lord had sent fire from Heaven to consume him, he dropped 
the blazing hay and ran home as fast as his trembling limbs could carry 
him. The next day he sought his neighbor in great distress and peni- 
tence, confessing all his misdeeds and the punishment that the Lord 
had sent upon him, and promising never to do the like again. This 
promise it is believed was faithfully kept, and the story was never told 
till after the decease of the penitent ofi*ender. 

John Felch usually served as town clerk during this period. John 
Bacon, Jun., was graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1765, 
and after essaying ministerial settlement in various fields removed to 
Stockbridge, Mass., and distinguislied himself in secular service. Aaron, 
youngest son of Josiah Cleveland, Elijah, son of Colonel Dyer, John, 
son of John Adams, were among Canterbury's rising young men at 
this date. Obadiah Johnson was colonel of the regiment whicli com- 
prised the militia of Plainfield and Canterbury. Mr. Cogswell reports 
a public library founded by the citizens in 1771. 



IV. 

TOWN AFFAIRS IN WINDHAM. WYOMING SETTLEMENT. SOCIAL 
LIFE. SCOTLAND PARISH. 

WINDHAM as head and shire town of the county was now exceed- 
ingly prosperous and prominent, surpassing, according to cotem- 
porary judgment, " every inland town in the Colony in trade and mer- 
chandize." It had four well-trained military companies, four meeting- 
houses, a court-house, prison and jail, numberless stores and taverns, 
and many handsome private residences. The ofiicers requisite for the 
proper management of public afl^liirs in 1760 were five selectmen, five 
constables and rate collectors, seven grand-jurors, ten tithing-men, 
seven listers, twenty-three surveyors, four branders and tollers, three 
pound keepers, three packers, one weight-sealer, one measure-sealer, 



TOWN AFFAIRS IN WINDHAM, ETC. 47 

two to take care of provisions paid for colony tax, one excise collector, 
two surveyors and packers of tobacco.* The Rev. Stephen White re- 
mained in pastoral charge of the Fii-st Church and society. Samuel 
Gray served efficiently as town clerk. Nathaniel Wales, with his son 
Nathaniel, filled many public otHces to great acceptance. Eliphalet 
Dyer and Jedidiah Elderkin were actively engaged in the practice of law, 
and ranked among the prominent public men of Connecticut. The ex- 
cellent Jonathan Huntington retained his eminence and popularity as a 
medical practitioner, and while exhibiting " marvelous skill " in the art 
of healing, served as judge of the County Court and member of the 
Governor's council. His cotemporary in years. Dr. Ebenezer Gray of 
Boston, probably brother to Samuel Gray, Esquiie, also "practiced 
jihysick " in Windham and its vicinity. Dr. Joshua Elderkin, the 
somewhat erratic brother of Jedidiah, practiced medicine, engaged in 
trade and experimented in niaimfactures. In that revival of business 
and commercial enterprise following the close of the French war, 
Windham actively participated. James Flint, Ebenezer Backus and 
Ebenezer Devotion, Jun., of Scotland Parish, engaged extensively in 
mercantile traffic, buying up domestic produce to exchange for West 
India goods and articles of taste and luxury. Under this stimulus, 
the products of the town were very largely increased. JMuch attention 
was given to wool-growing, the culture of hemp, flax and tobacco, and 
the making of cheese and butter. Great flocks of sheep and herds of 
cattle ranged over Windham pastures and commons. Wheat and other 
cereals were extensively grown and exported, and so biisk was trade in 



*List of Officers: Dr. Joshua Elderkin, moderator; Samuel Gra}-, town 
clerk (chosen first in 1755, "iu room of Eliphalet Dyer, yime in ye army," 
and retained in office more than thirty 3'ears) ; Captain Samuel Murdock, 
George Martin, Capt. Henry Silsljy, Mr. Samuel Webb, Lieut. I'riuce Tracy, 
selectmen; Hezekiah Manning, Paul Hebard, Abicl Abbott, constables and col- 
lectors of town rates; Joshua Reed, Hezekinh Huntington, Nathaniel Lord, 
John Manning, graud-jnrymen ; William Warner, Nathaniel Wales, 2d, Na- 
thaniel Warren, John Clark, Joseph Buruham, Nathan Luce, Joseph Manning, 
tithiug-men ; Benjamin Lathrop, Jonathan Bubcock, James Flint, Jonathan 
Burnap, Nathaniel Mosely, Andrew Burnham, Joseph Woodward, listers; Ed- 
ward Brown, Ebenezer Fitch, Ebenezer Bingham, Johu Bass, Isaac Andrus, 
Gideon Hebard, Thomas Tracy, Samuel Murdock, Nathaniel Huntington, 
Daniel Martin, Jeremiah Clark", Zebadiah Coburn, Stephen Park, Jerenuah 
Utley, William Holt, Josiah Hammond, Simon Wood, Joshua Farnham, Johu 
Manning, Joseph Woodward, Richard Kimball, Jonathan Luce, Jo.seph Gin- 
nings, highway surveyors; Samuel Webb, Edward Brown, William Durkee, 
Isaac Ringe, John Webb, David Ripley, fence-viewers; Hez. Huntington, 
John Fuller, Elisha Palmer, Jan., Eleazer Palmer, branders and tollers; Ed- 
Ward Brown, Isaac Hinge, Reuben Robinson, leather-sealers; Joseph Hunting- 
ton, Joseph Sessions, Elisha Palmer, Jun., pouud-keepers ; Joseph Hunting- 
ton, Jeremiah Durkee, Joseph Manning, packers; Samuel Gray, town treas- 
urer; Elijah Bingham and Thomas Tracy, to take care of the town bridge; 
James Flint, receiver of provision paid for discharge of colouy tax; Johu 
Abbe, collector of excise; Hezekiah Manning and Shubael Palmer, surveyors 
and packers of tobacco. 



48 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

all parts of the town that it was proposed to petition the Assembly " for 
a free fair or market." When compelled by English exactions to re- 
linquish her foreign trade, Windham turned her energies to manufac- 
tures. John Brown, a highly respected and useful citizen, then occu- 
pying the home farm on the Willimantic laid out to his grandfather, 
Capt. John Brown, in 1706, not only entertained travelers according to 
the fashion of the day, but cultivated his farm, maiuifactured potash 
and refined saltpetre. Ezekiel Cary carried on his trade as a tanner 
and currier in this vicinity. Colonel Elderkin, among his other avoca- 
tions, interested himself in silk culture ; and set out a tine orchard of 
mulberry trees in the south part of Windliam. In 1773, he wrote to 
Clement Biddle of Philadelphia, "that he liad a large number of trees 
fit for improvement, had made considerable growth of silk, spun and 
improved some, but failed for want of proj^er reels and experienced 
workmen, and desired a reel or caldron, and a young woman to teach 
them." With this aid he succeeded in making a strong, coarse silk, 
used for handkerchiefs and vestings. 

Travel and trade, and the increased and cheapened supply of liquors, 
made many taverns needful. License was granted in 1760 to James 
Lasell, Paul Ilebard, Ann Warner, Elias Frink, Ebenezer Bingham, 
David Ripley, Jacob Simmons, Ebenezer Griifin, Stephen Fitch, Jabez 
Kingsley, John Parish, Samuel Silsby. Mercy Fitch of Windham 
Green was also allowed to retail strong drink to whomsoever asked for 
it. Licenses were granted in following years to Abuer Flint, Eleazer 
Cary, John Howard, Nehemiah Tinker, Edward Badger and Nathaniel 
Linkon. These numerous taverns were all well patronized, especially 
during the Court sessions. Jonathan Trumbull of Lebanon, was now 
judge of the County Court ; Shubael Conant, John Dyer, Jabez Fitch 
and Joshua West, associates ; Samuel Gray, clerk ; Eleazer Fitch, high 
sherift"; Paul Ilebard, sheriff deputy. Due care was taken of the 
court house and jail, and certain limits assigned to such as were im- 
piisoned foi' debt. Debtors unable to pay were made to work out their 
debts in various service. lu 1762, the prison-yard was reported iu a 
decaying state, and the sheriff ordered to take tlie same down. Twelve 
years later, assistants and justices met at the court house " to take into 
consideration the state of the county jail." A large number of promi- 
nent men from all the towns were present. It was judged that repairs 
were needful, and a farthing tax ordered upon polls and ratable estates. 
Samuel Gray, Nathaniel Wales and Capt. James Stedman were ap- 
pointed to make repairs. A collector was appointed for each town, 
viz. : Jabez Huntington, Windham ; Samuel Eaton, Ashford ; Nathaniel 
Marcy, Woodstock ; John Hough, Canterbuiy ; Seth Grosvenor, Pom- 



TOWN AFFAIRS IN WINDHAM, ETC. 49 

fret ; Joshua Duulap, Plaitifield ; James Gordon, Voluntown ; Ephraira 
Warren, Killingly. 

Windham's alertness in promoting home interests was surpassed, 
if possible, by her activity in all public aiFairs. Her citizens were 
fully imbued with the spirit of those stirring times, and were ready 
not only to participate but to lead on " all emergent occasions." The 
grand colonization scheme, so happily inaugurated within her borders, 
still enlisted her warmest sympathies, and after the return of peace, 
renewed efforts weie made to carry it into execution. After a lapse 
of five years, the Susquehanna company resumed active operations. 
At a meeting in Hartford, March 12, 1760, Col. Tolcott was chosen 
moderator ; Samuel Gray, clei'k. It was recommended that the com- 
mittee previously appointed, " with all expedition carry into execu- 
tion the several betrustments reposed in them ;" also, that this com- 
mittee should join with the committee of the Delaware Purchase in 
sending home to England. In the following year, it was voted to 
send an agent for both companies, and add two hundi'ed more shares 
to pay expenses. Eliphalet Dyer was chosen as this agent with a 
salary of £150. The object of this mission was to ])rocure confirma- 
tion of the Wyoming territory from the Crown. Jonathan Trumbull, 
Hezelviah Huntington, David Edwards, Samuel Gray, Jedidiah Elder- 
kin and George Wyllis were appointed to collect matei-ials and make 
all necessary preparations to help said agent. A committee was also 
empowered to treat with Indian Chiefs, and liberty given to settle 
two townships. This liberty was improved by several Connecticut 
families, who effected a settlement in the Wyoming valley in 1762-3, 
but were soon attacked and butchered by the hostile savages. The 
Promised Land was not to be possessed without an arduous conflict. 
The government of Pennsylvania, holding the territory by formal 
treaty and purchase, scouted the claim of Connecticut and prejjared 
to resist her every effort at settlement. Powerful Indian tribes con- 
testing the land were also arrayed against her. Dyei-'s mission 
though urged with great eloquence and persistency was unsuccessful. 
The King forbade the settlement of the disputed territory. Both 
companies were summoned to Windham Court-house, Jan. 16, 176.5, 
to hear the report of their agent, returned from Great Britain with 
many things of importance to connnunicate. Jabez Fitch, John 
Curtis, Isaac and Elisha Tracy and Ebenezer Backus served as 
committee for the Delaware company ; Eliphalet Dyer, Jedidiah Elder 
kin and Samuel Gray, for the Susquehanna. Undeterred by rebuff 
and threatened opposition, the latter company continued its effoits. 
Renewed attempts were made to gain the sanction of Connecticut. 
Colonel Dyer in particular so warmly pleaded its cause, and so 



50 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

glowingly dejiieted the cliaiins of tlie Wyoming vnlley, as to call out 
from one of the wits of the day a poetic inipioiuiilu : — 

" Cannan of old, as we are told, 
Where It did rain down Manna, 
Wa'n't half so good for heavenly food 
As Dyer makes Susqu'hamia." 

But though greatly favoring the colonization sclieme, and most 
anxious to establish its claim to all the land pi-escribed by its Charter 
the government of Connecticut was too wise and .w'ary to expose 
itself to collision with Pennsylvania, and discreetly withheld its formal 
endorsement of the enterprise. The Susquehanna company was, 
however, too powerful an organization and too strongly entrenched 
in popular favor, to be repressed by lack of official aid or recognition. 
At a meeting iu Hartford, 1768, it was voted, that five townships, 
five miles square, should be surveyed and gi-anted each to forty 
settlers, being proprietors, on condition that these settlers should 
remain upon the ground and defend themselves and each other from 
the intrusion of all rival claimants. As further encouragement — the 
sura of tW'O hundred pounds was appropriated to provide implements 
of husbandry and provisions. Great as was the risk many were ready 
to meet it. The chance of gaining a home in the beautiful valley, 
was worth a contest, and indeed to some who had shared iu the 
exciting service of tlie French war, the prospect of a brush with the 
" Pennyraites " may have furnished an additional incentive. Early in 
1760, forty adventurous Yankees descended upon Wyoming. Fore- 
most among them were old French war campaigners, Captain Zebulon 
Butler of Lyme, and Captain John Durkee of Windham, now 
removed to Norwich. Tliomas Dyer, Vine Elderkin, Nathaniel 
Wales, Nathan Denison of Windham, and Titnothy Pierce of Plain- 
field, were among this heroic "forty." They found the '' Pennymites '' 
already in possession, and after a sharp and spirited contest were 
obliged to quit the field, leaving Durkee and other leading men 
in the hands of the enemy. Colonel Dyer and Major Elderkin were 
equally unsuccessful in attempting to negotiate an amicable settlement 
with the Proprietary Government of Pennsylvania. Ebenezer Backus, 
Captains Joseph Eaton and Robert Durkee acted with gentlemen 
from other parts of the Colony in raising funds for the relief and 
support of the prisoners. In 1770, a still larger force of Yankees 
returned to the charge and after a yet more serious contest was 
also compelled to retire with loss of life and great destruction of 
property. After taking and losing Fort Durkee in the course of 
the following winter, the Yankees opened the siege in the spring of 
1771, with fresh forces and leaders, resolved to carry on the war to 



TOWN AFFAIRS IN WINDHAM, ETC. 51 

the last extremity. The " Pennyinites '' met them with tlieir usual 
spirit and gaUantiy, though greatly ciippled in resources. The Pro- 
prietary Government, unpopular at home and unsup[)orted by Great 
Britain, was unable to meet the demand, and declined to continue 
so costly and fruitless a struggle. After gallantly defending Fort 
Durkee for several months, Captain Ogden was forced to acce])t 
articles of capitulation, and witli all the Pennsylvania trooj^s with- 
drew from Wyoming, leaving the rejoicing Yankees in possession of 
the land so valiantly contested. 

Organization was now speedily effected. Tlie towns already laid 
out were divided into farms and distributed. Those who had fought 
for the prize were rewarded by bountiful homesteads, and many other 
families from all parts of Connecticut eagerly sought a share. Wind- 
ham County, so active in ]n-oposing and promoting the settlement of 
the Susquehanna valley, was equally ready to take possession, and 
scores of valuable families removed thither in the course of a few 
yeai's. Stephen Fuller, John and Stephen Abbott, John Carey, Elisha 
Babcock, Robert Durkee of Windham; Simon Spalding, Ezekiel 
Pierce, John Perkins of Plaintield ; Captain Samuel Ransom, Ca])tain 
James Bidlack and Elisha Williams of Canterbury ; George and John 
Dorrance, Robert Jameson, Cyrus Kinne of Yoluntown ; Anderson 
Dana, Joseph Biles, Stephen Whiton of Ashford, were among the 
many who emigrated to Wyoming valley. Many of these were men 
in the prime of life with large families, accustomed to the manage- 
ment of ])ublic atfairs, and eminently fitted to aid in laying the 
foundation of social order, and moulding the new State after the 
pattern of Connecticut. The fertility of the soil, the mildness of the 
climate, the beauty of the country ai\d the abundance of its resources 
far exceeded expectations, and such glowing reports came back to the 
rocky farms of Windham County, that emigration raged for a time 
like an epidemic and seemed likely to sweep away a great part of the 
population. 

The burthen of bi'idge-making, always heavy in Windham, was so 
augmented by the increase of travel consequent to the gi-eat emigration 
to Wyoming and other new countries, as to be quite insupi)ortable. 
An "extraordinary flood" and great accumulation of ice in 1771, de- 
molished and carried away nearly every bridge in Windham County, 
making a clean sweep of the Nachaug, Willimantic and-Shetucket. As 
these bridges were upon public highways, "abundantly used " by great 
numbers of families with cattle and teams from Plainfield, Voluntowa 
and the south part of Rhode Island, " traveling to the west part of Mas- 
sachusetts Bay, New Hampshire and north part of New York," the 
authorities of Windham refused to recoustruct them without aid 



52 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

from other quarters. Several roads were thus rendered impassable, 
travelers were forced to travel many miles out of their way to find suit- 
able fording-places, and then were flung from their horses and exposed 
to drowning. Complaints were laid before the General Assembly that 
Windham lefused to rebuild her bridges, or do anything about the 
same, so that people were likely to be subjected to great hardships. 
Dyer, Elderkin and Nathaniel Wales, Jun., were deputized by the town 
to represent " that these bridges were on the edge of the town ; that 
fivie large bi'idges had been built within a few years at the expense of 
£800 ; all cariied ofl" by extraordinary floods which seemed to be much 
increasing ; that this expense was heavy and intolerable, as several of 
these bridges were more to accommodate other towns and the ]jublic, 
and beg relief." Their request was refused and a bill passed, " That 
Windham should build and maintain a good and sufficient cart-bridge 
over each of said rivers at the places designated by petitioners, viz., 
one over the Shetucket, on the road from Windham to Ilartfurd, 
known as Old Town Bridge, and one over the Willimantic, called the 
Iron Works Bridge. Mansfield was directed to rebridge the Nachaug. 
In 1774, the town of Windham wa,s ordered to build and maintain a 
bridge across the Shetucket upon a road lately laid out to New Hamp- 
shire, to accommodate the travel to the new college in Hanover. The 
selectmen of Windham were now required, "To provide suitable houses 
for the pool', and persons to take care of them, rates for the same to be 
paid in provisions." 

Social life in Windham was still chai-acterized by exuberant hilarity. 
"Jaunting and junketing," feasting and merry-making were more and 
more in vogue. A very free and generous style of living had been 
adopted by the upper circle, rivaling that of the leading families in the 
larger towns. Windham's relations with Norwich were especially 
close and cordial, and were marked by continual interchange of hospi- 
talities and festivities. Entertainment was made easy by the great 
number of negroes. Nearly every household owned its servants, gen- 
erally a man and wife, with a great brood of children. They were a 
careless, happy set, fond of joking and fiddliug, and added nuich to the 
general jollity. Colonel Dyer's body-servant Jack, the son of an Afri- 
can prince, was chief among these negroes. He accotnpanied his mas- 
ter upon many public missions, and was distinguished for gentlemanly 
demeanor. Colonel Dyer had a houseful of negroes, great and small, 
and entertained much company in fine style. Pictures and rarities 
brought from abroad adorned his handsome residence. A very promi- 
nent and popular household at this time was that of Colonel Eleazer 
Fitch, son of Joseph Fitch of Lebanon. Remarkably distinguished in 
person, being six feet four inches in height, and three hundred pounds in 



TOWN AFFAIRS IN WINDHAM, ETC. 53 

weight, and called " the best-looking officer in the American army," he 
was still more noted for social attractions and elegant accomplishments. 
Inheriting an am[)le estate, he had enjoyed superior educational and 
social advantages, and was especially distinguished for musical taste 
and acquirements, and appreciation of art and literature. Entering early 
into public life he had served as an officer in the French war, aided in 
negotiating the Delaware purchase, and secured the ])osition of high 
sheriif of Windham County. His stately mansion, built in 1769 on 
Zion's Hill, was one of the most tasteful residences in Enstern Connec- 
ticut. Here many daughters wei-e growing up and taking their place in 
society, distinguished like their father by beauty, grace and musical 
culture. The daughteis of Mr. James Flint were ranked among the 
Windham belles of tliis date. 

In schools Windham was still deficient. The grammar school en- 
joined by law u[)on towns of her standing and population was not main- 
tained with any degree of efficiency. These brilliant young ladies were 
indebted for their training to "a dame's school " on the Green, and a 
few months ''linishing " in Hartford or New London. Moses Cook 
Welch of Mansfield, opened a grammar school on Windham Green 
after his graduation from Yale in 1772, but soon relinquished it to 
study law with Colonel Dyer. T!ie young men of the wealthier fami- 
lies were usually sent to college after preparatory study with Mr. 
White, or Dr. Wheelock in Lebanon. Windham was deeply interested 
in the various educational movements initiated by the latter. One 
of his early Windham neighbors and playmates, Joshua More, gave a 
house and land in Mansfield to be appropriated to the training up of 
Indian youth for ministerial and missionary service, and a good Wind- 
ham lady left a legacy in behalf of this Christian enterprise. Wind- 
ham made earnest but unsuccessful efforts to retain this school. Her 
ministers, Rev. Messrs. White and Mosely, were members of the con- 
vention for considering its removal, and Windham students accompanied 
President Wheelock on his migration to the wilderness, and were 
among the first graduates of Dartinouth College. Sanmel Gray, Jun., 
was gi'aduated with the first class in 1771, and Augustine Hebard the 
following year. The latter soon went out to Canada on a mission to 
the Indians. Hezekiah Bissell, Joseph Huntington, Vine Elderkin, 
Ebenezer Gray, Hezekiah Ripley and Shubael Abbe were also gradu- 
ated from Yale College during this period. Most of these young men 
remained in Windham, filling the places left vacant by death anil emi- 
gration. Dr. Ebenezer Gray died in 1773; Dr. Jonathan Hunthigton 
in 1777. After a life marked by "piety to God and benevolence to 
mankind," this distinguished and beloved physician endured the most 
intense sufferings without a murmur or complaint, exhibiting to its close 



54 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

" a sti'ikin<>' ])icture of tliat fortitude and ])ritience wliicOi cluisliaiiify 
alone can ins[)ire. " They weve succeeded in practice l)y Dr. Samuel 
Lee of Goshen, a young man of "herculean strength and ngility." and 
ardent patriotism, who had enjoyed the professional training of Dr. 
Ezekiel Porter of Wethersfield. 

Windham's Fii'st Church was less prospei'ous th;in in pi-evious pei'lods. 
Its numbers were lessening, and its stated worship was losing its hold 
upon the ])ublic mind. The mild and gentle character of Mr. White's 
preaching and influence was little fitted to cope with increasing world- 
liiiess and many opposing elements. Deacon Nathaniel Skiff died in 
1761. Nathaniel W.'iles, Sen., and Joseph Huntington still served in 
the deacon's office. Jonathan Martin and Elijah Binuham were chosen 
junior deacons in 1765. The numerous "scctaiies" continued their 
opposition to the standing oi'der. Those in the first society had now 
become very much iinl)ued with Baptist sentiments. Mr. Benjamin 
Lathrop, a worthy and respected citizen, obtained "ordination in' that 
line," and had a small number of followers to whom he administered 
religious ordinances, but had no fi.\:ed place of worship. Elijah Bib- 
bins served as its deacon. 

Scotland Parish shared in the secular prosperity of the town. Rev. 
Ebenezer Devotion was held in high I'eputation throughout the colony 
as "a great divine, a pious man, an able politician, eminent for every 
kind of merit." So great was tlie public confidence in his judgment 
and wisdom that after the passage of the Stamp Act he was sent by 
Windham to lepresent her in the General Assembly, as the man most 
comi)etent to advise in that great crisis, "a very singular instance," 
accoiding to President Stiles. While strongly favoring the popular 
side in politics, and encouraging his fellow-citizens in their resistance 
to arbitrary enactments, he never forgot the respect due to constituted 
authorities, nor omitted his public prayer ibr the King and Koyal 
Family. Still less did he waver in his hostility to religious sectaries, or 
favor any dissent from the ecclesiastic constitution of Connecticut, or 
fail to send his negro every Sabbath morning with a written order for 
Rev. John Palmer, forbidding him to preach within his territoi'ial 
limits. Although this Separate l>runswick Church had been for many 
years organized, and maintained its regular worship, its members wei'e 
still forced to pay rates for Mr. Devotion, or suffer the loss of cattle 
and goods, or imprisonment in Windham jail. In 1765, Deacon Ed- 
ward Waldo made confession for unlawful separation, and was restoi'ed 
to his former standing in the First Church. Deacons Cary and Kings- 
ley continued many years in active service. Mr. Devotion died while 
yet in the prime of life to the great grief of church and community. 
An elaborate epitaph on the monument in Scotland's burying-grouud 



TOWN AFFAIRS IN WINDHAM, ETC. 55 

testified to the hioh cliaracter and reputation of the deceased pastor, 
and is pronounced by most cotuj)etent authority* " not beyond the 
truth:" — 

" To the memory of the sreat and good man— the Rev. Ebenezor Devotion, 
first Pastor of the Congregational church in Windham. He was boin 
ill Siiffieid, May 8, 1714, ordained, Oct. 22, 1735, and died July, 1771. 
Descended from venerable ancestors, he increased the honor of the family. 
His genius was universal, which being cultivated with diligence rendered 
him eminent in the various brandies of science and most peculiarly as a 
Politician and Divine. He was an example of benevolence, gravity, toriitnde, 
sobriety, cheerfulness, prudence and hospitality; an unshaken friend, a kind 
husband, a tender parent, a sincere Christian, a wise and faithful minister of 
Christ. Greatly esteemed by all good judges ot liis acquaintance and beloved 
by liis tlock. 

Death wounds to cure; we fall; 

We rise ; we reign. 

We spring from our fetters, * 

We fasten in the skies." 

Mr. Devotion was succeeded in the pastoral office by liev. James 
Cogswell, then recently disuiissed from Canterbury, who I'eceived a 
unanimous call from church and society, with the oiler of £00 settle- 
ment, £S0 salary, and •' the liberty of getting his firewood on the 
lot the society had of James Manning." Notwithstanding many 
doubts and quabns as to his ability to fill the place of so distinguished 
a personage, Mr. Cogswell persoually appeared and accepted, and 
with the countenance and aid of his most valued ministerial brethren, 
Avas liappily installed Feb. 19, 1772. The Reverends Throop, White, 
Whitney, Ripley and Lee weie present, together with Joseph Hunt- 
ington, a son of the Scotland church, John Devotion, brother of the 
former pastor, and an honored deacon or leading brother from each 
church represented in the council. Ebenezer Devotion, Exjierience 
Robinson, Nathaniel Hebard, Jeremiah Bingham, Joseph Ginnings 
and James Gager served as providing committee. With far less 
strength and decision of character t'lan his i)redecessor, Mr. Cogswell 
was probably not his inferior in cultui'e, or in pulpit ministrations, and 
his kindliness of temper and genial manners soon won popular favor. 
Scarcely had he removed to Scotland when he was called to severe 
affliction, in the loss of his wife, Mi's. Alice Fitch Cogswell, and their 
only daughter, Alice, who, in the twenty-third year of her age. 
May 11, 1772, "departed this vain transitory life in fiitn h(){)e of a 
glorious immortality." Her funeral sermon was preached by Rev. 
Mr. Hart, who touchingly bemoaned this only daughter of her dear 
mother now no more, who had grown up from infimcy with gieat 
promise, making most uncommon progress in the useful as well as 



♦Professor James L. Kingsley, Yale College, 1851. 



56 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY, 

ornamental parts of female leaining. Following the example of 
many of his ministerial associates Mr. Cogswell in due time married 
the widow of his predecessor — Mrs. Martha Lathrup Devotion — and 
occu])ied her pleasant homestead. Her children were now mostly 
settled in life. Ebenezer, the only son, had married a daughter of 
Dr. Jonathan Huntington, engaged in trade and held many public 
offices. One daughter was married to Samuel Huntington of Norwich, 
another to Rev. Joseph Huntington, and a third to John M. Breed of 
Norwi<',h. Two bright young daughters still cheered the family man- 
sion. The uncommon social accomplishments of Mr. Cogswell and 
his three promising sons made them a welcome acquisition to this 
large family circle, and the Scotland parsonage with its agreeable 
inmates and throngs of distinguished visitants became one of tlie 
most atti'active of Windham's many famous social centres. 

With a new minister, Scotland aspired to a now meeting-house. 
After having been compelled "to mend the glass when much broken, 
by taking from other windows and boarding them up where least 
useful" — it was voted, Nov. 9, 1772, to build a meeting-house for 
the jHiblic worship of God, and there were ninety-eight yeas and 
twenty nays. Elisha Lillie, Captain Joseph Ginnings, Seth Palmer, 
Experience and Reuben Robinson, were chosen " to draw a plan of 
bigness of meeting-house." It was agreed to give Mr. Elisha Lillie 
£7.iO, for building the house, walls clapboarded with rived pine clap- 
boards, and colored with a decent color ; but it was not till June, 
1774, that a committee was chosen to procure the necessary rigging 
and help, together with suitable provisions for raising the frame. 
The opposition of the Separates was one cause of this delay. Find- 
ing that they were about to be taxed heavily for this new house of 
worship, they ajipealed to the Genel'al Assembly, showing : — 

" That ill 1749, believing in eood conscience tliat the principles an'l articles 
and some of the doctrines adhered to by the Scotland church and people, 
were not agreeable to the gospel, and as they or most of them hoped they 
were enlightened by the light of God's countenance, and found by repeated 
trials that ihey could not profit by the ministrations of Mr. Devotion, and in 
174i), confed(;ratod together separate from said minister and people, and set 
up a religious worship according to the dictates of their own consciences, 
and called Mr. John Palmer as elder or teacher, who was ordained over them 
and has continued preaching the gospel and administering the sacraments to 
your memorialists, and they have freely contributed to his support, and 
built a comfortable house "to accommodate those who join with them in 
divine service, and all this lime have been forced to pay for the support of Mr. 
Devotion and Mr. Cogswell, and repairing the meeting-house, and other 
society charges, although they have earnestly requested relief in vain, — 
wherein they beg you to consider if it is agreeable to the laws of Christ 
or consonant to the rules of equity for your memorialists and their children, 
to have their eflects by force of law taken from them to support a minister 
with whom they never did nor can join in worship, and support their own 



Windham's second society, etc. 57 

minister too, and pray you to talie their distressing case into your considera- 
tion and enact that they be made a distinct society. 

Zacheus "Waldo. John Walden. John Silsbury. 

Zebulon Hebard. Stephen Webb. Timotliy Allen. 

Lemuel Biugham. Israel Hale. SamuelBaker, Jan. 

J^benezer Webb. "William Perkins. Jedidiah Binghaui. 

Joliii Palmer. Joseph Allen, Jun. Henry Bass. 

Benjamin Cleveland. Jonathan Brewster. Moses Cleveland. 

Joseph Allen. Ebenezer Bass. 

Witidham, April 5, 1773." 

This reasonable request obtained a favorable hearing, and Bruns- 
wick church was at last released from its heavy burden. The stand- 
ing society was greatly aggrieved at this curtailment of their powers 
and privileges, and bitterly bemoaned this " act of Assembly, taking 
a number of inhabitants, and discharging them from paying taxes." 
At a society meeting called to consider how to make up the deficit, 
it was voted to lay a tax for that purpose. " All inhabitants over 
t&n years old " were oi'dered to be listed, and a rate of twelve-i)ence 
of the pound found needful. The school house seeming likely to 
endanger the meeting-house b}'' fire, was moved a suitable distance. 
Pews were built as ordered, and the meeting-house seated by a com- 
petent committee in December, 177S, and in the succeeding May, it 
was formally accepted " as built by Elisha Lillie." The old house 
then " put upon sail," brought back seventeen pounds. 



V. 

WINDHAM'S SECOND SOCIETY. PEW DISPUTE. SCHOOL DIS- 
TRICTS SET OUT. CONTROVERSY WITH REV. SAMUEL 
MOSELY. VOLUNTOWN. 

CANADA Parish continued to increase and prosper though sub- 
jected to the usual secular and ministerial controversies. The 
venerable Deacon Thomas Stedman generally presided at society meet- 
ings ; Stephen Durkee served as clerk ; Captain John Howard of How- 
ard's Valley, David Fuller and Joseph Burnham as society committee; 
Jeremiah Durkee and Jacob Simmons, collectors ; Ichabod Downing, 
Capt. William Durkee and Lieut. Jonathan Kingsbury, school commit- 
tee. Ten pounds were added in 1762 to the salary of Uev. Samuel 
Mosely. The congregation and community were much disturbed at 
this date by a difficulty in seating the new and elegant meeting-house. 
The persons entrusted with this delicate office had not exercised due 
judgment. Not only did they seat six grown persons in one pew— 
and persons grown in this goodly neighborhood attained capacious 



58 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COITNTi'. 

diineiisioMS — but they allowed " men of little or no estate to sit very 
forward and in high pews," while others of good estate and high ia 
public esteem were compelled with shame to take a lower seat. Gal- 
leries and body-seats were left very thin compared to tliese coveted 
pews, and the galleries were so given over to light-minded youth that 
the tithing-men were obliged to leave their seats below to keep them 
in order. This state of things created much talk and uneasiness espe- 
cially among the foremost men, that they should be so crowded and 
misplaced in order to get men into the pews that never paid enough 
for the meeting-house to build one pew, and after enduring this griev- 
ance several years a meeting was called, Dec. 9, 1762, to rectify it. 
AYilliam Bennett was chosen moderator, and it was voted by a great 
majority, "To sell the pews at jniblic vendue, no man to buy no more 
tlian one, and no man out of the society to buy one ; Capt. Robert Dur- 
kee to serve as vendue master." This action greatly increased the pub- 
lic excitement. The older members of the society were at once aroused 
to the inexpediency and danger of allowing private individuals to select 
their own seats in the house of worship, and become proi»rietors of a 
part of the sacred edifice. In spite of remonstrance and opposition the 
vote was cariied out, and the valiant Captain who had served so 
bravely in the French and Indian war, now sold the pews in the face of 
the opposing enemy. Twenty-five pews on the floor of the house were 
assigned to tlie following purchasers, at prices ranging fi'om fourteen 
pounds to three, viz.: Jeremiah Utley, Jolin Fuller, Ilezekiah Ilani- 
mond, Stejthen Durkee, Timothy Pearl, Zebediali Farnham, Ebenezer 
Hovey, Cajit. John Howard, Dea. Ebenezer Grifiin, Hen'ry Durkee, 
Daniel Farnham, Thomas Stedman, Jun., Isaac Bennett, Jephthah Ut> 
ley, William Farnham, Joseph Burnham, John Hammond, Benjamin 
Cheddle, Stephen Arnold, John Sessions, Jonathan Clark, Samuel Ful- 
ler, John Smith, Gideon Martin, Isaac Clark. Although many of these 
purchasers were the leading, solid men of the society, the clamor was 
not in the least abated. Some with no families, but single persons — 
" bachelors, ivho had yiever paid rates for more than one head and a 
horse" and some not qualified voters had presumed to bid off" pews 
and gain possession of an uppermost seat in the synagogue, '" whereby 
the society was thrown into the most unhappy contention." Another 
meeting was called, and Lieut. Kingsbury appointed agent, "to take 
advice concerning the difficulty concerning pews," who straightway 
laid the case befoi-e Colonel Dyer, Major Elderkin and Major Griswold. 
By their advice another society meeting was held Ai)ril 21, 1763, the 
vote for selling the pews was set aside by a large majority, and Jacob 
Simmons deputized to represent the affair to the General Assembly and 
secure confirmation of their proceedings. Tlie purchasers of the pews 



Windham's second society, etc. 59 

attein])tcd to show tliat the vote to sell the ]>e\vs was not suddenly 
passed ; that no open objections were made till after the sale; that only 
five of them were young men without families, and tliat nine societies 
in Windham County already held pews as private property. These 
representations were ineffectual, and the famous pew vote of December 
9, and proceedings thereupon, were made null and void by Act of As- 
sembly. The society resumed possession of its much valued pews, ap- 
pointing Abiel Abbott, Josejjh Marsh and Ebenezer Hovey to seat the 
congregation therein with the requisite order and formality. Sundry 
residents of Canterbury, viz. : Jethro Rogers, James Hidlack, Aaron 
Fuller and Zebediah Farnhain were now admitted to society privileges 
in Canada. Captain William Durkee was directed " to search after the 
right (if any we have) to the lot of land called the Ministerial Lot iu 
Windham ;" the society committee " to distrilnite the books called Say- 
brook Platform sent to the society by Government ;" and llol)ert Molt 
" to bring and take care of the christening basin as occasion sliall re- 
quire." 

In 1763, Captain William Durkee, Lieut. Kingsl)ury, Nathaniel 
Fold, Zebediah Farnhain, Abiel Abbott, John Sessions and Joseph 
Burnhaiu were appointed a committee to set out school districts, winch 
was accomplished within two years. The First or Central disti'ict be- 
gan very properly by "taking in the Rev. Mr. Mosely and ranging so 
as to take in Mr. Joseph Sessions, and from thence west to Burnt Cedar 
Swampf.-and then following the main stream of Cedar Swamp Brook 
till it comes to the road below Benjamin Burgess', and from thence to 
said Mosely's." Number Two extended " from old Mr. John Perkins' 
to Mr. Joseph Burnham's, and all east and south of Cedar Swamp 
Brook." Number Three ran "from Jonathan Holt's, taking in Holt's 
house, and north, taking in all the inhabitants situated on the road to 
Mr. Joseph Marsh's, taking in said Marsh's house, and from thence tak- 
ing in Mr. William Alworth's and James Alworth's house, and ranging 
north to the easternmost extent of the society." Number Four took 
in " Mr. Stephen Clark's house, and then south all the inhabitanis west 
of Cedar Swamp, and so far as to take in Mr. Jonathan Fish's and Mr. 
David Canada's houses, and so south and west to the extent of the 
society." School-house sites were affixed by William Osgood and 
Seth Paine of Pomfret, and Benajah Cary of Windham, viz. : one in the 
northeast district near Deacon Griffin's house, and two in the north- 
west or fourth district, one nine rods south of William Holt's ; another 
eight rods west of John Fuller's. " Eleven months schooling by a 
master, to be kept in each district according to its list," was thought 
sufficient for the whole society in the winter, and school-dames were 
engaged for the little ones iu the summer. Upon the humble petition 



60 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

of Joseph Diirkee, Jonathan and Duvirl Fish, Benjamin Flint, Edward 
and Samuel Coburn, Jonathan Holt, William Neft' and Joseph Utley, a 
fifth district was set off in 1774, in the northeast section, known as 
Appaquage. 

Efforts were now made to secure greater local privileges. Connec- 
tion with Windham was in many respects burdensome and inconveni- 
ent. The distance was great, and town and parish had few interests in 
common. In 1767 it was voted, "That this society is desirous to be 
made into a district, to be allowed all the powers and privileges of a 
town, except choosing our own deputies and other business of freemen's 
meeting." Jacob Simmons, Ebenezer Hovey and Abiel Abbott were 
chosen to apply to the selectmen of Windham, and to endeavor to ob- 
tain consent of town, and to consult with counsel and ])rocni"e neces- 
sary preparations in oider to obtain our request. Captain John How- 
ard was also empowered to aid them in preparing a petition. This 
proving fruitless in the following year it was further voted, " That this 
society is desirous to be made into an entire and distinct town, and will 
apply to the General Assembly." Captain Jonathan Kingsbury was a|> 
pointed agent in their behalf, but liis pleas though repeatedly urged 
were unsuccessful. 

In 1768 the society voted to repair and new color the meeting-house. 
Captain Kingsbury, Abiel Abbott and Thomas Fuller were appointed a 
committee to color said meeting-house as aforesaid, and — in order to 
be in the highest style of fashion — they were farther oixlered, " To color 
the same something like the color of Pomfret meeting-house." Captain 
John Howard was added to this committee in 1771, in place of Capt. 
Kingsbury, deceased. 

The prosperity of Canada Parish was somewhat checked during 
these years, by a very uiqjleasant controversy with Mr. Mosely. Pos- 
sessing a strong will and very positive opinions, he had assumed with 
advancing years more and more authority over his people, and by 
excessive use of the negative power allowed by Saybrook Platform 
was able to exercise supreme control in all church affiiirs. A large 
majority of the church were opposed to Saybrook Platform, and 
especially the ministerial negative derived from it, but, esteeming tlieir 
pasto)' an eminently holy and godly minister, silently acquiesced in his 
administration. A few of the leading men, warmly imbued with the 
revolutionary spirit of the times, resented this infringement of their 
religious rights and resolved to resist it. The original covenant of 
the church by which they simply took the Scriptures for their guide, 
allowed, they thought, too great latitude to the pastor. A more 
explicit covenant and plan of discipline were suggested, and also " a 
body of ruling elders" to balance the power of "the teaching elder," 



Windham's second society, etc. 61 

but as Mr. Mosely was much opposed to any innovation and would 
only warn church nieetingjs at his own pleasure they found it very 
difficult to bring the matter before the church. They therefore 
requested Mr. Mosely to call a church meeting, " to learn the niind 
of the chui-ch about dealing with baptized persons, and about choosing 
some of the fathers to assist therein." At this meeting, Feb. 0, 170i), 
the church unanimously voted, to proceed to deal with baptized, 
i. e., " Half-covenant " members, but when the second article was 
proposed " one and another went ofl" fi-oin it and spoke for a I'latform 
and ruling elders," to which Mr. Mosely replied, that they were 
settled on the Word of God for their Platform, that with their different 
sentiments they should not agree on any Platform of human com- 
posure, that if agreed in the great essential things to bear down sin 
and promote holiness they nuist exercise mutual forbearance in their 
different sentiments about lesser matters ; that he was thankful to 
God they were so well agreed in said important articles and thought 
he should sin if he indulged in debate about Platforms, — and " being 
mucli overcome with cold," straightway dismissed the church. Thus 
debarred from discussion or opportunity of further action, the indig- 
nant brethren appointed five prominent church members, viz : Wil- 
liam Durkee, Jonathan Kingsbmy, Jonathan Burnap, Geoi'ge iMailin 
and William Foster, to remonsti-ate the matter with their pastor, who 
entreated him as a father to look into the subject, and consider the 
expediency of having an explicit model or Platform of church 
discipline deduced from Scripture and introduced peaceably as soon as 
might be into their church, according to the commendaV)le example of 
the best Reformed churches in Christendom. They also entreated 
him to satisfy them and the church they represented, by what authori- 
ty, divine or human, his claim and exercise of a supreme and sole 
power over the church of Christ met in his name was warianted. 
"This exertion of the teaching elder's power and authority, in opposi- 
tion to almost every other church in New England, abundantly con- 
vinced them of the necessity of having other office bearers in the 
church, viz. : ruUvg eWe-r.s— joined in luling and governing the church 
with the ehler that labors in word and doctrine. The bretliren of the 
church hj^d usurped no authority, nor encroached in the least upon 
the prerogative, office or dignity of the pastoi-, but in a modest and 
peaceable manner moved to confer upon the duty and expediency of a 
Platform without pietending to say upon what model it should be 
formed; whereupon the pastor did dissolve the meeting, contrary to the 
duty of a moderator in all meetings civil or religious, contrary to the 
law of the Colony which prohibits their adjoiiDiment witliout consent 
of the majority ; much less to dissolve the meeting without such 
conseut" 



62 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

" We entreat you," continued the remonstrants, " to consider whether this 
alarmins exertion of authority doth not carry in it some appearance of lord- 
iuif it over God's heritage, so detested by our fathers that it drove New Eng- 
land out of Old, to avoid a yoke that neither we nor our fathers could 
bear. . . . AVe entreat you, timely to consider, that if after such an unprece- 
dented dissolution of the church meeting, you are pleased to take advantage 
thereof, and refuse to be entreated by us becau-^e you have disabled the 
church to appear by a lea;al representation, and will no more warn a church 
meeting to treat with them upon the premises. Sir. your triumph upon a 
victory so gained will be short. Can you think, sir, in this day of struguie 
in defence of civil liberties and rights in America, this church will tamely 
submit to be deprived of their divine and sacred privileges, so preferable to 
all our inheritance besides, and give such an example of slavery and depend- 
ency as to submit to such a supreme authority in the ministry over the church. 
Was the church made for ministers or ministers for the church ? Think you 
there are none who will appear on the Lord's side in this case, and all other 
sidings we detest and hold in contempt. Are not all the constitutional clericy 
and churches and cloud of witnesses in New England and throughout the 
Reformed Protestant churches listed under this banner, whose footsteps we 
are essaying to trace out. Would you have us stand still and be robbed of 
those sacred liberties and privileges that have flowed to the church in the 
blood of Christ, the Supreme Head thereof. Sir, the Lord forbid that we 
should give the inheritance of our fathers unto thee. Shall not we possess 
what the Lord our God hath given us to possess. Finally, sir, we entreat 
you to let us, and the church by us know, what we are to expect from you 
for the future in this matter, and if upon cool reflection you find . . . you 
have unadvisedly dissolved said church meeting, you would be pleased with- 
out loss of time upon better advisement to warn another meeting for the 
purpose and end aforesaid, wherein we desire you to go before us in the good 
work aforesaid, according to the duty set forth "by the prophet Ezekiel. ' Thou 
son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, and shew them the form 
of the house.' Windham, Feb. 20, 1769." 

•Mr. Mosely thereupon called and held a church meeting, March 3, 
to consider these matters, and so " territied " the weaker brethren by 
representing to them that they wotxld have to support their ruling as 
well as teaching elder, and might have to settle a new minister and 
pay damages to the old one by insisting upon a cliurch Platform, that 
a majority voted against the proposed changes. The minority there- 
upon drew up a paj^er far more inflammatory and bitter than the 
previous '* remonstrance," in which they alleged various specific 
charges against the pastor, as follows : — 

" 1. The power and riirht you claim in negativing the church we den\', 
and say the key of discipline was given to the church by Christ . . . and can 
find no rule in Scripture for your prerogative power except you take it from 
Diotrephes, who loved to have preeminence . . . and the apostle saith he 
wrote to the church there, and that his evil example ant to be followed. 

2. Your dissolving church meetings in the midst of business without the 
consent of the church we say is an error, and there is no scripture warrant 
for such a prerogative power. 

3. We think you exert unreasonable and unscriptural .power in confining 
the church in their meetings to what you have put in the warning, and your 
taking the power of putting in what you pleased, in this you are more arbi- 
trary than any of our civil powers . . . Sir. we do think the church ought to 
enjoy as great a privilege in their meetings as towns and societies do, for if 
we may believe Christ and the apostles, no men on earth have greater liberty 
than the church of Christ. 

i. We think. Sir, that you err ranch as moderator in our church meetings, 
for you will have the chief of the talk, and so lay your plan and scheme and 



WINDHAM S SECOND SOCIKTT, ETC. 63 

pursue the same in the church that we think such plans and schemes laid and 

pursued in the church resemble deceit more than honesty 

. 9. We think you very much err in openin<i- the door so wide into the 
church as to admit members without some satislying account of a work of 
grace on their hearts, ;ind without the consent of the church, merely because 
they say they are a mind to come. We think, sir, it is the riglit way to let 
Anti-Christ into the church full breast, for certain unclean persons and 
hypocrites have no right in Christ's cliurch. 

10. Sir, your taking the key of the meeting-house and holding it, we say 
is contrary to God's word, and you have uo right to it, and not content witli 
that, you rob us of the key of the whole society. Sir, we are bold to say 
Christ never gave you them keys nor no other man on earth, for he knev,- how 
full the world always was and would be of false prophets and teachers 
tliut would turn the ke.y against his disciples. Praj% sir, to what purpose had 
it a ben for our Saviour to have sent nut the apostles as he did to [ircach the 
gospel to every creature, if these keys had been given io the n)inisters? Why 
they must truly have turned back without preaching to an^ ci'eature, with tliis 
complaint. Lord, thou sent us out to preach the gospel to every creature but had 
given the keys of every city, town and house to the riiinisi.ers, and tliey for- 
bid us. Sir, are you wiser than Christ ? Do you know how to manage the 
keys better than Christ ? He never gave them to you. For God's sake give 
them up, for thou hast nothing to do with them. Can you think, sir, that such 
a power as you claim is from Christ ? Xo, assuredly you can't unless you 
uiaUe this addition — Axti— for darkness and light are as near alike as your 
power and the spirit of Christ — and do cousider, Sir, your iugiatitude to a 
people that maintains and supports you ; that you should cluistize us with 
scorpions and rule us with a rod of iron and put such chains and bonds on us 
that we nor our fathers were not able to bear. ' Tell it not in Gath ! ' 

11. Sir, we take it hard that the case of Mrs. Keyes was not brought be- 
fore the church when so many requested it. 

12. Sir, we should be glad to know the reason of your parting Cuff and his 
wife, and as she was a sister in ye church and in legular standing as far as 
we know, }'et we understand that you did deny her partaking with us. 

13. And there are others who have withdrawn from the church these many 
years and hant been called to uo account, and we know not the cause of such 
a separation. Pray, sir, if you think the key of discipline belongs to you we 
think you have much neglected your duty. Sir, for you to rob us of ye keys 
and nut use them can't be right. 

14. We think you are much to blame in denying people copies of the 
churcli record when the church has been a dealing with them .... and unless 
you reform we think it duty for this church to appoint some other man to hold 
the records 

16. We think, sir, you are very partial in your visits for some houses you 
visit not for years, others you visit much. Pray rememl)er Christ and his 
Apostles' commands, and do nothing l?y partiality, for God is not a respecter 
of persons. 

17. Sir, we desire the church records may be read in this church, even as 
far back as your ordination, that we may search after the Achan that troubles 
us, and who can tell but that God will discover it to us, and save us. as he did 
Israel by Phineluis, or as he did the nation of the Jews by means of the King's 
hearing the Book read .... On that night could not the King sleep, and he 
commanded to bring the book of the Chronicles, and they were read before the 
King.'" 

This paper, embodying tlie priiici])al charges against ^Ir. Mosely, 

was read before a number of brethren of the church, but as some 

thought the charges laid too high it was not formally adoi)ted, but kept 

to aid in preparing something that might be suitable to lay before 

church and minister in due season. The report of its existence and 

private circulation greatly exasperated Mr. Mosely, who attempted "to 

deal " with the chief offenders both publicly and privately. As usual 



64: HISTORY OF M'INDHAM COUNTY. 

in such affairs many hard things were said on both sides, and charges 
of misrepresentation and lying were I'reely interchanged. Each party 
accused the other of promising copies of votes and documents, and 
then withholding them. William Foster, who was especially zealous 
in defending the church against ministerial usurpation, not only 
affirmed openly, "that Mr. Mosely had lied and he could prove it," but, 
when reproved by him, replied, " That he saw the Pope's horns begin 
to bud some years ago, and now they were grown out.'' Mr. Mosely's 
method of dealing with these offending brethren was certainly not un- 
papal. After bickering through the summer, they called a council of 
ministers and delegates in October, wliich agreed " That the aggrieved 
brethren might rationally expect from an undoubted right founded on 
reason and the Word of God, and agreeable to the general sense and 
practice of churches in New England, a church meeting for a full, free 
and oi)en conversation i-especting the introduction of some platform of 
ecclesiastical discipline and government into the church in which it 
had been too long deficient." But when in accordance with the advice 
of tliis council, the aggrieved brethren in a decent and becoming man- 
ner, without heat or bitterness, earnestly and unitedly besought and 
entreated their pastor to call a churcl\ meeting for a conference upon 
tliis impoitaiit subject, they were answered by a summons to appear 
before the church for trial : — 

"I. For publishing a defamatory paper coutainiug divers misrepresenta- 
tions and railing; words and expressions against the pastor. 

II. For taking God's name in vain in said paper, against the third com- 
mandment. 

III. For abominable deceit in asking their pa.stor to warn a church meet- 
ing to consider dealing with baptized persons, when their true object was to 
introduce this question of a Platform." 

These charges were tried before the church, Mr. Mosely himself act- 
ing as moderator in spite of the protestations of the accused brethren. 
About forty members of the church were present. Seven voted in 
favor of censure and seven against it. Again the pastor asked if they 
should proceed to censure, and adding his vote to the seven, pro- 
nounced the question carried, refusing to call the negative. Eight 
votes, including those of the pastor, his brother, and nephew, decided 
tlie case in a male membership of over fifty denied the liberty of ex- 
pressing their non -concurrence, an act of ministerial domination rarely 
surpassed in audacity. The negative power, according to Mr. Mosely, 
was solely intrusted to ministers. In accordance with this vote, Ebene- 
zer Plovey, Dea. Ebenezer Griffin, Jonathan Burnap, Capt. William 
Durkee, Jonathan Kingsbury, George Martin, John Clark, Jun., and 
William Foster were pronounced "guilty of scandalous violation of the 
thii-d commandment, of publishing a false and scandalous paper, of 



Windham's second society, etc. 65 

abominable deceit, conteiniUuous abuse of tlie divine institution of dis- 
cipline, scandalous violations of gospel injunctions," &c., and it was 
adjudged that these offenders ought to make a public acknovvledguient 
of their sins, or otlierwise be ])roceede(l with in a way of censure, and 
this charge and sentence were publicly read on the Lord's day before 
church and congregation. 

Nothing but the sterling virtues and high Christian character of Mr. 
Mosely saved him from the storm that followed. The outraged 
brethren refused to submit to the censure, and insisted u])()n its retrac- 
tion. Public opinion and ministerial counsel sustained them in this 
demand, and in almost any church a rupture and separation would have 
been inevitable. But in spite of his wilfulness and arbitraiy govern- 
ment, Mr. Mosely was greatly beloved and respected by the majoi'ity 
of his people. Many who disapproved of his conduct chose to retain 
him as their pastor, and by their conciliatory efforts both parties were 
brought to intrust decision to a council. The Reverends Solomon 
Williams, David Hall, Benj. Throup, Aaron Plutchinsun, Aaron Put- 
nam and Levi Flint, with delegates from their respective cliurches, 
were convened in Windham Village, May 22, 1770, "to hear, judge 
and advise between the pastor and major part of the chuix-h and a num- 
ber of aggiieved brethren," and decided, " That the charges against 
the aforesaid brethren were not sustained ; that they ought to be ac- 
quitted from censure ; and tliat the church should accordingly release 
them from the censure they had laid them under and restore them unto 
their charity." This advice was followed, and the brethren restored to 
fellowshij). Still, the breach was far from liealed. Violent recrimina- 
iiotis had been interchanged between the combatants. William Foster 
persisted in reiterating that " ^Ir. Mosely had lied," whereupon he was 
again arraigned before the church to account for his false and scanda- 
lous language. Foster offered to submit to trial under an impartial 
moderator unsubjected to the i)astor's negative. The church voted to 
go on with their pastor for moderator according to their custom, upon 
"which Foster " left the meeting, refusing trial." Mr. Mosely imme- 
diately led the church to vote l>im guilty of contempt of that authoiity 
which Christ had placed in the church, and proceeded to excommuni- 
cate him. The aggrieved brethren called another council, i. e., Dr. 
Hopkins and Dr. Stiles of Newport, Leonard of Woodstock and Fuller 
of Plainfield. These gentlemen " might have cleared them " on the 
same ground that the previous council hal done, but disapproved of 
the severe and bitter expressions against tlie pastor, and deferred deci- 
sion. A second attempt was more successful, and a general concession 
and forgiveness on both sides agreed to, William Foster, the chief 
offender and sufferer, declaring : — 
9 



66 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

" That altliough in the time I did tliink I had occasion to think Mr. IMosely 
did in some nieasnre evade tlie trntli, yet upon a more maluie deliberation I 
am sensible 1 pri-i'erred my eharjie a^iainst him with an nniliie temper of mind, 
and nnnecessarily jniblished the same, and especially in tellinj; liim, ' lie 
knew he lied,' in his own house, but on a fnither consideration of the matter 
I would charitably hope and believe that Mr. Mosely was not fiuilty of wil- 
fully departini^ from tlie truth, and therefore ask forgiveness of Mr. Mo.sely 
and my otlended brethren, and pray them to receive me into their charily. 

Windham Suciety, Oct. '31, 1771." 

In spite of these concessions and retractions the controversy soon 
broke out afresh. Tlie root of the difficuhy had not been reached. 
An explicit church covenant had not been secured nor Mr. Mosely's 
power restricted. A majority of the aggrieved bretliren accepted the 
decision and walked in harraojiy with the church, but Capt. Durkee, 
Jonathan Burnap and William Foster still resisted and remonstrated. 
Each side accused the other of violating the agreement. The old 
charges were interchanged, civil suits instituted. After some years of 
strife and violence, the following complaint against Mr. Mosely was 
laid before the Windham County Association : — 

" Whereas, I, the said William Foster, do esteem myself to have been 
grievously oppressed and injured for a number of years past bv the arbitrary 
and imscriptural proceedings of the said Rev. Mr. Mosely in his church admin- 
istrations and otherwise; in particular, in his repeatedly entering processes 
against me in his oivn name, and judging in his own caitse, as also in troubling 
me and other peaceable members of said church with unscriptural processes to 
the vexation of the church, and the disturbance of its peace and edification; 
in his toithholding copies of church votes that I had right to, and adding thereto 
such prevarications relative to the same, and such shifts and evasions as I 
cannot hut esteem a breach of the ninth command ; in leading the church to pass 
V(jtes concerning me in church meeting without notifying me to be present, 
and refusing to let me see the votes ctfterwards or to alloiv me copies of the same; 
in his refusing a christian conference on matters of grievance, or to Join in a 
co?(HCi7 to hear and settle all matters of controversy ; in his refusing to lay 
matters of church concern before the church ; in his icantonly dissolving church 
meetings in. the midst of business of great concern to the church; in his neglect 
of discipline to scandalous members in the church, and preventing the 
exercise thereof in the church by other members, and opposing all means 
used in the church for a reformation ; in his refusing to administer baptism to 
mi/ c//(A?/'eH for no justitiable reason, and while they have an indisputable 
right thereto ; and it is a matter of grievance to me and I take it to be the 
sjv'ing of all the arl)iirary proceedings above said; that said Mr. Mosely 
challenges a power over the church unknown in the Holy Scriptures ; it is also 
a matter of grievance, tlutt said Mr. Mosely has needlessltj troubled me in the 
civil law when I was always ready to have all matters of controversy heard 
and decided in an ecclesiastic way according to the rules of the gospel, and 
whereas I have used everj' method in my power for the redress of tlie afore- 
said grievances and the removal of offences but to no purpose, the honor of 
God, the intert'St of religion, the peace and editicalion of said church, and 
my own as well as the good of the said \\e\ . Mr. Mosely, unitedly and most 
strongly oblige as well as necessitate me to lay this information and com- 
plaint and represent my grievances before this Reverend Association, that 
such ortler may be taken and measures may be directed to and pursued as 
may tend to the removal of the aforesaid grievances and offences according 
to gospel rule. William Foster. 

iSept. 23, 1778." 



Windham's second society, etc. 67 

These charges were considered, first, by a council, and afterwards, 
by the consociated churches of the County, Jan. 4, 1779. It was 
adjudged that neither party was guilty in manner and form as alleged. 
The Reverend pastor was entreated as a venerable and much beloved 
father to examine himself and labor after greater ]»erfection of gentle- 
ness and circumspection ; the oifending brother admonished to search 
his own heart and ways, and strive and pray tliat in future he might 
possess and discover a more meek and peaceable spiiit, and show a 
more decent regard to the sacred ordinances of Christ, giving no 
just oifence to his ministers or churches; and the people of God 
earnestly advised and exhorted, " never more to revive, nor suffer to 
be I'evived any of those matters of ditHculty which had been under 
the consideration of the council, but to bury this long unhappy con 
tention in everlasting oblivion." 

This excellent advice was apparently followed. No change in the 
administration of church aifairs was effected during the life-time of 
Mr. Mosely, and with advancing years he became less arbitrary and 
exacting. Tiiat his peoj)le were not inclined to submit to over-exac- 
tions may be inferred from their choosing a committee to wait ujion 
him to learn his reasons "why he took sixty pounds for his salary, 
when by computing silver at six and eight-pence per ounce it would 
be but tifty-nine i)()unds, two shillings and five-pence." Whether he 
was compelled to refund the surplus shillings and pennies is not 
recorded. 

In thrift and activity Canada Parish kept pace with other sections 
of the town, and " Windhaiii Village " on its fair hill-top was hardly 
less a power than Windham Green in the southwest corner. Tlie 
bountiful harvests gathering in Apaquage's beautiful valley incited the 
farmers to unusual efforts during the revival of commercial prosperity. 
Captain James Stedman owned much land and carried on extensive 
farming operations, and was greatly respected as a man of substance 
and business capacity. His. brother Thomas, the skillful builder of 
meeting-houses, was equally respected. Deacon Ebenezer Griffin, 
Captain John Howard, Jacob Simmons and many other men of weight 
and influence were actively engaged in business and public affairs. 
Jeremiah, fifth son of John Clark, was trader as well as farmer, buying 
up such produce as he could take to Newport or Providence on 
horseback. John Brewster of Scotland Parish, after studying medi- 
cine with Dr. Barker of Franklin, married a daughter of Captain 
William Durkee, and settled in Windham village, and gained an 
extensive practice as the first and only physician in the vicinity. 
The women of this parish were especially thrifty and notable, true 
help-meets to their husbands. Mrs. Jeremiah Clark and Mrs. Wil- 



68 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

liam Holt were skilled in the art of making fine lace, as well as all 
needful domestic fabrics. The emigration to Wyoming cairied away 
many of these energetic and valuable families. Captain Kobert 
Durkee, cousin of John Durkee of Norwich, Stephen Fuller and John 
Holt were among these emigrants Captain Durkee was a man of 
great couiage and distinguished himself in many daring exploits, while 
Mr. Stephen Fuller was equally useful in attending to the ordinary 
routine of town affairs. 

Other sons of Canada Parish went out into the world upon more peace 
ful missions. Ebenezer Martin, a Yale graduate of 1756, after preach- 
ing for a time among the wilds of Berkshire, returned to labor in the 
new parish of Westford,, in his native county. El)enezer, son of . 
Rev. Samuel Mosely, was graduated in 1763, and after pi-eparatory 
studies was licensed to pi-each by the Brookfield Associatioii, Massa- 
chusetts, June 19, 1765. Two years later he was ordained and sent 
out by that body to labor in the Indian Mission, established in 1762, 
among The Six Nations, at Onohoquaga on the Susquehanna. " The 
mortification he must endure in a situation so remote from any Eng- 
lish settlements " was deeply commisei'ated by tlie missionary society 
which had chai'ge of the entei'i>rise, but perhaps the most serious 
danger which threatened the young missionary while among the 
savages was a matrimonial proposition from the principal sachem, I 
" who offered and urged his daughter upon him for his wife." As a ' 
direct refusal of this flattering oveiture would give great offence and 
might endanger the lives of the missionaries, Mr. Mosely could only i 
I^lead the necessity of gaining consent of his father, a plea whose ' 
validity was fortunately lecognized by the Indian code of etiquette. 



Voluntown was still in an unsettled and unhappy condition, the j 
greater part of its inhabitants averse to the established church, and 
yet compelled to pay rates for the support of the aged minister. At- 
tempts were made by residents of each end of the town to procure 
distinct society privileges. A petition signed by Ebenezer Dow, town 
clerk and one of the principal inhabitants, together with John James, 
Joshua and Moses Campbell, .Jeremiah, James au<l Moses Kinne, Hugh 
and John Wylie, Jonathan Minor, David Kennedy, Moses Fish and 
others, represented to the Assembly, September, 1762: — 

" That there was but one society iu Voluntown, twenty miles Ions; and four 
or live wide; list in 17GI, £10,766; inhabitants settled at each end and dis- 
persed in almost every part, about one hundred and eiirhty families, some 
dwelling seven, some nine and ten miles from meetinii-house ; trouble of 
transporting ourselves and families very great and heavy; town conveniently 
situated for division; such burden of travel hardly to l)e found iu any other 
town — and prayed for division." 



VOLUNTOWN, ETC. ' 69 

In 1764, Roger Billings and others asked for a new society, "begin- 
ning wlieie Facliiing Kiver i-nns ont of Pawcainnck Pond, " and taking 
in I lie north parts of Stonington and Preston. A connnittee was ap- 
pointed and reported against petition, as the Preston jx'ople were 
already well aceommodated. Volnntown they fonnd more than sixteen 
miles long and three or fonr in width, occupied by two hnndreil fami- 
lies ; inhabitants much scattered; many six and eight miles from any 
place of public worship ; roads bad ; yet inasmuch as a majority of 
them were against division, and weie less able to l)ear great charges 
than usual by reason of drought and unconnnon- [)ublic chaiges, they 
would not recommend it. 

As Mr. Dorrance increased in years and infirmities, the town became 
moi'e and more reluctant to pay for his support. A committee was 
sent to him in 1769, "to see whether he diil not think there was a pro- 
per vacancy in the town, and that it was high time he should lay down 
his pastoral charge over the town in order that they may take some 
I^roper way more eflectually to accommodate themselves on account of 
the Gospel," l)Ut Mr. Dorrance declined to listen to their proposals, 
wdiereupon the town withheld the stipulated salary. After two years 
wrangling Mr. Dorrance agreed "to join with the town and church in 
the most easy manner, call a council and be dismissed from the pas- 
toral charge, provided the town paid him the judgment obtained in 
Court for his salary in 1769, and £44, 6s. 6d. for 1770, and £2.5 per 
annum evei'y year so long as he lives." A council was accordingly 
held March o, 1771. JNIr. Cogswell reports "that the affair was con- 
ducted amicably ; that Mr. Dorrance seemed to bear his age wonder- 
fully and was dismissed in peace." He sui'vived his dismissal a few 
years, and died Nov. 12, 1775, aged niuety years. The Providence 
Gazette eulogizes him as " a zealous contender for the faith once de- 
livered to the saints, and an ornament to the religion he professed.'' 
His son Lemuel remained upon the homestead ; Samuel removed to 
Coventry, R. I. ; James to Brooklyn Parish ; John and George emi- 
grated to Wyoming. His daughter, Susanna, manied to Robert 
Dixon, resided in tlie north part of Voluntown. 

Various changes followed the dismissal of Mr. Dorrance. Isaac Gal- 
lup, Thomas Douglas, John Keigwin, Joseph Parke, Israel Babcock 
and others — "very desirous to enjoy public worship as we think right 
which is according to the Congregational platform ' — now received 
liberty from the town and General Assembly to join in a society by 
themselves without being interrui)ted by any other society. A society 
called Nazareth was thereupon organized in the south part of Volnn- 
town, and a church gathered there. Feb. 13, 1772, Mr. Levi Hart of 
Preston, preached a sermon and gave advice, and Jeremiah, James, 



70 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Moses and Ira Kinne, "Willitmi Hewson, Tlinnias Stewart and IMoses 
Fish were embodied into clmrch orders according to the "Congrega- 
tional Independent platform." They agreed : — 

" Th:it no coercive measures be used for supporting tlie minister. 

That it is tlie duty of every one to contril)ute of liis worldly substance for 
the maintenance of the ministr}', and every one of this church who neglects 
and refuses to do so shall be deemed an offender in the sin of covetousuess. 

That our minister shall have liberty to preach among the Separates. 

That private brethren may exhort in public, provided they do not interrupt 
other parts of duty, and speak to the editicatiou of the church." 

April 18, Solomon Morgan of Grotoii, was ordained pastor of the 
Nazareth Church. It gained in membership and inlinence, but did not 
succeed tor some years in building a house of worship. 

In 1772, fifty-four persons north of JMoosup River, including John 
James and George Doirance, Robert, Thomas and James Dixon, Robert 
Montgomery, Jolin Coles, Jolm Gaston, Mark and David Eames, some 
of them six, seven, eight and nine miles from Voluntown meeting-house, 
and gi'eatly impeded by bad roads and traveling, received liberty from 
the Assembly to organize as a distinct society or join in worship with 
Killingly. A number of these northern residents consequently united 
with the cliurch in South Killingly, and after some years organized as 
a distinct society. 

The mother chui-ch in Voluntown centre, weakened and crippled by 
these repeated losses, was unable to settle a pastor and could scarcely 
maintain regular worship. Its numbers and strength were still farther 
diminished by the large emigration to Wyoming. Many of the descend- 
ants of the Scotch Presbyterians joined in this exodus, and the char- 
acter of the church was so changed that after a few years it was thouglit 
expedient to reorganize upon the Congregational basis. June 30, 1 779, 
a meeting was called for this purpose. The Reverends Solomon Mor- 
gan, Levi Hart and Eliphalet Wright were present. Those wishing 
to unite in the new organization related their experiences. A covenant 
was read agreeable to the Cambridge Platform under the Congi'ega- 
tional form of discipline, and signed by ten naales and sixteen females, 
the remnant then representii]g the ancient First Church of Voluntown. 
The services of the Rev. Mr. Gilmore were then secured, and regular 
religious worship statedly maintained. 

In town affairs there was gradual improvement. In 1762, Jolm Gor- 
don was chosen grand school committee, " to take into his hands the 
school bonds Ijelonging to the town, and to collect the interest on bonds, 
and to receive the proportion of money granted by Government to the 
town oitt of the Colony's rate, and to dispose of the same, and all other 
money coming from Plainfield, &c., and town's pi'oportion of the sale 
of Norfolk." In 1766, David Eames, John Cole, Joseph Parke, Thomas 



VOLUNTOWN, ETC. 71 

Douglas, John Gaston, John Gordon and John Wylie were appointed 
to set out school distiicts throughout the town. Thirteen distiiets 
were specified, each of which thenceforward mnnnged its own school 
under the supervision of a " grand-school-coniniittee-nian," api)ointcd 
by the town. 

The financial affairs of the town were gieatly enibai-rassed. The 
poverty of the soil exposed it to frequent losses by drought, so that 
many of the inabitants were unable to ]iay their pi'oportion of public 
charges. The payment of the minister's salary, and legal ex]ienses in- 
curred in prior resistance, added to their debt and burden. In conse- 
quence of this remissness, a heavy debt accrued to the Government for 
which the town treasurer, Mr. Robert Jameson, was held res|)onsible. 
Having no funds to meet this demand, Mr. Jameson was arrested and 
confined in Windliam jail. In 1771 a committee was appointed " to 
go to Windham in term of the Superior Court, and get the best advice 
concerning a trouble for which Robert Jameson is now confined in 
Windham jail." Isaac Gallup was ordered to take and have secured all 
said Jameson's estate for the use of the town in settling the debt for 
which he was imprisoned. This imprisonment lasted for two years, 
wlien Mr. James Gordon was appointed agent to settle with Ro1)ert 
Jameson, " now confined in Windham County jail for the colony tax 
due for said town," and soon effected his liberation. Mr. Jameson 
soon after his release removed to Wyoming, with his sons Robert, Wil- 
liam, John, Alexander and Joseph, who gained a jjermanent home in 
that beautiful valley, and were numbered among its most respectable 
and influential citizens. 



YI. 

RELIGIOUS SETTLEMENT IN PLAINFIELD. GENERAL TOWN 

AFFAIRS. 

PLAINFIELD though still harassed by religious dissension was 
regaining her secular pi-osperily, having the good fortune to 
number among her citizens many strong and enterpri.sing men willing 
to devote time and energies to public service. Captain John Douglas 
was now one of the fathers of the town, and had sons of great 
promise. Major Ezekiel Pierce filled the place of his honored father, 
serving many years as clerk of the town and of the Probate office. 
Isaac, son of Rev. Joseph Coit was held in high esteem. Dr. Elisha 
Perkins, now married to the daughter of Captain Donglas, was con- 
tinually gaining public confidence and popularity. Elisha Paine of 
Canterbury, sou of the distinguished Separate minister, had removed 



T2 HISTOKY OF WIXUHAM COUNTY. 

his residence to I^laiiitield, engaging- in the practice of law, and marry- 
ing lillizabetli Spalding. Andrew Backus of Norwich, and Daniel 
Claik of Preston, were new and helpfid citizens. At the town meet- 
ing, December, 1705, Elisha Paine, Esq, served as moderator: Isaac 
Coit, James Bradford, James Howe, Josepli Eaton and Elisha Paine, 
were chosen selectmen ; Major Ezekiel Pierce, town clerk ; John 
Pierce, Elisha Paine, Lieut. John Douglas, Dr. Pobinson, Azariah and 
Jedidiah 8])alding, Ehenczer Kingshuiy, Stephen Warren, William 
Cady and Timothy Parkhurst, highway surveyors ; Reuben and David 
Shepard, D. Perkins, Nathaniel Deane and Simeon Burgess, listers ; 
Captains Eaton and Coit, fence-viewers ; William Park and Azariah 
Spalding, leather-sealers ; William Robinson and Joshua Dunlap, 
grand-jurors ; Samuel Hall, Joseph and Philip Spalding and Simon 
Shepard, tithing-men ; Hezekiah Spalding, sealer of weights and 
measui'es ; Ca[)tain Cady, toller and brander of hoi'ses. Little was 
done at this meeting but to make provision for the suppoit of schools, 
and a needy fellow-citizen. A sul)ject far more imjjortant than 
schools or town's poor was under consideration. The religious status 
of the town was most unliappy. More than two-thirds of its inhabit- 
ants were avowed Separates attending upon the ministry of the Rev. 
Alexander Miller, but were still obliged to pay taxes for the benefit 
of a small minority, holding possession of tlie ancient town meeting- 
house. By earnest and persistent ap])eals they had wiung from the 
Assembly the exemption of one-third of the po])ulation from this rate- 
payment as a second society, but this still left n|)on them an " unrea- 
sonable burden." The remnant of the First cliurch receiving this 
com])alsory tiibute had not sufficient vitality to supply their meeting- 
house with a minister. The Plainfield Separate church was a respect- 
able and orderly body, dilfering little from the orthodox churches of 
the day, except in opposing the support of the ministry by taxation. 
The ancient bitterness and party feeling had greatly subsided, and it 
was now proposed " that the inhabitants should try to come together 
and have but one meeting, or else be made into two distinct, inde- 
pendent societies." A town meeting was called early in 1766, to con- 
sider this proposition, which appointed Benjamin Wheeler, William 
Bradford, Isaac Coit and others — 

'• To take into consideration tlie difficulties subsisting iu town, so as to 
unite in tlieir principles, so as to all join together iu the public worship of 
God iu oue meeting, or any other way." 

This committee reported in favor of all joining together iu one 
church, and worshijjing in one meeting-house. The voters were again 
convened "to see which church they would join, and were almost 
universally inclined to j'oin with the Separates." The Separate 



PLAINFIELD, GENERAL TOWN AFFAIRS. 73 

meeting-house was liowever, small, shabby and quite out of the 
main route of travel, while the old town meeting-house was ample 
and accessible, and it was thereupon voted that Mr. Miller should 
preach in the latter house until the pul[>it should be otherwise supplied. 
Reinstated after so many years in this ancient house of worship, the 
town majoi-ity willingly voted its shingling, glazing and general 
repairing. Great pains were taken to bring back the whole congre- 
gation but it was found impracticable. Members of the old church 
objected to Mr. Miller, " because they did not deem the Separate mode 
of ordination valid." Others were unwilling to sacrifice their standing 
as an independent society and laid their grievances before the Assem- 
bly, Oct., 1767 :— 

" Showing- that Plainfield was made two societies; that the First society 
was ill a deplorable condition and had been for several years destitute of a 
minister; that the Second society worshipped in their meeting-house, had 
not allowed tlie two-thirds rate and tried to break them up." 

Hezekiah and Jabez Huntington and Zebulon West were thereupon 
appointed a committee to repair to Plainfield, investigate and advise, 
who decided that the people had better unite and agree in calling 
some learned and orthodox preacher — thereby intending to exclude 
Mr. Miller. Notwithstanding this judgment the town still clung to 
its old pastor. Messrs. Paine, Wheeler and Coit, Captain Bradford 
and Doctor Wells, after earnest conference with him and his church 
" to see how far they would condescend in i-egard to having the gospel 
preached, so that the whole of the town may unite and attend it," 
were unable to agree upon a satisfactory l)asis. Mr. Miller and his 
followers kept possession of the meeting-house according to the town 
vote, and thus the remnant of Plaintield's first church was shut out 
from its ancient house of worshi[> and deprived of religious privileges. 
Again the first society laid " its deplorable state " before the Assem- 
bly. " Second society would not pay rates according to agreement ; 
town had voted that the Separate preacher should preach in the 
meeting-liouse, and they were obliged to go to other towns on Sutulay, 
and therefore prayed tliat tlie old agreement might be maintained, and 
liberty still allowed them to lay taxes on two thirds of the inhabitants." 
Captain John Douglas, agent of the town to oppose this memorial, 
alleged the following. " reasons " for its dismissal : — 

" 1. This town has been unhappily divided for more than twenty years, to 
their areat hurt and dauiiige in their civil and religious interests, owing to 
the rigid exertion of the ch-il power in religious matters which has tended to 
divide and separate very fiiends and brothers, and we apprehend the grant- 
ing of said memorial would tend to augment and carry them to a greater 
hight; did not consider the agreement just or equable but it was the best 
they could do at the time; should say that more than two-tlnrds of the 
inhabitants upon a serious inquiry aud deliberate consideration and con- 
10 



74 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

fereiice with each other upon the subject of i-cliirion, and the way and manner 
of worship, were nnanini(nisly agreed and nnitrd in the^aMle; tliat V)ut tifi y- 
foiir appear on tiie memorial, representing £2.0;)0, and against it were tifty- 
nine from the first autl sixty-three from the second society, representing 
£7,123. 

Wlu-reupon we say, that it would be most unreasonable and unprecedented 
to grant the prayer of said memorialists, and instead of promoting religion 
and peace, throw us into the greatest confnsion and most unhappy conten- 
tions. But as there seems to be a numl)er who cannoi join with us, we are 
fully willing they should be released from paying anything for minister or 
meeting-house, and be made a distinct society, and have such proportion of the 
old meeting-house on equitable terms, each person to belong to that society 
he chooses, but to join any person by coercive measures we are peisuaded 
will directly tend to stir up contentious and dissensions. May 18, 1768." 

The Assembly thereupon appointed Jonatlian Trumbull, Hezekiah 
Huiitingtou and Ztbulon West to be a committee to endeavor to con- 
summate a union, and by tlieir judicious eft'orts union was at last 
happily consummated. Few difficulties could withstand the concilia- 
toi-y mediation of Jonathan Tiumbttll. Concessions were made on 
both sides. The odious two-thirds tax was forever abolished. As 
the church party a few years previous dismissed an honored minister 
for the sake of peace, the Separates now reluctantly resigned Mr. 
Miller. Certain modifications were admitted in the church covenant, 
bringing it nearer the pattern of the Cambridge Platform, and both 
churches united in choice of Mr. John Fuller for their pastor, pi-o- 
vided he would publicly eschew certain Separate errors, and obtain a 
regular ministerial ordination. Mr. Fuller was a native of Lebanon, 
an earnest Christian laborer, then preaching acceptably to the Separate 
church of Bean Hill, Norwich. Willing to assist in healing the 
breach, Mr. Fuller accepted the call upon those terms and signed the 
following declaration : — 

" I believe that some separations if they had been conducted in a regular 
manner might have been jnstitied, but the separations in general are not 
justitiable, especially in the manner of them, as they have been attended by 
many spurious notions which excel in them and party spirit, as well as many 
irregular practices. And notwithstanding I have borne a pnbiic testimony 
against their rash and uncharitable dispositit)ns and conduct; yet I am fully 
sensible that I have in several instances countenanced and encouraged iliem 
in their precipitant way and manner of separating — the which I ougiit not 
to have done; for which I hope Heaven's pardon and forgiveness, and the 
forgiveness of all God's people whom I have ofl'ended, ai.d desire their 
prayers that I may have wisdom. And it is my desire to unite with the 
regular ministers and churches ol Christ in anything wherein we are agreed, 
and to forbear one another in love in cii'cumstantial matters wh<;rein we can- 
not be perfectly united. • John Fuller. 

PlainfieU, Feb. 2, 1769." 

A council of ministers chiefly from Massachusetts called by the 
ttniting brethren accepted this declaration, and aided in the installment 
of Mr. Fuller. Its proceedings were thus reported by the New Lon- 
don Gazette : — 

"On the 3d instant. Rev. John Fuller was ordained over the church in 
Plaiutield. Rev. Mr. Hart of Prestou, preached from Psalm cxxxiii., showing, 



PLAINFIELD, GENERAL TOWN AFFAIRS. 75 

1, Nature of Christian union; 2, Wherein this union doth consist; 3. Fruit 
and ertects of this union — all conducted in a decent and (uost solemn manner. 
N. B.— Occasion of Mr Harts preachluy; from this text was on account of 
the happy Union come into l)y the two churches of this town, and the nauies 
Old and New swallowed up iu most auilcable union." 

Peace Avas thus hap|»ily restored after more than thirty years of con- 
flict. Wliile all parties were satisfied the Separates had especial cause 
for i-ejoicing. Tliey had achieved the object for which they had sepa- 
rated. A minister of their own choice and persuasion preached to the 
town in the town meeting-house, and assessment for his sui)|)ort was 
positively prohibited. Far in advance of her generation Plaintield had 
soon the privilege of religious freedom, and her inhabitants were free 
to attend service where they pleased and sujiport minister and meeting- 
house wdthout legal coercion or interference. Among the many who 
welcomed this joyfid reunion was our old friend, iNIercy Wheeler, now 
Mrs. Case, reported from time to time by friendly visitors as " the 
same pious, thankful, humble woman," as in the days of her distressing 
infirmity and wonderful deliverance. Mr. Miller, when released from 
his charge, returned, it is believed, to his former home in the north part 
of Yoluntown, and lived to a good old age in ))eace and happiness, 
respected by all wdio knew him. 

As religious animosities and difficulties subsided the town resumed 
its efforts for secular improvement. The education of its youth had 
alvvays enlisted the especial sympathy of its citizens. In 1766 a com 
niittee was appointed to lay out school distiicts, wdiich thus re- 
ported : — 

"1, Flat Rock district, bounded south on Preston, east on Voluutown; 2, 
Stone Hill district, north of Flat Rock; 8, Goshen, bounded north by Moosup 
River, south by Stone Hill; 4, South, borderiiiii- south on Preston, west on 
Canterbury; 5, Middle, extendiuo- from Mill Brook up Main street, butting 
east on Stone Hill; 6, Black Hill; 7, Moo-up Pond, northeast corucr; 8, 
Moosup River; 9, Shepard Hill; 10, Green Hollow, beginning at Snake Meadow 
Brook or Killingly line." 

Dr. Perkins, Daniel Clark, Stephen Kingsbury, Andrew Backus, 
John Howe, Jonathan Woodward, Philip Spalding, Samuel Warren, 
Samuel Hall and Isaac Allerton were appointed a committee, one for 
each district, to see that the schools were kept. Although the immber 
of teachers and schools was increased by this arrangement, the leading 
men of the town were not yet satisfied with their attainments, and in 
1770 proceeded to form an association " for the purpose of providing 
improved facilities for the more complete education of the youth of the 
vicinity." They erected a brick school-house of respectable size, pro- 
cured teachers of a higher grade, and established a more thorough sys- 
tem of instruction in common English branches, but were unable to 
organize a classical department. 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 



Roads and bridges required much atteiition. The " tedious " Quine- 
baug was still fractious and turbulent, necessitating continual bridge- 
building and repairing. In 1763, a project was set on foot for enlarg- 
ing the bed of this stream so as to make it passable for boats. A con- 
vention was held in Plainfield to consider this scheme, which was at- 
tended by most of the leading men of the county, who expressed their 
views and wishes in the subjoined memorial : — 



•'That the Qiiinebaug Eiver from Danielsou's Falls 
ties itself into the cove at Norwich, thirty miles, is 
may easily be made passable for bo;its to pass up and 
some four hundred pounds to be laid out in cleaning, 



Ebenezer Gfrosveuor. 
Willard Spalding. 
Silas Hutchins. 
Benj. Spalding. 
Jabez Fitch, Jan. 
John Fitch. 
Samuel Adams, Jun, 
Joseph Woodward. 
Andrew Spalding. 
Jonas Shepard. 
Nathan Waldo. 
Daniel Kee. 
Jabez Fitcli. 
Edward Wheeler. 
William Danielson. 
3Iay 9, 1763." 



William Robinson. 
Isaac Shepard. 
Mason Cleveland. 
John Tyler. 
Samuel Stewart. 
Jonathan Parkhurst. 
Benjamin Coit. 
Elisha Paine. 
Ebenezer Cady. 
Ebenezer Robinson. 
Jeremiah Cady. 
Theophilus Clark. 
Benjamin Spalding. 
Samuel Danielson. 
John Grosveuor. 



until the Thames emp- 
so flat and level that it 
down at the expense of 
and pray for a lottery. 
Nicholas Parker. 
Benjamin Wheeler. 
John Smith. 
John Dyer. 
Ezekiel Pierce. 
Isaac Coit. 
Hezekiah Lord. 
James Bradford. 
Joseph Eaton. 
Benjamin Backus. 
John Larrabe. 
James Cleveland. 
Robert Jameson. 
Samuel Huntington. 



Though urged by men of such position and influence this request 
was denied. In 1767, the bridge over the Quinebaug was again swept 
away by a freshet, when the town voted a reward to the Widow Wil- 
liams for heroically saving twenty planks of the same. Captain Eaton, 
Robert Kinne and Isaac Coit were appointed to oversee its rebuilding, 
and others were employed atter its completion " to take care of the 
new bridge, and cut away ice round the anchor." The constant travel 
over this bridge made its preservation very important. The great 
country road passing through Yoluntown and Plainfield connected 
Providence and the north part of Rhode Island with Hartford and the 
opening regions westward, and many emigrants were now toiling over 
it en route for the new coimtries. Special orders relative to the re- 
newal and maintenance of" the Plainfield road " were issued from time to 
time by the Governments of Coimecticut and Rhode Island. A road 
laid out from this highway to Butts Bridge now accommodated Nor- 
wich trav^el. In the summer of 1768 a weekly stage-coach was run 
over it from Providence to Norwich, exciting much wonder and ad- 
miration and greatly promoting the business interests of Plainfield. A 
spacious tavern house for the accommodation of the great throng of 
travelers was now built and opened in Plainfield Village by Captain 
Eaton, which became a very noted and popular resort. Taverns were 



PLAINFIELD, GENERAL TOWN AFFAIRS. 77 

also kept in other parts of the town by Thomas Stevens, Israel Under- 
wood, and others. In 1771, tlie town voted to provide a Itouse for tlie 
poor and a proper overseer. The few Indians still left in town were 
properly cared for by town antliorities or benevolent individnals.* 

The great exodns to the new countries took from Plainfield some 
valued citizens. A number of respectable families joined the first emi- 
grants to Oblong and Nine Partners. Major Ezekiel Fierce and Cap- 
tain Simon Spalding wei'e prominent among the bold men who took 
possession of Wyoming. Elisha Paine, so active in professional and 
public affairs, lemoved in 17(37 to Lebanon, New Hampshire. The 
township of Sharon, Vermont, was purciiased and settled by a Plain- 
field colony. Isaac Marsh, Willard Sliepard and others went on in 
advance, selected land, built huts, sowed grass and prepared for the 
main body of emigiants. William, son of Captain John Douglas, 
though but a lad of sixteen, served valiantly iu tlie French war, and 
after the return of peace took command of a merchant ship sailing be- 
tween New Haven and the West Indies, making his residence in 
Northford. These losses were in some degree made up by occasional 
new settlers. Timothy Lester of Shepard Hill, Isaac Knight of Black 
Hill, were among its acquisitions. John Aplin, an Englishman, a man 
of much learning and address, who had gained a handsome estate by 
the practice of law in Providence, became involved in political and 
personal controversies, and removed to Plainfield about 17<!6. John 
Pierce succeeded to the position of town clerk for a few years, and 
was in turn succeeded by William Robinson in 1772. 



YIL 

TOWN AFFAIRS IN KILLINGLY. THOMPSON PARISH. PROGRESS 
IN FIRST SOCIETY. SOUTH KILWNGLY CHURCH. BAP- 
TIST CHURCHES IN THOMPSON AND 
CHESTNUT HILL. 

KILLINGLY during this period was in tlie main ]>eaceful and pros- 
perous. Despite the size of the town and its various society 
divisions its general affairs were carried on without appai-ent jealousy 
or collision. Town offices were equitably distributed ; general town 



*The provision inacle by Mr. Josluui Whitney for his nesro servants at his 
decease in 1761 shows the conscientious scrnpiilousness wiili which some .i-ood 
men of that day fuitilled the responsibility of ownershi|). Not only did he 
malve Sandy, CaJsar, Judith with their childnMi ah^iohitdij free, Ijnt bequeathed 
to each household six acres of land, stock and farming tools; gave to one his 
" oldest little Bible," and to the (jther several good booths; enjoined Sandy 
to take care of Bess, his wife, and give her decent burial, and directed Ctcsar 
and Judith " to see that their children were iu uo ways left to perish." 



78 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

meetinrrs were held in the grent meetinof-house on Killini^ly TTill. At 
the annual meeting in 1760, Samuel Danielsoii was eliosen moderator; 
Thomas ]M()frat, town clerk and treasurer; Pain Converse, Deacon Dan- 
iel Davis, Ebenezer Larned, Lieut. Benjamin Leavens, James Dike, 
selectmen ; Hezekiah Cutler, collector of country rates ; Benjamin Mer- 
j'iam and Lieut. William Danielson, constables ; Jolin Jacobs, John 
Whitmore, Phinehas Lee, Benjamin Joslin, Daniel Alton, John Corbin, 
Francis Carroll, Nathaniel Daniels, Ensign Benjamin Cady, Nell Alex- 
ander, Joseph Hutchins, Jaazaniali Whitmore, John Sprague, highway 
surveyors ; Eiuxih Leonard, E])liraim Cady, feiice-viewei's ; Flezekiah 
Cutler, Benjamin Mei'riam, William Danielson, collectors of town 
rates ; Zebediah Sabin, Moses Winter, Eliezer Warren, Joseph Bate- 
man, key-keepers of the sevei'al meeting-houses ; Enoch Leonard, 
leather-sealer ; David Barrett, Ensign Joseph Cutler, Wyman Hutch- 
ins. giand jurors ; Jacob Bixby, Ensign Benj. Cady, Daniel Winter, 
Ezekiel Little, Joseph Newell, tithing-men ; Samuel Watson, Richard 
Child, John Johnson, Benjamin Joy, Daniel Winter, Abijali Adams, 
listers ; Joseph Cady, sealer of weights and measures ; Ensign Ed- 
ward Converse, Joseph Leavens, Jun., James Day, horse-branders ; 
Captain Michael Adams, collector of excise. Ezekiel Little, Richard 
Bloss and Benajah Spalding were admitted inhabitants. John Sprague 
and Simeon Spalding, residents of the south parish, had liberty granted 
to build a town pound to accommodate themselves, and also keep the 
same in repair at their own cost. Money for "doctoring Charite 
Priest " was granted Dr. Freeman. 

The charge of its poor was always a heavy burden ni)on this town- 
ship. Parts of its territory aiforded but a scanty support for its inhab- 
itants, and its border position exposed it to incursions of vagrants and 
foreigners. Li a<ldition to its own poor it was obliged to support its 
quota of Acadian refugees, paying sundry sums for services and sup- 
plies to the Fieiich peojjle. In 1765, it was voted, "To raise one 
penny a pound for the su])port of the poor of said town ; also, that the 
persons supporting {he poor take their pay in specy, i. e., Lidian corn, 
at two and six[>ence per bushel ; rye at three and sixpence ; wheat, 
four and sixpence; beans, the same; salt j)ork without bone, one shil- 
ling jH'i- pound ; flax, eightpence. These poor people were then scat- 
tered about the town in ttie cliarge of the lowest bidder. Li 1770, a 
movement was nui<le for improving their condition by providing a per- 
manent habitation under the care of responsible persons. It was voted 
by the town, "That Samuel Watson and James Dike provide a work- 
house for the ])arish of Thompson, and be masters of the same ; also, 
Capt. Warren to pi'ovide a work-house and be master of the same in 
like manner in Killingly." 



TOWN AFFAIRS IN KILLINCxLY, ETC. 79 

Bridges and liighways also reciuiied' much care and legislation. In 
17G7, Biiant and Nathaniel Brown and Benjamin Leavens were ap- 
pointed " to join with Pomfret gentlemen in repairing the bridge 
called Danielson's." However well repaiied it was soon canie<l away 
by a freshet, and a new committee appointed in 1770, "to rebuild our 
part of the bridge at Cargill's ^lills, and view the Quinebaug above and 
below where Danielson's bridge stood, and see where they could set a 
bridge." William Danielson was allowed twenty-nine pounds for build- 
ing half the latter bridge, and a new road was laid out from it to Vol- 
untow^n. In 1774, the Quinebaug was biidged between C'aiuiU's and 
Danielson's, near the residence of Deacon Simon Cotton. Yaiious new 
roads were gianted from time to time in Thom|)son Parisli, and so 
mucli space in the town book was occupied by returns of highway sur- 
veyors that after au unsuccessful attempt in 17.59 to procuie a new 
record-book these returns were left on tile, and were finally scattered or 
destroyed so that the laying out of many important roads cannot now 
be determined. The travel upon these numerous ways was accoimno- 
dated in various noted taverns kept by John Jacobs, Benjamin Wilkin- 
son, Edward Converse, Zebediah Sabin, John Felshaw, Ehenezer Ear- 
ned, William Danielson, Nathaniel Stone and others. Medical ]iracti- 
tioners at this date were Doctors Freeman, Gleason and Cheney in the 
centre and south parishes, and Dr. Joseph Coit in Tliompson. Four 
hundred families were reported in the town in 1767. 

The north parish of the town was pi'ospering. In 1760, Jacob 
Dresser, Esq., served as clerk ; Deacon Lusher Gay, collector ; Jacob 
Dresser, Deacon Simon Earned and Ephraim Guile, committee. The 
school connnittee were Jacob Di'esser, Joseph Averill, Captain Henry 
Green, Daniel Kussel, Solomon Bixby, Deacon Gay, S(iuier Ilascall 
and James F^uller. The Rev. Mr. Kussel was allowed foui- pounds ten 
shillings for getting his own wood for the year ; Josiah Converse, eight 
shillings for sweej)ing the meeting-house. Additional pew accommo- 
dations were still ft)und needful — Stephen Crosby, Nehemiah Merrill, 
John Ellithorpe, Solomon Oiinsbee, Obadiah Clough, Asa C^on verse, 
Benjamin Joslin, Thomas Ormsbee, William Whittemore, Jun., Wil- 
liam Bichards, Eleazer Child and P^rancis Elliott receiving liberty to 
build a pew ''where the hind seat is in the men's side galleiy," pro- 
vided it "be built no higher than the hind seat is now." A numl)er of 
young women appeared at a subsequent meeting, viz. : Bathsheba Con- 
verse, Betta Town, Margaret Town, Dorothy Bixby, Susannah Bixby, 
Mary Hascall, Jane Crosby, Mary, Zerziah and Sarah Joslin, Sarah Por- 
ter, Elizabeth Knap and Susannah Hascall, desiring the privilege of 
building a pew upon tlie women's side gallery, which was at first 
granted, but upon reconsideration made over to Joseph Averill, " pro- 



80 HISTOEY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

vided he let so tnany young wdnien liave it for tlieir seat as can con- 
veniently set in it." In response to a petition from Theophilus and 
Samuel Chandler, Moses Marcy, William Nelson, Edward 15ugbee 
and Benjamin Wilkinson, residents west of the Quinebaug, in the north- 
west corner of the society, these petitioners with their lands were an- 
nexed to the north society of Woodstock. 

The i-enovation of the school districts next agitated the society. 
Stephen and Jose})h I>rown, Joseph Town, Samuel Fuller, Robert and 
Ebenezer Piince, Jose[)h and Fiancis Elliott wei'e leaders in this move- 
ment, entering their dissent against the society's proceedings in regard 
to schools. Michael Adams, Pain Converse, Stjuier Hascall, James 
Dike and William Alton were appointed a committee to " vewe the 
districts" and see if they thought best to make any alterations. They 
recommended the setting off of ten school districts, and selected a suit- 
able site in each for a school house. Each district was designated by 
the name of some central or prominent inhabitant. The first district 
— Landlord Converse's — included Thompson Hill and vicinity ; school- 
house "to stand betwixt Landlord Converse's and the Widow Flint's, 
at the end of the lane where Samuel Converse comes out into the coun- 
try rhoad." The south neighborhood was designated " Capt. Adams' 
district." Captain Green's district embraced Quaddie and its vicinity ; 
school-house betwixt tlie houses of Ebenezer and Amos Green. Nathan 
Bixby's included Brandy Hill ; school-house near by Sergeant Timothy 
Cooper's ; Samuel Stone's occupied the northeast corner of the society, 
extending from Joseph Munyan's to Illiode Island line ; thence to and 
upon the Bay line to Captain Cutler's; thence south to John Jacobs'; 
school-house upon Isaac Burril's land near the river. Joseph Brown's 
district lay west of Stone's, including Porter's farm ; " school-house 
near the little Pond upon the rhoad." Squier Ilascall's was still far- 
ther west upon the Bay line, with school -house " near where said Has- 
call crosses the mill rhoad in coming to meeting." Nathaniel Crosby's 
embraced both sides of French Kiver, from Nathaniel Mills' to Ebene- 
zer Prince's ; school-house about half-way between old Mr. Elliott's 
and Joseph Elliott's. John Ilewlet's extended from John Younglove's 
north to the Bay line, thence west to the Quinebaug, embracing a strip 
four or five miles in length east of that river; school-house " to stand 
whei-e it is." Lastly, Esq. Dresser's district was " bounded as follows : All 
upon the west side of Quinebaug River, and including Joseph Nichols, 
Henry Meirill, John Russel, Jonathan Eaton, Marston Eaton, all upon 
the side of the said river, "and it was the opinion of the commit- 
tee, "that to have the school-house in the senter will not accommodate 
this district well, it lays so ilconveniant," but that it would be best to 
keep the school at two places ; one at the W^idow Hibbard's, or there- 



TOWN AFFAIRS IN KILLINGLY, ETC. 81 

abouts; and the other at the house where the Widow Commins did 
live, or thereabouts — two months at each phice, and draw one-(|uarter 
more money than other districts." 

This report was accepted, Sept. 23, 1702, and the lines established 
as soon as practicable, thouL;,-h some difficulty was found in carry in ij;- out 
the designs of the committee. Several of the desio-nated sites were 
unsatisfactory. A pitiful petition was presented from " inhabitants in 
the northwest part of the district called Hewlet's," sliowing '• tliat thev 
have been overlooked by the committee, who supposed that no one 
lived northwest of a certain great hill but Clement Corl)iii, whereas 
there vvei-e ticelve families there so remote from that sciiool-liouse that 
they could not send their children there to school and had but little 
or no benefit (the most none at all) of the school kept there, and 
never had any of the loan money, and not so much of tiie tax money 
as tliey did pay." Captain Clement Corbin and his son Clement, 
Samuel Palmer, Elijah and Ezra Corbin, Benjamin Morris, John 
Whitmore, Joseph Winter, Maik Clawell, John Webster and Benja- 
min P^iirbanks, inhabitants living northwest from the aforesaid "great 
hill," were accoixUngly set otf as '■ Ca})tain Corbin's disti'ict." Scliool- 
house sites wei-e changed to accommodate other districts and in time 
the new system was satisfactorily established. Escpaire Di'esser's 
district was divided in 1772, the south part retaining the old name ; 
the north to be known as Perrin's district. 

The enlargement of the meeting-house next claimed the attention of 
the society, xifter some ineffectual attempts to ]»rucure a vote fur a 
new one, it was voted, Feb. 16, 1769 : — 

" 1. To put in a piece of fourteen feet in the middle of the ineetiiig-house, 
cuttiug the same iu two, and tilliug up the suae by leni^theniiig the scats. 

2. To finish the meeting-house by clapboarding the same. 

3. That the money in Collector Hascall's hands slioald be forth with eol- 
lected and laid out for stutl" {'or the meeting-house. 

4. Likewise the money in the old coilector's hands to I)e forthwith col- 
lected, and laid out upon the meeting-house. 

5. Also voted and chose Jacob Dresser, Benjamin Wilkins(jn and Samuel 
Watson, a committee to take the money aud do the meeting-house." 

The committee proceeded to bisect the hoi;se as ordered, move one 
of the severed halves and insert the tburteen-foot strip. This feat 
being accomplished after some delay and difficulty, it was next deci<led 
" to culler our meetingdiouse," and, having perhaps seen the folly of 
following their own architectural devices, they resumed their ancient 
practice of copying their neighbors, and further voted, " that the cuUer- 
ing of the body of our meeting house should be like Pomfret, and the 
Ptoff should be cullered Read." The previous committee were em- 
powered to accomplish the coloring, aud also to sell the refuse stuff that 
11 



82 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

should be left and the old glass. The filling up tlie inserted strip with 
suitable seats was a work of great difficulty. Votes for pew-si)ots were 
passed and revoked. June 4, 1770, four jjew-spots were granted; one 
east side the [julpit to Nathaniel and Stephen Crosby, west side to 
Ephraiin Guile ; a spot west side the great or south doors to Deacon 
Jonathan Clough and his son Obadiah, east side to Samuel Watson — 
the grantees to build the pews, finish the meeting-house up to the 
gallery, maintain the glass and pay the parish ten pounds. P'rancis 
Elliott, William Whittemore, Jun., Asa Converse, Daniel Davis, 
Jonathan Firman, Calvin Gay, Davis Flint and Briant Brown, Jun., 
were also allowed to lengthen out the front i)ew in the men's gallery 
at their own charge for their own seat. Otlier pew-spots were obtained 
the following year by taking up "the two hin<l seats in the men's and 
women's side, " and this piocess of demolition and leconstruction went 
on until the old " body of seats " was replaced by capacious pews, 
handsomely finished and surmounted by balustrades, tl>e balusters of 
which were so wide apart that an investigating child could thrust its 
head between them. A broad alley extended from the great double 
south door to the pulpit, with cioss alleys to the " men's and women's 
doors," on the east and west sides of the house, and little twenty- 
inch alleys meandeied among the pews "for the people to go into the 
seats.' In 1771, it was voted "to plaister the inside of said meeting- 
house antl pint the under-pinning;" Samuel Watson appointed to keep 
the key, and ten shillings allowed for sweeping. Two years later a 
special committee was chosen, " to take care of said meeting house, and 
to prosecute any person or persons that shall hurt or damage said 
meeting house, or open the same without leave or consent from said 
committee or the key-keeper." Jacob and Benjamin Converse and 
Ebenezer Gay were now appointed choristers, and Joel Converse ar.d 
Thaddeus Larned — son of Simon — requested to assist the above "in 
tuning the psalm." The large meeting-house \vas ever well-filled with 
hearers. The various rough "ways" leading to Thompson Ilill were 
thronged on Sunday with the multitudes coming uj) to worship — the 
older men mostly on horseback with their wives and daughters on a 
pillion behind them, and troops of young peojjle on foot. Mr. Russel 
continued to preach to the acceptance of the church and people, and 
was greatly beloved and respected by all. In proof of this affectionate 
regard it is told of one good sister of the church that in treating her 
pastor to the rare luxury of a cup of tea she attempted to higliten the 
favor by half filling the teacup with molasses. " Stop, stop, my good 
lady ! " besought the alainied divine. " Plenty, plenty, I assui'e you." 
" Ah," replied the worthy dame with another douse into the teacup, 



TOWN AFFAIRS IN KILLINGLT, ETC. 83 

" Clear molasses an't too good for Mr. linssel,''* — a saying greatly 
commended and handed down to succeeding generations as; ex])ressing 
the proper sentiment of a native Thompsonian towaids liis minister. 
Regard for this dignitary was indeed one of the finnhimental articles 
of his creed at that period. He took hiiu for life, for better or worse, 
and would as soon have thought of rhaiir/lug his religion. Jacob 
Dresser, Esq., Lusher Gay and Simon Lamed, still served as deacons. 
Other improvements followed the renovation of the meeting house. 
Sabin's "old red tavern" had passed to nenjamin Wilkinson, who after 
some ten years occu|;)atiou of the Morris faiMu on the Quinebaug, had 
been induced to make sale of it to Mr. John Ilolbrook of Woodstock. 
Making preliminary reconnoissance in the guise of "a shabby old 
traveler," Ilolbrook carelessly asked the price of the fai'm, and to the 
great astonishment of Mr. Wilkinson, appeared a few days afterwards 
" with a bag full of gold and silver," ready to bargain and take posses- 
sion. Amused at his promi)tness and ever eager for trade and change, 
Wilkinson yielded the farm and purchased the Sabin Tavern on Thomp- 
son Hill, where his energy and public spirit found ample e.xercise. 
Under his auspices the open broken land about the meeting house was 
transformed into a comfortable common and tiaining-tield. He cut 
down the brush, dragged off stones and dug out the relics of aboriginal 
tree-stumps. The dilapidated pound was "i-ectified " and an extensive 
peach orchard set out east of the common. Mr. Wilkinson was accus- 
tomed to plant a jjeach stone by every rock upon his premises, and also 
along the roadside, that boys, travelers and church-comers might have 
a free supply. LTnder his skillful administration the old tavern-stand 
became more popular than ever, and was a [jlace of great resort for 
public meetings and nierry-makings. In winter time it served as a 
" Sabba-day-house " for the shivering congregation, glad to find 
warmth by its glowing hearth, and perhaps something more stimulat- 
ing. On one occasion only its proprietor incurred censure. As a 
native of Rhode Island, his views of Sabbath-keeping were less strict 
than those of his neighbors, but he had never been detected in any 
overt transgression till one particular Sunday, when all through the 
service the congregation was disturbed by what seemed the creaking 



* It should be said that this story is not peculiar to Thompson. Other old 
ladies iu other Windham (bounty towns boast a like lavishment of supprtliioiis 
sweetness. A good story often" tiuds so many claimants that it is didiciilt to 
decide upon the true author, but in tliis instance the credit clearly accrues to 
Thompson. Not only is the name nnd service of " old Miss Clutf" stdl held 
in iirateful remembrance, but it receives farther corroboration from the 
acknowledged proclivity of the Thompsonians for both mini.'^tcrs and mnlassp-<. 
The arrivafof tlie tirst' hogshead of this favorite luxury was celel)rated with 
public rejoicings, and all the boys of the vicinity were allowed a free treat in 
houor of the occasion. 



84 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

of a very rusty-handled grindstone npon his premises. Even Mr. 
Wilkinson conld not be indulged in such an outrage, and ])roper offi- 
cials waited upon him at inteiinission and solemnly called him to 
account foi- it. The suspected culprit ])romptly denied the charge. 
" Wliy, we hear it now," retorted liis accusei'S, as the long-drawn creak 
became more distinctly audible. "Come and see for youi-selves," 
re])lied the smiling landloid, leading them into his dooryard and 
formally presenting to them a pair of Guinea hens, (the first brought 
to Thompson), whose doleful ci ies aggravated by homesickness had 
subjected their owner to so serit)us an imputation. 

While so useful and active in the standing society Mr. Wilkinson 
was equally ready to extend his aid to other orders. The Six-Principle 
Baptist Church, so eaily established in Thompson, after many struggles 
and trials became extinct about 1770, upon the removal of its pastor 
and some leading brethren to Eoyalston. Most of the Baptists that 
remained were connected with the church of Leicester, Mass. Attend- 
ance upon worship at such a distance was found very burdensome ; 
Baptist sentiments Avere becoming more ])opulai', the heavy tax levied 
for repairing the meeting-house on Thom|;ison Hill excited much dis- 
satisfaction, and many persons declared their willingness to support a 
difierent worship. A number of persons accordingly came together, 
Nov. 17, 1772, and, "in consideration of the love and unity" they had 
for the Baptist constitution and way of worsliip," declared their purpose 
by the help of God to make it their general practice of public worship, 
and their willingness to be helpful in building tlie cause of God in that 
way either by building a house for public worship or in settling a tnin- 
ister, and any otlier necessary charge according as they were able, and 
found in their minds to be duty according to Scripture record, not be- 
lieving that thei'e ought to be any compulsion in such cases or carnal 
sword used." This agreement was signed by about seventy-five sub- 
scribers, many of thtni men of established character and comfoitable 
circumstances. Mi-. John Martin of Rehobotli, was then chosen to 
preach to them on trial, an earnest and "gifted" preacher, of such re- 
pute at this period that lie had the honor of preaching the funeral ser- 
mon of Elder Thomas Green of Leicester, one of the fathers in the 
Baptist ministry. 

Service was maintained through the winter in private houses, and in 
June a meeting was called, and it was found that they were ready "to 
settle into church state." It was agreed to meet in forenoon, June 17, 
" for public worship, and in the afternoon to tell of our experience of 
God's grace which he hath wrought in our souls to each other," and so 
much had they to tell that it occupied another summer afternoon. 
August 26, they agreed to send a petition to the church in Leicester to 



TOWN" AFFAIRS TN KILLTNGLT, ETC. 85 

get leave to embody as a distinct fhuvch. James Dike was a]i]iointed 
to wiite the petition, and with Ebenezer Gieen caiTv it to tlie Ltices- 
ter church. Their request was granted, and on Sept. !). the petitioners, 
i. e., Widow Deborah Tony, Mary Green, Elizabetli At well, Sarah 
White, Widow Deborah Davis, Lydia Hall, Ilannali Jdues, James 
Dike, Ebenezer Green, Jonathan Munyan, Levi White, Thaddens Allen, 
John While, together with John Martin, John Atwell, John Pratt, 
James Coats and Levisa Martin, " firstly gave ourselves to the Loid, 
and to each other, and signed a written covenant." The progressive 
and liberal spirit of these brethren is shown in the position accorded to 
the female membeis, who were given ])recedence in signature to peti- 
tion and covenant instead of coming in at a later date as was then cus- 
tomary among the standing churches, and also in their leniency towards 
those who still held to the practices of the Six-Principle Baptists, as 
manifested in the last article of their Confession of Faith, viz : — 

"And since singirg of Psalms, and tlie laying on of hands, and the washing 
effect is practiced in .some of the churches of the saints, and .some there are that 
doth not practice two of these, to wit, the laying on of hands and wa>hing of 
feet, which makes a separation between each party since some l;rellireu aie 
tender on these points and don't see so clearly. tln-ongh that practice, we do 
unanimously consent and agree to bear with each other's judgments on that 
account, so that there may be free and full liberty without otleuce to each 
other to practice or forbear the same." 

On the day of organization the church invited Mr. Martin to assume 
its pastoral care. On Sept. 21, the society concuried in the call with 
"not one vote to the contrary." After ascertaining that all previous 
difficidties were settled, and agreeing that if any church member shoitld 
ever bring up these buried difficulties " he should be dealt with as a 
transgressor," Mr. Martin "gave his answer in the positive." James 
Dike and Ebenezer Green were chosen to serve the churcli in the office 
of deacon, and in case enough should not be brought in to supply the 
wants of the ordaining council were to provide for the lack at the ex- 
pense of the church. Ordination services were held Nov. 3, 1773, 
under a large apple-tree near the Jacobs Tavern. Prei)aratoiy exami- 
nation of the candidate at the house of Deacon Dike was satisfactory. 
Elder Ledoit began the public service with prayer. " A sermon suit- 
able to the occasion was preached from Phil. 1 : IH, by Elder [Isaac] 
Backus; Elder Green [of Charlton] gave the charge, and Elder Winsor 
[of Gloucester] the right hand of lellowsliip. The wlnile was conducted 
with decency and order." A biother was soon bajjtized into the fel- 
lowship of the church. Dec. 9, the deacons were formally inducted into 
office with appropriate solemnities. It had been previously decided 
that each of these worthy church officers had a gift of prayer and ex- 
hortation that ought to be improved for the benefit of the church, but 



86 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

they were " not to rise up of their own })ea<l and open a meeting by 
prayer witliout invitation from the elder, and thougli tliey nii^ht with- 
out ot^ence after sermon if tliey saw any point that they could advance 
any furtlier upon agreeable to what had been said improve such oppor- 
unity, yet if the church in general should judge that they did not ad- 
vance anything forward or give some further light they should be 
gently reproved, and if after repeated attempts and reproofs they failed 
to give light, they were to be silenced." In the face of such judicial 
scrutiny and requisitions Deacon Dike managed to exhort to such gen- 
eral enlightenment and satisfaction that in the following year he was 
formally licensed to preach, and still later the vote was " crost out " — 
the church expiessing its willingness that they or any other brethren 
"should improve accoi'ding to the ability that God shall give at proper 
times and seasons as the church shall judge." 

The society meantime had carried out its purpose of building a house 
for public worship, having first voted "to allow the Baptist Church the 
decisive vote in choosing her gifts to improve in the meeting-house," or 
in other words granting its occupancy and control to the church. Half 
an acre of land "in the fork of the roads where Oxford and Boston 
roads meet " was given to the society by Mr. Benjamin Wilkinson, 
" for the love and fiiendship he has to the Baptist people of Killingly, 
.... so long as they do use the same for a meeting-house lot." The 
society committee, Ezekiel Smith, Ebenezer Starr and Jonathan ]Mun- 
yan, had charge of building the house which was ready for occupation 
in the summer of 1774. Many were added to the church in this and 
subsequent years. 

Though Thompson was now sending men and families " to the new 
countries " her po])ulation was increasing. The influx was yet more than 
the outflow. Jonathan Aldrich, Abraham Tourtellotte and Josiah 
Perry removed to the northwest part of the pai'ish soon after 1770. 
John Holbrook, Jun,, and Jason Phipps occupied parts of the old Mor- 
ris farm on the Quinebaug. James Wilson, James Rhodes, Thomas 
Davis, Simon Ilowaid and Jeremiah Barstow settled in the vicinity of 
Brandy Hill. Andrew Waterman, Stephen Blackmar and Stephen 
Bates of Scituate, took up land on or near Rhode Island colony line. 
Issachai' Bates of Leicester, in 1772, purchased a farm northwest of 
Thompson Hill, land fiist laid out under grant to Hum[)hrey Davy. 
Jonathan Nichols of Sutton had now taken possession of the Sampson 
Howe farm, near what is now West Thompson Village. Stephen 
Keith had bought land on the Quinebaug. The mill privilege at the 
upper falls of this river, flrst improved by Deacon Jonathan Eaton, 
had now |)assed to his sons, John and Marson, whose Vjusiness enter- 
prise rivalled that of Captain Cargill at the lower fall, half a mile 



TOWN AFFAIRS IN KILLINGLT, ETC. 87 

below. By their efforts n bridu'e was after a time constrnctefl upon tlie 
site of the subsequent Khodesville bridge, and a new road laid out to 
Thompson meeting house. The old road winding about Park's Hill 
had hitherto answei'ed all purposes, but with increasing business a more 
direct route was demanded. In response to petitions from Paine and 
Edward Converse and John Eaton, Jacob Dresser, Esq. and Daniel 
Russel were appointed a committee, who laid out "a road troin Captain 
Daniels' land to another highway between Landlord Converse's and 
Martha Flint's" in 1763.* 

The brief interval of peace following tlie French and Indian War 
was marked by a general revival of business and commercial enter- 
prise. Trading vessels again traversed the seas bringing liack foreign 
goods in exchange for colonial products. A great variety of useful 
and fancy articles were thus brought into market, and a furor for tiade 
broke out in all the colonies. Even remote inland settlements like 
Thonqison caught the infection and engaged in various business opera- 
tions. Its tirst achievement was a perambulating vehicle called the 
Butter Cart that roamed all over the parish picking up butter, eggs 
and all sorts of domestic products to be repaid in goods from 
Boston. Good housewives, hitherto restricted to a scant supply of 
absolute necessities, could now indulge in a whole row of pins or a 
paper of needles, and even in beads, ribbons and tinery foi' their 
blooming daughters, and many were the ventures sent out by the 
freighted ]5utter Cart whose return was welcomed as if it bore the 
treasures of the Indies. Daniel, oldest son of Samuel Larned, followed 
in the same line, merely picking up at first all the suiplus i)roduce of 
the South Neighborhood, but in a few years he was joined by Mr. 
John Mason of Swanzey, and the business was greatly extended. 

*As roads have usually some definite terminus it is to be inferred that this 
road as laid out ran into and joined another road passing through " Captain 
Daniels' land," to CargiU's Mills, at the Great Falls of the Quinel)ang. There 
is no evidence of the laying out of this valley road, but many hints at its ex- 
istence, and it was probably " trodden out" at a very early (.late to meet the 
wants of travelers and incoming settlers. The absence of early town records 
in Killingly makes it impossil)le to determine the original laying out of many 
important roads. A way through Killingly from Plaintield to Boston must 
have e.xisted as early as 16;J0, but when or how it was constructed has not 
been ascertained, but subsequent alterations in it prove that it was nearly 
identical with the present road over Putnam Heights and Thonip>on Hill. 
Allusions in old deeds show' that there was a road from " Hartford to Men- 
don," icesj of the Quinebaug, extending north from the Great Falls in 1703, 
but this seems to have been supers. 'ded "by another road east: of the river, and 
al50 east of i'rench River, which it followeil closely, connecting with the Cou- 
uecticut Path in the uorth part of Thompson. That iliis road to Boston, 
" abundantly used," by many travelers, did not cross Thompson Hill is evident 
from the necessity of having special roads made to that locality. The sonth 
part of the road of 17()3 has been discontinued, but the greater part of it is 
still intact and traversed as the "old," middle, or " mountaiu road," between 
Putnam and Thompson. 



88 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Ao-ents were sent fur and wide, even up to the new settlements in 
northern Massachusetts and Vermont, buying up meat, grain, ashes 
and any marketable product to be exchanged for rum, sugar, molasses 
and other articles in Providence. Foreign goods and luxuries became 
comparatively cheaj) and abundant in consequence. Tea, once so 
rare that nobody knew how to use it, and after general consultatioQ 
over the first sam])le, decided to serve it up as "greens " for dinner, 
now took its place as a grateful beverage on festive occasions. Ginger, 
allspice and ciiniamon came into common use. West India rum flowed 
as freely as cider or water, and as for molasses — it became so cheap 
and plentiful that a poor old woman could treat her minister accord- 
ing to his deserts, and little boys indulge unstinted in the favorite 
juvenile dainty of the neighborhood, — hot roasted potatoes hastily 
soused therein, and crammed all sizzling and dri[)ping down the 
throats of the happy urchins. The candy of later generations could 
scarcelv furnish so toothsome and enjoyable a banquet. 

This thriving business gave a new impulse to the south part of the 
town. New families were drawn there, farms rose in value, wild land 
was taken u[) and tine house serected. Daniel Larned purchased land 
west of the country road, building under the Great Elm set out by 
Edmond Hughes, the former proprietor. Mr. Mason's residence was 
soutiiward on tlie line between the parishes. The homestead farm 
long occupied by Joseph Cady, Esq., was purchased by Darius Sessions, 
deputy-governor of lihode Island, who jnade his summer residence 
here, and bi-ought it under high cultivation. The farm adjoining owned 
by the first William Larned, was sold by his heirs with dwelling-house 
and taiin to Isaac Park of Pomfiet, in 1761. Land on Park's llill as 
it was now calh'd, and in other localities, was purchased by Daniel 
and Simon Davis of Killingly, who both removed to Thompson Parish. 
This increase of business and population made the parish restive. At 
its first organization it had asked for town privileges, and after forty 
years suspension the petition was renewed. At a general toWn meet- 
ing called "to see if it be the mind of said town to be divided, viz.: 
the middle and south parishes to be made into one town, and Thomp- 
son I'arish to be made into one town," it was voted " that Thompson 
Palish be set off as a town, and that Jacob Dresser, Esq., be agent to 
prefer a memorial to the General Assenibly that Tiiompson be made a 
town."' Tliis memoi'ial represented : — 

" Tliat tlie town of Killiii^lv was nearly sixteen miles long .... and 
divickcl into three societies. Tlioinpsoii I'.irish not so hiri^e in dimensions 
but more on the li>t than the other two. riace for holdiiiir town meetings at 
the middle society— many have to travel ten and eleven miles, making iheir 
situation extremely burtheusome. Petitioners knowing their burthens by 
experience at a legal town meeting voted to have the north society made a 
town by the name of Watertovvu, two south societies remaiuins Killingly." 



TOWN AFFAIRS IN KILLINGLT, ETC. 89 

Although a majority of the voters favored division and were repre- 
sented in this memorial their request was denied. The petitioners were 
residents of the north and south extremities of the town. The inhabit- 
ants of Killingly Hill and Thompson's South Neighborliood, includ- 
ing many leading citizens, opposed division, and in the tlireatening 
condition of public affairs changes were deemed inex})edient. 'I he 
Assembly deferred decision, and the town voted to delay farther action 
till times were more propitious. 

Killingly's First or Central Society was inHuential and prosperous 
though not exempt from losses and annoyances. Its records having 
the misfortune to be " much danuiitied by fire, " John Leavens, 
Barachiah Cady and Hezekiah Cutler, were appointed to consider the 
situation, who advised to buy a book for society records and transcribe 
the same, which was done at the cost of ten shillings. In 1760, Joseph 
Leavens, Jun., served as society clerk ; Thomas Moflat, collector ; 
Ebenezer Larned, Benjamin Leavens, Hezekiah Cutler, committee. 
The great meeting-house demanded much attention. One brother was 
allowed to cut a window in his pew ; others to take up seats and 
build themselves pews. Competent committees were chosen, in 1762, 
to consider what was needful for repairing and finishing the house ; 
the former found it needful to re-shingle the roof and stop the cracks 
with lime or bark ; " a burying cloth and cushiug for y*^ desk " were 
suggested by the latter. School affairs also claimed the consideration 
of the society. " Squadrons " were out of date, and Deacon Larned, 
Benjamin Cady and Nathaniel Brown were appointed to divide the 
pai-ish " into proper districts." Their report was accepted, five dis- 
tricts promptly set off', and ten men chosen for school committees, viz. : 
Benjamin Leavens, Ichabod Turner, northwest district; Benjamin Joy, 
IVLoses Winter, middle district ; Josei)h Torrey, Ebenezer Larned, 
northeast district ; Josiali Brown, Philip Whitaker, southeast district ; 
Nell Saunders, John Brooks, southwest district. Among other im- 
provements Landlord Felshaw was allowed the privilege of buikling a 
pound on his own land, thirty feet on the outside and six and a half 
feet high. 

Church affairs were wisely ordered by Rev. Aaron Brown. In com- 
pliance with that article of the church covenant which required two 
or more of the principal brethren to help the pastor in the manage- 
ment of prudential affairs, Ebenezer Larned was invested with 
advisory power and dignified by the title of Elder. Lieut. Benjamin 
Leavens succeeded Samuel Buck in the office of deacon, in 1765. 
Watts' version of the Psalms was now used in the afternoon service. 
Church and society were strengthened by the accession of new inhabit- 
ants. In 1763, Joseph Torrey, son of Dr. Joseph Torrey, South Kings- 
12 



90 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

ton, R. I., settled on part of the College Farm, east of Killiiigly Hill, 
marrying a daughter of Rev. John Fisk. He was soo)i followed by 
his brother, Dr. Samuel H. Torrey, a young man of much more 
thorough medical training than was common at that period, who soon 
gained an extensive practice. His young wife, Anna Gould of Biaii- 
ford, brought with her four slaves as part of her maniage portion. 
These brothers identified themselves with church and town, and were 
active and intluential. Tlie sons of Rev. Perley Howe were now 
entering upon the stage and taking part in various affairs. Hezekiah 
Cutler,* who had removed from his farm on the eastern line of the 
town to the vicinity of the meeting house, was ])romiiient in town and 
church. His nephew, Benoni Cutler, son of Timothy, was an active 
young man, much interested in military matteis. Sons of Justice 
Joseph Leavens, Joseph Cady and Captain Isaac Cutler, were now iu 
active life. 

The mill privilege on the Five-Mile River, afterwards occupied by 
"the Howe Factory," was now improved by Jared Talbot and David 
Perry, who accommodated the neighborhood with sawing and giind- 
ing. Noah Elliott purchased land of Nehemiah Clark, ''removed 
from town." 

The rage for emigration had not yet seriously affected Killingly, 
though some of her most gifted and promising young men were going 
out into the world. Manasseh, son of Hezekiah Cutler, and Joseph, 
youngest son of Rev. Peiley Howe, were fitted for College by Rev. 
Aaron Brown and entered Yale in 1761. Although then but fouiteen 
years old, Howe manifested uncommon force and maturity of mind, 
and was graduated " the first scholar in a class which had its full share 
of distinguished names." After teaching foi" a time with great success 
in Hartford, he accepted a tutoiship at Yale College, "where his 
literary accomplishments, especially his remarkable powers of elocution, 
not less than his fine social and moral qualities, rendered him a general 
favorite. It is said to have been owing in no small degree to his 
influence that the standard of polite literature and especially of public 
speaking in Yale College about this time was very considerably ele- 
vated." Preaching during this interval at Norwich, Hartford and 
Wethersfield, he was everywhere welcomed, caressed and urged to 
settlement. Visiting Boston for the benefit of his health, the New 
South chuich, after twice hearing, invited him to become the successor 
of Rev. Penuel Bowen of Woodstock. " the character which Mr. 



* Not the son of Isaac Cutler as erroneously stated in Volume I., but of 
John Cutler of Lexington, who puixhased land on the Rhode Island line at a 
very early date but did not occupy it till about 1713 Mr. Cutler died iu a 
few years after his reiuoval to Killiugly, leaviug a widow and ruauy children. 



TOWN" AFFAIRS IN KILLING LY, ETC. 91 

Howe had received from the voice of mankind," explaining such 
unwonted precipitancy. After a year's delay Mr. Howe accepted this 
call and was ordained in Boston, May 19, 1773. It is not a little 
remarkaljle that this most honored position should have been filled 
successively by young men from Windham County. 

Cutler was also " distinguished for diligence and proficiency, and 
graduated with high honor fi'om college" to attain distinction in 
various departments. After practicing law for a time in Edgartown, he 
studied theology and was ordained pastor of the cliurcli at Ipswich 
Hamlet, Mass., fSept. 11, 1771. While performing his pastoral duties 
with great fidelity and acce})tance, Mr. Cutler gave much time and 
thought to political and scientific investigations, fitting him to bear a 
most prominent and useful part in the development of the future Re- 
public. 

Another Yale student fitted for college by Mr. Brown was Amasa, 
son of Deacon Ebenezer Larned, who after first studying and serving 
in the ministry turned his attention to the law and entered into political 
life, representing his adopted home, New London, in state and national 
councils.* 

Justice Joseph Leavens, a founder and father of the town, the last 
survivoi- of the first settlers of Killiugly, after having faithfully served 
God and his fellow-citizens for successive genei-ations, "departed this 
life Nov. 5, 1778, aged ninety years." His cotemporary and first pas- 
tor, Rev. John Fisk, died the same year. Deacon Ebenezer Larned, in 
1779. His brother, James Larned, had now settled on Killingly Hill,' 
near Felshaw's i-esidence. Thomas Moffat and Capt. Jolin Felshaw, 
though far advanced in years, were able to attend to public affairs. 
Tavern patronage increased with political agitation and disturbance, and 
Felshaw's tavern was one of the most noted. The growing military 
activity, the more frequent trainings and parades, demanded larger ac 
commodation. In January, 1775, a nuujber of public spirited citizens 
secured from Rev. Aaron Brown and Sampson Howe a deed of about 
three acres of land adjoining the meeting-house lot, "To have and hold 
the above-granted premises with all the profits and privileges thereof 



*Tliese brilliant young meu were proliably not so unlike other collegians. 
It is related of .Aiiiasa Larned that in the first flush of Freshman dignity he 
composed a very elaborate and ornate Latin epistle which he sent liouie to a 
younger brother destined to dig roots only from the parental homestead, with 
ihis condescending p':f<t-scriptum : " If vou can't read this show it to Mr. 
Brown "—his revered and reverend preceptor. The young farmer was not as 
much overcome as may have been expected. In former boyish rencontres he 
had managed to hold his own. His brotlier's extremely dark complexion was 
a common subject for banter, and now he hastened to concoct a medley of 
" Hog Latin " and nonsensical lingo, which he dispatched to the Yale student 
with his vernacular postscript : "It you can't read this show it to some other 
Indian." 



92 HISTOKY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

for the use and benefit of a common forever, and to be by them faith- 
fully appropriated to said use ; to use, occupy and improve the said 
premises for the good of the public as a common forever." The amount 
requisite for this public benefit which secured a beautiful common for 
futui'e generations was given by the subjoined subscribers, in sums 
ranging from £2, 8s. to six shillings : — 

Aaron Brown, Perley Howe, Benjamin Joy, Benjamin Leavens, Asa Law- 
rence, Nathan Day, Hezekiah and Benoni Cutler, Benjamin, Jonathan, Nede- 
biah, Joseph. David and Isaac Cady, Penuel, John. Jacob and Charles Leavens, 
Resolved Johnson, Stonghton Bieard, Eleazer Mighill, John Adams. David 
Perry, Joseph Wilder, Jonathan Buck, Thomas Smith, Samuel II. Torrey, 
Noah Elliott, Ebenezer, Asa and James Earned, Sampson Howe, Jared Tal- 
bot, Simeon Lee. 

The South Society of Killingly, though not inferior in size and 
natural advantages, was far less prosperous than the north and central 
societies. The "irreconcilable religious differences" that led to its 
erection increased in bitteruess. Three churches widely opposed in 
sentiment struggled for life and ascendency. The established church 
centeiing on Breakneck Hill battled bravely for a few years. Under 
the faithful ministry of Rev. Eden Burroughs, it was somewhat 
strengthened for a time, and received some important accessions. Dan- 
iel Davis of Oxford, who settled in 1752 on a valley farm north of 
Whetstone Brook, and John Sprague, who removed to the south of 
Killingly at about the same date, united with this church and served 
usefully as deacons. Samuel Danielson, Boaz Stearns and Ephraiin 
Warren were still its earnest supporters. Mr. Burroughs was an able 
and active pastor, highly esteemed by his ministerial brethren. Yet 
with all their efforts they were unable to maintain their footing. As 
the older members passed away and neighboring churches increased it 
was found very difficult to provide for the support of the minister, and 
after many struggles and trials he was reluctantly dismissed in 1771. 
Mr. Burroughs then removed to East Hanover, Mass., was one of the 
first trustees of Dartmouth College, and served as jjastor of the college 
church. The Breakneck Church did not succeed in settling another 
pastor, and gradually wasted and dissolved. Its few surviving mem- 
bers united with other churches ; its records were burnt up, its meet- 
ing-house moved off the hill and devoted to secular purposes, and 
nothing left to tell the story of the vanished church and its battles but 
a few mouldering gravestones on the rugsred summit of Breakneck. 

Substantial settlers from time to time purchased homesteads in Kil- 
lingly Centre. A valuable farm adjoining James Day's was purchased 
from Deacon Daniel Davis by William and Jonathan Dexter of Smith- 
field, R. I., in 1769. John Coller bought land eastward of Ephraim 
Warren ; George Corliss of Providence purchased of Michael Hewlett. 



TOWN AFFAIRS IN KILLINGLT, ETC. 93 

Barzillai Fisher of Preston secured the farm and residence left vacant 
by Mr. Burroughs. These new-comers with the numerous Hutchins 
families and other descendants of first settlers were obliged to attend 
worshi]) in the south part of the town, even if not in sympathy with 
those who conducted that worsliip. This Separate Church gained in 
strength and numbers, though still greatly burdened with questions of 
discipline, " dealing " even with its pastor " for rouging some of his 
nabors in putting oif to them tliat which was not raarchantable." A 
brother was publicly admonished for stripping a greatcoat from a dead 
soldier, and re-admonished "in that he held there was no wrong in the 
act, only that it grieved the brethren." Two sensitive sisters were un- 
able to travel with the church " because it held as a jnincipill that it 
was a censorable euvill for a member of the church to marry with an 
onbeliever." A former act of the church in suspending a must exem- 
plary deacon upon this charge had probably subjected it to the imputa- 
tion of holding a principle, so inimical to the matrimonial a.spirations 
of its sisterhood. Finding upon investigation that tliis distasteful 
" principill " had indeed been very much imbibed, the church "ex- 
ploded it on conviction," confessed its fault and graciously welcomed 
back the pacified sisters. Rate-paying being utterly tabooed the Gos- 
pel was supported by what was denominated " free contribution," viz. : 
" the church met together by legal warning at an appointed time and 
place to sho7o their liberality, and those who wilfully or carelessly 
neglected their duty in that respect were to be looked upon as cove- 
nant breakers." 

After the death of Rev. Samuel Wadsworth in 1762, the church, 
according to the [u-actice of its order, proceeded to select a pastor from 
its own aiembership. The gifts of Deacon Stephen Spalding and 
brother Thomas Denison wei"e found useful to the church. Mr. Deni- 
son had been prominent in the early days of the Separate movement, 
and, after embracing and renouncing " Anabaptism," had assisted in 
ordaining most of the Separate ministers, but had lost the confidence 
of his friends through weakness and infirmity of temper, and after 
many trials and ditficulties had recently removed to Killingly. His 
fluent prayers and exhortations were so acceptable to his hearers that 
without inquiring into his character and antecedents the church pro- 
ceeded to call him to the vacant pastorate, but soon found cause to re- 
gret their hasty action. Mr. Denison's principles were far less satis- 
factory than his preaching, and were in many resj)ect8 " contraiy to the 
travel of the church and brought a great division among them." A 
majority of the church went back from their call and declined to pro- 
ceed to installation, but a number persisted in holding him for their 
pastor, and he iu holding himself to be sent of God to be the pastor of 



94 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

the South KilliiiL^ly Chui-di. Great confusion and einbroilnient fol- 
lowed. Seven proniiuent memhers of the church broui^ht specific, sus- 
tainable charges agninst Mr. Denison, whereupon they were sharply 
admonished and suspended i'roiii chuich privileges ; and they in turn 
admonished and suspended their ailmonishers. Mr. Denison, as clerk 
of the church, took possession of its records and refused copies of votes 
to his op[>onents, who had no resource but to " send their distressed 
cries" to other Sej)arate churches to look into their deploral)le case 
and give counsel and assistance!! John Fuller, Paul Parke, John Pal- 
mer, Joseph Marshall and Alexander Miller, ministers of Separate 
churches, and a brother from each church, accordingly met in council 
in the South Killingly meeting-house. May 2, 1764, and after due ex- 
amination gave in their judgment with refreshing plainness and im- 
partiality. That Mr. Denison had ''intruded" in voting for himself 
with the minor part and oi)posing the major vote was evident, but " as 
to his being accused with crowding," it appeared that the church had 
never regularly dismissed him from the call it gave him, and were 
presently divided among themselves. On the whole, they found the 
whole affair from first to last very imprudent. The hasty proceedings 
of the church in receiving Mr. Denison into membership without fur- 
ther acquaintance with him or recommendation from some other 
church seeing lie was a stranger, and being in such haste to call him 
for their minister was very censurable ; and they could not but tliink 
Mr. Denison entirely out of the way of his duty in insisting upon his 
being chosen by said church when he could not but see the irregulai-ity 
of the whole affair and the lamentable divisions consequent ui)on the 
same ; and as for their admonishing one another, could they do it in a 
brotherly way it might in some instances be commendable and their 
duty, bi.t for either side to assume the power of the church, they could 
not expect the same to have any good effect at all, and for Mr. Deni- 
son and those with him to admonish as reported was entirely wrong 
both as to matter and manner. 

Whereupon the council proceeded to advise Mr. Denison — 

" To desist his improvcnient entirely amongst tliem under the notion of 
his being their pastor, seeing the division is so grate and the conse(]nencis so 
contrary to the very designs of tlie Gosplc of Teaeo, and nlthougli ilie said 
Mr. Denison did not send fur onr advice in parti(aihir yet as well-wishers to 
hini.self and ilie interest of religion we cannot avoid advising him as he ten- 
ders the glory of God his own comfort and peace, and the weKare of this 
people, and we cannot l)ut hope and expect that he will comply witii our 
advice, especially when it appears that none from no quarter abroad can join 
in said aftair, and also seeing his ministry in other places hath been attended 
with ditticnities of the same natnrc. 

We likewise advise those Ijreihren that appear so forward for settling Mr. 
Denison alter all, to come to a deliberate consideration of the evil conse- 
quences which haih already attended said affair, and when this is done we 
shall hardly ueed to advise them to desist for we think they will do so of 



TOWN AFFAIRS IN KILLINGLY, ETC. 05 

themselves, unless they dcsijin their own niiu ■with their hrcthrcu ns to their 
church state. And as for tliose brethren thai sent lor us we advise you to 
lay aside all contention, and as new born babes desire the sincere niill< ol' the 
Word that ye may yrow thereby, and let the whole all'air cease as to any more 
debate about the same." 

Tlie church by formal vote now dismissed Mr. Denison from liis 
call, and with solemn prayer and lasting invited Eli]>halet Wright of 
Mansfield, to become their pastor, whose ordination was s])eedily 
effected, May 16, 1764, — the most noted Separate ministers of the 
day assisting in the services. Mr. Wright was a man of good sense 
as well as of fervent piety, and soon restored good order and liarinony. 
Working with his own hands at his trade of saddle and harness- 
making, he required so little pecuniary aid, that his churcli was released 
from compulsory contributions, and enal)led to give more care to 
its spiritual edification. Having suffered nmch for lack of some defi- 
nite form, it now adopted the Articles of Faith and Covenant used 
by the Separate church of Plaintield, "as a good and wholesome 
system of faith and practice by which it would walk in future, still 
looking for more light." John Eaton and Jonathan Day were chosen 
deacons. Oct. 4, 1765, Abraliam and Hannah Spafford, Nathaniel Ben- 
net and Hannah Wright — the only remaining memV)ers of the once 
fiourishiug Separate church in Mansfield — were received into church 
fellowship. A powerfid work of grace began ere long which brought 
some fifty persons into the church and greatly strengthened and 
refreshed it. In 176S, Abraham Carjienter was ordained into the 
office of deacon by the laying on of hands, and dismissed after five 
years service, to become the pastor of the church of Plainfield, New 
Hampshire. 

As years passed on this church lost some of its distinctive Separate 
featiu-es. In 1774, Wyman Hutchins and Jose[>h J>ennet were 
chosen to assist the pastor in the government of the chin-ch, to inspect 
into the conduct of the church both with respect to their attendance 
on public worsliip and their daily walk. Greater secular privileges 
had now been obtained. Exemption from paying rates to the south 
society had been restricted solely to those who first petitioned the 
Assembly, so that ttieir children and later members of the church 
were still compelled to pay t^-ibute, but as public opinion became more 
enlightened, " the said society were themselves convinced that this 
was a hardship and injustice," and agreed unanimously "that some- 
thing ought to be done about it." Samuel Danielson, Boaz Stearns 
and Deacon Sprague were accordingly appointed a committee on 
behalf of the south society to meet in conference with Deacons 
Stephen Spalding, Wyman Hutchins and Jonathan Day, and consented 
that the Separates should be incorporated iuto a distinct ecclesiastical 



96 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

society — " division to begin at the Quiiiebaug River, run east to Joshua 
Whitney's dwelling-house, and so to lihode Island line." A petition 
to this eftect was thereupon preferred to the General Assembly and 
society privileges granted, October, 1770. 

The "Separate brothers and sisters" at Chestnut Hill, received 
liberty from the main body to meet occasionally by themselves on 
the Sabbath for public worship, and had the sacrament administered 
to them once in three months. Mr. Denison remained in Killingly 
after " being dismissed from his call," and there is some evidence that 
he served as pastor to this diminishing " branch." The Baptists of 
this vicinity had no church organization at this period, but remained 
faithful to their [irinciples and even gained adherents, laying the foun- 
dation for the future establishment of their order. As the Revolu- 
tionary troubles came on many residents of the seaboard sought 
security in Windham County. Among these emigrants were several 
earnest Baptists, tilled with missionary zeal, who went about preaching 
the word, and building up and strengthening Baptist churches. The 
scattered Baptists in Chestnut Hill and its vicinity gladly welcomed 
the call to unite as a distinct body. Agreeable to a request from a 
number of baptized believers, desiring to unite in a visible church 
state, Elder Joseph Winsor of Gloucester, Elder James Manning of 
Providence and Elder Job Seamans of Attleborough, with delegates 
from their respective churches and from the Baptist church in Thomp- 
son Parish, convened in East Killingly, May 22, 1776. President 
Manning was chosen moderator. Articles expressing the sentiments 
of those desii'ing to embody touching both doctrine and practice 
received the approbation of the council, and were signed by nearly 
sixty baptized believers, male and female, mutually covenanting and 
agreeing to unite together as a church. Others were soon added both 
by letter and profession. Eber Moffat was chosen clerk. July 26, the 
chuich unanimously agreed to give Mr. George Robinson, of Attle- 
borough, a call to settle with them as their elder. On the same day a 
Baptist society was organized — its members voluntarily agreeing "to 
attend on divine service on every first day of the w^eek, Extrodiuarys 
being excepted, and also to contribute to the support of the Gospiil 
ministery with our Chiistian friends, the breatheren of the church in 
this place, as necessity my require." Eber Moffat was elected clerk of 
the society, and the call to Mr. Robinson confirmed. Mr. Robinson 
desiring time for consideration, in October church and society renewed 
their request and he gave answer in the affirmative. Robert Baxter, 
David Law, Joseph Smith, William Givens, Ezekiel Black mar and 
Ephraim Fisk, were chosen by both bodies, To buy a settlement and 
take a deed of the same for a ministerial lot for the use of the Elders. 



Woodstock's three parishes, etc. 97 

William Givens was chosen treasurer for the church. Ordination ser- 
vices were held at the house of Mr. David Law, Nov. 12. Elders 
Isaac Backus, Abiel Ledoit, John Martin, Joseph Winsor and Charles 
Thompson were present. Elder Backus was chosen moderator, and 
Elder Tliompson, clerk. Inciuiring first into the constitution and 
articles of the church, they found them so consistent with the rules 
of the gospel, that they gave them fellowship as a sister church. The 
relation of the candidate's " call out of Nature into Grace and also his 
special call to the great work of the ministry," gave " such full satis- 
faction that we heartily agreed to answer the church's request in 
ordaining of him," and on the following day " the Polders met and 
separated Brother Robinson to the work whereunto God had called 
him by laying on of hands and prayers." Thus hap[)ily established 
the church went on its way rejoicing, as is shown by its records : — 

" First day, January ye .5tli, 1777. We had the sacrament admiuistered to 
us by our Elder — a comfoi-tuble day it was. 

Fir!<t day, JuDuary ye 26. MaryAldreig offered herself to this church and 
was received, aud was baptized with decency by our Elder." 

A building was soon built or procured which served for a place of 
worship. There is no evidence that the appointed committee suc- 
ceeded in buying a ministerial lot for Elder Robinson, but he himself 
for two hundred pounds purcliased a hundred acres of land of Robert 
Baxter, who had recently removed from Scituate. Ephraim Fisk of 
Swauzey, and David Law, were newly-arrived residents. A committee 
was now appointed by the First society "to assist in examining the 
certificates of people called Baptist," which reported '"that such as 
produce proper certificates ought to be exempt." 



YIII. 

WOODSTOCK'S THREE PATITSHES. BAPTIST CHUKCII. TOWN 
AFFAIRS. TROUBLES WITH MASSACHUSETTS. 

WOODSTOCK in 17G0 had just emerged from a bitter and pro- 
tracted controversy, resulting in church and society division. 
A new society had been erected in the north part of the first society. 
Three religious societies with each a distinct church organization were 
thus composed within the township. The Rev. Stephen Williams was 
still the stated pastor of the New Roxbury or West Society. Rev. 
Abel Stiles was claimed by the North Society. The First or South 
Society was without a pastor. It had saved its meeting-house, 
but lost its minister, and some years passed before this loss was sup- 
plied. Much time and money were expended in " going after minis- 
ters." The young licentiates from Pomfret recently graduated from 
13 



98 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Yale College — Chaiidler, Ciaft, Grosveiior and Weld — were heard suc- 
cessively and unsiiceessfully. AVoilhy neiiihboring ministers labored 
with appropriate prayer and fasting to biing them to a decision. Tiue 
to their Massachusetts proclivities, cluircli and society at length united 
in choice of Abiel Leonard of Plymouth, a graduate from Harvard 
College in 1759. His fine personal ajjpeaiance, agreeable manners and 
marked ability in the pulpit, won universal favor, and on June 23, 
1763, he was inducted into the vacant pastorate. Eleven Massachu- 
setts churches were invited to participate in the installation services. 
The only Connecticut church thus honored was the First of Killingly, 
Rev. Aaron Brown, pastor. The sermon preached by Ilev. Mr. Barnes 
of Scituate was so satisfoctory that the brethren of the church mani- 
fested their desire to have it printed. Liquors, lemons and sugar pro- 
vided for this joyful occasion gave equal satisfaction. William Skinner 
and Jedidiah Morse were soon after installed in the office of deacons. 
It was also voted, " That a chapter in the Bible should be read pub- 
licly every Lord's day if agreeable to the congregation." Thus pro- 
vided with an acceptable pastor after so many years of strife and des- 
titution, the church on Woodstock Hill enjoyed a season of unwonted 
harmony and prosperity. At peace with itself it was ready to make 
peace with its neighbors, and passed the following act of amnesty: 
"Dec. 8, 1766, pastor and brethren of ye church in ye first society 
vote to overlook and forgive all that has been offensive to us in ye 
chui'ch in North Woodstock, engaging to conduct towards them as be- 
comes a church in Christian fellowship." The question of singing was 
next brought under consideration. Hitherto the whole congregation 
had been accustomed to join promiscuously in this part of divine woi'- 
ship, but in 1769, the psalm-tuner formally petitioned, " That some con- 
venient place in the gallery be appi'0])riated to the use of the singers." 
The society responded, "That it would be exceedingly glad that the 
three forward seats in the front gallery might be sequestered to the use 
of the singers ; and also that the three seats on the women's side might 
be sequestered for the same use ; and further that those women both 
elder and younger that are favored with agreeable voices would occupy 
said seats is the society's desire." This i)roposition to limit the privi- 
lege of joining in sacred song to such as could sing agreeably met 
much opposition, and was not carried into execution for several yeais. 
Woodstock's north society was formally incorporated by Act of 
Assembly in 1761. Though inferior in extent and numbers to the pre- 
vious societies it had the advantage of compactness and unity. Its 
chief supporters were numerous families of Child and May, long resi- 
dent in this northeast section of the town. The long and arduous con- 
flict by which they had gained their independence had strengthened 



Woodstock's three parishes, etc. 99 

the ties of blood, and their appreciation of distinct religions privile^-es, 
and led thetn to engage with much harmony and spirit in establishing 
stated worship. Families in neighboring jiarishes wei-e eager to join 
with them in this eltort. A petition from The<ipliilus and Samuel 
Chandler, Moses and William Marcy, and Edward liugbce, residents of 
Thompson Parish, repi'esented : — 

"That the extent and quantity of the land in said society of North ^Yood- 
stock is but suiali for a parisli and its list only £4700; that they were five and 
even six miles from tlie meetin<i:-house in Thompson, and separated by the 
QuinelKiug which for the greater part of the year was not passable unless by 
bridges, which necessitated a longer journey ; that they were mucli nearer 
the centre of North Woodstock, and should l)e much l)etter accouiuiodated, 
to be matie a part thereof; while the remaining part of Thompson would have 
numbers, estate and extent quite sufficient." 

Henry and Peter Child of Xew Roxbnry also begged for annexation 
to the north society on the plea that the west society contained half 
the land in the whole town, and that in the north was small compai'ed 
with tlie other. Both requests were granted, and the several petition- 
ers formally annexed to the nortli society. With these additions it 
now embraced some fifty five families, and was able to provide a place 
of worship and support its minister in a creditable manner. A meet- 
ing-house was soon erected on the site of the present church edifice in 
East Woodstock. Land for this purpose was probably given by mem- 
bers of the Child fimily, but the absence of records makes it impossi- 
ble to gain authentic details. It is traditionally asserted that some 
opposed this site as not in the centre of the society, and that when one 
party gathered to raise the frame another appeared to push it down, 
but this too is doubtful. Land adjoining the meeting house was pur- 
chased of Elisha Child by Rev. Abel Stiles in 1763, and on this pleas- 
ant spot the much-tried minister found an agreeable retreat from the 
storms by which he had been so long beset. He reports to his nephew, 
Dr. Ezra Stiles, that their "domestic circumstances are comfortable. 
The long ujiroar has ceased since the disiuption of the society. I am 
in peace with ray people." His experience had left liim a very un- 
favorable opinion of ecclesiastic councils and judgments. Dr. Stiles, 
requesting him to collect results of councils in Wiinlliam County for 
the last fifty years to be compiled ''iu a brief iiistory of New England 
councils," his uncle replies : — 

" Why Woodstock alone would furnish and suggest matter for a volume 
equal to Father Cowper's Anatomy!. ... As to the results in Woodstock 
siiice I have been here, they appear to lue as contrary as the good and bad ti:.'s 
ii; Jereiniali's vision; some very good, others very bad; nor do I think it iu 
the power of mortals to prevent erroneous and injurious results. In a word, 
were I half so sure that a history of New England councils would prevent 
future mischief, as I am of having been repeatedly injured by past results, I 
wouhl cheerfully send you all thel-esults I am able to collect." 



100 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Dr. Stiles was himself a frequent visitant at the North Woodstock 
parsonage, attending meetings of association and consciation, preaching 
for the different ministers and noting with keen eye whatever came 
within his cognizance. His minutes give no hint of any unpleasantness 
or lack of harmony in the new society. The church was somewhat 
annoyed by the dithculty of obtaining recognition as tlie First Church 
of Woodstock, a dignity tenaciously claimed by the standing church on 
Woodstock Hill. It consented nevertheless to consider the concilia- 
tory overtures made by that body, and after first distinctly voting Dec. 
16, 1766, "That this church has lull right to consider themselves the 
first church of Woodstock," it agreed "• To overlook and forgive all that 
has been offensive to us in the South Church." So far as can be ascer- 
tained both churches were correct in their assumption. Neither one or 
other had organized anew or made such change as to forfeit its standing 
under the original covenant. Both had sprung from the same root and 
as north and south branches now represented the original Woodstock 
church. Loss or absence of records makes it impossible to trace the 
course of the North Church for many years. 

The church and society of West Woodstock pursued their way 
peacefully and prosperously under the guidance of Mr. Williams, till 
their tranquillity was disturbed by the development of a new religious 
interest. It had been a time of great spiritual dearth and declension ; 
church members had become cold and foimal ; social religious meet- 
ings were unknown ; the young people were much absorbed in frolic 
and merry-making. A chance sermon pieached by an earnest Ba])tist 
minister, Rev. Noah Alden, while passing through the town in Decembei", 
1763, was a means of fixing conviction of sin iu the conscience of the 
chief leader in fun and levity — Biel Ledoyt — and after arduous con- 
flict, his soul was brought into gospel liberty. " A world lying in 
wickedness and the necessity of men being made new creatures fell 
with such weight upon his mind," that he felt constrained to speak to 
them about it, and that with such earnestness and power, that those 
young companions who came to laugh him out of these new notions, 
"stood like men amazed" and were themselves convicted and con- 
verted. A meeting was appointed in a school-house, and though it 
was a dark lowery night people flocked to it from all parts of the 
parish till the house was full. Ledoyt and two of his young fiiends 
carried on the meeting, and so impressive were their exhortations that 
about forty young persons were " struck under conviction." The 
meetings were continued. Convictions increased gi'eatly. Parents 
were surprised to see their giddy children distressed for their souls. 
All frolicking came to a stop. The Bible and other good books were 
much iu use. The groves rang with the bitter outcries of the dis- 



Woodstock's three parishes, etc. 101 

tressed youth. Piofessing Cliiistians were led (o lament their j)revious 
coldness and backsliding, and join with these young disciples in 
labors for the conversion of others. So powerful was the woik that 
none dared at first to say a word ag.ninst it, but after a time (i])i)Osition 
was manifested. Some older church members looked with suspicion 
upon a religious movement begun and carried on outside the church, 
and feared it would result in excesses and irrfgulaiities. Tiiey cau- 
tioned the converts about spending so mucli time in meetings and 
staying out so late at night, and advised them to refrain from exhort- 
ing, but finding their advice unheeded, '" fell to crying p]ri-or and 
Delusion." The flaming zeal of the young disciples was only 
hightencd by this opposition. The I'egular meetings of the church 
and the ordinary services of the Sabbath conducted l)y Mr. Williams, 
seemed to them cold and lifeless. Disj)araging remarks were made 
upon both sides and ere long a bitter antagonism was developed 
between the friends and enemies of the revival. The chui-cli, alarmed 
at the condition of affairs, proclaimed a fast and called in the neigh- 
boring ministers, who saw in this great religious awakening a new out- 
burst of the spirit of Separatism, and ''fell to reading about false 

spirits and Satan transforming himself into an angel of light 

intimating, that the woi'k was from Satan, and such nunisters as were 
instruments of it, the servants of Satan," and " })laiidy warning them 
against the first instruments of their awakening, as being the deceivers 
which should come in at the last times." This injudicious action and 
uncharitable surmising, "grieved the hearts of the tender lambs," and 
plainly taught them that edification, the great end of Chiietian 
society, was not to be enjoyed in the church of tlifir fathei's. Other 
Baptist ministers had probably followed Mr. Alden. A remnant ot" 
the old Six Piinciple Baptists still existed, and now a large prc>]iorlion 
of the young converts turned in sympathy to the Baptists and eni- 
bi-aced their peculiar pi'inciples. Unable to walk in harniony with 
the standing church, they felt compelled to sejjarate from it, and in the 
autumn of 1701 agreed to meet together as a society, imi)roving the 
gifts which God had given tiiem. At the first favorable opportunity 
several were baptized by immersion and in February, 1766, fifteen of 
these ba]>tized converts embodied in church estate, and soon others 
were added. Their meetings, conducted by several gifted l)rethren, 
were well sustained and attended, so that it was appaient to all that 
God's work went on amongst them. One of the most earnest and 
active of these brethren was Biel Ledoyt, who felt called of God 
publicly to preach his word, which he did in a manner so satisfactory 
to tlie church, that May 26, 1768, he was ordained as its pastor. The 
growth and prosperity of this Baptist church awakened uuich jeal- 



102 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COTNTT. 

ousy and opposition. As tlie only churcli of this order tlien within 
Windham County limits its position was prominent, and a bitter and 
persecuting spirit was manifested by its opposers. Attempts were 
made to waylay and assault its pastor, and rates for the support of 
Mr. Williams were extorted from its members. Embittered by the 
loss of so many of their congregation, the established society of West 
Woodstock denied the validity of the Baptist churcli and society 
organization. Jan. 29, 1770, Daniel Perrin, Samuel Harding and 
Samuel Chase were ap|)ointed by this society, " to examine the records 
of those people among us that call themselves Baptists ; also, to hear 
the pleas of tliose persons in regard to their princii»les and the reason 
of their conduct towards us, and consider how far they are fr^ed from 
paying rates." These gentlemen reported, that we have been to ^Nlr. 
Elnathan Walker's, whom our 8e[)arate neighbors call their clerk, 
to look into their records to see what regulations they were under 
and could Hud no record at all, neither at Mr. Walker's, nor with him 
they call their elder, that the good and wholesome laws of this Colony 
know anything of In view of this report the society voted, '' That 
the Ana-baptist people in this society are )iot freed from paying 
minister's rates amongst us ; and to leave the affair with the society 
committee." The committee thus empowered attempted to levy the 
rates but met such determined opposition and argument from the 
indignant Baptists, who were at this time greatly encouraged and 
strengthened by the frequent visits and counsels of Deacon BoUes of 
Ashford, that they were fain to relinquish the futile effort, and after a 
year of wrangling the society again voted : — 

" To take the advice of Hon. Jonathan Trimibull in tlie aft'air between the 
society and those people among us calling theuiselves Baptists and Aua- 
bapiists, and his advice slionld determine the matter how said society shoidd 
proceed with and towards said Baptists, and for his Honor to take the rules 
of law for his guide in his advice to the society." 

Ebenezer Paine, Daniel Perrin, Samuel Harding, Samuel Child, and 
Nathaniel Marcy were instructed to di-aw \\\) some suitable instrument 
to lay before Governor Trumbull, and Deacon Corbin, to present the 
affair to him. The honored governor duly considered the matter and 
replied with that candor and fairness which gave such weight to his 
counsels : — 

" Inhabitants of New Roxbury, Woodstock. Gentlemen : I received by 
hand of Deacon Ebenezer Corbin, a request from your committee, showing, 
that there has been and still is a number of people in your society who pro- 
fess themselves to be Ana-baptists, and did some time in the month of Feb., 
17()6, form themselves into a church state, and under the conduct and direc- 
tion of three churches of the same denomination, have settled a teacher or 
elder among them, do steadily attend the worship of God and his ordinances 
among themselves according to their way and manner, and say they have 
taken all those steps and measures the law requires, and areuuder the patron- 



Woodstock's three parishes, etc. 103 

aire niul toleration of the laws of tliis Colony; that some of j-oiir societ_v 
siippos;e that they have not; that those ISaptists have been every year put 
into tlie tax bill made for the support of your minister, except tiie fast year 
they were left out by the committee that they have paid no such tax nor any 
distraint made therefor; that by reason of ditterent sentiments in reliijiou's 
affairs and different minds in the society respecting those who differ from 
them with regard to taxing them, a great ditticulty has arisen; and there- 
fore asking my opinion and advice in the following particulars : — 

1. How is a Baptist to be known in law, wliereljy he is to be exempted 
from paving taxes to the support of the established worship or ministry in 
this Colony? 

2. Whether the Baptist churches in general in this Colony, are otherwise 
known in law than those in your society, and if so, in what manner? 

3. In order that a Baptist may be known in law by his cerlllicate, by whom 
it must be signed and to wliom directed? 

That, at your late society meeting it was voted to take my advice in the 
afiair, to detern)ine how the society should proceed with and towards the 
Baptist people among j'ou. 

Whereupon, it is my opinion, that a Baptist is known in law so as to be 
excused from paying an}' tax levied for the support of the established minis- 
try in the society where he dwells, when he dissents from the same, attends 
the worship of God in such way as is practiced by the Baptists and joins him- 
self to them, whereby he becomes one of their society; that the Baptist 
churches in this Colony are no otherwise known in law than that church of 
Bnptists in your society is, that those people having formed themselves into 
a Baptist church and society, they, and th(! particular persons who hereafter 
do attend their meeting for the worship of God and join with tliem in this 
profession, are excused from paying any part in your society tax for the sup- 
port of your minister. The certificate mentioned in the law is to be pro- 
duced from such Baptist church, signed by the elder or other known proper 
officer, and directed to your society committee or clerk. 'J'he law doth not 
oblige those people to make application to the General Assembly or County 
Court to be qualified for such exemption, which was formerly the case and is 
probably the occasion of your present difference in semtiments. 

That you may be of one mind, live in unity and peace under the Divine pro- 
tection and blessing, is the sincere desire of your most obedient humble 
servant, Joxatiian Tkumbutx. 

Lebanon, March 21, 1771." 

The standing society accepted tliis decision as final, and directed its 
committee to examine reports of Baptist people, and see who are ex- 
empt. About forty persons were then released from ratei)aying. 
Recognized as a lawful body, the Woodstock Baptist Church increased 
in numbers and influence, united with tlie Warren Baptist Association, 
and gained a respectable standing among its sister churches. The 
West Woodstock Congregational Society, extending over a large and 
opening territory, gradually recovered its losses. Like its sister 
churches in town it was now greatly exercised by the question of sing- 
ing. Four "queristers" were chosen in 177G, and it was voted, "That 
the singers should sit in the front gallery in any seat (except the fore 
seat in front) according to their age and common usage in sitting; 
that the several queristers should be seated, and sit in the fore seat in 
the front gallery, men's side." But the new arrangement did not work 
well, and after a few months trial it was again voted, " To come into some 
cordial agreement that each one may enjoy his right and property, so 



104 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUXTY. 

that we may all celebrate the praises of God together, both lieart and 
voice, in every part of the meeting-house." 

All parts of the town united in cai'e for its public interests. "Noti- 
fications " for town meetings were set up in four places that all might 
receive due waiiiing. Town meetings were still held in the meeting- 
house on Woodstock Hill. As the disturbances with England came 
on their meetings were conducted with increasing sjtii-it and solemnity. 
The Reverends Stiles, Leonard and Williams now took the freeman's 
oath, and each in turn opened the April town meeting " with a re- 
ligions service of prayer and a sermon." At the annual meeting in 
1760, Isaac Johnson was chosen moderator; Ttiomas Chandler, town 
clerk and treasurer; Isaac Johnson, Thomas Chandler, Xathaniel John- 
son, Ebenezer Smith, Jun., Xathaniel Child, selectmen ; Moses Chand- 
ler, constable and collector of colony tax; Moses Child, collector of ex- 
cise ; Samuel McClellan, George Hodge, Elijah Lyon, Abner Harris, 
John Chamberlain, Amos Paine, Matthew Hammond, Jonathan, Henry 
and Ebenezer Child, Ebenezer Corbin, Jonatlian Morris, Hezekiah 
Smith, Captain Joseph Hayward, Joshua Cliandler, highway surveyors ; 
Silas Bowen, Hezekiah Sniitli, grand jurors ; Silas Bowen, Moses Child, 
Moses Chandler, Stephen JMay, Ebenezer Child, Jun., Samuel Child, 
Jun., listei's ; Nathaniel and Abijah Child, Samuel Bowen, collectors of 
rates ; George Hodge, Josiah Hammond, Stephen Marey, Asa Mori'is, 
Caleb May, Elisha Child, tithing-men ; Benjamin Bugbee, William 
Chai)man, fence- viewers ; Darius Ainsworth, Zebediah Marcy, Joseph 
Manning, Ezra May, Isaac Bowen, Nathan Child, haywards ; Moses 
Child, receiver of stores; Jedidiah Morse, packer; Joseph Peake, 
guager ; Richard Flynn, Daniel Bugbee, branders. Town bounds 
demanded much attention. The report of a committee relating to the 
line between Woodstock and Union was accepted. Thomas Chandler 
was appointed agent to oppose LTnion's petition, and with John Pay- 
son, Jabez Lyon, Samuel Chandler, Edward Morris and John May — the 
fathers of the town — wait upon the committee sent by the General 
Court. Nathaniel Child and Jose|)h Peake were chosen to meet with 
Jacob Di'esser and Jaazaniah Horsmor to renew the line between 
W^oodstock and Killingly, and all the remaining bounds were peram- 
bulated and renewed. Tlie renovation of the town pound excited some 
discussion. It was voted "to build a new pound in the centre of the 
town," but this was revoked, and in 1765 it was ordered, "To build 
one i)Ound near the old pound in the first society of the same bigness 
as the first witi\ stones, selectmen to have charge of the same." Again, 
the question was reconsidered, and it was finally decided that the new 
pound should be built with oak posts and chestnut rails, six rails high 
and four lengths of ten-feet rails square. Manasseh Horsmor also re- 



Woodstock's three parishes, etc. 105 

ceived the privilege of using his liavn-yard for a public pound. Swine 
were allowed the liberty of the highways and commons if sufficiently 
"yoked and ringed." A bounty of twelve shillings was offered in 1771 
to any person who should kill a wildcat. Captain William Lyon, 
Samuel Chandler, Xathaniel Child, Captain Daniel Paine and P^benezer 
Child, appointed at about this day to examine the financial status of 
the town, reported " Tliat the town's money for a number of years had 
been prudently handled," and that its treasury was in good condition. 
It was now ordered that a workhouse should V)e provided to accommo- 
date the town's poor, and also that idle and dissolute persons might be 
put therein and employed. In 1773, higliway districts were set out, 
viz. : in the First society, five districts, under the care of Thomas Baker, 
Jonathan Allen, Jonathan Lyon, Jedidiah Bugbee, Matthew Bowen ; 
New Roxbury society, four districts, Daniel Paine, southeast overseer ; 
Benjamin Haywood or Howard, southwest ; John Perrin, 2d, north- 
west ; Samuel Narramore, northeast ; North society, Caleb May, south- 
east overseer ; Ephraim Cai'penter, northeast ; Eliakim May, north- 
west ; Stephen Tucker, southwest. A communication relating to 
Colonel Putnam's petition for a public highway to New Haven leading 
through Windham County was favorably received by the to\vn, and 
referred to the consideration of the selectmen. New roads were laid 
out from time to time in different parts of the town, connecting with 
or replacing the old range-ways originally laid out. Schools were 
managed by the religious societies. A proposition to sell the old cedar 
swamp and appropriate avails to the support of the gospel, " jjrovided 
said gospel be carried on according to the Congregational or Presby- 
terial Scheem," failed of accomplishment. In 1765, it was voted to sell 
the same and api)ly the proceeds to schooling. Four years later sale of 
certain portions of proprietors' land was reported and accepted, and 
£115 allowed for schools. The remainder of the cedar swamp was left 
for private sale. Committees were still chosen to take cai'e of the 
hearthstone lot and prosecute trespassers. 

Woodstock was now losing many of its citizens by emigration. 
Thomas, youngest son of Captain John Chandler, removed with his 
family of sons and daughters in 1761, and after a brief sojourn in Wal- 
pole, New Hampshire, decided to lay the foundations of a new settle- 
ment westward. Jabez Seigeant, Edwaid and Isaiah Johnson, Charles 
May, William Warner and others from Woodstock joined with him in 
building up the township of Cliester, Vermont. Jolm and Noah Pay- 
son, William Bartholomew, Seth Hodges, Benjamin Bugbee, John 
Chamberlain were among the many Woodstock emigrants who went 
out into the wilderness and aided in settling towns in New Hampshire, 
Vermont and New York. This outflow was perhaps made needful by 
14 



106 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

the great natural increase of population — Rev. Abel Stiles baptizing 
in his society in twenty-tive years no less than 367 boys and 415 girls — 
while at the same time it was favored with remarkable exemption from 
sickness and epidemic disease, so that in some 210 families the yearly 
average of death was only twelve persons. Many lived to great age 
and quietly dropped away. 

An elaborately carved slate-stone in the graveyard at New Roxbury 
commemorated the decease of Joshua, third sou of Honorable John 
Chandler, April 15, 1768;— 

" In his last days he in 
Hopes of another world 
Saying by and by Glory, 

Glory, Glory. 
Blessed are ye dead 
That die in the Lord." 

Other honored and lamented citizens left still more enduring monu- 
ments. Deacon William Lyon bequeathed to the town for the instruc- 
tion and spiritual edification of its citizens his copy of Willard's Body 
of Divinity, a most elaborate and exhaustive theological compendium. 
The town signified its acceptance and appreciation of this gift by 
voting, " That it be annually removed from one parish in town to 
another, to be kept at the meeting-houses of the respective societies." 
Captain Benjamin Lyon's bequest of fifty pounds was restricted to the 
north society, to be applied towards procuring a library. The United 
Lyon Library, comprising some two hundred and fifty volumes, mostly 
divinity books, and including the remains of the ancient Union Library 
of Woodstock and Pomfret, resulted from this thoughtful and wise be- 
quest. About ninety proprietors had rights in this library. 

Captain Samuel Chandler, last surviving son of Honorable John 
Chandler, occupied for many years the original Chandler homestead in 
South Woodstock. His son, Charles Church Chandler, was graduated 
from Harvard College in 1763, studied law, married Marian Griswold 
of Lyme, and entered upon the j^ractice of his profession at the old 
homestead in his native village. Pie was a young man of marked 
ability and promise, and soon became very prominent in town and pub- 
lic affairs. This village of South Woodstock was now noted for public 
spirit and patriotism. Dr. David Holmes, its well-known physician, 
and Samuel McClellan, trader, were both very active in military and 
political aifairs. The mercantile traffic carried on by the latter partici- 
pated in the revival of business enjoyed for a season, and large quanti- 
ties of English and West India goods were distribtited throughout the 
town. No men in Woodstock were more respected and useful at this 
period than the deacons of the south church — William Skinner and 
Jedidiah Morse — who, with their popular pastor, are also reported as 



Woodstock's three parishes, etc. ' 107 

" the largest and finest looking men in the parish." Nor were the 
wives of these excellent men less respected and honored, but were 
rather res^arded "as models of domestic virtues and Christian o-races." 
The " excellent character and noble bearing " of Mrs. Tempei'ance 
, wife of Dr. Holmes, impressed all who knew her. Mrs. Je- 
mima Bradbury, widow of Hon. William Chandler, also occupied a 
high place among Woodstock's notable and honorable women. "En- 
dowed with superior natural and acquired abilities," kind, courteous, 
benevolent, religious, she was especially noted for her interest in 
natural sciences, geography, history and all kindred investigations, and 
for skill in imparting to others " most valuable instructions." Certain 
bright little boys then growing up in the families of Deacon Morse and 
Doctor Holmes may have received their first impulse to geographical 
and scientific studies from the teachings of this gifted and intelligent 
woman. Bright little girls as well as boys were also growing up in 
Woodstock. Alathea Stiles studied Latin with her accomplished 
father, and reports her progress in this and other studies to lier learned 
cousin. Other young ladies excelled in housewife accomplishments, 
and some of their exploits even foimd their way into the news|»apers. 
The Hartford Courant, January 9, 1766, reports that Miss Levina, 
daughter of Capt. Nehemiah Lyon of Woodstock, and Miss Molly 
Ledoit of the same town, in one day carded and spun twenty-two skeins 
of good tow yarn, and that a few days after, Martha, sister of Levina, 
spun 194 knots of good linen yarn in one day. The same paper records 
an unfortunate casualty occurring at an October training. Elisha Lyon, 
oldest brother of these young ladies, a most promising young man, 
twenty-four years of age, was shot through the head by the accidental 
discharge of a musket and innnediately expired. 

The tranquillity of Woodstock during this period was somewhat dis- 
turbed by renewed demonstrations from the Goveinment of Massachu- 
setts. That Colony had never yielded her claim to the Indented 
townships. Proclamations of Fast and Thanksgiving liad ever been 
sent to them and assessments for taxes, and now she resolved to com- 
pel them to return to their allegiance. At the meeting of her General 
Assembly, Feb. 25, 1768, the following resolution was presented: — 

" To the House of Bepresentatives : — 

Whereas the iuhabitants of Soniers, Enfield, Siiffield and Woodstock, did iu 
1749, revolt from their subjection to this Goverument under whlcii tliey were 
at first settled, and by which they had been protected at great charge iu sev- 
eral wars, and did apply to Connecticut to receive them as being within said 
Colony, and said Government did at tir.st disclaim any share in said revolt, 
but afterwards, by an act or law artfully established a new form of words ex- 
pressive of the bo'uuds of Hartford and Windham counties, in order to give 
color to the officers of said counties to exercise jurisdiction over said revolt- 
ing inhabitants, and whereas after various attempts to persuade and compel 
said inhabitants to return to subjection, war began and for many years con- 



108 HISTOEY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

tinued, daring which Massachusetts Government desisted from all compulsory 
measures lest damage should accrue to his Majesty's service, and whereas by 
restoration of peace reasons for such forbearance cease and inhabitants still 
continue in revolt. 

Eesolved and ordered, That these inhabitants ought to have been, and from 
henceforth to all intents and purposes shall be considered within the limits of 
this Province, and under the jurisdiction of tliis Government, and civil and 
military ollicers are required to govern themselves accordingly, but in case of 
their return no arrears of taxes required of them ; notified to forbear payment 
of future taxes to Connecticut; selectmen required to give in a list of polls 
and estates, and if they don't, asses.-ment to be made in lawful manner; sher- 
ifls desired to deliver copies of this resolve, to give notice to the inhabitants." 

This rcsoltition was adopted by both Houses and attempts made to 
carry it into execution. A copy was left by Sheriff" Gardner Chandler 
with Jedidiah Morse, selectman of Woodstock, but it received no 
attention. The inhabitants of Woodstock had no desire to return to 
Massachusetts government, but rather, manifested undue, undutiful 
eagerness to take another slice of her territory. The committee ap- 
pointed in 1753 by Ehode Island and Connecticut to examine the bounda- 
ry line between Massachusetts and Connecticut, had reported, " That 
the dividend line was wrong from the outset; that the point selected by 
Woodward and Saftery for the head of Charles River was four miles 
south of the true head, and the stake on Wrentham Plain more than 
seven miles south of the most southerly part of Cliarles River, instead 
of three, as prescribed by Massachusetts' cliarter." Kehemiah Lyon, 
Jedidiah Morse, Silas Bowen, Samuel McClellan and Charles Church 
Chandler were now appointed by Woodstock to invite Rhode Island 
to appear in person before the General Assembly of Connecticut, and 
unite iu asking to have the boundary line settled. Rhode Island so 
far complied with this invitation as to appoint a committee to apply to 
Connecticut to ascertain the result of the joint petition of 17o3, " and if 
they can't tell, W'rite to ]\Ir. Partridge [her agent iu Enghuid] and re- 
quest him to examine the papers and inform us of the circumstances 
the affair was under at the commencement of the late war." Wood- 
stock, meanwhile, ajjpealed herself to the xVssembly for the redress of 
this and other grievances. Its distance from Windham Court-house 
was a great inconvenience and trial to this township, and it eagerly 
joined with other northern towns of the county in devising a remedy. 
At a meeting held in Pomfret, Feb. 11, 1771, .at the house of Colonel 
Israel Putnam, Samuel Chandler, Nehemiah Lyon, Nathaniel Child, 
Daniel and Ebenezer Paine appeared on behalf of Woodstock, consult- 
ing with gentlemen from Killingly, Thompson Parish, Ashford and 
Union, in regard "to some new bound for the county." This confer- 
ence had no immediate result. Pomfret Avished the county seat trans- 
ferred to her own borders. Woodstock had her own views upon the 



Woodstock's three paeishes, etc. 109 

matter, thus embodied in petition, after careful cousidcratioa and 
amendment, May 2, 1771 : — 

''Whereas your memorialists, upon a mature consideration of the excel- 
lency of the form of Government in Connecticut, and of the wise, equitable 
and righteous administration of the same, did in 17-19, place themselves under 
the jurisdiction and patronage of tiie Gen. Asseml^ly, witii raised expecta- 
tions of a plenary protection being granted them against the claims and de- 
mands of Massachusetts, but had been exposed to some peculiar inconveni- 
ences, sufi'ering greatly in their time, in their estates by seizures and distraints 
from the Province of Massachusetts, and to this day not exempt, and Massa- 
chusetts continuing its claims, and from year to year they have been assessed 
for their proportion of that Province tax, and by a resolve passed in its Gen- 
eral Assembly, Feb. 25, 1708, your memorialists were warned to forbear pay- 
ment of any future taxes to the Government of Connecticut, and the select- 
men of the indented towns required to give in a list of estates before next ses- 
sion, and in case of refusal to be assessed in such proportion as the other 
inhabitants of Massachusetts and payment enforced by law; and, 2, your 
memorialists being more than twenty-tive miles distant from the court-house 
in Windham, are put to great cost in attending the same and the multiplicity 
of business necessary to be transacted, whereby the time of the court to a 
great degree lengthened and frequent adjournments takes place, causing 
much needless travel and long absence from their respective families and 
occupations in life, enhanceth their burdens, increases their charges and 
greatly tends to their impoverishment; all which grievances we have patiently 
borne for twenty-two years from the hope that they would be redressed; and 
whereas it is the prevailing sentiment in Windham County that said county 
should be divided, on account of the multiplicity of business whereby parties 
are with their witnesses obliged to be on charge frequently week after week 
and cases deferred from time to time, and the inconvenience of other towns 
by being situate at a great distance, particularly Pomfret, Killingiy, Ashford 
and Union, and whereas Woodstock is most conveniently situated for a shire- 
town, as the boundary line between Massachusetts and Connecticut now runs 
seven miles north from the centre of its first society upon a strait line, and 
the northeast corner of said boundary line at Killingly's northeast corner 
being about eleven miles distant, and the northwest of Union about fourteen 
miles, southeast corner of Killingiy fourteen miles, southeast corner of Ash- 
ford fourteen miles from centre of first society, and upon su|iposition that the 
boundary line be run agreeable to the manifest intent of the Province Charter, 
three miles south of any part of Charles Piver, it would be about four and a 
half miles farther north; and as the court-liouse in Windham, by being placed 
about two and a half miles from the south line of the county, puts the inhabit- 
ants of these north towns— some twenty and even thirty miles distant— to very 
great inconvenience and charge, beg for a committee to unite with Rhode 
Island in fixing boundary line with Massachusetts, and also to take a just 
survey of Windham Couuly, the situation of Woodstock, and its convenieucy 
for a shire-town. 

Elisiia Child, 
Jedidiaii Morse, 
Arjeuts." 

William Williams and Joseph Triirabiill were appointed by the Up- 
per House to consider this memorial, but the Lower House dissented. 
The question of removing the court-house was not yet to be considered, 
and as for the boundary line, so long as Connecticut had the towns, 
agitation was unadvisable. In attempting to gain four miles, she might 
lose the whole disputed territory, and so both questions were left for 
future generations to grapple. 



BOOK VI. 

WINDHAM IN THE REVOLUTION, 17G4-83. 



I. 

OPPOSITION TO STAMP ACT. NON-IMPORTATION. HELP FOR 
BOSTON. RESOLVES AND ONSETS. A GREAT UPRISING. 

DURING the period of time embraced in the preceding section 
events were occui'ring that demand a separate record, and 
careful review and consideration. Tlie Revolution by whicli tlie 
Araei'ican Colonies were forever released fi-om the dominion of Great 
Britain was in progress. Windham County so alert and active in 
administering its domestic affairs was equally awake to the great 
public questions of the day. Its citizens had been reared to an intelli- 
gent participation in the government of Connecticut. As soon as a 
town was able to pay its part of public expenses it had sent represents 
tives to the General Assembly, and the proceedings and reports of 
those representatives were closely scrutinized and debated at home. 
The management of their towns, churches and schools had developed 
a spirit of self-reliance and independent judgment, and wise leaders 
and administrators were found in every community. The unusual 
privileges conferred by the charter of Connecticut gave her citizens 
for many years no pretext for murmuring, and they had been noted 
for attachment and loyalty to the British government in contrast with 
their rebellious neighbors in Massachusetts. Restrictions upon trade 
and manufactures, though burdensome and prejudicial to development, 
were viewed as perhaps needful commercial regulations, and excited 
no general distrust or disaffection. It was not till Great Britain 
claimed the right to impose a direct tax upon her American Colonies 
that her Connecticut subjects were roused to resistance. Taxation for 
the support of civil government had been hitherto associated with a 
voice in its administration. No town presumed to send deputies till 
it could pay public charges. Ministers exempted by law from rate- 
paying were expected to refrain from voting. The vital connection 
between taxation and representation had thus infused itself into the 



112 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COCNTT. 

popular inind, ami was held as a primal axiom not to be disputed or 
dislodged. The report that the House of Commons liad resolved, 
that it was proper to charge certain stamp duties in the Colonies and 
plantations, awoke Connecticut to a sense of her danger. The great 
mass of her citizens united with those of other Colonies in expressing 
their determination to resist this arl)itrary imposition. Admit the 
right to levy this tax, and no security was left to them. In the great 
conflict that followed, Windham County was deeply implicated. Her 
position on the main thoroughfares of travel brought her into very 
close and constant communication with the leading towns in the 
Northern Colonies. Filial and fraternal relations connected her with 
the flaming patriots of Boston and Providence. The earnest words 
and warnings of Colonel Dyer, then in London with opportunity of 
judging the aims and temper of the British Government, made a deep 
impression upon the citizens of Windham. " If the Colonists," he 
wrote, " do not now unite, they may bid farewell to liberty, burn 
their charters, and make their boast of thraldom." A still more 
potent stimulus was found in the pervading influence of Putnam, 
Durkee, and other popular military leaders, men of mettle and ex])eri- 
ence, quick to apprehend the exigency and most efl'ective in appeal to 
popular sympathy. Windham County's ajtpreciation of the import- 
ance and solemnity of the crisis was shown in the character of the 
men sent to share in the deliberations of the Genei'al Assendily. 
Her shire-town sent its senior minister. Rev. Ebenezer Devotion, 
together with the venerable Nathaniel Wales, and in the following 
session, Hezekiah Manning, and men of years and approved judgment 
were selected l)y all tlie towns, viz. : — 

F(ymfret — Samuel Dresser, Samuel Craft. 

(Ja)iterbury — Captain Jabez Fitch, Captain Daniel Tyler. 

Plainfield — James Bradford, Isaac Coit. 

KiUuigly — Briant Brown, Ebenezer Larned. 

Woodstock — Nehemiah Lyon, Ebenezer Smith. 

I^oluntown — John Gordon, Moses Kinney. 

Ash ford — Amos Babcock, Jedidiah P'ay. 

Lebanon — Captain Joshua West, William Williams. 

In spite of petitions and remonstrances from America, and earnest 
protestations fiom her friends in Parliament, the British government 
persisted in its purpose, and on March 22, 1765, the famous Stamp 
Act received the sanction of the King. The news of its enactment 
was received in America with the most violent demonstrations of 
indignation ajid defiance. Virginias House of Burgesses then in 
session, at once resolved, " That the inhabitants of that Colony were 
not bound to yield obedience to this law, and that any person who 



OPPOSITION TO STAMP ACT, ETC. 113 

should maintain that any persons other than the General Assembly 
had any right or power to impose taxation upon the people should be 
deemed an enemy to the Colony." Its resolutions in their first umnodi- 
fied draft were eagerly caught up, printed on broadsides, and sent 
throughout the land, Avere copied into the public journals of New 
England, and everywhere acce])ted as a true expression of public 
sentiment. Simultaneously and spontaneously as it seemed, inhabit- 
ants of hundreds of towns and villages banded together as Sons of 
Liberty, pledging themselves to use their utmost endeavor to resist 
the execution of ttie Stamp Act. As intelligence arrived that certain 
individuals had been designated to receive and distribute tlie obnoxious 
paper, which after the first of November was to be used in all 
business transactions, the excitement increased, and ])ublic indigna- 
tion vented itself upon these prospective otticials. In the larger 
towns there were violent upiisings and tumults, stamp officers burned 
in effigy and their offices and dwellings sacked and demolished, while 
rural communities manifested their spirit and sympathy by uproarious 
gatherings and effigetic hanging and burning. The newspapers of 
tlie day applauded and incited these proceedings. 

" What greater pleasure can there be 
Than to see a stamp-inau hanging on a tree," — 

was the general cry. 

Windham, the most effervescent of Windham County towns, was 
the first to act upon this suggestion. Intelligence that one of her 
own citizens had been appointed deputy stamp-master under Ingersoll, 
threw her into great excitement. A self-appointed vigilance com- 
mittee instantly waited upon this gentleman, compelled him to give up 
the letter announcing his appointment and solemnly promise to decline 
the office. On the morning of August 26 — famed for many similar 
outbreaks in other towns — this " ever memorable and respectable 
gentleman made his appearance in effigy, suspended between Heaven 
and Earth," on some conspicuous elevation upon Windham Green. 
People came in crowds from all the surrounding country to witness 
the show and join in the demonstrations. Effigies of other suspected 
and un|)0})ular individuals were successively brt)Ught forward and hung 
up amid the jeers and opprobiiums of the excited spectators. After 
hanging till evening the several figures were taken down and paraded 
all about the village and then consumed upon a bonfire with great 
rejoicing Tlie staid and decorous Lebanon observed the day with 
more dignity and solemnity, draj^ing her public buildings with black, 
and subjecting her effigies to a formal trial and sentence before pro- 
ceeding to hang and burn them. 
15 



114 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

These noisy demonstrations were but the pruhulu to more serious 
action. The citizens of Windham and New London Counties were 
fully determined to prevent the distribution of llie stamps. When it 
was found that Governor Fitch was preparing to carry out the instruc- 
tions of the King, that the colony agent, .Tared Ingersoll, after faith- 
fully opposing the passage of the bill had accepted the position of 
stamp-mastei', and that the western counties were less awake to the 
crisis than their own, they sallied out in great force to end the matter 
at once and forever. Five hundred hoisemen armed with clubs and 
other weapons and provided with eight days' provision, marched 
deliberately across the country under the leadership of Captain John 
Durkee, intercepted Ingersoll on his way to Ilartfoid and compelled 
him to write his name to the ibrmal I'esignation jMCpared for him. 
Putnam, accredited with a prominent share in the instigation of this 
irruption, was detained from personal participation by illness. As soon 
as possible he waited upon Governor Fitch in behalf of the Sons of 
Liberty, to ensure that no other stamp master should be appointed, 
and no farther attempt made to enforce the Act, and with his u.sual 
directne.ss assured him that if he should refuse to relincjuish the con- 
trol of the stam])ed pai)er his house would be " leveled with the dust 
in five minutes." Nathan Fiink, King's attorney in Pomfret, was 
appointed deputy stamp-master for the north part of Windham County, 
and went so far as to build an office for their reception, but was most 
j)Ositively assured by his fellow-citizens that he would never be allowed 
to use it for that purpose. So great was the public excitement and 
interest that the very stones were made to cry out. " Lihektv & 
Equality," "Down with the Stamu Act," inscribed on a stone tablet, 
and hoisted in a conspicuous ])osition above the door of Mi'. ]\Lanning's 
dwelling, met the eyes and stimulated the zeal of the many passers 
over Manning's bridge in the south part of Windham town. 

In the various public convocations of this eventftd epoch Wind- 
ham bore a conspicuous part. Colonel Dyer was sent as dele- 
gate to the first general Congress, held in New York, in 
'October. At a meeting of the Sons of Liberty in Hartford, March 
25, 17GG, "much more generally attended by the two eastern 
counties of Connecticut" — Colonel Putnam, Major Duikee and 
Captain Ledlie were appointed a eominittee to arrange a correspond- 
ence with the loyal Sons of Lil)erty in other colonies, and 
Ledlie, then resident in Windham, was sent as representative 
to a general convention of that order in Annapolis. Stamps 
destined for Coimecticut were forcibly taken from the sloop Muierva 
and destroyed by the Sons of Liberty in New York harbor. By this 
vigoious combniation and resistance the Stamp Act was made inopera- 



OPPOSITION TO STAMP ACT) ETC. 115 

tive. When the first of Xovoinbcr came not a slieet of the stMniped 
paper was 1o be procured. It had been destroyed or sent back to 
England, or stowed away for safe keeping. Nearly all the business of 
the Colony was thus suspended. Courts and ports were closed and 
thousands of pul)lic offices. Land could not be legally conveyed nor 
debts collected, nor wills made, nr)r mari'iage licenses procured. IJelief 
could only be obtained by a special dispensation or permit from such 
governors as ventured to exercise this power in cases of extreme 
urgency. The consequent business derangement affected England 
almost as seriously as America. No debts could \)e collected nor goods 
sold in the Colonies. At the re-opening of Parliament, London mer- 
chants most earnestly urged the repeal of the odious Act. Pitt, and 
other fi-iends of America, exerted theii' utmost eloquence and energies 
in this behalf and after a violent and proti'acted contest its repeal was 
effected. The Colonies received the tidings with many manifestations 
of joy and gratitude, commercial intercourse was renewed and trade 
and business speedily revived. 

Peace and prosperity had but a brief continuance. The spirit that 
liad evoked the Stamp Act manifested itself in other aggressions. In 
1767, a bill was passed in Parliament imposing duties on tea, glass and 
paints, from which a public fund should be formed to be expended iu 
defraying the expenses of its government in America. Her Colonists 
resented both the tax and disposition, as thus their governcjrs, judges 
and other public officers were made entirely independent of themselves 
and their Assemblies, and were confirmed in their su-picion that tlie 
British Government was bent upon their subjugation. Her previous 
policy in restricting Colonial trade and manufactures in order to leave 
the market open for her own pioductions, appeared to them another 
evidence of this design and showed them the necessity of more vigor- 
ous resistance and effective combination. Great Britain had schemed 
and legislated to compel America to purchase her productions ; it 
behoved America to thwart those schemes and evade that legislation 
by devising some method for sui)plying themselves with needful 
articles. A meeting was called in Boston, October, 1767, to consider 
what efiectual methods could be agreed upon to promote industry, 
economy and manufactures, and prevent the unnecessary impoitation 
of European commodities. A committee was appointed wliich sug- 
gested and prepared an explicit "form" in which the signers pledged 
themselves to encourage the use of American productions, and refrain 
from purchasing articles of European manufacture. A copy of this 
agreement was sent to every town in Massachusetts, and many in the 
adjacent colonies, requesting their consideration and signature. Wind- 
ham town with its usual promptness held a meeting, December 7, 



116 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY'. 

1767, "to consider tlie letter and matters from the seleotmen of 
lioston," appointed a number of leading citizens in each of its three 
parishes to prepare a suitable response, and met again a month later 
to receive this report : — 

" Being sensible that this Colony in its situation and soil and the ooniinodi- 
ties which it is natnrally adapted to produce by a proper exertion of labor 
and indiistrj% will not only aft'ord the inhabitants nincli the greater part of 
the necessities and conveniences of life but a considerable surplus for 
exportation, but the surprising fondness of its inhabitants for the use and 
consumption of foreign and British manufactures and suiMTtiuities, even to a 
great degree of luxury and extravagance, which has so far increased beyond 
our ability to pay as has proved detrimental to our Mother Country, and has 
such pernicious influence upon the inhabitants of this Colony as, if persisted 
in, must involve the great part in irretrievable distress and ruin ; at present 
plunged in debt, the balance of trade greatly against us, our suuiU commerce 
declining, and poverty with all its melancholy attendants threatening, which 
loudly calls upon every friend to his countrj' "to exert every patriotic virtue in 
its full force to extricate the inhabitants from their perplexed and embar- 
rassed circumstances, the consequences of which are so far felt as fully to be 
dreaded, and being of opinion that frugality and industry with a fixed atten- 
tion and application to American manufactures are the most direct and 
obvious measures to answer these salutary purposes and are absolutely neces- 
sary to extricate ourselves from our present load of debt, as Avell as for the 
future prosperity of the community, do eugage with and promise each other 
that we will not from and after the tirst day of March next, by land or water, 
transport into this Colony either for sale or our own family's use, nor pur- 
chase of any other person, any of the following articles produced or manu- 
factured out of North America, viz. : Loaf-sugar, cordage, coaches, chaises, 
and all sorts of carriages and harnesses for the same, men's and women's 
saddles, and bridles and whips, all sorts of men's hats, men's and women's 
apparel ready-made, men's gloves, women's hats, men's and women's shoes, 
sole-leather, shoe and knee buckles, iron ware, clocks, nails, gold, silver and 
thread lace, gold and silver buttons, diamond stone and paste ware, snulf, 
tobacco, mustard, clocks and watches, silversmith and jeweller's ware, 
broad-cloth that costs above 9s. pr. yard, murts, tippets and all sorts of head- 
dress for women, women's and children's stays, starch, silk and cotton velvet, 
linseed oil, lawn and cambric that costs above 4s. pr. yard, malt liquors, 
cheese, chairs and tables, and all kinds of cabinet ware, horse combs, linen 
exceeding 2s. per yard, silks of any kind in garments, men's and women's 
stockings, and wove patterns for breeches and vests. 

And we do farther engage to each other that we will discourage and dis- 
countenance to the utmost of our power the excessive use of all foieign teas, 
china ware, spices and black pepper, all British and foreign superfluities and 
manufactures not herein enuu)erated us by due encouragement are or may be 
fabricated iu North America, and also the present excessive use of ruui, 
brandy and other spirituous liquors in all house-holders, families, taverns and 
laborers. And all extravagant, unnecessary and expensive treats, as have by 
custom been introduced by military ofticers, holding such in reputation who shall 
for the future neglect the same— and whereas wool and flax are the natural pro- 
duce and staple of this Colony, the increase of which must prove beueflcial ; it is 
farther agreed not to drive out of this Colony to market any wethers of more 
than two years old, or ewes of more than six years old, for the space of three 
years next coming, and would recommend the raising of flax, hemp, and 
barley for the making of good beer which would have the greatest tendencj' 
to discourage the pernicious use of distilled spirits; also would recommend 
to families to save and preserve all refuge linen rags to promote the manu- 
facture of paper iu this Colony; also recommend an incpiiry into the method 
and expediency of manufacturing glass — and furthermore, to the end that this 
union be not violated and the good effects be frustrated, if any inhabitant does 
not sign and conform to these regulations but still continues to import and 
introduce any of the above-mentioned restricted articles, such persons shall 
be by us discountenanced iu the most eflectual but decent and lawful manner, 



OPPOSITION TO STAMP ACT, ETC. 117 

and that a committee be appointed to correspond with committees from tlie 
several towns in the County in order to render the fore-i;-oing proposals as 
extensive and oliectual as niaj' Ije. 

Jedidiaii Eldekkin. David Adams. 

Samuel Gray. Joseph Ginmxgs. 

Nathaniel Wales, Juu. Joxai han Kixgsley. 

Jacou Simmons. Josiiita Eldehkin. 

Hezekiah Manning. Elisiia Hiumjut. 

William Durkee. Euenezer Huveuy. 

Ebenezer Devotion, Jun." 

The foregoing re])ort being publicly vead tlii-ee times was accepted 
in a very full meeting of the inhabitants of the town, neniine contra- 
dicente ! ! 

It was farther voted, " That the foi-m of subscription be the same as 
come into by the town of (4rafton, and that the previous committee 
with Joshua Reed, Thomas Tracy and Nathaniel Linkon should take 
care and see subscription filled up by the inhabitants of the town, and 
when comj)leted lodge the same with the town clerk." In compliance 
with the suggestion of the report, " Xathaniel Wales, Jun., Es(]., Sam- 
uel Gray, Esq., and Dr. Joshua Elderkin were a))pointed a committee 
to correspond with committees from the several towns of the countt^ to 
vender the foregoing ]jroposals as e.xtensive and effectual as may l)e." 
The honor of " inventing " the system of correspon<ling committees 
which proved so effective in pi-omoting the Revolution has been 
ascribed tu Samuel Adams and other notable persons, but we find it at 
this early date proposed and carried into execution by Windham. The 
stringent agreement was signed by nearly eveiy inhabitant and faith- 
fully observed though at great loss and self-saci'ifice. The foreign ti'aftic 
that had so enriched them was given up. The foreign luxuiies so 
freely used were all abandoned. The enthusiastic Windhaniites re- 
joiced in this signal opportunity of testing their patriotism and devo- 
tion. Home-raised food and home-spun clothes came at once into use 
and fashion. A decoction of the common red-root "of very salutaiy 
nature," under the dignified appellation of Hyperion or Labrador tea, 
replaced the prohibited Hyson and Bohea. Ribbons, laces and all for- 
eign finery were vociferously eschewed by the ardent " Daughtei's of 
Liberty." The wedding of Miss Dora Flint during this December was 
made a grand patriotic demonsti-ation. The numerous guests from 
Ncvw'ich and Windham were all ari-ayed in liome-simn. The bountiful 
refreshments were of colonial production, their fiavor heightened by 
patriotic fervor. Any infringement of the agreement was quickly ob- 
served, and i-epovted to the town authoiities. " Joshua Elderkin, one 
of the committee, not keeping the same but im[)orting felt hats and 
worsted patterns, the town agrees to look upon him as a person not fit 
to sustain any oftice of trust or profit till he }>roperly manifests his re- 
pentance." 



118 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

The sjiirit and selt-sacrificc of Wiiidliain weiv eiiinlateil by the otliei' 
towns of the county, an<I all were ready to pledjjje themselves to total 
abstinence from foreign luxuries. Ashford held a meeting Dec. 14, 
and appointed Captains Elisha Wales, Benjamin Clark and Benjamin 
Russel, Elijah VViiitou, Esq., and Benjamin Sumner, Esq., "to be a 
coniniittee to correspond with other committees in the county and else- 
wliere, to encourage and help forward manufactures and a spirit of 
indu.<try in this government.'" Canterbury citizens met Dec. 21 ; Jo 
seph Woodward, moderator. Jabez Fitch, John Curtis, Samuel Hunt- 
ington, Captain Benjamin Pierce, Lieutenants Aaron Cleveland and 
Stephen Frost, Ensign Benjamin Smith and Mr. Solomon Paine were 
chosen committee to consider the premises and make report. Their 
repoit was accepted and provision made for procuring subscriptions to 
the agreement. Plainfield made haste to express her concurrence with 
the other towns, and agreed to draw up sul)Scriptions in pursuance of 
their wise and ha[)py measures for the encouragement of frugality, 
economy and our own manufactures. The formal Xon-Importation 
Agreement of 1769, as pronnilgated by ardent patriots in Virginia and 
adopted by the several colonies, was most heartily endorsed by the citi- 
zens of Windham County. When it was found that interested, indi- 
viduals connived at the evasion of the Agreement by the illicit intro- 
duction of contraband goods, such persons were publicly denounced as 
covenant-breakers and enemies of their country. The withdrawal of 
New York from the Non-Importation league excited genei'al indigna- 
tion and lepiobation. Many spirited meetings were held in Connecti- 
cut in 3 770, to devise moi'e elfectual means for the enforcement of the 
Agreement. "Merchants and traders " met at Middletown, Hartford 
and New Haven, condemned the conduct of merchants in Newport and 
denounced tlie insolent behavior of New Yorkers. The names of the 
New York im[)oiters were printed and hung up in every public house 
in Connecticut for ])ublic execration. " What is the difference," asks a 
Connecticut jouinal, " between an Importer and an Indian ? An Indian 
drinks cyder; an Importer drinks the blood of his country; an Indian 
is enemy only to himself, an Importer is an enemy to America." A 
meeting of the several committees of correspondence at Hartford State- 
liousc, August 9, reconunended a general convention at New Haven 
the day after Comniencement, every town to send delegates. Wind- 
ham County responded witli delegates from every town and implicit 
instructions. One or two specimens will show the tem[)erand spirit of 
its iidiabilants. Canteibury agrees: — 

'•1. That Jabez Fitch and Benjamin Bacon bo chosen to represent the 
towu at the meeting oC the Mercantile and Landed Interest of this Colony, to 
be convened at Kew Haven ou the day next after the ensuing Comraeuce- 
nient. 



OPPOSITION TO STAMP ACT, ETC. 119 

2. That if anj^ person, wliether an inhabitant of this town or not, shall at 
an}' time before a ijeneral importation takes place briii^ into this town eitiier 
for their own use or for sale any Hritish manufactures which have been im- 
ported contrary to the Non-Importation Aiireement, or any iioods whatever 
•which have been purchased by those persons who have violated said aiiiee- 
ment, they will incur the displeasure and resentments of the inhabitants of 
this town. 

3. That whereas the Parliament of Great Britain have contiiuied the duty 
on all 7V« imported into and consumed in any of the American Colonies as a 
Test and Proof of their riiiht to tax America, which we think very unreason- 
able and unconstitutional; therefore, voted, That all persons who will at this 
critical time persist in usinii tea until the tluty is taken off show a iireat dis- 
regard for the rights and liberties of America, and deserve to be treated with 
contempt." 

Ashford was especially earnest and emphatic in resolvinij: : — 

" 1. That we will not give up our native and loyal rights. 

2. That in the patriotic Agreement of the merchants, the int(!rests and 
rights of America were thoroughly considered. 

3. That to break in upon the Non-importation Agreement strikes at the life 
of America and is a multiplied evil. 

4. That as the faith and virtue of sundry of the merchants have notoriously 
failed it is high time for the people to step forward in earnest to support the 
tottering cau>e and atlVjrd their unitetl assistance to those merchants who still 
abide by the patriotic Agreement; and, therefore, 

5. Our utmost etlbrt shall be put forth in vindication of the Non-importa- 
tion Agreement, as a measure without which the safety and prosperity of the 
Colonies cannot be supported. 

6. That peddlers who without law or license go about the country selling 
wares are a nui>ance to the public, and, if in our power, shall be picked up 
and put to hard labor and compelled to earn their bread in the house of cor- 
rection. 

7. We highly resent everj' breach of the Non-importation Agreement, and 
are always ready to let our resentment fall upon those who are so hardy and 
abandoned as to violate the same. 

8. It is our earnest desire that every town in this Colony and iu every Col- 
ony in America would explicitly and publicly disclose their sentiments relating 
to the Non-importation Agreement and the violations thereof. 

9. That the infamous conduct of the Yorkers in violating the patriotic en- 
gagement of the merchants is a daring insult upon the spirit and understand- 
ing of the country, an open contempt of every benevolent and patriotic senti- 
ment, and an instance of treachery and wickedness sutticient to excite 
astonishment in every witnessing mind, and we doubt not but their actions 
will appear infamous till the ideas of virtue are obliterated in the human ndnd, 
and the advocates of liberty and patriotism are persecuted out of the world. 

10. That if the people of America properly attend to the concern of salva- 
tion and (unitedly) resolve upon an unshaken perseverance in the afl'air of 
non-importation till there is a total repeal of the revenue acts and an ample 
redress of American grievances, we shall be a free and flourishing peoi)le! 

In consequence of the above resolutions we have chosen Cajjt. Benjamin 
Clark to attend the general meeting of the mercantile and landed interests at 
New Haven — the sense of the town as above— and to use his utmo>t influence 
to establish in the most solid and durable form the Non-importation Agree- 
ment." 

Elisha Wales, Benjamin Clark and Samuel Snow were at the same 
meeting chosen a committee "To see tliat no merchants, shop-keepers 
nor peddlers import, put off, or Iraffick in Ashford, any goods, wares 
or merchandize that are imported conti'ary to the Non importation 
Aixveemeut." 



120 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

This imiioitaiit gathciint; was atleiuled by lepresentatives of a great 
majority of the towns in the Colony. Gurdon Saltonstall presided. 
Silas Deane served as clerk. After full and large discussion it was 
unanimously resolved : — 

"That the Non-Importation As^reeinent come into by the Colonies in gen- 
eral, and by this in particular by their formal ai^rccmcnt, and the more general 
one entered into at Middletown, Feb. 20, was founded on patriotic |)riuciples 
and must l)e most ettective, that we (ind no reason for relaxing; said agree- 
ment now, to which we do a.<?ree and resolve tliat until Acts of Parliament be 
repealed, or until a g;eneral importation be ajrreed to we will not by ourselves 
or others, directly or indirectly [purchase] any goods except those mentioned 
in Agreement. The late defection in New York we highly reprobate, and 
judge it needful to break off commercial intercourse with New York." 

These various convocalions and combinations fired the zeal of the 
people and strengthened their detei uiination to resist British exactions. 
Events successively occurring — the massacre at Boston, tlie burning 
of the Gaxjuie at Newport, tlie destruction of the tea in Boston Harbor 
— heightened the Hame. Reports of every new aggression and collis- 
ion liew at once over the land and were discussed in every town and 
hamlet, and when at length the news came that Boston was to be pun- 
ished for her contumacy by having hei' harbor shut up, the Colonies 
rose as one to express their indignation and abhorrence. "The ancient 
destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and brimstone from the 
Lord out of Heaven was a just, righteous and mercifid dispensation of 
the Most High God compared with the late Boston Port Bill I" 

('Onnecticut's General Assembly, having recommended and observed 
a day of public fasting and prayer, expressed their sentiments in the 
following resolves : — 

" 1. We do most expressly declare, recognize and acknowledge his Majesty 
King George the Third, to be the lawful and rightlnl king of Great Britain, and 
all other his dominions and countries; and that it is th- indispensable duty of 
the people of this colony as being part of his Majesty's dominion, always to 
bear taitld'ul and true allegian(;e to his Majesty, and him to defend to the 
utmost of their power against all attempts upon his person, crown and dig- 
nity. 

2. That the subjects of his Majesty in this Colony ever have had, and of 
right ought to have and enjoy all the liberties, immunities and privileges of 
free and natural-born subjects within any of the dominions of our said King, his 
heirs and successors, to all intents, construclions and purposes whatsoever, 
as fully and amply as if they and every one of them were born within the 
realm of England; tliat they have a property in their own estates, and are to 
be taxed by their own consent only, given in person or Ijy their representa- 
tives, and are not to be disseized of their lil)erties or free customs, sentenced 
or condemned, but by lawful judgment of their peers, and that the said rights 
and immunities are recognized and confirmed to the inhabitants of this Colony 
by the royal grant and charter aforesaid, and are their undoubted right to all 
intents, construction aiul purposes whatsover. 

3. Tlnit the only lawful representatives of the freemen of this colony are 
the persons they elect to serve as members of tlie General Assembly thereof. 

4. That it is the just right and privilege of his Majesty's liege suljjects of 
this colony to be governed by their General Assembly in the article of taxing 



HELP FOR BOSTON, ETC. 121 

and internal policy, a£:reeable to the powers and privilege recognized and con- 
firmed in the royal charter aforesaid, which they have enjoyed for more than 
a century past, and iiave mdther forfeited nor surrendered, but the same have 
been constantly recognized by the King and Parliaiaent of (ireat Britain. 



7. That any harbor or port duly openetl and constituted cannot be shut up 
and discharged but by an Act of the Legislature of the province or colony in 
which such port or harbor is situated, without subverting the rights and liber- 
ties, and destroying the property of his Mijestv's subjects. 

8. That the late act of rurliament initlicting pains and penalties on the 
town of Boston, by blocking up their harlior, is a precedent justly alarming 
to the British colonies in America, and wholly inconsistent witii, and sub- 
versive of their constitutional riiihts and liljerlies. 

9. That whenever his Majesty's service shall rec(uire the aid of the inhabit- 
ants of this Colony, the same tixed principles of loyalty, as well as self-pre- 
servation, which have hitherto induced us fully to comply with his Majesty's 
requisitions, together with the deep sense we have of its being our indespen- 
sable duty, in the opinion of this House, will ever hold us under the strongest 
obligations which can be given or desired, most cheerfully to grant his Majesty 
froai time to time our further proportion of men and money for the defence, 
protection, security and other services of the British American dominions. 



11. That it is an indespensable duty which we owe to our King, our coun- 
try, ourselves and our posterity, by all lawful ways and means in our power, 
to maintain, defenti and preserve these our rights and liberties, and to trans- 
mit them entire and inviolate to the latest generation ; and that it is our fixed 
deterunnation and unalterable resolution faithfully to discharge this our 
duty." 

This calm and lucid exposition of Connecticut's position, her claims 
and pui-poses, was accepted by the Lower rL)use with great unanimity, 
but the more cautious Council deferred action till the foUowini!: Octo- 
ber. Meanwhile these resolutions were circulated tlirouiijliout the 
Colony and ratified by the several towns. The iidiabitants of every 
town were called together to discuss the situation and act for tlie relief 
of Boston. The Windham County towns hastened to obey the sum- 
mons and embodied their views in many spirited declarations. A very 
full meeting was held in Woodstock, June 21. Nallianii'l Child was 
chosen modenitor. The resolves of tlie General Assembly were then 
read, and the following declaration adopted : — 

" 1. That the thanks of this town be given to Capt. Elisha Child and Jedidiah 
Morse, E>q., the representatives of this corporate body, for their consenting 
to, and votinu: the above resolves in conjunction with the other representa- 
tives of this Colony, in General Court assembled, ns said resolves do honor to 
the worth V representatives of a free, loyal and virtuous people, are very ex- 
pressive of the sentiments of the inhabitants of lhi< town, and by them judged 
necessary in such a day as this, when we have the most convincing proofs of 
a fixed and determined plan of the British administration to overthrow the 
liberties of America, and subject the-e colonies to a I)ondage that our fjithers 
did not, would not— fled into the wilderness that they might not, and God 
grant that we, their posteritv, never may— bear. 

2. Being animated from the consideration of the absolute importance of 
adopting every rational and probable means in our power for the political sal- 
vation of our country, we engage to contribute our utmost exertions in defence 
of our American liberties and privileges, and stand ready to join our brethren 
in this and the otlier American colonies in every i)robable measure that may 
iuflueuce Great Britain to withdraw her oppressive hand. At tha same time, 
16 



122 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

■\vo npprcliend tliat n Goiicriil Coiiiircss coiisistiiig of dolejrntf.s from each col- 
ony on tlif continent, is nccessiiry speedily to be lornied tbiit tiie sentiuients 
of tlie wliole may be known, and siuli an unity in measures esial)lished as may 
constitute a stie-iiitli invincible l)y tyianny, and l)i-eak out in one jieneial 
bni>t against the attempts that aie made, antl malvinu;, to destroy the consti- 
tution of tiieii- ^idvernments. 

3. And inasmucli as tlie promotion of industry, fruu:alit.y, economy, arts 
and manufactures amon.^i ourselves, is of yreat importance to llie irood of a 
commuiuty, we determine, from this veiy day, to live as niueli Avithin our- 
selves, and purchase as few British jroods, wares and nierchandi/.es as possi- 
ble, and frive all due encouraiiement to eveiy useful ait amouii us. 

4. It having- been judi;ed needful at this al.-irminif crisis, and generally 
come into, that conimiitiees of correspondence be M|)poiiited — Voted, 

Tliat ('apt. Klisha diiid. CliaiUs C. (handler, .Jcdidiah Morse, Kscjs., Capt. 
Samuel McClellan and Nathaniel Child, B-q., l)e a comanttee for maintaining 
a correspondence with the towns of this and the neighboring colonies. 

5. Viited, That a copy of these votes be iirinted in the New London Gazette, 
to manliest the deep sense we have of the Parliamentary invasion of the cou- 
stiiutional rights of the British Americans." 

Ponifiet, June 23, thus expressed her sentiments : — 

'•The present situation of the American colonies and plantations on acconnt 
of the measures pursued by the Parliament of (if'at Britain respecting them, 
has become of so much importance and of so serious a nature, that it calls 
aloud for the sentiments of every town and even eveiy individual to be known 
and communicated. AA'e therefore heieby assme our brethren, that we will to 
the utmost of our abilities, contribute to the maintaining and supporting of 
our just rights and privileges, and to the removal of those evils already come 
npon us, and more particulaily felt by the town of Boston, viewing them as 
the more inniiediate sutlerers, yet that our liberties and piivileges are all 
thereby threatened and endangered. 

We do therefore Kesolve to this important end, we will unite in the neces- 
sary measures that maj' be adopted and more particularly pointed out at the 
proposed General Congress, which, we pray may be hastened — the several 
dissolutions of the House of Asseiid)lies by their Governors, to prevent the 
same, notwithstanding. And in the meantime we cainiot refrain from adiling, 
we will exert ourselves in promoting and encouraging useful and necessary 
manufactures, and such a spirit of economy and frugality among ourselves, 
as vnay jirevent much of our iireseiit demands for British manufactures. 

Ami we do resohe, that every per.-on w ho shall hereafter send for, and 
import any British mamifactures from (ireat Britain, or Iradi- or deal with 
any who shall do so, iintd the loyal subjects of America are restored to, and 
can enjoy their just rights and piivileges, slndl be deemed and treated by us 
an ungrateful enemy to America, and with such person or persons we will 
have no commerce or deal." 

Colonel Ebenezer Willi;iins, Tlionias Williams and Samuel Crafts 
were then chosen a eoininittee to correspond with other Committees of 
Correspondence in Connecticut and otlier colonies. On the same day, 
Windham tiius declared herself with her accustomed vehement volu- 
bility: — 

" This meeting being impressed with n deep sense of the present alarming 
aspects of Divine Piovidence over the British colonics in Noiih America, 
arising from the present depressed situation and condition of the capital of 
a neighboring i)ro\ luce, in having their harbor and port blocked up by shij)-;- 
of-\var in hostile array to the terror of the people, totally and actually 
oljstrncting all commerce l)y sea into or from said port, thereby forcibly pre- 
venting the due j)erformance of all private maritime contracts, niidering 
useless their whole navigation, stores and w hurves, built and erected at a vast 



HELP rOR BOSTON, ETC. 123 

expense bv tlin iiih:ibit:iuts ; a priiicipli' whicli tlircatons rntn niirl dcstnictlon 
both U) the libertk's and [jropcriies ol' c\c;ry Milijcct thi'oiigliout the British 
empire. 

And bcin£>- further al irmed by ;i bill la'c depeiidiim- before tlie I'arlianieiit of 
Great Biitain. for reiiiilatiiiu' the ihe i>overiiiiieiit of the M issacluisetts Bay, 
too h)njj^ to i)e here recited, tlinuuli replete with arbitrary tlirealimiiiij res:)lii- 
tions, threatening' destruction to all corporailons in Great Britain, and all 
chartered riiihts in Anieriea. In view of these, as well as many otln-r ini- 
pendin:^ dan,i:;ers and calamities, and from a lirm l)elief and persuasion that 
th.'re is a supreme almighty, iutluitely yood aiul merciful B.'in;;, who sits at 
the helm i>f nnivers.al nature i)y whom kiuu,s reii^n and princes d(!cree justice, 
and who has the hearts of all princes and poteniates of the earth in his hinds, 
and under his almiuhry control; and however I'aiUty the instruments and pro- 
curers of those calamities may be, yet considering- our sins and im- 
pieties, they are just on coiiiinii; from the hand of God. and are 
to be averted l)y humiliation, deep repentance and reform ition. We 
therefore sincerely wish and hope a day may be set apart for solemn fisting 
ami prayer as recommended hy our late General Assembly; and beg further 
to intimate to our lireihri n in the several towns in this colony, to render the 
obseivatiou of that day more agreeai)le to the divine direction (viz. : to 
iindo the heavy burdens, and let the oi)pressed go free, to distriliute to the 
necessities of the distressed), that on that day we be united in opening our 
hearts in contributing to the relief of the injure'd and oppressed indigent 
inlial)itants of the town of Boston, especially tiiose who are now more im ne- 
diately so by means of the late iron IkuuI of oppression on that worthy metro- 
polis. 

But fully to express our sense of the late attempts upon the town and port 
of Boston, the arbitrary attacks on the most sacred rights of communities, 
the violent depredations on private property and liberty, and those more viru- 
lent efforts to break down the great barriers of civil society, founded on the 
solemn compact of kings, a principle proclaiming sudden destruction upon 
all corporations throughout the British dominions at the will and |)leasure of a 
vengeful British ministry, even withoiitcoinplaiut, notice, trial, orconstitutioual 
adjmlication or forfeiture — worils fail and the Kuglish lauuuage is delicieut. 
But this is in part executed, and much more than threatened, only under the 
pretence at most, that some of the inhabii^ants of Boston or the neighljoring 
towns have committed a trespass on the property of the Kast India Com- 
pany, a company (horrendnin dictu!) who have spread destruction over the 
eastern world! Behold the tragic scenes in that eastern clime! the murders 
of millions by sword and baleful famine; depriving those innocents of the 
necessaries of life, who by the favor of Heaven and their own industry, were 
overflowiiig with the wealth and profusion of the Indias, and ail to sati>fy 
the insatiable lust of gain and (ppiessioii ! Let the Spauisji barbarities in 
Mexico, and the name of Cortez sink in everlasting oblivion, while such more 
recent snperior cruelties bear away the palm in the late annals of their rapine 
and cinelt}'; though many worthy individuals of that body ought no doui)t 
to be excused from the general imputation. We applaud the solemnity of the 
noble Virginians and Philadelphians in their ndiiiions oi^servations of that 
memorable first day of June; we approve their oi)inions ami sentiments as to 
the thre.aienetl calamities and dangers inipeiiding .Vmerica; as also the Mary- 
land resolves, with the others by many worthy towns ami bodies of people in 
this and neigliboiiug provinces. We only wish there may be no delay in 
appointing time and place for a Gener;d Congress, which only can give union, 
firmness and stability to the whole. We impatiently wait for injured Boston 
to give the lead in that appointment. I'rovideiice uo d()til)t has put into our 
hands the means to work <iUt our temporal salvation, which has been repeat- 
edly suggested. Let ns, dear fellow Aiuericaiis, for a few years at least, 
abandon that narrow, contracted principle of self-love, which is the source of 
every vice: let us once feel for our country and posterity; let our hearts 
ex|)and and dilate with the noble and generons sentiments of benevolence, 
though attended with tlu; severer virtue of si If denial. The blessings of 
Heaven attending, America is saved; children yet unborn will rise and call 
youlilessed; the present geiieration will, by future — to the latest period of 
American glory — be extolled and celebrated as the happy instruments, tuider 



124: • HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

God, of (k'livcriiis millions from tliraklom and shivery, and secure permanent 
freedom and liberty to America. 

We cannot close this meeting without expressing our utmost abhorrence 
and detestation of those few in a devoted province, .styling themselves minis- 
ters, merchants, barristers and attorneys, who have against the sense and 
opinion of the rest of that respectable government, as also of the vast ex- 
tended continent, distinguished themselves in tlieir late fawning, adulating 
address to Governor Hutchinson, the scourge of the province which gave 
him birili, and the pest of America. His principle and conduct (evidenced 
by his letters, and those under his ajiprobation), are so replete with treason 
a^'ainst his country and the meanness of self-exaltation, as cannot be palliated 
by art nor disguised by subtilty In general, we esteem those addresses a 
high-handed insult on the town of Boston, and the province of Massachusetts 
Bay in particuhtr, and on all the American colonies in general. Those styled 
merchants may plead their profound ignorance of tlie constitutional rights of 
Englishmen as an excuse in some degree, but for those who style themselves 
harrisle7's and riltorunjs, they have either assumed a false character, or they 
must in some manner be acquainted with the constitutional rights of English- 
men and those of their own pi-ovince — for them to present such an address is 
a daring afiVont to common sense, a high insult on all others of their profes- 
sion, and treason against law; and from that learned profession, (who are 
supposed to be well acquainted witli the English constitution, and have the 
best means, and are under the greatest advantages to defend the rights of the 
subject, and who have been famed as the great supporters of Engli.-^h lit)erty), 
for any of these to make a saciitice of Ar,i. to their pagod of vanity and 
fulsome adulation, is mean, vile and unpardonable, ami cannot be accounted 
for upon any other principles but tho.-e of their master, who would sacrifice 
his country to become the independent head of a respectable province; and 
the few leaders of this infamous law-band would, it seems, give their aid and 
support therein to obtain the tirst places in his new kingdom. The address- 
ing clergy we leave to the reproaches of their own consciences, but lament 
to tind that they are the tirst in the ignominious homage ol their idol." 

These resolntions were tinatiiinously adoptefl. and measures taken 
for carrying them into imniedi;ite execution. Nine of their most 
respected citizens in the several parishes of the town were ajipointed 
a committee to proceed at once to procure subscriptions for the relief 
of Boston. Their appeal was most effectual. Windham's fields 
abounded with sheep, and her hearts with generous sympathy. The 
poor sent of tlieir poverty and the rich of their abundance, and within 
five days a bountiful otfering was on the road to Boston with the 
following letter addressed to its selectmen : — 

" Windham, June 28, 1774. 

Gcntlemp.n : 

'Tis with pity mixed with indignation that we have beheld the cruel and un- 
manly attacks made by the British Tarliament on the loyal and patriotic town 
of Boston, who seem destined to feel the force of ministerial wrath, the whole 
weight of parliamentary vengeance leveled at them in a manner so replete 
witli cruelty and injustice as nnist strike every heart with horror, and till 
eveiy breast with rage; that is not ei tirely void of every sentiment of honor 
and justice and callous to all the common failings of liumanity. But when we 
consider the cause of all these calannties — that is nothing less on your part 
than a strict adherence to the fundamental principles of the constitution, 
which when attacked you dared openly to assert and vindicate and stand foi'e- 
most in the glorious cause of Liberty, in which you are contending not only 
for your own but ours, and the common rights of every .American; when w'e 
reflect that it is this for which you are sutfering such horrid cruelties, for 
which your streets have been stained with blood, and for which you now feel 



HELP FOR BOSTON, ETC. 125 

the horrors of a niilitar_v government — we are overwhehiied Avith a conflict of 
tuniiiltnons passions, am] filled wiih ihat manly ardor which bids us join you 
hand in hand and snttVr with you in the common cause; nay, even if tlui sad 
exigencies of attairs should over require it, to determine in defence of every- 
thing for which life is wortli enjoyiu^-, to meet that death which will be glo- 
rious and infinitely preferabk- to a life dragged on in that low, servile state 
which is evidently planned for us, and which nothing less than the most heroic 
fortitude, and the highest exertion of every civil and Christian virtue can pre- 
vent. Give us leave therefore, to enti'cat, to beg, to conjure you, by every- 
thing that is dear, by everything that is sacred, by the venerable names of 
our pious forefatiiers who sutfered, who bled in the defence of Liberty — not to 
desert the cause in this trying crisis, but to use your utmost influence in pur- 
suing and persevering in every measure which may have a tendency to pro- 
duce the desired effect. 

Gentlemen, we hereby assure you, that to the utmost of our power we will 
assist you in every measure necessary for the common safety, not regarding 
our own private views and interests when in competition with the i)ublicgood. 
This town is very sensible of the obligations we, and with us all British 
America, are under to the town of Boston, who have been and still are the 
generous defenders of our common rights and lii)erties. We know you sutfer, 
and feel f\)r you. As a testimony of our commiseration of your misfortunes, 
this Town on the 23d instant, at a legal and very full meeting unanimously 
chose a committee to procure subscriptions for your present relief. Accord- 
ingly we have procuretl a small flock of sheep, which at this season are not as 
good as we could wish but are the best we have, and the people of this town 
are almost unanimous in contributing to this purpose. 

This small present, gentlemen, we beg you would accept, and apply to the 
relief of those houest, industrious poor who are most distressed by the l;ite 
arbitrary and oppressive Acts. And rest assured that if Parliament does not 
soon att'ord you relief and there should in future be any need of our assistance 
we shall with the utmost cheerfulness exert our influence to that purpose. 

We are, gentlemen, with great respect your most obedient and humble ser- 
vants. 

Samuel Gi;ay, 
Natifanikl Walks, 
EBi:Nf:zi;R ])i:votion, 
Ebenezer Mosely, 

HKZKKIAfI BlssEL, 

Joseph GiNNfNGs, 
Willia:m DuitKEE, 
John Howaud, 
IIezekiah Manning, 

Committee of Corre^j^oideuce." 

This opportune gift, cotnitig from so great a distance, and apparently 
the first arriving in Boston, was received with inticli delight and grati- 
tude. The Boston Gazette, oi July 4, reported: "Lust week were 
driven to Ko.xbury two hundred and fifty-eight sheep — a generous con- 
tribution from Windham." On the same day the town voted : — 

"That the thanks of this town be and hereby are given to our worthy 
friends, the inhabitants of the town of Windhum, Connecticut ColDuy, for the 
kind and generous assistance they have granted this town under its pre-^ent 
distress and calamity in voluntarily sending two hundred and fifty-eiglit sheep 
as a present for the relief of the "poor, distressed inhabitants of this place, 
who by a late oppressive and cruel act of Parliament lor blocking up the har- 
bor of Boston are prevented getting subsistence for themselves and families." 

So greatly were the i)eople cheered and comforted by this piompt 
expression of sympathy from inhabitants of another colony that British 
sympathizers attempted to detract from its value by slanderous iusinua- 



126 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

tions, rriviiio; out that tlie present of sheep sent fVoin Wimlhani " c.iino 
onl}- in cuiiseqnence oi vi)ne>/ sent (o hu;/ t/iei/i." The BdsIou Guzette 
coul(i only express its sentiments tlieieupon by exclaiming-: — 

" How weak, how false, how little ami how low!" Imk'eil, consider- 
ing the scarc^ity of money, the insintialion was sufficiently ahsurd. 

Pomfret's gift to lioston soon followed Windham's. A hundicd and 
five sheej) were prom[>tly dispatched, and their reception thus acknowl- 
edge(l : — 

"July 8, 1774. 
Gentlemen : 

By tlie IiMiid of Mr. Eli is Wells we rocoivod your ufotiprons and kind bene- 
faction for ihi" |)oor of tliis distressed lown. \Vl' cannot cnoni;ii > xpress our 
frraiitndc for ihis instance of your bounty, in wliicli you liavc libfrally contii- 
butetl to Uic relief of many. Wliut you Jiave thus lent to the Lord, we trust 
and pray tiuu he will piyj^ou ai^dn. It ;iive.s us great consolation amidst i>ur 
complicated and unparalk-letl sutferin^s, thu our bretlirei; in the other colo- 
nies show such ('hri>tiaii sympatliy and true benevolence towards ns. That 
we are irreatly distressed, need-; no coai njut. Our harbor blockaded by a 
fleet of sliip; our foreign trade actually annihilated; thous ukIs of poor re- 
duced to extreme want; troops coulinnally pouring in up m us, to insult ns in 
this our liistress, is a consideration that mustexcite pity in the most obdurate. 
However, althougli we thus suffer, we arc willing to sutler still more, rather 
than give np our birth-right privileges. With great regard, we are your 
brethren and most humble set vants. 

Joiix Skk.ly, 
Ti.MornY Nkwki.l, 
Sam UK I, .Austin, 
Jonx PriTS, 
Selectmen of Boston.'" 

The remaining towns in Windham County were eqtially earnest in 
their resolutions and benefactions. At a meeting in Canterbiny, June 
17, 1774, the following declaration was unanimously ailopted : — 

"Thi* town, taking into consideration the alarmiiig siination of the Uritish 
colonies in North .\merica, respecting sumlry late acts of the British Parlia- 
nii-nt, and especially that for shutting up tlr^ port of Boston, which we look 
upon to l)e an al)ridgment of Charter rights and privileges. And considering 
the iidiabitauis of IJoston as sutfering under said Act iu the common cause of 
the Liberties of all .-Vmerica, therefore voted: — 

1. That we are willing and ilesirons to come into any reasonable measures 
that shall i)e adopted by the towns iu this Colony for obtaining redress of our 
grievances. 

2. That we esteem a general congress of the Colonies the most proper 
method to adopt an uniform plan for the preservation of the whole; and we 
recommend it to the Committee of ('orrespoudence iu tliis Colony to choose a 
commiitee to attend said (.Congress as soon as may be. 

o. That if it shad be thought best by said Congress to sto]) all trade with 
Great Britain and the West Indies, we will most cheerfully acquiesce in this 
deteruniiation. 

4. That Solomon Paine. John Fetch, Daniel I'aine, l)ea. Fdiashib Adams, 
Dea. John Ilerrick, Capt. Kbeuezer Spalding and .Vsa Witter be a committee 
to correspond with the committees of the several towns in this and the ueiirh- 
boriiig colonies, and that thev transnnt a copy of their votes to the Connnittee 
of C'orrespondeiice in this Colony. 

."). That the above committee are hereby particularly instructed to make 
diligent inquiry into the distress of the poor in Boston, so far as ihey appear 
to be brought upon them by the above Act of rarliameut, and to lake such 



HELP FOR BOSTON, ETC. 12T 

steps for concctins soiiiftliiiiir for tlioir relief as said committee shall judge 
the most effective for that purpose." 

Killing-]}', June 20, expressed herself with unusual fervor: — 

" At a meeting of the iiilmbitaiits of Killinuly, having taken into considera- 
tion ihe dark and gloomy clonds winch hang over and ihreau-nthe lil)eities of 
this, onr ntitive country, in general; llie disircssing circumstances ot Boston, 
in |)articnlai- — th"ir harbors blocked up, cut ott" from all cou)inerci:d tiade and 
dealing on whicii Uiey depended lor a >upi)ly of bread, princiides ndojited for 
its government unconsiilulioual and opjjressive imposed by niilitarv power; 
charl ers, which we once doled upon as unalterable as the laws of the Medes 
and Persians, antl gloried in as the power and bulwark of these Colnnies, we 
now see failing to protect the liberty of the subject and altered at picasnre; 
taxes, revenues, imposed without onr consent attained or even asked lor; 
and, in short, Slaaj:i;y itself, inotected l)y Tyruntrti, advancing with hasty 
steps towards this land of Freeih)m and Liberty. Witli the atienti(jn such a 
sui)ject demands, and. at the sau)e time we hope, with the eanilor and calm- 
ness so horrid a scene will admit of — we have thought proper to pass the fol- 
lowing resolves : — 

" 1. That we will choose a Conimittoe of Correspondence to meet with the 
committees chosen by the neighijoring towns, that they may agree upon some 
nuiversnl plan that may have the teiidency under divine blessing to secure our 
just rights and privileges. 

2. 'ihat we will not purchase any goods of linen or woolen manufacture 
imported frou) Great Britain, and will In-eak oft" all trade and commerce with 
the Indies if it be thought best by the connnittees in general Congn-ss. 

3. That we will to the utmost of our power encourage mariufactures 
amongst ourselves. 

4. That we will not sell iiny flax-seed to any person, except to be sold in 
the country or ground into oil. 

5. That we will religiously abide by these resolves, till the port of Boston 
is opened and the liberties of the people restored. 

Also, voted, That these resolves with the preamble be published in the 
Pi"o\idence (razettf. 

A^otetl and chose a comndttee to take in subscriptions of the inhabitants of 
this town for the benefit of the poor of Boston, in sheep or otherwise, to be 
transmitted to the poor in Boston. 

Voted to choose Jos<'ph Torrey and Daniel Davis for this comndttee." 

The less etlusive Plainiield simply voted: — 

"That the resolves of the General Assembly of Connecticut, May last, re- 
specting the lil)erties and privileges of the English colonies are most s.alutarv, 
and very hearidy adopted by this meeting, and that it is the earnest desire of 
this meeting that deputies from the respective colonies nieet as soon as possi- 
ble in General Congress. 

That we are \\illing to coidribute onr mite to the poor of Boston, and that 
Captain Joseph Eaton, James Bradford, Robert Kinsman, Andrew Backus, 
Abraham Shepard. Ebenezer Kobinson, Joshua Dnnlap, Ferry Clark and Cur- 
tis Spalding be a committee to receive subscriptions for that purpose." 

James Bradford, Isaac Coit, Major John Douglas. Dr. Elisha Per- 
kins and William Kobinson were also appointed Commitlee of Cor- 
respondence. Voluntown eoncurred with the re.solves of the Assem- 
bly, and sent a contribution to the relief of Boston. John Dorrance, 
Thomas Douglas, Sanniel Stewart, James Campbell, James Craiy re- 
ceived and forwarded her gift ; Isaac Gallup and James Gordon served 
as Committee of CoiTespondence. Jedidiah Fay, Captain Ichabod 
Ward, Captain Elisha Wales, Beujamia Sumuer, Esc]., Amos Bubcock 



128 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and Ingoltlsby Woik were chosen Corresponding Committee for Ash- 
ford. 

As the season advanced the several towns sent on their promised re- 
lief. Briant IJrown, Ebenezer Larned, Benjamin Leavens and Perley 
Howe, committee for Killingly, sent a few sheep as a token of grati- 
tude, and reported theii' town "to be well united, and determined to 
maintain its privileges at the risk of lives and fortunes, and ready to 
contribute to tlie necessities of those called to suffer." ''Taking into 
serious consideration the present distressed and suffering circumstances 
of Boston," the citizens of Woodstock voted unanimously "to contribute 
to their relief." Captain Benjamin Lyon, Samuel McClellan, William 
Skiimer, Timothy Perrin, Samuel Harding. Jonathan Morris, Nehe- 
miah Lyon, Thomas May, Asa Child and Natlianiel Marcy — chosen to 
receive and transmit donations — had soon the privilege of forwarding 
sixty-five fat sheep, wliich were received by the authorities of Boston 
as an appropiiate peace-offering from their I'evolted subjects. The 
selectmen of that town took especial pains to express their " unfeigned 
thatdvfulness that Woodstock had expressed such favorable sentiments 
of their town as laid them under [)articu]ar obligations to persevere in 
a firm ojjposition to the attempts of arbitrary power." 

Brooklyn Parish in August forwarded a hundred and tw-enty-five 
fine sheep through the liands of Israel Putnam, Joseph Holland and 
Daniel Tyler, Jun. — meaning therewith "in the first ])lace to attempt 
to appease tlie file (i-aised by your committiug the Indian Tea to the 
watery element as a merited oblation to Neptune) of an ambitious and 
vindictive minister by the blood of rams and of lambs ; if that do not 
answer the cure we are I'eady to march in tlie van, and to sprinkle the 
American altars witli our heart's blood if occasion should be." Put- 
nam remained some days in Boston and was received with high honors. 
Bancroft I'eports him "Warren's guest and eveiyone's favorite." The 
Boston Gazette informs its readei-s that "the town has had the satisfac- 
tion to be visited by the renowned Colonel Putnam so well known 
thioughout Xoith America that no words are necessary to inform the 
public any further concerning him than that his generosity led hitn to 
Boston to cherish his oppressed brethren and sup]>oit them by every 
means in his jiower. A fine di-ove of sheep was one article of comfort 
he was commissioned to present us with." Another newspaper cor- 
respondent reports Plainfield as " preparing to send a flock of sheep," 
and similar offeiings were sent from Ashford, Voluutown and Canter- 
bury. Captain Aaron Cleveland ti-ansmitted in the autumn "a fatted 
cow," accompanied by tlie following letter : — 

" Genllempn : 

Bein^ aft'ected with a sense of the righteousness of the cause that the people 
of Bostou are aufleriug under, as it coucerns all the people of America to be 



HELP FOR BOSTON, ETC. 129 

roused to support them that they may not faint under their distress, it took 
hold on ray covetous heart and made me willing to contribute my little mite, 
which I have sent by Mr. Green of Maiden — a beef cow for the distressed — 
and ordered him to deliver it to the committee for tliat purpose; and may the 
Lord deliver the people of America out of the liands of a Wicked and despotic 
power, who are exerting all the subtilty and malice of hell to enslave us. O ! 
may Alraight}^ God still rouse and farther unite the people of America as one 
man to a sense of their liberties, and never give them up as long as sun, moon 
and stars shall endure ; and never submit to be slaves, but be willing to sacri- 
fice life and all tilings to tlie defence and preservation of them; which is the 
earnest desire of your humble servant, 

Aaron Cleveland. 
Canterbury, Nov. 27, 1774." 

Windham's patriotic zeal during this fervid sutnmev was shown in 
overt acts as well as " resolutions," by deeds of violence as well as those 
of beneficence. Mr. Francis Green of Boston, one of the " addressers " 
and adherents of Governor Hutchinson, having ventured into Connec- 
ticut to collect debts and transact private business, was forcibly expelled 
from Windham town and Norwich. Upon returning to Boston Mr. 
Green issued a proclamation offering the reward of one hundred»dollars 
for the apprehension " of five ruffians, calling themselves by the 
names of Hezekiah Bissell, Benjamin Lathrop, Timothy Larrabee, 
Ebenezer Backus and Nathaniel Warren," all of Windham, who, aided 
by a great number of others, "did assault the subscriber, surround the 
house in which he was stopping, forcibly enter the same, and with 
threats and intimidations insist upon his immediate departure ; also, of 
Simon Huntington of Norwich, and other villains and ruffians, who (it 
was supposed by the instigation of the above) did threaten, assault and 
lay violent hands upon the subscriber, and by foi'ce compel him to quit 
his lawful business and depart from their town." This proclamation, 
and the complimentary epithets applied to such men as Bissell, Backus 
and Huntington, excited much laughter and derision in both towns, and 
was reprinted in handbills and hawked about the streets with appro- 
priate comments. Mr. Green's ejection was characterized by the patriot 
journals as " the cool, deliberate remonstrance of the Sons of Free- 
dom." An eye-witness reports that in Windham "he was treated with 
great humanity and courtesy, allowed to stay all night, and reluctantly 
constrained to do by command what he would not do by courtesy." 
Colonel Eleazer Fitch, a French war veteran, high-sherift' of the Coun- 
ty, who loved his royal master and hated violent demonstrations, had 
the temerity to assert " that the Norwich and Windham people had 
acted like scoundrels in treating Mr. Green as they did." The people 
thus stigmatized came together in great wrath, and, though they did 
not choose to lay violent hands upon one so honored and beloved, 
showed their displeasure by resolving that they would administer tar 
and feathers to any blacksmith, barber, miller, or common laborer, 
17 



130 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

"who should aid said FiUli in any way,'" and so his wlioat and 2:rass 
were lel't standing, and "the wliole of a considerahle trade witlidrawn 
from him." 

The speech and conduct of Mr. Jolin Stevens, the proprietor of 
extensive phuitations in Ashford, subjected him to an inquisitorial 
visitation, resulting in the subjoined declaration : — 

" Whereas a number of the loyal people of the towns of Ashford and 
Mansfield, have convened together on suspicion that Mr. John Stevens of 
Ashford was an enein\' to the constitutional rights of American liberty, and 
that Ave chose a committee to which he gave the following satisfactory 
account, that he never wrote any letters against the rights of American 
liberty to any person, and that he never received one from any person on that 
occasion. And furthermore as 1, the subscriber, have talked at sundry times 
against the chartered rigiits of American Colonists, I do humbly ask their for- 
giveness, and I further declare that I never will talk or act anything against the 
Sons of Liberty— l)ut do solemnly declare that I am a true Son of Liberty, and 
will remain so during my natural life. In witness whereof I set my hand. 

Aug. 5, 1774. John Stkvexs. 

In presence of Stephen Johnson, Jeremiah Howe, Aaron Whitraore, Richard 
Fetch, John Keyes, Ashford and Mansfield committee." 

The zeal of Windham patriots was far too ardent and effusive to be 
restricted to county limits. Their intense enthusiasm in the popular 
cause led them to take an active part in all aggressive demonstrations. 
Inspect ory committees were constantly on the alert, and " Windham 
boys " were ever ready to aid in forays upon sus])ected Tories. Colonel 
Abijah Willard of Lancaster, Mass., a man of large wealth and high 
character, had made himself obnoxious to the people by accepting the 
office of Mandamus Councilor to Governor Gage. He had business 
interests in Connecticut which were intrusted to two attorneys in 
Windham, whom he invited to meet with him for consultation in the 
town of Union. A report of his intended visit took wing, and when 
Colonel Willard arrived in Union he was met by hundreds of ardent 
patriots from Windham and adjoining towns, who took hioi into their 
keeping, guarded him through tlie night, conveyed him next morning 
over the line into Brimfield, where they formally delivered him over 
to a body of Massachusetts citizens. A trial was held and the 
prisoner convicted and sentenced to the Simsbury mines. Finding 
that his judges were bent upon carrying out this decree, and actually 
proceeding to carry him thither, Colonel Willard .succumbed, "asked 
forgiveness of all honest men for having taken the oath of office, and 
promised not to sit or act in council." 

In the dealings with Rev. Samuel Peters, the well-known church 
missionary at Hebron, Windham was also implicated. This sturdy 
churchman and Tory not only openly avowed his loyalty to the King 
and government, but stigmatized the Sons of Liberty as rebels and 



HELP FOR BOSTON, ETC. 131 

traitors, and j)resnined to ridicule their fervent resolutions and declara- 
tions. He was also suspected of sending information abroad and 
canying on clandestine correspondence with the agents of govern- 
ment in several Colonies. " A formidable multitude " of some three 
hundred men from different towns witli vengeance lowering on their 
brows accordingly waited upon Peters, Monday morning, Aug. 15, 
and extorted from him various concessions and pledges, together with 
a copy of certain satirical " Resolves* of Hebron,' which he had 
pre])ared for the press — treating him, however, according to the report 
of his friends "with as much civilit}' as might Ije expected." 

In September, the report of various distui'bances in Boston aroused 
the whole country. Powder stored in Camljridge by the patriots was 
removed to Boston by a detachment of troops under orders from 
Governor Gage. The peo[)le immediately ruslied out in great e.xcite- 
ment, loudly denouncing the act and demanding the restitution of the 
powder. In the clamor and confusion a report was somehow started 
that the British fleet and garrison had commenced hostilities. Swift- 
footed messengers caught this rumor and hurried off with it in various 
directions. It was afterwards asserted that this story was sent out by 
the patriot leaders for the express i)urpose of showing the British 
government the temper and spirit of the Colonies. If this were so 
they gained their end. The rumor flew on three great traveled routes, 
gaining in flight. Southwai'd, it came to Esquire Wolcott of Oxford, 
who forthwith posted his son off to Boston, " to learn the certainty," 
but receiving farther confirmation of the great news at Grafton, the 
young man turned back, and look it straightway on to Curtis's tavern 
in Dudley. One Clark, a trader, caught it up and hurried it on to his 



* "1. All charters are sacred to serve the end for which they were 
given and no farther. 2. No charter from ihe King can he found by which 
the grantees have a right to the seas, as all our charters bound us upon sea- 
coast as that runs. 3. The duty laid on teas is not a tax upon America 
because it grows not within Liie limits of America. 4. Since they have not 
placed a tax upon ours but their own specie which they certainly have a right 
to do, it is our duty not to purchase their teas unless we have a mind to do 

it 11. Bostonians would be able to support their own poor after 

Windham and other towns have paid them their lesal demands. 12. We 
cannot find any good reasons why the good people of Windham undertook to 
arraign and condemn Governor Hutchinson and others for ignorance, insult 
and treason against law and common sense only lor ditl'ering in sentiment 
with .some of their neighbors — since there 'were a few names in Sardis.' 
13. Farmiugton burnt the Act of Parliament in great contempt by their 
common hanaman, &c. We sincerely wish and hope a day may be set apart 
by his Honor very soon for fasting and prayer throughout the Colony, that 
the sins of thosehaughty people n)ay not be laid to our charge as a govern- 
ment, and we reconnnend a due observation of said day to all our neighbors, 
by giving food and raiment to the indigent poor in every town in Connecticut, 
and also'to draw up resolutions that for the future we will pay the poor their 
wages and every man his due." 



132 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

father in Woodstock. Captain Clark in hot haste bore it on to Captain 
Keyes of Pomfrct, and he — at 11 a. m., Satnrday, Sept. 3 — brought 
it to Colonel Israel Putnam. Hitherto the news had gone from mouth 
to mouth like the Highland war-cry : — 

Boston, our Boston is in need ! 

Speed forth the signal ! Patriots, speed ! — 

But now Putnam gave it a more tangible form by scrawling off the 
following lines to Captain Aaron Cleveland of Canterbury : — 

" PoMFRET, Sept. 3, 1774. 
Captain Cleveland : 

Mr. Keyes has this a. m. bro't us the news that the Men of War and 
troops began to lire on the people of Boston last night at sunset, when a 
post was sent iraraediatcly ofl to inform the Countr}'. He informs that the 
artillery played all night, that the people are universally [rallying] from 
Boston as far as hei'e in arms and desires all the assistance possible. It 
[alarm] was occasioned by the country people's being robbed of their powder 
[from Boston] as far as Framingham, and when found out people went to 
take the soldiers and six of our people were killed on the spot and several 
were wounded.^ Beg you will rally all the forces you can and be on the 
march immediately for the relief of Boston and the people that way. 

I. P." 

" Fast as hoof could fly " this was conveyed to Cleveland, counter- 
signed by him, and sent by express "along to Norwich and elsewhere." 
Reaching Norwich at 4 p. m., it was forwarded by Captain John Dur- 
kee. At New London, it was endorsed by Richard Law, Nathaniel 
Shaw and Samuel Parsons, and hurried on to New Haven and New 
York. Gaining credence and fresh signatures at every stopping place 
it speeded southward, and at nine o'clock Tuesday morning — -just 
seventy hours from Pomfret — it was laid before the Continental Con- 
gress, just assembling in Philadelphia. Thus from Boston to Penn- 
sylvania, the whole country had been aroused. From the great cen- 
tres the news had spread in every quarter. The hour of conflict had 
come ; Boston was attacked and all were summoned to her relief. 
Never was rallying cry more eflective. Coming from Putnam and en- 
dorsed by prominent and responsible men it was every wheie received 
and obeyed. " To arms !" was the quick response, and thousands hur- 
ried to the rescue. A thousand men took up arms in the three lower 
counties of Delaware. Tioenty thousand were reported en route in 
Connecticut. The summons coming on Sunday it had the eftect of 
putting that Puritanic colony "into alarm and motion on the Lord's 
Day." Colonel Putnam's missive was read publicly in most of the 
congregations, and furnished the te.xt for many a stirring exhortation. 
In many of the more distant towns the messenger brought the tidings 



IIELP FOR BOSTON, ETC. 133 

to tlie meeting-house in the midst of divine sei'vice, nnd woitliy mem- 
bers of the cliurch militant left the sanctuary for the buttleiield. Even 
ministers were said "to have left their pulpits for the gun and drum, 
and set off for Boston." In Norwich, Putnam's letter was " printed oiF, 
and circulated through the town in handbills," and on Sunday morning 
over four hundred men, well-armed and mostly mounted upon good 
horses, started for Boston under command of Major John Durkec. Two 
hundred ardent volunteers, well-armed and mounted, left Windham 
town at sunrise, and bodies of men were dispatched from all the other 
towns of Windham County. 

Putnam, having sent the dispatch, set out himself with four com- 
rades for the scene of action, and had proceeded as far northward as 
Douglas, when he heard " that the alarm was false and Massachusetts' 
forces returning." He immediately turned back and after a sixty miles 
ride reached home at sunrise, and " sent the contradiction along to stop 
the forces marching or i-allying." The Norwich ti'oops were met seven 
miles from their town, with the intelligence via. Providence, that the 
report was without foundation. The Windham men marched on to 
Massachusetts line before receiving counter-tidings. This I'evelation 
tliat the great mass of the people was ready to take up arms whenever 
occasion called them greatly cheered the pati'iot leadei's and stimu- 
lated them to farther resistance. The repoit of this uprising excited 
much interest at home and abroad. "Words cannot express," wrote 
Putnam and his committee in behalf of five hundred men under 
arms at Pomfret, "the gladness discovered by every one at the 
appearance of a door being opened to avenge the many abuses and 
• insults which those foes to liberty have offered to our brethren in 
your town and province. But for counter intelligence we should have 
had forty thousand well-equipped and ready to march this morning. 
Send a written express to the foreman of this committee when you 
have occasion for our martial assistance." The rapid transmission of 
the news was considered very remarkable. On Nov. 12, it reached 
England, and the report of its reception there came back to New York 
on January 20. A few affected to treat the whole affair with ridicule. 
Colonel Malbone of Pomfret received the news from Putnam. Though 
so opposed in character and political sentiment there existed a certain 
personal sympathy and good fellowship between these neighboi-s, and 
many verbal skirmishes were interchanged between them. Before tak- 
ing the lield Putnam sent this mi;<sive : — 

"Sat., 12 r. m. 
To Coloxp:l Malbone : 

Dear Sir — I have this minute had an express from Boston that the flght be- 
tween Boston and the Eegulars [began] last night at sunset, and the cannon 



134 ■ HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

befjiin to [ ] and continned all night and they herj for help — and dont you 
think it is time to go? 
I am, sir, your most obedieut servant, 

I. Putnam." 

'' Go to the Devil," was the prompt and emphatic answer. [These 
doughty church members and church builders were equally expert in 
sicear'uig.'] 

The opposition of Rev. Samuel Peters was more pronounced and bit- 
ter. On that memorable Sabbath when all Connecticut was in motion, 
Peters forbade his flock to take up arms in behalf of High Treason, and 
insulted " the public grand cause of Liberty by calling it rebellion." 
This offence filled the measui'e of his political iniquities. The patriots 
of the neighboring towns, roused to fever heat by the late alarm and 
uprising, felt that they could bear with him no longer. Yet as usual at 
this period nothing was done without some show of ofiicial authority. 
Timothy Larrabee, Hezekiah Huntington, Vine Elderkin, Ebeiiezer 
Gray and John Kipley of Windham- men of high chaiacter and posi- 
tion — together with Captain Selli Wright, Captain Asahel Clark and 
jNIr. Hill of other towns, weie appointed a committee by the Sons of 
Liberty in their respective towns "to visit and deal with TJev. Samuel 
Peters of Hebron,"' and on Tuesday. Sept. 6, proceeded to his house 
accompanied by some hundreds of their fellow-citizens fiom all the 
surrounding country. They found the house barricaded and tilled with 
people said to be armed, and sent in a deputation of their principal 
men to make known to Mr. Peters " their determination to obtain re- 
traction and satisfaction " for his late conduct. A i»arley was held 
thi'ough the window. Mr. Peters attempted to justify himself and 
argue with the gentlemen, assuring them that he had no ai'ms but two 
old guns out of repair. They i-eplied that they did not care to dispute 
with him, and advised him to address the people who thronged about 
the house, assui-ing him at the same time '-that it was not for his 
religious sentiments, or because he was a churchman " that they de- 
manded this satisfaction, " for some of the people were of that denomi- 
nation, and they were so far from hurting or injuring anyone that did 
profess it that they were ready to defend and piotect them with all 
their strength, but for the things and matters before mentioned." 

Assuming his white piiestly robe, Peters now came out to the people 
with all his official dignity, and with his usual address and facility pro- 
ceeded to plead his cause till the discharge of a gun witliin the house 
startled his heai'ers. The indignant patriots tore down the barricades, 
rushed in and searched the house, finding loaded guns and pistols, 
swords and heavy clubs. Li spite of this discovery he was allowed to 
finish his haranyue and retire umuolested with the understaudiniJ- that 



HELP FOR BOSTON, ETC. 135 

lie should draw up and siixii a sal isfactoiy declaration. Petei's delayed, 
equivocated and quibbled till the waiting crowd weary and hungry 
lost all patience, and proceeded '' to deal " with him in more summary 
fashion, forced their way again into the house, seized the stinggling 
divine, tearing his clothes and sacred Episcopal gown, put him upon 
a cart and hauled him by his own oxen to the meeting-house green, 
where they sat him upon the public horse-block, and compelled him to 
sign a declaration and humble confession framed by the committee to 
the intent that he repented his past misdeeds and would give them no 
farther cause of complaint. He \vas then made to i-ead this paper 
aloud, sentence by sentence, to the great crowd surrounding the horse- 
block, which thereupon gave three triumphal cheers and (juietly dis- 
persed. Peters in reporting the affair declares that the Sons of 
Liberty not only "destroyed his windows and rent his clothes even 
his gown, but almost killed one of his chuich people, tarred and 
feathered two and abused others, but his word cannot be taken with- 
out corroborative evidence." In I'espjonse to his ai)peal to Governor 
Trumbull for protection, the civil authority of Hebron were dii'ected 
"to preserve peace and good order, and put the laws in execution." 
Notwithstanding this charge Mr. Peters thought best in a few days to 
retire to Boston, and sailed for England in Noven)ber. The rancor of 
his subsequent letters is the best a[)ology for his assailants. To his 
mother he writes that "six regiments were now coming fVom England 
and sundry men-of-war, and as soon as they come hanging work will 
go on : destruction will first attend the seaport towns — lintel spi'inkled 
on the side-ports will pres(M've the faithful : " to Dr. Auchmuty, New 
Yoik, — "the clergy of Connecticut must fill a sacrifice witli the 
several churches vei-y soon to the rage of the Puritan mob-ility, if the 
old Serpent, that Dragon is not bound. . . . Spiritual iniquity rides 
in high places, halberds, pistols and swoids. . . . Their lebellion is ob- 
vious, and treason is common and robbery their daily devotion. The 
bounds of New York may directly extend to Connecticut Kiver. 
Boston must then . . . and Rhode Island be swallowed up as Dothau." 
" The means of making the contents " of these very letters known 
furnished another striking example of "Puritan mob-ility " and sjnrit. 
According to authentic published report these letters were brought 
back by two friends of Peters who had accompanied him to Boston, 
and were intercepted on their return by a suspecting party of patriots 
who met them at a tavern, questioned them and suffei-ed them to 
depart, but as they went on their way they were overheard by a man 
behind a fence to say " that they might yet bo searched before they 
got home, might be brought into trouble and therefore had better hide 
the letters." From his hiding-place this man saw them alight near a 



136 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

stone-fence, remount and hurry onward. Help was called, letters 
found in the wall, the men followed, brought back and again (juestioned. 
They denied having any letters, even oft'ering to declare upon oath 
that ihev had none, but upon these being produced were forced to 
own the biinging and hiding. Tradition gives the town in which this 
incident occurred and other attendant circumstances. Windham 
VlUcu/e., the home of famous military veterans, the seat of most tlam- 
ino- and ao-oressive patriotism, claims the credit of search and seizure. 
ller account ignores the intervention of non-resident parties. Her 
own vigilant citizens were the sole detectives and judges. The story 
of the capture of I^eterss spies was quickly boime through the neigh- 
borhood and brought all its inhabitants, young and old, men, women 
and children, to the scene of action. The convicted tale-beai'ers, beset 
by the angry throng, begged in vain for release and mercy. Public 
sentiment demanded their instant and effectual punishment but differed 
as to its nature. Ordinary delinquencies might be satisfied by a public 
whipping at the townpost, but so flagrant an oifence seemed to 
demand a more signal and characteristic penalty. "Ruuning the 
gauntlet," suggested probably by the experience of some Frencii war 
captive, met the views of the poi)ulace but the victims were allowed 
their choice. Between two evils they chose the least familiar, gi-eatly 
to the delight of the great crowd of people who could all take part 
in its infliction. Men, boys, perhaps women and girls, every body 
that fancied, were straightway formed in two opposing lines, stretching 
from the tavern across the great street and green to the meeting-house, 
and Peters' unfortunate emissaries weie made to run between them, 
receiving from each in turn a cuff", kick or poke, with every insult- 
ing epithet that could be devised by the ingenuity or malice of their 
tormentors. 

[An additional item, showing the position of Windham County 
leaders towards the Stamp Act, deserves notice and preservation. 
When Governor Fitch called his Council together to decide what to do 
with the king's law, there was difterence of opinion and warm discus- 
sion. After a day of fierce debate Governor Fitch avowed his deter- 
mination to enforce the Act, and called upon Trumbull to administer 
the needful oath. " No," said Trumbull, " I will take no part in, nor 
witness such a scene as this " — and with Colonel Dyer, Shubael Conant 
and four other members of the Council, withdrew from the chamber ; 
thus emphasizing their belief " that the Stamp Act contravened the 
chartered rights of the Colonies," and their determination to give no 
countenance to its execution.] 



PREPARATION FOR THE CONFLICT, ETC. 137 



II. 

PREPARATION FOR THE CONFLICT. ONWARD TO CAMBRIDGE. 

BUNKER HILL. HOME AFFAIRS. DEATH OF 

REVEREND JOSEPH HOME. 

THE revelation that the great mass of the people were ready to 
take up arras whenever occasion demanded, greatly encouraged 
the patriot leaders, and also showed them the necessity of making all 
possible provision for the inevitable conflict before them. A conven- 
tion of delegates from New London and Windham Counties was held 
at Norwich, September 9, a few days after the alarm, wherein the 
greatest harmony and unanimity of sentiment appeared, and "the 
cheek of every member glowed with resentment and martial fire," and 
" not a man among them but was willing with . the utmost alacrity 
to fly to the relief" of oppressed patriots in any Colony. In prepara- 
tion for futuie emergency the convention recommended, 

" 1. That the Selectmen of every town in these counties should as speedily 
as possible supply their town stociv with a full complement of ammunition 
and military stores as by law required. 2. That eveiy particular troop and 
military company within said eounties, both officers and soldiers, should as 
speedily as po!<sible arm and equip themselves, agreeable to the directiou of 
the laws of the Colony. 3. It was seriously recommended to such, as a mat- 
ter of very great importance, that as expeditiously as might be they should 
improve iu and learn the use and design of their arms by artillery exercises 
or otherwise, that so they may answer the important purpose of their instruc- 
tion when occasion shall require. And as very great and special advantage 
must arise from regimental reviews and exercises in the militia of this Colony, 
as the law requires, and the same having been neglected and omitted, it was 
earnestly recommended to the officers of the regiments that during the pres- 
ent Autumn they should call together their respective regiments for this pur- 
pose, and also that these officers should issue orders to the captains of the 
several companies in their regiments that their companies should immediately 
comply with legal requisitions, both as to their equipment and ammunition, 
and a due attention to the cultivation of military skill and the art of war; 
and that said chief officers should exert themselves in every proper and 
legal way for a general improvement in, and cultivation of, the noble aud im- 
portant art of military skill and discipline." 

The General Assembly, at its October session, enacted that each 
military company in the Colony shall be called out twelve half -days 
and exercised in the use of their arms, between this time and the flrst 
of May. It was also resolved, " That the several towns in this Colony 
be and are hereby ordei-ed to provide as soon as may be, double tlie 
quantity of powder, balls and flints that they were heretofore by law 
obliged to provide." Four additional regiments were now organized. 
A convention of delegates from Hartford, New London, Windham and 
Litchfleld Counties was held in Hartford, September 15, which most 
earnestly supported the Non-Importation Agreement, and denounced 
"such mercenary wretches" as purposed to evade it, declaring its deter- 
mination to defeat their designs if possible. Yet while entering upon 
18 



138 HISTOKY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

these "aggressive methods" for resistance to ojipression, they flcclared it 
"the wannest wish of our hearts tliat the wisdom and equity of the 
British Parliament may relieve us from our fears and dangers, and that 
we may once more and forever look up to our parent country with con- 
fidence and pleasure, and, secure in om- own rights, contribute all in 
our power to promote the honor, interest and happiness of our elder 
brethren in Great Britain." Tlie General Congress at Philadelphia, of 
which Col. Dyer was a member, while also expressing its loyalty and 
attachment to the king, published an elaborate declaration of the rights 
of the Colonists, agreed "that all America ought to support the inhabit- 
ants of Massachusetts," requested the merchants to suspend all importa- 
tion of merchandize from Great Britain, and further stipulated that 
all exportation of merchandize to Great Britain, Ireland and the West 
Indies should cease after September 10, 1775, unless the wrongs that 
called out these agreements should be redressed prior to that period. 

The report of the proceedings of this Congress was accepted by the 
several towns. Windham, December 5, voted, " That this town does 
accept, approve and adopt the doings of the Continental Congress held 
at Philadelphia in September last, and agree and oblige ourselves 
religiously to keep and observe the same." Joshua Elderkin having 
now manifested a proi)er repentance for his violation of the Agree- 
ment, it was voted, " That the vote passed June 26, 1 768, respect- 
ing said Elderkin, be repealed and made null and void," and he was 
again held amenable " to office of trust or profit." Plainfield approved 
of the methods proposed, and pledged herself to strict adherence 
thereto. She also voted with but one dissenting vote, "That we will 
not in future purchase for ourselves or families any East India tea, 
until the Port of Boston is opened, and until the unreasonable Acts of 
the British Parliament are repealed." " Agreeable to the eleventh Re- 
solve of the General Congress," Canterbury elected David Paine, 
John Herrick, Thomas Adams, Jabez Fitch, Jr., Joseph Burgess, and 
Captains Obadiah Johnson and Joseph Cleveland, a committee of 
inspection. Captain Asa Bacon, Tliomas Bacon arid Samuel Ensworth 
were added to the committee of correspondence. Woodstock, at an 
adjourned town meeting, December 26, 1774, Captain Lyon, modera- 
tor, expressed her views with greater fullness, viz: — 

"Being sensible and deeply impressed with tlic late cruel and oppressive 
measures taken by the British Parlianient, and as cruelly attempted to be exe- 
cuted upon the most loyal and affectionate sulyects any prince could ever 
boast of, by which cruel measures to enslave millions of free-born subjects 
and their numberless posterity, in opposition to which the tongues, the pens, 
the hearts and hands of every true Briton, both in Great Britain and Americsp, 
we trust are engaged, and especially the grand Continental (\)iigress con- 
vened at Philadelpliia on September oth, as appears by the number of their 
resolves, for which and to whom, we, the inhabitants of Woodstock, as a 



PREPARATION FOR THE CONFLICT, ETC. 139 

part of their constiuents, return to them our warmest thanks ; and that we, 
the inhabitants of Woodstock, may '^'wi- the stroniicst proof of our zeal and 
attticlimoiit and in defence of the sreat and common cause : — 

Resolved, nem. con.. That we do approve of and oblige ourselves to the 
utmost of our power, and all persons for and under us shall comply with 
association of the aforesaid Congress in every part and paragraph thereof, 
and more especially in Non-C'onsumption Agreement by them recommended. 
Nehemiah Lyon, David Holmes, Ephraim Manning, Ellas Mason, Silas Bowen, 
Amos Paine, Timothy Perrin, Nathaniel Marcy, David Perry, Samuel Harding, 
Shubael Child, Daniel Lyon, Stephen May, Samuel Corbin and Thomas May 
were appointed a Committee of Inspection, who were attentively to observe 
the conduct of all persons, and conduct towards them agreeable to the advice 
contained in said association agreement." 

A penny-rate to ptirchase arms and other warlike stores for the use 
of the town, was also ordered. 

The suggestions with regard to military preparations were carried 
out with promptness and alacrity by all the towns. The military ardor 
of the citizens needed little stimulus, but there was great lack of 
drill and discipline. Com[)any trainings had been statedly observed 
in every neighborhood, but the prescribed regimental reviews had been 
to a great degree omitted. A grand military parade had indeed been 
held in Plainfield some time in 1773, especially memorable for inciting 
the first stirrings of military enthusiasm in the heart of a young 
Rhode Island Quaker, Nathaniel Greene, who rode many miles, with 
hundreds of other spectators, to witness the scene. A reviewof the 
eleventh regiment had also been held at Woodstock the following May, 
very notable for the large numbers present and patriotic enthusiasm. 
The troop of horse under Captain Samuel McClellan figured largely ou 
this occasion. A mock fight was carried on under the direction of 
Capt. McClellan. A party dressed up like Indians appeared upon the 
Common and caught and carried away some of the children present, 
but were pursued by the troops and the frightened children rescued 
and brought back. The success of these gatherings and the increasing 
interest in military affairs encouraged the officers to meet the recom- 
mendation of the Norwich convention by a more general and elabo- 
rate review than anything yet seen in Connecticut. Field officers and 
commissioners from New London and Windham counties elaborated a 
plan for a great regimental meeting to be held at Windham town in 
the latter end of April, or first of May. Details of the proposed plan 
were completed January 20, when ten colonels, representing as many 
regiments, "appeared and signed it." The military companies in 
Plainfield, Canterbui'y, Voluntown, and the south part of Killingly 
now formed the twenty-first regiment. The other regiments remained 
as before, viz : companies of Windham, Mansfield, Coventry and Ash- 
ford formed the fifth regiment— Jedidiah Elderkin, Colonel ; Experi- 
ence Storrs, Lieut.-Colouel ; Thomas Brown, Major. Pomfret, Wood- 



140 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Stock and the north and central companies of Killingly were included 
in the eleventh regiment — Ebenezer Williams, Colonel ; William Dan 
ielson, Major. Lebanon was included in the twelfth regiment, and 
Union in the twenty-second. A tioop of horse was attached to each 
regiment. Company trainings were held at least once a month during 
the winter, and special prepaiation made for the projected parade in 
April. Liberty-poles were set up in many of the towns with appro- 
priate exercises. A great crowd assembled on Killingly hill and 
hoisted two long sticks of timber united by a couple of cross-ties. 
From the top of this high pole a flag was flung to the breeze, deco- 
rated with a rising sun and other suggestive devices. A stray English- 
man who had settled in the neighborhood smiled scornfully at the 
demonstrations. "Ah," said he, "you know nothing of Old England ; 
she will come and cut dovra your liberty pole for you." 

No event of especial significance occurred during the winter. The 
colonists waited for the session of Parliament to learn the effect of 
appeals and statements made by Congress to the king and people of 
Great Britain. That body when convened showed little spirit of con- 
ciliation, and it was soon manifest that no redress of grievances could 
be expected. Yet unless such redress was guaranteed farther collision 
was unavoidable. The colonists saw no course but persistent and more 
effective resistance. Such preparation was made as circumstances per 
mitted ; ammunition was gathered up, the prescribed military exer 
cises faithfully performed, the rights and principles for which they 
were contending more earnestly examined and discussed. It was no 
light matter to rise up against the government of Great Britain, the 
lawful government to which they owed allegiance, and could only be 
iustified by supreme necessity. This winter of 1774-75 was one of 
"sober second thought " to the citizens of Windham County. Rest- 
ing from their summer toils and raids, they now had time to ask them- 
selves on what grounds are we preparing to take up arras against our 
rightful sovereign. A little book opportunely brought to public no- 
tice answered this query in a most comprehensive, conclusive and 
satisfactory manner: — "English Liberties, or the Freeborn Subject's 
Inheritance " — a compendium of the laws and rights " bought and 
vindicated by Englishmen at the expense of much blood and treasure," 
comprising Magna Charta, the Habeas Corpus Act, a Declaration of 
the Liberty of the Subject, and much other kindred matter — was j)ub- 
lished in England in 1691, and so favorably received tliat in thirty 
years it had reached a fifth edition. An edition of this priceless work 
was issued by John Carter, of Providence, in 1774, and extensively cir- 
culated as "a campaign document." No better evidence could be given 
of Windham's intense interest in the pending struggle than her de- 



PREPARATION FOR THE CONFLICT, ETC. 141 

mancl, when money was so scarce and books so rarely purchased, for 
more than a hundred and twenty copies of this conipihxtion.* These 
phiin, rough spoken country farmers meant to know for what they were 
fighting. They took their stand upon their right as British subjects to 
the privileges won by their fathers, and were ready to sacrifice their 
lives and fortunes to secure their confirmation. Fortified with ai-gu- 
ments and equipped with arms and ammunition, they were well pre- 
pared for the contest that awaited them. Many cii'cumstances gave 
Windham County unusual prominence at this juncture, and enabled her 
to render most effective aid to the patriot cause. The towns of Lebanon, 
Mansfield, Coventry and Union were then included in her territory. 
Among her citizens were Jonathan Trujibull and Israel Putnam, 
Connecticut's honored governor and the most popular military officer 
in America. And in addition to these great leaders she was favored 
with men in every town who seemed to have been raised up expressly 
to meet this exigency, brave soldiers and wise civilians, men of valor 
and men of judgment, alike endued with ardent self-sacrificing patriot 
ism. She had a stalwart, sturdy body of yeomanry, united as one 
man in devotion to the patriot cause. She had a learned, able and 
faithful ministry, in full sympathy with the people, and ready to en- 
courage, strengthen and sustain them. She had women with strong 
hands and resolute hearts, urging the men to action, and willing to 
bear all the additional burdens that might be brought upon them. 
Her geographical position was favorable, remote from sea board 
alarms and revenue entanglements, yet on the main thoroughfares of 
travel between the larger towns — posts from Boston to Hartford and 



* Xames of Windham Cotmty subscribers : — 

Joseph Allen, Ebenezer Backus, Ediinmd Badger, Hezekiah Bissell, Beuja- 
miu Dyei-, Joshua Elderklu, Royal Flhit, Andrew French, Ebenezer Gray, 
Esq., Stephen Greenleaf, Capt. Jaijez Huntington, John Ripley, Jacob Simons, 
John Waldeu, Jun., Nath. Wales, Jun. Esq.T Nalh. Wales 3d, Nath. Warren, 
Windham. John B. Adams, Peleg Brewster, Elijah Bennet, Nathaniel Clark, 
Gideon Carver, Capt. Aaron Cleveland, William Foster, Jabez Filch, Jun., 
Abel Lyon, Rev. Nathaniel Niles, Nath. Satterlee, Joshua Tracey, Nathan 
Waldo, Asa Witter, Elijah Williams, Canterbury. Capt. James Bradford, 
Lieut. Andrew Backus, Isaac Coit, William Dixon, Esq., Robert Kinsman, 
Rev. Alexander Miller, Elisha Paine, Esq., Elisha Perkins, Plainjield. Eben- 
ezer Dow, John Dixou, Voluntowji. Benjamin Converse, David Day, Noah 
Elliott, Perley Howe, Ebenezer Knight, Rev. Noadiali Russcl, 6, George Rob- 
inson, James Thnrber, Joseph Torrey, Capt. Benj. Wilkinson, KiUinghj. 
Samuel Craft, Thomas Cotton, 6, Thomas Grosvenor, Esq., Caleb Grosvenor, 
Ebenezer Holbrook, Esq., John Jeflerd, H, William Osgood, Esq., John Park- 
hurst, Jun., Rev. Aaron Putnam, Amasa Sessions, Alexander Sessions, Daniel 
Tyler, P:beixezer Williams, Esq., Thomas Williams, Esq.. Rev. Josiah Whit- 
ney, Pnmfret. Nathaniel Clark, Nath. Child, Esq., C, John Goodell, Jun., 
Capt. David Holmes, Asa Lyon, Jedidiah Morse, 6, Nath. Marcy G, Hadlock 
Marcy, Esq., 6, Ebenezer Paine, Joseph Peake, Jun., 6, Rev. Stephen Wil- 
liams, Woodstock. Elijah Whitou, Esq., Ashford. 



142 



HISTORY OF WIXDHAM COUNTY. 



Xew York, and from Providence to Xorwicli and New London, pass 
in<i^ over her highways. Iler resources* had largely increased since 
the war of 17o6. Trade and enterprise had been lively. Food and 
clothing were far more abundant. She had sheep enough for home 
use and consumption, and to spare great flocks to the needy. Despite 
the large emigration, she had added more than eight thousand to her 
population as shown by Connecticut's second census, taken in 1774. f 

Practically this population was a unit at this juncture, and in this 
unity lay, perhaps, Windham's greatest strength. Opposition if it 
existed, dared not or cared not to show itself openly. The few tovies 
within her towns were mostly recent emigrants, like Malbone and 
Stevens, with little sympathy or influence with the people, and taking 
no part in the administration of town affairs. A notable and most 
unhappy exception, was the high-sheriff of the county. Colonel 
Eleazer Fitch of Windham. Having served in the French war 
under the commission of King George, a sense of honor and loyalty 
forbade him to turn against his master and former comrades. Friendly 
ties attached him to tiie Biitish army. The roughness and bluntness 
of the ardent patriots shocked his fine taste ; their vehement denuncia- 
tions and violent onslaughts outraged his sense of justice : yet his 
official position, his business and family connections, his true regard for 
bis own countrymen, made open opposition impossible. He therefore 
held himself aloof from public affairs, voiceless in the general hubbub, 
unable to affiliate with patriots or loyalists. His high position and 
great personal popularity saved him as yet from violence and inspectorial 
visitation. '* Everybody loved Colonel Fitcli," and hoped he might be 
brought to share in the popular sympathies, and most earnest elForts 
were made by Governor Trumbull, his former partner in business, and 



* Grand List of Windham County toions in 1775 : — 



Ashtbrd, £17,273 11 3 

Canterbin-y, 20,730 

Killiiiirlv 27.007 12 4 

Plaiiitirici, ]4,21(i IC 

Poiufret, 27,711 12 4 



Voluntowii, 13,801 4 

Wiiulham 32,222 10 7 

Woodstock, 20,SOO 



£174. GG5 6 6 



t Towns. Whites. Blacks. 

Ashford, 2,228 13 

Canterburv, 2.:ii)2 52 

Killiniily, ' 3,439 47 

Plaiiilicid, 1,47'J 83 

Pomfivt 2,241 (15 

Wiiidliam 3,437 91 

Woodstock, 1,974 80 



Towxs. Whites. 

Voluntowii, 1,47G 

Coventry, 2,032 

Lebanon, 3,841 

Manslk-ld, 2,443 

Union, 512 



27,494 



Blacks. 

35 

24 

119 

23 

2 

634 



Takinit from tliis list the towns afterward a*fixcd to other counties, the 
population of tiie towus uow embraced iu Wmdiiam Couuty was 18,6GG 
whites, 4GG blacks. 



PREPARATION FOR THE CONELICT, ETC. 143 

othev patriot leaders, to overcome liis scruples and induce him to 
espouse their cause. 

Windham's forbearance towards Colonel P^itch was quite excep- 
tional. It was scarcely safe for a resident or visitant of this belligerent 
township to be suspected of the slightest proclivity towards toryism. 
Any deviation from the Non-Inipoitation Agieement, or from the 
popular standard of patriotic duty, might subject one to a visit from 
official inspectors, the publishment of his name in the Nev:) London 
Gazette as an enemy to his country, or even to some outrageous per- 
sonal iniliclion. The use of tea was especially offensive to the public. 
All the indignation that justly belonged to the concocters of the im- 
post was wieaked upon the innocent herb that seemed to be looked 
upon as the root of all evil, a more baleful gift to mankind than Eve's 
original apple. " Another great cargo of tea," writes Putnam to 
Trumbull, " so that we are to be plagued with that detested weed 
— nothing but a JS^on-Consumption Agreement can save America." 
Windham village, so fierce against suspected spies, was equally severe 
upon her own cliildren. Jeremiah Clark, a most useful and industrious 
citizen, had oj^ened a little trade with Newport, exchanging butter and 
domestic commodities for sugai', molasses or other articles, by means 
of two deep boxes put in a bag and laid across tlie back of his horse. 
Whether with or without cause, suspicion was aroused that he was 
smuggling tea into the town, whereupon the neighbors assembled 
with tar and feathers, intercepted him on his way homeward, and only 
released him after they had made sure by thorough search that no con- 
traband goods weie included in his budget. Even the sacred office 
and avowed patriotism of the reverend minister of Scotland Parish did 
not save him fi-om very serious annoyance for a very trifling indulgence. 
His household was visited by severe affiiction — the distressing sickness 
of Mi's. Cogswell's youngest daughter, Betsey Devotion, a very beauti- 
ful and interesting young woman, greatly admired and beloved, who in 
March, 1775, was seized suddenly with malignant fever and died in a 
few days. The bereaved parents, greatly overcome by the loss and 
shock, Avere persuaded by sympathizing friends to indulge in the 
soothing stimulus of a cup of tea. Their delinquency was soon made 
public. Mr. Cogswell was informed that they would be lejiorted to 
the Committee of Inspection. He immediately waited upon that body, 
and by certificates from the attendant physicians, that the tea had been 
taken as a medical prescription, was able to satisfy them ; but the 
general public was not so easily appeased. Aggrieved patriots con- 
tinued to express their resentment by staying at home from church 
and open remonstrance, doughty old farmers rode over fi-om Pudding 
Hill with rebuke and grumble, and sharp-tongued goodwives did not 



14:4 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUXTY. 

hesitate to assure their minister that the public would not be satisfied 
without a public confession and apology from the pulpit. Some 
insisted that his name and offence should be published in the JVoricich 
I^ackei aud jVew London Gazette. Poor Mr. Cogswell, always ner- 
vously sensitive to public opinion, was greatly annoyed and distressed 
by these manifestations of displeasure, which continued till the great 
news from Lexington swept away all minor excitements. 

The rencontre between the king's troops and the provincials occurred 
on Wednesday morning. April 19. A post was dispatched from 
"NVatertown at 10 A. M., charged to alarm the people as far as the 
Connecticut line, •' that the British have landed two brigades, have 
already killed six men and wounded four others, and are on their 
march into the country."' A copy of this dispatch was forwarded by 
the town clerk of Worcester to Daniel Tyler, Jun., Brooklyn, who 
received it about 8 o'clock on Thursday morning, and sent it on by 
post to Norwich, while messengers on horseback, with beating drums, 
carried the news in all directions about the county. Putnam, plow- 
ing in the pleasant April morning, heard the joyful summons, and 
"loitered not" but left his young son, Daniel, "the driver of his 
team, to unyoke it in the furrow," and hurried off for consultation 
with town committees and military ofhcers. A second express, via. 
Woodstock, was brought to Colonel Ebenezer Williams. Ponifret, at 3 
P. M., and forwarded at once to Colonel Obadiah Johnson of Canter- 
bury, with a postscript stating that a merchant "just returned from 
Boston, via. Providence, informs that a thousand of our troops had 
surrounded the first biigade — 50 of our men killed aud 100 regulars. 
It would be expedient for every man to go who is fit and willing." 

This summons was swiftly borne to every part of Windham County, 
and found thousands ready to meet it. Nearly all its male population 
were not only "lit and willing," but most eager to hurry to the rescue; 
yet there w^as no headlong rush, no undue precipitation. Putnam, on 
returning from his consultory tour, found hundreds of men already 
assembled on Brooklyn Green, awaiting his orders. He bade them 
wait till regularly called out as militia, and march with their respective 
regiments as had already been arranged with the military otficers of 
the County, and without rest or special refreshment started at sunset 
on his memorable night ride to Cambridge. There is some evidence 
that Killingly received the news at a still earlier hour on Thursday 
morning by a direct express from Boston, brought to the house of Mr. 
Hezekiah Cutler. He arose from his bed and tired his gun three times 
to give the alarm, and before sunrise, with fifteen men, had started for 
the battle-field. 

Friday was spent in active preparation throughout the county. The 



PREPARATION FOR THE CONFLICT, ETC. 145 

Fifth Regiment was to renrlezvous in Pomfret ; companies from tlie 
other regiments to liasten on as soon as they covild be properly mus- 
tered. Officers were riding rapidly around in every direction with 
theii- warnings, bullets were run, accoutrements and rations provided. 
Many, especially in the northern towns, snatched their guns and 
maix'hed off" without waiting formal orders. Killingly's stock of pow- 
der was stoied in the meeting-house, under the charge of Hezekiah 
Cutler, who had left orders that each volunteer should be furnished 
with half a pound, and the house was thronged all day with squads 
of men coming fi'om all parts of tlie town to claim their portion and 
march onward to Cambridge. Early on Saturday. April 22, Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Storrs led '' sundry of ye troop " to ^Yindham Green, and 
"had a furtlier conference with Colonel Elderkin with respect to our 
dis])()sition of the regiment." Selected companies from Coventry. 
Mansfield and Windham were already on the ground, ready to march, 
and huudieds of joyful spectators were coming in to see the men and 
cheer tliem on their way. Officers and companies *• attended prayers 
in the meeting-house," led by the reverend ministers of the town. It 
was nearly sunset befoi'e they set off for Pomfret. They were passed 
on the road by Colonel Parsons of Lyme, hurrying on to Boston: 
found the companies from Canada Parish and Ashford awaiting them 
— the former led by Captain James Stedman. Ashford's picked com- 
pany of seventy-eight had chosen Thomas Knowlton for its Captain. 
Late as it was, the regiment paraded before dismissal. The officers 
were entertained by Mr. Ebenezer Grosvenor, the men bivouacked 
wherever it was convenient. It was a night much to be remembered 
in Pomfret thi-oughout all generations. News of the military rendez- 
vous liad been widely circulated, and men were thronging in from all 
parts of Windliam County. That saci'ed Sabbath morning witnessed 
a strange S])ectaclc — more than a thousand men offering themselves in 
sacrifice. Tliere were veterans fi'om the old French war, filled with 
martial and patriotic enthusiasm, and young men yet untried, equally 
eager to show their zeal for the cause of liberty. Many, as they 
looked upon this great company so full of spirit and self-sacrificing 
devotion, could exclaim with Adams and Hancock — " O. what a 
glorious moining is this ! " 

The officers of the regiment were embarrassed by the great num- 
bers that presented themselves, and doubtful about maintaining their 
regimental exclusiveuess. They sent for the Rev. Mr. Putnam to pray 
with the companies, and " after prayer formed a hollow square and 
communicated to the regiment orders from Colonel Elderkin." The 



19 



146 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

following letter received the day previous may have beeu also com- 
municated : — 

" Concord, April 21. 

To Colonel Ehcnezer Williams : 

Sir, — I liave waitccl on tlic committee of the Provincial Consress, and it 
is tlieir Detcnniiiatioii to have astaiKliny Amiy of L'L',000 men from tlie New 
En<ihind Colonies, of which, it is sni)i)ose(l. the Colony of Connecticnl must 
rai.se G,000, and be.^s they would be at Camhyidge as speedily as possil)le, 
Avith Conveniences; together with Trovisious, and a SufHeiency of Ammuni- 
tion for (heir own Use. 

The Battle here is nnich as has been represented at Pomfret, except that 
there is more killed and a Number more taken Prisoners. 

The Accounts at present aie so confused that it is impossible to ascertain 
the number exact, but shall inform you of the proceedin^rs, from Time to 
Time, as we have new occurrences; mean time I am, Sir, your humble 
servant, Iskakl Pl'inam. 

N. B. — The Troops of Horse are not expected to come until further notice." 

Tlie regimeut was then dismissed till 1 P. M., while the officers 
held a council. During this interval religious services were doubtless 
held in the great meeting-hoiiso, thronged we may well snppose witli 
eager, anxious listeners. It was agreed by the council " to take out 
one-fifth of the companies, and oider the overplus ((>!' ten present) to 
return home. Divided the remainder into thi-ee comjianies and their 
officers."* How this selection and division were accomplished is not 
apparent. The whole Ashfoid company and a larger mimber fVom 
Pomfret, imder Captain Ingalls — Eleventli Kegiment — appear to have 
been chosen, which would leave but a small prc)portion from the other 
companies. The greater part of the volunteers were thus sent home. 
The elect,/?/i!A, selected proVjably like Gideon's three hundred, in con- 
sideration of their special fitness for military service, set out on the 
march at about 5 P. M. Mounted officers led the little band and some 
twelve or fit\een men Avith j)ack horses followed. Lieut.-Colonel 
Storrs accompanied them to Moulton's tavern at Woodstock, where 
they passed the night, and on to Dudley the next morning, when feel- 
ing that Providence called more loudly to duties in Connecticut, he 
left them to pursue their way under charge of Major Brown and 
Captain Knowlton. Their orderly and soldierly bearing attracted 
great attention on their maicb, and they were received at Camljridge 
with special distinction as the first trained companies that had come 
from abroad to the aid of Massachusetts. 

Detached companies and squads of men from vaiious towns had 
preceded tiiis body. The " troops of hoi se " under Captain McCleHan, 
had gone in advance of Putnam's message. Lieut. Keyes, Cor])oral 
Seth Grosvenor, and Albigeuce Waldo, clerk, were all from Pomfret. 
Perley Howe, Killingly, served as cornet, John Flynn, Woodstock, 



* Colonel Storrs' mauuscript. 





^^^^-^^^v^^ 




1 :.e Seiij^p'.'l'iiriting Co.2111reiaorit Stiisror. 



PREPARATION FOR THE CONFLICT, ETC. 147 

truinpt'ter. Each town runiished its due [lortion of troopers. Other 
men and coinp;inie3 follo\ve<l on as rai)idly as ]);)ssil)le till more than a 
thousand men weie accredited to Windham County.* The great 
regimental muster planned for xVpril, was transferred from Windham 
Green to Cambridge. In some towns every able-bodied man obeyed 
the call. Killingly was left so destitute as to subject those who 
remained at home to a serious fright and panic. Colonel Malbone'.s 
shar|) tongue and open toryism had made him a terror in the north 
part of the county. It had been currently reported and believed that 
he had jirivately di-illeil and eq ii;>pL'd his negroes, and intended to 
take up arms for the King when the hour of contlict came, and amid 
all the agitation and anxieties of the first alarm, word came to 
Killingly Hill that " ]Malbone's niggers "' were closi; at hiiil, burning 
and butchering everything before them. ''Our house,"' says an eye 
witness,! " was filled with trembling, frightened women and children. 
There was not a fire-arm or weapon in the place, and only a few aged 
men. I remember they pre|)ared kettles of heated water, and the 
boys weie stationed as sentinels to give timely notice of their approach. 
My place was the top of my grandfather [Cutler's] gambrel-roofed 
house, but we saw no negroes, nor indeed anybody else, for the place 
seemed deserted." Other women in Windham County i)assed the day 
in very different fashion. There was exultant joy and thanksgiving 
in many a household. Rachel Abbe of Windham, now Mrs. Samuel 
McClellan, shared in the patriotic fervor which so characterized the 
women of her native town, and after fitting out her husband and his 
horsemen, she set out memorial trees in honor of the joyful occasion. 
Four sapling elms brought up on horseback from the old Windham 
homestead, were carefully transplanted into the soil of Woodstock — two 
in front of her dwelling and two on the slope of the adjoining com- 
mon. Nurtured with care and pains they soon took root and flourished 
and for more than an hundred years have told the story of Lexington. 
True trees of Liberty, they have grown up with the Nation, and still 



* Woodstock, 140 men inuler C.iptains Benjamin and Daniel Lyon, Epliraim 
Manniiii>-, Nathaniel Marcy and Lieut. Mark Elwell, toiretlier with her pro- 
jiortion of the troops of horse; Captain MrClellan. Windham, ir.9 men; 
Captains William Warner, Jame.s Stedmaii, John Kingsley, Lieut. Melatiah 
Biuiiliam. Canterbury, 70 meii ; Captains Aaron Cleveland, Joseph Burgess 
and Sherebiah Butts. Union, 2(5 men ; Captain Thomas Lamson. Ashford, 78 
men; Captain Thomas Knowlton. Pouifrct, S9 men; Captain Zebulon In.ualls. 
Plaiutield, 51 men; Captain Andrew Backus. Killin^My, UO men; Major 
William Danielson, Captains Joscjjb Catly and Joseph Elliott. Coventry, more 
than a hundred men ; Major Thomas Brown, Lieut. Joseph Taloott. Lebanon, 
Captain Daniel Tilden, men not given. MausfiL-ld, Lieut. -Col. Experience 
Storrs, Capt. Jonathan Nichols, nien not given. Brooklyn Parish; Colonel 
Putnam. Canterbury; Lieut. -Colonel Obediah Johnson. 

t Manuscript of Judge Epbraim Cutler, Marietta, Ohio, 1820. 



148 HISTOKY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Stand in mnjestic beauty, living witnesses to the patriotism an<l devo 
tion of the women of Windliani County. 

Wednesday, April 26, the General Assembly of Connecticut met in 
adjourned session at Hartford. After securing and storing a quantity 
of powder for Manslield, and " fitting otF a wagon load of provisions 
after our people " in camp, Lieut. -Col. Storrs was ready to aid in 
public deliberations. A committee had been alieady sent to New 
York to learn the disposition of the peoj)le there. With characteristic 
caution the Assembly avoided for a time any direct recognition of tlie 
revolutionary proceedings in Massachusetts, but appointed Capt. 
Joseph Trumbull and Amasa Keyes a committee "to ])rocure provi- 
sions for the families of those wlio had gone to the relief of the peo- 
ple at the Bay, and to superintend the delivery and apportioning the 
same among them." As the transmission of correct re[)orts was a 
matter of great importance, Thaddeua Burr, of P^iirtield, and Charles 
Church Chandler, of Woodstock, were authorized at the expense of 
tlie Colony, to employ two news-carriei's to perform regular stages 
from Fairfield to Woodstock, and from Woodstock to Faii-tield, so as 
to arrive in Hartford each Saturday, and forward all proper intelli- 
gence through the country with all convenient speed. Gurdon Salton- 
stall, of New London, was also authorized to engage two news-caniers 
to perform regular stages from Woodstock to New Haven, in such 
manner that they should severally arrive in New London on each 
Saturday, and forward all their intelligence every Monday morning to 
Woodstock and New Haven. These gentlemen were also authorized 
to forward at the public expense all such extraordinary and important 
intelligence as should appear proper, and necessary. Colonel Storrs 
reports: — -'■ Bad v^eather for Tories in the House; yet ve have some. 
April 27. Kesolved on ye Grand question of making })reparation in 
ye Colony for our defence, appointed a large committee, two from each 
County, to prepare a bill for our guide. Was appointed one of a 
committee to direct the commissaries in their duty at present. We 
are rejoiced to hear that the Yorkers are united with us in the cause, 
as we find they have secuied the arins of that city." 

Putnam left his duties at Cambridge for a bi'ief season, to advise 
with the Government upon militaiy affairs. It was agreed that one- 
fourth part of the Colony militia should be immediately enlisted and 
equipi)ed for the safety and defence of the Colony, and be distributed 
into companies of one hundred men each, formed into six regiments. 
David Wooster was appointed major-general of this force ; Joseph 
Spencer, brigadier-general ; Israel Putnam, second brigadier-general. 
Under this regulation, the Windham County soldiers were mostly 
enrolled in the Third Regiment. Israel Putnam, colonel ; Expei ience 



PREPARATION FOR THE CONFLICT, ETC. 149 

StoiTs, lieutenant-colonel ; John Dmkee, Norwich, major. The com- 
panies were thus constituted : — 

1. Israel Putnam, captain ; Jonathan Kin.i>slcy, Scotland, first lieutenant; 
Thomas Grosveuor, Pomfret, second lieutenant; Elijah Loomis, ensinn. 

2. Experience Storrs, captain; James Dana, Ashfoid, lirst lieutenant; 
Ebenezer Gray, Windham, second lieutenant; Isaac Farwell, ensi-jn. 

8. John Durkee, captain; Joshua Huntington, first lieutenant; Jacobus 
Delbret, second lieutenant; Sanuiel Biuiiham, ensig-n — all of Norwich. 

4. Obediah Johnson, captain : Ephraim Lyon, first lieutenant ; Wells Clift, 
second lieutenant; Isaac Hide, Jr., ensign; Lieut. Clift, of Windham; others 
of Canterbury. 

5. Thomas Knowltou, captain; Keubcn Marcy, first lieutenant; John Keyes, 
second lieutenant; Daniel Allen, Jr., ensign — all of Ashford. 

G. James Clark, captain; Daniel Tilden, first lieutenant: Andrew Fitch, 
second lieutenant, Thomas Bell, ensign— all of Lebanon. 

7. Ephraim Manning, captain ; Stephen Lyon, first lieutenant; Asa Morris, 
second lieutenant; William Frizzell, ensign — all of Wootistock. 

8. Joseph Elliott, captain; Benoni Cutler, first lieutenant; Daniel Waters, 
second lieutenant; Comfort Day, ensign — all of Killingly. 

9. Ebenezer Moselj^ captain; Stephen Brown, first lieutenant; Melatiah 
Bingham, second lieutenant; Nathaniel Wales, ensign— Brown of Pomfret, 
the other officers and men from Windham. 

10. Israel Putnam, Jr., captain; Samuel Robinson, Jr., first lieutenant; 
Amos Avery, second lieutenant; Caleb Stanley, ensign — all of Brooklyn. 

Daniel Tyler, Jr., who had married a daughter of General Putnam, 

served as his adjutant. Dr. John Spalding of Canterbury, was 

appointed surgeon of this regiment, taking the })lace of Dr. Himting- 

ton of Ashford, who had followed tlie company to camp. Fennel 

Cheney and Elijah Adams served as surgeon's mates. Its commissary 

was Captain Stephen Keyes of Pomfret. Its chaplain, Al)iel Leonard, 

the eloquent and patriotic pastor of Woodstock's First Church. Ttie 

society could not biing itself to vote consent to such a sacrifice "but 

by its silence manifested its resU/natlo/i to said appointment." ]\Iany 

who had gone ont at the first alarm were mustered into this regiment 

without returning home. Lieut.-Colonel Storrs was "i)utout,' after 

the usual militaiy fashion, by the appointment of Commissaiy Keyes, 

and sighed for Major Durkee's promotion, but was none the less eager 

in forwarding regimental ecpiipment when released from Legislative 

duties. At the opening of the May session of the Assembly he was' 

again present, though many of its elected members were with the 

army at Cambridge. Windham County had sent the following 

deputies : — 

Windham.— Colnne] Jedidiah Elderkin, Ebenezer Devotion. 
Lf'banon. — Colonel William Williams, Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. 
Mdits^tield. — Lieutenant-Colonel Experience Storrs, Nathaniel Atwood. 
Woodstock. — Captains Elislia ChiUl, Samuel MeClellan. 
C'oventri/. — Captain Ebenezer Kingsbury, Jeremiah Pipley. 
Canterburtj. — David Paine, Eliashib Adams. 
Killinghj. — Stephen Crosby, Eleazer Warren. 
PoHi/cef.— General Israel Putnam, Dr. Elisha Lord. 
Ashford. — Captains Benjamin Sumner, Icliabod Ward. 
Plaii}fi(dd.~ Captain James Bradford, William Robinson, 
Voluntoton. — Major James Gordon, Robert Hunter. 



150 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

An Act for i('2^ul;iti;iuf nml ordoriii^^ the troops that wore or shoulil 
be raised for defence of the Colony was now considered and adopted 
— its preamble settini; foi'lh the causes con)]»ellin<^ such action. A 
number of i^enlleinen wei'i' ai)])ointed to assist tiie governor wlien the 
Assembly was not in session, direct the marclies .ind actions of the 
soldiers enlisted for the defence of the Colony, and supply them with 
everything needful, as a committee of safety. Eliphalet Dyer, Nathan- 
iel Wales, .Jr., William Williams and Joshua Elderkin were active 
and ])rominent riieinbeis of this committee. Hezekiah Bissell, also of 
Windham, was one of the commissaries appointed by the Assembly to 
snp])ly necessary public stores and provisions. The Embargo for- 
bidding the transportation of stindry vital necessities out of the 
Colony was continued until August. Botmties were offered for the 
manufacture of fii'e-arms and saltpeti'e, now greatly needed. Captain 
.Tabez Huntiiigton of Windham, was given charge of all the powder 
belonging to AVindham County. 

Lieut. -Colonel Stons having orders for the captains of his regiment to 
be in readiness to march as fast as possible I'eturned to Mansfield, May 
1.5, and devoted himself with great energy to enlisting men, and procur- 
ing their outfit. Blankets and arms were imjiressed for the use of the 
soldiers. Saturday, 27th, "the company met and received theii" ammu- 
nition to be ready for their march on Afonday next. May '29. Met this 
morning at 9 o'clock, attended prayers and sermon delivered by [Rev.] 
Ml'. Salter. After sermon the company marched off for Cambridge. 
30th. Set out this nioining and overtook ye company at Kendall's, 
at Ashford. They ai)peared to be in high spirits. Tariied at Dudley." 
The Noi-wich company and others from Windham County were in 
advance of Colonel Storrs. June 2, he left all under care of Lieut. 
Gray and proceeded with Lieut. Dana to report at headquaiters (at 
Iiiman's Farm, now Cainbridgeport) to General Putnam, and on the 
following day maiched in with piobably the greater part of the regi- 
ment. "Met General Putnam on ye road, came to ye house of Mr. 
Fairweather where we make oui- quarters. Aftei- dinner went up to 
headquartei's to show ourselves to ye (reneral. He recomm^-nded our 
being immediately provid;'d fir action. t. Lord's day. Heard Mr. 
Leonard, our chaplain, on ye Common." A few other \Vin(lhain 
County soldiers may have enlisted in the Si.vth Regiment, Samuel H. 
Parsons, colonel ; John Tyler, lieutenant-colonel : but the great mnJDrity 
of her men weie in this Third Regiment under Putnam's immediate 
care and authority, occu])ying a most responsible and prominent 
position as part of the central division of the gathering army. 

While these absent ones were busily occupied with drill, discipline 
and pieparalions for expected service, friends at home were equally 



PREPARATION FOR THE CONFLICT, ETC. 151 

alert and active. Faims and domestic labors were to l)e cariied on as 
usual and an army to be raised and su])jX)rted. Scaice a liousehold 
that had not some concern with littino out men and sending supplies 
to them. All ])ri\ale inteiests seemed to be laid aside and every 
thought and energy devoted to the great ])Opular cause. Large bodies 
of men passing over the great thorough tares of travel needed care and 
accommodation. Many new taveiiis were o]iene<l in the (liferent towns. 
Pomt'ret citizens joined with Abel Clarke in representing to the 
Assembly, 

" That the present marcliini;- of troops ami increase of travel by his house, 
and the iiecessily lie is under of providinu' for them excites him to pray for 
leave to keep a tavern in said romlVet, where he dwells on the country road 
from Vt'indhani to Boston, ill the parish of Al)inyt()ii, directly opposite the 
dweirmii-hniise of Ephraim lu^alls, who keeps a tavern thereat, and for many 
years has done to the iiood acci'iitaiice of people, yet in tliis day he cannot 
provide for the ureat nunil)ers jiassin^- and repassini^ on said road, and judges 
it necessary that he [the petitioner] should, too. JJaij 15, 1775." 

This petition was promptly granted and leave given also to Moses 
Branch, of Plainfield, and jietitioners from other towns to oiler 
every possible accommodaliun to these countless travelers. Efforts 
were also made in Windham County to supply the lack of milit.nry 
munitions. Ilezekiah Huiuington of Windham, had arianged to 
enter the aiiiiy as majoi", but seeing the miseraVile condition of tlie 
guns and muskets supplied to the soldiers he threw up his commission, 
and with the i)erniission and encouragement of the Government, opened 
a shop at Wiliimantic for their repair and manufacture. In the same 
vicinity John l>rown was successfully carrying on the ])re]iaralion of 
saltpetre. Nathan Frink was ]»r()jecting a similar est:ibli>hmeiit in 
Pomfret. Even predestined divines like Samuel Xott and Moses C. 
Welch, preparing to prouutlgate the Gospel of peace, were experiment- 
ing in saltpetre and destructive ingredients. Colonel Elderkin and 
Nathaniel Wales, Jr., with all their civil and military engrossments, 
were arranging lor the construction of a powder-mill. .\11 these busy 
brains and hands were working for the army. Constant communica- 
tion was kept up with the camji at Cambiidge. Agetl Jesses and 
fresh young Davids were going down every week to take tilings to 
their sons and brethren and see how they fared. As yet all was 
bright, cheerful and hopeful. The visitors marveled at the number of 
soldiers collected, their parades and manceuvers, and were too unu.sed 
to war to discern their lack of discipline and equipments. Windham 
County was in high favor at headquarters. Putnam was "the hero of 
the day," assigned by popular verdict to the first place among Ameri- 
can officers ; Knowllon's courage and military aiditude were already 
recognized, and bis company esteemed cue of the best in the service, 



152 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and the eloquent iiiul patriotic " ])erforniances " of Chaplain Leonard 
excited general admiration. 

Rei)orts of successful skirmishes and demonsti'ations, followed by 
that of the battle of Bunker Hill, incited the Windham patriots to 
stronger hope and more ardent enthusiasm, and their grief for their 
slain was ahnost swallowed up in tlieir exultation that their own sons 
and brethren, plain farmers and civilians, could withstand and i)ut to 
liiglit the trained and tried soldiers of Great Britain. Of the two 
hundred Connecticut men detailed under Ca|)tain Knowlton for special 
service, on Bunker Ilill, on the evening of June 16, 1775, Putnam's 
regiment furnished one hundred and twenty, diafted fi'om the first, 
second, fourth and fifth companies, under Lieutenants Dana. Grosvenor, 
Keyes, and probably Hyde.* "One subaltern, one sergeant and thirty 
privates "were also drafted from Captain Chester's company, second 
regiment, and i)robably a similar mimber from Captain Coit's company. 
These were the men who toiled all night and early moi-n upon Pres- 
cott's redoubt, banked with wet grass the famous rail fence, and, aided 
by '• Ham])shire boys " undei' Stark, and Connecti(uit reinforcements led 
by Captains Chester, Clark, Coit and Major Durkee, drove back from it 
again and again with great slaughter the serried columns of the 
advancing British, and saved the I'etreating garrison from capture or 
annihilation — "all efl^"orts insufficient to compel them to retreat till the 
main body had left the hill." A most honoi'able shai'e in the glory of 
this most momentous battle was won by "Windham County. Her Put- 
nam, the chief projector of the movement, chief in command upon the 
hill during the day, labored with all his heart and energies against 
unsurmountable obstacles to reinforce Prescott and maintain their 
perilous position, and even those who would rob him of his laurels 
allow that " no service was more brilliant than that of the Connecticut 
troops whom he was authorized to command." Many incidents of the 
fight were carried home to Windham County. Josiah Cleveland of 
Canterbury kept guard through the night while the men were digging 
entrenchments, and heard the unsuspicious sentinels on the opposite 
shore sing out their illusory "All's well." Tough old " "Bijah 
Fuller," from Windham, Dana's orderly sergeant, heljied Giidley draw 
the lines of the fortification on Breed's Hill, and wrought with e(pial 
skill and strength in fitting up the impromptu line of fence and wall 
devised to comjjlete the line of defence, and repel an unexpected flank 
movement. Knowlton, with coat ofl^", walked to and fro before this 



* There is some doubt as to the leader of the men in Company Four. Can- 
terbury men are known to have been engaged throughout the action. 
Ephraim Lj-on declined to serve as tirst lieutenant, and it is probable that 
Isaac Hyde had been promoted second lieutenant and led the detachment. 



BUNKER HILL, ETC. 153 

\iiii(]ue and ingenious breastwork, as inucli at ease as if in his own 
hay-tield, cheering his men, loading and discharging his own faitlifid 
nuisket till it was bent double by a stroke from a cannon ball. 
Lieutenant Dana, second in command, was the first to detect and give 
notice of the enemy's flatdv movement, and the first to fire upon the 
advancing army, "death " being threatened to any man who fired 
before him. Lieutenant Grosvenor fired with the same precision and 
deliberation that he was accustomed to e.xercise in shooting a Ibx, and 
saw a man fall at each discharge of his rifle. Lieut. Keyes, Sergeant 
Abijah FuUei-, Corporal Joel Webb, and other old campaigners were 
equally cool, deliberate and etfective. " Boys," said Putnam to these 
old friends, as he rode past them, " Do you remember my orders at 
Ticonderoga?" " You told us not to fire till we could see the whites 
of the enemy's e3'es. " "■ Well, I give the same order now," and most 
literally was it obeyed. Fresh companies coming up at the close of 
tlie figlit were amazi'd at the audacity of these fire-hardened vete- 
rans. Timothy Cleveland of C'anterbury had the breech of his gun- 
stock shot oft" when in full retreat, and exclaiming " the darned British 
shall have 7io part of ray gun," ran back in face of the advancing foe, 
and boi'e it (jff in triumph. Itegardless of balls whistling around him, 
Putnam stood by a deseited field-piece urging the retreating troops to 
make one moi-e stand, until the enemy's bayonets were almost upon 
him. Robert Hale, a saucy Ashtbrd boy, dischai-ged an ai'tillery-piece 
in the very teeth of the foe, and escaped unscathed. Abiel l^iigbee, 
also of Asliford, was one who lieM his ground to the very last of the 
fight, throwing sto?ies when his ammunition was expended. A raw 
Killingly recruit met a Windham fi lend immediately after the action, 
— " You look tired, Mr. Pettingill," he exclaimed. "Just hold my gun 
while I take a chaw of tobacco," was the rei)ly. The smoking gun- 
stock and begrimed face told the rest of the story. Daniel Strong, 
of Lebanon, sent to the hill with Surgeon Spaulding's medical chest, 
finding otticers and men in great need of drink, with no means of 
obtaining any, took meat casks and filled them with water, and dealt it 
out to such as were almost famished with thirst, till his wagon was 
struck by a cannon ball. Colonel Storrs relates in his diary his own 
experience : — 

''June \lth. At snnrise this morninii a fu'c boiian from yc ships, but nioile- 
rate. Al)()in 10, went down to GciKTal I'liluaiirs post, who lias tlic cominaiicl. 
Some shot whistled aroniid us. Tanied a spell, and returned to hive my 
compaiiv ill readiness to relieve I hem. One killed and one wotuided when [ 
came away. About 2 o'clock there was a bri>k cannonade from ye ships, on 

ye batteries or entrenchment. At orders came to turn out inunediately, 

and that the reuuhirs were landing at sundry places. Went to headquarters for 

our reijimentai . Received orders to repair with our regiment to No. 1 

aud defend it. No euemy appearing, orders soou came that our people at ye 
20 



154 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COrNTT. 

intrenchment were retreatinp, and for us to spcure i/e retreat. Immediately 
marched for their relief. The rejrulars did not come ofl" from Bunker's Hill, 
but have taken possession of the intrenchment, and our people make a stand 
on Winter Hill, and we immediately went to entrenchinjr. Flunjr up by 
morning an intrenchment about 1(jO feet square, done principally by our regi- 
ment under Putnam's direction." 

And there Putnam was found on the next morning, Sunday, June 
18, by his young son. Daniel, "dashing about among the workmen, 
throwing up iiitrenchments, and often placing a sod with his own 
hands. He wore the same clothes he had on when I lett him, thirty- 
eight hom-s before, and affirmed he had never put them off or washed 
himself since." Colonel Slorrs reports the loss of two of his men, 
Matthew Cummins and Phillip Johnston, killed at the breastwork, and 
seven wounded, none he hoped mortally. Ichabod Sabin, William 
Cheney, Pomfret, Benjamin Rush, Samuel Mosely,* Ashford, were 
reported among the slain or missing, and five or six other men from 
Putnam's regiment were killed or taken prisoners. Lieutenant Grosve- 
nor was wounded in the hand and obliged to retire from the field. 
Dana was struck down by a blow on the breast from a hit rail, which 
disabled him for several days. Many of the privates were wounded 
slightly, but the loss was very slight in comparison with that suffered 
by Massachusetts. The gratittide with which waiting fiiends at home 
received the tidings of the escape of those exposed to such great 
peril, and the anxious solicitude which followed the men in camp and 
battle are best shown in a mothers letter, written by the sister of 
Colonel Dyer to her son, Lieut. Ebenezer Gray, in Camp at 
Cambridge : — 

"July 31, A. D 1775. 
Bear Child: — I, this morning heard by Mr. Trumbull, who passed through 
town in haste last evening, that you are preparing to meet the enemy, or to 
drive them from their new intrenchments. I could not hear it without some 
emotion of soul, although I tirmly believe God is able to deliver and will 
deliver us out of the hands of these unnatural enemies in his own time. Our 
cause is just I don't doubt, and God in his holv and righteous providence has 
called you there to defend our just rights and privileges. I would commit 
you into the hands of a just and merciful God, who alone is able to defend 
yon. Confessing my utter unworthiness of the least mercy, would trust in 
unmerited mercy through Jesus Christ for all that strength, courage and 
fortitude that you stand in need of in the business he is calling you to. Trust 
in the Lord and be of good courage: the eye of the Lord is upon them that 
fear him: upon them that hope iu his mercy. Confess your sins daily 
before the Lord, and forsake every evil way; walk in all the commandments 
of the Lord. Be careful to set a good example before those that are under 
you, especially in observing the Sabbath. The surest way of conquering our 
enemies is to turn from every evil way, and seek the Lord with all our hearts 
with confession of our sins. I am more afraid of our sins than of all the 
forces of our enemy. As to profane swearing, which is very couimou in 
camps, I always thought you were not inclined to, and I trust j'ou will take 
all possible care to prevent it in those that fall under your care. 



* Son of Rev. Samuel Mosely, Canada Parish. 



BUNKER HILL, ETC. 155 

I think we have abundaat reason to praise the name of the Lord for his 
wonderful assistance and deliverance^ our people have experienced at one 
time and another, especially at Bnnker's Hill. Well, may we say. ' Had it 
not been the Lord who was on onr side when such a number of troops rose 
up and surrounded our people, then they had swallowed ns up quick when 
their wrath was kindled against us.' These merciful assurances of God 
for us ought to encourage us to call upon God, and strengthen our faith in 
Him. That you may put your trust in God, and go on with courage and 
fortitude to whatever work or business you may be called to, is the sincere 
prayer of your Loving Mother, Lydia Gray." 

The signal valor displayed by the few provincials who contVouted 
the dreaded Regulars at Bunker Hill, excited the most rapturous 
admiration and enthusiasm throughout the Colonies. Putnam's dis- 
tinguished services in the whole affair were warmly recognized and 
applauded, and rewarded by immediate promotion to the position of 
Fourth Major-General of the American Army. This appointment 
though naturally distasteful to senior officers in Connecticut, gave 
great satisfaction to the general public. Silas Deane writes from 
Philadelphia — '-The cry is here, Connecticut forever, universally 
applauded conduct of our Governor, and the brave intrepidity of old 
General Putnam and his troops. . . . His appointment gave uni- 
versal satisfaction. . . . Better lose four Spencers than half a 
Putnam, on whom by every account the whole army has depended 
since the Lexington battle. Putnam's merit rung through the con- 
tinent :' his fame still increases. Every day justifies the unaminous 
applause of the continent. Let it be remembered he had every 
vote of the Congress, and his health has been the second or third at 
almost all our tables." The General Assembly of Connecticut testified 
their sense of the superior merit of General Putnam. The public 
press echoed his praises. •' A friend to Truth," writing from Water- 
town, declares : — 

"It is needless to expatiate on the character and bravery of Major-General 
Putnam, whose capacity to form and execute great designs is known through 
Europe, and whose undaunted courage and martial abilities strike terror 
through all the hosts of Midianites, and have raised him to an incredible 
height in the esteem and friendship of his American brethren. It is sufficient 
to say that he seems to be inspired by God Almighty with a military genius, 
and formed to work wonders in the sight of those uncircumcised Philistines 
at Boston and Bunker Hill, who attempted to defy the armies of the living 
God." 

The services of Knowlton and Dana were also highly commended, and 
rewarded as soon as practicable by promotion, the former becoming 
major, the latter captain. A gold-laced hat, a sash and gold breast-plate 
were presented to Major Knowlton by a Boston admirer in recogni- 
tion of " his behavior in the battle." 

After Washington assumed command, July 3, Putnam had charge 
of the central division of the army with headquarters at the Inman 
house, Cambridge. The reading of the manifesto issued by Congress, 



156 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

setting forth the reasons for taking np arms was made the occasion of 
a grand patriotic demonstiation, Jnly 18. Putnam's divi.'^ion was 
])araded in full force nj)on Prospect Hill, and after hearing the declara- 
tion read with great ])athos and solemnity by Chaplain Leonard, each 
soldier responded thiice witii deep and fervent " Amen." At the 
instant a signal was fired, and General Washington stepped forward 
from headquarters, holding in his hand a new and Ijeaulifiil standard 
sent by Connecticut to Putnam's regiment. Captain Dana was ordered to 
receive and display the Hag but warned that in so doing he nuist not let 
the colors fall, as that would be deemed ominous of the fall of America. 
The great six-foot captain, who couM face a hostile army without 
flinching, shrank like a child from this display and fain would have 
declined the honor, but Putnan) cheered him on by a friendly clap on 
the shoulder, and "Cuth it, Dana! You look like a white man ; take 
the colors and clear away ; " whereupon Captain Dana advanced and 
received the flag from Washington's aide, and carried it three times 
around the interior circle of the parade, amid the rapturous applause 
of the delighted soldiers. It was one of six flags ordered by Con- 
Decticut for hei' first six regiments. The ground of this was scarlet. 
"An appeal to Heaven" was inscribed in golden letters on one side ; 
Connecticut's armorial seal upon the other — three detached vines and 
the trustful legend. Qui iranstulit sustinet. The presentation and 
display were followed by an animated, pathetic and highly patriotic 
address by Mr. Leonard, closing witli a pertinent prayer. " The 
whole was conducted with the utmost decency, good order and 
regularity and to uuivei-sal acceptance of all present." 

No noteworthy event occurred for several succeeding months. The 
Continental Army maintained its position, and gradually extended its 
lines about Boston, but was unable to indulge in offensive operations. 
Men, money and munitions were lacking. Commissary Trumbull 
writes to Colonel Dyer, Sept. 23, "that no one has power to draw on 
Philadel])hia, and begs him to piocure hiui a hundred ])ounds, lawful 
money, to pay Mr. Tracy, who has advanced money for Arnold's expe- 
dition, and to relieve him of the additional trouble of having his heart 
dunned out of him, and be for weeks unable to i)ay foi- a bushel of 
potatoes." Putnam ci-ied in vain for powder. Kiiowlton brought his 
stalwart soldiers into more rigid military discii)line, serving as " a sort of 
voluntary body-guard to the Commander in-chief, " with whom he was an 
especial favorite. Leonard was not only ready to officiate on all public 
occasions but labored effectually to piomote the moi.il and religious 
interests of his soldiers. " A pi'ayer composed for the benefit of the 
soldiers in the American Army, to assist them in their private devo- 
tions," prepared by Mr. Leonard, is believed to have been the first 



HOME AFFAIRS, ETC. 157 

attempt to snj)i)ly the ciiin]) with lelio-ious literatnie. It was publislied 
by S. E. Hall, Cambridge, in a tract of nine pages, and pronounced ''a 
highly creditable performance." Windham County sent more men to 
the field in (Connecticut's eighth i-egimLMit, Jedidiah Huntin<Tton of 
Norwich, colonel, John Douglas of Plainfield. lieutenant-colonel. This 
regiment* was the best erpiipped of any in the Colony, sportino- for 
uniform "a quantity of English red coats taken in a i)rize vessel." 
Plainfield's honoi-ed pastor, Rev. John Fullei-, l)ecame its chaplain, 
and her most beloved physician. Dr. Elisha Perkins, served as 
surgeon, Albigence Waldo of Pomfret, assistant. A company of 
Canterbury militia under Captain Ephraim Lyon, was sent to Norwich, 
in August, upon an alarm occasioned " l>y vessels prowling about the 
Sound," and were retained to build a battery or redoubt at Wateiman's 
Point — the Government allowing them the needful " spirits when in 
said service." Ephraim Squier of Ashford, together with Simeon 
Tyler and Asa Davison, probably of Brooklyn, left their companies at 
Cambridge, in September, to join in the Northern expedition of 
Colonel Benedict Arnold, but after suffering inciedible hardships on 
their journey up the Kennebec and through the wilderness of Maine, 
carrying their batteaux and provision, wading through mudholes in 
persistent rains, the rear detachment was ordered liome again, and 
after ten weeks absence they arrived in Cambi'idge, Thank.'sgiving day, 
November 23, "abundantly satisfied." 

At home all thoughts and energies were absoibed in the war. Not 
a town meeting was reported through all these busy months. It was a 
time of action — not of talk and I'esolutions. The County Court met 
in June, licensed some fifty taverns, granted execution in a few cases, 
and adjourned. Everybody was occupied doing double duty in farm 
woi'k, gatheiing up sui)plies or maiuifncturing military munitions. 
Hezekiah Huntington had wrought to such good pui'pose as to leceive 
from the State treasury in the autumn, a bounty of thirteen pounds 
"for fifiy-two guns well made and wrought," besides impairing and 
refitting great numbers of old guns. Timothy Lari'abee assures the 
Assembly " that since the alarming circumstances of the piesent time, 
he had applied himself to making saltpetre, and had become mastei- of 
the same in all its branches, and was confident that when said art was 
known powder could be mamifactured in the Colonies or in nv.y part of 
the woi'ld, and although at this time we are able to collect some small 
quantities from abioad, yet when tiie question is asked, why l»usiness 
that was expected to be done failed — answer: ' ar/n>/ not fuDilshed 
with v^arlike stores.'" Petitioner proposed to erect works in Hartford 



* L'ulkius' History of Norwicb. 



158 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COtTNTY. 

or New Haven, open to all inspectors, every branch of the manufac- 
turing open to the public, if the General Assembly would grant him 
Xl^O; but the sanguine experimenter did not gain the confidence of 
the cautious government. The general tone and spirit of the towns 
was still healthy and hopeful. Constant communication was main- 
tained with friends in the army. Posts, carriers and special messen- 
gers were daily passing to and fro. and every citizen that could leave 
his home took a peep at Cambridge. ''Father and I went down to 
camp," and ''Yankee Doodle' was heard on every side. Among tlie 
throng of visitants was our old friend, Rev. Mr. Cogswell, with his 
brother minister, Andrew Lee, who repoits the army in health and 
spirits, and in general oiderly, with good men at the liead. The works 
appealed formidable on both sides ; preparations for war terrible yet 
animating — but what gave him most confidence was " men of sense 
and religion." 

Amid tlie many engrossments and excitements of this eventful sum- 
mer, Windham paused to lament a great and irreparable loss. While 
scores of young men, full of life and hope, were going out to win 
laurels on the battle-field, and make for themselves names that would 
never die. one more gifted and excellent than all had passed away — 
Rev. Joseph Howe of Killingly, the beloved pastor of the New South 
Church of Boston. Never has Windham sent out into the world a 
son of greater or perhaps equal promise. " The world expected much 
from his eminent abilities, great attainments, and uncommon goodness 
of heart." Influential churches in Boston, Hartford and Norwich had 
sought his services. " Though of a frail, weak, and crazy constitution, 
enfeebled by hard study and labor," Mr. Howe had exercised " his 
ministerial functions at Boston to great and universal acceptance, " till 
the breaking out of the conflict and the dispersion of his church and 
congregation. The exciting scenes through which he passed, and 
anxiety for his church and country, prostrated his strength, and after 
vainly seeking rest and recu[)eration among his old haunts in Connecti- 
cut, he succumbed to an attack of " complicated disease," and died at 
Hartford, xVugust '2b, ere he had reached his thirtietii year. A large 
circle of devoted friends bemoaned his loss ; his scattered church was 
overwhelmed with sorrow. A writer in the Hartford Courant, 
though sensible that tlie critical situation of America engrossed every 
thought, was sure that not one who had ever heard of Mr. Howe — a 
description that designates almost all the inhabitants of New England, 
and not a few of other countries — could Jae inattentive to an account 
of his excellencies, and eulogized him as a light and benefactor to the 
woi'ld, the beauty of whose mind was without a parallel, whose life 
was a treatise of ethics and theology, recommending the whole duty of 



DEATH OF KEY. JOSEPH HOWE. 159 

man more powerfully than libraries of moralists and divines. The 
eaily death of one so gifted with genius and graces, made a deep 
and lasting impression u})on the public. His memory was fondly 
cherished through all the generation that had known him, and years 
later, when many of his cotemporaries had })assed into oblivion, his 
character was portrayed in that of the model hero in one of the first 
original popular tales published in Ameiica.* In Windham County 
the impression made by the death of Mr. Howe was deepened by 
attendant bereavements. His step-father, Rev. Aaron Brown, of Kil- 
lingly, died suddenly on the way home from his funeral, and the 
bereaved wife and mother survived but a i'ew months. 



in. 

CAMPAIGN OF 1776. STRUGGLES AND DISASTERS. DEATH OF 

KNOVVLTON. TOWN RESOLUTIONS. CAMPAIGNS 

OF 1777-78. DISCOURAGEMENTS. 

THE long period of inaction following the battle of Bunker Hill, 
was a sore trial to the Windham County soldiery. The mechani- 
cal routine, the restraints, privations and discomforts of camp-life, 
unrelieved by the rush and stir of actual encounter with the enemy, 
became very irksome to men accustomed to the freedom of country 
life and a voice in town meetings. Bad fare, scant pay, misapprehen- 
sion of the plans of their leaders and the ti'ue condition of affairs so 
exasperated the Connecticut soldiers, that many who rushed so eagerly 
into service at the Lexington alarm declined re-enlistment in the pro- 
posed Continental Army, subjecting General Washington and his 
associates to the most serious anxiety and peril. Even men in Put- 
nam's own Windham County regiment weie infected with this spirit of 
disaffection and mutiny, and thirty of, the ardent volunteers from 
Captain Mosely's company, Canada Parish, seven from Knowlton's 
Ashford Company, and three fi-om Elliott's, Killingly, marched off 
home when their time of enlistment had expired without waiting a 
formal discharge, unwittingly incurring the opprobrium of deserting. 
It is said that the wives of these men were so outraged by their conduct 
that they gave them a hearty scolding, and threatened to drive them 
back to camp, and that '' the people in the towns where they belonged 
were so affected by their unreasonable conduct that they would readily 



*The Coquette, or the History of Eliza Wliarton. 



160 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUXTT. 

marcli to supply their ])laces."' Washinarton's sense of military flisci- 
pline was greatly shocked by this unceremonious leave-taking, and he 
sent after them, wishing to make examples of them. Governor Trum- 
bull and his Council, with better understanding of the character and 
grievances of the men, did not think best to comply with this requisi- 
tion, but stigmatized their conduct as " very reprehensible, and con- 
sidered them deserters though theii- time had nearly expired ; consid- 
ered it a critical time to form a new army, and doubted their power to 
act upon the subject."' It appearing upon inquiry that the men had 
lapsed mainly from ignorance and inadvertence, and were ready to 
re-enlist upon the first favorable opportunity, the offence was passed 
over, and these same deserting soldiers served in many subsequent 
campaigns with honor and fidelity. 

A majority of Putnam's Ilegiment are believed to have remained 
upon the field, re-enlistiug in the Twentieth Regiment of Washing- 
ton's Continental Army. Benedict Arnold, whose brilliant services 
in the Northern exj)edition were then attracting great admiration, 
was appointed its colonel ; John Dnrkee of Norwich, lieutenant- 
colonel ; Thomas Knowlton. majoi". Company 1, Ei»hraim ^Manning, 

ca]>tain ; Nath. AVebb, lieutenant : Brown, ensign. Company 

2, Jedidiah Waterman, captain : John Waterman, lieutenant : Walter 
Clark, ensign. Company 3, Thomas Dyer, captain ; Daniel Tilden, 
first lieutenant ; Nehemiah Holt, second lieutenant ; Joseph Durkee, 
ensign. Company 4, Wells Clift, captain. Company o, Thomas 
Grosvenor, captain ; Josiah Cleveland, ensign. Company 6, Stephen 
Brown, captain. Company 7, John Keyes, captain. Company 8, 
John Robinson, captain. Other subalterns, whose companies cannot 
now be determined, were — Lieutenants Melatiah Bingham, William 
Adams, Beiiah Bill, Robeit Hallam, Samuel Brown, Setli Phelps, 
Josiah Fuller, Nathaniel Bishop, James Holt, Daniel Putnam, and 
Ensigns Briant Brown, Silas Goodell, John Buell. Its chaplain was 
Rev. Abiel Leonaid. Lieutenant Ebenczer Gray seived as quarter- 
master. Dr. John Spaulding retained his position as surgeon : Luther 
Waterman served as surgeon's assistant. P^oiniing a part of the 
central division of the army, this legiment came under the more 
immediate control and supervision of Washington, " serving as a sort 
of voluntary body-guard to the Commander-in-chief' The continued 
absence of Arnold left it in charge of Durkee and Knowlton. under 
whose efficient training it attained " the same enviable position as 
to discipline and soldierly deportment that Knowlton's own company 
had pieviously held." Other Windham County sohliers le-enlisted 
in Huntington's and Patterson's regiments, and a still larger number 
in a militia regiment sent to Boston early in January, to take the 



STKUGGLES AND DISASTERS, ETC. 101 

place of tliose whose term of service had expired. John Dou2;las of 
Plainfield was its colonel ; Dr. Elislia Peikiiis, surgeon ; Thf)mas Gray 
of Windham, surgeon's mate. Plaintield's excellent minister, Rev. 
John Fuller, served as its chaplain. Woodstock would gladly have 
recalled her ministerial favorite at the close of the winter's campaign, 
but yielded to the wislies of the Commander-in-chief and their own 
honored leader, as expressed in the following letter : — 

" To the Churrh and Congregation of Woodstock : — 

Mr. Leonard is a man wliose exemplary life and conversation must make 
him liii^lil}^ esteemed by every person wlio has the pleasnre of ijein.ir acqnainted 
with iiim. It therefore can be no .surprise to us to hear they are loth to part 
with him. His influence in the army is great. He is employed in the ulorious 
work of attending to the morals of a brave people who are lighting for their 
liberties — the liberties of the people of Woodstock^the liberty of all .Vinerica. 
We therefore hope that, knowing how nobly he is employed, the congregation 
of Woodstock will cheerfully give up to the public, a gentleman so very use- 
ful. And when, by the blessing of a kind Providence, this glorious and 
unparalleled struggle for our liberties is at an end, we have not the least 
doubt but Mr. Leonard will, with redoubled joy, be received in the open arms 
of a congregation so very dear to him as the good people of Woodstock are. 

This is what is hoped for — this is what is expected, by the congregation of 
Woodstock's siucere well-wishers and very humble servants, 

Geokge Wasmixgton. 
Israel Putnam. 

Headquarters, Cambridge, 2ith of March, 1776." 

The prayers and preaching of ]Mr. Leonard wei'e often commended 
by the patriot journals. On the Sabbath after evacuation of Boston 
by the British, and its occupation by the Americans, he is reported 
to have preached an excellent sermon in the audience of his Excellency, 

the General, and others of distinction from Exodus iv. 2o : 

'•And took off their chariot wiieels, that they drove them heavily ; so 
that the Egyptians said, 'Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the 
Lord tighteth for them against the Egyptains.' " 

Renewed operations in the spring, followed by the withdrawal of the 
British troops from Boston, inspired the Windham patriots with new 
courage and enthusiasm, and stiuitdated them to intense activity in pre- 
parations for the summer campaign. The powder mill at Willimautic 
was now under fidl headway, sending out large supplies to the Continen- 
tal Army. All the saltpetre which could by any method be fabricated 
was quickly swallowed up by this important establishment, which was 
guarded day and night at the expense of the Government. Black 
lead for its consumption was taken from the hills of Union. 80 great 
was the tlirong of people and teams resorting thither, that David 
Young was ordered to open a house of public entertainment in its 
vicinity. With the transference of the seat of war to New York, 
travel was greatly increased on all the ])ublie highways. Regiment 
after regiment was marched through Windham County, and endless 
trains of military stores. Five battalions of the Continental Army, 
21 



162 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and the whole body of riflemen under Brigadier General Heath, and 
six battalions under General Sullivan, set out March 29, 1776, via. 
Norwich, passing throngh several towns in Windham County. Brook- 
lyn and Ashford were gladdened by a brief glimpse of tlieir favorite 
heroes, Putnam and Knowlton, as they hurried on their way. Farm 
work began early. Demands for supplies called out the utmost 
energies of the people. Commissaries and jobbers were scouring the 
towns for provisions, taking oft" all the poik, beef and sheep that could 
be spared from home consumption. Selectmen were now making 
requisitions for scales, clock-weights, anything that could be wrought 
into ammunition. Orders for knit stockings, tow cloth for tents, and 
home-made shirtings and vestings kept thousands of nimble fingers 
in motion. Great quantities of military stores were lodged in Plain- 
field, Windham and Canterbury. Depots were constructed for their 
reception and carefully guarded, and teams were constantly occupied 
hauling them to and fro. A large number of prisoners, dangeious 
Tories, captured seamen and soldiers, confined in Windham jail and 
neighboring towns, required much care and attention. Dyer, Elderkin 
and Wales, as members of the Committee of Safety, were intensely 
active in providing for these various demands, and s})ent many days 
at Governor Trumbull's war oftice in Lebanon, where many an import- 
ant interprise was devised and set in motion, and the committees of 
the different towns were almost equally occupied in schemes for the 
public welfare. One-fourth of the men in each militia regiment, per- 
fectly equipped with arms, balls, flints and other needful articles, were 
ordered to hold themselves ready to march on the shortest noiice, 
while recruiting for the various new regiments ordeied by Connecti- 
cut, was pushed foiward with the greatest activity. As the summer 
came on it was evident that the most urgent efforts were demanded. 
Great Britain was sending over strong fleets and hoides of hired 
soldiers, hoping to crush out the rebellion by one vigorous campaign. 
A special circular, issued by Trumbull, August 1, begging for more 
recruits at the earliest moment, was sent to the civil authority of every 
town, and also to many of the ministers, with the request that it 
should be read at the close of public worship. Windham County met 
the demand with her usual spirit and promptitude. She sent her men 
to Canada, to New York and to New London. Charles C. Chandler 
replies to Governor Trumbull that "Woodstock had already sent 
seventy men under the new requisition for the departments in Canada, 
New York and Boston, which was near one-half of the militia of the 
town and a much greater number than their proportion, but were still 
ready to do everything in their power to advantage the public cause 
at this critical day." Other towns were equally ready to do more 



STEtTGGLES AND DISASTERS, ETC. 163 

than tlieir proportion. Many Windham County men were enlisted in 

the Fiist regiment, Andrew Ward, colonel ; Obadiah Johnson of 

Canterbury, lieutenant colonel : William Douglas, major. James 8ted- 

inan, Nathaniel Wales, 3rd, Waterman Clift, Daniel Allen, Jonathan 

Nichols, Jr., James Dana, Elijah Sharp, James Arnold, Benoni Cutler, 

William Manning, Joseph Durkee, 01)adiah Child, were othcers in this 

regiment. Its chaplain was Rev. Benjamin Trumbull, the historian 

of Connectidut ; its paymaster. Royal Flint of Windham. The 

seventh company of the lirst battalion sent to the relief of the 

northern department was from Windham County — Vine Elderkin, 

captain ; William Frizzell, first lieutenant ; Abner Robinson, second 

lieutenant, Lemuel Grosvenor, ensign. In the third battalion raised 

for service in New York, Comfort Sage, colonel; Company 1, was from 

Lebanon, James Clark, captain ; Company 3, Voluutowu, John 

Dixon, captain ; Company 5, Killingly, Stephen Crosby, captain, 

Josiah Robbins, first lieutenant, Jonathan Buck, second lieutenant, 

Sylvanus Perry, ensign. The sixth battalion, Colonel John Chester, 

comprised at least three Windham County companies. Company 4, 

Ashford, Reuben Marcy, captain ; John Holmes, first and Samuel 

Marcy, second lieutenants ; Daniel Knowlton, ensign, and 79 privates. 

Company 5, Woodstock, Stephen Lyon, captain ; Josiah Child, first 

lieutenant. Company 6, Canterbury, Asa Bacon, captain ; Abner 

Bacon, first lieutenant ; Aaron Cleveland, ensign. " Sabbath morning, 

June 30, 1776," Brigadier-General Wadsworth writes thus to Colonel 

Chester. 

"Last evening, by express, I received another letter from General Wash- 
ington, reque^stiug in the most pressing manner, not to lose one moment time 
in sending forward the regiments destined for New York. Must therefore, 
direct, that you give all possible attention to the raising, equipping and send- 
ing forward immediately your regiment in manner before directed, as the 
safety of our army under Heaven, depends much on the seasonable arrival of 
the Connecticut regiments." 

This order was forwarded as soon as possible to Captains Marcy, 
Lyon and Bacon, with instructions to march the companies under their 
command by land or water to New York on the following Thui-sday, 
July 4. If the whole company was not in readiness, they were to 
march with twenty-five men, forwarding the remainder as t^ist as they 
became ready with all convenient speed. They were to see that the 
men were " well furnished with good arms, bayonets and cartonch 
boxes, blankets and knapsacks." The order from head(piarters 
expressly enjoined '• that the men be furnished with arms, and that 
none be suifered to go without, as it will be impossible to procure 
them here, and their service will consequently be rendered useless." 

These needed arms could doubtless be procured at the establishment 
of llezekiah Huntington, who kept busily at work making and repairing. 



164 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

As fast as possible the recruits were fitted out and sent to the field. 
No time was spent in s))eech-niaking now ; all energies were absorbed in 
pi'eparation for tlie ajiproaching struLrgle. The County Court met for 
two days only in June. Judge William Williams, Justices Jabez Fitch, 
Ebenezer Williams and Ebenezer Devotion were pieseiit. Jedidiah 
Elderkin was dismissed from being King's Attorney, and apjtointed 
attorney of the Governor and Colonij of Connecticut. The select- 
men of Ashfoid complained of .fohn Stevens and wife, who had 
succored themselves under the Ministerial army, and of Adam Kno.v, 
who was serving "as ])ilot in the Ministerial navy." The Court 
ordered Captain Elisha Wales to improve the lands of Captain Stevens, 
re-licensed the usual number of tavern-keepers, and adjourned. 

News fiom New York became more and more alarming. Fleets, 
armies and munitions of war were concentrating in its vicinity. 
Skirmishing with skulking Tories in New York and liOns: Island was 
to give place to a hand-to-hand grapple with the British foe. With 
all tlie men and means that could by any possibility be mustered, 
Washington prepared for the encounter. Very heavy requisitions were 
made upon Connecticut. In achlition to the veterans previously in 
seivice, and the ten regiments enlisted during the summer, fourteen 
regiments of militia from the weslei'ii part of the State were ordered, 
August 11th, "to march fortlnvith to New York, and ])lace themselves 
under General Washington until the present exigency should be over." 
Windham County was already strongly represented in Durkee's, 
Huntington's, Ward's and other regiments. Her officers and soldiers 
under Major-General Putnam, had rendered effective aid throughout 
the cam])aign in New York, and wei'e among those ui)on whose valor 
and fidelity Washington most confidently relied at this dark hour. Most 
of the men who had been connected with military movements since 
the breaking out of the war were probably Avith the army at this lime. 
Some who had gone out irom the county were there with their 
brethren — Colonel William Douglas of Northford, and John Chandler 
of Newton, lieutenant-colonel of Gold Silliman's brigade. A hundred 
picked men from Col. Durkee's regiment, led by Lieut. -Colonel 
Knowlton, were conspicuous for courage and devotion, and had already 
signalized themselves by valorous e.\j)loits. Changes and promotions 
were made in the other regiments, defences maintained and strength- 
ened as far as practicable, and every means tried to make the American 
force as effective as possible. 

These preparations were all insufficient. The raw Continental artny, 
made up of incongruous elements, imperfectly diilled and equipped, 
lacking in experience and resources, was wholly unable to compete 
with the vastly superior force arrayed against it. Tidings of the 



STRUGGLES AND DISASTERS, ETC. 165 

disastrous defeat at Brooklyn and tlie witlidrawal of the Ameiicau 
army fiom Long Island, sent dismay to every patriot heart. The 
Windham County soldiei'S in the Connecticut Line suffered severely. 
More than a hundred and fifty officeis and privates wei'e " niissino-" 
from Huntington's regiment alone.* Several men from Pomfret were 
killed ; Surgeon David Holmes and others from Woodstock and 
adjoining towns were taken prisoners. Durkee's and Chandler's 
regiments were detailed by Washington to cover the retreat from 
Long Island, keeping guard with intense vigilance until the perilous 
transit was accomi)lished. Word was then sent to them " to get off 
as they could, in order oi- not." "Where are we going?" asked a 
bewildered soldier as they stole otf through the darkness over the 
black river. "To Heaven, I hope," answei'ed a cheery Windham 
captain, prei)ared fur any result. Witli report of these events Wind- 
ham County received immediate summons to the field. The militia 
in Eastern Connecticut, including the Fifth, Eleventh, Twelfth and 
Twenty-first regiments, together with the regiment of horse, were 
ordered to march at once to New York, " to be ready to co-operate 
with the Continental army, and defeat the designs of the enemy." 
Already pieitaring to march for the defence of New London, these 
regiments were soon under way, led Viy their respective ofhceis. The 
troops of horse under Major Ebenezer Backus speeded on in advance 
and were soon reported at Westchester. 

They found affairs in the greatest confusion, the enemy threateiiin"' 
on every side, and distrust and disaffection pervading the American 
ranks. Disheartened by sickness and defeat, hundreds of men were 
stealing off to their homes, but the Windham ('ounty militia not 
unused to war, and having full confidence in their leadeis and in the 
justice of their cause, gladly took the places assigned them in Putnam's 
division, and bravely stood their ground with the older regiments. 
Scarcely, however, had they reached the field when they were called 
to leave it. Beset on every side by hostile force, the Americans had 
with great difficulty maintained their position in New York. Wash- 
ington's headquarteis were already removed to Harlem. September 



* Jolm Waldo of Scotland, a private in Huntington's regiment, thus reports 
to his parents : — " The lo.ss our rcgiineut met you have no doubt heard of. 
Two hundred and twenty is the number missing, lost in that action in our 
regiment, among which is our lieut.-colonel, surgeon's male, tidjutant, six 
captains, twelve subalterns, and almost all the sergeants of the regiment. 
We are now left without any field otrteer that is well but one captain; how- 
ever, we hope that almost all that are missing are taken captive. We exi)ect 
an attack from the enemy every day or hour. Our fortitude yet remains and 
we hope with a common blessing to be able to make a noble stand, and be a 
means of saving our country yet— a righteous God grant that we may 
prosper. Camp at New Yurk, Sept. 9, 177G." 



166 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COrXTT. 

l.itli was a ilav of sore l^attlo. "The regulai-s laiuled on tlic Tslaiul 
of York both on the North and East Kivers on Sabbath day 
morning." and Putnam's division was forot'd to niake a hasty retreat. 
Many Windliam County men were slain, taken prisoners, disabled 
by wounds, and out down by indulgence or exposure. Captain Stephen 
Crosby of Thompson, Conn., Third battalion. Company 5, " being 
over hot went into a house and drank cold water, and died immediately. 
Lieut. Buck was either killed or taken, and other Killingly men."* 
Artillery and military stores were left in the hands of the enemy. 
Nothing but the extraordinary exertions of Putnam and the beguiling 
courtesies of a quick-witted patriot lady who detained the pursuit, 
saved his division from far greater loss, if not annihilation or capture. 

Exhausted by their hurried flight, chilled by a severe shower and 
sudden change of temperature. '* their hearts sunk within them by the 
loss of baggage, artillery and works in which they had been tauglit 
to put great confidence," the escaped soldiers " l.iy upon their arms, 
covered only by the clouds of an uncomfortable sky." Before day- 
light Knowlton was out with his Rangers, endeavoring to .ascertain the 
exact position of the British. This distinguished corps had been 
formally organized since the retreat from Long Island, and now em- 
braced volunteer otficers and men from several of the New England 
regiments, ready to engage in scouting or any special service at a 
moment's warning. Captains N.athan Hale, Stephen Brown, Thomas 
Grosvenor, and many other gallant and faithful men made up this 
heroic band. On this very night or a few hours previous. Hale had 
manifested his patriotic devotion by volunteering to go out .alone 
within the enemv's lines to learn sometliing more definite of their 
position and movements. Knowlton soon came upon the enemy's 
pickets about a mile below the American lines, and engaged in a brisk 
little fight with tlu-ir advanced guard, '• gave them nine rounds and 
retreated " in good order, though with a loss of ten of his Hangers. 

The ffood conduct of the handful of men engaged in this brief ren- 
contre, the insolence of tlieir pursuers who now appeared in open 
sight blowing their bugle-horns as if on a fox chase, and the oppor- 
tunity of redeeming the disgrace of the previous day, led Washington 
to attempt to effect their capture. A detachment of volunteers made 
a demonstration in the front of the enemy, while Knowlton with his 
Kan>:ers. and three Virginia companies under Major Andrew Leitch, 
*' stole around to the rear of the enemy. " Tlie movement was success- 
ful. The Americans behaved with great spirit and steadiness, " charg- 
ing the enemy with great intrepidity, beating them in open fight and 



* Letter from Thomas Dike to his parents. 



DEATH OF E^yOWLTON". ETC. 167 

driving them everywhere before them, and at last making an orderly 
retreat when a large body of British was put in motion. This 
unexyiected success, which gi-eatly inspirited the troops and restored 
the confidence of the otiicers, was purchased by the sacrifice of two 
most valued leaders — Leitch and Knowlton. Hurrying after the flying 
enemy in the first eagerness of pursuit, Leitch was severely wouuded, 
and " a bullet pierced Knowlton's Vjo<ly. ' ''My poor Colonel, wrote 
Captain Brown, " was shot just by my side. The ball entered the 
small of his back. I took hold of him, asked him if he was badly 
■wounded. He told me he was : but says he. 'I do not value my life if 
■we do but get the day." He desired me by all means to keep up this 
flank. He seemed as unconcerned and calm as though nothing had 
happened to him." He was earned from the field by Sergeant Nehe- 
miah Holt, assisted by General Joseph Reed. " Gasping in the 
agonies of death, all his enquiry was if we had drove the enemy, and 
his dyinor charsre to his young son — •• You can do me no good : go, 
fight for your country." His death was a great loss to the anuy. All 
felt with Washington, that a gallant and brave oflicer. '-who would 
Lave been an honor to any country," had fallen. Gifted with uncommon 
militarv genius and many noble and attractive qualities, he had given 
his whole heart and energies to the patiiot cause. - The favorite of 
superior oflicers, the idol of his soldiers and feliow-town-imen. he fell 
universally lamented." "Washington and Putnam regarded him with 
peculiar fondness, and even the fastidious and world-experienced 
Aaron Burr was tenderly drawn to him, and pronounced him one 
whom it was impossible to promote too rapidly. He was burie'i on 
the following day. September 17. near the spot where he fell, on 
Harlem Heights, with filing of artillery and customary military honors, 
bis beloved chaplain. Abiel Leonard, ofliciating in the religious service. 
A brother colonel present expressed his sympathy in impromptu 
verse : — 

•• Here Knowlton lies — the great, the good, the brave: 
Slain on the field, now triumphs in the grave. 
Thas falls the valiant in the martial strife— 
The coward lives, his punishment is life." 

Another noble son of Connecticut, and Windham County.* sent out 
by Knowlton on the night preceding his own decease, met his untimely 
fate a few days later with equal heroism, regretting only that be - had 
but one lite to give for his country." One in service and devotion, 
death did not long divide them, and they left behind them names 
that shall never perish. 



Captain Nathan Hale. 



168 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

These losses and disasteis c.inied inoiirning and consternation to 
every household in Windliam County. Ashford was stricken to the 
heart at the loss of its honored Knowlton, even the man called his only 
enemy weepinij over him as for a brother. Many other homes had 
been bereaved and desolated ; many childi'en left orphans. Most of 
the slain were men in the prime of lite witli wives and children depend- 
ent on them. Colonel Knowlton left eight living children ; Captain 
Crosby of Thompson, six. Widows lost their only sons; fathers 
those on whom they had hoped to lean. There was wailing for the 
dead and intense anxiety for the living. Some were " missing," their 
fate left to harrowing conjecture; some were prisoners, incarcerated 
in the sugar-house or prison-ship ; many were sick and wounded, 
suffering every imaginable discomfort. Disease was raging in the 
crowded camps and devastating the letreating army. Every post and 
messenger brought tidings of fresh calamity. Thomas Dike of 
Thompson, writes to his parents, that his brother Samuel is missing : — 

" The last account I had of hira he was sick and in the hospital . . . and came 
that day up to ihe regiment, but beinii weak could not travel any farther, and 
several" of the company told me that there were carriages provided to curry the 
sick that could not travel over to the Jersey side, among which was Sergeant/ 
Jesse Larned, who is since dead, Samuel Dilje, Amos Green and many 
others 

Colonel Williams' regiment [Eleventh militia] is ordered oflf to the Jersey 
side, and we expect to go from here to-day. It is very sickly among the 
militia. William Smith and EbLMiezer Nichols we left behind. Solomon 
Smith and John Barret must stop here or return back. The Lord be merciful 
to us all for we have got where the inhabitants show no pity. I beg your 
prayers for me that I may be preserved from sin, sickness and sword, and be 

soon returned to my family and friends Remember me to Mr. 

Howard and his wife. Tell them that I have not heard from their brothers. 
Tell my little children I long to see them, but when I shall I cauuoL tell. It 
is all confusion here. 

Weslchester, September 20, 1776." 

Simon Larned writes of the death of his brother Jesse — . 

" I saw him at Saturday noon, September 14. and he said he thought he 
could stand it to be moved, as he did, but being so very weak it must worry 
him much. He died Sabbath-day night and had his senses perlecily well till 
he died, and seemed to leave the worlci very well composed. While he was 
in York, I never failed of going to see him once and twice a day, and spared 
no pains to get him everything in my power to make him comfortable. . . 
I am something poorly myself but not so but I keep about, and I hope it is 
nothing more than a bad cold. I saw Ivillingly company and they seemeil to 
be in good spirits." 

Fears for the ])atriot cause aggravated their personal anxieties. 
Pressed on every side, there was little ho})e that the army could main- 
tain its position. From Oliver Grosvenor, commissary of Colonel Wil- 
liams' regiment, came vivid j)ictures of the situation : — 

" Bki;gex, Monday, 2 P. M., September 23. 
This minute the men-of-war landed on raulus' Hook where I was yesterday 
at this time, which was immediately after our arrival here, which was within 



LETTERS FROM CAMP, ETC. 1G9 

ten minutes after I tjot oft" my horse. There was an alarm and our com- 
panies not all ii'ot in. Those tliat had immediately marched down to 
Paidus' Hook, which is about one mile ;uid a half from our encampments 
which we made last niijht al)out sundown; and now this minute the 
cannon beuin to roar like thunder, and the drums beatinij^ to arms, there- 
upon you'll excuse me from addinjr more, for how can I write when I 
expect immediately to be called to action? for tiy:ht we must or else retreat 
six or ciirht miles up North Kiver, as this is a neck of laud somethinn^ like 
New York, and we expect they will try to land above us to cut otf our retreat 
and the Lord only knows how it will fare with us. We have no fort now to 
retreat to near us. Colonel Durkee's reiiiment left the fort at Paulus' Hook 
on the approach of the men-of-war, having brouiiht their cannon and ba<;- 
g;age. The greatest confusion here. I have not had time to sit down one 
minute to-day, and much fatigued with yesterday's alarm, riding from this 
place to Paulus' Hook to and from in the utmost haste to get a little bread 
and liquor to our people thnt were called for before they sat down to rest one 
minute. . . . God's name be praised that [ am so well as to contribute my 
assistance to our friends fatigued in their march and numbers unwell. Our 
tents are their hospitals on the ground with blankets, not having time last 
night to get straw for them or ourselves. Payson Grosvenor is very sick, not 
like to live by what I hear. Young Dr. Lord is quite poorly to-day. My 
kind reuards to all. As to my attairs at home I think nothing of them. I hope, 
God willing, to return home safe after some time. From your loving, tender 
husband, Olivkr Grosvexou." 

" , Octobers, 177(5. 

Beloved Wife. — As I have opportunity by Post Morris this day (tho' 
but a day or two since I wrote), It gives me some ease tho' I am unwell, 
taken last evening with the common and almost universal disorder, camp-ail 
— had a very uncomfortable night, being obliged to be abroad several time in 
the uiglit, occasioned by the sick of the regiment crowding into my room, 
not being able to get in anywhere except into the church which has no tire- 
place, and the soldiers choose rather to be in their tents than to go into it, 
let the consequences be what it will, and I must eitlier forbid everyone or 
admit the whole, which consisted last night of more than twenty sick and 
nurses. Six of them took vomits and continued to vomit all night long 
without an\' intermission, it being in the room where I slept. I never saw 
such a night before and is like to be worse; the sick daily increases in num- 
bers; some companies not more than two or three in their returns lit for 
duty; the rest sick and taking care of the sick. We hnve carrie<l a number 
outof the church to Newark' . . . also have sent a number up to the 
skirts of the town two or three miles back; also we have a number now in 
the church, several of them very dangerous. 

I expect to be wor.se before lam better . . . but am not at all discour- 
aged, hoping in a few days to inform you of my better stale of health through 
the goodnes^ of God, who wounds and heals again, and demands the praise 
duel:o his name for common mercies, more esjiecially for signal deliverances. 

The above wrote in the morning when better able to write than now. I 
am exercised at present with hard pain in my head as well as elsewhere and 
feel the symptoms of a fever coming on which I fear more, and renders more 
difficult and discouraging, as there is no conveniency or care for those sick. 
The concern for each other here appears far less than what we commonly 
exercise for the brute beasts at home. It is not in my power to paint to you 
the doleful scenes I behold every hour; neither did I believe that rational 
creatures could be divested of that humanity that I tind they are subject to 
in the camps, Avhere sickness and sin so much prevails Alas for our land 
which now mourns beneath the horrors and distress of the present war. 
This I write Friday evening. I have been much to day as I was yestenlay 
as to the headache, but otherwise better; so well that I was obliged to malce 
provision for the whole regiment since dark, as the General gave out orders 
this afternoon to have each one provided for three days provision immediately 
and to have it cooked. But where designed or for what purpose is yet a 
secret. Six of our regiment have died since the day before yesterday, and 
uow there are a number I expect to hear are dead Iq the morniug." 
90 



170 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

" FoiJT CoxsTiTUTiox, October 19. 

Throiiffh the still preservinsr and iipholdini; poAver and jjoodness of God, I 
am in tliat decree of healtli that renders nie in .some measiure comfortable. 
. . . I have not etit two ponnds of meal this fortniirht. I have no relish 
for it. I iiL't some milk, mal<e some chocolate and coffee, but nothinji suits 
me so well as roasted potatoes and apples. Cheese I want and cheese I can 
get, but the bread that we have baked here is so hiiih-seasoned witli leaven I 
cannot eat it, I have such an aversion to it. 1 often think of and lonjr for a 
crust of brown bread, but ilot one morsel have I eat since I left West llavcn, 
but thus much for my hankerings after those things I have not. ... It 
appears quite uncertain whether Ave shall be dismissed soon ; rather think now 
that the fate or salvation of our land is near at hand; or, in other words, 
that there Avill be a sore battle fought before this comes to hand, and very 
like to me within 48 hours. You'll hear before I Avrite you of tiie enemy's 
landing yesterday at New Kochelle, and of the skirmish that followed. Our 
people, I think, intend to evacuate the whole island of New York entirely, 
as they have already carried off the heft of the artillery. Some of our 
people have been haleing up the cannon and mortars brought over this side 
this evening. 

Brother Ezra is well, tho' those that are their duty is very hard. Every 
other day, and some days when they go on fatigue in the forenoon, they are 
taken to go on guard in the afternoon perhaps for two or three days. I 
wrote Lemuel a letter this week by C'orhin. Avho lives at Albany. Me told me 
Captain Elderkin Avas sick at his home, but heard nothing of Brother Lemuel. 
I wrote this in my tent on my knee Avhen others are asleep. Embrace Charle 
for me. Yours with the teuderest sympathy. Oli\'I':u Gkosvenok." 

These letters were most welcome even thoxigh telling- of sickness 
and disaster. Communication with the absent had become very diffi- 
cult and infrequent. The pleasant intercourse of the year before, the 
running l)ack and forth from camp, had all gone by. Now anxious 
friends must depend upon tardy " posts " and chance messengers. 
The distant post-office at New London, was jnnctically of no account. 
A daily mail and hourly telegram were beyond iheir utmost conception. 
Postmen Morris and Craft rode to and fro between Woodstock and 
headquarters as fast as the rough ways and weather Avould permit, and 
passing travelers brought news, not always the most reliable. The situa- 
tion was indeed most critical and alarming. Sliould the army be defeated 
in the general action that seemed inevitable, the whole country was in 
peril. The victorious ]5ritish could sweep through Connecticut as 
well as through New York and the Jerseys. New London and Rhode 
Island were already threatened by naval forces. And in this time 
of peril and extremity Windham was left almost without ])rotection. 
Every able-bodied man between sixteen and sixty had gone with the 
militia, and only aged men, invalids, and here and there a needful 
official, were left with the Avomen and children. What marvel that 
eveiy item of news should be seized and hurried all over the county, 
and the most exaggerated and distorted rumors obtained credence. 
New London and Providence were burned, or " Connecticut was 
taken," or armies Avere marching directly to Windham County. 
Anxious eyes turned many times by night and day to the various high 
places Avhere bonfires were built uj) to be lighted at the first alarm of 



TOWN RESOLUTIONS, ETC. 171 

approaching peril. A kettle of burning tar on the cross-tics of the 
liberty pole at Killingly Hill served as a danger signal for the sur- 
rounding country. The south neighborhood of Thoni[>son suflered a 
very serious panic during tliese anxious days. A saucy Dudley boy 
was knocked down by a suspected Tory. At about the same time a 
courier with special dispatches from Boston galloped tluough the 
towns, too much in haste to ])ause to answer curious <][uestions. Re- 
port of these incidents magnitied by excited imaginations flew all over 
the country, " Four men shot down dead in Dudley street," was a 
popular version. The fearful inhabitants of this remote neighborhood, 
waiting in suspense to hear from absent friends and the expected 
engagement, were horrified by the tidings that their own homes were 
in danger, that the Tories of Dudley and Oxford and the remnant 
of the old Indian Paygan tribelet had risen to prepare the 
way for the expected British army, and that " Malbone's niggers " 
were coming on to meet them, burning and slaughtering every- 
thing before them. " The Tor-ies are coming ! The Tor-ies are 
coming !" was tl>e cry, sent to every house. What was to be 
done? How could they meet this onset ? British and even Hessians 
might give quarter but only downright butchery could be ex- 
pected from heathen negroes and savage Indians. Not a man left 
at home but decrepit grandfathers and paralytics, no arms, no ammu 
iiition. Flight seemed the only resource, and a disiiial, miry swamp 
was selected as the place of refuge. A boy was sent to rally all the 
neighbors. He ran to Larned's store, then a well-known business 
centre. Lieut. Larned had gone to the front with his regiment, leav- 
ing business and family in charge of his wife. She was not one to 
run fiom the face of danger. A rousing fire was blazing in the huge 
kitchen fire-place, filled with kettles of watei- and every iron implement 
that could be mustered, with which she intended to make a stand 
against the invaders. " Old Granny Leavens " — the aged widow of 
the lirst William Larned of Thomi)Son — was equally resolute. She 
had survived several Indian wars and two husbands, and now sinking 
back into her chimney corner exclaimed with Calvinistic resignation — 
"If I am to be killed by the Tor-ies to-night, why then I s/iall he, so 
I'll e'en stay with Becky." Their heroic example had no effect upon 
their weaker sisters, already in full flight. " Tell Becky " they retort e<l, 
" that hot irons will never do for the British." They hurried off to 
the swamp, a most forlorn and panic-stricken company. Poor old 
lame "Uncle Asa," suffering from a disease incident upon excessive 
flip-drinking, was greatly exercised. "Thither," he pleaded, as he 
hobbled along; "Thither, I've forgot my plathter." "Hurry up. 
Asa, you'll never dress your knees again in this world," replied the 



172 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUIfrTT. 

comforting sister. The swamp when reached was so "damp, moiist 
and unpleasant," tliat all could join with Aunt Nabby in her heart-felt 
ejeculation, "I'd give a wedge of goold as big as my foot for one good 
dram." The nnfoitnnate old people too feeble for flight were in a 
still more pitiable condition. One bed-ridden old woman who had 
not stood on her feet for years, and wns ^forgotten in the tlurry and left 
at home alone, managed to crawl out of bed and stow herself away 
into a cupboard, and a disabled old captain trembling with palsy 
barricaded the door and valiantly held it with a pitch-fork. 

One other family lemained ti-an(iuilly at home through all the panic. 
Good Deacon Gay had gone with four of liis sons to the army. Farm 
and family were in the charge of the fifth son. a lad of seventeen. 
He was a stout young fellow and could handle a musket deftly, but 
his trust was not in carnal wea])ons. Hot irons and cold swamps he 
thought "but vain things for safety." Young Joseph went calndy on 
with his hai vesting through the day, " did the nightly chores," and 
then gatheiing the family around him in the great kitchen for their 
usual evening worship, read comfoi-ting words An the old Bil)le 
bi'ought from Dedham, and " led in prayer." Tlius stayed and strength- 
ened they passed the night in yieace. Nothing was heard of Malbone, 
or other marauders. The )norning sun dis]telled all phantoms of 
terror. The wearied fugitives stole back from the swamp to encoun- 
ter volleys and shafts of ridicule. Their fright and flight and ridicu- 
lous sayings were told all over the town and even carried to camp, 
giving the men a hearty laugh amid all their sorrowful surroundings 
and forebodings. 

Even the darkest day has gleams of light. Windham Green had her 
fun even in this gloomy autumn. In her eagerness to answer every 
requisition of Government she left her prison doors too slightly guarded. 
Four British seamen captui'ed the June preceding in H. M. S. Bom- 
brig, effected their escape. There was an alarm, a rush, search and 
pursuit, but all in vain. The prisoners had gone beyond recovery, but 
left beldnd them a unique and lasting memonal — -the image of their 
favorite Divinity, Bacchus, the God of mirth, wine and good cheer, 
carved with their jack-knives from a block of pine during the idle 
hours of their captivity. That their choice of a subject was suggested 
by what they saw going on around them, as well as by their own pecu- 
liar regard and devotion, is very probable. "Excessive drinking," 
denounced ten years before, was none the less common after the break- 
ing out of war. " Military treats," even then too much the fashion, 
had become more and more in vogue. Tiiose hard-headed old fighters 
were also haid drinkers, and we may be sure that every comjtany that 
marched out from Windham Green had its parting drams as well as 



TOWN KES0LUTI0N8, ETC. 173 

prayers. Prisoners were allowed the liberty of the yard and certain 
public resorts, and no tavei'ns were more popular than tliose kept by 
Misti'ess Warner and the Widow Carey. This good widow nuist have 
looked upon the English sailors with especial favor and sympathy, for 
to her was bequeathed the work of art which had occupied their 
leisure. The comical Bacchus, with his dimpled cheeks and luscious 
fruits, bestriding a wine cask, was straightway lioisted above the tavern 
for a sign and figure-head, to the intense admiration and delight of all 
beholders, lieturning soldiers hailed his jolly figure with cheei'S and 
shouts of laughter, and were only too ready to offer up libations at his 
shrine, and the tavern of the sympathetic widow I'cceived a far greater 
shai'e of public patronage. 

Tliis esccqyade excited much comment and led Windham citizens to 
consider ''their situation with regard to a sheriff."' Colonel Fitch had 
still been allowed to retain this office in the hope that he might ex- 
perience a change of sentiment, but the remonstrance of fiiends. the 
forbearance of opponents, and the promise of high position in the 
patriot army, had failed to overcome his scru])les. Even now his 
fellow-townsmen were loth to proceed against him, but citizens of 
other towns unbiased by personal affection took the matter in hand, 
and represented to the General Assembly that this office of High 
Sheriff was "in their opinion very badly supplied (by reasons we 
api^rehend well-known to your Honors), and hoped that the place 
might be filled with a man whose principles are agi'eeable to the public, 
and at no lime suspected by the candid : would recommend Captain 
Jabez Huntington, who had long served with good acceptance. Ex- 
perience, ability and good conduct speak in his favor, as well as the 
remotest consideration of his being the son of an excellent sheriff of 
this county, whose service was eminently acceptable. A grateful 
remembrance of the deceased prompt our regard to the only suiviving 
son, as well as the good of the County, and the public in general." 
This suggestion was quickly carried out, and the sheriffship transfei'red 
from the faint-hearted loyalist to one whose heart and energies were 
devoted to the popular cause, and who could thus administer this 
important office with far more zeal and efficiency. Nathaniel Hebard 
of Windham now served as jailor, guarding and providing the numer- 
ous prisoners with gi'eat care and watchfulness. 

The general engagement so justly dreaded by the patriots was 
evaded by the wise policy of Washington, and the Windham County 
militia were allowed to return to their homes, but were soon called to 
further action. A great fleet of men-of-war and transports was hover- 
ing about the Sound, and after greatly alarming New London, pushed 
on to Narraganset Bay, and threatened Newport and Providence. The 



174 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

eastciii I'cii^inients pieviously summoned to New London, were now 
oidfivd to march witli all siieed to Ilhode Island. Colonel Elderkin 
and Lieut.-Colonel Storrs being occupied with other public duties, the 
command of the Fifth llegiment was given to Major Thomas l>rown. 
INTaJor Samuel McClellan led the Eleventh, and the troops of horse 
hurried on under Major Backus. Ei-e these arrived Rhode Island was 
seized and fortified by a strong body of British troops, supported by 
the naval armament, and fears were entertained of their invasion upon 
other parts of New England. Eliphalet Dyer and Nathaniel Wales 
were appointed a committee with other gentlemen from Connecticut, 
to meet committees from the other New England states, in Providence, 
Deceml)er '23, to consult upon their mutual and immediate defence 
and safety, and other important matters. It was recommended that 
Connecticut should send as its quota of the army proposed for the 
defence of Providence against the army then in possession of New 
port, 1092 troops. Captain Ebenezer Mosely of Windham Village, 
was cliosen by Governor Trumbull to enlist this body of men from 
Windliam and New London counties. Many other Windham soldiers 
re-enlisted during this autumn for continental service in various bat- 
talions and regiments. Duiing this autumn of 1776, the militia of 
Ct)nnecticut was organized in six bi'igades — David Wooster, major- 
general ; Hon. Jabez Huntington, second major-general. The Wind- 
liam County regiments were included in the fifth brigade, Eliphalet 
Dyer, general. William Danielson, Killingly, was now appointed 
colonel of the Eleventh Regiment in i)lace of Col. Williams, whose 
failing health compelled him to i'erm([uish service; Samuel McClellan, 
lieutenant-colonel. Company 1, Daniel Lyon, captain ; Benjamin 
Puggles, lieutenant: Nathaniel l:>rown, ensign. Company 2, Caleb 
Clark, ca[)tain ; John Wells, lieutenant ; Stephen Griggs, ensign. 
Company 3, Amos Paine, captain ; Thomas Baker, lieutenant ; Wil- 
liam Lyon, ensign. Company 4, Joseph Cady, captain ; Jonathan 
Cady, lieutenant : Elisha Lawrence, ensign. Company 5, Ephiaim 
W^aiien, captain ; Daniel Waters, lieutenant. Company 6, Stephen 
Tucker, lieutenant ; Phinehas Walker, ensign. Com[)any 7, I'aine 
Converse, lieutenant. Company 8, Zebulon Ingalls, captain ; William 
Osgood, lieutenant : Robert Sharpe, ensign. Company 9, John Green, 
captain ; Obadiah Clough, lieutenant ; Daniel Larned, ensign. Com- 
pany 10, Jonathan Morris, lieutenant; Richard Peabody, ensign. 
Company 1 1, Sanniel Chandler, cajjlain ; John Ilolbrook, lieutenant ; 
Jolni Whitmore, ensign. No special changes were made in the other 
regiments. Colonel Elderkin and Lieut. -C-olonel Storrs retained their 
positions. John Douglas of Plainfield, was appointed general of the 
fifth brigade in place of Colonel Dyer, who declined the appointment. 



TOWN EESOLUTIONS, ETC. 175 

Among her other engrossments Windham interested herself tliis autumn 
in fitting out in Norwich, the schooner Oliver Cromu'ell, for j)iivateer 
service. Pliinehas Cary, Solomon Lord, Eleazer Welsh, Eleazer .Si)of- 
foi-d, Lemuel Stoddard, Hezekiah Abbe, ^Vrad Simmons, all of Wind- 
liam, and Thomas Holbrook of Lebanon, formed its crew ; its captain 
Avas William Coit of Norwich. Dr. Samuel Lee of Windham, was 
appointed its surgeon, and his two students second and third mates 
imder him at £3 per month each. Dr. All)igence Waldo succeeded 
Dr. Lee as chief sui-geon in a few months. Dr. Lee with Doctors 
John Clark, Elisha Lord and James Cogswell, and other physicians 
fi'om different ])arts of the State, were made a committee for examining 
all persons in the State that offered to serve in the army. 

The spring of 1777 found Windliam County preparing for further 
action. Its citizens for two vears had been so enrri-ossed in cairvinir 
on the war that their own internal affaiis had received but little atten- 
tion, and even the ordinary town meetings had been greatly iieglected, 
but the prospect of a long continuance of the war and the heavy 
demands upon their resources called for public deliberation and action. 
Their share of soldiers were to be raised, bounties given, families cared 
for. Many important questions were under discussion. The deprecia- 
tion of currency, and the increased j^rice of the necessaries of life, the 
scarcity of breadstuff's and salt, caused much anxiety and alarm. 
The General Assembly in December, attempted to meet these evils 
by regulating the price of labor and provision, instructing the select- 
men of the towns to distribute salt, and forbidding the distillation of 
liquor from wheat, rye or Indian corn. The change in their political 
status, the sevei'ance of the tie that bound Connecticut to the Mother 
Countiy and her assumjjtion of authority as a free and independent 
State, necessitated some action and endorsement from the several 
towns, and it became necessary again to assemble in town meetings, 
provide for these various public matters, and take the oath of allegiance 
to the State. Pomfret voted to use her utmost endeavor to support 
the credit of the continental currency. Committees were chosen to 
procure clothing for the soldiers : — Joshua Sabin, John Jeffards, 
Lemuel Gi'osvenor for the first society ; Dr. Baker, Capt. Daniel Tyler 
and Samuel Scarborough for Brooklyn ; Daniel Trowbridge, William 
Osgood and Stephen Ltley for Abington ; John Grosvenor, Esq., 
Capt. Aniasa Sessions and Capt. Ebenezer Holbrook were also chosen 
to meet committees from other towns in the county to consult such 
measures as should appear most salutary for the common good, and 
most conducive to stop the growing evil of the depreciation of our 
currency. 

Windham, March 24, 1777, voted, "That the inhabitants of this 



176 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COCNTY. 

town will with one consent join with, and support to the utmost of their 
power in carrying into execution the laws made for regulating and attix- 
ing the prices of certain articles. 2. That a committee be ai)pointed 
and directed to engage in behalf of the town to provide necessaries for 
the families of soldiers belonging to this town who shall go into any 
of the continental ainiies." Plainlield voted. ''That the families of 
those who shall enlist into the continental service for three years, or 
during the war, shall be supplied with the common necessaries of life 
at the price stated by the General Assembly. 2. To give to effective 
men $30 above the bount}' affixed by the state. Canterbury chose a 
committee to provide for the families of soldiers and use their 
endeavors to encourage men to enlist." Killingly agreed Aj^ril 14, 
that in case a hundred and nineteen aide-bodied men shall enlist them- 
selves into the continental army within ten days from this time for 
the term of three years or during the present war for the town of 
Killingly, for their further encoui'agement shall be entitled to and 
paid by the town afoiesaid, the sum of six pounds each man for every 
six months they shall contimie in said service — but shrewdly provided, 
that if the General Assembly of the State should make any additional 
grant to those soldiers, it should be considered as a part of the extra- 
ordinary encouragement promised by the town. On the same day she 
further voted : — 

" That this town do freely compl}' with the acts of the General Assembly 
passed in December last, stating the prices of the necessaries of life, and do 
resolve with cheerfulness to exert our best endeavors witliin our sphere to 
support the honor of that good and salutary law, and will hold sucli as will- 
ingly violate the same in an.v point as designing, mischievous enemies to this 
and the rest of the Independent States of America, and will refrain from all 
coannercial commerce with them until they shall give satisfaction to the 
public for every otlVnce they shall commit against the law, and this town do 
hereby recommend it to all informing ofticers as they value their oath or the 
good of their country strictly to enquire into ami make due presentment of 
all breaches of said act, and it is farther recommended to all friends of man- 
kind without reserve to give evidence of auy breach of said law to such 
iuforniing officer." 

Yoluntown voted to provide for the families of soldiers, and abate 
the colony and town taxes of non-commissioned officers and soldiers. 
Laws respecting engrosseis and monopolizers to be strictly enforced. 
The selectmen of the several towns were directed to apportion and 
distribute the salt to each district. Killingly with great ))aiticularity, 
ordeied, that the salt that belongs to the town shall be divided accord- 
ing to the number in each family, and each family that buys the salt 
shall pay four shillings per bushel ; also, that the selectmen divide the 
above salt to each parisli according to the number of families, and the 
selectmen in each parish to deliver the salt in each parish to the fami- 
lies. Woodstock not only provided for her soldiers and complied with 



CAMPAIGNS, DISCOURAGEMENTS, ETC. 



177 



the Assembly's recouitnendation, l)ut asji^ain consented to part with her 
beloved pastor, and having found voice with the other towns thus 
formally expressed herself: — 

" Feb. 20, 1777. Whereas all public bodies of men as well as iiulividu- 
als belonging to the United States of America, at such a time as this, when 
their sacred as well as civil rights are in danger of being snl)verte(l by nnuat- 
ural, brutal, merciless and unreasonable enemies; ought from principles of 
religion and virtue, and from a sacred regard to the good of their country 
and posterit.y, to manifest the most vigorous and persevering exiM'tions to 
prevent so fatal a calamity, and to deny themselves every [indulgence] that 
stands in competition with the public good; — We, an Ecclesiastic Body, First 
church of Christ in Woodstocis, have once and again given our consent that 
our Reverend pastor should absent himself from this church, and engage in 
the public service, and assure him that we shall consider his pastoral relation 
to us by no means violated by his absence, and wish hira God speed." 

The Windham County Association of Ministers, now felt it their 
duty to express their views, and offer rebuke and counsel. " Consider- 
ing the peculiar circumstances of our land during the present calamities 
of war, wherewith the holy and righteous God is ]jleased to exercise 
us ; the decline of religion and prevalence of iniquity ; think it our 
duty to stir up ourselves and the jjeople of our charge to additional 
attention to our duties, and propose to General Association to recom- 
mend professors of religion to renew their covenant with God that 
family religion and order might be maintained." A committee was 
appointed to prepare a suitable address which was pul)lished, and a 
thousand copies distributed among the twenty parishes of Windham 
County. 

Encouraged and strengthened by these manifestations of public sen- 
timent, Windham County entered upon the campaign of 1777 with 
renewed spirit and confidence, filling her quotas for home and Conti- 
nental service with her usual readiness. Veterans whose times had 
expired usually reenlisted. Ebenezer Gray was now Major in Colonel 
Douglas's regiment. Dana and Keyes were recommissioned as cap- 
tains, probably in Durkee's regiment. John Ripley of Windham was 
appointed major of four companies under Captains Ebenezer Mosely, 
Kinne, Leffingwell and Kingsbury, stationed at Rhode Island, and as 
when their term of enlistment had expired there was "a great appear- 
ance of British ships and troops off New London," companies from the 
Eleventh and Twenty-first regiments were immediately accoutred and 
marched to Providence under command of Major Ripley, although 
" tlie more eastern regiments in the State had been frequently called 
into service." Dr. Waldo was now a]>pointed surgeon in Huntington's 
regiment ; Dr. David Holmes in Chandler's regiment. Dr. Thomas 
Gray of Windham, surgeon's mate in Durkee's regiment. The Second 
company of the Fourth regiment of Light Horse were reorganized, 
Perley Howe of Killingly, captain ; Asaph Wilder, lieutenant ; Ste- 
23 



178 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

plien Tucker, cornet; Davis Flint, quartenuiistcr. Spirited gentlemen 
in Brooklyn liaviiig liberally agieed to fnrni.sh " three or four light eon- 
struetetl field j)ieces and equip them* tit for service," Daniel Tyler, Jr., 
and tliirty-tive ])etitioneis obtained leave to form an independent ina- 
tross com])any, subject only to be commanded by the commander in- 
chief or either of the major or brigadier generals of the State of Con- 
necticut. Ammunition was now more jjlentiful. In the three months 
])receding February, 1777, 42,666 pounds of saltpetre made in Wind- 
ham County were received at the Willimantic i)owder-mill. Private 
individuals in every town were engaged in this maimfacture. Abel 
Clark of Pomfret, reports 364 pounds made at his works, "out of home 
material, pure, clear and dry ;" the Eldeikin brothers furnished about 
900 pounds; Thomas Stedman, 381; Andrew Durkee, o08 ; while 
others send less than twenty ])ounds. The selectmen meanwhile 
report 881 pounds in scale and clock weights, shot and bar lead, deliv- 
ered at the powder-mill. As in preceding years every possible effort 
was made to raise and equip recruits, and maintain the patriot cause, 
and yet again they were doomed to disappointment and calamity. 
Captain Elderkin's company suifered severely at Ticonderoga, and after 
helping to maintain that fortress for many months, rejoicing even over 
raw pork in their extremity of hunger, weie forced to an ignoiuinious 
retreat before Burgoyne's advancing army. Putnam's division at Peeks- 
kill, weakened by sending its best men to the aid of Gates and Wash- 
ington, was humiliated by the irruption of Sir Henry Clinton, the seizure 
of iujportant forts, and great destruction of property, and Washington, 
after a laborious and painful campaign, checpiered by alternate success 
and defeat, was compelled to leave Philadelphia in the hands of the 
British, and yield those forts upon the Delaware which had been so 
valiantly manned and defended. A regiment of Windham County 
militia under Colonel Sauuiel McClellan, titled out in September to 
serve in the northern department, was detailed instead upon an exjjc- 
dition for the recovery of Newport under General Spencer, which for 
various reasons proved a complete failure. And while thus called to 
defeat and disaster, it so chanced tliat but few of the Windham sol- 
diers participated in the victory of Saratoga, — a part of a regiment 
drafted from Peekskill, and straggling volunteers* in Lattimer's militia. 
With these failures and disasters were bereavements that caused 
peculiar sorrow. Captain Stephen Brown of Pomtret, a most brave 
and faithful officer, who had succeeded Kuowltou in immediate com- 



* Among these volunteers was Ephraim Squier of Ashford, whose regi- 
ment lost some eight or nine killed, and thirty wounded, ;uul who had the 
pleasure of seeing " the prisoners march by towards llead-Quarters, a very 
agreeable sight." 



CAMPAIGN'S, DISCOURAGEMENTS, ETC. 179 

niand, was killed instantly by a shot from a sliip while defending Fort 
JMitHin, with unparalleled bravery. Among the slain at Sai-atoga was 
Captain Daniel Clark of Plaintield, •' who departed this life in the field 
of battle at Stillwater, September 19, 1777, leaving a distressed widow 
and six orphaned children to bemoan his unhappy fate, and their own 
most glooqiy prospects." Flainfield mour?ied also the death of her 
f^iithful minister, llev. John Fuller, chaplain in the army, and Wood- 
stock's beloved Leonard passed beyond human judgment. His brilliant 
career closed in great darkness and sorrow. Overstaying a furlough in 
consequence of the dangerous sickness of one of his children, he was 
met on his journey back to camp by the tidings that he had been cen- 
sured and superseded. Keenly sensitive to public opinion, he felt unable 
to endure the disgrace, and in the first shock of mortification took his 
life with his own hand. Putnam's aft'ectionate heart was deeply moved 
by this distressing calamity. Other pei-sonal afilictions were weighing 
heavily upon him. His step-son, Septimus Gardiner, a young man of 
great promise, wlio had served as his aid. died during this autumn, and 
was soon followed by Mrs. Putnam. These losses brought much sorrow 
and mourning to Windham County. Mrs. Putnam, so long known and 
beloved, was gieatly lamented by her old friends in Ponifret, their grief 
being heightened by the accompanying report that she " had died in 
pi'ison in the enemy's hands." Colonel William Douglas died dui'ing 
this year of disease produced by exposure on the battle-field ; Commis- 
sary Joseph Trumbull, and Dr. David Holmes of Woodstock, were 
compelled by ill health to retire from active service. The closing mis- 
fortune of the year was the blowing up of the Willimantic powder- 
mill, December 13, with the loss of one life, valuable machinery and 
material, monrnfully chronicled by patriot journals, "amongst other 
obstacles to impede our success. " 

Public affairs looked more and more discouraging and gloomy. The 
winter of 1777-78 was one of great hardship and sutfering, abroad and 
at home, in the camp and by the fireside. The incessant drain was 
depleting the resources of the towns. The farms were sutfering for the 
lack of suitable tillage, and production had lessened. There was 
scarcity of grain, meat, salt and clothing. Currency was rapidly de 
predating in value, and financial aftairs becoming hopelessly entangled. 
Terrible stories came to Windham County homes, of the sickness and 
destitution of sons and brethren at Valley Forge — soldiers even freez- 
ing to death in their tents — and stories of sicknes.s, death and even 
destitution went back in return. Mothers asked tearfully how they 
should carry their little ones through the winter, and "God answei'ed 
them by taking them to himself." The ofticers with their slender pay, 
constantly diminishing in value, were even more embarrassed than 



180 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 



the soldiers, wliose families were cared for by the selectmen of the 
towns, and many were forced to resign to keep their families from 
starvation. 

Yet still, in spite of disaster and discouragement, the towns went 
bravely on, upholding the Goverimient and providing food and cloth- 
ing for the soldieis — not only meeting their quotas, but sejiding dona- 
tions and contributions. The Articles of Confederation recommended 
by Congress were received, discussed and formally adopted. Pomfret 
instructed her representatives to use their endeavors that the Articles of 
Confederation be come into and established. Windham "accords to 
the same in every article and case," but insists " that the Delegates to 
the Contir.ental Congress should be chosen by the freeinen of the State 
and not by the Assembly." Canterbury expressed her views with great 
fullness. At a town-meeting January 12, 1778, Mr. John Felch, mod- 
eratoi', it was voted : — 

"That we have carefully examined the Articles of Confederation agreed on 
by Conjiress, and thiniv them well calculated for the proposed design, and 
cannot be altered with any emendation better to accouiniodate us in this State, 
and therefore voted to accept and approve them, and that the representatives 
of the town be instructed to give their vote for them in General Assembly; 
also, to procuie an alteration in the mode of taxation; also, to have the dele- 
gation in Congress chosen in the same manner as for Governor; also, to have 
the debates in the Assembly as public as may be, and that the yeas and nays 
in every important measure be noted in the Journal, and published, that the 
towns may liave them ; also, to procure an act to be passed to punish profane 
swearing and cursing by disability to sustain any otlice or place of trust and 
profit in any civil department, at least for the second offence." 

The scarcity of salt was a very serious grievance, and "threatened 
at times to disturb the public peace and safety of the State." A per- 
mission had been given to Ebenezer Griffin, Jr., of Canada Parish, the 
preceding summer, to ti'ausport cattle, butter and cheese to Massachu- 
setts or Providence, to purchase salt and other West India goods. A 
number of the citizens of Pomfret associated in the autumn of 1777, 
" for the purpose of chartering or puichasing a good sea-vessel, and 
loading the same to send immediately to the West Indies for salt and 
other necessaries." Twenty-four gentlemen* contributed about seventy 
})Ounds for this object, and agreed to meet at Major Ripley's in Wind- 
ham, October 15, to make choice of captain and supercargo, and con- 
tiive such measures as were needful to accommodate and accomplish 
the voyage. The "brig Litchjield, 130 tons burthen," was proposed 
and examined, but whether the project was carried through is ex- 
tremely doubtiul, as measures were taken from time to time to pro- 

* Ebenezer Stoddard, Ebenezer Ilolbrook, John and Samuel Dresser, Wil- 
liam Osgood, Jr., Appleton and Zach. Osgood, Seth Stowell, Calvin lIoll)rook, 
Josiah Chandler, Jr., John, Daniel, James and Caleb Trowbridge, Amasa Ses- 
sions, Jr., Joseph Ingalls, Edward and Benjamin Kiiggles, John and Isaac Wil- 
liams, Joseph Whitney, Elijah Dana, Israel l^utnam, Jr. 



CAMPAIGNS, DISCOURAGEMENTS, ETC. 181 

cure this vital necessity from other qxiarters. PLiinfield ordered thirty- 
six bushels carted from Boston, Messrs. Dunlap and Pierce to distribute 
the same according to polls. Joseph Torrey of Killingly, was allowed 
to exchange six firkins of butter for salt, while limited su]iplies were 
secured with much labor and difficulty by home manufacture. 

Prompt and liberal provision was made by all the towns in the spring 
of 1778, for the raising of their respective quotas. Thirty-seven men 
were demanded from Windham. She ofiTered to each man who would 
enlist for a year's service, six pounds bounty, in addition to the same sum 
paid by the State ; twelve pounds at the end of the year, and his wages 
of forty shillings a month, all in lawful money. A rate of sixpence 
on all the polls and ratable estates, to be paid in beef, jiork, flour, etc., 
was levied to meet this outlay. Similar ofters from other towns met 
Avith ready acceptance. Favorable news from France revived public 
cheerfulness and courage. Recognition, alliance and aid weie offered 
to the struggling States. Soldiers went out again with hopeful hearts 
and patriots labored on at home, hoping that brighter days were at 
hand ; but just as the French fleet was nearing the American coast 
came rumors more appalling than anything yet heard during the war — 
rumors of Indian descent and massacre in Wyoming's lovely valley. 
These terrible rumors were but too literally confirmed. Robert Dm-- 
kee, Robert Jameson, Anderson Dana, George Donance, James Bid- 
lack, Thomas and Stephen Fuller, Stephen Whiton, John Abbot. Sam- 
uel Ransom, Elisha AVilliams, Tiraotliy Pierce, John Perkins^, and many 
other honored sons of Connecticut and Windham County, had been most 
barbarously tortured and butchered, their homes burned, their farms rav- 
aged, their families taken prisoners, or driven out naked and starving into 
the wilderness. Aged fathers and mothers in Windham County waited 
in harrowing suspense to hear from their lost children, and after many 
anxious days received these stricken families, as one by one they found 
their way to the old hearthstone. Mrs. John Abbot and Mrs. Thomas 
Fuller, each with nine children, and utterly destitute, begged tlieir way 
back as best they could to their Windham homes. Mrs. Stephen Fuller 
came on horseback with her little Polly. Mrs. Anderson Dana, with 
her widowed daughter, Mrs. Whiton, the bride of a few weeks, and 
six younger children, toiled back to Ashfoi'd, having first the presence 
of mind to save and bring with her most valuable public and personal 
papers belonging to her husband. Mrs. Elisha Williams left on that 
bloody battle-field her husband, two promising sons, and a daughter's 
husband, and with her five surviving children sought refuge at her 
father's house in Canterbury. And after many months had passed, and 
all hope of seeing them again had perished, Mrs. Esther Minor Yorke, 
with twelve children, barefoot and starving, reached her old home iu 



182 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Volunlown. li,i\iiig witli gToat ditlicnlty osca|K'<l from tlieir Indian cap- 
tors and acconiplislied the perilous joiiiney, tlie baby dying on the way 
frojn colli and exposure. Another hunted fugitive arriving at about the 
same date, was llufus Baldwin, an emigiant to Newpoit, New York, 
who had killed an Indian, and was obliged to tlee fur liis life, and trav- 
eled through the wilderness to Cantei'buiy " with only a chunk of raw 
salt pork in his pocket." 

Meantime another calamity had befallen the patriots. Their hope of 
aid from France had proved illusive. The fleet, so warmly greeted, 
had only brought them fi'esh disappointment. Another effort had been 
made to regain possession of Newpoit. A large force under General 
Sullivan was to coiiperate with the French fleet. Again Windham 
County militia and troops of hoi'se Inii-ried down to Rhode Island. 
Young Joseph Joslin, one of tlii'ee V)rothers sent from Thompson, gives 
a grapiiic pictm-e of his share in the campaign : — 

" Anfjnst 0. Did inarch to town and t)an\'U:k in tlie Court Ilonse. 7. As 
soon a.s light, got up and see the ("ontincntals niarcli for Tivertown; got some 
bicaklast. and then I went to the New Liglit nieeliug-liouse and got a canteen, 
and about 12 we set out for Tivertown, marched through Pawtuxet into .Se- 
konlt or Ivehoboth, and did lie in tl;e meadow on the side of a fence. 8. 
Mustered about 2 or 3 o'clock and \narched into Swanzea. and then over 
States Ferry into Freetown, and then over Fall River to Tiverton, and I 
encamped I)y sitle of a hay stack. 9. Flad bowl of chocolate and went to Parade, 
and fixed onr guns for business; then rode over the ferry and landed upon 
lihoile Island; formed and marclied up to the fort, and lay down in tlie great 
chaml^er. 10 French did engage the English batteries with their sliips. and 
cannonaded very smart for three hours, and brothers Jesse and John went to 
the lines scouting at night. I went upon guard to the bridge, and did sleep 
in tlie road. 1 1. Jesse and John fixed a little wall to break the wind, and we 
have nothing to cat hardly. 12. Knocked about and l)nilt us a stone liouse 
and covered it with hay, and it rained very hard, and the house leaketl and we 
thouirht we could not stand it, went about a mile and got wet to the skin, and 
found a hay stack, and almost cliillcd to death we rolled ofl' some hay and did 
lie by the stack, and were almost dead in the morning. 13. Crept out, and 
came to stone house; found John alive, and after a while I got dry, and liad a 
boil on mv eye, and did feel very poorly. Our folks lixed up all our barracks, 
and got a little green coru to eat." 

This terrible storm was the chief cause of the failure of the enter- 
prise. The fleet was scattered and disabled, and the land force greatly- 
worn down and dispirited. Several soldiers died that night, and many 
were made ill. Provision and ammunition were greatly damaged. Gov- 
.ernor Trumbull had already made requisition upon Ebenezer Devotion of 
Scotland Parish for a hundred barrels of musket powder, and all the 
cartridges in his hands, to be forwarded with all speed to General 
Greene at Providence — nfeedful teams to be impressed if necessary — 
and now sends swift express, stating that the storm had wet most of 
the cartridges in General Sullivan's army, and begs him to hurry on 
stores with the utmost dispatch, as powder sufficient for supply was not 



DISCOURAGEMENTS, ENDURANCE, ETC. 183 

to be bad in Proviileiife. In face of tbis great disaster, Sullivan con- 
tinued bis operations. Joslin repoi'ts : — 

^'Aug 14. Got up and panuk-d and marched to the water and fired b.v pla- 
toons. 15. Not well, nor John eitlicr, and all the brl.u'udes marehed to the 
lines and we sot our packs l)ron;;hL down and encamped in a huckleberry 
plain, and I had a clean shirt and trousers come and felt very poorly; blind 
with one eye, and not any tents nor ha'n't had but the heavens to cover us. 
Huckleberries very thick. We built a house of bushes- John and I drawn 
out to entrench and made a fort and almost linished it. 17. Very poorly ; ate 
nothing. 18. Still very poorly. The enemy keep a constant firiiiii: at our 
men while they are liuildini-' the fort. John and I yo upon guard. Two or 
three wounded to-day. Many guns broke, some the breeches oft", some the 
barrels struck asunder. 19. A little firing- on both sides. 20. They fire a 
little; are all the time entrenching and building forts. I washed my knapsack 
and feel some better. 21. Set out upon fatigue down the lines, had to dig in 
plain sight of the enemy. The ground was but just broke and we got to work 
when they began to fire upon us very fast, but we received no damage. I got 
home alive to my tent. 22d. One m;ui killed, one wounded. 2.'!tl. Enemy 
firing hot shells and we begun the breastwork for the great mortar. Two of 
our men were taken. Jesse, John and I worked till noon and placed the great 
mortar. 24. Constant firing. 25. All paraded and went to headquarters; 
Avent three miles for rum. A great gun ball took a board off the store and 
struck liere and there. 2(). Paraded; six or seven men killed; an eighteen- 
pounder split all to pieces and a brass mortar. Aug. 27. Paraded and took 
our cooking utensils and went to lieadquarters and delivered them up, and 
marched through Portsmouth to Bristol Ferry and went on board a vess(;l to 
go to Providence. There was but little wind and that was wrong, and at two 
the men came jumping down into the hold and said we were all prisoaers, fnr 
there was an English privateer just by, but it proved to be one of our own, and 
we got along slowly and beat along almost to Conanicut Point and cast an- 
chor and lay till light and then struck for Warwick Rock and landed and came 
along . . . and got some victuals and I feel very poorly. Camp Middle- 
town, Aug. 28. Hear that they had a smart fight." 

Deserted by tbe Freucb fleet, and alarmed by rumors of large acces- 
sion to tbe forces of tbe enemy, Sullivan was compelled to abandon bis 
enterpi'ise, and instead of tbe brilliant victory so confidently anticip;ited 
tbe patriots could only rejoice tbat tbe army bad safely retreated. 
Several Windbam County soldiers were slain or wounded in tbe "smart 
figbt" witb tbe pursuing Britisb. Tbeodore, son of Deacon Lusber 
Gay, of Tbompson Point, a most ))romisiiig and engaging young man 
of nineteen years, died of sickness at Tiverton. 



lY. 

DISCOURAGEMENTS. ENDURANCE. HOME AFFAIRS. 
BRIGHTENING PROSPECTS. VICTORY. 

WITH sucb reiterated defeat, disaster and disappointment tbe w^ar 
dragged on. Tbe succeeding year biougbt no improvement. 
Little was attempted or accomplisbed. Financial embarrassment, in- 
ternal dissension and insufl&cient supplies, compelled inaction. Never 
were aliairs more gloomy and discouraging. Tbe best tbat could be 
said was tbat tbe army was not auulbilated, tbat tbe States and 



184 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

General Government still maintained their integrity, that after all the 
eiforts and expenditnres of Great Britain, rebellion was not crushed 
out, the Colonies were not subdued. The people all over the land were 
weary, de])ressed and discouraged. Their property was becoming 
wortliless, the comforts and even necessaries of life almost unattainable. 
Thousands of their brethren had been sent out to die in camp, prison 
and battle, and to little apparent pui'pose. And there were things harder 
to bear than discomforts, loss of property and even friends. There was 
demoralization, degeneration and defection. Young men came back 
wrecked in health and character, dissolute in habit and infidel in prin- 
ciple. Even Windham County had its Auxor.D. Poor Colonel 
Fitch, with all his chivalrous devotion to the royal cause, could never 
openly take ground against his countrymen ; but Pomfret's dashing at- 
torney was less scrupulous. Nathan Frink, a shrewd and successful 
lawyer, who had gained an extensive legal practice and wide reputation, 
seeing no hope for success on the patriot side, left home and friends 
and ofiered himself and his services to the British commander in New 
York ! His aged father most piteously bemoaned "that he had lost his 
son, lost his education, lost everything in him that was dear to him," 
and soon went down into the grave mourning. His sister, the wife of 
Schuyler Putnam, a large circle of family connections, and all the 
earnest patriots of Pomfret and its vicinity, were overwhelmed with 
grief, shame and resentment at this " mournful defection." 

And even among those who claimed to be patriots there were things 
that caused sorrow and discouragement. There were murraurings, and 
bitter wranglings, and selfish speculation and extortion. Men kept back 
their goods for a price, though they knew their soldiers were starving 
and naked. The brief sessions of the County Court were chiefly occu- 
pied with hearing conn)laints against various people for selling cattle 
and swine at foreign markets and for unauthorized prices, and for 
other breaches of wholesome laws made to encourage fair dealing and 
restrain and punish sharpers and oppressors. Ebenezer Gray, now 
Lieutenant-Colonel, thus writes of the sufferings of the soldiers : — 

" Camp, Jan. 7, 1779. 
Dear Brothpr — I wrote several times to my father and Dr. Elderkin to 
procure me some butter and clieese, and if they should not do it pray procure 
me some, and forward by the first State or Continental teams that come to tiie 
army, for I am in great need of them as tliereis nothiuir to be bought here and 
our allowance very short, only fourteen ounces of meat for seven days, or 
three gills of rice and three-fourths of a pound of corn bread of buckwheat 
and corn not sifted, and sometimes neither. I am credibly informed that some 
oflicers have been so hard pressed by hunger as to kill and eat their dogs:. We cer- 
tainly fare very hard. My own hunger and the cries of a distressed regiment 
for victuals as well as for clothes gives me sensible pain, and in such a man- 
ner as I never felt before. I hope I shall be able to get well through it. I 
have no news only our present dilficulties for waut of supplies. The patience 



DISCOURAGEMENTS, ENDURANCE, ETC. 185 

and submission of our men under such difficulties and trying scenes are in- 
credible. Tiie avarice of tlie people, which depreciates the currency, is, I be- 
lieve, the grand source of our present troubles. Your affectionate brother." 

Doctor Waldo of Pomfret, returning home during this winter upon a 
furlough, "found his faiuily on the point of famishing with mere want 
of food and every other necessary." Money received fi"om sale of a 
small possession and such wages as had been paid him, reduced to a 
trifle in value, were now wholly gone, and he was compelled by sheer 
necessity to resign his place as surgeon to protect them "• from the in- 
solence of pressing want." 

Yet in the face of all these difficulties and discouragements, Wind- 
ham County continued steadfast, trusting in the justice of the patriot 
cause and in that Providence which had so wondeifully led and sus- 
tained the people of America. The high position assumed by her at 
the breaking out of the Revolution was steadily maintained. Those ve- 
hement and somewhat over-confident " resolutions" had been followed 
by abundant performance. In darkest days she stood firm and unwav- 
ering, striving with unceasing diligence to strengthen tlie hands of 
government and carry forward the war. Though in the increasing 
poverty and scarceness these demands were veiy burthensome, the sev- 
eral towns never failed to meet them. Year after year they taxed 
themselves heavily to pay bounties, furnish clothing, and provide for the 
families of tlie soldiers. Those sturdy fathers and patriots who had 
taken so bold a stand in the beginning of the great struggle carried the 
towns onward. Solid as their own granite rocks they stood in unbroken 
phalanx, manfully bearing the heavy financial burden, and faithfully ful- 
filling social and political obligations. Ebenezer Smith of Wood- 
stock, called to attend a special session of the General Assembly iu 
winter when the roads were snow-blocked, walked the whole distance 
to Hartford on snow-shoes rather than fail of attendance, and there were 
scores of men in that and other towns equally ready to perform any 
patriotic service in the same self-sacrificing and conscientious spirit — 
men who had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor 
to the patriot cause, wlio sent their sons to the front and went them- 
selves in any extremity, who holdup the hands of Trumbull, and made 
Connecticut a tower of strength throughout the war. Washington 
never called in vain upon " Brother Jonathan," and Trumbull was 
sure of instant response from his own County. Again and again 
those patriot fathers stepped into the breach and led the people 
onward ; went forth themselves into the field or furnished vital aid to 
those engaged in battle. General Douglas of Plainfield, Colonels Wil- 
liams, Danielson and Johnson, though now advanced in years, led the 
militia many times on alarm of danger, and Major Backus time after 
21 



186 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

time hurried his troo])S of horse to the relief of New London and Khode 
Island. ]McClellan not only served almost continuonsly in the field, but 
paid his legiment out of his own pocket when the public treasury was 
empty. General Douglas, Colonel Johnson, iNlajor Kipley, Commissary 
Waldo, and, indeed, very many of those leading men who had money 
at command, advanced it repeatedly to pay out bounties or tit off ex- 
peditions. 

Col. Dyer, when not representing Connecticut in Congress, devoted 
his time and energies to deliberations with the Council and Committee 
of Safety. Elderkin and Wales maintained their place on this Com- 
mittee. Samuel Gray served as assistant-commissary to Col. Joseph 
Tiumbull, and after his decease was appointed by Congress, deputy 
cotnmissary-general of the Eastern Department, comprising New Eng- 
land and New York, a most laborious and responsible office. Very 
many men were employed by him in Windham County, securing and 
forwarding for the use of the sufteiing army all provisions that could 
possibly be spared. Elderkin and Gray rei)aired their powder-mill and 
were able to send out fresh supplies of ammunition, under the su- 
pervision of their efficient and ingenious superintendent, Ilenry De 
Witt; and Hezekiah Huntington continued to repair and raanulacture 
arms at liis State Armory at Willimantic, while others with ecpial dili- 
gence and efficiency labored to fulfill varying demands. Town acts and 
votes were still unanimtnis. No attempt was made to evade military 
or civil requisitions. The leaders kept their ]>ost and the people faitii- 
fully upheld them. That s[)irit of detiaction and sus])icion which 
wrought such mischief within the ])atriot ranks was denounced and 
held in abeyance. Judge Ebenezer Devotion of Scotland tlius writes 
to Dr. Waldo : — 

"We hivve many loud declaimers ajjainst tlie times, the very worst that ever 
were known; tlie Americans have in three years lost all their virtue, their 
honor, their patriotism ; but what is the foundation of this outcry? The prin- 
cipal thing is the depreciation of our cunency, by which so many worthy men 
liave sutlered, which has highly disgusted and soured them. They cry out, 
Public virtue is at an end. Congress hath promised and not performed. I 
confess I am unable to see wherein Congress has been to blame, except that it 
did not tax more and hii/her. This might have lessened but not prevented the dif- 
liculty and might have excited in the minds of the i)eople a most fatal inieasi- 
ness. Congress has been obliged, as there was no other possible way to carry 
on the war, to emit vast sums. It is a certain known maxim that the prices 
of commodities will be proportionate to the plenty or scarcity of cash, taking 
into due consideration the quantity of and demand for such commodities. It 
is, I believe, an undoubted fact, that the ([uantity of necessaries oT life usually 
produced in this country have since the war diminished, while for oi)vious rea- 
sons the demand has greatly increased. These two causes, co-oi)erating with 
the tirst, viz. : the amazing superabundant quantity of money, have produced 
the etlect they never failed to produce in one instance since the siege of 
Samaria. The honest merchant and farmer have acted on the same principle 
as ever before— iu open market to sell their merchandize or produce at as 
high a price as the purchaser was willing to give, llogues and knaves we 



DISCOURAGEMENTS, ENDURANCE, ETC. 187 

have now as before, but God forbid that the State should take its complexion 
from them. It is on this principle and not on the total decay of virtue and 
public spirit, I have to account for the depreciation of currency. A people 
never lost their virtue in a day." 

Colonel Dyer was particularly sensitive and scrupulous with regard 
to the fulfillment of every pledge and promise, and thus writes Gover- 
nor Trumbull in reference to the Burgoyne contract which some 
thought of evading : — 

"It concerns us inviolably to keep our faith and maintain our honor, 
plediced for the punctual fulfillment on our part of all treaties, contracts or 
conventions, made even with our eueaiies ; as we would not offened Heaven 
by our perfldy. nor forfeit our honor and reputation in the eyes of this or the 
European world, which are and will be most attentively watchful over every 
part of our public conduct, and will rtx their opinion and form their estima- 
tion of these American States on no part more than that which concerns our 
public faith and honor. In the beijinnini; of this infant Empire the greater 
care is to be taken to establish a fair and reputable character which if once 
lost is hardly to be regained." 

Public calls found Windham town ever ready for speech or action. 
An address from Congress, May 26, 1779, requesting "the immediate, 
strenuous and united effort of all friends to the United States of Amer- 
ica for preventing the mischiefs that have arisen from the depreciation 
of their currency," was met by a prompt assemblage of the inhabitants 
of this town who unanimously voted to unite with other towns of the 
State in all proper Constitutional measures. The published report of 
the proceedings of the meeting failing to incite other towns to action, 
the Committee of Correspondence, viz. : Eliphalet Dyer, Xathaniel 
Wales, Jr., Samuel Kingsbury, Ebenezer Mosely and Hezekiah Bissell, 
fearing that by a long delay in so important a ci'isis the whole should 
prove abortive, issued a circular, urging the " vast importance of sup- 
porting our public and national faith, especially in time of war," and 
the necessity of having the whole State agi-eed in any plan proper to 
be pursued. But as no method had been pioposed for calling a State 
meeting, a meeting of the several towns in Windham County was 
deemed " expedient and necessary to give spring to the whole," and 
though they did not by any means claim a right to dictate, yet since 
one must needs be first in a matter of this kind they therefore requested 
the several towns in the County by their committees or selectmen to 
meet " at the Court house in Windham on the first Monday of Septem- 
ber to take the matters aforesaid into their consideration and agree on 
such measures as they may judge necessary to accomplish the end de- 
signed." 

With such unfailing spirit, resolution and persistence Windham car- 
ried on the war. The substratum of strength underlying the early ef- 
fervescence was more and more apparent as the years went on. All 
were ready to do their part and share in the sufferings and sacrifices. 



188 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTT. 

Men went out to battle and council and provided for public demands, 
and women labored as efficiently in their own especial fields of useful- 
ness. The burdens and distresses of the w.-ir fell very heavily upon 
these women. They sent out husbands, brothers, sons, and labored to 
fill their places. Farm work was added to their ordinary domestic du 
ties. Tliey had to take care of their stock as well as their chikb-en, to 
plant and reap as well as spin and weave, to cure herbs for their own 
tea, and manufacture their molasses out of corn-stalks. These various 
demands stimulated ingenuity so that whatever the call they were ready 
to meet it. Mrs. Philemon Adams of Brooklyn, left by her husband 
ere their house was finished, laid the fioor herself and n)ade it ready 
for the occupation of her family. Somebody in Windham Village had 
the enterprise to begin to build a house during this period, but when 
the timbers were ready there was not a man to help about the raising. 
The spirited and capable women of the district came to the rescue, and 
under the lead of an old lame carjienter set up the frame of a large two 
story dwelling in so satisfactoiy and workman-like a manner that after 
more than a hundred years it stands as a memorial of their achieve- 
ment. Many marvelous feats of handiwoik were accomplished. A 
good lady in Thompson hears of a chance to send a package to her 
husband and in one day and night knits a pair of long woolen stock 
iiigs. Shubael Dimmock of Mansfield comes home in rags for a brief 
furlough in midwinter. There was no cloth in the house, but there 
was a web of warp drawn into the loom and an old black sheep nib- 
bling round the dooryard. Instantly the sheep was caught, sheared, 
and bundled down cellar in a blanket, and in forty-eight hours its black 
fieece was transmuted into a golden suit of clothes wending its way to 
the army. Mother, sisters, and neighbors, working with skill and dex- 
teiity, had woven the wool into cloth, cut and made the garments. 
Children as they grew up caught the pervading spirit. Lads hurried 
off to camp or worked like men at home ; young girls devoted all their 
overflowing energies to useful labors. The only daughter of Captain 
James Stedman, of Canada Parish, often worked in the fields with the 
hired woman, while her father and workmen were on militia service, 
and before she had comi)leted her eleventh year had achieved by the sole 
labor of her own hands — carding, spinning and weaving — a web of tow 
cloth which she took down herself on horseback to Windham Green 
and exchanged for six silver teaspoons, to be treasured as priceless heir- 
looms by appreciative descendants. And while thus burthened with 
business and family cares they were ready for any patriotic and 
neighborhood service. Trumbull, with his neighbor, Jonathan J. 
Hazard of Rhode Island, " stumped " New London and Washington 
Counties in the hard winter of 1777-78, urging all the women " to com- 



DISCOURAGEMENTS, HOME AFFAIRS, ETC. 189 

menoe making yarn and knitting- stockings for the suffering army " — 
but a single telegrapliic di.s])atcli from headquarters was enough to elec- 
ti'ify the knitting needles of Windham County. Thousands of cartiidges 
were made by Plaintield women to keep up the supply of military 
stores at their depot. Sick and weary soldiers passing along the public 
highways were nursed and tended. A widow in Thompson, who had 
spared her only grown-up son to the sei'vice, found time witli all her 
other labors to brew every day in summer a barrel of beer to stand by 
her door step for the especial i-efreshment of these way-worn soldiers. 

With such support and sympathy from town and lireside the soldiers 
sent out by Windham County could hardly fail to do her honor. Their 
early reputation for courage and good conduct was abundantly sus- 
tained. Many who had sallied out at the first cry from Lexington re- 
mained in service throughout the war. The officers of Putnam's first 
regiment — the Connecticut Third of 1775 — thus served with but few 
exceptions. Lieutenant Thomas Gi'osvenor went on from rank to rank, 
succeeding Durkee in command when that valiaiit leader was compelled 
by ill-health to retire from active service. Lieutenant Ebenezer Gray 
served the whole seven years, attaining the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. 
Captain Mosely was often called to command the militia in special ser- 
vice at Rhode Island or New London. Captains Dana, Clark, Cleft, 
Manning ; Lieutenants Daniel Marcy, John Keyes, Daniel Allen, Joim 
Adams, Melatiah Bingham, Benoni Cutler, Josiah Cleveland, Nathaniel 
Webb, William and Stei)hen Lyon served with distinction through 
successive campaigns and were honored by various promotions. Nor 
less faithful and devoted were many of the subalterns and privates of 
that first regiment and hundi-edsof subsequent recruits. Tlieir beloved 
leader and genei-al, under whom they had first enlisted, was taken from 
them in 1779, paralyzed and disabled, but they were able to fight on to 
the last, supporting Washington and his immediate command through 
all their privations and disappointments. Even when roused by poor 
food, insufficient clothing and worse pay to the very verge of mutiny, 
and preparing with other Connecticut soldiers to march to Hartford 
and demand redress from the General Assembly, they yielded at once 
to this characteristic appeal from General Putnam : — 

" My brave lads, whither are you ^oing? Do you intend to desert your of- 
ficers and to iuvile the enemy to folfow you into the country? Whose cause 
have you been fighting and sutturing so long in? Is it not your own? Have 
you no properlv, no parents, wives or chiUlren? You have behaved like men 
so far. All the world is full of your praises, and posterity will staud aston- 
ished at your deetis, but not if you spoil it all at last. Don't you consider 
how much the country is distressed by the war and that your officers have not 
been anv better paid' than yourselves? But we all expect better times and 
that the 'country will do us ample justice. Let us all stand by one another, 
then, and fight it out like brave soldiers. Think what a shame it would be for 
Conuecticut men to ruu away from their officers!" 



190 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Many of these old Wiiitlliam heroes were noted in the army. Diah 
Farnhani was the bully among Connecticut soldiers ; Rnlph Farnham, 
the heaviest man in the Connecticut line, but a wiry little Killingly ex- 
pert managed to bring down both those mighty champions. It was 
said that Sergeant "Bijah Fuller could throw any man in the army but 
Ralph Farnham, and carried this big fellow off on his back when he 
was woundetl at the battle of White Plains, the enemy close upon them 
and " bullets falling like hail around them." He would turn round 
upon his pursuers, '• pick his man," bring him down, and hurry on with 
his wounded comrade. Captain Abner Robinson of Scotland, Josiah 
Cleveland of Canterbury, Daniel Knowlton of Ashford, Joel Webb, 
Joseph Ashley, John Burnap and John Bingham of Windham, and many 
from other towns, were valiant veterans serving throughout the war, 
returning to the field at tlie fiist opportunity, if wounded or taken cap- 
tive. Daniel Knowlton was twenty-tliree months in the enemy's hands, 
sutfering from bad air, bad food and every possible discomfort and an- 
noyance. When first taken he was confined in an old meeting-house 
without a panicle of food or drink for four days. A com])assionate 
woman, hearing of the condition of tiiese prisoners, concealed food 
and a bottle of water under her clothing and prevailed upon the guard 
to allow her to visit them. She found them almost in a dying state, 
the feelinu' of hunger had passed, their only suflering was from faint- 
ness, and but for her timely lelief they would .soon have perished. But 
while those hardy veterans witlistood for so many years danger, disease 
and im|>risonment, thousands had perished on the way — some slain iu 
battle, the greater number dying from sickness or imprisonment. Un- 
numbered sons of Windham County homes were sleeping in unknown 
graves in distant States. No tongue or pen can do justice to the ser- 
vice and sufferings of these men. Their names cannot be sought out ; 
their deeds cannot be recorded. The system of em-oUment at that. date 
was so confused and imperfect that it would be impossible to obtain 
the whole number sent out from any section, and very difficult to form 
even an approximate estimate. This much we know, that the several 
towns of Windham County fulfilled every requisition for Continental 
or tnilitia service. The burden of the war was borne by the whole 
population, and a complete muster-roll of Windham's Revolutionary 
soldiers would probably include the name of nearly every family in the 
County, while many funilies sent very large representations. It is said 
thai seoentee/monsius named FhU'm- in Windiiam's second society were 
in the service, and Adams's and Cleveland's almost without number. 
Peter Adams of Brooklyn, and Ephraim Fisk of Killingly, had each 
six sons in the army ; Barzillai Fisher and Lusher Gay, each four ; and 
larger numbers from many other families. The following list, taken 



DISCOURAGEMENTS, HOME AFFAIKS, ETC. 191 

from the church records of Plaiiifield, could probal)ly have been 
paralleled in every other town had they taken care to inscribe the 
names of those who had fallen : — 

" List of men killed and died in ye Army and Navj' after April 1, 1775 : — 
Samuel Gary, Roxbury; Roswell Spauldiiii;, Asa Cliapinun, 1775; William 
Dinilap, 177G; John Kingsbury, New York-ward, 1777; Samuel Cole, Zeruiah 
Sliurtleff, New York- ward, 177G; four negroes by sickuess ; William Faruham, 
captivity; Captain Daniel Clark, Paul Adams, killed at Stillwater, Sept. I'J, 
1777; Asa Kingsbury's son killed at Fort Mifflin, nigh Philadelphia; Dr. 
Nathaniel Spalding died at Halifax a prisoner, last of 1777; Dr. Phinehas 
Parkhnrst, surgeon of brig li'cxistanre, died at Portland, May, 1778; Daniel 
Parish died at Newport a prisoner; Simon Spalding at ]\Iartinique after 
being wounded ; Enos Tew, New York, captivity, Dr. Ebeuezer Kobinson, 
Jr., at New York, prisoner, July, 1779." 

And still despite these many losses the quota was kept up from year 
to year. The spirit evoked in " '76 " outlived the sufferings and strug- 
gles of succeeding years. As fathei's and older brothers were stricken 
down or disabled, younger sons, full of the same fire and enthusiasm, 
were only too ready to follow in their footsteps. A notable feature of 
the later years of the war was the number of very young men, lads of 
fourteen and onwards, who enlisted when permitted, or attached them- 
selves to some popular officer. Samuel Calvin Adams of Canterbury, 
not then quite fourteen years of age, waited upon Capt. Aaron Cleve- 
land at the time of Governor Tryon's assault upon Horse-Xeck, and saw 
General Putnam plunge down the steep bluff, the bullets of the baffled 
dragoons whizzing around him and even passing through his hat. 
William Eaton of Woodstock, at sixteen ran away from home to join 
the army and prevailed upon Captain Dana to receive him as his ser- 
vant. John Pettengill of Windham, enlisted at fourteen, and served 
till the close of the war under the same popular leader. liCvi Bingham 
of Windham, entered the service at fifteen. Daniel Waldo, at seven- 
teen served a month under Capt. William Howard, at New London, 
and then enlisted under Cajit. Xathauiel Wales, for continental service. 
Many a household was forced reluctantly to part with even its Benja- 
min. Laban, the youngest son of Barzillai Fisher, appears at dawn of 
day with gun upon his shoulder. " O Laban, you are not going ! " 
besought his distressed aunt. "Yes," he cheerily answered, "but 
don't tell father," and so he went to his fate in the Jersey prison-ship. 
Undeterred by the hard exjierience of those who had gone before, 
young men were still eager to brave the perils and share the honors of 
military life. The surgeons' places vacated by the death or withdrawal 
of Spalding, Holmes, Lee, Gray, Waldo and others, were filled by Dr. 
Lord, Dr. David Adams, and Dr. Walter Hough of Canterbury, who 
had just completed his studies. The hearts of older veterans in the 
field were cheered by this continued inftfsion of new blood and muscle 



192 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

into the army. The patience and fortitmlc of tiiese men, young and 
old alike, amid such depth of destitution and discomfort, excited the 
wondering admiration of Washington and sympathetic officers. 
Turning their very wants and woes into sportive song,* they faith- 
fully kept their jiosts and did their duty, trusting that their labors 
and sacrifices would at length meet fitting reward and help work out 
the freedom and prosperity of their country. 

Though the carrying on of the war was the first and chief object 
during the Revolutionary period, Windham was not wholly absorbed 
by it. Amid all the distractions and perplexities of the time the 
daily routine of life flowed on — eating and sleeping, sowing and reap- 
ing, buying and selling, birth, marriage and death. Public worship 
was statedly maintained, children taught in intermittent fashion, town 
affairs faithfully administered. In some respects there was decided 
growth and progress. Experience was widened ; ingenuity and inven- 
tion stimulated. Among the gains of the time were substantial fami- 
lies fi'om sea-board settlements. These new comers interested them- 
selves in town affairs and engaged in various business operations. 
James Thurber and Lemuel Chandler opened a store in Pomfret, sell- 
ing groceries and liquors. Hannah Miller of Boston, obliged " to 
flee from the merciless troops of that town as from a nest of hornets," 
sought refuge in the happy and peaceful State of Connecticut with a 
hogshead of rum and a tierce of coffee wliich she "had brought to 
live upon," selling and baitering the same with the neighbors, in 
Pomfret. Jonathan Hale of Concord, engaged in the manufacture of 
hand-cards to great public convenience. The home production of 
salt, saltpetre and potash was very largely increased. 

The religious interests of the county suffered severel}"^ by loss of 
men, diminished means, public distractions and increasing skepticism. 



* A lady in Chaplin sends this frajjinent, sung to her in childhood by Mr. 
Josepli Martin, a tine sinner and prominent person in the conununity and 
cluircli, wlio used to take her on his knee and sing to her many of the old 
Revolutionary songs, sung in camp by the soldiers : — 

" O once I could eat of that bread, that bread, 
That was made of the finest of wheat; 
But now 1 am ^lad of an Indian cake, 
And glad if I can get it to eat. 

O once I could lie on that bed, that bed, 

That was made of the softest of down; 
But now 1 glad of a bundle of straw 

To keep my head off trom the ground. 

O once I could drink of that beer, that beer, 

That was made of the berry so brown ; 
But now I am glad of a cup of cold water 

That runs through an Indian towu." 



HOME AFFAIRS, ETC. 193 

The Baptists alone gained ground. Their bold and earnest champion- 
ship of civil and religious freedom was in unison with the spirit of the 
age, and brought them into public favor. Their growth in Windham 
County was greatly aided by the influence of President Manning of 
Brown University, who after the shutting up of the college devoted 
himself to missionary labors. Many of the new comers to the county 
were earnest Baptists. A Baptist Church was organized in tlie east- 
ern part of Killingly in May, 1776. In June, Baptists in Canada and 
Abington parishes united in church fellowship, electing one of their 
number, William Grow, for their pastor. Mr. Manning was present, 
and preached the ordination sermon. Diu-ing this busy summer of 
1776, a Baptist society was also oiganized in Pomfret. Public religious 
services were held by Mr. Manning at the houses of the Thurbers and 
other friends, which excited much interest. The Rev. Mr. Putnam 
was considerably annoyed by this invasion upon his parochial bounds 
and the increasing predilection for Baptist principles and preaching, 
and attempted to meet it by inviting Mr. Manning to a public discus- 
sion of the the points at issue between them. The result was pre- 
cisely contrary to what was intended. Mr. Manning had greatly the 
advantage of his opponent in vigor and eloquence if not in argument, 
public interest was heightened, and Baptist sentiments far more widely 
disseminated and embraced. The Baptist residents of the Quinebaug 
Valley in Pomfret and Killingly organize-d as a distinct religious 
society, and instituted regular worship. The Rev. Mr. Kelly labored 
Avith them for a time, holding services at convenient residences, which 
were "attended by a large gathering of peo^^le, and the prospect was 
encouraging of great good to be done." After his departure Mr. 
Manning very earnestly urged Mr. Thomas Ustick of Ashford, to 
enter upon this field, with the view of settling in it for life. Hitherto 
the Baptists of Windham County had been mostly of the lower classes 
of society, and their ministers had been men of little or no education. 
Now, men of higher standing were entering the Baptist ranks and 
a different ministry was demanded. Mr. Manning besought Mr. 
Ustick to visit PomtVet and help the people under their disappoint- 
ment, and should he decide to settle there he wished him immediately 
"to engage in a Latin school as anurseiw for the college," and "endea- 
vor to influence his people to educate their children, as the present 
state of the Baptist society must convince all of the importance of 
having men of education in all parts of the country." Mr. Ustick did 
not think best to occupy this field, and no permanent pastor was 
secured, nor church organization eff'ected at that date. President 
Manning looked after its interests as long as be was at liberty, and 
often visited his friends in Windham County, confirming and encouiag- 
25 



19J: HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

iiiu: the cliurclies, and preacliiiig " to ciowdetl audiences, very attentive 
and aftected." 

The only Congregational churches formed during this period was 
that of Easttbrd, and one in the north part of ^VindllaIn. Several of 
the chmclu's were weakened by the loss of their pastors. The church 
on Woodstock Hill was vei'y seriously afl'ected by the long absence 
and sorrowful death of Kev. Abiel Leonard. The services of Eliphalet 
Lyman of Lebanon, pi'oved acceptable to church society, but their 
hereditai-y dread of Saybi'ook Platform and Connecticut derelictions 
obliged tliem to make a searching incpiiry into his views and princijtles 
respecting church government and discipline before venturing to 
invite him to settlement. The investigating committee I'eported his 
doctrinal sentiments to be Calvinistic : as to govei-nment, he thought 
a minister ought ever to call church meetings when desired by a 
majority ; that the voice of the majority ought to be decisive, and 
denied the I'ight of the moderator to a negative vote. This giving 
satisfaction, a " call ' was given and accei)ted, and Mr. Lyman ordained 
September 2, 1779. He proved himself "worthy of the high and im- 
portant office," and aided in restoring the church to its former standing. 
Upon his reiterated assertion " that he desired not the name of hold- 
ing to a negative in the church," that body " made no objection " to 
his joining the Windham County Association. 

The church in East Woodstock was greatly afflicted by the increas- 
ing intirmities and disabilities of Mr. Stiles. This good minister, once 
so full of life and controversial zeal, had fallen into deep religious 
depression, " his soul wading in clouds and temptations," aggravated 
by family afflictions and public anxieties. Unable to perform the 
duties of his office, Mr. Joshua Johnson, a giaduate of Yale College, 
was ordained colleague pastor, December 27, 1780. 'J'he West Wood- 
stock Church was chiefly exercised by the difficulty of keeping u\) the 
credit of the minister's salary, which so depreciated in value that 3Ir. 
Williams was obliged to ask for help. This deficiency laboied much in 
the minds of his peoj)le, but after suitable discussion it was thought pru- 
dent not to make any further giant. Mr. Williams meekly acquiescing 
and expressing a hope that they would not see him suffer, each mem- 
ber present in society meeting voluntarily promised to do something 
for their pastor's support, as in duty they found themselves inclined. 

Plainfield was unable to fill the place of her lamented Fuller. That 
excellent minister had wrought a great work, binding up old wounds 
and healing animosities. The terse and touching inscription on a 
gravestone on Burial Hill, best tells the story of his life and ministerial 
service : — " John Fuller, after watching for the souls of his jjcople as 
those who must give account, fed asleep, October 3, 1777, -^ 55." 



HOME AFFAIRS, ETC. 195 

In attem])ting to supply the loss of Rev. Aavon Brown, the First 
Church of Killingly was involved in gieat ditiiculties, unhapi)ily mak- 
ing choice of P^inerson Foster, son of the somewhat notorious Isaac 
Foster of West Staflbrd. In face of an earnest remonstrance from 
Deacon Ebenezer Larned and other prominent brethren who mistrusted 
the doctrinal soundness of the candidate, the council of reverend 
ministers and delegates meeting at Ca[)t. Felshaw's tavern, January 
21, 1778, thought it their duty to proceed to his ordination. The 
County Association lepresented by its Eastern committee, concurred in 
this judgment, and Mr. Foster was ordained with the usual formalities. 
The result was most unhappy. Mr. Foster's aberrations became more 
pionounced and manifest, and so many withdrew from church and 
society, that it was found very difficult to fultill pecuniary obligations. 
In the fervor of their eagerness to secure Mr. Foster, the society had 
oflered him two hundred pounds settlement, and twenty pounds salary, 
— the latter to be made as good as tlie same sum in 1776, and the 
former to be paid within six months after his settling. The friends 
of Mr. Foster labored vainly to collect this sum. Times were now 
very hard, public demands urgent, and currency so depreciated that 
the former salary of a minister would scarcely suffice " for keeping the 
key and sweeping the meeting-house." People refused to pay and 
took certificates from the new Baptist Society. A committee was 
appointed to assist the society committee " to examine certificates of 
people called Baptists," and i-e[>orted that "such as produce proper 
certificates ought to be exempt from taxes." Disaffection ra[)idly 
increased. Captain Howe resigned the office of clei'k, J. Cady Howe, 
S. H. Torrey and Jacob Leavens refused to serve as collectors. Mr. 
Foster remonstrated with the society respecting encouragement for 
support prior to ordination. A committee was appointed to treat with 
him " about depreciation of currency, and what will make him easy." 
Mr. Foster not only insisted upon all that was his due " but wished the 
society to amend or rectify the vote passed previous to ordination." 
The society most positively declined to alter the vote, but strictly 
adhere to the same and regard it as the foundation on which the 
superstructure was reaied. Church, society and pastor agreed to sub- 
mit all matters of difficulty to a council, July 27, 1779. That body 
dismissed Mr. Foster from his pastorate, but did not adjudicate the 
pecuniary question. Amasa Learned, now entering upon the practice 
of law in New London, was deputized to treat with Mr. Foster " but 
was unable to come to terms," whereupon the ex-pastor resorted to 
legal process, bringing a suit against the society for lawful arrearage 
and damage. Eleazer Mofiat, Capt. Cady and Sampson Howe were 
chosen to carry on a correspondence with the plaintiff, and after much 



196 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 



delay and bickering;- it was afjreed to submit all matters of difticiilty 
between them to the arbitration of Esquire Wales of Wiiiilham, 
Capt. Neheniiah Lyon of Woodstock, and Capt. CarjH'nter of Lebanon, 
meeting to be held at P''elsha\v's tavern ; the previous connnittee 
to attend on behalf of the society and employ an attoiney to ])lead. 
The result of the arbitration was less favorable than had been hoped, 
and the society was obliged to make good its promise. No l>ai)tisins or 
observance of communion were reported during this unhappy contro- 
versy. Public worship Avas maintained with some degree of regular- 
ity, Russell Cook and others supplying the pulpit. An unsuccessful 
attempt was made to unite with some of the inhabitants of the middle 
society in supporting the gospel. 

Abington Society was obliged to seek the dismissal of its honored 
pastor, Kev. David llipley, in consequence of a distressing and incura 
ble disease brought on, he averred, by close application to ministerial 
labors, by which he was every year confined to his bed for weeks with 
excruciating pains, and disabled fi"om etticient service, whereby many 
became uneasy that his salary and support should be continued. " For 
the sake of peace and to avoid contention," Mr. Ripley consented to 
be dismissed from his office, March, 1778. The question of arrearages 
and equivalent was referred to " four judicious and distinguished 
gentlemen, viz.. Reverends James Cogswell and Josiah Whitney, 
Col. Levi Nott and lion. Charles Church Chandler," and satisfactorily 
settled by the payment of three hundred pounds. This dismission in 
no wise eifected Mr. Ripley's ministerial standing, and he officiated in 
the pulpit at home and abroad whenever his health ]>ermitted, and 
supposed himself still entitled to all the privileges and immunities of his 
office. The " listers " of Pomfret were, however, of a contrary opinion, 
and being greatly burdened with public demands, they made out a list 
of his real and personal estate and came upon him for town and state 
taxes, nor would the town authorities consent to any release or abate- 
ment. Having neither " ways, means, ability or income," to discharge 
the same, Mr. Ripley was compelled to carry his " distresses " to the 
Assembly, and tight it out with his fellow-citizens before that body. 
Pomfret insisted that the petitioner was much better able than the 
major part of the inhabitants to pay his proportion of taxes, " con- 
sidering the profits of his farm and having a grammar school, together 
with sums of money in the loan office and other sums at interest," 
supporting her position by specific enumeration of acres of land and 
heads of cattle. Dr. Lord of Abington, the clnu'ch connnittee, and 
influential members of the society, testified on the other hand to the 
past usefulness of their superannuated pastor, his excruciating suffer- 
ings by which he wa's made incapable of bodily labor ; that his circum- 



HOME AFFAIRS, FTC. 



197 



stances were never affluent, and that lie had a family of children, 
young and unsettled, to educate and su]>])C)rt fi'om the profits of his 
fai'm. It appeared upon cross-examination that the oranimar school 
consisted of one pupil, and the three hundn'd pounds in the loan otfice 
had been paid in paper money at the nominal sum. An attempt to 
show that Mr. Kipley's disease had been agiijravated by "taking the 
bark " was equally unsuccessful. The Asscml)ly ordered the collection 
of the taxes to be suspended and deferred decision from session to 
session, and thus the matter ended. Mr. Uipley was able to preach 
occasionally to his former charge, and no other minister was settled 
for several years. 

The Episco])al worship so prosperously established in I]i-ooklyn 
Parish fell into great disfavor after the breaking out of the war. The 
King's headship in the chui'ch could no longer be recognized by 
revolted subjects. All good patriots fell away and only avowed 
royalists remained in the church connection. Prayers for the king 
and royal family were no longer in order, and, as Mr. Fogg like 
other churchmen thought it inconsistent with his ordination vows to 
omit them, public service was suspended. Trinity church was closed 
and its congregation scattered. Mr. Fogg remained quietly at his 
post of duty, ministering to his few laithfal followers, concbu-ting 
himself '' in so j)eaceable and quiet a manner," as to i-etain the confidence 
and I'esiiect of the community. Col. Malbone was also allowed to 
pui'sue his way unmolested. Though o})en and outspoken in his 
attachment to the royal cause, he did nothing to promote it, and by his 
ready M'it and cool assurance managed to evade demands and disarm 
opposition. A pert little official once called to warn him to a "ti-ain- 
ing," or some such public service. Malbone — a cultured gentleuian of 
much presence and dignity — scanned scornfully his insignificant 
figure, and taking him by the coat collar to a mirror, glanced at the 
images so strikingly contrasted and quenched him with the query : — 
"Do you think God Almighty made yoa to give me orders ? " The 
negro force that caused so much alarm in Thompson and distant neigh- 
borhoods, gave no great uneasiness to the people of Pomfret, who had 
better means of judging its efficiency. The cliurch service held in 
Col. Malbone's dwelling-house excited some dissatisfaction but it was 
not thought best to interfere with it. Dr. Walton continued faithful 
in his adherence to the Church and King, and as a renegade and 
pervert was far more obnoxious than Malbone. His son was an officer 
in the British army, and wounded fellow-officers were said to have 
been secreted by him in Dr. Walton's dwelling-house. 

One of the most remarkable of Windham County achieve- 
ments during the war was the opening of the Plainfield Academy. 



198 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Stiimil.-Ueil (loiilttlcss by a lefjacy left by Isaac Coit, Esq., at bis 
decease in 1776 — "tlie annual interest of which was to be applied to 
the niainteiiance of a Latin or Grammar school in the new brick house 
in Plainfield : and more especially for the benefit of poor children of 
"ood ofenius, whose iiarents are not able to <jive them suitable learn- 
ing,'' — the associated friends of education proceeded in 177S, to 
ornanize a classical department, securing fur ix-ctor Mr. El)enczcr 
l*embevton of Newpoit, a gentleman of high scholaisliip and accom- 
plishments, and unusual aptitude for teaching. His reputation and 
the favdiable location of the school attracted at once a large number 
of pupils. Colleges and academies had been generally suspended. 
Seaboard towns weie exposed to invasion, but this remote inland village 
oflered a safe and pleasant refuge. Gentlemen in Providence, New 
London, and even New York, gladly availeti themselves of its advan- 
tages, and many promising lads from the be.st families in the States 
were sent to Phiintield Academy. The good people of the town wel- 
comed these students to their homes and tiresides. More teacliers 
were dem.-inded and the populaiity of the school inoi-eased until it 
nuinbei'ed more than a hiindied foreign pupils, besides a large number 
from Phiintield and neighboring towns. 

After the transference of the seat of war to the Southern States 
Windham was less actively participant, though still called to raise her 
quota of men and supplies for State protection and Continental service. 
The large number of men already sent out made it more ditticult to se- 
cure recruits. Windham's proportion of fifteen hundred men, raised 
by Connecticut for si.x months' Continental service in May, 1780, was 
thus distributed among the townships: — Ashford, 17 : Canterbury, 9; 
Coventry, 18; Killingly, 37 : Lebanon, 36: :\[anstield, 20: Plainfield, 
16; Pomfret. '2b; Union, 6: Voluntown, 17; Windham, 3-4; Wood- 
stock, 20. The towns at once made provision for enlisting these men, 
but before it was accomplished a thousand men were called for three 
yeais' service. Colonel McClellan thus instructs the officers of two 
Woodstock companies : — 

"In consequence of orders received from General Douglas, I am authorized 
to acquaint you that you are appointed recruiting officers for your companies, 
and lo be rewarded thenfor — you, and each of you, are hereby directed to en- 
list out of your said companies, Capt. Bowen, two, and Capt. Paine, four, 
able-bodied effective men to serve during the war three years, or until the last 
day of December next, unless sooner discharged . . . If said men are not 
enlisted on or before the 2()th of June, instant, you are hereby directed to 
raake a peremptory draft to make up your complement as above directed, to 
serve until the last day of December ne.xt, unless sooner discharged; and you 
will apply to the selectmen of your town for blankets, if need be, in case the 
recruits or detached men should not furnish themselves — and see them 
marched to the house of Capt. Natha'l Clarke in Woodstock, on Monday, the 
third day of July next, by nine o'clock in the moiuiug, in order to be mus- 



BRIGHTENING PROSPECTS, ETC. 199 

tered, receive their bounty ami march on emeaditl}- to the army without re- 
turninfi' to tlieir respective lionies. Yon will use your utmost endeavors to yet 
the men by enlistment, taking the Act of Assembly for your direction. MuUe 
due return of your (loini>s. 

Given at Woodstock, June 19, 1780. 

Sam'l McClellan, Col." 

A town meeting was lield June 2C, when it was agreed to offer a 
bounty of forty shillings per month. Colonel McClellan, Captain 
Daniel Lyon, and Mr. Ebenezer Smith were appointed a committee to 
confer with tlie several militia companies then convened and had no 
ditEculty in procuring the requisite number of soldiers ; and even at 
the succeeding call it was reported that they could get their men and 
double the mimber wanted at the price voted. Windham offered £20 
money, equal to wheat at five shillings a bushel. In December, she of- 
fered £12 in silver money as a bounty for the first year and £9 silver 
for each succeeding year. Plainfield offered £103 to any five men who 
would enlist for three years ; and generous bounties promised by other 
towns procured recruits without resort to drafting. Requisitions for 
corn, wheat, beef and clothing were promptly met by all the towns. 
The raids upon New Haven, P^iirfield and Danbaiy, the fre(pient alarms 
of invasion upon New London and Khode Island, exjtosed the militia to 
continual call and repeated service, and even Avhile gathering these 
quotas for the general army, a sudden summons hurried a large force to 
Rhode Island. " Captain Timothy Backus with his troop of veterans 
from Canterbury," Captain Daniel Tyler's matross company from 
Brooklyn, the militia companies, under Captain Abner Adams and 
Captain William Fiizzel, of Pomfret and Woodstock, were oidered to 
rendezvous in Greenwich, and the selectmen of the several towns to fur- 
nish the provisions to support them on their march. 

And yet, notwithstanding the increasing demand for men, money and 
sup])lies, and the little apparent })rogress made by the Continental arms, 
the piosj>ects were brightening. It became more and more evident 
even to the fearful and despondent that whatever might be in stoi'e for 
them the States could not be conquered. Amid disasters, defeat, and de- 
fection, there were favorable gleams and omens. La Fayette had re- 
turned full of hope and courage. France was taking their side more 
boldly and heartily. Marion, Sumter and Green were wiiming laurels 
and occasional victories in the Carolinas. The marching of Gates and 
his division through Plainfield, Canterbury and Windham on their 
withdrawal from Newport, the quartering of the French Huzzars at 
Windham for a week and at Lebanon through the winter of 1780-1, gave 
new life and stimulus, and encouraged the people to hoj)e for better 
days. The Marquis De Chastellux dined at Windham with the Duke 
De Lauzeru. The gay young Freach officers were very fond of society 



200 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and cordially accepted hospitalities extended to them, and the blooming 
belles of Windham, Lebanon and Norwich had the good fortune to par- 
ticipate in many brilliant entertainments, while the silver freely lavished 
by these young men found its way to many a farmer's pocket. Sup- 
plies of every kind were now becoming more plentiful, brought into 
Norwich by lucky privateer or secret smuggler. ^Molasses, spirits, 
and many kinds of foreign goods, were cheap and abundant during the 
latter years of the war, and the young ladies attending balls with 
French othcers were not compelled to wear Jioinespun. Muslins, laces, 
and even silk and jewelry were now attainable. A fair young fiancee in 
Pomfret, who had been much troubled in I'eference to her wedding dress, 
was gladdened by the sight of a traveling merchant with the loveliest 
pattern of j^ink sathi that ever met the eyes of a young maiden. But 
the cost was so enormous ! The young girl knew very well what heavy 
burdens had been borne by her father, how much he had paid out for 
taxes and bounties, and clothing for the soldiers ; how good money ad- 
vanced by him had been repaid by worthless scrip ; how strongly he 
and other patriots denounced these skulking mischievous peddlers who 
traded with their enemies — but how could she resist this exquisite 
piece of goods, which more than realized her highest aspirations. 
Woman's tact won the day and dress. She did not dare to ask the 
favoi-, but stealing into the room where the rough old father sat brood- 
ing in his armchair, she knelt before him and with pleading glance held 
up the shimmering satin. Kevolutionaiy fathers, rough and gruff 
though they might be, were still not adamant nor unappreciative. The 
mute appeal, the graceful tableau, melted the father's heart and opened 
his money chest. Without a word he unlocked his treasures and placed 
in his daughter's hand forty silver dollars, and the ten yards of satin 
was made up into the tastefullest of wedding dresses and also fur- 
nished a frontispiece for the wedding waistcoat of the bridegroom. 

Home patriots were also encouraged by more cheering words from 
those in the field. Ebenezer Gray writes of improved prospects: — 

"■'■AiKj. 13, 1780. The army is ajiain formed and ciu-ainped at this phico (Tap- 
pin or Dobbs' Ferry). Two briijades of Light Infaiitiy. under the Manjuis I)e 
La Fayotte, are in front about four miles. General Green conunands the 

riiJ:hL wing', con.sistinti' of two divisions We now fox'm a very 

beautiful and extensive camp, with a large park of heavy artillery. We are 
all daily expecting some general maneuver." 

" Camp, Dec. 7, 1780. 
Dr. Brother— I know not where to date my letter. I believe it is nowhere — 
that is a place, if you can conceive of such a tiling, at a great distance from 
every other place. We are building hutts in a central place in a direct line 
from West Point to Fishkill, a place to and from which there never was, or 
will be, a road— by land. At this place I am now building a hutt on Thanks- 
giving Day, whicii I shall keep with a little beef and half an allowance of 
breaii, without any drink but the pure stream, with a thankful and grateful 
heart to the Bountiful Giver of all things, and in heart and soul rejoice with 



BRIGHTENING PROSPECTS, VICTORY, ETC. 201 

all those who have all the outward comforts and dainties of life to manifest it 
with. May you, parents, brothers, sisters and little ones solemnly and 
seriously rejoice and be glad on this day for the jjreat and many blessings of a 
public and family way which liath been bestowed upon us. 

Mj' best wishes attenil my cousins and acquaintances, and should be happy 
in joining in the usual festivity, etc. 

Ebexr. Gkav." 

"Camp Higiilaxd, Dec. 22, 1780. 

Dr. Brother — I have one moment to write you by Calf, who tells mehe is going 
to Windham. I am hearty and well and have got thro' the greatest difh- 
culty (as I hope) of the winter. Our huts are built where there is plenty of 
wood and water. We have had our starvation season— I hope the whole of it. 
It seems as if 'twas decreed in the Book of the Fates that whenever we hut 
we should have short allowance; and when Congress order us to keep a day 
of thanksgiving and rejoicing in the success and plenty wherewith Providence 
hath blessed us, that the army have nothing to make the heart glad and a dis- 
mal and dark prospect before us. 

This hatli been the case for three years past; but I hope and pray and be- 
lieve that the scene is changed and better days and times are coming. May 
the happy day of pease and plentj^ soon come and with grateful hearts may we 
be prepared to receive and injoy the blessing. 

We are now fed with beef and bread at the usual rate, with a small deduc- 
tion of bread, and no money. 

I am your dear brother, 

Ebexr. Gray." 

With fresh requisitions for men, beef, pork, grain and powder in 
]781, came also renewed hopes of coming success and triumph. 
Windham patriots watching eagerly the signs of the times, heard tlitu 
rumors of more fleets and troops on the way from France, and " fifteen 
tons of silver in French hornpipes ; " and in June tliey were treated 
to the sight and entertainment of Rochambeau's grand army as it 
marched from Newport to Hartford. "Magnificent in a[)pearance, 
superb in discipline," with banner and nmsic, and all the pride and 
pomp of war, it passed in four divisions* over the great highway 
through Volimtown, Plainfield, Canterbury and Windham. All the 
country people from far and wide flocked to the Pi-ovidence road to see 
the brave array. Barrack-masters appointed by the Governor and his 
council met them at every stopping-place, and provided suitable accom- 
modations. A hundred eager school-boys in Plainfield village gave 



* It is quite probable that one of these divisions took the more northerly 
route to Hartford through Killingly, Pomfret and Ashford. Tradition cou- 
tidently asserts the passing of the French army through these towns, and 
points out the verj' place of their encampment in Abington. The accom- 
panying tradition that Washington and LaFayette were with the army makes 
it difficult to lix the date of their passage, as LaFayette was with the south- 
ern forces in June, 1781. It is most probable that the army passed at this 
date, and the visit of the two generals occurred at some other period — per- 
haps after the cessation of ho.stilities. They are reported to have passed a 
night at Grosvenor's in Pomfret, waited for breakfast at the hearth-stone of 
the Kandall House in Abington, ami spent another night at Clark's tavern in 
Ashford, where their names are still to be seen upon an antique window 
pane. 

26 



202 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COCNTY. 

them vociferous welcome. Eiicam|iing for a day or two in Wiiidhain, 
they were visited by all the leading ]»atriots. Mr. Cogswell* reports 
them " a fine b(^dy of trooi)S, nmler the best discipline ; not the least 
disoi'der committed or damage done by them." Dr. Jo.'ihua Kilderkin and 
other public officers accompany them all the way on to West Point, 
with great satisfaction to Count De Rocliambeau. They are followed 
day after day by long lines of baggage-wagons and stout carts bear- 
ing chests of silver money, guarded by French soldiers. The com- 
bined aimies "marched for the southward," the French fieet, reported 
off Sandy Hook, steers for the south. Mr. Cogswell hopes that " a 
telling blow is about to be struck in that quarter," but just as hope is 
dawning in his heart he is appalled by a sight more terrific than any- 
thing yet witnessed during the war — the lurid flames of consuming 
New London. Pastors and people gathered in the meeting-house for 
a peaceful "Thursday afternoon lecture" hear the booming cannou 
and see the red light in the southern sky. Men siiatch tlieir arms 
and huny to the scene of cainage. Tlieir rej)ort on return confirms 
the preceding rumors — " the biggest part of the town laid in ashes, 
the misery of the people great beyond description, the cruelty shown 
to the garrison shocking to humanity, many butchered in cold blood, 
begging for quarter ; Arnold, abandoned of all good and to all evil, 
threatening to do to Norwich as he had done to New London. And 
Nathan Frink, a son of Windham County, now aid-de-cainp to Arnold, 
most active and efficient in tliis terrible butchery and destruction. The 
situation of the New England States, destitute of fleet and army, 
seemed more critical and alarming than ever l)efore, yet again in a 
few days their anxieties are relieved. " News from Europe and East 



* While Mr. Coirswoll's diary allows us a peep at the French troops en ronte 
for the Hudson, a journal kept by Claude lilanchard, conuiiissary of the 
French auxiliary army, enables us to look at Windham through the eyes of 
its foreiiiu visitants: — 

" At night 1 lay at riainfield, tifteen miles from Waterman's tavern. The 
country is a litth; more cleared especially in the environs of Plaintield, where 
nevertheless there are only live or six houses. I saw some farms sown with 
rye and wheat but especially with maize (what we call Turkish corn in 
Anjou} and also potatoes. I also passed through many woods mostl}' of oak 
anil chestnut trees, my lodging C(jst me lifteen livres. 

On the i7th June, 1781, I set out at half after six for Windliam, where I 
arrived at ten o'clock, at'ier a journey of fifteen miles. The country is very 
similar to the environs of riainlield ; j'et we see more pasture lands tiierc 
which are in the valleys, so we have to ascend and descend continually on 
this road. Wiudham seemed to have sixty houses, all pretty; there is also a 

very handsome temple, called in this country a meetiug-house There is 

another village between I'lainlield anil Wiudham called Strickland [Scotland] 

which seemeu to me to be pretty, and where we also saw a temple 

It is eighteen miles from Windham to Boston [Bolton], and we iiad to ascend 

and descend On the ISlh I arriveil at Hartford, the capital of Cou- 

uecticut, fourteen miles from Boston [Bollon] ; the road is Uuc." 



BRIGHTENING PROSPECTS, VICTORY, ETC. 203 

Indies much against Great Britain ; " "the Frencli tieet lias certainly 
arrived at Chesapeake ; " " Washington and his army are thei'e in high 
S[>ints;" and on training day, November 6, comes the great news of 
Cornvvallis's surrender, and thousands exclaim witli TrnmlniU : — 
"Praised be the Lord of Hosts for our deliverance ! " 

More specific details only increased the general joy and thankfulness, 
and made the glorious results more apparent. Durkee's old regiment 
under Grosvenor had been present, and Windham veterans released for 
a time fi'om service brought back full reports of the successful siege 
and sui-render. All felt that the war was virtuall}' ended ; that Great 
]]iitain would be forced to relinquish her vain attempts to concpier the 
sovereign States of America. There were still alarms from time to 
time and hostile demonstrations ; the army had to be maintained ; 
troops and supplies provided. The inhabitants of the several towns 
were now divided into classes according to their rate list, each class to 
furnish a reci'uit and take charge of his family. Negotiations with 
Great Britain made slow progress. Mr. Cogswell in his despondency 
declares more than once "that he sees no prospect of peace." In 
September, 1782, a hostile Heet again threatens New London, and 
the militia of Windham and New London Counties are called out 
by Colonel McClellan, but after two days of intense anxiety the 
intruder withdraws without intiicting damage. A Hag telegraphing 
"P. E. A. C. E." is reported the following March. A]Mil 19, 1783, 
Washington announces the cessation of hostilities. Of festivities and 
rejoicings upon the reception of this announcement we hear little. 
The joy of the citizens of Windham County was perhaps too deep for 
noisy demonstration. It had been a long, hard, deadly struggle. 
Many precious lives had been sacrificed. There had been great 
expenditure of money and forces ; there were hard problems still to 
face ; and so the rejoicings were mostly expressed by religious 
solemnities. Public services were held in the meeting-house on 
Windham Green, and our friend Mr. Cogswell preached a celeV)i-ation 
sermon which received much commendation. Joseph Joslin of 
Thompson, shared with the last returning troopers their bountiful 
treat of cake and egg rum at Esquire Dresser's tavern, and marched 
with them into " Priest Russel's meeting-house " for religious service. 
The first soldiers were sent out from the public sanctuary with pi-ayer 
and supplication, and the last were taken to the same sacred spot for 
appropriate thanksgiving, and yet it may have been difficult u})on that 
Sabbath morning "to discern the noise of the shout of joy from the 
noise of the weeping of the people." For in the galleries and great 
pews there w^ere many places vacant. The aged deacons who sat 
beneath the pulpit had laid their precious sons upon the altar. There 



204 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

were otlier parents there whose sons had been stricken ; there were 
widows bowed with <^v\ei ; theie were children who were fatherless ; 
there were fair young girls whose hearts still yearned for missing lover 
and brother — and thanks for the great blessings of peace and Inde- 
pendence were hallowed by a deep consciousness of the great price 
that had been paid for them. 



BOOK Aai. 1783-1807. 



I. 

DISPOSITION OF TORIES. SUFFERINGS OF SOLDIERS. AVAR SET 
TLEMENTS. ADOPTION OF FEDERAL CONSTITUTION. 

ANEW era had opened. Windliam County was now a part of a 
free State, a confederated Republic. The Independence of the 
United States was secured and acknowledged. Old things had passed 
away, many things had become new. New systems, new politics were 
to be devised; a Nation to be evolved and established. Little did 
the people of the several States in the first fervor of jubilant exulta- 
tion realize the greatness of the work before them. Their thoughts 
and energies were rather mainly occupied with the work already 
wrought. War claims and questions pressed heavily upon them. 
Two classes of inhabitants demanded instant consideration — the men 
who had fought for freedom and those who had opposed it. In the 
long controversy gi'eat bitterness had been engendered. -The cruel 
treatment of the patriot prisoners, the brutal massacres at Wyoming 
and New London had excited intense lesentments. Tories had shown 
greater barbarity than British or Hessians, and wei'e I'egarded with 
peculiar hatred. The few avowed Tories in Windham County were 
straightway driven out of it. No formal process of ejection was 
served upon them, but they were given to understand that they would 
be no longer tolerated. Dr. Walton of Killingly, had made himself 
especially obnoxious, concealing British officers in his house, and 
boasting of his influence with British commanders. Upon the news 
of the surrender of Cornwallis, he was visited by a large number of 
citizens who wished to send him oft' at once, but. through the interces- 
sion of Col. Danielson. he was allowed to wait for that great company 
of refugees which sought shelter in Nova Scotia. Col. Pitch and his 
family, Nathan Frink, and descendants of Captain John Chandler 
of Woodstock, were as far as can be ascertained the only other 
representatives of Windham County among that dishonored band of 
exiles which left New York, in September, 1783. Though not abso- 
lutely forced from Windham, Col. Fitch could no longer i-emain in his 



206 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

old home witli any dcoi'ee of fomfort. The jjersonal prestige tli.it had 
so long shielded him from ill-treaUnerit passed away witli the lapse 
of years. Tlie new geneiation gi'owing uj) forgot his past services and 
position, and only thought of him as an enemy to his country and the 
patriot cause. It was dilKcult for him to obtain needful supplies for 
his family. Ardent Sons of Liberty had decreed "that no mills 
should grind for, no merchant sell goods to, a Tory." lie was 
insulted, watched, guarded, subjected to vexatious and ruinous prose- 
cution. His son complains to the General Assembly, that having 
been '•i)rosecnted. tried and acquitted for inimical words, an execu- 
tion had been levied against him for cost, as though it was not 
sufficient for an innocent man to suffer the disgrace of a criminal 
prosecution but he must be subjected to such enormous costs." Broken 
in health and spirit and ruined in fortune, nothing was left for him but 
to withdraw from Windham and spend the remainder of his days in 
hopeless exile, the unhappy victim of misplaced loyalty and a too 
chivalrous devotion to an unworthy sovereign. Windham took care 
to prevent his return by voting in town meeting. 1785. that "there be 
a committee of inspection appointed to observe and take care that 
those refugees and inimical persons who liave gone from us since 
the commencement of the war be not allowed to come in among us." 
Still more unha])i)y was the fate of Joshua, son of Joshua Chandler 
of West Woodstock, one of those bright young men so hoj)efully 
graduated from Yale College before 1760. Settling in New Haven ho 
had won wealth and a high position, all sacrificed by his adherence to 
tlie king, yet the loss of property and home weighed less heavily upon 
him than his subsequent conviction that his sacrifice had been for 
naught. Visiting England to represent his claims and losses, he thus 
writes to a friend in New Haven : — 

" I found the nation in great tumults and commotions — myself perfectly- 
lost in politics as well as in compass . , . The kiniidom, without, a miracle iu 
its favor, must be lost. You can have no idea of their corruption, their 
debauchery and luxury; their pride, their riches, their luxury has ruined 
them. It is not in the power of human nature to save them. I like not the 
country, neither their manners nor even their soil. Give America the chance 
and in one half the time she will rise superior to anything in tliis couutry. 

My own prospects in life are dahsed. My only care is for my ciiildren. 
The idea of a compensation is very faint. . . . Thus this unhappy contro- 
versy has ruined thousands. The sacrifices, the prospects of n)y family, are 
not the only thing that fills my raiutl with distress. I yet have a very strong 
aflection to and predilection for my native country ; their happiness would iu 
some measure alleviate my great distress, but cannot suppose my couutry 
can be happy in its present state. I wish Dr. Stiles would admit into the 
library Dr. Holmes' History of the British Constitution to aid his country iu 
forming a new Constitution, for one she must have sometime. 

For customs, this nation has copied after and imported the luxuries, the 
follies and vices of France. But whatever may be the fate of kingdoms and 
powers of Europe or my own, I sincerely wish happiness, honor and glory to 



DISPOSITION OF TORIES, ETC. 207 

the conutiy that gave me birth. In the hour of contest I thought, and even 
yet think, my country wrong, but I never wislied its ruin. I vvisli her to sup- 
port a diirnitled character, that can be done only by iireat and dignilied actions, 
one of wliich is a sacred and punctual adherence to public faith and virtue. 
My first and last prayer will lie to meet where no political dispute can ever 
separate from near and dear friends." 

Colonel Chandler returned to Annapolis unsuccessful in his mission 
and lifter further delay started, JNEarch, 1787, foi St. John, New Bruns- 
wick, with his son and daughter, and all the books, pa[)ers and evidence 
of his colonial property, to meet commissioners api)ointed to adjust his 
claims. A violent stoi'm arose and the vessel was driven among vocks. 
Hoping to secure it, William Chandler fastened a rope around his body 
and jumped overboard to swim to land, but was instantly crushed be- 
tween the vessel and rocks. With great difficulty Colonel Chandler 
managed to reach the shore with his daughter and climbed upon a high 
point of rocks to look out and find where they were, but benumbed 
with cold he fell from it and soon died. The daughter and a friend, 
Mrs. Alexander Grant, wandered in the woods for two terrible days 
and perished from cold and hunger. The story of their sad fate made 
a deep impression upon surviving relatives and friends in Woodstock, 
and was handed down from generation to generation as the most thrill- 
ing tragedy of the revolutionary drama. 

Colonel Malbone was suifered to remain unmolested, but lost much 
of his property. A seven-thousand dollar mortgage upon his tarm in 
the liands of Charles Paxton, a refugee, was forfeited to government. 
Lands in Ashford belonging to A[)thorpe, land in riainfield owned by 
Bayard, two acres in Windham in payment of execution against Eleazer 
Fitch, " the real and personal estate of Nathan Frink of Pomfret,'" were 
also forfeited to the State. An attempt was made to confiscate land in 
Thompson : (seven tenements of land and houses, belonging to the heirs 
of Robert Thompson, England), but after the tirst heat and l)itterness 
of conflict had subsided, this old established claim, purchased by one 
of the mcjst faithful friends of the early Colonists, was allowed to re- 
main with his descendants. Mrs. Martha Stevens, heir of Anthony 
Stoddard, making declaratien before the County Court " that she was 
always a liearty friend to the rights and privileges of America," was 
allowed to resume }jossession ot her land in Ashford. 

Those unfortunate lloyalists who received such slight and tardy com- 
pensation for all their sacrifices and devotion were not alone in their 
complaint of ingratitude and ill-usage. The soldiers who had con- 
quered independence by their arms had met but a poor return for all 
their suiferings and sacrifices. Some had returned without pay ; some 
with scrip that proved a worthless mockery ; some were disabled by 
wounds or disease, and incapacitated from active labor. The later re- 



208 ■ HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

ciuits were mostly younGT men, without farms or trades or means of 
earning- a livelihood. The AVindham towns, already heavily burdened 
with debt incurred in carrying on the war, were unable to make suit- 
able provision for these returned soldiers. Canterbury, after debating 
the expediency " of allowing anything to the soldiers on account of the 
failure of the public in making their wages good," voted at first to do 
nothing, but upon reconsideration appointed a committee to act with 
the selectmen in settling with the same according to their best judg- 
ment. Windham voted ten pounds ''to Elijah Linkon, a Continental 
soldier, enlisted during the war, for his past good services and present 
necessities." Relief was obtained in other cases from private sources 
and employment furnished whenever possible. As the Windham 
County recruits had received a generous bounty in silver and provision 
for their families during their absence, they probably sutfered less than 
their officers, who had their fmiilies to support upon their nominal pay, 
the artizans who hud furnished them with arms, and the town officers 
who had advanced money for their bounty and sup[)()rt. Three months' 
Avagos due to Dr. Waldo when he left service barely paid a tritling debt 
due to an attorney. Colonel Ebenezer Gray, after seven years' faithful 
service, which had ruined his health and incapacitated him from resum- 
ing his legal practice, received no com|)ensation but the certificates of 
Congress for five years' commutation pay, which immediately depre- 
ciated to ten cents on a dollar. Hundreds of other otficers were paid in 
the same way and reduced to still greater necessities. Among those 
who suffered most severely in Windham were Ilezekiah Huntington 
and Henry DeWitt, who had devoted all their time and energies for 
many years to manufacturing arms and ammunition for the Continental 
soldiers. After exhausting his own means in this work, Mr. Hunting- 
ton "effected a settlement with the Government at Philadelphia, re- 
ceiving as his pay seventy-foui- thousand dollars in Continental paper," 
which so depreciated in a short time '"that a hundred dollars of it 
would not buy a bieakfast," and he was forced to stiuggle the re- 
mainder of his days with poverty. Still harder was the fate of DeWitt, 
who took the Government paper in payment till it became valueless, 
" and his Boston creditors put him in Windham jail and he lived with- 
in the jail limits for many years." Many who had advanced good 
money to buy stores lor Government were paid with bills which made 
them bankrupt. The case of Nehemiah Tinker of Windham, who 
" had laid out his whole proj)erty and pledged his credit in purchasing 
supplies for the army," was one of i)eculiar hardship. Dying suddenly 
just before the declaration of peace, the thousand-dollar paper 
in his hands " would hardly pay for his winding sheet and cottin." 
With heavy debts pressing upon her, and eleveii children to maintain, 



SUFFERINGS OF SOLDIERS, ETC. 



209 



tilt' bt'i-eaved widow attenipted to L;ain ivlief by prosecutiii2j one '• wlio 
liad leaped the benefit of her husband's transaction as contractor," but 
only lost tlie little that was left to her. With one bed and tlie remains 
of her f'uniitui'e she took her children to her husband's worksliop and 
tried to sup])ort them by neeiUe work : but even here the merciless 
creditors ]>ursued her. She held her two youniiest children by the 
hand while the constable sold at the door her andirons, chaii-s, 
bed, table, bedding-, everything but the barest niinimuni ])rescribed by 
law. The children gathered chips out of the street, and with stones 
for andirons, and a spoke of a broken wheel for })oker, they managed 
to keep a tire and preserve existence, though often reduced to extrem- 
ity of destitution. But the strong faith and piety of Mrs. Tinker 
supported her in the darkest hour, ami her earnest prayers were often 
followed by relief from unexpected sources. One Saturday night 
when she had nothing to eat Deacon Samuel Gray brought a sacred 
offering, "the crusts of several loave-i of bread prepared f<n- sacra- 
ment" on the morrow, together with wood au 1 other supplies. Other 
good people interested themselves in her behalf and found homes for 
the children, and Benjamin Lathrop, the sturdy old Baptist who would 
take no hire for his pleaching, then took the widow to his own house, 
and with his excellent wife became to her " mother, brother, sister, 
friend and physician ; " pi-oviding for her necessities, till her childi-en 
were able to assist her. Eliashib Adams of Canterbury, Capt. Daniel 
Davis of Killingl3% were among the scores of sterlmg men " who 
sacrificed all for their country dmiug the Revolution." And when 
their own estate could not satisfy demands, others, like Joshua 
Elderkin, were "thrown into Windham jail and there spent many 
months." Many affluent families, once enjoying all the comforts of 
life, were reduced to jioverty and destitution by the inability of the 
government to redeem its pledges. 

Despite these remaining shadows there was great hope and buoy- 
ancy ; pride in the past and confidence in the future. A new spring 
and impulse was felt throughout the States, and while settling up 
their accounts and storing their military munitions the Windham 
towns were already preparing for development and expansion. Brook- 
lyn, Canada and Thompson Parishes asked for local independence and 
town privileges, and Pomfret renewed its efforts for a removal of the 
county seat. At a town meeting iu Killingly, May 1, 17S2, it was 
voted : — 

" 1. Tliat said town be divided. 

2. That Tliompsoii Parish be a distinct town. 

3. That Col. William Dauielsou and Mr. Daniel Larned be agents to pre- 
fer a memorial." 

27 



210 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COTNTT. 

I'licii- ])etition was opposed by ^ strong minority, sliowinc: that 
division would be very deti'iniental both to State and town, increasing 
taxes already so large that tlie inliabitants gioaned under tlie bin'den — 
and division was consequently deferred for tliree years. IJrooklyn 
and Canada were also compelled to wait till a<!'airs were more settled. 
An a|>plication to the General Assembly in 1780, for a new county 
"with Pomfret for shire-town," met witli positive rejection, while 
Coventry and Union were incorporated into the newly-formed County 
of Tolland. Hezekiah Ripley, Shubael Abbe, Samuel Gray, Jr., and 
Hezekiah JNIanning, appointed by Windham for the examination and 
settlement of war accounts, had meanwhile agreed to pay the l>alance 
due by the town ; Ashford's selectmen adjusted the accounts of Ken- 
dall, Knox and Russ, for going to Boston for salt : Killingly appointed 
a committee "to examine aifairs of soldiers that did a tour of duty at 
Ilorse-Xeck," while Seth Paine, ]\Iajor Israel Putnam and Nathan 
Witter of IJrooklyn, staked out a piece of gi-ound by the side of the 
common for the purpose of kee])ing their much pi'ized tield-piece, and 
Canterbury's firearms, " properly scoured, cleaned and oiled,'' were 
stowed away in a chest, audits "wooden bowls sold, and taken care 
of." Its selectmen were also empowered to sell as much of the stock 
of powder as they should think would be for the benefit of the town — 
the avails of such sale to discharge town debts. 

The Courts of the County now resumed their wonted fmictions. 
Shubael Abbe was appointed sheriff after the death of Sheriff Hunt- 
ington. " Lai'ge numbers of tavern-keepers were appointed and a num- 
ber of impost collectors, viz. : Windhau), Ebenezer Gray ; Pomfret, 
Thomas Grosvenor ; Woodstock, Jedidiah Morse ; Yoluntown, Benja 
niin Dow. Ik'njamin Howard, John Parish, Moses Cleveland, David 
Young and others, wei'e admitted attorneys. In 1782, it was ordered 
that a yard be erected around tlie jail twelve feet higli, as soon as the 
money can be procured from the County. The limits assigned to cer- 
tain classes of prisoners included " Capt. Tinker's house, Samuel Gray's 
trading sho]», Thomas Reed's workshop. Major Huntington's black- 
smith shop, then a straight line to the tavern sign-post belonging to 
the heirs of John Fitch, next to an elm tree in front of John Stam- 
ford's dwelling-house, and thence back to the jail." In 178.5, a special 
meeting of associates and justices was held — Col. Dyer, Jeremiah 
Mason, Isaac Perkins, General James Goidon, })resent — who agreed 
to lay a tax of three farthings for repairing {)rison and administra- 
tion of justice. Ebenezer Gray, collector. 

In the various important questions claiming the consideration of all 
good patriots during these experimental years, Windham was keenly 
interested. With lier usual alertness she watched the sisns of the 



WAR SETTLEMENTS, ETC. 211 

times, and was ever ready to speak her uniul upon all needful occasions. 
Inunediately upon the close of the war, October 3, 1783, Ashford 
connnissioned Dr. Thomas Huntington to draft these formal " instruc- 
tions " to her representatives : — 

"To Captaix SniEOX Smith and Isaac Pkrkixs. 

(.jiniUi'hicn : — Altliouah we roposc tlie utmost confldeiice in j'our ability and 
inteiirity, yet at this critical conjiniciurc of our atlairs, wc conceive it will not 
be disagreeable to you to be informed of our sentiments with regard to 
several Important matters. 

1. Oppose all encroachments of Congress upon the sovereignty and jurisdic- 
tion of separate States, and the assumption of power not expressly vested in 
them by Articles of Confederation. 

2. Inquire into the very interesting question whether Congress was author- 
ized by the Federal Constitution to grant half-pay for life, and tive years full 
pay to otlicers — and if the measure l)e ill-founded, attempt every constitu- 
tional method for its removal. 

3. I'rouiote a strict inquiry into public and private expenditures, and bring 
to a speedy account delinquents and ilefaidters. 

4. I'se your endeavors that vacant lauds be appropriated for the general 
benetit of the United States. 

5. Pay particular attention to the regulation and encouragement of com- 
merce, agiiculture, arts and manufactures. 

G. We iustruct you to use your intluence for the suppression of placemen, 
pensioners and all uiuieccssary ollii^ers. 

7. Also, to use your influence to promote the passing an act in the Assem- 
bly to enable Congress to lay an impost on the importation of foreign articles. 

And, linally, we instruct you to n)ove in the Assembly that the laws for the 
promotion of virtue and good manners and the suppression of vice, may be 
attended to, and enforced, anil any other means tending to promote a general 
reformation of niauners." 

The dejnities from Windham town were requested to urge ''that 
effecliuil methods be ado[)ted, that the yeas and nays upon every 
important political cjuestion taken in future in the General Assembly 
be published." Also, to oppose the resolve of Congress recommending 
five years pay to officers. As it became increasingly evident thut tlie 
existing confederation was inadecpiate, and tliat farther consolidation 
and centralization were essential to the peace and permanence of the 
United States, the situation was discussed with greater earnestness. 
Committees were chosen in several towns to cori-espond with com- 
mittees of other towns in Connecticut, ''on the subject of public 
o^rievances." The proceedings of the convention called to remedy 
their grievances by revising the Articles of Confederation, and 
strengthening the executive powers of the central government, were 
anxiously debated. The Federal Constitution when submitted for con- 
sideration and acceptance, was most carefully scrutinized. Canterbury, 
November 12, 1787, selected ten of her most competent citizens "to 
examine the new form of government made by the Convention at 
Philadelphia, and show to this meeting their arguments and opinions 
thereon." Dyer and Elderkin were chosen delegates the same day by 
Windham to attend a State Convention at Hartford, " to take into 



212 ■ HISTORY OF WINDflAM COUNTY. 

consideration the new Constitiilion )»i-o|K)se(l Ky general convention." 
Public opinion was at first greatly divided. Many looked with sus- 
picion upon the new form of government as calculated to roV> their 
State of its lights, and give too much power to the (4eneral Govern- 
nient. At Woodstock when called to the choice of delegates, the new 
Constitution was heard on motion, and '•largely and warmly debated 
until the dusk of the evening," when the meeting was adjourned after 
much debate and of)p()sition. A very full attendance but no choice. 
The Canterbury conunittee declared itself un[)repared to report. 
Windham appointed a day for especial consideration, and, " after a 
very able and lengthy discussion, the town )-esolved by a laige 
majority, that as the proposed Constitution was to be determined on 
by State Convention, it was not proper for the town to pass any vote 
on the subject." The young town of Hampton called a special meet- 
ing and a))])ointed a large number of its leading citizens, viz. : Tlionias 
Fullei', Elijah Wolcott, Philip Pearl. Ebenezer llovey, Abner Ashley, 
James Stedman, James Howard, David Martin, Andrew and Benjamin 
Durkee, Thomas Stedman and John Brewster, — a committee to con 
suit on matters conceining the country, reported by delegates assem- 
bled in Philadelphia, and draw up instructions for our delegates." 
These insti-uctions were accejited a month later, December 17, and 
formally communicated to tlie delegate, Amos Utley, but tor some 
unassigned cause Hampton is reported "unrepresented," by a State 
historian. Woodstock managed in adjourned meeting to elect repre- 
sentatives though " it was said, sundry voted not legal voters." At 
the State Convention assembled in Hartfoid, January 3, 1788, the 
followirig delegates appeared from Windham County : — 

Windham. — Eliph:\let Dyer, Jcdidiah Elderkiii. 
Canterbury. — Asa Witter, Moses Cleveland. 
Aahfiird. — Simoon Smith, Hendrick Dow. 
Woodstock. — Stephen Paine, Timothy Perrin. 
Thompson. — Daniel Larued. 
KUlvKjlij. — Sampson Howe, William Danielson. 
Pomjret. — Jonathan llaudall, Simon Coltau. 
Brooklyn. — Seth Paine. 

FIai)iJi<ld. — James Bradford. Joshua Dtndap. 
Volitntown. — Moses Camj)i)ell, Benjamin Dow. 
Lebanon. — William Williams, Ephraim Carpenter. 
Mansfield. — Constant Soiithworth, Nathaniel Atwood. 

The strong arguments urged in behalf of the Federal Constitution 
by those gi'eat men, Ellsworth, Slu'rman and Johnson, who had borne 
so prominent a part in its construction, allayed tlie doubts and fears of 
many distrustful delegates. Windliams Samuel Huntington, now 
governor of the State, and Lieutenant-Governor Wolcott, addressed 
the convention in favor of ratifvintr the Constitution. Nine of the 



ADOPTION OF FEDERAL CX)N8TITUTI0N". 213 

TViiidhain County towns voted in favor of ratification. Ponifi-et, 
Woodstock, Mansfield and one of the Lebanon delegates were uiial)le 
to consent to it. Tlie great majority of the inhabitants of Windliani 
County accepted the result with approval and rejoicings, and with 
great unanimity and heaitiness proceeded to cast their votes for Wash- 
ington as presiilent, at]d assume their various responsibilities as citizens 
of the United States of America. 



II. 

WINDHAM'S PROSPERITY. THE WIXDIIAM niEXIX. RELIGIOUS 

DECLENSION. POLITICAL AGITATION. GENERAL 

TOWN AFFAIRS. 

WIXDHA^Nl County's energetic shire town entereil u})on the new 
regime with great spirit and animation. Having borne so 
prominent a part in carrying foiward the Kevoix'tion slie was e(iually 
ready to lead in building up and pushing onward the Nation. Those 
public men who had served State and country so faithfully in the long 
struggle were growing old, cautious and conservative, but young n)en 
full of life and courage were hurrying up to fill their places. Fore- 
most among the prominent men of the new generation was Zephaniah 
Swift of Tolland, now established in Windliam town, and winning 
immediate success as a lawyer. Jabez Clark and Samuel Gray, Jr., 
had married daughters of Col. Elderkin. and engaged in legal practice. 
Col. Ebenezer Gi-ay resumed the practice of his profession, and 
engaged in public afiairs as for as his enfeebled health would per- 
mit. Timothy Larrabee and the older lawyers still continued in 
practice. Both old and new generations appear among town officers. 
Hezekiah Ripley succeeded Samuel Gray, Sen., as town clerk and 
treasurer in 1786. Shubael Al)be, William Rudd, Cai)t. P^liphalet 
INIuidock, Ebenezer Bass, Capt. Zephaniah Swift. Majors Backus and 
Clitf, were chosen selectmen ; Henry Ilewett, Thomas Tileson, 
Jonathan Kingsley, Melatiah Bingham, William Robinson, Joim 
Walden, listers ; Jedidiah Bingham, Gideon Martin, Manasseh Rainier, 
Col. Thomas Dyer, Joshua Ma.\well, collectors of town taxes ; P^lisha 
Abbe, constable and collector of State taxes ; Josiah Babcock, Elisha 
White, Samuel Kingsbury, Elijah Robinson, Nathaniel Huntington, 
Ashael Allen, William Cary, tithingmen ; Gideon Ilebard, Jonathan 
Badger, Josiah Linkon, Jr., Dr. Penuel Cheney, William Robmson, 
grand-jurors ; Jacob Robinson, sealer of weights and measures. 



214 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Sixteen liiLihwiiy surveyors, four fence-viewers, two pouiul-keepers, 
and two le:illier-se:ilers, were also elected. Zenas Howes was ap- 
pointed to take care of the Iron Works brid^'e, near liis residence 
on the Williinantic; Cai)t. Murdock had charge of the old l)ndge ; 
James P'lint, Jr., the Island bridge. Town :itVairs retpiireil little atten- 
tion. The several societies ordered their schools ; the jtoor were let 
out to the lowest bidder. As there were many returned soldiers about 
town destitute of employment, nnd many idlers hiuiging about the 
village without regular business, depending ui)on jobs at Court ses- 
sions, the town enjoined upon its selectmen, " To attend vigilantly to 
the laws resj)ecting idleness, bad husbandly and tavern-haunting, and 
see that the same be carried into eft'ectual execution against such of 
the inliabitants of the town as sliall in futuie be guilty of a breach of 
said law." 

As business revived under the new ordering of public affairs this 
charge was less needful. With debt funded, credit restored, and a 
govei'nment to aid and protect them, the ])eople of the United States 
began to reap the fruit of their hard stiuggle. Selfish laws no longer 
shackled their teeming energies. The world was all before them to 
feed and clothe, and no man willing to work was forced to lemain 
idle. The various industries initiated in Windham before the war were 
now resumed with redoubled sinrit. Agricultuial operations were 
greatly extended. All kinds of farming produce were demanded, for 
home consumption or ex])ortation. Shubael, Phinehas and Elisha Abbe 
and other solid men engaged in various '' branches of husl)andry." 
Grass on many farms had now taken the place of wheat, and great 
attention was given to stock raising and dairy manufactures. A lai'ge 
surplus of beef and pork was barreled on the farms for market, antl 
cheese became so ])lentiful "that a si)eculator could sometimes buy a 
liundred thousand pounds in a neighbt)rhood." The superabundance 
of wool develo[)ed a home industry — "the knitting of woolen stock- 
ings and mittens for New York market "' — by which many women 
found pleasant ynd ijrotitable employment and several thousand dollars 
were yearly l)rought into the town. J\ter Webb, Henry Stanley, 
Jonathan Jennings, the Taintor brothers, Clark and Dorrance, Tiujothy 
Warren, and many other business firms successively established, were 
busily occupied in buying \\\) these various products, and retailing 
'\\'est India goods and great variety of merchandise. Commercial 
enteri)iise was by no means restiicted to these mercantile houses. 
Elisha Abbe was one who claimed the privilege of shipping his own 
products without the intervention of "middle men," and built for his 
own acconnnodation " Tin-: Windham," a brisk little craft, witli a huge 
froii' cut in its bow for a figure-head. 



Windham's rROSPERiTv, ktc. 215 

IMaiiufacturcs were also progressinii'. Col. Eldeikiii triinmed and 
enlarged his inulben y orchard, and ix-snnied work in his silk factoi-v, 
turning out annually some ten or twelve thousand jxiunds of hosieiy- 
silk to meet the demand foi- fashionable long stoekings. Handker- 
chief and vest patterns were also manufactured there "in considerable 
iMunbers." He procured a loom and weaver frotu Europe and suc- 
ceeded in fabricating sundry ])ie(*es of silk which furnished dresses* 
for his daughters. Col. Dyer expended much money and labor in 
constructing a dam and Houriiig works upon the Shetucket in South 
Windham. He also carried on a grist-mill at the Frog l^ond l)rook, 
and gave his sou Ijenjamin a thousand pounds to start the drug busi- 
ness at Windham Green. Dr. Jjenjamin, as he was called, went to 
New York and expended his whole capital in one purchase, l)uving 
it is said a hundred and fifty ])Ounds of vxifers, and other ihings in 
l)ro])oition. The Windham people made much s})ort of it after their 
fashion, but his immense variety gave him the custom of all the 
physicians in the surrounding country, and his advertisements claimed 
for him "the largest assortment of diugs, dye-stuffs, paints, spices, 
etc., to be found in Eastern Connecticut." He was accustomed for a 
time to import directly from London. The practising ])hysicians of 
Windham at this date were Dr. Samuel Lee, Dr. Thomas Gray and Dr. 
Jolni Clark. John Staniford followed the art of working in silver. An 
industry deserving notice was devised by Henry DeWitt while confined 
within the jail limits. From hoops and refuse iron picked up in the 
streets by his boys he managed to fabricate headed tacks that supplied 
a need in the community, and by their sale was able to provide sus- 
tenance for his family. Mills for grinding and sawing; establishments 
for fulling and dressing cloth, tanning leather, malting and distilling 
liquors, were in active operation in all parts of the town. John and 
Stephen Brown continued the manufacture of saltpetre and ])otash at 
their home farm on the Willimantic. The neighborhood of the Old 
State Armory had made no great advances. The fine piivilege 
olfered by the Falls was but scantily improved, running only a single 
grist-mill and saw-mill and supplying water for Ezekiel Gary's tannery. 
John ]>ingham " tended the grist-mill," and occui)ied an old house 
opposite built by Amos Dodge, an early resident of this vicinity. 
The red house built by Deacon Nathaniel Skiff, was occujiied \)\ his 
son Joseph, a bachelor with three maiden sisters. Bela Elderkin for 
a time kept tavern in the Howes House. These with the families of 
Stephen Fitch, Zenas Howes, David Young, and one or two others, 



* Letter from William "W. Campbell, Cherry Valley, New York, December 
25, 1857. 



216 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COlINTy. 



made up the ])0))ulation of tlie "Old Stale." Yet notwitlistandiug the 
comparative insignificance of tliis part of tlie town, one of its resi- 
dents, little old Uncle Amos Dodge, •' was im])ressed with the convic- 
tion that Williniantic Falls was destined to become a great place," and 
by his faith and eloquence so wrought upon the minds of his neigh- 
boi-s that they actually consented to go out in the woods with him and 
l>vf]^ave {\m\)Gv i'ov a meet in f/Jiouse which he insisted shouM be made 
ready for the prospective iidiabitants, but after raising a frame their 
faith tailed them, and many years |)assed before Williniantic was 
favored with a house of worship. That the Falls should ever become 
a great business centre and the head of the town seemed as imjirobable 
to that generation as that Windham Green should ever lose its leader- 
ship. The efforts made by the uoithern towns of Windham County 
to effect a change of county seat excited for a time only derision, but 
the boldness and persistency of tlie leaders of the movement at last 
compelled attention. In 1797, Timothy Lari'abee, Jabez Clark and 
Shubael Abbe, were ai)pointed agents of the town to meet with gentle- 
men of other towns ojiposed to removal of county seat. So alarming 
was the prospect that these agents were authoiized to consent, " that 
if a court-house and accommodations should be completed in any other 
town without expense to the public, courts might be held half the 
time in them." 

Business enterprises were stimulated by new fiicilities for advertising. 
In 1790, John Byrne of Norwich, set U]) a pi'inting-press in the lower 
room of the Court-house, and early in the following year began the 
publication of Windham County's first newspaper. 

THE Wi|^ PHENIX; 

Or, WINDHAM ^m^^^ HERALD. 



Vol. I.] SATURDAY, ^^ci^S^^^ MARCH 12, 1791. [Numb. i. 

Windham : Printed by John Bi/rne, conabimue North of tlie Court House. 

The journal launclied upon the world under this portentous hgure- 
head was a modest little sheet of coarse bluish-gray paper, bearing 
little resemblance to its illustrious ])iototype save in the progeny of 
county newspapers destined to spring from its ashes. Stiiving for 
success in conformit}' to his motto, Mr. Byiiie achieved a very credita- 
li)le country newspaper, fully equal to its cotemporaries. Like them, 
it lacked "leaders" and "locals." Its editor made no attempt to lead 
or form public oj)inion. Windham's rampant politicians cared little 
for such guidance but only asked for facts from which they could draw 
their own conclusions. General and foreisfu uews was furnished with 



THE WINDHAM PHENIX, ETC. 217 

all possible dispatch, viz. : foreign news of three months date ; congres- 
sional reports ten or twelve days old ; full re])orts from Connecticut 
election in three weeks. These, with advertisements, short moral 
essays, humorous anecdotes, and occasional casualties, made up the 
table of contents. Meagre as it was it satisfied the public. The 
I^henix was accepted as the organ of Windham County, and in a few 
years numbered soiiie twelve hundred subscribers, and was carried 
about in all directions by post-riders. Jonathan Ashley of Hampton, 
was one of the first of these riders. Another was Samuel Farnham, 
who gave place in 1797, to Benjamin llutchins, Jr., who would "take 
the usual route through Hampton, Pomfret, Woodstock, Ashford, and 
Mansfield." The eastern towns were visited by tlieir own post-man. 
All other mail accommodations were supplied by Norwich till January 

I, 179o, when a post-office was opened at Windham Green — John 
Byrne, postmaster. Residents of all the neighboring towns now 
repaired to this oflice. Letters for Ashford, Brooklyn, Canterbury, 
Hampton, Mansfield, Killingly, and even distant Thompson, were 
advertised in the Windham Herald. 

Newspaper and post-office added to Windham's importance and 
infiuence. Its superiority " to every inland town in the State in 
trade and merchandise," was reiterated with greater confidence. 
Its numerous stores, warel)ou.ses, taverns, and all places of puldic 
resort, were well filled and patronized on ordinary occasions, and 
on festive days its streets were thronged with visitors from all the 
surrounding country. There were the usual Training and Election 
days and mighty regimental musters. Most of the county convoca- 
tions and public gatherings were held in Windham, meetings of the 
AVestern Land Company, of the Windham Medical Society, and of 
other embryo associations. The sessions of the Court brought a 
train of judges, lawyers and witnesses. Soon after the close of the 
war an academy was opened, securing for a time the services of Dr. 
Pemberton, and though for lack of permanent funds it was unable to 
retain so popular a teacher, it maintained a respectable standing, and 
was well sustained by Windham and its vicinity. Public schools were 
yet poor, but efl:brts were made for their improvement. In 1 794, 
thirteen school districts were set off, designated according to the 
fashion of the day by some prominent resident, viz. : 1, Fi'ederick 
Stanley's; 2, Solomon Huntington's; 3, Jabez W^olcott's ; 4, Timothy 
Wales' ; 5, Eliphalet Murdock's : 6, Williana Preston's ; 7, Zebediah 
Tracy's; 8, Josiah Palmer's ; 9, James Cary's ; 10, Joseph Palmer's; 

II, William Cary's ; 12, John Walden's ; 13, Zenas Howe's. Private 
schools were often sustained in diiferent neighborhoods. 

Much consideration was now given to the improvement of high- 
28 



218 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTT. 

wavs. Iligliway districts were instituted identical witli tlie seliool 
districts, and liberty procured to levy a tax to keej) tlirni in order. 
Pi-ojected tuin))ikes called out much discussion. Jeremiah IJipley, 
Timothv Lairal)ee, Moses Cleveland, T.uther Payne, James Gordon, 
and such others as should associate witli them, were incorijorated as 
The Wiudliara Turnpike Company, in 1790, con.structing a turnjMke 
from Plaintield to Coventry, ])ast Windham Court-house, which 
became the great thoronghfare of travel between Hartford and Provi- 
dence. Very great efibrts were made by the town to compel this 
company to lay its road over the Shetucket, wheie the bridge was 
already standing. Elijah Selden, Capt. Abner Robinson and Dr. 
Peuuel Cheney, were appointed in 1801, to negotiate for alterations 
in the new turn])ike so as to avoid re-bridging the Shetucket. but were 
obliged to submit to the unwelcome necessity. After several attempts 
to keep np new and old town biidges, the latter was abandoned in 
1806. Timothy Larrabee, Charles Taiutor, Eleazer Huntington and 
Roger "VValdo, were constituted a corporation in 1800, " by the name 
of The Windham and Mansfield Society, for the estaldishing a turn- 
pike road from Joshua Hide's dwelling-house in Franklin to the meet- 
ing-house in Stafford," connecting with a turnpike leading from New 
London and Norwich. The laying out a projected turniiike from 
Woodstock's north bound to the south bound of Connecticut at New 
London, passing through Scotland Parish, was very vigorously and 
persistently opposed by Windham, and the road was finally laid out 
farther eastward. She also successfully opposed a road from Wood- 
stock through Ashford and Mansfield to Windham Court-bouse, not 
only kee])ing the Courts but refusing to shorten the road to them. 
In her own roads and bridges she manifested due enterprise and 
liberality, assuming the charge of the Horse Shoe bridge at the 
request of Joseph Skifi' and others, and advancing two hundred dollars 
for reducing hills and mending the road from Scotland meeting-house 
to Jared Webb's. 

With such a rush of business and travel Windham's taveins might 
well flourish. Nathaniel Linkon, John Flint, David Young, John 
Keyes, John Parish entertained the public in diflerent parts of the 
town ; Nathaniel Hebard, John Staniford, John Fitch, received on 
Windham Green. The '' Widow Cary, " now the wife of John Fitch, 
had brought to her new home the jolly image of Bacchus, occupying 
a conspicuous perch on the sign-|)Ost of the "old Fitch Tavern." 
Travelers, court attendants and fellow-townspeople found agreeable 
entertainment beneath his beaming countenance, and in the other 
village taverns, tamed as tliey were for the flow of wit and liquor, as 
well as more substantial fare. Windham's old-time reputation for 



THE WINDHAM PHENIX, ETC. 219 

jokes and jollity was abiiiulantly sustained in this day of prospeiity 
and universal liqnor-diiuking. The many Revolutionary veterans 
resident in the vicinity were hal)itual frequenters of these attiactive 
resorts, fighting over tlieir battles and telling marvelous tales of hair- 
breadth escape and han-owing adventui'e. Quaint old characters 
abounded whose odd sayings and doings furnished exhaustless merri- 
ment. There was one "jolly boy" of whom it was said " he could 
not go by Hebard's tavern without stopping to get a drink of rum." 
A friend remonstrated with him and finally made a bet that he could 
not do so. The old man went down town and marched triumjihantly 
past the tavern. " Now," said he, " I'll go back and treat Resolu- 
tion.'' Once when somewhat obfuscated by drink he wandered off 
into the fields and went to sleep but forgot on rising to put on his old 
cocked hat. Some boys found it and brought it back to him, think- 
ing to cover him with confusion. " In which lot did you find it? " he 
in(iuired blandly. "In Mr. White's pasture, near the bars." "Well, 
boy, go take it right hack, that is my place to keep it." 

One comical old wag had a turn fur rhyming. Meeting one day a 
rough-looking countryman with tawny hair and beard, and butternut 
colored coat, riding on a sorry son-el nag, he flung up his hat at the 
uncouth figure and exclaimed : — 

" Man and mare, beard and hair 
All compare, I swear! " 

Another, calling at one of the taverns when it chanced to run low, 
suggested as inscription iov ll;e sign : — 

" Notbliiii ou one side — nothing on t'other, 
Nothing iu the house, uor in the barn nuther." 

Among Windham's merchants and leading men were son;e who 
delighted greatly in jokes and story-telling. Staniford's house was a 
great place of resort for these worthies, an exchange-place for all 
manner of quips, pranks and witticisms, where each would strive to 
catch or outvie the other. X had a cow which gave two full pails of 
milk morning and evening, and finally he had her milked at noon, and 
she gave two full pails and just as much at the other milkiugs as 
before, but Z's cow gave milk so continuously " that he had an aque- 
duct built from barn to house to bring it, and the milk was so rich 
that every quart made a pound of butter." One man had killed 
nearly a cart-load of pigeons at one shot. Another" shot " a great lot 
of crows iu a pitch dark night." X was obliged to hoe beans once, 
while his brothers were permitted to go fox-hunting. He " heard tlie 
dogs coming, looked up and saw the fox which jumped over the fence 
into a snowbank, and he killed him with his hoe before he could get 



220 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

onto liis feet." " ]>ut, " says Z, "it was a queer time to liave a heavy 
snowbank in a lot where you were lioeiiKj heans!" "The climate has 
changed in fifty years," res])ontls the unabashed Munchausen, lie- 
niiniscences of the cold winter of 1779-80, called out some marvellous 
statements. " The snow was already thiee feet deep on a level, and 
the day of the great snow it began snowing early very hard, but about 
11 o'clock it snowed as large flakes as chi]>])in(/-b)rds — it snowed an 
inch deejy every 'minute for an hour and a half, and continued to snow 
as hard as in common storms all day. A\' hereupon X relates that on 
the cold Sunday of that famous winter his family went to meeting 
about two miles away. The big dinner-pot was put on before leaving, 
with pork and beef, turnips, cabbage and potatoes, all to boil together 
for dinner, and a big fire of logs made under it in the old-fashioned fire- 
place. When they returned they found the kitchen door blown open 
" and it was so cold that the steam had frozen in a solid cone on the 
top of the pot, and the pot was boiling furiously below it!" Tliat 
story, all agreed, could never be matched. X announced one night 
that he had discovered what salmon lived on. He had found two fy- 
ing squirrels in the maw of one just purchased, but the rogue who had 
crammed them down the salmons tliroat had the best of the joke that 
evening. These lively jokers were not addicted to drinking and as they 
did not patronize the bar they were accustomed to send each a cord or 
two of wood a season to help keep up the sparkling fire that added 
zest to their stories. Theii' host was noted for his exploits in eating. 
Three large shad for thirty consecutive days, with plenty of accompani- 
ments, and a whole fresh tripe at a dimier, were among these feats. 
When melting silver one hot summer day he was known to drink tiro 
gallons of West India rum without feeling the least intoxicated. 

A large number of waiters, hostlers, drivers, purveyors, occu[)ied at 
Court time, but with little to do but lounge and tell stories the re- 
mainder of the year, hung about the taverns and stores, and added to 
the general merriment. Negro men and boys Avere still very numerous 
and made much sport for all classes with tlieir droll mimicry and end- 
less tricks and capers. Change of status made little ditference to this 
class. A few went out into the world as freedmen, but the larger 
number even though freed clung to their old masters and were always 
8upj)orted and cared for. The most intelligent among them was 
(General Job, brigadier of the colored brigade that met for parade 
on the Norwicli Line every year, lie married Rose, a very handsome 
negress, belonging to Elisha Abbe, and they owned a house on the 
back road. 

With all Windham's advancement in one respect there was retro- 
gression. Her secular ali'aira were most flourishing, but religion had 



RELIGIOUS DECLENSION, ETC. 



221 



sadly declined. It was ;i transition period — a day of uplieaval, over- 
turning, uprootal. Infidelity and Universalism had come in wilh the 
Revolntion and drawn multitudes from the religious faith of their 
fathers. Free-thinking and free-drinking were alike in vogue. Great 
looseness of manners and morals had replaced the ancient Puritanic 
strictness. In former golden days Windham could proudly sing : — 

" That her great men were good and her good men were groat, 
And the props of herChiu'ch were the pillars of the State." 

Now, sons of those honored fathers and the great majority of those 
in active life, were sceptics and scofiers, and men were placed in othce 
who never entered the House of God except for town meetings and 
secular occasions. In a sermon preached upon the fiftieth anniversary 
of his settlement, December, 1790, Mr. White strikingly portiayed the 
contrast : — 

" In those days there were scarce nuy that were not professors of religion, 
and but few infants not baptized. Xo families that were prayerless. Profane 
swearing was but little known, and open violations of the Sabbath not prac- 
ticed as is common now. And there were no Deists among us. The people as 
a body were fearers of the Lord aud observers of the Sabbath and its duties. 
But the present day is peculiar for men's throwing off the fear of the Lord. 
Declensions in religion have been increasing for about thirty years past, such 
as profaneness, disregard of the Sabbath, neglect of family religiou, unright- 
eousness, inteuiperauce, imbibing of modern errors and heresies and the cry- 
ing prevalence of infldelity against the clearest light." 

The standing church had to contend with the frip:xi)S as well as the 
foes of religion. About one-third of the inhabitants of Windham 
were now " certificate people or Sectaries," bitterly opposed to the 
ecclesiastic constitution of Connecticut, and the churches founded upon 
that basis. The Baptists were steadily gaining in numbers, strength, 
and influence under the charge of their worthy elder, Benjamin 
Lathrop. In the north part of Windham, which was now becoming a 
populous neighborhood, a remarkable worship was conducted by Joshua 
Abbe. Rev. Moses Cook Welch of Mansfield represented "■ these 
Abbe-ites as a sect of Baptists, differing from any and all of that 
denomination that had ever risen in any age, having no communication 
even -with other Baptist churches. Their meetings were chaiacteiized 
by jargon, disorder and great confusion ; all were allowed to speak at 
pleasure, women as well as men, three, four or six sometimes speaking 
at once, while groans, sobs and sighs were reiterated by others." 
Doubtless this report is colored by orthodox prejudice, but whether dis- 
orderly or not these meetings 'were permitted. Any sect or church 
within the State of Connecticut had now the privilege of worshipping 
according to its own dictates. The State only insisted that every man 
should worship somewhere, or, at least, bear his part in maintaining 
some religious worship. The Saybrook Platform had been dropped 



222 HISTORY OF WIXBHAM COUNTY. 

from the statute book in tlie revision of 1784, but the old society or<2:an- 
ization was retained. Every man within tlie limits of a stated society 
was taxed for the support of its religious worship, until he lodged with 
the clerk of the society a certiticate of membership of some other 
society. The old Separates and Baptists were not in the least satisfied 
with these concessions and were still forced to submit to what they 
deemed a degrading vassalage, wliile tlie opi)Osition of the free-thinkers 
to the establislied churches was greatly heightened by being obliged to 
help support preaching which they disbelieved and hated. After forty 
years of conilict the agitators had Avon tlie privilege of worshipping as 
they pleased and paying ministers after their own fashion. Now they 
claimed the right of not worshipping if they pleased, and neither hear- 
ing or paying ministers except at their own fancy. The " movement ' 
began by the early Separates was destined to go onward till every legal 
restriction was removed, and all religious questions and worship left to 
the settlement of the individual conscience. 

The political status of Windham was greatly affected by these 
religious dissensions and complications. A large majoiity of her 
population were Federalists for a time, staunchly sup}»ortlng the Fed- 
eral Constitution, and Washington's administration, but on State and 
local questions they were greatly divided. Connecticut's ecclesiastical 
cons-titution and paiish system, and those ministers and public men who 
upheld it. were very obnoxious to the Sectaries. There was also a strong 
radical element in the town, a feeling of hostility to the aristocratic pre- 
tensions and style of the upper classes, the college-bred Grays. Elderkins, 
Dyers, who had been so prominent in public affairs. Far back in 1775 
'• a miserable junto " * had contrived to defeat Colonel Dyer's renomi- 
uation to Congress, and this opposition was constantly increasing. 
Sanuiel Webb, a man of strong common sense and much native 
force of character, was deeply imbued with radical and revolutionary 
ideas, and had much iufiuence among the masses. The few " Grumble- 
tonians," or anti-Federalists, joined with the Sectaries, and in 1786 sent 
Benjamin Lathrop and Samuel Webb to the General Assembly. In the 
following year Zephaniah Swift was sent as deputy. Federal in politics, 
he was yet a friend to progress and religious freedom, and an open and 
earnest opponent to the existing church establishment. Sectaries of 
every shade gladly welcomed him as their leader and sought to place him 
in office, while members of the standing cluu-ch were outraged that 
a /'/•ee-^'Am/oey' should be sent to represent them. The ministers of these 
churches, Messrs. White and Cogswell, "were grieved and displeased 



* Letters of Silas Deaue. 



EELIGIOUS DECLENSION, ETC. 223 

that men should have so little regard for religion as to choose a man 
for deputy who has none," and marvelled at the inconsistency of "those 
Separates, Baptists and enthusiasts who pi'etend to so much more 
religion than we, yet vote for a }»rof;uie, irreligious man, who scarce 
ever attends public worship." Ilev. Moses (\jok Welch, now settled 
in ^Mansfield Centre, was loud in condemnation of their conduct. In 
sjiite of strong opposition Swift carried the two succeeding elections. 
Judge Devotion of Scotland won the day in October, 1788. The con- 
test went on year after year with the vigor and bitterness characteristic 
of religious warfare. Charges of extortion and imprisonment hurled 
against the standing churches were met by accusations of excesses and 
inmioralities. Tlie ministers carried the questions into their several 
pulpits. Mr. Cogswell reports, April 12, 1790: " Went to Freeman's 
meeting and voted according to the dictates of my conscience, but 
could not succeed to keep Capt. Swift from being chosen deputy . 
Believe, nevertheless, that vii/ preach tng did good yesterday, forjudge 
Devotion had almost as many votes as Swift." In 1793, Swift was sent 
to Congress, the first representative from northeast Connecticut. 

As inherent differences of opinion became more defined and out- 
spoken, and opposition to Fedeialism assumed ])olitieal organism, 
Windham was I'eady for the conflict. Swift indeed kept his i»lace in 
the Federal ranks, but a great majoiity of the opponents to the 
standing order accepted JefTerson as their leader, and united with the 
anti-Federal Republicans. The sons of Samuel Webb were among 
the foremost leaders of this new party, which gained a strong hold in 
the town but was not able for several years to control its elections. 
The ability and audacity of its advocates, and their ruthless onslaught 
upon the Federal Government and established institutions, excited 
great opposition and alarm. The staunch old Federalists of the town, 
Col. Dyer, Judge Devotion, the Grays, Jabez Clark, Shubael Abbe, 
the standing clergy, with their organ, the Windham Herald, en- 
deavored by every means in their power to stay the progress of these 
pernicious principles and check the growth of this insurrectionary 
parly. When in addition to their assaults upon the General Govern- 
ment, they proceeded to attack the Constitution of Connecticut, and 
propose a substitute for that sacred Charter under which its inhabitants 
had enjoyed such freedom and privileges, words were inadequate to 
exi)ress their indignation. Peter Webb, a successful merchant in 
Windham town, was one of the first to discover and proclaim that 
Connecticut "had no government." When Fierpont Edwards in 1804, 
issued a circular calling upon Republicans " to meet in convention at 
Kew Haven upon the subject of forming a constitution," a corres- 



224 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

ponrlent of the Windham herald thus describes its reception in 
Windham Cyounty : — 

"In the towu of Sterling, a meeting was. convened by Mr. Lemuel Dor- 
ranee, to whom the circular letter of Mr. Edwards was addressed. Mr. Dor- 
rance was chosen chairman of the meeting. It was composed of twenty-nine 
or thirty persons, and on discussion of the subject of the circular letter, it 
was voted that no delegate should be chosen. Whether Mr. Dorrance obeyed 
the direction of the letter, to co77ie on himself, if none was chosen, we are not 
fully assured. 

The circular was submitted to a meeting of those Avho call themselves 
republicans (exclusively), on the 13th of August, inst., at Plainfleld. The 
meeting was attended bj' more members than any other meeting of the kind 
ever held in that town, and on full deliberation it was (we mention it to their 
honor) voted not to choose any delegate to the proposed convention. It is, 
however, understood, that after the return to that town, of a gentleman /rom 
Court, on Saturday last, a few, very few persons met on Monday, and made 
choice of Mr. Elias Woodward. How the republicans in general, by whom 
the proposition was rejected, will receive this we cannot tell. 

From the town of Voluntowu we only learn that Mr. Nicholas Randall has 
gone on to New Haven. 

From Thompson we learn nothing, but presume no person attends from 
that town. 

In the town of Woodstock a meeting was publicly warned, and notice 
given, that it would be open to all parties, but wlien the democrats met, they 
called for a private room and refused admission to any but their own sect. 
They consisted of ticenty-three persons, five of whom were not freemen, one 
is a pauper maintained bj" the town, and ten persons who have come to reside 
in Woodstock from other towns, mostly from Rhode Island. Mr. William 
Boo'en chosen. 

In the town of Pomfret a meeting was held and composed of twenty per- 
sons, six of whom declined voting athrmatively on the question, and Mr. 
John Chandler was chosen by fourteen votes. 

Mr. Benjamin Arnold has gone from the towu of Killingly; whether the 
democrats in that town held a meeting for his election, we have not learned. 

From Brooklyn, we understand, that Master Harry Stanley, is the repre- 
sentative, and took a seat in the stage for New Haven, on Monday evening; 
but have heard of no meeting for his election— some run before they are 
sent. 

In the towu of Canterbury, in pursuance of the circular, a private meeting 
of a small number of persons was iiolden, and elected Mr. Ephraini Lyon. 

In the towns of Windham and Lebanon, we understand tliey are in "favor of 
a large representation, and elected four persons in each towu; of whom 
Messrs. Baldwin and Manning attend from Windham, and Mr. Andrew 
Metcalf, from Lebanon. 

At Ashford, Messrs. D. Bolles, and Jason Woodward. 

At Hampton, Mr. Roger Taintor. 

At Mansfield, Mr. Edmond Freeman. 

At Columbia, Mr. Stephen Buckingham. 

We are fully assured, that whenever meetings of democrats have been 
hoklen in this county, in pursuance of the circular letters, they have excluded 
all persons, not avowedly democrats, from acting in their meetings. With 
what pretentions these friends of the people can claim the right of manufac- 
turing new forms of government for the good citizens of this state, against 
their consent, and without their advice, we know not. We only ask, do these 
proceedings furnish evidence that the party are actuated by a spirit of equal 
liberty, or a spirit of usurpation and tyranny ? " 

The Herald also reports that so far as it can learn " the proposition 
Avas received with coldness niiiigled with alarm even by tho.se who 
have hitherto favored the democratic party. Less alarm would pi-oba- 



RELIGIOUS DECLENSION, ETC 225 

bly Imve been excited if these Constitution-inaker.s had admitted that 
Connecticut now lias a Constitution^ but that it is a bad one and 
requii-es renovation. But when the bold g-round is assumed that Con- 
necticut has )io Consfltufloit' and that all the acts of the Legislature 
for many years past have been acts of usuri)ation and tyraiuiy, most 
retlecling men startled at the consequences which may flow from admit- 
ting this proposition." Yet notwithstanding this alarm, and the 
earnest efforts and solemn warnings of the Federalists, their opponents 
succeeded this same year in electing Mr. Peter Webb as deputy to the 
General Assembly, and thenceforward the re])ublicans were often able 
to carry the elections, the Sectaries holding the balance of power. 
The earnestness and eloquence of tlie Windham republicans, and the 
])rominent position of their town, gave them great political influence 
during the Jeftersonian conflict aiul administration. 

The third settled pastor of Windham's First Church, Rev. Stei)hen 
White, died January 9, 1793, in the seventy-flfth year of his age and 
fifty-third of his ministry. His gentle and lovely character, consist- 
ent Christian life, and faitiiful miiiisteiial service, had won the regard 
of all " whose appiobation was worth possessing." His funeral 
sermon was attended by a great concouise of people — his former 
pupil, Kev. M. C. Welch, ]ii'eaching the sermon, and all the neighbor- 
ing ministers pai'ticipating in tlie exercises, which were prolonged till 
the dusk of the evening. His excellent wife, sister of Col. Dyer, 
survived her husband ten years. The Windham Herald in announc- 
ing her decease asserts, " that the life of this old lady furnished a 
pattern worthy to be imitated by the most pious and most exemplary. 
From a very early peiiod of her life she was a professor of the 
Christian religion and ever adorned her profession by the most dis- 
tinguished piety and godliness. Rectitude was uniformly her object, 
and love and esteem were the affections which she unifoi'mly inspired.'" 
Of her thirteen children, tiiree daughters, greatly esteemed for piety 
and excellence of character, long occupied the modest homestead. 
Mr. White was succeeded in the ministerial otfice by Elijah Waterman 
of Bozrah, who was ordained in Windham, October 1, 1794. The 
unusual enei-gy and zeal of tlie young pastor found ample exercise in 
his new field. His church was cold, backward and almost without 
influence in the community. Irreligion was rampant and aggressive. 
Infidel books and doctrines were widely disseminated. Books demon- 
strating Universal salvation were advertised in the Iferald, and sub- 
scriptions received for them in its office. Good-fellowship and jollity 
were degenerating into revelry and dissipation. Intemperance had 
become alarmingly prevalent. Card-playing and other questionable 
amusements were much in vogue. A social club, comprising all the 
29 



226 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

" irood fellows "' about town, affordtMl opiortnnity for free indulgence 
in such pastimes. And while liie forces of evil were thus united and 
strong, tlie few ohuich jnenibeis and christians were expeiuling all 
their energies in battling and beating One another. Mr. Waterman 
devoted himself to liis work with great earnestness, and by his faith- 
ful labors and ])Uiigent exhortations soon aroused a new religions 
interest in his cliurch, and received encouiaging accessions to its 
niendjership. Like his predecessors he ibund a wife among liis own 
people — Lucy, daughter of Shubael Ablje — and it was hoped that like 
them he would I'emain for life in Windham. Wide in symjiathy as 
well as fervent in spirit, Mr. Waterman interested himself in all tl>e 
reformatory movements then in progress at home and abioad. lie 
was an active member of the Windham County Association and piomi- 
nent in effecting the formal Consociation of the churches. At home 
he labored for improvement of ])ublic schools and the formation of a 
school library in place of the ibriner Social Library which with other 
good things had been suffered to decline and fall to pieces. He tran- 
scribed the records of the church and provided for their better preser- 
vation, and prepared a faitliful historical discourse for the commemora- 
tion of its hundredth anniversary. He also collected materials "for a 
complete history of Windham County,'" which in subsequent years 
were unfortunately scattered. 

Yet notwithstanding Mr. Waterman's acknowledged ability and 
excellence, his pastorate was stormy. His open and uncompromising 
hostility to vice and irreligion aroused strong opposition and made iiim 
many personal enemies. Finding that in spite of his earnest remon- 
strances the club of jolly fellows persisted in hunting rabbits and i»lay- 
ing ball on Fast and Thanksgiving days in defiance of law, he made 
complaint to tlie magistrate and secured the exaction of tines. These 
victims and other aggrieved parties united their forces against the 
zealous minister and proceeded to organize as an Episcopal society, 
under the auspices of Rev. Jol)n Tyler of Xorwicli, who held church 
service with them as often as practicable. By this device they evaded 
the ])ayment of rates and made it very difHcult for the society to pro- 
vide for the support of Mv. Waterman. The church, however, clung 
faithfully to its )iastor and would ])i'obal)ly have succeeded in retaining 
him in spite of the pecuniary difficulties but for the removal of one of 
its strongest pillars and supports, 'Sh: Sheriff Abbe, wlu) was stricken 
down with apoplexy, Ai)ril 16, 1804. His worth and labors were thus 
portrayed by mourning friends : — 

" He firaduated at Yale Collesie, 1764. He was several years in the hiisiiicss 
of nicrchaiulizc and by his own exertious became laruely engaged in hus- 
bandry. In 1783 ho was appointed sherifl' of the County of Windham and 
cnntinned in the most punctual and unexceptionable manner to discharge the 
duties of that oliice till his death. He was often chosen represeutalive of the 



POLITICAI, AGITATION, ETC. 



227 



town. In 1798 he was appointed by the President one of tlie commissioners 
of the Land tax, and l)y the Assenilily one of the committee to manage tlie 
Scliool Funds. In domestic life he was indiduent and decisive. In public 
business, active, punctual and correct. In his attachment to civil and religions 
institutions he was exemplary, and to the poor and :ifHicted luinume and 
generous. His ability and integri;y secured to him the esteem and conlidence 
of his fellow-citizens. And his death was extensively and deeply regretted. 
He left a widow, three sons and five daughters to mourn an irreparable loss. 

Tears flow nor cease wliere .\bl)e's ashes sleep, 

For him a wife and tendei-est ciiildren weep. 

And justly — for few sliall ever transcentl 

As husband, parent :ind a faithful friend." 

Ill view of this great loss and tlie combined opposilioii, Mr. Water- 
man thoug-ht it unwise to remain in Wiiidliam and was dismissed by 
council, Feb. 12, ISO.'), the cliurcli still attesting its regard. Of eighty- 
nine admitted to the church during his pastorate only twelve were 
males. The venerable deacons — Nathaniel Wales, Sen., Jose[)h Hunt- 
ington and Nathaniel Skirt"— liad now been dead many years. Deacon 
Samuel Gray died in 1787, Deacon Jonathan Martin in 179), Deacon 
Elijah Bingham in 1798. Samuel Perkins, Esq., and Capt. Eliphalet 
Murdock were elected deacons dui-ing the ministry of Mr. Waterman. 

j\Iany of Windham's honored citizens were now [jassing away. 
Colonel Ebenezer Gray, after suffering gi'eatly from disease contracted 
in Revolutionary service, died in 1795, greatly respected and beloved. 
It was said that his extreme generosity to the poor lost him his position 
as selectman. With other Windham otReers he was an honored mem- 
ber of the Society of the Cincinnati, established to perpetuate Revolu- 
tionary friendships and associations, and relieve the widows and orphans 
of those who had fallen. His widow survived him many years. His 
brother Thomas, physician and merchant, died in 1792. Colonel 
Jedidiah Elderkin died in 1794, Deacon Eleazer Fitch in 1800, Elder 
Benjamin Lathrop in 1804, Samuel Linkon in 1794, after entering upon 
the second year of his second century. Windham's "oldest inhabi- 
tant," Arthur Bibbins,* lia<l preceded him several years and also 
exceeded him in length of life. Colonel Dyer, now far advanced in 
years, was still hale and hearty, and though no longer partici|)ant in 
public artairs was still keenly interested in all that was passing. A 
gentleman of the old school, punctilious in dress and manners, his 
familiar form was often seen on Windham street, and liis voice often 
heard in earnest dei)recation of the alarming growth of radicalism, 
Jacol^inism, intidelity and immorality. Swift had now completed that 
tamous "Digest of the Laws of Connecticut," which brought him so 
much honor, served as secretary on an important foreign mission, and in 



*This venerable patriarch, according to Windham Church records, attained 
108 years, Init a more careful investigation reduces his years to lOi*. " He is 
represented to have been a m;ui of great vigor and health, never sick a day 
until after he was one hundred, when he was thrown from a horse and injured, 
after which he was coutined until his death." 



228 HISTORY or ^VINI)HAM COUNTV. 

ISOo \v:is npiiointed a jiulge of the Sii|)erinr Court. Saiinifl Perkins, 
after studyiug for the ministry, had decided to enter tlie legal profession, 
and engaged in practice in Windiiatn. John lialdwin and David 
W. Young also settled as lawyers in their native town. Henry ^\ i'il> 
now seived as high sheriif. Charles Abbe, de])nty-sherift*: Phinehas 
Abbe, jailer. Tlioinas Grosvenor of Ponifiet succeeded William AVil- 
liams as chief judge of the County Court in 1S06, Ebenezer Devotion. 
Ilezekiah l{i|iley. James Goi'don. Lemuel Ingalls. associates. Samuel 
Gray was clerk of the Su])erior and County Court.s. Windham enjoyed 
during this decade the excitement of two ])ublic executions — that of 
Caleb Adams of Poml'ret. Nov. 1!», 1S03, and of Samuel Faniham of 
Ashford, two years later. The lamented death of Shei'iff AV)l)c was 
thought to have been hastened by his offici;d duties at the execution of 
Ihe former. 

Colonel Elderkin's silk factory passed, after his decease, into the 
hands of "Claik and Giay." wluj were initiating many business enter- 
prises, but it was soon bought by M.anslield experimenters who wei'e 
making great efforts to increase and im])rove silk manufai-ture. Capi- 
talists were buying u]) land and attempting to establish various manu- 
factures at Willimantic. but after the death of Amos Dodge the residents 
of this vicinity lost faith in its immediate up-building, and suH^ered the 
meeting-house frame to be cariied to AViiidham Green where it <lid 
good service on Zion's Hill as a pul)lic school-house. Willimantic was 
a place of much resort in the spring for its tisheiiesof shad and salmon, 
and the new tuiiipike brought throngs of ti'avelers and customers to 
David Youngs tavern, but the gi'eat I'ush of business and enterpiise 
still souglit the Green. ]Mr. DeWitt'stack business had been ruined by 
the invention of nail-making machinery, and his shop hatl passed into 
tiie hands of Jedidiah Story, where might be found " Tlafs of ti)e 
newest fashion, warranted to be as good and chea]) as at any factoiT in 
the State." John Burgess offered for sale "excellent soaldeather' and 
as good morocco and calf-skin shoes as could be found in market, and also 
a new fashioned foui--wheel veliii-le. called a wagon, which had somehow 
come into his possession and which most people thought a very 
impracticable invention. Business and trade were as lirisk and lively as 
ever. The colunmsof the Windhain Herald teemed with solicitations 
and demands. Brown, wliite and striped tow cloth of hume manufacture, 
blue and wliite stripcil mittens, stockings of all textures and colors, 
good slioe thread, clieese. butter, geese feathers, r.ags. old pewter, brass 
and copper, rablnt skins and other furs, were taken by all the merchants 
and manufactuiers who offered in return the usual variety of household 
ami fancy articles. All dealers were urgent and prot"use in offering lum. 
gin, brandy and wines at the lowest figure. " Good sweet rum at live 
and sixpence }'er g.illou :" " tlie best of Jamaica rum at tlie moderate 



gknp:ral town affairs, etc. 229 

]»rice of one dollar and six cents per gallon ;" hogsheads, barrels and 
kegs of good rum for farmers and housekeepers who wished to supply 
themselves by the quantity and provide for their help in haying, were 
tem|)tingly paraded. The increasing use of liipior in public and 
private and llie great number of idlers who hung about the stores 
and taverns, was, perhaps, the reason that Windham with all its 
business and bustle seemed to have lost something of its thrifti- 
ness, and to tlie keen eye of Doctor Dwight, as reported in one 
of his inspectorial tours, exhibited "marks of decay." Botli churches 
in its iirst society were now destitute of a pastor. Mr. Daniel 
C. Banks declining a call to the First Church. Many valued 
families were lost to churches and town by the rage for emigration. 
The children of Wyoming emigrants returned to the Susquehanna 
Valley, and gained possession of the lands claimed by their fathers. 
Thomas Dyer. Jr.. grandson of Col. Dyer, settled in Wilkesbarre, 
where he w as greatly esteemed. The sons of Col. Elderkin removed 
from Windham after the death of their father. Major Ebenezer 
Backus and Dr. John Clark followed their children to Central Xew 
York. l{e])resentatives of the old Windham families were scattered 
abroad in all parts of the opening Ke])ublic. Dr. Samuel Lee died in 
lSi)-i. His son Samuel, associated with him in practice, had already 
distinguished himself by the composition of "Lee's Windham Bilious 
Pills" — one of the first j^atent medicines that came before the ])ublic. 
So great was their leputation that the lawyers at ('ourt maintained 
that even to cai-ry a box of Lee's pills in their pi^ckets would ward oif 
disease. Windliam with its usual vivacity interested itself in experi- 
ments for the amelioration of that much dreaded disease — Small-pox. 
William Robinson and Samuel Bleight oftei-ed to inoculate its inhabit- 
ants in 18UJ. for Kine or Cow-pox, which they declared to be a ]jerfect 
sec'urity against tlie small-pox. and only to be communicated by inocu- 
lation. Dr. Vine Utley and Ml". Jt)nathan Woodward went about the 
County in the following year, inoculating scoies of people in every 
town with very satisfactory results. 

Windham's loss of population — a hundred and twenty, between 
1790 and ISOO — made little apparent diiference in its animation and 
activity. Taverns and stores were as well patronized as ever. Public 
meetings were helil in increasing number and vai'iety. In 1801, the 
jNlasons of Windham and Lebanon were gathei-ed into the Eastern 
Star Lodge with appropriate ceremonies. Tlie Festival of St. John 
the Evangelist was celebrated in Windham the following Christmas 
day with much rejoicing. The first Republican or Democratic cele- 
bration of which we have rei)ort was held July 4, 1806. at the house 
of Mr. John Staniford. innholder. A large attendance was expected 
and doubtless secured. 



230 IIISTOKY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

~ III. 

SCOTLAND'S FIRST BELL. THE SCOTLAND PARSONAGE. SOCLAL 

LIFE. CHANGES. CONTROVERSY BETWEEN PASTOR 

AND PEOPLE. 

SCOTLAND Parish shared in the general growth and itrospei'ity of 
the town, raising its (hie [)roi)ortion of sheep, swine and cattle, and 
sending butter and cheese, beef, pork and wool to niarlcet. Kbenezer 
Devotion, though now judge of the County Court and employed in 
many public affairs, was still engaged in trade. Zebediah Tracy's shop 
accommodated the public with many useful articles. A new firm. 
P^'ench and AUyn, offered choice New York goods to purchasers, 
together with groceries and a tew hogsheads of St. Croix rum very 
cheap in e.vchange for stockings, mittens, tow cloth, etc. Returned 
veterans — Captains John Baker, Abner Robinson and others — engaged 
with renewed zest in the arts of peace. Samuel, Jeremiah and 
Jedidiah Bingham, John and Jacob Burnap, William and James Cary, 
Jonathan Kingsley, Eliphalet Huntington and various other descend- 
ants of the early settlers, wei'e now in active life, attending to their 
farms and other industries. Major Jolin Keyes of Ashford, appointed 
in 17H6, adjutant-general of the militia of Cotmecticut. had now 
removed his residence to Scotland village, and his comfoitable tavern 
liad become a famous place of resort for the many old soldiers resid- 
ing in this part of the town. Its physician, Dr. Penuel Clieney, was 
veiy active and useful in society and town affairs. The parish bore 
its part in civil administration, and was allowed the j^rivilege of 
holding one-third of the allotted town meetings in its convenient 
meeting-house. Having fortunately ei'ected a new house just befoie 
the breaking-out of the war, it had no special home demands during 
this period, and was able to do its part with great care and efficiency, 
furnishing many men of tried fidelity and valor. One of its first 
achievements after the return of peace was to procure a bell for its 
meeting-house steeple which involved it in a sei ies of misadventures. 
According to popular tradition the bell was cracked upon its first 
journey; returned as unsound, and re-ci'acked upon its hanging; 
re-mended and re-cracke<l in celebi'ating its successful return and sus- 
pension — the whole poi)ulatit)n venting their joy by ringing it — and 
by farther mischance was twice disabled, sent back and leturned 
before its final exaltation and installment into office. Probably these 
reports wei'e exaggerated by their jolly neighbors of Windham, only 
too glad to retaliate the banterings upon their own fiog panic, but the 
records show that thev were not unfounded. Dr. Cheney was 



FIRST BELL, THE SCOTLAND PARSONAGE, ETC. 231 

appointed to procure subscriptions for a bell in 1790. In June the 
following year. Dr. Cogswell reports that the subscribers for a bell 
voted not to have the bell which is now in use here, nor any other of 
Davison's but to ap])ly to Dolittles, (Xew Haven). In November, tlie 
society voted to accept the bell provided by the committee for that pur- 
pose, and to provide some suitable person to ring and toll it. In 1793, 
it enjoins upon its committee, to take care of the bell, get the tongue 
mended, make fixture for deck and keej) the wet out. Two years 
later it is ordered to get the bell repaired, and again, 179G, to get the 
wheel re])aired and make it more convenient to ring the bell. A sing- 
ing school had been instituted during this time through the 
efibrts of Captain Robinson. Young people were prompt and eager 
in attendance and the singing so much improved that young Mason 
Cogswell attirmed that they sang better in Scotland than in Hartford. 
A social library for the benefit of the east part of the town was formed 
about 1790. 

]\[r. Cogswell's ministi-ations were still acceptable to church and 
society. In 1790 he received a doctor's degree from Yale College — 
the first Windham County minister thus honored. His church shared 
in the prevailing religious declension, receiving few accessions and meet- 
ing many losses. Deacon John Cary died in 1788 ; Deacon John 
Baker in 1791. Some membei'S were lost by emigration, some by 
secession to other chuiches. Heligious feeling was at a low ebb ; social 
conferences and prayer meetings were not encouraged, and the '' gifts 
of the church" were so little exercised that when its pastor was kept 
at home by sickness and sent his son to read a sermon to the congre- 
gation there was not a brother in the church willing to oflfer a public 
prayer. Whatever spiritual life existed was drawn to the Sectaries. 
Zealous Baptist itinerants, Lyon of Canterbury, Dyer Ilebard and 
Jordan Dodge, held meetings on Pudding Hill and remoter neighbor- 
hoods, and through their instrumentality " a religious stir," or revival, 
was incited at which many professed conversion and received baptism 
by immersion, uniting with the Baptists in Windham and Hampton. 
The Brunswick Church, under its aged minister, was greatly weak- 
ened by this new element, but still maintained regular worship. Unlike 
many Separates, Elder Palmer had a respect for education, his son 
David graduating at Dartmouth College in 1797. Schools in Scotland 
Avere maintained and catechized as the law required. The central 
school flourished for two seasons under the charge of a teacher who 
afterwards became very famous — William Eaton, the conqueror of 
Tripoli. 

In politics Scotland parish was more conservative than the western 
part of the town, standing squarely by its favorite candidate, Judge 



232 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Devotion, and wlion it came out in full force sure to carry the election. 
This result may have been due in gi-eat measure to the influence of its 
honored son, Samuel Huntington, who, after serving as ]uesi<lent of the 
Continental Congress, and chief justice of the Superior Court of Con- 
necticut, was elected governor of the State in 178G. Public cares and 
high position did not lessen his interest in his early home, l)ut with 
increasing years he seemed to find it more attractive. Every few weeks 
Dr. Cogswell's journal reports a visit from the Governor, and instructive 
discussion of national and scientific (juestions. ^Mingling thus freely 
with old friends and townsmen a man of such weiglit and elevation of 
character could liardly fail to become a power for good to the coin- 
niunity. 

Governor Huntington's brilliant brothers were also frequent visitors 
at that pleasant parsonage as well as many other celebrities. It was a 
day of universal visiting and social intercourse, not only between the resi- 
dents of particular towns but between different towns and neighbor- 
hoods. The mode of traveling was eminently conducive to sociability. 
One-horse chaises and rough roads compelled short stages. Ti-avelers 
were accustomed to stop at every friend's house for rest and i-efresh- 
nient. In these slow old days everybody seemed to have time to drive 
about and chat with their friends and neighbors, and the Scotland 
parsonage was a palace of especial resort and jjopulai'ity. Its family 
circle was large and lively. Children, gi'an<h;hildren and hosts of relatives 
were continually coming and going. Neighbors and parishioners were 
di'opping in at all hours of the day, bringing news and asking counsel. 
Scarce a day passed without a call from some neighboring townsman — 
Dr. Baker of Brooklyn, Esquire Perkins of Newent, Dr. Adams of 
Westminster, Colonel Moselyand Mr. Stewail from Hampton. Colonels 
Dyer and Danielson, and even "old General Putnam." Nightfall often 
lu'ought with it some traveling ministei' — poor broken-down ]\Ii". llowland 
with his budget of troubles; Mr. AVilliams of Woodstock, "a serious, 
j^iousman and good divine, " or Dr. Huntington with " metaphysical par- 
adox that seemed to favor Universalism." These visits, wit h other family 
afl^airs, the general news of the day and appropriate moral reflections, 
were duly recorded in the Doctor's voluminous diary. Not only did he 
entertain these constant visitors, prepare sermons and lectures, visit the 
sick, catechize the schools, attend numberless associations and ordina- 
tions, manage farm, orchard and garden, but he contrived to read all 
the newspapers and new books that came in his way, and make a daily 
record of all these doings. He also maintained a very close and 
friendly intercourse with his brethren in the ministry, soothing the 
declining years of Messrs. White and Mosely ; extending aid and 
counsel to perjjlexed Mr. Staples, and interchanging weekly visits and 



SOCIAL LIFE, CHANGES, ETC. 233 

confidences with liis dear friends Lee and Whitney. To young men 
just launching into tlie ministry he was especially helpful and consid- 
ei-ate, and kindly encouraged them to test their powers in his pulpit. 
Men now remembered as hoary dignitaries in church and state were 
among these trembling neophytes. Daniel Waldo, the centennial 
chaplain of Congress, was then " a sensible, serious, growing youth, 
no orator, but likely to do good in the world." Ebenezer Fitch, the 
future president of Williams College, " preached and prayed exceed- 
ingly well ;" but the young man destined to important home mission 
work in Connecticut had unfortunately " been praised too much and 
made self-important." Dr. Cogswell was much pleased with Samuel 
Perkins of Windham, "a judicious, prudent, pious young man and 
fine scholar," who, against his advice and much to the regret of all, 
left " preaching for law." He also rejoiced in the promise shown by 
the grandson of Voluntown's much tried minister, Gershom Dorrauce, 
and thanked God who raised up children in room of their parents. 
Young Hendrick Dow was much liked in Hampton. Parish and 
Tyler of Brooklyn were promising young men whom he rejoiced to 
see in the ministry. " Jonathan Kingsley's son James " — Yale's erudite 
professor — was pronounced " a very forward, likely boy." 

The Scotland parsonage had its shady side as well as its sunny. The 
genial pastor had his own trials. One of them was a frequent head- 
ache, accompanied by inexplicable "luminous flashes" and loss of 
temper and patience. He was troubled by his own "airiness," a per- 
verse tendency to exceed in jokes and stories and neglect opportunities 
for personal religious conversation ; and still more by the flirting and 
frolicking of the young people under his roof and the painful necessity 
of administering reproof to them. Even some of his young ministers 
were found to be danwlinor after his wife's granddaughters. He was 
harassed in money matters, receiving his small salary in driblets and 
seldom settling with any one without throwing off a few shillings, "if 
it seemed to come hardly." His yearly supply of wood, cut and drawn 
from the ministerial wood lot by the voluntary labor of his parisliioners 
on a day set apart for that purpose, gave him much anxiety, the vary- 
ing height of the wood-pile in successive years marking his rise or fall 
in the aflections of his people, while his mind was always exercised in 
regard to the •" treat " befitting the occasion, lest the women should lay 
themselves out too much or the hungry swarm of volunteers fail of a 
full supply. Then his sensitiveness was sometimes wounded by the 
jokes and banters of the rough wood-choppers, especially when they 
turned upon the seating of the meeting-house, and he was obliged to 
remind them "that it was too serious a subject to be merry about." 
But though so troubled in collecting his legal rates and dues, Dr. Cogs- 
30 



234 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

well was n<>'liast at tlie i)roi)Osal to abolish thein. If people would not 
half pay their ministers under lei^al compulsion what would they do 
without it? If ministers could hardly live vit/i rates they would cer- 
tainly starve without them. The talk of setting aside the religious 
constitution of the State and depriving the government of any jurisdic- 
tion in religious worship and aflaii's, tilled the Doctor with consternation 
and he believed that such action would " tend to th'j great injury if not 
to the total overthrow of religion." The increasing laxity of the times, 
the growth of Universalism, infidelity, French Jacobinism, and anti- 
Federalism also alarmed him greatly, but hardly gave him so much 
personal annoyance as the higli Calvinism and Hopkinsianism then 
coming into fashion. With such ministerial brethren as professed 
themselves " willing to be damned if it were for the glory of God," 
Dr. Cogswell had no sympathy. Such depths of self-abnegation were 
wholly beyond his attainment. He preferred tlie half-way Covenant 
and Calvinism very much diluted, and thought it a great mistake " to 
debar the unregenerate from so potent a means of grace as partaking 
of the sacrament." 

But by far the greatest of all Dr. Cogswell's ministerial trials was 
the prevalence of "Sectaries." Sei)arates and Ana-baptists were 
thorns in his tiesh throughout his long ministry. Natural amiability 
and engrafted charity and philosophy failed to reconcile him to their 
existence, or to enable him to see the least good in them. Acoidance 
of rate-paying wais the secret spring of all schism and separation. The 
ruling ])assion of the Separates was aoariee. His contemporary, John 
Palmer, pronounced by candid, comj)etent testimony a most excellent 
man and devoted christian laboi'er, figures in Dr. Cogswell's joiu'nal as a 
mischief-maker and liar, and a sensational young Ba})tist exhorter of 
great populaiity he reports as "an Universalist, a Socinian and proba- 
bly a Deist." These " Ana-baptists '" were in his estimation as bad 
as the Separates and acted the same part, breaking up churches and 
drawing off church members. The "religious stir" in the north part 
of the town, in which large numbers were awakened and professed 
conversion, he regarded with great suspicion and anxiety, and records 
in his journal with apparent endorsement the remark of a zealous 
adherent of the standing order — "That such teachers as come into a 
neighborhood, and take off from the standing and stated worship, and 
endeavor to seduce opinion, deserve to be lohipped out of toicn/' 

The happy family circle met with many bereavements. A second 
Elizabeth Devotion, daughter of Judge Devotion, "a lovely, charming 
girl, blooming as the rose of June," was suddenly smitten with mys- 
terious disease, a loathing for food and diink which baffled the utmost 
skill of the physicians, and after four months languishing ended her 



SOCIAL LIFE, CHANGES, ETC. 



235 



life, " aged eleven years, eleven months and twice eleven days." Tl\e 
bereaved father never recovered from this loss but went down into the 
grave in a few years, mourning. Dr. Cogswell's oldest son, James, died 
while yet in the prime of life, in New York city, where he had become 
eminent for professional skill, and unobtrusive but effective piety 
His second son, Samuel, died September, 1790, from the accidental 
discharge of a gun. 

The pastor and his family were also called to sympathize in many 
neighborhood afflictions and calamities. Within one week they 
attended the funerals of Mrs. William Gary and her three daughters, 
all dying of throat distemper. One Sabbath spring morning the 
people flocking to church discovered a strange object dangling from a 
beam in a carriage house, and find the lifeless body of one of the 
village young men, a promising youth of cheerful temper with a good 
home and happy prospects, and no known losses or crosses that could 
give the least clue to his self-destruction. This " tragical event " 
deeply affected the whole community. The aged mother of the 
deceased was bowed to the earth but did not murmur. Dr. Cogswell 
with his usual self-distrust was troubled to know what to say witli 
propriety upon so delicate an occasion, but succeeded in satisfying both 
fiiends and public by a most impressive and appropriate discourse 
upon the words of the Saviour — " Suppose ye that these Galileans 
were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such 
things ? " Still more distressing was the sudden death of one of the 
prominent men of Windham, a son of one of her most honored 
families, who had fallen into evil courses, amassed property dishonora- 
bly, officiated " as head to a drinking club — a striking instance to 
warn mankind against profligacy of manners and irreligion." A few 
months later three fast young men of most respectable families 
" drank Geneva rum on a wager at Dorrance's tavern till all were 
drunk," and then started off " for a Voluntown frolic." One of them, 
suflering from effects of the Presidential influenza, was much over- 
come and unable to proceed beyond Scotland village. His companions 
becoming alarmed carried him into Tracy's shop, called in medical assist- 
ance but were unable to arouse him, and the unhappy young man died 
in a short time. Dr. Cogswell, called up " to pray with the corpse," 
was at no loss for expressions on this occasion, but was carried out of 
himself in awe and horror at such an end of such a life — " relatives 
sad and serious : spectators solemn ; the father most deeply attected." 
Such were some of the fruits of the prevailing levity and license. 

The declining years of Dr. Cogswells life were embittered by other 
domestic bereavements and sorer trials and perplexities. His bur- 
dens were " more heavy as he was less able to bear them." Mrs. 



236 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Cogswell died in December, 1795, broken down by the death of her 
beloved daughter, Mis. Governor Huntington,* whose honored hus- 
bandj soon followed them. His brother Joseph had died a year pre- 
ceding, and that gay and brilliant circle that had so long gathered around 
the family hearthstone passed suddenly away. Dr. Cogswell married 
in time one of his parishioners, Mrs. Irena Hebard, and amid increas- 
ing opposition endeavored to discharge his pastoral duties. He Mas 
annoyed by the irrepressible activity of his neighboi", Mr. "Waterman, 
who insisted upon preaching within the ^ScotlaHd lines without asking 
permission, and the alarming prevalence of " Hopkinsianism " among 
the younger members of the County Association. This latter gniev- 
ance was abated by the formation of the Windham Eastern Associa- 
tion, lepresenting a milder type of theology, which was joined, by Dr. 
Cogswell, and the Reverends Whitney, Lee, Staples, Putnam and 
Atkins. The great trial and affliction of Dr. Cogswell's later years was 
however a controversy with his people, one of those unhappy ditti- 
cnlties which often occurred when a minister's life was prolonged 



* " Mrs. Hnntiugton died June 4, 1794, in the 56th j^ear of her age. 
She was a daughter of the Kev. Ebeuezer Devotion of AVintlliani, of an 
amiable disposition and condescending manners, she had many to hmK-nt her 
death — among otlier excellent parts of christian cliaracter her benefactions 
to the poor ouglit not to be forgotten. The number is uot small of those 
wlio on sncli ground, ' rise up and call her blessed.' " — Xurioich paper. 

t " GovEHNOK Huntington was descended from an ancient and respectable 
family in this State. He was son of Nathaniel Huntington, Esq., of AVind- 
ham ; his childhood and youth were distinguished by indications of an excel- 
lent understanding and a taste for mental improvement. Without the 
advantage of a collegiate education or that assistance in professional studies 
which modern times have wisely encouraged, he acquired a competent 
knowledge of law and was earlj' admitted to the bar, soon after which he 
settled in this town and in a few years became eminent in his profession. . . . 
In the year 1774, he was made an assistant judge in the Superior Court. In 
1775, he was chosen into the Council, and in the same year elected a delegate 
to Congress. In 1779, he was made president of that honorable body and in 
1780, re-chosen. In 1783, he was again a member of Congress. In 1784, he 
was chosen lieutenant-governor and appointed chief justice of the State. lu 
1780, he was elected governor, and was annually re-elected by the freemen 
with singular unaninnty till his death. 

The public need not be informed of the usefulness of Governor Hunting- 
ton, or the manner in w Inch he discharged the duties of his various and 
• important oflices,. especially the last; the prosperity of the State during his 
administration and the present tlourishing condition of its civil and military 
interests, are unequivocal testimonies of the wisdom and tidelity with which 
he presided 

As a professor of Christianity, and an attendant on its institutions, he was 
exemplary and devout; he manifested an unvarying faith in its doctrines and 
joyful hope in its promises amid the distresses of declining life till ilebility of 
mind and body produced by his last sickness rendered him incapable of 
social intercourse. 

Under the influence of a charitable belief that he is removed to scenes of 
greater felicity in the world of light, every good citizen will devoutly wish 
that others not less eminent and useful may succeed; and that Connecticut 
may never want a man of equal worth to preside in her councils, guard her 
interests and dilfuse prosperity through her towns." — Norwich paper. 




/J /I / n y^/ (^ ^/^^^^a /V^^ 



'-/FKNOl^ 01' C':;iliKr 






CONTROVERSY BETWEEN PASTOR AND PEOPLE. 237 

to unreasonable limits. " Length of days " was not desirable when a 
minister was settled for life. •' A very ancient man, woi-n out 
with the infirmities and decays of nature," — he could not preach 
to the acceptance of the congregation. The people refused to 
pay for what they did not like and the ])astor declined to re- 
nounce his legal dues. In many similar cases a compromise was 
eftected, but in Scotland this painful controversy went on for many 
years. The meetings of the Windliam Eastern Association were 
mainly occupied with attempts to arrange matters between tlieir venera- 
ble father and his rebellious parishioners. Doubtless there was 
obstinacy and ill-temper on both sides. The people were very willing 
to release their poor old pastor from his otticial duties, but declined 
to make provision for his support in that case, or to procure an 
assistant, and so with failing voice and faculties he continued to preach 
to a remnant of the congregation till his ministerial friends, •' in their 
concern and tenderness for their aged and much loved father in the 
Gospel," addressed a letter to Dr. Mason F. Cogswell of Hartford, 
recommending him " to gratify his father's desire of spending his last 
days with his only suiwiving child, taking such measures to obtain 
compensation from his people as he might judge expedient." Dr. 
Cogswell complied with this suggestion and removed his father to a 
comfortable home in Hartford, and, "as the Scotland society was 
clearly under obligation to support the minister who had worn himself 
out in their service," he brought a suit for the recovery of damages. 
The society, greatly weakened by defection and dissension, was hard 
pressed to cany this onward, but authorized Captain Kudd and .Jacob 
Burnap to apply to Mr. Calvin Goddard for advice, and decided to 
stand trial. Meanwhile an acceptal)le minister had been called, June 
13, 1805, Mr. Cornelius Adams of Canterbuiy, with the promise of a 
hundred pounds annually and the use of parsonage so long as he should 
actually perform the duties of his office. In view of their trouble- 
some (Jontest with Dr. Cogswell, to make assurance doubly sure, they 
farther voted, Sept. 12, "That if Mr. Adams accepts the call and be 
settled, it shall be on these terms : that said Adams shall have right at 
any time, on giving society six months' notice, to be honorably dis- 
missed, and the society giving six months' notice should be no further 
holden for his support." This important point being thoroughly settled, 
Mr. Adams was ordained Dec. 5, lieverends Andrew Lee, .;\bel Abl)0t, 
Elisha Atkins, Erastus Learned, William Ripley and x^biel Williams 
conducting the services. The church at the same time took a new 
departure from the practice of its aged incumbent by voting : " That for 
the future none should be re^piired to own the covenant or permitted 
to do it, without having a right to come into fellowship, and being under 



238 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

the watch and discipline of the church as members in full communion." 
The troublesome bell had again called for repairs. In 1804 the society 
authorized its committee to secure the deck of the steeple, and if there 
was not money enough on hand, to take the remainder of the money 
raised to procure preaching with. Now it was voted to repair, i. e., re- 
cast, the bell. James Gray, James Carey, John Baker, Zeb. Tracy and 
Ebenezer Devotion were appointed a committee to get subscriptions to 
add to weight of bell and see that it was repaired. A land tax was 
voted for this purpose, but sufficient money being raised by subscription 
the tax was remitted. The new bell was not suspended without the 
customary casualties : a plank falling from the bell-deck broke the arm 
of Mr. Eleazer Huntington and struck the head of 'Sh: Jeduthaa 
Spencer so that he died within a short time from the effects of the blow. 
Harassed by the protracted contest with Dr. Cogswell and repeated 
losses, the Scotland church and community were called to a great dis- 
appointment and affliction in the rapid decline of the young minister 
in whom they had so happily united, who died in less than a year from 
the day of his ordination, while the life of his venerable predecessor 
was still prolonged. Notwithstanding its embarrassments, lawsuits and 
heavy burdens, the society maintained its footing. Its farms and work- 
shops were prospering. Stephen Webb carried on an extensive shoe 
nianufaotoi-y in the north part of the parish. Thomas Coit of Norwich 
succeeded to the mercantile traffic carried on by Messrs. Ebenezer and 
Jonathan Devotion, offering the usual " variety of well-chosen goods," 
and receiving most kinds of country produce in payment. The jiarlsh 
found far gieater favor in the eyes of Dr. Dwight than the mother 
town, everything therein wearing "the aspect of festivity, thrift, 
industry, sobriety and good order." 



HAMPTON TOWNSHIP. DEATH OF REVEREND SAMUEL MOSELY. 
SETTLEMENT OF MR. WELD. PRUSPERITY AND PRO- 
GRESS. GRENADIER COMPANY. GROW CHURCH. 
DEACON BENJAMIN CHAPLIN. 

THE Second Society of Windham, Canada Parish, long burtheued by 
'•its remoteness from the place of public convention" for negotiat- 
ing town affiiiis, resumed its efforts for independence soon after the close 
of the war, but was checked by opj)osition from Canterbury and Pomfiet. 
In 1785 the society again voted to petition for town piivileges. Colonel 
Mosely, as agent, repiesented to the Assembly "their remote and diffi- 
cult circumstances — ten and even fourteen miles from the seat of busi- 



HAMPTON TOAVNSHIP, ETC. 239 

ness, anionnting at times to a total deprivation of those rights and 
privileges which God and nature have given them," and prayed 
that the extreme parts of Mansfield, Pomfret and Canterbury might be 
united with them in a distinct township, inliabitants of these sections 
joining in the request. The Assembly thereupon resolved '■ That the 
memorialists be made a distinct corporation, with power to transact 
their own piuilential affairs, yet be and remain a part of Windliara for 
the puipose of choosing repiesentatives — first precinct meeting to be 
held first Monday in December, Captain James Stedman and Isaac 
Bennet giving warning of tlie same — but as tliis expedient did not 
abate the jmncipal grievance and called out strong opposition, con- 
sideration of the matter was defened till another session. The inhab- 
itants of Canada Parish thereupon redoubled their efforts, j^rocured the 
signatures of interested parties in the several towns, and by a happy 
chance managed at the autumn town meeting to secure a vote by one 
majority " not to ojipose the memorial for said town." Upon news of 
this vote the Assembly speedily enacted : — 

" That the inhabitants of the Second Society of Windham, and those of 
Pomfret, Brooklyn, Canterbury, Mansfield and First Society in Windham be 

constituted a town bj- the name of Hampton entitled to receive 

from the respective towns their share of ischool and other public monies, and 
should pay their part of the debts of said towns, and take upon them the charge 
and support of their part of the town poor. Oct. 2, 1786." 

The bounds presciibed are identical with the present north, east and 
south bounds of the town, but on the west it extended to the Xachauge 
River, taking in a section now included in the town of Chaplin. 
Brooklyn yielded twelve hundied acres, a generous slice was taken 
from Mansfield and narrow strij^s from Cantei'buiy and Pomfret. 

The rejoicing inhabitants hastened to exercise their new privileges. 
Their first town meeting was held Xov. 13, 1786, Captain James 
Stedman serving as moderator. Thomas Stedman was chosen town 
clerk : Captain Stedman, Deacon Bennet, Jeduthan Rogers, select- 
men ; Andrew Durkee, Joseph Fuller, William Martin, Jun., constables; 
Philip Pearl, Ebenezer Hovey, Josiah Kiugsley, Silas Cleveland, 
Andrew Durkee, Amos Utley, Thomas Fuller, Colonel Mosely, com- 
mittee to act in conjunction with that appointed by the General 
Assembly to view the situation of the bridges in the old and new town- 
ships. This committee had been called out by a forcible remonstrance 
from Windham. The parent town, like Pharoah of old, had already 
repented that she " had let the people go." A second town meeting 
had been held, Colonel Dyer in the chair. Dyer, Larrabee, Hezekiah 
Bissel, Captain Swift and Jabez Clark had been directed to prepare a 
remonstrance, which was presented to the Assembly by Dyer and 
Larrabee, siiowing that '• the vote had been obtained by divers accidents 



240 HISTOKT OF WI>T)HA^ COUXTT. 

and want of suitable warning and did not represent the wishes of the 
inhabitants ; that the proposed di\-i.sion was unequal and unjust, 
and that certainly these inhabitants should not be set off without tak- 
ing with them a suitable proportion of bridges and other burdens." 
Elisha Lathrop, Samuel Chapman and Colonel William Danielson were 
accordingly commissioned to attend to the latter grievance, and in May, 
1787, repaired to the Widow Careys tavern and listened to statements 
laid before them by agents of both towns. Tliey found "that three 
large bridges across the Shetucket had been affixt on Windham," at an 
annual expense of about £36. of which they decided Hampton should 
pay £10. Possibly the good cheer enjoyed under Bacchus' beaming 
countenance influenced the decision of the commissioners, which was 
exceedingly offensive to the inhabitants of the younger town, who 
straightway dispatched Isaac Bennet to inform the Assembly, " That the 
gentlemen did not vieic the bridges, but trusted reports, and did not 
consider that Hampton had to maintain two long bridges over the 
Xachauge." Upon this consideration their annual payment was reduced 
one half. 

A dispute concerning the division of the poor was happily settled by 
a committee from each town, nominated by their respective selectmen. 
Hampton then voted, "That the poor be kept by those persons who will 
keep them cheapest." A single man was accordingly "bid off" by 
Jonathan Hovey at five and nine-pence a week : an aged couple by 
Amos Utley for five shillings, and a poor widow woman taken by 
another bidder at two shillings. 

Highways and schools received immediate attention. Philip Pearl, 
Thomas Fuller and Ebenezer Hovey were appointed a committee "to 
procure a deed of the trodden path that leads from Hampton to Scot- 
land where it crosseth individual lands." Nineteen highway districts 
were laid out, and arrangements made for building a new bridge over 
the Xachauge on the ruad from Hampton to Ashford. Eight school 
districts were reported containing 189 houses. The eighth district in 
the northwestern part of the town contained but ten houses, " and the 
lots known as Philips' and Chaplin's." The census return of 1790, 
ascribed to Hampton 1,332 whites, one slave — an excess of eight over 
the population of its new sister. Brooklyn. The greater part of its 
inhabitants were engaged in agriculture. Col. Mosely after the 
close of the war opened a store and engaged successfully in various 
business enterprises and public affairs. Caj^t. James Howard was 
early interested in manufactures, running grist, saw and fulling-mills 
in the valley that bore his name. Dr. John Brewster was widely 
known as a medical practitioner. Thomas, son of Capt. James Sted- 
man, opened a law office on Hampton Hill about 179iJ, occuijying a 



DEATH OF REV. SAMUEL MOSELY, ETC. 24:1 

house north of the nieelincr-house built for liini hy his uncle, ami 
greatly distinguished himself in his profession. His honored father 
so prominent in town and military alfair.s died in 1788. 

Society bounds weie uiiaifeeted liy the c-onferrence of town privi- 
leges. Canada ecclesiastic society had no jurisdiction over the tei-ri- 
tory annexed to it, but its inhabitants were left in their former society 
relations. A number of these citizens, /. e., Phinehas. Timotliy and 
John Clark, Ebenezer Hovey, Josiah Hammond, Jonathan Kingsbury, 
Aaron Goodell, Paul Holt, Lemuel Sparks, Uiiah Mosely, Phinehas 
Ford. William Dnrkee and others — now represented that though con- 
nected with the First ecclesiastic society of Mansfield, they lived within 
four miles of Hampton meeting-house, and that it was much more 
agreeable and convenient to attend meetings there than in Mansfield, 
and Hampton inhabitants were willing they should be annexed to 
them, and therefore prayed that all their persons and lands might 
be annexed to said society of Canada, and receive their ])ro])ortion of 
school and other society money. Residents of Hamytton still afiixed 
to Windham's first society, i. <?.. Benjamin Flint. Juilali Buck, John 
Clark, Asa and ]\Ioses Wolcott, Roswell Bill, Hezekiah and Elijah 
Coburn, William Martin, William Marsh, Aaron, Jeremiah and Ebene- 
zer Clark, Jolm Piichardson, Luke Flint, John Ginnings — asked a 
similar jirivilege — being much neaier to Hampton meeting-house 
" with a better road to it, and as many of our families are numerous, 
it makes it diificult, and in some cases impossible, to get them to 
meeting on the Lord's day." These reasonable requests were promptly 
granted, and Hampton church and society strengthened by the addi- 
tion of these worthy families. 

The Rev. Samuel Mosely still retained his pastoral charge over the 
church of Hampton, though now incapacitated from public service by 
increasing age and distressing bodily infirmities. He was confined to 
his bed many years with acute iheumalism and paralysis, suffering 
severe and often exciuciating pain, and becoming almost wholly help- 
less. His christian [uinciiile and native force of character enabled 
him to bear this long confinement and suflering with remarkable 
patience and submission. He was cheered and sustained by the 
restored aftection of his people, the friendly sympathy of ministerial 
brethren and the tender ministrations of dutiful children. His 
youngest daughter, Sarah, with her husband, Rev. Joseph Steward, 
a graduate of Dartmouth, '• who had been unwell for several years 
and could not preach," was his constant attendant. His old fiiend 
and neighbor, Dr. Cogswell, reports him from time to time as '' bear- 
ing his affliction with christian fortitude and heavenly mindedness," or 

"in much pain, longing to depart but not impatient," retaining his 
31 



242 



HISTORY OF AVINI'HAM COUNTY, 



faculties and " sn])porting the christian character well t(t the last." Tie 
died sonu'what nnexj)ectedly, July 20, 1791. in the eii^hty-third year 
of bis age and titty eighth of his pastorate. His funeial was attended 
with the usual tornialities, all tlie neighboiing ministers assisting in 
the services, and Dr. Cogswell preaching the sei-uion as the deceased 
had requested. Mr. Mosely left two sons and six daughters. Col. 
Mosely was now deacon of the church and much emi)loyed in public 
afiaiis. William Mosely had graduated from Yale College, and was 
established in legal practice at Hartford. Mary had married Rev. 
Josliua Paine now of Sturbridge. Hannah, Elizabeth, Aim and 
Abigail Mosely were married to ]'esj)ectable citizens of neigliboring 
towns. Mrs. Steward and her husband remained for a time in Hanij)- 
ton. Mr. Steward had frequently su|)plied the j)ulpit during Mr. 
Mosely s long confinement, and some etibrts had been made to settle 
liim as colleague pastor but his health would not admit. Meanwhile 
he had practiced in portrait-painting with vei'y considerable success. 
A portiait of Capt. James Stedman executed after his decease was 
very satisfactory. He also painted likenesses of Mr. and Mrs. I-Cbene- 
zei' Grosvenor of Pomfret, and other notable persons. Under his 
example and instruction, a deaf and dumb son of Dr. Brewster 
acquired very creditable proficiency in this art and followed it through 
life as his profession. 

Various young ministers had ofliciated during Mr. Mosely's illness. 
Hendrick Dow of Ashford, had been much liked but was unprepared 
for settlement. Ebenezer Fitch of Canterbury, gained many suffrages 
but was engaged in opening an academy at Williamstowu. Now that 
the pastorate was vacant, all happily united in choice of Ludovicus 
Wells of Braintree. The question of church ])latform was raised 
again after long suspension, and the following 1 Jules of Discij)line 
propounded : — 

" 1. That ij;onenil rules for discipline are contaiiu'd in the Word of God. 

2. That tlie Scriptures should be considered as the platform by which the 
proceetlings of a church siioiild be reij^nlated. 

3. That there is a rule in Maitliew, XV'III, 1.5, 1<), 17, by which to proceed 
with an ott'ender whether he be pastor or a private brother. 

4. That there is uo positive precept in Scripture against a council in case 
of difficulty. 

5. As there are cases sometimes occur in which the church and pastor do 
not unite in sentiment, we view it expedient that the ditticnlties be referred to 
a council nuitnal]}' chosen. We will mentiou, however, an exception to which 
we believe a ])astor might with proprietj' conform, viz. : When a church 
judge a man innocent whom tlic pastor snpposetli deserves censure; we 
believe in this case he may not insist upon a council but consider tlie vote of 
the church decisive; aud we believe it on this principle, that two guilty per- 
sons had better go with impunity than tiuit one innocent person sutler. 

The above articles were handed to the church bj^ Mr. Weld, as contaiuing 
in short his ideas of church discipline, aud were agreed to and voted by the 
church with this addendum : 

That we will uot be contined either to Cambridge or Saybrook Platform for 
our rule of church discipline." 



SETTr.EMENT OF MR. WELD, PROSPERITY AND PROGRESS. 243 

Two hundred pounds liavinjjj ]>cv\\ acc'cpted by Mr. Weld in lieu of 
a parsonage, and a suitable salary provided, lie was ordained, October 
]7, 1702, and was ranked among the foremost of the Windham County 
ministry, "being esj^ecially noted for his skill in comjiosing sermons." 
In 1796, a bell was procured through the instrumentality of Col. 
Mosely, and was ordered "to be rung at nine o'clock at night, at 
noon, and at eight o'clock Saturday nights ; to be tolled for evening 
meetings and lectures, and to give the day of the month every even- 
ing." The oftice of deacon was now worthily tilled by Isaac Bennet, 
and our Revolutionary friend, Sergeant Al)ijah Fuller, one of those 
stalwart members of the church militant who could pray as zealously 
as he could fight. 

With new minister, chm-ch platform, and local independence, 
Hampton pursued its way in much peace and prosperity. Its leading 
citizens were men of intelligem-e and public spirit, abreast with the times 
and ready to facilitate inipi-ovements. Fai'ins were well tilled and 
good breeds of cattle imported. Large and commodious dwelling- 
liouses were built upon Ham])ton Hill, and in other parts of the town. 
New bridges were built, and loails opened and improved. One of the 
first achievements of the town was a pound, ordered to be built with 
a stone wall for foundation, six feet high, four feet thick at the bottom 
and two feet at the top. Three feet from the ground it was bound by 
a tier of fiat stones, and a similar tier upon the top, and finished with 
four sticks of hewed timber ten inches thick, linked together, with a 
good gate four feet wide. The erection of this structure was awarded 
to Amos Utley, who accom])lished it in the most workmanlike 
and satisfactory manner. Pliilip Pearl was appointed an agent to 
prosecute those who harbor transient persons. The care of the town's 
poor required much considerati(Mi. It was voted in 1788, that the 
])Oor be bid off to be kept in sickness and health, those who keep 
them to have the benefit of all their labor; also, that the idea of the 
town is, that they who bid otf the i»oor are to furnish them with (dl 
necessary spirits. As these poor people were mostly aged and ailing, 
the small sum bid foi- them was found inadequate to pay their doctor's 
bills, and so a special sum was allowed for this purpose. Abraham 
Ford, Royal Brew.ster, Samuel Spalding, Thomas Stedman, Jr., 
James Utley and others, bid off the doctoring of the poor for sums 
rauiiincr from £2 16s. to .$22. The bidder in some cases was to em- 
ploy what doctor he pleased; in others, "the poor were to be gratified 
with their choice of a physician." A kindly spirit was manifested 
towards these unfortunates. Amos Ford \vas allowed five shillings at 
this late date " for fixing out his son in the time of the war." Cloth- 
ing and use of cow,left by Londou Derry was generously "giveu to 



244 HISTORY OF AVINDHAM COUNTY. 

Ginne." The unexpected return of Clenieiil Xeff after long ea])tivity 
in Algiers excited much interest, and the immediate query " whether 
he was an inhabitant of Windham or Hampton." A notice a]jpearing 
in the Windham Herald atiixed him to the lattiM* town and must 
have heightened the sensation caused by his re-appearance : — 

" Mauhied, last week, in tho J^piscopalian form by TiinoMiy Larrabee. Esq., 
Mr. Clkmknt Nkff of Haniptoii, to ]Miss PATiRNcr. Dkax of tliis town. 
N. B. — Mr. Neff has boon a iirisoiier in Algiers 24 yc-ars, in 12 of which he 
never saw the sun. He is now in the youthful bloom of 65, and has lost an 
eye — his bride a blushiug maid of 28." 

Hampton's forebodings of future charges were justified by the event. 
Within four years of the rej)ovted wedding, Mi's. Patience XefF was 
under care of her selectmen. 

In all j)ublic (]uestions the town was ready to express its interest. 
Col. Mosely as representative was directed in 1792, "to use his influ- 
ence to prevent the western lands being sold." Philip Pearl, Tliomas 
Stedman, Ji., and James Howard, attended a meeting at John Jefferd's 
tavern, " to have the Courts at a more central place." Delegates were 
sent to Mansfield, in 1797, to confer upon county matters, the town 
voting thereafter that the inhabitants of this town are desirous and 
wish to have the Courts of the County of Windham, moved to this 
town. A committee for tliis purpose was kept up year after year, and 
any effort to procure a half-shire town vigorously opposed. Rules for 
the better regulation of town meetings were adopted, Sei)tember 15, 
1800, viz. :— 

"1. Choose a moderator. 2. Annual meetinir be opened by prayer. 3. P^verj' 
member be seated with his hat on, and no liiember to leave his seat unneces- 
sarily, and if necessary do it with as little noise as possible. 5. Members 
while speaking shall address the moderator and him only, and speak with the 
hat ofl". G. No member to speak more than twice upon one subject without 
leave of the meeting, and but once until each member has had ojjportunity to 
speak. 7. As soon as a member has done speaking he will take his seat and 
not speak after he is seated. 8. Every member nuist speak directly to the 
question before the meeting. 10. No pcirsons have any right to do private 
business in any part of the house." 

Upon the reception of Pierpont Edwards' circular, calling for a 
convention to discuss Connecticut's constitution, the question was put 
in town meeting: — "Is this town satistied with the present constitu- 
tion of Connecticut?" Eighty-three answered in the affirmative; 
thirty-eight in the negative. 

The military spirit that had so characterized the residents of this 
vicinity was not suffered to decline with occasion for its exercise. 
Hampton took especial pride in her company of grenadiers, formed 
soon after the close of the war, and sustained with great spirit for 
many years. Thomas Stedman, Jr., Thomas Williams (removed from 
Plainfield to Hampton), Roger Clark and Philip Pearl, Jr., w^ere 



GRKNADIHJR COMPANY, GROW CHURCH, ETC. 215 

successively captains of this famous company which inscribed on its 
roll the names of many noted Revolutionary veterans. Strength and 
size were indispensable qnaliHcations for admission to this honoied 
band, and many of the Hampton Grenadiers were worthy of a place 
in Friedrich Williams' Tall Regiment. It played an imjjortant pait 
on many public occasions and took the first and hicfhest places in the 
great regimental musterings for which Hampton Hill was especially 
famous. Its spacious common atlorded convenient space for military 
exercise and disj)lay, and ample accommodatit)ns for the great throngs 
who came to witness it. The militia comjtanies of the town were also 
well sustair)ed. Ebenezer Mosely was appointed colonel of the Fifth 
Regiment in 1789 ; Elijah Simons served several years as its lieutenant 
colonel, and Lemuel Dorrance, one of Hampton's young physicians, as 
its surgeon. 

In all ])arts of the town there was life and business entei-prise. 
Shubael Simons received liberty to erect a dam on Little River for the 
benefit of his grist-mill, and potash-works weie cai'iied on in the same 
vicinity. Edmond Hughes made and repaired clocks and watches. 
Col. Simons engaged in trade. Roger and Solomon Taintor, who 
removed to Hampton about 1804, carried on an extensive tiaffic, 
exchanging domestic produce for the foreign goods that were becom- 
ing so cheap and jjlentiful. With these gains there were many losses 
of useful citizens emigrating to new countries Capt. John Howard 
who removed to Western New York, was drowned in Lake Otsego. 
Hampton's first practicing lawyer, Thomas Stedman, Jr., "one of the 
most url)ane, genteel, intelligent and obliging men of the day," already 
mentioned as a candidate lor public honors and even the governorship 
of the State, was induced to remove to Massena, New Yoi'k, where he 
quickly won [)ublic confidence and respect, and acquired a large landed 
property. Younger men from Hamilton were also going out into the 
world. Ebenezer Mosely, Jr., was graduated from Yale College in 
18 )2, studied law and secured an extensive practice in Newbuiyport. 
Elisha, son of Nathaniel Mosely, was graduated from Dartmouth at 
an earlier date, and studie<l for the ministry. Thomas Ashley, a Dart- 
mouth graduate of 1791, studied law and settled among the wilds of 
Michigan. 

Col. Ebenezer Mosely had succeeded Thomas Stedman, as town clerk, 
in 1797, and retained the office many years. He was often sent as 
deputy to the General Assembly, and agent for many important affairs. 
Other deputies during these years were Deacon Isaac Bennett, Philip 
Pearl, Jonathan Kingsbury, Dr. John Brewster and William Hunting- 
ton. Col. Mosely, Deacon Bennett, James Burnett and Philip Pearl, 
also served as justices. In postal facilities Hampton was still deficient, 



246 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

depondino- upon its established post-riders. The first of tliese useful 
officials was Ebene/.er Ilovey, who broui^ht ))apeis and letters from 
New London and Norwich. After the opening of the post-office in 
Windham, Thomas and Samuel Farnham came into office, takiiiLf the 
^Viiidhani Herald to its numerous subsei-il)ers. A pul)lic libi-ary was 
instituted in 1807, which soon numbered over a hundred volumes. 

The Ba]»tist church organized in the eastern part of Hampton in 
177^1, gained in numbers and influence int-luding some forty families 
among its i-esident attendants. A gieat scandal was occasioned by 
the immoral conduct of its first jiastor, who was foi-ced to resign his 
office and lemove to Vermont. Jordan Dodge, Dyer Hebard, and 
other zealous exhorters were accustomed to preach to this fiock in 
their own house of woi'ship and adjoining neighborhoods, to the great 
annoyance of the old ministers, Messrs. Cogswell and Mosely, but they 
nndoul)tedly reached a class which would have been impervious to 
nioi-e formal and orthodox ministrations. Mr. Abel Palmer of Col- 
chester, a brilliant young Baptist, sujjplied the ])ulpit for a time to 
great satisfaction. In 1794, Peter llogers was called and settled 
as jiastor, and remained in charge for a number of years. The 
patriarch of this church was its worthy deacon, Thomas Grow, whose 
name was affixed to the meeting-house on Grow Hill, built mainly by 
his effoi'ts. He was a man of strong faith and large heart, whose 
fatherly care embi-aced the whole ehuich as well as his own fourteen 
children. It is said that he was accustomed to furnish diimer at inter- 
mission hour to all who came to worship. 

The northwest ])art of Hamj)ton was veiy si)arsely settled, having 
remained for many yeai's in the hands of iu)n-i-esidents. Its first 
permanent settler was Benjamin, son of Deacon Benjamin ("haplin of 
southwest Pomfret, who upon coming of age went out into the wilder- 
ness, took up land on the Nachauge and cleai'ed himself a huuiestead. 
He lived some time single and having little money supported himself 
by making baskets and wooden trays. In 1747, he married the Widow 
Mary Iloss, daughter of vSeth Paine, Esq., of Brooklyn, and ere long 
built a large and handsome mansion still known as the old Cha|)lia 
House, where he reared a numerous family. Mrs. Chaplin equalled 
her husband in thrift and economy and they soon accumulated property. 
Like his father-in-law, ]\Ir. Cha|)lin was a skillful surveyor and became 
very familiar with all the land in his vicinity, buying large tracts at a 
low figui-e. Tradition represents him as taking advantage of the 
ignorance of non-resident owners, maligning the land as swampy, 
overgrown with alders and deficient in water, and paying for it with 
])i-ospective wheat, a bushel for an acre, or in wooden shovels to be 
made from its timber. lu 1756, Mr. Chaplin purchased of William 



BEACON BEiV.TAMIX CHAPLIN, ETC. 247 

and ]\rart]ia Brattle of CainV)ri(lge, in consideration of £l,G47, 
seventeen hundred and sixty-five acres of land mostly east of the 
Nachaucfe and crossinij it in nine places — which with other acquisi- 
tions gave hitn a piincely domain. Some eligil)le sites were sold 
to settlei's from Windham and adjoining towns but the greater pai't 
Avas i-etained in his own possession. He lai<l out farms, built houses 
and barns, and ruled as lord of the manor. He was a man of 
mai'ked character, shi-ewd and far-sighted, a friend of mankind, 
the church and the State, and was very nuich respected thiough- 
out his section of countiy. He was very fond of ivading and 
delighted greatly in books of divinity and religion. He attended 
church in South JMansfield, a Sabbath-day journey of six miles, riding 
on horseback over the rough path, with saddle-bags full of bi'ead and 
cheese for luncheon, and a daughter on the pillion behind him to jump 
down and open the bais and gateways. In 1765, he united with the 
First Chui-ch of Mansfield, and ten years afterward was chosen one of 
its deacons. Though his residence was in Mansfield he owned much 
land in Hampton, and was actively interested in all its aftaii's. His 
daughter Sarah had mari'ied James Howard ; Eunice was the wife of 
Zebediah Tracy, Esq., of Scotland Parish ; Tamasin, of Isaac Perkins, 
Esq., of Ashford ; Hannah, of Kev. David Aveiy. In 17S9, Deacon 
Chaplin was gi-eatly afflicted in the loss of his only son, Benjamin, a 
young man of much j)romise. Dr. Cogswell laments him as *' a 
growing character, heir to a great estate," and rei)oi-ts the father 
" very tender about his son's death," but he hopes resigned. He was 
married to a gi-anddaughter of President Edwaids, and left three sons, 
Benjamin, Timothy and Jonathan Edwards. Deacon Chaplin died 
March 25, 1795, in the 76th year of his age. His funeral was con- 
ducted with all the ceremony befitting his means and position — a 
great assemblage of people with dinner and liquor for all, and so 
much time was needed for these preliminary exercises that it was 
nearly night before entering upon the ordinaiy services. The funeral 
seiiuon delivered by Kev. jNIoses C. Welch was highly eulogistic 
according to the fashion of the period. An elaborate epitaph also 
testified to the virtues of the deceased, as follows : — 

" Deacon Benjamui Chaplin, that Friend of Man, that supporter of tiie State, 
tliat ornament of the Church, who, having witnessed a good Confession for 
the doctrines of grace, for the purity and prosperity of public worship, a 
faithful steward of his Lord's goods, provided liberally in his last will and 
testament towards a permanent fnnd for the maintenance of the Gospel 
ministry, and after he had served his own generation, by the will of God, fell 
ou sleep, March 25, 1795, in the 76th year of his age." 

Deacon Chaplin's estate was valued at nearly £8,500, including over 
two thousand acres of land, four houses and eight barns. After pro- 



248 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

viding liberally for liis wife, daughters and the education of his son's 
children, he gave three hundred pounds for a permanent fund, the 
interest of which was to be applied to the support of a minister jiro- 
fessing and preaching the doctrines of the Gospel, according as tliey 
are explained in the Westminster Confession of Faith, in a society to 
be formed before January 1, 1812. within a mile and a quarter of his 
dwelling house. A number of families iiad now gathered in this 
vicinity, very " desirous of bettering their circumstances for attending 
the public worship of God." In their remoteness from the meeting- 
houses of Windham, Mansfield and Hampton, some of these families 
had hitherto worshipped with the chuich in Xoith Windham formed 
during the Revolutionary war. One of its members, Mr. Ames, had 
given land for a house of worship on Chewink Plain, about two and a 
half miles southeast from the present Chaplin Village, and the liev. 
John Storis of Mansfield acted as its i)astor. The small number of 
worshippers and the failing strength of its pastor made its continuance 
doubtful, and a movement was made in 1796, for taking advantage of 
Deacon Chaplin's bequest. "A number of subscribers in the eastern 
part of Mansfield and parts adjacent," ^. e., Ames, Abbe, Hovey, 
Barton, Balch, Sessions, Hunt, Stowell, Ward, Clark, Cary, Russ, 
Ross, Wales, Geer, agreed to give a certain amount for a fund, pro- 
vided that enough could be guaranteed to add fifty pounds yearly to 
the interest of Deacon Chaplin's legacy, but did not succeed in carry- 
ing out their object. Organization was deferred for some years and 
the Nachauge residents attended worship where it best suited their 
convenience. The church in North Windham became extinct — 
thirteen of its membei's returning to the First Church of that town. 
Its only pastor, Rev. John Storrs, died in 1799. A feeble church, 
scarce gaining name or footing, it is memorable for its connection 
with a distinguished ministerial succession. Its pastor was the father 
of Rev. Richard S. Storrs, D. D., of Braintree, and he the father of 
the present Rev. Richard S. Storrs, D. D., of Brooklyn, L. I. "An 
old burying ground long unused, grown up to brush and trees, the 
gravestones well nigh illegible," now marks the site of the extinct 
church and " Ames meeting-house." 



ORGANIZATION OF BROOKLYN TOWNSHIP. 249 



Y. 

ORGANIZATION OF BROOKLYN TOWNSHIP. GENERAL TOWN 

AFFAIRS. ADAMS' DISTRICT. CLOSING YEARS OF GEN. 

PUTNAM. COL. MALBONE. CAPT. TYLER. 

GROWTH AND PROSPERITY. 

BROOKLYN, like its youthful neiglibor, was wide awake and 
stirring. Erected the same yeai', they seemed inclined to 
healthful emulation in enterjirise and ])nblic spirit. Brooklyn's first 
town meeting, warned by Joseph Baker, Esq., was held in its much- 
esteemed meeting-house, June 26, 1786. Colonel Israel Putnam was 
called to the chair. Seth Paine was chosen town clerk, treasurer, and 
first selectman ; Andrew Murdock, Asa Pike, Daniel Tyler, Jr. and 
Joseph Scarborough, selectmen : Peter Pike, constable ; Ebenezer 
Scarborough, Abner Adams, Joshua Miles, Jedidiah Ashcraft, Jun., 
Salter Searls, Nathan Witter, Joseph Davison, Samuel Williams, 
Stephen P^i'ost, James Dorrance, Elisha Brown, Reuben Harris, sur- 
veyors ; John Jefferds, Eleazer Gilbert, fence-viewers ; Abijah Goodell, 
Isaac Cushman, tithing-men. The bounds of the town were at first 
identical with those of the previous society, but twenty-four hundred 
acres were soon released to Hampton. Seth Paine was n}»pointed to 
agree with the agents of Canada Parish on a straight line between 
Brooklyn and the new town, and consent that they may have as much 
land as prayed for if they will maintain the poor. The Quinebaug 
formed the eastern bound. North and south lines remained as pre- 
viously settled. Pomfret was allowed to retain a projection on the 
southwest, now Jericho, on the supposition that it would never be able 
to pay its own expenses. It was voted that the town line should be 
also the society line, and the pound already built near Dr. Baker's be a 
town pound. 

Appropriation bills were ne.\t in order. It Avas voted to raise a tax 
of a penny a pound to defray the expenses till the time of annual 
meeting, and two-pence for next year: also, to mend highways by a 
tax. Highway districts were speedily laid out, the town agreeing that 
each man and team have three shillings for a day's work in the spring 
and two in the fall. An amendment allowed two-and-six))ence a day in 
September. A half-penny rate was voted for the supi)ort of schools. 
The committee for settling with Pomfret was ordered to make a tax 
on the inhabitants of Brooklyn, originally of Pomfret ( provided 
Pomfret will not do it ), for the purpose of paying up the arreai'age 

32 



250 HISTORY OF WIXDHAM COUNTY. 

due to Poiiifiet. The latter town apparently not doing it, a list* was 
made out and tax levied. This list includes some 237 rale payers 
with estates valued at £9,o3H, lOs. 'Id. Jabez Allen, John Malbone, 
Andrew Murdock, William Smith, Daniel Tyler, Jun., the Putnams, 
Scarboroughs and Williams's, paid the heaviest assessments. Special 
taxes were levied upon John Jeft'erds, Eleazer Gilbert, as "Taverners 
and tiaders :" Peter Schuyler Putnam, Reuben Harris, taverners ; 
Erastus Baker, trader ; Joseph Baker, physician: William Baker, as 
proprietor of a grist-mill ; Stephen Baker, of a saw-mill : Daniel Clark, 



* A true list of the Polls and Ratable Estate of the Town of Brooklyn for 
August the 20th, A. D. 1788 : 

Adams, Samuel, William, Asaph, Lewis, Ephraim, Philemon, Shubael, 
Abuer, ^'oah, Willard, Peter, Ephraim, Jun.-, Allyn, Jabez, John, Joseph ; 
Allen, Parker; Ashcraft, Jedidiah, John, Jedidiah, Jun.; Ahvorth, James, 
William; Aborn, James; Baker, William, Doct. Joseph, Joel, Stephen, John, 
Erastus, Joseph, Jun.; Brindley, Nathaniel; Butt, Samuel; Brown, Shubael, 
Alpheus, Jedidiah, John; Bowman, Elisha, Walter; Barrett. William; Bacon, 
Joseph, Asa, Nehemiah; Benjamin, Barzillai; Cushman, William, William, 
Jun., Isaac; Clark, Moses, Daniel, Caleb; Cleveland, Davis, Joseph, Elijah, 
Phillips, Phinehas; Cady, Gideon, Ezra, Jonathan, L'riah, John, Phindias, 
Ebenezer, Benjamin, Asahel, Nalium, Nathan, Daniel, Widow Lydia, Eliakim; 
Copeland, William, Asa, Joseph, Jonathan, James; Chatlee, Ebenezer; 
Coller, Jonathan, Asa; Cogswell, Nathaniel; Cloud, Norman: Chapman, 
Amaziah ; Darbe, Ashael, AVilliam, Alpheus; Downing, Jedidiah, David, 
Ichabod, James; Deuisou, David; Davison, Joseph, Joseph, Jun., Peter; 
Dorrance, James; Davis, Samuel; Davidson, William; Eldredge, James, 
Guidon; Eaton, Ezekiel; F:isset, Elijah, Josiah, Joab, John: Foster, Daniel; 
Fling, Lemuel; Frost, Stephen; Fuller, John, Josiah; Fillmore, William ; 
Goodell, Abijah, Alvau ; Gilbert, Kachel, Joseph, Eleazer, Benjamin, Jedidiah, 
John; Geer, John ; Herrick, Benjamin, Kufus: Howard, Charles; llubijard, 
Ebenezer, William, Benjamin, Jun.; Hutchins, Isaac; Hewitt, Stephen, 
Increase ; Harris, Samuel, Reuben, Paul. Amos, Ebenezer; Hancock, John; 
Hide, Jabesh; Holmes, Nathaniel; Jeflerds, John; Joslin, David ; Ingalls, 
Samuel; Kendall, Peter, John, David; Litchfield, Eleazer, John, Isiael, 
Uriah; Mumford, Thomas; Miles, Jesse, Joshua, Thomas; Murdock, Andrew ; 
Malbone, John; Merrett, Charles, Thomas; Morgau, Koswell; .Mason, 
Shubael ; Medcalf, Hannah ; More, Daniel; Putuaui, Daniel, Peter Schuyler, 
Israel. Jun., Reuben; Pike, John, Joseph, Peter, Jonathan, Asa, Willard; 
Paine, Simeon, Seth, Jun., Delano, Seth, Daniel, Benjamin; Prince, Timothy, 
Timothy, Jun., Abel; Pierce, Benjamin; Preston, Jacob; Palmer, Elihu, 
Thaddeus ; Pettis, Joseph ; Pellet, Jonathan; Pooles, Amasa; Rowe, Isaac; 
Smith, William, Thomas ; Stanton, Thomas ; Stevens, John; Storrs, Dinah ; 
Scott, William; Searls, Daniel, Salter; Scarborough, Ebenezer, Jeremiah, 
Joseph, Samuel; Stowel, Calvin; Sliepard, Josiah, Benjamiu; Spalding, .Abel, 
Ebenezer, Caleb, Rufus, Ebenezer, Juu. ; Sluunway, Eljenezer; Staples. Abel; 
Tracy, Zebediah : Tilley, James; Tyler, Asa, Daniel, Daniel, Jun., Oliver; 
Thayer, Elijah ; Wheeler, Timothy, Job; White, Joseph; Weaver, Remington, 
John; Wilson, Samuel, Ignatius; Williams, Stephen, Samuel, Jun., Roger 
Wolcot, Asa, Martha, Marian, Job, Joseph, Samuel, Samuel, 2d; Witter, 
Nathan, Juu., Nathan, Josiah; Withy, James, Hazael, Eunice; Weeks, 
Ebenezer, Anna; Wood, Benjamiu; Woodward, Ward, Peter. 

Danikl Tyler, Jun., 
Andkew Mukdock, 
J.vMES Eldredge, 
Nathan Witter, 
is.vac cushman, 

Listers. 



GENERAL TOWN AFFA.IRS. 251 

of saw and grist-mills. The iiiiiltiplicalioii of taverns was a sore 
annoyance to sober men, ami liad called out a vigorous remonstrance 
from. Gen. Putnam to the Honorable County Court in session at 
Windham, viz. : — 

"Gkntlemex : 

Bcinii: an enemy to Idleness, DNsipatioii and Intemperance, I would object 
asjainst any measures whicli may be conducive thereto: and, the multiplyini? 
of pul)lic houses, wlien the public good does not require it, has a direct 
tendency to ruin the morals of youth, and pnjmote idleness and intemperance 
among all ranks of people, especially as the grand olyect of the candidates 
for licenses is money ; and, when that is the case, men are not over apt to 
be tender of people's morals or purses. The authorities of this town, I 
think, have run into a great error, in approbating an additional number of 
public houses, especially in this parish. They have approbated two houses 
in the centre, where there was never custom (I mean traveling custom) 
enough for one. The other custom (the domestic) I have been informed, 
has of late \'ears increased; and the licensing another house 1 fear would 
increase it more. As I kept a public house here myself a number of years 
before the war, I had an opportunity of knowing, anil certainly do know, that 
the traveling custom is too triliing for a man to lay himself out so as to keep 
such a house as travelers have a right to expect. Therefore, I hope your 
Honors will consult the good of this parish, so as to license only one of the 
two houses. I shall not undertake to say which (night to be lecensed. Your 
Honors will act according to your best information. 
I am, with esteem. 

Your Honors' humble servant, 

Israel Putnam. 

Brooklyn, Feb. 18, 1782." 

Public schools received immediate attention. In emulation of 
Plainfield, Brooklyn had already attem])ted to establish an academy. 
The Providence Gazette of 1783 informs its patrons that " for the 
promotion of Literature a number of inhabitence in the parish of 
Brooklyn have procured a gentleman to begin a Grammar school. 
The public may be assured that the character of the teacher both in 
regard to his scholarship and disposition comes vouched in the best 
manner from the Governors of Cambridge College, where he had his 
education. He will teach the Greek and Latin tongues and any other 
branch of literature taught at any jirivate school in the State. Daniel 
Tyler, Jun., John Jefierds, Joseph Baker, Eleazer Gilbert, Jal)ez Allen, 
committee." Failing to succeed in this eftbrt the town gave more 
care to public education. Andrew Murdock, Daniel Tyler and James 
Eldredge were appointed to take charge of the school money ; Daniel 
Putnam, David Denison, John Brown, Roger Williams, Joseph Scar- 
borough, Salter Searls, Nathan Witter, James Dorrance, to hire school- 
masters each for the district in which he lives ; Delano and Timeus 
Pierce, Jonathan Copeland, James Dorrance, Samuel Butt, Jonathan 
Pike, Daniel, Peter and Jonathan Kendall, were made a separate 
district for schooling. Captain Ebenezer Spalding and other neigh- 
bors were allowed their part of the money, if they lay out the same 



252 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COI'xNTY. 

ill schodliiig. Town and sdcicty in 170.) ex])resse<l tlicir approval of 
tlie proposed act of tlio (Jcnoral Asseiiil)ly respecting the Western 
lands with these alterations — that the avails of the land be paid into 
the town treasury of the respective towns of the State, and the interest 
be appropi'iated solely to the su]>p()rt of religion of all denominations, 
and schools. 

Brooklyn was much interested in agi icultuval affairs, and its dairies 
were reported as " not exceeded in the State." Putnam's example and 
precept had a beneficial and stimulating influence in this directi(m. 
His various faims were now in charge of his sons. Daniel Tyler, 
Jun., the AVilliamss, Scarboroughs, Litchfields and other leading 
iamilies, had tine farms under good cultivation. Population was very 
generally diftused tliroughout the town — the village as yet boasting 
but seven dwelling-houses. Captain Andrew ^Nlm-dock, who had 
married a daughter of Major Holland, and added to her patrimony 
land purchased of Widow Isaac AUyn, was a very enterprising and 
successful farmer. His "fai'ms and accommodations were truly 
curious and wonderful — all the product of his own industry and 
economy." Allyn's grist-mill was carried on successfully till the dam 
was carried off by a freshet and jiublic opposition delayed its rebuild- 
ing. Allen Hill, though owned and occupied by descendants of 
Richard Adams, received its name from vicinity to this much fre- 
quented grist-mill. Four sons of Peter Adams after fighting through 
the Revolutionary war removed to new countries. The oldest son, 
Philemon, with younger brothers, engaged in various industries, 
running a linseed oil mill arid manufacturing pottery and j)otash. 
One son acquired the ait of working in silver and fabricated family 
teaspoons, while a daughter gifted with lesthetic taste transformed 
rude homespun into a thing of beauty. With wooden stamps cut out 
by her brothers and dyes extracted from native ])lants, she achieved a 
most successful imitation of the rich tlowered brocades then in 
fashion, making dress patterns, vests and furnituie coverings that were 
the admiration of all l)eholders. Living remote from neighbors on so 
large a tract of land, this family long retained primitive characteristics 
and habits, a })atriarchal community almost independent of the busy 
world beyond them. A i'vw Indian families still occupied their wig- 
wams in the depths of the uncleared woodland, and while gradually 
acquiring the arts of civilized life imparted forest secrets in return, 
teaching the children the nature and use of herbs, the best methods of 
hunting and snaring, with many an aboriginal tradition. Peter 
Adams, the patriarch of this little community, was still hale and 
hearty. A mighty hunter from his youth he pursued the practice even 
down to old age and had the honor of killing the last bear reported iu 



CLOSING YEARS OF GEN. PUTNAM. 253 

Windham County. As so nnicli has been said of tlie last wolf it is 
but fair to chionicle the last of the Bruins, especially as it was an 
animal of most exemplary morals, never suspected of purloining so 
much as a chicken, and instead of routing out a whole town for its 
destruction was so accommodating as to set itself up for a target. 
Even his presence had been unsuspected until one pleasant sj)ring 
morning, when Mr. Adams espied him on a knoll not far from his 
residence. Approaching unperceived he managed to get a shot at 
him when the bear fell backward, uttering such terrible and unearthly 
cries as to be heard even across the distant (^uiiiebaug. Anotlier shot 
stilled the cries and sent the last bear to his fathers. The size and 
weight of the defunct representative of a dei)arted race were very 
remarkable and it was conjectured that he had long outlived the 
ordinary limits of bearish existence. The year of his demise cannot 
be settled but it was probably about 1780. 

General Putnam, now resting from his arduous labors and conilicts, 
must have lieen greatly interested in liearing of this ex[)loit, recalling 
as it would the much more famous adventure of his early days.* The 
later years of Putnam's life were eminently peaceful and happy. 
Disabled as he was with right ai'tn paralyzed and useless, he was still 
able to share in the pleasures and duties of life ; could ride about his 
farms and attend public meetings and social gatherings. Released 
from the burden of keej)ing up an establishment, he made his home 
with his sons, Colonel Israel, Peter Schuyler and Daniel Putnam, and 
frequently visited his daughters, Mrs. Tyler, Mrs. Waldo and Mrs. 
Lemuel Grosvenor. We catch pleasant glimpses of him in these 
restful years, enforcing with admonitory staft' prompt obedience upon 
his numerous grandchildren, encouraging young giils with hearty 
a])plause upon their tirst essay in a public ball-room, or making a 
friendly call upon his neighbor, Dr. Cogswell, to the detriment of the 
Sunday sermon of the ungrateful minister. He was frequently seen at 
"a raising" and other social gatherings and merry-makings, ''sur- 
rounded by a crowd of children and grandchildien, fiiends and neigli- 
bors, relating abundant anecdotes of the olden time, while his hap[)y 
audience greeted with loud laughter the outflowing of his ready wit 
and his kindly and genial humor." He was the oracle in tree-culture, 
stock-raising and other practical matters, ever ready to advise with his 
quick eye and clear head, ripening and mellowing as the years passed 
on. He was cheered by visits and letters from his military friends 
and comrades, and many tributes of respect and gratitude from fellow- 



* See .\ppenclix. 



254 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 



cilizons at home and far and wide over the land. lie rejoiced with 
liis whole great heart in the ac^hievement of American Independence, 
tlie adoption of the Federal Constitntion, the new impulse it brought 
to the Nation ; and in the various projects for growth and develop- 
ment. Always a respecter of religion, long a member of the church, 
he was drawn with advancing years to a deeper appreciation of spirit- 
ual tilings. He studied the Scriptures carefully, he abjured the use 
of profane language, he expressed "a great regard for God, and the 
things of God." To his dear friend and pastor, Mr. Whitney, he 
freely disclosed the workings of his mind. Good old Elder Benjamin 
Lathrop of Windham had also "a free and friendly talk with the old 
General," and reported him " much engaged in getting ready to leave 
the world" — and so a sudden summons found him calmly waiting his 
discharge. "Death, whom he had so often braved on the field of 
battle, had no terrors to him on his dying bed, but he longed to depart 
and be with Christ." He died 3Iay 19, 1790, after two days" illness. 
His funeral as befitting his character, rank, and distinguished public 
services, w^as the most imposing ceremonial that Windham County had 
then witnessed. The grenadiers of the Eleventh Regiment, the 
Matross Company of Brooklyn, and military companies from other 
parts of the State, the brethren of the Masonic order, together with a 
large number of strangers and a great concourse of friends and 
neighbors, accompanied the remains "to the Congregational meeting- 
house in Brooklyn ; and after divine service performed by tlie Rev. 
Dr. Whitney, all that was earthly of the patriot and hero was laid in 
the silent tomb under the discharge of vollies from the infantry and 
minute guns from the artillery." An eulogium was pronounced at the 
grave by Dr. Waldo in behalf of the Masonic bretln-en. An inscrip- 
tion pre])ared by President Dwight of Yale College most faithfully 
portrayed the character of the great leader, who held to Windham 
County the relation of Washington to the Republic — " first in war, 
first in peace, first in the heaits of his countrymen." 



CLOSING YEARS OF GEN. PUTNAM. 255 

Sacred be this Moniinieut 

to the memory 

of 

ISRAEL PUTNAM, Esquire, 

senior Major General in the armies 

of 

the United States of America; 

who 

was Ijorn at Salem, 

in the Province of Massachusetts, 

on the 7th daj- of January, 

A. D. 1718, 

and died 

on the 19lh day of May, 

A. I). 1790. 

Passenger, 

if thou art a Soldier, 

drop a tear over the dust of a Hero, 

Avho, 

ever attentive 

to the lives and happiness of his men, 

dared to lead 

where any dared to follow ; 

if a Patriot, 

remember the distinguished and gallant services 

rendered thy country 

by the Patriot wdio sleeps beneath this marble ; 

if thou art honest, generous and worthy, 

render a cheerful tribute of respect 

to a man, 

whose generositj' was singular, 

whose honesty was proverbial ; 

who 

raised himself to universal esteem, 

and offices of eminent distinction, 

by personal worth 

and a 

useful life. 



[It would be pleasant to leave General Putnam in his last resting 
place with a giatetul remeinbi-ance of his life, character and service.s, 
but subsequent developments and modern theories compel a brief 
notice. For Windham County readers, indeed, no word is needed. 
They have not eared to look at their old friend through modern eye- 
glasses, fashioned in New York and Boston. Insinuations as to his 
military capacity and standing, his courage and loyalty, have failed to 
make the least impression upon the minds of those who look upon 
General Putnam through the eyes of their fathers and grandfathers, 
men of sense and judgment, who saw him face to face, and knew just 
what he was and what he had done. The words with which General 
Lemuel Grosvenor of Pomfret, sent back a pamphlet concocted by 
one of the early propounders of the modern theory are here given, as 



250 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

expressing tlie iiivolmitary seuliinent and iinj)iilse of every Windham 
County citizen : — 

" Sir, your letter enclosinj; a pamphlet was duly received, but I do not 
thank you for a publication wliicli is intended to slander a character of one 
now deceased with whom I had the honor of a personal acquaintance as a 
townsman of mine, and so distiuijuished a friend to his country— and whose 
whole life was devoted t(i their service in the French War, but more especially 
in the Revolution and especially at the Noted Battle of Bunker Hill, where he 
was a distinsuished commanding ollicer, and not an idle carrier of the 
intrenchinj? tools as you represent. I therefore return the pamphlet as I do 
not wish it to disgrace my library. Yours, etc., 

Lemuel Grosvexou. 

Pomfret, Jamiary, 1832." 

But while accepting the testimony and verdict ol cotemporary asso- 
ciates, we would not shrink from candid, critical investigation, and 
would deprecate indiscriminate eulogy as well as vindictive censure. 
Kallier with seriptuial jilainness and fidelity would we record liie 
errors and failures as well as the virtues and triuiuphs, rememV)ering 
that the best of men are still but iuiman. That Putnam's military 
cai-eer during the Kevolution fulfilled tlie extravagant ex])ectations of 
enthusiastic admirers cannot be maintained. His age, his lack of 
early military training, the character of his previous military 
ex[)erience, were all against him. Yet the service that lie ren- 
dered, especially at the breaking out of the war, was most vital, and 
it may be doubted if without his prestige and popularity the army 
would have cohered or Bunker Hill Battle have been fought. He 
held the helm till it was taken by Washington, and like John the 
Baptist prepared the way for his master. The world is indebted to 
Dr. Tarbox, for his chivalrous championship and successful vindica- 
tion of Putnam's claim to leadership at Bunker Hill. Johnsons late 
"Campaign of 1776," relieves Putnam from reputed responsibility for 
the mischances and defeat at Long Island, and closer investigation in 
other cases where he has been blamed, prove that he did the best 
possible under the circumstances, and justify the words of President 
Si)arks : — " That he never made mistakes I would not say, for it 
cannot be said of a single officer in the Kevolution, but I am sure it 
may be safely affirmed that there was not among all the ]iatriots of the 
Kevolution a braver man, or one more true to the interests of liis 
country, or of more generous and noble spirit." John Adams 
declares, " That he never heard the least insinuation of dissatisfac- 
tion with the conduct of General Putnam through his whole life." 
Colonel Thomas Grosvenor, his townsman and military associate, 
reports him " ever the first in public life at the post of honor and 
danger," and in his private conduct " excelled by none." The honored 
friend and associate of Washington and Trumbull, the faithful counsel- 



COL. MALBONE, 'ETC. 257 

lor and Riijiporter of Connecticut's sturdy patriots throufjliout tlie 
Revolution, he lived and died '' i-espected and beloved ; " " his woi-d 
an ample security lor everything it pledg-ed ; "* his uprightness com- 
jnanding "absolute confidence." Against such overwhelming testi- 
mony from those who knew him, charges brought many years after liis 
decease can have little weight, based as they are upon professional 
and sectional jealousies, and that captious s])ii-it of criticism which 
would blacken the purest character and belittle the most heroic deeds. 
Leading as they have to a moi'e careful and critical examination, they 
Avill give to the world a more correct understanding of his services, 
and a higher estimate of the worth and weiglit of his character. 

A contemporai-y reportf lately come to light we leave to its own 
merits, premising that the writer was like Petei'S a banished Tory, who 
compiled his "History" between 1780 and 1791). 

Note oil General Putnam [extract]. "He is resolute, bold, enterprising and 
intrepid, has no notion of fear, and is at the same time, generous, kuul and 
humane; was fond of doing good acts, and ever treated loyal prisoners with 
the same attention and hospitality as he treated his own soldiers. In 1775, 
he ottered his services to General Gage, the commander-in-chief of America, 
if he could have a provincial regiment, which he ottered to raise at his 
own expense. The proposal was rejected with scorn and indignity." 

How widely this report was circulated we have no means of know- 
ing, but it miglit very easily have arisen froiu the subjoined incident 
recorded in Humphrey's Life of General Putnam : — 

"Not long after this period [May, 1775], the British commander-in-chief 
found the means to convey a proposal privately to General Putnam, that if he 
would relinquish the rebel party, he might rely upon being made a Major- 
General on the British Establishment, and receiving a great pecuniary com- 
pensation for his services. General Putnam spurned at the otter, which, 
however, he thought prudent at that time to conceal from public notice." 

From the nature of the case it is not probable that direct proof of 
either ofier can ever be obtained, aiul we are left to clioose between 
tlie assertion of the Tory historian and that of Putnam's antliorized 
biographer ; which of the two is most worthy of credit, it is not for 
us to decide, but it is easy to see which is the most in accordance 
with common sense, and the facts and probabilities of history. 
Knowing what we do of Putnam's sentiments and conduct during 
the summer of iTTo, we could as soon believe that streams could run 
up hill, or the sun go back in its course, as that he could have made 
such an extraordinary proposition.] 

Putnam's antagonistic neighbor, Colonel Malbone, accepted defeat 
and change of government with becoming pliilosophy, and by ids 



* President Dwight of Yale College. 

t History of New York during the Revolutionary War, by Thomas Jones, 
1879. 

33 



258 HISTOKY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

kindness and open generosity, liis scorn for anything like pretension 
or hypocrisy, gained the respect and admiration of those most opposed - 
in sentiment. The later years of his life were harassed by pecuniary 
embarrassment. His expeiiment in slave labor* bi'oug'ht him poor 
returns. His negroes were idle and wasteful, costing more than their 
profit. Thirty pairs of shoes a year, their price ])aid in gold, was one 
item of outlay. They M'ere a happy, jolly set, fond of fiddling and 
frolicking. Once a year they held a grand jubilee, electing a king, and 
installing him in office. Ptio, the most intelligent of their number, 
son of an African king, usually obtained their suffrages and received 
royal homage. Some of these negroes left their master during the 
Revolution. Others in time obtained their freedom under the Emanci- 
pation Act. A few adhered faithfully to their master and mistress, 
and clung to the Malbone estate even after their decease. Notwith- 
standing his losses and embarrassments. Colonel Malbone was ever 
ready to go beyond his means in sustaining his church, or befriending 
a needy neighbor. Some one in his presence expi'essed a great deal of 
sympathy for a poor man who had lost his cow, the main suj)port of 
his family. " How much are you sorry ? "' was the sharp query. The 
informant hesitated. "Well! I'm sony twenty dollars," he replied, 
taking that amount from his pocket-book. Another characteristic 
retort merits preservation. An aristocratic kinswoman expressed her 
desire that there might be '•'• a place fenced off in Heaven for servants 
and common people." " It would be so disagreeable to be mixed up 
with everybody." " And I," roared the angry colonel, " hope there'll 
be a place fenced off in Hell for d — d fools." 

Colonel Malbone's death preceded that of Putnam by several yeai's. 
The epitaph, written by John Bowers of Newport, gives a truthful 
impress of his character : — 

" Sacred be this marble to the memory of Godfrey Malbone, who was born 
at Newport, R. I., Septeud)er 3, 1724, and died at Ins Seat in this town, 
November 12th, 1785. Uncommon natural Abilities, improved and em- 
bellished by an Education at the University of Oxford, a truly amiable disposi- 
tion, an inflexible integrity of Heart, the most frank Sincerity in Conversa- 
tion, a Disdain of every Species of Hypocrisy and Dissimulation, joined to 
manners perfectly easy and engaiiing, nobly marked his character and 
rendered him a real Blessing to all around him. That he was a friend of 
Eeligion tliis Church of which lie was the Founder testittes; as do all indeed 
who knew him that he practiced every virtue requisite to adorn and dignify 
Human Life." 



* Inventory of stock appraised by Godfrey Malbone, sen., wlien conveyed to 
his sons, Godfrey and John, October 16, 17G4 : 80 cows, 45 oxen, 30 steers, 40 
two-year-olds, 20 yearlings, 39 calves, 6 horses, 600 sheep, 150 goats, 150 hogs, 
27 negroes, viz., Prince, Harry, Pero, little Pero, Dick, Tom, Peter, Peter 
Virginia, Domino, Caddy, Adam, Cliristopher, Dinah, Venus, Rose, Miriam, 
Jesse, Primus, and others, negro boys, etc. 



COL. MALBONE ETC. 



259 



Ti-iiiity Churcli wa^ greatly weakened by the Idss of its cliief patron, 
so tliat Mr. Fogg for a time even meditated upon willidrawing fi'oni 
the pastorale. The stipend from the Missionary Soeiety had cease<l. 
Dr. Walton had removed, ])atriotic adhei-ents had withdrawn their 
countenance, dreading the imputation of disloyalty. Trial by Hre 
had, howevei', left a grain of j)u:e metal. A faithful few still clung to 
the church of tlie Mt)ther Country, and for their sake Mv. Fogg 
decide<l to remain and continue the E|)iscopal woiship. Thirty acres 
of land intended by Colonel Malbone for a glel)e were coutirmed to 
the parish in 1787, by liis brother, John Malbone. Captain Evan 
Malbone, a relative of Godfrey and John, had now removed to 
Pomfret, and aided in su])porting the church. Another acquisition 
was Dr. John Fuller, successor of Dr. Walton, who had made a large 
fortune by privateeiing, and was accustomed to ti'eat the whole congre- 
gation to cake and wine during the intermission of service. With 
great assiduity and fidelity, Mi-. Fogg I'esumed his ministerial labors, 
"submitting himself to every ordinance of man for the Loid's sake ; " 
"Giving none offence that the ministry might not be blamed," and 
gaining the respect and confidence of tlie whole community. 

The Congregational Society, as it was now called, was in a pros[)er- 
ous condition, and though its members had i)ai(l heavy taxes for war 
expendituies and town organization, they proceeded in 1788, to repair 
their elegant meeting-house. A hundred dollars, to be ])aid in Hax 
seed, or any other material that could be used about the work, was 
appropriated for painting and repairs. Thirty dollars were allowed to 
Mr. Whitney to sui)ply himself with wood at a dollar a cord. Liberty 
was granted in 1793, to repair the meeting-house clock or put up a 
new one. In the following year it was voted to raise a small tax for 
the purpose of paying a singing-master to teach the art of singing — 
society committee to hire, direct and pay said singing-master. Sing- 
ing thus dignified into an *' art," received nioi'e and more attention, 
and after a few years the society chose a committee of eight " to set 
up a singing school, viz., one out of each school district to look up 
and collect the singers therein, and a sub-committee of three to look 
up and hire a singing-master, and to raise such sum as the committee 
shall see fit to lay out for the purpose of recruiting the singing." 
Accustomed to the management of general secular affairs, the society 
still acted in matters that would seem without its pi-ovince, choosing 
delegates to represent it at the great meeting held at Jefferds' tavern 
in 17U4, for the purpose of securing the transferring of the Court- 
house, and voting " to pei'severe " in effort when the petition was 
rejected. Its own espec-ial functions were discharged with much 
efficiency. Dilatory rate-jiayers were brought to time by the enact- 



260 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

meiit, "Tlint llic names of tlie jiersons thai liave iiol paid tlii-ir society 
taxes sliall he ]»iihliely lead for the futuie at the o[ieniiiff of the annual 
society niei-lino-, " Imt this was quickly set aside as too strinirent a 
remedy. Twenty five pounds were added to Mr. Whitney's salary in 
179(), "-on account of the present high price of pi-ovisions." 

Ml-. \\'hitney held his place in the aHection of his people and the 
esteem of all. Though moderate in liis doctrinal views and o])posed 
to the High CaUiiiism then coming into fashion, he enjoyed the 
ies[)ect and coiiHdeiice of his brethren in tlie ministry, and maintained 
strict churcli and family disci|)line. Deacons l>aker, Scarborougli, 
Witter and Davison, together with Esquire Frost, were constituted a 
committee to iiKjuire into matters of scandal and I'eclaim otfenders. 
Neglect of family prayer was pronounced a censura))le evil. In 1790, 
Mr. Whitney with Dr. Cogswell, Kev. Andrew Lee, Rev. Elisha 
Atkins, and one or two other ministers of congenial sentiment, united 
as tlie Eastern Association of the County of Windham, representing a 
milder ty[>e of theology than the larger body. That his church 
favored this step, and sym]tathized with him in his regard for tlie old 
Half-way Covenant now eschewed by the more rigid churches, was 
manifested by the following discussion and decision, occurring as late 
as 1805:— 

" Query. Wlietlier chiklrci) of age or above twenty-one years, still liviui; 
with their parents, members of the church, might be baptized on their 
parents' account. 

Cliiuch ueuerally of opinion that if such children's character was good, 
and they desired to receive baptism on their parents' account, they might be 
alloweil. Accortlingly Lucy and Joseph Prince, cliildren of Major Timothy 
Prince, were baptized with their brothers and sisters, minors." 

In 1802, Mr. Whitney was honored by the conferring of a doctor's 
degree from Harvard College, upon which accession of dignity the 
society appointed a committee to confer with Dr. Whitney relative to 
the settlement of a colleague, " but ten years passed before an assist- 
atit wasprocmed." During this interval the churcii had commemorated 
the tiftieth anniversary of its pastor's settlement — February 2, 1S06 — 
Dr. Whitney preaching from Job x. 12. an historical discourse suitable 
to the occasion. Only three of the membership of 1756 survived to 
witness this anniversary, 447 had been added to the church during 
his ministry and 718 received the ordinance of baptism. The long 
])astoiate had "commenced with the aiTectionate regard of the fathers, 
and their continued friendshi[), their cordial, candid acceptance of his 
labors, and repeated kindnesses, had continued to make the relation 
happy. " The affection between pastor and people became even more 
cordial and tender as time went on, the ready sympathy and pla}fn\ 
humor of the venerable divine, endearing him to old and young. He 



CAPT. TYI.KK, ETC. 261 

w;is noted for liis skill in ndniinisterinir iv])roof or instruction tliron2;h 
the medium of " a little story," and his quick retorts and keen hits 
elicited much amusement and a(hniration. His roguish son attem)»ted 
to frighten him once while ])erfoi-ming perfunctory service one 
dark night as bell I'inger, and draped in white with deep se]iulcln'al 
voice announced " I have come for yon." " Well, if you have come, 
take hold and ring the hell," was the cool reply. " Do you make a 
p — int of this thing ? " asked a slurring brother when the tiowing bowl 
was passed at a minister's meeting. " A quart when ministers are 
present," returned the smiling Doctor. But wlien ujion another occa- 
sion a brother minister urged that they might partake of some super- 
fluous beverage on the g!-()\ind that they were mVitar]i ineii — lie was 
answered by the coiichman's retort to the English chui'ch dignitary, 
who swore in his private capacity — " When the devil comes for John 
De Lancy, what will become of the Archbishop ? " A flaming Uni- 
versalist bored him with intei ininable discussion of his favorite doctrine 
till silenced by being told that he reminded him of Betty, the cook, 
who was troubled by chickens coming into the kitchen and kept driv- 
ing them out with her broom, each time with increasing clatter, till 
losing all patience she at last burst out — " You are like the Universals 
that don't know when their hea<ls are taken off. " 

Mrs. Lois (Breck) Whitney, Dr. Whitney's first wife, died in 1789. 
Their two oldest sons died dui-ing the Kevolution, being seized with 
small-[)ox on their retui'n from a privateering expedition. Another 
son, Bobert ]3reck, a teacher and com[)Oser of music, very highly 
esteenied, died of consumption at the age of twenty-one. Six daugh- 
ters survived their mother. Dr. Whitney married for his second wife 
the wi<h>w* of Sanmel Chandler of Woodstock. 

Daniel Tyler, Esq., senioi- member of the church, and oldest inhabit- 
ant of the town, died February 20, 1S()2, having nearly com[)leted the 
first year of his secoml century. Throughout his long life he had 
been an active and useful member of society, closely identified with 
the growth of church and town. The church edifice of 1770-1, con- 
structed under his oversight, still testifies to his skill and public spirit. 
Of his many sons only Daniel, the youngest, remained in Brooklyn. 
Having married soon after his graduation from Harvard College, a 
daughter of General Putnam, Captain Tyler was very prominent during 
the Bevohitionary ei'a, serving as adjutant to his distinguished father-in- 



* Dr. Cogswell lets us into the secret that Dr. Whitney in liis widovverhood 
"speculated" concerniug sundry eligible spinsters of his acquaintance, but 
none who look upon the stately figure of Mrs. Auua Paine Chandler, as 
represented by her relative, Mr. Winthrop Chandler, can marvel that such 
solid charms should outweigh any fanciful speculations. The superior attrac- 
tions of widows were recognized before the days of Mr. Weller. 



262 . HISTOKY OF WINDHAM COUNTV. 

l.'iw ill many caiiiiiaiuns. He also raised and e(|ui])|)ed the Tn-iioklyn 
Ma(ross Company, uliieli rendei'e(l sueli etlieieiit aid when Xew 
London and IJiiode Island were threatened with invasion. Lil^e Ids 
fatiier in-law, Cajjtain Tyler was favored in matiimonial connections, 
his second wife, widow of the lamented IJenjamin Chaplin, .Inn., 
daughter of Judge Timothy Edwards, and granddaughter of President 
Jonathan Edwards, inhei'iting many of the traits of her distinguished 
ancestry. Ca])tain Tyler was now actively engaged in business, receiv- 
ing and disbursing large quantities of produce. Me advertises in 17<S4, 
in The Norwich Packet., "for five hundred bushels of i lax skkd, for 
which lie will pay in Rocksalt, West India or European Gooi>s at 
the lowest advance." He also offers the highest price for good butter 
and cheese, and requires a large quantity of good pork. In 179D, he 
repoits in The Windhcmi Herald, that " he will pay cash for 3 or 4,000 
wt. of good tallow ; he also wants to purchase a few good lots of pork, 
about 20 fat oxen, 1,000 wt. of clover seed and 500 bushels of barley ; 
for which a generous price will be given and good pay made." 
Captain Tyler's sons entei-ed early into active life. Paschal P. Tyler 
engaged in business with his father. Daniel Putnam was graduated 
from Yale College in 1704, and died of fever soon after his settlement 
in A\'hitesborough, New York. Septimus, also a Yale graduate, 
engaged in teaching in the South. Dr. James Tyler, nephew and 
ward of Captain Tyler, shared for a time the Brooklyn medical practice 
with Dr. Baker. Mabel, sister of Capt. Tyler, mariied Seth Paine, Jun., 
like his father a skillful surveyor and proniinent citizen of the town. 
Both died in February, 1792, and were buried within the same week, 
"Honored and lamented." 

Of General Putnam's sons only Daniel remained in Iii'ooklyn, 
Colonel Israel removing to Oiiio, and Peter Schuyler to Williainstown, 
Mass. Colonel Israel Putnam's farm was purchased in 1795, by 
Joseiih Matthewson of Coventry, R. I., the successful competitoi- for a 
gold medal offered in Philadelphia "for producing in market five 
hundred pounds of cheese to beat the English." Major Daniel I'ut- 
nam, now proprietor of much of the Malbone estate, is reported by 
Dr. Dwight as having the largest dairy in town, "cheese not excelled 
by any this side the Atlantic." It probably found a rival in that of 
Mr. Darius Matthewson, who after a few yeais carried on the Putnam 
farm, and, having married one of the notable dangliters of Ebenezer 
Smith of Woodstock, may have managed "to beat " all other 
Brooklyn cheese as well as English. Other incoming citizens brought 
new blood and energy to town. CajJlain Elislia Lord of Abingtou, 
Captain John Smith and Samuel Donanee of A'oinntown, John Parish 
and the Cleveland brotheis of Canterburv, William Cundall and 



GROWTH AND PR0SPE:RITY, ETC. 263 

Daniel Ivies of Killingly, Vine Kobinson of Scotland, were among 
these acquisitions. Great variety of elegant and useful articles were 
offered by Frederic Stanley, in his new and fashionable store in 1801. 
Gallup and Clark, and George Abbe and Co., also engaged in mer- 
chandise at Brooklyn village. Cai)tain Eleazer Mather engaged exten- 
sively in the manufacture of hats. Dan IJowe informs the public 
thi-ongh the columns of The Windham Herald. " that he has set up 
the clothier's business, where in addition to the usual business done by 
clothiers, he carries on blue dyeing either in wool, yarn or cloth, of all 
shades from sky-blue to navy-blue." Vine Robinson cai'ried on a 
cooperage, and sei'ved in many public capacities. A distillery was 
kept iji active operation by Dr. John Cleveland and his successor, 
George Abbe, transforming many thousand barrels of comparatively 
harmless cider into a f;xr more potent and dangerous beverage. 
Brooklyn's first lawyer was Miles Merwin, who soon removed to 
Pliiladelphia. He was succeeded by John Parish, who gained a 
permanent footing, teaching a select school until his business was 
established. William P. Cleveland left the field after a few months 
trial. Kies, his successor, held his ground and received his share of 
patronage. Dr. Joseph Baker, Joseph Scarborough, James Eld- 
redge, John Parish, Roger W. Williams and Daniel Putnam 
served as justices. Josej)h Scarborough, Roger W. Williams, John 
Parish and Daniel Putnam were sent successively to represent the 
town. Notwithstanding the gain of so many valuable citizens they 
were outbalanced in number by emigrants to new counti-ies, so that 
the census report of 1800 showed a loss of over a hundred. 

With increasing business and influence, Brooklyn sought with 
greater earnestness to gain those administrative pi-ei-ogatives which 
she believed due to her central position in Windham County. The 
petition preferred in 1786, to obtain a new county, comju-ising the 
towns of Ashford, Pomfret,- Killingly, Thompson, Woodstock, with 
Pointi'et for shire-town ; court-house in fiist society, near the dwellino-- 
house of Landlord Ebenezer Grosvenor — the town to build a hand- 
some and suitable court-house and jail by a volmitary subscrii)tion free 
from taxation, received no attention. Believing that removal was 
more feasible than division, and that her own village offered the most 
central and commodious site for a court-house, Brooklyn took the lead 
in 1794 in inviting all the towns interested in the movement to meet 
at Jefferds' tavern for farther discussion and renewed action. Dele- 
gates from all the invited towns were present and unanimouslv agreed 
"that the northeast part of Windham County was greatly aggrieved 
at being obliged to go so far to attend Courts and obtain justice." A 
forcible representation of the views and wishes of these delegates, 



2G4: HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTV. 

])resei)ted to the Assoinbly by a C()m])ett'nt coniinittee, ])ro(lncod such 
an iini»rc'Ssion tliat a large majority of the Lower House voted to 
consider the premises, but were overruled by a vote of tlie Council. 
Biooklyn called an especial meeting to consider this result, Major 
Daniel Putnam, moderator, and after premising that justice to a very 
consideiable part of the County absolutely requires a removal of tlie 
Courts, unanimously voted, " That this town will persevere in a measure 
so just and necessary, and they earnestly request the several towns 
most interested to cooperate with them and to persevere until the 
object is finally accomplished." Messrs. James Eldredge, Daniel 
Putnam and John Parish were directed to lemain agents for said 
pui-pose until the same be accomplished. In 180J, Mr. Jo.seph 
Scarborough and Captain Daniel Tyler were chosen to cooperate with 
agents in petitioning for the i-enioval of the Courts — agents to draw 
a hundred dollars from the town treasury for needful expenses. In 
May, 1803, Brooklyn, Plaiufield, Sterling, Voluntown and Canterbury 
petitioned the Assembly — that Windham County ought to be divided 
into two shires, and that the sessions of the County and Superior 
Courts l)e holden alternately at Windham and Brooklyn, as soon as a 
convenient court-house and gaol should be erected at Brooklyn, free 
from expense to the County. Thomas Y. Seymour and Nathaniel 
Terry were thereupon appointed to examine and report. Captain 
Tyler, John Parish, Esq., Roger W. AVilliams and Vine Robinson 
wei'e at once appointed a connnittee to wait upon these gentlemen, 
but with all their arguments they tailed to secure further action, and 
were forced to abide the inevitable issue with prolonged jiatience. 

Other public improvements were attained at less cost and labor. A 
new road through Plainfield to Providence, greatly accommodating 
the south })art of the town, was accomplished about 1790. Samuel 
Butt, Ebenezer Scarborough and Daniel Putnam were commissioned 
to confer with Plainfield gentlemen and construct a suitable bridge at 
Pierce's foidway, wliere it crossed the Quinebaug. The projected 
turn])ike from Norwich to Woodstock excited much discussion. 
Parish, I'ntnam and Josej)h Scarborough were delegated " to meet the 
state committee sent to view said road, and show them the minds of 
said town res])ecting said busiiKjss." Public sentiment apparently 
favoi-ed the ])roject as the town afterwaixl voted to f)ppose report 
of Daniel Putnam to oppose Norwich highway. Ebenezer Scarbor- 
ough, Captain Roger W. Williams aiid Capt. Andrew Murdock 
assisted the committee to lay out Norwich turni)ike in 1799, the town 
again declining to oppose it. It also declined to o])pose a highway 
from Brooklyn meeting-house to Windham, but appointed an agent to 
oppose a highway petition brought by Asa Bacon of Canterbury. 





u 




/} -C^^^^j^^ 



yy 



Th£ flfiJioPjiEi'ur.diig Co.2Il Iiemont Stioston. 



PROGRESS IN POMFRET, ETC. 205 

Highway districts were remodeled in 1803. I>i'idges over Blackwell's 
Broolv as well as the Quiuebaug Bridge were maintained at the 
expense of the town. The question relative to the town's poor was 
])rom|)lly met by directing the selectmen to vendue them to the lowest 
bidder. 

Village improvements were not neglected. The burial-ground so 
early given to the society had received more than customary attention. 
Propositions were made from time to time to enlarge and improve it. 
In 1S02, it was voted that a committee be appointed to find the 
bounds of the burying-ground, and agree with the adjoining proprie- 
tors for an enlargement of the same. Two years latei" it was voted to 
purchase land as an addition to the same and wall it in. Captain 
Tyler at the same date leased the society land for a pass-way, a row of 
Lombardy poplars, one rod apart, to be set out on each line. 



YI. 



PROGRESS IN POMFRET. THE DODGE CONTROVERSY. RE- 
FORMED CHURCH. METHODISTS. BAPTISTS. TURNPIKE 
OPPOSITION. TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF 
CALEB ADAMS. 

POMFRET'S ]irosperity and standing were unaffected by the loss 
of its southern section. Its centi'al position and influential 
public men gave it increasing prominence in the County. Its Probate 
office brought it business from Ashford, Woodstock, Thompson and 
parts of Killingly and Biooklyn. Its post-office, established Jatmary 
1, 1795, accomuiodated all the neighboring towns. Lenuiel Grosvenor 
presided as Probate judge and post-master, and was also prominent in 
nnlitary affiiirs. Colonel Thomas Grosvenor had resumed his legal 
profession, served in the Governor's Council, and was held in high 
rejiute throughout the State, — his office a place of constant resort for 
soldiers, Intlians, and all wdio needed help and counsel. Older men, 
once prominent in tlie town, had passed away. Colonel Ebenezer 
Williams died in 1783; Captain Stephen Keyes in 1788; Samuel 
Craft, Samuel Car])enter, Daniel Trowbridge, Isaac Sabin, Isaac 
Sharpe and Dr. John Weld, all prioi- to 1790. Benjamin Thurber 
and other refugees returned to Pi-ovidence after the close of the war. 
Lemuel Chandler, young Dr. Weld and many other sons of the first 
settlers, removed to Vermont and the distant Genesee Country. These 
vacant places were quickly filled by new comers from abroad or rising 
34 



206 HISTORY OF AVINDIIAM COUNTY. 

youno; men at Iiohr". Daniel DwiLiht of Tliompsoii ensraged in 
mercanlile business in Aliinijton. ]Maj<>r Hale contiiiued liis v.ivd 
nianutacture. John Wilkes Chandler, son of Peter, married iMary 
Stedman of Hampton in 1702, and, after a year of tavern-keeping, 
devoted himself with great enei'gy to faiining in the old Chandler 
homestead on the Mashamoquet lii'.e. A beautiful farm near the 
centre of the town, inherited by Elisha, son of Ebenezer Williams, 
was junchased and improved by Captain Evan ]\Ialbone, who stocked 
it with negroes as well as with cattle and sheep, his southern propin- 
quities making their help more congenial than that of the blunt 
yeoman who claimed an equality of race and iirivileges. Malbone 
land in Wiltshire sold under mortgage was ])urchased by Aaron 
Cleveland of Canterbury, Thomas Mumford of Newport and John 
Hancock of Boston. Several families had now settled in the extreme 
west of the town, Alexander Sessions, Jonathan Randall, James 
Wheaton, Seth Chase, Jeremiah Brown and others. Colonel Niglit- 
ingale, Avho removed to Pomfret with many of these families during 
the war, ''had a grand farm; lived most elegantly and entertained 
hospitably." Ithamar, son of Eleazer May, took possession of a fine 
farm east of Prospect Hill. Business was lively in all ])art8 of the 
town. Caj)!. Cargill built a new mill house in 1787, and set up "three 
complete sets of grist-mills and a bolting-mill," together with a black- 
smith's shop and two trip-hammers, a fulling-mill, "'a mill to grind 
scythes, and a mill to churn hiUter." The Sessions's ran saw-mills 
ni)on the Masliamoquet, and an oil-mill and potash works were can-ied 
on by Ebenezer Holbrook and Sons. Business was also developing in 
the southeast section near Cotton's bridge. Mills were running 
merrily, and a barter store ojicned by the Gilbeits, wliere so much 
])roduce and merchandize were landed that the cluster of mills and 
dwellings came to be known as " Pomfret Landing." Stores were 
opened in Pomfret street and Abington village, and shoe-manufac- 
turing canied on by Capt. Jose};h Griggs and Mr. Seth Williams of 
Kaynham, who removed to l^omfiet about 1791. Among other busi- 
ness projects a mining ccmipany was attempted, Gillem Philips, tiie 
proprietor of a rejjuted lead-mine, making over liis right of mining 
lead in 1784 to Evan Malbone, Benjamin Cargill, Elisha Lord, Jona- 
than Hall, Edward Knight, David Brayton, Jonathan Bandall, Jr., 
Benjamin Durkee, Ephraim Tucker, Thomas Angcll, Penuel Cady, 
Jeremiah Fields, Stephen Williams, Pardon Kingsley and Thomas 
Grosvenor — the grantor receiving one thirty-second part of the profits; 
also Pardon Kingsley, one-sixteenth. Hemy Chandler of Woodstock, 
opened shop near the north school-house as a tailor, hoisting for sign 
the ]iainted likeness of a full grown cabbage head. 



PROGRESS IN POMFRET, ETC. 267 

Many public matters claimed tlie attention of tlie town. At the 
annual town-meeting, December 3, 1787, Samuel Crafts was chosen 
moderator : Ebenezer Kingsbury, Lemuel Ingalls, Joseph Chandler, 
selectmen: Captain Josiah Sabin, town clerk and treasurer: Elijah 
Williams and Elisha Loi'd, collectors; Samuel Pen in, Oliver 
Grosvenor, Aaron Cleveland, John II. Payson, Elijah Pliili|)s, Elisha 
Harrington, Captain Edward Knight, Richard (Toodell, Ilhamer May, 
Silas Chandler, Joshua Sabin, Peter Cunningham, Amasa Goodell, 
James Trowbiidge, Samuel Keyes, Eliphalet Shai-pe, Daniel Goodell, 
surveyors ; Nathan Dresser, Steidien Averill, Peter Chandler, 
Nehemiah Dodge, Daniel Goodell, Amasa Kinne, a committee to 
divide the town into highway districts. Peter Cliandler having 
fenced out a new road near his house was allowed to fence in the old 
one. Highways continuing lefractory, the selectmen were ordered 
'•to divide and point out to each surveyor his district of ways to be 
re})aired, and apportion to each the inhabitants lie is to employ and 
collect ta.Y from, and call all surveyors to account for labor done and 
money collected." Particular inhabitants not accommodated by a 
public highw:iy to their houses were allowed to expend part of their 
highway tax on their own private ways at the discretion of the select- 
men. Tlie laying out a public higliway from Pomfret street to 
Cargill's Mills gave the town a great deal of trouble. John Williams, 
Esq., Peter Cunningham, Caleb Fuller, Ithamer May^ Lemuel Ingalls, 
Captain Fields, Zech. 0.sgood, William Sharpe, were appointed a com- 
mittee, September 29, 1794, to join the selectmen in examining the old 
road to this locality, the new road from Abraham Perrin's house, and 
the road leading from Eleazer and Ithamor May's, and " say on which 
of the above loads Colonel Lemuel Grosvenor shall lay out the public 
money now in his hands.' The town refused to accept their report, 
or to alter the road le:iding from Perrin's liouse, or to lay out a new 
road, strongly urged by some piirties, running an east course from the 
Gary school-house south of Mr. Samuel Perrin's house to the 
Quinebaug, where it was proposed that a new bridge should be 
erected. In the spring a committee of nine, viz., Benjamin Cargill, 
Peter Chandler, Ebenezer Kingsbury, Benjamin Dui-kee, Joshua 
Sabin, Squire Sessions, Lemuel Ingalls, James Wheaton, William 
Field, were appointed to examine the several roads and Cargill's 
bridge, and fully empowered to eairy into execution the contract of the 
selectmen with 3Iessrs. Abraham, No.ah and Jedidiah Perrin, or 
continue the old road if they thought best, and " their determination 
should bind the town therein and be a sufficient warrant for the laying 
out the turnpike money so called." The "road from Little Bridge 
that crosses Mill fiiver, leading to nigh the dwelling-house of Mr. 



268 IIISTORV OF WI.NDMAM COrXTY. 

Abrahnm Peniii," was accordingly eslablislicil ami recorded, ^lay It, 
1798. It was also voted, to rebuild Mill River bridge and re])air 
Cargill's bi'idge. 

The poor were carefully maintained. Bidiling tlicni otV at vendue 
was little practiced in Poiufret. In ITSS, a house was hireil for their 
acconuiiodation, and Dr. .Tared Warner appointed their physician in all 
cases, his services to oftset his taxes of cveiy kind. The selectmen 
were ordered the following year to make the best disposition of the 
poor for their comfort and tlie least expense to the town, by putting 
them to one man or otherwise as they should think proper, and to be 
vigilant in putting out all vagrants and idle ])ersoiis that wei'e fountl 
residing in the town and not legal inhai/itants. In 170-t, it was voted 
to build a house for the poor, and Deacon Robert Baxter and Mr. 
Jose[)h Chandler chosen to superintend the c ire of the poor. The 
house was not accomplished for two years when it was fuither 
ordered to be built on land belonging to tiie town, to be sixty feet 
long and fourteen wide, one story high with two stacks of chimneys. 
two cellars and four I'oosns. Selectmen were I'equired to take care of 
the poor after their removal to the towidiouse. 

Two j)Ounds were orde'-ed in 1795, one in Abington on the old 
ground, and one in the First Society on the common. This vote was 
revoked the following year and it was decided " to build one good an<l 
sul)stantial pound of stone, anywhere adjoining a road running east 
and west through the south part of C'a|)1ain Amasa Sessions' farm, 
procuring from him a light to improve the same forever."' A bydaw 
was passed in 1797, I'estraining horses, asses, mules and sheep from 
going at large on the conmions. Swine, well yoked and I'ung, and 
geese were allowed to rove till 180(1, when they were resti-icted under 
certain penalties. Cows were left appaivntly to their own discretion. 
A l)Ounty of seventeen cents was offere<l for every crow's head. 

In the county-seat movement Fomfret was deeply interested, and its 
agents — .Sylvanus Backus, Evan Malbone and Lemuel Ingalls — in- 
structed "to continue in office till the business is completed one way 
or the other — mider this restiiction, not to put the town to any 
expense. " Again and again they joined in memorial for relief in the 
place of holding courts. The project for a half-shire had a few advo- 
cates. In 180:^, Ca|itain Seth (irosvenor, Peter Chandler and (General 
Lemuel Grosvenor, were appointed agents to petition, with or without 
others, for a half-shire. When in response to a vigorous effort a com- 
mittee was actually sent by General Court to inquire into the expedi- 
ency of electing a Court-house at BrooMyyi, Pomfret indignantly 
withdrew from the field and declined to send a committee to wait upon 



THE DODGE CONTROVERSY, ETC. 269 

the state coiniuittee, and the matter was allowed to rest for several 
yeai's. 

Pomfret was famed during this pericid for the excellence of its phy- 
sicians. Doctors Elisha Loi-d and Jaied Warner wei'e well established 
in Abington. Dr. Jonathan Hall, younger brother of Dr. David Hall, 
was now settled in the First Society, and giving promise of future 
eminence. The leading physician in the norlhern part of Windham 
County at this date was undoubtedly Dr. Albigence Waldo, who had 
retuined fi-om the Army with a greatly increased reputation, especially 
for surgical skill. lie was a man of much breadlh and energy, devoted 
to his ]>rotession, greatly interested in scientitic questions an<l discoveries. 
The following note from a name famous in modern medical ])rac 
tice will show something of Dr. Waldo's position among his cotem- 
poraries : — 

" Lkicrster, Fehrnary 7, 1703. 
Pu. .Alhigexce Wat-DO, Dpov *SV>.-—.\boiit sunset this day. nij' eldest son 
received a kick from a horse, whieli lias fractured his cranium. This is 
therefore, in the name of your devoted friend, desiring you to make no delay 
in makiug- us a visit. For God's sake, fail not! but let dispatch and dexterity 
hasten you. I am in confusion and know not what to say further. Only fail 
not. In liaste, 8 o'clock, P. M. Yours, etc., Arsxix Flint." 

Dr. Waldo was gi-eatly interested in the association of medical men 
for the advancenient of their pi'ofession, and thi'ough his elforts the 
leading physicians of Windham County and its vicinity instituted a 
monthly meeting some years previous to the formation of the Connec- 
ticut 3Iedical Society. Tn June, J 786, Dr. Waldo reports a meeting 
at Dudley; August, at Staffoid; September, at Cargilfs : ''October, at 
Canterbury. Present: Doctors Coit, Thonipson ; Palmer, Ashford ; 
Gleason, Killingly ; Lord and Warner, Abington ; Clark, Hampton ; 
Spalding, Manstield : Huntington, Westford Parish." These meetings 
were continued with increasing numbers and interest till 1791, when 
" Proposals, together with Rules and Regulations for a Windham 
County Society," were issued, and a more formal organization effected 
— Dr. Albigence Waldo, clerk. He also assisted at the organization 
of the State Society in 1792. Dr. Waldo was famed for litei'ary 
accomplishments and wi'ote much upon scientific and political ques- 
tions. He e.xcelled in |)ublic speaking, especially upon funeral occa- 
sions. His eulogies at the burial of Putnam and other proniinent 
persons were greatly admiied, as were also the eulogies and e])itaphs 
composed by him upon vaiious occasions. Mrs. Lucy Waldo, daugh- 
ter of Captain Cargill, sympathized with her husband in liteiary 
pursuits, and enjoyed local celebrity as a writer in prose and verse, 
being especially proficient " in the art of letter-writing." 



270 HISTORY OF WINlHiAM COUNTY. 

Society in Poinfret Avas very biilliaiit dining tliis period, bnt liad 
the repntation ot" exclus^iveness. Some of the new families affected a 
sujierior style of living. Tlie old established families had also fine 
lionses and furniture, and were thought by their plainer neiglibors to 
live in great magnificence. Many distinguislied visitors from abroad 
were entertained at these fine mansion-houses. Fashionable belles and 
beaux came up- fVom Providence and Xewport. .John Hancock im- 
proved his purchase for a summer country-seat and brought thitlier 
many distinguished strangers from Boston. Visits were exchanged 
between these notabilities; balls and dancing paities were given. 
Pomfret Assemblies became very famous and fashionable, and dixnv 
together all the elite of the vicinity. T!ie airs and graces of the 
assembled gentry, and the aristocratic assuni[ition of some families, 
excited the ridicule of the country people and led some local wit to 
affix to the fasliionable quarter the derisive sobriquet of ^^J'ucker 
/Street,'' by which it was long distinguished. Several fine houses had 
been built on this beautiful street, and the elm trees set out by Oliver 
Grosvenor and the banished Frink were already its pride and ornament. 
The present '' Eldredge house " was com))leted by Colonel Tiiomas 
Grosvenor in 1792. Its raising was accompanied by great miith and 
festivity — a young Indian delighting the ciowd by dancluff upon its 
ridf/ejwle. 

The United Library was reorganized at the close of tlie war. 
Captain Amasa Sessions, Deacon David ^^'illiams, Deacon Samuel Craft, 
Lieutenant .Joshua Grosvenor, 3Iessrs. John Payson, .John I'aikhui-st, 
Sanmel Waldo, Elijah Dana, ,Tohn Grosvenor, Jun., Klijah Williams, 
William Sabin, Jun., Phinncy Davison, Ca[)tain Josiah Sabin, Deacon 
Simon Cotton, and the Widow Coates, were admitted members. It 
was voted that the twelve dcjUars, continental money, belonging to the 
Library which had so greatly depreciated should be considered as the 
])roprietors' loss, the clerk not answerable for or obliged to make it 
good ; also, that Mrs. Sabin, Scpiire Abishai Sabin's widow, whei-e the 
Library now is, should continue to keej) the same. Millei'S History, 
Dr. Mather's Christian Philosoi)her, lM)yl on Seraphic Love and Dr. 
Owen on Justification, were added to the collection ; Thomas Howard, 
Joshua Sabin, Ephraim Ingalls, Nehemiali Williams, Samuel Carpen- 
ter, Richard Goodale, Josejih Williams, Jonathan Sabin, Jan., Samuel 
Craft, Stephen Williams, Elisha Gleason, John Dresser, Samuel 
I'errin, Joseph Baker, S.imiiel Waldo, Daniel Goodale, Rev. Oliver 
Dodge, Deacon Josepli Davison, and Deacon Caleb Haywood, were 
afterwards admitted proprietors. The preponderance of theological 
and dogmatical works was very detrimental to the poi)ularity of the 
library, and it was now losing ground in public favor. A Social 



THE DODGE CONTROVEKSY, ETC. 271 

Librai'v foniied in 1793, broufj^lit in works of a liijliter clinracter. better 
adapted for genei'al I'eadin^' — but this too failed to meet tlie wants of 
the whole community, and in 1804, a Planner's Library was instituted. 
The last recoided meetins^f of the " Proprietoi-s of the United Library 
in Pomfret for Propagating Christian and Useful Knowledge," was 
held 1^'ebiuary 12, 1805, when the Librarian was directed " to call 
upon the Pro])rietors to return the books into the Library agreeably to 
the original Covenant. " 

Abington Society was now I'ejoicing in the ministi'ations of Rev. 
Walter Lyon, a native of Woodstock and graduate of Dartmouth 
College, who was ordained as jiastor, January 1, 1783. The occasion 
was one of umisual interest. The three churches of Woodstock, with 
those of Pomfret, Bi'ooklyn, Canterbury, Eastford, Thoinj)son, Scot- 
land, Sturbi'idge and Shrewsbury, w^ere represented by pastor and 
delegates. Tiie Reverends Josepli Sumner and Joshua Paine, sons 
of Pomfret churches, assisted in the service. The ordaining prayer 
was offered by Dr. Cogswell ; charge to the pastor given by his 
former minister, Rev. Stephen Williams ; right hand of fellowship by 
Mr. Whitney of Brooklyn. Robert Sharj)e and Benjamin Ruggles 
were chosen deacons in 1785; Joshua Grosvenor aiul Samuel Craft iu 
1793. The first pastor of the chui-ch. Rev. Daniel Ripley, after long 
infirmity and suftering, died in 1785. 

Mr. Putnam remained in chai'ge of the First church of Pomfret, 
conducting pulpit services and also instructing young men as long as 
his health permitted. Among his pupils who became celebrated in 
after life, were Elisha, son of Ebenezer Williams, Samuel Dexter and 
William Prescott of Boston. While yet in the prime of life he Avas 
in great measure disabled by a farlure of voice and physical weakness 
which obliged him to seek the aid of a colleague, a painful necessity 
which led to still more ixnhappy consequences. Hitherto this chuich 
had been remarkable for harmony and order. Alone among Windham 
County churches it had withstood the tide of Se])arate agitation, 
eschewing all fellowship with "New Light stufiV' ^'md stoutly 
defending the supremacy of the Saybrook Platform, but its day of 
trial and defection came. The period of Pomfret's highest secular 
prosperity was that of her deepest spii'itual abasement, when bi-ethren 
waged fierce war upon each other and her ancient church was rent 
asunder and almost annihilated. The young man invited to aid Mr. 
Putnam in the pulpit was Mr. Oliver Dodge of Ipswich, a recent 
graduate of Harvard. His lively and agreeable manners, and eloquent 
discourses, so strongly contrasting with Mr. Putnam's stiffness and 
solemnity, made a most favorable impression upon his hearers, and 
after a few months' probation he was called to settle as colleague 



272 



HISTORV OF WIXDIIAM COUxXTY- 



])ast<)r — ^[i-. Sc'tli (ii-()svenor alone advising- delay. In the brief 
interval ])reee'linif onliiialioii otliei's b.H-atne dissatislied. ^Ir. DudLje 
niaiiifesled at times an alarming license in speech and conduct, and 
unfavorable reiiorts concerning liim came from abioad, so that when 
the ordaining council was convened, A])iil 19, 1702, a small numbei" of 
"aggiieved brethren " appeared before it and objected to the ordina- 
tion of the candidate, on charges of disregard to truth, neglect of duty, 
irrevei-ent application of Scripture and unbecoming levity. The 
Council was greatly perplexed and troubled. The engaging manners 
of Mr. Dodge, and tlie warm attachment of a large majority of tlie 
church and congregation, ])leaded strongly in Ins favor, and yet there 
was evident ground for distrust and aj)j>reliension. Decision was 
deferred till July, and then referred to a special Council of thirtceu 
ministers and delegates, nine of whom were to be clioseu by the 
fi'iends of Mr. Dodge and four by the o])position. The Eeverends 
Jos. Huntington, Josejjh Sumner, Josiah Dana, Timothy Stone and 
Jabez Chickering were invited from abroad, together with several of 
the county ministers. The council assembled September k and after 
four days' session was satisfied that JNIr. Dodge hnd been guilty of a 
culpable disregard to truth, irreverent application of Scripture and 
behavior unbecoming the gentleman and Christian minister,"' and, as it 
was of great importance that a njinister should be of good repute, 
they were unanimously of opinion that they could not proceed to 
ordination. In cordial and paternal love they earnestly besought him 
to comply with this result in the true tenor of it, and by the grace of 
God endeavor to maintain that Christian spirit, and live that 
exemi)lary and holy life that every obstacle that might impede liis 
usefulness might be removed, and that all the excellent and amiable 
talents and acconijtlishment with which God had been pleased to favor 
him might be impioved in the future to eminent and most im])ortant 
puiposes in his day and generation.'' Mr. Dodge demeaned liimself 
through the trial with the utmost propriety, acce|)led the admonition 
M"ith humility and thankfulness, reflecting upon himself in the various 
instances alleged, excepting that of false/iood, of which he was not 
consciously guilty. Dr. Huntington's sym])athy and admiration were 
so aroused in his behalf that in the face of his recent vote he arose 
and offered, '"That it was the opinion of the Council that as Mr. 
Dodge had accepted the Result, he now stood fair to be impioved as a 
preacher of the Gospel, or as a candidate for the ministry, eitlier here 
or elsewhere"' — an opinion which the Council hastened to disavow, 
declaring, '' That as Dr. Huntington was not desired nor directed to 
express what he did, the Council had nothing further to say upon it 
but refened to the Result.'" 



THE DODGE CONTROVERSY, ETC. 273 

Tliis Result was but the signal for a "new departure." The friends 
of JMr. Dodge, encouraged by Dr. Huntington's imprudent suggestion, 
"wholly declined to accept it. Opposition had but heightened their 
attachment and strengthened their deteiinination. The society held 
a meeting on the very day the IJesnlt was published, and requested 
Mr. Dodge to continue preaching with them, "as they did not consider 
the Result of Council as dismissing him from the work of the 
ministry." The church was called to concur in this invitation, and 
make provision "in a I'egular constitutional manner" for another 
ordaining Council. The meeting was largely attended. Great excite- 
ment and strong partisan spirit were manifested. A large majority 
were eager to vote for Mr. Dodge and a new council. The 
"aggrieved brethren " in the flush of recent triumph saw tlie fruits of 
their victory about to be snatched from them. There was no time to 
be lost ; the danger was imminent. They had but one resource — the 
oiegative jyoicer allowed to ministers by Saybrook Platform. Believ- 
ing that Mr. Dodge was unfit foi- the ministerial office, Mr. Putnam 
exercised the power thus vested in him and dissolved the meeting 
without peimitting a vote upon the question. This act, if legal, was 
little less than suicidal The outraged majority, debarred from farther 
expression and action, indignantly repudiated all connection with the 
First church and society, and straightway organized as the Reformed 
Christian Church and Congregation in Pomfret. A satisfactory 
covenant was hastily drawn up and adopted, and divine service insti- 
tuted in friendly private houses. The young minister thus released 
from previous restrictions, was more eloquent and fascinating than 
ever. Crowds flocked to the new places of worship, and the old 
meeting-house and minister were almost deserted. But twelve male 
members were left in the church, i. e. Rev. Aaron Putnam, pastor, 
Oliver, Asa, Seth, Ebenezer and John Grosvenor, John and John H. 
Payson, Caleb Hayward, Josiah Sabin, Simon Cotton and Jabez 
Denison. In their distress and perplexity these bei-eaved and 
aggrieved brethi'en could only resort to that unfailing balm for every 
wound — "the venerable Consociation of Windham County." Sixteen 
pastors with their delegates convened at the house of Mr. Putnam, 
December 21, "to hear, advise and determine upon the unhappy 
difficulties in the First church of Pomfret." The good ministers 
found their powers extremely limited. Tiiey could indeed "hear and 
advise," but " determine " nothing. The seceding church-members 
had wholly withdrawn from their jui'isdiction. Mr. Dodge scouted 
their citation to appear before them and declared himself in no respect 
amenable to the Consociation of Windham County, and " no more 
35 



274 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

under tlieir control and juiisdiction than under tlie control and juris- 
diction of the Bishop of London." They could only express their 
deep sympathy and concern, and solemnly enunciate what everyl»ody 
knew before — "that it was fully im])lied in the IJesult of tlie late 
Council that they viewed it luLihly inexpc(li<Mit for _Mr. Dodge to 
continue to oiiiciate as a candidate in this place allei- the puhlication of 
said Kesult." 

These "results," and full accounts of the other proceedings in I'om- 
fiet, were speedily published in the Windham County Jlerdld, and 
serveral state newspai)ers, exciting- much remai-k and interest. Their 
beaiing upon one of the vital cjuestions of the day gave them especial 
importance at this juncture. The Ecclesiastic Constitution of Con- 
necticut, had become extremely un})oi)ular. Zei)haniah Swift of 
Windham, the ablest lawyer in Eastern Connecticut, had attacked it 
with great vehemence, incurring thereby the reprobation of the 
orthodox clergy. Several of the Windham County ministers had 
deemed it their duty to opi)Ose his election to Congress u])on this 
ground, and had stigmatized him in their pulpits as a scoifer and free- 
thinker. Swift was far too keen sighted to neglect such an o]:])ort unity 
to rejjay them for this injury and expose the arbitrary assumptions of 
Saybrook Platform. Having suifered severely himself from what he 
deemed the injustice of the clergy, his personal sympathies were also 
strongly called out in behalf of this new victim. Upon the publica- 
tion of the result of the consociation in the Windham Herald, Swift 
rushed at once to the defence of Mr. Dodge, jironouncing the charges 
against him, " false, scandalous and malicious," and the power arrogated 
by the consociation in its late inquii-y " more unwarrantable and danger- 
ous than that exercised by the pretended successors of St. Peter." 
Explanations and defence in behalf of that body urged by Dr. 
Cogswell, IJev. Thomas Brockway and Samuel Perkins, only called 
out more vehement denunciations. The attempt of the consociation 
thus to adjudicate was " an open attack upon religious libei'ty and the 
rights of conscience." The act of Mr. Putnam in dissolving a lawful 
assembly, and " nullifying the voice of the church by his single voice, 
his sovereign negative, was a most conspicuous instance of the arbi- 
trary power vested in ministers by that celebrated code of ecclesiastic 
jurisprudence, known by the singular appellation of Saviuiook Plat- 
i-omr." Hard indeed was the situation of the people of Pomfret, to 
have a minister, who could do nothing but defeat them from obtaining 
another. Was it not time for people to look about and see whether 
" such despotism was founded in /Scripture, in reason, in ptolicy, or 
on tJie rights of man ! A minister by his ro^t^, by his single voice, 



THE DODGE CONTROVERSY, ETC. 275 

m;iy negative the unanimous vote of the chnrch ! Are ministers q.o\\\- 
\)id^^<\ oi finer elay tlian the vest of mankind, that entitles them to 
tliis preeminence ? Does a license to preach transform a man into a 
higher order of beings and endow him with a natural rpiality to 
govern % Are the laity an inferior order of beings tit only to be slaves 
and to be governed f Is it good policy for mankind to subject them- 
selves to sueh degrading vassalage and abject sub)nission ? Is the 
exercise of such a power compatible with the equal rights — ^the unalien- 
able birth-right of man? To these (piestions the answer is obvious to 
every capacity not hoodwinked by ecclesiastical influence. Reason, 
common sense, and the Bible with united voice proclaim to all man- 
kind, that they are all born free and equal; that every member of a 
church or christian congregation must be on the same footing in 
respect of church government, and that the Constitution which 
delegates to one the power to negative the vote of all the rest, is 
subversive of the natural kioiit of jianivind and kfpugnant to the 
Word of God ! " 

The force of this powerful attack was greatly weakened by the 
accompanying abuse and personalities. Dr. Cogswell's meek expos- 
tulation was "• a miserable and wretched performance," and his ejecula 
tory prayer for the forgiveness of his opponent, " an act of profanity 
and impiety." The Reverends Eliphalet Lyman and Moses C. Welch, 
who hurried to the defence of their disal)led brethren and the Results, 
were impaled with greater force and fuiy. Both these ministers had 
distinguished themselves by active Ojiposition to Swift, and most Joy- 
fully did he seize the opportunity to punish them. Every derisive 
and opjirobrious epithet was heaped upon them. They were charged 
with deceit, fraud, suppression and <!estruction of evidence, slander 
and political intrigue. Mr. Lyman was the Don Quixote, Mr. Welch, 
the Bully of the consociation. Dodge was the innocent victim of 
clerical revenge and malice ; " a young man of superior genius and 
merit suffering from the danger of the private assassin, '• a shining 
ornament of the clerical profession, a second Luther battling against 
ecclesiastic despotism." The ministers in reply returned his compli- 
ments with interest. Swift was pronounced by Mr. Welch to be 
" destitute of delicacy, decency, good manners, sound judgment, 
honesty, manhood and humanity ; a poltroon, a cat's paw, the infamous 
tool of a party, a partisan, a political weather-cock and a rag-a-uiuffi!i." 
His remarks '" if brought into one view, would be the greatest piece 
of nonsense, inconsistency and boobyism ever thrown together." He 
was called a promoter of vice and a Deist, and not only dubbed a fool 
in their own words, '• but had mustered and applied to him every text 



276 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 



<)f S(^ri])tm-c wherein they eoiild liiul that e])itliet." Tliis (lisj^raceful 
controversy was can led on for ypars in tlie ctiliunns of Tlie Windham 
Ilarald, both sides inthtlging in the most unscrupulous abuse and 
vituperation. Every phase of the Dodge aftair was paraded before 
the |)ub]ic. Depositions maintaining or disproving the chai'ges 
alleged against him were sought out and pul)lished. Attacks and 
rejoindei's were then gatliered into pamphlets and carried all over the 
county. 

While this newspaper war was waging Pomfret was given over 
to discord and confusion. Ttie Catholic Reformed church and its 
pastor were indeed prospering be} ond the most sanguine ex])ectation 
of its supporters. Dodge was the luro of the day ; the champion of 
po])ular lights and free religion : the representative and apostle of a 
new ministerial dispensation. "The reign of long faces liad j)assed." 
Ministers were now to act and talk like other men, "and unite with 
them in mirth, festivity and amusement." Tiie old Puiitan blueness 
and austerity were to be su})erseded by good fellowship and universal 
jollity. " God was best served by merry hearts and cheerfnl voices." 
In that period of leligious deadness these views and sentiments set 
forth by an eloquent and graceful speakei", were exceedingly atti'active. 
The disciples of fi'ee religion could not have asked tor a moiv eligible 
leader than this elegant and accomplished young ministei-, who could 
charm all hearts with religious rhapsodies, and dance, drijik and joke 
with equal accei»tance. A great congiegation gathered around him. 
JNIany of the leading men in Pomfi'et united with the eliureh. Its 
creed was simple and evangelical— its members taking the Scri]iturcs 
of the Old and New Testanients as their sole and sufficient rule of 
faith and practice, and engaging to walk together as a christian 
society in the faith and order of the Gospel. Full liberty of inter- 
})retation was allowed. All knotty points of doctrine were discreetly 
ignored. No provision was made lor arlministering discipline or for 
associating with other churches. Dr. Waldo gives these reasons for 
signing this agreement: — 

" 1. Having examined witli carefulness, find it to be for.uded on that j^reat 
Christian scale wliich unites mankind in the liiu'ly-liolislied golden chain of 
equality and Ijrotherly love, and cannot make any material objection to the 
mode and principles which it is designed to inculcate. 

2. My only brother has signed it after due consideration, and I wish to 
worship and get to Heaven with my brother." 

The hist i)ublic act of the new society, December 2S, 1792. was to 
invite ^Ir. Oliver Dodge to settle as its minister, and in the following 
Febrtiary he was ordained over it. So strong was the feeling against 
him that ministers of good standing shrank fiom the responsibility of 



THE DODGE CONTROVERSY, E;TC. 277 

introducing him into tlie ministry, ;xnd of many invited only the Rev. 
Isaac Foster, his sons, and son-in-law — all of doubtful orthodoxy — 
assisted in the ordaining services. This ministerial repiohation only 
increase*] the fei'vor of his adherents. His personal friends clung to 
him with unwavering tidelity. His levities and indiscretions, which 
all were forced to acknowledge, were but the irrepressible exuberance 
of a free and genei'ous s[)irit and wei'e more than com))ensated by his 
ingenuous confessions of wrong and great social attractions. The 
newspa[)er controversy and Swift's avowed championship gave him 
great notoriety, and attracted many hearers from abroad. The old 
Grosvenor House in which his church now worshipped, could hardly 
contain the congregation. No minister in the County had so wide a 
])0[)ulai'ity. Some of the most respectable families in Brooklyn, 
Abington Paiish, Woodstock, Thompson and Killingly, left the 
churches of their formei' attendance and united with the Reformed 
church of Poinfi'et. The young men of Canterbury attempted to 
oi'ganize a new society upon this attractive model. But while the 
masses were thus carried away l)y the fascinations of the popular 
preacher, a small but powerful minority were banded together against 
him. Deacons Oliver Grosvenor and Simon Cotton, old Esquire John 
Grosvenor, Captain Seth and Ebenezer Grosvenor, Esq., Josiah Sabin, 
town clerk, the Paysons and Caleb Hayward, were among the eleven 
faithful disciples who clung to theii' ancient church and minister. They 
were su|iported and encouraged by the ministry of the County, and 
sobei' men in the neighboring towns. The Windham County Associa- 
tion justitied Mr. Putnam in opposing tlie measui'es of the majority of 
the chuich for oidaining 31r. Dodge, and declared that his dissolution 
of the church meeting amountetl to nothing more than would neces- 
sarily have followed had the church been allowed to vote, in which 
case he would have left them and they would have been incajtable of 
any further proceedings. That the majority had any ri(j/ds in the case 
was a matter that they did not even take into discussion. They also 
justitied the aggrieved brethren in refusing to attend the ministrations 
of Mr. Dodge, and encoui'aged them in maintaining public worship 
by themselves, "manifesting great freedom in assisting Mr. Putnam to 
supply the pulpit and administer the sacrament." An attempt made 
by the Reformed Society to obtain possession of the house of worship 
was unsuccessful, the Windham Court deciding " that Mr. Putnam's 
adherents were the First Ecclesiastic Society and had a right to the 
society property." This legal action and decision only made the con- 
troversy more bitter. Friendly intercourse between the contending 
parties was wholly suspended. Brothers, relatives and life-long friends 



278 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 



became as stianixers and enemies. Even the chiUlreii of tliese families 
joined in the (luarrel, and mocked and jeered each otlier as "Dodge-iles" 
and "anli-Dodge-ites." The controversy was carried into town elec- 
tions. Opponents of Mr. Dodge were excluded from office. A tiaming 
Dodge-ite was elected town clerk in i)lace of Josiah Sabin. who left this 
parting record on the town book : — 

" Here ends tlie services of a faithful servant of the public, who was 
neglected for no other reason than because he could not Dodge ^= ." 

Woodstock was also implicated in this famous controversy. Mr. 
Lyman was one of the most active opponents of Mr. Dodge, but 
many members of his society were cariied away by the prevailing 
infatuation. Some of these admirers wished him to preach in their 
own meeling-house on Woodstock Hill, and made known their desire 
to .Air. Lyman. Mr. Unssel of Thompson had complieil with a simihir 
intimation, and had himself attended the services to see that no harm 
came of it, but the Woodstock ministei- was made of "sterner stuft"" 
and promptly referred the matter to the committee of the society, 
"after which he would be ready to signify his mind thereon." One 
member of this committee "did not object to the proposed lecture," 
and without waiting more formal permission, notice was given on the 
following Sabbath after the close of service by the singing leader, 
"that the next Thursday would be a singing meeting in the meeting- 
house, and that the Kev. Mr. Dodge would attend and ])reach there." 
Mr. David Holmes, one of the society committee, was there- 
upon dispatched to Pomfret to represent to Mr. Dodge the minds 
of the minister, and the majority of the church and committee, and 
request him "not to come." Mr. Dodge received him with his 
accustomed ease and url)anity ; listened to his " very lengthy and 
earnest expostidation " with the utmost politeness, but as he was 
" under some engagements believed he must go over, as he did not 
choose to disappoint his good friends at Woodstock. And whether 
he preached or not, he should get a mug of flip ■. and a good dinner." 
Accordingly upon the a])pointed Thursday, November 7, 1793, Mr. 
Dodge galloped over to Woodstock, and with four gentlemen of the 
society called upon Mr. Lyman and asked his presence and assistance 
at the lecture. Mr. Lyman ex[)ressed his willingness to conform to 
the wishes of any of his people when he could do so consistently with 
order and regularity, but in this instance was constrained to make 
objections, and further asked Mr. Dodge whether he thought upon 
such an invitation he had a right to preach in the meetingdiouse. Mr. 
Dodge re[)lied with his usual smiling audacity, "that he had as good 
a right to preach in that meeting house as Mr. Lyman had, and that 



THE BODGE CONTKOVEKSY, ETC. 



279 



Mr. Lymmi had no more riglit to the pulpit than he hail to the 
conniron or any other place." Repairing to tlie meeting-house, he 
found a goodly numbei- of hearers collected ; the singeis with their 
leader in their accuf^tonied place, Major Elijah Williams and many 
other prominent Woodstock gentlemen, and at once commenced the 
service. Captain Jonathan Moise, another of the society committee, 
was present with a written remonstrance from the pastor, and at the 
close of the first singing arose and attempted to read it to the congre- 
gation, but voice and couiage failing, he broke down with the first 
sentence and hastily withdrew to report his ill success to Mr. Lyman. 
That gentleman instantly hastened with Captain Morse to the meeting- 
house, and tinding Mr. Dodge at prayei', they quietly walked up the 
aisle and seated themselves in the ministerial pew till the close of 
that exercise, when Mr. Lyman arose, and, remarking that he had 
something to communicate to the society, read a formal remonstrance, 
stating his objections to the present procedure, after which both 
gentlemen " >\'alked moderately out of the meeting-house," and jNIr. 
Dodge completed his service without farther interruption. In 
punishment for this offense, Mr. Lyman and Captain Morse were 
both indicted for high crime and taisdemeanor in disturbing a 
religious assembly, '' by violently and repeatedly walking across said 
meeting-house," and '' by impeaching and scandalizing the people so 
met and the Rev. Oliver Dodge then performing said public worship," 
and in spite of the efforts of their friends and of their counsel. Colonel 
Dyer, they Avere found guilty and sentenced to pay as high a fine as 
the law would allow. The case was ai)|)ealed and carried on up to 
the Supreme Court, where, after a full investigation, the judgment of 
the Woodstock justice was set aside and Mr. Lyman and Captain 
Morse justified and acquitted. Every detail of this affair was 
published in tlie Windham Herald, together with a most ridiculous 
and exaggerated version of it by Captain Swift, who embraced the 
opportunity to cover Mr. Lyman with derision and invective, 
pronouncing his remonstrance " an infringement upon religious liberty, 
and the most consummate piece of folly." 

This breach and cotrovei'sy continued till near the close of the 
century. For more than six years Mr. Dodge maintained liis 
ascendancy and his church grew and flourished, while the old mother 
churcli of Pomfret withered and wasted. Even some of the faithful 
eleven wei'e lost to it. Captain Seth Grosvenor and iiis large and 
influential family removed to New York State, others were set aside 
by age and increasing infirmities, so that but a feeble remnant repre- 
sented the church and supported the invalid pastor. Yet though 



2S0 HISTORY OF WIXDHAM COUNTY. 

"cast down" tliey were not quite "destroyed." Throui^li all these 
Aveary years the faithful few maintained the stated Sabbath service in 
the great desolate nieetiiig-honse, the deacons pi'aying and reading 
the sermons i'ie])ared by the speechless pastor, who cheered them by 
his presence and silent i)articipatioii in tlieir worship. The ])iety and 
faith of Mr. Putnam gave him great strength in this (hiy of trial, and 
enabled him to imjjart courage and consolation to his followers. 
Depi'ived of his voice, he became more ready with his pen. " His 
wiitten messages of love and faithfulness were passing daily to 
families and indivi(hials of his parish." In the darkest liour he saw 
a light beyond the cloud and believed tliat all would yet be well. In 
compliance with the advice of the Assoication they made no attempt 
to ceiisui'e or discii)line those who had gone from them, — but 
endeavored to manifest "a mild, gentle and forbearing temi)er and 
deportment, hoping by such measures to eifect their return and 
coalition," — and their patience and forbearance were at last most 
signally rewarded. Satiate with success, the popular idol found his 
position irksome. With all "his excellent and amiable talents and 
accomplishments," he was in truth one of the most shameless 
profligates that ever disgraced the Christian puljiit and profession. 
Large as was the liberty allowed him by the laxity of the times and 
the blind partiality of his friends, it wa§ all insufficient. Yielding to 
reckless impulse, he ceased to maintain the semblance of outward 
decency and gave himself up to dissipation. After a week's drunken 
revelry, driving round openly from one low tavern to another, and 
even delighting ribald auditors by offering blasphemous pi'ayers for a 
glass of liquor, he had the effrontery to enter his pulpit and attenq)t to 
conduct the usual Sabbath worship, — l)ut the end had come. The 
" itmocent victim of cleiical malice," the "second Luther," the biilliant 
young man, who had gained so high a T)osition and wrought so much 
mischief, was slain by his own folly and wickedness. Attempting to 
speak he fell prostrate upon his pul}nt, utterly overcome by the effect 
of his drunken orgies. The eyes of his infatuated followers were 
oi)ened at once and forever. Never was fall more instant, more 
tiiial. or the crowds who had followed him, not one adhered to 
him or attempted to defend him. At a meeting of tlie lieformed 
Church of Fomfret, July 4, 1 7!»9, "upon complaint exhibited and 
notified to Mr. Oliver Dodge, that he had been guilty of I'epeated 
instances of intem[)erance in the use of spirituous liquor or strong , 
drink, and of indecent if not profane language in the course of one 
month last past — 

Voted, That Mr. Oliver Dodge be, and he is hereby excluded from the rites 
and privileges of this church till by his reformation and amendment of life 
he shall be again restored to our charitj'." 



KEFORMED CHURCH, ETC. 



281 



No restoration was eftcctod. Whatever efforts were made were 
wliolly ineffectual. The unliappy young man seemed given over to 
evil and died miserably after a few wretched years. The Reformed 
Church vanished with its founder. Like Jonah's gourd it perished in 
a night. Its grieved and mortified bretliren had no desire to 
l)erpetuate it, and welcomed the first conciliatory advances from the 
church they had deserted. At their last meeting, November 4, 1799, 
a committee was chosen ".to join with the committee of the church 
in the ffist society to call in the assistance of the Ilev. Messrs. 
Whitney, Hart and Day, to advise in the method and on what giound 
tlie two churches may join and become one church." No difficulty 
was found in arranging a satisfactory basis. Both parties rejoiced to 
unite and become again "one church," and "a most amicable and 
Christian" union was speedily effected. So serious a rupture was 
never more thoroughly and liappily healed. The social and family 
feuds that liad grown out of it were also made up. This happy 
result is said to have been largely due to an opportune dancing school, 
that biought all the young people together upon a common footing, 
and had a most magical effect in restoring harmony and good fellow- 
ship — a not inappropriate fi}\ale to the famous Dodge episode, and 
very characteristic of the low tone of morality and religion evinced 
throughout the whole affair. 

In view of the continued disability of Mr. Putnam, Mr. Asa King of 
Mansfield was engaged as his assistant, and after suitable probation 
invited to settle as colleague, but by the advice of the council called 
to ordain him in that capacity, a change of base was effected. Mr. 
Putnam was dismissed from the position he could no longer fill, and 
Mr. King duly installed as the pastor of the First Church of Pomfret, 
May o, 1802. A great concourse of people filled the meeting-house 
on that occasion, and " the greatest regularity and decorum were 
observed throughout the day." The ordination ball in the evening 
was no doubt equally satisfactory. The anniversary of this auspicious 
event was observed, according to the Windham Herald, by a 
gathering of young ladies, who " met at the house of Rev. Mr. King, 
and presented his lady with more than two hundred double skeins of 
yarn, spun by their own skillful hands." The evening dance was 
doubtless not omitted. Winning the hearts of his young people by 
kindly sympathy and indulgence, Mr. King gradually led them to a 
higher sense of life and its res}>onsibilities. Meetings for prayer and 
conference were cautiously introduced. The older people at first 
trembled at this innovation, and feared it would lead to confusion and 
disorder, but the meetings grew in favor and finally held their own 
with the dancing-school. Secular improvements were also accora- 
36 



282 • JHSTOKY OF WINDHAM COITNTV. 

])]isht'(l. The met'ting-liouse \v;is repaired, its l^iu-k .'^eats replaccMl by 
fashionable pews, and an additit)nal sounding' boaid sus]»eniii(l under 
the massive canoj)}'. 

While the Fii'st Ponifict ehureh was passing through such vic-issi- 
tudes, a new religious interest had developed in the eastern part of tlie 
town. That wonderfully efficient Methodist organization with its one 
clear head guiding thousands of willing feet, liad gained a foothold in 
the Quinebang valley. It was during the year of the great rupture 
and secession when Dodge was dazzling the multitude with his s})e- 
cious eloquence, that a young minister of very diiferent stamp came to 
Cargill's Mills one evening and asked leave to hold a religious n)eeting. 
Kindly Cajjtain Cargill granted the use of his })ress-room, and a few of 
his workmen and the neighboring young people went in to hear him. 
It was a very nnjjretentions gathering ; very unlike the fashionable 
assemblies then crowding tlie old Grosvenor House, but the resulting 
influences were far more dissimilar. The ]ilain and pungent preaching 
of John Allen struck conviction to the hearts of his hearers. Allen 
came again, and other jireacheis — famous liglits of ^Methodism. A 
number of young women* professed conversion, and early in 17'J3 
were gathered into a class. Soon they weie joined by three young 
men, Elijah ]3ugbee, William Gaiy and Noali Perrin. The latter was 
a])pointed class-leader and opened the fine old Perrin House for public 
religious service. PomfVet was included in New London Circuit, and 
made a I'egular preaching station. Its presiding elder, George Poberts, 
watched and cherished this young flock, ])ieaching himself at stated 
intervals, and sending other flaming messengers. In a day when 
Infidelity and Universalism were openly proclaimed in eveiy corner, 
and an eloquent Dodge drew hundreds of adherents with "his finely 
polished golden chain of equality and brotherly love," and the power 
of the orthodox clergy was almost nullifled by theological absolutism 
and ecclesiastical assunqstion, vivid pictures of man's guilt and danger 
and earnest offers of free, unlimited salvation, had very great effect. 
More converts were brought in. A number of respectable families 
united with the Methodists. The young converts were full of zeal 
and devotion, eager to work and speak for the good of souls and the 
spread of Methodism. Lively meetings, filled up with song, prayer 
and fervid exhortation, were held in the Pen in House and Cargill's 
press-room, and a new religious life and imi)idse pervaded the Quine- 
bang valley. The old churches ujion the hill tojjs looked with much 
suspicion u])on this Methodist invasion. They had heard most unfavor- 



* Sarah Bacon — afterwards tlie wife of Elijah Bugbee, Lucy Perrin — after- 
wards Mrs. Williaui Gary, Lucy Marey, Sally White, Mrs. Sarah Sabiu. 



METHODISTS, BAPTISTS, ETC. 283 

able reports of that body. Repiesentatives serving at ITartfonl and 
New Haven, had bi'ought back alarming stories of their excesses and 
heresies. They were worse than Baptists, worse thnn the old-fashioned 
Separates, woi'se than anytliing thnt had yet afflicted Connecticut ! 
Rev. Ml". Atkins of Killingly Hill, though but a moderate Calvinist, 
pronounced them a very dangerous people, and warned his congrega- 
tion against attending their meetings. This jirohibition and opposi- 
tion but increased the activity of the Methodists and made people 
more anxious to hear them, and so they gained in influence and 
nuinbers. In 1795, Pomfret Circuit was foi-med, embracing the 
northeast section of Connecticut, and 169 professed INIethodists. 
Jesse Lee was its presiding elder ; Daniel Ostrander and Nathaniel 
Chapin, preachers. In 1801, this Circuit was included in New London 
District, and in the following year in New York Conference. Two 
years later it was joined to New England Conference — Daniel Ostran- 
der, presiding elder; John Nichols and Sanniel G.irsline, preachers. 
Thouo-h meeting much opposition from the standitig chui-ches and 
drawing few adherents from families of old Puritan stock and careful 
religious training, the Pomfret Methodists increased slowly and 
steadily, and gained a strong foothold in different sections of the 
town, especially in neighborhoods aloof fi'om otlier religions influences. 
The Baptist society formed under the auspices of President Man 
ning maintained its organization and held occasional services, but was 
much straitened l)y the loss of Benjamin Tiiurber and tlie lack of 
minister and house of worship. The '' great religious stir " among the 
Baptists of Hampton in 17M8-9, extended into Abington, and several 
residents of this society united with the new church. Others became 
connected with the Ba])tist church in South Woodstock. In 1803, 
brethren that lived in Pomfret and Killingly having asked the privilege 
of receiving communion in their own neighborhood, were "legally 
constituted a branch of the Woodstock church." Under the preach- 
ing and influence of Brother James Grow of Hampton, their numbers 
were multiplied. Kegular services wei'e held in the Gary school- 
house and at Pomfret Landing. The propriety of setting apart this 
young brother to the work of the ministry was considered and 
recognized, and on September 18, 1805, "a number of brethren from 
the following churches convened at the Gary school-house in Pomfret, 
aTid formed into a council. ' viz. : — 

" Second cluirch of Woodstock, Elder Amos Wells, Deacous Uoljert Baxter 
and William H. Manning; Brethren Henry Wells, James Wheaton, Elisha 
Sabin. First Woodstock, Elder Abiel Ledoyt, Deacon Samuel Crawford, 
Joel Gage. Hampton, Deacon William Elliott, Frederick Curtis, Jeremiah 
Field. Sturbridge, Elder Zenas S. Leonard. Stephen Haskel, Reuben Howe, 
Joseph Barret. Thompson, Elder Peai'sou Crosby, Deacous Samuel Knap and 



284- HTSTOKY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Thomas Day, Joseph Town, Joseph Bates. 1. Chose Elder Crosb}', modera- 
tor; Elder Leonard, clerk. 2. Deacons Thomas Grow of Hampton, and 
Jonathan Ilarriniiton of Killingly churches, beinij providentially present, 
were invited to sit with the council. 3. After prayer proceeded to In-ar 
Brother James Grow's relation of the work of grace on his heart, his call to 
the ministry and system of doctrine. 4. The council manifesting individually 
their satisfaction in the candidate's relation on the points above-named, con- 
cluded to proceed to ordination. Accordingly appointed Elder A. Ledoyt to 
preach the sermon. Elder P. Crosby to make the consecrating prayer, Elder 
A. Wells to give the charge, and Polder Z. Leonard to give the right liand of 
fellowship, o. Met September 19, according to adjournment, and the several 
parts were performed agreeably to appointment. C. Brother James Grow, 
being thus set apart by ordination according as we understand Apostolic 
order, we recommend him to God, and the woril of his grace to build him up 
, in the most holy faith, and make him faithful and successful till his death." 

In the following April the branch berame a distitx't body and was 
received into the fellowship of its sister chinches as the Pomfret 
T^aplist chui'ch, Woodstock dismissing theieto the following mem- 
bers : — Elisha Sabin, Artemas Bruce, James Grow, Pardon Kingsley, 
Smith Johnson, Thomas Boweii, Chailes Robbins, Gny Kingsley, 
Ste])hen Cha])maii, Alvin Easting, Lncretia Cady, Mary Brown, Han- 
nah Sabin, Patty Brtice, Phebe and Sarah Stone, Azubah Bowen, 
Polly M. Spalding, Ori)ah Easting, Susanna Kingsley, Katharine 
Ashcraft, Sabra Withey, Hannah Kent, Betsey Leavens, Hannah 
Fling, Celinda Copp, Lucy Goodell. No meeting-house was erected 
for several years, but services were still held in the Gary seltoobhonse 
and other convenient centres. A few Quaker families were now 
resident in the town, and a plain house of worship had been erected 
for them by the Smithfield Conference. 

Abington Society enjoyed much harmony and pros])erity. 3lr. 
Lyon was a faithful and conscientious pastor, devoted to the work of 
preaching the Gospel. Dignified in bearing, strict in discipline, 
remarkably exact and methodical in all his affairs, he was also pro- 
gressive and liberal in spirit, ready to engage in every enterprise for 
the extension of Christianity or the develo])ment of the community. 
Improvements in schools and house of worship, the libraries and 
missionary efforts, enjoyed his countenance and support. A committee 
Avas chosen in 1800 to estimate the expense of repaiiing the meeting- 
house, and in the following year Joshua and Thomas Grosvenor, and 
Lemuel Ingalls, were authorized to accomplish repairs. A bell was 
promised by Mr. Samuel Sumner, and leave voted to certain individ- 
uals to build a stcei)le, leaving " it discretionary with the connnittee 
as to repairing and painting." In 1802, the society voted to pay the 
expense of hanging and raising the bell, and a rope to hang it. This 
being procured and the bell successluUy elevated, Daniel Goodell and 
Thomas Grosvenor were appointed a committee to return thanks to 
Mr. Samuel Sumner lor his generous present. Farther repairs were 



METHODISTS, BAPTISTS, ETC. 285 

soon accomplished and the house bvougjht into good condition. Im- 
provemeiits were also made in singing — Watts' Psalms taking the 
place of the earlier version, and singers ranged into a choir under the 
leadei'ship of Mr. Epiiraim Tngalls, a change " mucli against the 
feelings and prejudices of some of the old fathers." The government 
of the cluircli was less absolute than tliat of Pomfi-et. It was voted 
in 1783, "that there be fonr of the brethren of this church chosen 
annually as a committee to join with the pastor in exercising discipline. 
The discipline of this church is that the negative power is lodged 
with the pastor and four brethren." An earlier vote prescribed, " that 
no offending member of said church should be dealt with in ye 
method of procedure against oifending brethren till a regular and 
written complaint be exhibited against said member by some of ye 
brethren of ye church." The child of an irresponsible person was 
" admitted to ba])tism, on the account of its natural and religious 
relation to its grand-parents." 

Schools were distributed about to suit the public convenience. In 
1784, it was voted to divide the parish into four districts by an east 
and west line crossing the meeting-house, north and south parts to be 
equally divided thereaftei', each district placing their own school- 
house and building the same, but several years passed before the 
district system was cairied into execution. The ecclesiastic society 
continued its care of the schools, allowing sixteen months schooling a 
year for the whole society — schools kept at the usual places — and 
voting that the schoolmasters have no moi-e than forty shillings per 
month, they boarding themselves. Notwithstanding this scanty pay 
there was no lack of good teachei's. No crop in Abington was more 
sure than its schoolmasters. Young men who toiled on fai'ms 
through the snmmer were glad to recreate in a school-room for the 
winter. Samuel Craft was one of the early teachers. Mr. Samuel 
Sumner, the generous donor of Abington's fii-st bell, taught school 
many winters, and was especially noted for the excellence of his 
penmanship. In 1795, a district school society w%as organized — 
Joshua Grosvenor, clerk. John Trowbridge, William Field and 
Squire Sessions were the first committee. In 1798, four school dis- 
tricts were formally set otf and established, and suitable school-houses 
erected. 

In 1793, a number of residents of Abington formed themselves into 
a Propriety for the ])urpose of establishing a libiary in their parish. 
It was agreed that this should be called The Social Library in 
Abington. At a meeting held March 14, at the house of Capt. 
Benjamin Ruggles, Rev. Walter Lyon was chosen moderatoi-, Lemuel 
Ingalls, clerk. March 21, Rev. Walter Lyon was chosen librarian ; 



280 



HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 



Joshua Grosvc'iior, Jun., Eli^s]la Lord, Juii., Samuel Craft, standing 
connnittee ; Rev. Walter Lyon, Lemuel Stowell, Lemuel Ingalls, 
Elisha Lord, Jun., Griggs Goffe, special committee to procuie books ; 
Captain Thomas Grosvenor, collector ; Lemuel Ingalls, treasurer. 
The price of a share was stated at twelve shillings. Amasa Storrs, 
Daniel and Lemuel Goodell, William and Robert Siiarpe, William 
Field, Samuel Sumner, Jun., Ebenezer Ashley, Amos Stoddard, 
Zechariah Osgood, John Tlolbrook, Philip Pearl, Edward Paine, 
Squire Sessions, Aaron Stevens, Nathl. Ayer, weie eaily members of 
this association, which soon enrolled the prominent residents of the 
parish. Thomas Williams of Hampton was elected to the privilege of 
membership. A hundi'ed volumes or more wei'e .«oon procured, and a 
suitable case provided for them, together with " good, sub.stantial 
wrapping paper or sheepskin sufHcient to cover them." Still the 
public was not satisfied. ^Jany excellent standai'd wt)rks had been 
bronglit into their families: histories, travels, poetry, scientific 
treatises ; but there was still a gi'eat prepondei-ance of the theological 
element. "Too much Stackhouse," w.ns tlie verdict of one critical 
subscribe)', and so a "Junior Library" was organized. "At a meeting 
holden at Amasa Goodell's, November, 1804, looted, That John 
Ilolbrook be librarian, Solomon Gilbert clerk, John Holbrook collector 
and treasurer." Joshua Grosvenor, John Holbrook, Artemas Osgood, 
William Goodell, Darius Hulchins, committee. Some ninety volumes 
were soon collected, whosc^ range must have satisfied the most 
progressive readers, enabling them to exj)atiate with Tom Jones, 
Humphrey Clinker, Gil Bias, Ivodeiic Random and other popular 
favorites. The circulation of these volumes was apparently much 
more limited than those pertaining to the senior institution. The 
librarian of the Junior Library, John Holbrook, Esq., was now 
established in legal practice in his native parish, occupying the 
homestead built many years previous l)y his giandfather, Ebenezer 
Ilolbrook. Dr. Darius Ilutchins had succeeded to the ju'actice of Dr. 
Lord. Captain Loi-d, removed for a time to Brooklyn after marrying 
for his second wife a daughter of Dr. Whitney, but afterward 
returned to his old home. One of the most active and useful of 
Abington's citizens at this date was Lemuel Ingalls, Esq., who after 
filling many lesser offices with great ci-edit was made county surveyor 
and associate judge in 180(5. 

Pomfret was greatly agitated at this date by the proposed construc- 
tion of vai-ious tm-npike roads through her territory. Progressive 
spirits favored these enterprises, but the heavy outlay and prospective 
imposts tei rified a majority of the tax-payers. At the first proposal 
"to lav a road from Hartford towards Boston to the Massachusetts or 



TURNPIKE OPPOSITION, ETC. 287 

Rhode Island line," tlie town appoint c<l Colonel Lemuel Grosvenoi", 
Lemuel Ligalls, Es(i., and Captain Josiah 8a))in, to make >uch 
jtieparations for surveying as would be necessaiy for int'oi'nialion, and 
to wait uj)on the eonnnittee sent V)y General Court. In Decendjer, 
the town deferred aeting ujion raising money to pay assessments to 
individuals for road laid out by State eoinniittee, and ai)[)ointed Peter 
Chandler, 8eth and Joshua Grosvenor to confer with neighboring 
towns respecting laying out road from Hartford to Douglas, and for 
]»reparing a memorial for alteration of road or repeal of Act. In the 
following year the town refused to raise money to pay assessments on 
the road laid out by the State couimittee, or allow accounts to the 
persons who waited upon them. When in spite of their grumbling 
and resistance the Boston and Hartford Turnpike was actually 
completed through the whole length of the town, Lenmel Ingalls and 
Seth Grosvenor were appointed to h.ave it altered in cei'tain points and 
the expense lessened. All efforts proving unsuccessful, the town was 
reluctantly compelled to levy a tax of three and a half cents to meet 
expenses and pay assessments, but declined to accept shares in the 
company or to allow Captain Sabin for attendance upon conunittee. 
Projects for a new road in the w^est part of the town through Joseph 
Sharpe's land to Brooklyn, and for two other turnpikes, increased the 
town's ill humor. It would not view the diiferent routes through 
Killingly nor do anything about it, and a])pointed agents to oppose 
the memorial of Sampson Howe and others, and also acceptance of a 
road laid out through Pomfi'et from Norwich to Massachusetts line, 
but were again obliged "to raise money to pay assessments made by 
State committee for said road." The Pomfret and Killingly tui'upike 
was also carried through after much opposition and lefusing to pay 
the cost of the jury that laid it, and in 1803 it agreed to build a 
bridge in company with the town of Killingly over Quinebaug River, 
south of Noah Perrin's — Caleb Trowbridge, Benjamin Durkee and 
Freeman James, committee to build said bridge. It also voted. To 
build a bridge across the stream near tlie burying-giound, and also 
one on Mashamoquet " where the turnpike crosseth it where old road is 
discontinued." So great was the outlay caused by all tliese turni)ikes 
and bridges that it was proposed to sell the newly constructeil town 
house. Before accounts were settled another turnpike was demanded — 
a direct road from Providence to meet the Boston and Hartford 
Turnpike in Ashford. Oliver Grosvenor and Sylvanus Backus were 
at once empowered to oppose this farther imposition. Surveys were 
however made, and two routes oti'ered for consideration. In 1806, 
the town voted, that the north route by Samuel White's to Cotton's 
bridge would best accommodate town and public, and to oppose the 



288 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

route from said Wliite's to the Laiuling, but a,o;ain as in previous cases 
they were forced to give up tlieir way and submit to road and taxes. 

Important changes were now going forward in the Quinebaug 
valley. The Cargill Mills had passed into other hands. Advertise- 
ments in the Promdence Gazette had made known to tlie public the 
superior business advantages of this locality, as follows : — 

"Being stricken in years and past labor, and having a desire to lead a 
more peaceable and retired life, is now to be sold and entered upon the 
ensuing spring, the noted ikiieritance of Bexjamix Cakgill of Pomfret, 
situated on Quinebaug River, containing five hundred acres of land, much of 
which is of the most valuable kind; sixty acres of it are mowing land, and 
watered by canals from said river, so that the drier the season the more hay 
■will it produce ; together with houses and barns ; a smith shop, with two 
trip-hammers for sc\-the-m:iking; a saw-mill, fulling-mill, malt-house and giu 
distillery; also a grist-mill having three pairs of stones under one roof, with 
water sutRcient to grind three hundred bushels the driest day ever known, 
and has ground nearly five hundred bushels, nearly all by day-light, which 
now can be proved. The above works are all built in the best manner, 
almost all new, and go with great force and rapidity, and well situated for 
custom. Paper ar.d oil mills would be of great advantage. It is and must 
be a place of great trade. Those inclined to purchase may chance to 
enquire of some people who perhaps may tell them that it is impossible that 
the Owner can have any real idea of selling such a situation ; but they ave 
cautioned to mind no such clamors until they really find it so i)y the activity 
of the Owner, who is fully determined to sell at a very low estimate, and luUy 
convinced of meeting with success. Two gentlemen in company in the 
mercantile line might perhaps be suitable purchasers. One half of the money 
in hand would be agreeable. For further particulars, inquire of 

Bexjamix Cakgii-l. 

Pomfret, September 26, 1793." 

In spite of these inducements the Cargill " inheritance " remained 
in market till 1798, when it was purchased by Moses Arnold an i John 
Harris of Rhode Island. The latter soon sold his right to the 
Messrs. Knight of Providence, and the various mills were run by 
" Knio-ht and Harrts " under the superintendence of Rhode Island's 
future governor, young Mr. Nehemiah Knight. The "churning-mill " 
had now given place to a popular distillery, made needful by the 
increased demand for spiiituous and distilled liquors. A store was 
opened in one of the Caigill houses. Some local improvements were 
effected by Mr. Knight, who beguiled his lonely hours in this isolated 
valley by laying out a "solitary walk " on the tongue of land between 
the (2uinel)aug and Mill Rivers. The romantic beauty of this 
sequestered pathway was recognized by the few residents of the 
vicinity, and " Solitaire," as it was named, became a favorite place of 
resort for merry girls and youthful lovers, as well as for lovers of 
nature. Captain Cargill removed to Palmer, Mass., with his widowed 
daughter, Mrs. Waldo, and the remnant of their families, but his 
name was long associated with the mills and waterfall. 

Pomfret's interest in military matters was quickened in 1804 by the 
promotion of Lemuel Grosvenor to the command of the Fifth Biigade, 



TUKNPIKE OPPOSITION, ETC. 289 

and of John Wilkfs Chandler to that of the acconi])aiiying- regiment 
of cavalry. Major Chandler was a veiy popular officer, entertaining 
niilitarv friends and his whole company at his own house. He was 
also a leader of the Republican party in Pomfret, and delegate to 
I'ierpont Edwanls" constitutional convention. A large majority of the 
town were still Federalists. Judge Grosvenor held his place in the 
Probate office and Governor's Council. The Representatives sent 
during this period were El)enezer Kingsbuiy, Lemuel Grosvenor, Evan 
jVIalbone, Josiah Sabin, Sylvanus Backus, Benjamin Durkee and 
Lemuel Ligalls. 

Dr. Waldo had passed away in the i)iime of life and height of 
])rofessional eminence, and was greatly mourned "as a man endowed 
by the God of nature with the most brilliant and distinguished 
abilities, and with a heart susceptilile of all those amiable and 
benevolent virtues which adorn the human breast." lie was boi-ne to 
the grave by his brethi'en of the medical i)rofession, in the i)resence of 
his Masonic brethren and a great concourse of weeping friends and 
admirers. "A serious and sentimental discourse" was delivered by 
]Mr. Dodge, and an •' ingenious and pathetic eulogy " pronounced by 
Genei-al McClellan in behalf of the Mmsous. 

Tlie u)onuuieut erected by his fellow Masons bore the f()llowing 
inscription : — 

The master wardens and brethren 

Of Moriah Ludge 

In testimony of their esteem and respect 

For the virtues, talents and usefulness 

of their late worthy brother 

Erect this mounmeut 

To the memory 

of Albiiieiice Waldo, surgeon. 

Who attentively studying the works of God 

In the admirable frame of man 

Kose to eminent distinction 

In tlie noble art of healing. 

His name was charity; 

His actions Humanity; 

His intercourse with men benevolence and love. 

Born in Pomfret, Feb. 27, 1750. 

Died 20th Jan. 1794. 

Dr. Waldo left many scientific atid medical treatises which it was 
hoped " would afibrd great light and benefit to future ages." His 
bereaved widow made many fruitless effoi'ts to publish a collection of 
his writings. He was succeeded in practice by one of his own 
pupils and townsmen — Thomas, son of Benjamin Hubbai'd — who 
though yet under age had made such proficiency in medical studies 
and had such natui-al aptitude for the profession as to fill the position 
with great credit and usefulness, and gain in time a reputation 
37 



290 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTV. 

surpassing that ul' liis prcMk'cessnr. Dr. Hall was also lield in liiLjli 
repute ahioail and at home, both professionally ami socially, aixl his 
children as they cunie u[)on the staL;e were shining- orn-unents of tliat 
polite and refined society which so distinojuished Poinfret at this day. 
To this brilliant society was now added Sylvanus IJackus of Plain- 
field, who had opened a law office on Poinfret street and was already 
ranked among the leading lawyers of the County. His wife was the 
only surviving daughter of Dr. Waldo. 

Among other notable events of this period Pomfi'et had the excite- 
ment of tiro tnurders, an extravagant allowance for a town of its size 
and calibre. The first was committed in November, 179.3, by Aim, a 
negro girl twelve years old, belonging to Mr. Samuel Clark. " Not 
having the fear of God before her eyes but moved by the Devil," she 
turned against the little five-year-old Martha Clark who had offended 
her in their play, and with a sharp knife did so cut the throat of the 
child that she died almost instantly. With remarkable self-command 
and cunning, Ann herself rushed out and gave the alarm, calling to 
Mr. Clark that a straggler had killed little Martha. Tiiis story was at 
first believed by the distressed household, but suspicious circumstances 
appealing a skillful cross-examination elicited the truth. Ann was 
thereupon taken to Windham jail, tried, convicted and sentenced. 
'J'hii ty-nine lashes were infiicted ui)on her naked body and the letter 
M stani[)ed upon liei' hand for immediate punishment, and she was 
confined for life within the jail limits. 

The second murder occurred in the south projection of Abington, a 
sunny little nook apparently far removed from the evils and temi)ta- 
tions of the world, occupied by descendants of Mr. John Sharpe, and a 
few friendly neighbors. Among these residents were lieuben Shari>e 
and his wife Cynthia, a kindly elderly pair, uncle and aunt to the 
whole community. Childless themselves they loved to care for 
homeless childien, and among the subjects of their beneficence was 
Calel) Adams, a motherless lad of weak intellect and morbid temper, 
who was aj)])renticed to Mr. Sharj)e, and treated with great kindness. 
When Caleb was about seventeen years old, Oliver Woodworth, a 
ne|)liew of Mr. Sharpe, came to leside with him, a most eng;igiiig 
little fellow, five or six years of age, who very naturally became the 
pet of the household. The caresses and attention bestowed upon the 
child excited the jealousy of Caleb, and his S[)leen was aggravated by 
the pranks and tricks of the little Oliver, wlio took a childish delight 
in teasing his surly comrade. One day when Caleb was pulling beans 
ill the field, Oliver came out to him with his sled and besought him to 
go with him for grapes, and agreed at first to help and wait for him, 
but becoming weary ol' the work and wishing to leave, Caleb refused 



TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF CALEB ADAMS, ETC. 291 

to let him have his sled and pat it over the wall. Oliver y'ot the sled 

and brought it l)ack, when Caleb took it away and titiiio- it u[) into an 

apple-tree, assuring the child that if he got it again he would lie 

son-y for it, whereat the little fellow sti-aightway pulled it down and 

doubtless looked defiance at the big boy who was trying to master 

him. Caleb iuslantly determined to kill the child, and warily carried 

out his purpose. Calmly and pleasantly he offered to go at once for 

the grapes, and also into the woods to cut a sled-tongue. The 

delighted boy went with hint to the house, helped grind the butcher's 

knife and carry the cord and implements for his own destruction, and 

prattled along to the grapevines and into the deep woods, when a 

blow from the axe stunned and felle'l hiuL 

" A horrid gash with a hasty knife 
And Iheu the deed was done." 

As the little life ebbed away Calel)'s senses came back to him. 
Fi'oni the moment of " that first fieice impulse unto crime," he had 
thought of nothing but how he should accomplish it. "I did not 
think of the consequences to myself. The devil led me on till I had 
done it, and then left me." He could not even cany out his design 
of dressi/ir/ his victim, and hanging him up like other butchered 
animals. His only impulse now was to shriidv away from the sight 
of man, and he traveled off several miles to a distant uncle's residence. 
Night brought no boys to Uncle Iveul)eii's hearthstone. The neigh- 
bois were aroused, search made, the jiitifid remains discovered. Caleb 
traced out. At first denying the charge he was bi'ought ere long to 
make confession. He was taken to Windham and committed to jail, 
September ]o, 1803. The affair excited the greatest intei'est and 
many visited him in prison. The trial was held September 29. So 
great was the thi'ong that the court adjourned to the meetingdiouse. 
There was little oi' no doubt as to the commission of the nuirder ; the 
oidy question at issue was the i-esponsibility of tlie murderer. The boy 
had been tainted even before his biith. It was "confidently stated and 
supported by ci'edible testimony," that six: months before the birth of 
Caleb, his father had bi'ought into his household a vile woman with 
an idiot child two years of age, and that he had ])ersisted in keeping 
them there to the infinite distress of his neglected wife, who died with 
grief when her baV)y was about five months old. Within two months 
of her decease Mr. Adams married his paramour, and she hail charge 
of the child iniiil her own death, after which he was ti'undled about 
to any one who would keep him for a tritie. It was said that the 
form of his face and the motions of his body resembled those of the 
idiot child who had given such distress to his mother, and that he very 
early manifested great perversity and ci uelty of temper, and ati 



292 HISTORY OF \VIM)FIAM COUNTY. 

iniiale ])i'(»])eiisily to iiHliiluc in lyiii.u'. stoaliiiii; and various vit-ioiis 
])raclices. while tlio cirfninstaiices iiiidei' wliicli In.' had been phieeil had 
])roehided any couiiteraelinn' influences or suitable trainin<i^. But all 
these facts and the alleged insanity of his father, which would seem to 
indicate the unsoundness of the prisoner .'.nd plead for a mitigation 
of sentence, only seemed to convince judge and jury of his until iiess 
to live, and the necessity of kee[)ing him from fuilher mischief, and 
the suj^ieme penalty of the law was pronounced against him. A 
])etition in his behalf W'as sent to the General Assembly but that body 
declined to interfere with the course of justice. As in the case of 
Elizabeth Shaw, very great tenderness and sym])athy were manifested 
for the unhappy criminal, and most earnest etfoits made to aid him in 
pireparing for the great change. Mr. and Mis. Sharpe visitdl him in 
prison: the latter in jiailieular 'Mvas very tenderly atiected towards 
him and treated him with christian compassion," freely forgiving him 
and hoping that God would also foigive him. His execution Novem- 
ber '20, was made a grand «cenic display, affording the highest satisfac- 
tion to many thousands of sympathetic s]jectator8. Divine service was 
performed on the Green befoie the Court House. "Caleb walked to 
the place of public worship, accompanied by Sheriff Abbe and the 
attending clergy, exhibiting on a sti'ene countenance signs of deep and 
solemn thought. A })athetic and well adapted i^rayer by liev. Mr. 
Nott, opened the service," foUoweil by a sermon ti-om Rev. Elijah 
Waterman, upon words taken from Luke xi. 3."): — 7V«/te /leed, there- 
fore, that the light that is i/i thee he. not dtirfoiess — a solemn and 
appropriate discourse \\\)on tlie nature and power of conscience. The 
request of the prisoner to receive baptism and leave his ilying testi- 
mony in favor of the religion which sup])oiteil him, was then stated, 
and " alter ascending the stage and making his confession of faith, 
the ordinance was administered by tlie liev. Mr. Lyon, in the presence 
of thousaiuls of solemn and (lee))ly aiVectcd spectatois. h\ walking 
thence to tlie place of execution, he conversed freely, and stated the 
ground of his hope, and the support it gave him that through Jesus 
Christ he slu>uld find mercy. When coming in full view of the 
gallows he observed it with a countenance unmoved," linding strength 
in prayer and passages of Scii[)ture. Uev. Moses C Welch thus 
ojiened Iiis address, at the place of execution : — 

"We are met, my friends, on one of the most hiteresting occasions. Wc 
are eome together to see the sentence of law execnted on one of our fellow- 
ereatnres, agreeably to the declaration of Jehovah :— ItVio sheddeth man's 
blood by man shall his blood be shed. Here we sec the instruments of death 
prepared. Here we behold on the scallbld one bound for execution and 
going soon, even in a few moments, into the world of spirits, and to the bar 
of Jesus. While our minds are much atfected with the awful spectacle it may 
be interesting to our feelings, it may be protitable to us, to hear a few facts 



(GENERAL AFFAIRS IN ASHFORD, ETC. 293 

concerning the prisoner's life witli some reflections and remarlvs. This, at 
his request, I shall now attempt, not so much to gratify your curiosity as to 
do good to my fellow sinners." 

IJefore and at the close of tills address " Calelj kneeled and prayed 
with composure and in words well suited to convey his feelings and 
desires, that he might obtain mercy and lind forgiveness of sins 
through Chiist — that he might be su|)ported in the trying moment — 
that all might be tbi' the glory of (Jod, and particularly that the 
people might take warning by his end and forsake the ways of sin." 
The Kev. Mr. Lyon, his i)astor from Abington, "then addressed the 
Throne of Grace in language the most interesting and aifectionate — 
at the close of which the ciiminal was launched into eternity." The 
tendei'-hearted shei'ift" burst into tears after performing his most {)ain- 
ful office, and a most deep and solemn impi'ession was left upon all 
who had witnessed the scene. 



YIL 

GENERAL AFFAIRS IN ASflFORD. VISIT FROM PRESIDENT 
WxVSHINGTON. TURNPIKE ENTERPRISE. DAVID BOLLES 
AND THE BAPTIST PETITION. CONGREGA- 
TIONAL AND BAPTIST CHURCHES. 

ASIlFOIiD was still prominent among Wimlham County town- 
ships, its citizens expressing their views upon all public ques- 
tions and healing their part of all public burdens. Captain Benjamin 
Sumnei- was still at the head of town affairs, and sometimes designated 
as Kiucj of Eastford Pai-ish. Josias Biles in 1780 succeeded Isaac 
Perkins as town clerk and treasm-er. Selectmen in 1783 were 
Esquire Perkins, Captain Reuben Marcy, Captain David Bolles, Lieut. 
John Warren, Edward Sumner: constables and collectors, David 
Brown, Jed. Ward, Ebenezer Bos worth, Cai)tain Ebenezer Mason ; 
highway surveyors, Ephraim Lyon, Joshua Kendall, Ephi-aim 
Spalding, Amasa Watkins, Jacob Chai»man, Tiiomas Ewing, .Toiiathan 
Chatlee, Timothy Babcock, Isaac Kendall, Captain Samuel Smith, 
Medina Preston, Jolm Loomis, Ei)hraim Walker, Stephen Snow ; 
grand-jurors, Medina Preston, Samuel Spring, Abel Simmons, Deacon 
Chapman, Josias Biles. The selectmen were " desii-ed and impowered 
to provide for the town a suitable liouse for the reception of idle, 
lazy and impotent persons, and the same employ at work in said 
house, and appoint an overseer, and the same supply with necessaries 
at the town's expense." Esquire Clark, Doctor Huntington and 
Ensign Lyon were directed to look after schools. 



294 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

The fi/ror for einii^^ratioii that brc^ke out so violently after the return 
of peace carried away many of Ashfotd's valued citizens. Captain 
James Dana removed with his family to Schoharie C'ounty, New 
York. Major John Keyes. his comrade in arms and many a gallant 
exploit — appointed in 1786 to the hi^'h position of adjutant-general of 
Connecticut militia, — stepped ovei" the line into Scotland. The 
excellent Di'. Huntington, so useful in church and town, removed to 
Can.-ian, Conn., and many other sterling families sought Vermont, 
New York and opening regions westward. Among the gains of the 
town were Dr. Andrew Huntington of Gi'iswold, who took the place 
of his relative in Westford, Jonathan Nichols of Thompson, Abner 
Richmond of Woodstock, James Trowbridge of Pomfret, Isaac 
Perkins of Mrmsfield, whose wife was daughter of Deacon Benjamin 
Chaplin. Lieut. Daniel Knowlton, Captain Marcy. and many other 
vetei'ans who had served through the war, remained in Ashford, 
actively interested in military and public affairs. The formei', who 
had suffered so severely in imprisonment, was especially noted for 
fervent affection for his own country and a corresponding hatred for 
all whom he deemed its enemies. He could never forget his sufferings 
in the old church and the Jersen prison ship, and was most inveterate 
in his resentments towards anytliing that bore the name of Briton. 
He was accustomed to attend woi'ship with the Congregational church 
in Westford till one Sabbath when the minister read a hymn, having 
for its refi'ain, "(-rive Britain praise." l>ieut. Knowlton immediately 
rose up in his seat and refpiested that this hymn should be omitted 
and some other sung in its stead, but the minister paiil no attention 
to his request, and the choir beginning to sing, the old soldier 
niaiched deliberately out of the meeting-house, declaring he could 
not worship with a congi-egation that <j(ii^e liritain praise in 
anything, and never entered it again. 

These old sohliers must have been very especially interested in that 
most notable event of Ashfbrd's history — a Sabbath-day's visit from 
General Washington and his suite on their return froni the 
Presidential tour of 1789. licaving Uxbridge before sunrise, Satur- 
day, November 7, they breakfasted at a tavern kept by "■ one Jacobs," 
in Thompson — the well-known "half-way house" between Boston and 
Hartfoi'd — and thence proceeded on the roarl to Pomfret. Major 
Jackson and Pi-ivate Secretary Lear occupied the state carriage with 
tlie President, and four servants followed on liorseback, a goodly 
cortege indeed, and one that would have gladtlened the eyes of 
hundreds of devoted adherents and admiiers, but that unfortunately in 
that pre-telegraphic day none knew in advance of its coming, and only 
here and there a l)ewildei'ed citizen caught an imperfect glimpse of his 



YISIT FROM PRESIDENT WASHINGTON, ETC. 205 

Country's IkjiioixhI Fntiier. At Grosvei)Oi''s, in P(jmfrt't, tliey paused 
fur I'est and i-eiVeslinient, and tu inquire for General Putnam, wlioni 
Wasliington liad hoped to see liere and which indeed iiad been one 
of his indueenients for eominu- tliis road, but tindiny tliat he li\'ed five 
miles away and that he could not call u])on him witliout deranging his 
plan and delayini;- liis journey, he continued on the main road, n\) and 
down loiii;' hills some eight miles farther to '' Perkins' tavern in 
Ashford," where he "rested on the Sabbath-day according to 
commandment." The host and hostess, taken unawaies, (h)ubtless did 
their best to accommodate their illustrious visitor, but to their lasting 
discredit the truth-telling President recoi'ds that the tavern " is not a 
good oney Tradition gives few details or incidents of this visit. 
Washington is said to have attended church, occupying the most 
honored seat in the house of worship, and ls\\\ Pond and the town 
otficials doubtless paid their respects, but the Sabbath-keeping 
etiquette of the time did not permit any formal demonstration, and he 
was pi'obably allowed to s|)eud the day in peace and quiet after his 
own fashion. The citizens of Windham town were greatly mortified 
and annoyed that Washington instead of coming to their town, and 
giving them the opportunity to manifest their patriotic enthusiasm, 
should have "gone back and stole away from y'' people, going by a 
by-road through Ashford to avoid pomp and parade." Ur. C\)gswell 
also reports the accompanying visitation of a remarkable epidemic 
that followed the course of the President fi'om New York to Boston, 
and all around the country, " even making many crazy " — a violent 
influenza which by curious coincidence has followed the footsteps of 
many less illustiious successoi'S. 

Ashfoi'd was gieatly interested in the improvement of those public 
thoroughfares to which she owed so much of her prosperity and 
standing. William, son of Isaac Perkins, her fii-st ])racticing attorney, 
was made in 1705, agent for the town in all road cases. A conunittee 
was ajtpointed to treat with General Newell respecting the road by his 
mills in the north part of the town. Captain Ward, Lieut. Josei)h 
Burnham, Major Smith and Asa Howe were also appointed to wait 
upon the committee sent by the Assembly "to lay out a highway 
from East Hartford to Massachusetts, or Rhode Island line." Tlie 
Boston Turnpike Company was incorporated in 1797, and within two 
or three years tlie great Boston and Hartford Turnpike, running 
through Maiistield, Ashford, Pomfret and Thompson, was completed 
and opened to the public. James Gordon, Shubael Abbe and 
Ebenezer Devotion were appointed to oversee repairs, gates and 
collections upon this road. About half a mile east of Ashford 
village this road connected with another great turnpike leading to 



296 HISTOKY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

]'rovideiice, coiistnieled a few years laler by the (/oiiiiet'ticnt ami 
Kliude Island Turnpike Company. Unlike some other towns .\slitoid 
made no opi)Osilion to tliese improvements, but willingly jiaid tlie 
needful impost to gain better accommodations and increased travel. 
Daily stages passiiig to and fro (jver these roads made the tinvn very 
livelv- Chaises and othei- vehicles were coming into vogue. A large 
amount of freiglit was carried over the turnpikes. Tlie numei-ous 
taverns needed to supply the wants oi travelers and teamsters, were 
kept by Jed. Fay, Benjamin Clark, Isaac I'eikins, Josiah Ward, 
William Snow, Josiah Converse, Stephen Snow, Samuel Sjjring. 

In 1803, Ashford was accommodated with its first post-office, David 
Bolles, Jun., postmaster. Mi'. Bolles after studying medicine for a 
time had turned his attention to law. and was now successfully com- 
peting with Esquire Perkins in legal practice. lie was in high favor 
with what were called " tlie Sectaries " of Ashford and neighboring 
towns, by his open and uncompromising opposition to any ta.xatiou 
for support of public woi'ship, and the religious (yonstitution of Con- 
necticut. A little fellow of six years old, he had stood by his mother's 
side when lier precious pewter was taken by the collector and caiiied 
to the town post to pay a " priest tax," and hei' tears and unavailing 
remonstrances had such an eflect upon his childish mind that he then 
and there resolved that if he grew up to be a man he would fight 
those laws that had caused her such disti-ess — a purpose wliich was 
still farther stiengthened by surrounding influences and later de- 
velopments. With tongue and pen he kept this childish vow and 
became one of the " foiemost champions " of the Baptist cause, 
" defending them in pamphlets of his own, issued at the expense of 
himself or his friends." He was an earnest advocate for the celebrated 
" Baptist Petition for the Removal of Keligious Restrictions," which 
was circulated thioughout the State in 1802, obtaining many thousand 
sio-natures, and was one of the committee which laid it before the 
General Assembly. Much merriment was excited by tlie i)resentatiou 
of this petition. " Some called him fool ; some mad," to think of 
overthrowing a system so thoroughly incorporated and so strongly 
intrenched. The Assembly, however, willing to examine its merits, 
referred the petition to a committee of eighteen members from the 
two Houses, to inquire and report. It was said that Oliver Ells- 
worth, chairman of the committee, " as he received the petition imme- 
diately threw it under tlie table, and putting his foot upon it, said, 
'There is where it belongs.'" Several of the committee were 
suffered to be its advocates, and it was thoroughly canvassed and dis- 
cussed until "every gentleman professed himself entirely satisfied that 
there was no giound of complaint which this Legislature could 



TURNPIKE ENTERPRISE, ETC. 297 

remove, except John T. Peters, Esq., who declared that nothing 
short of an entire repeal of the laws for the support of religion would 
accord with his views " — a declaration that was doubtless viewed as 
the height of presumptuous absurdity. Their report that the 
request was unnecessary, was accepted by both Houses without divi- 
sion and it was triumphantly believed that the troublesome question 
had been forever dismissed. A shrewd old Baptist Elder present 
told Mr. Bolles not to be discouraged : — " Let them talk as they will, 
you'll upset their dish yet." 

David Bolles, Sen., though now advancing in years was still abund- 
ant in labors. In 1797, he was ordained as an Evangelist by the 
Stonington Baptist Association. In 1801, he accepted the call of the 
First Baptist Church in Hartford, and for two years officiated as its 
pastoi', and was then dismissed at his own request, preferring to live 
in the countiy and preach without charge to destitute churches in the 
vicinity of his old home. His son Lucius was graduated from Brown 
University in 1801, and after studying three years with Dr. Stillman of 
Boston, was installed pastoi- of the newly formed Baptist Church in 
Salem. Among Dartmouth graduates of this date were Asa Carpenter 
of Eastford, who settled as a Congregational minister in Penfield, and 
Tower Whiton of Westford, who taught to good acceptance in Plain- 
field and otlier academies. Other sons of Elder Bolles engaged for a 
time in business in their own town. Mr. Richmond and his sons 
carried on shoe manufacture and other business enterprises in West- 
ford. Mills for grinding and sawing, taimeries and distilleries, were 
active in various parts of the town. Dr. Nehemiah Howe attended to 
his patients and took a prominent part in town management, opening 
his office for public deliberations when the meeting-liouse was too cold 
for comfort. A second Dr. Palmer shared the practice of his father. 
The usual representatives of the town at this date were William 
Walker, Abel Simmons, Jun., Josias Biles and John Palmer. The 
election of Mr. Jason Woodward, who chanced to gain the vote in 
1802, was contested upon the ground that he had obtained it "by 
distributing liquor; had treated the selectmen with four bowls of 
sling, and given to the people about his store four bottles of liquor,'' 
but fortunately for the honor of the town " the charges were not 
supported." 

After the lamented death of Rev. James Messenger, the First 
church of Ashford remained for seven years without a stated pastor 
when it happily united in the choice of Enoch Pond of W^rentham, a 
graduate of Brown University, who, after a varied experience as a 
soldier and school-teacher, had turned his thoughts to the ministry, 
studied theology under the celebrated Dr. Emmons, and was ordained 
88 



298 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and installed over the ehurcli in A.-hfoi'd, September 16, 1TS9. Pos- 
sessing unusual ability and cultivation, he gained great intluenee 
over his people and enjoyed an harmonious pastorate. El)enezer 
Mason and Isaac Perkins, Esq., were chosen deacons the same year, 
and upon the deatli of tlie latter in 179.5, were succeeded by ]\Iatthew 
Read and David Brown. The old meeting-house after seventy years' 
occupation was now enlarged and thoroughly repaired ; the practice 
of admitting ba])tized persons to certain church ])rivileges abolished 
by vote of the churcli. A revival of religious interest soon followed 
the settlement of Mr. Pond, and some sixty were added to tlie church. 
Two gifted young men were fitted by Mr. Pond for the ministry, 
Daniel and Ilendrick Dow, though the latter, no less versatile than 
brilliant, left the pulpit for the bar. 

The Eastford church maintained its high standing in doctrine and 
discipline. At a church meeting, November 22, 1782, voted: — 

"I. That we will admit none to the privilege of baptism for themselves or 
seed but those who join in full communion. 

II. Thai we esteem conversion necessary in order to right communion — 
therefore agree, that we will receive none to our holy fellowship, but those 
that make such a profession. 

III. That those who belong to other churches and by letters dismissive and 
recommendatory ofl'er themselves to join with us, shall prior to their admis- 
sion submit themselves to examination, and make profession to our personal 
satisfaction. 

IV. That those who remove from a distance and reside among us to whose 
faith and profession we are strangers, shall remove; their relation with us 
when desired, or by letters recommendatory certify their good and regular 
standing elsewhere — otherwise be denied the privilege of communion."' 

Deacons Sumner and Perrin, and Caj)tnin Jolni Works, were ap- 
pointed a committee to assist in discijiline. A very serious difficulty 
with a ]»rominent church member was happily adjusted by an advisory 
council, but an erring sister was found guilty " of a breach of the 
eighth and ninth commandments," and debarred from church privileges. 

After the close of the war the society was able to glaze the meeting- 
house, also to build the body of seats below, a breastwork and seats 
around the gallery, and provide hinges and bolts for the north door, 
and hang it. "Eight queristers" were installed in service with liberty 
to regulate the seating of the singers. An effort was made to do 
something for the more comfortable support of Mr. Judson. The 
prosperity of church and society was somewhat checked by the increas 
ing infirmity of their pastor, who was atfiicted with a hypochondriac 
melancholy, that at times incapacitated him for ])ublic seivice. 
In 1791, the society voted not to have preaching for the summer, 
and to i)etition the Honorable Association of the County to supply the 
pulpit for the year ensuing. Two years later, INIr. Pond was solicited 
to prepare a memorial to the Association for their assistance in preach- 



DAVID BOLLES AND THE BAPTIST PETITION, ETC. 299 

ing, and a committee appointed "to hire ]>i'eaohing eleven Sabbaths, if 
thei-e be money enough." Tlie malady increasing upon him, iVIr. 
Judson mistrusted his ability to serve liis ]>eople efficiently, and again 
and again asked their advice and dismission. Many councils were 
called but none thought best to dissolve the pastoral relation. Church 
and people exercised much kindness and patience under this heavy 
trial and labored in every way to aid and cheer their despondent 
pastor. In 1798, voted that their reverend pastor shall at his request 
have liberty to ride for his health, and be absent for the term of one 
year, he giving U[) his salary daring his absence — or return sooner if 
convenient. Samuel Sumner was chosen deacon in the room of Deacon 
Sumner, Esq.. and Noah Paine, Samuel Sumner and James Trow- 
bridge, appointed in addition to the pastor " to attend and execute the 
watch and discipline of y*^ church." Noah Paine had been chosen 
deacon some years previous. Josiah Spalding, first clerk and treasurer 
of the society, was succeeded in 1 795 by Alexander Work. Ezek 
Preston succeeded Abiel Simmons as collector of taxes. Mr. Judson 
with all his mental and bodily infirmities continued in charge till his 
death, November 15, 1804, and was aided in his later years by his son, 
John W. Judson, himself an invalid, and soon following his father. 
The society with its accustomed consideration voted " to continue Mr. 
Judson's salary to the bereaved widow." An effort was now made to 
raise a fund for the purpose of supporting the Gospel. The preaching of 
Mr. Allen was very satisfactory to the society but they were unable to 
retain him. Andrew T. Judson, youngest son of the deceased pastor, 
served as clei-k of the society, while pursuing legal studies. He after- 
wards settled in Canterbury. One of the first young men who went 
out from Eastford Parish was Solomon, son of Josiah Spalding, who 
was graduated from Dartmouth in 1785. He read law for a time 
with Zephaniah Swift, but experienced a change in his religious views 
which led him to turn his thoughts to the ministry. He preached for 
a time in Cherry Valley, New York, and then removed to Ohio. 
Failing in healtli, lie amused himself by writing an imaginary narrative 
of the wanderings of the Children of Israel across Behring's Straits to 
America, which, after his decease, was borrowed by Joseph Smith, and 
is said to have served as a foundation for the Mormon Bible. 

Westford Society, in 1783, consented to the dismission of Rev. 
Elisha Huntington, in consideration of his low state of bodily health 
and insufficient salaiy. After the usual interim he was succeeded by 
Mr. William Storrs of Mansfield, who accepted a hundred pounds paid 
in building materials, neat stock, sheep fatted, pork, butter and cheese 
in lieu of the customary farm. Mr. Storrs was ordained and installed 
November 10, 1790, and continued for many years to administer the 



300 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

ministerial office in Westford to the groat satisfaction of all — " a man 
of jieace," piety and wisdom, much respected in the community and 
ministerial association. 

A Baptist church was formed in this parish "in the glorious year 
1780," through the instrumentality to a great degi-ee of Mr. John 
IJathburii, who had removed from Stonington to this vicinity, and was 
ordained as its pastor, March 15, 1781. A membership of fifty-four 
was reported by B; ckus in 1795. 

The Knowlton church, after some bickering with its pastoi-. Elder 
Ebenezer Lamson, with regard to the office work of deacon, and the 
manner of supporting ministers, (tlie Elder maintaining the strict 
Scriptural view that the deacons should literally supply the table of 
the minister), consented to his peaceable dismission in November, 
1782, recommending him to the churches as a faithful gospel preacher. 
But upon review and reconsideration it decided that it had 
contributed v^ell towards his support and fulfilled its agreement, and 
as Elder Lamson maintained the contrary, tlie church now confessed 
that it had do-iie vrong in giving him any recommendation and sent 
him and his wife "a gentle admonition." This affiur led to mutual 
recriminations and councils, and doubtless hindered the church in 
securing another pastor. In 1786, both church and society united in 
choice of Mr. Robert Nesbet, and, as farther encouragement, made 
effort to finish their meeting-house and purchase a farm for the use 
of the minister. Zebulon Marcy, Samuel Brayton and Abraham 
Knowlton were appointed committee to lay out pew ground. 
" Glazing the windows," delayed by the difficulty of obtaining glass 
during the war, w^as now ordered. Ebenezer Walker, Thomas 
Knowlton and James Weston were ordered to look out for a 
ministerial lot, and Abraham and Daniel Knowlton and Samuel 
Johnson, "to draft subscription paper for the purpose of purchasing 
a farm and making assessments," — subscribers agreeing " to i)urchase 
a farm for the use and improvement of a gospel minister for and 
viuder the control of the Baptist church and society of xVshford, said 
farm not to be disposed of for any other use — avails of farm to be 
restored to heirs of purchasers if not used for that purpose." Some 
fifty persons assisted in this purchase, in sums langing from one 
shilling to over thirty pounds, Abiaham Knowlton contributing tlie 
largest amount. While making these arrangements a formal call was 
extended to Mr. Nesbet, October 8, 1787 — Elnathan Brigham, Deacon 
Hanks and Thomas Knowlton, committee — but just at this juncture 
the church was called to labor respecting the former difficulties with 
Elder Lamson, and possibly on this account he thus curtly declined : — 



DAVID BOLLES AND THE BAPTIST PETITION, ETC. 301 

" To the First Baptist Church of Clirist at Ashford, frreethig. You was 
pleased to give me a call to the ministry, but upon serious sercli, circum- 
stances on my part forbid it. Farewell. 

From your bumble servant, Robert Nesbet." 

After some years' labor the church removed the admonition from 
their former pastor and proceeded, in 1791, "to take a deed of Mr. 
Benjamin Hanks of his farm in behalf of the church for the use of 
ministers." Elder Dyer Stark now manifested a freedom in adminis- 
tering special ordinances. September 12, 1793, Elder Stark was 
requested " to administer the ordinances of the gospel so long as he 
continues to reside amongst us." The society at the same time agreed 
to allow Elder Stark the improvement of the ministerial farm on 
which he then dwelt, so long as there was agreement between him 
and the church and society. It also voted, to admit new proprietors 
in the bettering the farm by fencing or walling. Elder Stark's 
ministry was blessed to the building up of the church wliich under 
previous broken administrations had made little advancement. A 
number of its members, viz. Deacons Knowlton and Hanks, and 
brethren Thomas Knowlton, Samuel Johnson, Elias Demick, Isaac 
Abbe, Moses Sibley, Azariah Hanks, John Utle}^ Jonathan and 
Abiaham Weston and Chester Main, were allowed the impiovement 
of their gifts in public prayer and exhortations. In 1798 the church 
was again destitute of a pastor and chiefly occupied in dealing with 
refractory members. In 1800, an effort was made to complete the 
untiiiished meeting-house, a plat made and pew spots sold at auction, 
but ere the work was commenced the house was destroyed by fire, 
kindled it was suspected by a dissatisfied bidder. Elder Solomon 
Wheat had then been engaged to preach for a season, and stimulated 
by his presence the society promptly arranged to build a new house on 
the site of the old one, Stephen Eldridge agreeing to build and finish 
the same for the sum of $1,330. Previous bidders were allowed 
pews in similar locations in the new building, provided " they paid 
theii- bid." Failing to secure permission for a lottery, the lacking 
funds were made up by an assessment, and after so many years of 
delay and eifort the "Knowlton meeting-house" was completed in 
1802 — a convenient and comfortable edifice for the times, with large, 
square pews and lofty, capacious pulpit. Provided with a satisfactory 
house for public worship, and a suitable home for its minister, the 
First Baptist Church in Ashford enjoyed a good degree of prosperity 
for many years, though its remote and inconvenient location was 
unfavorable to extended growth. Elder Wheat was succeeded in 
1806, after a short interval of change and trial, by Frederic 
Wightman of Warwick, R. I. " The duty of all men to worship 
God," and distance from existing places of worship, led to the 



302 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

formation of otlier Baptist churches in Ashford during this period. A 
third Baptist church was organized within the limits of Eastford 
Parish, and Mr. Daniel Bolton ordained therein, June 27, 1792. 
Residents in Al>ington also united with this church, but owing to tlie 
rise of Methodism and the vicinity of other Baptist churches, it did 
not gain a permanent standing. A membership of thirty-eight was 
reported in 1795. In 1801, they had become so weakened as to 
unite with the Second Baptist church of Woodstock as a branch, 
rcseiving the privilege of resuming their former independency if it 
should be expedient. 

In the northeast corner of Ashford, known appropriately as 
Nortliford, seven men oiganized as a Baptist society, November 11, 
1793, and pledged themselves to liuild a house of worship and support 
a religious teacher. " In the winter following the Lord put it into 
the hearts of his people to set up conference meetings," and upon 
relating to each otlier the wonderful dealings of God with their souls, 
and discussing the rules, oi'der and discipline of a church of Christ, 
tliey found such " a good measure of harmony and agreement, as to 
encourage them to organize as a church." A council consisting of 
pastors and delegates from the three Ashford churches and the First 
Baptist of Woodstock convened for this purpose, November 5, 1794, 
but upon examination it was found that those who had called the 
council had neglected to obtain letters of dismission from the 
churches to which they belonged. But the brethren were not to be 
frustrated in their design. Six new converts came forward asking 
church privileges, were baptized that day by Elder Daniel Bolton, 
and with one brother who was furnislied with a letter, ''were 
recognized as the Fourth Baptist church of Asliford." The good 
brethren who had instituted this worship were soon added to their 
number, and Elder Bolton, retained as their pastor, also brought a 
letter from the cliurch in Willjraham, ]\Iass. The meeting-house was 
used for public services, though not completed for several years. A 
sufticient support was provided for the i^astor, who also wrought with 
his own hands that he might be less chargeable to the brethren. 
Though few in numbers and far remote from the busy world, this 
church enjoyed uncommon grace and harmony and exercised a most 
beneficial influence upon the community. Pastor and delegates were 
present at the organization of the Sturbridge Association and ffuthfully 
retained relation with that body. Ephraim Howard and Joseph 
Burly served successively as clerks, and also as deacons. Elder 
Bolton administered the pastorate till 1806, to the great acceptance of 
all, and his name adhered to the meeting-house long after his removal 
to distant fields. 



CONGREGATIONAL AND BAPTIST CHURCHES, ETC. 303 

Methodism also gained adherents in Ashtbrd. Early itinerants pass- 
ing over its convenient thorouglifares tarried to preach the word 
wherever they could find a hearing. Elder David Bolles, ever ready 
to fraternize with all good christians outside " the Standing Order,'' 
opened his house and heart to these zealous preachers. Soon they were 
allowed to hold meetings in the village school-house. Young Mr. 
Mumtbrd, who had just started business in this vicinity, had his 
curiosity so excited by the stories brought back from Hartford by 
terrified town deputies of the disgraceful character and conduct of 
these Methodist invaders, that out of sport he dropped in to liear one, 
almost expecting to see a monster with hoof and horns, lie saw 
instead a most graceful and eloquent young man whose fire and 
pathos took his foncy by storm, and made him through life a devoted 
champion of Methodism. In time he joined the society, heli)ed build 
the first Methodist meeting-house, and by his zeal and infiuence jjroved 
a valuable acquisition to the Methodist ranks. Many young pe()])le in 
the vicinity of Eastford were awakened and converted under Methodist 
preaching, and gathered into a class and society. Stated preaching- 
was held after a few" years in a rough meeting-house built about 1800, 
it is believed, some two miles west of the village. David Bolles, Escp, 
Captain Mumford, Leonard Deane, Nathan Palmer, Jun., were among 
the attendants upon this worship. 

Ashford like several of its neighbors had the excitement of a 
murder during this period with the accompanying search, tiial and 
execution. Samuel Freeman, a dissolute colored man of mongrel 
blood, came up to Ashford from Rhode Island, and persuaded an 
Indian woman to live with him. Returning with her one evening 
from a low drinking-house, he took her life in a fit of drunken rage, 
and threw her into a dank pool, still known as Squaw Hollow. The 
crime was proved and Freeman hung at Windham Green, November 6, 
1805, with all the usual formalities and more than the usual satisfac- 
tion, unalloyed as it was in this case by any disturbing doubts as to 
the justice of the penalty or by sentimental sympathy for the misera- 
ble criminal. 

Note. The "Ashford Whipping" reported ante page 28, was probably in- 
flicted under Section 16, of the Act for the due Observation of the Sabbath, 
viz. : — " That whatsoever person shall be convicted of any profanalion of the 
Lord's-day, or of any disturbance of any congregation allowed for the worship 
of God during the time of their assembling for or attending of such worship, 
and shall, being fined for such offence, neglect or refuse to pay the same, or 
to present estate for that purpose ; the Court, Assistant or Justice befoi'e 
whom conviction is had, may sentence such offender to be whipt, not exceed- 
ing twenty stripes, respect being had to the nature and aggravation of the 
offence." 



304 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY, 



YIIL 

CANTERBURY BRIDGES. ENTERPRISING YOUNG MEN. MASTER 

ADAMS' SCHOOL. GENERAL TOWN AND CHURCH 

AFFAIRS. WESTMINSTER SOCIETY. 

EVEN amid the burdens and engrossments of the war, Canterbury 
was compelled to expend money and labor upon her bridges, 
which weighed so heavily upon her selectmen that they addressed a 
letter to their neighbors in Norwich, in 1780, in which they lamented 
"the great and unequal expense which they and several towns labor 
under above other towns in the State, by being obliged to build and 
maintain many great bridges over large rivers," and requested a com- 
mittee of conference to consider some mode of relief A committee 
was appointed but found no practicable remedy for the evil, and the 
town took its woes once more to the Assembly. Solomon Paine and 
Daniel Frost in behalf of the inhabitants of Canterbury, October 10, 
1782, averred, that they were obliged to maintain a large number of 
bridges in said town, many of them across large and rapid streams, 
viz. : — one and a half over the Quinebaug, four over Little River, six 
over Rowland's brook ; that the bridge over the Quinebaug known as 
Butts' Bridge was in the southeast part of the town, where it was of 
very little service to but few of the memorialists, but was of great 
utility and service to the public tiaveling from Boston to Norwich, 
and was now out of repair, and asked for a lottery of £250, to aid in 
this new enterprise. The Assembly granting this request, John Fitch, 
Daniel Frost, Dr. Welles, Deacon Asa Witter and Stephen Butts were 
chosen managers of the lottery. Captains Sherebiah Butts, Jabez 
Ensworth and John Adams were commissioned to have charge of the 
building, and a stout bridge supported by stone pillars was speedily 
constructed. The managers of the lottery were allowed to sell tickets 
for town orders, and to transfer all that were left on their hands to the 
selectmen. In 1788, the town was again called to join with Plaintield 
in rebuilding Nevins' Bridge. Among other town expenses recorded 
at about this date were payments for new sign-post and stocks, also 

for "keeping Sibbel and dipi)ing her sundry times," also for 

" salivating " sundry persons. 

The usual changes were occurring. John Dyer, Esq., colonel of the 
Eleventh Regiment, judge of the Windham County Court, deputy at 
the General Assembly at times for forty years, "all which parts he 
sustained with unblemished correctness till impaired with age," de- 
parted this life February 25, 1 779, in the eighty-seventh year of his 
age. "A man of sound judgment and unbiased integrity." Dr. 



CANTEKliURY BRIDGES, ETC. 



305 



Jabez Fitch, youngest son of Mnjor James Fitch, having " for many 
years sustained with fidelity and honor the offices of justii-e of the 
Peace and Quorum, and judge of Probate," and also served as colonel 
of the Eleventh Kegiment, died at an advanced age in 1784. 
Colonel Aaron Cleveland, so prominent in public affairs during the 
Revolution, was struck with palsy wliile yet in the prime of life, and 
after long and distressing sickness died in 1785. Deacon Asa Witter 
died suddenly in 1792, after being chosen town dejiuty and before the 
session of the Assembly. John Felch though advanced in years still 
served the town in many capacities. Cai)tain Ephraim Lyon, Nathan 
Waldo, Eliashib Adams, Jabez Ensworth, David Baldwin, Benjamin 
and Asa Bacon, Captain John Adams, Daniel Frost, Captain 8te])hen 
Butts and other older men, were active and [tromineni in town aifuirs. 
Dr. Gideon Welles seived acceptably as town clerk and treasui-er. 
Dr. Jabez Fitch succeeded to the medical practice of his father. Dr. 
W^alter Hough returned to Canterbury after the war, officiating as 
surgeon and sheiitf. Dr. Jaiieb Dyer engaged extensively in trade 
and medical ])ractice. 

Canterbury participated largely in that spirit of emulation and 
business enterprise that sprung into life with the Xation, and was 
especially distinguished by the great number of active and energetic 
young men, eager to make for themselves a career. Vicinity to 
Plainfield's excellent academy doubtless served as a stimulus to many 
of these young minds, furnishing them accessible facilities for fitting 
themselves for tlie higher walks of life. Many of the Canterbury 
youth availed themselves of this privilege, and of these a large 
proportion obtained a collegiate education. From Yale thei-e were 
graduated in 1777, Ebene/.er, son of Dr. Fitch, and Moses, son of 
Colonel Cleveland; in 1778, Asa Spalding; 1779, Elisha, grandson 
of Solomon Paine; 1793, Asa Bacon, .Jun., William Pitt, son of Colonel 
Cleveland; 1794, Aaron, son of William Kinney; 1795, John, son of 
John Adams, and Kufus, son of Nathan Adams; 1797, Seth P., son 
of Rev. John Staples; 1803, John, son of Dr. Hough; Hezekiah, 
son of Deacon Frost ; 1804, Parker, son of John Adams. Cornelius 
Adams, deacon of the old Separate church, sent four sons to Yale, viz.: 
Thomas, graduated in 1800: Stedman. 18J1 ; Cornelius, 1803: Daniel, 
1806. From Dartmouth were graduated. 1785, Moses Bradford; 
1787, Eleazer Brown, Elihu Palmer; 1791, Ebenezer Woodward; 
1795, Luther Jewett Hebanl : 1794, James Brown, who dieil in 
C;mterbury the following year. William and Ebenezer Brailford 
were also graduated from Princeton. 

Many of these young men went out into the woild to fill 
distinguished positions. Ebenezer Fitch was the first president of 
30 



30G . JIISTORY UF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Williams Collooe, Asa Si)altliiio- one of Xdrwicli's iiidst brilliant ami 
successful lawvci's. Setli P. Stacks won a lii^li name ainnnfr many 
legal competitors in Xew York city. Ilongli, professor in Middlelmry 
Collec^e, was greatly admiied for eloquence and varied accomplisli 
inents. His classmate. Frost, entered llie leual pi'ofes>ion and 
acliieved a good position in Windham, Maine. Parker ^\dains served 
usefully in the Episcopal ministry, and most of the Dartmouth 
graduates were honored as Congregational ministers.* 

Fortunately for Canterbury some of these energetic and brilliant 
young men remained in their native town. Moses Cleveland opened 
a law office on his paternal homestead, and engaged with mucli 
spirit in public and military affairs. Rising rapidly through the 
subordinate grades, he was made general of the Fifth Brigade in 1796. 
Previous to this date he had been appointed agent of the AVestern 
Reserve Land Company and was veiy efiicient and active in the 
settlement of nortlieastern Ohio, and in other important business 
enteiprises. He was also very prominent as a Mason, holding the 
position of grand marshal of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut. 
Though unable to give much attention to the practice of his profes- 
sion he could direct otliers, and many young men studied law in his 
office. His brother, William Pitt Cleveland. Asa Bacon, Jun. and 
Rufus Adams were among those students, and all for a time pi'acticed 
law in Canterbury. Elisha Paine also opened a law office in his own 
house in the south i)art of the town. Jolni xVdanis after his gradua- 
tion commenced a select school in his own neighborhood in the North 
Society, and at once exhibited such uncommon aptitude in instruction 
and management as to draw a large number of pu[)ils. Plainlield 
Academy was at this time sutfciing a tcin])orary depression, w'hich 
gave Canterbury an o|>portunity to establish a lival institution. In 
the spring of 1796, Master Adams was induced to remove his school 
to Canterbury Green, whei'e it acliieved immediate success and 
popularity, attracting jnipils from all the adjacent towns and even 
from distant Woodstock and Thompson. jMr. Adams had in large 
measure the true teaclicr's art of calling out the best that was in his 
pupils and awakening their enthusiasm for school, studies and master. 
Combining sympathy and kindnc^ss with authority he won their most 
affectionate regard. He was especially noted for his kindness to 
indigent young men seeking education. Among those tluis aided and 
encouraged was Rinaldo Burleigh of Ashford. who, in the face of 
great poverty and hardship, having lost his father in early chiUlhood, 



♦There is strong reason for l^elieving that a still earlier celeljrity — 
Jonatlum Carver, the distiiiiiuished traveler and explorer of the Jsorthwesl; 
wikleruess— was boni iu Caiilcrbiny. 



MASTICR ADAMS SOirOOL. 



307 



and liis loft arm a few years later, was stnio-oling to fit himself for 
intellectual employment. Mr. Adams took him not only into his 
school but into his •' very heart," enablinix him to meet his expenses 
by assistini,^ in teaching till he was qualifiLMl to enter colleg'e. No 
record of pupils has been preserved, but the number was evidently 
large. The sons of Cornelius Adams, Dr. Hough, Deacon Frost, and 
many other young men, were here fitted for college. Lemuel 
Grosvenor, afterward a successful merchant in Boston, Bela P. 
Spalding of Brooklyn, William Larned of Thotnpson, wei'e among 
the students. Canterbury was never more flourishing than during 
the continuance of this school. The ]>resence of so many energetic 
young men made everytliing lively. Business and trade were active. 
Many stores were opened on Canterbury Green. Farmers found a 
ready market for all their produce. Dr. Dyer carried on a brisk trade 
with the West Indies, dealing largely in horses and cattle, and 
maintained an extensive estal)lishment in the south part of the town. 
John Clarke, an eccentric Englishman with ample means and a 
patriaichal family, reported to have been engaged in the tea- 
oveilhrow at Boston, also occupied a fine farm in that vicinity. 
Joseph ]\Ioore of Long Island, purchase<] land and settled in 
Canterbury. Thomas (^oit, one of Norwich's sterling citizens, after a 
brief sojourn in Scotland removed to Canterbury Green, and engaged 
in mercantile traffic. John Francis of Boston, after trying Scotland 
long enough to find a wife there, followed on to Canterbury. 
Alexander Gordon of Plainfield o])ened trade in Westminster and 
won a high ])Osition among the solid men of the town. Luther, sou 
of David Paine, engaged in trade. Jedidiah, grandson of Obadiah 
Johnson, '-kept tavern," engaged in trade and was active in military 
affairs. Abel Brewster opened a jeweler's store. William Lord 
engaged in the manufacture of hats. Isaac and Consider Morgan 
entered into partnership in 1804, and opened a very large assortment 
of dry goods, drugs, hardware and groceries in the First Society of 
Canterbuiy. Many new buildings were erected at about this date, 
and a wing added to the tavern which accommodated four or five 
business establishments. William Moore built a large house on the 
northeast corner of the crossings in the village, and there opened 
Canterbury's first post-office in 1803. The hall in the upper part 
of the tavern building was celebrated for its many popular 
gatherings, and especially as the place for Masonic demonstrations. 
Generals Putnam and McClellan, Colonels Gray and Grosvenor, 
Moses Cleveland and other leading men in the County, were early 
connected with the Masonic Lodge at Hartford. Upon petition of 
Colonels Gray and Grosvenor, Moriah Lodge was instituted at 



308 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

Cantcibuiy, in 1700, and soon rc-ceivcd into its brotlicrliood most 
of the active, leadinu; men of tlie County. Its tiist <;rand master 
was Colonel Ebenezer Gray. Moses Cleveland, Evan ]Malbone, 
Thomas and Lemuel Grosvenoi-, Samuel and John McClellan, Daniel 
Larned, Daniel Putnam, William Danielson, Lemuel Ingalls, Albigence 
Waldo, John Bi'ewster, Jai'ed Warnei-, were amon^jf the many who 
were actively intei'ested in this Lodge. Its annual commemoration of 
St. Jolm's day in June was one of the great festivals of the year, 
e.vceeded only by P\)uilh of July and General Training. The Masonic 
brethren from all the sunounding towns in full regalia, marched 
through the street with banners, music and o[)en Bible, to be entei-- 
tained in hall or grove with a grand oi-ation and line dinnei-. The 
young men of Canterbury were enthusiastic in devotion to this order, 
and maintained its appointed services with much spirit and tidelity. 
An elaborate oi'ation delivered by Asa Bacon, Jan.. June 27, 1799, 
in which the youthful orator presumed to deviate " i'rom the tlowery 
field of friendshi}),"' into '-the wilderness of politics," excited nmcli 
attention and praise, and was deemed worthy of publication in The 
Windham Herald. 

The "young blood" in the town was manifested in many public 
enterprises and improvements. An elaborate code of laws, adopted in 
1796 for the better regulation of town meetings, shows the hand of 
the young lawyers, and hints at pievious informalities, now to be 
remedied : — 

" 1. No motion shall be objected to, or consiclored within the possession of 
the niectini:;, cxcc-pt it be for recoiisidcnitiou, without it be sc'coiulod by some 
other meiiibiT than liim wlio tirst made the same. 

2. Ko member .shall speak more than twice to one and the same question or 
motion before tlie meetiiiif withoiU, leave of said meeliiiij, nor more than once 
Ijcfore each memiier desirinii to speak has had his turn. 

3. No motion shall be made for reconsideration of any choice, vote or act 
of said meetinif, but by some meml)er who acted tlie aifirmafive in passing 
tlie same, which shall all be done in the same meetiiii; in which said vote was 
passed. 

4. No member shall sjieak. or ask liberty to speak, when any other nicmlier 
is speakiui'-, except to call the member speakiui; to order, and the member 
called to order shall sit down, and he may appeal to the meetiiiii; to decide the 
question of order, but if he refu.se to make such appeal the moderator shall 
determine the same, and in either case it shall be done without debate, and 
the moderator shall, and any member of said meeting may call any person to 
order transgressing the foregoing rules. 

5. That for the future we will choose our selectmen, listers and grand- 
jurors so as to place them in the different (juarters of the town, and before 
we proceed to choose either of the above class of otticers the moderator 
shall mention which quarter of the town to begin at. And the foregoing 
rules shall i)y the clerk or moderator be publicly read at the opening of our 
annual town meeting." 

By-laws were passed the following year regulating the impounding 
of cattle, and geese were denied the libertv of the road unless " well 



TUKNl'IKE PROJECTS, ETC. 



P.09 



yoked aii<l one w'lnfr cr()]>t." Tlie selectmen were antlioii/xnl to pur- 
cliase or liire a home for the poor, and Colonel Benjamin Bacon 
olTei-ed to provide for them for one-fifth per week less than the year 
])recedinfr. Tttwn meetings were held alternately in the meeting- 
houses of the two societies. Schools wei'e cared for by each society, 
though "squadrons" had given place to modern districts. The cen- 
tral district of the First Soctiety had liberty to erect a convenient 
school-house on the gi-een noith of the meeting-house in l79o. In 
the following year a school society was organized — Luther Paine, 
clerk and treasuier. Colonel Benjamin Bacon, John Felch and Luther 
Paine were authorized to take care of the loan money. Timothy 
Backus, Rufus Baldwin, Walter Hough, Thomas Coit, Lot ]\Iorgan, 
Waldo Brown, Daniel Frost, Jesse Ensworth, school ccjnnnittee. 
Josi ih Kobinson, Elisha Paine, John Felch, Thomas Coit, Moses 
Cleveland, John Adams, Daniel Frost and Jesse Ensworth, were 
empowered to locate and bound school districts. Committees were 
thenceforward appointed by the several districts, with nine overseers 
to superintend them. 

Turnpike ])rojects called out the usual discussion and opposition. 
The town wholly "disapproved of any turnpike gate being erected at 
or near ]Mr. Samuel Barstow's l)lacksmith shop, on the great road from 
Plainfield to Windham, judging it unjust and impolitic." The j)ro- 
posed " Norwich and Woodstock turnpike," excited much opposition. 
General Cleveland at this date was usually modei'ator at town meet- 
ings, but now Colonel Benjamin Bacon was placed in the chair, and 
with Elislia Paine and David Baldwin, made a committee to confer 
with conmiittees fi'om other towns, and oppose the laying out of this 
turnpike. John Francis and Nathan Adams, representatives to General 
Assembly, were also instructed to oppose the same, and use tlieir 
influence to procure the rejection of the committee's report. As 
usual in such cases their oi)position was unavailing and in May, 1801, 
Moses Cleveland, William Adams, Asa Bacon, Luther Paine and 
Jedidiah Johnson of (Canterbury, were incorporated with gentlemen 
of other towns as "The Norwich and Woodstock Turnpike Company. " 
Its first meeting was held the following September at the tavein of 
Jedidiah Johnson ; a committee was chosen to assess damages and 
the road speedily constructed. The great road leading to Windham 
was also made a turnpike in 1799, and a gate erected near the centre 
of the town. Upon petition of the AVindham Tui-npike Company a 
change was made in 1804, the central gate removed to near the 
dividing Hue between Canterbury and Windham, and a new gate 
placed near the line between Canterbury and Plainfield. The high- 
way running north and south through Westminster Society was a 



310 HISTORY OF -WIxnilAM COUNTV. 

public tlioiouuflifai'O fi'oin lime iiniiiciuorial, accDinuKxlatiug travel 
from Xovwieh town to tlic IMassacliusctts line. The earliest laying 
out of this road has not been recovered, but it was improved froni 
time to time and made more ])assable. Kough Held stones were used 
to mark off' the miles. It is said that in the original survey the road 
was marked out to run a due north and south line over Westminster 
Plain, but that the occupant of the old Parks tavern nearly half a 
mile eastwai'd, fearing to lose custom lay in wait for the engineers, 
and so plied them with licpior and courtesies tliat they consented to 
Lay out the road to accommodate the tavei'n, intersecting the original 
sui'vey al)out one-and a-fourth miles from the ])oiiit of deviation. A 
highway was laid out in 178o, from Ephraini Lyon's Potash works to 
Parker Adams' mill, crossing the south part of the town. Stephen 
Butts and Phinehas Carter were also manufacturers of potash. ^Ir. 
Carter afterwards carried on coopering, on (juite a large scale in 
Westminster village, emjtloying tVoin four to six hands in the winter 
season. Tanneries were now establislied in several ]»arts of the town. 
The extreme west of Canterl)ury was first settled by one or more 
families of Downing.s, who gave their name to the brook in their 
vicinity, ran mills and set out orchards. A somewhat isolated com 
munity, they had little to do with the general affairs of the town ; 
were fond of frolic and dancing and enjoyed the re|)Ute of having 
plenty of money. Saw and grist-mills were canied on successfully 
by the Morses and Bi'adfords in the North Society, a dam being 
allowed on Rowland's Brook in 1S04. 

President Uwight in his "Travels " reported Canterbury as suffering 
much from lack of clergymen, want of harmony and declension 
of morals. Standing and Separate churches wei'e alike affected. 
Nathaniel Niles, Samuel Hopkins, Job Swift, sui)plied the pulpit in 
the First society at irregular intervals. The Separate church enjoyed 
the occasional ministrations of some wandering Separate or '' Lyon, 
the Baptist." Li 1784, attempts were made to unite both congrega- 
tions under the ministry of Rev. Solomon JNIorgan, the standing 
church voting, "That there is a willingness and freedom that tiie 
members of the Separate chui-ch should meet with us in hearing the 
preaching of the Gospel, and have erpial jirivileges with us if they 
desire it." Capt. Cobb, Asa Bacon, Dr. Gideon Welles, Samuel 
Adams, Jun. and Samuel Ensworth were appointed a committee to 
confer with one ai)i)ointed by the Separates. A Confession of Faith, 
Heads of Agreement and Covenant, were accordingly drawn up and 
sio-ned by a lumiber of the members of both churches, and it seemed 
likely that they would unite and go on in peace and good agreement, 
but ou calling a meeting to confer res[»ecling the settlement of a 



CHURCH DISAGREEMENT, ETC. 



311 



jiiinisler it nppearetl tliat tlie a(l(>i)(e(l uitick'S were not undpistood 
alike by both paities, and ibey were not disposed to ])ractice alike 
on them, " whereby the good ends and ninoh-wished-for liappy nnion 
between the atbiesaid ehuiches were likely to prove abortive, and 
come to an end." Eaeh cliureh was then recpiested to state in 
writing the matter of dispute and difl^erenee between them. John 
Baeon, David Kinne, Daniel Frost. John B. Adams and Esther Fish, 
in behalf of the Standing- chureh, therefore gave it as theii' opinion, 
''That the real cause of disagreement was the question, 'Who shall be 
the Council to oidain our minister in case we are happy enougli to 
agree in one, and who shall administer ordinanees to us occasionally 
when destitute of a settled minister?'" — to which they answeied, 
"That although they were willing tliat any of their brethren should 
occasionally partake and commune with those churclies and ministei'S 
that are ealled 8e]iarate and jiraclice lay ordination, and that those 
ministers should i)reach amongst us occasionally, yet they did not 
judge it 2»ro}jer or expedient that any of the above-mentioned ministers 
should assist as council in the ordination of our minister, oi- admin- 
ister ordinances to us as a body ; and on their part, they did not 
judge it expedient or proper to have those ministers ofHeiate that 
were oifensive to their Se[)arate biethren, esjiecially those that practise 
upon the 8todard-ean Plan, but did mean to have full fellowship with 
such churches as are settled upon and practise according to what is 
called the Edward-ean Plan." 

The Separates a])parently leceived this as a clear and satisfactory 
statement of the cause of difference, but declined to accept the 
situation. The Standing church and society proceeded to call Mr. 
Morgan to settlement. Farther attempts weie made to compound the 
difference. The Reverends Paul I^ark, John Palmer, Levi Hunt and 
Micaiah Porter, convened at their summons, tendei'ly ui-ged their 
Separate brethren to labor to agree on some churches and ministers 
with whom they could a/l hold fellowship in gospel ordinances and 
institutions, reserving to each individual tlie libei'ty of personal 
communion with such churches and ministers as they jnight judge to 
be for their editication. Before the installation of Mr. ^lorgan another 
effort was made by both churches. The Reverends Joseph Snow of 
Providence, John Cleveland of Ipswich (ex[)elled from college forty 
years before for attending worship with this same Sei)arate church), 
Timothy Stone of Lebanon, Paul I'aik of Preston, John Staples and 
Micaiah Porter, met in council, and unanimously agreed: — 

" 1. As to the case of Capt. Shepherd and his wife, the clua'ch from which 
they withdrew should take oil" the censure from those persons. 

2. Tlie Council was persuaded that there was a ditlercnce l)etween the two 
churches, which iu their view appeared so important that they saw uo 



312 HISTOKV OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

prospect of ;i happy iiiii(Mi, and could only advise llieiu for the present to 
maintain a spirit of Cliristian forbearance until God should open the way lor 
them to be of one mind and one jud^iuient. 

3. But whereas there was a prospect in the view of some that a door 
miijht by-and-ljy be opened for the removal of those things that made the 
difference Ijetween these churches and others under similar circumstances, 
the Council advised that both churches and coni^regations should unite 
together in the public worship of God, attending on the ministry of the Word 
as at present dispensed and cultivate harmony, if this may be consistent 
Avith their views and feelings — but, if they cannot thus agree, advised each 
church and congregation to set np and maintain that worship and order 
Avhich appears to them most agreeable to the mind of God, without giving 
any disturbance or molestation to each other." 

The Separates therefore called a meeting September 29, and with 
a gleam of their foinier s])irit, voted : — 

" 1. Respecting advice of Council, concerning Capt. Shepherd and liis wife, 
as the Council has given no reasons why this church should take otf their 
censure, nor otlered any light upon the matter, they cannot consistently take 
otf their censure till proper rei)eutauce is manifested to the church by the 
persons aforesaid. 

2. With respect to the advice of Council that both churches and congre- 
gations uiHte together in public worship, attending upon the Word as at 
present dispensed here, if this is understood to mean the ministry of Mr. 
Morgan, we can by no means comply therewith. Or if this advice should be 
construed to mean that we meet together as we have done for ihree mouths 
past by having equal privileges in carrying on the public worship, we cannot 
conscientiously comply with advice in this respect. 

Therefore, in the thiril place, we are willing to comply, and do hereby 
comply with that part of the advice of Council, which advises each church 
and congregation to set up and maintain that worship and order which to 
them appears most agreeable to the mind of God. And we think it our duly 
at present to set up and maintain public worship as a distinct body from the 
people under the charge of Mr. Morgan." 

On the following day, September 30, Mr. Morgan was installed 

over the Standing church. Eliashib Adams and Daniel Frost now 

served as its deacons ; Joseph Moore was afterwards added. Waller 

Hough succeeded John Felch as clerk of the society. The Separates 

endeavored to carry out their resolutions but were unable to find a 

pastor, and became in time more reconciled to Mr. Morgan, who took 

great pains to conciliate them and unite the churches. He was so 

far successful tliat in 17.S8 about thiity of the more prominent 

Separates — including Moses, Timothy, Tracy and Eliphaz Cleveland, 

Benjamin, Jacob and Sanmel Bacon, Joiin and James Adams, William 

and Jacob Johnson, Lullier Paine, Tliomas Boswell and others — gave 

in their names and returned to the First Society. The remaining 

members of the Separate church i)ersisted in separation, and now 

removed tlieir meeting-house to the north part of the town, where 

they gatiiered a small congregation, ^^'illiam, son of A\ illiam and 

Mary (Clevehuid) Biadfurd, was graduated fi'om New Jersey College 

in 1774 and ordained to the ministry, and after teaching and pi'eaching 

in various fields, returned to his old home in the tiorth part of 

Canterbury, and assumed the chaige of this Separate fiock. His 



GENERAL CHURCH AND TOWN AFFAIRS, ETC. 313 

bi-dtliers, Moses and Ebenezer Iji'adfonl, botli entered the ministry, the 
latter settling in Rowley. 

The few Baptists in C-anterbuiy were extremely irregular in faith 
and practice, as well as in mode and place of worship. They held to 
what was called " mi.ved communion," and with a small number of 
similar churches, foi'med Groton Conference. Ca|)t. Ephraim Lyon 
was one of the pillars of this clique, as ready to fight for religious as 
for civil freedom, but after a time he is rejiorted to have become a 
Methodist, and his associates lost coherence and visibility. Some had 
been led away by the elo(][uence of Elhanan Winchester, baptized in 
Canterbury by Elder El)enezer Lyon, who after a brilliant career as a 
Baptist pojnilar preacher, had embi'aced the doctrine of LTniversal 
Salvation. Dr. Cogswell reports many I'niversalists in Canterbury, 
who despised and tlouted Mr. Morgan and seemed likely to do much 
damage. Several united with the Universalist Society of Oxford, then 
under the pastoral charge of Kev. Tliomas Barnes, who frequently 
held service in Canterbury and other Windham towns. So much 
interest was excited that meetings were advertised in school-houses, 
"to discuss whether the doctrine of universal salvation could be 
proved from Scripture." 

So widely had fiee o])inions leavened the town that in 1791, the 
First Society voted to admit occasionally to preach in the meeting- 
house on Lord's Day, preachers of the Gospel of different persuasions 
from the present established sentiments, ])rovided those men should 
be persons of good moral charactei' and pi'ofessors of the clnistian 
religion, which shall be at the oi)tion of the present society committee, 
and their successors. This vote, opening the pulpit to " Friend 
Barnes," as he was called, and other heterodox preacliers, occasioned 
much disturbance, and after some yeai's of controversy the chui'ch 
prevailed u|)on the society to reconsider and revoke, and grant the 
control of the pulpit to the pastor. This decision gave great offence 
to Canterbury's spii-ited young men who were fully imbued with the 
j revolutionary spirit of the day, averse to orthodox piinciiiles and 
I preaching, and eager for a new meeting-house and minister, better 
music and other modern imjirovements. A movement was instantly 
I set on foot to oi'ganize as an " Inde]>endeiit Catholic Christian society," 
after the pattern of one just formed in Pomfret, and met with 
1 great favor. Fifty of the leading men of Canterbury signified their 
} dissent " from the doctrine preached and hehl by minister, church and 
j society," and pledged their names to the new organization. This 
great defection filled church and society with consternation. A com- 
mittee was at once appointed to confer with those who have lately 
separated from us, and also with Mr. Morgan, to see if they can devise 
40 



314 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

ways to acconnnodate matters and i)revt'iit division. Tlie members of 
the Independent Catliolic Society weie most earnestly besought to unite 
themselves with tlie old society, " so that we may unitedly support 
the social and public worship in a more decent and respectable man 
ner, and better promote our s|>iiilual editieation." In i-esponse to their 
entreaties, a council was held, viz. : — the Rev. Messrs. Hart, lienediet, 
Whitney, Staples, Lee and Porter, with Asa Bacon, John Felch an<l 
Thomas Coit to wait ui)on them. Thi-ouu;h their mediation accom- 
modation was effected. Mr. Morgan was dismissed from his charge, 
and old and new societies united — signing the following Articles of 
Agreement : — 

" Artici.k I. Charity, which is so strongly inciilcatod in Divine Revelation, 
and dechircd to be an essential christian duty, teaches us at all times to con- 
cede towards each other in our religious associations. We will therefore 
never withhold from each other a convenient and proper opportunity of 
receiving such ditterent christian instructors as may be agreeable to their 
consciences — paying at all times a decent regard to engagements and priority 
of appointments. 

Akt. II. Whenever it shall be judged prudent and best to build a meeting- 
house, or procure instruments of music that will render the wor>hii) of God 
decent, orderly and graceful, the same shall be done bj' free and voluntary 
donations and used for the purposes assigned by the donors. 

Dexemher 26, 171)7." 

This breach being healed, some improvements were effected. Five 
choristers were appointed, and a committee "to promote psalmody." 
A bell was procured by voluntary subscription, its ringing regulated 
by the society committee. In 1799, it was voted to build a meeting- 
house with a steeple. Asa Ba<;on, Jun., and Ivufns Adams, committee 
to procure subscriptions, tailed to secure sufHcieiit encouragement. 
The jjroposal to unite witli Westminster Society in building a new house 
of worship in the centre of the town was ecpuilly unsuccessful. The 
liberty granted by the Assembly of raising fifteen hundred dollars by 
a lottery encouraged the society to continue its efforts. Other sums 
were procured by private subset iption, and in 1805 a new meeting- 
house was completed to the satisfaction of all ])arties. Daniel C. 
Banks and Thaddeus Fairbanks had supplied the pulpit during this 
interim. 

The Westminster Society shared in the general growth and pros- 
perity of the town, alloyed by occasional providential visitations and 
local differences. Dr. Cogswell in bis diary, July 2, 17S8, reports the 
devastations of a terrific thunder-storm — a black cloud seemed to 
settle down upon AVestminster Pai ish ; hail nineteen inches deep ; 
glass much fractured ; grain and grass lodged ; gardens destroyed, so 
that people in neighboring towns sent relief to the sufferers — and also [ 
ineconcilable feuds between prominent church members that seemed 
likely to lead to the dismissal of Mr. Staples, but which like the hail- 



WESTMINSTER SOCIF^TV, ETC. 315 

stoi-iii left no lasting impi-ess. To outward a])j)earanco tlioie was more 
than usual harmony in the society. Deacon Eliashil) Adams often 
presided in society meetings. Deacon Herrick and Captains William 
Ilebard and Joseph IJurgess served as committee ; Stephen Butts, 
clerk ; Nathaniel Butts, collector. Joseph Hebard and Elijah Mer- 
rick tilled the useful office of chorister. Committees were appointed 
from time to time to seat the meeting-house. John Park had liberty 
in 1787, to take up four of the lower seats and replace them by four 
decent pews after the constiuction of those called pillai"-pews, provided 
he gave up the same when built to the society. George Williamson, 
Captain Ilebai'd, Sherebiah and Stephen Butt and Rufus Darbe, were 
authorized " to confer respecting the heavy tax thit now lies on the 
society for the payment of the minister's salary." An abatement of 
thirty pounds was accepted by Mr. Staples. To prevent a i ecurren(;e 
of such difficulty a movement was instituted for "a i)erpelual fund 
for the purpose of supporting a pieaclied Gospel, performed by 
men of zeal, practical piety, Calvinistic principles, and approved by 
Windham County Association," which resulted in tht? subscription of 
more than six hundred pounds.* Thus well established with fund and 
convenient house of worslii|i, the society \vas little inclined to favor 
the ])roposed reunion witii the First Society, but considered the ques- 
tion so far as to affix for a central site, a S})Ot " within twenty rods of 
turnpike road, between the houses of Dr. Gideon Welles and Mr, 
Samuel Baistow." Mr. Staples continued to discharge his ministerial 
duties with fidelity and acceptance till 'he died and rested from his 
labors, February 15, 1804, in the 61st year of his age and 82d of 
his ministry — ministei's not being suflereil to continue by reason of 
death." Called up in the night to pray with a dying mother of the 
church, he neglected to put on his accustomed ^r/r/, and either taking 
cold in conscMpience, or taking the fever from the aged lady, he 
followed her to the grave in a few days. His death maile a great 
im})i-ession upon all his flock, and especially upon the young people 
who had ever regarded " Priest Stai»les " with the most revei'ential 
affection. The funeral was conducted with the usual elaborate for- 
malitv. The bereaved church continued faithfuUv to observe the usual 



*SuBSCRiBKUS TO iTXD : MarvDuvis, Joseph Saflord, Thomas Jewett, 
Snneon Park, Heiiheii I'ark, David Muiiro, .Joseph Butts, Phiiiehas Carter, 
Asa Burgess, Joiiatliau Kiiii^sbury, Jonas Carv, Abner Robinson, William 
Howard, John Monro, David ^lunro, lUifus Darbe, John Barstow, James 
Howard, Gideon Butts, William Ripley, William D. Foster, Jabez Fox, 
Josiah, David, Asa. anil John Butts, John Staples, Charles Justin, Samuel 
Barstow, John Smith, Sherebiah and Stephen Butts, Ebonezer Park, Jonas 
Bond, William Carew, Ilezekiah Barstow, Peter Woodward, Robert Herrick, 
Ephraim Satlbrd, Joseph Adams, Joshua Raymond, Joseph Rayasford, Rufus 
Johnson, James Burnap, Benjamin Rayusford, Bethuel Bond. 

December I'd, 17'JS. 



316 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

seasons of worshij), and also instituted a special incetino;- foi- religious 
exercises on the first Wednesday of every month. In N()vernl)er, a 
call was extended to llev. Erastus Larned of Charlton, with a salary 
of $333.34. Mr. Larned accepting. Dr. Whitney, Messrs. Lee and 
Weld wei'e invited to carry forward a prepai'atoi-y service of fasting. 
A committee was then aj)pointed to prepare the meeting-house for 
installation, and preserve order and regulaiity during the exercises. 
Mr. John Barstow's generous ofter to make provision for the council 
was accepted with thankfulness. Eleven ministers and piobably an 
equal number of delegates, partook of the pi-offered hos])itality, and 
the installation was effected to general satisfactii)n. ^U: Larned won 
like his predecessor the affection of his people, and reared like him a 
large family of children who shared the fi-iendjy regard of the parish. 
A bequest from his father, ^Ir. James Larned of Killingly, enabled 
him to build a convenient liouse opposite the meeting house. The 
widow of Mr. Staples occupied the house built by her husband, and 
her sons and daughters grew up to fill honorable positions in New 
Yoi'k and New Haven. Seth P. Staples, long remembered in West- 
minster for boyish pranks and subsequent benefactions, attained to 
ranch eminence. 

In care of its public schools Westminster vied with tlie older 
society. Alexander Gordon, Samuel Barstow and Asa Nowlen were 
a})pointed to oversee the schooling in 1787. Nine districts were set 
out, and Sherebiah Butts, John Barstow, Isaac Backus, Ivoswell 
Parish, Joseph Raynsfoid, Joshua IJaymond, Daniel Downing, Uobert 
Herrick and Nathaniel Smith, made each collector and committee-man 
for his respective district. With increasing travel brought by 
turnpike, and improved business facilities, Westminster village became 
a place of more impoitance. Its first resident physician was Dr. Kufus 
Johnson, brother of Col. Jedidiah Jolmson, who j)urchased a strip 
of the meeting-house gi-een in 1790, where after a time he built a 
dwelling-house. Captain Ste|)hen T^utts entertained travelers in an 
old house adjoining. The old " Ford house " on the Norwich road, 
and the Parks tavern-house, were said to be the oldest houses in the 
vicinity. 

Lack of endowment and suitable building accommodations com- 
pelled Canterbury in 1801 to yield her honored "master" to the older 
institution in Plainfield. Asa Bacon, Jun., had now crossed over to 
Litchfield. William P. Cleveland after a brief practice in Brooklyn 
had settled in New London. The emigration movement had broken 
out with renewed vigor, and many " Canteibury pilgrims " were 
wending their way to distant States. Captain .Tosiah Cleveland, of 
Bunker Hill fame, removed to Owego. N. Y. Dr. Azel, son of 



Wr^STMINSTER SOCIETV, ETC. 317 

"VVillinm Enswortli, settled southward in Palmyra, and was ninch 
respected "as an active, exemplary and influential citizen." A 
pleasant eminence in Rome called Canterbury Hill in honor of its 
first settlers, became the residence of Gideon. John, Elisha and Daniel 
Butts, Samuel and Asa Smith, Samuel Williams, Thomas Jewett, 
Daniel W. Knight, and other roving sons of Canterbury. Elinshib 
Adams, Jun., Elijah Heirick and ^Villiam liingham attempted 
settlement in Lewis County, near Lake Ontario, but Ilerrick was 
drowned in crossing Black River and Adams finally settled in iNIaine. 
Deacon Eliashib Adams, now far advanced in years, followed this son 
to a temi>orary home in Massachusetts. Alexander Goixlon sought 
fortune in the far South : William ^loore estal)lished himself in the 
snows of Canada. General Cleveland's connection with the Western 
Reserve Company may have led some emigrants to turn their 
thoughts to the Northwestern Terriloiy, but no Canterbury names 
a])pear among the early settlers of New Connecticut. His own name 
alieady marked the site of the beautiful city that now adorns the 
southei'u shore of Lake Erie. In 1796, he had gone out as commander 
of an expedition sent by the Connecticut Land Comjjany to survey and 
settle the Westei-n Reserve. After a wearisome journey through the 
State of New York, and a successful conference with the chief of the 
Six Nations at Buftalo, they "arrived at the confines of New Connecti- 
cut and gave three cheers, precisely at 5 o'clock P. M., July 4." This 
auspicious arrival on the day memorable as the birthday of Amei'ican 
Lidependence, and also " memorable as the day on which the settle- 
ment of this new country was coiiimenced," seemed to demand "a just 
tribute " of respect. The men ranged themselves on the beach and 
fired a Federal salute of fifteen rounds, and then the sixteenth in 
honor of "New Connecticut." They gave three cheers and christened 
the place Fort Independence. Suitable toasts were drank : — 

" 4. May the Fort of Independence and the fifty sons and daughters who 
have entered it tliis day be successful and prosperous. 5. May their sous and 
daughters multiply iu sixteen years, sixteen times tifty." 

" Closed with three cheers. Drank severals pails of grog, supped 
and retired in remarkable good order."* July 7, General Cleveland 
held a council with the resident Indians, exchanged gifts and 
greetings, and smoked the pipe of peace and friendship. July 22, 
he coasted along Lake Erie and up the swampy banks of the 
Cuyahoga River till an Indian trail opened a path through the 
thicket, where he landed, and quickly mounting the bluif took 
possession of the site of Cleveland City. The " original plan of the 



* Extracts from Journal of General Cleveland. 



318 HISTOKV OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

town and villajj^o of Cle\elan(l, Ohio," was coniplt'lod October 1, 
]7!H). (icneral (levclaiid's energy, decision and buoyancy of spirit, 
adiniral)ly tilted him to command in this im[)ortant enterprise, wliicli 
he accomplislied to tiie apparent satisfaction of all concerned. He 
was very popular with the Indians, whom in person he strongly 
reseml)led. His complexion was very dark ; his figure scpiare and 
strong, and the Indian dress which he wore upon this expedition so 
completed the likeness that the Indians themselves were ready to 
claim him as a brother. His connection with tlie Ohio settlement 
brought him honor, but little pecuniary piofit. He continued through 
life very ])romineiit in public aflfairs. His popularity at home was 
shown by the length of time he was retained in his military command 
when scarce a year was allowed to ordinaiy incumbents. He was 
sent as representative of the town whenever at liberty to acce])t the 
oifice, and intrusted with many important services. Under his 
direction the lamented death of General Washington was properly 
observed by the Masonic brethren and other citizens of Windham 
County. The IVind/iam Herald reports: — 

" Feb. 27. 1800. 

On Saturday last, in compliance with the recommendation enjoined in tlie 
Proclamation of the President of tlie United States, tlie iiiliabitants of this, 
and many from adjoining towns, togetlier with a miml)er of the brethren of 
Moriah and Eastern Star Lodges, met at Mr. Staiiiford's, according to pre- 
vious notice ; from whence they walk'd in procession to the meeting-house, 
preceded by a military escort in uniform, and a baud of music, where they 
united to offer their undissembled tribute of respect to the memory of 
General Geokge Washington, the Father, Friend, and Protector of his 
country. The solemn services were appropriate, well performed, and very 
much contributed to awaken the feelings of a great assemblage of mourners. 
The Address of Gen. Wamiinoton, to the people of the United States, ou 
his retiring from olfice, and declining their future sulfrages, was read; the 
estimation of its worth and excellence by the people present, could not have 
been better expressed, than by the decorum and silence observed while it was 
reading; after which, an oration, liy Gen. Cleveland, Master of Moriah Lodge, 
called to mind the great sacrifice of blood and treasure which the struggle 
for independence cost us, and imi)ressed the miuti with gratitude for the 
invaluable gift of Providence, in the Man, who tinall}' led us thro' the perils 
of war, to the Ark of Safety. 

After the exercises were over, the procession returned, and soon after 
dispersed, leaving, we lieiieve, not a single trait of indecorum, to cast a 
shade on the good order which had been observed thro' the da}'." 

General Cleveland's death in ISOfi, at the age of tifty-two, was 
greatly lamented at home and throughout the Slate, and his obsequies 
surpassed in dignified ceremony anything ever before seen in 
Canteibury. 



PLAINFIELD CHURCH IN PURSUIT OF A PASTOR, ETC. 319 



IX. 

PLAINFIELD CHURCH IN PURSUIT OF A PASTOR. NEW MEETING- 
HOUSE. DR. BENEDICT. FLOURISHING ACADEMY. 
DISTINGUISHED CITIZENS. TOWN AFFAIRS. 

THE xuiilt'd clmich of Plaiiifield met witli many trials and di.s- 
appointments in re-scttling tlie minislry attei- tlie loss of Mr. 
Fuller. Having voted " to proceed upon prineii)les of Christianity 
Avitliout being diiected by rules of civil law,'' tliey appointed a 
committee to supiply the pulpit and agreed to raise money for its 
support by subscription. But to raise money by free contributions 
at a time of so much scarceness proved so arduous an enteiprise 
tliat they decided to resort to the expedient of a fund, and appointed 
General John Douglass, James Bradford, Esq., William Ivobinson, 
Dr. Perkins, Captain Joseph Eaton, Perry Clark, John Cady, Ephinim 
Wheeler, Ca])t. Samuel Hall, Elias Woodwaid, committee to diaw up 
subscriptions for that purpose. Several subscriptions had been 
attained, and the project seemed likely to be successful, when it was 
discovered "that the people had proceeded in a manner that the law 
would not own." The woild was not sufticiently advanced to aHow 
Christians to carry on business allairs without lecognition of "rules 
of civil law," and tlie church was obliged to^ retrace its steps and 
appoint "Stephen Kingsbury, who had been a legal society clerk, to 
assist and direct to warn a legal society meeting." Tiiis being 
accomplished, and legal requirements satisfied, the subscription went 
forward and a few hundred dollars were secui'ed for the foundation 
of a fund. To this was added in 178"^, the sum of two hundred 
pounds ])rocured by the lease for 999 years of the old cedar swamp. 
No stated minister was yet procured. Mr. U[)Son preached five 
months; Mr. Alexander five weeks. The congregation met during 
the winter seasons at the Brick school-house, " read sermons and 
])rayed." A confeience was held on the first Monday of evei'v month 
in the meeting-house. The eyes of the church weie very mucli uj)on 
Mr. Job Swift, who had made himself very popular while ]>i'eaching 
at Canterbury, and Captain Eaton took a joui-ney across the State to 
Nine Partnei's to confer with this favorite, and had a " prosj)ect of 
getting him, but a remarkable unanimity in the church where he was 
prevented his coming." Joshua Spalding of Killingly preached to 
]»ublic acceptance. Ephraim Judson was invited to i)i-each but 
preferred to settle in Taunton : Micaiah Porter declined overtures in 
favor of Voluntown. Again Mr. Swift ap])eared on the scene, but 
after a long interval of suspense decided against them. Conferences 



320 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

and deacon's nu'ctings became at length so tliinly attended tliat 
the cliurch closed the dilapidated meeting-house for a season and 
let the jteople go where they fancied. Mr. Morgan was then 
secured for a time, but yielded to more urgent appeals from 
Canterbury. David Avery was next invited to settlement, "answer 
long delayed and dubious at last." Wearied and discouraged, the 
church remitted its efforts to procui-e a pastor, and joineil with the 
town in attempts to secure a more eligible and attractive house of 
worship. May 10, 1784, a large number of prominent citizens, viz. : — 
Captain Joshua Dunlnp, Joseph Shepard, Timothy Lester, Dr. Ebene- 
zer Robinson, Major Andrew Backus, Captain Abraham Shepard, 
James Bradford, General John Douglas, William Dixon, Esq., Stephen 
Claik, Dr. Elisha Perkins, Nathaniel Parks, Elias Woodward, Jabez 
Tracy, Samuel Fox and Ephraim Wheeler, were appointed committee 
by the town to deliberate upon the very important question " of a 
proper place for erecting a new meeting-house about to be built in this 
town." Population was now gravitating towards the Academy 
and turnpike, and it was decided to build in this vicinity 
upon land puicliased of Messrs. Jesse and Ezekiel Fox. Upon 
memorial of William Dixon the County Court confirmed this 
decision, and affixed the site of Plainfield meeting-house " on a lot 
of land belonging to Esquire Fox, west side of country road that 
leads north and south through the town, and west of Proprietor's 
Hall." According to previous agreement no tax could be levied for 
religious puiposes, and the meeting-house was built by subscription 
and contribution. In October, Rev. Joel Benedict, already favorably 
known as pastor at Newent, came to preach on probation. At a 
church meeting held at Mi-. William Robinson's, Deacon Samuel 
AVarren served aa moderator. Dr. Elisha Perkins, clerk; — voted with- 
out one dissenting vote to call Mr. Jjenedict " if it be agreeable to the 
society and support be obtained in a gosj)el way." This call was 
accepted, and December 22, 1784 — "having examined his orthodo.vy 
in sentiment, spiritual acquaintance with divine tilings, his ability to 
teach and defend the doctrines of Christianity," and being fully satis- 
fied therewith — Mr. Benedict was happily installed into office by a 
pro{)er ministerial council. The new meeting-house was ready for 
the leception of the new pastor, and public religious worship so long 
interru])ted was estal^lished to general satisfaction. 

Plainfield Academy so prosjjcrously opened during the war con- 
tinued to flourish "beyond the most sanguine expectation," of its 
projectors, numbering " one hundred and upwards of youth from 
abroad," together with a large number from their own town. A 
petition laid before the General Assembly, January 13, 1783, repre- 



DR. BENEDICT, ETC. 321 

sented tliat the petitioners had erected suitable buildings for the 
reception and accommodation of youth, namely, one good and con- 
venient brick house, and an elegant new hall or house, and were 
preparing to erect another house, for the use and benefit of said 
academy, and begged to be made a body corporate and politic. After 
a year's delay the request was granted, and Ebenezer Pemberton, 
Hon. Samuel Huntington, Hon. Eliphalet Dyer, Rev. Levi Hart, 
Preston ; Rev. Joseph Huntington, Coventry -, and General John 
Douglas, Major Andrew I>ackus, Dr. Elisha Perkins, Captain Joseph 
Dunlap, William Robins(.)n, Samuel Fox, Ebenezer Eaton and Heze- 
kiah Spalding of Plainfield, with such others as the proprietors shall 
elect (not exceeding thirteen in the whole), were made a body cor- 
porate and politic by the name of "The Trustees of the Academic 
School in Plainfield," and invested with ample i)Owers for managing 
the afi^'airs of the school. Only two schools had then been incorpo- 
rated in Connecticut — the Union School, New London, and Staples 
School, Weston — and Plainfield Academy held a high position in 
popular favor. Its rector was one of the most accomplished teachers 
of the day, and its patrons and directors were among the leading men 
of the State. The village was pleasant and healthful, and its most 
respectable residents were proud of the school, and ready to open 
their homes and hearts to the stranger students. Dr. Perkins though 
now so much engrossed with the duties of his profession was alive to 
the interests of the Academy, receiving even scores of lads into his 
own family when boarding-places were scanty. A prudential com- 
mittee of three was chosen annually from the directors, who had 
charge of the buildings and supervision of the financial department, 
while a stringent code of by-laws regulated the department of the 
pupils. These laws provided : — 

" That no scholar shall go to the tavern for purpose of entertainment 
•without leave from his father, guardian or rector. 

No scholar from abroad and boarding in any family shall remove to any 
other family unless so directed by his or her parents or guardian, or liberty 
from the rector. 

No scholar shall keep a gun, or go on a shooting party, or ride out, or leave 
the town, or absent himself at any time from the school without leave from 
the rector. 

No scholar shall purchase anything at any store on credit without a written 
order from his parent or guardian, or leave from the rector. 

No scholar shall appear in the Academy or in public in extravagant, slovenly 
or indecent dress. 

No immoral, indecent or profane language, or improper conduct shall be 
allowed in any scholar at any time, but all such breaches of good morals shall 
be exemplarily punished. 

No scholar t^hall be allowed to stroll the street or fields on Sunday, but it 
shall be required of every one to attend on public worship, and to behave with 
becoming decency and propriety." 

41 



322 



HISTOKY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 



It wns voted tliat the IJegnlations of the ^Vcarleniy i^hould he read 
in open school at the coniniene'eineiit of each (juaiter, and an official 
ins]iector was maintained to note and re)X)rt intVaetions. 

The third Academic building known as "The White Ilall," about a 
mile south of the others, was soon conijjleted and occu])ied by the 
English department under the charge of Mr. Alpheus Hatch, a faitli- 
ful and comj)etent instructor. The Mathematical dejiartment in llie 
brick school-house was assigned to Mr. >s'athan Dabolh the authoi- of 
the "Schoolmaster's Assistant, beii g a [ilain, ])iactical System of 
Arithmetic " — a work highly commended by competent authority and 
recommended to public patronage. The principal academic building, 
known as "The New Hall," was devoted to classical instruction nnder 
the immediate chaige of Dr. Pembei ton. Many aspiring youth were 
here fitted for a longer residence in wider and moie famous halls of 
learning. Calvin Goddard, who came on foot from Shrewsbury, seek- 
ing a chance to gain an education, Nicholas Brown of Providence, 
James Lanman of Norwich, Elijah and Aiiel Parish of Lebanon, 
James L. Kingsley of Scotland, Ebenczer Pitch of Canteibury, 
William Danielson of Killingly, Alfred Johnson, Simon and Sylvanus 
Backus of Plainlield, were among the distinguished jiujnls of Dr. 
Pembeiton. Kingsley of Scotland, already noticed at home as " a 
very forwaid, likely lad," won fiesh laurels in this new field, sur])ass- 
ing older competitors in the tianslation of an elaborate Latin epitaph 
comjjosed by Dr. Benedict. So excellent was the translation that it 
was inscribed upon the tombstone — a lasting monument to Yale's 
distinguished professor as well as to Plainfield's honored citizen : — 

" In memory of Captain John Cacly ofriainficld. He was of an engaging 
aspect and deportment; his genius naturally elevated was cultivated by read- 
ing and intercourse with mankind. He had a happy faculty in the dispatch 
of business; was exemplary in the discharge of every social duty, civil or 
domestic. A professor of the Chiislian faith, a blessiuii- to mankind. He 
rests not here; he was drowned returninir from New York, November 23, 
1783, in the 40th year of his age. The glory of man is as the flower of the 
field." 

After making an effoit to secure Dr. Pemberton as " rector for life," 
the trustees weie forced to resign him in the fall of 1784, and alter a 
short sojourn in AVindham, he became the ])rincii)al of Phillips 
Academy at Andover. Mr. Miles Merwin filled his place in Plainfield, 
to great acce])tance, but gave way lor another college graduate as 
soon as he had comj)leted his legal studies. The most serious obstacle 
to the piospeiity of the Academy was the constant change of teachers. 
The rectorship was administered by a series of young graduates, who 
oidy engaged in teaching while fitting for other piofessions. Timothy 
Pitkin, Calvin Goddaid, Sylvanus Backus, Lynde Huntington, Eliphalet 
Nott and Tower Whitou, followed Mr. Merwin, each averaging less 



FIOURISHING ACADEMY, ETC. 



323 



than two years of service. John and Daniel Shepard, John D. Per- 
kins, Joseph Eaton, James Gordon, Nathan F. Dixon, ])avid Bolles 
of Ashford, Jedidiah Jolmson of Canterburj', were stndents durinsj 
tliis period. Tlie death of Mr. ITateh, who had very aV)ly snstained 
tlie Eni^lisli department for many years, was followed by a 
temporary depression when the main bnilding was closed tor a 
season, but with the advent of Mr. Benjamin Allen in 1798, 
the Academy quickly regained its standing and popularity, and 
"students came from the Carolinas, the Indies and the neighboring 
States." Mr. Allen employed for assistants Virgil Maxcy, afterwards 
Charge cTAjfaires at Belgium, and Levi Tower, the author of a system 
of penmanship that was ornamental and useful. His successors, 
Zachariah Eddy and Master John Adams, were equally successful in 
the management of the school, attracting pupils from some of ttie best 
families in the countiy. Tiie annual public exhibition held in the 
meeting-house excited hardly less interest than a College " commence- 
ment." Mr. Eddy's exhil)ition in 1800 was especially remarkable for 
the large number of '' good speakers, well drilled, with good parts. 
Among the speakers were Hem-y R. Storrs, George Perkins, George 
Hall, William and Thomas Williams (afterward of Norwich and New 
London), Samuel and Alexander H. Stevens, .John Reed, Epaphroditus 
Champion, Wilkins Updike." Storrs, afterward member of Congress, 
was called the best debater. These exhibitions so agreeable to 
speakers and hearers, and adding siich eclat to the Academy, were not 
a little burdensome to the trustees who paid the bills and had charge 
of fitting up the meeting-house. A committee was chosen each year 
to build the stage and a tax levied to meet expenses. A trusteeship 
in Plaintield Academy was not a merely honorary office, but involved 
a good deal of responsibility and outlay. Buildings were to be kept 
in repair ; a bell and belfry, a set of globes, fences, etc. to be 
provided, and any deficiency in funds was to be made up by this 
honorable body. The place of older patrons from abroad was 
gradually filled by Plainfield's own citizens, viz.: Roger Olmstead, 
Phinehas Pierce, .John Douglas, Jun., Doctors Daniel Gordon, Jo.siah 

and Jared Fuller, Calvin Goddard, Luther Smith, P\arlan 

and others — who administered Academic affiiirs with great wisdom and 
liberality. That their onerous duties were alleviated by good-humored 
fun and banter is manifested in the following vote, called out by some 
long-forgotten conjuncture : — 

"At a meeting of the Trustees of Plainfleld Academy at Capt. Elkanah 
Eaton's, in tbu eve, October 9, Voted, Tiiat each Trustee shall appear with 
his broom at the meeting-house, loth instant, at 2 P. M., to sweep the 
meeting-house, and should he or they not appear, he or they should pay 
twenty-five cents." 



324 HISTORY OF WINnilAM COUNTY. 

A floUur each Avas also levied for the expense of the forthcoming 
exhibition. 

The cordial intei'est manifested in the students by the residents of 
the town and their intimate association with many hospitaVile liomes, 
left an abiding impression u])()n many who enjoyed these privileges. 
Gen. Williams of Norwich gives pleasant reminiscences of his school 
days: — 

" I recnll the remembrance of many of tlie students of Plaiufield Academy 
that have been distinjjuished in professional life, and others who have been 
practical business men. Among the former, Hon. Henry Wheaton, distin- 
j;iiished as a scholar and editor, but more as the American Minister at the 
Court of Berlin; Samuel Hubbard, LL.D., judge of the Supreme Court of 
Massachusetts; James Hamilton, governor of South Carolina; Henry K. 
Storrs, member of Congress from the State of New York: John P. Cushman, 
at one time United States District judge of New York; Wilkins Updyke, 
late attorney-general of Rhode Island; Walter Wheaton, M. D., surgeon of 
the U. S. Army; Samuel and Alexander Stevens, sons of Gen. Ebene/.er 
Stevens of Kevolutionary memory — the former associated with DeWitt 
Clinton in political life, and the other eminent as a practitioner in the 
medical department. In the mei'cantile profession (of which Gen Williams 
was himself an honored example) was my brother, Hon. Thomas W. 
Williams of New London, who has also been a member of Congress, besides 
many who became practical business men. Among these were Col. Increase 
I. Wilson, Francis Allen, Henry Perkins, George Starr and Adam Frink, 
Esqrs., of New London. Capt. Allen resided for a long time in New London. 
His course as a ship-master and a merchant was distinguished. The honor 
of escorting as a guest and passenger the Maniuis do LaFayette, in his 
memorable visit to this country in 1824, belongs to him. There were also at 
the Acadeni)', the Messrs. iJenison and Messrs. Palmer of Stonington. The 
school was organized for l)Oth sexes, and the arrangement was quite like the 
division in our evening conference meetings. It may not be irrelevant to 
notice among the young ladies, Miss Catherine Puinam, granddaughter of 
General Putnam of the Revolution, who mari'ied Francis Brinley, Esq., of 
Boston; the Misses Lester of Preston — one of whom married Hon. Lemuel 
Pomeroy of Pittsfield, Mass.; Miss Betsey Siieldon. who marrieil N. 
Ilowland, Esq., of Brooklyn, New York; Miss Harriet Bowen of Providence, 
who married Commodore Charles Morris of the U. S. Navy; Miss Nancy 
Allen, who married Thomas W. Williams of New London, with many others 
■who have adorned society by their example and their intliience. 

In calling up these reminiscences of Plaintield. my remembrance has been 
revived of the many respectable families then living in Plaintield in many of 
which the scholars were received as boarders; namely: Rev. Joel Benedict, 
D.D., Gen. Gordon, Gen. Douglas, Dr. Perkins, Hon. Calvin Goddard, 
Messrs. Eaton, Bradford, Dixon, Sheparil, Smith, &c. I cherish the memory 
of Dr. Benedict's family, with whom I l)oarded a part of the time, and I love 
to contemplate the goodness of Providence to that humble, pious and learned 
minister— in the allotments of the meml)ers of the family in their marriage 
and connections in life. The impressions received at Plaintield abide with 
me still, and never do I pass up those valleys or over those hills without 
recalling a period of life, as free from its ills, and marked l)y as even, hai)py 
and progressive a tenor as any part of it. 1 believe others share in the 
same feelings for rarely have I met in after life any of those early acquaint- 
ances without nuilual gratilication in speaking of those t)y-gone y(;ars." 

Master Adams continued in charge of the Academy from the spring 
of 1801 to the f;ill of 1803. During this period he reports "about two 
hundred different pupils, ])rincipa!ly from the neighboring towns, but 
quite a number from Providence, New London, New York, &c." 



DISTINGUISHED CITIZENS, ETC. 325 

The Academy was prosperous ; as appears from the fact that the 
tuition money was abundantly sufficient to meet all ex})enses without 
absorbing any part of the income of the small, original donation. 
Among his joupils wlu) entered Yale College were Rinaldo Burleigh, 
Parker Adams, William Kiiine, Jolin Pellet, Jason Allen, David 
Bacon, Rnfus Chandler, Hezekiah Rudd, Ebenezer Young, James 
Howard, Daniel Huntington. The social attractions of Plainfield at 
this date called out anotlier by-law, viz. : — 

" That no member of the Academy shall attend a dancing school ia the 
town during the time he is a member of the Academy." 

]Mr. Rinaldo Burleigh succeeded his lionored preceptor immediately 
after his own gi'adualion from college. His eaily struggles and varied 
expeiiences pioved a valuable prei)aration for effective service and 
enabled him to sustain the reputation of the Academy. Though 
similar institutions were multiplying in all parts of the land, Plaintield 
retained its place in popular favor and sent out eveiy year a goodly 
number of graduates fitted to pursue collegiate studies, or enf^a<»■e in 
business and the various, duties of life. 

Society in Plainfield was quickened and elevated by Academic 
influence. The brilliant young graduates who served as teachers 
found in this rural town a select circle of accomplished and attractive 
young Momen and usually carried away a wife, or left their hearts 
behind them. Miles Merwin married a daughter of Dr. Perkins ; 
Preceptors Ntitt, Allen and Phinney won each the hand of a daurditer 
of Dr. Benedict. /Seven daughters graced the modest home of this 
good ministei', conspicuous alike for good looks, sense and breedino'. 
Attractive young ladies were to be found in the household of Mr. 
Luther Smith and other village residents. Plainfield was also favored 
with many intelligent and public s[)iriteil gentlemen. Its first lawyer 
was jNIr. William Dixon of Voluntown, who engaged in practice 
about 17!)0. Calvin Goddard after his brief rectorsliip also enqao-ed 
in legal pi-actice and rose at once to eminence in professional and 
public service. James Gordon, judge of Probate and general of the 
Fifth Brigade, was promoted to the major-genei'alship of the Third 
Division of Connecticut militia. Jolin Douglas, clerk of the Probate 
office, was also brigade-general. 

Plainfield's most noted citizen at tliis date was unquestionably her 
much esteemed pliysician, Dr. Perkins, whose '• Metallic Ti-actors " 
had won a world-wide reputation. Experiments in magnetic and 
electric currents had convinced him of the practicability of applyino- 
these forces for the relief of pain through the agency of pointed 
metallic instruments of opposite electrical condition. After liavino- 



326 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COUNTY. 

himself successfully tested these tractors. Dr. Perkius obtained a 
patent for his invention, and they soon came into notice. The ])ro- 
fessors of three universities in America i^ave attestations in their 
favor. Abroad, their success was ituich more signal. In Coperdiagen, 
twelve physicians and surgeons instituted a series of expei'iments and 
decided that " Perkinism " was " of great importance to the ])hysician." 
A Perkinian Institution was established in London, principally with 
the view of gratuitously in-tractorating the poor. *' Disinterested and 
intelligent characters from almost every quarter of Great Britain, 
including professors, regular physicians, surgeons and clergymen," 
testified to benefit received from the a[)plication of Tractors. It was 
claimed that the e.x;traordinary number of one-a)id-a-ha{f millions of 
cures had been actually etFected. But while so eminent in his profes- 
sion, no man was more active and useful as a citizen, more ready to 
serve town and chuich in any capacity. "Few men in the world," 
repoits Calvin Goddard, " were more public spirited, more hospitable, 
more free from all guile." The ailing poor were always cared for ; 
the needy student found in him aid and sympathy. If boarding-places 
were lacking for importunate school-boys, his hospitable doors were 
opened. Distinguished in personal appearance, he was still more 
noted for a "winning coidiality of manner," and "in address and 
colloquial powers, few of his profession cvcelled him." The fate of 
his daughtei', Mrs. Mersvin, who, with her husband and two chiMren, 
died of yellow fever in Philadelphia, 1793, turned his experiments in 
a new direction, and he concocted an antise|ttic j>reparatiou which he 
used as a preventive for the disease but fell a victim to his own 
theories, dying of yellow fever in New York city, 1799, after four 
weeks unremitting assiduity in attending the sick. Mrs. Sarah 
(Douglas) Perkins died three years before her husband. The Tractors 
after their brief "run " fell into disuse, and were ranked with the innu- 
merable delusions that have obtained transient notoriety. A volume 
called "Terrible Tractorations ' covered them with ridicule, but the 
princi))le on which they weie founded came again and again into 
notice, and his experiments in this and other fields entitled Dr. 
Perkins to a high place in the medical annals of his country. 

Plaiufield was also greatly favored during this period in the ministry 
of Mr. Benedict. Eminent alike for ]»iety, learning and practical 
wisdom, he was one of the distinguished men of his generation, a 
pillar and a power in church and community. He was an accom- 
plished Biblical scholar and critic, and especially noted for his fondness 
for the Hebrew tongue, which he was wont to call " the language of 
the angels." His preaching though mostly extemporaneous was very 
weighty and impressive, characterized rather by strength of thought 



TOWN AFFAIRS, ETC. 



327 



and force of argument than by elegance of language or delivery. In 
the iierforniance of pastoral duties he had few equals. Frail in con- 
stitution, and suftering much from bodily infirmities, he knew how to 
sym})athize in the sorrows and j)ains of others. He was ever mind- 
ful of the wants of the poor, and assiduous in attention to the sick 
and dying. Though so feeble in health he was remarkably cheerful 
and hai)py, and had the raie gift of making all ha}>py around him. 
Decided in his own religious convictions, he allowed the same liberty 
to others, and exercised a most enlightened and liberal charity towards 
those of differing opinions. Under his influence and instructions the 
party lines that had so long existed in the church were gradually 
obliterated. The radical element was drawn to the Baptists and 
Methodists, and the First church of Plainfield resumed its old position 
among the churches of the County, though not accepting Consocia- 
tion. It had so far conceded to the ecclesiastic Constitution of the 
State as to consent in 1799 to the formal organization of a religious 
society, Messrs. Bradford, Douglas and Gordon giving warning of the 
same. 

The Baptist interest in Plainfield was greatly strengthened by a 
remarkable religious awakening accompanying the labors of Elder 
Nathaniel Cole of Swanzey. A Baptist church was organized October 
16, 1792, and in December following Elder Cole .was installed as its 
pastor. IJesidents within the new town of Stei'ling and the south of 
Killingly joined with this church, so that its membership was increased 
in two years to eighty-seven. Keligious services were held in the 
Pond Hill school-house till 1800, when a meeting-house was built in 
the north part of the town. Methodist preachers had ere this found 
their way to the town, preaching in different neighborhoods, and 
organized a class and society, which in time held regular service in 
the old Separate meeting-house. 

lu 1784, the town ordered its sign-post removed to the new meet- 
ing-house lot, and appointed its meetings to be held, half the time at 
the new meeting-house near Rev. Joel Ik-nedict's dwelling-house, and 
half the time at the meeting-house in the north part of the town near 
Joseph Prior's (the old Separate house). Public deliberations were 
mainly occupied with roads and bridges. In 1784, the town voted to 
join with equal proportions as Brooklyn in building a bridge over the 
Quinebaug at Parkhurst's fordway, but this needed accommodation 
was delayed for several yeais. In 1788, it joined with Canterbury in 
rebuilding Nevins' Bridge, " with three stone pillars in the river and 
suitable timber and planks for the upper works" — David Kinne, 
"William Cutler and Ebenezer Eaton, committee. In 1790, aided by 
Brooklyn, it accomplished the new Quinebaug bridge. A requisition 



328 HISTORY OF WINDHAM COl'NTY. 

from the County Court tlie following year, ordered new attention to 
the " post road through Plainfield." Colonel Swift, Shubael Abbe and 
Captain Ezra Bishop, sent as committee, rejtorted the necessity of 
an alteration between the house of Samuel Dow in Sterling and the 
mills owned by Elisha Perkins. The highway surveyors of the town 
made new arrangements and distribution, and labored zealously to 
satisfy the traveling public but were soon called to further outlay. 
William Dixon was appointed agent to defend the town against 
petitions brought from the County Court by Ebenezer Gray and 
others, praying for an alteration in the stage road from Norwich to 
Providence thiough Plainfield, and also to oppose a petition of John 
Jefferds and Andrew Murdock praying for an alteration in the road 
leading from Brooklyn to Providence. As usual opposition availed 
nothing, and " the New London and Windham County Society for 
establishing a turnpike road from Norwich to IJhode Island line, 
direct through Norwich, Lisbon, Preston, Plainfield and Sterling," 
was incorporated in 1795. A tiiinj)ike gate was allowed in Ster- 
linor, and another " within half a mile of Plainfield meetins^-house." 
The old traveled country road from Plainfield meeting-house west- 
ward to Hartford, was turned over to the Windham Turnpike 
Company in 1799, and liberty granted to erect a turnpike gate 
near the dividing line between Plainfield and Canterbury. General 
James Gordon was a member of the several turnpike companies, and 
served as turnpike commissioner in behalf of the State. A committee 
was chosen in 1797, to attend the Tuinpike Conference held by the 
Windham County towns, and also to examine the town's property in 
roads. Bridges were built over Moosup River to accommodate 
Captain William Cutler, and Mr. John Lester, and also to accommo- 
date mills on other streams in various localities. William Robinson 
now served as town clerk, Ebenezer Eaton, treasurer ; Squire Cady, 
constable. The selectmen in 1796, were Joshua Dunlap, Jonathan 
Gallup, Caleb Hill, Jun., Benjamin Gallup; surveyors, Moses Branch, 
General James Gordon, Captain Simon Shepard, Aaron Wheeler, Dr. 
Thomas Backus, David Kinne, Caleb Hall, Jun., William Clark, 
Thomas Smith, John French, Anthony Bradford, Esq., Joseph 
Whii)ple, David Knight ; fence-viewers, Thomas Pierce, Robert 
Dunlap. Elijah Fox, Thomas Wheeler, Abijah Deane, Jeremiah 
Shepard, Nathaniel Parke, Colonel Abel Andrews, Nathan Kinne, 
Zebulon W^hipple, John Avery, Hezekiah Spalding, Levi Robinson, 
John Burgess, Stephen Hall, Anthony Bradford, John Pierce, as 
grand school committee, had cl)arge of the jiublic schools. Fees for 
taking up and punishing strollers were willingly allowed. The select- 
men were enjoined in 1801 to provide a suitable and convenient house 



TOWN AFFAIRS, ETC. 



329 



for the reception of the poor. A ])al], liearse and builtling for the 
same were also ordered. Military matters excited the usual interest. 
In 1799, it was voted that non-connnissioned officers, musicians and 
privates, who should equip themselves as to ai'ms, clothing- and 
accoutrements and do military duty, sliould be exempt from all but 
highway taxes. Abel Andrus was now lieutentant-colonel of the 
Twenty-first Regiment; Shubael llutchins, first major; Rev. Joel 
Benedict, chaplain ; Sessions Lester, quartermaster ; Geoi'ge INIiddle- 
ton, paymaster; Dr. Johnson of Westminster, surgeon ; Daniel Gordon, 
surgeon's mate ; Frederick Andrus, Aaron Crary, Samuel Douglas, 
Asa Burgess, captains of companies in the light infantry ; Thomas 
and Daniel Wheeler, John Gordon, lieutenants and ensigns : Dr. 
Josiah Fuller, sui-geon's mate of the cavalry regiment. 

The fine water privileges of Plainfield afforded accommodations for 
an unusual number of mills and manufacturing establishments. 
Nathan Angell of Providence, i)urchased of Dr. Welles in 1777, a 
fine farm on the Moosup, with large mansion house, storehouse, 
clieese house, milk house, young orchard and various conveniences. 
Much other land was purchased by Mr. Angell, who ran saw and grist- 
mills and carried on extensive farming operations. The easy communi- 
cation with Providence and Norwich, the stages daily running to and 
fro, stimulated traffic and agricultural enterprise. Captains Lester, 
Dunlap and others gave much attention to wool-growing and stock- 
raising. Luther Smith, John and William Douglas and William 
Olmstead engaged in trade. George Middleton opened a harness 
shop, making a specialty of leather pocket-books and portmanteaus. 
Dr. Daniel Gordon kept an apothecary's shop. Potasli works, tanning 
and hat-making were carried on in the valleys east and south of the 
village. Plaintield's first post-office — the third in Windham County — 
was opened in 1797, by Captain Ebenezer Eaton, whose popular stage- 
tavern maintained its ancient reputation. The justices in 1806, were 
William Dixon, Anthony Bradford, Calvin Goddard, Ephraim Wheeler, 
Joshua Dunlap, John Douglas. Calvin Goddard, Joshua Dunlap, 
Joseph Eaton, Anthony Bradford, Ephraim Wheeler, Joseph Shepard, 
Jonathan ITammet, William Pierce, Luther Smith, John Lester, 
Jeremiah Kinsman, were sent as representatives during this period. 



42 



330 HISTORY OF WIXDHAM COUNTY. 

X. 

KILLIXGLY'S RIvSETTLEMEXT. AFFAIRS IX XOUTII SOCIETY. 

TRIALS IX BAPTIST CHUiiCH. SOUTH KILLIXdEY CHURCH 

AND TRAIXIXGS. AVEST KILLIXGLY CHURCH. 

EMIGRATIOX TO OHIO. 

KILLIXGLY, after the loss of her northern pmish. hastened to 
leorganize upon a new basis, voting that tlie thi'ee remaining 
societies "shall be called by these names as following. North, Middle 
and South," and "that all town meetings shall be held in the meeting- 
lionse in the middle society." At the annual town meeting, December 
12, -ITSo, Dr. Joseph Toriey was chosen moderator; James Larned, 
Sauiuel Danielson, Jacob Spalding, Capt. Ephraim Warren and Zadoc 
Spalding, selectmen; Sampson Howe, town clei-k and ti'easurer : Silas 
Hutchins, constable to collect State taxes: Eliiiu Lawrence and .lohn 
Day, constables: Edward B.ilibelt, Col. Josejih Cady, Xell Alexander, 
Obed Spalding, Sampson Howe, John Barret, Andrew Brown, 
Benjamin Simmons, Elias Stearns, .]ohn Hutchins, C:i])tain I^avid 
Cady, highway surveyors and collectors of highw:iy taxes : James 
Larned, Cajitain David Buc'k, Captain Ephraim Warren. Zatloo 
Spalding, fence-viewers : Sampson Howe, Captain Jonathan Cady, 
Andrew Brown, Jonas Danielson, Ezra Hutchins, Siloam Short, 
listers ; Captain John P^elshaw, Captain Ephraim Warren and Deacon 
Jacob Spalding, key-keepei"s. It was voted that Captain Warren's old 
house be made a workhouse for the accommodation of the town's 
poor and he master of the same. Accounts with Thompson were 
amical)ly settled by their respective committees. The restiiction of 
the old town to a single repiesentative excited great indignation and 
called out a memorial, showing : — 

" That such restriction deprived the town of one half their rights of 
representatives whicli they conceive tliey have a riglit to enjoy ajjreeable to 
the Constitution of this State — restriction laid on town without the consent 
or knowledge or even the most distant thought of the inhabitants of 
Killingly, and notwithstanding this restriction the freemen have continued 
to choose two deputies who have had a seat in the General Assembly until 
last October session, when it was judged to be inadmissible till the Act was 
repealed, and therefore pray for such repeal which thej' conceived an 
infringement on their constitutional rights and privileiies so long as they 
remain peaceful subjects of the Stale, and are considered in the common 
burdeus of the same, as they look upon the right of representation as one of 
their most essential ones. 

James L.^uned, 
David Buck, 
Eleazkr Mokf.vt, 
William Cund.^ll, 
Zadoc Spalding, 
EzHA Hutchins, 
Ephraim War ken, 

Committee. 
Killingly, October 8, 1787." 



killingly's re-setti.kment, etc. 331 

This request was granted by both Houses, and Killingly confirmed 
in lier constitutional rights and privileges. The executions brought 
against the town by the State treasurer for bahance of taxes Laid 
duiing the war were satisfied by an esjjecial rate after much ditficulty. 
Tlie dividend line run between the old and new towns was accepted 
after some debate ; the old IJreakneck meeting-house converted into a 
suitable town-house, and all affairs ai'ranged in a satisfactory nianner. 
The chaige of the numei'ous poor people continued a heavy burden. 
The services of Doctors Jonathan Bishop, Comfort Foster and Penuel 
Hutchins were often called in requisition, as well as constables to 
convey them out of town and lawyers to contest doubtful cases, while 
guardians were appointed to keep in watchful oversight such as by 
bad husbandry and mismanagement seemed likely to need public 
aid. 

The North Society was reduced to such indigent circumstances by 

some of their most valuable settlements falling into the hands "of 

those who style themselves Baptists," and also l)y what is called "'the 

maneuvres " of Mr. Emerson Foster, " whereby many were waxen 

cold towards the established religion," that it would gladly have 

resorted to the fashionable expedient of a lottery, the avails to be 

used in purchasing a small parsonage. Failing in this device, it had 

the good fortune to procure an excellent minister who so bound up 

old wounds and conciliated the disaffected that it was able to " re-settle 

the Gospel" without questionable assistance. Elisha Atkins of 

Middletown, a gentleman of cultui-e and experience, was happily 

ordained and in.stalled in the pastoral office, June 3, 17S7, the 

society granting two hundred pounds settlement, fifty-five pounds 

salary, and the cutting and drawing the ministerial fire-wood. Not 

only was this done without serious difficulty, but it also took measures 

for rei)aiiing the meeting-house, though ten years elapsed before these 

repairs were fully accomplished. The old body of seats was in time 

removed. Pew spots were granted to Roland Leavens, Jedediah 

Sabin, Aaron Buck, Josiah Deane, John Lawrence, John E. Dorrance, 

Eleazer Leavens. In 1796, libeity was given to erect a belfry and 

procure a bell. James Larned, Sampson Howe, David Buck, Caj^tain 

Jonathan Cady, William Kelly, Joseph Torrey, Willard Cady, Jesse 

Wliipple, Hobart Torrey and David Copp were appointed a committee 

to see on what terms a belfry could be built. This was speedily 

erected and the bell procured the same year, — the people showing 

their satisfaction in this achievement by the many directions given for 

its right regulation: — 

" Bell to be runa: on week days at twelve o'clock at noon, and nine at 
night; Sundays, Thauksgiviugs and Fast days, an hour before meetings; and 



332 HISTOKV OF WINDHAM COL'NTY. 

at uoou on Sundays, halfway botweon the intermissions, and fifteen minutes 
before meeting begins; at all said meetings to be rung not less than tive 
minutes nor more than ten at any one time." 

Sampson Howe was to have twenty clollafs a year for ringing the 
bell, and sweeping tlie meeting-honse. A subsequent vote ordained 
that the bell should be lung at noon the whole year, but fi'om April 
15 to August 15 be rung at sunrise instead of nine at night. The 
minister's salary of two hundred and fifty dollars was raised with much 
difficulty, and efforts were made to provide a permanent fund. 
William and Simon Copp, John Kelly and Welcome Wliij»ple were 
appointed choristers in 1805. 

jNIr. Atkins proved a most excellent pastor and citizen, intei'ested 
in all plans for the improvement of the town. He was particularly 
successful as a teacher, and many of the young people of his congre 
gation received the benefit of his instruction. He not only received 
pupils into his own chaige, but endeavoied to further improvements 
in public education and took great interest in visiting the schools of 
the town. A committee was appointed in 1791, to ascertain the 
bounds of school districts, and two years later the bounds were 
changed and seven districts set ofl", viz.: — 1. Xortheast ; 2, Chestnut 
Hill; 3. Talbot's mills; 4. South; 5. Pond; G. Northwest; 7. North. 
Joseph Torrey, Eleazer ]Motfat, Sylvanus Peiiy, Isaac Cady Howe, 
Ebenezer Leach, Obed Spalding, Keuben Leavens, Azariah Cutler, 
Hobart Torrey, Nell Alexander, William Basto, Joseph Adams, 
committee. School money drawn fi'om the State was disti ibuted to 
the several districts in 1795, and school affairs thenceforwaid were left 
to the management of the districts. 

Captain John Felshaw, so long prominent in town and pul)lic 
aft'airs, died at an advanced age in 17S-2. His large landed estate was 
divided between his sons, by Edwaid P.-iul, surveyor, under tiie 
direction of Deacon Lusher Gay and James Larned. The tavern 
stand on the corner was held for a time by Samuel Felshaw and sold 
in 1797 to Captain Aaron Arnold of Plw^le Island, an energetic 
business man, interested in ]niblic affairs. Luther and Calvin Warren 
removed to Killingly Hill about 179-1, settling on land purchased of 
Isaac C. Howe. Dr. Robert Grosvenor of Pomfret succeeded to the 
practice of Dr. ]Moffat. Dr. Josiah Deane also }»racticed medicine 
in tliis vicinity. A store was opened on the hill by Sampson Howe. 
William Basto engaged in the manufacture of hats. Stoitt chairs and 
excellent willow- baskets were made by Jonathan and Joseph Buck. 

Roads received much attention. A new road was laid out about 
1795, from the country road near Dr. Hutchins' dwelling-house running 
east to Mr. Day's meeting-house, through lands of Penuel and Zadoc 



AFFAIRS IN NOKTH SOCIETY, ETC. 333 

iriitcliins, Samuel Stearns, Wilson Ivies, James Danielson, and the sons 
of lJ)eaoon Jacob Spalding. The petition for an open highway through 
lands of William Torrey, heirs of Kev. John Fisk, and others, was 
opposed for a time, but finally granted. A new road was also allowed 
from Jonathan and Philip De.vtcr's to Cutlei's bridge in the east of 
the town. An act of the County Court obliged the selectiuen to lay 
out a road from the road near Edward Babbitt's on Chestnut Hill to 
the meeting-house in the north parish. A jury met at Sampson 
Howe's, December, 1799, and laid out a road from Captain John Day's 
thiough lands of Car[)enter, Alexander, Kelly, Leavens, Howe, Whip- 
ple and Warren — after which the town resolutely declined to do any- 
thing more in that line. It was soon however called to consider the 
(piestion of turnpikes ; refused to listen to Ashford's request for a 
turnpike to Providence, but negotiated with Pomfret, Woodstock ami 
Thompson. After much discussion it was decided in 1801, " to lay 
out a turnpike from the Norwich Turnpike in Pomfret to the turnpike 
in Gloucester." This Pomfret and Killingly turnpike passing over 
Killingly Hill by the meeting-house, was accomplished in 1803, but 
the exhausted town declined to build half the new^ bi'idge needed for 
its accommodation till cited before the Couit to answer for its negli- 
gence. Hobart Toi-rey, Pelatiah Mason and Ezra Ilutchins, Escp, 
were commissioned to build the bridge but unfortunately it was soon 
carried away by high water, not being built " workman like," which 
involved the town in tresh difliculty and arbitrations. 

Killingly was much interested in the mooted question of county 
seat, favoring her opposite neighbor in preference to any other 
competitor. Captain Luther Warren as agent, was vested with power 
to sign any petition that was thought best for the time, provided he 
did not bui-den the town with any expense for public buildings. In 
1S02, the town positively declined to sign a petition for removal 
to Brooklyn, but would sign for Pomfret under the former proviso. 
Captain Luther Warren succeeded Sampson Howe as town clerk and 
treasurer, in 1804. Aaron Arnold, Remember Ingraham, Joseph 
Adams and Samuel Anderson, were selectmen at this date. Captain 
Warren and Hobart Torrey, constables ; Eleazer Moffat, James Daniel- 
son, Ezra Hutchins, Luther Warren, Esq., justices. Sam[)sou Howe, 
James Danielson, Zadoc Spalding, Eleazer MoffiU, Luther Warren, 
Aaron Arnold and Shubael Hutchins were sent as representatives 
during these years. James Danielson, after serving for some years 
as lieutenant-colonel of the Eleventh Regiment, became general of 
the Fifth Brigade in 1806. Hobart Torrey took his place as lieutenant- 
colonel. Robert Grosvenor served as surgeon ; Darius Hutchins, 
surgeon's mate. Luther Warren, Joseph Buck, William Toriey, 



334: HISTORV OF AVINDHAM COUNTY. 

David Ch.-ise, Jnlin Kflly, Pearloy Day, were captains and lieutenants. 
The ample accoiniiio<lations offered by the bioad common on Killin<rly 
Hill, made it a favorite place tor general trainint;s and other mili- 
tary parades, and the tavern kept l)y Captain Warren rivalled in 
])opulanly its famous predecessor. Taverns were also kept by Aaron 
Arnold. Thomas ^ledbury and Silas Hutchins. 

Tile 31iddle -Society of Killinoly occupied a somewhat anomalous 
position, liavinir little to do with the religious affairs of its inhabitants. 
Its stated church had virtually ceased to exist, its few remaining mem 
bers worshipping with other churches, and its meeting-house used for 
town-meetings and secular purposes. The Baptist church within its 
limits experienced the usual vicissitudes and trials. In 1784, Elder 
Robinson was dismissed by his own lequest from his pastoral charge, 
and recommended to the Baptist church in Attleborough, '' as a member 
in good standing with us, whose moral and christian character is good 
both as a preacher of the Gospel and member with us. " Notwith- 
standing this recommendation, reports derogatory to his character 
were circulated and a root of bitterness was left in the church. lu 
the following year the society reorganized, a number of persons* 
voluntarily agreeing to form themselves into a society, attend on 
divine service, contribute to the support of the Gospel and settle a 
Baptist minister to preach in this place. This movement was made 
needful by the efforts made to procure the sum promised Mr. Atkins 
in settlement, as unless they could certify to their attendance upon 
some place of worship, residents of the Xorth Society would have 
been assessed for that object. Descendants of old families formerly 
active in supporting the established worship, and some new and 
substantial residents, were among the subsciibers. Others belonged to 
the poorer class and some were residents of Rhode Island. The 
society, October 17, voted to buy a farm for a miriisteiial farm. A 
rude meeting-house had already been erected, but probably no farm 
had been procured, as Elder Robinson in his own name ]>urchased an 

* Mkmbkks of B.vptist Socikty in Kii.i.iNoi.Y. ox CnKSTNUT Hill, 
Uc roHKi: J. 178.">. — CaK-b Coliirovc, David Law, ICIiplialet Corbin, EboiK'zer 
Talbot, Josiali Brown, Jun., Seth Babbit, Ezekiel Mitchol, Nicholas Smith, 
Cornelius Wullinir, Obed Wiiisor, William Leach, William Harriiiirton, 
Giorge Law, Eli.sha Warner, Jared Talbot, Ezekiel Brown, Peter Cutler, 
James Lawrence, Isaac Cutler, Jiiu., Thomas Bickford, Gideon Bur:^ess, 
Ezekiel Younir. William Mitchel, Samuel Sparks. Benjamin Capron, Benjamin 
Talbot, Levi Aldrieh, Zaehery Brown, Chase llix, Perley Wliitmore, .J>hn 
I'ike, Jol) Leach, Bciijaiuiii Whittemore, David Kobitisou, William Basto, 
Ezekiel ]51ackmar, Edward Babl.Mt, .Juu.. Nathan Boweu, John Heriuton, 
Ephraim Eisk, Pelatiah .Mason. Richard Tucker, Ebenezer Coud, Jonathan 
Herinton, Richard Bartlett. William Carder, Loren Carpenter, Benjamin 
Seamans, Thomas Burgess, Jeremiah Herinton, Benjamin Brown, Oliver 
Bowen, Benjamin Bateinan, Edward Babbit. Sampson Covell, Jonathan 
Herinton, Daniel Covel, Ebenezer Leach, Wyman Cutler. 



AFFAIRS IN NORTH SOCIETY, ETC. 335 

hnndi-cil acies of land of Robert I^axter, near Brown's, ]Mofl^'at's and 
jMiU'hel's. David Lamb was ))rocnred the followino- sjiring to preacli 
for a year, and was succeeded by John Cooper. The society voted, 
1788, "that eacli man deliver liis subscription at Ezekiel Blackmar's for 
John Cooper." Pelatiah j\Iason, David Law, Ephraim P'isk and Jona- 
than Herinton, Jan., were apj)ointed a committee to meet the delin- 
(pients : — 

" March 10. — Met to hear the report of the committee that was to consult 
with Mr. Jului Cooper to preach willi us one year, and tiiat was that Mr. 
Cooper told us his sirconistances, and that was, he was poor and needy; tlie 
committee Avas Pelatiah Mason and Ephraim Fis]<. Voted, 1. That we will 
contribute to fix up tlie meeting-house; 2. That we will have Mr. Cooper to 
preach with us this year; 3. That what is wanted when all is signed that we 
will make it up £15." 

While tlie society was thus taking the initiative, and providing for 
})ublic worship, the church api)ears to have been inactive, and did not 
even maintain its seasons of connnunion. I'obert Baxter who had seived 
as its first deacon had removed to Pomfret, and jirominent members 
liad been aggrieved by the dismissal of Elder Robinson. After Mr. 
Coojjer's year had elapsed, his place was filled by Elder Campljell, an 
irregular preacher or itinerant, who was acceptable to the church. A 
church meeting was held, July 11, 1789, when it was "proposed, 
1. To see whether they was agreed to travel together. 2. To have 
the debates between Edward Babbit and Ephraim Fisk on the ditfi- 
cnlty about Elder Robinson." The difiiculty with the brethren was 
satisfactorily settled, and the church resumed its efforts "to travel."' 
Elder Campbell's preaching was very successful, a large number pro- 
fessed conversion and were baptized by him, but not admitted into the 
church, which indeed was not in condition to receive member.s, having 
lo.st its standing among sister churches by failing to maintain Gospel 
ordinances. The society in 1790, voted to subscribe for the support 
of Elder Campbell, and deputed Thomas Burgess and William Carder 
to provide a place for him to live in the ensuing year. The chuich 
jiroceeded with its endeavors to bring its members to penitence and 
confession, and at a meeting June 24, to learn " how each one stood 
as to the unitation we had begun, as to come round our Father's table 
once more if we can agree." Ezekiel Blackmar, Jonathan Ilerington 
and Ephraim Fisk were appointed to go to Elder Martin's, and see if 
we can regain our fellowship. The result of this efi'ort is not clearly 
recorded. The church was censured, and according to one report 
" rejected " by the ministers representing the Association. Elder 
Campbell's proceedings in baptizing converts and administering the 
ordinances were severely rebuked, and he was dis-fellowshijied by a 
committee probably of Warren Association, after which it is said " the 



336 HISTORY OF \VIXI)nAM COUNTY. 

cliurcli was restored and went on au^ain — " It was siittlciently restored 
at least lo li^rant letters of recommendation, and administer discipline, 
nor did it apparently lose its standing in following yeai's though desti- 
tute of a stated pastor. This "Campbell split," as it was called, left 
injuiious consequences. Most of his converts fell away and members 
of the church were alienated. Elder Moffat was employed to preach 
in 1791, after which there is no entry upon the records for several 
years. 

In 1796, church and society again united in choice of Elder Peter 
Rogers of Hampton — whose preliminary labors proved so satisfactory 
that the three parties entered upon a formal covenant. Elder Rogers 
agreed upon his part : — " That he would remove his membership and 
unite with them ; that he wiH serve them in the Gospel, 1. By supply- 
ing as their pastor the pulpit. 2. By administering the ordinances of 
the Gospel among them as God shall enable him. 3. By visiting the 
sick in the church and society as duty may call : and 4. To watch for 
souls as those that must give an account ; and the church covenanting 
to receive him as their elder and pastor, give him fifteen pounds a 
year in money or equivalent articles, and labor to maintain a gospel 
union with him so far as they had light and grace — this covenant to 
be binding on both parties equally till it be violated or broken, the 
society assenting to the same, and agreeing to the stipulated salary." 
Kotwithstanding this fair beginning, the pastorate was not happy. 
Discoixlant elements were at work. Deacon Hei-rington thought the 
church too hasty in settling Elder Rogers, and even the excellent 
Deacon Fisk* who had been one of the pillars of the church, became 
estranged for reasons not manifest, and was finally cut off from it. 
Another prominent brother was cut off for setting up and holding 
meetings in oi)position to the fellowship of the church, and many 
others were disciplined or excommunicated for reasons of more or less 
importance. In the great majority of cases no restoration was 
effected, but the brother who was accused of carrying a bottle of 
ru7n to the house of a sister, and "insisting and persuading her to 
drink,"' acknowledged he was wrong and said he was sorry for it. It 
was agreed that no member should act with the church who was not 
in full communion ; also, not to admit any person to attend our church 
meetings excepting brethren in good standing in fellowship, without 
toleration of the church. After the dismission of Deacon Fisk, it was 
voted to nominate a brother to serve a