Skip to main content

Full text of "History of Windham County, Connecticut"

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/ 

IBHP' ^. 

™_^", % 





Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 



'A'- • .[ '. f ^ / L 



/ /^/////^// 


Digitized by 






** If, when we lay down onr pen, we cannot uj hi the slfht of God, * upon strict examination, I 
have not knowln|[l|r written anything that Is not true * . . . . tlien stndjr and literature render 
ns nnrtfhteotts and sinftol."— J^MttAr. 








Digitized by 


^ ■'- -".-13. U--) 


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

In the OIBco of the Librarian of Congress, at Wasliington. 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 



1. Mnjor General Israel Putnam, Brooklyn Frontispiece. 


2. General Samuel McClellan, Woodstock, 147 

8. lion. Samuel Iluutlngton, Scotland, signer of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, President of the Continental Congress, Governor of 
Connecticut, • • 236 

4. Colonel Thomas Grosvenor, PoroAret, • 2G5 

5. Kcv. Joslah Whitney, D. D., Brooklyn, * • 464 

6. Bev. Daniel Dow, D. 1)., Thompson, • • ... 536 

7. General Lemuel Grosvenor, PomA'ot, 643 

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

In Connecticut, • 547 

0. General Nathaniel Lyon, Eastford, 567 

10. Hon. David Gallup, Piainfleld, 578 

County Map • 651 

Digitized by 


niEl ACE. 

It is perhaps bnt natural in completing a work of this charac- 
ter, attempting to cover so large a field, that the antlior should 
be more couscions of its omissions than its inclusions. To show 
what had been accomplished by Windham Coontt in the past it 
was necessary to include the present-^a delicate and difficult 
matter, rather within the province of the gazetteer tlian the 
hiptorian. Passing events and conditions have been touched as 
briefly as possible and present actors very sparingly introduced. 
Oritics will note with more asperity of judgment the absence of 
statistical details and tabulated statements, especially with rcfer^ 
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 
ana 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 Natioui 
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. Undoubte<lly with all this care perBons worthy 

Digitized by 



of mention huve boon omitted, and nndno prominence may have 
been given to others. Mistakes and misapprehensions in a work 
of this kind cannot bo avoided, especially in snch matters as were 
never before bronght into history, derived from many independ- 
ent sonrces. Bnt it is believed that these defects and errors are 
comparatively trifling, and that the friends of Windham Connty 
have good reason to be satisfied with 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 treasnres by descendants and friends, 
they will be warmly welcomed in many Windham Oonnty homes, 
and will give to fntnre 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 
should include a living representative — our chief ofticial 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 havo 
given valuable information. Especial mention should be made 
of our eflicient 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 tho 
County, were sent back from the papery of the late lion. 
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, Elizabeth, New 
Jersey ; Mr. Pulaski Carter, Providence, Pa.; Mr. J. Q. Adams, 
Natick, R. I. — former residents of Windham County — have 
kindly contributed many valuable notes, incidents and remi- 
niscences. Documents collected by the late William l*. 

Digitized by 


rRRFAOW. Vll. 

Weaver, Esq., received from Mr. Thomas S. Weaver, and 
excerpts from his local notes and genealogical papers, pre- 
served by l*rof. Cleveland Abbe, of Washington, D. O., 
were especially helpfal. Very valuable papers and pamphlets 
were fonnd in the collection left by John McClellan, Esq., 
Woodstock. For tliose many 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 her 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 courac yet more 
prosperous, and its future record yet fairer and more honorable. 

B. D, !«• 

Thomiwn, June 30, 1880. 

Digitized by 



Aboriginal Inhabltanto, I., 1-11, 88, 8-48, 68; 143, 64, 71-8, 86. 6; 670. II., 

889, 00; 682, 40. 
Ashford Wbipplug, II., 27, 8; 808. ^ 

Boccbuti, II., 172, 8; 218; 660. 
Boundary Disputes and Settlements. I., 18-16, 21, 87, 60, 63-6, 89; 120-8, 83- 

86, 7, 42, 6, 8, 9, 66-7, 68, 9, 76; 226-9, 87, 8, 40, 68-6, 94-6; 841; 487- 

96. II., 107.9; 466; 627. 
Canal and Railroad Projects, II., 76; 602, 8, 7, 62, 7, 8. 
College Graduates, I., 607, 64, 72, 8. II., 17, 91 ; 806. 
CDnnectlcut Patb, I., 2, 19, 29. II., 87. 
Dark Day, II., 373. 

Ecclesiastic Constitution. I., 268; 426, 69, 70, 7-86. II., 221-6, 74, 96; 466-7. 
Emigration, I., 287; 566-60. II., 19, 61, 77; 106; 317, 18, 41-3. 
Executions and Murdei-s, 1., 89 ; ;^1, 2, 88, 9 ; 863, 4. II., 290-8 ; 803, 60, 1, 81 ; 

Land Bank Scbeme, 888, 4. 
Medical Society, II., 269. 

Military Organization, I., 269, 09. II., 187, 9, 40, 
Probate CourU Constituted, I., 260; 626, 89. 
Population. I., 261 ; 670. II. ; 142 ; 388 ; 689, 90. 
September Gale. II., 429, 86, 40. 
Singing, I., 60; 622. JI., 98 ; 103 ; 269 ; 869 ; 460. 
Slaves, I., 661, 2, 70. II., 220; 889; 698. 
Social Condition, J., 262, 8; 670. II., 62; 888-90, 4-7; 414; 688-90. 

Digitized by 



BOOK V. 1740-1775. 


Porafret. Brooklyn Parish. Putnnin. Malbono. Rival Cliurch Edifices* 
General AflTairs . . • • I 

Asliford. General Town AfTalrs. Westford Society. First Baptist 
Cliurch. Eastford Society. Corbln Land Claim 19 

AflTairs In Canterbury. Whltefleld*8 Visit. Separates. Baptists. West- 
minster Society 07 

Town AfTairs In Wlndlinm. Wyoming Emls^ratlon. Social Life. Scot- 
land Parish 40 

Cannda Parish. Pew Dispute. School Districts. Troubles with Key. 
Samuel Mosely. Voluutown 57 


Religious Settlement In Plalnfleld. General Town AflTilrs 71 

Town AffHtrs In Kllllngly. Thompson Parish. Baptist Church Formed. 
Kllllngly Hill. South Kllllngly Church. Chestnut Hill. Baptist 
Church 77 

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

BOOK VI. 1764-1783. 



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


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

Digitized by 




Campaign of 1776. Si magics and Disasters. Death of Knowlton. Town 
Resolutions. Campaigns of 1777-78. Discouragements 159 

Gloomy Days. Endurance. Home AflViirs. Drighteuing Prospects. 
Victory 188 

BOOK VII. 1783-1807. 

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

Windham's Prosperity. The Windham Phenix, Religious Declension. 
Political Agitation 218 

Scotland's First Bell. Life at the Parsonage. Changes. Trouble with 
Dr. Cogswell 280 

Hampton Sot Oflf. Death of Mr. MoKcly. Prosperity and Progress. (Ircn- 
adicr Company. Grow Church. Deacon Benjamin (Chaplin .... 238 

Orgsnizallon of Brooklyn. Adams' District. Last Years of General 
Putnam. Colonel Maibone. Captain Tyler. Growth and Pros- 
perity 249 

Pomft'et's Progress. Oliver Dodge. Reformed Church. Methodists. 
Baptists. Turnpikes. Trial and Execution of Caleb Adams .... 265 

General Affairs In Ashford. Visit from President Washington. Turnpike 
Enterprise. David Bolles and the Baptist Petition. Congregational 
and Baptist Churches 298 

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


Plainfleld Church In Pursuit of a Pastor. New Meeting-house. Dr. Bene- 
dict. Plainfleld Academy. DIstingul.shed Citizens. Town Affairs . 819 


Killingly Established. North Society. Trials of BaptlsU. South 
Killlugly Church and Trainings. West Killingly Church. Emigration 
to Ohio 880 

Town Organization in Thompson. Business Enterprise. Ordinations of 
Daniel Dow and Pearson Crosby. Report of School Inspectors. 
Sale of Thompson Tract. lmi>rovonients aiitl Excitements. Couiiler- 
, felting . 848 

Digitized by 



Town and Charch Affaim in Woodstock. Academy Founded. Thief- 
Detecting Society. Murder of Marcus Lyon. Losses and Changes . 863 

Orgnnl7,ation of Sterling. Meeting-house Erected. Town and Church 
Affairs In Voluntown. Line Mcethig-housc 888 

Windham County In 1800. Population. Business. Morals. Religion. 
Schools. Social Condition 888 

BOOK VIII. 1807-^1820. 

ThcCnrdIng Machine. Pomfret Manuflicturing Company. Manufacturing 
Furor. War of 1812-14 809 

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


Town and Church Affairs in Hampton. Clioplln Society. Organization of 
Church. Meeting-house and Minister • • . 417 

Enterprise In Canterbury. Fatal Accident. Church AflHIrs 433 

Plsinllcld Manufacturers. Death of Dr. Benedict. Highways and Bridges. 
Sterling. Voluntown 437 

Manufacturing Excitement in Rillingly. Church Affairs. United Tract 
Society 481 

Thompson's Manufacturing Companies. Village Growth and Improve- 
ments. The Great Revival of 1818-14 488 

The Revival in Pomfret. Business AflHIrs. Moral and Agricultural 
Societies 444 

Business in Woodstock. Churches. Academy. Thefts and Whipping. 
Dudley Land Cose 451 


Town and Church Affairs In Ashford 456 

Town Affairs in Brooklyn. Unitarian Controversy. The New Constitu- 
tion. Change of County Seat 4C0 

Digitized by 



BOOK IX. 1820-1845. 

TraiiHferrciice of Courts. Brooklyn Enterprise. Dcnth of Dr. Whitney. 
Ministry of SamuelJ. May. Execution of Watklna 471 

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

MisH Crandall's Schools— White and Colored. Canterbury in Danger. 
Excitement. Expulsion. .' 490 


Canterbury. Plaindeld. Voluntown. Sterling 502 


Windham. Willimantic Village. Chaplin 511 


Hampton. Ashford. Eastford Parish 520 


Woodstock. Thompson 527 

. Killingly. Pomfret. Pomfret Factory 539 

IJOOK X. 1840-1880. 

The Present Outlook. Putnam. Danielsonville. Willimantic. Windham 
Green. North and South Windham. Scotland. Chaplin. Hamp- 
ton. Ashford. Eastford. Brooklyn. Canterbury. Voluntown. 
Sterling. Plaiufleld. Central Village. Mousup. Waurogau. Day- 
ville. WllllamsviUe. East and South Killingly. Grosvenordale. 
Thompson. Pomfiret. Woodstock. Notable Meetings of Woodstock. 
Windham County's Latest War-Reconl. The Army of Emigranis. 
To-day and To-morrow 551 

Appbndix. 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 

Digitized by 





rflHE heavy burden borne by Windhftrn County through the weari- 
-L 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 <]i8oipHiie 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 lidelily in Ihe service of town ami comity. 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 mo<lerator. More than fifty men were needed to fill the various 
public ofiiccs. Kbenc^zcr Williams, Ksq., Captain John Grosvenor, 
Captain Zachariah Spalding, Deacons Edward Iluggles and David Wil- 
liams were chosen selectmen ; Timothy Sabin, town clerk and treasurer ; 
Ensign Nathaniel Clark, Ephraim Ingalls and Samuel Williams, con* 
stables — one for each society ; liufus llerrick, John Gilbert, William 
All worth, Paul Adams, Solomon Griggs, Daniel Cheney, Jonathan 
White, George Sumner, Samuel Cotton, Ebenezer Deming, Ebenezer 
Williams, Esq., David Chandler, Amasa Sessions, Jaciob Goo<lell 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., Adonijah 
Fa.sset and John Williams, grand-jm'ors ; Jedidiah AHhcratl, James 
Copeland, Joseph Philips, Nathaniel Rogers, Ephraim Griggs and John 
Ilolbrook, tithing-men ; William Sabin, John Davison, Jonathan Allen, 
Josiah Wheeler and Captain Zachariah Spalding, hoi-se-branders ; Ben- 
jamin Smith and Benjamin Sharpe, weight-sealers ; Samuel Carpenter, 
excise collector ; Ensign Nathaniel Clark, town-collector; Benjamin 

Digitized by 



Griffin, key -keeper. Most of these officers will be recognized as descend- 
ants of the early settlers of Pomfret. 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 oja^ned 
the first cart road from Provitlence. Now in serene old age, resting 
from his labors in his pleasant home in Abington, he was ever ready to 
aid the town with liis counsel and suggestions, and passed his leisure 
hours in the study of the Scriptures, committing a large part of them to 
memory in fear that he should be depi-ived of his eyesight. 

The mill site on the Quinebaug had now changed owners. In 1760, 
the laud between the Quinebaug and Mill Rivera, 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 giinding for parts of 
Pomfret, Woodstock, Killingly and Thompson Parish. 

Town afiairs rccpiired 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 years sus- 
pension work was resumed. At a society meeting, December 4, 
1761, William Sabin was chosen moderator; John Payson, clerk 5 
Captain John Grosveuor, 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 stalwait body of seats in the centre of the 
house had already been erected. Foity-four pews were now ordered 
— ^twenty-six against the walls ; eighteen ranged behind the body seats. 
It was also voted, " That those forty-three pei-sons that are highest in 
the list shall have the liberty of drawing forty-three of the pews ; they 
building each one his own pow and finishing the wall of said house, 
adjoining to his pew, to the fii-st 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 difficulties and differ- 
ences which delayed so long the initiation of this work had now sub- 
sided, and all parties united with great apparent zeal and heartiness in 
its progress 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 high 

Digitized by 



pnlpit and massive canopy erected, and the outside '^ oullered " in the 
roost approred 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 preached in this by Mr. Putnam, Thursday, January 20, 1763. The 
old meeting-house and training-Held adjacent were sold by order of the 
society, and liberty granted to build sheds on the east line of the 
common within four rods of J lev. 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 Nehemiah Pnnce, Stephen Baker, Rufus Ilemck 
and Andrew Lester had become its residents. The original settlers 
wore represented by many thriving families. A remo<leling of school 
districts, in 1762, shows the distribution of the inhabitants : — 

'^District 1. Containing Cnptalu Spalding, Prince's place, tliat fnrm that was 
tlic Hcverend Mr. Avery's, Natlian Ciwly, Adunijnli Fasset, David Kendall, 
Jolin Kimball, Rev. Mr.* Whitney, Stephen Balccr, E/.elclel Cady, Uriah Cady, 
Daniel Tyler. Thomas Williams, Samuel Clevehind and Joseph Cady. 

District 2. All the lands and houses or Colonel Malhone that arc hi 
the society, William Karl, Mosrs ICarl, Jonas Frost, Jvdidlah Ashcraft, 
Jo.«epli llnhhard. Abner Adams, Hcnjamln Fasset, Nehemiah Adams. John 
Habbard, Daniel Adams, Noah and Panl Adatns and Samuel Wilson. 

District 3. To contain Peter and Richard Adams, Widow Allyn, Lieutenant 
Smith, Sergeant Woodward, Reuben Darbc, Jonas Cleveland, Josiah. James and 
Joseph Fasset, John Allyn, Lieutenant Spalding, Elijah Monrose, Joseph 
Dyer, Jonathan Backus, Andrew lister. Captain Prince, Nehemiah Prince, 
Thomas Wheeler, William Copeliind and Moses Smith. 

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

District 6. To contain Samuel WilllamH, Jun., William Williams, Jun., 
Deacon Willlnms, Samuel Williams, Ebenezer Weeks, Rufus Herrick, Jedldlah 
Downing, Widow Davyson, Banjainin Fasset, Jun., and Amoral Chapman. 

District 6. To contain John Lllchlleld, Israel Litchfleld, Darius Cady, 
James Darbc, Senior and Junior, Samuel and Eleazer Darbe, Nathan Kim- 
ball, Benjamin Shcpard, Nehemiah Cady, Caleb Spalding, Daniel, Nahum, 
John, Henry and Benjamin Cady. 

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

The central school -house was now moved to a suitable place in one 
corner of the common, and " fitted up as 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 next claimed the 
attention of Brooklyn society. In' 1763, the church concluded that the 

Digitized by 



pastor sliould read the Holy Scriptures for the time to come on Lord's 
day, viz.: a portion in the morning ont of the Old Tentament, and in 
the afternoon out of the New Testament, in coni-se, immediately hefbre 
(irst singing; omitting such chapters as should he thought less instruc- 
tive. The society voted meanwhile, to provide a cushion for the pul- 
pit. Also — 

*< To mend yo glass uud frames and canemcnts of ye mectiii<r-]iousc, nnd 
where ye clapboards are off or split to put on more, and put on slihiglea 
where they are wanted, and rectUV ye under-pinning — Daniel Tyler to be the 
man to see that ye meethig-house be repatrctl." 

These repairs were unsatisfactory. The house though but thirty 
years old, was rude and shabby. The elegant church edifices lately 
erected by tlie first and third societies of Potnfret excited envy 
and enuilation. Brooklyn was increasing more rapidly than the other 
societies ; its affairs were nnmagod by men of energy and public s|)irit ; 
its young pastor was eager for progress and improvement, and it could 
not long rest satisfied with inferior accommodations. In 176G, it was 
accordingly proposed to build a new meeting house, but the society 
declined to consider the (piestion and only voteil — 

**To put up a new window on the north 8ide of the meotiu^-housc, and 
board up the wintlow that is broken against the front gallirry, and pnt some 
new shingles on the roof wiic-re (iie water runs throngli, and pni a new clap- 
board on tlie north side where one is oil', and give Mr. Josepli Davison 27^. 
to do the same. " 

This vote gave great offence to the " young American " element in the 
society, especially to Dr. Walton, who berated the conserv.itives lor 
meanness and lack of public s])irit, and declared the present house '^ old, 
shaky anil not lit to meet in. " 

The return of Colonel Putnam to Pomfret in 1765 gave a new im- 
pulse to public improvements in town and society. The distinguished 
success of this gallant officer in the field had greatly changed his 
position at home. Enemies more formidable than wolves had now 
been overcome. The obscure JSIortlake farmer had proved himself 
equal to every emergency. His valorous exploits during the war had 
captivated the popular fancy. His services at IFavana and Detroit had 
brought him prominently before the public and added dignity to his 
reputation, and no oflicer in the American ranks was more widely known 
or applauded. Time had l)lunted the 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 ofiice.s. 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 Assenddy. He devimul and laid 
ont roads, he set out scliooUdistricts, he <k*lil)cr:U(Ml upon tlie great 

Digitized by 


rOMFRFrr, iniOOKLYN booikty, kto. 5 

question whetljer to repair or pull down the meeting-house ; nor did 
he disdain to " hire the master, " seat the meeting-house, collect 
parish rates, nor even to receive crows' heads and ])iiy. out the 
bounty money. Uniting with the church soon after his return he 
was sent as its " messenger " upon many important occasions, his 
military experience giving him, it may have been supposed, peculiar 
aptitude in <]isentang1i ng and Bottling ecclesiastic controversies and 
complications. These various duties were discharged with character- 
istic heartiness and fidelity. His eye was quick, his judgment sound 
and practical, and whatever he devised he was sure to carry through 
with [»romptitude. Improvements on his house and farm soon bore 
witness to his untiring energy. Sword and gun were gladly exchanged 
for plow and pruning knife. lie imported new stock, set out young 
trees and engaged in various agricultural experiments. But with all 
his ]>rivate and public duties he was ever ready to aid his neighbors 
by advice or service. When an alarm of fire was heard in the neigh- 
borhood he was the first man on the ground, and with his own brawny 
arms brought up from the cellar the well-filled pork barrel that was to 
furnish food for the needy household, and none was more prompt in 
relieving the wants of the dostitnte. 

r>nt rtttnam \v:is not permit! imI to restrict his energies to his own 
farm and neighborhood. He returned at a great political crisis. The 
revolutionary confiict had opened. The Stamp Act had just been pro- 
nuilgated, and all the Colonies were ablaze \vitli indignation. No 
man was more imbued with the spirit of the times, more resolute in 
determination to resist farther encroachment upon colonial liberties, and 
he had the art of infusing his s]»irit into others. As the avowed op])onent 
of the Stamp Act he was welcomed home with acclamation, and ardent 
patriots rallied around him as their champion and leader in resist^nnce 
and aggression. He was called upon to preside at intlignation meet- 
ings in various parts of Windham County. His pungent^ pithy 
words had great effect upon his hearers. The foray u|)on Ingersoll 
and other demonstrations of popular feeling were saifl 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 

Putnam's triumphant return was shadowed by a great domestic 
afiliclion — the death of his beloved wife — in the autumn of 1765. She 
left seven living children — Israel, the oldest, now twenty-five years of 
age, and the yotmgest, Peter Schuyler, an infant of a few months. In 
1767, Colonel Putnam was married to Madam Deborah Gardiner, a 
lady long known to him as the wife of Brooklyn's first minister, Hev. 
Ephraim Avery, and afterwards of John Gardiner, Esq., of (iardiner's 

Digitized by 



Island. Thb inamage gave new dignity to his social position, bring- 
ing him into connection with many prominent families, and with that 
ecclesiastic clement so potent in Connecticut at this period. Mrs. Put- 
nam liad 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, licla- 
tives, friends, traveling ministers, distinguished strangera and gush- 
ing patriots came in such numbers that their enteitainment becjime 
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 exce-ssive 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 fulMength representiition 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 Mra. 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 Uevolutionary dmma. 

Putnam's return to Pomfret was nearly cotemporary with the advent 
of another distinguished personage of very diiferent charcter and 
proclivities — Godfrey Malbone, of Newport. An aristocrat by birth 
and sympathies ; a loyalist, devoted to the Crown and Chiu'ch 
of England — untoward fate brought him to finish his days amid 
the rude, rebel yeomanry of Pomfret, in the same neighborhood with 
the great champion of popular rights and libeities. Colonel Mal- 
bone was a man of varied experience and accomplishments, lie was 
educated at King's College, Oxford, hod traveled much and moved in 
the Hrst circles of Euro|)e and America. Inheriting a large estate 
from his father, he had lived in a style of princely luxury and magniti- 
cence. His country-house, a mile from Newpoit 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 ships had been taken by 
privateers, and his property destroyed by Newport mobs, and now that 
his elegant edifice was consumed, he refused to battle longer with fate 
and o])posing elements, and, early in 1706, buried himself in the wilds 
of Pomfret. Some three thousand acriis of land, bought from Belcher, 

Digitized by 


roMFIlWr, )IRfM>KI.YN R(KUWTr, KTfl. T 

Willinins and othci*8, Imd been made over to liim at the decease of liia 
father, 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 were 
retained for life and comfortably supported. 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- 
pei^feot conception. Such gentlemen as called upon him were received 
with politeness ; poor people asking aid were relieved ; town and 
church rates were paid without 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 country people 
were concerting a project very detrimentil to his own interests that 
Colonel Malbone was roused from his lofty indifference. Brooklyn 
Society was bent upon a now meeting house. Putnaurs removal to the 
village had given a new impetus to the movement With such a 
famous tavern and troops of fine company, how could the people con- 
descend to attend religions worahip in an old shaky house, with patched 
roof and boarded windows. Again, in the autunm of 1768, a meeting 
was called to consider this important question. Great efforts were 
made to secure a full vote, and as an argument for a new building it 
was currently whispered that the Malbone estate, now rising in value, 
would pay a large |>crcentago of the outlay. So ignorant was Colonel 
Malbone of neighborhood ailaii-s 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, an<l the vote might have been 04irried 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 respect due 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 hardships 
of the time and extreme scarceness of money. To convince him of its 
necessity Mr. Whitney took him to the meeting-house, which ho had 
never before deigned to enter, but though joined "by an Esquire, Col- 
onel and farmer/* (probably Holland, Putnam and Williams), all their 

Digitized by 



arguments were ineileetual. Tiie primitive meeting-house seemed to 
him quite gooil enough for the congregation, a few trilling repairs were 
all tliat was needeil, and if really too small its enlargement was practi- 
c*d)le. 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 Ciuricd, and 
witlnnit returning home galloped over to IMainfield to consult with the 
only churchman of an}' note in the vicinity — John Aplin, Esq., a lawyer 
lately removed from Providence, a staunch loyalist, greatly embittered 
against the colonists. lie assured I^ialbone 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 nmst submit to the expense unless they had a church 
of their own, or got relief from England. Convinced of the necessity 
of vigorous opposition, Colonel l\Ialbone next day attended the society 
meeting, *' debated the question with the Esquire in very regular 
fashion," and had the satisfaction of seeing it thoroughly defeated — 
" the odds against building being very great when put to vote. " 

Opposition only made the minority more determined. They con- 
tinneil to ngitate the matter both in public and private, and were "so 
extremely industrious and indefatigable, promising to pay the rates for 
those who coultl not atlbrd it, " that they gained many adherents. In 
September, 1709, another society meeting was called, when Colonel 
i\lalbone again appeared with the following protest: — 

*' 1. 1 (luuni tlio present liouso with a very few trifling repairs n)to<rctlicr 
sunicicnt and proper to answer the purpose ileslgucd, it beiii^ no way anti- 
quated, and with siiiull expense may be made equal to wlien it wasllrstfln- 
Islied and full as decent as the situation of the parish will allow of, and cer- 
tainly much more sulttihle to our circumstances than the superb edlUce pro- 
posed to be erected—God Almighty not being so much delighted with temples 
made with hands as with meelv, humble and upright hearts. 

2. If the building had been really necessary it wouKI be prudent to post- 
pone it ratlier than to burden the inhabitants at this distressful season, when 
there is scarce a farthing of mouey circulated among us, and tlie most wealthy 
obliged to send the produce of their lands to markets for distress to raise a 
suflleiency for payment of taxes for the support of the ndnistry only, and the 
generality scarce able, though we pay no proviuce tax, to live a poor, wretched, 
ndserable life. 

3. I was born and educated in tlie principles and profession of the Estab- 
lished National Church, and determine to persevere in those principles to the 
day of my death ; llierefore, 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. " 

Upon putting the ([uestion to vote a majority of o7ie declared 
against building ; but as three of the pronnnent advocates were absent 
at a funeral the point was virtually carried. Elated with the pros- 
peel of success, the friends of the new house now indulged in some 
natural expressions of triunq>h. I^hat J^lalbonc's opiiosition had in- 

Digitized by 



creased tlieir spirit and determination is qnite probable. While he 
esteemed his country neighbors as boors and clowns, characterized by 
^* cant, canning, 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 p ly his building rate, the damage would 
not be very great " These "insults" added to the "intended oppres- 
sion ** roused the high spirited Malbone to immediate resolution and 
action. For nearly thirty years his estate had paid for the sup|iort 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 by 
the maintenance of this worship, and father and son exceedingly liberal 
and open handed, they had paid it without protesting. Removing to 
Brooklyn, Malbone still disdained to question it till confronted by this 
large impost As a resident of the parish he would be compelled by 
law to pay it unless he could attend public worship 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, lielief might be obtained by appealing to the 
King, but this implied negotiation and delay. A more instant and 
effectual remedy was needed and devised. Malbone was an ardent 
royalist, devoted heart and soul to the interests of the British Govern- 
ment The English Church was one with the Crown. By establishing 
Episcopal worship in his own neighborhood, he could not only secure 
himself from taxation and discomKt his opponents, but strengthen the 
hands of his King and country, 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 from 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. Apliu of Plainfield, was ready with aid and counsel. Brook- 

Digitized by 



lyn, like other parishes, had its malcontents, its aggrieved rate-payers, 
ready to avenge old wrongs and forestall future assessments by uniting 
with a new organization. A paper circulated by Dr. Walton procured 
the signatures of nineteen persons, heads of families, agreeing to 
become members of the Church of England when church edifice and 
missionary should be provided. To provide these essentials was a 
matter of great ditticulty. Eveiy argument urged by Malbone against 
the building of the Brooklyn meeting-house applied with greater force 
to his own project Times were hard, money scarce, his own pecuni- 
ary afiairs embarrassed, his proselytes mainly of the poorer classes. 
The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, indig 
nant at the growing insubordination of the colonies, had *' deteiiuined 
not to make any new missions in New England." But Malbone had 
A-iends and influence abroad, and a ready wit and pen of his own — 
" himself a host," able to overcome all opposing obstacles. In grace- 
ful letters admirably adapted to the various recipients he told his story. 
To former boon companions, who might " reasonably be surprized that 
he had undertaken to make proselytes and build churches," he would 
not pretend that he was induced to this by religious motives merely. 
That would "border very near upon that ilamnable sin of hypocrisy 
and falsehood, from the schools of which he was endeavoring U> bring 
over as many as he should be able by the utmost pains and assidiiily." 
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 pride and enuilation, were about to 
demolish a stnicture as sound and good as when Hi*st finished, that 
they might build one newer, larger, and probably yellmoer than a 
monstrous great ^unformed new one that looked like a bam, painted all 
over a very bright yellow, recently erected in Pomfret." To clerical 
fi-iends 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 principle. 
Presbyterianism, he averred, so abhoiTcnt to the true principles 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 addressed to the Bishop of Bangor— his former class- 
mate at Oxford — ^lie declared that 'Hhe ministry could not take a 
more effectual step to humble the overgrown pride of the Independ- 
ents in these Colonies (who, notwithstanding their much vaunted 
loyalty, would very gladly exchange monarchy for a republic, so very 

Digitized by 



compatible with tlieir religioufl syHtein), tlian to encourage tlie growth 
of the church," and he adjured all having any influence with Bishops 
or dignitaries to endeavor to procure an order from his Majesty, 
exempting all churchmen " from the shameful necessity of contribut- 
ing to the suj)port of dissenting worship." These pleas and representa- 
tions secured from the Venerable Society the promise of aid in the 
support of a minister, and various suras of money for the church 
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 Malbone*8 land, was given by Azariah Adams. 
So expeditions 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 prospect of an 
Episcopal house of worship, only stimulated the seal of the friends of 
the parish meeting-house. Great eflbrts were made to bring the 
ueuti*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 
Beventy>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 previous 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 support. Residents of Plainfield and 
Canterbury, alienated from their own churches by bitter religions 
dissensions gave him their names and influence, so that with a strong 
party to uphold him he thus appealed to the General Court for relief 
and exemption : — 

•* Tour petitioners, (lo«lrona of worshipping Ood In public nccordlnpr to 
their own sentiments nnd tiic <llrcctioii of tlielr consciences, In tlie beginning 
of October, 176!), did nssenible tiicinselves togctlicr, and enter into engage- 
ments for building wltiiin said partsli of Brooiviyn, a Iionse of worship 
according to the model of the Church of England, and for supplying the 
same with a minister duly qnalifled, and liave carried the same into execution, 
so that public worship will be performed therein in a few months, rubilc 
meeting-house is of suincient dimensions and with some few repairs would 
malie a good and decent house; that soon after their purpose was Icuowu 
tiic iniiabitaiits of Broolciyn, at a society meeting, held Feb. 6, 1770, did 
vote that said racetlng-houso should be pulled down and a new one erected, 
the expense to be paid by an assessment of the parish ; and to precipitate tiio 
transaction tlie society voted on March 9, That tlic 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 first of 
Dec, 1770, by which Illegal and unprecedented act, It is manifest that the 
whole was passed with a design to Include such of your petitioners as 
belonged to Brooklyn in the taxation, although the church should before that 

Digitized by 




tiino be erected in Brooklyn* and themselves excused by colony statute. 
Whereupon your memorialiats 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 flrst day of Dec, they may stand acquitted and discharged 
Arom said tax. 

Godfrey Malbone. 
Joseph Hubbard. 
Jerre Cleveland. 
Timothy Ixjwe. 
Jedidinh Ashcroft, Sen. 
Ahaziah Adams. 
Jacob Staple. 
Daniel McOlond. 
Caleb Spalding. 
Benjamin Jewett. 

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

Jonathan Wheeler. 
Jacob Geor. 
William Walton. 
Jonas Cleveland. 
Jabez Allyn. 
Nehemlah Adams. 
Benjamin Cady. 
John Ashcraft. 
Seth Sabin. 
James Bldridge. 

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

John Pellet. 
John Tyler. 
Zebulon Tyler. 
Samuel Adams. 
John Aplin. 
Timothy Adams. 
Philemon Holt. 
Phineas Tyler. 
Peter Loi*t. 

William Pellet. 
David Hide. 
Asa Stevens. 
Kobert Durkee. 
Hichard Smith. 
Thomas l*ellet. 
David Pellet. 
Joseph Pellet. 
Morgan Carmans. 

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

April 10, 1770." 

Oonsidemtion of tliU incmoriiil was deferred until October, when- it 
was opposed by Thomas Williams in behalf of the society. Relief 
was granted to Malbone, as an acknowledged chnrehman, but denied 
to his associates, from lack of confidence in the sincerity of their 

Meanwhile the rival edifices were in progress. A commiltee from 
the County Court, summoned by Joseph Sciirborough, 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." Mr. Daniel Tyler, the super- 
visor of the first house, again served as master-builder. His experi- 
ence and judgment, aided perhaps by the pungent strictures of 
Colonel Malbone, enabled him to construct an edifice far less amenable 
to criticism than the Pomfret model — pronounced by common 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 tohite." Five seats 
eleven feet long were ranged each side the broad alley. The remain- 
der of the floor was occupied 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 

Digitized by 



top of the floor of the wall pews wns to be nine incites above the top 
of the floor of the house, that of the body pews to be fonr-and a-half 
inches above tlie same ; all to be neatly finished with banistera. A 
competent committee was appointed to decide upon the builders of 
these pews — viz. : Thomas. Williams, Daniel Tyler, Seth Paino, 
Colonel Putnam, Deacon Scarborough, Captain Pierce, Josei)h Holland, 
Samuel Williams, Sen. and Junior. These gentlemen with the society *s 
committee and the ]>a8tor were to determine " where each pew as well 
as the minister's and pulpit should be." By a bequest from Mr. 
Joseph Scarborough, who died before the house was completed, a 
bell was provided and hung — the second in the county. Private 
enterprise placed a convenient clock in the steeple. The progressive 
spirit of the Brooklyn people 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 Papal 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 meeting* house nnd 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 places 
where they have bells, also at twelve at noon and nine at night." 

The Malbone Church, as it was commonly colled, was completed in 
advance of its rival. It was a neat, unpretentious structm*e, closely 
copying its namesake — Trinity Church, of Newport — in its interior ar- 
rangement. To prcjiare his proselyt<»s for participation in the chtu'ch 
service, (»f which he avowed " they were as ignorant as ro many of the 
Iroquois," Malbone himself invaded "the sacred oflice of priesthood," 
conducting worship in his own house till the church was ready. The 
novelty of the service attracted many hearers. The lie v. John Tyler, 
church missionary at Norwich, ever ready to forward the work of 
church extension in Eastern Connecticut, preached in AshcroiVs house, 
in February, to a number of most attentive hearers. April 12, 1771, 
he oflficiated 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 woi*ship of the Episcopal Church in a section 
of country long given over to Disseutera. It was also memorable as 

Digitized by 



the firet formal dedication servico held in Windham County. Tlie 
liev. Samuel Peters, cluiroh missionary at Hebron, assisted in the ser- 
viee. Tlie sermon, by Mr. Tyler, very appropriately discussed "the 
Sanctity of a Cliristian Temple," and oltered many sound and scrip- 
tural reasons for its outward and visible consecmtion. Public services 
on the following Sabbath were conducted by Mr. Tyler, and on various 
other occasions. No minister was procured till September, when Mr. 
Richard JSIosely offered his services. He had been chaplain in the 
British Naval service, and brought with him letters from some of Mai- 
bone's Boston friends, but no clerical endorsement. His agreeable 
manners won the favor of Col. Malbone, who retained him in charge 
throughout the winter, although Dr. Caner and other Boston clergy- 
men declined to sanction his appointment Notwithstanding their 
disapproval Mr. Mosely became very popular, and not only conducted 
the regular service in Trinity Church, but preached and lectured in 
Plainfield and Canterbury, having " a gi-eat audience each time." The 
popularity of Malbone's minister, and the freedom and openness of bis 
manners, naturally excited much remark and cnticism. The ancient 
church and ecclesiastic society of Brooklyn had been greatly disturbed 
by the establishment of this English church and the number of prose- 
lytes it had secured. The vigorous opposition and stinging sarcasms 
of Col. ]\[albone hatl 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 first child had been ridiculed in sprightly dog- 
gerel, but now more eanu^st action was demanded. They had heard 
much of the corruption of the Church of England, and the disre])Utable 
character and lives of many of its clergy, and here was one ofhciating 
in their own parish, and drawing gi*eat numbers to hear him, who, it 
was whispere<l, was not even endorsed by his own church, and whose 
ministerial stjmding and qualificiitions were extremely doubtful. As 
the legal censors of religious order and public morality, the committee 
of the society felt it their 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 Mosely's letters of 
orders, and lind by what right he had placed him sis minister." Col. 
Malbone expressed his entire willingness to satisfy them, provided they 
would sign a paper he had ))repared for them — a most absurd docu- 
ment, setting forth in inflated, ridiculous and Quixotic terms their 
authority an<l power, as connnittee of the society of Brooklyn, 
town of Pomfret, county of Windham, and colony of Connecticut, lor 

Digitized by 



the inspection and transaction of religious concerns^ and preventing 
every possibility of chicanery, fraud, or collusion in those who had 
seceded from their Independent Congregational meeting," Ac. They 
indignantly refused to sign, Malbone refused to gratify theui on any 
other terms, and "away they went," he writes, "like fools as they 
otime," threatening "vengeance, fire and fagot," and refrained 
thenceforward from further interference with one so furnished with 
offensive and defensive wen pons. 

Mr. Moscly somewhat reluctantly left the field in April, declaring 
that every man in the paiish would gladly have retained him, and it 
may be added that his subsequent career justifies! the suspicions of his 
ministerial unfitness. His successor, liev. Daniel Fogg, received upon 
recommendation of clergymen in Boston, in May, 1772, was a man of 
very different antecedents and character, sober, quiet, discreet and de- • 
vout Devoting himself diligently to his pastoral duties, he soon 
brought his motley flock into more regular order and discipline, and 
won the esteem and confidence of all. About twenty-five families were 
enrolled as his parishioners. A stipend of thirty pounds a year was 
allowed by the English Missionary Society, and a similar amount 
raised by his people. The "Malbone Church," thus comfortably set- 
tled and BMRK'iiniMl, pursued \{a way quiotly, slowly iiic.tenHing in num- 
bers, and suffering no farther inconvenience than occasional trifling 
" distrainments " upon some of its membei*s. 

With all its interest in ecclesiastic and public affairs, Pomfrct was 
not unmindful of its early literary aspirations. The United Libniry 
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, Rev. Daniel liipley was chosen moderator. The so- 
ciety then voted, viz.: — 

'* f. To admit as members of said company tho following persons, viz., 
Nathaniel Carpenter, Samuel Daua, Sen., Dea. Joiintimn Dresser, Abljnli VVilr 
Hams, Isaac Sabin, Joseph Scarborough, Nathan Friuk, Dr. William Walton, 
Samuel Wllnon, Dea. Edward Kuggles. 

2. To admit Joseph OritllD, Instead of John Davison, moved out of town, 
of whom said Grlflin bought his right, as appears by ccrtlflcate. 

8. To admit ])anlel Waldo to a right, Instead of Jonathan Waldo, of whom 
be purchased said right, as appears by certlHcate. 

4. To admit Ensign 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 on June 10, 1760, and to receive into ye Library, 
Chambers* Dictionary and Colmett's Ditto. 

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

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

Digitized by 



Davison were also admitted members of tlie company in following 
years. Pope's Essay on Man, the Life of Peter the Great, and Bishop 
Kidder's Demonstrations of tlie Messiah were added to the Library. In 
1775, a library association w:is formed in Brooklyn society, and a hun- 
dred volumes procured for the foundation, of a library. 

lioads and bridges demanded the usual care and legislation. In 
1770, Pomf ret joined with Killingly in rebuilding what w:is known as 
'* Danielson's Bridge" — Colonel Putnam, Selh Paine, county surveyor, 
and Sanuuil 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 conmiunie-ation with 
Providence, rendered so needful by intimate business and social rela- 
tions, the road thither was still very stony and rough, and the journey 
laborious. So late as 1776, when lilr. S. Thurbcr drove over it in the 
tii'st chais4\ he " could not ride out of a slow walk but very little of the 
way, and was near twt) days in going." Pomfret was much interosttul 
in a project for deepening the channel of the Cjuinebaug, so as to make 
it passable for boats, Ebenezer and John Grosvenor ])ctilioning with 
citizens of other towns for this object. One of the first dams upon the 
Quinebaug was accomplished by Jabez Allen, near the mouth of Bea- 
ver's Brook, about 1770. A large grist-mill was here erected by him, 
and CiUTied on successfully for a few yeai-s. A change of county 
bounils or county seat was one of the public questions in which Pom- 
fret was deeply concerned. A very earnest meeting was held at the 
house of Colonel Israel Putnam, Feb. 11, 1771, "to consult in regard 
to some hew bound for the county." Delegates from Woodstock, Kil- 
lingly* Thompson Parish, Pbuniield, Canterbury, 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 w:is undertuken. 

The taverns of Pomfret enjoyed a high repute during these years 
with such noted landlords as Putnam, Ebenezer Grosvenor, James 
Ingalls, Simon Cotton, William Sumner and Joseph Abbott. In these 
stirring times these resoits were much frequented, and rum and debate 
flowed with equal* freedom. A grocery store opened in Pomfret, 
in 1762, by Joseph Carter, of Canterbury, enabled families to procure 
comfortable supplies of vital necessjiries. Beside all that w:is drunk 
on the premises, or paid for upon delivery, he had chartjed in his Hrst 
fortnight more than twenty-live gallons of West India rum. Some 

Digitized by 



families carried away each several gallons. A single gallon usually 
sufficed Rev. Mr. Whitney. This excessive drinking may have con- 
tributed to keep Pomfret*s physicians in practice. Dr. Lord was 
handsomely sustained in Abiiigton ; Dr. Walton had his friends and 
patients in Brooklyn and Killiugly ; and old Dr. Weld ministered 
to the sick in Pomfret society. Dr. David Hall removed to Vermont, 
afler the loss of his wife and several children. He was succeeded in 
practice by Albigencc, son of Zechariah Waldo, a young man of 
uncommon energy and promise, who had studied for the profession 
with Dr. John Spalding of Canterbury. Nathan Frink, as King*8 
attorney, still practiced law in Pomfret and adjoining towns. Thomas, 
son of John Grosvenor, Elsq., after graduation from Yale College in 
1765, and preparatory 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 eifflU Pom- 
fret boys were graduated from Yale in 1759. In 1760, Joseph Dana 
was graduated ; in 1761, John and Ephraim Avery and Jesse Qoodell ; 
in 1766, Asa H. Lyon; in 1767, Elisha Williams; in 1769, Daniel 
Grosvenor; in 1770, Joseph Pope was graduated from Harvard College. 
It is said that a lady visitant from Massachusetts querying for what 
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. One Pomfret youth, not a college graduate, 
engaged in most useful missionary work in Connecticut. Willard, son 
of Benjamin Hubbard, succeeded Robert CIclIand in teaching 
Mohegan children about 1764, and continued for many years in 
this most difficult and thankless service. A small salary w;is 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 with 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 affairs were wisely managed by competent committees. 
John Holbrook, Amasa Sessions, William Osgood, James Ingalls, 
Dr. Lord, and many other Abington residents were active in general 
town affairs. 

Digitized by 



Much of its land was still held by descendants of the original 
proprietors. Nine hundred acres originally laid out to Thomas 
Mowry, descended to Miss Elizabeth Pier)K)nt, of Boston, who to<ik 
personal possession after her marriage with Captain Peter Cunningham^ 
building a subsUuitial dwelling-house near the Matthamoquet. Part 
of thia land was already laid out io farms and occupied by Benjamin 
Crafl and other tenants. Land in the south part of the society, 
afterwards known as Jericho, was occupie<1 prior to 1700, by descend- 
ants of William Sharpe. The venerable Nathaniel Sessions, long the 
last survivor of the first settlera of PomlVet, died in 1771. The 
J^rovidence Gazette gives this notice : — 

** Sept. 26. Died, at Pomft'et, Conn., Nathaniel Sesalons, la the ninety- 
sixth year of his age— futher of Hon. Purlus Se.^lons, of Providence, 
Depnty-Oovernor— one of the flnit sctllcrs in Ponifret, In 1704 : the first ihat 
opened a cart road through the woods from Connecticut to Providence In 
1721, and transporteil the flrat cart-load of We^t ludhi ^ooda from Provl- 
deuce thither. His wife died about three months before him with whom he 
had lived Rlxty-flve years, had nine sons and three daughters. Could repeat 
the New Testament^ Paalms and 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 

The Worcester Spy^ July 19, 1773, tints records the death of 
another valued resident of Pomfret : — 

'* On Saturday last, departed this life In a sudden and nflTccting manner, the 
very amiable consort of the Kev. Aaron Putnam, of Pomfret, in the tlilrty- 
alxth 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 the horse In the carriage took some start aiid 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 distingnlNhlng 
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 affliction and sorrow for his great loss ; 
hath also left three young children. On the next (bring Lord*s) day, her 
remains were decently Interred a little before sunset. The Hev. Mr. Whitney, 
of Brooklyn parish, delivered at PomfTet, on that day, two very suitable dis- 
courses, thai In the afternoon more particularly adapted to the mourufUl 

Though Pomfret was in many respects so highly favored, she could 
not retain her increase. Her best land was 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 nei^^hbors, 
Captain Nathaniel Clark, Cai)t. Stephen Keyes and Ebenezer Grosven- 
or, thuie were thirty-three children growing up. To provide food for 

Digitized by 



to many mouths and work for so many hands, was sometimes a difficult 
matter. New countries were opening where land was cheap and facil- 
ities for settlement more abundant. As early as 1785, Deacon Samuel 
Sumner, Isaac Dana and others from Pomfrct, had attempted to pur- 
chase a township in the Equivalent Lands. In 1761, Dana received a 
patent from Governor Wentwortli for a township in the New Hamp- 
shire Grants on right of land gianted to John White. This land was 
laid out as the township of Fonifret. Its first settler was Benjamin 
Dtu'kee, with wife and five children, journeying thither from its Con- 
Decticut namesake. 





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, anil olhcr husincss contrcfl, and kept it awake and stirring. It 
was especially noted for high military spirit and keen interest in public 
affairs, and no town was more ready to speak its mind and bear its pait 
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, u|K>n 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. Ephraim 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, Thcophilus Clark and Amos Babcock were admitted 
freemen prior to 1760. Samuel Woodcock of Dcdham, succeeded to 

Digitized by 



the farm once held by Jacob Parker ; Jedldiab Dana to that of John 
Paine. The remaining part of the Stoddard Tract fell to Martha, 
daughter 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 Ohapin, Abel Shnmons, James Parker, 
Robert Snow and others. A large and valuable farm near the site of 
the ))resent Pha*iiixville, known as the Beaver Jhim farm, was retained 
and occupied by Captain and Mrs. Stevens, and brouglit under very high 
cultivation. President Stiles, journeying through Ashford, in 1764, 
was very much interested in Captain Stevens's agricultural operations. 
lie reported him as holding six thousand acres of land in the town, 
lie had thirty acres of hemp growing tended by one man, and employed 
thirty bands in pulling time. He expected to harvest twenty tons of 
hemp and two hundred bushels of seeds. Tlie people of Ashford testi- 
fied their respect for their dbtinguished residents by voting, that Capt. 
John Stevens and his family have liberty to sit hi the ministenal pew 
during the town's pleasure. Captain Benjamin Sunnier, 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 bixlily health of the town. Tho 
various tavern-keepers licensed in 17G2 were Benjamin Sumner, Joseph 
Palmer, JBenjamin Chirk, Jedidiah Fay, £zra Smith, Simuel Eastman 
and Elijah Babcock. Mills were run by Solomon Mason and others. 

Town affairs were managed with the usual formalities. At the an- 
nual town meeting, December 1, 17 CO, Amos Babcock was chosen 
moderator and first selectman ; Ebene^r Byles, Jedidiah Dana, Captain 
Benjamin Sumner and Esra Smith, the remaining selectmen; Mr. 
Byles, town clerk and treasurer ; Ezekiel Tift*any, constable and clerk 
for tho west end of the town ; Samuel Holmes, constable and collector 
for the middle of the town ; Benjamin Russel, const^ible and collector 
for the east end of the town, and also for colony rates ; 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 Burnhara, Josiah E^ton, 
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 keeper and collector of 
excise ; Caleb Ilende and Josiah Chaffee, branders and pound-keepers ; 
Samuel Snow, sealer of weights and measures ; As:iph Smith, sealer of 

Digitized by 



Though in the main tlirifty 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 records some meteorological items which 
elucidate the former phenomena : — 

" The 6tli day of May, 1761— a very stormy day of snow, an awf^il siffht, 
the trees green and the ground white ; the 6th day, the trees in the blow and 
the fields covered with snow. 

The lOih day of May, 1768, a bad storm of hall and rain and very cold, fol- 
lowing which froze ye ground and puddles of water. 

The 17th day of October, 1768, It snowed, and ye 18th In ye morning the trees 
and the ground were all covered with ice and snow, which made it look like 
ye dead of winter.** 

Religions 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 ini- 
pmdent in speech and conduct Earnest efforts 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 full society privileges. " The use of their 
whole ministerial rate to maintain preaching by themselves," granted 
by the town, only made them more anxious to gnin liberty to dispose 
of it Jis they plcaHe<l. The " great and almost impossible difllculties " 
of attending worship in the distant centre incited the eastern inhabit- 
ants to join in the struggle for territorial division. At the to^fn 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 tinee equal societies. A year later it 
was further voted, " That each part shall have one-third of all the pub- 
lic money." Captain Sumner, Edward Tiffany, Benjamin Russel, Amos 
Babcock, Jedidiah Dana, Captain Benjamin Clark and Jedidiah Fay, 
Samuel Knox and Ezra Smith were appointed a committee '* to con- 
sult and advise in what form it was best to divide," who agreed and 
concluded, March, 1764, ** that the town shall be divided in the follow- 
ing manner,'* *. e. : — 

*< That the east part shall have one-third part of said town for quantity set 
off to them for an ecclesiastic society, which shall <-xtend west and bound on 
Bigelow River, provided there Is one-third part on the east side of said river, 
and that the northwest part shall extend from the northwest corner of said 
township Ave and one-fourth miles south on the west line of said town, IVom 
thence a strait line to the crotch of Mount' Hope Hlvor, and thence a 
strait line to John DImmocli'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 

Digitized by 



Josepli Snow, Thomas Knowlton, Edward Byles, Ebenezer Eaton, 
Phili|) Squire, Daniel Dow, Josliua Kendall, Zebulon Marcy, Joslali 
Spalding and Ephraini Lyon declared : — 

** I. That the form of tbe proposed new society is sucli that said old socie- 
ty will be Heveii miles lu length and three In width, and that the raeetlng;- 
bouMe will ho \c(t wilhin one mile of the east end, so wo uhall 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 quite 
sufllcient to bear our own expenses and not those of others. 

3. For that we are small and poor, being the oldest part of the town, and 
our land almost all under Improvement and 8o not capable of growing much 
better by 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 affair, because it appears 
that about two-thirds of tlie 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 bear the 
necessary expenses by reason of the bitter effects that we yet forcibly feel of 
a long and tedious war, sconrhlug dnmghts, blasting fTosLs, 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 uear night while many of the voters 
were retired and obtained but by one majority. We 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, 

Tbe western inbabitants objected to tbe report, in tbat — 

** 1. The doings of said committee were not equal. The land in northwest 
section is not oue-tliird of the town by more than a thousand acres, and some 
thousands of it are utterly unlit for settlement and destitute of iuhablUints. 

2. Sahl northwest society not equal as to list. 

8. 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 laud and smaliuess of the list of the Inhabit- 
ants. Choose rather to enjoy our privileges In one ecclesiiistic society but are 
willing to have a committee sent as prayed for. 

Elijah Whiton. Benjamin Chaffee. Jedldiah Blanchard. 

Abijah Brooks. Ebenezer Walker. Joseph Whiton. 

Tlmotliy Dimock. Benjamin Walker. James Whiton. 

Simeon Smith. John Ware. Zeph. Davison. 

Joslah Rogers. Ezra Smith. Christopher Davison. 

Sanmel Blanchard. Edmoud Drummer. John Smith. 

• Samuel Mosely. Samuel Eastman. William Vreston. 

Medlnah Preston. Peter Eastman. James Atwell. 

Oct. 6, 1764." 

The " addition from Willington '* referred to a petition jnst presented 
by some twenty subscribers, inbabitants of tbe eastern part of tbat 
town formerly taken from Ashford, wbo being very remote from tbe 
public worsbip of God, desired to be joined with tbe nortbwest of 
Ashford in a society. This request was refused and consideration of 
the other memorials deferred till tbe following spring, wben, upon 
faither petition from Elijah Whiton and others, Zebulon West, 
Er:istus Wolcott and William Pitkin were appointed a committee 
to repair to Ashford, view and report. In this task they wore aided 

Digitized by 



by the subjoined paper, submitted to them by two clear-headed and 

public-spirited tootnen^ residents of northwest Ashford, who, impatient 

of the long delay, felt moved to state succinctly the '* Reasons to be 

set off" as follows: — 

** 1. Oar great dUtance from meeting-house. 
2. Large number of iiihablteuce. 
8. Mecting-kouse too snialL 
4. No settled minister. 

6. Broken and divided surcurmstances which it Is not likely can be settled 
till the town Is divided. 

6. The town*8 refusing to do anything aboul dividing or to let the Inhabit- 
enccs in the nortliweHt part have any preaching as tliey liave done heretofore. 

7. Our not taking but one-thli'd of the hind and about one-fourth of list. 

8. Tliat every person in our place will be considerably nearer to meeting. 
0. The town has manifested a necessity for division for eleven years past, 

as appears by their votes. 

10. Tiiey have not opposed the new part being set off by anything they 
have done thin spring, they have been warned with the plan and memorial 
and not opposed It. [Note, — We don*t know that any person Is against a 
society being set off in the northwest of the town, but only some don*t 
like this shape, and some another, and tliosc that oppose this phin yet allow 
that the new part must be a society, even Captain Fay himself and Mr. 
Walker, the most active opposers of this plan, and the dinicult surcurm- 
stnnces of the town require a division, in which all parties seem to agree.*'] 

These reasons were effectual. The committee atler due survey 
reported that they found the town to contain 40,01)0 acres of land ; 
list .£I5),7(»0. The west society limits would include 1H,H00 acres, 
80 families, X3,50J. 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 Knowlton to include the scrip of land 'Mefl out 
on the south.'* 

The rejoicing inhabitants hastened to improve their new privileges. 
Their first society meeting was held Nov. 23, 176.5, at the house of 
Captain Ichabod Ward, a distant relative of the William Ward so 
prominent in the early history of Ashford. Benjamin Walker was 
chosen moderator; Ezra Smith, Manasseh Farnum and Samuel East- 
man, committee ; Ezekiel Tiffany, collector. It was agreed to hold 
society meetings at different private houses, warnings for meetings 
'*to be set up at Solomon Mason's mills aiul Zephaniah 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 should begin the fii*8t Sabbath of April ; that Esquire 
Whiton should procure a minister, and Ebenezer Dimmock, Christo- 
pher Davison, Manasseh Farnum and Joseph Barney be a committee 
to count the cost. A minister was procured according to vote — the 

Digitized by 



society further voting to meet at Captain Ward's for divine worship 
dnring his pleasure. June 9, it was voted " to ohoose a committee of 
three able and judicious men to tix a place for the meeting-house, also 
five more, i. e., Ezra Smith, Samuel Eastman, Benjamin Walker, 
Christopher Davison and Samuel Knox, to notify the first and get 
them out." By tlieir efforts the Court appointed Nehemiah Lyon of 
Woodstock, Prince Tracy of Windham, and John Curtis of Canter- 
bury, who selected a spot near the centre of the society on land 
oflered by Captain Ward, north of his residence, west side of the 
highway leading to Union, **fbr 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- 
tora in Bnmfield, and a convenient meeting-house frame purchased 
for thirty pounds, provided the 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 18, 1767, voted that 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 the meeting-house frame ])urchased in Brimfield should 
be brought to Westford by June 13. This being safely accomplished, 
its re-raising was next in order. The character of the liqitor deemed 
needful on this important occasion called out as much discussion as 
the fitness of a ministerial candidate. It was first voted '' to have giu 
to raise the frame with — meeting-house committee to provide gin," but 
considering quantity of more consequents 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 stinmlant the meetinghouse 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 during the winter. 

After hearing sevenil " supplies," Ebenezer Martin of Canada Paiisli, 
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 propiiety of giving him 
a call. Ileports 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. Ilev. Gideon Noble of Williugton, 

Digitized by 



eondncted the service, assisted by Deacon Nathaniel Loomis, and 
Deacons Wright and Dana from the old Ashford church. A snitable 
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 Famum, John Smith, Jonathan Abbe, 
Josiah Chaffee. At a church meeting four days later it was voted to 
call the Ilev. 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, Uezekiah Eldredge, Ichabod Ward, David Kendall 
and Jacob Fuller were ere long added, making a membership of fifly- 

The society concurred in the call to Mr. Matlin, offering sixty 
pounds salary, rising to seventy, paid half in money, half in produce, 
viz., wheat, Indian corn, oats, pork and beef. Twenty pounds in land 
and sixty pounds towards building a dwelling-house secured acceptance 
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 Lamed 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. Benjnmlu Walker, Elijah WliUon. 

2, Ebenezer Dlmmock, Ichnbod Ward. 
8. Thomas Chapman, Ebenezer Walker. 
4. Joseph Woodward, Zaccheus IIIU. 

6. Ezra Smith, Ebenezer Walker. 

6. David ChaflTce, William Thompson. 

7. David Kobbtiifl, George Smith. 

8. Adonljah Haker, Josluh Chaffee. 

9. John Warren, Josiah Uo^ers. 

10. Ezekiel Tlflhny, Benjamin Chaffee. 

11. Jedldioh Blanchard, Benjamin Walker, Jan. 

12. William Henfield, James Whiton. 
18. Samuel Eastman, Henry Works. 

Digitized by 



14. James Averlll, Job Tyler. 

15. Kzeklel Holt, David Cliaffee. 

16. James Ould. Steplien Coye. 

17. Abijuh Brooks, Simon Smith. 

18. Kphralm Walker, Joiiutliau Abbe. 

19. Jacob Fuller, William Prestoo. 

The oommittee was now ordered to lay the gallery floor, and build a 
breastwork around 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 ibr six shillings." 
The society would gladly have enlarged its borders by reanncxing the 
strip ceiled ye:\rs before to Willington, but though many petitions were 
preferred by its residents, showing that the meeting house in Westford 
would much more greatly commode them, 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 diiHculties that be- 
set the fii-st society, in consequence of the increasing number of Bap- 
tists and sectarians, and the great unpopularity of Mr. Allen. Many of 
his own )>eople 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 disuussed 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 be," but several years passed before such settlement 
was 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 united in choice of 
Kev. James Messinger of Wrentham, a graduate of Harvard College, 
who was installed into the pastorate Feb. 15, 1769. Taught by painful 
expenenoe the fallibility of niinistei*8 and councils the church had 
previously voted : — 

** That this church do believe that the minister of a church has not power 
Arom 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, auy former vote uotwith- 

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

Digitized by 



Fortunately in this instance these precantions proved superfluous. 
Mr. Messinger made no attempt to exercise undue authority, and by 
his wisdom and piety soon won the confidence of his people and was 
held in higli repute as '*a much beloved spiritual guide." Despite the 
political distractions of the times the church increased in numbers and 
regained something of its ptimitive 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 88th year of his age, and fifly- 
second of his deaconship. Benjamin Sumner, one of the fathers of the 
town, Jcdidiah Dana and John Wright also served as deacons. 
Deacon Elijah Whiton was dismissed to the church in Westford 

Baptists had been numerous in Ashford for many years, but suffered 
greatly for lack of a local church organization. A few were connected 
with the Baptist Church of South Brimfield, others united with the 
church at AVest Woodstock. Amos Babcock and Abraham, son of 
llol)ert Knowlton, were among the most prominent of these early Bap- 
tists. A notable accession to the Baptist strength was David Bolles, 
a man of great religious fervor, belonging to a family long distingiiished 
for devotion to Baptist principles and opposition to the church estab- 
lishment of Connecticut. Other 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 his 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 sjile 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 breec/ies. 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 

Digitized by 



*^ whipping story," thus reported by Barber in his Connecticat Histori- 
cal Collections : — 

** A concoiirso of people were assembled on the hill, in flx>nt of the meeting- 
house, to witiieas the punishment of a man who had been convicted of nL*ji:lect- 
ing to go to meeting ou the Sabbath for a period of three montlis. According 
to the existing law for such delinquency, the culprit was to be publicly 
whipped at the post. Just as the whip was about to be applied, astran;i:er 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 ids stirrups, and with empliasis, ad- 
dressed the astonished multitude as follows: 

' You men of Anhford serve God as if the DevU was In you ! Do you think 
you can tohip the grace of God into men? Christ will have none but volun- 

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

This story like many other popular traditions cannot be nnthcnti- 
cated. No law then or ever existed in Connecticut, prescribing the 
penalty of a public whip])ing for even toUd abstinence from meeting- 
going, and it may bo doubted if any justice would dare enforce an 
illegal punishment. Details of the affair are conflicting and irrecon- 
cilable. Tioo men wore arraigned, according to one vei-sion, one of 
whom evadc<l his share of the blows by moans of n cloak <loxtorous1y 
thrown over him by Amos Babcock. A report of the whole transac- 
tion quickly traveled to Boston, and upon his next trip to the city, Mr. 
Babcock found himself quite a hero. His fellow-merchants 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 (jingle culprit and ascribes 
his relief to no less a person than Thomas Knowlton, who, observing 
in the warrant the omission of the usual clause requiring the stn|>es to 
be applied to the bare back, " threw his own overcoat over the shoulders 
of the victim whereby the torture was greatly mitig:tte(l." The 
mysterious visitant of Barber's narrative appearing and vanishing like 
the '* phantom horseman '* of romance is transformed upon closer 
inquiry into an eccentric citizen of Ash ford, distinguished for bitter 
opposition to the standing order, while the party or parties receiving 
the whipping have become extremely mythicil. 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. Tliat some opponent of the established 
chui'ch was whipped under aggravating circumstances, ]>erhaps for 
resisting or reviling a rate collector, is highly probable. The inven- 
tion of this story with its minutio) of detail, and its univei*sal accept- 
ance in the comnumity, would be almost as great a marvel as the 

Digitized by 



whipping, but the bottom facts of the case will probnby never be 

These collisions and extortions greatly weakened the old chnrch of 
Ashford, and furnished a powerful argument for the Baptists, who, 
with increasing strength and numbers, were able to establish religious 
worship within the town borders, A Baptist Society was organized, 
July 15, 1774, and David Bolles, Josiah Rogers and William Whipple 
appointed committee '* to receive and pay all money that shall be 
generously given towards maintaining and supporting a Baptist 
gospel minister." Another committee was chosen in February follow- 
ing, to pelect " the most proper place to build a meeting-house on." 
Land in the southwest part of the town was selected, and a committee 
" to be under the 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 conmiittee, 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 subscribed. Materials were pro- 
cured, a frame raised and covered, so that by the first of June the 
house was ready for service. The leaders of the society, flushed 
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 thing, but they subscribed last 
week near Ave hundred pounds lawful money, towards building a new 
meeting-house. Town largo and rich, nm told that full one-third have 
declared for tlie Baptists, and should tliey get n man of abilities probably 
much above half the town will attend th<rir meetings. Tlie richest men are 
on our side, and say they believe In supporting a minister handsomely." 

Mr. Ustick was unable to accept at once, and ISIr. Ebenczer 
Lamson of Charlton, was apparently the first minister employed by 
the society. An*angements for the tratisfeiTence of the church to 
Ashford, were now in progress. The ancient church in South Brim- 
field, after many trials and vicissitudes, had reorganized a few years 
previous u}K)n a basis distasteful to its non-resident inemberfl, who now 
held a council, and in their turn enacted a new departure, viz : — 

" S TAFi-onn, May ye 29th, 1775. 
At a meeting of the First Baptist Church of Christ in iSouth- Brlnifleld, 
legally warned and met and opened by prayer— whereas there Is a second 
church of the same Denomination lately built up in South Brlmfleld and a 
minister settled over them, and whereas many of this church consists of 
inhabitants in the towns of Ashford, Mansfield, and Willlngton, and for the 
convenioncy of meeting for worship on the Sabbath, and the question was 
put whether for the future the place for public meeting for worship should be 
at Ashford in general, where the new meeting-house now is, and that the 

Digitized by 



clitircli for the Aitnre shall be known by the name of the Baptist Church of 
Christ In Ashford— voted in the afllrmatfve. 

John Wesson and Amos Babcock added to the committee. John Wesson 
chose church clerk." 

IIow many members were transfeiTed with tlie clinrch is not recorded 
but probably not 21 large number. A pait of its membei-ship 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 attend tlieir meetings. David 
Bolles and many of the Eastern Ba]>tists still found it more conveni- 
ent to resort to Woodstock. Mr. Ustick succeeded Mr. Lamson 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 Moulton, was present and served as moderator. It was 
voted to have Mr. Thoinjis Ustick supply our pulpit for six months, 
and an unsuccessful attempt was made to choose a deacon. The action 
of the church in clianging 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 olmrches. Invitations to a conference were accordingly sent out, 
and, Feb. l^^ 1777, a number uf Baptist elders and delegates met with 
the Ashford church to confer as to its state, sUuiding and regularity : — 

*• And after prayers for Divine direction, proceeded to choose Elder Elijah 
Codding, moderator, and brother Thomas Ustick, clerk. After niutnal con- 
ference upon the ori<^liiaI and present state and standing of the ciuircli, the 
delegates from the churches of Brimfield, Woodstock and Abin^lon, upon the 
question 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 attlrmatlve, viz : That in our opinion the said body 
are a visible church of Christ. 

The delegates then proceeded in order to gain fellowship with the aforesaid 
churcli to query as followeth : — 

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

2. Whether the church believe that ttie majority ou^ht to be submitted to 
by the minority in all matters of rule and determination, yea or nay? 
Answered in the afflrmatlve. 

S. Whether or not the sisters of the church take hold of the sword of dis- 
cipline, or have any wei<:ht in matters of rule and determination with the 
male members? Answered in the negative, that tliey may not. 

4. Whether or not It Is the duty of the church to maintain their minister in 
such nmnner as tliat he, with his family, rise in proportion as the members 
in general do, as to tiielr temporal estate? Answered in the afDrmative. 

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

Signed in behalf of the whole. 

Elijah Codding, Moderator. 
TnoMAS Ustick, (Hcrk. 
John Wkston, Church Clerk. 

Digitized by 



Thus eetablished and acknowledged with a new meeting-house and 
active young iniuiater, it might have been hoped that tliis church 
would go prosperously onward, with increasing strengtii and influence, 
but it soon became involved in manifold difficulties. Its external 
relations were unfavorable to growth and harmony. A strong society 
organised independently of the church and taking the initiative 
in establishing public worship, was a troublesome factor in tbe case, 
and to add to the complication the meeting-house itself was owned 
by a third independent body, t. €., the proprietors who had borne 
the cost of its erection. Dissatisfaction was first manifested in a 
vote respectiug the minister. It may be that the preaching of the 
young college graduate was distasteful to the plain, old-fashioned 
church members who cared so little for human learning, and occasioned 
the following action: *' April 16, 1777, after sortie convei-sation 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 acnd 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 church 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 enjployed 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 behalf of said church, of Mr. Josiah Chaffee, 
on which the Baptist meeting-house now stands in Ashford," and also 
empowering Brother Samuel Johnson " to give a bond to Mr. Josiah 
Chaffee in behalf of the church for the delivery of the meeting-house 
spot to said Chaffee when not any longer wanted by said church for a 
meeting-house spot." These conflicting claims, niinistei-s 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 
£1der Manning, Honored Elder Backus and Honored Elder Ledoit" 
This meeting was held Nov. 6, 1777. Notwithstanding the high char- 

Digitized by 



acter of tlie assembly, the session was stormy. The society set forth 
its grievances touching meeting-house and minister ; the church main- 
tained its rights with equal firmness and persistence. Mr. I^abcock, in 
his earnestness, even followed the Honorable Connnittee 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 unfavorable charges. The church was greatly diusatisfied with 
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* rights. 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 grace upon his heart, and also his call to the work of the 
ministry," which proving satisfactory, they confirmed the call without 
apparent 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 proprietors of the meeting-house that manifest an un- 
easiness or submit the affair to indifferent men. Upon recommendation 
of the lia))tist Church in Charlton, Mr. Lamson was received as a 
proper member of the church in Ashford, preparatory to ordination. 
Delegates from the Baptist churches in New London, Charlton, Wil- 
braham and Abiugton met in council June 9, 1778. Afller inquiring in- 
to the church's standing and calling their candidate to the work, they 
found it " scriptural to their satisfaction." They proceeded to inquire 
into his experience and call to the ministry, especially to this church, 
and were fully satisfied with it. 

** Then certain gentlemen cast in a written objection against the church for 
breach of covenant which the council closely inquired Into, and And it was 
not the church only three of their members, which when we had closely ex- 
amined we conclude it was a raisuuderstandiug 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 again, and according to before 
appointment wo proceeded to ordain Brother Ebcuezer Lamson. Elder Joshua 
Morse made the first prayer and preached a suitable discourse ft*om Ist Peter, 
ye four first verses ; then prayed and laid on bauds. Elder Nathaniel Green 
made the prayer and gave the charge, and Elder William Grow gave the right 
hand of fellowship, then concluded with laying on of hands and prayer. Elder 
Clark made tlie prayer, all of which was done decently and in order. After 
which there were some exhortations that were to the comforting of saints, 
and wo hope will prove convicting to siunci's. 

Joshua Mousk, Modcralor.** 

Digitized by 



Abraham Knowltoii and John Hanks were now installed as deacons. 
Mr. Ustick, who up to this date had remained in Ashford, preaching at 
times though "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 <lifficu1tie8 gi'adually 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 dictionary^ as for example that of Brother Ezekiel Sib- 
ley, who thus defines his position : — 

" To the Baptist Church of Ashfnrd: In answer why I withdrew fi*om you 
is as followetii, relating to your fellowsblping the church at VVilllngtou in a 
corrupt faitti, to wit, tlicy believe they ouglit to contribute to tlie gospel ex- 
penses according to tlieir abilities and Previledges^ which word * Prevliedges * Is 
a corrupt faitli and never was Introduced by the commands of God. Neither 
do I think It ever was In any church since the world began it being fbll of so 
many evils. It not only brings contempt upon the divine authority, but would 
have broka up all rhnrches. 

And yoar tolerating and fellowahlplng them In It, it brings divers from our 
professed faith. You have broke your faith witli me, and got yourselves 
wliere I cannot follow you. By which unguarded proceedings you have 
offeu*led your grieved brother." 

The church out of consideration for such conscientious scruples and 
the possible heresies that might lurk in the inscnitable "prev Hedges," 
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 the primitive Baptist, but 
freedom in supporting the minister was hardly com|)atible with the 
means adopted for making each brother pay his proportion, viz. : — 

<*Oct. 8, 1781, vote put whether the church mean to ennpect each member 
respecting the support of the Gospel amongst us when it becomes necessary? 
Voted In the affirnintlve.'* 

Despite these vanous trials and hindrances the Ashford Baptist 
Church maintained a respectable standing in town and denomination, 
and gained a strong niemborshi)) though weakened after a few yeai*s 
by withdrawals to Willington and Mansfield. 

The eastern inhabitants delayed separate 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 lino 
previously agreed upon beginning at Bigelow liiver 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. EUsha Hutchin- 
son be our gospel minister." Failing to carry out this enactment, a 

Digitized by 



meeting was held, May 25, at the house of Lieut. John Rnssel, when 
Josiah Spalding, Benjamin Sumner and Jonathan Chapman were chosen 
a committee to hire preaching, with instructions 'Uo employ Mr. An- 
drew Judnon of Stratford, with a view of settling among us, provided 
he don't stay with us 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 
resi<lents of Eastford Society manifested great spirit and readiness in 
establishing public woi-ship. At this s^nne meeting it was also voted, 
"To build a meeting-house in Eastford Society, about four or five rods 
northwest from where CapUiin Benjamin Russel's old shop used to 
stand." Abiel Simmons was chosen collector ; Ingoldsby Work, " agent 
to pray out a committee to set a stake for a meeting-house spot ; also, 
a committee to treat with such committee as the County Court should 
send to stick the stake aforesaid." June 30, it was farther voted, " That 
the County Court's committee should stick stake on Ijeut. John Itus- 
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 meethig-house have liberty to build it of 
equal bigness with Woodstock's West Society's meeting-house, i. e., 

Mr. Judson consenting to preach as a candidate, public services were 
held September 23, 1778, 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 
Williams, John Ston*8 and Elisha Flutohinson, 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, desiring to embody " according to the word of God, and in par- 
ticular according to the light of the following texts, i, e., Deut. 20: 12, 
13 ; Jer. 50 : 55 ; Second Cor. 8:5; Isaiah 44 : 5 ; Nehe. 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 salary. Ordination services were held Dec. 1, when 
"it being through kind Providence a very pleasant day, the solemnities 
were performed 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. Various members were 
received by a dismissive and reconnnendatory letter from the First 
Church of Ashford. 

Digitized by 



Work on the meeting-house was greatly impeded by scarcity of men 
and money. The frame was raised in the summer of 1779, and partly 
covered so that business meetings were hehl in it, but religious services 
were conducted '* at the house of Mr. Aaron Tuffls, or Lieut RusseFs, 
or Captain Josinh Spalding's." It was voted, "To purchase about an 
acre of land of Lieut. Russel, in addition to the two acres thnt 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 Hilary paid in this paper money, which agreed upon " the rate 
of twenty pounds /or one" In 1780, voted, "To sell the pew ground 
at vendue, nnd 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 liussel, 
Jabez Ward, Simeon Deane, John Scarborough, John Work, Benj. 
Sumner, Joseph and Ingoldsby Work, Ebenezer 13os worth, James Sum- 
ner, Benjamin Cates, Stephen Foster, Benj. Hay ward, Jonathan Bemis, 
John Frink, John liussel, Jun., Josiah Spalding, Noah Paine, Ensign 
Joseph Kendall, Peter Tuflfls 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-))inned in the cheapest and best 
way." (Slass 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 Mory beloiijTS to the Friends' meethi!?, and so Danlc| Bartlett 
dotli sup of the snme cup with me, and we own him to be one of our brethren, 
an I take care of uiy fricudt. In the presence of us, which we are ready to 
answer to, this : 


Thomas Smith, 
John Bartlktt. 
Gloucester, March 16, 1774.*' 

During these years of sectarian and political agitation, Ashford was 
also implicated in a prolonged litigation growing out of the ancient 
" Corbin land claims,** and carried on by Benjamin and Asliael Marcy as 
legal representatives of James Corbin. Elijah Whiton, Ezra Smith, 
Elisha Wales, Benjamin Clark and Ebenezer Byles were appointed in 
17G0, "To search the book of records with respect to the town's com- 
mons and Corbin's land," who reported that 2500 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, in Ashford, May 

Digitized by 



4, 1774, Elijah Wliiton and Ezra Sinitli appearing as agents for the 
town. Full details of the original purchase and subsequent agi'eements 
were presented, and a formidable array of deeds and figures showing 
plainly that Corbin had received some hundred acres more than his 
due, while the petitioners demonstrated with equal cettainty that a still 
larger number was lacking. The connnittee in due time reported, ** That 
Corbin's land had not been taken np, that 910 acres still remained due 
to his heirs ; also, that Corbin s partnera had failed to pay taxes, and 
their shares should revert to him." The Assembly, after consideration 
of the repoit, was of opinion 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 afKrmed, that the patent granted to Corbin in 1725, 
should be considered as an addition to the claim of 1719. The town 
refused to accept this decision so contrary to the common understand 
ing of the case, and to the facts adduced by Captain Chandler and 
othera when the patent was granted, and when the Marcys entered 
upon land proceeded ^* to prosecute those who had got our oounnon 
land into their possession." The Superior Court gave verdict in favor 
of the town. Marcy again appeale<l to the Assembly, complaining of 
error in the judgment of the Sui>erior Court, whereupon it was resolved 
by that bo<ly : — 

** That the said Superior Court in taking cognizance of said petition mani- 
festly erred, and mistook the luw, and that the said judi^ineut Is hereby re- 
versed and set :i»lde, and the petitioner restored to ihe eost, and the petition 
remain as before entered In the docket of said Superior Court." 

The town debarred from farther action at court Wiis compelled to yield 
up its commons. So far as regards the right of juriadiclion 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 controverey 
was the copying of the original **town book'* by the faitliful town 
clerk, Ebenezer Byles, in 1770. 

In 1771, Ashford appointed a committee to pray for county recon- 
struction on the following basis: Ashford with Woodstock, Killingly, 
Pomfret, IFnion, Stafford, Tolland and Willington to form a new north- 
ern county, and " C'olchester and Hebron to be added to the remains of 

Digitized by 





CANTEUBURr was mnch occupied at this date in resettling 
her parishes and repairing her bridges. In 1760, her peace 
was greatly disturbed 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 llebard, appointed 
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, leaving; (IrHt society In Canterbury 
eight mile.H by five In extent — wKsely and cautiously done to accommodate two 
parishes within herself when planters should bo multiplied. 

2. Inhabitants were settlefl all over said parish from cast 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 
hurtnil to Its civil and religious Interests." 

Even this last consideration, nsnally deemed so weighty, was ineffect- 
ual in (his instance. The Assembly taking time for deliberation, Mr. 
Hebard farther urged, that the scheme would ^^ destroy one society 
in Canterbury, destroy the well-being of one in Newent, and ioound 
and weaken a third in Scotland." In spite of these dismal prognos- 
tications, the petitioners carried the day, and secured in 1761, the 
erection of the new society of Hanover from parts of Canterbury, 
Scotland Parish and Newent. 

Town affairs required much care and deliberation. Colonel John 
Dyer and others of the second generation of settlei-s were no longer 
in active life. At the town meeting, 1761, John Curtis was chosen 
moderator ; Captain Obediah Johnson, Stephen Frost, Josiah Butt, 
Captain J3enjamin Price, selectmen ; Stephen 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, Frederic 
Curtis, Gideon Cobb, Joseph Safford, John Hebard, Matthew 
Button, Zechariah Waldo, highway surveyors; Nathaniel Aspinwall, 
Samuel Adams, fenc^j- viewers ; Solomon Paine, Asa Cleveland, 
Ebenezer Spalding, Robert Ilerrick, Silas Cleveland, Jedidiah Dodge, 
listei-s; Kobert Ilerrick, Abijah Cady, leather sealers ; John Hebard, 
Nehemiah Ensworth, Ezekiel Spalding, Elisha Paine, Isaiah Williams, 
grand-jurymen ; Shubael Butts, Ilezekiah Pellet, Daniel Paine, 

Digitized by 



William Bradford, tithingmen ; Gideon Cobb, ganger and packer ; 
Aliaziah Adainn, brander and toller; William Bond, Ezekiel Spald- 
ing, key-keepers. Ezra Ensworth, having managed at great cost 
and labor to construct a dam across the Qiiinebaug in the south part 
of tiio town, was granted liberty to mend and *• keep in repair 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 
obuiined by very strenuous efforts. Anything that obstructed the 
ammal ascent of shad and salmon on which they so much depended 
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 neighbura had again rebuilt it, '* supposing that 
Canterbury would order the dam removed." Their fears an<l 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 nevei* rebuilt ; but 
none the less <lid the aggrieved neighbors refuse to rebuild the bridge. 
The town, compelled to juin with IMainfield in maintaining Neviud 
l^ridge 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 in 
rebuilding Butts Bridge. So great were the inconveniences and 
difficulties resulting from this negligence, that a large number of 
petitioners from Plaintield, Preston and other towns represented 
the case to the Assembly, and prayed that Canterbury might be 
compelled to support said bridge, as a place of much travel. A 
special act of the assembly in 1763, thereupon provided that Canter- 
bury shouhl build and keep in order a bridge at this place, under the 
direction of a county committee. Seth Pauie of Brooklyn Parish, 
Nathaniel Webb of Windham, and Asa Smith of Woodstock, were 
accordingly placed in charge of the work. 

The increa.sing travel through the town made it needful to keep 
its highways in good order. Many of its own citizens were carried 
away by emigration. Abraham Paine, Elisha Cleveland, and others 
removed to Nine Partners, New York. Joshua Hide and Joshua 
Parke were among the early settlers of Vermont. Captain James 
Bidlack, Samuel 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 Timothy Bar.kus, and lay out 21 highway from 
the dividing line between Windham and Canterbury, four and-a-half 

Digitized by 



miles east, to the highway lending from Norwich to Canterbnry, and 
thence to the Great Bridge over the Quinebaug. This highway, thus 
relaid and carefully maintained, accommodated a great part of the travel 
from Providence to Hartford and farther westward. In 1778, Colonel 
Jabez Fitch was chosen agent by the town to oppose the memorial of 
Colonel Israel Putnam and others " for an open and public highway 
to be laid out through the towns of Killingly, Pomfret and Canter- 
bury, in order 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 Rowl:md*s 
Brook in the north part of the town, and various mills kept in opera- 
tion. Tannery works were also carried on by Benjamin Morse. 

The various taverns needed upon the ])ublic 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 practice in Canterbmy and Plan field. A son of 
Canterbury, Dr. John Spalding, also established himself in his native 
town. Dr. David Adams, son of David A<lamp, rcsi<ling in Scotland 
and afterward in Preston, was often employed in his old home. 

Rev James Cogswell continued in charge of the First church, 
which though weakened by secession and emigration maintained a 
respectable standing, and its old dislike of separation. A visit from 
Mr. Whitcfield in 1764, excited much consternation. This distinguished 
preacher had lost favor with the more rigid churches and |>a8tors. 
Mr. Cogswell was greatly exercised in spirit by the rumor of his 
coming, **not knowing how to conduct, viz: whether to desire hira 
to preach," — but, after deliberation and prayer, deterndned " 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 nund)cr of his people 
he ventured to call upon the great preacher and held considerable 
discourse, which he thus recorded in his diary : — 

*' lie professed much unconcerned ncss nt ye thoucht of death. He ap- 
peared a isrcat enemy to Sandcmnn. He wa« gross in body but poor In health 
and declined preaching; wisli I may be so weaned from tlie world and ready 
to die as he profussed to be; can't think, however, there is the greatest 
propriety in being fond of speaicing in hucIi a nnunier to ntran^ers. 

Fel>. 14, Mr. Whitcfield came along; people seemed very fond of gazing on 
him. He rode In his chariot with a gentleman— had a waiter to attend on Idm, 
and Sampson Occam, ye Indian preacher, who rode on one of the horses, 
there being three to yu chariot. [Heverends] MesHrs. Breck and Whitney 
came and dined here. Mr. Hrcck said he did not know but I was ri^^ht 
in asking Mr. Whitettcld to preach ; however he believed he should not have 
done it." 

Digitized by 



If Mr. Breck of Spinngfield, always inclined to Artninianism and 
hetero<loxy, could thus scruple, it may be seen that the cautious 
pastor did indeed run some risk in extending civilities to the great 
pulpit orator. 

Mr. Cogt^well's dinry gives us a parting glimpse of another once- 
famed preacher and religious leader — his old antagonist, Elisha Paine, 
revisiting Canterbury atler many years absence: — 

** March 26, 1769. Lawyer Paino sent for mo in the cvcniD«f, said that he 
wanted to sec me but did not desire I should tarry lecture, us Stephen 
Backus told luc; however, when I came there the old gentleman said he had 
nothing special to sny, and that ho only sent word that he was going to 
preach, and began lecture soon. But I thought I would not go away imme- 
diately — was not sorry I tarried as i have not heard a Separate teacher in a 
great while, lie is much more moderate than ftirmerly and indeed is a dull 
preacher; some part of his discourse was good but he preached many things 
erroneous as I thought, as that all religion which was established by civil au- 
thority was false; .... that all Christians have assunince, and those who think 
they have not are to be suspected of knowing nothing of Christ's beauty 
experimentally. That though men should live peaceably together yet it was 
a vain and wicked attempt to reconcile converted and unconverted men for 
they would always have implacable cneiniiy ; and tho' they should agree ever 
so well on an outward plan of church government which he called a hiarchee, 
meaning as I suppose an Hierarchy, it would be of no service unless men 
were converted — and several otlier exceptional things. 

27th. Mr. lvalue visited me. Discoursed In a friendly manner. I mentioned 
to hiai his niedilling with Connecticut Kstabllshmeut in his sermon; he said 
he did not mean so umch Connecticut E.^tablishment as all Establishments. 
I mentioned his notion of saving faith consisting in assurance. He in etfect 
gave up the point, for he said lie believed many were good Christians who 
had not assurance but did not own he was wrong. He discoursed against 
several practices.— Presl)yterian ordination, ministers being supported by a 
salary, &c., but with a pleasant countenance and to appearance with a temper 
much less bitter and severe timn when he lived in town— but 1 believe he 
holds much the same doctrines."* 

The Si'parate church once so flourishing had suffered many losses. 
The venerable Obadiali Johnson, one of the early settlers of the town, 
and a pillar of this church, died in 1765. Mary, wife of William 
Bradford and sister of John and Ebenezer Cleveland, — *'an ornament to 
her sex and indeed to till her Christian frietids," — died the satne year 
upou the birth of her fourteenth child, *' in a perfect calm resignation 
to the will of God and assurance of faith.'* Her father, Josiah Cleve- 
land, dying some years previous had shown his love 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 £200 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 the minister. But money 

* The remaining years of the great Separate leader were spent in peaccfhl 
seclusion, preaching to his l>eh»ved floclc at Brlilgeluimpton, L. I., until 
within two weeks of his decease, which occurred Aug. 2G, 177u, at the age of 

Digitized by 



an<l land could not make up the loss in membership. Emigration and 
disaffection had carried away many. The vote by which they had 
gained society privileges and exemption from ratepaying, gave great 
offence to many ardent brethren, and after many stringent letters from 
Ebenezer Frothingham of Middletown, the church decided to i*ocon- 
sider the matter ; renewed their covenant one by one — during which 
God drew near and united their hearts in the love of the gospel — and 
appointed a committee, who reported : — 

"May 21, 1760. 1. The Separate voting or acting with the society was 
wrong, as that civil budy acted in a matter of conscience, or in an ecclesias- 
tic affiilr." 

The church assented to this " as their minds, and wliat 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 brotlier was ardent and 
zealous to a fault, and offended many of his people by bluntness of 
speech and lack of discretion. Afler long labor and agitation a coun- 
cil was held, May 29, 1768, which decided " that brother Joseph Mai-shall 
be dismissed from the pastoral care of this church, on account of the 
contentions in church respecting his gifts and ordination, which 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 
sigiiitied 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 the 
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 teacher," 
and hoped that God would "convince them of their folly." Not.with- 
standing this opposition, " Lyon, the Baptist," 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 oflen joined in worship and ordinances 
with Separate churches. 

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

Digitized by 



Stephen Frost, sons of Samuel Butts, and other influential families 
were among these residents, and in the spring of 1767, petitioned for 
society privileges. A measure 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 — lino 
to leave 11,786 acres on each side; rate on east side £5,759; west 
side £4,251. With this vote the western inhabitants, viz: — 

Stephen Frotit, lloberl and John Herrick, Solomon Adams, Ebcnezcr Deane, 
Ezra and Amos Woodward, Ebenczcr Gooden, Stephen Downing, Benjamin 
and Nathaniel Clcvclnnd, Samuel Parish, Matthias Button, Benjamin and Jolin 
Durfue, David Munro, Solomon Allen, Stephen Ftird, Jun., Joseph Burgess, 
Jotdah, Joseph and Sherebiah Butts, Joseph Leach, John Curtis, William 
Foster. Benjamin Jewett, David Canada, Eliphalet and Zebulon Farnham, 
William Hebard. Frederic Carter, John Lewis, Jonas Bond- 
appeared before the Assembly, and secured a committee which 
reported in favor 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 £lijab Dyer, Jabez Fitch and John 
Bacon now represented : — 

'< That the vote to divide was hastily passed; that the Inhabitants princi- 
pally settled in the east; tliat a number or inliabitunts setlled uflerwards in 
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 tills distressing time; people behindhand on account of 
great changes and scarcity of money, and to divide In the way proposed will 
certolniy 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 In length and two and a-half In width, 
and that we live quite ut the east part of new society, and have a griod 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 the way so bad that It Is impossible 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, 1769, 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 request 
was continued till October, and thus answered : — 

** Upon memorial of Stephen Frost, Robert llerrlck, Ebenezer Goodell and 
others, Inhabitants of first society of town of Canterbury, situated In west 

Digitized by 



pftrt of 9ai(] society, showing to this Assembly tliclr groat distance fVom 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 first society, ascertained by a late survey made by 
Seth Paine, county surveyor, approved by said society — praying this Assembly 
to make and constitute the men situate on the west side of said north and 
south line a distinct ecclesiastic society acconling 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 ministry). It Is resolved by this As- 
sembly, that the inhabitants living within the limits aforesaid (excepting as 
before excepted) shall be, and they are hereby made, erected and constituted 
a distinct eccicslastlc 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, 17(i9.** 

The organization of the new society was speedily eflTected. The re- 
ports of the first meetings have not been preserved, bitt there was evi- 
dently no lack of spirit and enthusiasm. Arrangements were soon 
made for bnilding a mectiiig-honse. There wjis no owinsion 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 tlio crossing of the roads were given by John Parks for meet- 
ing-house spot, burial ground 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 efticiently that the 
house was made ready for occupation dtni ng 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 Putnatn, messengers, 
comprised the council. A number of brethren appeared before it, and 
after professing their belief in the articles of the Christian 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 church of Christ : — 

'* 1. We do take the Iloly Scriptures as the only ultimate rule of our Ihlth 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 

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

Stephen Frost. Thomas Hratlford. Amos Woodward. 

Kobert Ilerrlck. WUliam Bond. Kbenezer Davis. 

John Lewis. Jacob Foster. Anthony (ilass. 

Isaac Woodward. Enos Woodward. John Ilerrlck. 

Daniel Davis. Peter Woodward. 

Westminster, Nov, 20, 1770. " 

*lt is not Improbable that the society adopted Its stately name In honor of 
this venerable coulcsslon which held sohigh a place In their esteem. 

Digitized by 



Within a few months John Staples of Taunton, Mass., was called to 
the pastorate antl onhiined Apiil 17, 1772. Stephen Frost, John ller- 
I'ick and Jonas Bond were cliosen to serve as deacons; many were 
added to Che church, and the society pursued its way in much i)ea(^ 
and prosperity. 

Although the Fii-st society in Canterbury managed to maintain its 
existence afler tiie division of its territory, it did not escape many of the 
evils so dismally foreboded. During the preceding controversy ani 
mosities had been engendered, and it was found impossible to efiect a 
peaceable settlement. Deal. Frost, for some unas.signed 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 
trexisurer; 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 papei-s 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 nu)ney 
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 al)out 
an amicable settlement of the dispute between said societies res]>ecting 
loan school money, and also to make a iinal settlement and full con- 
clusion of all other matters of controversy subsisting between said so- 
cieties res|)ecting a part of Mr. Cogswells salary for the year in which 
said society was divided." Through their mediation the various diiH- 
culties were in some measure surmounted. 

The most serious evil resulting from society division was the loss of 
Mr. Cogswell. The First 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 peaceable dismission." The church, *^ taking into 
consideration our difficult circumstances, with much reluctance c(msent 
that our pastor be dismissed ; testify our sincerest regards and part 
with him not because we are dissatisfied with htm 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 reconnnend him." Mr. Cogs- 
well preached for a short time at East Haddam, where his good friend 
and adherent, Deacon Sanmel 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. Mathaniel 

Digitized by 



Niles of Norwich, prcftchcil for a seHSoii but declincfl a call to settle- 
ment. Samuel Spring, Job Swift and £|)liraim Jiidson also served as 
supplies during this unsettled period. Eliashib Adams succeeded to 
the deacon's office on the removal of Dea. Huntington in 1769. Jabez 
Fitch, Jun., was elected deacon two years later. William Bingham, 
"William Darbe and Benjamin Bacon were made choristers. Though 
destitute of a settled pastor, public worship was maintained with con- 
siderable regularity. Jab<>z Filch, Esq., Timothy Baldwin, Jabez Ens- 
worth, John Ikcon and Elijah Dyer looked after the proper seating of 
the meetinghouse, 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 IlilK the 
lands in possession of Timothy Backus, Isaac Allerton, W^illiam Under- 
wood, Joab Johnson, Curtis and Ezekiel Spalding, Jabez Fitch, Jun., 
William ]3inghani, 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 Canterbury 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, Joseph Clark, Jo- 
seph Woodward, Asa and Joseph Stevens were ordere<l, " To take care 
of the schools in their respective squadrons, and to hire suitable per- 
sons to keep the schools." A division into twenty-three districts was 
soon after effected and the number of schools increased. Private 
schools were often supported in different neighborhoods. A " night 
school " was kept at one time by Joseph Carter in *' the school-house 
nighent to Westminster meeting-house." After his mercantile ex|>eri- 
ment in Pomfret this young man returned to Canterbury, keeping store 
or school as occasion offered, and, like a true-born Yankee, turning his 
hand to anything. Succeeding in time to the oflice of deputy-sheriff, 
he combine<l 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 warrants. With all rhis Yankee facility one 
duty came hard to him. He did not mind applying the lash to the 
bare back of a male culprit, but he hated to whip a womany and unfor- 
tunately for him the innnber of female offendei-s was very large. Steal- 
ing, vagi-aficy 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 
Bphit and cogency that he was fain to submit thercailcr to do his own 

Digitized by 



whipping. One petty pilferer escaped with a lighter ])uni8hnient. A 
very respectable citizen living north of the Green was led to sns|>ect 
that one of his neighbors was helping himself to his hay, and keeping 
a sharp look-ont at last espied the oflfender creeping up to his barn one 
evening and coming out with a large bun<lle 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. Crackliikg Hames 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 offender. 

John Felch usually served as town clerk during this period. John 
Bacon, Jan., was graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1765, 
and after essaying ministerial settlement in various fields removed to 
Stockbridge, Mass., and dislinguished himself in Becular service. Anron, 
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 which com- 
prised the militia of Plainfield and Canterbury. Mr. Cogswell reports 
a public library founded by the citizens in 1771. 



WINDHAM as head and shire town of the county was now exceed- 
ingly prosperous and prominent, surpiissing, acconling to cotem- 
porary ju<lgment, " every iidand 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 t:iverns, 
and many handsome private residences. The ofKcors retpiisite for the 
proper management of public affairs in 17G0 were five selectmen, five 
constables and rate coUectora, seven grand- jurors, ten tithing-men, 
seven listers, twenty-three surveyorH, four bnindiM'H and toilers, thn^e 
pound keepers, three packers, one weight-sealer, one measure-sealer. 

Digitized by 



two to lake care of provisions paid for colony tax, one excise collector, 
two surveyora and packers of tobacco.* The Rev. Stephen White re- 
mained in pastoral charge of the First Church and society. Samuel 
Gray served efficiently as town clerk. Nathaniel Wales, with his son 
Nathaniel, filled many public offices to great acceptance. £li))halet 
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 
medicnl practitioner, and while exhibiting ** marvelous skill '* in the art 
of healing, served ns judge of the County Court and member of the 
Governor's council. His cotemporary in years, Dr. Ebi'uezer Gray of 
Boston, probably brother to Samuel Gray, Esquire, also "practiced 
physick" in Windham and its vicinity. Dr. Joshua Elderkin, the 
somewhat erratic brother of Jedidiah, practiced medicine, engaged in 
trade and experimented in manufactures. In that revival of business 
and commercial enterprise following the close of the French war, 
Windham actively participated. James Flint, Ebenezer Backus and 
Ebcnezer Devotion, Jun., of Scotland Parish, engaged extensively in 
mercantile traffic, buying up domestic produce to exchange for West 
India goods and articles of t4iste and luxury. Under this stimulus, 
the products of the town were very largely incrcasod. Much 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, modcmtor; Snmuol Gray, town 
clerk (chosen first in 1755, "in room of Eliphnlct Dyer, (rone in ye army," 
and rettilned in ofllce more tlinn tlilrty years) ; Ctiptiiin Samuel Murdnck, 
Gcorj?e Marliii, Ciipt. Henry Silsby, Mr. Stunuel Webb, Lieut, rrhico Tracy, 
selectmen; llezckiiih Manning, Paul lli'bard, Ablcl Abbott, constnbles and col- 
lectors of town rates; Joshua Heed, Uezeklali Huntington, Nathaniel Lord, 
John Manning, grand-Jurymen; William Warner, Nathaniel Wales, 2d, Na- 
thaniel Warren, John Clark, Joseph Burnham. Nalhan Luce, Joseph Manning, 
tlthln<;.men ; Heixjamln Lathrt>p, Jonathan Babcock, James Flint, Jonathan 
Bnrnap, Nathaniel Mosely, Andrew Bnrnham, Joseph Woodward, listers; Ed- 
ward Brown, Ebenezer Fitch, Ebene/.er Bingham, John Bass, Isaac Andrns, 
Gideon Ilelmrd, Thomas Tracy, Samuel Mnrdock, Nathaniel lIuntingto>i, 
])aniel Martin, Jerendah Clark, Zebadlah Cobnrn, Steplien Tark, Jerendali 
Utlcy, William Holt, JoHlah Hammond, Simon Wood, Joshua Farnham, John 
Manning, Joseph Woodward, Richard Kimball, Jonathan Luce, Joseph Gin- 
nlngs, highway surveyors; Samuel Webb, Edward Brown, William i)urkce, 
Isaac Rlnge, John Webb, David Ripley, fence-viewers; Hez. Huntington, 
John Fuller, Ellsha Palmer, Jun., Eleazer Palmer, branders and tollers; Ed- 
ward Brown, Isaac Riiige, Reuben Robinson, leather-sealers; Joseph Hunting- 
ton, Joseph Sessions, Ellsha Palmer, Jan., ponnd-keepers; Joseph Hunting- 
ton, Jeremiah Dnrkec, 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 colony tax; John 
Abbe, collector of excise; Hezekiah Manning and Shubael Palmer, surveyors 
and packers of tobacco. 

Digitized by 



all parte of the town thai it was proposed to petition the Assembly " for 
a free fair or market." When com|>cHed 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- 
pyii^g the home farm on the Willimantic laid out to his grsindfather, 
C/apt. John Brown, in 1706, not only entertained travelers according to 
the fashion of the day, but cultivated his farm, manufactured potash 
and refined 8aU|>etre. 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 fine orchard of 
mulberry trees in the south part of Wiiulham. In 1773, he wrote to 
Clement Biddle of Philadelphia, *' that he had a large number of trees 
fit for improvement, had made considerable growth of silk, spun and 
improved some, but failed for want of ')>roper reels and experienced 
workmen, aud 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 llebard, Ann Warner, Elias Prink, Ebenezer Bingham, 
David Hipley, Jacob Simmons, Ebenezer Griilin, Stephen Fitch, Jabez 
Kingsley, John Parish, Samuel Silsby. Mercy Fitch of Windham 
Green was also allowed to reUiil strong drink to whomsoever asked for 
it. liicenses were granted in following years to Abner Flint, Elenzer 
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 Jjebauon, was now 
judge of the County Couit ; Shubael Conant, John Dyer, Jabez Fitch 
and Joshua West, associates ; Samuel Gray, clerk ; Eleazer Fitch, \\i<rh 
shcriif ; Paul Jlebard, sheriff deputy. Due care was taken of the 
court houne and jail, and certain limits assigned to such as were im- 
prisoned for debt Debtors unable to pay were made to work out their 
debts in various service. In 1762, the prison-yard was repoited in a 
decaying state, and the sheriff ordered to take the same down. Twelve 
yeara 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. 
Sanuiel Gray, Nathaniel Wales and Capt James Stedman were ai>- 
pointed to make repairs. A collector was appointed for each town, 
\iz. : Jabez Huntington, Windham; Samuel Eaton, Ash ford ; Nathaniel 
Marcy, Woodstock; John Hough, Canterbury; Seth Grosvcnor, Pom- 

Digitized by 



fret ; Joshna Dunlap, Plainficld ; James Qordon, Yoluntown ; Ephraim 
Warren, Killingly. 

Windham's alertness in promoting home interests was surpassed, 
if possible, by her activity in all public affairs. 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 effoits were made to cjirry it into execution. After a lapse 
of five years, the Susquehanna company resumed active opemtious. 
At a meeting in Hartford, March 12, 1760, Col. Tolcott was chosen 
moderator ; Samuel Gray, clerk. 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 hundred more shares 
to pay expenses. Eliphalet Dyer was chosen as this agent with a 
salary of £150. The object of this mission was to procure confirma- 
tion of the Wyoming territory from the Crown. Jonatlian Trambull, 
Ilozekiah JIuntiiigton, David Edwards, Samuel Gray, Jedidiah Elder- 
kin and George Wyliis were appointed to collect materials 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 prepared 
to resist her every effort at settlement. Powerful Indian tribes con- 
testing the land were also arrayed against her. Dyer's mission 
though urged with great eloquence and persist^Micy was unsuccessful. 
The King forbade the settlement of the disputed territory. Both 
companies were summoned to Windham Court-house, Jan. 16, 1765, 
to hear the report of their agent, returned from Great Britain with 
many things of importance to commtinicate. Jabez Fitch, John 
Cuitis, 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 efforts, 
lieuewed attempts were made to gain the sanction of Connecticut. 
Colonel Dyer in particular so warmly pleaded its cause, and so 

Digitized by 



glowingly depicted the charms of the Wyoming valley, as to call out 
from one of the wits of the day a poetic impromptu : — 

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

But though greatly favoring the colonization scheme, and most 
anxious to establish its claim to all the land prescribed by its Charter 
the government of Connecticut was too wise and wnry 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 ofHciul aid or recognition. 
At a meeting in Hartford, 1768, it was voted, that five townships, 
five miles square, should be suiTcyed and granted 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 farther encouragement — the 
sum of two 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 bc.iutiful valley, 
was worth a contest, and indeed to some who had shared in the 
exciting service of the French war, the prospect of a brush with the 
"Pennymites" may have furnished an additional incentive. Early in 
1769, forty adventurous Yankees de8cende<l upon VVyoming. Kiue- 
most among them were old French war campaigners, Captain Zebulon 
Butler of Lyme, and Captain John Durkee of Windham, now 
removed to Norwich. Thomas Dyer, Vine Elderkin, Nathaniel 
Wales, Nathan Denison of Windham, and Timothy Pierce of Plain- 
field, were among this heroic ** forty." They found the *' Penny mites " 
already in possession, and after a sharp and spirited contest were 
obliged to quit the field, leaving Durkee and other lead mg 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 
^so 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 

Digitized by 



the last extremity. The ** Peunyinites ** met them with their nsual 
spirit and gallantry, though greatly crippled in resources. The Pro- 
prietjiry Government, unpopular at home and unsupported by Great 
Britain, was unable to meet the demand, and declined to continue 
so costly and fruitless a struggle. After gallantly defending Fort 
Durkoe for several months, Captain Ogden was forced to accept 
articles of capitulation, and> with all the Pennsylvania troops with- 
drew from Wyoming, leaving the rejoicing Yankees in possession of 
the land so valiantly contested. 

Organization was now speedily effected. The towns already laid 
out were divided into farms and distributed. Those who had fought 
for the prise were rewarded by bountiful homesteads, and many other 
families from all parts of Connecticut eagerly sought a share. Wind- 
ham County, so active in proposing and promoting the settlement of 
the Susqnehaima valley, was equally ready to take possession, and 
scores of valuable families removed thither in the course of a few 
years. Stephen Fuller, John and Stephen Abbott, John Carey, Blisha 
Babcock, Robert Durkee of Windham; Simon Spalding, Ezekiel 
Pierce, John Perkins of Plainfield ; Capt4iiu Samuel Hansom, Captain 
James Bidlack and Elisha Williams of Canterbury ; George and John 
Dorranc^ llobert Jameson, Cyrus Kinno of Voluntown ; 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 public affairs, and eminently fitted to aid in laying the 
foundation of social order, and moulding the new State after the 
j>att<»ni of Coimecticut. The fertility of the soil, the mildness of the 
climate, the beauty of the country and the abundaiuje of its resources 
far exceeded expectations, an<l 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 

The burthen of bridge-making, always heavy in Windham, was b6 
augmented by the increase of travel consequent to the great emigration 
to Wyoming and other new countries, as to be quite insu|)portable. 
An ** extraordinary flocid " and great nccuinulation of ice in 1771, de- 
molished and carried away nearly every bridge in Windham County, 
making a clean sweep of (he Nnchaug, Williniantic and Shetncket. As 
these briilges were upon public highways, "abundantly used "by great 
numbers of families with cattle and teams from PlainBeld, Voluntown 
and the south part of Rhode Island, " traveling to the west part of Mas- 
s.tchnsetts Bay, New Hampshire an<i north part of New York," the 
aulhorities of Windham refused to reconstruct them without aid 

Digitized by 



from other quarters. Several roads were thus rendered impassable, 
travelers were forced to travel many miles out of their way to Hud suit* 
able fording-places, and then were flung from their hoi-scs and exposed 
to drowning. Complaints were laid before the General Assembly that 
Windham refused to rebuild her bridges, or do anything about the 
same, so that peo|>le 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 
Jive large bridges had been built within a few years at the eac|>ense of 
£800 ; all carried off by extraordinary floods which seemed to be much 
increasing ; that this expense was heavy and intolerable, as several of 
these biidges were more to accommodate other towns and the public, 
and beg relief." Their i*eqnest was refused and a bill passed, " That 
Windham should build and maintain a good and suflioient caitbridge 
over each of said rivers at the places designated by |>etitioners, viz., 
one over the Shetueket, on the road from Windham to Hartford, 
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 was ordered to build and maintain a 
bridge across the Shetu(iket upon a road lately laid out to New KIam|>- 
shire, to accommodate tlio travel to the new colloge in Ihuiover. The 
selectmen of Windham were now required, **To provide suitable houses 
for the poor, and persons to take care of them, rates for the same to be 
paid in provisions." 

Social life in Windham was still characterized by exuberant hilarity. 
^'Jaunting and junketing," feasting and merry-making were more and 
more in vogue. A very fi*ee 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 es|)ecially 
dose 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 fiddling, and added much to the 
general jollity. Colonel Dyer's body-servant Jack, the son of an Afri- 
can prince, was chief among these negroes. He accompanied his mas- 
ter upon many public missions, and was distinguished for gentlemanly 
demeimor. 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 
pei-son, being six feet four inches in height, and three hundred pounds in 

Digitized by 



weight, and called " the best-looking officer in the American army," he 
was still more noted for social attractions and elegant accomplishments. 
Inheriting an ample 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 position of high 
sheriff of Windham County. His stiitely mansion, built in 1769 on 
Zion's Hill, was one of the most tasteful residences in Eastern Connec- 
ticut Here many daughtei*s wore growing up and taking their place in 
society, distinguished like their father by beauty, gi'jice and musical 
culture. The daughters of Mr. James Flint were ranked among the 
Windham belles of this date. 

In schools Windham was still deficient. The grammar school en- 
joined by law upon towns of her standing and population was not main- 
tained with any degree of efficiency. Those brilliant young la<lies were 
indebted for their training to "a dame's school " on the Green, and a 
few months "finishing" in Hartford or New London. Moses Cook 
Welch of Mansfield, opened a grammar school on Windham Green 
after his gra<luation from Yale in 1772, but soon relinquished it to 
study law wilh (colonel J>yer. The yotnig men of the wealthier fami- 
lies were usually sent to college after preparatory study with Mr. 
W^hite, or Dr. Wheelock in Lebanon. Windham was deeply interested 
in the various educational movements initiated by the latter. Ono 
of his early Windham neighbors and playmates, Joshua More, gave a 
house and land in Mansfield to be appropriate<l 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 effoits to retain this school. Her 
ministers, llev. Messrs. White and Mosely, were members of the con- 
vention for considering it« removal, and Windham students accompanied 
President Wheelock on his nn'gration to the wilderness, and were 
among the first graduates of Dartmouth College. Samuel Gray, Jun., 
was graduated (vith the first class in 1771, and Augustine Hebard the 
following year. The Ijitter soon went out to Canada on a mission to 
the Indians. Hezekiah Bissell, Joseph Huntington, Vine Elderkin, 
Ebenezer (4ray, Hezekiah Hipley 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 and emi- 
giation. Dr. Ebenezer Gray died in 1773; Dr. Jonathan Huntington 
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 comphiint, exhibiting to its close 

Digitized by 



''a Striking picture of that fortitude and patience which Christianity 
alone win inspire." They were succeeded in practice by Dr. Samuel 
Lee of Goshuii, a young man of ^* herculean strength and agility " and 
ardent patriotism, who had enjoyed the professional training of Dr. 
Ezekiel Porter of VVethersfield. 

Windham's First Church was less prosperous than in previous periods. 
Its numbers wore lessening, and its stated worship was losing its hold 
upon the public mind. The mild and gentle character of Mr. White's 
preaching and intlnence was little fitted to cope with increasing world- 
liness and many opposing elements. Deacon Nathaniel Skift* died in 
1761. Nathaniel Wales, Sen., and Joseph fluntington still served in 
the deacon's office. Jonathan Martin and Elijah Bingham were chosen 
junior deacons in 1765. The numerous ** sectaries" continued their 
opposition to the standing order. Those in the first society had now 
become very much imbued with Baptist sentiments. ]\Ir. Benjamin 
Lathrop, a worthy and respected citizen, obtained ^S>rdination in that 
line," and had a small number of followers to whom he administered 
religious ordinances, but had no Bxcil place of worship. Elijah Bib- 
bins served as its deacon. 

Scotland Parish shared in the secular prosperity of the town. Rev. 
Ebenezer Devotion wais held in high reputation throughout the colony 
as ''a great divine, a pious man, an able politician, eminent for every 
kind of merit." So great was tlie public contidonce in his judgment 
and wisdom that alter the passage of the Stamp Act he was sent by 
Windham to represent her in the General Assembly, as the man most 
competent to advise in that great ciisis, "a very singular instance," 
according 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 for the King and Itoyal 
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 negio every Sabbath morning with a written order for 
liev. John Palmer, forbidding him to preach within his territorial 
limits. Although this Separate Brunswick Church had been for many 
years organizuil, and uiHintained its regular worship, its meml>ei*s were 
still forced to pay rates for Mr. Devotion, or sulfur the loss of cattle 
and go(Mls, or imprisonment in Windham jail. In 1765, Deacon Ed- 
ward Waldo made confession for unlawful separation, and was restored 
to his former standing in the First Church. Deacons Cary and Kings- 
ley continued many years in active service. Mr. Devotion died while 
yet iu the prime of life to the great grief of ehurch and community. 
An elaborate epitaph on the monument iu Scotland's burying-ground 

Digitized by 



testified to the high character and reputation of the deceased pastor, 
and is pronounced by most competent authority* "not beyond the 

" To the memory of the great and good man— the Rev. Ebenezer Devotion, 
flrat Pastor of the Congregational church In Wludhani. He was born 
In Suffleld, May 8, 1714, ordained, Oct. 22, 1785, 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 branches of science and most peculiarly as a 
Politician and Divine. He was an example of benevolence, gravity, foriltude, 
sobriety, cheerfulness, prudence und liospltality ; an unshaken friend, a kind 
husband, a tender parent, a sincere Christitin, a wise and fnithful minister of 
Christ. Greatly esteemed by all good judges ot his accxualntance and beloved 
by his flock. 

Death wounds to cure ; we fall ; 
We rise; we reign. 
We spring from our fetters, 
We fasten In the skies." 

Mr. Devotion was Buccceded in the pastoral office by llcv. James 
Cogswell, then recently dismissed from Canterbury, who received a 
unanimous call from church and society, with the oiFcr 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 (pialins as to his ability to till the placet of so distinguished 
a personage, Mr. Cogswell personally appeared and accepted, and 
with the countenance and aid of his most valued ministerial brelhren, 
was happily installed Feb. 19, 1772. The Keverends Throop, White, 
Whitney, Ripley and Ijcc were 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, Experience 
Robinson, Nathaniel llebard, Jeremiah Ringham, Joseph Ginnings 
and James Gager served as providing connnittee. With far less 
strength and decision of character than his predecessor, Mr. Cogswell 
was probably not his inferior in culture, or in pulpit ministrations, and 
his kindliness of temper and gonial manners soon won popular favor. 
Scarcely had he removed to Scotland when he was called to severe 
afUiction, in the loss of his wife, Mrs. 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 firm hope of a 
glorious immortality.*' Her funeral sermon was preached by Rev. 
Mr. Harl^ who touchingly bemoaned this only daughter of her dear 
mother now no more, who had grown up from infancy with great 
promise, making most uncommon progress in the useful as well as 

^Professor James L. Klngslcy, Yale College, 1851. 

Digitized by 



ornamental parts of female learning. Following the example of 
many of his ministerial associates Mr. Cogswell in dne time married 
the widow of his predecessor — IMrs. Martha Lathrnp Devotion — and 
occnpicil her pleas;mt homestead. Her children were now mostly 
settled in life. Ebenezer, the only son, had married a danghter of 
Dr. Jonathan Huntington, engaged in trade and held many public 
otlices. One danghter was married to Samuel Huntington of Norwich, 
another to Hev. Joseph Huntington, and a third to John M. Breed of 
Norwiiih. Two bright young daughtera still cheered the family man- 
sion. The linconnnon 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 it« agreeable 
inmates and throngs of distinguished visitants became one of the 
most attractive of Windham s many famous social centres. 

With a new minister, Scotland aspired to a new meeting-bouse. 
After having been compelled " to mend tlie glass when much broken, 
by Uiking from other windows and boarding them up where least 
useful" — it was voted, Nov. 9, 1772, to build a meeting-house for 
the public worship of God, and tliere were ninety-eight yeas and 
twenty nays. Elisha Lillie, Captain Joseph Ginnings, Seth Palmer, 
Experience and lieuben Uobinson, wore chosen ** to draw a plan of 
bigness of meeting-liouse.*' It was agreed to give Mr. Elisha Lillie 
£7'^0, 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 
woi*£h]p, they appealed to the General Assembly, showing : — 

** That iu 1749, bcHcving in good conscience tliat tlic principles an<1 articles 
and some of tlic doctrines adliered to by tliu Scotland cliurcti 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 they could not prodt by the ministrations of Mr. Devotion, and lu 
1749, confeditrated 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 ihem in 
divine service, and all this time have been forced to pay for the support of Mr. 
Devotion and Mr. Cogswell, aud 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 ihem to support a minister 
with whom they never did nor can join iu worsliip, aud support their own 

Digitized by 



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

Zachens Waldo. John Walden. John Silsbary. 

Zcbulon Uebard. Stephen Webb*. Timothy Allen. 

Lemuel Blughiim. Israel Hale. Samuel Baker, Jun. 

Ebcnezer Webb. William Perkins. Jedidiah Bingham. 

John Palmer. Joseph Allen, Jun. Henry Bass. 

Benjamin Cleveland. Jonathan Brewster. Moses Cleveland. 

Joseph Allen. Ebenezer Bass. 

Windham, Apra 5, 1778." 

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 
ten years old** were ordered to be listed, and a rate of twelve-pence 
of the pound found needful. The school house seeming likely to 
endanger the meeting-house by (ire, was moved a suitable distance. 
Pews were built as ordered, and the meeting-house seated by a com- 
petent committee in December, 1778, 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. 



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 Biirnham 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 llev. Samuel 
Moeely. 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 duo 
judgment Not only did they seat six grown pei-sons in one pew — 
and persons grown in this goodly neighborhood attained capacious 

Digitized by 



dimensions — ^bnt they allowed " men of little or no estate to sit very 
forward and in lugh )>ews/' while others of good estate and high in 
pnblio esteem were compelled witli shame to take a lower seat. Gal- 
leries and body-seats were left very thin compared to these coveted 
pews, and the gsdleries were so given over to light-minded yonth that 
the tithing-men were obliged to leave their seats below to keep them 
in order. This sUite of things created much talk and uncjisiness 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 thi.s griev- 
ance several yeara a meeting was called, Dec 9, 1762, to rectify it 
William Bennett was chosen moderator, and it was voted by a great 
majority, "To sell the pews at public vendue, no man to buy no more 
than one, and no nian out of the society to buy one ; Capt. Robert Dur- 
kee to serve as vendue m.ister.*' This action greatly increased the pub- 
lic excitement. The older members of the society wei*e at once aroused 
to the inexpediency and danger of allowing private individuals to select 
their own seats in the house of worship, and become proprietors of a 
part of the sacred edifice. In spite of remonstrance and opposition the 
vote was carried 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 the following purchaser, at prices ranging from fourteen 
pounds to three, viz.: Jeremiah Utley, John Fuller, llezekiah Ham- 
mond, Stephen Durkee, Timothy Pearl, Zebediah Farnham, Ebenezer 
llovey, Capt. John Howard, Dea. Ebenezer Griffin, Henry 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, who /lad never paid rates for more than one head and a 
horse" and some not qualified voters had presumed to bid oft* 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 concernhig the difticulty concerning pews," who straightway 
laid the case before Colonel Dyer, Major Elderkin and Major Griswold. 
By their advice another society meeting was held April 21, 1763, the 
vote for selling the pews was set aside by a large majority, and Jacob 
Simmons deputized to represent the aft'air to the General Assembly and 
secure confirmation of their proceedings. The purchasers of the pews 

Digitized by 


Windham's broond society, etc. 69 

attempted to show that the vote to sell the pews was not suddenly 
passed ; that no 0|>en objections were made till after the sale ; that only 
five of them were young men without families, and that nine societies 
in Windham County already held pews as pdvate property. These 
representations were ineffectual, and the famous pew vote of December 
9, an<1 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, Joseph Marnh and Ebenexer IFovey to seat the 
congregation therein with the reipiisite order and formality. Sundry 
residents of Canterbury, vix. : Jethro Rogers, James Bidlack, Aaron 
Fuller an<l Zobcdiah Farnham 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 in 
Windham ;" the society committee " to distribute the books culled Say- 
brook Platform sent to the society by Government ;" and Robert Holt 
'' to bring and take care of the christening basin as occasion shall re- 

In 1768, Captain William Durkee, Lieut. Kingsbury, Nathaniel 
Ford, Zebediah Farnham, Abiel Abbott, John Sessions and Joseph 
Burnham were a|)pointefl a committee to set out school districts, which 
was accompliRhed within two years. The First or Central district be- 
gan very properly by ** taking in the Rev. Mr. Moaely and ranging so 
as to take in Mr. Joseph Sessions, and from thence west to Burnt Cedar 
Swamp, 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 Al worth's and James Al worth's house, and ranging 
north to the easternmost extent of the society." Number Four took 
in ** Mr. Stephen Clark's hotise, and then south all the inhabitants west 
of C.Vdar 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 
nortlieast 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 in the summer. Upon the humble petition 

Digitized by 



of Joseph Durkee, Jonathan and David Fish, Benjamin Flint, Edward 
and Samuel Coburn, Jonathan Holt, William Neif and Joseph Utley, a 
fifth district was set off in 1774, in the northeast section, known as 

Elforts 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 dt^puties and other business of freemen's 
meeting." Jacob Simmons, Ebenezer Ilovey 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 procure neces- 
sary preparations in order to obtain our request. Captain John How- 
ard was also empowered to aid them in preparing a petition. This 
proving fniitless 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 ap- 
]>ointed ngent in their behalf, but his pleas though re|>eatedly urged 
were unsucci*ssful. 

In 1 7G8 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 stylo of fashion — they were farther ordered, *' 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 unpleasant 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 affairs. A large 
majority of the church were opposed to Saybrook Platform, and 
especially the ministerial negative derived from it, but, esteeming their 
pastor 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 di8ci[)line were suggested, and also " a 
body of ruling eldera " to balance the power of ** the teaching elder," 

Digitized by 



but as Mr. Mosely was much opposed to any innovnlion nnd would 
only warn church meetings 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 mind 
of the church about dealing with baptized persons, and about choosing 
some of the fathers to assist therein." At this meeting, Feb. 9, 1709, 
the cliurch unanimously voted, to proceed to deal with baptized, 
». «., " Half-covenant " membere, but when the second article was 
proposed " one and another went off from it and spoke for a Platform 
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 tliey nmst 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 
nmch 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 Kingsbury, Jonathan J3urnap, George Martin 
and William Foster, to remonstrate 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 Scnpture and introduced peaceably as soon as 
might be into their church, according to the commendable 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 
])ower over the church of Christ met in his name was warranted. 
"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 oflice bearers in the 
church, viz. : rtiling elders — joined in ruling and governing the church 
with the elder that labors in word and doctrine. The brethren of the 
church had usurped no authority, nor encroached in the least upon 
the prerogative, office or dignity of the pastor, but in a modest and 
peaceable manner moved to confer upon the duty and expediency of a 
Platform without pretending 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 adjournment without consent 
of the majority ; much less to dissolve the meeting without such 

Digitized by 



" We entreat you," contlnueil the remonstrants, " to consider whether this 
Alarming exortloa of authority doth not carry in it some appearance oC lord- 
ing It over God's heritage, so detested hy our fathers that It drove New EiiJ?- 
land out of Old, to avoid a yoke that neither we nor our fathers could 
bear. . . . We entreat you« timely to consider, that If after such an unprece- 
dented dissolution of the church meetln;;, you are pleased to take advanUi|;e 
thereof, and refuse to be entreated by us because you have disabled the 
church to appear by a leanl 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 yon think, sir, In this day of struggle 
in deffuce of civil lil)erties and rights In America, this church will tamoly 
hubmit to be deprived of their divine and sacred privileges, so preferable to 
all our inheritance besides, and give such an examplu of hlavery and depend- 
ency as to submit to such a supreme authority in the ministry over tlte 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 cane, and all other 
sidings we detest and hold In contempt. Are not all the constitutional clergy 
and churches and cloud of witnesses In New England and throughout the 
Heformed Protestant churches listed undt^r this banner, whose footsteps we 
are essaying to trace out. Would you have us stand still and be n>bbed of 
those sacred liberties and privileges that have flowed to the church In tlio 
blood of Christ, the Supreme Head thereof. Sir, the Lord forbid that wo 
should give ttie 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 yon 
for the future in this matter, and if upon cool reflection you And . . . yon 
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 tlio duty set forth by the propliet Kzeklii. * Tliou 
son of man, nIicw the house to the house of Israel, and shew them the form 
of the house.* Windham, Feb. 20, 176D." 

Mr. l^Iosely thereupon called and held a church meeting, March 8, 
to consider these matters, and so "teiTified" the weaker brethren by 
representing to them tiiat they would liave to siipport their ruling as 
well as teaching eldei*, and might have to settle a new minister and 
pay damages to the old one by insisting upon a church Platform, that 
a majority voted against the proposed changes. The minority there- 
upon drew up a paper far more inflammatory and bitter than the 
previous ** remonstrance," in which they alleged various S[)ecific 
charges against the pastor, as follows : — 

<* I, The power and right you claim in negativing the church we deny, 
and say the key of discipline was given to the churcli by Christ . . . and ctm 
And 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 unscrlptural power In conflning 
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, ftir if 
wu may bitlicve Christ and the apostles, no men on earth have greater liberty 
than the church of Christ. 

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

Digitized by 


Windham's skoond socikty, kto. 63 

pnrsne the same in the church that we think Buch plann and schemes laid and 

pursued in the church resemble deceit more than honesty 

t>. We think you very much err in openin<; the door so wide Into the 
church as to ndmit menil)ers without some satisfying account of a work of 
grace on tljcir hearts, nnd without the consent of the church, merely because 
tliey say they are a mind to come. We think, sir, it Is tlie riglit way to let 
Anti-Christ into the church full breast, for certain unclean persons and 
hypocrites have no right in Christ's church. 

10. Sir, your taking the key of the meeting-house and holding it, we say 
is contrary to God's word, and you have no right to It, and not content with 
that, you rob us of the key of the whole society. Sir, we arc bold to say 
Christ never gave you them keys nor no other n)an on earth, for he knew how 
Aill the world always was and would be of false prophets and teachers 
that would turn the key against his disciples. Pray, sir, to what purpose had 
it a ben for our Saviour to have sent out the apostles as he did to preach the 
gospel to every creature, if these keys had been given lo the nilnlstei's? Why 
they must truly have turned buck without preaching to an j^ creature, with tliLs 
coniphilnl. 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 ministers, and they 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 
thi m up, for thou hast nothing to do with them. Can you think, sir. that such 
a power as you claim Is from Christ ? No, assuredly you cun't unless you 
make this addition— Anti— for darkness and light are as near alike as your 
power and the spirit of Christ — and do consider. Sir, your ingratitude to a 
people that maintains and supports you ; that you should chastize us with 
scorpions and rule us with a rod of iron and put such chains and Imnds 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 regular standing as far as 
we know, yet we understand that you did deny her partaking with us. 

18. And there are others who have withdrawn fk-om the church these many 
years and hant been called to no account, and we know not the cause of such 
a separation. Pray, sir. If you think the key of discipline lielongs to you we 
think you have much neglected your duty. Sir, for you to rob us of ye keys 
and not use them can't be right. 

14. We think you are much to blame In denying people copies of the 
church record when the church has been a dealing with them .... and unless 
you reform we think It duty for this church to appoint some otherinau 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 remember Christ and his 
Apostles' commands, and do nothing by partiality, for God Is not a respecter 
of persons. 

17. Sir, we desire the churcli records may be read in this church, even as 
fur back as your ordination, that we may search after the Aclian that troubles 
us, and who can tell but that God will discover it to us, and save us, as he did 
Israel by Phlnehas, 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 

This paper, embodying the prinGii)a1 charges against Mr. Mosely, 
was read before a number of brethren of the church, but ns some 
thought the charges laid too high it was not formal )y adopted, but kept 
to aid in preparing something that miglit 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 

Digitized by 



in 8uoh afTairs many hard things were said on both sides, and charges 
of misrepresentation and lying were freely 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 
afHrmed openly, *' that Mr. Mosely had lied and he could prove it," but, 
when reproved by him, replied, " Tliat he saw the Pope's horns begin 
to bud some yeai-s ago, and now they were grown out." Mr. Mosely's 
method of defiling with these offending brethren was certainly not un- 
papal. After bickering through the summer, they c:dled a council of 
ministers and delegates in October, which 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 open conversation respecting 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 this council, the aggrieved Ik ethren in a decent and becoming man- 
ner, without heat or bitterness, earnestly and unitedly besought and 
entreated their pastor to call a church meeting for a conference upon 
this important subject, they were answered by a summons to appear 
before the church for trial : — 

'* I. For publisbing a defamatory paper containing divers misrepresenta- 
tions and ruinti<; words and expressions against tlie pastor. 

II. For Uiliiiig God's name iu vaia in said paper, aguiust the tliird com- 

Hi. For abomiuable deceit in aslcing their pastor to warn a cliurch meet- 
ing to consider dealing witli 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 modeiator in spite of the protestations of the accused brethren. 
About foity members of the church were present. Seven voted iu 
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 
the 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 ministera. In accordance with this vote, Ebene- 
zer liovey, 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 
third conunandment, of publishing a false and scandalous paper, of 

Digitized by 


windtiam's bbcond society, kto. 66 

abominable deceit, contemptuons abuse of the divine institution of dis- 
cipline, sciindalous violations of gospel injunctions," &o., and it was 
adjudged that these offenders ought to make a public acknowledgment 
of their sins, or otherwise be proceeded with in a way of censure, and 
this charge and sent-ence 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 i*efused to submit to the censure, and insisted upon 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 arbitrary govern- 
ment, Mr. Mosely was greatly beloved and respected by the majority 
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 Ileverends Solomon 
Williams, David Hall, Benj. Throup, Aaron Hutchinson, Aaron Put- 
nam and Levi Flint, with delegates from their respective churches, 
were convened in Windham Village, May 22, 1770, "to hear, judge 
and advise between the pastor and major part of the church and a num- 
ber of aggrieved brethren," and decide<l, " That the charges against 
the aforesaid brethren were not sustained ; that they ought to be ac- 
quitted from censure ; and that 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 
fellowship. Still, the breach was far from healed. Violent recrimina- 
tions had been interchanged between the combatants. William Foster 
pei*si8ted in reiterating that " Mr. Mosely had lied," whereupon he was 
again airaigned before the church to account for his false and scanda- 
lotis language. Foster offered to submit to trial under an impartial 
moderator nnsnbjected to the pastor'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 innne- 
diately led the church to vote him guilty of contempt of that authority 
which Christ had placed in the church, and proceeded to excommuni- 
cate him. The aggrieved brethren called another council, ». «., 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 had done, but disapproved of 
the severe and bitter expressions against the 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 : — 

Digitized by 



'* That nUliough in the time I did thinic I hnd occnsion to think Mr. Mosely 
did In ttonie nieuMiru evade tlie truth, yvl tipuu a iiHire iiiniuie (U'lihuratlou I 
nui sea.«4ible 1 prderred uiy charge a^^aliist hlui witli an undue temper ot* mind, 
and unnece^8arily published the same, and especially in tell in;; him, ' lie 
knew he lied,' in his own house, but on a further consideration of the matter 
I would charitably hope and believe that Mr. Mosely was not guilty of wil- 
fully departing from the truth, and then^foro ask forgiveness of Mr. Mosely 
and my oflended bruthren, and pray them to receive me into their charity. 

mndham Society, OcL 31, 1771." 

In spite of these concessioDs and retractions the controversy soon 
broke out afresh. Tlie root of the diitictilty hnd not been readied. 
An explicit cliurch covenatit had not been secured nor Mr. Mosely's 
power restricted. A majority of the aggrieved brethren accepted the 
decision and walked in harmony with the church, but Capt^ Dnrkee, 
Jonathan Btirnnp and William Foster still resisted and remonstrated. 
Each side accused the other of violating the agreement. The old 
charges were interclianged, 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 
grievoii>ly oppressed and Injured for a number of years past by the arbitrary 
ami unacriptural pruvt'ediHys of the said Ucv. Mr. Mosely In his church admin- 
istrations and otherwise; in particular, in hia wpealalty vnttuimj prorrsscs 
against me iti his own name, andjndyitig in his own ratr^e, as also in iroubllng 
me and other peaceable members of said church with unscHptural processes to 
the vexation of the church, and the disturbance of its peace and editlcution; 
in his toithhiddiug copies of church votes that I had right to, and adding thereto 
tfuch prevtuicathms relative to the same, and such shlfis and evasions as I 
cannot but esleim a breach of the ninth cumjnaud; in leading tlie church to pass 
votes concerning me in church meeting without notifying me to be present, 
and rejuxing to let me see the votes afterwards or to allow me copits of the same ; 
in his raising a christian conferetico on matters of grievance, or to join in a 
council to hear and settle all matters of cotitroversy ; in his refusing to lay 
matters of church concern before the church ; in his xoantonly dissolving cJiurch 
meetings in the mid^it of business of great concern to the church ; in iiis neglect 
of discipline to scandalous members in the church, and preventing tlie thereof in the church by other members, and opposing all means 
used In the church for a reformation; in his refusing to administer bofttism to 
mi/ c/<i7(iren for no ju.Hthiable 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 
gpring of all the arbitrary 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, that said Mr. Mosely has needlessly 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 gos|)el, and 
whereas 1 have used every method In my power for the redress of the afore- 
said grievances and the removal of otfences but to no purpose, the honor of 
God, the Interest of religion, I lie peace and edillcatlon of said church, and 
my own as well as the good of the said Uev. Mr. Mosely, unitedly and mttst 
strongly oblige as well as necessitate me to lay this information and com- 
plaint and represent iny grievances before this Ueverend Association, that 
such order may be taken and measures may be directed to and pursued as 
may tend to the removal of the aforesaid grievances and otfences according 
to gospel rule. WiLUAM Fosticu. 

Sept, 23, 177S." 

Digitized by 


Windham's second society, etc. 67 

Tliese olmrges were considered, firet, by a council, and afterwards, 
by the consocinU^d 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 pei-fection of gentle- 
ness and circumnpection ; the offending brother admonished to search 
his own heart and ways, and strive and pray that in future he might 
possess and discover a more meek and peaceable spirit, and show a 
more decent regard to the sacred ordinances of Christ, giving no 
just offence to his ministers or churches; and the people of God 
earnestly advised and exhorted, " never more to i*ewve, nor suffer to 
be revived any of those matters of difficulty 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 affairs was effected during the life-time of 
Mr. Mosely, and with advancing yeai-s he became less arbitrary and 
exacting. That his people were not inclined to submit to over-exac- 
tions may be inferred from their choosing a commiltee to wait upon 
him to learn his rensons " why he took sixt}' pounds for his salary, 
wIh'ii by coniputinfr gilvci' at h\\ and eight-pence per ounce it wcmld 
be but fifty-nine pounds, two shillings an<l five-[>enee." Whether he 
was compelled to refund the surplus shillings and |>ennie8 is not 

In thrift and activity Canada Parish kept pnce with other sections 
of the town, and ** Windham Village" on its fair hilltop was hardly 
less a power than Windham Green in the southwest corner. The 
bountiful harvests gathering in Apaipiage's beautiful valley incit<?d the 
farmei's to unusual efforts during the revival of cominereial prosperity. 
Captain James Stedman owned much land and carrie«l 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 ])ublic 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 
hoi-Si'back. John Brewster of Scotland Parish, after studying medi- 
cine with Dr. Ijarker 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- 

Digitized by 



Ham Holt were skiUed in the art of making fine laoe, as well as all 
needful domestic fabrics. The emigration to Wyoming carried away 
many of these energetic and valuable families. Captain Ko\)ei*t 
Durkee, cousin of John Durkee of Norwich, Stepiien Fuller and John 
Holt were among these emigrants. Captain Durkee was a man of 
great courage 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 (icaco 
fnl missions. Ebenezer Martin, a Yale graduate of 1756, after preach- 
ing for a time among the wilds of l^erkhhire, returned to labor in the 
new pansh of Westford, in his native county. Ebenezer, son of 
Rev. Samuel Mosely, was graduated in 1763, and after ])reparatory 
studies was licensed to preach by the Brooktield Association, 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 nnist endure in a situation so remote from any Eng- 
lish settlements ** was deeply commiserated by tlie missionary society 
which had charge of the enterprise, but perhaps the most serious 
danger which threatened the young missionary while among the 
savages was a matrimonial proposition frouk the principal sachem, 
*< who offered and urged his daughter upon him for his wife." As a 
direct refusal of this flattering overture would give great oflence and 
might endanger the lives of the missionaries, Mr. Mosely could only 
plciid the necessity of gaining consent of his father, a plea whose 
validity was fortunately recognized by the Indian code of etiquette. 

Voluntown was still in an unsettled and unhappy condition, the 
gretiter part of its inhabitants avei*se 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 and Moses Kinne, Hugh 
and John Wylie, Jonathan Minor, David Kennedy, Moses Fish and 
others, represented to the Assembly, September, 1762: — 

*' That there wafl but one society in VoIuntowD, twenty miles long and four 
or Ave wide; list in 17(>1, £iO,7S6; inhabitants settled at each c*nd and dis- 
persed iu almost tivury part, about one hundred and eighty families, some 
dwelling seven, some nine and ten miles from meeting-house; trouble of 
transporting ourselves and families very great and heavy; town conveniently 
situated for <livi:»ion ; such burilen of travel hardly to be found in any otlier 
town — and prayed for division." 

Digitized by 



In 17C4, Roger IJillings and others asked for a new society, "begin- 
ning where Pachaug River runs out of Pawcainiick Pond," and taking 
in the north parts of Stonington and Preston. A committee was ap- 
pointed and reported against petition, as the Preston |>eople were 
already well accommodated. Vohintown they found more than sixteen 
miles long and three or four in width, occupied by two hundred 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 were less able to bear great charges 
than usual by reason of drought and uncommon public charges, they 
would not recommend it. 

As Mr. Dorrance increased in yeai*8 and infirmities, the town became 
more and more reluctant to pay for his support. A committee was 
sent to him in 1769, "to see whether he did not think there was a pro- 
per vacancy in the town, and that it was high time he should lay down 
liis pastoral charge over the town in order that they may take some 
proper way more effectually to accommodate themselves on account of 
the Gos|)el," but Mr. Dorrance declined to listen to their proposals, 
whereupon the town withheld the stipulated salary. After two yeai-s 
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 obt^iined in 
Court for his salary in 1769, and £44, 68. 6d. for 1770, and £25 per 
annum every year so long as he lives." A council was accordingly 
held March 5, 1771. Mr. Cogswell reports "that the affair was con- 
dticted amicably; that Mr. Dorrance seemed to bear his age wonder- 
fully and was dismissed in peace." lie survived his dismissal a few 
years, and died Nov. 12, 1775, aged ninety yeare. 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 ; Sain\iel removed to 
Coventry, R. I. ; James to Brooklyn Parish ; John and George emi- 
grated to Wyoming. His daughter, Susanna, married to Robert 
Dixon, resided in the 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 interrupted by any other society. A society 
called Nazareth was thereupon organized in the south part of Volun- 
town, and a church gathered there. Feb. 13, 1772, Mr. Levi Hart of 
Preston, preached a sermon and gave advice, and Jeremiah, James, 

Digitized by 



Moses and Ii*a Kinne, William Hewson, Thomas Slewart and Moses 
Fisli were embodieil into church orders according to the " Congrega- 
tional Independent plat form." They agreed : — 

** Tluit no coercive iiiciusures be used for supportln<; the minister. 

That It Is the duly of every one to contribute or his worldly substance for 
the uiaintcuanco of the luluistry, and every one of tills church who ui'glects 
and refuses to do so sluUI be deemed an otfender in the slu of covetousness. 

That our udnister shull Imve liberty to preach among the Separates. 

Thai private brethren uniy exhort in public, provided they do not luterrupt 
other parts of duly, and speak to the editfcution of ihe church." 

April 18, Solomon Morgan of Grot on, was ordained pastor of the 
Nazareth Church. It gained in membership and influence, but did not 
succeed for some years in building a house of wo't'ship. 

In 1772, fifty-four persons north of Moosup River, including John 
Janies and George Doi-rance, Robert, Thonnis and James Dixon, Robert 
JMontgomery, John Coles, John Gaston, Mark and David Eames, some 
of them six, seven, eight and nine miles from Voluntown meeting- house, 
and greatly impeded by bad roads and traveling, received liberty from 
the Assenddy to organize as a distinct society or join in woi*ship with 
Killingly. A number of these northern residents consequently united 
with the church in South Killingly, and after some years organized as 
a distinct society. 

The mother church in Voluntown centre, weakened and crippled by 
these repeated losses, was unable to settle a pastor and could scarcely 
maint^-iin regular worship. Its numbers and strength were still farther 
diminished by the large endgration 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 thought 
expedient to reorganize upon the Congregational basi.s. June 30, 1779, 
a meeting was called for this purpose. The Reverends Solomon Jklor- 
gan, Levi Hart and Eliphalet VViight were present. Those wishing 
to unite in the new organization related their experiences. A covenant 
WJis read agreeable to the Cambridge Platform under the Congrega- 
tional form of discipline, and signed by ten males and sixteen females, 
the remnant then representing 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, John Gor- 
don was chosen grand s6hool connnittee, "to take into his hands the 
school bonds belonging to the town, and to collect the interest on bonds, 
and to receive the proportion of money granted by Government to the 
town out of the Colony's rate, and to dispose of the same, and all other 
money coming from Plaintield, i^c, and town's proportion of tlu; sale 
of Norfolk." In 1706, David Eames, John Cole, Joseph Parke, Thomas 

Digitized by 


VOMINTOWN, 10*0. 71 

Doiio^las, John Gaston, John Gordon and John Wylie wore appointed 
to Bet out scliool districts Uironghont the town. Thirteen districts 
were specified, each of which thenceforward nnuiaged its own scliool 
under the sujKjrvision of a " grand-school-coinniittee-man," appointed 
by the town. 

The financial affairs of the town were greatly • embarrassed. The 
poverty of the soil exposed it to frequent losses by drought, so that 
many of the inabitants were unable to f)ay their proportion of public 
charges. The payment of the minister's salary, and legal expenses in- 
curred in prior resisUince, added to their debt and burden. In conse- 
quence of this remissness, a heavy debt accrued to the (lovernment for 
which the town treasurer, Mr. Robert Jameson, was held responsible. 
Having no funds to meet this demand, Mr. Jameson was arrested and 
confined in Windham jail. In 1771 a committee was appointed "to 
go to Windham in term of the Superior Courts 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 6 estate for the use of the town in settling the debt for 
which he was imprisoned. This imprisonment lasted for two yeai*s, 
when Mr. James Gordon was a}>pointed agent to settle with Robert 
Jameson, " now confined in Windham County jail for the colony tax 
due for sjiid town," and soon effected his liberation. Air. Jameson 
soon after his release removed to Wyoming, with his sons Robert, Wil- 
liam, John, Alexander and Joseph, who gained a permanent home in 
that beautiful valley, and were numbered among its most respectable 
and influential citizens. 




P LA INFIELD though still harassed by religious dissension was 
regaining her secular prosperity, having the good fortune to 
number among her citizens many strong and enterjuising 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. Josejih Coit was held in high esteem. Dr. Elisha 
Perkins, now married to the daughter of Captain Douglas, was con- 
tinually gaining public confidence and popularity. Elisha Paine of 
Canterbury, son of the distinguished Separate minister, had removed 

Digitized by 



hiK residence to Plaiiifiel<l, engaging in the practice of law, and marry- 
ing Elizahetli S|»alding. Andrew Backus of Norwich, and Daniel 
Chuk of Preston, were new and helpful citizens. At the town meet- 
ing, December, 1705, Elisha Paine, Esq., served as moderator; Isaac 
Ooit, James Bradford, James Howe, Joseph Eaton and Elisha Paine, 
were chosen selectmen ; Major Ezekiel Pierce, town clerk ; John 
Pierce, Elisha Paine, Lieut. John Douglas, Dr. Robinson, Asariah and 
Jedidiah Spahling, Ebenezer Kingsbury, Stephen Warren, William 
Cady and Timothy Parkhnrst, highway surveyor ; Reuben and David 
Shepard, D. Perkins, Nathaniel Deane and Simeon Burgess, listers ; 
Captains Eaton and Coit, fence-viewere ; 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 ; Ilezekiah Spalding, sealer of weights and 
measures ; Oa|)taiu Cady, toller and brander of horses. Little was 
done at this meeting but to make provision for the support of schools, 
and a needy fellow-citizen. A subject far more important than 
schools or town's poor was under consideration. The religious status 
of the town was mi»st unhappy. 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 benelit 
of a small minority, holding possession of the ancient town meeting- 
house. By earnest and pei-sistent appeals they had wrung from the 
Assembly the exemption of one-third of the population from this nite- 
payment as a second society, but this still left upon them an '' unrea- 
sonable burden." The renmant of the First church receiving this 
compulsory tiibute had not suiticient vitality to supply their meeting- 
house with a minister. The Plaintield Separate church was a respect- 
able and orderly -body, differing 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 ttie difflcalties subsisting In town, so as to 
unite in their principles, so as to all Join togetticr in ttie public worstiip of 
God in one meeiing, or any other way." 

This committee reported in favor of all joining together in one 
church, and worshiping in one meeting-house. The voters were again 
convened *Ho see which church they would join, and were almost 
universally inclined to join with the Sepai-ates." The Separate 

Digitized by 



meeting-house was liowever, small, shabby and quite out of the 
main route of travel, while the old town mccting-house was ample 
and accessible, and it was thereupon voted that Mr. Miller should 
preach in the latter house until the pulpit should be otherwise supplied. 
Reinstated after so many years in this ancient house of worahip, the 
town majority 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.** Othera were unwilling to sacrifice their standing 
as an independent society and laid their grievances before the Assem- 
bly, Ocl., 1767 :— 

'* Showing that Plainfleld was made two sociotlcs ; that the First society 
was In a deplorable condition and had been for several years defltitute of a 
minister; that the Second society worshipped In their meeting-house, had 
Dot allowed the two-thirds rate aud.tried to break them up." 

ITezokiah and Jabcz Huntington and Zebulon West were thereupon 
appointed a committee to repair to Plainfield, investigate and advise, 
who decided that the |>eople 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 regard to having the gospel 
preached, so that the whole of the town may unite and attend it," 
were unable to agree upon a satisfactory basis. Air. Miller and his 
followers kept possession of the meeting-house according to the town 
vote, and thus the remnant of PlainfieUVs first church was shut out 
from its ancient house of worship and deprived of religions privileges. 
Again the fii-st society laid " its deplomble 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-house, and they were obliged to go to other towns on Sunday, 
and therefore prayed that the old agreement might be maintained, and 
liberty still allowed them to lay taxes on two thirds of the inhabitantji.*' 
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.ycars, to 
their sreat hurt and duiiingc in tbeir civil and religious interests, owing to 
the rigid exertion of th« civil power in religious mntlers which has tended to 
divide and separate very fricmis and brothers, and we apprehend the grant- 
ing of srtid 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 tliat more than two- thirds of the 
iuliabitauts upon a serious iuqulry and deliberate consideration and con* 

Digitized by 



fcrenco with each other upon the subject of rclij;lf>n, and the way and manner 
of worship, were unniihuoiisly agreed and united in thehanie; that but Hfiy- 
four appear on the memorial, repres<entUi*j: £2.0;10, and against It were llfty- 
nine frum tlie Urst and bixty-lhree from the second society, repre^ientiug 

Wliereupon we 8ay, tliat it would be most unreasonable and unprecedented 
to /rrant tlie prayer of said memorialists, and instead of promoting religion 
and peace, tlirow us Into the greatest confusion and most unhappy conten- 
tions. Hut as tliere seems to l>e a numi>er wlio cannot Join with uh, we are 
fully willing they Nhould be released from paying anything for minister or, and be made a distinct society, and huvehueh 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 persuaded 
will directly tend to stir up contentions and dissensions. Aluy 18, 1708." 

The Assembly theretipoii appointed Joitathuii Truriibiill, IIe:&ekiah 
lItiiitit)<>:tou and Ztbtilott West to be a coiuiuittee to endeavor to coii- 
siiiiunato a union, and by their judicious eltbrts union was at last 
happily constiininated. Few difticiihies could withstand the concilia- 
tory mediation of Jonathan Tiumbull. Concessions were nnule 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 reltictantly resigtied Mr. 
lililler. Certain moditications 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, |)ro- 
vided he would publicly eschew certain Separate errors, and obtain a 
regular nunisterial ordination. Mr. Fuller was a native of I^'banon, 
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 Justified, but the separations In general are not 
Justifiable, especially in the manner of tliem, as they have been attended by 
many spurious notions which excel In them and party spirit, as well a» many 
irregular practices. And notwithstanding I have borne a public testimony 
against their rash and uncharitable dispositions 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 ought not 
to have done; for which I hope Heaven's pardon and forgiveness, and the 
forgiveness of all God*s people whom I have offended, ai.d desire their 
prayers tliat I may have wisdom. And it Is my desire to unite with the 
regular ministers and churches ol Christ in any tiling wherein we are agreed, 
and to forbear one another in love lu circumstautial matters wherein we can- 
not be perfectly united. John FtJi.i.KR. 

Plainfidd. Feb. 2, 1769." 

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

•*On the 8d liistant, Kev. John Fuller was ordained over the church in 
rialulield. Kev. Mr. Hart of rre^itou, preuched from i';>alm cxxxlii., showing, 

Digitized by 



1, Nature of Christian union; 2, Wherein this anion doth consist; 8, Fruit 
anil cflTectH of thN union — all conducted In a decent and most Holemn manner. 
N. B. — Occasion of Mr Hart's preaching from this text was on account of 
the happy Union come Into by the two clnircheM of this town, and the names 
Old and iVetc swallowed up In most amicable union.*' 

Peace was thus happily restored after more than thirty years of con- 
flict While all parties were satisfied the Separates had especial cause 
for rejoicing. They 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 asses-sment for his support was 
positively prohibited. Far in advance of her generation PlainBeld had 
soon the privilege of religious freedom, and her inhabitants were free 
to attend service where they pleased and support minist43r and meeting- 
house without legal coercion or interference. Among the many who 
welcomed this joyful reunion was our old friend, Mercy Wheeler, now 
Mrs. Case, imported from time to time by friendly visitors as " the 
same pious, thankful, humble woman,*' as in the days of her distressing 
iidirmily and wonderful deliverance. Mr. Miller, when released from 
his charge, returned, it is believed, to his former home in the north part 
of Voluntown, and lived to a good old age in peace and happiness, 
respected by all who knew him. 

As religious animosilios and diniculties subsided (he town resumed 
its efforts for secular improvement. The education of its youth had 
always enlisted the especial sympathy of its citizens. In 1766 a com 
ndttee was appointed to lay out school districts, which thus re- 
ported : — 

•* I, Flat Rock district, bounded sonth on Preston, east on Voluntown; 2, 
Stone Hill district, north of Flat Rock ; B, Qoshon, hounded north by Moosup 
River, south by Htoue Hill; 4, South, bordcrhis: south on Preston, west on 
Canterbury; 6, Middle, extending; from Mill Brook up Main street, butting 
east on Stone Hill; 0, Black Hill; 7, Moo>up Pond, northeast corner; 8, 
Moosup River; 9, Shepard Hill; 10, Green Hollow, beginning at Snake Meadow 
Brook or Killlngly line." 

Dr. Perkins, Daniel Clark, Ste])hen 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 number 
of teachei-s and schools was increased by this arrangement, the leading 
men of the town were not yet satisfieii with their attainments, and in 
1770 proceeded to form an association "lor the ))urpose of providing 
improved facilities for the more complete educition 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 conmion English branches, but were unable to 
organize a classical department 

Digitized by 




Roads and bridges required miicli attention. The " tedious " Qiiine- 
hiiwg was Htill fractious and turbulent, necessitating continual bridge- 
building and repairing. In 1763, a project was set on foot for enlarg- 
ing the bc<l of this stream so as to make it passable for bo:its. A con- 
vention was held in PlainBeld 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 memonal : — 

**T]iat the Qiiincbangltlrcr from Danielson'A ¥a\\H 
ties \Uiii\t into llio covo iil Norwich, llilrty miles, is 
mny easily be mndc pusHublc for l)Oiit» to pas3 up iind 
some four hundred pounds to be laid out in cleaning, 

Ebenezcr Orosvvnor. 
Wiilard Spalding. 
Silos llutchins. 
BenJ. Spaldlii;;;. 
Jabez Fitch, Jun. 
John Fitch. 
Samuel Adams, Jun. 
Joseph Woodward. 
Andrew Spalding. 
Jonas Shepard. 
Nathan Waldo. 
Daniel Kec. 
Jabez Fitch. 
Edward Wheeler. 
William DanicUon. 
may 0, 1763." 

William KobinsoD. 
Isaac Shepard. 
Mason Cleveland. 
John Tyler. 
Samuel Stewart. 
Jonathan Parkhurst. 
Benjamin Colt. 
Elislia Paine. 
Ebenczer Cady. 
Ebenezer Robinson. 
Jeremiah Cady. 
Thcophilus Clark. 
Benjamin Spalding. 
Sanmcl Daniolson. 
John Grosvonor. 

until the Thames emp- 
so flat and level that it 
down ot the expense of 
and pray for a lottery. 
Nicholas Parker. 
Benjamin Wheeler. 
John Smith. 
John Dyer. 
Ezeklel Pierce. 
Isaac Colt. 
Ilezekiah 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 Quiiiebaug 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 after its completion '* to take care of tlie 
new bridge, and out away ice round the anchor.'* The constint travel 
over this bridge made its preservation very important The gi*eat 
country road passing through Voluutown 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 671 route for the new countries. Special ordera relative to the re- 
newal and maintenance of '^ the Plainfield road " were issued from time to 
time by the Governments of Connecticut and Rhode Island. A road 
laid out from this highway to Butts Bridge now accommodated Nor- 
wich travel. In the sunmier 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 

Digitized by 



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

The great exodus to the new conntiies took from Plainfield some 
valned citizens. A nnmber of respectable families joined the fii-st emi- 
grants to Oblong and Nine Partners. Major Ezekiel Pierce and Cap- 
t*iin Simon Spalding were prominent among the bold men who took 
possession of Wyoming. Elisha Paine, so active in professional and 
pnblio affairs, removed in 1767 to Lebanon, New Hampshire. The 
township of Sharon, Vermont, was pnrcha.sed and settled by a Plain- 
field colony. Isaac Marsh, Willard Shepard and others went on in 
advance, selected land, built huts, sowed grass and prepared for the 
main body of emigrants. William, son of Captain John Douglas, 
though but a lad of sixteen, served valiantly in the French war, and 
aller the return of peace took command of a merchant ship sailing be- 
tween New Haven and the West Indies, making his residence in 
Nortliford. 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 an(i afMress, 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 1706. John 
Pierce succeeded to the jwsition of town clerk for a few years, and 
was in turn succeeded by William Robins<m in 1772. 



KILLINGLY during this period was in the main peaceful and pros- 
perous. Despite the size of the town and iu various society 
divisions its general affairs were carried on without apparent jealousy 
or collision. Town offices were equitably distributed ; general town 

♦The provision made by Mr. Joshua Whitney Tor his iicffro scrvnnts at his 
decease hi 1761 shows the coiiseieiitloiis scrnpiiloiisuesa wlili which some |fooU 
men of that day fulfilled the rcsponsUjIllty of ownership. Not only did he 
make Sandy, Crosar, Judith with their chlldrcMi ahsolntrly freo^ but beciuoathed 
to each household six acres of hind, stock and farming tools; gave to one his 
" oldest little Blhlc," and to the other several good hooks ; enjoined Sandy 
to lake care of Bess, his wife, and give her decent burial, and directed Crosur 
and Judith ** to see that their children wore in no ways left to perish." 

Digitized by 



ineetings were lieltl in the great meeting-house on Killingly Hill. At 
the annual nu>eting in 1760, Saninel Danielnon was chosK'n moderator; 
Thomas Modal, town ck-rk and treasurer; Pain Converse, Deacon Dan- 
iel Davis, Ebenezer Larned, Lieut. Benjamin Leavens, James Dike, 
selectmen; Ilczekiali Cutler, collector of country rates; Benjamin Mav- 
riam and Lieut. William Danielson, constables ; «John Jacobs, John 
Whitmore, Phinehas Lee« Benjamin Joslin, Daniel Alton, John Corbin, 
Francis Carroll, Nathaniel Daniels, Ensign Benjamin Cady, Nell Alex- 
ander, Joseph Ilntchins, Jaazaniah Whitmore, John Sprague, highway 
surveyors; Enoch TA>onard, Ephraim Cady, fence-viewei-s; Flczekiah 
Cutler, Benjamin Aferriam, William Danielson, collectors of town 
rates; Zel>ediah Sabiii, Moses Winter, El iezer Warren, Joseph Bate- 
man, key-keepei*s of the several meeting-houses; Enoch Leonard, 
leat her- sealer ; David Barrett, Ensign Joseph Cutler, Wyman Hutch- 
ins, grand jurors; Jacob Bixby, Ensign Benj. Cady, Daniel Winter, 
Ezekiel Little, Joseph Newell, tithing-men ; Samuel Watson, Bichard 
Child, John Johnson, Benjamin Joy, Daniel Winter, Abijah Adams, 
listers; Joseph Cady, sealer of weights anil measures; Ensign Ed- 
ward Converse, Joseph Leavens, Jun., James Day, horse-branders ; 
Captain Michael Adams, collector of excise. Ezekiel Little, Uichard 
Bloss and Bonajah Spahling were admitted iidiabitants. John Sprague 
and Simeon Spalding, residents of the south parish, had lilKMty granted 
to build a town pound to accommodate themselves, and also keep the 
BJime in repair at their own cost J^Ioney for 'Sloctoring (yharite 
Priest " was granted Dr. Freeman. 

The charge of its poor was always a heavy burden upon this town- 
ship. Parts of its territory afforded but a scanty support for its inhab- 
itants, and its bordor position exposed it to incursions of vagrants and 
foreigners. In addition to its own poor it was obliged to support its 
quota of Acadian refugees, paying sundry sums for services and sup- 
plies to the French people. In l7Co, it was voted, "To raise one 
penny a pound for the supjiort of the poor of said town ; also, that the 
persons supporting the poor take their pay in specy, i. e., In<lian corn, 
at two and sixpence per bushel ; rye at three and sixpence ; wheat, 
four and sixpence; beans, the same; salt pork without bone, one shil- 
ling per pound ; tlax, eightpence. These poor people were then scat- 
tered about the town in the charge of the lowest bidder. In 1770, a 
movement was made 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 parish of Thomp.son, and be mastei*s of the same ; also, 
Capt. Warren to provide a work-house and be master of the same in 
like manner in Killingly." 

Digitized by 



Bridges and highways also required tnnch oare and legislation. In 
1767, Briant and Nathaniel Brown and Benjamin I^eavens were ap- 
pointed **to join with Poinfret gentlemen in repairing the bndge 
called Danielson's." However well repaired it was soon carried away 
by a freshet, and a new committee appointed in 1770, "to rebuild our 
part of the bridge at CargilKs Mills, and view the Quinebaug above and 
below where Daniclson s bridge stood, and see where they could set a 
bridge." William Dan'ielson was allowed twenty-nine pounds for build- 
ing half the latter bridge, and a new road was laid out from it to Vol- 
untown. In 1774. the Quinebaug was bridged between Oargills and 
Danielson's, near the residence of Deacon Simon Cotton. Various new 
roads were granted from time to time in Thompson Parish, and so 
much space in the town book was occupied by returns of highway sur- 
veyors that after an bnsuccesHful attempt in 1759 to procure a new 
record book these returns were lefl on file, and were finally scattered or 
destroyed so that the laying out of many important roads cannot now 
be determined. The travel tipon these numerous ways was accommo- 
dated in various noted taverns kept by John Jacobs, Benjamin Wilkin- 
son, Edward Converse, Zebediah Sabin, John Felshaw, Ebenezer Lar- 
ned, William Danielson, Nathaniel Stone and others. Medical practi- 
tioners at this date were Doctors Freeman, Gieason and Cheney in the 
centre and south parishes, and Dr. Joseph Coit in Thompson. Four 
hundred families were reported in the town in 1767. 

The north parish of the town was prospering. In 1760, Jacob 
Dresser, Esq., served as clerk; Deacon Lusher Gay, collector; Jacob 
Dresser, Deacon Simon Larned and Ephraim Guile, committee. The 
school committee were Jacob Dresser, Joseph Averill, Captain Henry 
Green, Daniel liussel, Solomon Bixby, Deacon Gay, Squier llascall 
and J.'unes Fuller. The Hev. Mr. Uussel was allowed four pounds ten 
shillings for getting his own wood for the year; Joniah Converse, eight 
shillings for sweeping the meeting-house. Additional pew accommo- 
dations were still found needful — Stephen Crosby, Nehemiah Merrill, 
John KHithor|>e, Solomon Ormsbee, Obndinh Clough, Asa C-onverse, 
Benjamin Joslin, Thomas Ormsbee, William Whittemore, Jun., Wil- 
liam Bidiards, Eleazer Child and Franci.s Elliott receiving liberty to 
build a pew ** where the hind seat is in the men's si<le gallery," pro- 
vided it "be built no higher than the hind seat is now." A number of 
young women appeared at a subsequent meeting, viz. : Bathsheba Con- 
verse, Betta Town, Margaret Town, Dorothy Bixby, Susannah Bixby, 
Mary llascall, Jane Crosby, Mary, Zerziah and Sarah Joslin, Snrah Por- 
ter, Elizabeth Knnp and Susannah llascall, desiring the privilege of 
building a pew upon the women's side gallery, which was at first 
granted, but upon i econsideratiou made over to Joseph Averill, " pro- 

Digitized by 



Yided lie let so many yoniig women have it for their seat as oan con- 
veniently set in it.*' Tn response to a petition from Theopliilus and 
Samuel Chandler, Moses Marcy. William Nelson, £dward Bugbee 
and Benjamin Wilkinson, residents west of the Quinebaug, in the noith- 
west corner of the society, these petitioners with their lands were an- 
nexed to the north society of Woo<lstock. 

The renovation of the school districts next agitated the society. 
Stephen and Joseph Brown, Joseph Town, Samuel Fuller, Robert and 
Kbenezer Prince, Joseph and Francis Elliott were leaders in this move- 
ment, entering their dissent against the society's proceedings in regard 
to schools. Michael Adams, Pain Converse, Squier Ilascall, 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 Convei*se's — included Thompson Hill and vicinity ; school- 
house *Ho 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 (ireen's district embraced Quaddie and its vicinity; 
school-house betwixt the houses of Kbenezer and Amos Creen. Nathan 
Bixby's included Brandy Hill ; school-house near by Sergeant Timothy 
Cooper's ; Sanmel Stone's occupied the northeast corner of the society, 
extending from Joseph Munyan's to Rhode Island line; thence to and 
upon the Bay line to Captain Cutler's ; thence south to John Jacobs' ; 
school-house upon Isaac Burnl'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 llascall's wsis still far- 
ther west upon the Bay line, with school house "near where said Ilas- 
call crosses the mill rhoad in coming to meeting." Nathaniel Crosby's 
embraced both sides of French River, from Nathaniel Mills' to Ebene- 
zer Prince's ; school-house about half-way between old Mr. Elliott's 
and Joseph Elliott's. John llowlet'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 
where it is." Lastly, Esq. Dresser's district was " bounded as follows : All 
upon the west side of Quinebaug River, and including Joseph Nichols, 
Henry Merrill, 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 Widow llibbard's, or there- 

Digitized by 



nbontH ; and the other at tho house where the Widow Commius did 
live, or thereaboutn — two months at each place, and draw one-quarter 
more money than other districts." 

This report was accepted, Sept. 23, 1762, and tlje lines established 
as soon as practicable, though some difficulty was found in carrying out 
the designs of the committee. Sevei-al of the designated sites were 
unsatisfactory. A pitiful petition was presented from " inhnbiUmts in 
the northwest part of the district called Hewlet's," showing " that they 
have been overlooked by the committee, who supposed that no one 
lived northwest of a certain great hill but Clement Corbin, whei*eas 
there were twelve families there so remote from that school-house 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 the tax money 
as they did pay.** CapLiin Clement Corbin and his son Clement, 
Samuel Palmer, Elijah and Ezra Corbin, Benjamin Morris, John 
Whitmore, Joseph Winter, Mark Clawell, John Webster and Benja- 
min Fairbanks, inhabitants living northwest from the aforesaid *' great 
hill," were accordingly set off as " Captain Corbin's district." School- 
house sites were changed to accommodate other districts and in time 
the new system was satisfactorily established. Esquire Dresser's 
diHtriut \v:i8 <1ivided 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. After some ineffectual attempts to procure a vote for a 
new one, it was voted, P^eb. 16, 1769 : — 

** 1. To put In A piece of fourteen feet In the middle of the ineellng-liouse, 
cutting the MAmc In two, nml lllihii^ up the s imu by lcn<>;llienhig the scats. 

2. To lliilsh the meeting house by clapbonrdliig the ^aiiie. 

3. That the money In Collector ilasctiU's hands should be forthwith col- 
Iccted nnd laid out for stuff for the iiicelin«r-hoiise. 

4. LikewiHc the money In the old collector's hands to bo forthwith col- 
lected, and laid (»ut upon the meetlns; house. 

6. AIho voted nnd chose .Jacob Dresser, Heninmlu Wllkln5ton and Samuel 
Watson, a committee to lake the money and do the meetlng-houic.** 

The committee proceeded to bisect the house as ordered, move one 
of the severed halves and insert the fourteen-foot strip. This feat 
being accomplished after some delay and difficulty, it was next decided 
** to culler our meeting-house," and, having perhaps seen the folly of 
following their own architectural devices, they resumed their ancient 
practice of copying their neighbors, and fmther voted, "that the culler- 
ing of the body of our meeting house should be like Pomfret, and the 
lloff should be cnllered Uead." The previous committee were em- 
powered to accomplish the coloring, and also to sell the refuse stuff that 

Digitized by 



should be left and the old glass. The filling up the inserted strip with 
suitable seats was a work of great difiiculty. Votes for pew-spots were 
passed and revoked. June 4, 1770, four pew-spots were grai»ted; ouo 
oast side the pulpit to Nathaniel and Stephen Crosby, west side to 
Ephraini Guile ; a s))ot west side the great or south doors to Deacon 
Jonathan Clough and his son Obadiah, east side to Sanniel Watson — 
the grantees to build the pews, finish the meeting-house up to the 
gallery, maintain the glass and pay the parish ten pounds. Francis 
Elliott, William Whittemore, .Tun, Asa Converse, Daniel Davis, 
Jonathan Firman, Calvin Gay, Davis Flint and Briant Brown, Jun., 
were also allowed to lengthen out the front pew in the men s gallery 
at their own eharge for their own seat. Other pew-^pots were obtained 
the following year by taking up *' the two hind seats in the men's and 
women's side," and this process of demolition and reconstruction went 
on until the old '* body of seats " was replaced by capacious pews, 
handsomely finished and surmounted by balustnides, the balusters of 
which were* so wide a|>art that an investigating child could thrust its 
head between them. A broad alley extended from the great double 
south door to the pulpit, with cross alleys to the ^' men's and women's 
doors," on the east and west sides of the house, and little twenty- 
inch alleys meandered among the jk^ws *'for the people to y^o into the 
seats." In 1771, it was voted *Uo plaister the inside of sjiid meeting- 
house anil pint the under-pinning;'* Sanmel Watson appointed to keep 
the key, and ten shillings allowed for sweeping. Two yeai-s later a 
special committee was chosen, *' to take care of said meeting house, and 
to prosecute any person or persons that shall hurt or daniage 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 and 
Thaddeus Larned — son of Simon — requested to assist the above "in 
tuning the psalm." The large meeting-house was ever well-Hlled with 
hearers. The various rough "ways" leading to Thompson Hill were 
thronged on Sunday with the multitudes coming up to worshi|) — the 
older pien mostly on hoi*seback with their wives and daughters on a 
pillion behind them, and troops of yoting people on foot. Mr. Russel 
contiimed to preach to the acceptance of the church and people, and 
was greatly beloved and respected by all. In proof of this afiectionate 
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 highten the 
favor by half filling the teticup with molasses, " Sto)>, stop, my good 
lady I " besought the alarmed divine. " Plenty, plenty, I assure you." 
"Ah," replied the worthy dame with another ilouse into the teacup. 

Digitized by 



" Clear molasses ant too (food for Mr, Jlusselj'^* — a saying greatly 
coniint*ti(Ie<1 and handed down to HUcceeding generations as expressing 
tlie proper sentiment of a native Thompsonian towards his mtnister. 
Regard for this dignitary was indeed one of the fundamental aiticles 
of his creed at that period. lie took him for life, for better or worse, 
and would as soon have thought of changing his religion. Jacob 
Dresser, Elsq., Lusher Gay and Simon Larned, still served as deacons. 
Other improvements followed the renovation of the meeting house. 
Sabin's " old red tavern " had passed to Benjamin Wilkinson, who after 
some ten years occupation of the Morris farm 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 farm, 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 t4ike posses- 
sion. Amused at his promptness and ever eager for trade and change, 
Wilkinson yielded the farm and purchnsed theSabin Tavern on Thom|>- 
son Hill, where his energy and public spirit found ample exercise. 
Under his auspices the open broken land about the meeting house was 
transformed into a comfortable common and training-Held. lie cut 
down the brush, dragged off st^nies and dug out the relics of aboriginal 
tree-stumps. The dilapi<lated pound wjis " rectified " and an extensive 
peach orchard set out east of the common. Mr. Wilkinson was accus- 
tomed to plant a }>each stone by every rock upon his premises, and also 
along the roadside, that boys, travelei-s and church-comers might have 
a free supply. Under his skillful administration the old tavern-stand 
became more popular than ever, and was a place of -great resort, for 
public meetings and meny-makings. In winter time it served as a 
" Sabba-day-house ** for the shivenng 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 
ladles In other VVindhaiii (-oiinty t«»wns boast n like Invlshinent of superfluous 
sweotue.H8. A good story oflru (Inds so ni:iny clainiaiitH that It Is dlfllcult to 
decide upon the true author, but In this liisuince the credit cletiriy accrues to 
Thompson. Not only In the name nud Hervice or *' old Miss Ciutf " still held 
in ffnucful remembnince, but It receives further corroboration ft*om the 
nckuowledg^ed proclivity of the ThompMoulnn» for both ministers iind molasses. 
The arrival of the first' hogshead of this favorite iuxuiy cele1)ratcd with 
public rejoicings, and all the boys of the vicluity were allowed a free treat In 
honor of the occasion. 

Digitized by 



of a very rusty-handled grindstone upon his premises. Even Mr. 
Wilkinson could not be indulged in such an outrage, and proper offi- 
cials waited upon him at intermission and solemnly called him to 
account for it. The suspected culprit promptly denied tlie charge. 
" Why, we hear it now," retorted his accusei's, as tlie long-drawn creak 
became more distinctly audible. "Come and see for yom-selves," 
replied the smiling landlord, leading them into liis dooryard and 
formally presenting to them a pair of Guinea hens^ (the first brought 
to Thompson), MJiose doleful cries aggravated by homesickness had 
subjected their owner to so serious an imputation. 

While so useful and active in the standing society Mr. Wilkinson 
was equally ready to extend his aid to other ordera. The Six-Principle 
Baptist Oiurch, so early established in Thompson, after many struggles 
and trials became extinct about 1770, upon the removal of its pastor 
and some leading brethren to Royalston. 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 burdensouie ; 
Baptist sentiments were becoming more popular, the heavy tax levied 
for repairing the meeting-house on Thompson Hill excited much dis- 
satisfaction, and many pei*sons 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 worship," declared (heir purpose 
by the help of God to make it their general practice of public worship, 
and their willingness to be helpful in building the cause of God in that 
way either by building a house for public worship or in settling a min- 
ister, and any other necessary charge according as they were able, and 
found in their minds to be duty according to Scripture record, not be- 
lieving that there ought to be any compulsion in such cases or c^rnfil 
Bword used." This agreement was signed by about seventy-five sub- 
scribers, many of them men of established character and comfortable 
circumstances. Mr. John Martin of Kehoboth, was then chosen to 
preacli to them on trial, an earnest and " gifted " preacher, of such re- 
pute at tliis period that he 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 grac^ which he hath wrought in our souls to each other," and so 
much had they to tell that it occupied ani>ther sunnner afternoon. 
August 26, they agreed to send a petition to the church in Leicester to 

Digitized by 


TOWW AFFAfllfl Iff KlU.TNnLT, KTO. 85 

get leave to embody ns a dislinet elinrcb. Jnnies Dike was appointed 
to wiile the petition, and with El)enezer Green carry it to the Leices- 
ter chnrch. Their request was granted, and on Sept. I), the petitioners, 
t. e., Widow Deborah Torry, Mary Green, Eliaibeth Atwell, Sarah 
White, Widow Deborah Davis, Lydia Hall, llnnnah Jones, James 
Dike, Ebeneser Green, Jonathan Munyan, Levi White, Thaddeus Allen, 
John White, together with John Martin, John Atwell, John Pratt, 
James Coats and Levisa l^Iartin, " firstly gave ourselves to the Lord, 
and to each other, and signed a written covenant." The progressive 
and liberal spirit of these biethren is shown in the position accorded to 
the female members, who were given precedence in ure 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 slngii:g of Psalms, and the Inyinsr on of hnmis, and the wnshlng 
of feet is pructlced In .*«onieof thecliunhcs of the sjiints, juhI some there are ihat 
dolh not practice twoof lliese, to wit, the la.vlng on of hands nnil wa>hliig of 
fiet, whicli makes a separation between each party since some brethren are 
tender on ihr^e points and don't see so ck-arly throujih that practice, we do 
unanimon>Iy consent and agree to bear with each otIicrV Judgments on that 
nceounl, so that there maybe free and lull liberty without oUeiiec 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 (me vote to the contrary." After ascertaiidng that all previous 
difficulties were settled, and agreeing that if any church member should 
ever bring up these buried difficulties "he shouhl be dealt with as a 
transgiessor," Mr. Martin "gave his answer in the positive." James 
Dike and Ebenezer Green were chosen to serve the chtirch in the office 
of deacon, and in case enough should not be brought iti to supply the 
wants of the ordaining council were to ])rovide for the lack at the ex- 
[H'use of the church. Ordination services were held Nov. 8, 1773, 
utider a large apple-tree near the Jacobs Tavern. Preparatory exami- 
nation of the candidate at the house of Deacon Dike was satisfactory. 
Elder Ledoit began the public service with piayer. " A sermon suit- 
able to the occjision was preachj»d from Phil. 1 : IS, by Elder [Isaac] 
Backus; Elder Green [of Charlton] gave the charge, and Elder Winsor 
[of Gloucester] the right hand of fellowship. The whole was conducted 
with decency and order." A btother was soon baptized into the fel- 
lowship of the church. Dec. 9, the deacons were lortnally inducted into 
office with appropriate solemnities. It had been pieviously decided 
that each of these worthy chtnch officers had a gtil of ])rayer and ex- 
hortation that ought to be improved for the benefit of the church, but 

Digitized by 



they were ** not to rise up of their own head and open a meeting by 
prayer without invitation from the elder, and though they mi^ht with- 
out offence after 8<^nnon if they saw any point that they could advance 
any further upon agreeable to what had been s;iid 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 recpiisliions 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 expressing its willingness that they or any other brethren 
'^should improve according 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 'Ho allow the Baptist Church the 
decisive vote m 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 Mv. 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 comniiltee, Kzekiel Smith, Ebenezer Starr and Jonathan Mun- 
yan, had charge of building the house which was ready for occupation 
in the sununer 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 population was increasing. The influx was yet more than 
the outflow. Jonathan Aldrich, Abraham Tourtellotte and Josiah 
Perry removed to the northwest part of the parish soon after 1770. 
John Ilolbrook, Jan., and Jason Phipps occupied parts of the old Mor- 
ris farm on the Quinebaug. James Wilson, James Rhodes, Thom;i8 
Davis, Simon Howard and Jeremiah Barstow settled in the vicinity of 
Brandy Hill. Andrew Waterman, Stephen Black mar and Stephen 
Bates of Scituate, took up land on or near Rhode Island colony line. 
Issachar Bates of Leicester, in 1772^ purchased a farm northwest of 
Thompson Hill, land first laid out under grant to Humphrey 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 passed to his sons, John and Marson, whose business enter- 
prise rivalled tiiat of Captain Cargiil at the lower fall, half a mile 

Digitized by 



bcU»w. By their efforts a brulge was alter a time constructed upon the 
site of the subsequent Rhodes ville bridge, and a new road laid out to 
Thompson meeting- house. Tlie old road winding about Park's II ill 
had hitherto answered all purposes, but with increasing business a more 
direct route was demanded. In response to petitions from Paine and 
E<lward Converse and John Eaton, Jacob Dresser, E^q. and Daniel 
liussel were appointed a committee, who laid out *'a road from Captain 
Daniels* land to another highway between Landlord Converse's and 
Martha Flint's " in 1763.* 

The brief interval of peace following the French and Indian War 
was marked by a general revival of buHiness and commercial enter- 
prise. Trading vessels again traversed the seas bringing back foreign 
goods in exchange for colonial products. A great variety of useful 
and fancy articles were thus brought into market, and n furor for trade 
broke out in all the colonies. Even remote inland settlements like 
Thompson caught the infection and engaged in various business opera- 
tions. Its first achievement was a perambulating vehicle calle<l the 
Butter Cart that roamed all over the parish picking u\) butter, eggs 
and all sorts of domestic products to be repaid in goods from 
Boston. Good honsewives, hitherto restricted to a scant supply of 
absolute necessities, could now indulge in a whole row of jiins or a 
paper of needles, and even in beads, ribbons and finery for their 
blooming daughters, and many were the ventures sent out by the 
freighted Butter 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 surplus produce 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 temih)UR it is to l)c inrcrred that ttds 
rond OM laid oat ran into and Joined another road piissiiig through ** Captniu 
Daniels' linid,'* to Cnr(i:ili*H Mills, nt tliu Qrcat Knll.s of the Qiiinebaiig. There 
Is no evidence of the laying out uf this valley rond, but tunny hiiiU« at its ex- 
istence, and it was probably ** troildcn out" at a very enrly dnte to meet the 
wnnt}< of tnivelerM and iiiconiing settlers. The ab!*eiicc of early town records 
in Kllllngly innkcs it InipoHsible to determine the orl.ulimt laying out of many 
iroportiuit roads. A way through Kllllngly from Plalnlleld to Boston must 
liave existed as early as IGDO, but when or how it was constructed has not 
been ascertained, but subsequent nlteratious In It prove ihnt it was nearly 
identical wlih the present rond over Putnam Heights and Thompson II 111. 
Allusions in old deeds show that there was a road from *' liariford to Men- 
don,*' tce« of the Qulnebaug, extending north from the Great Falls In 1703, 
but this seems to liave been superseded by another road east of the river, and 
al!«o east of French Itlver, wldcli It followed closely, conut;cting with the Con- 
necticut rath in the north part of Thompson. That this roa<l to Boston, 
** abundantly used," by many travelers, did not cross Thompson lllll Is evident 
from the neces-nity of having special roads made to that hicallty. The south 
part of the road of 1708 has been discontinued, but the greater part of it Is 
silll intact and traversed as the *'old," middle, or *' mountaiu road," between 
Putnam and Thompson. 

Digitized by 



Agents were sent far and wi*le, even up to the new settlements in 
northern ]SIas»acliusetts and- Vermont, buying up meat, grain, ashes 
and any marketable product to bo exchanged for rum, sugar, molasses 
and otlu'r articles in Providence. Foreii^n goods and luxuries became 
comparatively cheap and abundant iu consequence. Tea, once so 
rare that nobtxty knew how to use it, and after general consutlation 
over the first sample, decided to serve it up as " greens " for dinner, 
now took its place as a grateful beverage on festive occjisions. Ginger, 
allspice and cinnamon came into common use. West India rum flowed 
as freely as citler 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 ot the neighborhood, — hot roasted potatoes hastily 
soused therein, and cranuued all sizzling and dripping down the 
throats of the happy urchins. The candy of later generations could 
scarcely 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 up and Hue house selected. Daniel Larned purchased land 
west of the counlry road, building under the Great Elm set out by 
Eilmond Hughes, the former proprietor. Mr. Afason's residence was 
southward on the line between the parishes. The honiesteati farm 
long occupied by Joseph Cady, Esq., was purch.ised by Darius Sessions, 
deputy-governor of Rhode Island, who made his summer residence 
here, an(( brought it under high cMltivation. The farm adjoining owned 
by the first Williau) Larned, was sold by his heirs with dwelling-house 
and farm to Isaac Park of Pomfret, in 17G1. Land on Park's Hill as 
it was now called, and in other localities, was purchased by Daniel 
and Simon Davis of Killingly, who both removed to Thompson i^arish. 
This increase of business and population made the parish restive. At 
its first organizjition it had asked lor town privileges, and after forty 
years suspensicm the petition was renewed. At a general town meet- 
ing called ** to see if it be the mind of stiul town to be divided, viz. : 
the middle and south parishes to be made into one town, and Thomp 
son Parish to be made into one town," it was voted '* that Thompson 
Parish be set off as a town, and that Jacob Dresser, Esq., be agent to 
prefer a memorial to the General AHsembly that Tiiompson be made u 
town.'' This memorial represente<l : — 

** That the town of Klliiii^lv was nearly sixtoen miles long .... and 
dIvUkd into iliice sociclies. Thompson I'arisli not no lur^e hi diinunsiona 
but Miori; on the lUt llian iIm; oiiior iwo. Pinco for lioldhi^j; towa mcctin|rH at 
the middlu fitociciy— luiniy have to travel lea und eleven mlkts, inakln;^ ilieir 
hliuulion cxirenioly burihi'usoaiu. Pctiiloners kiiowiuj; their burtlicus by 
experit'iK'c nt a ic;;al town uM'utiiig vtttud to liavc> the nt>rili sotticty iii:idu a 
town by the uumc of Wutortowu, two »oulh woclutiust rcuiiiuiu;; KUUu«;ly.*' 

Digitized by 



Althoagh a majority of the voters favored division and were repre- 
sented in this memorial their request was denied. Tlie 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 threatening 
condition of public afiairs changes were deemed inexpedient The 
Assembly deferred decision, and the town voted to delay farther action 
till times were more propitious. 

Killingly*s First or Central Society was influential and prosperous 
though not exempt from losses and annoyances. Its records having 
the misfortune to be "much damnified by fire," John Leavens, 
Barachiah Cady and llezekiah 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 17G0, Joseph 
leavens, Jun., served as society clerk ; Thomas Moffat, collector ; 
£benezer Larned, Benjamin Leavens, llezekiah Cutler, committee. 
The great meeting-house demanded much attention. One brother was 
altowe<l to cut a window in his pew; others to tiike up scats 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 cushing 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 
parish " into proper districts." Their report was accepted, five dis- 
tricts promptly set off, and ten men chosen for school committees, viz. : 
J^enjamiii leavens, Ichabod Turner, northwest district ; Benjamin Jo}', 
Moses Winter, middle district; Joseph Torrey, Ebonezer Larned, 
northeast district ; Josiah Brown, Philip W hi taker, southeast district; 
Nell Saimders, John Brooks, southwest district. Among other im- 
provements Landlord Felshaw was allowed the privilege of building a 
pound on his own land, thirty feet on the outside and six and a half 
feet high. 

Church affairs were wisely ordered by lie v. 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 1705. 
Watts* version of the Psalms was now used in the aflernoon service. 
Church and society were strengthened by the accession of new inhabit- 
ants. In 1763, Joseph Torrey, sou of Dr. Joseph Torrey, South Kings- 

Digitized by 



ton, R T., settled on pait of the College Farm, east of Killingly ITill, 
marrying a danghter of Hev. John Fisk. lie was soon followed by 
his brother, Dr. Sanniul II. Torrey, a yonng man of much more 
thorough medical training than was connnon at that period, who so(m 
gained an extensive practice. His young wife, Anna Gould of Bran- 
ford, brought with her four slaves as part of her mariiage portion. 
These brothers identified themselves with church and town, and were 
active and influential. The sons of Kev. Perley Howe were now 
entering upon the stage and taking |)art in various atTaiiu Ilezekiah 
Cutler,* who had removed from his farm on the eastern line of tho 
town to the vicinity of the meeting house, was prominent in town and 
church. His nephew, Benoni Cutler, son of Timothy, was an active 
young man, much interested in military matters. Sons of Justice 
Joseph Leavens, Joseph Cady and Captain Isaiic Cutler, were now in 
active life. 

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

Tho 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 Ilezekiah Cutler, and Joseph, 
youngest son of Kev. Perley Howe, were fitted for College by Rev. 
Aaron Brown and entered Yale in 1761. Although then but fuurleen 
years old, Howe manifested imcommon force and maturity of mind, 
and was graduated ^^ the first scholar in a class which had its full share 
of distinguished names." After teaching for a time with great success 
in Haitford, he accepted a tutorship at Yale College, ** where his 
literary accomplishments, especially his remarkable p<iwers 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 <legree 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, Hartfoid and 
Wethersfield, he was everywhere welcomed, caressed and urged to 
settlement. Visiting Boston for the benefit of his health, the New 
South church, after twice hearing, invited him to become the successor 
of Rev. Penuei Bowen of Woodstock, ** the character which Mr. 

* Not tho i(on of Isaac Cutler ns erroneously stated In Volume I., but of 
Jolui Cutler of Les^higtou, who purthascd land on the UIkkIc Irihnid line at a 
very curly datu but did not occupy it till about 1713 Mr. Cutler died lu a 
few yeur» ulXer hlb reuiovul to KUliu^ly, leaving a widow uud uiuuy childreu. 

Digitized by 



Howe had received from the voice of mankind/' explaining such 
unwonted |>reci|iitancy. After a year's delay Mr. Howe accepted this 
call and was ordained in Boston, May 19, 177«3. It is not a little 
remarkable that tliis 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 from college" to attain distinction in 
various departments. After practicing law for a time in £dgartown, he 
studied theology and was ordained pastor of the church at Ipswich 
Hnmlct, Mass., iSept. II, 1771. While performing his pastoral duties 
with great fidflily and acceptance, 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 lie- 

Another Yale student fitted for college by Mr. Brown was Amasa, 
son of Deacon Ebenezer learned, who after fii-st 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 

Justice Joseph I^eavens, a founder and father of the town, the last 
survivor of the first settlers of Killingly, after having faithfully served 
God and his fellow-eitiasens for successive generations, ''departed this 
life Nov. 6, 1778, aged ninety years." IJis coteniporary 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 residence. Thomas Moffat and Capt John 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 number of public spirited citizens 
secured from Hev. 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 

•These brilllnnt young men were prol>nbly not so unlike other collegians. 
It Is relnted of Amasa Lnrui'd llmt hi tin; first flnsh of Freshman dignity lie 
c*)inpo«ed a very elaborate nnd ornate fyitin epistfe which he sent home to a 
younger brother dcMtliicd to dl^ root-M only frcim the pnreiit!il h<MneMtead, with 
this contlescemlliig pistscriptiim: ** IT you cniiM read this show It to Mr. 
Brotvn "-—his revered nnd reverend preci-plor. The young fnrmer was not as 
much overcome as iniiy have been cxpocled. In former boyish rencoulres he 
had muunged to hold his own. His brother's extremely dark complexion was 
a common subject for bnnter, and now he hastened to concoct a medley of 
*' Ho;; I^tln " nnd nonsensical lingo, which he dispatched to the Yale student 
with his veruacuiar postscript : ** 11 you cau*t read this show It to some other 

Digitized by 



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 
future generations was given by the subjoined subscribers, iu sums 
ranging from £2, 8s. to six shillings : — 

Aaron Brown, Pcrley Howe, Benjamin Joy, Benjamin Iveavens, Asa Law- 
rence, Nutliuii Day, llezekkih and Benoiii Cutler, Benjamin, Jounthan, Nedt^- 
bluli, Joseph, Davlil niid Ihoiic Cudy, Penucl, John. Jacob and Charles Lcuv ens, 
Bcsolved Johnson, Stougliton Uicard, Elenzer Mighlil, Jolin Adniiis, David 
Perry, Joseph Wilder, Jonathan Buck, Thomas 8mlih, Samuel 11. Torrey, 
Noah Elliott, Ebenezcr, Asa and Jumes Lurned, tiampson llowc, Jai'cd Tal- 
bot, Simeon Leo. 

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 bitterness. 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 Uev. Eden Hurruughs, it was somewhat 
strengthened for a time, and received some important accessions. Dan- 
iel Davis of Oxford, who settled in 1762 on a valley farm north of 
Whetstone Hrouk, and John Sprague, who reniovcil to the south of 
Killingly at about the same date, united with this church and served 
usefully as deacons. Sanmel Danielson, Boaz Steams and Ephraim 
Warren were still its earnest supporters. Mr. Burroughs was an able 
and active pastor, highly esteemed by his ministerial brethren. Yet 
with all their etibrts 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 Daitmouth College, and served as pastor 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 gmvestones on the rugged summit of Breakneck. 

Substantial settlera from time to time purchased homesteatls 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 170U. John Culler bought lantl ejtstward of Kpliraiin 
Warren; George Corliss of I'rovidence pnrcluised of Alichael ilewiett. 

Digitized by 



Barzillai Fislier of Preston Bcoured the farm and residence left vacant 
by Mr. Bunoiiglis. These new-comei*8 wilh the numerous llutchins 
families and other desoendants of first settlers were obliged to attend 
worship in the south part of the town, even if not in sympathy with 
those who conducted that worship. This Separate Chttrch gained in 
strength and numbers, though still greatly burdened with questions of 
disoi{>line, *' dealing ** even with its pastor ^* for ronging some of his 
nabors in putting off to them that which was not marchantable.*' 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 gneved the brethren." Two sensitive sisters were un- 
able to travel with the church " because it held as a principill that it 
was a censorable eavill for a member of the church to marry with an 
onl>cliever." A former act of the church in suspending a most exem- 
plary deacon upon this charge had probably subjected it to the imputa- 
tion of holding a principle, so inimical to the matrimonial aspirations 
of its sisterhood. Finding upon investigation that this 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. Hate-paying being utterly tabooed the Gos- 
pel was Buppfirtod by what w:i8 denominated " free contribulion," viz. : 
'* the church met together by legal warning at an appointed time and 
place to show their liberality y and those who wilfully or carelessly 
neglected their duty in that respect were to be looked upon as oove- 
nant breakers." 

After the death of Rev. Samuel Wadsworth in 1762, the church, 
according to the practice of its order, proceeded to select a pastor from 
its own membership. The gifts of Deacon Stei)hen Spalding and 
brother Thomas Denison were 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 ministem, but had lost the confidence 
of his friends through weakness and infirmity of temper, and after 
many trials and difficulties 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 chinch pro- 
ceeded to call him to the vacant pastorate, hut 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 respects " contrary 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 hohiing him for their 
pastor, and he in holding himself to be sent of Goil to be the pastor of 

Digitized by 



the South Killingly Church. Great confusion and embroihnont fol- 
h)weil. SuvcMi prominent members of the church brought specific, sus- 
tainable clhirges against Mr. Denison, whereupon they were sharply 
aibnonislied an<l suspended from churcli privileges ; and they in turn 
adnioni.shed and suspended their admonishers. Mr. Denison, as clerk 
of the church, took possession of its records and refused copies of votes 
to his opponents, who had no resource but to ** send iheir distressed 
cries'* to other Separate churches to look into their dejilorable 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, 17C4, and atler due ex- 
anunation gave in their judgment with refreshing plainness and im- 
partiality. That Mr. Denison had ''intruded" in voting for himself 
with the minor part and opposing the major vote was evident, but '* as 
to his being accused with crowding," it appeared that the church had 
never regularly dismisse<l 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 niembership without fur- 
ther accpiuiutiuice with him or recommen«laiion from some other 
church seeing he was a stranger, and being in such haste to call him 
for their minister was very censurable ; and they could not but think 
Mr. Denison entiiely out of the way of his duty in insisting upon his 
being chosen by said church when he couhl not but see the irregularity 
of the whole aifair and the lamentable divisions consequent upon the 
same; and ]is for their admonishing one another, could they do it in a 
brotherly way it might in some instances be commendable and their 
duty, but for eii her siile 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 with him to admonish as reported was entirely wrong 
both as to nuUter and manner. 

Whereupon the council proceeded to advise Mr. Denison — 

** To desist Ills liiipruvemcnb entirely umou^st tliciii under the noliou of 
his buing tlicir pustor, seeing the division is so grate and the conscqiieucis so 
contrary to tlie very desi;;ii8 of tlie Go>ple of P<*ace, nnd altliou^li ihe 8:dd 
Mr. Denison did not send for our advice in pariicular yet as well-wishers lo 
himself and the interest of religion we cannot avoid advising him as he ten- 
ders tlie glory of God his own comfort and peace, and the welfare of this 
people, and we cannot but hope and expect that he will comply with our 
advk-e, especially when it appears that none from no quarter abroad can Join 
in sai<l attair, and also seeing his nunistry in other places huth been attended 
with dillk'Ulties of the same nature. 

We likewise advise those brethren that appear so forward for settling Mr. 
Denison after all, lo come lo a dellbcrare consldenithMi of the evil conse- 
quences which liaih alrea<ly attended said allalr, and when this is dt»ne wu 
sliall hardly need to advise them to delist for we think they will do so of 

Digitized by 


T<»WN A FK A 1 118 IN KII.LINdl.Y, ICm. 95 

lliciii.«clvcs, unless llicy (l(8ipi tliclr own ruin wMh tlu'lr brclhrcn n« to tliclr 
cliurcli 8iaic. And ns for tlioHe bretltrvn tlitil hcnt for us we mi vine you to 
1»y tisUle nil contiMition, nnd iih new born bnbi'S desire tlie sincere milk of tlic 
Word Unit ye mny ijrow thereby, nnd let the whole attUlr cenhe us to ttuy more 
debate about theVanie.** 

The church by formal vole now dismissecl Mr, Denison from his 
cnll, and with solemn prayer and fasting invited Eliphalet Wright of 
Mansfiehl, to become their pastor, whose ordination was S}>eedi1y 
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 harmony. 
W^orking with his own liands at his trade of saddle and harness- 
making, he required so little pecuniary aid, that his church was released 
from compulsory contributions, and enabled to give more care to 
its spiritual edification. Having suffered much for lack of some defi- 
nite form, it now adopted the Articles of Faith and Covenant used 
by the Separate church of Plainfield, " as a good and wholesome 
system of faith and practice by which it wotd<l walk in future, still 
looking for more light." John £aton and Jonathan Day were chosen 
deacons. Oct 4, 1765, Abraham and Hannah Spafford, Nathaniel Ben- 
net and Hannah Wright — the only remaining meml>ers of the once 
flourishing Separate chmch in MauHfield — were receivod into church 
fellowship. A powerful work of grace began ere long which brought 
some fifty persons into Ihe church and greatly strengthened and 
refreshed it In 1768, Abraham Carpenter 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 

As years passed on this church lost some of its distinctive Separate 
features. In 1774, Wyman Ilutchins and Joseph Jknmet w^ere 
chosen to assist the pastor in the government of the church, to inspect 
into the conduct of the church both with respect to their attendance 
on public worship and their daily walk. Greater secular privileges 
had now been obtained. Exemption from paying rates to the south 
society had been restiicted solely to those who first petitioned the 
Assembly, so that their children and later members of the church 
were still compelled to pay tribute, but as public opinion became more 
enlightened, " the said society were themselves convinced that this 
was a hardship and injustice,'* and agreed unanimously *Hhat some- 
thing ought to be done about it" Samuel Danielson, Boaz Stearns 
and Deacon Spragtie 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 iucorpomted into a distinct ecclesiastical 

Digitized by 



society — " divisioi) to begin at tlie Quinebaug River, run east to Joshua 
Whitney's dwellinghonse, and so to Rhode Island line." A petition 
to this eiFect was tlierenpon preferred to the General Assembly and 
society privileges granted, October, 1770. 

The **iSepar:Ue brothers and sisters" at Chestnut Hill, received 
liberty from (he main body to meet occasionally by themselves on 
the Snbbalh for [)ub]ic worship, and had the sacrament administered 
to them once in three months. Mr. I>enison*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 liad no church organization at this period, but remained 
faithful to their principles and even gained adherents, laying the foun- 
dation for tlie future establishment of their order. As the Revolu- 
tionary troubles came on many residents of the seaboard sought 
secunty in Windham County. Among these emigrants were several 
earnest Baptists, filled with missionary zeal, who went about preaching 
the word, and building up and strengthening Baptist churches. The 
scattered Baptists in Cliestnut 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, KIder James Maiming of 
Providence and Elder Job Seamans of Attleborough, with delegates 
from their respective churches imd from the Baptist church in Thomp- 
son Parish, convened in East Killingly, May 22, 1776. President 
Manning was chosen moderator. Ailicles expressing the sentiments 
of those desiring 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. Othera were soon added both 
by letter and profession. Eber Moffat was chosen clerk. July 26, the 
church 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 membere voluntarily agreeing **to 
attend on divine service on every first day of the week, Extrodinarys 
being excepted, and also to contribute to the support of the Gospiil 
ministery with our Christian 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 Blackmar 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. 

Digitized by 


W(K>l)8IX>C;K'fl TIIRRK rAUISHRS, FTro. 97 

William GiveiiS was chosen treaanrer for the church. Ortlinntion 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 I^ackus was chosen moderator, and 
Elder Thompson, clerk. Inquirint^ first into the constilntion 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 Elders met and 
separated Brother Robinson to the work whercunto God had called 
him by laying on of hands and prayers." Thus happily established 
the church went on its way rejoicing, as is shown by its records : — 

** First day, January yc 5tli, 1777. We had the sacrament admiulstered to 
us by our Elder— a comfortable dny It was. 

First day, .Irtiiuary ye 26. Mary Ahlrelj? offered herself to this church and 
was received, and 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 fi»r Elder Robinson, but he himself 
for two hundred pounds purchased a hundred acres of land of Robert 
Baxter, who had recently removed from Scituate. Ephraim Fisk of 
Swanzey, 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." 



WOODSTOCK in 1700 hatl just emergotl from a bitter and pro- 
tracted controversy, residting in chmvh 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 comprise<l within the township. The Uev. Stephen VV^illiams was 
still the stated pastor of the New Roxbin y or West Society. Rev. 
Abel Stiles was claimed by the North Society. The Fii-st 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 I'omfret recently graduated from 

Digitized by 



Yale College — Chandler, Craft, Grosveiior and Weld — were hoard snc- 
cessively and unsuccessfully. Worlhy neighboring nnnisters labored 
with appropriate prayer and listing to bring iheni to a decision. True 
to their Massachusetts proclivities, church and society at length united 
in choice of Abiel Leoimrd of Plymouth, a graduate from Harvard 
College in 17o9. His fioe personal appearance, agreeable manners and 
marked ability in the pulpit, won universal favor, and on June 23, 
1763, he was inducted into the vaa'int 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 Rev. Mr. Barnes 
of Scituate was so satisfactory 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 Jedidinh 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 ilay 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 pros)>crity. At peace with itself it was ready to make 
peace with its neighbors, and passed the following act of anmesty: 
"jDec. 8, 1700, pastor and brethren of ye church in ye iii*st society 
vote to i)verlook and forgive all that has been offensive to us in ye 
church 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 wor- 
ship, but in 17G0, the psalm-tuner formally petitioned, ^' That some con- 
venient place in the gallery be appropriated 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 thjit are favored with agreeable voices woidd occupy 
said seats is the society's desire." This pro|)osition to limit the privi- 
lege of joining in sacred song to such as could sing agi-eeably met 
nmch opposition, and was not carried into execution for several years. 
Woodstock's north society was formally incorporated by Act of 
Assembly in 170L 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 

Digitized by 



the ties of blood, niid their appreciation of distinct religious privileges, 
and led them to engage with much harmony and spirit in establishing 
stated worship. Families in neighboring parishes were eager to join 
with them in this effort. A petition from Theophihis and Samuel 
Chandler, Moses and William Marcy, and Edward Hugbce, residents of 
Thompson Parish, re|)resented : — 

"That the extent and quantity of the land In said society of North Wood- 
stock Is but small for a parish and Its list only £4709; that they were Ave and 
even six miles from tiie uicetlng-house in Thompson, and separated by the 
Qiiiuebaug which for the greater part of the year was not passable unless by 
brhl^es, which necessitated a longer Journey ; that they were much nearer 
the centre of North Woodstock, and should be much better accounuodated, 
to be made a part thereof; while the reinainlug part of Thompson would have 
numbers, estate and extent quite sutllcieut.** 

Henry and Peter Child of New 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 compared 
with the other. Both recpiests were granted, and the several petition- 
ers formally annexed to the north society. With these additions it 
now embraced some fifty ^va families, and wjis 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 
lll:ist VVofMlRt<Mrk. Land for this )>urpf>se was probably given by mem- 
bers of the Ohihl family, but the absence of records makes it impossi- 
ble to gnbi 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 llev. 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 comfort'iblc. 
The long uproar has ceased since the disruption of the society. I am 
in peac^ with my people." His e.x|)enence had left him a very un- 
favorable opinion of ecclesiastic councils and judgments. ]>r. Stiles, 
requesting him to collect results of councils in Windham County for 
the hist fifty years to be compiled **in a brief history of New England 
councils," his uncle replies : — 

" Why Woodstock alone would furnish and suggest matter for a volume 
equal to Father Cowpcr's Anatomy!. ... As to the results iu Woodstock 
since I have been here, they appear to me ns contrary as the goodaud bad Il;rs 
lu Jeremiairs vision; some very good, others very bad; nor do I think it in 
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 hijureil i)y results, I 
would cheerfully send you all the results I am- able to collect.*' 

Digitized by 



Dr. Stilea was himself a frequent visitant at the Noith Woods(ook 
pareonnge, attending meetings of association and consoiat ion, preaching 
for tlie ditferent ministers and noting with keen eye whsitever canio 
within his cognizance. His minutes give no hint of any unpleasantness 
or hick of harmony in the new society. 'J'he church was somewhat 
annoyed by the diiliculty of obtaining recognition as the First Church 
of Woodstock, a dignity tenaciously claimed by the standing church on 
Wooilstock Hill. It consented nevertheless to consider the concilia- 
tory overtures made by that body, and after fii-st distinctly voting I)ec. 
16, 17GC, "That this church has full right to consider then»selvcs the 
lirst 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- 
taiued both churches were correct in their assumption. Neither one or 
other had organized anew or made such change :is to forfeit its standing 
under the original covenant. Both had sprung from the same root and 
as north and south bnmches now represented the original Woo<lstock 
church. Loss or absence of records makes it impossible to trace the 
course of the North Church for many years. 

The cliurch and society of West Woodstock pursued their way . 
peacefully ai»d prosperously under the guidance of Air. Williams, till 
their tranquillity w:is disturbed by the development of a new religious 
interest It had been a time of great spiritual dearth an<l (leclension ; 
church member had become cold and formal ; social religious meet- 
ings were unknown ; the y4>ung peo)>1e were much absorbed in frolic 
and merry-ntaking. A chance sernmii )ireaclied by an earn<!st Haptist 
minister, liev. N«>ah Alden, while passing through the town in December, 
17Gd, was A means of fixing conviction of sin in 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 
wicke<hiess and the necessity of men being made new creatures fell 
with such weight upon his ndnd," that he felt consl rained 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 convided and con- 
verted. A nieeting was appointed in a school- house, and though it 
was a dark lowery night i)eo[)le flocked to it from all parts of the 
parish till the house was full. Ledoyt and two of his young fi iends 
carried on the n»eeting, and so impressive were their exhortations that 
about forty young persons were "struck mnler conviction.*' The 
meetings were continued. Convictions increased greatly. Parents 
were surprised to see their giddy children distresse*! for their souls. 
All frolicking came to a stop. The iiible and oilier go4>d books were 
much in use. The groves rang with the bitter outcries of the dis- 

Digitized by 


wooiwrrcKJK'fl tiirrr paribiiks, ittc. 101 

trcpsed youlli. IVofcRBing Christiana w«*re led to lament their previous 
coldness and backslitling, and join with these young disciples in 
labors for the conversion of others. So powerful was the work that 
none ddred at first to say a word against it, but after a time opposition 
was manifested. Some older church niembera looked with suspicion 
upon a religious movement begun and carried on outride the church, 
and feared it would result in excesses and irregularities. They cau- 
tioned the converts about spending so much time in meetings and 
staying out so late at night, and advised them to refrain from exhort- 
ing, but iinding their a«lvice unheeded, " fell to crying Error and 
Delusion." The flaming zeal of the young disciples was only 
hightened by this opposition. The regular meetings of the church 
and the ordinary services of the Sabbath conducted by Mr. Williams, 
seemed to them cold and lifeless. Disparaging remarks were made 
n|M)n both sides and ere long a bitter antagonism was developed 
between the friends and enemies of the revival. The chmch, alarmed 
at the condition of nffairs, proclaimed a fast and eddied 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 Sntan transforming himself into an angel of light 

intimating, that the work was from Satan, and such ministers as were 
instruments of it, the servants of Satan," and ** plaiidy 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 
]>1ainly taught them that edification, the great en<l of Christian 
society, was not to be enjoyed in the church of their fathers. Other 
]>a)>tist ministers had prf»bably followed Mr. Alden. A remnant of 
the old Six Principle liaptists still existed, and now a large proportion 
of the young converts turned in sympathy to the IJaptist^s ami em- 
braced their peculiar principles. Unable to walk in harmony with 
the standing church, they felt compelled to separate from it, and in the 
autumn of 17(14 agree<l to meet together as a society, in»proving the 
gifts which God ha<l given them. At the first favorable opportunity 
several were baptized by immersion ami in February, 17(»6, fifteen of 
these baptized converts embotlied in church estate, ami soon others 
were added. Their meetings, conducted by several gifted brethren, 
were well snstained and att(Mide<l, so that it was apparent to all that 
God's work went on amongst them. One of the most earnest and 
active of these brethren was Hiel Ledoyt, who felt called of God 
publicly to preach his word, which he <rnl in a manner so satisfactory 
to the church, that May 20, 1768, he was ortlained as its pastor. The 
growth and [U'osperity of this Baptist church awakened much jcal- 

Digitized by 



onsy And opposition. As the only cliiircli of this order then within 
Windham County Vumtn its position was prominent, and a bitter and 
persecuting spirit was manifested by its opposers. Attempts were 
made to wayhiy and assault its pastor, and rates for tlie support of 
Mr. Williams were extorted from its members. Embittered by the 
loss of so niany of their congregation, the established society of West 
Woodstock denied the validity of the Baptist church and society 
organization. Jan. 20, 1770, Daniel Perrin, Samuel Harding and 
Sanuiel Oluise were appointed by this society, ** to examine the records 
of those people among us that call themselves J^'i]>tists ; also, to hear 
the pleas of those jHirsons in regard to their principles and the reason 
of their conduct towards us, and consider how far they are freed from 
paying rates." These gentlemen reported, that we have been to Mr. 
Elnathan Walkers, whom our Separate neighbors call their clerk, 
to look into their records to see what regulations they were under 
and could tind 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 not freed from paying 
minister's rates amongst us; and to leave the affair with the society 
committee." The committee thus eni|M)wered attempted to levy the 
rates but met such determinetl oppo.sition and argument from the 
intlignant Baptists, who were at this time greatly encouraged and 
strengthened by the frequent visits and counsels of Deacon Bolles of 
Ashf4)rd, that they were fain to relinquish the futile effort, and afUn* a 
year of wrangling the society again voted : — 

** To take tlic ndvice of Hon. Jonathan Trumbull in the aflTuIr between the 
society and those people among us calling themselves Baptists and Ana- 
bapi lists, and his advice shouhl determine the matter how said society should 
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 draw up 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 l)eeu and still is a number of people in your society who pro- 
fess themselves to be Ana-baptists, and did some time In the mouth of Feb., 
17G6, form themselves into a church state, and under the conduct and direc- 
tion of tliree eiiurclics of the same denomination, have settled a teacher or 
elder auuing tliem, do Hteadily attend the worship of God and his ordlnanees 
among themselves according to their way and manner, and say tlify have 
taken all those steps and measures the law requires, autl are under tht: patron- 

Digitized by 



npc nml toleration of the 1nw« of thin Colony ; tlint «oinc of your society 
suppose ilmr. tlicy Imve not; that those Baptists have been every year put 
Into the tax bill made for the support of your minister, except the last year 
they were left out by the committee that they have paid no such tax nor any 
distraint made therefor; that by reason of d I Here nt sentiments in religious 
atfalrs and ditt'erent minds In the society respecting those who differ from 
them with re^^ard to taxing them, a great diftlculty has arisen; and there- 
fore asking my opinion and advice In the 'following particulars : — 

1. How Is a Baptist to be known In law, whereby he la to be exempted 
from paying taxes to the support of the established worship or ministry In 
this Colony? 

2. Whether the Baptist churches In general In this Colony, nre otherwise 
known fn law than those In your society, and If so, In what manner? 

8. In order that a Baptist may be known In law by his certificate, by whom 
it must be signed and to whom directed? 

That, at your late society meeting It was voted to take my advice In the 
affair, to determine how the society should proceed with and towards the 
Baptist people among you. 

Whereupon, It Is my opinion, that a Baptist Is known In law so as to bo 
excused from paying any tax levied for the support of the established minis- 
try In the society where he dwells, when he dissents from tlie 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 
BaptistA In your society is, that those people having formed themselves Into 
a Baptist church and society, they, and the particular persons wlio hereafter 
do attend their meeting for the worship of God and Join with them 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 sncii Baptist church, signed l>y the elder or other known proper 
ofllcer, and directed to your society committee or clerk. The law doth not 
oblige those people to innke 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 sentiments. 

That you may be of one inlud, live In unity and peace under the Divine pro- 
tection and blessing, Is the sincere desire of your most obedient humble 
servant, Jonatuan Tuumuull. 

Lebanon, March 21, 1771." 

The standing Bociety accepted this decision a.s final, and directed iU 
coininittee to extiniine reports of Baptist people, and Bee who are ex- 
empt About forty persons were then released from ratepaying. 
Itecognized as a lawful body, the Woodstock J{u))tist Church increased 
in numbers and influence, united with the Wari*en Hai)tist Association, 
and gained a rc'Spectabie standing among its sister churches. Tlie 
West Woodstocic 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 1770, 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 qtieristers 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 afler a few months trial it was again voted, *' To come into some 
cordial agreement that each one may enjoy his right and property, so 

Digitized by 



thai we may all colebrate t!ie praises of Ood together, both lieait and 
voice, in every part «>f the ineetini^-house.** 

All parts of the town united in care fur its publio interests. "Noti- 
iicntions" for town meetings were set up in four places that all might 
receive due warning. Town meetings were still held in the meeting- 
lionse on Woodstock llili. As the disturbances with England came 
on their meetings were conducted with increasing spirit an«l solemnity. 
The Ueverends 8liles, Leonard and Williams now took the freeman's 
oath, aiu\ each in turn <ipened the A))ril U}\vn meeting *' with a re- 
ligious service of prayer ami a sermon." At the annual nteetiiig in 
1700, Isaac Johnson was chosen moderator; Thomas Chandler, town 
clerk and treasurer ; Isaac Johnson, Thomas Chandler, Nathaniel John- 
son, Ebenezer Smith, Jun., Nathaniel Child, selectmen ; Moses Chaiui- 
ler, constable and collector of colony tax; Moses Child, collector of ex- 
cise; Sanniel McClellan, George llodge, Elijah Lyon, Abner Harris, 
John Chamberlain, Amos Paine, Matthew Hammond, Jonathan, Henry 
and Ebenezer Child, Ebenezer Corbin, Jonathan Morris, Hezekiah 
Smith, Captain Jos4»ph Hay ward, Joshua Chan<ller, highway surveyors ; 
Silas Howeu, Hezekiah Smith, grand jurors; Silas Bowen, Moses Child, 
Moses Chandler, Stephen May, Ebenezer ('hild, Jan., Sanniel Child, 
Jan., listers ; Nathaniel and Abijah Child, Samuel Bowen, collectors of 
rates; George Hodge, Josiali Hannnoiul, Stephen Marcy, Asa Atorris, 
Caleb May, Elisha Child, tithing-men ; Benjamin Bugbee, William 
Chapnmn, fence viewers ; Darius Ainsworth, Zebediah Marcy, Joseph 
IManning, Ezra May, Isaac Bowen, Nathan Child, hay wards; Moses 
Child, reci'iver of stores; Jedidiah Moi-se, packer; Joseph Peake, 
guager ; Richard Flynn, Daniel Bugbee, branders. Town bounds 
denumdcd nmch attention. The report of a committee relating to the 
line between Woo«lstock and Union was accepted. Thomas Chandler 
was appointed agent to oppose Union's petition, and with John Pay- 
son, Jal)ez Lyon, Sanmel Chandler, Ethvard ]\(orris and John May — the 
fathers of the town — wait upon the connnittee sent by the General 
Court. Nathaniel Child and Joseph Peake were chosen to meet with 
Jacob Dresser and Jaiiz:miah Horsmor to renew the line between 
Woodstock and Killingly, and all the remaining bounds were peram- 
bulated and renewed. The 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 pound near the old pound in the first society of the same bigness 
as the first with stones, selectmen to have charge of the same." Again, 
the question was reconsidere<l, and it was finally decided that the new 
pound hhouhl bt* built with oak p(»sts and clu^stnut rails, six rails high 
and lour lengths of ten-feet rails square. J^lanasseh Horsmor also re- 

Digitized by 


ETC. 105 

ceived the privilege of using his barn-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, Nathaniel Child, Captain Daniel Paine and Ebenezer 
Child, appointed at about this day to examine the financial status of 
the town, reported " That the town*s money for a number of years had 
been prudently handled,'* and that its treasury w:is in good condition. 
It was now ordered that a workhouse should be provided to accommo- 
date the town's poor, and also that idle and dissolute persons might be 
put therein and employed. In 1778, highway districts were set out, 
viz. : in the First society, five districts, under the care of Thomas Baker, 
Jonathan Allen, Jonathan Lyon, Jedidiah Bngbce, 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 Carpenter, northeast; Eliakim May, north- 
west; Stephen Tucker, southwest. A commtuiication relating to 
Colonel Putnam's petition for a public highway to New Haven leading 
through Windham County was favorably received by the town, and 
rcrcrrc<l i^ the consiilcrntion of the solcctmcn. 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, " provided 
said gospel be carried on according to the Congregational or Pi*e«by. 
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 
ceitain portions of proprietors' land was reported and accepted, and 
£115 allowed for schools. The reinain<ler of the cedar swamp waslefl 
for private sale. Committees were still chosen to take care of the 
hearthstone lot and prosecute trespassers. 

Woodstock was now losing many of its citizens by emigration. 
Thomas, yonngest 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 fouudatioiis of a new settle- 
ment westward. Jabez Sergeant, Edward and Isaiah Johnson, Charles 
May, William Warner and others from Woodstock joined with him in 
building up the township of Chester, Vermont. John 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 

Digitized by 



the great natural increase of population — ^llev. Abel Stiles baptizing 
in liis society in twenty-five years no less than 867 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 Koxbury 
commemorated the decease of Joshua, third son of Honorable John 
Chandler, April 16, 1768:— 

" In his last days be in 
Hopes of anotlier world 
8ayiug 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 Im) kept at the meeting-houses of the respective KOinetics." 
Captain Henjamin Lyon's bequest of fifty pounds was restrieted to the 
north society, to be applied towards procuring a library. The United 
Lyon Library, comprising some two hundie<l and filly volumes, mostly 
divinity books, and inchuling 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 Sanniel 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 practice of his profession at the old 
homestead in his native village. He 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 afiairs. The mercantile traflUc 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 distributed throughout the 
town. No men in Woodstock were more respected and useful at this 
period than the dcjicons of the south church — William Skinner and 
Jedidiah Morse — who, with their popular pastor, are also reported as 

Digitized by 




** the largest and finest looking men in the parish." Nor were the 
wives of these excellent men less respected and honored, but were 
rather i-egarded " as models of domestic virtnes and Christian graces.** 
The " excellent character and noble bcanng " of Mrs. Temperance 
, 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 uatural 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 fii*st 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 rcpoils her progress in this and other studies to her learned 
cousin. Other young ladies excelled in housewife accomplish meuts, 
and some of their exploits even found their way into the newspapers. 
The Hartford Couranty January 9, 1766, reports that Miss Levina, 
daughter of Capt. Nehemiah Lyon of Woodstock, and Miss Molly 
Lcdoit of the same t.own, in one day carded and spun twenty -two skeins 
of good tow yam, 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 occurnng at an October training. Elisha Lyon, 
oldest brother of these young ladies, a most promising young man, 
twenty-four yeara of age, was shot through the head by the accidental 
discharge of a musket and immediately expired. 

The tranquillity of Woodstock during this period was somewhat dis- 
turbed by renewed demonstrations from the Government of Massachu- 
setts. That Colony had never yielded her claim to the Indented 
townships. Proclamations of Fast and Thanksgiving had ever been 
sent to them and assessments for taxes, and now slie resolved to com- 
pel them to return to their allegiance. At the meeting of her General 
Assembly, Feb. 25, 1 768, the following resolution was presented : — 

" To the HousG of Representatives : — 

Whereas the iuhabitnuts of Somers, Enfleld, SufllcUl and Woodstock, did In 
1749, revolt from their subjcctiou to this Govcrnincut under which they were 
at first settled, and by whlcli they had been protected at great charge In sev- 
eral wars, and did apply to Connecticut to receive them as being within said 
Colony, and said Government did at first disclaim any share In suid revolt, 
but afterwards, by an act or law artfully established a uew form of words ex- 
pressive of the hounds of Hartford and Windham counties, in order to give 
color to the oflQcers of said counties to exercise Jurisdiction over said revolt- 
ing inliabitnnts, and whereas after various attempts to persuade and compel 
said iuhabltaats to return to subjection, war began and for many years con- 

Digitized by 



tinued, during which Massnchusetts Governinent desisted ft-om all coropnisory 
measures lest damage should accrue to his Mojesty's service, and whereas by 
restoration of peace reasons for such forbearance cease and inhabitants still 
continue in revolt. 

Resolved ami ordered^ That these inhabitants ought to have been, and fVom 
hencerorlh to nil intents and purposes shall be considered within the limits of 
this Province, and under the Jurisdiciion of UiIh Government, and civil and 
nillitury ofllcers are retiulicd to govern themselves accordingly, but in case of 
their return no arrears of taxes required of them; nolitled to forbear payment 
of future taxes to Connecticut; selectmen required to give In a list of polls 
and estates, and If they don*t, assetrhment to be made In lawAil manner; bher- 
ifl's desired to deliver copies of this resolve, to give notice to the inhabitants." 

This resolution wnB adopted by both Houses and attempts made to 
carry it into execution. A copy was left by Sheriff Gardner Chandler 
with Jedidiah Alorse, Eelectman of Woodstock, but it received no 
attention. The inhabitants of Woodstock had wo desire to return to 
Massachusetts government, but rather manifested undue, undutiful 
eagerness to take another slice of her territory. The committee ap- 
pointed in 1758 by Rhode Island and Connecticut to examine the bounda- 
ry line between Mnssachtisetts and Connecticut, had reported, *' That 
the dividend line was wiong from the outset; that the point selected by 
Woodward and Saffery for the head of Charles River was fotir miles 
south of the true head, and the stalce on Wrentham Plain more than 
seven miles fonth of the most southerly part of Charles River, instead 
of thre€f as prescribed by Massachusetts' charter." Nehemiali Lyon, 
Jedidiali Morse, Silas liowen, 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 in asking to have the boundary line settled. Rhode Island so 
far complied wilh this invitation as to appoint a committee to apply to 
Connecticut to ascertain the result of the joint petition of 1753, '' and if 
they can't tell, write to Mr. Partridge [her agent in England] 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, appealed herself to the Assembly 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, Neheiuiah 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 wished the county seat trans- 
ferred to her own borders. Woodstock had her own views upon tho 

Digitized by 


Woodstock's thrbb parishes, etc. 109 

matter, thns enibodicd in petition, after careful consideration and 
amendment, May 2, 1771 : — 

*' Whereas your memorialists, upon a matare consideration of the excel- 
lency of the form of Government in Connccticnt, and of the wise, equitable 
and righteous administration of the same, did in 1749, place themselves nn(ler 
the Jurisdiction nnd pntronoi^e of the Gen. Assembly, with 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 Inconveul- • 
euces, snlFering 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. 26, 1768, 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-flve miles distant fk'oni 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 
arc with thoir witnesses obliged to be on charge freiiucntly week after wceTc 
and cases 4lcferred from time to time, and the Inconvenience of other towns 
by being situate at a great distance, particularly Pomfret, Kllllngly, 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 Klllingly*s northeast corner 
being about eleven miles distant, and the northwest of Union about fourteen 
miles, southeast corner of Kllllngly fourteen miles, southeast corner of Ash- 
ford fourteen miles from centre of first society, and upon supposition that the 
boundary line be run agreeable to the manifest intent of the Province Charter, 
three miles south of any part of Charles Klver, it would be about four and a 
half miles farther north; and as the court-house In Windham, by being placed 
alK)ut two and h half miles from the south line of the county, puts the Inhabit- 
ants of these north towns— some twenty and even thirty miles dlHtant— 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 
sur\'ey of Windham County, the situation of Woodstock, and Its convenlency 
for a shire-town. 

Er.isHA Child, 
Jbdidiau Morse, 

William Williams and Joseph Triimbnll were appointed by the Up- 
per House to consider this meinonal, 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 toions^ 
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. 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 






DURING the period of time embraced in tlie preceding section 
events were occurring that demand a separate record, and 
careful review and consideration. The lievoUition by which the 
American Colonies were forever released from the dominion of Great 
BriUiin 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. Il« 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 representa 
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 Ica^lers 
and administrators were found in every community. The unusunl 
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 ])erhap8 needful comtnercial rogulatioi»s, 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 Coimecticut 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 

Digitized by 



popular mind, and was held as a primal axiom not to be disputed or 
dislodged. Tlic report that the House of Commons had 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 arbitrary imposition. Admit the 
right to levy this tax, and no security was letl to them. In the great 
conflict that followed, Windham County was deeply implicated. Iler 
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 leadera, men of mettle and experi- 
ence, quick to apprehend the exigency and most eflV^ctive in appeal to 
popular sympathy. Windham County's appreciation 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 General Assembly. 
Iler shire-town sent its senior minister, Uev. Ebenezer Devotion, 
together with the venerable Nathaniid Wales, and in the following 
session, Ilezekiah Manning, and men of years and approved judgment 
were selected by all the towns, viz. : — 

I^omfret — Sannicl Dresser, Samuel Craft 

Canterbury — Captain Jabez Fitch, Captain Daniel Tyler. 

jPlainJield — James Bradford, Isaac Coit 

Killiiigly — Briant Brown, Ebenezer Larned. 

WoocUtock — Nehemiah Lyon, Fbenezer Smith. 

Vbluntown — ^John Gordon, Moses Kinney. 

Aahford — Amos Babcock, Jedidiah Fay. 

Lebanon — Captain Joshua West, William Williams. 

In spite of petitions and remonstrances from America, and earnest 
protestations froni 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 and defiance. Virginia's House of Burgesses then in 
session, at once resolved, ^' That the inhabitants of that Colony were 
not bound to yield obe«lieiice to this law, and that any person who 

Digitized by 



should maintain that any persons other than the General Assembly 
bad any right or power to impose taxation upon the people should be 
deemed an enemy to the Colony/* Its resolutions in their first unmodi- 
fied drafb were eagerly caught up, printed on broadsides, and sent 
throughout the land, were copied into the public journals of New 
England, and everywhere accepted as a time expression of public 
sentiment Simultaneously and s[)ontaneously 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 the Stamp Act As intelligence arrived that certain 
individuals had been designated to receive and distribute the obnoxious 
paper, which afler the first of November was to be used in all 
business transactions, the excitement increased, and public indigna- 
tion vented itself upon these prospective officials. In the larger 
towns there were violent uprisings and tumults, stamp oflicera burned 
in efiigy and their ofiUces and dwellings sacked and demolished, while 
rural communities manifested their spirit and sympathy by uproarious 
gatherings and efiigetic hanging and burning. The newepapera of 
the day applauded and incited these proceedings. 

** What jcrcatcr pleasure can there be 
Than to sec a stainp-maii banging on a tree/' — 

was the general cry. 

Windham, the most efl\?rvescent 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 Ingei'soll, 
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 oflicc. 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 P^arth," on some conspicuous elevation upon Windham Green. 
People came in crowds from all the surrounding country to witness 
the sliow and join in the demonstrations. Effigies of other suspected 
and unpopular individuals were successively brought forward and hung 
up amid the jeers and opprobriums 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 The staid and decorous licbanon observed the day with 
more dignity and solemnity, draping her public buildings with black, 
and subjecting her effigies to a formal trial and sentence before pro- 
ceeding to hang and burn them. 

Digitized by 



These noisy demonstrations were but the prelude to more serious 
action. The citizens of Windham and New London Counties were 
fully determined to prevent tlie distribution of the stamps. When it 
was found that Governor Fitch was preparing to carry out the instruc- 
tions of the King, that tlie colony agent, Jared Ingersoll, after faith- 
fully opposing the piiss:ige of the bill had accepte«l the position of 
stamp-master, 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 horsemen 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 tngersoll on his way to Hartford and conii>elled 
him to write his name to the formal resignation prepared for him. 
Putnam, accredited w'4h 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 usual 
directness assured him that if he should retuse to relin(piish the con- 
trol of the stamped paper his house would be ^Meveled with the dust 
in live minutes." Nathan Frink, King's attorney in Pomfrot, wjw 
appointed deputy sUnnp-master for the north part of Windham County, 
and went so far as to build an ottice for their reception, but was most 
positively 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. " Libeuty & 
Equality," "Down with the Stamp Act," inscribed on a stone tablet, 
and hoisted in a conspicuous position above the door of Mr. Manning'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 eventful 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, 176G, "much more generally attended by the two eastern 
counties of Connecticut" — Colonel Putnam, Major Durkee and 
Captain Ledlie were appointed a committee to arrange a correspond- 
ence with the loyal Sons of Liberty in other colonies, and 
Ledlie, then resident in Windham, w:is sent as representative 
to a general convention of that order in Annapolis. Stamps 
destined for Connecticut were forcibly taken from the sloop Afi/ieroa 
and destroyc<l by the Sons of Liberty in New York harbor. l»y this 
vigorous combination and resistance the Stamp Act was made inopera- 

Digitized by 


orroBrnoN to stamp act, Krrc. 115 

tive. When the first of November came not a sheet of the stamped 
paper was to 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 public offices. Land could not be legally conveyed nor 
debts collected, nor wills made, nor man-iage licenses procured. Relief 
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 be 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 friends of America, exerted theic utmost eloquence and energies 
in this behalf and after a violent and protracted 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 
had evoked the Stamp Act manifested itself in other aggressions. In 
17(>7, a bill was passed in Parliament Imposing duties on tea, glass and 
paints, from which a public fund should be formed to be expended in 
defraying the expenses of its government in America. Her Colonists 
resented both the tax and disposition, as thus their governors, judges 
and other public officers were made entirely independent of themselves 
and their Assemblies, and were confirmed in their suspicion that the 
British Government was bent upon their subjugation. Her previous 
policy in restncting Colonial trade and manufactures in order to leave 
the market o|>en for her own productions, appeared to ihem another 
evidence of this design and showed them the necessity of more vigor- 
ous resistance and effective combination. Great JJritain 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 supplying themselves with needful 
articles. A meeting was called in Boston, October, 1767, to consider 
what effectual methods could be agreed upon to promote industry, 
economy and manufactures, and prevent the unnecessary importation 
of European commodities. A committee was appointed which sug- 
gc»sted and prepared an explicit ** form " in whirh the signers pledged 
themselves to encourage the wse of American productions, and refrain 
from ]>urchasing articles of European manufacture. A copy of this 
agreement was sent to every town in Massachusetts, and many in the 
a<ljacent colonies, recpiesting their consideration and signature. Wind- 
ham town with its usual promptness held a meeting, December 7, 

Digitized by 



1767, "to consider the letter and matters from the selectmen of 
Boston," 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: — 

** Bcln^ sensible that this Colony in its sitnntlon and soil and the commodi- 
ties which it is iiutiii-nlly uduptcd to produce by a proper exertion of labor 
and industry, will not only aflbrd the inhiibitnntii much the greater part of 
the necessities and conveniences of life but a cont4idenil>lc surplus for 
ezpoitation, but the surprising fondness of Its inhabitants for the use and 
consumption of foreign and British manufactures and superfluities, 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 hifluence 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 small commerce 
declining, and poverty with all Its melancholy attendants threatening, which 
loudly calls upon evei^ friend to his country 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 l)e 
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 well as for the 
Allure probpcrity of the community, do engage with and promise each other 
that we will not ft*om 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 otiier person, any of the following articles produced or manu- 
factured out of North America, viz. : Loaf-sugar, cordage, coaches, chalsi'S, 
and all sorts of carriages and liarnesses 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, 
8olC'leather, shoe and knee buckles, iron ware, clocks, nails, gold, silver and 
thread lace, gold and silver buttons, diamond stone and paste ware, snuff, 
tobacco, mustard, clocks and watches, silversmith and jeweller's ware, 
broad-cloth that costs above 9s. pr. yard, mutt's, 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 4h. pr. yard, mall liquors, 
cheese, chairs and tabU*s, 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 wo will discourage and dis- 
countenance to the utmost of our power the excessive use of all foreign teas, 
china ware, spices and black pepper, all Brltis^h and foreign superfluities and 
manufactures not herein enumerated as by due encourageinent are or may be 
fabricated in North America, and also the present excessive use of rum, 
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 ofllcers, 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 beneflcial ; 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 tendency 
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 in this Colony ; also recommend an Inquiry 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 inliabitant does 
not sign and conform to tht:se regulations hut still continues to lin|>ort an«l 
introduce any of the abovc-mentlonetl restricted articles, such persons sliall 
be by us discountenanced in the most effectual but decent and lawful manner, 

Digitized by 



and that a committee be appointed to correspond with committees from the 
several towns to the County in order to render the fore-going proposals as 
extensive and eirectnal as mujr be. 

Jrdidiaii Bldbrkin. David Adams. 

8am URL Gray. Joskpii Oinninos. 

Natiianikl Walks, Jun. Jonathan Kinoslry. 

Jacob Simmons. Joshua Eldkkkin. 

Hrzkkiau Manning. Elisiia Huklbut. 

William Durkkb. Ebrnuzrr Hovbry. 

Bbbnezbr Dbvotion, Juu." 

Tlie foi*egoing report being publicly read three times was accepted 
In a very full meeting of the inhabitants oi the town, nemine contra- 
dicente ! ! 

It was farther voted, " That the form of subscription be the same as 
come into by the town of Graflon, and that the previous connnittee 
with Joshua Reed, Thomas Tracy and Nathaniel Linkon should take 
care and see subscription filled up by the inhabitants of the town, and 
when completed lodge the same with the town clerk." In compliance 
with the suggestion of the report, " Nathaniel Wales, Jun., Esq., Sam- 
uel Gray, Esq., and Dr. Joshua Elderkin were appointed a connnlttco 
to correspond with committees from the several towns of the county to 
render the foregoing proposals as extensive and effectual as may be." 
The honor of "inventing" the system of corresponding committees 
which |)rovod so effeclivo in promoting the Revolution has been 
ascribed tu Samuel Adnms and other notable pei-sons, but we find it at 
this early date proposed and carried into execution by Windham. The 
stringent agreement was signed by nearly every hihabitant and faith- 
fully observed though at great loss and self-sacrifice. The foreign traffic 
that had so enriched them was given up. The foreign luxuries so 
freely used were all abandoned. The enthusiastic Windhamites re- 
joic<»d in this signal opportunity of testing their patriotism and devoi 
tion. Home-raised food and home-spun clothes came at once into use 
and fashion. A decoction of the common red-root " of very salutary 
nature," under the dignified appellation of lIy|>erion or Labrador tea, 
replaced the prohibited llyson and Bohea. Kibbons, laces and all for- 
eign finery were vociferously eschewed by the ardent ** Daughters of 
Liberty." The wedding of Miss Dora Flint dunng this December was 
made a grand patriotic demonstration. The numerous guests from 
Norwich and Windham were all arrayed in home-spun. The bountiful 
refreshments were of colonial production, their flavor heightened by 
patriotic fervor. Any infringement of the agreement was quickly ob- 
served, and reported to the town authorities. " Joshua Elderkin, one 
of the committee, not keeping the same but importing felt hats and 
worsted patterns, the town agrees to look upon him as a pei-son not fit 
to sustain any ofiice of trust or profit till he properly manifests his re- 

Digitized by 



The spirit and self-sacrifico of Windham were emulated by the other 
towns of the county, an<l all were I'eady to pledge themselves U) total 
abstinence from foreign luxuries. Ash ford held a meeting Dec. 14, 
and appointed Captains Elisha Wales, Benjamin Clark and Benjamin 
Russel, Elijah WhiUm, Esq., and Benjamin Sumner, Esq., *Ho be a 
committee to correspond with other committees in the county and else- 
where, to encourage and help forward manufactures and a spirit of 
industry in this government.'* Canterbury citizens met Dec. 21 ; Jo 
seph Woodward, moderator. Jabez Fitch, John Cuitis, Samuel Hunt- 
ington, CapUiin 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 
report 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 subscriptions in pursuance of 
their wise and happy measures for the encouragement of frugality, 
economy and our own manufactures. The formal Non-Importation 
Agreement of 17C9, as promulgate<1 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 Imnid that interested indi- 
viduals connived at the evasion of the Agreement by the illicit intro- 
duction of contraband goods, such persons were publicly 4lenounced as 
covenant-breakers and enemies of their country. The withdrawal of 
New York from the Non-Importation league excited general indigna- 
tion and reprobation. Many spirited meetings were held in Connecti- 
cut in 1 770, to devise more effectual 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 the insolent behavior of New Yorkers. The names of the 
New York import^ji-s were printed and hung up in every public house 
in Connecticut for public execration. '* What is the dilference," asks a 
Connecticut journal, " between an Importer and an Indian f 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- 
house, August 9, recommended a general convention at New Haven 
the day alter Commencement, every town to send delegates. Wind- 
ham County responde<l with delegates from every town and implicit 
instructions. One or two specimens will show the temper and spirit of 
its inhabitants. Canterbury agrees: — 

<* 1. That Jabcz Fitch and Benjamin Bacon be cliosen to represent the 
town at the uiecilngor the Mercantile and Landed Interest of tliis Colony, to 
be convened at Mew ilaveu on the day next after the ensuing Commence- 

Digitized by 



2. That If any person, whether an inhabitant of this town or not, shall at 
any time before a general Importation takes place brhip: Into this town either 
for their own use or for sale any British manufactures which have been Im- 
ported contrary to the Ntm-Importation Agreement, or any goods whatever 
which have been pnrchosed by those persons who have violated said agree- 
ment, they will Incur the dlt^pleasure and resentments of the Inhabitants of 
this town. 

3. That whereas the Parliament of Great Britain have continued the duty 
on all Tea imported Into and consumed In any of the American Colonies as a 
Test and Proof of their right to lax America, which we think very unreason- 
able and unconstitutional ; thererore, voted, That all persons who will at this 
critical time persist in using tea until the duty is taken off show a great dis- 
regard for the rights and liberties of America, and deserve to be treated with 

Asliford was especially earnest and erophatio in resolving : — 

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

2. That in the patriotic Agreement of the merchants, the interests and 
rights of America were thoroughly considered. 

8. 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 
foiled It Is high time for the people to step forward In earnest to support the 
tottering cause and offord their united assistance to those merchants who still 
abide by the patriotic Agreement; and, therefore, 

5. Our utmost effort shall be put forth in vindication of the Non-lmporta- 
tlf)n Agreement, as a measure without which the safety and prosperity of tiio 
Colonies caimot be supported. 

0. That peddlers who without law or license go about the country selling 
wares are a nuisance 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- 

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

8. It Is our earnest desire that every town In this Colony and in every Col- 
ony in America would explicitly aud 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 suflicient to excite 
astonishment In every witnessing mind, and we doubt not but their actlotis 
will appear Infamous till the ideas of virtue are obliterated In the human mind, 
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 an«1 (unitedly) resolve upon an unsliakeu perseverance In the affair 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 people I 

In consequence of the above resolutions we have chosen Capt. Benjamin 
Clark to attend the general meeting of the mercantile and landed Interests at 
New Ifaven^the sense of the town as above— and to use his utmost Influence 
to establish In the most solid and durable form the Non-importation Agree- 

Elisha Wales, Benjamin Clark and Samuel Snow were at tlio same 
nieotinijf cluweii a committee "To see that no mercliaiiti*, shop-keepers 
nor peddlers import, put off, or traflick in Ashford, any goods, wares 
or merchandize that are imported contrary to the Nonimportation 

Digitized by 



This important gathenng was attended by representatives of a great 
majority of the towns in the Colony. Gurdon Saltonstall presided. 
Silas Deano served as clerk. After full and large discussion it was 
unanimously resolved : — 

*' That the Non-Importation Agreement come Into by the Colonies in gen- 
cnil, and by this In parilcuhir by their formal aj^rcement, and the more general 
one entered into ut Middletown, Feb. 20, was founded on patriotic principles 
and nuist be most elfoctive, that we And no reason for relaxin.!; said agree- 
ment now, to which we do agree and resolve that until Acts of Parliament be 
repealed, or until a general importation be agreed to we will not by ourselves 
or others, directly or indirectly [purchase] any goods except those mentioned 
in Agreement. The latu defection In New York we highly reprobate, and 
Judge it needfid to break off commercial intercourse with New York.** 

These various convocations and combinations fired the zeal of the 
people and strengthened their determination to resist British exactions. 
Events successively occurring — the massacre at Boston, the burning 
of the Gaspee at Newport, the destruction of tl)e tea in Boston Harbor 
— heightened the flame. Reports of every new aggression and collis- 
ion flew 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 puu- 
ished for her contumacy by having her harbor shut up, the Colonies 
rose as one to express their indignation and abhorrence. ** The ancient 
destruction of 8odom and Gomorrah by tire and brimstone from the 
Lord out of Heaven was a just, righteous and merciful dispensation of 
tlie Most High i}oi\ compared with the late Boston Port Bill!" 

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

** 1. We do most expressly declare, recognize and acknowledge his Majesty 
King George tiie Third, to be the lawful and rightful 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 ralthful and true allegiance to his Majesty, and him to tlefeutl to the 
utmost of their power against all attempts upon his person, crown and dig- 

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-lK>rn subjects within any of the dominions of our said King, his 
heirs and successoi's, to all intents, constructions and purposes whatsoever, 
as fully and amply as If they and every one of* them were born within the 
realm of England; that they have a property in their own esttites, and are to 
be taxed by their own consent only, given in person or by their representa- 
tives, and are not to be disseized of their liberties or free customs, sentenced 
or condennied, but by lawful Judgment of their peers, and that the said rights 
and imnmnities are recogidzed and confirmed to the inhabitinits of this Colony 
by the royal grant and charter aforesaid, and are their undoubted right to all 
intents, construction and purposes whatsover. 

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

4. That It Is the Just right and privilege of his Majesty's liege subjects of 
this colony to be governed by their General Assembly In the article of taxing 

Digitized by 



and Internal policy, agreeable to the powers and privilege recognized and con- 
flrined in the royal charter afuresiiid, which they have unjoyod for more than 
a century prist, and hjive neither forruitcd nor siirreiidured, but the namo have 
been constantly recoguUod by the King and FaWiam;int of Groat Britain. 

7. That any harbor or port daly opened and constituted cannot be shut np 
and discharged but by an Act of the Le:;l.slatnre of the province or colony in 
which snch port or harbor 1^ sitnated, without subverting the rights and liber- 
ties, and de^itroying the property of his M ijesty's subjects. 

8. That the late act of Parliament Inflicting pains and penalties on the 
town of Boston, by bloclcing up their harbor, is a precedent Justly alarming 
to the British colonies In America, and wlioily inconsistent witli, and snb- 
verslve of their constitutional ri«rhts and liberties. 

9. That whenever his Majesty's service shall require the aid of the Inhabit- 
ants of this Colony, the same fixed principles of loyalty, as well ns self-pre- 
servation, which have hitherto induced us fully to comply with his Majesty's 
requisitfons, together with the deep sense we have of Its being our tndespeu- 
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 
from time to time our furtiier proportion of men and money for the defence, 
protection, security and other services of the British American dominions. 

U. Thaf. it is an indespensable duty which we owe to our Ring, our coun- 
try, ourselves and our posterity, by all lawful ways and means In our power, 
to maintain, defend and preserve these our rights and liberties, and to trans- 
mit thorn entire and Inviolate to the latest generation ; and that It Is our fixed 
determination and unalterable resolution faithfully to discharge this our 

This calm anil hund exposition of Connecticut's position, her claims 
and purposes, was accepted by the L!)wer House with gre:it unanimity, 
but the more cautious Council deferred action till the following Octo- 
ber. Meanwhile these resolutions were circulated throughout the 
Colony and ratified by the several towns. The inhabitants of every 
town were called together to discuss the situation and act for the 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. Nathaniel Child was 
chosen moderator. The resolves of the General Assembly were then 
read, and the following declaration adopted : — 

« 1. That the thanks of this town be given to Capt. Ellsha Child and Jedidlah 
Morse, Esq., the representatives of this corporate body, for their consenting 
to, and voting the above resolves In conjuiiclhin with tlic other representa- 
tives* of this Colony, in General Court aMseniblud, as said resolves do honor to 
the worthy repreheutatlves of a free, loyal and virtuous people, are very ex- 
pressive of the sentiments of the Inhabitants of thi^ town, and by them Judged 
necessary In such a day as this, when we have the most convincing pniofi of 
a fixed and determined plan of the British administration to overthrow the 
lilierties of America, and sul)ject these colonies to a bondage that our fathers 
did not, would not— fled into the wilderness tliat they might not, and God 
grant Muit we, their posterity, never may— boar. 

2. Being animated from tlie consideration of the absolute Importance of 
adopting every rational and probable means In our power for the political snl- 
ratloii of our country, we engage to contribute our utmost exertions In defence 
of our Americjin liberties ami privileges, and stand ready to join our brethren 
hi this nufl the oilier American colonies In every probable measure that may 
influence Great Britain to withdraw her oppressive hand. At the same time, 

Digitized by 



we apprehend that a General Cong^ress consisting of dclciirates from each col- 
ony on the continent. Is nuccssury speedily to Ik* loiincd that the sentiments 
of tlie whole amy be l;nown, and snchan unity In measures eMablishe«l as may 
constitute u strength Invincible by tyranny, and breals out In one general 
burst against the attempts that are made, and making, to destroy the consti- 
tution of their g<iveniments. 

8. And inasmueh as the promotion of Industry, frugality, economy, arts 
and manufactures among ourselves, is of great imporlanee to the good of a 
community, we deterndne, from this very day, to live as much within our- 
selves, and purcluise as few British goods, wares and merchandizes as possi- 
ble, and give all due encouragement to every useftil art among us. 

4. It having been Judged needful at this alarntlng crisis, and generally 
come Into, that comndutees of correspondence be appointed— Voted, 

That Capt. Klisha Child, Charles C. Chandler, Je<lldlah Moi-sc, Ksqs., Capt. 
Samuel McClellan and Nathaniel Child, Bsq., be a connnlttee for maintaining 
a correspondence with the towns of this and the neighboring colonies. 

6. Voted, That a copy of these voles be printed in the New London Oatette, 
to manliest the deep sense we have of the Parliamentary invasion of the con- 
stitutional rights of the British Americans." 

Ponifret, June 23, thas expressed her sentiments : — 

*'Th6 present situation of the American colonies and plantations on account 
of the measures pursued by the Parliament of Great 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 every individual to be known 
and communicated. We therefore hereby assure 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 
upon us, and more particularly felt by the town of Boston, vUwIng them as 
the more Immediate suUerers, yet that our liberties and privileges are ail 
thereby threatened and endangered. 

We do therefore Besolve to this Important end, we will unite in the neces- 
sary measures that may be adopted and more particularly pointed out at the 
proposed General ('ongress, which, we pray may be hastened— the several 
dissolutions of the House of Assentblies by their Governors, to prevent the 
same, notwithstanding. And in the meantime we cannot refrain from adding, 
we will exert ourselves In promoting and encouraging useful and necessary 
manufactures, and such a spirit of economy and frugality among ourselves, 
as may prevent much of our present demands for British manufactures. 

And we do resolve, that every person who shall hereafter send for, and 
Import any British manufactures from Gruac Britain, or trade or deal with 
any who shall do so, until the loyal subjects of America are restored to, and 
can enjoy their Just rights and privileges, shall 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 Williams, Thomas Williams and Samuel Crafts 
were then chosen a committee to correspond with other Committees of 
Correspondence in Coiineotiout and other colonies. On the same day, 
Windham thus declared herself with her accustomed vehement volu- 

** This meeting being impressed with a deep sense of the present alarming 
aspects of Divine Providence over the British colonies In North America, 
arising from tlie present depressed situation and condition of the capital of 
a neighboring province, In having their harbor and port blocked up by shlps- 
of-war In hostile array to the terror of the people, totally and actually 
obstructing all commerce by sea Into or from said port, thereby forcibly pre- 
venting the due performance of all private mariiiine contracts, rendering 
useless their whole navigation, stores and wharves, built and erected at a vast 

Digitized by 



expense by the ttilmhltant^ ; n principle which threatens rnln and destrnctlon 
both to the liberties and properties of every subject throughout the British 

And beln^ further alarmed by a bill late depend Ins: before the Parliament of 
Great Britain, for regulating the the government of the Massachusetts Bay, 
too long to be here recited, though replete with arbitrary tlireatening resolu- 
tions, threatening destruction to all corporations in Great BrlUiln, and all 
chartered rights In America. In view of these, as well a.** many other Im- 
pending dangers and calamities, and from a Arm belief and persuiislon that 
there Is a supreme almighty, indultely good and merciful Uuing, who sits at 
the helm of universal nature by whom kings reign and princes tlecree Justice, 
and who has the hearts of all princes and p«>tenlntes of the earth In his hands, 
and under his almighty control; and however faulty the lustruments and pro- 
curers of those calamities may be, yet considering our sins and Im- 
pieties, they are Just on coming from the hand of God, and are 
to be averted by humiliation, deep repentance and reformitlon. We 
therefore sincerely wish and hope a day may be set apart for solemn fasting 
and prayer as recommended by our late General Assembly ; and beg Airther 
to Intimate to our brethren In the several towns In this colony, to render the 
observation of that day more agreeable to the divine direction (viz. : to 
undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free, to distribute to the 
necessities of the distressed), that on that day we be united In opening our 
hearts In contributing to the relief of the injured and oppressed Indli^ent 
inhabitants of the town of Boston, especially those who are now more Imme- 
diately so by means of the late Iron hand of oppression on that worthy metro- 

But fully to express our sense of the late attempts upon the town and port 
of Boston, the arbitrary attacks on the most sncred rights of commuidtles, 
the violent depredations on private properly and liberty, and those more virn- 
lent eflbrts to break down the great barriers <if civil society, founded on the 
solemn compnct of kings, a principle proclaiming sudden destruction upon 
all c(»rporailoiis throughout the Itiitish doudnlous at the will and pleasure of a 
vengeful British ministry, even withoutcomplaint, notice, trial, orconstltutional 
adjudication or forfeiture— words fail and the English language Is deflclent. 
But this Is In part executed, and much more than threatened, only under the 
pretence at most, that some of the Inhabitants of Boston or the neighboring 
towns have committed a trespass on the property of the East India Com- 1 
pany, a company (horrendum dictu 1) who have spread destruction over the 
eastern world I BehoM the tragic scenes In that eastern clime I the murders ' 
of millions by sword and baleful famine; depriving Innocents of the 
necessaries of life, who by the favor of Heaven and ihelr own Indii.stry, were 
overflowing with the wealth and profusion of the Indlas, and all to satisfy 
the Insatiable lust of giiin and oppression I Let the Spanish barbarities In 
Mexico, and the name of Corte/, sink In everlastlug oblivion, while such more 
recent superior cruelties bear away the palm In the late annals of their rapine 
and cruelty; though many worthy Individuals of that body ought no d(nil)t 
to be excused from the general Imputation. We applaud the solemnity of the 
noble Virginians and Philadelphlans In their religious oltservatlons of that 
memorable first day of June; we approve their opinions and sentiments as to 
the threatened calamities and dangers luipending America; as also the Mary- 
land resolves, with the others by many worthy towns and bodies of people In 
this and neighboring provinces. We only wish there niuy be no delay In 
appointing time and place for a General Congn-ss, which only can give union, 
firmness ami stability to the whole. We luipatlently wait for Injured Boston 
to give the lead In that appolntuient. Providence no doul)t luus* put Into our 
hands the means to work out our temporal salvation, which has been repeat- 
edly suggested. Let us, dear fellow Americans, for a few years at least, 
abandon that narrow, contracted principle of self-love, which Is the source «»f 
every vice: let us once feel for our country and posterity; let our hearts 
expand and dilate with the noble and generous sentiments ttf benevolence, 
though attended with the severer virtue of self denial. The blessings of 
Heaven attending, America Is saved; children yet unborn will rise and call 
you l>lesscd; tho present generarion will, liy fulure— to the latest period «)f 
American glory — be extolled and celebrated as the happy Instruments, under 

Digitized by 



God, of dellvcrin^i: mllHoDS from ^ji^lclom and slavery i)and secure permanent 

freedom and liberty to Amcrlcn. — — __ " 

We caiuiot close this meeting without expressing our utmost abhorrence 
and detestation of those few in a devoted province, styling themselves minis- 
ters, merclmntSi 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, dlstlngnlshed themselves in their late fawning, adulating 
address to Governor Hutchinson, the scourge of the province which gave 
him birth, and the pest of America. Ills principle and conduct (evidenced 
by his letters, and those under his approbation), are so replete with treason 
against his country nnd the meanness of self-exaltation, as cannot he palliated 
by art nor disguised by subtllty. In general, we esteem those addresses a 
high-handcd insult on the town of Boston, and the province of Massachusetts 
Bay In particular, and on all the American c(»lonies In general. Those styled 
merchants may plead their profound Ignoi'snce of the constitutional rights of 
Englishmen as an excuse In some degree; but for those who style themselves 
barri8ter$ and aUorneyg^ they havu 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 province— for them to present such an address is 
a daring ufl'rout to common sense, a high Insult on all others of their profes- 
sion, and treason against law; aud from that learned profession, (who are 
supposed to be well acquainted with 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 English lil)erty), 
for any of these to make a sacrlllce of am. to their pagod of vanity and 
fulsome adulation. Is mean, vile and unpardonable, and cannot be accounted 
for upon any other principles but thohe of their master, who would sacrillce 
his country to become the independent head of a respectable province; and 
the few leadei's of this infamous law-band would, It seems, give their aid and 
support therein to obtain the lirst places in h\* new kingdom. The address- 
ing clergy we leave to the reproaches of their own consciences, but latuent 
to tlnd that they are the llrst in the Ignominious homage ol their idol." 

These resolutions were unaniinotisly adopted, and measures taken 
for oairying them into immediate execution. Nine of their most 
respected citizens in the several parishes of the town were appointed 
a committee to proceed at once to procure subscriptions for the relief 
of Boston. Their jippeal was most effectual. Windham's fields 
abounded with sheep, and her heaits with generous sympathy. The 
poor sent of their poveily and the rich of their abundance, and within 
five days a botmtiful of!*ering was on the road to Boston with the 
following letter addressed to its selectmen : — 

'* WiNDnAM, June 28, 1774. 

Oentlemen : 

Tis with pity mixed with Indignation that we have beheld the cruel and un- 
manly attacks made by the British Parliament on the loyal and patriotic town 
of Boston, who seem destined to feel the force of ministerial wruth, the whole 
weight of parliamentary vengeance leveled at them In a manner so replete 
with cruelty and injustice as must strike every heart with horror, and till 
every breast with rage that is not eittirely void of every sentiment of honor 
and Justice and callous to all the common failings of humanity. But when we 
consider the cause of all these calamities — that Is nothing less on your part 
than a strict adherence to the fundamenUil principles of the constitution, 
which when attacked you dared openly to assert and vindicate and stand fore- 
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 we 
reflect that It Is this for which you are sulferlng such horrid cruelties, for 
which your streets have been stained with blood, and for which you now feel 

Digitized by 



the horrors of n mlUtnry government — wc arc overwhelmed with a conflict of 
tumultuous passions, find llllcd wlih that manly ardor which bids us Join yon 
hand In hand and sufltT wilh yf)U In the common cause; nay, even if the sad 
exigencies of affairs should ever require it, to di'lermlnc In defence of every- 
thing for which life Is woith enjoy Insr, to meet that death which will be glo- 
rious and infinitely preferable to a life dni^gcd on in that low, servile state 
which is evldcnlly 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 iheref«>re, to entreat, to beg, to conjure you, by every- 
thing that is dear, by everything that Is sacred, by the vcjuorable names of 
our pious forefathers who suffered, who bled In the delence 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 wc will 
assist you In every nieasuro necessary for the common safety, not regarding 
our own private views and interests when In competition with the public good. 

This town is very sensible of the obligations we, and wllh us all British 
America, are under to the town of Boston, who have been and still arc the 
generous defenders of our common rights and liberties. We Ivuow you sutfer, 
and feel for you. As a testimony of our commiseration of your misfortunes, 
this Town on the 28d instant, at a legal and very full meeting unanimously 
(iiose a committee to pmcure subscriptions for your present relief. Accord- 
ingly we have procured a small Hock of hhecp, which at this season are not as 
good ns 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 preseut, gentlemen, we beg you would accept, and apply to the 
relief of those honest, industrious poor who are most distressed by the lite 
arbitrary and oppressive Acts. And rest assured that If rarilameiit does not 
soon affi)ril you relief and there should In future be any need of our assistance 
we shall wiLli the utmost checrfuhiess exert our Intlucnce to that purpose. 

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

Samuel GnAT, 
Natiiamkx Walks, 
Khknkzku Dkvoiion, 


Hkzk.kiaii Bisskl, 


William Duhkke, 
John Howaud, 
IIezbkiaii MANNiira, 
Committee of Correspondence.*^ 

This opporttiiie gifl, coming from so great a Histaiicc, and apparently 
the first arriving in Boston, was receivetl wilh much delight and grati- 
tude. The Boston Gazette, of July 4, reported : " Last week were 
driven to Roxbury two himdred and fifty ciglit 8hec|> — a generous con- 
tribution from Windham." On the same day the town voted : — 

"That the thanks of this town be and hereby arc given to our worthy 
friends, the Inhabitants of the town of Windham, Connecticut Colony, for the 
kind and generous assistance they liavc granted this town under Its present 
distress and calamity in voluntarily sending two hundred and (Ifty-elglit sheep 
as a present for the relief of the poor, distressed Inliabitants of this |>lace, 
who by a late oppressive and cruel act of Parliament for blocking up tlie har- 
bor of Boston are prevented getting subsistence for themselves and fandlles.'' 

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

Digitized by 



tions, giving out that tho present of sheep sent from Wiii<iham " came 
only in iMinseqiience oi money sent to buy them.** The Boslou Gazette 
could only express its sentiments thereupon by exclaiming: — 

'* I low weak, how false, how little ami how low !" lndfe<l, consider- 
ing the scarciity of money, the insinuation was sufticiently absurd. 

Ponifret's gill to Boston soon followed Windham's. A hundred and 
five sheep were promptly dispatched, and their reception thus acknowl- 
edged : — 

*'July8, 1774. 
Oentlemen : 

By the hiuid of Mr. Blins Wells wo received your sonorous and kind bene- 
fuctiou for ihu poor of ihU distressed town. Wq caunot onougli express our 
gratitude for this lustauee of your bounty. In which you have UbeniUy contri- 
buted to the relief of many. What you have thus lent to the Lord, we trust 
and pray that he will pay yon nguln. It gives us great consolation amidst our 
complicated and uupandlelcd sulTerlnus, that our brethren In the other colo- 
nies show such Chrl.'>*tlau sympathy and true benevolence towards us. That 
we are irreatly distressed, needs no comment. Our harbor blockaded by a 
fleet of ship; our foreign trade actually annlidlate<l; thousiuds of poor re- 
duced to extreme want; troops coniinually pouring in up mi us, to insult us In 
this our distress, is a considerailon that nuist excite pity In the most obdunite. 
However, althtmgh we thus sutfer, we are willing to sutfer still more, rather 
than give up our birih-iight privileges. With great regard, we are your 
brethrcu and most humble servants. 

John Skki.y, 
TiMoriiv Nkwkix, 


Ji)ii.N l*nT8, 
Selectmen of Boston." 

The reninining towns in Windham County were equally earnest in 
their resolutions and betiefactions. At a moisting in Canterbury, June 
17, 1774, the following declaration \v:i.s unanimously adopted: — 

**This town, taking Into consideration the alarming situation of the Hrltlsh 
colonies In North America, respecting sundry late acts of the Uritlsh Parliu- 
ment, and especially that for shutting up th^i port of Uoston, whl<'h we look 
upon to be an abridgment of Charter rights and privllt^ges. And consitlering 
the inhabitants of Boston as suffering under said Act In the common cause of 
the Liberties of all America, thercft>rc voted: — 

1. That we are willing and desirous to come Into any reasonable measures 
that shall be adopted by the towns In this Colony for obtaining redress of our 

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 
reconnneiid it to the Committee of (/Orrespondence in this Colony to choose a 
comnditee to attend said Congress as soon as may be. 

3. That if It shall be thought best by said Congress to stop all trade with 
Great Britain and the West Indies, we will most cheerfully acquiesce in this 

4. That Solomon Paine. John Felch, Daniel Pninc, Dea. Klinshib Adams, 
Dea. John llerrick, Capl. Ebenezer Spalding and .Asa Witter be a committee 
to correspond with the committees of the several towns in this and the neitrh- 
borlng colonies, and that they transmit a copy of tlieir votes to the Committee 
of Correspondence in this Colony. 

5. That the above c<»mmittee arc hereby particularly instructed to make 
diligent inquiry into the disiri'ss of the poor in Boston, so far as ihey appear 
to be brought upon them by the above Act of i*arliament, and to take such 

Digitized by 


lIKI.r FOR nOBTON, KTO. 127 

steps for collecting somethltiff for their relief as said committee shall Judge 
tbu most eflcctive for that purpose." 

Killiiigly, June 29, expressed hei*8elf with unusual fervor: — 

** At a meeting of the inhnbltants of Killlngly, having taken into considera- 
tion (he daric and gloomy clouds which hang over and threaten the liberties of 
this, our native country. In genernl; the dlstrcsMing circumstances of Boston, 
in particular— th'*ir harbors blocked up, cut off from all commercial trade and 
dealing on which they depended for a supply of bread, principles adopted for 
Its government nnconslitntlonal and oppressive Imposed by military power; 
charters, which wc once doted upon as unalterable as the laws of the Medes 
and Persians, and gloried in as the power and bulwark of these Cohmlcs, we 
now sec ftilllng to protect the liberty of the subject and altered at pleasure; 
taxes, revenues. Imposed without our consent attained or even asked for; 
and, In short, Slavkuy Itself, protected by Tyranny^ advancing with hasty 
steps towards this land of Freedom and Liberty. With the attention such a 
subject demands, and, at the same time we hope, with the candor and calm- 
ness so hoiTld a scene will admit of— we have thought proper to pass the fol- 
lowing resolve?* :— 

•* 1. That we will choose a Committee of Correspondence to meet with the 
committees chosen by the nelghborlne towns, that they may agree upon some 
unlverhsl plan that may have the tendency under divine blessing to secure our 
Just rights and privileges. 

2. That we will not purchase any coods of linen or woolen manufacture 
imported from Great Britain, and will break ofl* all tnide and commerce with 
the Indies if it be thought best by the committees In general Congress. 

8. That we will to the utmost of our power encourage manufactures 
amongst ourselves. 

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

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

aUo, voted. That these resolves with the preamble bo published in the 
Providence Gazette. 

Voted and chose a committee 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 Joseph Torrey and Daniel Davis for this committee." 

Tiie less effusive Plainfield simply voted : — 

" That the resolves of the General Assembly of Connecticut, May last, re- 
specting the liberties and privileges of the English colonies are most salutary, 
and very heartily adopted by this meeting, and that It is the earnest desire of 
this meeting that deputies from the respective colonies meet as soon as possi- 
ble in General CongrcMS. 

That we are willing to contribute onr mite to the poor of Boston, and that 
Captain JoMcph Katon, Jumcs Bradford, Robert Kinsman, Andrew Backus, 
Abraham Shepard, Ebenezer Koblnson, Joshua Dunlap, Perry Clark and Cur- 
tis Spalding be a committee to receive subscriptions for that purpose.'* 

James Bradford, Isaac Coit, Major John Dotiglas, Dr. Elisha Per- 
kins and William Kobinson were also appointed Committee of Cor- 
respondence. Voluntown concurred with the resolves of tlio Assem- 
bly, and sent a contribution to the relief of Boston. John Dorrance, 
Thomas Douglas, Samuel Stewart, James Campbell, James Crary re- 
ceived and forwarded her gift ; Isaac Galhip and James Gordon served 
as Committee of Correspondence. Jedidiah Fay, Captain Ichabod 
Ward, Captain Elisha Wales, Benjamin Sumner, Esq., Amos Babcock 

Digitized by 



and Ingoldsby Work were chosen Corresponding Committeo for Ash- 

Aa the season advance*! the several towns sent on their promise*! re- 
lief. Brian t Hro^vn, Kbenezer L:irned, Benjamin lA*avens and Perley 
Howe, commiUee for KiUingly, sent a few sheep as a token of grati- 
tu*le, and reported their town " to be well nnited, and determined to 
maintain its privileges at the risk of lives and fortunes, and ready to 
contribute to the necessities of those called to suffer." ^'Taking into 
serious cunsideraliou the present distressed and suffering circumstances 
of Boston,'* the citizens of Woodstock voted unanimously " to contribute 
to their relief." Captain l^njamin Lyon, Samuel McClellan, William 
Skinner, Timothy Perrin, Samuel Harding, Jonathan Morris, Nehe- 
miah Lyon, Thomas May, Asa Child and Nathaniel Marcy — chosen to 
receive and transmit donations — hatl soon the privilege of forwarding 
sixty-live fat sheep, which were received by the authorities of Boston 
as an appropriate peace-otfuring from their revolted subjects. The 
selectmen of that town took especial pains to express their " unfeigned 
thankfulness that Woodstock had expressed such favorable sentiments 
of their town as laid them under particular obligations to persevere in 
a firm opposition to the attempts of arbitrary power." 

Brooklyn Parish in August forwardc<l a hundred and twenty-five 
fine sheep through the hands of Israel Putnam, Joseph Holland and 
Ditniel Tyler, Juii. — meaning therewith " in the first place to attempt 
to appease the fire (raise<l by your committing the Indian Tea to the 
watery elenient 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 ready to march in the van, and to sprinkle the 
Anieriam altars with our heart's blood if oociision should be." Put- 
nam remained some days in Boston and was recc/ived with high honors. 
Bancroft reports him " Warren's guest and everyone's favorite." The 
Boston Gazette informs its readers that *Hhe town has had the satisfac- 
tion to be visited by the renowned Colonel Putnam so well known 
throughout North America that no words are necessary to inform the 
public any further concerning him than that his generosity led him to 
Boston to cherish his oppressed brethren and support them by every 
means in his power. A fine drove of sheep was one article of comfort 
he was commissioned to present us with." Another news])apcr cor- 
respondent reports Plainfield as " preparing to send a flock of sheep," 
and similar ofierings were sent from Ashfonl, Voluntown and Canter- 
bury. Captain Aaron Clevelapd transmitted in the autumn *^ a fattt^d 
cow," accompanied by the following letter : — 

•• Orntletnen : 

Duhig aflcctcil with n sense of the ri;(hteoudiicsH of the cause that tliu people 
of Boslou arc sutTerlug uuUer, as U coucerus all tho people of America to ba 

Digitized by 



roused to support them timt they may uot faint tinder their distress, it took 
]iold on my covetous heart and made mo willing to contribute my little ralte, 
which I have sent by Mr. Green of Mjilden— a beef cow for the distressed — 
and ordered him to deliver It to the committee for that purpose; and may the 
Lord deliver the people of America out of the hands of a wicked and despotic 
power, who are exerting ail the subtllty and malice of hell to enslave us. 1 
may Almighty God still rouse and farther unite the people of America as one 
roan to a sense of their liberties, and never give thcin 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 things to the dereuce and preservation of them ; which is the 
earnest desire of your humble servant, 

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

Windham's patriotic zeal during tliis fervid summer was shown in 
overt actfl as well as ** resolutions,*' by deeds of violence as well as those 
of beneficence. Mr. Francis Green of Boston, one of ihe " addressers " 
and adherents of Governor Hutchinson, having ventm*ed 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 ruffiaiiSy calling themselves by the 
names of Ilezekiah Bisscll, Benjamin Lathrop, Timothy Lan*&bee, 
Ebenezer Backus and Nathaniel Warren," all of Windham, who, aided 
by a gi-eat number of others, "did assault the subscriber, surround the 
house in which he was stopi)ing, 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 force compel him to quit 
his lawful business and depart from their town.** This proclamation, 
and the complimenUny epithets applied to such men as Bissell, Backus 
and Huntington, excited much laughter and derision in both towns, and 
was repnnted in handbills and hawked about the streeto 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 veteian, high-sheriff of the Coun- 
ty, who loved his royal m.'ister 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, 

Digitized by 



" who Bbould aid said Fitch in any way," and so liis wheat and grass 
were left standing, and "the whole of a conniderable trade withdrawn 
from him/* 

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

*f Whereas a number of the loynl people of the towns of Ashford and 
Mansfield, have convened together on Husplclon that Mr. John Stevens of 
Ashford wns an enemy to ihc const lluth>n:il liglits of Anurican liberty, and 
that we chose a coinndttee to which he ^uve the rollowlnt; Hutlsfuctory 
account, that he never wrote any letUTs a^iilnst the rights of Aniei-icnn 
liberty to any person, and that lie never received one from any person on that 
occasion. And Airthermoro as I, the subscriber, have udl&ed at sundry times 
aj^aiust the chartered rights of American ColonisLs, I do humbly nsk their for- 
giveness, and I Airiher declare that I never will talk or actanything against the 
8ons of IJberty— but do solemnly declare that I am a true Son of Liberty, and 
will remain so during my natural life. In wituess whereof I set my hand. 

Aug. 6, 1774. John Stkvrns. 

In presence of Stephen Johnson, Jeremiah Howe, Aaron Whitmorc, Richard 
Felch, 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 domoiiBtrations. 
Inspectory committees were constantly on the alert, and ** Windham 
boys " were ever ready to aid in forays upon suspected 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 
oitice 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 hundi*eds of ardent 
patriots from Windham and adjoining towns, who took him into their 
keeping, guarded him through the night, conveyed him next morning 
over the line into BrimBeld, 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 stt'irdy 
churchman and Tory not only openly avowed his loyalty to the King 
aiid government, but stigmatized the Sons of Liberty as rebels and 

Digitized by 



traitors, and presumed to ridicule their fervent resolutions and declara- 
tions. He was also suspected of sending information abroad and 
c:irrying on chindestino correspondence with the agents of govern- 
ment in several Colonies. " A formidable multitude " of some three 
hundred men from different towns witli vengeance lowenng 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 civility as might be expected." 

In September, the report of variou.s disUnbances in Boston aroused 
the whole country. Powder stored in Cambridge by the patriots was 
removed to Boston by a detachment of troops under orders from 
Governor Gage. The people immediately rushed out in great excite- 
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 hoitilities. 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 purpose of showing the British 
government the temper and spirit of the Colonies. If this were so 
they gained their end. The rumor Hew on three great traveled route?, 
gaining in flight Southward, 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 took it straightway on to Curtis's tavern 
in Dudley. One Clark, a trader, caught it up and hurried it on to his 

♦ "1. AH charters are sacred to serve the end for which they were 
given and no further. 2. No charter from ihe King can bo found by which 
the grantees have a right to the sens, as all oar charters bound us upon sea- 
coast as that runs. 3. The duty laid on teas \h not a tax upon America 
l)ccausc it grows not within ihc 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. Bostonlans would be able to support their own poor after 

Windham and other towns have paid them their lesal demands. 12. We 
cannot And any good reasons why the good people of Windham undertook to 
arrai<;n and condemn Governor Hutchinson and others for ignorance, insult 
and treason against law and common sense only for dllTering in sentiment 
witli some of their neighbors — since there * were a few names In Sardis.' 
13. Farmlngton burnt the Act of Parliament in great contempt by their 
common hangman, &c. We sincerely wish and hope a dny may be set apart 
by hl.H Honor very soon for fasting and prayer throughout the Colony, that 
the sins of those haughty people may not be laid to our charge as a govern- 
ment, and we recommend a due observation of said day to all our nelghboi-s, 
by giving food and raiment to the Indigent poor in every town in Connecticut, 
and also to draw np resolutions that for the future we will pay the poor their 
wages and every man his due.*' 

Digitized by 



father in Woodstock. Captain Clark in hot haste bore it on to Captain 
Keyes of PonitVet, and he — at 11 a. m., Saturday, 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 I 

Speed forth the signal I Patriots, speed I— 

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

*• POMFRKT, Sept. 8, 1774. 
Captain Cleveland: 

Mr. Keyes lins tliis a. m. bro*t ns tlic news that tlie Men of War and 
troops began to Are on tlie people of Bo.stoii iost niglit at sunset, wlien a 
post was sent immediately off to inform the Country. He informs tliat tiie 
artillery played all night, that the people are universaliy [railying] from 
Boston OS far as here in arms and desires ail the assistance possible. It 

[alarm] was occasioned by the country people's being robbed of their powder 
fi*om Boston] as far as Framiughain, and when found out people went t4> 
take the soldiers and six of our people were killed on the spot and several 
were wounded. Beg you will nilly 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 " tliis 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 I)ur- 
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 Continentil 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 effective. Coming from Putnam and en- 
doraed by prominent and responsible men it was everywhere received 
and obeyed. " To arms 1" was the quick response, and thousands hur- 
ried to the rescue. A thousand men took up arms in the three lower 
counties of Delaware. 2\oenty thousand were reported e7i route in 
Connecticut. The summons coming on Sunday it had the eft\3ct 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 text for many a stimng exhortation. 
In many of the more distant towns the messenger brought the tidings 

Digitized by 


IIKrj» FOR nOBTON, ETC. 133 

to Uie inc'oting-hoiise in the mi<lHt of <Uvino soivice, Jiiul wortliy inem- 
bers of tlie chnrcli inililant left the sanctuary for the battlefield. Even 
miniHlerH were said " to have left their pnlpilfl for the ^un and dnnn, 
and set off for Boston." In Norwich, Putnam's letter was ** printed off, 
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 Jolm Durkee. Two 
hundred ardent volunteer, well-armed and moinited, 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." lie immediately turned back and after a sixty miles 
ride reached home at sumise, and " sent the contradiction along to stop 
the forces marching or rallying." The Norwich troops were met seven 
miles from their town, with the intelligence via. Proviilence, that the 
report was without foundation. The Windham men marched on to 
Massachusetts line before receiving counter-tidings. This revelation 
that the mass of the people was ready to take up arms whenever 
occasion called them greatly cheered the patriot loatlcrs and stimti- 
lat<*<l them to farther rosistnnce. T.he n^port (»f this uprising excited 
much interest at home and abroad. "Words cannot express," wrote 
Putnam and his committee in behalf of five hundred men tinder 
arms at Pomfret, "the gladness discovered by every one at the 
api>eaiance 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 
ha«l forty thousand well-equipped and ready to march this morning. 
Send a written express to the foreman of this connnittee 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 [>olitical sentiment there existed a certain 
personal sympathy and good fellowship between these neighbors, and 
many verbal skirmishes were interchanged between them. Before tak- 
ing the field Putnam sent this missive : — 

"Sat., 12 r. m. 
To Colonel Malbonr : 

Dear Sir — I liavc this minute had an express from Hoston that the fight be- 
tween Boston and Die Regulars [hcganj last night at sunset, and the cannon 

Digitized by 



began to [ ] and continned ail night and they beg for help—and dont jrou 
think it intlmetoyof 
I am, ttir, your most obedient servant, 

I. Putnam." 

" Oo to the Devil" was the prompt and emphatic answer. [These 
doughty church iiiomhers and church builders were equally expert in 

The opposition of Rev. Samuel Peters was more pronounced and bit- 
ter. On that memorable Sabbath when all Connecticut vfiXA in motion, 
I^eters fi>rbade his flock to take up arms in behalf of High Treason, and 
insulted *' tlie public grand cause of Liberty by calling it rebellion." 
This oflence tilled the measure of his political iniquities. The patriots 
of the neighboring lown.s, roused to fever heat by the late alarm and 
uprising, felt that they cotild bear with him no longer. Yet as usual at 
this period nothing was done without some show of oflicial authority. 
Timothy Larrabee, llezekiah Huntington, Vino Elderkin, Ebenezer 
Gray and John Ripley of Windham-- men of high character and posi- 
tion — together with Captain Seth Wright, Captain Asahel Clark and 
]^Ir. Hill of other towns, were appointed a committee by the Sons of 
Liberty in their respective towns *Mo vi^it and deal with Rev. Samuel 
Peters of Hobron," and on Tuesday, Sept. (5, proceedeti to his house 
accompanied by some hundreds of their fellow-citizens from all the 
surrounding country. They found the house barricaded and filled 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 parley was held 
through the window. Mr. Peters attempted to justify himself and 
argue with the gentlemen, assuring them that he had no arms but two 
old guns out of repair. They replied that they did not care to dispute 
with him, and a<lvised him to address the people who thronged about 
the house, assuring 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 [>eople 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 protect them with all 
their strength, but for the things and matters before mentioned." 

Assuming his white priestly robe, Peters now came (»ut to the people 
with all his oflicial dignity, and with his usual address and facility pro- ' 
ceeded to pleatl his cause till the discharge of a gun within the house 
startled his hearers. The indignant patriots tore down the barricades, 
rushed in and searchetl the house, finding loade<l guns and pistols, 
swords and heavy clubs. In spite of this discovery he was allowed to 
linish his harangue and retire unmolested with the undersU'inding that 

Digitized by 


IIKLI' FOR 1M>9TC)N, ETC. 135 

lie rIiouIcI draw iip and n\*ru a sul'mfactorydeclnrnlion. Pctoiv <lel:iyed, 
equivocated and quibbled till the waiting crowd weary and hungry 
loRt all patience, and proceeded '^ to deal *' with liini in more sunnnary 
fashion, forced their way again into the house, seized the Bt niggling 
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 hunjblo confession framed by the conmiittee to 
the intent that he repented liis past misdeeds and would give them no 
farther c^use of com[)laint. He was then made to read this paper 
aloud, sentence by sentence, to the great crowd surrounding the horse- 
block, which thereupon gave three triumphal cheei-s and quietly dis- 
persed. Petei-s 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 church people, tarred and 
feathered two and abused othei-s, but his word cannot bo taken with- 
out corroborative evidence." In response to his a]>peal to Governor 
Trumbull for protection, the civil authority of Hebron were directed! 
"to preserve peace and good order, and put the laws in execution." 
Notwithst'inding this charge Mr. Peters thought best in a few days to 
retire to Host on, and sailed for England in Novend)er. The rancor of 
Jiis subse<pient letters is the best apology for his asMailaiits. To his 
mother he writes that " six regiments were now coming from 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 sprinkled 
on the side-ports will preserve the faithful ; '* to Dr. Auchmuty, New 
York, — " the clergy of Connecticut must fall a sacrifice with the 
several churches very soon to the rage of the Puritan mob-ility, if the 
old Sei-pent,* that Dragon is not bound. . . . Si)iritual iniquity rides 
in high places, halberds, pistols and swords. . . . Their rebellion is ob- 
vious, and treason is common and robbery their daily devotion. The 
bounds of New York may directly extend to Connecticut River. 
Boston must then . . . and Rhode Island be swallowed up as Dothan.'* 
" The means of making the contents " of these very letters known 
furnished another striking example of ** Purit^m mob-ility " and spirit. 
According to authentic published report these letters were brought 
back by two friends of Peters who had acconq»anied him to Jioston, 
and were intercepted on their return by a suspecting party of patriots 
who met them at a tavern, questioned them and suffered them to 
depart, but as tbey 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 

Digitized by 



Btone-fcnoe, remount and hnrry onward. Help was called, letters 
found in tlio wall, the men followed, brought back and again questioned. 
They denied having any leUei's, even ottering to declare u|>un oath 
that they had none, but upon these being produced were forced to 
own the bringing and hiding. Tradition gives the town in which this 
incident occurred and other attendant circumstances. Windham 
Village^ the home of famous military veterans, the seat of most Nam- 
ing and aggrcissive patriotism, claims the credit of search and seizure. 
Jler account ignores the intervention of non-resident parties. Her 
own vigilant citizens were the sole detectives and juilges. The story 
of the capture of J^eters'a spies was quickly borne through the neigh- 
borhood and brought all its inhabitants, young and old, men, women 
and children, to the scene of action. The convicted tale-bearers, 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 offence seemed to 
demand a more signal and characteristic penalty. "liunning the 
gauntlet," suggested probably by the experience of some French war 
captive, met the views of the populace but the victims were allowed 
their choice, between two evils they chose the least familiar, greatly 
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 PeteiV unfortuuiite emissaries were 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 

[An additional item, showing the position of Windham County 
leaders towards the Slamp Act, deserves notice and preservation. 
When Governor Fitch called his Council together to decide what to do 
with the king's law, there was difference 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 Xo administer 
the needful oath. '' No," said Trumbull, *' I will take no part in, nor 
witness such a scene as this " — an<l with Colonel Dyer, Shubael Conaut 
and four other membei's 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.] 

Digitized by 







TIIE reyelation that the great mass of the people were read^ to 
take up arms 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 future emergency the convention recommended, 

« 1. That the Selectmen of every town In those conntles should as speedily 
as possible supply their town stock with a full complcuieiit of amniunltton 
and military stores as by law required. 2. That every particular troop and 
military company wlthlu said counties, both ofUcers and soldiers, should as 
speedily as possible arm and equip themselves, agreeable to the direction of 
the laws of the Colony. 8. It was seriously recommended to such, as a mat- 
ter of very great Importance, that as expeditiously as might be they should 
improve in and learn the use and design of their arms by artillery exercises 
or otherwise, that so they may nnswer 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 mllltia of this Colony, 
as the law requires, and the same having been neglected and omitted, it was 
earnestly recommended to the oflflccrs 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 and 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 first 
of May. It was also resolved, "That the several towns in this Colony 
be and are hereby ordeied to provide as soon ns may be, double the 
quantity of powder, balls and flints thai I hey were heretofore by law 
obliged to provide." Four additional regimenls were now organized. 
A convention of delegates from Hartford, New I^>ndoii, Windham and 
Litchfield 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 

Digitized by 



these ''aggressive mctliods" for resistance to oppression, they dedared it 
'' the warmest wish of our hearts that tlie wisdom and equity of the 
British Parliament may relieve us from our fears and dangers, and that 
we may once more and forever look !ip to our parent countr}^ with con- 
fidence and pleasure, and, secure in our own rights, contribute all in 
our power to promote the honor, interest and happiness of our elder 
brethren in Great Britain." The General Congress at Philadelphia, of 
which Col. Dyer was a member, while also expressing its loyalty and 
attacliment to the ku)g, published an elaborate declaration of the rights 
of the Colonists, agreed 'Mhat all America ought to support the inhabit- 
ants of Massachusetts," requested the merchants to suspend all importa- 
tion of merchandize from Great Bi*itain, and fuilher. stipulated that 
all exportation of merchandize to Great Britain, Ireland and the West 
Indies should cease afler September 10, 1775, unless the wrongs that 
called out these agreements should be redressed prior to that ]>eriod. 

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 oui-selves 
religiously to keep and observe the same." Joshua Elderkin having 
now manifested a proper repentance for his violation of the Agree- 
ment, it was voted, "That the vote passed June 26, 1768, respect- 
ing said Elderkin, be repealed and made null and void," and he was 
again held amenable " to oflice of trust or profit." Plainfield approved 
of the methods [iroposed, and pledged herself to strict adherence 
thereto. She also voted wilh but one dissenting vote, "That we will 
not in future purchase for ourselves or families any JSctst 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 Ilerrick, Thomas Adams, Jabez Filch, Jr., Joseph Burgess, and 
Captains Obadiah Johnson and Joseph Cleveland, a committee of 
inspection. Captain Asa Bacon, Thomas Bacon and 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 the lute cruel and oppressive 
measures taken by tlie British Parliament, and as cruelly attempted to be exe- 
cuted upon the most loyal and att'ectloimte subjects any priuce could ever 
boast of, by which cruel measures to enslave millions of free-born subjects 
and their numberless posterity, la opposition to which the tongues, the pens, 
the hearts and hands of every true Briton, boih in Great BriUiiu and America, 
wo trust are engaged, and especially llio grand ContlnentiU (Congress con- 
vened at IMilladelpiila on 8eptcml>er 5tli, uh appears liy tlie nnnibcr of their 
resolves, for which and to whom, we, the Inhabitants of Woodstock, as a 

Digitized by 



pnrt of their constincnts, return to them our warmest thanks ; and that we, 
the Inhabitants of Woodstock, may give the strongest proof of our zeal and 
attachment and in derence of the great and common cause : — 

Besolvtdt nem. con.. That wo do approve of and oblige ourselves to the 
utmost of our power, and all persons for and under us shnll comply with 
association of the aforesaid Congress In every part and paragraph thereof, 
and more especially In Non-Oonsumptlou Agreement by them recommended. 
Nehemlali Lyon, David Holmes, Rphraim Manning, Ellas Mason, Silas Bowen, 
Amos Paine. Timothy Perrln, Nathaniel Marcy, David Peri-y, 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 purchase arms and other warlike stores for the use 
of the town, was also ordered. 

The suggestions with regard to military preparations were earned 
ont 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. Coitipniiy trainings had been statedly observed 
in every neighborhood, bwt the prescribed regimental reviews had been 
to a great degree omitted. A grand military parade had indeed been 
lield in Plainfield some time in 1773, especially memorable for inciting 
the first stirrings of military enthusiasm in the heart of a young 
llhode Island Quaker, Nathaniel Greene, who rode many miles, with 
hundreds of other spectators, to witness the scene. A review of 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 on 
this occasion. A mock fight was carrie<l on under the direction of 
Capt McClellan. A party dressed up like Indians appeared lipon 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 ofiicers 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, Canterbury, Voluiitown, 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 — Jcdidiah Eldcrkin, Colonel ; Experi- 
ence Stori-8, Lieut-Colonel ; Thomas Brown, Major. Pomfret, Wood- 

Digitized by 



Block and the north and central companies of KilUngly 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 troop of hoi*se was aUncheii to each 
regiment. Company trainings were held at least once a month during 
the winter, and special preparation made for the projected parade in 
April. Liberty-poles were set np in many of the towns with appro- 
priate exercises. A great crowd assembled on. KilUngly 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 tho 
demonstrations. '* Ah," said he, " you know nothing of Old England ; 
she will come and cut dman your liberty pole for you." 

No event of especial significance occurred during the winter. The 
colonists waited for the session of Parliament to learn tho eflect of 
appeals and statements made by Congi*ess to the king and |)eople 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 moro 
eflective resistance. Such preparation was made as circumstances per 
milled ; amnmnition was gathered up, the prescril>ed 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 govei*nment to which they owed allegiance, and could only be 
lustified by supreme necessity. This winter of 1774-75 was one of 
" sober second thought " to the citizens of Windham County, liest- 
ing fi'om their summer toils and raids, they now had fune to ask them- 
selves on what grounds are we preparing to Uike up arms 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 pub- 
lished in England in 1691, and so favorably received that in thirty 
yeai's it had reached a fifth edition. An edition of this priceless work 
was issued by John Caiter, of Providence, in 1774, and extensively cir- 
culated as "a campaign docuniont." No better evidence could be given 
of Windham's intense interest in the pending struggle than her de- 

Digitized by 



mand, when money was so scarce and books so rarely purchased, for 
more than a hundred and twenty copies of this compilation.* These 
plain, 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 argu- 
ments and equipped with arms and ammunition, they were well pre- 
pared for the contest that awaited them. Many circumstances gave 
Windham County unusual prominence at this juncture, and enabled her 
to render most cflx»ctive aid to the patriot cause. The towns of Jjebanon, 
Mansfield, Coventry and Union were then included. in her territory. 
Among her citizens were Jonathan Trumbull and Israkl 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- 
coin*age, strengthen ami sustain thouL She had women with strong 
liands and resolute hearts, urging the men to action, and willing to 
bear all the additional burdens that might be brought upon them. 
Iler 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 

♦ Names of Windham County 8uh8criber$ : — 

Joseph Allen, Ebenezcr Bnckas, Edmund Badger, Ilczckinh Bisscll, Benja- 
mla Dyer, JoMhua Elderkiu, Royal Flint, Andrew French, Kbenezer Gray, 
Esq., Stephen Greenlenf, Capt. Jabez Huntington, John Ulplcy, Jacob Simons, 
John Walden, Jun., Nath. Wales, Jun. Esq., Nalh. Wales 3d, Nath. Warren, 
Windham, John B. Adams, Peleg Brewster, Elijah Bennot, Nathaniel Clurk, 
Gideon Carver, Capt. Aaron Cleveland, William Foster, Jabez Fitch, Jun., 
Abel Lyon, Uev. Nathaniel Nlles, Nath. Satterlee, Joshua Traccy, Nathan 
Waldo, Asa Witter, Elijah Williams, Canterbury. Capt. James Bradford, 
Lieut. Andrew Backus, Isaac Colt, William Dixon, Esq., Robert Kinsman, 
Uev. Alexander Miller, Elisha Paine, Esq., Elisha Perkins, Plaittficld, Eben- 
ezer Dow, John Dixon, Voluntoxon* Benjamin Converse, David Day, Noah 
Elliott, Perley Howe, Ebeuezer Knight, Rev. Noodlah RuhscI, 6, George Rob- 
inson, James Thurbcr, Joseph Torrey, Capt. BenJ. Wilkinson, KUHngly, 
Samuel Craft, Thomas Cotton, 0, Thomas Qrosvenor, E^q., Caleb Grosvenor, 
Kbcnezcr Holbrook, Esq., John Jcffcrd, G, William Osgood, E.sq., John Park- 
hurst, Jun., Rev. Aaron Putnam, Sessions, Alexander Sessions, Daniel 
Tyler, Ebeuezer Williams, Esq., Thomas Williams, Esq.. licv. Josiah Whit- 
ney, Pomfret, Nathaniel Clark, Nath. Child, Esq., C, John Goodell, Jun., 
Capt. David Holmes, Asa Lyon, Jedldiah Morse, G, Nath. Marcy 6, Hadlock 
Marcy, Esq., G, Ebeuezer Paine, Joseph Peake, Jun., G, Rev. Stephen Wil- 
liams, Wooihtock. Elijah Whltou, Esq., AsJifonl. 

Digitized by 




New York, and from Providence to Norwich and New Tendon, pass 
ing over lier highways. Her resources* had largely Increased since 
tlie wjir of 1756. 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 I774.t 

IVacticiilly 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 tories 
within lier towns were mostly recent emigrants, like Malbone and 
Stevens, with little sympathy or influence with the people, and taking 
no pait in the administration of town affairs. A notable and most 
unhappy exception, was the high-sheritf 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 the British 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 
his 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 Fitch," and hoped he might be 
brought to share in the popular sympathies, and most earnest efforts 
were made by Governor Trumbull, his former partner in business, and 

* Orand List of ]Vin(lham Coxtnty towns in 1775 : 

Ashloril, £17.278 11 8 

Ciinterbiiry, ...... 20.730 

Kllliii^ly, 27,907 12 4 

Plaliillrld 14.210 IG 

Foinfret, 27,711 12 4 

Voluiitown 13.801 4 

Wiudhain 82,222 10 7 

Woodstock, 20,800 

£174,6C5 6 6 

t Towns. WniTss. Blacks, 

Ashford, '. .2,228 13 

Canterbury, 2.302 62 

Klllingly 8,439 47 

Pluhirtifid, 1,479 83 

Pomfrct, 2,241 05 

Wiudhain, 8,437 91 

Woodstock, 1,974 80 

Towns. Wiutics. 

Voluutown, 1,47G 

Coventry, 2,082 

Lebanon, 8,841 

Mansfield 2,443 

Union, 512 









Taking Troni tliis list the towns afterward anixed to oilier couiilics, the 
population of tlic towns now embraced in Windham County was 18,GG6 
whites, 4GG blaclis. 

Digitized by 



Other patriot leaders, to overcome his scruples and induce him to 
espouse tiieir cause. 

Windham's forbearance towards Colonel Fitch was quite excep- 
tional. It was scarcely safe for a resitlent or visitant of this belligerent 
township to be suspected of the slightest proclivity towards toryism. 
Any deviation from tlie Non-Importation Aprieement^ or from the 
popular standard of patriotic duty, might snbject one to a visit from 
official inspectors, the publishment of his name in the New T^ondon 
Gazette as an enemy to his country, or even to some outrageous per- 
sonal infliction. The use of tea was especially offensive to the public. 
All the indignation that justly belonged to the concoctors of the im- 
post was wreaked 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 i)lagued with that detested weed 
— nothing but a Non- Consumption Agreanent can save America." 
Windham village, so fierce against suspected spies, was equally severe 
upon her own children. Jeremiah Clark, a most useful and industrious 
citizen, had opened a little trade with Newport, exchanging butter and 
domestic commodities for sugar, n)olasses or other articles, by means 
of two deep boxes put in a bag and laid across the 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 were included in his budget. Even the sacred office 
and avowed patriotism of the reverend minister of Scotland Parish did 
not save him from very serious annoyance for a very trifling indulgence. 
His household was visited by severe afllict ion — the distressing sickness 
of Mrs. Cogswell's youngest daughter, 15eti<ey 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, were pereuaded by sympathizing friends to in<lulge in the 
soothing stinmlus of a cup of tea. Their delinquency was soon nmde 
public. Mr. Cogswell was informed that they would be reported to 
the Committee of Inspection. He immediately waited \\\}o\\ that body, 
and by certificjites 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 from Pudding 
Uill with rebuke and grumble, and sharp-tougued goodwives did not 

Digitized by 



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 oflfenee should be published in the Norwich 
J^acket and Neio 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 
Wateitown at 10 A. M., charged to alarm the people as far as the 
Connecticut line, '* that the British have landed two bngades, have 
already killed six men and wounded four others, and are on their 
march into the countiy." 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 coinmitteos and military otliccrs. A second express, via. 
Woodstock^ was brought to Colonel Ebonezer Williams, l^omfret, at 8 
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 brigade — 60 of our men killed and 100 regulara. 
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 "fit and willing," but most eager to hurry to the rescue; 
yet there was 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 ofiicers 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 Thui*sday 
morning by a direct express from Boston, brought to the house of Mr. 
llezekiah Cutler. He arose from his bed and Hred 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 

Digitized by 



Fifth Ilegiment was to fcndezvoiis in Pomfret ; companies from the 
other regiments to hasten on as soon as they conid be properly mus- 
tered. Officers were nding rapidly aroimd in every direction with 
their warnings, bullets were run, nccoutrcments and rations provided. 
Many, especially in the northern towns, snatched their guns and 
marched off without waiting formal orders. Killingly^s stock of pow- 
der was stored in the meeting-houso, under the charge of Ilezekiah 
Cutler, who had left, orders that each volunteer should bo furnished 
with half a pound, and the house was thronged all day with squads 
of men coming from all parts of the 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 Windham Green, and 
" had a further conference with Colonel Elderkin with respect to our 
disposition of the regiment." Selected companies from Coventry, 
IMansiield and Windham were already on the ground, ready to march, 
and hundreds of joyful spectatoi-s were coming in to see the men and 
cheer them on their way. Officers and companies ** attended prayera 
in the meeting-house," led by the reverend ministers of the town. It 
was nearly sunset before they set off for Pomfret. They were passed 
on thfl road by Colonel Parsons of Lyme, hurrying on to Boston: 
fonnci the companies from Canada Parish ami 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. 
Lnte 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 
m Pomfret throughout all genenitions. News of the military rendez- 
vous had been widely circulated, and men were thronging in from all 
parts of Windham County. I'liat sacred Sabbath morning witnessed 
a strange 8j)ectacle — more than a thousand men offering themselves in 
sacrifice. There were veterans from the old French war, filled with 
martial and patriotic enthusiasm, and young men yet untried, equally 
eager to show their zeal for the c;mso of liberty. Many, as they 
looked iq)on this great company so full of spirit and self-sacrificing 
devotion, could exclaim with Adams and Hancock — "O, what a 
glorious morning is this ! " 

The officers of the regiment were embarrassed by the great num- 
bers that presented themselves, and doubtful about maintaining their 
regimental exclusiveness. 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 


Digitized by 



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

•* Concord, April 21. 
To Colonel Ebeuezer WilUamM: 

8lr,— -I have walled on the committee of the Provincial Congress, and It 
Is their Determination to have a standing Army of 22,000 men froai tlie New 
England Colonies, of which, it is supposed, the Colony of Connecticut must 
raise 6,000, and begs they would l)e at Cambridge as speedily as possible, 
with Conveniences; together with Trovislous, and a Suftlclency of Ammuni- 
tion for iheir own Use. 

Tlie Battle here Is much as has been represented at Pomfret, except that 
there is more killed and a Nuinlier more taken Prisoners. 

The Accounts at present are so confused that it is Impossible to ascertain 
the number exact, but shall inform you of the proceedings, from Time to 
Time, as we have new occurrences; mean time I am, Sir, yiuir humble 
servant, Isuakl Pu'inam. 

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

The regiment was then dismissed till 1 P. M., while the officers 
held a council. During this interval religioiLs services were doubtless 
held in the great meetinghouse, thronged we may well suppose with 
eager, anxious listeners. It was agreed by the council " to take out 
ont-fifth of the companies, and order the overplus (of ten present) to 
return home. Divided the remainder into three companies and their 
officers.*'* How this selection and division were accomplished is not 
apparent The whole Aslifurd company and a larger number from 
Poiufret, under Captain Ingalls — Eleventh Regiment — appear to have 
been chosen, which would leave but a small proportion from the other 
companies. The greater part of the volunteers were thus sent home. 
The elect ,/f/]:^, selected probably like Gideons 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 ffileen men with pack 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 march, and they were received at Cambridge 
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 various towns had 
preceded this body. The " troops of horse " under Captain McClellan, 
had gone in advance of Putnam's message. Lieut. Keyes, Corporal 
Seth Grosvenor, and Albigence Waldo, clerk, were all from Pomfret 
Perley Howe, Killingly, served as cornet, John Flynn, Woodstock, 

* Ck>louel Storrs' manuscript 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 





Digitized by 



trumpeter. Each town furnished its due portion of troopeni. Other 
men and companies followed on as rapi<11y as possible till more than a 
thousand men were accredited to Windham County.* The great 
regimental muster planned for April, 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 Malbono's 
sharp tongue and open toryism had made liim a terror in the north 
part of the county. It had been currently reported and believed that 
he had privately drilled ami eq lipped his negroes, and intended to 
take up arms for the King when the hour of conflict came, and amid 
all the agitation and anxieties of the 6rst alarm, word came to 
Killingly Hill that ** Malbone's niggers*' were close at hand, burning 
and butchering everything before them. ** Oin* 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 prepare<l kettles of heated water, and the 
boys were stationed as sentinels to give timely notice of their approach. 
My place was the top of my gmndfather [Cutler s] gambrel-roofed 
houne, but we saw no negroes, nor indeed anybody else, for the place 
seemed ileserled." Other women in Windham County passed 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 afler 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 cjirefully 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, MO men under Cnptnlns Benjamin and Dnnlcl Lyon, Ephrafm 
Mnnniiij;, Nnthtinlel Miircy luid Lieut. Mnrlc Elwell, together with her pro- 
portion of the troops of hor^e; Captnin MtrClcllan. Windhnm, 159 men; 
Cnptnins Willinm Wnrncr, Jnincs Stedinnn, Jolm Kingsley, Lieut. Melatiah 
Biimham. Ctuitcrbury, 70 men; Cnptains Atiron Cleveland, Joseph Burgess 
and Slierebinh Butts. Union, 2G men; Captnin Thomas LnniHon. Ashford, 78 
men ; Captnin Tlionms Knowlton. ToiufVet, 80 men ; Captain ZebuloU Ingalls. 
Pl:iinficl<l, 54 men; Captain Atidrew Bnclcns. Killingly, 140 men; Major 
William Danlfison, Captains Joseph (Tady and Joseph Elliott. Coventry, more 
than a hinidrcd men ; Major Tlioinas Brown, Lieut. Joseph Talcott. Lebanon, 
Captain Danjcl Tilden, men not given. Mnnsfleld, Lieut.-Co1. Experience 
StorrM, Capt. Jonatlian NicholM, men not given. Broolclyn Parish; Colonel 
Putnam. Canterbury ; Llcut.-Colonel Obudiah Johnson. 

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

Digitized by 



Stand ill innjestic beauty, living witnessen to the patriotism and devo 
tion of tlie women of Windham Oonnty. 

VVechiesday, April 20, the General Assembly of Connecticut met in 
adjourned session at Hartford. After securing and storing a quantity 
of powder for l^Iansfield, and " fitting off a wagon load of provisions 
after our people" in camp, Lieut. -Col. Storrs was ready to aid in 
public deliberations. A committee had been already sent to New 
York to learn the disposition of the |>eoplo there. With characteristic 
caution the Assendily uvoiiled for a time any direct recognition of tho 
revolutionary proceedings in Alassachusetts, but appointed Capt. 
Joseph Trumbull and Amasa Keyes a committee " to procure provi- 
sions for the families of those who had gone to the relief of the peo- 
ple at the Hay, and to superintend the delivery and apportioning the 
same among them." As the transmission of correct reports was a 
matter of great importance, Thaddeus Burr, of Fairfield, and Charles 
Church Chandler, of Woodstock, were authorized at the expense of 
the Colony, to employ two news-carriers to perform regular stages 
from Fairfield to Wooilstock, and from Woodstock to Fairfield, so as 
to an-ive in Hartford each Saturday, and forward all proper intelli- 
gence through the country with all convenient speed, (lurdon Salton- 
stall, of New liondou, was also authori/.e<l to engage two ik'ws carriers 
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 
W^oodstock and New Haven. These gegtleinen 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 weather for Tories in the House; yet we have some. 
April 27. Resolved on ye Grand question of making preparation 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 tho cause, 
as we find they have secured the arms of that city." 

Putnam left his duties at Cambridge for a brief season, to advise 
with the Government upon military affaira. It was agreed that one- 
fourth part of the Colony militia should be immediately enlisted and 
equipped for the safety and defence of the Colony, and be distributed 
into companies of one hundred men each, formed into six regiments. 
David Woosler was appointed major-general of this force -, Joseph 
Spencer, brigadier-general ; Israel Putnam, second brigadier-general. 
Under this regulation, the Windham County soMiers were mostly 
enrolled in the Third Kegiment. Israel I'utnam, colonel ; Experience 

Digitized by 



Storrp, lieiitenant-oolonel ; John Durkee, Norwich, major. The com- 
panies were thus constituted : — 

1. Israel Putnam, captain ; Jonathan KingRlcj, Scotland, flrst lieutenant; 
Thomas Grosvenor, Pomfret, second licntenant; Elijnh Loorois, ensign. 

2. Experience Storrs, captain; James Dano, Ashford, flrat lieutenant; 
Ebenezer Gray, Windham, second lieutenant; Isaac Farweil, ensign. 

A. John Dnrkee, captain; Joshua I^untlngton, flrst lieutenant; Jacobus 
Delbret, second llculennnt; Samuel Bingham, ensign—all of Nor^vlch. 

4. Obedinh Johnson, captain: Ephraim Lyon, flrst lieutenant; Wells CI i ft, 
second lieutenant; Isaac Illde, Jr., ensign; Lieut. Clirt, of Windham; others 
of Canterbury. 

5. Thomas Knowlton, captnin; Rcut)en Marcy, flrst lieutenant; John Keyes, 
secoml lieutenant; Daniel Allen. Jr., ensign— all of Ashford. 

6. Jiimes Clark, captnin; Daniel Tildcn, flrst lieutenant; Andrew Fitch, 
second lieutenant, Thoma8 Hell, ensign — ail of Lebanon. 

7. Ephniim Manning, cMpt4iin; Stephen Lyon, flrst lieutrnnnl^; Asa Morris, 
second lieutenant; William Frizzell, ensign— all of Woodsti)ok. 

8. Joseph Elliott, captain; Benohi Cutler, flrst lieutenant; Daniel Waters, 
second lieutenant; Comfort Day, ensign— ail of Killingly. 

9. Ebenezer Mosely, captain; Stephen Brown, flrst lieutenant; Melatinh 
Bingiiam, second lieutenant; Nathaniel Wales, ensign— Brown of Pomfret, 
the otiier ofllcera and men from Windham. 

10. Israel Putnam, Jr., captain; Samuel Bobtnson, Jr., flrst lieutenant; 
Amos Avery, second lieutenant; Caleb Stanley, ensign — ail (»f Brooklyn. 

Daniel Tyler, Jr., who had married a danjrhter of General Putnam, 
served as his adjutant. Dr. John Spalding of Canterbury, was 
appointed surgeon of thirt regiment, taking the place of Dr. Hunting- 
ton of Ashford, who had followed t-lio compnny to camp. Pennel 
Cheney and Elijah Adams served as surgeon s mates. Its commissary 
was Captain Ste[ihen Keyes of Poinfret. Its chaplain, Ahlel Leonard, 
the eloquent and [)atriotic pastor of Woodstock's Fii-st Church. Tho 
society could not bring itself to vote consent to such a sacrifice "but 
by its silence manifested its resignation to said appointment." Many 
who had gone out at the first alarm were mustered into this regiment 
without returning home. Lieut.-Colonel Storrs was "put out," after 
the usual military fashion, by the appointment of Commi.ssary Keyes, 
and sighed for Major Durkee's promotion, but was inme the less eager 
in forwarding regimental ecpiipment when released from Legi.slativo 
duties. At the opening of the May session of the Asaenddy he was 
again present, though many of its elected mend)ei*s were with the 
army at Cambridge. Windham County had sent the following 
deputies : — 

Windham, — Colonel Jedidlah Eldcrkln, Ebenezer Devotion. 
Lebanon, — Colonel William Williams, Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. 
Mansfield. — Lieutenant-Colonel Experience Storrs, Natlianiel Atwood. 
Woodstock. — Captains Eiisiia Child, SjiiiuicI McClellan. 
CotJ<!wtry.— Caplaln Ebenezer Kingsbury, Jeremiah Hlpley. 
Canterbury.— iyvi\\Ci Paine, Eliasliib Adams. 
/ii7/infl'/y.— Stephen Crosby, Eleazer Warren. 
J'oni/rr^— General Israel Putnam, Dr. Elisiia Lord. 
Ashford. — Captains Benjamin Sumner, lehnbod Ward. 
riainjifjd.— Capttiin Jnnies Hrndrord, WiUitun Koblnsou. 
Vbluntown.-^MaioT James Gordon, Robert Hunter. 

Digitized by 



An Act for regu1atiiii>; and ordering the troops that were or should 
be raised for defence of the Colony was now con^tidercil and adopted 
— its preand>le setting forth the causes compelling such aelion. A 
nundier of gifutleinen were appointed to assist the govern. »r when the 
Assembly was not in session, direct the marches and actions of the 
soldiers enlist e<l for the defence of the Colony, and supply them with 
everything needful, as a committee of safety. Eliphalet Dyer, Nathan- 
iel Wales, Jr., William WMlliams and Joshua Ehlerkin were active 
and prominent membeis of this committee, llezekiah Bissell, also of 
Windham, was one of the commissaries appointed by the Assenibly to 
supply necessary public stores and provisions. The Embargo for- 
bidding the tran.^poitation of sundry vital necessities out of the 
Colony was continued until August. Bounties were offered for the 
manufacture of fire-arms and sjdtpetre, now greatly needed. Captain 
Jabez Huntington of Windham, was given charge of all the powder 
belonging to Windham County. 

Lieut.-Colonel Storrs having ordei's for the captains of his regiment to 
be in readiness to march as fast as possible returned to M.instield, May 
15, and devoted hintself with great energy to enlisting men, and procur- 
ing their outfit. IMankets and arms were impressed for the use of the 
sohliers. Saturday, 27tli, 'Hhe<:ompany met and received their annnu- 
nition to be ready for their march on Monday next. May 29. Met this 
morning at 9 o'clock, attended jiraiyers and sermon delivered by [Rev.] 
]^Ir. Salter. After sermon the company marched off for Cambridge. 
30th. Set out this morning and overtook ye company at Kendall's, 
at Ashford. They appeared to be in high spirits. Tarried at Dudley." 
The Norwich comi)any 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 repWt at headquartera (at 
Iinnan's Farm, now Cambridgeport) to General) Putnam, and on the 
following day marched in with probably the greater part of the regi- 
ment. '* Met General Putnam on ye road, came to ye house of Mr. 
Fairweather where we make our quarters. Afler dinner went up to 
headquarters to show oui*selves to ye General. lie recommended our 
being immediately provided for action. 4. Lord's day. Heard Mr. 
Leonard, our chaplain, on ye Common." A few other Windham 
County soldiers may have enlisted in the Si.\th Uegiment, Samuel H. 
Parsons, colonel ; John Tyler, lieutenant-colonel ; but the great majority 
of her men were in this Third Regiment under Putnam's innnediate 
care and authority, occupying 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, diseipline 
and preparations for expected service, friends ait home were equally 

Digitized by 



alcil and nctive. Farms and domestic labors were to be carried on as 
iisnal and an army to be raised and snpported. Scarce a liousehold 
that had not some concern with fitting out men and sending supplies 
to them. All private interests seemed to be laid aside and every 
thought and energy devoted to the great popular cause. Large bodies 
of men passing over the great thoroughfares of travel needed care and 
accommodation. 'Mauy new taverns were opened in the different towns. 
Pomfret citizens joined with Abel Clarke in representing to the 

**Tliat the present marching of troops nnd Increase of travel by bis house, 
ami the nccessUy be I.s inider of providing for tbeiii excites blm' to pray for 
leave to keep a tavern In snici Poiiin'ct, where be dwells on the country road 
from Windham to Boston, lu the pnrlsb of Abln<rion, direcily opp<»sHe the 
dwelling-house of Kphralm lugallM* who keeps a tnveru thereat, juid for ninny 
yenn« has d»»ne to the good acceptance of people, yet lu (bis dny he cannot 
provide for the jjnat numbers passlu;r and repassing on said road, and judjijcs 
it necessary that be [the petitioner] should, too. May 15, 1775." 

This petition was promptly granted an<l leave given also to Moses 
Branch, of Plainfield, and petitioners from other towns to offer 
every possible accommodation to these countless travelers. Efforts 
were also made in Windham County to supply the lack of military 
munititnis. Ilezekiah Huntington of Windham, had arranged to 
enter the army as major, but seeing the miserable condition of the 
guns and nmskets supplied to the soldiers ho threw up his commission, 
and with the |>ermission and encouragement of the Government, opened 
a shop at Willimantic for their repair and manufacture. In the same 
vicinity John Brown was successfully carrying on the preparation of 
saltpetre. Nathan Frink was projecting a similar 'establishment in 
Pomfret Even predestined divines like Samuel Nott and Moses C. 
Welch, preparing to promulgate the Gospel of peace, were experiment- 
ing in saltpetre and destructive ingredients, lyolonel Elderkin and 
Nathaniel Wales, Jr., with all their civil and military engrossments, 
were an-anging for the construction of a powder-mill. All these busy 
brains and hands were working for the army. Constant communica- 
tion was kept u|) with the camp at Cambridge. 7\ged Jesses and 
fresh young Davids were going down every week to take things 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 manoeuvcrs, and were too unused 
to war to discern their lack of discipline and equipments. Wiiulham 
County was in high favor at headqtiarters. Putnam was " the hero of 
the day," assigned by popular verdict to the first place among Ameri- 
can officers ; Knowlton s courage and military aptitude were already 
recognized, and his company esteemed one of the best in the service, 

Digitized by 



and the eloquent and patriotic ** performances " of Chaplain T^eonard 
excited gcncrnl admiration. 

lieports of successful skirmishes and demonstrations, followed by 
that of the battle of Bunker llill, incited the Windham patriots to 
stronger hope and more ardent enthusiasm, and their grief for their 
slain was ahnust swallowed up in their exultation that their own sons 
and bretliren, plain farmers and civilians, could withstand and put to 
night the trained and tried sohliers of Great Britain. Of the two 
hundred Connecticut men detailed under Captain Knowlton for special 
service, on Bunker Hill, on the evening of June 16, 1775, Putnam's 
regiment furnished one hundred and twenty, drafted from the first, 
second, fourth and lifth 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 probably a similar number from Captain Coit's company. 
These were the men who toiled all night and early morn upon Pres- 
cott's redoubt, banked with wet grass the famous rail fence, and, aided 
by ''Hampshire boys" under Stark, and Connecticut reinforci'ments led 
by Captains C/hester, Clark, Coit and l^Iajor Durkee, drove back from it 
again and again with great slaughter the serried columns of the 
advancing British, and saved the retreating garrison from capture or 
annihilation — "all etlbrts insuHicient to compel them to retreat till the 
main body had left the hill." A most honorable share 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 obsUides to reinforce Prescott and niaintain 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 earned 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, helped Gridley dniw 
the lines of the fortification on Breed's Hill, and wrought with equal 
skill and strength in fitting up the impromptu line of fence and wall 
devised to complete the line of defence, and repel an unexpected flank 
niovement. Knowlton, with coat ofiT, walked to and fro before this 

* There is sonic doubt as to the leader of the men in Company Four. Oau- 
tcrl)tiry men arc liuuwn to huvo been en^a^ed throughout the action. 
Kpliraim Lyon declined to serve \\a first lieutenant, and It is probable tliut 
l»auc Hyde hud been promoted second lieutenant and led the detachment. 

Digitized by 



unique and ingenious breastwork, as nuich at case as if in his own 
hay -field, cheering his men, loading and discharging his own faithful 
musket 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 flank movement, and the first to fire upon the 
advancing army, "death" being threatened to any man who fired 
befotx; him. Lieutenant Grosvenor fired with the same precision and 
deliberation that he was aciuistomed to exercise in shooting a fox, and 
saw a man fall at each discharge of his rifle. Lieut. Kcyes, Sergeant 
Abijah Fuller, Corporal Joel Webb, and other old campaigners were 
equally cool, deliberate and efTective. ** Boys,'* said Putnam to these 
old friends, as he rode past them, " Do you remember my orders at 
Ticonderogat " "You lold ns not to fire till we could see the whites 
of the enemy's eyes." " Well, I give the same order now," and most 
literally was it ol>eyed. Fresh companies coming up at the close of 
the fight were amazed at the and loity of these fire-hardened vete- 
rans. Timothy Cleveland of Canterbury had the breech of his gun- 
stock shot off when in full retreat^ and exclaiming " the darned British 
shall have no part of my gun,'* ran back in face of the advancing foe, 
anil bore it t)ff in triumph. RegJirdloss of balls whistling around him, 
Putnam stood by a deserted field-piece urging the retreating troops to 
make one more stand, until the enemy's bayonets were almost upon 
him. Robert Hale, a saucy Ashford boy, discharged an artillery-piece 
in the very teeth of the foe, and escaped unscathed. Abiel Bugbee, 
also of Ashford, was one who held his ground to the very last of the 
fight, throwing stones when his ammunition was expended. A raw 
Killingly recruit met a Windham friend inunediately afler th^ action, 
— " You look tired, Mr. Pettingill," he exclaimed. "Just hold my gun 
while I take a chaw of tobacco," was the reply. The smoking gun- 
stock and begrimed face told the rest of the story. Daniel Strong, 
of I^banon, sent to the hill with Surgeon Spanlding's medical chest, 
finding oflicein 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 Stons relates in his diary his own 
experience : — 

**June nth. At sunrise this morning n Are bcsnn from yc ships, but mode- 
rate. About 10, went duwn to Gencnil riitnniirs post, ulio hns ihe comninnd. 
Some shot whistled nround us. Tiiriled n spell, niid returned to hiivc my 
company In rondiiie8s to relieve lliem. One lulled and one wounded when I 
ctune away. About 2 o'clock there was a brisk cannonade from ye nhips, on 

ye butteries or entrenehnient. At orders ciime to turn out Immediately, 

nud that the regularn were linidlug at sundry places. Went to hctuhiuarters for 

our regiment:! 1 . Kecelvcd oidfia to repair nil h our regiment to No. 1 

and defend it. No enemy appearing, orders soon came that our people at ye 

Digitized by 



Intrenchment were retrcntiiig, nnd for us to sectire ye retreat, Immcdlfttely 
mni'chcd for tlieir relief. The regulurn did not coiue off from Bunker's 11111, 
but have taken possession of the intrencluucnt, and our people make a stand 
on Winter Hill, ond we immediately went to entrenching;. Filing up by 
morning an intrenchment about 100 feet square, done principally by our rcgi- 
meut under Putnam's direction." 

And theru Putnam Wius found on the next morning, Stuiday, Juno 
18, by hi8 young son, Daniel, "dashing about among the workmen, 
throwing up intrenchments, and often placing a sod with his own 
hands. IIo wore the same clothes he had on when I left hini, thirty- 
eiglit hours before, and allirnied he hud never put them otFor wushe<l 
liimself since." Colonel Storrs 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 Subin, William 
Cheney, Pomfret, Benjamin Hush, Samuel Mosely,* Ashford, were 
reported among the slain or missing, and five or six other men from 
Putnam's regiment were killed or tiiken prisoners. Lieutenant Grosve- 
nor was wounded in the hand and obliged to retire fi'om the field. 
Dana was struck down by a blow on the breast from a hit rail, which 
disabled him for sevend days. Alany of the privates were wounded 
slightly, but the loss was very slight in comparison with that sufiered 
by Alassaohusetts. The gratittule with which waiting frien<ls at homo 
received the tidings of the c-scape of those exposed to such great 
peril, and the anxious solicitude which followed the men in camp and 
battle are best shown in a mother's letter, written by the sister of 
Colonel Dyer to her son, Lieut. Ebenezer Gray, in Camp at 
Cambridge : — 

«* July 81, A. D 1775. 
Dear Child:— l^ this morning heard by Mr. Trumbull, who passed through 
town in haste lust evening, tliat 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 tinnly 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 Qod in his holy 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 mercifhl Qod, who alone is able to defend 
yon. Confessing my utter unworthlness 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 upou them that 
fear him; upon them that hope in his mercy. Confess your sins daily 
before the Lord, and foi*sake every evil way ; walk in all the commandments 
of the Lord. Be careful to set a good example before those that arc under 
you, especially in observing the Sabbath. The surest way of conquering our 
enemies is to turn from every evil way, and seelc the Lord with all our hearts 
with confession of our sius. I urn more afVaid of our sins than of all the 
forces of our enemy. As to profane swearing, which is very common in 
camps, I always thought you were not inclined to, and I trust you will take 
all possible care to prevent It in those that full under your care. 

* Sou of Uev. Samuel Mosely, Canada Turish. 

Digitized by 



I think wc have abundant reason to praise the name of tlie Lord for liis 
woudcrrul assistance and deliverances our people have experienced at one 
time and another, especially at Bunlcer*s Hill. Well, may we say, * llad It 
not been the Lord who was on our side when such a number of troops rose 
np and surrounded our people, then they had swallowed us up quick when 
their wrath was kindled against us.* These merclfUl assurances of God 
for Us ought to encourage us to call upon Qod, and strengthen our fnlth In 
Him. That you may put your trust in Omi, 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 nignal valor displayed by the few provincials who confronted 
the dreaded Regulars at Bunker Flill, 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 tlie position of 
Fourth Major-General of the American Army. This appointment 
though naturally distasSt«ful 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 coixluct of our Governor, and the bravo 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. Putiiam^s merit rung through the con- 
tinent; his fame still incre.ises. Every day justifies the unamiuous 
applause of the continent. Let it be remembei*ed 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 Pntnam. 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-Qeneral 
Putnam, whose capacity to form and execute great designs Is known through 
Burope, 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 (Vlendslilp of his American brethren. It Is suftlclent 
to say that he seems to l)c Inspired by Qod Almighty with a military genius, 
and formed to work wonders In the sight of those unclrcumclsed Philistines 
at Boston and Bunker Hill, who attempted to defy the armies of the living 

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-hiced hat, a snsh and gold breast-plate 
were presented to Major Knowlton by a Boston admirer in i-ecogni- 
tion of " his behavior in the battle." 

After Washington assumed command, July 8, 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, 

Digitized by 



Belting forth the reasons for taking np arms was made the occasion of 
a grand patriotic demonstration, July 18. Putnam's division was 
paraded in full force upon Prospect Hill, and after hearing the declani- 
tion read with great pathos and solenndty by Chaplain Leonard, each 
soldier responded thrice with deep and fervent ^^ Amen." At the 
instant a signal was fired, and General Washington 8tep))ed forward 
from headquarters, holding in his hand a new and beautiful standard 
sent by Connecticut to Putnam's regiment. Captain Dana was ordered to 
receive and disphiy the flag but warned that in so doing he must not let 
the colors fadl, as tlnit would be deemed ominous of the fall of America. 
The great six-foot captain, who could face a hostile army without 
flinching, shrank like a child from this display and fain would have 
declined the honor, but Putnam 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 Ca]>tain Dana advanced and 
received the flag from Washington's aide, amd c:u*rie<l 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 Ccm- 
necticut for her first six regiments. The ground of this was scarlet. 
" An appeal to Heaven " was inscribed in golden letter.s on one side ; 
Connecticut's armoritd seal upon the other — three det^iched vines and 
the trustful legend, Qui Iranatulit sustiuet. The presentaition an<l 
display were followed by an animated, pathetic and highly patriotic 
address by Mr. Leonard, closing with a pertinent prayer. " The 
whole was conducted with the utmost decently, good ortler and 
regularity and to universal acceptance of all present." 

No noteworthy event occurred for several succeeding months. The 
Continental Army maintalnetl its position, and gradually extended its 
lines about Boston, but was unable to indulge in otfensive operations. 
Men, money and munitions were lacking. Commissary Trumbull 
writes to Colonel Dyer, Sept. 23, *' that no one has power to draw on 
Philadelphia, and begs him to procure him a hundred pounds, 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 pay for a bushel of 
potatoes." Putnam cried in vain for powder. Knowlton brought his 
stalwart soldiers into more rigid militaiy discipline, 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 ofliciate on all public 
occasions but labored eflectually to promote the moral and religious 
interests of his soldiers. " A prayer composed for the beneflt 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 

Digitized by 



altcinpt to snpply the camp with religions literature. It was published 
by S. E. Hall, Cambridge, in a tract of nine pages, and pronounced " a 
highly creditable peiformance." Windhaiu County sent more men to 
the field in (/onnccticut's eighth regiment, Jedidiah Huntington of 
Norwich, colonel, John Douglas of Plainfield, lieutenant-colonel. This 
regiment* was the best equipped of any in the Colony, sporting for 
uniform " a quantity of English red coats taken in a prize vessel." 
PIninfields honored pastor, Kev. John Fuller, became its chaplain, 
and her most beloved physician, Dr. Elisha Perkins, served as 
surgeon, Albigence Waldo of Pomfret, assistant. A company of 
Canterbury militia un<ler Captain Ephraim Lyon, was sent to Norwich, 
in August, upon an alarm occjisioned " by vessels prowling about the 
Sound," and were retained to build a battery or redoubt at Waterman's 
Point — the Government allowing them the needful ** spirits when in 
said service." Ephraim Squier of Ash ford, together with Simeon 
Tyler and Asa Davison, probably of Brooklyn, left their companies at 
Cambridge, in Sept^'uiber, to join in the Northern ex|>e<lition of 
Colonel Benedict Arnold, but after suffering incredible hardships on 
their journey up the Kennebec and through the wilderness of Maine, 
carrying their bntteaux and provision, watling through mndholes in 
|KM'sist<Mit rains, the rear detachment w:ih t>rdeied home again, and 
af\er ten weeks absence they arrived in Cambridge, Thanksgiving day, 
November 23, "abundantly satisfied." 

At home all thoughts and energies were absorbed in the war. Not 
a town meeting was reported through all these busy months. It was a 
lime of action — not of tjilk and resolutions. The County Court met 
in June, licensed some fifty taverns, granted execution in a few crises, 
and adjourned. Everybody was occupied donig double duty in farm 
work, gathering up su]»plies or manufacturing military munitions. 
Ilezekiah Huntington had wrought to such good purpose as to receive 
from the SuUe treasury in the autumn, a bounty of thirteen pounds 
" for fifty-two guns well made and wrought," besides repairing and 
refitting great numbers of old guns. 'J'imothy Larrabeo assures the 
Assembly " that since the alarming circumstances of the present time, 
ho had applied himself to making saltpetre, and had become master of 
the same in all its branches, and was confident that when said art was 
known powder could be manufactured in the Colonies or in any part of 
the world, and although at this time we are able to collect some small 
quantities from abroad, yet when the <piestion is asked, why business 
that was expected to be done failed — answer : * army not furnished 
foith warlike stores,* " Petitioner proposed to erect works in Hartford 

* Calklus' Uistory of Norwich. 

Digitized by 



or New Ilaven, open to all inspectors, every branch of the manufac- 
turhig open to the public, if the General Assembly would grant him 
£160; but the sanguine experimenter did not gain the oontidenoe 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- 
gei-s 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 Domtle " was heard on every bide. Among the 
throng of visiUnits was our old friend, Hev. Mr. Cogswell, with his 
brother minister, Andrew Lee, who reports the army in health and 
spirits, and in general orderly, with good men at the head. The works 
appeared formidable on both sides ; preparations for war terrible yet 
animating — but what gave him most confidence was *^ men of sense 
and religion." 

Amid the 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-Held, and make for themselves names that would 
never die, one more gifted and excellent than all had passed away — 
Uev. Joseph Howe of Killingty, the beloved pastor of the New South 
Church of Boston. Never has Windham sent out into the world a 
son of greater or {lerhaps equal promise. " The world expect^ nmeh 
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 afler 
vainly seeking rest and recuperation among his old haunts in Connecti- 
cut, he succumbed to an attack of '' complicated disease," and died at 
Hartford, August 25, ere he had reached his thirtieth year. A large 
circle of devoted friends bemoaned his loss ; his scattered church was 
overwhelmed with sorrow. A writer in the Hartford Couranty 
though sensible that the criticid situation of Ameiica 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 be inattentive to an account 
of his excellencies, mid eulogized him as a light and benefactor to the 
worM, the beauty of whose mind was without a parallel, whose life 
was a treatise of ethics and theology, recomnionding the whole duty of 

Digitized by 



man more powerfully than libraries of mornliflts and divines. The 
early death of one so gifted with genius and graces, made a deep 
and lasting impression upon the public. His memory was fondly 
cherished through all the generation that had known him, and years 
later, when many of his cotemporaries had passed into oblivion, his 
character was portrayed in that of the model hero in one of the fii"st 
original popular tales published in America.* In Windliam County 
the impression mad^ by the death of Mr. Howe was deepened by 
attendant bereavemcnt«. 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 few months. 





rr^HK long fKjnod of inaction following the battle of Bunker Hill, 
A was a sore trial to the Windham County soldiery. The meohani- 
oal routine, the restraints, privations and discomforts of cam]>-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, miKapprchcn- 
sion of the plans of their leaders and the true condition of affairs so 
exasperated the Coimecticut 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 were infected with this spirit of 
disaffection and nmtiny, and thirty of the ardent volunteers from 
Captain Mosely's company, Canada Parish, seven from Knowlton*s 
Ashford Company, and three from 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 con<luct 
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 Wharton. 

Digitized by 



march to 8np]>1y their places.'* Washington's sense of military disci- 
pline was grently shocked by tliis unceremonious le<*ive-taking, and he 
sent after them, wishing to make examples of them. Governor Trum- 
bull and his Council, with belter undei-standing of the character an<l 
grievances of the men, did not think best to comply with this requisi- 
tion, but stigmatized their conduct as " very reprehensible, and con- 
sitlered them tleserters though their 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 ap|>earing upon inquiry that the men had 
lapsed mainly from ignorance and inatlvertence, and were ready to 
re-enlist upon the first favorable opportunity, the offence was passed 
over, and these saute deserting soldiers served in many subsequent 
campaigns with honor and fidelity. 

A majority of Putnam's Regiment are believed to have i*emained 
upon the field, re-enlisting in the Twentieth Regiment of Washing- 
ton's Continental Army. Benedict Arnold, brilliant services 
in the Northern expedition were then attracting great admiration, 
was appointed its colonel ; John Durkee of Norwich, lieutenant- 
colonel ; Thomas Knowlton, major. Company 1, Ephraiin Manning, 

captain; Nath. Webb, lieutenant; Brown, ensign. Company 

2, Jedidiah Waterman, Ciiptain ; John Waterman, lieutenant ; Walter 
Clark, ensign. Company 8, Thomas Dyer, captain ; Daniel Tilden, 
first lieutenant ; Nehemiah Holt, second lieutenant ; Joseph Durkee, 
ensign. Company 4, Wells Clift, captain. Company 5, Thomas 
(irosvenor, captain ; Josiah Cleveland, ensign. Company 6, Stephen 
Brown, anptain. Company 7, John Keyes, captain. Company 8, 
John Robinson, captain. Other subalterns, whose companies cannot 
now be determined, were — Lieutenants Melatiah Bingham, William 
Adams, Beriah Bill, Robert Hallam, Samuel Brown, Seth Phelps, 
Josiah Fuller, Nathaniel Bishop, James Holt, Daniel Putnam, and 
Ensigns liriant Brown, Silas Goodell, John Buell. Its chaplain was 
Rev. Abiel Leonard. Lieutenant Ebenezer Gray served, as quarter- 
master. Dr. John Spaulding retained his position as surgeon ; Luther 
Waterman served as surgeon's assistant. Forming a part of the 
central division of the army, this regiment 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 efticieiit training it attained *' the same enviable position as 
to discipline and soldierly deportment that Knowlton's own company 
had previously held." Other Windham County sohliers re-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 

Digitized by 



place of those whose term of service had expired. John Douglas of 
Pl.iiiifield was lis colonel ; Dr. Elislia Perkins, surgeon ; Thomas Gray 
of Windham, surgeon's male. Plainfield's excellent minister^ Rev. 
John Fuller, serveel as its chnplain. Woodstock would gladly have 
recalled her ministerial favorite at the close of the winters campaign, 
but yieldetl to the wishes of the Commander-in-chief and their own 
honored leader, as expressed in the following letter : — 

** To the Chnrfh and Confiregation nf Wondstonk : — 

Mr. Lcriifiii'd is n man wlio^e exemplary lire and conversation must make 
him hi;;hly esteemed by every person who has the pleasnre of being acquainted 
with him. It thrrrfcire <-an be ni> snrprisc to ns to hear they are loth to part 
with him. Ills inlhienee In the army Is ^VMixi. He is employed in theftlorions 
woric of Attendhu to ihe morals of a brave people whi> are ll.i;htln<( for their 
liberties— the llberlles oflhu proploof Woodstock— the liberty of all .\mcrlcA. 
We therefore hope that, knowin;; how nobly he is employed, the congregailon 
of Woodstock will cheerfully ii;lve np to the pnbllc. a ;u;entlemau so very use- 
ful. And when, by the blesslnjr of a kind i*rovldencc, this glorious and 
unpandlelcti Htrn^gle for our liberties is at an end, we Inivc not the least 
doubt but Mr. F/conard will, with redouble<l joy, bi^ received in the open arms 
of a con;:ie;?ation so very dear to him as the jljoocI people of Woodstock are. 

This is what is hope<l for— this is what Is expected, by the congregation of 
Woodstock's sincere well-wishers and very humble servants, 


Israel Putnam. 
llEADQUARTBits, Cambridge, 2ith of March, 1776." 

The pray<»rs and preaching of Mr. Leonard were often commended 
by the patriot journals. On the Sabbath atler evacuation of Boston 
by the British, and its occupation by the Americans, he is reported 
to have preached an excellent sermon iti the audience of his Excellency, 

the General, and others of distinction from Exodus iv. 25 : 

'•And took oft' their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily ; so 
that the Es^yplians said, * Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the 
Lord lightelh for them against the Egyptains.' " 

Renewed o)>erations in the spring, followed by the withdrawal of the 
British troops from Boston, inspired the Windham patriots with new 
courage and enthusiasm, and stimulated them to intense activity in pre- 
parations for the summer campaign. The powder mill at Willimantio 
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 swallowecl 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. So great 
was the throng of people and teams resorting thither, that David 
Young was or<tered t(» o|>on a bouse of pid>lic entertainment in its 
vicinity. With the transference of the seat of war to New York, 
travel was greatly increjised on all the public highways. Hegiment 
after regiment was marcheil through Windham County, and endless 
trains of military stores. Five battalions of the Continental Army, 

Digitized by 



and the whole body of riflemen under Brigadier General Heath, and 
8ix battalions under General Sullivan, Bet out March 29, 1776, via, 
Norwich, passing through several towns in Windham (bounty. Brook- 
lyn and Ashford were gladdened by a brief gliin))se of their favorite 
heroes, Putnam and Knowlton, as they hurried on their way. Farm 
work began early. .Demands for supplies cidled out the utmost 
energies of the people. Commissaries and jobbers were scouring the 
towns for provisions, taking off all the pork, beef and sheep that could 
be spared from home consumpticui. Selectmen were now making 
requisitions for scales, clock- weights, anything that could be wrought 
into ammunition. Ordei-s for knit stockingH, tow cloth for tents, and 
Lome-made shirtings and vestings kept thousands of nimble lingers 
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, dangerous 
Tories, captured seamen and soldiers, confined in Windham jail and 
neighboring towns, required much care and attention. Dyer, filderkin 
and Wales, as members of the Committee of Safety, were intensely 
active in providing for these various demands, and spent many days 
at Governor Trumbull's war ofiice 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 welfara One-fourth of the nutn in each militia regiment, per- 
fectly equipped with arms, bulls, fiints and other needful articles, were 
ordered to hold themselves ready to march on the shortest notice, 
while recruiting for the various new regiments ordered by Connecti- 
cut, was pushed forward 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 hordes 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 e;irliest 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 spiiit 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 n<lvant;ige the public cause 
at this critical day." Other towns were equally rea<Iy to do more 

Digitized by 


fiTRttnOMffi AND mSASTRRS, KTO. 163 

than their proportion. Many Windham County men were enlisted in 

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

Canterbury, lieutenant colonel ; William Douglas, major. James Sted- 

man, Nathaniel Wales, 8rd, Waterman Clifl, Daniel Allen, Jonathan 

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

William Manning, Joseph Dnrkee, Obadiah Child, were officers in this 

regiment Its chaplain was Ilev. Benjamin Trumbull, the histdnan 

of Connecticut; its paymaster, Royal Flint of Windham. The 

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

northern depaitment was from Windham County — Vine filderkin, 

captain ; William Friszell, first lieutenant ; Abner liobinson, second 

licutennnt^ Lemuol Grosvenor, ensign. In the third battilion raised 

for service in New York, Comfort Sage, c^>lonel; Company I, was from 

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

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

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

Sylvanua 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 70 privates. 

Company 5, WoodHtock, Stephen Lycm, captain ; Joaiah Child, fi]*st 

Heutenant Company 6, Canterbury, Asa Bac^n, captain; Abner 

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

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


** Last evcnlnp, by express, I received another letter from General Wash- 
ington, requesting in the most prcssin*; manner, not to lose one moment time 
in sending forward the icjrlinents destined for New York. Must therefore, 
direct, that yon give nil possible Attention to the rnislng, equipping and send- 
\nfji forward Immediately your regiment In manner before directed, as the 
safety of our army under Heaven, depend:) 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 Thursday, 
July 4. If the whole company was not in readiness, they were to 
march with twenty-five men, forwarding the remainder as fast as they 
became re^y with all convenient speed. They were to see that the 
men were *' well furnished with good arms, bayonets and cartouch 
boxes, blankets and knapsacks.'* The order from headquarters 
expressly enjoined " that the men be furnished with arms, and that 
none be sufiered 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 ilezekiah Iluutington, who kept busily at work making and repairing. 

Digitized by 



As fast ns po8si)>1e the recruits were fitted out mid sent to the field. 
No time was 8|ieiit in 8]K>eclMnnkiiig now ; all oneigies were ahjw^rbed in 
preparation ior the approaching strutrgh'. Tlie County Oourt met for 
two days only in June. Judge William WiUiam8, Justie^'H Jahez Kitch, 
Ebenezer \Yilliam8 and Ebcnezer Devotion were present. Jedidiah 
Elderkhi was dismissed from being King^a Attorney^ ami appointed 
attorney of the Governor and Oolom/ o/ Connecticut. The select- 
men of Ashford eomphiined of John Stevens and wife, who had 
succored themselves un<lcr tlie Ministenal army, an4l of Adam Ivno\% 
who was stMving **as pilot in the Ministerial navy." The Court 
ordered Captain Elislia Wales to improve the lands of Captain Stevens, 
re-licensed the ut»ual nund)er of tavern-keepers, and adjourned. 

News from 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 I^ong Island was 
to give place to a hand-to-hand grapple with the British foe. With 
all the men and means that could by any possibility Im3 mustered, 
Washington prepared for the encounter. Very heavy requisitions were 
made upon Connecticut. In addition to the veterans previously in 
service, and the ten regiments enlisted during the summer, f<»urteen 
regiments of militia from the western ]>art of the State were ordere<l, 
August 11th, 'U(» march fbithwith to New York, and place themselves 
under General Washington until tlie present exigency should lie over." 
Windham County was already strongly represented in Dnrkee*s, 
Huntington's, Ward's and other regiments. Her ofKcers and soldiers 
under Major-(i!eneral Putnam, had rentlered effective aid throughout 
the campaign in New York, and were among those upon whose valor 
and fidelity W^ashington most coiifideutly relied at this dark hour. Most 
of the men who had been coimected with military movements since 
the breaking out of the war were probably with the army at this time. 
Some who had gone out from the ccmnty were there with their 
brethren — Colonel William Douglas of Northford, and John Chandler 
of Newton, lieutenant-colonel of (lold 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 exploits. Changes and promotions 
were nnide 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 insui!icient. The raw Continental army, 
made up of incongruous elements, imperfectly drilled and etpiipped, 
lacking in experience and resources, was wholly unable to compete 
with the vastly superior force arrayed against it. Tidings of the 

Digitized by 



disastrous dcfent nt Hrooklyii and the witlidrnwal of tlic AmeiK*aii 
army fioin Long Island, sent dismay to every patriot heart. The 
Windliam County soldiers in the Connect i<,*ut Line snfTered severely. 
More than a hundred and fiHy officers and privates were " missing" 
from Huntington's regiment ah)ne.* Several men from Fonjfret were 
killed; Surgeon David Holmes and others from Woodstock and 
adjoining towns were taken pii.soiicrs. Durkee's and Chandler's 
regiments were detailed by Washington to cover the retreat from 
Jx)ng Island, keeping gunrd with intense vigilance until the perilous 
transit was accomplished. W^ord was then sent to them " to get (»ff 
as they could, in order or not.*' " Where are we going?" asked a 
bewildered soldier as they Stole off through the darkness over the 
black river. **To Heaven, I hope," answered a cheery Windham 
captain, prepared for any result With 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-fii*8t 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 preparing to march for the defence of New London, these 
regiments were soon under way, le<l by their respec^tivo offi<!ors. The 
troops of horse under Major Ebeiiezer Backus speeded on in advance 
and were soon reporteci at Westchester. 

They found affairs in tlie greatest confusion, the enemy threatening 
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 (county militia not 
unused to war, and having full confidence in their leaders and in the 
justice of their cause, gladly took the ]»lace8 assigned them in Putnam's 
division, and bravely stood their gromul with the older regiments. 
Scarcely, however, had they reached the field when tliey 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 

• John Wnklo of Scotland, a private In nunlliigton's rcgfincnt, thus reports 
to his parents :—** Tilt' lONM our regiment met you Iiavo no doubt heard of. 
Two hundred tuid twenty is the number nii^ssliig, lost in that oction hi our 
re^iuient, among which is our lieut.-colonel, Nurgeou*s mate, adjutant, si.x 
captains, twelve sulml terns, and almost all llie sergeants of I lie regiment. 
We are now left without any Held olllcer that is well Init one captain; liow- 
cvcr, we liope tliat almost nil lliat are nds^ing arc tal?en captive. Wc expect 
an attack from tlie enemy every day or liour. Our fortitude yet remains and 
we hope with a common biessing to be al>ie to inulvC n noble stand, and bo a 
means of savin**; our country yet— a rigliteous CJod jrraiit that wc may 
prosper. Camp at New Yurkf Sept. 9, 1776." 

Digitized by 



15th was a day of sore battle. «<Tlie regulars landed on the Island 
of York both on the North and East Rivers on Sabbath day 
nionting/* and l^iitnaui*s division was forced to make a hasty reti*eat. 
Many Windham County men were slain, taken prisoners, disabled 
by wounds, and cut 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 Kiliingly 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 patiiot lady who detained the pursuit, 
ssived his <1ivision 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 baggiige, artillery and works in which they had been taught 
to put great confidence,*' the escaped soldiers " lay upon their arms, 
covered only by the clouds of an uncomfortable sky.'* Before day- 
light Knowlton was out with his Rfrngers, endeavoring to ascertain the 
exact position of the British. This distinguished corps had been 
formally orgsmized since the retreat from Long Island, and now em- 
braced volunteer otlicers and men from several of the New England 
regiments, rea4ly to engage in scouting or any special service at a 
moment's warning Captains Nathan Hale, Stephen Brown, Thomas 
Grosvenor, and many other gallant and faithful men made up this 
heroic banil. On this very night or a few hours previous, Hale had 
manifested his patriotic devotion by volunteering to go out alone 
within the enemy's lines to learn something more definite of their 
position an<l movements. Knowlton soon came upon the enemy's 
pickets about a mile below the American lines, and engaged in a biisk 
little fight with their advanced guard, ^* gave them nine rounds and 
retreated '* in good order, though with a loss of ten of his Hangers. 

The good conduct of the handful of men engaged in this brief ren- 
contre, the insolence of their pui*suers 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 eflfect their capture. A detachment of volunteers matle 
a demonstration in the front of the enemy, while Knowlton with his 
Rangers, and three Virginia companies under Major Andrew Leitch, 
"stole around to the rear of the enemy." The movement was success- 
ful. The Americans behaved with great spint and steadiness, " charg- 
ing the enemy with great intrepiility, beating them in <»pen fight and 

* jAfttcr from Tlioiiuus Dike to lii.s puiuiits. 

Digitized by 



driving Ibein everywliere before them, and at last making an orderly 
retreat when a large body of British waa put in motion. This 
unexpected success, which greatly inspirited the troops and restored 
the confidence of the officers, was purchased by the sacriiice of two 
most valued leaders — Leitch and Knowltou. Hurrying after the flying 
enemy in the flrsfc eagerness of pursuit, Leitch w:is severely wounded, 
and " a bullet pierced Knowlton*s body." " My ])oor 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 carried from the field by Sergeant Nehe- 
miah Holt, assisted by General Joseph lleed. "Gasping in the 
agonies of death, all his enquiry was if we had drove the enemy," and 
his dying charge to his yoimg son — " You win do me no good ; go, 
fight for your coimtry." His death was a great loss to the army. All 
felt with Washington, that a gallant and brave officer, " who would 
have been an honor to any country," had fallen. Gifted with uncommon 
military genius and many noble and attractive qualities, he had given 
his wholly ho.nrt and rnorgios to the palriol. c;ume. " The favorite of 
superior officers, the idol of his soldiers and fellow-townsmen, he fell 
univei*8ally lamented." Washington and Putnam regarded him with 
peculiar fondness, and even the fastidious and world-experienced 
Aaron Burr was tenderly drawn to him, and ])ronounced him one 
whom it was impossible to promote too rapidly. He \v:is buried on 
the following day, September 17, near the spot where he fell, on 
Harlem Heights, with firing of artillery and customary military honoi*s, 
his beloved chaplain, Abif»l Leonard, officiating in the religi(Mis service. 
A brother colonel present expressed his sympathy in improm})tu 
verse : — 

**Here Knowlton lies— the great, the good, the brave: 
Slain on the flcUl, now triumphs hi the grave. 
Thus falls the vallnnt in the nmrtful 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 he ** had 
but one life 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. 

Digitized by 



These losflcs nnd disasters carried iiiourning and oonsteniation to 
every househohl in Windham County. Aahford was stricken to tl»e 
hoarl at the loss of its honored Knowltou, oven the man CJilknl his only 
enemy weeping over liim as for a brotlier. Many other homes iiail 
been bereaved and desolated ; many ehiUlren left orphans. Most of 
the shiin were men in the prime of life with wives and children depend- 
ent on them. Colonel Knowlton lell eight living children ; Captain 
Crosby of Thomp.son, six. Widows lost their only sons; fathei-s 
those on whom they had hoped to lean. There was wailing for the 
<lead and inlense anxiety for the living. Some were "missing," their 
fate left to harrowing conjecture ; some were prisonei-s, incarcerated 
in the sugar-honse or pri.son-ship ; many wore sick and wounded, 
suflfeiing eviivy imaginable discomfort. Disease was raging in the 
crowded cankps and devastating the retreating army. Every post and 
messenger brought tidings of fresh calamity. Thomas Dike of 
Tlnnnpson, writes to his parents, that his brother Samuel is missing : — 

**Thelast account I had or him he was sick ondin the hospital . . . and came 
that day up to the rejrinieiit, ))ut bein^ weak could not travel any farther, and 
ftcveral of the conipuny told me that there were cania«j:es provided to carry ilie 
sick that could not travel over to the Jersey s^ide, among which was Sergeant 
Jesse Larued, who is since dead, Sauuiel Dike, Amos Green and many 

Colonel Williams* regiment [iCleventh militia] is ordered oft' to the Jersey 
side, and we expect to go tVom here to-day. It is very Nickiy among tho 
ndlilia. William Smith and Kbenezcr Nicliols we left l)ehiiid. Soiomim 
Smilli and John Harret nnist stop here or return back. The Lord be merciful 
to us all for we liave got where the iniuibitants show no pity. I l)eg your 
prayers for me that I may be preserved from sin, sickness and sword, and be 

soon ret timed to my faudly and friends Remember me to Mr. 

Howard and his wife. Tell tliem that I have not heard from their brolhers. 
Tell my little children 1 long to see them, but when I shall I cauuot tell. It 
is ail confusion licre. 

Wt'Stcheater, September 20, 177G.** 

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

** I saw him at Saturday noon, Septcml>cr 14, and he said he tliought he 
couhl stand it to be moved, as lie did, but being so very weak it must worry 
him nuich. lie died Sabbath-day night aud had Ids senses perfectly well till 
he died, and seemed to leave the world very well ccnnposed. While he was 
in York, I never failed of going to sec liim once and twice a day, and spared 
no pains to get 1dm everything in my power to make him comfortalile. . . . 
1 am something poorly myself but not so but I keep about, aud 1 hope it is 
nothing more tluiu a bad cold. 1 saw ICilllugly company and they seemed to 
be in good spirits." 

Fears for the patriot cause aggravated their personal anxieties. 
Pressed on every side, there was little hope that the army could main- 
tain its position. From Oliver Grosvenor, commissary of Colonel Wil- 
liams' regiment^ came vivid pictures of the situatitm : — 

** Dkkokn, Monday, 2 P. M.. Scpteml)er 23. 
This minute the men-of-war landed ou i'aulus' liook where I was yesterday 
at this time, which was immediately after our arrival here, which was withiu 

Digitized by 



ten minutes after I got off ray horse. There was an alarm and our com- 
panies not all got in. Those that had immediately marched down to 
Paulus' Hook, whlcli Is about one mile and a half from our encampments 
which we made last night al)out sundown; and now this minute the 
cannon begin to roar like thunder, and the drums beating to arms, there- 
upon you'll excuse me fVom adding more, for how can I write when I 
expect immediately to be called to action? for tight we must or else retreat 
six or eiglit miles up North Kiver, as this Is a neck of land something like 
New York, and we expect they will try to land above us to cut off our retreat 
and the Lord only knows how it will fare with us. We have no fort now to 
retreat to near us. Colonel Durkeo's regiment left the fort at Paulus* Hook 
on the approach of the men-of-war, having brought their cannon and bag- 
gage. 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 
plac^ to Paulus* Hook to and from in the utmost haste to get a little bread 
and liquor to our people that were called for before they sat down to rest one 
minute. . . . God's name be praised that I 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. BIy 
kind regards to all. As to my affairs at liome I tiilnk nothing of them. I hope, 
God willing, to return home safe after some time. From your loving, tender 
husband, Olivku Giiosvrnoii.** 

" , Octoi)cr 8, 1776. 

Beloved Wl/e.— As I have opportunity by Post Morris this day (tho* 
but a day or two since I wrote), It gives me some ease tlio* 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 
tiic ni^lit, occnsloned by tlic sick of the regiment crowding int^ my room, 
not being able to get in anywhere except Into the church which has no fire- 
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 either 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 any intermission, it being In the room where I slept. I never saw 
such a night before and Is like to be worse ; the sick dally Increases In num- 
l>ers; some companies not more than two or three In their returns fit for 
duty; the rest sick and taking care of the sick. We liave carried a number 
out of 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 worse before I am better . . . but am not at all discour- 
aged, hoping in a few days to Inform yoii of my better state of health through 
the goodness of God, who wounds and heals again, and demands the praise 
due to his name for common mercies, more especially for signal deliverances. 

The above wrote In the morning wlien 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 
dlOlcult 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 find they are subject to 
in the camps, where sickness and sin so nnich prevails. Alas for our land 
which now mourns beneath the horrors and distress of tlie present war. 
This I write Friday evening. I have been much today as 1 was yesterday 
as to the headache, but otherwise better; so well that 1 was obliged to make 
provision for the whole regiment since dark, as the General gave out orders 
this afternoon to have eacli 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 
now there are a number I expect to hear are dead in the morning.*' 

Digitized by 



**FoRT Constitution, October 19. 

Through the still preAcrTliig aud npholding power and goodness of God, I 
am in that degree or health that renders nie In some measure comrortiible. 
. . . I have not eat two pouu4ls of meat this fortni«;ht. T have no relish 
for It. 1 get some milk, make some chocolate and coll'ee, but nothing suits 
ine so well as roasted ]>otatoes and apples. Cheese I want and cheese I can 
get, but the bread that we liave baked here is so high-seasoned with leaven I 
cannot eat it, 1 have such an aversion to it. I often think of and long for a 
crust of brown bread, but not one morsel have I eat since I left West Haven, 
but thus nmch for my hankerings after those things I have not. ... It 
appears quite uncertain whether we shall be dismissed soim; rather think now 
that the fate or salvation of our land is near ut hand; or, in other words, 
that there will be a sore battle fought before this comes to hand, and very 
like to mo within 48 hours. You'll hear before I write you of the enemy's 
landing yesterday at New Itochelle, 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 otf the heft of the artillery. Some of our 
people have been haleing up the caunon 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 lu 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 Corbin, who lives at Albany, lie told me 
Captain Klderkin was sick at his home, but heard nothing of Brother I^Mnuel. 
I wrote this in my tent on my knee when others are asleep. Embrace Churle 
for me. Yours with the tenderest sympathy. Oliver Grosvenor.*' 

These letters were most welcome even though telling of sickness 
and disaster. Communication with the absent had become very difli- 
oult and infrequent. The pleasant intercourse of the year before, tho 
running back and forth from camp, had all gone by. Now anxious 
friends must depend upon tardy ^* posts " and chance messengers. 
The distant post-oflice at New London, was practically of no account. 
A daily mail and hourly telegram were beyond their utmost conception. 
Postmen Morris and Craft rode to aud fro between Woodstock and 
headquarters as fast as the rough ways and weather would permit, and 
passing travelers brought news, not always the most reliable. The situa- 
tion was indeed most critical and alarming. Should the army be defeated 
in the general action that seemed inevitable, the whole country was in 
peril. The victorious British could sweep tlu'ough Connecticut as 
well as through New York and tlie Jerseys. New London and Ubodo 
Island were already threatened by naval forces. And in this time 
of peril and extremity Windham was left almost without protection. 
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 women and children. What mangel that 
every item of news should be seized and hurried all over the county, 
and the most exaggerated and distorted nimora obtained credence. 
New London and Providence were burned, or "Connecticut was 
taken," or ai'mies were marching directly to Windlftim County. 
Anxious eyes turned many times by night and day to the various high 
places where bonfires were built up to be lighted at the first alarm of 

Digitized by 



approaching peril. A kettle of bni-ning tar on the cross-ties of the 
liberty pole at Killingly Hill served as a danger signal for the sur- 
rounding country. The south neighborhood of Thompson suffered a 
very serious panic during these 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 through the 
towns, too much in haste to pause to answer curious questions. Re- 
port of these incidents magnified by excited imaginations flew all over 
the country, " Four men shot down dead in Dudley street," was a 
I>opu1ar 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 tiibelet had risen to prepare the 
way for the ex|)ected British army, and that "l^Ialbone's niggers" 
were coming on to meet them, burning and slaughtering every- 
thing before them. "The Tories are coming! The Tories are 
coming !" was the cry, sent to every house. What was to be 
donet How could they meet this onset? British and even Hessians 
might give quarter but only downright butchery could be ex- 
|)ectod from heathen negroes and savage Indians. Not a man left 
at home but decrepit grandfathei*s and paralytics, no arms, no ammu- 
nition. Flight seemed the only resource, and a dismal, 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 buBiness and family in charge of his wife. She was not one to 
run from the face of danger. A rousing fire was blazing in the huge 
kitchen fire-place, filled with kettles of water and every iron implement 
that could be mustered, with which she intended to make a stand 
agaiuRt the invaders. ** Ohl Granny Leavens " — the aged widow of 
the first William Larned of Thompson — was equally resolute. She 
had survived several Indian wars and two hnsbandn, 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 shall be, so 
ril e'en stay with Becky." Their heroic example had no effect upon 
their weaker sistei-s, already in full flight. " Tell Becky " they retorted, 
" that hot irons will fie^^cr do for the Hritiah.*' They hurried off lo 
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 
hobbletl along ; " Thither, I've forgot my plathter." " Hurry up, 
Asa, you'll never dress your knees again in this world," replied ihe 

Digitized by 



comforting sister. The swamp when reached was so ''damp, moist 
and unpleasant," that all could join with Aunt Nabby in her heart-felt 
ejecnlation, "Fd give a wedge of goold as big as my foot for one good 
dram'* The unfortunate 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 was /orgotCen in the flurry and left 
at homo alone, managed to crawl out of bed and stow heraolf 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 remained tranipiilly at home through all the pania 
Good Deacon Gay had gone with four of his 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 weapons. Hot irons and cold swamps he 
thought " but vain things for safety." Young Joseph went calmly on 
with his harvesting through the day, *' did the nightly chores," and 
then gathering the family around him in the great kitchen for their 
usual evening worship, read comforting words in the old Bible 
brought from Dedham, and *' led in prayer." Thus stayed and strength- 
ened they passed the night in peace. Nothing was heard of Malbone, 
or other marauders. The morning sun dis|Mt11ed all phantoms of 
ton'or. The wearied fugitives stole back from tlie 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 carric<l to cam|>, 
giving the men a hearty laugh amid all their Borrow I'ul suiToundings 
and forebodings. 

Even the darkest day has gleams of light. Windham Green had her 
fun even in thb gloomy autumn. In her eagerness to answer every 
requisition of Government she left her prison doors too slightly guarde<l. 
Four British seamen ojiptured the June preceding in II. M. S. IJom- 
brig, efiected their esciipe. There was an alarm, a rush, search and 
pursuit, but all in vain. The prisoners had gone beyond recovery, but 
left behind them a unique and lasting memorial — 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 
houi-s 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 afler the brejik- 
ing out of war. " Military treats," even then too much the fashion, 
had become more and more in vogue. Those hard-headed old fightei*s 
were also hard drinkers, and we may be sure that every company that 
marched out from Windham Green had its parting drama as well as 

Digitized by 



prayei*8. Prisoners were nllowed the liberty of the yard and ceii4iin 
public resortH, and no taverns were more popular than those kept by 
Mistress Warner and the Widow Carey. This good widow must have 
looked upon the English sailors with especial favor and sympathy, for 
to her was bequeathed the work of ait which had occupied their 
leisure. The comical Bacchus, with his dimpled cheeks and luscious 
fruits, bestriding a wine cask, was straightway hoisted above the tavern 
for a sign and figure-head, to the intense admiration and delight of all 
beholders. Returning soldiers hailed his jolly figure with cheers and 
shouts of laughter, and were only too ready to offer up libations nt his 
shrine, and the tavern of the sympathetic widow received a far greater 
share of public patronage. 

This escapade 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 of!\ce in the hope that he might ex- 
perience a change of sentiment, but the remonstrance of fiiends, the 
forbearance of opponcnffl, and the promise of hii^h position in the 
patriot anny, had failed to overcome his scruples. Kven now his 
fellow-towusmen were loth to proceed against him, but citizens of 
other towns unbiased by personal affection took the matter in hand, 
and represwjntcd to the General Assembly that this ollice of Ilii^h 
Sheriff was "in their opinion very badly supplic'd (by reasons we 
apprehend well-known to your Honors), and hoped that the ])lnco 
might be filled with a man whose princii)les are agreeable to the public, 
and at no time suspected by the candid ; would recommend CaptJiin 
Jabez Huntington, who had long served with good accci»tance. 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 surviving 
son, as well as the good of the County, and the public in general." 
This suggestion was quickly carried out, and the sheriffship transferred 
from the faint-hearted loyalist to one whose heart and energies were 
devoted to the popular cause, and who could thus administer this 
important oflice with far more zeal and efliciency. Nathaniel Hebard 
of Windham now served as jailor, guarding and providing the numer- 
ous prisoners with great 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 

Digitized by 



eastern regiments previously summoned to Neiv London, were now 
ordere<i to march with all speeci to Rhode Island. Colonel Eiderkin 
and Lieut. -Colonel Storra being occupied with other public duties, the 
command of the Fitlh liegiment was given to Major Thomas IJrown. 
Alajor Samuel ]\[cCleilan led the Eleventh, and the troops of hoi*se 
hurried on under Major Backus. Ere 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 connnittee with other gentlemen from Coimecticut, 
to meet committees from the other New England states, in Providence, 
December 23, to consult upon their mutual and immediate defence 
and safety, ami other important mattera. It was recommended that 
Connecticut siiould 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 chosen by (lovernor Trumbull to enlist this body of men from 
Windham and New London counties. Many other Windham 8oldiei*s 
re-enlisted during tliis autumn for continental service in various bat- 
talions and regiments. During this autumn of 177G, tiie militia of 
Connecticut was organized in six brigades — Davitl Wooster, major- 
general; Hon. Jabez ILuntington, second major-general. The Wind- 
ham County regiments were included in the fifth brigade, Eliphalet 
Dyer, general. William Danielson, Killingly, was now a[»pointed 
colonel of the Eleventh Regiment in place of Col. Williams, whose 
failing health compelled him to relinquish service ; Samuel McChillan, 
lieutenant-colonel. Company I, Daniel Lyon, captain ; Benjamin 
Ruggles, lieutenant; Nathaniel Brown, ensign. Company 2, Caleb 
Clark, captain ; John Wells, lieutenant ; Stephen Griggs, ensign. 
Conq)any 3, Amos Paine, c:q)tain ; Thomas liaker, lieutenant ; Wil- 
liam Lyon, ensign. Conqiany 4, Joseph Cady, captain ; Jonathan 
Cady, lieutenant; Elisha Lawrence, ensign. Company 5, Ephraim 
Warren, captain ; Daniel Waters, lieutenant. Company 6, Stephen 
Tucker, lieutenant ; Phinehas Walker, ensign. Company 7, Paine 
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 11, Samuel Chandler, captain; John Ilolbrook, lieutenant; 
John Whitmore, ensign. No special changes were made in the other 
regiments. Colonel Eiderkin and Lieut.-(/olonel Storrs retained their 
positions. John Dougl:is oF Plaiiilield, wau appointed general of the 
fifth brigade in place of Colonel Dyer, wlio declined the appointment. 

Digitized by 



Among her other engrossments Windham interested hei-self this autumn 
in iitttng out in Norwich, the schooner Oliver Cromwell^ for privateer 
service. Fhinehas Cary, Solomon Lord, Eleazer Welsh, Eleazer Spof- 
ford, Lemuel Stoddaid, Uezekiah Abbe, Arad Simmons, all of Wind- 
ham, and Thomas Holbrook of Lebanon, formed its crew ; its captain 
was William Coit of Norwich. Dr. Samuel Lee of Windham, was 
appointed its surgeon, and his two students second and third mates 
under him at £3 per month each. Dr. Albigence Waldo succeeded 
Dr. Lee as chief surgeon in a few months. Dr. Lee with Doctors 
John Clark, Elisha Lord and James Cogswell, and other physicians 
from 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 Windham County preparing for further 
action. Its citizens for two years had been so engrossed in carrying 
on the war that their own internal affairs had received but little atten- 
tion, and even the ordinary town meetings had been greatly neglected, 
but the prospect of a long contiiniance 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 depreciar 
tion of currency, and the increased price 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 com. The change in their political 
status, the severance of the tie that bound Connecticut to the Mother 
Country and her assumption 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 Grosvenor for the first society ; Dr. Baker, Capt. Daniel Tyler 
and Samuel Scarborough for Brooklyn ; Daniel Trowbridge, William 
Osgood and Stephen Utley for Abington ; John Grosvenor, Esq., 
Capt. Amasa Sessions and Capt. Ebcnezer 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 

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

Digitized by 



town will with one consent join with, and support to the ntroost of their 
power in carrying into execution the laws made for regulating and aflix- 
ing the priced of certain articles. 2. That a coniniittee be appointed 
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 armies." Plainfield 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 conmion necessaries of life 
at the price stated by the General Assembly. 2. To give to effective 
men $30 above the bounty aflixed by the state. Canterbury chose a 
committee to provide for the families of soldiers and use their 
endeavors to encourage men to enlist." Killiugly agreed April 14, 
that in case a hundred and nineteen able-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 encouragement shall be entitled to and 
paid by the town aforesaid, the sum of six pounds each man for every 
six months they shall continue in said service — but shrewdly provided, 
that if the General Assembly of the State should make any additional 
gi*ant to those soldiers, it should be considered as a part of the extra- 
ordinary encouragement promised by the town. On the sjmie day she 
further voted : — 

** That this town do freely comply with the acts of the General Assembly 
passed In December lust, stntiiig the prices of the necessaries of life, ami do 
resolve wllh eliecrfiiliiess to exert our best endeavors within our splierc to 
support the honor of that good aud salutary law, and will hold sueh as will- 
ingly violate the same In any polut as designing, mischievous enemies to this 
and the rest of the Independent States of America, and will refrain from all 
couunerciul connncree with them until they shall give satisfaction to the 

Eubllc for every ofli*nce they shall commit against tlie law, aud this town do 
ereby recommend it to all informing otficers as they value their oath or the 
good of their country strictly to enquire into and make due presentment of 
all breuehes of said act, and It Is farther recommended to all friends of man- 
kind without reserve to give evidence of any breach of said law to 9uch 
informing oillcer." 

Voluntown voted to provide for the families of soldiei*s, and abate 
the colony and town taxes of non-commissioned officers and soldiei's. 
Laws respecting engrossera 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 particularity, 
ordered, 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 parish according to the number of fatnilies, 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 

Digitized by 



the Assembly's recommendation, but again consented to part with her 
beloved pastor, and having found voice with the other towns thus 
formally expressed herself: — 

** Feb. 20, 1777. Whercns all public bodies of men as well as Individu- 
als belonging to the United States of America, at such a time as this, when 
tlielr snored as well as civil rights arc In danger of being subverted by unnat- 
ural, bnital, merciless and unreasonable enemies; ought from principles of 
religion and virtue, and from a sacred regard to the good of their country 
aud posterity, to manifest the most vigorous and persevering exertions to 
prevent so fatal a calamity, snd to deny themselves every [indulgence] that 
stands In competition with the public good;— We. an Ecclesiastic Body, First 
church of Christ In Woodstock, have once and again given our consent that 
our Kcvcreud pastor should absent himself from this church, and engage In 
the public service, aud assure him that we shall consider his pastoral relation 
to as by no means violated by his absence, aud wish him God speed." 

The Windham County Association of Ministei-s, 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 pleased to exercise 
us ; the decline of religion and prevalences of iniquity ; think it our 
duty to stir up ourselves and the people 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 oi*dcr might be maintained." A committee was 
appointed to prepare a suitible address which was published, and a 
thousand copies distributed among the twenty parishes of Windham 

Encouraged and strengthened by these manifestations of public sen- 
timent, Windham County entered upon the campaign of 1777 with 
renewed spirit and confidenoe, 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 reconnnissioncd as cjip- 
tains, probably in Dnrkee's regiment John Ripley of Windham was 
appointed major of four companies under Captains Ebenezer Mosely, 
Kiime, I^flingwell and Kingsbury, stationed at Ilhode Island, and as' 
when their term of enlistment had expired there was *'a great appear- 
ance of British ships and troops off New Ix)ndon," companies from the 
Eleventh and Twenty-fii'st regiments were immediately accoutred and 
marched to Providence under command of Major liipley, although 
'* the moi*e eastern regiments in the Stite had been frequently called 
into Bcrvice." Dr. Waldo was now a))pointed surgeon in Iluntiiigton*s 
regiment; Dr. David Holmes in Chandler's regiment, Dr. Thomas 
Gray of Windham, surgeon's mate in Durkee« regiment The Second 
company of the Fourth regiment of Light Horse were reorganized, 
Perley Howe of Killingly, captain ; Asaph Wilder, lieutenant ; Ste- 

Digitized by 



phen Tucker, ooniet ; Davis Flint, quartermaster. Spirited gentlemen 
in Brooklyn Imving liberally agreed to furnish " three or four light con- 
structed lield pieces and equip them lit for service," Daniel Tyler, Jr., 
and thirty-five petitioners obtained leave to form an independent ma- 
tross company, 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 plentiful. In the three months 
preceding February, 1777, 42,666 pounds of saltpetre made in Wind- 
ham County were received at the Willimantic powder-mill. Private 
individuals in every town were engaged in this manufacture. Abel 
Clark of Pomfret, reports 364 pounds made at his works, " out of home 
material, pure, clear and dry ;" the Elderkin brothers furnished about 
900 pounds; Thomas Stedman, 881; Andrew Durkee, 308; while 
others send less than twenty pounds. The selectmen meanwhile 
repoit 881 pounds in scjile and clock weights, shot and bar leatl, 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 suffered severely at Ticonderoga, and after 
helping to maintjiin that fortress for many months, rejoicing even over 
raw pork in their extremity of hunger, were forced to an ignominious 
retreat before Burgoyne's advancing army. INitnam'sdi vision ait 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 important forts, and great destruction of property, and Washington, 
after a laborious and painful campaign, chequered 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 Samuel McClellan, 6tted out in September to 
seiTO in the northern department, was detailed instead upon an expe- 
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 that 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 aiid disasters were bereavements that caused 
peculiar sorrow. Captain Stephen Brown of Pomfret, a most brave 
and faithful officer, who had succeeded Knowlton in immediate com- 

* Among these volanteers was Ephralm Sqoler of Asliford, whose regi- 
ment lost some eight or nine killed, and thirty wounded, and who had tho 
pleasure of Hceing '* the prisoners march by towards IIoad-Quartcrs, a very 
ugrecabio sight/' 

Digitized by 



mnnd, was killed instintly by a shot from a Bhip while defending Fort 
Mif&in, with unparalleled bmvery. Among the slain at Saratoga was 
Captain Daniel Clark of Plainfield, " 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 owa 
most gloomy prospects." Plainfield mourned also the death of her 
'faithful minister, liev. John Fuller, chaplain in the army, and Wood- 
stock's beloved Leonard passed beyond human judguient. 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 l>een cen- 
sured and superseded. Keenly sensitive to public opinion, he felt unable 
to endure the disgrace, and in the fii'st shock of mortification took liis 
life with his own hand. Putnam's aifectionate heart was deeply moved 
by this distressing calamity. Other personal afflictions were weighing 
heavily upon him. His step-son, Se[)tiinus Gardiner, a young man of 
great promise, who 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. Mi*s. Putnam, so long known and 
beloved, was greatly lamented by her old friends in Pomf ret, their grief 
being heightened by the accompanying report that she " had died in 
prison in the enemy's hands." Colonel William Douglas died during 
this year of disease produced by exposure on the battle-field ; Commis- 
sary Joseph Trumbull, and Dr. David Ilolmas 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, mournfully chronicled by patriot journals, ** amongst other 
obstnclcs t^ im|K3de our success." 

Public affairs looked more and more discouraging and gloomy. The 
winter of 1777-78 was one of great hardship and sulfering, abroad and 
at home, in the camp and by the fireside. The incessant drain was 
depleting the resources of the towns. The farms were suffering for the 
lack of suitable tillage, and production had lessened. There was 
scarcity of grain, meat, salt and clothing. Currency was rapidly de 
preciating in value, and financial affairs becoming hopelessly entangled. 
Ternble 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 sickness, death and even 
destitution went back in return. Mothnrs asked tearfully how they 
should carry their little ones through the winter, and " God answered 
them by taking them to himself" The oflicers with their slender pay, 
constantly diminishing in value, were even more embarrassed than 

Digitized by 




the Boldiers, whose families were cared for by the selectmen of the 
towns, and many were forced to resign to keep their families from 

Yet still, in s|)ite of disaster and disconragcment, the towns went 
bravely on, upholding the Government and providing food and cloth- 
ing for the soldiers — not only meeting their quotas, but sending 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 Continental C'pngress should be chosen by the freemen 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- 
erator, it was voted : — 

*' Tbat we bave careAUlj examined the Articles of Coufederation agreed on 
bj Congress, and tbink tbem well calculated for the proposed design, and 
cannot be altered witb any emendation better to accommodate us in this State, 
and tberefore voted to accept and approve tbem, and tbat tbe representatives 
of tbe town be instructed to give their vote for tbem in General Assembly ; 
also, to procure an alteration in tbe mode of taxation; also, to have tbe dele- 
gation in Congress cliosen in the same manner as for Governor; also, to have 
tbe del>ate8 in tbe Auscmbly as public ua may be, and that tbe yeas and nays 
in every important measure be noted in the Journal, and pul>ll»bcd, that tlio 
towns may have tbem ; also, to procure un act to bo passed to punlKb profane 
iweming and cnrtiny by disability to sustain any office or place of trust aud 
profit in any civil department, at least for tbe second ofi'ence." 

Tbe 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 bad been given to Ebenezer Griflin, Jr., of Canada Parish, the 
preceding summer, to transport 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 purchasing a goi>d sou-vessel, and 
loading the same to send immediately to the West Indies for salt aud 
other necessaries." Twenty-four gentlemen* contributed about seventy 
pounds for this object, and agreed to meet at Major Uipley's in Wind- 
ham, October 15, to make choice of ca])tain and supercargo, and con- 
trive such measures as were needful to accommodate aud accomplish 
the voyage. The "brig Zitchjieldy 130 tons burthen," was proposed 
and examined, but whether the project was earned through is ex- 
tremely doubtful, as measures were taken from time to time to pro- 

* Ebenezer Stoddard, Ebenezer Ilolbrook, Jobn and Samuel Dresser, Wil- 
liam Osgood, Jr., Applcton and Zacb. Osgood, Sctb Stowcll, Calvin Ilolbrook, 
Jobiab Cbandler, Jr., Jobn, Daniel, James and Caleb Trowbridge, Amosa Ses- 
sions, Jr., Josepb lugnlls, Edward and Benjamin Huggles, Jobn and Isaac Wil- 
liams, Josepb Wbitney, Elijub Dana, Israel Putnam, Jr. 

Digitized by 



cure this vital necessity from other quarters. I*lainfield ordered thirty- 
six bushels caited 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 supplies 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 offered to each man who would 
enlist for a years 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 foi-ty shillings a month, all in lawful money. A rate of sixpence 
on all the polls and ratable estates, to be paid in beef, pork, flour, &c., 
was levied to meet this outlay. Siniilur offers from other towns met 
with ready acceptance. Favorable news from France revived public 
cheerfulness and courage. Recognition, alliance and aid were offered 
to the struggling States. Soldiers went out again with hopeful hearts 
and patriots labored on at home, hoping that brigliter days were at 
hand ; but just as the French fleet was nearing the American coast 
came nimors more appalling than anything yet heard during the war — 
rumors of Indian descent and massacre in Wyoming's lovely valley. 
Those terrible rumors were but too literally confirmod. Robert l)ur- 
kee, Robert Jameson, Anderson Dana, George Dorrance, James Bid- 
lack, Thomas and Stephen Fuller, Stephen Whiton, John Abbot, Sam- 
uel Ransom, Elisha Williams, Timothy Pierce, John Perkins, and many 
other honored sons of Connecticut and Windham County, had been most 
barbarously tortured and butclfered, their homes burned, their farms rav- 
aged, their families taken prisonei-s, 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 af\er many 
anxious days received these stricken families, as one by one they found 
their way to the old hearthstone. Mrs. John Abbot and Mre. Thomas 
Fuller, each with nine children, and utterly destitute, begged their way 
back as best they could to their Windham homes. Mrs. Stoi)hen 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 Ashford, 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, «ind 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 sUirving, reached her old liome in 

Digitized by 



Voluntowii, hftving with great difficulty escaped from their Indian cap- 
tors and acconiplislied ihe perilous journey, the baby dying on the way 
from cold and exposure. Another hunted fugitive arriving at about the 
same date, was liufus Baldwin, an emigrant to Newport, New York, 
who had killed an Indian, and was obliged to floe for his life, and trav- 
eled through the wilderness to Canterbury " with only a chunk of raw 
salt pork in his pocket." 

Lfeantime another Cidnmity had befallen the patriots. Their hope of 
aid from France had proved illusive. The fleet, so warmly greeted, 
had only brought them fresh disappointment Another eft\)rt liad been 
made to regain possession of Newport. A large force under General 
Sullivan was to cooperate with the French fleet Again Windham 
County militia and troops of horse hurried down to Rhode Island. 
Young Joseph Joslin, one of three brothei*s sent from Thompson, gives 
a graphic picture of his share in the campaign : — 

** Aug%t$t 6. Did march to town and barrack in the Court House. 7. As 
soon us light, got up and 8ee tlie (^oiitiueiitiils march Tor Tivertowu; got some 
breukfast, mid tlieu I went to tlie New Light mccting-liouse and gut a canteen, 
and about 12 we set out for Tivertowu, niarchc:d through Fawtuxet into 8e- 
kouk or Keliol)oth, and did lie in the meadow on tlie side of a fence. 8. 
Mustered al>out 2 or 8 o'clock and marched into Swanzea, and then over 
Slaies Kerry into l«*reetown, and llien over Full Ulver t«) Tiverton, and I 
encampeil by side of a hay stack. 9. Hail Imwl of chocolate and went to rurado, 
and llxe<l our guns for busines^t; then rotle over the ferry and lantled upon 
Itliode Itfland ; formed and marched up to the fort, and lay down in the great 
chamber. 10. French did engage tiie English batteries with their ships, and 
cannonaded very smart for three hours, and brothers Jesse and Joint went to 
the lines scouting at night. I went upon guard to the bridge, and did sleep 
in tlie road. U. .lesse and John fixed a little wall to break the wind, and wo 
have nothing to eat hardly. 12. Knocked about and built us a stone house 
and covered it with hay, and it rained very hard, and the house lealvcd and we 
thoucht we could not stantl it, went about a mile and got wet to the skin, and 
found a hay stack, and almost chilled to death we rolled off some hay and did 
lie by the stack, and were almost dead in the morning. 18. Crept out, and 
came to stone house; found John alive, and after a while I got dry, and had a 
boil, on my eye, and did feel very poorly. Our folks fixed up all our barracks, 
and got a little green corn to eat." 

This terrible storm was the chief cause of the failure of the enter- 
prise. The Heet was scattered and disabled, and the land force gi-eatly 
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 — needful teams to be impressed if necessjuy — 
and now sends swift express, stating that the storm had wet most of 
the cartridges in General Sullivan's army, and bogs him to hurry on 
stores with the utnnmt dispatch, as powder sullicient for su[)ply witsnot 

Digitized by 



to be had in Providence. In face of this great disaster, Sullivan con- 
tinned his operations. Joslin reports : — 

"Aug 14. Got ap and paraded and inarched to the water and fired bj pla- 
toons. 15. Not well, nor John either, and all the brigades marched to the 
lines and we got our packs brought down and encamped in a huclcleberry 
plain, and 1 had a clean shirt and trousers come and felt very poorly ; blind 
wlih one eye, and not any tcnls nor ha*n't had but the heavens to cover us. 
Huckleberries very thick. We built a house of bushes. John aud I drawn 
out to entrench and made a fort and almost finished it. 17. Very poorly; ate 
nothing. 18. Still very poorly. The enemy keep a constant firing at our 
men while they are building iho fort. John and I go upon guard. Two or 
three wounded to-day. Many guns broke, some the breeches ofl*, some the 
barrels struck asunder. 19. A little firing on both sides. 20. They fire a 
Ullle; 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 
pliiin 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 man killed, one wounded. 23d. Enemy 
firing hot shells and we begun the brea.Htwork for the great morlar. Two of 
our men were taken. Jcnse, John and I worked till noon and placed the great 
mortar. 24. Constant firing. 25. Ail paraded and went to headquarters ; 
went three miles for rum. A great gun ball took a board off the store and 
struck here and there. 26. Paraded ; six or seven men killed ; an elghtecn- 
pounder split all to pieces and a brass mortar. Aug. 27. Paraded and took 
our cooking utensils and went to headquarters and delivered them up, and 
marched through Portsmouth to Bristol Ferry and went on Ixiard a vessel 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 prisoners, for 
there was nn Kngllsh privateer just by, but it proved to be one of our own, and 
we got along slowly and beat along almost to Conanlcut Point and cast an- 
chor and lay till light and tlien 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 the French fleet, and alarmed by rumors of large acces- 
sion lo the forces of the enemy, Sullivan was compelled to abandon his 
enterprise, and instead of the brilliant victory so confidently anticipated 
the patriots could only rejoice that the army had safely retreated. 
Several Windham County soldiers were slain or wounded in the "smart 
fight" with the pursning British. Theodore, son of Deacon Lusher 
Gay, of Thompson Point, a most promising aud engaging young man 
of nineteen years, died of sickness at Tiverton. 



WITH such reiterated defeat, disaster and disappointment the war 
dragged on. The succeeding year brought no improvement. 
Little was attempted or accomplished. Financial embarrassment, in- 
ternal dissension and insufficient supplies, compelled inaction. Never 
were affairs more gloomy and discouraging. The best that could be 
said was that the army was not annihilated, that the States aud 

Digitized by 



General Government still maintained their integrity, that after all the 
eHbits and expenditures of Great Britain, rebellion was not crushed 
out, the Colonies were not subdued. The people all over the land were 
weary, depressed and discouraged. Their property was becoming 
worthless, 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 purpose. And there were things harder 
to bear than discomforts, loss of propeity 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 Arnold. 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 offered himself and his services to the British commander in New 
York 1 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 soirow and discouragement. There were murmurings, and 
bitter wranglings, and selfish speculation and extortion. Men kept back 
their goods for a piice, though they knew their soldiers were starving 
and naked. The brief sessions of the County Court were chiefly occu- 
pied with hearing complaints 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 sharpera and oppressors. Ebenezer Gray, now 
Lieutenant-Colonel, thus writes of the sufierings of the soldiei-s : — 

** Camp, Jan. 7, 1779. 
Dear Brother— I wrote several times to my father and Dr. Blderkiii to 
procure roe some butter and cheese, and if tliey sliould not do it pray procure 
nie so me, and forward by the first State or Coutincntal teams that come to the 
army, for I am in great need of them as there is uothing to be bouglit here and 
our allowauco 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 tliat some 
oflicers have been so hard pressed by hunger as to kill and cat 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 fult before. I hope I shall be able to get well through it. I 
have no news only our preseut difliculties for vvuut of supplies. The patience 

Digitized by 



and sobmlssion of our men under such dlOlcultios and trying scenes are In- 
crcdibte. The avarice of the people, which depreciates the currency, Is, I be- 
llcre, the grand source of our present troubles. Your affectionate brother.** 

Doctor Waldo of Pomfret, retumiiig home during this winter upon a 
furlough, ** found his family on the point of famishing with mere want 
of food and every other necessary." Money received from sale of a 
small possession and such wages as had been paid him, reduced to a 
trifle in value, were now wliolly gone, and he was compelled by sheer 
necessity to resign his place as surgeon to protect them '* from the in- 
solence of pressing want." 

Tet in the face of all these difliculties and discouragements, Wind- 
ham County continued^ steadfast, trusting in tlie justice of the patriot 
cause and in that Providence which had so wonderfully led and sus- 
tained the people of America. The high position assumed by lier 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 the hands of 
government and carry forward the war. Though in the increasing 
poverty and scarceness these demands were very burthensome, the sev- 
eral towns never failed to meet them. Year afler year they taxed 
themselves heavily to pay bounties, furnish clothing, and provide for the 
families of the 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 in 
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 perforin any 
patriotic service in the same self sacriHcing and conscientious spirit — 
men who had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor 
to the patriot cause, who sent their sons to the front and went them- 
selves in any extremity, who held up 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 yeara, led the 
militia many times on alarm of danger, and Major Backus time after 

Digitized by 



tiinelniri'ied his troops of liorse to the relief of New London and Khode 
Island. ]\[cC]elhin not only served almost continuously in the field, but 
paid his regiment out of his own ]>ocket when the public treasury was 
empty. General Douglas, Colonel Johnson, Major Uipley, Commissary 
Waldo, and, indeed, very many of those leading men who had money 
at command, advanced it repeatedly to pay out bounties or lit off ex- 

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 
Trumbull, and after his decease was appointed by Congress, deputy 
oommissiiry-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 suffering army all provisions that could 
possibly be spared. Elderkin and Gray repaired their powder-mill and 
were able to send out fresh supplies of ammunition, under the su- 
pervision of their efficient and ingenious superintendent, Henry De 
Witt; and Hezekiah Huntington continued to repair and manulacture 
arms at his State Armory at Wiilimantic, while others with equal dili- 
gence and efficiency hibored to fuUill varying demands. Town acts and 
votes were still qnanimous. No attempt was made to evade military 
or civil requisitions. The leaders kept their ])ost and the people faith- 
fully upheld them. That spirit of detraction and suspicion which 
wrought such mischief within the patriot ranks was denounced and 
held in abeyance. Judge Ebenezer Devotion of Scotland thus writes 
to Dr. Waldo:— 

**We have many loud declnimers against the times, the very worst that ever 
were known; the Americaus have in throe years lost ail Iheir virtue, their 
honor, their patriotism; but what is the foundation of this outcry? Tlic prin- 
cipal thing is the depreciation of our currency, by which so many worthy men 
have suO'cred, 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 uuable to see wherein Congress has been to blame, except that it 
did not tax more and higher. This might have lessened but not prevented the dif- 
ficulty and might have excited in the minds of the people a most fatal uneasi- 
ness. Congress has been obliged, us there was no other possible way to carry 
on the war, to emit vast sums. It is a certolu 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 sucli commodities. It 
is, I believe, an undoubted fact, that the quantity of necessaries of life usually 
produced In this country Imve since the war dimiidshed, while for obvious rea- 
sons the demand has greatly increased. These two causes, co-operating with 
the first, viz. : the amazing superabundant quantity of money, have produced 
the efl'ect they never failed to produce in one instance since the siege of 
Samaria. 'I'he honest merchant and farmer have acted on the same principle 
as ever before— lu open market to sell their merchandize or produce at as 
high a price as the purchaser was willing to give. Kogues and knaves wo 

Digitized by 



have now as before, btit Qod forbid that the State nhoiild take its complexion 
from them. It is on this priiiclpic and not on the total decay of virtue and 
public spirit, I have to acconnt for the depreciation of currency. A people 
never lost their virtue in a day." 

Colonel Dyer was particnlarly sensitive and scrnpulons with regard 
to the fulfillment of every pledge and promise, and thus writes Gover- 
nor Tmmbull in reference to the Burgoyne contract which some 
thought of evading : — 

**It concerns us Inviolably to keep our faith and maintain our honor, 
pledged for the punctual fulflllmont on our part of all trcatlc'i, contracts or 
conventions, made even with our cuemlus; as wo would not offoued Heaven 
by onr pcrHdy. nor forfeit our honor and reputation in the eyes of this or the 
European world, which are and will be most atttrntivcly watchful over every 
part of our public conduct, and will Ax their opinion and form tholr estima- 
tion of these American States on no part more than that which concerns our 
public faith and honor. In the be<;;inning of this infant Binpire the greater 
care \h 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 2G, 1779, rc(pie.sting *Hhe 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. : Elii)halet Dyer, Nathaniel 
Wales, Jr., Samuel Kingsbury, Ebeuczer Mosely and llezekiah Bissell, 
fearing that by a long delay in so important a crisis 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 agreed in any plan proper to 
be pursued. J3ut as no method had been proposed 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 clai^n a right to dictate, yet since 
one must needs be first iti 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- 

With such unfailing spirit, resolution and pei-sistence Windham car- 
ried on the war. The substratum of strength underlying the early ef- 
fervescence was more and more a|)parent as the years went ou. All 
were ready to do their part and share in the suilbrings and sacrifices. 

Digitized by 



Men went out to battle and council and provided for public demands, 
and women labored as efficiently in their own esi^ecial fields of useful- 
ness. The burdens and distresses of the war fell very heavily u|m)U 
these women. They sent out husbands, brothers, sons, and labored to 
fill their places. Farm work was added to their ordinary domestic du 
ties. They had to take care of their siock as well as their children, to 
plant and reap as well as spin and weave, to cure herbs for their own 
tea, and manufacture their molasses out of coru-sUilks. 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 floor herself and made it ready 
for the occupation of her family. Somebofly in Windham Village had 
the enterprise to begin to build a house during this |)erioii, but when 
the timbera were ready there was not a man to help about the raising. 
Tlie spirited and capable women of the district came to the rescue, and 
under the lead of an old lame carpenter set up the frame of a large two 
story dwelling in so satisfactory 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 handiwork 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 
ings. Shubael Dimmock of Mansfield oumes 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 houi*s its black 
fleece was transnmted into a golden suit of clothes wending its way to 
the army. Mother, sistei-s, and neighbora, working with skill and dex- 
terity, 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 
ovei-fiowing energies to useful labora. 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 completed her eleventh year had achieved by the sole 
labor of her own hands — carding, spiiming and weaving — a toeb of tow 
cloth which she took down hereelf on horseback to Windham Green 
and exchanged for six silver teaspoons, to be treasured as priceless heir- 
looms by appreciative descendants. And while thus burthoned 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 corn- 

Digitized by 



mence making yarn and knitting stockings for the Buffering army " — 
but a single telegraphic flispntcli from headquartera was enough to elec- 
trify the knitting needles of Windham County. Thousands of cartridges 
were made by Plainfield women to keep up the supply of military 
stores at their depot. Sick and weary soldiers passing along the public 
highways were nurse<l and tended. A widow in Thompson, who had 
spared her only grown-up son to the service, found time with all her 
other label's to brew every day in summer a barrel of beer to stand by 
her door step for the especial refreshment of these way-worn soldiers. 

With such support and sympathy from town and fireside the soldiers 
sent out by Windham County could hardly fail to do her honor. Their 
early reputation for courage and good conthict was abundantly sus- 
tained. Many who had sallied out at the firat cry from Lexington re- 
mained in service throughout the war. The officers of Putnam's first 
regiment — the Connecticut Tiiiri* of 1775 — thus served with but few 
exceptions. Lieutenant Thomas Grosvenor went on from rank to rank, 
succeeding Durkee in command when that valiant leader was com|)ellcd 
by ill-health to retire from active service. Lieutenant Ebcnezer Gray 
served the whole seven years, attaining the rank of Lieutenant -Colonel. 
Captain Mosely was oflen called to comtnand the militia in special ser- 
vice at Rhode Island or New London. Captains Dana, Clark, Cleft, 
Manning ; Lieutenants Daniel Marcy, John Keyes, Daniel Allen, John 
Adams, Melatiah Bingham, Benoni Cutler, Josiah Cleveland, Nathaniel 
Webb, William and Stephen 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 hundreds of subsequent recruits. Their beloved 
lea<ler and general, 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 conmiand through 
all their privations and disappointments. Even when roused by poor 
food, insufficient clothing and woi*se 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 lada, whither are you going? Do you Intend to desert your of- 
ficers and to Invite the enemy to follow you into the country? Whose cause 
have you been flglitlug and Huflering so long in? Is it not your own? Ilnvo 
you no property, no parents, wives or chihircn? You liavc bclmved like men 
so far. All the world is full of your pniiscs, and posterity will stand aston- 
iMlied at your deeds, but not if you npoli it nil at last. Don't you consider 
how much the country Is distressed l)y tlie war nnd llint your officers have not 
been any better paid than yourselves? But we nil expect better times and 
that the country will do us ample Justice. Let us nil stand by one another, 
then, and tight it out lilce brave soldiers. Think what a shame It would be for 
Connecticut mcu to ruu away fioni their ofllccrs !** 

Digitized by 



Many of these old Windham heroes were noted in the army. Diah 
Farnham was the bully among Connecticut soldiers ; Ralph Furnham, 
the heaviest nmn in the Connecticut line, but a wiry little Killingly ex- 
pert managed to bring down both those mighty champitms. It was 
said that Sergeant 'Hijah Puller could throw any man in the army but 
lialph Farnham, and carried this big fellow off on his back when he 
was wounded 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," liring him down, and hurry on with 
his W(mnded conn'atlc. Captain Abncr Robinson of Scotland, Josiali 
Cleveland of Canterbury, Daniel Knowlton of Ashford, Joel Webb, 
Jos<«ph Ashley, John Burnap and John Bingham of Windham, and many 
Irom other towns, were valiant veterans serving throughout the war, 
returning to the field at the first opportunity, if wounded or taken cap- 
tive. Daniel Knowlton was twenty-three months in the enemy's hands, 
sutleriiig from bad air, bad food and every possible discomfort and an- 
noyance. When first taken ho was confined in an old meeting-house 
without a panicle of food or drink for four days. A compassionate 
woman, hearing of the condition of these 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 slate, 
the feeling of hunger had passed, their only suffering was from faint- 
ness, and buj. for her timely relief they would soon have perished. But 
while those hardy veterans withstood for so many years danger, disease 
and imprisonment, thousands had |>erished on the way — some slain in 
battle, the greater immber dying from sickness or imprisomnent Un- 
numbered sons of Windham County homes were sleeping in unknown 
graves in ilistant States. No tongue or pen can do justice to the ser- 
vice and sufferings of these men. Their names ctmnot be sought out ; 
their deeds cannot be recorded. The system of enrollment at that date 
was BO 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 militia 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 families sent very large representations. It is said 
that aeoenteen cousins named Fuller in Windham's second society were 
in the service, and Adams's and Cleveland's almost without number. 
Peter Adams of Brooklyn, and Ephvaira 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 

Digitized by 



from the clmrch records of Plaiiifielcl, could probably 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 Navy nftor April I, 1775 : — 
Sntnucl Gary. Hoxbury ; RoMwell Spauldin/;, Aaa Cliapmnn, 1775; William 
DimlaiN 1776; John Kiiig8lHiry, New York-ward, 1777; 8ainuel Cole, Zernlah 
Sliurtlcti; New York-wnrdt 1776; four negroes by Hick ucsh; William Farnbam, 
captlvlij; Captain Daniel Clark, Paul Adam^, killed at Stillwater, Sept. 19, 
1777; Asa Kingsbury's son killed at Fort Miftlin, nigh Phlindeiphla; Dr. 
Nalhanlel Spalding died at Halifax a prisoner, last of 1777; Dr. Phlnebas 
Park hurst, surgeon of brig Jtesistance, died at Portland, May. 1778; Daniel 
Parish died at Newport a prisoner; Simon Spalding at Martinique after 
being wounded ; Enos Tew, New York, captivity, Dr. Ebenezer Koblnson, 
Jr., at New York, prisoner, July, 1779." 

And still despite these many losses the quota was kept up from year 
to year. Tlie spirit evoked in " 76" outlived the sufferings and strug- 
gles of succeeding years. As fathers and older brothers were strickeu 
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-Neck, and saw 
General Putnam plunge down the steep bluflf, the bullets of the baffled 
dragoons whizzing around him and even passing through his hat. 
William Enton 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. Jjevi 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 Capt. Nathaniel 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 1 " 
besought his distressed aunt. " Yes," he cheerily answered, *• but 
doirt tell father," and so he went to his fate in the Jersey prison-ship. 
Undeterred by the hard experience of those who had gone before, 
young men were still enger 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 infusion of new blood and niiisole 

Digitized by 



into the army. Tho patieiico and fortitude of tlieae men, young and 
old alike, amid such depth of destitution and discomfort, excited the 
wondering admiration of Washington and sympathetic otficers. 
Turning Iheir very wants and woes into sportive song,* they faith- 
fully kept their ])osts and did their duty, trusting that their labors 
and sacrifices would at length meet fitting reward and help work out 
tho freedom and prosperity of their country. 

Though the carrying on of the war was the firat and chief object 
during the Revolutionary period, Windham was not wholly absorbed 
by it Amid nil the distractions and jierplexities 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 theit) was decided 
growth and progress. Experience was widened ; ingenuity and inven- 
tion stimulated. Among the gains of the time were substantial fami- 
lies from 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 Pom fret, sell- 
ing groceries and liquors. Hannah Miller of Boston, obliged '* to 
ilee from the merciless troops of that town as from a nest of hornets," 
sought refuge in the happy and peaceful SUtte of Connecticut with a 
hogshead of rum and a tierce of coffee which she " had brought to 
live upon," selling and bartering 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 severely by loss of 
men, diminished means, public distractions and increasing skepticism. 

* A lady in Chaplin sends this fragment, sung to her in childhood by Mr. 
Joseph Martin, a Hue singer and prominent person in the community and 
ctiurcli, wiio used to take her on his Icnee and sing to her many of ihe old 
lievolutionary 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 I am glad 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 I glad of a bundle of straw 

To keep my head off from 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 on Indian town." 

Digitized by 



The Baptists alone gained ground. Their bold and earnest champion- 
ship of civil and religious freedom was in nnisoii with the spirit of the 
age, and brought them into public favor. Their grovvtli in Windham 
County was greatly aided by the influence of President Manning of 
Brown Univei-sity, 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 organised in the 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. JManning was present, 
and preached the ordination sermon. During this busy summer of 
1776, a Baptist society was also organized in Pomfret. Public i-eligious 
services were held by Mr. Manning at the houses of the Thurbera and 
other friends, which excited much interest The Uev. JSIr. Putnam 
was considerably annoyed by this invasioti 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 i-esult 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 residetits of the Quinebaug 
Valley in Pomfret and Killingly organized as a distinct religious 
society, and instituted regular worship. Tho Rev. Mr. Kelly labored 
with them for a time, holding services at convenient residences, which 
were " attended by a large gathering of people, and the prospect was 
encouraging of great good to be done." After liis 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. Ilitlierto 
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 stiinding were entering the Baptist ranks and 
a different ministry was demanded. Mr. Manning besought Mr. 
Ustick to visit Pomfret ami lielp the people under their disappoint.- 
ment, and should he decide to settle there he wished him immediately 
"to engage in a Latin school as a nursery 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 [larts of the country." Mr. Ustick did 
not think best to occupy this field, and no permanent pastor was 
secured, nor church organization effected at that date. President 
Manning looked after its interests as long as he was at liberty, and 
often visited his friends in Windham County, confirming and encourag- 

Digitized by 



ing llie churches, and preaching " to crowded audiences, very attentive 
and aitVcietl." 

The only Congregational churches formed during this period was 
that of Eastford, and one in the north part of Windham. Several of 
the churches were weakened by (he loss of their pastors. The church 
on Woodstock Hill was very seriously affected by the long absence 
and sorrowful death of Hev. Abiel Leonard. The services of Eliphalet 
Lyman of Lebanon, proved acceptable to church society, but their 
hereditary dread of Say brook Platform and Connecticut derelictions 
obliged them to make a searching iuipiiry into his views and principles 
respecting church government and discipline before venturing to 
invite him to settlement. The investigating committee reported his 
doctrinal sentiments to be Calvinistic ; as to government, 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 right of the moderator to a negative vote. This giving 
satisfaction, a ^* call " was given and accepted, and Mr. Lyman ordained 
September 2, 1779. lie proved himself '^ worthy of the high and im- 
portant oflice," and aided in restoring the church to its former standing. 
Upon his reiterated assertion " that he ilosired 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 infirmities and dis^ibilities 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 oflice, Mr. Joshua Johnson, a graduate of Yale College, 
was ordained colleague pastor, December 27, 1780. The West Wood- 
stock (church wjis chiefly exercised by the difflcully of* keeping up the 
credit of the ministers salary, which so depreciated in value that Mr. 
Williams was obliged to ask for help. This deficiency labored much in 
the minds of his people, but af\er suitable discussion it was thought pru- 
dent not to make any further grant. INlr. 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 insciiption on a 
gravestone on Jiurial Hill, best tells the story of his life and ministerial 
service: — "John Fuller, alter watching for the souls of his |»eople as 
those who must give account, fell asleep, October 3, 1777, A^ 55." 

Digitized by 



III ntt^Mn))(in,u; to nupply the loss of llev. Aaron Brown, tho Fii*st 
Church of Killingly wns involved in great dinicnUies, unhappily mak- 
ing choice of Emerson Foster, son of the somewhat notorious Isa:io 
Foster of West Stafford. In face of an earnest remonstrance from 
Deacon Ebcnezer Lamed and other prominent brethren who mistrusted 
the doctrinal soundness of the candidate, the council of reverend 
ministei-s and delegates meeting at Capt. Felshaw's tavern, January 
21, 1778, thought it tlieir duty to proceed to his ordination. The 
County Association represented by its Eastern committee, concurred in 
this judgment, and Mr. Foster was ordaitied with the usual formalities. 
Tho result was most unhappy. Mr. Foster's aberrations became more 
pronounced and manifest, and so many withdrew from church and 
society, that it was found very diiHcult to fulfill pecuniary obligations. 
In the fervor of their eagerness to secure Mr. Foster, the society had 
offered him two hundred pounds settlement, and twenty pounds salary, 
— the latter to be made as good as the same sum in 1770, 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 
kvy and sweeping tho nieoliiig 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 reported that "such as produce proper 
certificates ought to be exempt from taxes.'* Disaffection rapidly 
increased. Captain Howe resigned the office of clerk, J. Cady Howe, 
S. II. Torrey and Jacob Leavens ref\ised to serve as collectors. Mr. 
Foster remonstrated with the society respecting encouragement for 
support prior to ordination. A committee W!W appointed to treat with 
him " about depreciation of currency^ and what will make him easy." 
Mr. Foster not only insisted U])on 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 reared. 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. Klenzer Afoffat, Capt. Cady and Sampson Howe were 
chosen to carry on a correspondence with the plaintiff, and aller much 

Digitized by 




delay and bickering it was agreed to submit all niattei*8 of diftioiiUy 
between them to Ihe arbitration of Esquire Wales of Winilham, 
Capt Nehemiah Lyon of Woodstock, and Capt. Cnr|K*nter of TA»banon, 
meeting to be held at Felshaw's tavern ; the previous conuniltee 
to attend on behalf of the society and employ an attorney to plead. 
The result of the arbitration was less favorable than had been hoped, 
and the society was obliged to make good its promise. No baptisms or 
observance of communion were reported during this unhappy contro- 
versy. Public worship was maintained with some degree of regular- 
ity, Kussell Cook and others supplying the pulpit An unsuccessful 
attempt was made to unite with some of the inhabitants of the middle 
society in 8U})porling the gospel. 

Abington Society was obliged to seek the dismissal of its honored 
pastor, Uev. David Hipley, 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 from etlicient service, whereby many 
became uneasy that his salary and support should be continued. '' For 
the sake of peace and to avoid contention,'* Mr. liipley consented to 
be dismissed from his office, March, 1778. The question of arrearages 
and equivalent was refcrreil to *^ four judituous and <listingui8hed 
gentlemen, viz., Keveren<is James Cogswell and Josiah VVhitntty, 
Col. Levi Nott and Hon. Charles Church Chaniller," and satisfactorily 
settled by the payment of three hundred pounils. This dismission in 
no wise eilected Mr. Uipley's ministerial standing, and he officiated in 
the pulpit at home and abroad whenever his health permitted, and 
supposed himself still entitled to all the privileges and immunities of hb 
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. liipley was compelled to carry his " distresses " to the 
Assembly, and ffght 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 propoilion 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 church committee, and 
influential members of the society, testified on the other hand to the 
past usefulness of their superannuateil pastor, his excruciating suffer- 
ings by which he was made incapable of bodily labor ; that his circum- 

Digitized by 




stniiocs were never afHuciit^ mid that lie htxd a family of children, 
young and unsettled, to educate and support from the profits of his 
farm. It appeared upon cross-examination that the ^^rammar school 
consisted of one pupil, and the three hundred pounds in the loan office 
had been paid in ]mper money at the nominal sum. An attempt to 
show that Mr. Ripley's disease had been agp:ravated by "taking the 
bark" was equally unsuccessful. The Assembly ordered the collection 
of the taxes to be sus|>ended and deferred decision from session to 
session, and thus the matter ended. Mr. Ripley was able to preach 
occasionally to his former charge, and no other minister was 8ettlo<l 
for several years. 

The Episcopal worship so prosperously esf4ibli8h(*d in Brooklyn 
Pai-ish fell into great disfavor after the breaking <»ut of the war. The 
King's headship in the church 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 faithful followers, conducting 
himself " in so peaceable and <piiet a mamier," as to retain the confidence 
and respect of the connnunity. Col. Malbone was also allowed to 
pursue his way unmolested. Though open and outspoken in his 
attachment to the royal cause, he did nothing to promote it, and by his 
ready wit and cool assurance managed to evade demands and disarm 
opposition. A pert little official once cilled to warn him to a " train- 
ing," or some such public service. Malbone — a cultured gentleman of 
much presence and dignity — scanned scornfully his insignificant 
figure, and taking him by the coat collar to a uurror, glanced at the 
images so strikingly contrasted and quenched him with the query : — 
" Do you think God Almighty made f/on to give vie orders t " The 
negro force that caused so much alarm in Thonq)8on and distant neigh- 
borhoods, gave no great uneasiness to the people of Pomfret, who had 
better means of judging its efficiency. The church 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 Biitish 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. 

Digitized by 



Stimiilateil doiiblloa:) by a legacy left by Isiiao Ooit, li^|., at his 
decease in 177(>~*Ulie Aiiiuial interest of which was to be applied to 
the niaiiiteiiance i)r a Latin or (iramniar school in the new brick houHO 
ill Plaiiilield ; and more especially for the benefit of poor children of 
good genius, whose parents are not able to give them suitable learn- 
ing," — the associated friends of education proceeded in 1778, to 
organize a classiiial depaitment, securing for rector Mr. Kbeiiezcr 
Pemberton of Newport, a gentleman of high scholarship and accom- 
))1ishmeiilH, and nnnsnal aptitude for teaching. His reputation and 
the favorable location of the school attracted at once a large number 
of pupils. Colleges and academies had been generally suspended. 
Seaboard towns were exposed to invasion, but this remote inlantl village 
oifered a safe and pleasant refuge. Gentlemen in Proviilence, New 
TiOndon, an<i even New York, gladly availed themselves of its advan- 
tages, ami many promising latls from the best families in the SUiles 
were sent to PlaiiiHeld Academy. The good people of the town wel- 
comed these students to their homes and HrcHidcs. A[ore teachera 
were demanded and the popularity of the school increased until it 
numbered more than a hundred foreign pupils, besides a large number 
from Plainlield and neighboring towns. 

After the traiiHfeivnce of tlui seat of war to the Southern States 
Windham was less actively participant, though 8(111 calleil to her 
quota of men and supplies for State protection and Continental service. 
The large number of men already sent out made it more dilKcult to se- 
cure recruits. Windhains proportion of tifteen hundred men, raised 
by (/onnecticut i'ov six months' Continental service in May, 1780, was 
thus distribute<l among the townships: — Asldord, 17 ; Canterbury, 9; 
Coventry, 18; Killiiigly, 87; Lebanon, 36; AfansHeld, 20; Plaintield, 
IC; Pomfret, 25; Union, 6; Voluntown, 17; Windham, 34; 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 McClellaii thus instructs the officers of two 
Woodstock companies : — 

'* In con8C(]uencc of orders received from Oencral Douglas, I am authorized 
to acquaint you that you nre appohited recruiting otllccrs for your compauies, 
and to be rewarded therefor— you, and each of you. are herel>y directed to en- 
list out of your said companies, Capt. Bowen, two, and Cupt. Paine, four, 
able-bodied eifectlve men to serve during the war three years, or until the lost 
day of l)ecemi>er next, unless sooner discharged . . . If said men are not 
enlisted on or l)ef()re the 2Gtli of Jnne, instant, you are hereby directctl to 
make a peremptory draft to make np your complement as above directed, to 
serve until the last day of December next, unless sooner discharged; and you 
will apply to the selectmen of your town for blankets, if need be, In the 
recruits or <lei ached men should not furnish themselves — and see them 
marched to the house of Capt. Natiia'l Clarke in Woodstock, on Monday, the 
third day of July next, by nine o'clock in the morning, In order to be inus- 

Digitized by 



tcrcd, receive their bounty and mnrcli on cmcnilltly to tlic army without re- 
turning to their respective homes. You will use your utmost endeavors to get 
the men by enlistment, taking the Act of Assembly for your direction. Make 
due return of your doings. 
Given at Woodstock, June 19, 1780. 

6am*l McClkixan, Col." 

A town meeting was held June 2C, when it was agreed to offer a 
bounty of forty sliillings per month. Colonel McClellan, Captain 
Daniel Lyon, and Mr. Ebenezer Smith were appointed a committee to 
confer with the several militia companies then convened and had no 
difficulty in ))rocuring the requisite number of soldiers ; and even at 
the succeeding call it was reported that they could get their men and 
double the number wanted at tlie pnce 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 £10D to any five men who 
would enlist for three years ; and generous bounties promised by other 
towns procured recruits without resort to drafling. Uequi»ilions for 
corn, wheat, beef and clothing were promptly met by all the towns. 
The raids u[)on New Haven, Fairfield and Danbury, the frequent alarms 
of invasion upon New London and Uliode Island, exposed the militia to 
continual call and repeated service, and even while gathering these 
quotas for the general army, a sudden summons hurried a large force to 
Uhode 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 Adatns and 
Captain William Frizzel, of Pomfret and Woodstock, were ordered to 
rendezvous in Greenwich, and the sclccttnen of the several towns to fur- 
nish the provisions to support them on their march. 

A\u\ yet, notwithstanding the increasing demand for men, money and 
supplies, and the little apparent progress made by the Continental arms, 
the prospects were brightening. It became more and more evident 
even to the fearful and despondent that whatever might be in store for 
them the States could not be conquered. Amid disiisters, defeat, and de- 
fection, there were favonible 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 IIuEzara at 
Windham for a week and at Lebanon through the winter of 1780-1, gave 
new life and stimulus, and encouraged the people to hope for better 
days. The Marquis De Chastellux dined at Windham with the Duke 
Do Lauzern. The gay young French otiicers were very fond of society 

Digitized by 



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 snuiggler. Molasses, 8[)irit8, 
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 oilicers were not compelled to wear homespun. Muslins, laces, 
and even silk and jewelry were now attainable. A fair young tianc6e in 
Pomfret, who had been much troubled in reference to her wedding dress, 
was gladdened by the sight of a traveling merchant with the loveliest 
pattern of pi7ik satin 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 bortie 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 
favor, 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 shinnnering satin. Revolutionary 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 /orti/ silver dollars^ and the ten yards of satin 
WAS made up into the tastefullest of wedding dresses and also fur- 
nished H 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 : — 

^^Aug. 13, 1780. The army is again fornicd and encamped at this place (Tap- 
pin or Dobl)s* Ferry). Two bi'i;(U(lcs of Light Iiifuntry, under the Marquis l)e 
1.U Fayette, are in front about four miles. General Green comuinuds tlie 

light wing, consistiuir of two divisions Wo now form a very 

Iteautiful 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 novohere — 
that is a place, if you can conceive of such a thing, at a great distance from 
every otlier place. We are building hutts in a central place in a direct lino 
from West Folnt to Fishklll, a place to and from whitrh there nevur was, or 
will be, a road— by land. At this place I um now buiUling a hutt on Thanks- 
giving Day, which I shall keep wilh a little beef and half an allowance of 
bread, wlihont any drink but the pure stream, wiili a thankful and grateful 
heart to the Uountil'ul Giver of all things, and in heart and soul rejoice wilh 

Digitized by 


nmoriTRrnNO rROSPRoxs, victory, kto. 201 

all those who have all the outward comforts and dalntleH of life to manifest it 
with. Moy you, parents, brothcrn, sisters nud little ones solemnly and 
seriously rejoice and be glad ou this day for the great and many blessings of a 
public and family wny which hath been bestowed upon us. 

My best wishes attend my cousins and acquaintances, and should be happy 
in Joining in the usual festivity, etc 

Edknr. Gray.** 

"Camp HmiiLAND, Dec. 22, 1780. 

Dr. Brother — I have one moment to write you by Calf, who tells me ho Is going 
to Windham. I om hearty and well and have got thro' the greatest diffi- 
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 hath 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 plenty 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, 

EuRNR. Gray." 

With fresh requisitions for men, beef, pork, grain and powder in 
1781, cnnic also renewed hopes of coming snccos-s and trinm]>h. 
Windham patriots watching eagerly the signs of the times, Jieard dim 
rumors of more fleets and troops on the way from France, and " flfleen 
tons of silver in French hornpii)e8 ; " and in Jime tliey were treated 
to the sight and entertainment of llochaml>eau's grand army as it 
marched from Newport to Ilnrtford. "Magnificent in appearance, 
superb in discipline," with baimer and music, and all the jnide and 
pomp of war, it passed in four divisions* over the great highway 
through Voluntown, Plninfield, Canterbury and Windlmm. All the 
country people iVoni far and wide flocked to the Provi<lence road to see 
the brave array. 13arrack-maj<ters appointed by the Governor and his 
council met them at every stopping-place, and provided suitable accom- 
modations. A hundred eager school-boys in Plainfleld village gave 

* It is quite probable that one of these divisions took the more northerly 
route to Hurtford through Kllllngly, Tomfret and Asliford. Tradition con- 
fidently asserts the passing of the French ormy through these towns, and 
points out the very place of their encampment in Ablngton. The accom- 
panying tradition that Waf<hlngton and LaFayette were with the army mnkc^ 
it <llflicult to flx the date of their passage* as liUFaycttc was with the south- 
ern forces in June, 1781. It Is most probable that the army passed at this 
date, ond the visit of the two generals occurred at sonic other period — per- 
haps after the cessation of hostilities. They arc reported to have passed a 
night at Grosvenor's in Pomfret, waited tor breakfast at the hearthstone of 
the Kandall House In Ablngton, and spent another night at Clark*s tavern in 
Ashford, where their names are still to be seen upon an ontique window 


Digitized by 



tliein vociferous welcome. Encamping for a day or two in Windham, 
ihey were visited by all the leading patriots. Mr. Cogswell* reports 
them "a line body of troops, under the best discipline; not the least 
disorder committed or damage done by them." Dr. Joshua Elderkin and 
other public oflicers accompany them all the way on to West Point, 
with great satisfaction to Count l)e Rochambeau. They are followed 
day after day by long lines of baggage- wagons and stout carts bear- 
ing chests of silver money, guanled by French soldiers. The com- 
bined armies "marched for the southward," the French fleet, reported 
otf Sandy ITook, steera for the south. Mr. Cogswell hoj)es that '*a 
telling blow is about to be struck in that quarter," but just as ho|)e is 
dawning in his heart he is appalled by a sight more terriKc 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 peiicef ul " Thursday afternoon lecture " hear the booming cannon 
and see the red light in the southern sky. Men snatch their arms 
and hurry to the scene of carnage. Their report on return conflrms 
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 ; Arnohl, 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 (/ounty, now aid-de-camp to Arnold, 
most active and eflicient in this terrible butchery and destruction. The 
situation of the New England States, destitute of fleet and army, 
seemed nu)re critical and alarming than ever before, yet again in a 
few days their anxieties are relieved. " News from Europe and East 

♦ While Mr. CogswelPs diary allows us a peep at the French troops en route 
for the iliidsun, a Journal kept by Claiiile liianchurd, coinmUsury of the 
French auxiliary army, enables us to look at Wludhaai throu^^h the eyes of 
Its foreign visiuuits:— 

*' At night I lay at Plalufleld, flfteen miles from Waterman's tavern. The 
country is a little more cleared especially hi the environs of Plahiaeld, where 
nevertheless there are only live or six houses. [ saw some farms sown with 
rye and wheat but especially wiMi uiai/e (what we call Turkish corn in 
Anjou) and also potatoes. I also passed through nuiuy woods mostly of oak 
and chestimt trees, uiy lodging cost me atleen livres. 

On the 17th Juue, 1781, I set out at half after six for Windham, where I 
arrived at ten o'clock, after a Journey of dfceen miles. The country Is very 
similar to the environs of Plainaeld; yet we see more pasture lands there 
which are lu the valleys, so we have to ascend and descend continually on 
this road. Windham seemed to have sixty houses, all pretty; there Is also a 

very handsome templet called In this country a meeting-house There Is 

another village between i'lainneld and Windham called Strickland [Scotland] 

which seemed to me to be pretty, and where we also saw a temple 

It is eighteen ndles from Windham to Boston [lioltonj, and we had to ascend 
and desceiul On the 18th I arrived at llarUord, the capital of Con- 
necticut, fourteen miles from Boston [Bolton]; the road Is anc.*' 

Digitized by 



Indies much againat Great Britain ; " ** the French Heet has certainly 
arrived at Chesapeake ; " " Washington and his army are there in high 
spirits;" and on training day, November 6, conies the great news of 
Oornwallis's surrender, and thousands exclaim with Trumbull : — 
" Pmised be the Lord of Hosts for our deliverance I " 

More specific details only increased the general joy and thankfulness, 
and made the glorious results more apparent. Durkoe's old regiment 
under Grosvenor had been present, and Windham veterans released for 
a time from service brought back full reports of the successful siege 
an<l surrender. All felt that the war was virtually ended ; that Great 
Jkitain would be forced to relinquish her vain attempts to conquer the 
sovereign States of America. There were still alarms from time to 
time and hostile demonstrations ; the army had to be maintained ; 
troops and su|)plies provided. The inhabitants of the several towns 
were now divided into classes according to their rate list, each class to 
furnish a recruit and take charge of his family. Negotiations with 
Great I^riLnin made slow progress. Mr. Cogswell in his despondency 
declares more than once ^Hliat he sees no pros|>eGt of peace.*' In 
September, 1782, a hostile fleet again threatens New London, and 
the militia of Windham and New Jjondon Counties are called out 
by Colonel McClellaii, but after two days of intense anxiety the 
intruder withdraws without inflicting damage. A flag telegraphing 
"P.E.A.C.E." is reported the following March. April 19, 1788, 
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 preache<l a celebration 
sermon which received nnich commendation. Jose))h Joslin of 
Thompson, shared with the last returning troopera their bountiful 
treat of cake and egg rum at Esqtiire Dresser's tavern, and inarched 
with them into "Priest Russers meeting-house" for religious service. 
The first soldiers were sent out from the public sanctuary with prayer 
and supplication, and the Inst were taken to the same sacred spot for 
appropriate thanksgiving, and yet it may have been difiicult 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 were many places vacant. The aged deacons who sat 
beneath tlie pulpit had laid their precious sons u]K>n the altar. There 

Digitized by 



were other parents there whose sons had been stricken ; there were 
widows bowed with grief ; there 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 bad been paid for them. 

Digitized by 


BOOKVIL 1783-1807. 



ANEW era bad opened. Windliam County was now a part of a 
free State, a confederated RepubHo. Tbc Inde]}endence of the 
United States was seonred and acknowledged. Old tbings had passed 
away, many tbings had become new. New systems, new politics were 
to be devised ; a Nation to l>e 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 o-onsideration — the men 
who had fought for freedom and those who had opposed it In the 
long controvei'sy great bitterness had been engendered. The cruel 
treatment of the patriot prisoner, the brutal massacres at Wyoming 
and New London had excited intense resentments. Tories had shown 
greater barbarity than British or Hessians, and were regarded with 
peculiar hatred. The few avowed Tories in Windham County were 
straightway diiven out of it No formal process of ejection was 
served upon them, but they were given to undei'stand 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 off 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. Fitch 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 lefl New York, in September, 1783. Though not abso- 
lutely forced from Windham, Col. Fitch could uo longer remain in his 

Digitized by 



old homo with any degree of coiufoit. The pei-sonal prestige that had 
80 long Bhit'hlod him from ill-treatment pjissed away wilh the lapse 
of yeaiu The new generation growing up fi>rgot his past services and 
position, and only thought of him ao an enemy to his country and the 
patriot cause. It wa» diilicult for him to obtain needful 8U|^ Ues for 
his family. Ardent Sons of Libeily 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. 11 is son complains to the General Assembly, that having 
been " proseculed, tried and acquitted for inimical words, an execu- 
tion had been levied against him for cost, as though it was not 
suilicient for an iimocent nian to suffer the disgrace of a criminal 
prosecution but he must be subjected to such enormous costs." Hroken 
in health and spirit and ruined in fortune, nothing was left for him but 
to withdraw from Windham an<l spend the remainder of his days in 
hopeless exile, the mdiappy 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 obseive and take care that 
those refugees and inimical persons who have gone from us since 
the connnencement of the war be not allowed to come in among us." 
Still more unhap})y was the fate of Joshiui, son of Joshua Chandler 
of West Woodstock, one of those bright young men so hopefully 
graduated from Yale College before 17G0. Settling in New Haven ho 
had won wealth and a high position, all sacriliced by his adhorenco to 
the king, yet the loss of property and home weighed less heavily upon 
him than his subsecpient conviction that his sacrifice had beon for 
naught. Visiting England to represent his claims and losses, ho 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 compiiss . . . The kin(;dom, without a mirnelc in 
its favor, must be lost. You can have no idea of their curruptlon, their 
debauchery and luxuiy; their pride, their riches, their luxury has ruined 
them. It is not in the power of human nature to save them. I lllve 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 this country. 

My own prospects in life are dalised. My only care is for my children. 
The idea of a compensation is very faint. . . . Thus this unhappy contro- 
versy has ruined thousands. The sucritlces, the prospects of my family, are 
not the only thing that Alls my mind with distress. I yet have a very strong 
afl'ection to and predilection for my native country ; their happiness would in 
some measure alleviate my great distress, but cannot suppose my country 
can be happy in its present state. I wish Dr. Stiles would admit into the 
library Dr. Ilolnies' History of the British Constitution to aid his country iu 
forming a new CouHtiiutlon, for one she must have sometime. 

For customs, this nation has copied after and imported the luxuries, the 
follies and vices of France. Dut whatever may be the fate of kinploms and 
powers of Europe or my own, I sincerely wish happiness, honor and glory to 

Digitized by 




the coantry that gavQ me birth. In the hour of contest I thonght, and even 
jet thiuk, my country wrong, but I never wlHhed Its ruin. I wish her to sup- 
port a diffnifled character, that can be done only by s^rcat and dignified actions, 
one of which Is a sacred and punctual ndhorcnce to public faith and virtue. 
My flrst and last prayer will be to meet where no political dispute can ever 
separate from near and dear friends." 

Colonel Chandler returned to Annapolis nnsuccessful in hi? mission 
and after further delay started, March, 1787, for St. John, New Bruns- 
wick, with his son and daughter, and all the books, papers and evidenoo 
of his colonial property, to meet commissioners appointed to adjust his 
claims. A violent storm arose an<l the vessel was ciriven among rocks. 
Hoping to secure it, William Chandler f.'isteiied a rope around his body 
and jumped overboard to swini 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 t^ look out and find where they were, but benumbed 
with cold he fell from it and soon died. The dauijhter and a friend, 
Mrs. Alexander Grant, wandered in the woods for two terrible days 
and perished from cold and hunger. The story of their 8a<l 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 suffered to remain unmolested, but lost muoh 
of his property. A seven-thousand dollar mortgage upon his farm in 
the hands of Charles Paxton, a refugee, was forfeited to government 
Lands in Ashford belonging to Apthorpe, land in Plainfield owned by 
Bayard, two acres in Windham in payment of execution against Eleazer 
Filch, "the real and personal estate of Nathan Frink of Pomfret," were 
also forfeited to the SUite. 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 first heat an<l bitterness 
of oonfiict had subsided, this old established claim, purchased by one 
of the most faithful friends of the early Colonists, was allowed to re- 
main with his descendants. Mrs. IVIartha Stevens, heir of Anthony 
Stotldard, making declaratien before the County Court " that she was 
always a hearty friend to the right« and privileges of America," was 
allowed to resume possession of her land in Ashford. 

Those unfortunate Royalists who receive<l such slight and ttrdy 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 inilependence by their arms had met but a poor return for all 
their sufferings 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- 

Digitized by 



oiuitB were mostly young men, without farms or trades or means of 
earning a livelihood. The Windham 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 gopd 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 suffered less than 
their officers, who had their families to support upon their nominal pay, 
the artizans who had furnisheil them with arms, and the town officers 
who had advanced money for their bounty and support. Three months' 
wages due to Dr. Waldo when he leil service barely paid a trilling 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 in) conipensalion but (he eertilicates of 
Congress for five years' commutation pay, which immediately depre- 
ciated to ten cents on a dollar. Hundreds of other officers were paid in 
the same way and reduced to still greater necessities. Among those 
who suffered mo»t severely in Windham were llezekiah Huntington 
and Henry DeWitt, who had devoted all their time and energies for 
many years to manufacturing arms and amnnmition 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-four thousand dollars in Continental paper," 
which so depreciated in a short time **that a hundred dollars of it 
would not buy a breakfast," and he was forced to struggle the re- 
mainder of hb 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 wiih- 
in the jail limits for many years." Many who had advanced good 
money to buy stores for Government were paid with bills which made 
them bankrupt. The case of Neheniiah Tinker of Win<lham, who 
" had laid out his whole property and pledged his credit in punthasing 
supplies for the army," was one of peculiar hardship. Dying suddenly 
just before the declaration of peace, the thousand-dollar paper 
in his hands " would hardly pay for his winding sheet and coffin." 
With heavy debts pressing upon her, and eleoe^i children to maintain, 

Digitized by 


RIIFFKUINOB OF 8(>r.1>1KllR, ICPO. 209 

the bt'ieaved wi<1ow alU»in])ted to gain tvYwi by prosecuting one " who 
hati reaped the benefit of her liiisband 8 transaction as contractor," but 
only lost the little that was left to her. With one bed and the remains 
of her furniture she took her children to her husband*8 workshop and 
tried to support them by needle-work ; but even here the merciless 
creditors pursued her. She held her two younsrest children by the 
hand while the constable sold at the door her andirons, chairs, 
bed, table, bedtling, everythincj but the barest minimum prescribed by 
law. The children gathere<l chips out of the street, and with stones 
for andirons, and a spoke of a broken wheel for poker, they managed 
to keep a fire and preserve existence, though of\en reduced to extrem- 
ity of destitution. But the strong faith nn<l piety of Mrs. Tinker 
supported her in the darkest hour, and her earnest ju-ayers were of^en 
followed by relief from unexpected sotirces. One Saturday night 
when she had nothing to eat Deacon Samuel Gray brought a sacred 
offering, "the crusts of several loaves of brend ])!vpnrcd for sacra- 
ment*' on the niorrow, together with wood an 1 other supplies. Other 
good i)eople interested themselves in her behalf and found homes for 
the children, and Benjamin Lathrop, the sturdy old Baptist who would 
tjike no hire for his pleaching, then took the widow to his own house, 
and with his excellent wife beciimo to her " mother, brother, sister, 
friend and physician ; " providing for her necessities, till her children 
were able to assist her. Eliashib Adams of Canterbury, (/apt. Daniel 
Davis of Killingly, were among the scores of sterling men " who 
sacrificed all for their country during the Jlevolution.'* And when 
their own estate could not satisfy demands, others, like Joshua 
Elderkiu, were "thrown into Windham jail and there spent many 
months." Many affluent families, once enjoying all the comforts of 
life, were re<hiced to poverty 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 oontidence in the future. A new spring 
and impulse wsis 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 ami 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- in Killingly, May 1, 1732, it was 
voted : — 

<' 1. That said town be divided. 
2. That Thompson Parish be a distinct town. 

8. Tlint Col. William Danielson and Mr. Daulel Larned be agents to pre- 
fer a memorial." 

Digitized by 



Their petition was opposed by a strong minority, showing tlint 
division would be very detrimental both to State and town, increasing 
taxes aheady so hnge that the inhabitants grojiiied un<ler the burden — 
and division was consequently deferred for three years. Brooklyn 
and Canada were also coni[>elled to wait till affairs were more settled. 
An application to the General Assembly in 178G, for a new county 
"witli Pomfret for shire-town," met with positive rejection, while 
Coventry and Union were incorporated into the newly-fonned County 
of Tolland. Ilezekiah Kipley, Shubael Abbe, Samuel Gray, Jr., and 
Ilexekiah Manning, appointed by Windham for the examination and 
settlement of war accounts, had meanwhile agreed to pay the balance 
due by the town ; Ashford*s selectmen adjusted the accounts of Ken- 
dall, Knox and liuss, for going to Boston for salt ; Killingly appointed 
a committee " to examine affairs of soldiei-s that did a tour of <luty at 
IIorse-Neek," while Seth Paine, Major Israel Putnam and Nathan 
Witter of Brooklyn, staked out a piece of ground by the side of the 
common for the purpose of keeping their much prized field-piece, and 
Canterbury's firearms, " properly scoured, cleaned and oiled," were 
stowed away in a chest, and its '^ wooden bowls sold, and taken ciiro 
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 CouiUy now resumed their wonted functions. 
Shubael Abbe was appointed sheriff after the death of Sherif)* Hunt- 
ington. Large numbers of tavern-keepers were appointed and a nmn- 
ber of impost collectors, viz. : Windham, Ebenezer Gray; Pomfret, 
Thomas Grosvenor ; Woodstock, Jedidiah Morse; Voluntown, Benja 
min Dow. Benjamin Howard, John Parish, Moses Cleveland, David 
Young and others, were admitted attorneys. In 1782, it was ordered 
that a yard be erected around the jail twelve feet high, as soon as the 
money can be procure<l from the County. The limits assigned to cer- 
tain classes of prisonera included ^* Capt. Tinker's house, Sanmel Gray's 
trading shop, 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 1785, a special 
meeting of associates and justices was held — Col. Dyer, Jeremiah 
Mason, Isaac Perkins, General James Gordon, present — who agreed 
to lay a tax of three faiihings for repaiiing prison 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 her usual alertness she watched the signs of the 

Digitized by 



times, aiul wan over ready to8)>eak her iiiiiul upon all needful cicciisioiiH. 
Immediately upon the dose of the war, October 3, 1788, Ashford 
commissioned Dr. Thom:i8 Huntington to draft tliese formal " instnic* 
tions" to her representatives : — 

"To Captain Simkon Smith and Iaaao Pkukins. 

Gentlemen :—AU\io\iixh we repose the hIiiiumI confldoiicc In your nblllty and 
intc^srlty, yet at this critfcul conjuncture of our tifTiiirs, we conceive It will not 
be dlsngrceahlc to you to bo Informed of our Hentlnients with regard to 
several hnportnnt muttcrH. 

1. Oppose all encroachinontA of Congress upon the sovereignty and Jurisdic- 
tion of separate States, and the assumption of power not expressly vested in 
tlieni by Articles of Confederation. 

2. Inquire Into the very Interestin*; question whether Congress was author- 
ized by the Federal Constitution to grant half-pay for life, and Ave years full 
pay to ofllcers— and if the measure be ilI-founded| attempt every constitu- 
tional method for its removal. 

8. Promote a strict Inquiry Into public and private expenditures, and bring 
to a speedy account delinquents and defaulters. 

4. Use your endeavors that vacant lands be appropriated for the general 
bcneflt of the United SUtcs. 

5. Pay particular aitentlon to the regulation and encouragement of com- 
merce, agriculture, arts and manufactures. 

6. We instruct you to use your Influence for the suppression of placemen, 
pensioners and all unnecessary olllcers. 

7. Also, to nse your Influence to promote the passlns: an act In the Assem- 
bly to enable Congress to lay an Impost on the importation of foreign articles. 

And, Anally, we Instruct you to move In the Assembly that the laws for the 
proMioMon of virtue anil good manners and tlit! suppression of vice, may be 
attended to, and enforced, and any other means tending to promote a general 
reformation of manners.'* 

The deputies from Windham town were requested to urge ** that 
efTectnal methods be adopted, that the yeas and nays upon every 
important political question taken in future in the General Assendily 
be iiublished." Also, to oppose the resolve of Congress recommending 
five years pay to ofticcrs. As it became increasingly evident that the 
existing confederation was inadequate, and that farther consolidation 
and centralization were essential to the peace and permaoenco of the 
United States, the situation was discussed with greater earnestness. 
Committees were chosen in several towns to correspond with com- 
mittees of other towns in Coimecticut, **oii the subject of public 
grievances." The proceedings of the convention c}dle<l to remedy 
their grievances by revising the Articles of Confederation, and 
strengthening the executive powers of the centr:d government-, were 
anxiously debated. The Federal Constitution when submitted for con- 
sideration and acceptance, was most carefully scrutinize<l. Canterbury, 
November 12, 1787, selected ten of her nnwt 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 Couveutioa at Uartford, " to take into 

Digitized by 



consideration the new Constitntion |>ro|>09ed by general convention." 
Public opinion wns at first greatly tlividiid. Many looke<l with sus- 
picion upon the new form of government as c:ilcu1ated to rob their 
State (»f its rights, an<l give too nuich power to the General Govern- 
ment. At Woodstock when called to the ch(dce of delegates, the new 
Constitution was heard on motion, and "largely and wannly debated 
nntil the dusk of the evening," when the meeting was adjourned after 
nmcli debate and opposition. A very full attendance but no choice. 
The Canterbury committee declared itself unprepared to report. 
Wiiuiham a|>pointed a day for especial consideration, and, " after a 
very able and lengthy discussion, the town resolved by a large 
majority, that as the proposed Constitution was to be deterniined on 
by State Convention, it was not proper for the town to pass any vote 
on the subject." The young town of Ilanipton called a special uicet- 
ing and appointed a large number of its leading citizens, viz. : Thomas 
Fuller, Elijah Wolcott, Philip Pearl, Ebenezer Ilovey, Abner Ashley, 
James Stedman, Janies Howard, David Martin, Andrew and Benjamin 
Durkee, Thomas Stedman and John Brewster, — a committee to con- 
sult on matters concerning the country, reported by delegates assem- 
bled in Phihidelphia, and draw up instructions for our delegates." 
These instru(!li(»ns were accepted a numlh later, December 17, and 
formally communicated to the <lelegatc, Amos Utley, but for some 
unassigned cause Hampton is reported ^Mm represented," by a State 
historian. Wocnlstock managed in adjourned meeting to elect repre- 
sentatives though ^' it was saitl, sundry voted not legal voters." At 
the State Convention assentbled in Hartford, January 3, 1788, the 
following delegates appeared from Windham County : — 

iriNdAam.— Eliphalct Dyer, Jedidiali Eldcrkin. 
Cauterbury. — Asa Witter, Moses Cleveland. 
Aithfurd. — Shneoii Smith, Hendrick Dow. 
Woodttlock. — Sleplien Puinc, Timothy Perrln. 
Thompson. — Daniel Lnrned. 
KiUiugly.—Sfixwj^son Howe, William Danielson. 
Pomjret, — Jonathan Kaudall, Simon Cotton. 
Brooklyn.— ^eWi Paine. 
PlaiujUld.—3i\wn2S Bradrord, Joshua Dunlap. 
VolxuUo\on. — Moses Campbell, Benjamin Dow. 
I,e/>aftoa.— Wlilium Williams, Ephvuim Carpenter. 
JUunfJield. — Constant Southworih, Nathaniel Atwood. 

The strong arguments urged in behalf of the Federal Constitution 
by those great men, Ellsworth, Sherman and Johnson, who had borne 
so prominent a part in its construction, allayed the doubts and fears of 
many distrustful delegates. Windham's Samuel Huntington, now 
governor of the State, and l/ieutenanl Ciovernor Wolcott, a<ldr4^sHed 
the convention in favor of ratifying the Constitution. Nine of the 

Digitized by 



Windham County towns voted in favor of ratification. Pomfret, 
Woodstock, Mansfield and one of the Lebanon dehgatcs were nnable 
to consent to it The great majority of the inhabitants of Windham 
County accepted the result with approval and rejoicings, and with 
great unanimity and heartiness proceeded to cast their votes for Wash- 
ington as president, and assume their various responsibilities as citizens 
of the United States of America. 





"YTTINDIIAM County's energetic shire town entered upon the new 
» • regime with great spirit and animation. Having borne so 
prominent a part in carrying forward the Rkvoi.ution she was equally 
ready to lead in buihiing up and pushing onward the Nation. Those 
public men who had Herve<l State and country so faithfully in the long 
struggle were growing old, cautious and conservative, but young men 
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 Windham 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 Gray resumed the practice of his i)rofes8ion, and 
engaged in public affairs as far as his enfeebled health would j)er- 
init. Timothy Larrabee and the older lawyers still continued in 
practice. Both old and new generations appear among town oflicers. 
Hezekiah Ripley succeeded Samuel Gray, Sen., as town clerk and 
treasurer in 178G. Shubael Abbe, William Uudd, Capt. £liphalet 
Murdock, Ebenezer Bass, Capt. Zephaniah Swift, Majors Backus and 
Clifl, were chosen selectmen ; Jlenry Ilewett, 'J'homas Tileson, 
Jonathan Kingsley, Melatiah JJingham, William Uobinson, John 
Walden, listers ; Jedidiah J^ingham, Gideon IMartin, Manasseh Palmer, 
Col. Thomas Dyer, Joshua Maxwell, collectors of town taxes ; Elisha 
Abbe, constable and collector of Slate taxes ; Josiah Babeock, Elisha 
White, Sanniel Kingsbury, Elijah Robinson, Nathaniel Huntington, 
Ashael Allen, William Cary, tithingmen ; Gideon Ilebard, Jonathan 
Badger, Josiah Linkon, Jr., Dr. Penuel Cheney, William Robinson, 
grand-jurors ; Jacob Robinson, sealer of weights and measures. 

Digitized by 



Sixteen highway survey era, four fence- vie wei-s, two pound-keepers, 
and two leathcr-sealerB, were also elected. Zenas Howes was ap- 
pointed t(» take care of the Iron Works bridge, near his residence 
on the Willinmntic; Capt Murdock had charge of the ohi bridge; 
James Flint, Jr., the Island bridge. Town atfairs required little atten- 
tion. The several societies ordered their schools ; the poor were let 
out to the lowest bidder. As there were many returned soldiers about 
town destitute of employment, and many idlers hanging about the 
village without regular business, depending upon jobs at Court ses- 
sions, the town enjoined upon its selectmen, ** To attend vigilantly to 
the laws respecting idleness, bad husbandry and tavern-haunting, and 
see that the same be tarried into effectual execution aganist such of 
the inhabitants of the town as shall in future be guilty of a breach of 
said law." 

As business revived under the new ordering of public aifaii*s this 
charge was less needful. With debt funded, credit restored, and a 
government to aid ami protect them, the people of the Ui»ited States 
began to reap the fruit of their hard struggle. Selfish laws no longer 
shackled their teeming energies. The world was all before thera to 
feed and clothe, and no man willing to work was forced to remain 
iille. The varioun industries initiated in Windham before the war were 
now resumed with reiloubled spirit. Agricultural operations were 
greatly extended. All kinds of farming produce were demanded, for 
home consumption or exportation. Shubael, Phinehas and Elisha Abbe 
and other solid men engaged in various *M)ranches of husbandry." 
(^rass on many farms had now taken the place of wheat, and great 
attention was given to stock raising and dairy manufactures. A largo 
surplus of beef an<l pork was barreled on the farms for market, and 
cheese became so plentiful 'Uhat a speculator could sometimes buy a 
hundred thousand poun<ls in a neighborhood." The su|>erabundance 
of wool developed a home industry — '* the knitting of woolen stock- 
ings and mittens for New York market" — by which many women 
found pleasant and profitable employment and several thousand dollars 
were yearly brought into the town. Peter Webb, Henry Stanley, 
Jonathan Jenningn, the Taii»tor brothers, Clark and Dorrance, Timothy 
Warren, and many other business firms successively established, were 
busily occupied in buying up these various products, and retailing 
West India goods and great variety of merchandise. Commercial 
enterprise was by no means restricted 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 acconnn4)dation '* Tiik Winiuiam," a brink little craft, with a huge 
frog cut in its bow for a figure-head. 

Digitized by 


windiiam'b prosperity, kto. 215 

IVIainiractui'es were nlso ))rogrc8sing. Col. Ekloikin triininrd niul 
enlarged Ins mulberry orchard, and resumed work in his silk factory, 
turning out annually some ten or twelve thousand pounds of hosiery- 
silk to meet the demand for fashionable long stockings. Ifandker- 
chit^f and vest patterns were also manufactured there "in considerable 
numbers." He procured a loom and weaver from Europe and suc- 
ceeded in fabricating sundry pieces of silk which furnished dresses* 
for his daughters. Col. Dyer expended much money and labor in 
constructing a dam and flouring works u])on the Shetucket in South 
Windham. lie also carried on a grist-mill at the Frog Pond brook, 
and gave his son Benjamin a thousand pounds to start the drug busi- 
ness at Windham Green. Dr. Benjamin, as he was called, went to 
New York and expended his whole capital in one purchase, buying 
it is said a hundred and fifty pounds of tcqfersy and other things in 
proportion. The Windham people made much sport of it after their 
fashion, but his immense variety gave him the custom of all the 
physicians in the surrounding country, and his adverlisen^ents claimed 
for him "the largest assortment of drugs, dye-stufls, paints, sptccit, 
c%c., to be found in Eastern Connecticut.** lie was accustomed for a 
time to import directly from London. The practising physicians of 
\yiiidham at this date were Dr. Samuel Lee, Dr. Thomas Gray and Dr. 
John Clark. John Staniford followed the art of working in silver. An 
industry deserving notice was devised by Ilcnry 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 oonununity, and by their sale was able to j)rovide 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 ojieration in all parts of the town. John and 
Ste]»hen Brown continued the manufacture of saltpetre and potash at 
their home farm on the Willi mautic. The neighborhood of the Old 
State Armory bad made no great advances. The fine privilege 
offered 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 Bingham " tended the grist-mill," and occupied an old house 
opposite built by Amos Dodge, an early resident of this vicinity. 
The red house built by Deacon Nathaniel Skiff, was occu])ied by his 
son Joseph, a bachelor with three maiden sisters. Bcla Eldcrkin for 
a time kept tavern in the Howes House. These with the families of 
Stephen Fitch, Zenas Howes, David Young, and one or two othei-s. 

* F/Cttcr from WIlHnm W. Campbell, Cherry Vnlley, New York, December 
25, 1857. 

Digitized by 



luado up tlio population of the ''GUI State." Yet notwitlistamling the 
comparative iu8igniHc:iuce of tliis part of the town, one of its resi- 
dents, little ohl Uncle Amos Dodge, '^ was ini])ressed with the convic- 
tion that Williniantic Falls was destinoil to become a great placi*,** and 
by his faith ami eloquence so wrought u|K)n the minds of liis neigh- 
bora that tliey actually consented to go out in the woods with him and 
prepare tiinlier for a nieelmg-house which he insisted sltould be made 
ready for the prospective inhabitants, but after raising a frame their 
faith failed them, and many years |)assed before Willinmntic 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 improbable 
to that generation as that Whidham Green should ever lose its leader- 
ship. The ettbrts made by the northern towns of Windham County 
to eifect a change of county seat excited for a \\n\e only derision, but 
the boldness and persistency of the leaders of the movement at last 
compelled attention. In 1797, Timothy Larrabee, Jabez Clark and 
Shubael Abbe, were appointed agents of the town to meet with gentle- 
men of other towns opposed to removal of county seat. So alarming 
was the pros|>ect that these agents were authorized to consent, ** that 
if a court-house and accommodations should be completed in any other 
town without expense to the public, courts might be hehl half the 
time in them." 

Business enterprises were stimulated by new facilities for advertising. 
In 1790, John Byrne of Norwich, set up a printing-press in the lower 
room of the Cimrthouse, and early in the following year began the 
publication of Windham County's iirst newspaper. 



Vol. I.] SATURDAY, ^SSRS^S^ MARCH 12, 1791. [Numu. i 

Windham : Priuted by John Byrn*^ oomabimub. North of Uie Court IIoum*. 

The journal launched upon the world under this portentous figure- 
liead was a modest little sheet of coarse bluish-gray paper, bearing 
little resemblance to its illustrious prototype save in the progeny of 
county newspapei-B destined to spring from its ashes. Striving for 
success in conformity to his motto, Mr. Byrne achieved a very credita- 
ble country newspaper, fully equal to its cotemporaries. Like them, 
it lacked 'Meaders" and '* locals." Its editor made no attempt to lead 
or form public opinion. Windham's rampant politicians cared little 
for such guidance but only asked for facts from which they couhl draw 
their own conclusions. General and foreign news was furnished with 

Digitized by 



all possible dispatch, viz. : foreign news of three months date ; congres- 
sional reports ten or twelve days old ; full reports from Connecticut 
election in three weeks. These, with advertisements, short moral 
essays, hamoroas anecdotes, and occasional casualties, made up the 
table of contents. Meagre as it was it satisfied the public. The 
Phenix was accepted as the organ of Windliara County, and in a few 
years numbered some twelve hundred subscribers, and was carried 
about in all directions by |)ost-riders. Jonathan Ashley of Hampton, 
was one of the firet of these riders. Another was Samuel Farnham, 
who gave plac« in 1797, to Benjamin Ilutchins, Jr., who would '*take 
the usual route through Hampton, Pomfret, Woodstock, Ashford, and 
Mansfield." The eastern towns wei-e visited by their own |>ost-man. 
All other mail acconnnodations were supplied by Norwich till January 

I, 1795, when a post-office was oi)ened at Windham Green — John 
Byrne, postmaster. Residents of all the neighbonng towns now 
repaired to this office. Letters for Ashford, Brooklyn, Canterbury, 
Hampton, Mansfield, Killingly, and even distant Thompson, were 
advertised in the Windham Herald. 

New8pa|)er and postr-office added to Windham's importance and 
influence. Its superiority *• to every inland town in the State in 
trade and merchandiHc," was reit^»ratcd with greater confidence. 
Its tmmerous stores, warehouses, taverns, and all places of public 
resort, were well filled and patronized on ordinary occasions, and 
on festive days its streets were thronged with visitors from all the 
BuiTounding country. There were the usual Training and Election 
days and mighty regimental nmsters. Most of the county convoca- 
tions and public gathennga were held in Windham, meetings of the 
Western Land Company, of the Windham Medical So<jiety, and of 
other embryo associations. The sessions of the Court brought a 
train of judges, lawyers and witnesses. Soon afler the close of the 
war an accidemy 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 te«acher, it maintained a respectable standing, and 
was well sustained by Windham and its vicinity. Public schools were 
yet poor, but efforts were made for their improvement In 1794, 
thirteen school districts were set off*, designated according to the 
fashion of the day by some prominent resident, viz. : 1, Frederick 
Stanley's; 2, Solomon Huntington's; 8, Jabez Wolcott's ; 4, Timothy 
Wales'; 5, £liphalet Murdock's ; G, William 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. Piivate 
schools were often sustained in different neighborlioods. 

Mucli consideration was now given to the improvement of high- 

Digitized by 



ways. Highway districU were iii8titutc<l identicjil with the school 
districts, and liberty procured to levy a tax to keep them in order. 
Projected turnpikes called out much discussion. Jeremiah Kipiey, 
Tiniothy Larrabce, Moses Cleveland, Luther Payne, James (Jonlon, 
and such others as should associate with them, were incorporated as 
The Windham Turnpike Company, in 1709, constructing a turnpike 
from Plaintield to Coventry, past Windham Court-house, which 
became the great thoroughfare of travel between Hartford and Provi- 
dence. Very great efforts were made by the town to compel this 
company to lay its road over the Shetucket, where the bridge was 
already standing. Elijah Selden, Capt. Abner Robinson and Dr. 
Penuel Cheney, were appointed in 1801, to negotiate for alterations 
in the new turnpike so as to avoid re-bridging the Shetucket, but were 
obliged to submit to the unwelcome necessity. After several attempts 
to keep up new and old town bridges, the latter was abandoned in 
1806. Timothy Larrabeo, Charles Tuintor, Eleazer ITuntington and 
Roger Waldo, were constituted a coiporation in 1800, "by the name 
of The Windham and Mansfield Society, for the establishing a turn- 
pike road from Joshua Hide's dwelling-house in Franklin to the meet- 
ing-house in Stafford," connecting whh a turnpike leading from New 
London and Norwich. The laying out a projected turnpike from 
AVoodstock's north bound to the south bound of Connecticut at New 
London, passing through Scotland Piirish, was very vigorously and 
pei*sistently opposed by Windham, and the road was finally laid out 
farther eastward. She also successfully opposed a road from Wood- 
stock through Ash ford and Mansfield to Windham Court-house, not 
only keeping the Courts but refusing to shoiten 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 Skiff 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 taverns might 
well flourish. Nathaniel Linkon, John Flint, David Young, John 
Keyes, John Parish enteitained the public in different parts of the 
town ; Nathaniel Hebard, John Staniford, John Fitch, received on 
Windham Green. The " Widow Caiy," now the wife "of John Fitch, 
had brought to her new home the jolly image of Bacchus, occupying 
a conspicuous perch on the sign-post of the "old Fitch Tavern.'* 
Travelers, court attendants and fellow-townspeople found agreeable 
entertainment beneath his beaming countenance, and in the other 
village taverns, famed as they were for the flow of wit and liquor, as 
well as more substantial fare. Windham's old-time reputation for 

Digitized by 



jokes and jollity was abundantly sustained in this day of prosperity 
and universal liquor-drinking. The many Revolutionary veterans 
resident in the vicinity were habitual frequent ere of these attractive 
resorts, fighting over their battles and telling marvelous tales of hair- 
breadth escape and harrowing adventure. Quaint old characters 
abounded whose odd sayings and doings furnished exhaustless merii- 
ment There waa one "jolly boy" of whom it was said "he could 
not go by Ilebard's tavern without stopping to get a drink of rum." 
A friend remonstrated with him and finally ma<le a bet that he could 
not do so. The old man went down town and marched triumphantly 
past the tavern. " Now," said he, " 1*11 go back and trent Resolu- 
tion" Once when somewhat obfuscated by di*ink he wandered off 
int^ 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 itt " ho 
•inquirc<1 blandly. " In Mr. White's pasture, near the bars." " Well, 
boy, fjo tfike it right baek^ that is my pl<tr.e to keep it.'' 

One comical old wag had a turn for rhyming. Meeting one day a 
rough-looking countryman with tawny hair and beard, and butternut 
colored coat, riding on a sorry sorrel nag, he flung up his hat at the 
uncouth figure and exclaimed : — 

<* Man and marc, beard and hair 
All compare, I swear I " 

Another, calling at one of the taverns when it chanced to run low, 
suggested as inscription for the sign : — 

'* Nothing on one side — nothing ou t'other, 
Nothing in tlie house, nor in tlie barn nuther." 

Among Windham's merchants and leading men were some who 
delighted greatly in jokes and storytelling. 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 milkings 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 in a pitch <lark night." X was obliged to hoe beans once, 
while his brothers were permitted to go fox-lnmting. He " heard the 
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 coidd get 

Digitized by 



onto his feet." " l^ut," says Z, " it was a queer time to have a heavy 
snowhauk in a lot where you were hoeing bennsT " Tlie cliniale has 
diaugecl in tifty years/' responds the unahnshed JSIunohausen. Ue- 
niiniscenccs of the cohl winter of 1779-80, called out some marvellous 
statements. '* The snow was already three feet deep on a level, and 
the day of the great snow it began snowing early very hard, but about 
1 1 o'clock it snowed as largo Hakes aa chl^yping-birds — it snowed an 
hich deep every minnte fur an hour and a half, and continueil to snow 
as hard as in common storms all day. Whereupon X relates that on 
the cold Sunday of that famous winter his family went to meeting 
about two miles away. The big dinner-pot wiis put on before leaving, 
with pork and beef, turnips, cabbage and poUitoes, all to boil together 
for dinner, and a big tire 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 I" That 
story, all agreed, could never be matched. X announced one night 
that he had discovered what salmon lived on. lie had found two Jlj/- 
ing squirrels hi the maw of one just purchascil, but the rogue who had 
crammed them dmtm the sidmons throat 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 tire that added 
zest to their sti)ries. I'heir host was noted for his exploits in eating. 
Three large shad for thirty consecutive days, with plenty of a<jeompani- 
ments, and a whole fresh tripe at a dinner, were among these feats. 
When melting silver one hot summer day he was known to drink two 
gidlons of West India rum without feeling the least intoxicated. 

A large number of waiters, hostlers, drivers, purveyors, occupied 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, an<l added to 
the general merriment. Negro men and boys were still very numerous 
and made nmch sport for all classes with their droll mimicry and end- 
less tricks and capers. Change of status made little difference 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 
supported and cared for. The most in'telligent among them was 
General Job, brigadier of the colored brigade that met for parade 
on the Norwich Line every year. He 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, ller secular all'airs were most nourishing, but religion had 

Digitized by 



sadly declined. It was a transition period — a day of upheaval, over- 
turning, nprootal. Infidelity and Universalisra liad come in with iho 
liovolntion 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 
stjictness. In former golden days Windham could proudly sing : — 

•* That her great men were jprood and her good men were great, 
And the props of her Church were the pillars of the State." 

Now, sons of those honored fathers and the great majority of those 
in active life, were sceptics and Rcoflers, and men were placed in ofiice 
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 i>ortrayed the 
contrast : — 

" In those days there were scarce any that were not professors of religion, 
and but few infants not baptized. No families thai v^ere ]mnfer!r:is. rrofanc 
swearing was but little Icnown, and open violalions of the Sal)l>ath not prac- 
ticed as Is common now. And there were no Deists among ns. The people as 
a body were fearers of the Lord oud observers of the Sahlmlh and lis dalles. 
But the present day is peculiar for men's throwing off the fear of the liord. 
Declensions in religion have been Increasing for about tliirly years post, such 
as profanenefts, disregard of the Sabbath, neglect of family relljL'ion, unright- 
eousness, intenipernncc, ind)il>ing of mmlcrn errors and heresies and the cry- 
ing prevalence of iutldcUty against the clearest light." 

The standing church had to contend with the fuieni>s as well as the 
foes of religion. About one-third of the inhabitants of Windham 
were now " certificate people or Sectaries," bitterly oj>|)osed to the 
ecclesiastic constitution of Connecticut, and the churches founded upon 
th.nt 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. liev. Moses Cook Welch of IMansfiehl 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 characterized 
by jargon, disorder and great confusion ; all were allowed to speak at 
pleasure, women as well as jnen, three, four or six sometimes speaking 
at once, while groans, sobs and sighs were reiterated by others." 
T)oid>tless this report iscK>lored 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 sonicw/terc, or, at leasts bear his |)art in maintaining 
some religious worship. The Saybrook Platform had been dropped 

Digitized by 



from the statute book in the revision of 1 784, but the old society organ- 
ization was retained. Every man within the limits of a sUited society 
wtiA taxed for the support of its religious worship, until he lodged with 
the clerk of the society a certiticatc of membership of some other 
society. The old Separates and Baptists were not in the least satisfied 
willi these concessions and wore still forced to submit to what they 
deemed a degrading vassalage, while the opposition of the free-thinkers 
to the established churches was greatly heightened by being obliged to 
help support preaching which they disbelieved and hated. Afler forty 
years of conflict the agitators had won the privilege of worshipping as 
they pleased and paying ministei's aller their own f:ishion. Now they 
claimed the right of 7iot worshipi)ing 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 lefl to 
tlie settlement of the individual conscience. 

The political 8tatus of Windham was greatly affected by these 
religious dissensions and complications. A large nhijority of her 
population were Federalists for a time, staunchly supporting the Fed- 
eral Constitution, and Washington's administration, but on State and 
locjil questions they were greatly divided. Connecticut's ecclesiastical 
constitution and parisli uystem, and those ministers and public men who 
upheld it. were very obnoxious to the Sectaries. There was also a strong 
radic:d element in the town, a feeling of hostility to the aristocratic pre- 
tensions and style of the upper classes, the college-bred (irays, Eldcrkins, 
Dyei-s, who had been so prominent in public affairs. Far back in 1775 
" a miserable junto " * had contrived to defeat Colonel Dyer's renonii- 
nation to Congress, and this opposition was constantly increasing. 
Sanmel Webb, a man of strong common sense and much native 
force of character, was deeply imbued with radical and revolutionary 
ideas, and had much influence among the masses. The few " Gnimble- 
tonians," or anti-Federalists, joine<l with the Sectaries, and in 1780 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 ofiice, while members of the stsinding church were outraged that 
n/rce-thiid'er aUowUX be sent to represent them. The ministers of these 
churches, Messrs. White and Cogswell, " were grieved and displeased 

* Letters of Silas Deane. 

Digitized by 



that men sboiihl have so little regjird for religion ns to choose n man 
for deputy who has none," and marvelled at the inconsistency of "those 
Separates, Jinptista and enthusiasts who pretend to so much more 
religion than we, yet vote for a |>rofane, irreligious man, who scarce 
ever attends public worship." IJev. Moses Cook Welch, now settled 
in Mansfield Centre, was loud in condemnation of their conduct In 
spite 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 religions warfare. Charges of extortion and imprisonment hurled 
against the standing churches were met by accusations of excesses and 
immoralities. The ministei-s 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, ihtii my preaching did good yesterda}', forjudge 
Devotion had almost as m;my votes as Swift" In 1793, Swift wjis sent 
to Congress, the first representative from northeast Connecticut. 

As inherent differences of opinion became more defined and out- 
spoken, and opposition to Federalism assumed political organism, 
Windham was ready for the conflict Swift indeed koj)t his place in 
the Federal ranks, but a great majority of the opponents to the 
standing order accepted Jefferson 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 Iferaldj en- 
deavored by every means in their power to stay the progress of these 
pernicious principles and check the gi'owth of this insurrectionary 
party. When in addition to their assaults upon the General Govern- 
ment, they proceeded to attack the Conatitution of Connecticut^ and 
propose a substitute for that sacred Charter under which its inhabitants 
bad enjoyed such freedom and privileges, words were inadequate to 
express their indignation. Peter Webb, a successful merchant in 
Windham town, was one of the first to discover and proclaim that 
Connecticut "had no goverimient." When Pierpont Edwards in 1804, 
issued a circular calling u[)on Ilepublicans " to meet in convention at 
14 ew Haven upon the subject of forming a constitution," a corres- 

Digitized by 



poiidcnt of the Windham Herald thus describes its reoepUou in 
AVindhain Comity : — 

** III the town of Sterling, a mcctin;; was convened by Mr. Lcmncl Dor- 
rnncc, to whom tlip clrcnlar letter of Mr. Kd wards was A«Ulre.sscd. Mr. I)or- 
rance wad chosen chairiuan of the meeting. It was composed of twenty-nino 
or thirty persons, and on discnsslon of the subject of the clrcnlar letter, it 
was voted that no delegate should be chosen. Whether Mr. Dorrance obeyed 
the direction of the letter, to come on hiniaelf, If none was chosen, we are not 
fnlly assured. 

The circular was submitted to a meeting of those who call themselves 
republicans (exclusively), on the 18th of August, inst., at Plainfleld. The 
meeting was attended by more iiiend>ors than any other meeting of the kind 
ever held in that lown, and on fUU deliberation It was (wo mention It to their 
honor) voted not to clioose 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. Klias Woodward, llow 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 towu. 

In the town of Woodstock a meeting was publicly warned, and notice 
given, that it would be open to all parties, but when the democrats met, they 
called for a private room and refused admission to any but their own sect. 
They consisted of twenty'three persons, five of whom were not freemen, one 
is a pauper maintained by the town, and ten persons who have come to reside 
in Woodstock from other towns, mostly f^om Uhode Island. Mr. William 
Bo wen chosen. 

In the town «>f Tomfret a meeting was held and composed of twenty per- 
sons, six of whom declined voting afllrmatively on the question, and Mr. 
John Chandler was chosen by fourteen votes. 

Mr. Benjamin Arnold has gone from the town of Klllingly; 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 

In the town of Canterbury, in pursuance of the circular, a private meeting 
of a small number of persons was hohlen, and elected Mr. Bphraim Lyon. 

In the towns of Windham and Lebanon, we undei*stand they are In favor of 
a large representation, aud elected four persons In each town ; of whom 
Messrs. Baldwin and Manning attend from Windham, aud Mr. Andrew 
Metcalf, from Lebanon. 

At Ashfoi'd, Messrs. D. Bolles, and Jason Woodward. 

At Hampton, Mr. Roger Taintor. 

At Manstield, Mr. Kdniond Freeman. 

At Columbia, Mr. Stephen Buckinghara. 

We are fully assured, that whenever meetings of democrats have been 
holden 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 Aiends 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 " tbe proposition 
was received with coldness mingled with olarin even by those who 
bavo hitherto favored tlio democratic party, l^ess alarm would proba- 

Digitized by 



bly have been excited if tlie^ie CoiistiUiticm-inaker^ bad admitted that 
Connecticut now has a Conatitutiony but that it is a bad one and 
requires renovation. Hut whon the bold jijround is assumed tliat Con- 
necticut h;i8 jw Oonntitntlon^ and that all the acts of the Legislature 
for many years past liave been acts of usm-pation and tyraimy, most 
reflecting men startled at the consequences which may flow from admit- 
ting this ])roposition.'* Yet notwithstanding this alarm, and the 
earnest eflbrts an<l solenni warnings of the Federalists, their opponents 
succeeded this same year in electing Mr. Peter Webb as deputy to the 
General Assembly, and thenceforward the republicans were often able 
to cjury the elections, the Sectaries holding the balance of [»ower. 
The earnestness and eloquence of the Windham re])ublicans, and the 
prominent position of their town, gave them great political influence 
during the Jefl*ersonian conflict and administnUioii. 

The third settled pastor of Windham's First Clnirch, Rev. Stephen 
White, died January 9, 17D8, in the seventy-fifth year of his age and 
fifty-third of his ministry. His gentle and lovely character, consist- 
ent Christian life, and faithful ministerial service, had won the regard 
of all "whose approbation was worth possessing." Jlis funeral 
sermon was attondcd by a great concourse of people — his former 
pupil, Kev. M. C. Weh-.h, prea<ihing the serm<»n, an<l all the neighbor- 
ing ministers participating in the exercises, which were prolonge<l till 
the dusk of the evening. His excellent wife, sister of Col. Dyer, 
survived her husband ten yeai*s. The Windham Iferald in announc- 
ing her decease asserts, ** that the life of this ohl lady furnished a 
j>attern worthy to be imitate<l by the most pious and most exemplary. 
From a very early period of Jier 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 aflx»ctious which she tiuiformly inspired.*' 
Of her thirteen children, three daughters, greatly esteemecl for piety 
and excrellencc of character, long (K'cupied the nuidest homestead. 
Mr. White was succeeded in the ministerial oflice by Elijah Waterman 
of JJozrah, who was ordained in Windham, October 1, I1i)i, The 
nnusual energy and zeal of the young pastor found ample exercise in 
his new field. His church was cold, backward and almost without 
influence in the commtniity. Irreligion was rampant and aggressive. 
Infidel books and doctrines were widely <lisseminated. Rooks demon- 
strating Universal salvation were advertised in the /fvndd, and sub- 
scriptions received for them in its oflice. Good-fellowship and jollity 
were degenerating into revelry and dissipation. Intemperance had 
become alarmingly j>revalent. Card-))laying and other questionable 
anuisements were much in vogue. A social club, comprising all the 

Digitized by 



" good fellows "' about town, afforded opportunity for free indulgence 
in such pastimes. And wliilu the forces of evil were thus united and 
strong, the few church members and eliristians were expending all 
their energies in battling and beating one another. Mr. Waterman 
devoted himself to his work with great earnestness, and by his faith- 
lul labors and pungent exhortations soon aroused a new religious 
interest in his church, and received eneomaging accessions to its 
mend>ership. Like his predecessors he found a wife among his own 
people — liUcy, daughter of Shubael Abbe — and it was hoped that like 
them he would renniin for life in Windham. Wide in syniputhy as 
well as fervent in s|)irit, 'Mv. W^aterman interested hiniself in all the 
reformatory movements then in progress at home and abroad, lie 
was an active mend>er of the Windham County Association and promi- 
nent in effecting the formal Consoe/mtion of the churches. At home 
lie labored for improvement of public schools and the formation of a 
school library in place of the former Social Library which with other 
good things had been suHered to decline and fall to pieces. He tran- 
scribed the records of the church and provided for their better preser- 
vation, and prepared a faithful historical discourse for the commemora- 
tion of its hundredth anniversary. He also collected m:>terials "for a 
complete history of Wiutlham County," which in subsetpient yeai*s 
were unfortunately scattered. 

Yet notwithstanding Mr. Waterman's acknowledge*! ability and 
excellenc^^ his pa.storate was stormy. His open and uncompromising 
hostility to vice and irreligion aroused strong opposition and made him 
many personal enemies. Finding that in spite of his earnest remon- 
strances the club of jolly fellows persisted in hunting rabbits and play- 
ing ball on Fast and Thanksgiving days in detianee of law, he made 
complaint to the magistrate and secured the exaction of fines. 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. John Tyler of Norwich, who held church 
service with them as often as practicable. By this device they evaded 
the payment of rates and made it very diHicult for the society to pro- 
vide for the support of Mr. Waterman. The church, however, clung 
faithfully to its pastor and would probably have succeeded in retaining 
him in spite of the pecuniary diHiculties but for the removal of one of 
its strongest pillars and supports, Mr. Sheriff Abbe, who was stricken 
down with apoplexy, April 16, 1804. His worth and labors were thus 
portrayed by mourning friends : — 

'* lie frnuliialiHl at Vale OoHe^o, 1704. lie was scvoral years in tlic busiiicHS 
of iiitrri'liaiiili/.c and by his own <;xcrlions lH*c:(inic lar;:cly (ui;;a;;i*(l in lius- 
l>an<lry. In ITK.'l Ik; was appDinlcd .slicriU' oi' tin; (^nnily of Wiiiillnnu and 
i-oniinued In llic most pnncluat and unexcciili<inal>lc nninner lo tli.seliar^c Mic 
dulich ol* Uiat. olllcu till hisdouih. lie wiis utteu chosen reprcbcutuUvu of the 

Digitized by 



town. In 171)8 be won appointed by the rresUlent one of the commissioners 
of the Lanil tax, and by tlic AsHenibly one nf tlic committee to manage the 
School Funds. In domestic life he was Indidgent and decisive. In public 
business, active, punctual and correct. In his utuichment to civil nnd religious 
Institutions he was exemplary, and to the poor nnd nftlicted humane and 
generous. Ills ability and Integrity secured to him the esteem and confidence 
of his fellow-cllizens. And his denih was extensively and deeply n'jrretted. 
He left a widow, three sons nnd five dnu'fhters to moiirn an Irreparable loss. 

Tears flow nor where .Abl>e's ashes sleep. 

For him a wift; and tenderest cldldren weep, 

And justly — for few slinll ever tnin-iccnd 

As husband, parent and a faithful friend.** 

In view of this <rreat loss aiicl the coiiihined oppositiini, R[r. Water- 
man thought it unwise to ronmin in Windlinnt nnd was clismisRe<l by 
council, Feb. 12, 1805, the churcli still attestitisr iu regard. Of eighty- 
nine admitted to the duirch <1nring liis j>astorate only twelve were 
malea The venerable deacons — Nathaniel Wales, Sen., Joseph lltnit>- 
ington and Nathaniel Skiff — ha«l now been dead many years. Deacon 
Samuel Gray die<l in 1787, l)eac<ni Jonathan Mnrtin in 1705, Deacon 
Elijah Bingham in 1708. Samuel Perkins, Ksq., and (-apt. Eliphalet 
Miinhu'k wdre ekH*,t(»d <le:i('(>tis during the ministry of Mr. Waterman. 

Many of Windham's honored citizens were now passing away. 
Colonel Ebenezer Gray, afler suffering greatly from disease contracted 
in Revolutionary service, die<l in 1705, greatly respected and beloved. 
It was said that his extreme getterosity to the p«»or lost him his position 
as selectman. With other Witidham officers he was an honored mem- 
l)er of the Society of the Cincinnati, established to perpetuate Revolu- 
tionary friendshi])S and associntions, and relieve the willows and orphans 
of those who had fallen. His widow survived him many years. His 
brother Thomas, physician and merchatit, died in 1702. Colonel 
Jedidiah Eldeikin died in 1704, Deacon Hlleazer Fitch in 1800, Elder 
lienjamin Jiathrop in 1804, Samuel Linkon in 1704, afler entering upon 
the «»cond year of his secon<l century. Wintlham's "oldest inhabi- 
tant," Arthur IJibbins,* had 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 thotigh no longer participant in 
public affairs 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^ atid his voice often 
heard in earnest deprecation of the alarming growth of radicalism, 
Jacobinism, infi<lelity an<t immorality. Swifl had now coinplcte<l that 
famous "Digest of the Laws of C/omuM'ticul," which brought him so 
nuich honor, servecl as secretary on an important foreign niission, and in 

♦ This vcnerahle patriarch, according to Windiiani Church records, att;ilned 
108 years, Init a nn»re careful Investigation reduces his years to 102. " He is 
represented to have in-en a mini of ^rcat vigor and healtit, never sick a tiay 
until after he u':i.s one liuiidred, ulicn he wan thrown from a lior^te and injured, 
nfler which he was couUned until his death." 

Digitized by 



1805 was appointed a judge of the Superior Court. Samuel Perkins, 
after studying for Ihe nruiistry, had decided to enter the legal profession, 
and engaged in praetiiui in Windham. John Baldwin and David 
W. Ycung also settled as lawyere in their native town. Henry Wehh 
now seived as high sheriff, Charles Abbe, depnty-sherifl* ; Phinehas 
Abbe, jailer. Thomas (irosvenor of Pom fret 8ucccH.*ded William Wil- 
liams as chief judge of the County Court in IS06, P]l)enezer Devotion, 
ITozekiah Ripley, James Gordon, Lenniul Ingalls, associates. Samuel 
Gray was clerk of the Superior and County Courts. Windham enjoyed 
during this decade the excitement of two public executions — that of 
Caleb Adams of Pomfret, Nov. 19, 1803, and of Samuel Farnham of 
Ashford, two yeare later. The lamented death of Sheriff Abbe was 
thought to have been hastened by his otticial duties at the execution of 
the former. 

Colonel £lderkin*s silk factory pa.ssed, after his decease, into the 
hands of "Clark and Gray," who were initiating many business enter- 
prises, but it Wiis soon bought by JSLanstield experimenters who were 
making great efforts to increase and improve silk manufacture. Capi- 
talists were buying up 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 inunediate up building, an«l suffered the 
meeting-house frame to be carried to Windham Green where it did 
good service on Zion's Ilill as a public school-house. Willimantic was 
a place of nmch resort in the spring for its tisheriesof shad and salmon, 
and the new turnpike brought throngs of travelei'S and customers to 
David Youngs tavern, but the great rush of business and enterpiise 
still sought the Green. Mr. De Witt's tac^k business had been ruined by 
the invention of nail-making machinery, and his shop had ])assed into 
the hands of Jedidiah Story, where might be found " Ifats of the 
newest fashion, warnmted to be as good and cheap as at any factory in 
the Suite." John Burgess offered for sale "excellent soal-leather " and 
as good morocco and calf-skin shoes as could be found in market, and also 
a new fashioned four-wheel vehicle, called a wagon, which had somehow 
come into his possession and which most people thought a very 
impracticable invention. Business and trade were as brisk and lively as 
ever. The e^lunmsof the Windham Herald teemed with solicitations 
and demands. Brown, white and striped tow cloth of home manufacture, 
blue and white striped mittens, stockings of all textm*es an<l colors, 
good shoe thread, cheese, butter, geese feathers, rags, old pewter, brass 
and copper, rabbit nkins and other furs, were taken by all the merchants 
and manufacturers who offered in return the usual variety of household 
and fancy ailic.K's. All dealers wero urgent and profuse in oIliTing rum, 
gin, brandy and wines at the lowest figure. **(fi»o<l sweet rum at live 
and sixpence per gallon;" "the best of Jamaica rum at the moderate 

Digitized by 



price of one dollar and six cents per gallon ;" hogsheads, barrels and 
kegs of good ruin for fanners and housekeepers who wished to supply 
themselves by the quantity and provide for their help in hayinor, were 
temptingly psinided. The increasing use of liquor in public and 
private and the great number of idlers who Imng about the stores 
and taverns, was, }>ei'haps, the reason that Windham with all its 
business and bustle seemed to have lost something of its thrifli- 
nc88, and to the keen eye of Doctor Dwight, as reported in one 
of his inspectorial tours, exhibited "marks of decay.** 15oth churches 
in its lii-st 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. 
Thom:w Dyer, Jr., grandson of Col. Dyer, settled in Wilkesbarre, 
where he was greatly esteemed. The sons of Col. Elderkin removed 
from W^indham after the death of their father. Major El)cne»er 
Backus and Dr. John Clark followed their children to Central New 
York. Uepresentatives of the old Windham families were scattered 
abroad in all fwirts of the o|»ening Republic. Dr. Samuel Lee died in 
1804. His son Sanniel, associated with him in practice, had already 
distinguished himself by the composition of "Lee's Windham Bilious 
Pills " — one of the first patent medicines that catne before the public. 
So great was their leputation that the lawyers at Court maintained 
that even to carry a box of Lee's pills in their pockets would ward off 
disease. Windham with its usual vivacity interested itself in experi- 
ments for the amelioration of that much dreaded disease — Small-pox. 
William llobinson and Sanmel Bleight oflered to inoculate its inhabit- 
ants in LSOi), for Kine or Cow-pox, which they declared to be a perfect 
secmity against the small-pox, and only to be conununicated by inocu- 
lation. Dr. Vine Utiey and Mr. Jonathan Woodward weiit about the 
Coimty in the following year, inoculating scores of people in every 
town with very satisfactory results. 

Windham's loss of population — a himdred and tweiity, between 
1790 and 1800 — made little apparent difference in its animation and 
activity. Taverns and stores were as well patronized as ever. Public 
meetings were held in increasing number and variety. In 1801, the 
Masons of Windham and Lebanon were gathered into the Eastern 
Star Lodge with appropriate ceremonies. The Festival of St. John 
the Evangelist was celebrated in W^indham the following Christmas 
day with much rejoicing. The first Republican or Democratic cele- 
bration of which we have report was held July 4, 180G, at the house 
of Mr. John SUuiiford, innholder. A large attendance was expected 
an<l doubtless secuied. 

Digitized by 







SCOTLAND Parish sliared in the general growtli and prosperity of 
the town, raising its (hie proportion of sheep, swine and cattle, and 
sending hutter and cheese, beef, pork and wool to market. Kbenezer 
Devotion, thongh now jndge of the County Court and eniployetl in 
many public atfnii s, was still engaged in trade. Zebediah Tracy *s shop 
accommodate<l the public with many useful articles. A new firm, 
French and Allyn, oft'eretl choice New York goods to purchasei*s, 
together with groceries and a few hogsheads of St. Croix rum very 
cheap ill exclumge for stockings, mittens, tow cloth, etc. Returned 
veterans — Captains John Baker, Abner Uobinson 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 descen<l- 
ants of the early settlers, were now in active life, attending to tlu*ir 
farms and other industries. Major John Keyes of Ashford, appointed 
ill 17KG, adjutant general of the militia of (yonnecticut, had now 
removed his residence to Scotland village, and his coinforUible tavern 
had become a famous place of resort for the many old soldiers resid- 
ing in this part of the town. Its physician. Dr. Pcnuel Cheney, was 
very active and useful in society and town alfairs. The parish bore 
its part in civil administration, and was allowed the privilege of 
holding one-third of the allotted town meetings in its convenient 
inceting-house. Having fortunately erected a new house just before 
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 etiiciency, 
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 
meetinghouso steeple which involved it in a series of misadventures. 
According to popidar tradition the bell was cracked upon its first 
journey ; returned as unsound, and re-cracked upon its hanging ; 
re-mended and re-cracked in celebrating its successful return and sus- 
pension — the whole population venting their joy by ringing it — and 
by farther mischance was twice disabled, sent back and returned 
before its fimil exaltation and installment into office. Probably tliese 
reports were exaggerated by their jolly neighbors of Wiiniham, only 
too glad to retaliate the banterings upon their own frog panic, but the 
records show that they were not unrounded. Dr. ('licney w:i.s 

Digitized by 



nppoiiited to prornrc RubRcriptioiis for a boll in 1700. In Jnne tlio 
following year, Dr. Cogswell rejiorts that the subscribers for a bell 
voted not to have the bell which is now in use here, nor any other of 
Davison 8 but to apply to Dolittles, (New Haven). In November, the 
society voted to accept the bell provided by the committee for that pur- 
pose, and to provide some suitable peraon 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 keep the wet out. Two yeai*s 
later it is ordered to get the bell repaired, and again, 179G, to get the 
wheel repaired and make it more convenient to ring the bell. A sing- 
ing school had been instituted during this time through the 
edorts of Cfiptain Robinson. Young people were prompt and eager 
in attendance and the singing so much improved that young Mason 
Cogswell atlirmed 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. 

Mr. Cogswell's ministrations 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. ]>eacon John Cary died in 17H8 ; Deacon John 
Baker in 1791. Some members were lost by emigration, some by 
secession to other churches. Religious 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 ])astor 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 
jnayer. 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 instrmnentality " a religious stir," or revival, 
was incited at which many professed conversion and received baptism 
by innnersion, uniting with the Baptists in Win<lham 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 
were maint:uned and catechized as the law required. The central 
school fiourished for two seasons under the charge of a teacher who 
afterwards became very famous — William Eaton, the conqueror of 

In politics Scotland parish was more conservative than the western 
part of the town, standing squarely by its favorite candidate, Judge 

Digitized by 


232 HISTORY OF winoham county. 

Devotion, an<l when it canio out in full force sure to carry tlio election. 
I'his result may have been due in great measure to the influence of its 
lionored son, Samuel Huntington, who, after serving asprcsiilenl of the 
C/ontinental Congress, an*! chief justice of the Superior Court of Con- 
necticut^ was elected governor of the State in 178G. Public cjn*es and 
liigh position did not lessen his interest in his early home, but with 
increasing years he seemed to find it more attractive. Every few weeks 
Dr. Cogswells journal reports a visit from the Governor, and instructive 
discussion of national and scientific questions. Mingling thus freely 
with old friends and townsmen a man of such weight and elevation of 
character could hardly fail to become a power for good to the com- 

Governor lluntingtoirs brilliant brothers were also frequent visitors 
at that pleasant parsonage as well as many other celebrities. It was a 
day of univers:d visiting and social intercourse, not only between the resi- 
dents of particular towns but between different towns and neighbor- 
hoods. Tlic mode of traveling was eminently conducive to sociability. 
One-horse chaises an<l rough roads compelled short stages. Travelers 
were accustomed to stop at every friend's house for rest and refresh- 
ment In these slow ohl days everybody seemed to have time to drive 
about an4l chat with their friends and neighbors, an<l the Scotland 
parsonage was a place of especial resort and popularity, its family 
circle was large and lively. Children, grandchihlren and hosts of relatives 
were continually coming and going. Neighbors and parishioners were 
dropping in at all hours of the day, bringing news and asking ccamsel. 
Sc^irce a day passed without a call from some neighboring townsman — 
Dr. Hakor of Brooklyn, Esquire Perkins of Newent, Dr. Adams of 
Westminster, Colonel Jl^IoHcly and Mr. StewaK from Hampton, Colonels 
Dyer and Danielson, and even " old General Putnam." Nightfall otlen 
brought with it some traveling minister — poor broken-down Mr. Uowland 
with his budget of troubles; Mr. Williams of Wood.stoek, "a serious, 
pious man and good divine," or Dr. Huntington with '^ metaphysical par- 
a<lox that seemed to favor Univerealism." These visits, with other family 
afiairs, the general news of the day and appropriate moral refiections, 
were duly recorded in the Doctors voluminous diary. Not only did he 
entertain these constant visitors, prepare sermons and lectures, visit the 
sick, catechize the schools, attend nund>erless associations an<l ordina- 
tions, manage farm, orchard and garden, but lie 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 yeai*8 of ^fessi*s. White and Mosely ; extending aid and 
counsel to perplexed Mr. Staples, and interchanging weekly visits an4l 

Digitized by 



confiilcnccs with his <loar friends JjOC and Whitney. To young men 
just launching into the ministry he was especially helpful and consid- 
erate, and kindly encouraged them to test their powers in his pulpit. 
!Men now remembered as hoary dignitaries in church and 8tat« were 
anionic these trembling neophytes. Daniel Waldo, I ho centennial 
chaplain of Congress, was then " a sensible, serious, growing youth, 
no orator, but likely to do good in the worhl.'* Ebenozer l^'itch, the 
future president of Williams College, ** preached and i)rayed exceed- 
ingly well ;" but the young man destined to important home mission 
work in Connecticut had unfortunately ** been praised too much and 
made self-impoiiant" Dr. Cogswell was nnich |>leased with Sanmel 
l*erkins of Windham, "a judicious, prudent, pious young man ami 
fine scholar," who, against his advice and much to the regret of all, 
left " preaching for law." He also rejoiced in the [»romise shown by 
the grandson of Voluntown's much tried miiiister, (lershom Dorrance, 
and thanked God who raised up children in room of their parents. 
Young Ilendrick Dow was much liked in Hampton. Parish and 
Tyler of llrooklyn were promising young men whom he rejoiced to 
see in the ministry. "Jonathan Kingsley's son James " — Yale's erudite 
professor — was pronoun<*ed ** a very forward, likely boy." 

The Scotland parsonage had its shady side as well as it,s sunny. The 
genial pastor had his own trials. One of them was a fn^queut head- 
ache, accompanied by inexplicable "luminous flashes" and loss of 
temper and i)atience. He was troubled by his own " airiness," a per- 
vei*8e tendency to exceed in jokes and stories and neglect opportunities 
for ))ersonal 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 foun<l to bo dangling 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 parishioners 
on a day set apart for that purpose, gave him nmch anxiety, the vary- 
ing height of the wood- pile in successive years marking his rise or fall 
in the affections 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 volunteei*8 fail of a 
full supply Then his sensitiveness was son^etimes wounded by the 
jokes and banters of the rough wood-choppers, especially when they 
turned upon the seating of the meeting-honse, and he was obliged to 
remind them "that it was too serious a subject to be merry about." 
But though BO troubled in collecting his legal rates and dues. Dr. Cogs- 

Digitized by 



well was nghnst at the proposal to abolish tlunn. If people would not 
half pay their ministers uiuler legal compulsion what would they do 
without it! If ministers could hardly live with rates they would cer- 
tainly starve without them. The talk of setting aside the religious 
constitution of the State and de]>riving the government of any jurisdic- 
tion in religious worship and aflairs, tilled the Doctor with consternation 
and he believed that such action would '' tend to the gi*eat injury if not 
to the total overthrow of religion." The increasing laxity of the times, 
the growth of irniversalism, infidelity, French Jacobinism, and anti- 
Federalism also alarmed him greatly, but hardly gave him so much 
personal annoyance as the high Calvinism and Ilopkinsianism 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 ha<l no synipathy. Such depths of self-abnegation were 
wholly beyond his attainment lie preferred the 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 lar the gieatest of all Dr. Cogswells ministerial trials was 
the prevalence of "Sectaries." Separates and Ana-baptists were 
thorns in his Hesh 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. Avoidance 
of rate-paying wa.s the secret spring of all schism and separation. The 
ruling passion of the Separates was avarice. His contemporary, John 
Palmer, pronounced L>y candid, comiietent testimony a most excellent 
man and devoted christian laborer, figures in Dr. Cogswell's journal as a 
mischief-maker and liar^ and a sensational young Baptist exhoiler of 
great popularity he reports as *' an Universalist, a Socinian and proba- 
bly a DicisT." These '* Ana-baptists " were in his estiniation as bad 
as the Separates and acted the same part, breaking up churches and 
drawing off church membera. The '' religious stir " in the north part 
of the town, in which large numbers were awakened and professed 
conversion, lie regarded with great suspicion and anxiety, and records 
in his journal with apparent endorsement the remark of a zealous 
adherent of the standing order — '^Tliat such teachei-s as come into a 
neighborhood, and take off from the standing and stated worship, and 
endeavor to seduce opinion, deserve to he whipped out of town/' 

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 diseiise, a loathing for food and <liink which b:iilk'd the utmost 
skill of the physicians, atid after four months languishing ended her 

Digitized by 



life, " aged eleven yenra, eleven months and twice eleven days." The 
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. 

Tlie pastor and his family were also called to j^ympalhize in many 
neighborhood afflictions and calamities. Within one week they 
attended the funerals of Mrs. William Cary 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 proinitting 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 *Hragical event'* 
deeply affticted the whole connnunity. The aged mother of the 
deceased was bowed to the earth but did not murmur. Dr. Cogswell 
wilh his usual self-distrust was troubled to know what to say with 
propriety upon so delic:ite an occa.sion, but succeeded in satisfying both 
friends and public by a most impressive and appropriate discourse 
npon 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 couraes, amassed property dishonora- 
bly, ofliciated "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 respeetalilc families 
"drank Geneva rum on a wager at Dorrance's t^ivern till all were 
drunk," and then started off " for a Voluntown frolic." One of them, 
suffering 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, biit was carried out of 
himself in awe and horror at such an end of such a life — " relatives 
sad and serious ; spectators solenni ; the father most deeply affected." 
Such were some of the fruits of the prevailing levity and license. 

The declining years of Dr. Cogswell's life were embittered by other 
domestic bereavements and sorer trials and perplexitres. His bur- 
dens were " more heavy as ho was less able to bear them.*' Mrs. 

Digitized by 


23G nrsTORY of windcfam countv. 

Cogswell died in l)e(?cinl»cr, 1795, broken down by the death of lier 
beloved daughter, Mrs. (Jovernov Huntington,* whose honored liua- 
bandf soon followed them. His brother Joseph had died a year pre- 
ceding, and thai gay and brilliant circle that had so long gathered around 
the family heart lislone psissed suddenly away. J)r. Cogswell married 
in time one of his parishioners, i\(rs. Irena Ifebard, and amid increas- 
ing opposition endeavore<l to discharge hi.s p:isloral duties. He was 
annoyed by the irrepressible aetivUy «>f his neighbor, Mr. Waterman, 
who insisted upon ja-eaehing within the Scotland lines without asking 
l>ei'mission, and the ahu*niing prevalence of *' Hopkinsianism " among 
the younger njend)ers of the County<:iation. This latter griev- 
ance was abated by the formation of the Windham Eastern Associa- 
tion, rojiresenting a milder type of theology, which was joined by Dr. 
Cogswell, and the Heverends Whitney, Iajc, Staples, Putnant and 
Atkins. The great trial and aiHiclionof Dr. Cogswell's later years was 
however a controversy with his people, one of those unhappy diili- 
culties which often occurred when a minister's life was prolonged 

* ** Mrs. lltnitiiigtui) died June 4, 1794, in the 5Gtli ycnr of her ago. 
She was u ihiii^hter oV iho Kev. Ebciiezcr Devotion of Wnulhaiii, of an 
amiable ilisposition and eoiidcscendiiig niuniit'rs, she liail many to hinieiit her 
death— anion*; other exeelUiil parts ol* elirhlhui eharacter her beiiei'aeilou:^ 
to (he poor oii;{hL iiol to bo r<»r^otlei). 'I'he iiiiinlutr Is itol small t)!* lliosu 
Wh<i on sueli ground, ' rise up hikI eall lier ldrs>t:d."' — Xtnioirh pajtrr. 

t *• GoVKUNoic lliiNTiNtrroN was deseemled IVom an aiieientami respectable 
faudly in this State, lie was son of Nathaniel lluiitiiigton, Ksq.. ol' Wind- 
ham; his eldhlhood and youth were distinxnishcd by indications ol' au excel- 
lent underslauiiin^ ami a taste for mental improvement. Williout tlie 
advautaj^e of a colh'j^iate education or that assistance in professional .stuilies 
which modern times have wisely encouraged, he acquired a competent 
knowledge of law and was eai ly adndtted to tlie bar, sotni aHer which ho 
bellied In lids town and in a few years became endnent in his profession. . . . 
In the year 1774, he was nnide an assistant judge in the Superior Court. In 
1776, he was chosen into the Council, and in the same year elected a <lelegate 
to Congress. In 1779, he was made president of that honorable body and in 
1780, rc-choscu. In 178;{, he was again a member of Congress. In 1784, he 
Avas chosen lieutenant-governor and appointed chief Justice of the State. In 
I78G, he was elected governor, and was annually re-elected by the freemen 
with singular unanimity till his death. 

The public need not be informed of the usefulness of Ct)Via:Nou I1untin4J- 
T<»N, or the manner in wldch he discharged the duties of hi.s various and 
important oUices, especially the last; the prosperity of the Slate during his 
adndnisiration and ihc present nourishing condition of its civil and military 
interests, are unequivocal tesiimonies of the wisdom and lldelity with which 
he presided 

As a professor of Christianity, and an attendant on its institutions, he was 
exemplary and devout; he manifesicil an unvarying faith in iis doctrines ami 
joyful hope in Its promises amid the distresses of declining life till debility of 
mind and boily produced by his last sici^ness rendered him iucapal)le of 
social intercourse. 

IJiuler the intluence of a charitable belief that he is removed to scenes of 
greater feliiily in the world of light, every good citizen will devoutly wlsli 
that others i.ot li'.s.s i-niinent ami useful may sncci'eil ; and that (Connecticut 
nniy never wan t*a man of equid worth to j)reside in her councils, gnaril her 
interesls and iliHuse prosperity through her towns."— iVureo/c/t paitcr. 

Digitized by 



(J<f'*/ ,////?/ /■^^t a /r*i 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 



to unreasonable limits. " Length of days " was not desirable wlien a 
minister was settled for life, " A very ancient man, worn out 
with the infirniities and decays of nature," — he could not preach 
to the acceptance of the congregation. 'Jlie people refused to 
pay for what they did not like and the pastor 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 meelings of the Windimm Eastern Association were 
mainly occupied with attempts to arrange matters between their venera- 
ble father an<l his rebellious parishioners. Doubtless there was 
obstinacy and til-temper on both sides. The people were very willing 
to release their poor old pastor from his oificial duties, but declined 
to make provision for his support in that case, or to |)rocure 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 fnt her in tho 
(4ospel," addressed a letter to Dr. Mason F. Cogswell of Hartford, 
recon)niending him " to gratify his father's <lesire of spending liis last 
days with his only surviving childj t-iking such measures to obtnin 
com]iensation from his people as he might judge expedient." Dr. 
(■ogswell complied wilh this siiggeslion and n^moved his father to a 
comfort^ible hon»e in Hartford, and, "as the Scotland society w:w 
clearly under obligation to 8n])j)ort the minister who had worn himself 
out in their service," he brought a suit for the recovery of damages. 
The society, greatly weakened by <lefeclion and dissension, was hard 
pressed to carry this onward, but authorized Captain Jlndd and Jacob 
Burnap to apply to Mr. Calvin Go<Idard for advice, and decided to 
stand trial. Me.niwhile an acceptal»le minister had been called, Juno 
18, 1805, Air. Cornelius Adams of Canterbury, with the promise of a 
hundred jK^unds annually and the use of parsonage so long as he should 
actualli/ petform the duties of his otlicc. In view of their trouble- 
some contest with Dr. Cogswell, to make assurance doubly sure, they 
farther voted, Sept. 12, "That if Mr. Adams accepts the call and bo 
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 su)»port." This important point being thoroughly settled, 
]\Ir. Adams was ordained Dec. 5, licverends x\n<hew Leo, Abel Abbot, 
Klisha Atkins, Erastus Learned, AVilliam Hipl(«y and Abiel Williams 
conducting the services. 'J'he church at the same time took a new 
departure from the practice of it^ aged incumbent by voting : "That for 
the futme none shouhl be re<piired to own the covenant or permitted 
to do it, without having a right to come into leliowship, and being under 

Digitized by 



the watcli and (liseipHne of the church as members in full communion/' 
The troublesome bell had aguiu called for rejiaii's. In 1801 the society 
authorized its committee to secure the deck of the steeple, and if there 
was not money enough on hand, to Uike the remainder of the money 
raised to procure preaching with. Now it was voted to repair, i. e., re- 
cast, the bell. Jame^ Gray, James Carey, John Baker, Zeb. Tracy and 
Kbenezer J)evolion were appointed a committee to get subscriptions to 
add to weight of bell and see that it was repaired. A laud tax was 
voted for this purpose, but suilicient money being raised by subscription 
the tax was remitted. The new bell was not suspended without tho 
customary casualties ; a plank fiilling from the bell-deck broke the arm 
of Mr. Elejizer Huntington and struck the head of Mr. Jeduthan 
Spencer so that he died within a short time from the effects of the blow. 
Ilai-assed by the protracted contest with Dr. Cogswell and repeatcil 
losses, the Scotland church and community were called to a great dis- 
appointment and afHiciion 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, lawstiits and 
he:ivy burdens, the society ntaintained its footing. Its farms and work- 
shops were prospering. Stephen Webb carried on an extensive shoo 
manufactoryNu the north part of the parish. 'J'homas Coit of Norwich 
succeeded to the mercantile traflic carried on by Messrs. Ebenezer and 
Jonathan Devotion, offering tlie usual *' variety of well-chosen goods," 
and receivhig most kinds of country produce in payment. The parish 
i'ound far greater favor in the eyes of Dr. Dwight than the mother 
town, everything thereiu wearing 'Uhe aspect of festivity, thrift, 
industry, sobriety and good order.'* 






THE Second Society of Windham, Canada Parish, long burthened by 
"its remoteness from the place of public convention " for negotiat- 
ing town affairs, resumecl its efforts for independence soon after the close 
of the war, but was checked by opposition from Canterbury and Pomfret. 
In 1785 the society again voted to petition for town privileges, Colonel 
Mosely, as agent, represented to the Assembly " their remote and <Iilli- 
cult circumstances — ten and even fourteen miles from the seat of busi- 

Digitized by 



ness, amounting at times to a total <lei)rivation 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, inhabitants of these sections 
joining in the request. Tlie Assembly thereupon resolved "That the 
memorialists he made a distinct corporation, with power to transact 
their own prudential affairs, yet be and remain a part of Windham for 
the pur))ose of choosing representatives — first precinct meeting to be 
held first Monday in December, Captain James Stedman and Isaac 
Bennet giving warning of the same — but as this expedient did not 
abate the principal giievance and called out strong opposition, con- 
sideration of the matter was deferred till another session. The inhab- 
itants of Canada Parish thereupon redoubled tlieir efforts, procured 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 oppose 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, Mansflold and First Society Id Windham bo 

constituted a town by the name of Hampton entitled to receive 

from the rospi'ctlvc towns tliclr share of school and other public monies, and 
should pny tliolr 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 prescribed are identical with the present north, east and 
south bounds of the town, but on the west it extended to the Nachauge 
liiver, taking in a section now included in the town of Chaplin. 
Brooklyn yielded twelve hundred acres, a generous slice was taken 
from Mansfield and narrow strips from Canterbury and Pomfret 

The rejoicing inhabitants hastened to exercise their new privileges. 
Their first town meeting was held Nov. 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, £benezer Hovey, Josiah Kingsley, Silas Cieveland, 
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, litis 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, Ile/xikiah 
Bissel, Captain Swifl and Jabez Clark had been directed to prepare a 
remonstrance, which was prcpented to the Assembly by Dyer and 
Larrabee, showing that '* the vote had boon obtained by divers accidents 

Digitized by 



and want of snitablo warning and did not represent the wislies of tlio 
inhabitants ; that the i)roposed diviHion was nncqual and unjust, 
and that coiiainiy these inhabitants should not be set otf without tak- 
ing witli them a suitable proportion of bridges and other burdens." 
Klisha Lathrop, Sanuiel Chai>uian and Colonel William Danielrton were 
aceordingly connnissioned to attend to the latter grievance, and in l^fay, 
1787, repairer! to the Widow Carey's tavern and listened to statements 
hiid before them by agents of both towns. They found " that three 
large bridges across the Shetueket had been attixt 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 olfensive to the inhabitants of the younger town, who 
straightway dispatched Isajic Bennet to inform the Assembly, "That the 
gentlemen did not vieio the bridges, but trusted reports, and did not 
consider that Hampton had to maintain two long bridges over the 
Nachauge." Upon this consideration their annual [tayment w:i8 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 Ih) kept by thoHe persons who will 
keep them cheapesL" A single man was accordingly "bid olf" by 
Jonathan Hovey at five and nine-pence a week ; an aged couple by 
Amos lltley 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 conmiittee " 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 Nachauge on the road from Hampton to Ashford. Eight schmd 
districts were reported contjiining 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 1,382 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. I^Iosely after the 
close of the war opened a store and engaged successfully in various 
business enterprises and public affairs. Capt. James Howard W2is 
early interested in manufactures, running grist, saw and f idling-mills 
in the valley that bore his name. Dr. John Brewster was widely 
known as a medic:d practitioner. Thomas, son of Capt. James Sted- 
man, opened a law oHice on llantpton Hill about 1790, occupying u 

Digitized by 



•186 north of the meeting-house built for him by his imcic, and 
^reatly distinguished himself in iiis profession. His honored father 
80 prominent in town and military affairs died in 1 788. 

Society bounds were unaffecled by the confeiTence of town privi- 
leges. Canada ecclesiastic society had no jurisdiction over the terri- 
toiy annexed to it, but its inhabitants were left in their former society 
relations. A number of these citizens, t. 6., Phinchas, Timothy and 
John Clark, Ebenezer Ilovey, Josiah Hammond, Jonathan Kingsbury, 
Aaron Goodell, Paul Ilolt^ Lenmcl Sparks, Uriah Mosely, Phinehas 
Ford, William Durkee 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 ail their persons and lands might 
be annexed to said society of Canada, and receive their proportion of 
school and other society money. Residents of Ham]>ton still affixed 
to Windham's first society, i. 6., Benjamin Flint, Judah Buck, John 
Clark, Asa and Moses Wolcott^ Roswell Bill, Hezekiah and Elijah 
Coburn, William Martin, William Marsh, Aaron, Jeremiah and Ebene- 
zer Clark, John IliclinrdHon, Luke Flinty John Oinnings — asked a 
similar privilege — being much nearer to Hampton meeting-house 
" with a better road to it^ and as many of our families are numerous, 
it makes it difiicult, atid in some cases impossible, to get them to 
meeting on the Lord's day." These reasonable requests were promptly 
gi*antcd, 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 yeai*s with acute rheumatism and paralysis, suflTering 
severe and often excruciating pain, and becoming almost wholly help- 
less. His christian piinciple and native force of character enabled 
him to bear this long confinement and sufiering with remarkable 
patience and submission. He was cheered and sustained by the 
restored affection 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 friend 
and neighbor. Dr. Cogswell, reports him from time to time as *' bear- 
ing his affliction with christian foi-titude and heavenly mindedness," or 

*' iu much pain, longing to depart but not impatient," retaining his 

Digitized by 


242 ni8ix>RY OP WIN nil AM county. 

facnUies and '^Biipporting the chrisliaii character well to the last/' 1 
died somewhat iinex|)ectedly, July 26, 1791, in the eighty-third yea; 
of his age and iifty-eightli of liin pastorate. His fiineial wan attended 
with the usual forniaUtios, all the neighboring ministers assisting in 
tlie services, and Dr. Cogswell preaching the sermon as the deceased 
had requested. Mr. Mosely left two sons and six daughters. Col. 
Mosely was now deacon of the chinch and much employed in public 
aifairs. William Mosely had graduated tVom Yale College, and was 
esUiblished in legal practice at llariftnd. Mary had married Rev. 
Joshua Paine now of Sturbridge. Hannah, Elizabeth, Ann and 
Abigail Alosely were married to res[)eotable citizens of neighboring 
towns. Mrs. Steward and her husband remained for a lime in llam]>- 
ton. Mr. Steward had frequently supplied the pulpit during Mr. 
Mosely 's long conHnement, and some efforts had been made to settle 
him as colleague pastor but his health would not admit Meanwhile 
he Uixd practiced in port rait] lainting with very considerable success. 
A portrait of Capt. James Ste<lman executed ader his decease was 
very satisfactory. He also painted likenesses of Mr. and Mrs. El»eiie- 
zer Grosvenor of Pomfret, and other noUible ])ersons. Under his 
example and instruction, a deaf and dumb son of Dr. Hrewster 
acquired very creditable proficiency in this art and followed it through 
life as his profession. 

Various young ministers had officiated during Mr. IVIosely's illness. 
Hendrick Dow of Ashford, had been much liked but was unprepared 
for settlement. Ebenezer Fitch of Canterbury, gained many suflrages 
but was engaged in opening an academy at Williamstown. Now that 
the pastorate was vaciint, all happily miited in choice of Ludovicus 
Wells of Braintree. The question of church platform was raised 
again after long suspension, and the following liules of Discipline 
propounded : — 

** 1. Tliat general rules for discipline are contained In the Word of Ood. 

2. That the Scriptures should be considered as the plutform by which the 
proceedings of a church should be regulated. 

8. That there Is a rule In Maithcw, XVIII, 1ft, IC, 17, by which to proceed 
with an oflendcr whether he be pastor or a private brother. 

4. That there Is no positive precept lu Scripture against a council In case 
of dlfllcuUy. 

6. As there are cases sometimes occnr in which the church and pastor do 
not unite lu sentiment, we view It expedient that tlie ditnculties be referred to 
a council naUually chosen. We will mention, however, an exception to which 
we believe a pastor might with propriety conform, viz. ; When a church 
Judge a man innocent whom the pastor supponeth deserves censure; we 
believe lu this case he may not insist upon a ctmncil but consider the vote of 
the church decisive; and we believe It on this principle, that two guilty per- 
sons had better ^o with impunity than that one Innocent person suffer. 

The above articles were handed to the church by Mr. Weld, as containing 
In short his Ideas of church discipline, and were agreed to and voted by the 
church with this addemlum : 

That wo will uot be conllned either to Cambridge or Saybrook Platform for 
our rule of church discipline." 

Digitized by 



Two hundred pounds liavtng betMi accepted by Mr. Weld in lieu of 
a pai-Bonage, and a Ruilable salary provided, be was ordained, October 
J 7, 1792, and was ranked among the foremost of the Windham County 
ministry, •* being especially noted for his skill in com()osing 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 tolle«l for evening 
mectingH and lectures, and to give the day of the month every even- 
ing." The office of deacon was now woithily lilled by Isaac Bemiet, 
and our Revolutionary friend, Sergeant Abijah Fuller, one of those 
stalwart niembers of the church militant who could pray as zealously 
as he could fight. 

With new minif^ter, church ])latform, and local independence, 
Hampton pursued il« way in much peace and prosperity. Its leading 
citizens were men of intelligence and public spirit, abreast with the times 
and ready to facilitate improvementfl. Fanns were well tilled and 
good breeds of cjittle imported. Large an<i commodious dwelling- 
houses were built n])on Hampton Hill, and in other paits of the town. 
New bridges were built, and roads opened and improved. One of the 
fii-st achievements of the town was a pound, ordered to be built with 
a sl^inc wall for foundation, six feet high, four feet thick at the bottom 
and two feet at the top. Three feet from the groun<l it was bound by 
a tier of flat 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 accomplished it in the most workmanlike 
and satisfactory manner. Philip Pearl was appointed an agent to 
prosecute those who harbor transient persons. The care «)f the town's 
poor required much consideration. It was voted in 1788, that the 
poor be bid ofl^ to be kept in sickness and health, those who 'keep 
them to have the benefit of all their labor ; also, that the i<lea of the 
town is, that they who bid «)tf the poor are to furnish them with cUl 
necessary spirits. As these poor people were mostly aged and ailing, 
the small sum bid for them was found inadequate to pay their doctor's 
bills, and so a sp(^cial sum was allowed for this {mrpose. Abraham 
Ford, lioyal Brewster, Samuel Spalding, Thomas Stedman, Jr., 
James Utley and others, bid off the doctoring of the poor for sums 
ranging from £2 IGs. to $22. The bidder in some cases was to em- 
j)loy what doctor he please<l ; in others, "the poor were to be gratified 
with their choice of a physician." A kindly spirit was manifested 
towards these unfortunates. Amos Ford was 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 London Derry was generously "given to 

Digitized by 



Ginne.** The unexpected returu of Clement Neff afler long captivity 
in Algiera excited niiicli interest, and the immediate query *' whether 
he was an inlmbitsiiit of Windham or Hampton." A notice ap|)earing 
in the Wind/iam HercUd affixed him to the latter town and nmst 
have heightened tlie sensation caused by his re-appearance : — 

** Markied, last week, in the Episcopalian form by Timothy Larnibee, Esq,, 
Mr. Clkmknt Nkf^' of Flampton, to MUs Patiknok Dban of this town. 
K. B.—Mr. Neft* has been a prisoner in Algiers 24 years, in 12 of which he 
never saw the sun. He is now in the youthful bloom of 66, and has lost an 
eye— his bride a blushing maid of 28." 

Hampton's forebodings of future charges were justified by tlie event. 
Witliin four years of the repotted wedding, Mrs. Patience Neff was 
under care of lier selectmen. 

In all public questions 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, Thomas 
Stedman, Jr., and James Howard, attended a meeting at John Jeflerd's 
tavern, *^ to haive the Courts at a more central place." Delegates were 
sent to Mansfield, in 1 797, 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 comniitlee for this purpose was kept up year after year, and 
any effort to procure a hnlf-shire town vij^orously opposed. Rules for 
the better regulation of town meetings were adopted, September 15, 
1800, viz. :— 

**1. Choose a moderator. 2. Annual meeting be opened by prayer. 8. Every 
member be seated with his hat on, and no member to leave his »eat unneces- 
sarily, and if necessary do it witli as little nolnc as possible. 6. Mombera 
while speaking shall address the moderator and him only, and speak with the 
hat off. 6. No member to speak more than twice upon one subject without 
leave of the meeting, and but once untU each member has had opportunity 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 must speak directly to the 
question before the me«.alug. 10. No persons have any right to do private 
business In any part of tlie house." 

Upon the reception of Piei-pont Edwards' circular, calling for a 
convention to discuss Connecticut's constitution, the question was put 
in town meeting : — '' la this town satisfied with the present constitu- 
tion of Connecticut!" Eighty-three answered in the affirmative; 
thirty-eight in the negative. 

The military spint 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 gi*eat spirit for 
many years. Thomas Ste<hnan, Jr., Tliom:M Willinms (removeil from 
Plainlield to Hampton), Roger Clark and riiilip Pearl, Jr., were 

Digitized by 



Buooessively captains of this famous company which inscribcrl on its 
roll the names of many noted Revolutionary veterans. Strength and 
size were indispensable qualifications for admission to this honored 
band, and many of the Hampton Grenadiers were worthy of a phice 
in Friedrich Williams' T«ll liegiment It played an important part 
on many public occasions and took the first and highest places in the 
great regimentil munteringa for which Hampton Hill was especially 
famous. Its spacious common afforded convenient space for military 
exercise and display, and ample accommodations for the great throngs 
who came to witness it. The militia companies of the town were also 
well sustained. Kbenezer Mosely was appointed colonel of the Fifth 
Regiment in 1789 ; Elijah Simons served several years :is its lieutenant 
colonel, and Lemuel Dornmce, one of Hampton's young physicians, as 
its surgeon. 

In all parts of the town there was life and business enterprise. 
Shubael Simons received liberty to erect a dam on Little River for the 
benefit of his grist-mill, and poUnsh-works were cjui ied 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 traffic, 
exchanging domestic produce for the foreign goods that were becom- 
ing so cheap and (ilentiful. With these gains there were many losses 
of useful citizens emigrating to new countries Capt. John Ilownrd 
who removed to Western New York, was drowned in Lake Otsego. 
Hampton's first practicing lawyer, Thomas Stedman, Jr., '' one of the 
most urbane, genteel, intelligent and obliging men of the day," alrendy 
mentioned as a candidate for public honors and even the governorship 
of the State, was induced to remove to Massena, New York, where he 
quickly won public confidence and respect, and acquired a large landed 
property. Younger men from Hampton 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 Newburyport. 
Elisha, son of Nathaniel Mosely, was graduated from Dartmouth at 
an earlier date, and studied for the ministry. Thomas Ashley, a Dart- 
mouth graduate of 1791, studied law and settled among the wilds of 

Col. Ebcnezer Mosely had succeeded Thomas Stedman, as town olerk, 
in 1797, and retained the office many years. He was oilen sent as 
deputy to the General Assembly, and agent for many important affairs. 
Other deputies during these years were Deacon Isaac Hennett, 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, 

Digitized by 



de|>cnding upon its' established post-riders. The first of tliese nsefiil 
oflicials was Ebenezer Ilovey, who brought papers and letters from 
New London and Norwich. After the opening of the jmst ottice in 
Windham, Thomas and Samuel Farnham c;une into office, taking the 
Windham Herald to its numerous subscribers. A public library was 
instituted in 1807, which soon numbere<l over a hundred volumes. 

The Kaptist church organized in the eastern pait of Ilamplon in 
177G, gained in numbers and influence including some forty families 
among its resident attendants. A great scandal w:is occasionetl by 
.the innnoral conduct of its first pastor, who was force<l to resign his 
ollice and remove to Vermont Jortlan l)(Mlge, Dyer Hebard, and 
other zealous exhorters were accustomed to preach to this flock in 
their own house of worship and adjoining neighborhoo<ls, to the great 
annoyance of the old ministers, Rlessrs. Cogswell and Mosely, but they 
undoubtedly reached a class which would have been impervious to 
more formal and orthodox ministrations. Mr. Abel Palmer of Col- 
chester, a brilliant young Baptist, supplied the pulpit for a time to 
great satisfaction. In 1794, Peter Rogers was called and settled 
as pastor, and remained in charge for a number of years. The 
patriarch of this church was its worthy deacon, Thomas Grow, whose 
itame was affixed to the meetinghouse on (irow Hill, built mainly by 
his eflbrts. lie was a man of strong faith ami large heart, whose 
fatherly aire end>raced the whole chuich as well as his own fourteen 
chiltlren. It is said that he was accustomed to furnish dinner at inter- 
mission hour to all who Cjune to worship. 

The northwest part of Hampton was very sparsely settled, having 
remained for many years in the hands of non-residents. Its first 
permanent settler was Benjamin, son of Deacon Benjamin Chaplin of 
southwest Pomfret, who upon coming of age went out into the wilder- 
ness, took up huid on the Nachauge and cleare<l himself a homestead. 
lie lived some time single and having little money supported himself 
by making baskets and wooden trays. In 1747, he married the Widow 
Mary Uoss, daughter of 8eth Paine, Esq., of Brooklyn, and ere long 
built a large and handsome mansion still known as the old Chaplin 
House, where he reared a numerous family. Mrs. Chaplin e(pialled 
her husband in thriftand economy and they soon accunmlated property. 
Like his father-in-law, Mr. Chaplin was a skillful surveyor and became 
very familiar with all the land in his vicinity, buying large tracts at a 
low figure. 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 
]M'ospective wheats a bushel f(>r an acre, or in wooden shovels U> be 
made from its timber. In 1756, Mr. Chaplin purchased of William 

Digitized by 


l>KAO<>N llKN.fAMIN ClIArUN, FTTO. 217 

and Martha Hrattle of Cambridge, in consideration of £1,047, 
seventeen hundred and sixty-five acres of land mostly east of the 
Nachange and crossing it in nine places — which with other acquisi- 
tions gave him a princely domain. Some eligible sites were sold 
to settlers from Windham and adjoining towns but the greater part 
was retained in his own possession, lie laid out farms, built houses 
and barns, and ruled as lord of the manor. He was a man of 
marked character, shrewd and far-sighted, a fri(>n<l of mankind, 
the church and the State, and was very much res|)ected through- 
out his section of country. He was very fond of reading and 
delighted greally in books of divinity and religion. He attended 
church in South Mansfield, a Sabbath-day journey of si.x miles, riding 
on horseba(*.k over the rough path, with saddle-bags full of bread and 
cheese for luncheon, and a daughter on the pillion behind him to jump 
down and open the bars and gateways. In 1765, he united with the 
First Church of Mansfield, and ten years aflcrward was chosen one of 
its deacons. Though his residence was in Mansfield he owned nnu*.h 
land in Hampton, and was actively interestecl in all its affairs. His 
daughter Sarah had married James Howard ; Eunice was the wife of 
Zebediah Tracy, Escj., of Scotland Parish ; Tantasin, of Isaac Perkins, 
Es<|., of A.»<hford ; Hannah, of Uev. David Avery. In 1789, Deacon 
Chaplin was greatly afllicted in the loss of his only son, Henjamin, a 
young man of nmch promise. Dr. Cogswell laments him as ''a 
growing character, heir to a great estate," and rejiorts the father 
" very tender about his son's death," but he hoj>es resigned. He was 
married to a granddaughter of I'resident Ed\var<ls, and IcA. three sons, 
Benjamin, Timothy and Jonathan Edwards. Deacon Cliaplin died 
March 25, 1795, in the 7Gth year of his age. His funeral was con- 
ducted with all the ceremony befitting his means and position — a 
gr€»at assemblage of people with dimier and li(pior for all, and so 
nmch time was needed for these preliminary exercises that it was 
nearly night before entering upon the ordinary services. The funeral 
sermon delivered by Uev. Moses 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 Benjamin Chnplln, that Friend of Man, t lint supporter of tlic Ststc, 
tlmt orimnicnt of the Church, who, having witnessed n gocKl Confession for 
the doctrines of grace, for the purity and prosperity of public worship, a 
faithful steward of his Lord's goods, provided lilierally In his last will and 
testament towards a permanent fund for the nmintenancc of the Qospcl 
ministry, and after he had served his own generation, by the will of God, fell 
on sleep, March 26, 1796, 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. Aller pro- 

Digitized by 



viding libornlly for his wife, dnughtei-s and the education of his son's 
children, he gave three linndred pounds for a permanent fund, the 
interest of wliich was to bo applied to the support of a minister pro- 
fessing and preaching the doctrines of the Gos)m;1, according as they 
are explained in the Westminster Confession of Faith, in a society to 
be formed before January 1, 1812, within a mile and a quaiter of his 
dwelling-house. A number of families had now gathered in this 
vicinity, very " desirous of bettering their circumstances for attending 
the public worahip of God." In their remoteness from the meeting- 
houses of Windham, Alanslield and Hampton, some of these families 
had hitherto worshipped with the church in North Windham formed 
during the Revolutionary war. One of its members, Mr. Ames, had 
given land for a house of worship on Ohewink Plain, about two and a 
half miles southeast from the present Chaplin Village, and the Rev. 
John Storrs of Mansfield acted as its pastor. The small number of 
worshippers and the failing strength of its pastor made its contiimanoe 
doubtful, and a movement was made in 179G, for taking advantage of 
Deacon Chaplin's bequest. "A number of subscribers in the eastern 
pait of Mansfield and paits adjacent," i, e., Ames, Abbe, Hovey, 
Bai'ton, Balch, Sessions, Hunt, Stowell, Ward, Clark, Cary, Russ, 
Ross, Wales, Gecr, agreed to give a cert'iin 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 members returning to the Firat 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 coimection 
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 buiying 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." 

Digitized by 







BROOKLYN, like its youthful neighbor, was wide awake and 
slirriiig. Erected the same year, they seemed inclined to 
healthful emulation in enterprise and ]>ublic spirit. Brooklyn's first 
town meeting, warned by Joseph Baker, Esq., was held in its much- 
esteemed meeting-house, Juno 20, 1786. Colonel Israel Putnam was 
called to the chair. Seth Paine was chosen town clerk, treasurer, and 
first selectman ; Andrew Murdock, Asa IMke, Daniel Tyler, Jr. and 
Joseph Scarborough, selectmen ; Peter Pike, constable ; Ebenezer 
Swirborough, Abner Adams, Joshua Miles, Jedidiah Ashcrafl, Jun., 
Salter Searls, Nathan Witter, Joseph Davison, Sanniel Williams, 
Stephen Frost, James Dorrance, EUsha Brown, Reuben Harris, sur- 
veyors ; John Jeiferds, Eleazer Gilbert, fence-viewers ; Abijah Goodell, 
Isnac Onshman, tithing ni<;n. 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 appointed to 
agree with the agents of Canada Parish on a straight lino between 
Jirooklyn and the new town, and consent that they may have as much 
land as prnyed for if they will maintain the poor. The Quinebaug 
formed the eastern bound. North and south lines remained as pre- 
viously settled. l*omfret 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 next in order. It was voted to raise a tax 
of a })enny a pound to defray the expenses till the tin»e of annual 
meeting, and two-pence for next year; also, to mend highways by a 
tax. Highway districts were 8|>eedily Inid out, the town agreeing that 
each man and team have three shillings for a day's w<»rk in the spring 
and two in the fall. An amendment allowed two-and-sixpence a day in 
Seplember. A half-peimy rate was voted f<»r the support of schools. 
The committee for settling with J*onifret wns ordered to make a ta.x 
on the inhabitants of Brooklyn, originally of J'onifret (provided 
I'omfret will not do it ), for the purpose of ]»aying up the arrearage 


Digitized by 



due to Ponifret. The latter town apparently not doing it, a list* was 
nmde out and tax levied. This list includes some 237 rate payers 
with estates valued at £9,338, 10^. 2d. Jabez Allen, John Malbone, 
Andrew Murduek, William Smith, Daniel Tyler, Jim., the Pntnams, 
Soarboroughs and Williams's, paid the heaviest assessments. Special 
taxes were levied upon John Jeilerds, Kleazer (iilbert, as "Taverners 
and traders;*' Peter Schuyler Putnam, lieuben Harris, taverners; 
Erastus liaker, trader ; Joseph Baker, physician; William Haker, as 
proprietor of a grist-mill ; Stephen Baker, of a saw-ntill ; Daniel Clark, 

* A true list of tbc PoUs and Hatnble Estate of the Town of Brooklyn for 
Aug^ust the 20th, A. D. 17SS : 

Adams, Samuel, WiUhim, Asapb, Lewis, Ephraim, Pliilemon, Shubael, 
Abncr, Nonh, WUlard, Peter, Ephruim, Jnn. ; Allyn, Jabez, John, Joseph; 
Allen, Pnrkcr; Ashcraft, Jedidiah, John, Jedidiah, Jun. ; Alworth, JameH, 
William; Aborn, James; Baker, William, Doct. Juheph, Joel, Stephen, John, 
Era8tuti, Joseph, Jun.; Brindley, Kalhanie); Butt, Samuel; Brown, Shubael, 
Alpheus, Jedidiah, John; Bowman, KliHha, Walter; Barrett, William; Bacon, 
Joseph, Asa, Nehemiah; Benjamin, Barzillai; Cui»hman, William, William, 
Jun., Isaac; Clark, Moses, Daniel, Caleb; Cleveland, Davis, Joseph, Elijah, 
Phillips, Phinehas; Cady, Gideon, Ezra, Jonathan, Uriah, John, Phinehas, 
Ebenezer, Benjamin, Asahel, Nuhnm, Nathan, Daniel, Widow Lydia, Kliakim; 
Copeland, William, Asa, Joseph, Jonathan, James; Chutt'ee, Ebenczer; 
Coller, Jonathan, Asa; Co<^swell, Nathaniel; Cloud, Norman; Chapman, 
Amaziah; Darbe, Asluiel, William, Alpheus; Downing, Jedidiah, David, 
ichabod, James; Denison, David; Davison, Joseph, Joseph, Jun., Peter; 
Dorrance, James; Davis, Samuel; ])uvldson, WiUiam; Eldred<rc, James, 
Gurdon; Eaton, Ezckiel; Fasset, Elijah, Josiah, Joab, John; Foster, Daniel; 
Fling, Lemuel; Frost, Stephen; Fuller, John, Josiah; Fillmore, William; 
Goodell, Abijah, Alvan; Gilbert, Bachcl, Joseph, Eleazer, Benjamin, Jedidiah, 
John; Geer, John; llerriek, Kenjamin, liufus; Howard, Charles; Hubbard, 
Ebenezer, William, Benjamin, Jun.; Hutchlns, Isaac; Hewitt, Stephen, 
Increase; Harris, Samuel, Reuben, Paul, Amos, Ebenezer; Hancock, .John; 
Hide, Jubesh; Holmes, Nathaniel; JclTerds, John; Josliu, David; Ingalls, 
Samuel; Kendall, Peter, John, David; LltchUeld, Eleazer, John, Israel, 
Uriah; Mumford, Thomas; Miles, Jesse. Joshua, Thomas; Murduek, Andrew; 
Malbone, John; Metrett, Charles, Thomas; Morgan, Uoswell; Mzison, 
Shubael; Medcalf, Hannah; More, Daniel; Putnam, Daniel, Peter Schuyler, 
Israel, Jun., Heuben; Pike, John, Joseph, Peter, Jonathan, Asa, Willard; 
Paine, Simeon, Seth, Jan., l)elano, Seth, Daniel, Benjandn; Prince, Timothy, 
Timothy, Jan., Abel; Pierce, Benjamin; Preston, Jacob; l*admer, Elihu, 
Thaddeiis ; Pettis, Joseph ; Tellet, Jonathan; Poolcs,; Uowe, Isaae; 
Smith, William, Tliomas; Stanton, Thomas ; Stevens, John; Storrs, Diiuili; 
Scott, William; Searls, Daniel, Salter; Scarborough, Ebenezer, Jeremiah, 
Joseph, Samuel; Stowel, Calvin; Shepard, Josiah, Benjamin; Spalding, Abel, 
Ebenezer, Caleb, Kufus, Ebenezer, Jun.; Shumway, Ebenezer; Staples, Abel; 
Tracy, Zebedlah; Tilley, James; Tyler, Asa, Daniel, Daniel, Jun., Oliver; 
Thayer, Elijah; Wheeler, Timothy, Job; White, Joseph; Weaver, Hemington, 
John; Wilson, Samuel, Ignatius; Williams, Stephen, Samuel, Jun., lioger 
Wolcot, Asa, ^iartha, Marian, Job, Joseph, Samuel, Samuel, 2d; Witter, 
Nathan, Jan., Nathan, Josiah; Witliy, James, Hazael, Eunice; Weeks, 
Ebenezer, Anna; Wood, Benjamin; Woodward, Ward, Peter. 

Daniki. Tylku, Jun., 
Amdukw Mukdook, 


Digitized by 



of saw and grist-mills. Hie inMltipltcntioti of taverns was a sore 
annoyance to sober nien, and had called o!it a vigorous remonstrance 
from. Gen. Putnam to the Honorable County Court in session at 
Windham, viz. : — 

"Gkntlkmrn : 

Bohig an enemy to Idleness, Dissipation nml Intemperance, I would object 
a/Q^alnstany measures which may i)e conducive thereto; and, the multiplying 
of public houses, when the piil)liit j;ood does not. require It, has a direct 
tciidcucy to ruin the mornls of youth, and promote idleness nnd Intemperance 
among all ninks of people, especially as the grand object of the candidates 
for licenses Is money; and, when that Is the case, men arc not over apt to 
be tender of people*8 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 honses 
hi 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 years increased; and the licensing another house I fear would 
Increase It more. As I kept a public house here myself a number of years 
before the war, I had an opportuidiy of knowing, and certainly do know, that 
the traveling custom Is too trifling 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 itnderlake to say whi(;h ought to be lecensed. Tour 
Honors will act according to your best information. 
I am, with esteem, 

Tour Honors* humble servant, 

ISRARL Putnam. 

Brooklyn, Feb. 18, 1782." 

Public schools received immediate attention. In emulation of 
Pljiinfield, Brooklyn had already attempted to establish an academy. 
The Providence Gazette of 1783 informs its patrons that " for the 
])romotion of Literature a number of inhabitence in the parish of 
13rooklyn have proctired a gentleman to begin a Grammar school. 
The public may be assured that the character of the tencher both in 
regard to his scholarship and disposition comes vouched in the best 
manner from the Governors of Cambridge College, where he had his 
cduc'ition. lie will teach the Greek and Latin tongtios and any other 
branch of literature taught at any private school in the State. Daniel 
Tyler, Jun., John Jeffords, Joseph liaker, El eazer Gilbert, Jabez Allen, 
committee." Failing to succeed in this effort 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 Jirown, Roger Williams, Joseph Scar- 
borough, Salter Searls, Nathan Witter, James Dorrancc, to hire school- 
masters e:ich for the district in which he lives; Delano and Timeus 
Pierce, Jonathan Copeland, James Dorrance, Samuel Jiutt, 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 

Digitized by 



in schooling. Town and sotiicty in 1795 expressed their approval of 
the pro|>08cd act of the (icneral Assenibly res]>ecting the Western 
land.s with those alterations — that the avails of the land be paid into 
the town treasury of the respective towns of the State, and the intx^^rest 
be appropriated solely to the support of religion of all denominations, 
and schools. 

Brooklyn was much interested in agrioidtnral affairs, and its dairies 
were reported as " not excieiled in the State." Putnam's example and 
))recept had a beneficial and stimulating iiiHuence in this direction. 
1 1 is various farms were now in charge of his sons. Daniel Tyler, 
Jun., the Williamn's, Scarboroughs, Lilchfields and other leading 
iamilies, had line farms under good cultivation. Poptdation was very 
generally diffused throughout the town — the village as yet boasting 
but seven dwelling-houses. Captain Andrew Rlurdock, who had 
married a daughter of ISIajor Holland, auil added to her patrimony 
land purchased of Widow Isaac Allyn, was a very enterprising and 
successful farmer. 1 1 is *' farms and acconmiodations 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 earned off by a freshet and public opposition delayed its rebuild- 
ing. Allen Hill, though owned and occupiid by dcsrendant^ of 
liichard Adams, received its name from vicinity to this much frc- 
qttented gri.^t-miU. Four sons of Peter Adams after fighting through 
the l{evolutionary war removcil to new countries. The oldest son, 
Philemon, with younger brothel's. engage<l in various industries, 
running a liuHeed oil mill and nninufacturing pottery antl potash. 
One son acquired the art of working in silver and fabricated family 
teaspoons, while a daughter gifted with aesthetic taste transformed 
rude homespun into a thing of beauty. With wooden stamps cut out 
by her brothei-s and dyes extracted from native plants, she achieved a 
most successful imitation of the rich flowered brocades then in 
fashion, making dress patterns, vests and furniture coverings that were 
the admiration of all beholders. Living remote from neighbors on so 
large a tract of land, this family long retained primitive characteristics 
and habits, a patriarchal comnumity almost independent of the btmy 
world beyond them. A few 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, witli many an aboriginal tradition. Peter 
Adams, the patriarch of this little community, was still hale and 
hearty. A miglily hunter from his youth he pursued the practice even 
down to old age and had the honor of killing the last bear reported in 

Digitized by 



Windham County. As so much has been said of the last wolf it is 
but fair to chronicle the last of the Bruins, especially as it was an 
animal of moat 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 liis presence had been unsuspected until one {>leasant spring 
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 Quinebaug. Another shot 
stilled the cries and sent the last bear to his fathers. The size and 
weight of the defunct representative of a departed 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 conflicts, 
must have been greatly interested in hearing of this exploit, recalling 
as it would the much more famous adventure of his early days.* The 
later years of Putnam's life were eminently peaceful and hap])y. 
Disabled as he was with right arm i)aralyzed and useless, he was still 
able to share in the pleasures and duties of life ; co!ild ride about his 
farms and attend public meetings and social gatherings, lieleased 
from the burden of keeping 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 C4rosvenor. Wo catch pleasant glimpses of him in these 
restful years, enforcing with admonitory staff prompt obedience upon 
his numerous grandchildren, encouraging young girls with hearty 
applause upon their first essay in a public ball-room, or making a 
friemlly call upon his neighbor. Dr. Cogswell, to the <letriment of the 
Sunday sermon of the ungrateful minister, lie was frequently seen at 
"a raising" and other social gatherings and merry-makings, "sur- 
rounded by a crowd of children and grandchildren, frietids and neigh- 
bors, relating abuiulant anecdotes of the olden time, while his happy 
audience greeted with loud laughter the outflowing of his ready wit 
and his kindly and genial humor." lie 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. lie was cheered by visits ami lettera from his military friends 
and comra<les, and many tributes of respect and gratitude from fellow- 

* Sec Appendix. 

Digitized by 



citizens at home and far and wide over the land. lie rejoiced with 
his whole great heart in the achievement of American Independence, 
the adoption of the VY'deral Constitution, the new impulse it brought 
to the Nation ; and in the various i>rojects 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 things. 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 Henjamin 
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 sunnnons found him calmly waiting his 
discharge. '^ Death, whom he had so often braved on the Held of 
battle, had no terrors to him on his dying bed, but he longed to depait 
and be with Christ." lie died lilay 19, 1700, after two days' illness. 
His funeral as befitting his character, rank, and distiitguished public 
services, was 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 Hrooklyn ; and alter divine service performed by the liev. 
Dr. Whitney, all that was earthly of the patriot and hero was laid in 
the silent tomb under the discharge of voUies from the infantry and 
minute guns from the artillery." An eulogium was pronounced at the 
grave by Dr. Waldo in behalf of the Masonic brethren. An inscrip- 
tion prepared 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, 
firat in peace, first in the heaits of his countrymen." 

Digitized by 


OUmiNO VKAItfl OF OKN. I'llTNAM. 255 

Sncrcd be this Monument 

to the memory 



senior MiOor Qcueral In the armies 


the United States of America; 


was born at Salem, 

in the Province of MiiKsnchusetts, 

on the 7th day of January, 

A. D. 1718, 

and (lied 

on the 19th day of May, 

A. 1). 1790. 


If thou art a Soldier, 

drop a tear over the dust of a Hero, 


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 who sleeps beneath this marble; 

If Ihou art honest, gcnenms and worthy, 

render a cheerful tribute of respect 

to a man, 

whose generosity wits Ringular, 

whose honesty was proverbial ; 


raised himself to universal esteem, 

and ofllces of eminent distinction, 

by personal worth 

and a 

useful life. 

[It would be plcnsaiit to leave (Tcneral Putnam in his Inst resting 
place with a gtat^'ful renieinbrnnce of his liie, character and services, 
but subsequent developments and modern theories compel a brief 
notice. For Windham County readers, indeed, no word is needed. 
Tliey have not cared to look at their old friend through njodern eye- 
glasses, fashioned in New York and Boston. Insinuations as to his 
military capacity and standing, his courage and loyalty, have failed to 
n»ake the least impression upon the minds of those who look U|)on 
Geiiend Putnam through the eyes of their fathers and grandfathers, 
men of sense and judgment, who saw hitu face to face, and knew just 
what he was and what he had done. The words with which General 
I^muel Grosvenor of Pomfret, sent back a pamphlet concocted by 
one of the early propounders of the modern theory are here given, as 

Digitized by 


256 iirsTORv of windham county, 

expressing (he iiivolnnlarj sentiment and impulse of every Windham 
County citizen : — 

*' Sir, your letter cnclostinjjc a pnmphlet was duly received, but I do not 
tliaiilv you for n puhlicnliou which in intended to siandor a character or one 
now deceased wllli wlioui I had the honor of a personal acquaintance as a 
townsumn of mine, and so distinguished a friend to Ids country— and whose 
wiiole life was devoted to their service in the French War, but more especially 
in the Ke volution and especially at the Noted Battle of Bunker Hill, where he 
was a distinguished connnnnding oHlcer, and not an idle carrier of the 
iiitrcncldng tools as you represent. 1 therefore return the pamphlet as I do 
not wish it to disgrace my library. Yours, etc., 


Poii\fret, Jantiary, 1S82." 

IJut while accc])ting the testimony and verdict ot cotemporary asso- 
ciates, we would not shrink from candid, critical investigation, and 
would deprecate indiscriminate eulogy as well as vindictive censure. 
Rather with scriptural plainness and fidelity would we record the 
errors and failures as well as the virtues and trium])hs, remembering 
that the best of men are still but human. That Putnam's nulitary 
career during the Hevolution fulfilled the extravagant ex|>ectations of 
enthusiastic admirei*8 cannot be maintained. His age, his lack of 
early military training, the character of his previous military 
experience, were all atrainst him. Yet the service that he ren- 
dered, especially at the breaking out of the war, was most vital, and 
it may be doubted if without his prestige amd popularity the army 
wouhl have cohered or liunker Hill Battle have been fought. lie 
held the helm till it was tak<>n by Washington, and like John the 
liaptist prepared the way for his master. The world is indebted to 
Dr. Tarbox, for his chivalrous championship and successful vindica- 
tion of INitnam's claim to leadership at Bunker Hill. Johnson's late 
'* Campaign of 1776," relieves Putnam from reputed responsibility for 
the mischances and defeat at Long Islaiul, and closer investigation iu 
other cases where ho has been blamed, prove that he did the best 
])ossible under the circumstances, and justify the words of President 
Sparks: — "That he never made mistakes I would not say, for it 
cannot be said of a single of!icer in the Revolution, but I am sure it 
may be safely aflirmed that there was not among all the patriots of the 
lievolution a braver man, or one more true to the interests of his 
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 <»f Washington and Trumbull, the fmthful counsel- 

Digitized by 



lor niul Rnpporter of Connect i en t's sturdy patriots tbrongliont the 
Revolution, ho lived and died " respected and beloved ; " ** his word 
an ample security for everything it pledged ; *'* his uprightness com- 
manding "absolute confidence." Against such overwhelming testi- 
mony from those who knew him, charges brought many years after his 
decease can have little weight, based as they are upon professional 
and sectional jealousies, and that captious spii-it of criticism which 
would blacken the purest character and belittle the most heroic deeds, 
leading as they have to a more careful and critical examination, they 
will give to the world a more correct understanding of his services, 
and a higher estimate of the worth and weight of his character. 

A contemporary reportf lately come to light we leave to its own 
merits, premising that the wiiter was like Petei-s a banished Tory, who 
compiled his "History" between 1781) and 1793. 

Note on General Putnam [extract]. ** lie Is rejtolutc, bold, enterprising and 
intrepid, has no notion of Tear, nnd is at the same time, j^enoronH, k\m\ and 
Inimanc; was fond of doin<? good octs, nnd ever treated loysl prisoners with 
the same attention nnd hospitality ns lie treated hi^ own soldiers. In 1776, 
he offered his services to Gcnernl Gnge, the coinmandcr-in-chlef of America, 
if he could have a provincial regiment, which he offered to raise at his 
own expense. The proposal was rejected with scorn and Indignity. *• 

How widfly this report was circulated wo have no means of know- 
ing, but it might very easily have arisen from the subjoined incident 
recorded in Humphrey *s Life of General Putnam : — 

"Not long after this period [May, 1776], the British conimnndor-ln -chief 
found the mcan.s 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 Tutnam spurned at the offer, 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 offer can ever be obtaitied, and we are left to choose between 
the assertion of the Tory historian and that of Putnam's authorized 
biographer ; which of the two is most worthy of cre<lit, 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 1775, 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.] 

l^itnam's antagonistic neighbor, Colonel Malbone, accepted defeat 
and change of government with becoming philosoph}', and by his 

* President Dwight of Yale College. 

t History of New York during the Hcvolutlonarj' \Var, by Thomas Jones, 


Digitized by 



kindness and open generosity, his scorn for anything like pretension 
or hypocrisy, gained the respect and admiration of those most opposed 
in sentiment. The hiter years of his life were harassed by i>ecuniary 
embarrassment His experiment in shive labor* brought him poor 
returns. His negroes were idle and wasteful, costing more than their 
profit Thirty pairs of shoes a year, their price paid in gold, was one 
item of outlay. They were a happy, jolly set, fond of fiddling and 
frolicking. Once a year they held a grand jubilee, electing a kinffy and 
installing him in of!ice. Pc-ro, the most intelligent of thiDir 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 atler their decease. Notwith- 
standing his losses and embarrassments. Colonel l^lalbone was ever 
ready to go beyond his means in sustaining his church, or befriending 
a needy neighbor. Some one in his presence ex[)resHed a great deal of 
sympathy for a poor man who had lost his cuw, the main support of 
his family. " How much are you sorry ? " was the sharp query. The 
informant hesitated. " Well 1 I'm sorry twenty dollai-s," 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 preced<*d that of Putnam by several years. 
Tlie epitaph, written by John Bowers of Newport, gives a truthful 
impress of his character : — 

<* Sacred be this marble to the memory or Godfrey Malbone, who was born 
at Newport, U. I., September 8, 1724, and died at his Seat in this town, 
November 12th, 17S5. Uncommon natural Abilities, improved and em- 
bellished by an Education at the Uuiversity of Oxford, a truly undubie 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 engaging, nobly marked his character and 
rendered him a real Blessing to all around him. That he was a friend of 
Iteliglon this Church of which he was the Founder testlHes; 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 Malbono, sen., when conveyed to 
his sons, Godfrey and John, October 16, 17G4 : 80 cows, 45 oxen, HO steers, 40 
two-year- olds, 20 yearlings, 89 calves, 6 horses, 600 sheep, 160 goats, 160 hogs, 
27 negroes, viz.. Prince, Harry, I'ero, little Pero, Dick, Tom, Peter, Peter 
Virginia, Dondno, Caddy, Adam, Clirislophcr, Dinali, Venus, Kosc, Miriam, 
Jesse, Prinnis, and others, negro boys, etc. 

Digitized by 


(jor.. MAf.noNK KViu 259 

Trifiity Church w.m gre.'itiy we-ikened by the liMS of its chief patron, 
80 that Mr. Foi^g for a lime even meditated upon withdrawing from 
the pastorate. The stipend from the Missionary Society had ceased. 
Dr. Walltui hatl removed, |)alrio(ic adiierents iuid withdrawn their 
countenance, drrading the imputation of disloyalty. Trial by fire 
had, however, left a grain of pure metal. A faithful few still clung to 
the church of the Mother Counlry, and for their sake Mr. Fogg 
decided to renniin aiul continue the Episcopal worship. Thirty acres 
of land intended by Colonel Malbone for a glebe were ctuifirmed to 
the parish in 1787, by his brother, John Malbone. Captain Evan 
Malbone, a relative of Godfrey and John, had now removed to 
Pomfret, and aided in 6U])porting the church. Another acquisition 
was Dr. John P'uUer, successor of Dr. Walton, who had made a large 
fortune by privateering, and was accustomed to treat the whole congre- 
gation to C'lke and wine during the intermission of s<*rvice. Willi 
great assiduity and fidelity, Mr. Fogg resumed his ministerial labors, 
"submitting himself to every ordinance of man for Che Lord's sake ; '* 
"Giving none otfence that the ministry might not be blamed," and 
gaining the respect and confidence of the whole connnunity. 

The lyongregalional Society, jw it was now called, was in a pro.^per- 
ous condition, and though its members had paid heavy taxes for war 
expenditures and town organization, they proceeded in 178S, to repair 
their elegant meeting-house. A hundred dollars, to be |)aid bi flax 
seed, or any other material that could be used about the work, was 
appropriated for painting and repaii-s. Thirty dollars were allowed to 
Mr. Whitney to supply himsidf with wood at a dollar a cord. Liberty 
was granted in 1793, to re])air the meeting-house clock or |>ut up a 
new one. In the following year it was voted to raise a small tax for 
the purpose of paying a singing-masler to teach the art of singing — 
society committee to hire, direct and pay said singing-master. Sing- 
ing thus dignified into an •* art," received more and more attention, 
and after a few years the society chose a committee of eir/ht " to set 
up a singing school, viz., one out of each school district to look up 
and collect the singers therein, and a sub-conunittee of three to look 
np 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 afl'airs, the society 
still acted in matters that would seem without its province, choosing 
delegates to represent it at the great meeting held at Jeflerds' taverti 
in 171)4, for the purpose of securing the transferring of the Court- 
house, and voting " to persevere " in effort when the petition was 
rejected. Its own espec'ial functions were discharged with nnich 
efliciency. Dilatory rate-paycra were brought to time by the enaot- 

Digitized by 



nient, "That the names of the peraons that have not paid their society 
taxes shall he pnbliily read for the future at the opening of the annual 
society meet in jr," ImU this was quickly set ai^ide as too stringent a 
remedy. Twenty five pounds were added to Mr. Whitney's salary in 
1790, "on account of the present high price of provisions." 

lilr. Whitney held his place in the atlection of his people and the 
esteem of all. Though moderate in his doctrinal views and opposed 
to the High Calvinism then coming into fashion, he enjoyed the 
respect and confidence of his brethren in the ministry, and maintained 
strict church and family discipline. Deacons Daker, Scarborough, 
Witter and Davison, together with Escpiire Frost, were constituted a 
connnittee to incpiire into mattei's of sciuidal and reclaim oftenders. 
Keglect of family prayer was pronounced a censurable evil. In 1790, 
Mr. Whitney with Dr. Cogswell, Jlev. Andrew Lee, Rev. Elisha 
Atkins, and one or two other ministei-s of congenial sentiment, united 
as the Eastern Association of the County of Windham, representing a 
milder type of theology than the larger body. That his church 
favored this step, and sympathized with him in his regard for the old 
llalf-wiiy Covenant now eschewed by the more rigid churches, was 
manifested by the following discussion and decision, occurring as late 
as 1805:— 

** Query, Whether children of ajre or above twenty-one years, still living 
with their parents, members uf tlie church, ml^ht be baptized on their 
parents' account. 

Church ;;euerally of opinion that if such childrttn's cliuractcr waH good, 
and they dcNired to receive baptism on their parents' account, they might be 
allowed. Accordin;*iy Lucy and Joseph Prince, children of Major Timothy 
Trlncc, were baptizetl with their brothers and sisters, minors." 

Tn 1802, Mr. Whitney was honored by the conferring of a doctors 
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- 
ant was procured." During this interval the church had commemorated 
the fiftieth anniversary of its pastor's settlement — P\bruary 2, 1806 — 
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 
])astorate had '^connnenced with the affectionate regard of the fathers, 
and their continued friendship, their cordial, c:indid acceptance of his 
hibors, and repeated kindnesses, had continued to make the relation 
happy." The affection between pastor and people became even more 
cor«lial and tender as time went on, the ready sympathy and playfu) 
humor of the venerable divine, endeiiring him to old and young, lie 

Digitized by 



was noted for liia skill in ndininistenng roproof or inRtniotion throngli 
the nicdiiiin of " a little Btory," and his quick retorts and keen liits 
elicited nnicli annisement and admiration. His rognisli son attempted 
to frij^hten him once while performing perfunctory service one 
dark night as Ml-ringer, and draped in white with deep sepulchral 
voice announced " 1 have come for you." " Well, if you have come, 
take hold and ring the bell," was the cool reply. " Do you make a 
p — int of this thing ? " asked a slurring brother when the flowing bowl 
was passed at a minister's meeting. " A quart when ministers are 
present," returned the smiling D(»ctor. But when upon another octta- 
sion a brother minister urged that they might partnke of some super- 
fluous beverage on the ground that they were wifitary wen — he was 
answered by the coachman's retort to the English church digniUary, 
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 interminable 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 |mtience she at last burst out — ** You are like the Universals 
that flon't know when their heads art', taken olT." 

Mrs. Lois (Breck) Whitney, Dr. Whitney's first wife, died in 1789. 
Their two oldest sons died during the lievolution, being seized with 
small-pox on their return from a privateering expedition. Another 
son, Hobert J3reck, a teacher and composer of music, very highly 
esteemed, died of consuniption at the age of t\venty-(»ne. Six daugh- 
ter survived their mother. Dr. Whitney married for his second wife 
the widow* of Samuel Chandler of AVoodstock. 

Daniel Tyler, Es(|., senior member of the church, and oldest inhabit- 
ant of the town, died February 20, 1H02, having nearly completed the 
fii-st year of his second century. Throughout his long life he had 
been an active and useful member of soci(»ty, closely identified with 
the growth of church and town. The church edifice of 1770-1, con- 
structed imder his oversight, still testifies to his skill and pid)lic spirit. 
Of his many sons only Daniel, the youngest, remained in Brooklyn. 
Having mamed soon after his graduation from Harvard College, a 
daughter of General Putnam, Captain Tyler was very prominent during 
the llevolutionary era, serving as adjutant to his distinguished father-in- 

• Dr. Cogswell lets us Into the secret that Dr. Whitney In his wklowerhood 
"spccuhited*' conccrulug sundry eligible spinsters of his ncqunlntaiice, but 
none who look upon the stately figure of Mrs. Anna Paine Chandler, ns 
represented by her relative, Mr. WInthrop Chandler, can marvel that such 
foUd charms should uutwelgh any fanciful upwnJatinns. The superior attrac- 
tloutt of widvw$ were recognized before the days of Mr. Weller. 

Digitized by 



law ill inaiiy c:iin|miu:ns. lie also raised aii<l e(|ui|»|»e«l the nrooklyii 
Matrons CtHiipaiiy, whicli reiuieretl siicli eHicieiit aid when New 
LoimIoh aiui Ulicnle Island were threateiietl with invasion. Like liis 
fatlierin law, C'ai>lain Tyler was favored in inatriinonial coiiiicelions, 
his second wile, widow of the lanienled nenjainiii Chaplin, Jnn., 
daiighler of Judge Timothy Edward.s, and graiuhlaiighler of President 
Jonathan Edwards, inheriting many of the traits of her distinguished 
ancestry. Captain Tyler was now actively engaged in business, receiv- 
ing and disbursing large quantities of produce. He advertises in 1784, 
in Tlie Norwich J\tcket, "for live hundred bu.^hels of flax skko, for 
wliich he will pay in IIocksai.t, West India or European Gut*ns at 
the lowest advance." He also offers the highest price for good butter 
and cheese, and requires a large quantity of good pork. In 1799, he 
reports in 77te Windham Herald, that " he will pay cash fiir 3 or 4,000 
wt. of good tallow ; he also wants to purchase a few gotid lots of pork, 
about 20 fat oxen, 1,000 wt. of clover seed and 500 bushels of bailey ; 
for which a generous price will be given and good pay matie." 
Captain Tyler's sons entered early into active life. Paschal P. Tyler 
engaged in business with his father. Daniel Putnam was graduated 
from Yale College in 1794, and died of fever soon after his settlement 
in Whitesborough, New York. ScptiinuH, also a Yale gratluate, 
engaged in teaching in the South. Dr. James Tyler, nephew ami 
ward of Captain Tyler, shared iov a time the Brooklyn medical practice 
with Dr. Baker. Mabel, si.ster t»f Capt. Tyler, married Seth Paine, Jun., 
like his father a skillful surveyor and prominent citizen of the l^>wn. 
Botli died in February, 1792, and were buried within the B;iino week, 
'♦ Honored and lamented.'* 

Of General Putnam's sons only Daniel remained in Brooklyn, 
Colonel Israel removing to Ohio, and Peter Schuyler to Williamstown, 
Alass. Colonel Israel Putnam's farm was purchased in 1795, by 
Joseph MatthewBon of Coventry, li. I., the successful competitor for a 
gold medal offered in Philadelphia " for producing in market five 
hundred pounds of cheese to beat the English." Major Daniel Put- 
nam, now proprietor ot 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 lival in that of 
Mr. Darius Matthewson, who after a few years cjirried on the Putnam 
farm, and, having married one of the notable daughters of Ebenezer 
Smith of Woodstock, may have mana<^ed ** to beat " all other 
Brooklyn cheese as well as English. Other incoming citizens brought 
new blood and energy to town. Captain Elisha Lord of Abington, 
Captain John Smith and Samuel Dorraiice of \'ohiiit4>wii, John Parish 
and the Cleveland brothel's of Canterbury, William Cundall and 

Digitized by 



Daniel Kies of Killingly, Vine Robinson of Scotland, were among 
tbeae ac<|niRi lions. Groat vanoty of elegant and nscful articles were 
offered by Frederic Stanley, in his new and fashionable store in 1801. 
Gallnp and Clark, and George Abbe and Co., also engaged in mer- 
chandise at Brooklyn village. Captain Elcazer Mather engaged exten- 
sively in the manufacture of hats. Dan liowo informs the public 
through the columns of The Windham Herald. " that he has set up 
the clothier 8 business, where in addition to the usual business done by 
clothiers, he carries on blue dyeing either in wool, yarn or cloth, of all 
sliades from sky-blue to navy-blue." Vine Robinson carried on a 
cooperage, and served in many public capacities. A distillery was 
kept in active operation by Dr. John Cleveland and his successor, 
George Abbe, transforming many thousand barrels of comparatively 
harmless cider into a far more potent and dangerous beverage. 
Brooklyn's first lawyer was Miles Merwin, who soon removed to 
Philadelphia, lie was succeeded by John PariRh, who gained a 
]>ennanent footing, teaching a select school until his business was 
established. William P. Cleveland left the field after a few months 
tnal. Kies, his successor, held his ground and received his share of 
patronage. Dr. Joseph Baker, Joseph Scarborough, James Eld- 
redge, John PariHli, Roger W. Williams and Daniel Putnnm 
served as justices. Joseph 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 countries, 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 prerogatives which 
she believed due to her central position in Windham Ccmnty. The 
petition preferred in 1780, to obtain a new comity, comprising the 
towns of Ashford, Pomfret, Killingly, Thompson, Wooflstock, with 
Pomfret for shiie-town ; court-house in first society, near the dwelling- 
house of Landlord Ebenezer Grosvenor — the town to build a hand- 
some and suiUible court-house and jail by a voluntary subscription free 
from taxation, received no attention. Believing that removal was 
more feasible than division, and that her own villnge 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 Jefterds' tavern for farther discussion an<l renewed action. Dele- 
gates from all the invited towns were present and unanimously 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, 

Digitized by 



presented to the Assembly by a competent committee, produced such 
an impression that a hirge majority of the Lower House voted to 
consider tlie prennses, but were overruled by a vote of the Council. 
Hrooklyn calUul an especial meeting to consider tliis result, Major 
Daniel Putnam, moderator, and after premising that justice to a very 
considerable part of the County absolutely requires a removal of the 
Courts, unauin)ous1y voted, "That this town will pei-severe 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 remain agents for said 
))urpose until the same be accomplished. In 180J, l^Ir. Joseph 
Scarborough and Captain Daniel Tyler were chosen to cooperate with 
agents in petitioning for the removal of the Courts — agents to draw 
a hundred dollars from the town treasury for needful expenses. In 
May, 1803, Brooklyn, Plainfield, Sterling, Voluntown and Canterbury 
])etitioned the Assembly — that Windham County ought to be divided 
into two shires, and that the sessions of the County and Su))erior 
Courts be holden alternately at Windham and Brooklyn, as soon as a 
convenient court-house and gaol should be erected at Brooklyn, free 
from expense to ihu County, 'i'honias V. S(;ynionr and Nathaniel 
Terry were thereu])on appointed to examine and report. Caj)tain 
Tyler, John Parish, Est|., Itoger W. Williams and Vine Robinson 
were at once appointed a connnittee to wait uptui these gentlemen, 
but with all their arguments they failed to secure further action, and 
were f«irced to abi<lf. the inevitable issue with prolonged patience. 

Other public improvements were attained at less cost anil 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 conmiissioned 
to confer with Plainfield gentlemen and construct a suitable bridge at 
Pierces ford way, where it crossed the Quiuebaug. The projected 
turnpike from Norwich to Woodstock excited much discussion. 
Parish, Putnam and Joseph Scarborough were delegated "to meet the 
state committee sent to view said road, and show them the minds of 
said town respecting said business." Public sentiment apparently 
favored the project as the town afterward voted to oppose report 
of Daniel Putnam to oppose Norwich highway. Ebenezer Scarbor- 
ough, Captain Roger W. Williams and Capt. Andrew Murdock 
assisted the committee to lay out Norwich turnpike in 1709, the town 
again declining to oppose it It also declined to oppose a highway 
from lirooklyn meeting-hou'^e to Windham, but a|>pointed an agent to 
oppose a highway ])etition brought by Asa Bacon of Canterbury. 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 



^ -^-fyh^rl^^tc^ 

Digitized by 


riwHmiwH IK roMFUK-r, ktc. 265 

Highway dislncts were remodeled in 1803. JJridges over Hlackwell's 
Brook as well as the Quinebaug Bridge were maintained at the 
ex|)enso of the town. The question relative to the town's poor was 
promptly met by directing the selectmen to vendue them to the lowest 

Village improvements were not neglected. The burial-ground so 
early given to the society had received more than customaiy attention. 
Propositions were made from time to time to enlarge and improve it. 
In 1802, it was voted that a committee be appointed to find the 
bounds of the burying-ground, and agree with the adjoining pro]»rie- 
tors for an enlargement of the same. Two years later it was voted to 
purchase land as ati 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. 


ruoauEss in vomfhkt. the dodge contuovehsv. ub- 




POMFIIET'S prosperity and standing were unalTected by the loss 
of its southern section. Its central position and influential 
public men gave it increasing prominence in the County. Its Probate 
oflicc brought it business from Ashford, "Woodstock, Thompson and 
parts of ICillingly and Brooklyn. Il« post-oflice, established January 
1, 1795, accommodated all the neighboring towns. Lemuel (irosvenor 
presided as Probate judge and post-master, and was also prominent in 
military aflairs. Colonel Thomas (5rosvenor had resumed his legal 
profession, served in the Governor's Council, and was held in high 
repute throughout the State, — his oflice a place of constant resort for 
soldiers, Indians, and all who needed help and counsel. Older men, 
once prominent in the town, had passed away. Colonel Ebenezer 
Williams died in 1783; Captain Stephen Keyes in 1788; Samuel 
Craft, Samuel Carpenter, Daniel Trowbridge, Isaac Sabin, Isaac 
Sharpe and Dr. John Weld, all ))rior to 1790. Benjamin Thurber 
and other refugees returned to Providence 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 

Digitized by 



young men at home. Dsuiicl I>\viu:ht of Thompson engaged in 
mercantile bnsiness in Abingtcm. ISIajor Hale contiiuie<1 his card 
mannfaclnre. ,]oUi\ Wilkes (-handler, aon of IVler, married Mary 
Stcdman of Hampton in 1702, and, after a year of tavern-keeping, 
devoted himself with great energy to farming in the old Chandler 
homestead on the Mashamoquet line. A beantifnl farm near the 
centre of the town, inherited by Eli^ha, son of Ebenezer Williams, 
was purchased and improved by Ca(>tain Evan Malbone, who stocked 
it with negroes m well as with cattle and Kheep, his southern propin- 
quities making their help more congenial than that of the blunt 
yeoman who claimed an equality of race and privileges. Malbone 
land in Wiltshire sold under moHgage was purchased 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 Handall, James 
Wheaton, Seth Chase, Jeremiah Brown and othcra. Colonel Night- 
ingale, who 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. Ihisiness was lively in all parts of the 
town. Capt. Cargill built a new mill house in 1787, and set up 'Hhree 
complete sets of grist-mills and a bolting-mill," together with a black- 
smith's shop imd two trip-lmnmiei's, a fulling-mill, '<a mill to grind 
scythes, and a mill to chum butler.** The Sessions's ran saw-mills 
upon the Mashamoquet, and an oil-mill and potash works were carried 
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 opened by the Gilberts, where 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-nianufac^ 
turing carried on by Capt. Joseph Griggs and Mr. Seth Williams of 
Baynham, who removed to Pomfret about 1791. Among other busi- 
ness projects a mining c<m)pany was attempted, Gillem Philips, the 
proprietor of a reputed lead-mine, making over his right of mining 
lead in 1784 to Evan Malbone, Benjamin Cargill, Elisha Lord, Jona- 
than Hall, Edward Knight, David Bray ton, Jonathan Randall, Jr., 
Benjamin Durkee, Ephraim Tucker, Thomas Angell, 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. Heniy Chandler of Wt>odstock, 
o]K'ned shop near the north school-house as a tailor, hoisting for sign 
the painted likeness of a full grown cabbage head. 

Digitized by 



Many public matters claimed the ntteiition of tlie town. At the 
annual town-meeting, December 3, 1787, Samuel Ci-afts was chosen 
moderator ; Ebenezer Kingsbury, Lemuel Ingalls, Joseph Chandler, 
selectmen ; Captain Josiah Sabin, town clerk and treasurer ; Elijah 
Williams and Elisha Lord, collectors; Sanmel Perrin, Oliver 
Grosvenor, Aaron Cleveland, John H. Payson, Elijah Philips, Elisha 
Harrington, Captain Edward Knight^ Richard Goodell, Ithamer May, 
Silas Chan<11er, Jcxshua Sabin, Peter Cunningham, Amasa Goo<lell, 
James Trowbridge, Samuel Keyes, Eliphalct Sharpe, Daniel Goodell, 
surveyors; Nathan Dresser, Stephen Averill, Peter Chandler, 
Nehemiah Dodge, Daniel Goodell, Amasa Kiime, a committee to 
divide the town into highway districts. Peter Chandler having 
fenced out a new road near his house was allowed to fence in the old 
one. Highways continuing refractory, the selectmen were ordered 
" to divide and point out to each surveyor his district of ways to be 
repaired, and apportion to each the inhabitants he is to employ and 
collect tax from, and call all surveyors to account for labor done and 
money collected." Particular inhabitants not accommodated by a 
public highway to their houses were allowed to expend part of their 
highway tax on their own private ways at the discretion of the select- 
men. The laying out a public highway from Pomfrct street to 
Cargill's Mills gave the town a great deal of trouble. John Williams, 
Esq., Peter Cunningham, Caleb Fuller, Ithamor May^ Lemuel Ingalls, 
Captain Fields, Zech. Osgood, 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 Pcrrin*s house, and 
the road leading from Eleazer and Ithamor May's, and " say on which 
of the above roads Colonel Lemuel Grosvenor shall lay out the pnblio 
money now in his hands." The town refused to accept their report, 
or to alter the road leading from Perrin's house, or to lay out a now 
road, strongly urged by some parties, running an east course from the 
Gary school-house south of Mr. Samuel Perrins 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, Ebenezcr Kingsbury, Benjamin Durkee, Joshua 
Sabin, Squire Sessions, Lemuel Ingalls, James Wheaton, William 
Field, were appointed to examine the several roads and Cargill's 
bridge, and fully empowerecl to carry into execution the contract of the 
Hcloclnien with Messrs. Abraham, Noah and Jcditliah Perrin, or 
contiinie 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 railed." The " road from Little Bridge 
that crosses Mill J liver, leading to nigh the dwelling-house of Mr. 

Digitized by 



Abrnhnm Pen in," was accordingly eatablislied aiul recorded, M.iy 14, 
1798. It was also votetl, to rebuild Mill Iliver bridge and repair 
Cargill's briilge. 

The poor were carefully maintained. Bidding them off at vendue 
was little practiced in ronifret. In 1788, a house wan hired lor their 
aoconnnodation, and Dr. Jared Warner appointed (heir physician in all 
cases, his services to offset his taxes of every kind. The selectmen 
were ordered the following year to make the best disposition of the 
poor for their comfort and the least ex[>ense to the town, by putting 
them to one man or otherwise as they shouhl think proper, and to be 
vigilant in putting out all vagrants and iille persons that were foun<l 
residing in the town and not legal inhabitants. In 1794, it was voted 
to build a house for the poor, and Deacon Robert Baxter and Mr. 
Joseph Chandler chosen to superintend the cn*e of the poor. The 
house was not accomplished for two years when it was further 
ordered to be built on land belonging to the town, to Ikj sixty feet 
long and fourteen wide, one story high with two sUicks of chinmeys, 
two cellars and four rooms. Selectmen were required to Uike care of 
the poor after (heir removal to the townhouse. 

Two pounds were onlered in 1795, one in Abington on the old 
ground, and one in the Kirst Society on the connnon. This vote was 
revoked the following year and it was tlecided *' to build one good and 
substantial pound of stone, anywhere adjoining a road running east 
and west throui^h the .south part of Captain Annusa Sessitnis' farm, 
procuring from him a right to improve the same forever." A by-law 
was passed in 1797, restraining, asses, mules and sheep from 
going at large on the connnons. Swine, well-yoked and rung, and 
geese were allowed to rove till 1800, when they were restricted under 
certain penalties. Cows were lell apparently to their own discretion. 
A bounty of seventeen cents was offered for every crow's head. 

In the county-seat movement Pomfret was deeply interested, and its 
agents — Sylvanus Backus, Evan Malbone and Lemuel Ingalls — in- 
structed ^*to continue in olHce till the business is completed one way 
or the other — under this restriction, 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 1802, Captain Seth Grosvenor, Peter Chandler and Oeneral 
Lenmel 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 erecting a Court-house at Brookli/n^ Pomfret indignantly 
withdrew from the field and declined to send a connniltee to wait upon 

Digitized by 



the state committee, and the matter was allowed to rest for several 

Pomfret was famed during this period for the excellence of its phy- 
sicians. I)octoi*s Klishn Lord and Jnred Warner were well established 
in Abincrton. Dr. Jonathan Mall, younger brother of Dr. David Hall, 
was now set(le<l in the First Society, and giving promise of future 
eminence. The leading physician in the northern part of Windham 
County at this date was undoubtedly Dr. Albigence Waldo, who had 
returned from the Army with a greatly increased reputation, especially 
for singicai skill. He was a man of much breadth and energy, devoted 
to his profession, greatly interested in scientific questions and di8c^)verie8. 
The fullowifig note from a name famous in ntodern medical prno 
tice will show something of Dr. Waldo's position amot)g his cotem- 
poraries : — 

** Lkickstkii, Frhrvnrtj 7, 1703. 
l)u. AMnoKNCR, Drar iSfr :— About suufici t\\\H i\t\y, my eldest son 
received a kick IVoiu a liorKc, wlileli lias fracturetl his craiilinn. TIiI.m Is 
therefore, in the name of your devoted friend, deslrliii* you to make no delay 
in makinij: us a visit. For God's sake, full not! but let dispatch and dexterity 
hasten you. I am In confusion and know not what to say furtlier. Only fall 
not. In haste, 8 o'clock, P. M. Yours, etc., Austin Flint." 

Dr. Waldo was greatly interested in the association of medical men 
for the advancement of their profession, and through his efforts the 
leading physicians of Windham County and its vicinity instituted a 
monthly meeting some years previous to the formation of the Connec- 
ticut IMedical Society. In June, 1786, Dr. Waldo reports a meeting 
at Dudley; August, at Stafford; September, at Cargill's; "October, at 
Canterbury. Present : Doctors Coit, Thompson ; I'almer, Ashford ; 
(fleason, Killingly ; Lord and Warner, Abington ; Clark, Hampton; 
Spalding, Alanslield ; Huntington, Westford Parish." These meetings 
were continued with incrensing numbers an<l interest till 1791, when 
" I'roposals, together with Rules and Pegulations 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 literary 
accomplishments and wrote much upon scientific and political ques- 
tions. He excelled in public speaking, especially upon funeral occa- 
sions. His eulogies at the burial of Putnam and other prominent 
persons were greatly admired, as were also the eulogies and ei)itnph8 
composed by him upon various occasions. Mrs. Lucy Waldo, daugh- 
ter of Captain Cargill, sympathized with her husband in literary 
pursuits, and enjoyed local celebrity as a writer in prose and verse, 
being especially proficient " in the art of letter-writing." 

Digitized by 



Society ill Poinfrct was very brilliant during this period, but had 
the reputation of exclusivencss. Some of the new families affected a 
bUi)erior style of living. The old established families had also Bnc 
houses and furniture, and were thought by their plainer neighbors to 
live in great magnificence. Many distinguished visitors from abroad 
were entertained at these fine mansion-houses. Fashionable belles and 
beaux came up from Providence and Newport John Hancock im- 
proved his purchase for a sunmier country-seat and brought thither 
many distinguished strangers from Boston. Visits were exchanged 
between these notabilities; balls and dancing parties were given. 
Pomfret Assemblies became very famous and fashionable, and drew 
together all the elite of the vicinity. The aii-s and gi-aces of the 
assembled gentry, and the aristocratic assumption of some families, 
excited the ridicule of the country people and led some local wit to 
afiix to the fa;>hiunable ipmrter the derisive sobriquet of ^^Pncker 
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 completed by Colonel Thomas 
Grosvenor in 1702. Its raising was accompanied by great mirth and 
festivity — a young Indian delighting the crowd by dauclny upon its 

The United Library was reorganized at the close of the war. 
Captain Amas;i Sessions, Deacon Daviil Williams, Deacon Samuel Craft, 
Lieutenant Joshua (jirusvenor, Messrs. John Payson, John Parkhurst^ 
Samuel Waldo, Elijah Dana, John Grosvenor, Jun., Elijah Williams, 
William Siibin, Jun., Phinney Davison, Captain Josiah Sabin, Deacon 
Simon Cotton, and the Widow Coates, were admitted niembei*s. It 
was voted that the twelve dollai-s, continental money, belonging to the 
Library which had so greatly depreciated should be considered as the 
proprietors* loss, the clerk not answerable for or obliged to make it 
good ; also, that Mrs. Sabin, Squire Abishai Sabin's widow, where the 
Library now is, should continue to keep the same. Miller's llistoiy. 
Dr. Mather's Christian Philosopher, Uoyl on Seraphic Love and Dr. 
Owen on Justification, were added to the collection ; Thomas Howard, 
Joshua Sabin, Ephraim Ingalls, Nehemiah Williams, Samuel Carpen- 
ter, Richard Gootlale, Joseph Williams, Jonathan Sabin, Juil, Samuel 
Craft, Stephen Williams, Elisha Gleason, John Dresser, Samuel 
Penin, Joseph Baker, Samuel Waldo, Daniel Goodale, Rev. Oliver 
Dodge, Deacon Joseph Davison, and Deacon Caleb Haywood, were 
afterwards admitted proprietors. The ])reponderance of theological 
and dogmatical works was very detrimental to the popularity of the 
library, and it was now losing ground in public favor. A Social 

Digitized by 



Library formed in 1793, brought in works of a ligliter diaracler, belter 
adapted for general reading — but tbis (oo failed to meet the wants of 
the whole comnuiiiity, and in 1801, a Farmer's Library was instilnted. 
The bwt recorded meeting of the " l^roprielors of the United Library 
in Pomfret for Propagating Christian and Usefnl Knowledge," was 
held February 12, 1805, when the Librarian was directed *' to call 
upon the Proprietor to return the books into the Library agreeably to 
the original Covenant" 

Abington Society was now rejoicing in the ministrations of Rev. 
Walter Lyon, a native of Wooclstock and graduate of DartmouUi 
College, who was ordained as pastor, January 1, 1783. The occasion 
was one of unusual interest. The three churches of Woodstock, with 
those of Pomfret, Brooklyn, Canterbury, Eastford, Thompson, Scot- 
land, Sturbridge and Shrewsbury, were represented by pastor and 
delegates. The lleverends Joseph Sunnier 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, llev. Stephen Williams ; right hand of fellowship by 
Mr. Whitney of Brooklyn. Robert Sharpe and Benjamin Ruggles 
were chosen deacons in 1785; Joshua Qrosvenor and Samuel Craft in 
1793. The first pastor of the church. Rev. Daniel Ri[>ley, aOor long 
infirmity and sufiering, died in 1785. 

Mr. Putnam remained in charge of the First church of Pomfret, 
conducting pulpit services and also instructing young men as long as 
his health permitted. Aniong his pupils who became celebrated in 
after life, were Elisha, son of Ebenezer Williams, Sanuiel Dexter and 
William Prescott of Boston. While yet in the prime of life he was 
in great measure disabled by a failure of voice and physical weakness 
which obliged him to seek the aid of a colleague, a painful necessity 
which led to still more unhappy consequences. Hitherto this church 
had been remarkable for harmony and order. Alone among Windham 
County churches it had withstood the tide of Separate agitation, 
eschewing all fellowship with " New Light stuff," and stoutly 
defending the supremacy of the Saybrook Platform, but its day of 
trial and defection came. The period of Pom fret's highest secular 
prosperity was that of her deepest s[)iritual abasement, when brethren 
waged fierce war upon each other and her ancient chmxli 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, nnide a most favorable inqirc^sion upon his hearers, and 
aAer a few months' probation he was called to settle as colleague 

Digitized by 



])a9tor — ]y[r. Seth Gro8venor alone ndvisino: delay. In the brief 
interval |H'ecedin<^ onliiiatioii others became dissatisHed. Mr. Doilge 
niaiiifesled at (inies an alarming licence in speech and condnet, and 
unfavorable reports concerning him came from abroad, 8o that when 
the ordaining council was convened, April 19, 1702, a small number of 
" aggrieveti brethren " ap|ieared before it and objected to the ordina- 
tion of the candidate, on charges of disregard to truth, neglect of duty, 
irreverent application of Scripture and unbecoming levity. The 
Council was greatly ]>erplexed and troubled. The engaging manners 
of Mr. ]><idge, and the warm attachment of a large majority of the 
church and congregation, pleaded strongly in his favor, and yet there 
was evident ground for distrust and apprehension. Decision was 
deferred till July, and then referred to a special Council of thirteen 
ministers and delegates, nine of whom were to l>e chosen by the 
friends of lilr. Dodge and four by the opposition. The Ueverends 
Jos. Huntington, Jose]>h Sumner, Josiah Dana, Timothy Stone and 
Jabez Chickering were invited from abroad, together with several of 
the county ministers. The council assembled September 1, and after 
tour days' session was satisfied that Mv, Dodge hud been guilty of a 
culpable disregard to truth, irreverent application of Scri|>ture and 
behavior unbecoming the gentleman and Christian minister," and, as it 
was of great importance that a minister should be of good reput^ 
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 
exemplary and holy life that every obstacle that might impede his 
usefulness might be removed, and that all the excellent and amiable 
talents and accomplishment with which God had been pleased to favor 
him might be improved in the future to eminent and most im[)ortant 
purposes in his day and generation." Mr. Do<lge demeaned himself 
through the trial with the utmost propriety, accepted the admonition 
with humility and thankfulness, rejecting upon himself in the various 
instances alleged, excepting that of /xtlsehoodj of which he was not 
consciously guilty. Dr. Huntington's sympathy 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 improved as a 
preacher of the Gospel, or as a candidate for the ministry, either 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 siiy u[)on it 
but i-eferred to the Result." 

Digitized by 



This Result was but the sij^nal for a "now <leparlure." The friends 
of Mr. Dodi^e, encoumged by Dr. Iluntingtons iniprtulent suggestion, 
wholly declined to ace4»|>t it. Opposition had but lieightened their 
attachment and strengthened their determination. The society held 
a meeting on the very day the Ucsult was published, and requested 
Mr. Dodge to continue preaching with them, " as they did not consider 
the Jtcsult of Council as dismisHing him fr«»m the work of the 
ministry." The church was called to concur in this invitation, and 
make provision "in a regular <K)n8lilutional 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 the 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 
net/ative power allowed to mini8tei*8 by Saybrook Platform. Reliev- 
ing that Mr. Dodge was unfit for the ministerial oflice, Mr. ]*utnam 
exercised the power thu.s vested in him and dissolved the meeting 
without permitting a vote upon the question. This act, if legal, was 
little less than suicidal The outrage*! majority, debarred from farther 
expression and action, indignantly repudiated all connertion with the 
Fii*st church and society, and straightway organized jis 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 ])revious reslrictions, 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, Kbenezer and John Grosvenor, John and John H. 
Pay son, Caleb 1 1 ay ward, Josiali Sabin, Simon Cotton and Jabez 
Denison. In their distress and porplexily these bereaved and 
aggrieved brethren could only resort to that unfailiiig balm for every 
wound — "the venerable Consociation of Win<lham County." Sixteen 
pastors with their delegates convened at the house of Mr. Putnam, 
Dficember 21, "to hear, advise and determine \q»on the unhappy 
difliculties in the First church of Poinfret." The good ministers 
found their powers extremely limited. They could indeed "hear and 
a<lvi8e," but "determine" nothing. The seceding church-members 
had wholly withdrawn from their jurisdiction. 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 

Digitized by 



under their control and jurisdiction tlinn under tlie control and juris- 
diction of the Bittliop of London." Tliey could only express their 
deep Hyn)))athy and concern, and solemnly enunciate what everybody 
knew before — ^'thait it was fully implied in the Result of the late 
Council that they viewed it highly inexpedient for Mr. Dodge to 
continue to ofliciate as a candidate in this [)lace after the publication of 
said Result." 

These " results/' and full accounts of the other proceedings in Pom- 
fret, were speedily publishcnl in the Windham County Herald^ and 
serveral state newspapers, exciting much remark and interest. Their 
bearing upon one of the vital lple^(tions of the day gave them es)>ecial 
importance at this juncture. The Ecclesiastic Constitution of Con- 
necticut, had become extremely unpopular. Zejihaniah Swift of 
AVindham, 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 oppose his election to Congiess upon 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 opportunity 
to repay them for this injury and expose the arbitrary assumptions of 
Saybrook Platfoini. Lfaving suilered 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 Heraldy Swift 
rushed at once to the defence of Mr. Dodge, pronouncing the charges 
against him, " false, scandalous and malicious," and the power arrogated 
by the consociation in its late inquiry ''more unwarrantable and danger- 
ous than that exercised by the j)retended successoi-s of St. Peter." 
Explanations and defence in behalf of that body urged by Dr. 
Cogswell, Rev. Thomas Brockway and Sanmel Perkins, only called 
out more vehement denunciations. The attempt of the consociation 
thus to adjudicate was "an open attack upon religious liberty and the 
rights of conscience." The Act of Mr. Putnam in dissolving a lawfid 
assembly, and ** nullifying the voice of the church by his siufjle voice^ 
liis sovereign neyativey was a most conspicuous instance of the arbi- 
trary power vested in ministers by that ci^lebrated code of ecclesiastic 
jurisprudence, known by the singular appellation of Sayuuook Plat- 
FoitM." Hard indeed was the situation of the people of Pomfret, to 
have a minister, who could do nothing but defeat them from obtaining 
anotlier. Was it not time for people to look about and see whether 
*' such despotism was founded in Scripture^ i?i reason, in policy ^ or 
on the rights of vutn / A miniHter by his votvy by hin sinf/ic ooive. 

Digitized by 




mjiy negative tlic unanimous vote of the church/ Are miniRters com- 
jioscfl of finer clay than the rest of mankind, that entith'S them to 
this preeminence? Does a license to preach transform a man into a 
higher order of beings and endow him with a natmal quality to 
govern t 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 such degrading vassalage and abject subtnission f Is the 
exercise of such a power compatible with the ecpial rights — the unalien- 
able birth-right of man? To these (piestions the answer is obvious to 
every capacity not hoo<lwinked 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 
chmch or christian congregation must be on the same footing in 
respect of church goverinueut^ and that the C'ONsrrrurioN which 
delegates to one the power to negative the vote of all the rest, is 

WOKI) OK Goi> ! " 

The force of this powerful attack was greatly weakened by tlio 
accompanying abuse and personalities. Dr. Oogswelfs meek expos^ 
tulation was " a miserabh» and wretched performance," and his ejecula 
tory prayer for the forgiv<»neas of his opponent, "an act of profanity 
and impiety." The Reverends Eliphalet Lyman ami Moses C. Welch, 
who hurried to the defence of their disabled brethren and the RtsultSy 
were impaled with greater force and fury. Both these ministers had 
distinguished themselves by active opposition to Swift, and most Joy- 
fully did he seize the opportunity to punish them. Kvery derisive 
and opprobrious epithet was heaped upon them. They were charged 
with deceit, fraud, suppression and destruction of evi<lence, slander 
and political intrigue. Mr. Lyman was the Don Quixote, Mr. Welch, 
the Bally of the consociation. Dodge was the innocent victim of 
clerical revenge and malice ; " a young man of superior genius and 
merit suAering 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 partis.ui, a political weather c(»ck and a rag-a-muHin." 
His remarks " if brought into one view, would be the greatest piece 
of nonsense, inconsistency and booby ism ever thrown together." He 
was called a promoter of vice and a Deist, and not oidy dubbed a fool 
in their own words, " but had mustered and applied to him every text 

Digitized by 




of Scripture wherein they could find that epithet." This disgmoeful 
controversy was cjinied on for years in the cuhnnns of The Windham 
Jltralif^ both si«ie8 inthilging in the niost nnscrupuUHis ahune and 
vilnperution. Every phase of the Dodge affair was paraded before 
the public. Depositions maintaining or disproving the charges 
alleged against him were sought out and published. Attacks and 
rejoinders were then gathered into pamphlets and carried all over the 

While this newftpaper war was waging Pomfret was given over 
to discord and confusion. The Catholic Ileformed church and its 
pastor were indeed pro8|>fcring beyond the most sanguine expectation 
of its supporters. Do<lge was the luro of the day ; the champion of 
popular lights and free religi«>n ; the representative and apostle of a 
new ministerial dispensation. "The reign of long faces had passed." 
Ministers were now to act and talk like other men, ''and unite with 
them in mirth, festivity an<l annisement." The old Puiitan blueness 
an«l austerity were to be superseded by good fellowship and universal 
jollity. " God was best serve*! by merry hearts an*! cheerfid voices.** 
In that |>eriod of religious deadness these views and sentiments set 
forth !)y an eloquent and graceful speaker, were exceedingly attractive. 
The disciples of free religion couhl not have ask(*<! for a in<»r«? eligible 
leader than this elegant and acconiplishe<l ytfung minister, who could 
charm all hearts with religious rliaps<idies, and dance, drink andJ4>ke 
with equal accejitance. A great congregation gnthered around him. 
Many of the lea<liiig men in Pomfret united with the church. Its 
creed was simple and evangelical — its nienibei-s taking the Scriptures 
of the Oh! and New Testaments 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 Gospi*!. Full liberty of inter- 
]>retation was allowed. All knotty points of doclnne were discreetly 
ignored. No provision was made for a<lministering discipline or for 
associating with other churches. Dr. Waldo gives these reasons for 
signing this agreenient : — 

** 1. iiuviiig uxuiiihied with careriilness, Hud it to he roiUHletl on that ^reat 
Cliristiun scale wlilch unites niunkiuit in llic lliiely-polisliecl ;;ol(|cn chuiii of 
c<iUAliiy Aiid brotherly lovc% nnd cannot make any material objection to the 
mode and principles which it is de.siirned to incnlcate. 

2. My only brother has signed it after due consideration, and I wish to 
worship and get to Ileavcu with my bt-oiher." 

The first public act of the new society, December 28, 1792, was to 
invite Mr. Oliver Dodge to settle as its minister, and in the following 
February ho was ordainetl over it So strong was the feeling against 
him that ministers of good standing shrank fr«nn the responsibility of 

Digitized by 



iiiti-o<liieing him iiilo llic ministry, niul of m;iny invited only the llov. 
Isaac Foster, liis sons, and son-in-law — all of doiibtfnl orthodoxy — 
assisitcd in the ordaining services. This ministerial reprobation only 
increased the fervor of his adherents. His personal friends clung to 
him with unw.-ivering fidelity. His levities and incliscrelions, which 
all were forced to acknowledge, were but the irrepressible exuberance 
of a free and generous spirit and were more than compensated by his 
ingenuous confessions of wrong and great social attractions. The 
newspaper controversy and Swift's avowed championship gave him 
great notoiiety, and attracte<l many hearere 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 
popularity. Some of the most respectable families in Brooklyn, 
Abington Parish, Woodstock, Thompson and Killingly, lefl the 
churches of their former attendance and unite<l with the Reformed 
church of Pomfret. The young men of C'anterbury attempted to 
organize a new society upon this attractive model. I]ut while the 
masses were thus carried away by the fascinations of the popular 
preacher, a small but poweiful minority were banded together against 
him. ])eacons Oliver Grosvenor and Simon Cotton, ohi Es([uire John 
Grosvenor, Captain Seth and Kbenezer Grosvenor, Esq., Josiah Sabin, 
town clerk, the Paysons and Caleb Hay ward, were among the eleven 
faithful disciples who clung to their ancient church and minister. They 
were supported and encouraged by the ministry of the County, and 
sober men in the neighboring towns. The Windham County Associa- 
tion justified Mr. Putnam in opposing the measures of the niajority of 
the chinch for ordaining Mr. Dodge, and declared that his dissolution 
of the church meeting ainounteil to nothing more than would neces- 
sarily have followed had the church been allowed to vote*, in which 
case he would have lefl them and they would have been inca[mble of 
any further proceedings. That the majority had any rifjhts in the wise 
was a matter that they did not even take into discussion. They also 
justified the aggi'ieved brethren in refusing to attend the ministrations 
of ]Mr. Ho<lge, and encouraged them in maintaining public worship 
by themselves, ** manifesting great freedom in assisting Mr. Putnam to 
supply the pulpit and administer the sacrament." An attempt maile 
by the Ueforme<l Society to obtain possession of the house of worship 
was unsuccessful, the VViiHlham Court deciding "that Mr. Putnam's 
adherents were the First Ecclesiastic Society and ha<l a right to the 
society property." This legal action and decision only made the con- 
trovei*sy more bitter. Friendly intercoui-se between the contending 
parties was wholly suspended. Brothers, relatives and life-long friends 

Digitized by 




became us strnngei-s aiul enemies. Kveii the children of tliese families 
joined in ihe tinarrel, an<l mocked and jeered each other as "Dodgo-iles " 
and "an(i-l)odge-ile.s." The conlrovorsy was carried into town elec- 
tions. Opponents of Air. Dodge were exchnled from otiice. A Hamiiig 
Dodge-ite was elected town clerk in place of Josiah Sahin, who left this 
parting record on the town book : — 

** Hero ciub the services. of a faitliriil f>ervaiit of tlio public, who was 
neglected for no other reason than he could not Doikik - - - ^ ." 

Woo^lstock was also implicatiMl in this fanions controversy. Mv, 
Lyman was one of the most active opponents of Mr. Dodge, bnt 
many mend)ers of his society were carried away by the ])revailing 
in fat nation. Some of these admirers wished him to preach in their 
own meeting-honse on Woodstock Hill, and made known their desire 
to M\\ Lyman. Mr. Hussel of Thompson had complied with a sinnlar 
intimation, and had himself attended the services to see that no harm 
came of it, but the VV^oo<lstock minister was made of "sterner stuff" 
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 conuniltee **di<l not object to the proposed lecture," 
and without wailing more formal permission, notice was given on the 
following Sabbath after the close ot service by the singing leader, 
" that the next Thurs^lay would be a singing meeting in the meeting- 
house, and that the Hev. H^lr. Dodge vvouhl atteuil and preach there." 
Mr. Davi<l Holmes, one of the society committee, was there- 
upon dispatched to Poukfret to represent to Mr. Dodge the ukinds 
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 urbanity ; listened to his " very lengthy and 
earnest expostulation " 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 ofjiip, and a good dinner,'' 
Accordingly upon the a)>pointed Thursday, November 7, 1703, Mr. 
Dodge galloped over to Woodstock, and with four gentlemen of the 
society called upon Mr. liyman and asked his presence and assistance 
at the lecture. Mr. Lyman expressed his willingness to conform to 
the wishes of any of his i>eople when he couhl do so consistently with 
order an<l regularity, but in this instance was constrained to make 
objections, and further asked Mr. Dodge whether he thought upon 
such an invitatitm he had a right to preach in the meeting-house. Mr. 
Doiige replie<l wuh his u.sual smiling audacity, "that he had as good 
aright to preach in that meetinghouse as Mr. layman Inul, an^l that 

Digitized by 



Mr. Lytnaii had no more right to the pul[»it tlirni he ha<l to the 
coinnioii or any other plnec." Uejmirinijc to I he mcetintr-house, he 
found a goodly number of hearers collected ; the singers with their 
lender in their accnstomod place, Mnjor Elijah Williams and many 
other prominent Woodstock gentlemen, and at once commenced the 
service. Captain Jonathan Morse, another of the society conunittee, 
was pn»8ent with a written remonstrance from the pastor, nnd at the 
close of the first singing arose and attempted to read it to the congre- 
gation, but voice and courage failing, he broke down with (he first 
sentence and hastily withdrew to re|>ort his ill success to Mr. Lyman. 
That gentleman instantly hastened with Oa[)tain Morse to the meeting- 
house, and finding Mr. Dodge at prayer, 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, 
suiting his objections to the present procedure, after which b<»th 
gentlemen "walked moderately out of the meeting-house," and Mr. 
Dodge completed his service without farther interruption. In 
punishment for this ofiense, Mr. Lyman and Captain ]M(»rse were 
both indicti'd for hitjh rriwc an<l inisdemcajior in <listurbing a 
n-ligions assembly, ** by violently and repeatc^lly walking across said 
meeting-house," and "by impeaching and scandalizing the people so 
met and the Rev. Oliver Dodge then performing said ]»ublic woi'ship," 
and in spite of the efforts of their friends and of their counsel, Colonel 
Dyer, they were found guilty and sentenced to pay as high a fine as 
the law would allow. The case was appealed and carried on up to 
the Supreme Court, where, after a full investigation, the jiulgment of 
the Woodstock justice was set aside and Mr. layman and Captain 
ilorse justified and acquitted. Eveiy detail of this aftair was 
})ub]ished in the Wiiidhani 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 cotroversy continued till near the close of the 
century. For more than six years Mr. Dodge maintained his 
as<5endancy and his church grew and flourished, while the old mother 
church of Pomfret withered and wasted. Even some of the faithful 
eleven were lost to it. Captain Seth Grosvenor and his large and 
influential family removed to New York State, others were set aside 
by age and increasing infirmities, so that but a feeble renmant repre- 
sented the church and supported the invalid pastor. Yet though 

Digitized by 



"caat dt)\vn'* they were not quite " destroy eii" Through all these 
weary yearis the faithful few maintained the staled Sabbath service in 
the great <les4)hite meeting-house, the deac«>ns praying and reading 
the sermons prepared by the speechless jmstor, who cheered them by 
liis presence and silent participation in their worship. The piety and 
faith of Mr. Putnam gave him great strength in this day of trial, and 
enabled hiin to impart courage and consolation to his followers. 
Deprived of his voice, he became more ready with his pen. "His 
written messages of love and faithfulness were passing daily to 
faukilies and individuals of his parish." In the darkest hour he saw 
a light beyond the cloud and believed that all would yet be well. In 
compliance with the .advice of the Assoication they made no attempt 
to censure or discipline those who had gone from them, — but 
endeavored to nmnifest ^^a mild, gentle and forbearing temper and 
deportment, hoping by such measures to e£fect their return and 
coalition," — and their patience and forbearance were at last most 
signally rewarded. Satiate with success, the popular idol fi>und 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 pulpit and profession. 
Large as was the liberty allowed him by the laxity of the limes and 
the blind [>artiality of his friends, it was all insufficient Yielding to 
reckless impulse, he ceased to maintain the semblance of outward 
decency antl 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- prayei*s for a 
glass of liquor, he had the effrontery to enter his pulpit and attenq>t to 
conduct the usual Sabbath worship, — but the end had come. The 
^^ innocent victim of cleiical malice," the "second Luther," the brilliant 
young man, who had gained so high a position and wrought so much 
Ukischief, was slain by his own folly and wickedness. AttenqUing to 
speak he fell prostrate upon his pulpit, utterly overcome by the effect 
ot his drunken orgies. The eyes of his infatuated followers were 
o|>ened at once and forever. Never Wiis fall more instant, more 
final. Of the crowds who had followed him, not one adhered to 
him or attenqited to defend him. At a meeting of the Ueformed 
Church of Pomfret, July 4, 1799, "upon complaint exhibited and 
notified to Mr. Oliver Dodge, that he had been guilty of repeated 
instances of intemperance in the use of spirituous liquor or strong 
drink, and of indecent if not profane language in the course of one 
month last p:isl — 

Votnlf Tlmt Mr. Oliver Dod^e be, uikI he is hereby cxcluilcil Troui the riles 
and privileges of this church till by his rcformutiou and amcudmeut oV life 
he shall be ugaiu restored tu our charity." 

Digitized by 



No restoration was effected. Whatever efforts were made were 
wholly ineffectual. The unhappy 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 penshed in 
a night Its grieved and mortified brethren had no desire to 
per|)etuiite 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 ffrst society to call in the assistance of the Kev. Messrs. 
Whitney, Ilart and Day, to advise in the method and on what ground 
the 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 happily healed. The social and family 
feuds that had grown out of it were also made up. This happy 
result is said to have l)een largely due to an opportune dancinr; schooly 
that brought all the yoimg people together upon a common footing, 
and had a most magical effect in restoring harmony and good fellow- 
shi}j — a not inappropriate ^finale 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 5, 1802. A great concou)*se 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 Wi?id/iam Jferald, by a 
gathering of young ladies, who " met at the house of Uev. 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 responsibilities. Mwtings for prayer and 
conference were cautiously introduced. Tlie older people at first 
trembled at this innovation, and feared it would lead to confusion and 
disonler, but the meetings grew in favor and finally held their own 
with the dancing school. Secular improvements were also accom- 

Digitized by 



plislied. The meetiug-lioiise was repaired, its back f>eatA replaced by 
fasliionnble [lews, and an additional sounding-board suspended under 
the massive canopy. 

While the First Pomfret church was passing through such vicissi- 
tudes, a new religious interest had developed in the eastern part of the 
town. That wonderfully eflicient Methodist organization with its one 
clear head guiding thousands of willing feet, had gained a foothold in 
the Quinebaug valley. It was during the year of the great rupture 
and secession when Dodge was dazzling the multitude with his spe- 
cious eloquence, that a young minister of very different stamp came to 
Cargill's Mills one evening and asked leave to hold a religious meeting. 
Kindly Captain Cargill granted the use of his press-room, and a few of 
his workmen and the neighboring young people went in to hear him. 
It was a very unpretentious gathering; very unlike the ftishiouable 
assemblies then crowding the old Grosvenor House, but the resulting 
intluences were far more dissimilar. The plain and pungent preaching 
of John Allen struck conviction to the hearts of his hearers. Allen 
came again, and other preachers — famous lights of Metliodism. A 
number of young women* professed converbion, and early in 1793 
were gathered into a class. Soon they were joined by three young 
men, Elijah Hugbee, William Gary and Noah I^errin. The latter was 
appointed class-leader and o|>ened the fine old Perrin House for ])ublic 
religious service. Pomfret was included in New I^ondon Circuit, and 
made a regular preaching station. Its presiding elder, George Hoberts, 
watched and cherished this young Hock, preaching himself at stated 
intervals, and sending other flaming messengers. In a day when 
Infidelity and Universalism were openly proclaimed in every 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 oilhodox clergy was almost nullified by theological absolutism 
and ecclesiastical assumption, vivid pictures of man's guilt and danger 
and earnest offers of free, unlimited salvation, had very great effect. 
More conveits 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 exhoitation, were held in the Penin House and Cargill's 
press-room, and a new religious life and impulse pervaded the Quine- 
baug valley. The old churches upon the hill-tops looked with much 
suspicion upon this Methodist invasion. They had heard most unfavor- 

♦ Sarah Bacon— afterwards the wife of Elljali Bii^bec, Lucy Pcrrin—aftor- 
YfunU Mrs. William Gary, Lucy Marcy, Saiiy Whito, Mrs. Surah Sabiii. 

Digitized by 



able reports of that body. Representatives serving at Hartford and 
New Haven, had brought back alarming stories of their excesses and 
heresies. They were worse than Baptists, worse thnn the old-fashioned 
Separates, worse than anything that had yet afflicted Connecticut ! 
Rev. Mr. Atkins of Killingly Hill, though but a moderate Calvinist, 
pronounced (hem a very dangerous people, and warned his congrega- 
tion against attending their meetings. This prohibition 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 
numbers. In 1795, Pomfret Circuit was formed, embracing the 
northeast section of Connecticut, and 169 professed Methodists. 
Jesse Lee was its presiding ehler ; 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; Jf»hn Nichols and Samuel Onrsline, jireachers. 
Thoucrh meeting much opposition from the st:mding churches and 
drawing few adherents from families of old Puritan stock and careful 
religious training, the Pomfret Methodists increased slowly and 
stendily, and gained a strong foothold in dinTcrcnt sections of tho 
town, especially in neighborhoods aloof from other religious influences. 
The Baptist society formed under the aunpiccs of President Man 
ning maintained its organization and held occasional services, but was 
much straitened by the loss of Benjamin Thurber and the lack of 
minister and house of worship. The ** great religious stir " among the 
Bnptists of Hampton in 1788-9, extended into Abington, and several 
residents of this society united with the new church. Others became 
connected with tho Baptist 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. Regular services were held in the Gary school- 
house and at Pomfret Landing. The propriety of setting apart this 
young brother to the work of tho 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, 
and formed into a council," viz. : — 

•* Second cliurch of Woodstock, Elder Amos Wells, Deacons Robert Baxter 
and William II. Manning; BroMiron Henry Wells, ,T:imcs Wlicaton, Ellsha 
Sahln. First Woodstock, Elder Abicl Lcdoyt, Deacon Samiivl Crawford, 
Joel Gage. Hampton, Deacon William Elliott, Frederick Curtis, Jeremiah 
Field. Sturbrldge, Elder Zenas S. Leonard. Stephen Haskel, Ueiibcn Howe, 
Joseph Barret. Thompson, Elder Pearson Crosby, Deacons Samuel Knap and 

Digitized by 




Thomas Day, Joseph Town, Joseph Bates. 1. Chose Elder Crosby, modera- 
tor; Klder Leonard, clerk. 2. Deacons Thomas Grow of Hampton, and 
Jonathan Harrington of Killingly churches, bcln;; providentially present, 
were invlled lo nit wllh the council. 3. After prayer proceeiled 1o h<*ar 
llrother .lames Grow's relaiion of the work of grace on his heart, his call to 
the ministry and system of doctrine. 4. The council nianiresiing individually 
their satisfaction in the candidate's relation on the points above-named, con- 
cluded to proceed to ordination. Accordingly appointed EUler A. Ledoyt to 
preach the sermon, EUler P. Crosby to make the consecrating prayer, Elder 
A. Wells to give the charge, and Elder Z. Leonard to give the right hand of 
fellowship. 6. Met September ID, according to adjournment, and the several 
parts were performed agreeably to appointment. 6. Hrotlier James Grow, 
being thus set apart by ordination according as we understand Apostolic 
order, wo recommend liim to Gml, and the worcl of his grace to build him up 
In the most holy faith, and make him faithful and successful till his death." 

In the following Apiil the branch Lecainc a distinct body and was 
received into the fcHowship of its sister cliurchcs as the l^)nlfret 
Haptist church, Wttodstock distnissin^r thereto the following mem- 
bers: — Klisha Sabin, Aitemas liiuce, James Grow, Pardon Kingsley, 
Smith Johnson, Thomas liowen, Charles Ilobbins, Guy Kingsley, 
Stephen Chapman, Alvin Easting, Lncretia Cady, Mary Drown, Han- 
iiah Sabin, I*atty Bruce, Phebe and Saiah Stone, Aznbah Bowen, 
Polly M. Spalding, Orpah £asling, Susanna Kingsley, Katharine 
Ashcraft, Sabra Withey, Hannah Kent, Betsey lieavens, Hannah 
Fling, Celinda Copp, Lucy (lOodell. No meeting-house was erected 
fur several years, but services were still held in the (lary school-house 
and other convenient centres. A few Quaker families were now 
resident in the town, and a plain hou8<i of worshi[> had been erected 
for them by the Smithtidd Conference. 

Abingtoii Society enjoyed much harmony and prosfieiity. Mr. 
Lyon was a faithful and conscientious pastor, devottMl 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 development of the community. 
Improvements in schools and house of worship, the libraries and 
missionaiy efforts, enjoyed his countenance) and support. A committee 
was chosen in 1800 to estimate the expense of re))airing the meeting- 
house, and in the following year Joshua and Thomas Grosvenor, and 
Lemuel Ingalls, were authorized to accom[>lish repairs. A bell was 
promised by Mr. Samuel Sumner, and leave voted to ceitain individ- 
uals to build a steeple, leaving '* it discretionary with the committee 
as to repairing and painting." In 1802, the society voted to pay the 
cx))eu8e of hanging and raising the bell, and a rope to hang it. This 
being procured and the bell successfully elevated, Daniel Goodell and 
Thomas (irosvenor were appointed a committee to return thanks to 
Mr. Samuel Sunnier for his generous present. Farther repairs were 

Digitized by 



Boon nc(^oinpli8l)e<1 and tlio liousc brought into good condition. Iin- 
proveincnta were also made in singing — Watts' Psalms Uiking the 
place of the earlier version, and singers ranged into a choir nnder the 
leadership of Mr. Ephraim Ingrills, a change ** much against the 
feelings and prejudices of some of the old fathers." The government 
of the church was less absolute than that of Pomfret. It was voted 
in 1783, "that there be four 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 an<l four brethren." An earlier vote prescribed, " that 
no offending member of said church should l>e dealt with in ye 
method of iHoc-edure against offending 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 baptism, 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 thereafter, each distiict placing their own school- 
house and bnihling the same, but several yeni-s passed before the 
district system was carried into execution. The ecclesiastic society 
continued its c^re 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 more than forty shillings per 
month, they boarding themselves. Notwithstanding this scanty pay 
there was no lack of good teachers. No crop in Abington was more 
sure than its schoolmasters. Young men who toiled on farms 
through the summer were glad to recreate in a school-room for the 
winter. Samuel Crafl was one of the early teachers. Mr. Samuel 
Sumner, the generous donor of Abington's first bell, taught school 
many wintei*s, and was especially noted for the excellence of his 
penmanship. In 1795, a district school society was organized — 
Joshua Grosvenor, clerk. John Trowbridge, William Field and 
Squire Sessions were the first committee. In 1798, four school dis- 
tricts were formally set off and established, and suitable school-houses 

In 1793, a number of residents of Abington formed themselves into 
a Pro^yriety for the purpose of establishing a library 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 Uuggles, Rev. Walter Lyon was chosen moderator, Lemuel 
Ingalls, clerk. March 21, Rev. Walter Lyon chosen librarian; 

Digitized by 




Joshna Grosveiior, Jun., Elisba Lord, Jun., Samuel Ci-aft^ standing 
coininitlee; Rev. Walter Lyon, T^iniiel Stowell, Lemuel Ingalls, 
Elisha Lord, Jun., Griggs Goife, special committee to procure books ; 
Captain Thomas Grosveiior, collector; Tymnet Ingalls, treasurer. 
The price of a share was stated at twelve shillings. Amasa Storrn, 
Daniel and Lemuel Goodell, William and Robert Sharpe, William 
Field, Samuel Sumner, Jun., Ebenezer Ashley, Amos Stoddard, 
Zechariah Osgood, John Holbrook, Philip Pearl, Edward Paine, 
Squire Sessions, Aaron Stevens, Nathl. Ayer, were early membera of 
this association, which soon enrolled the prominent residents of the 
parish. Thomas Williams of Hampton was elected to the privilege of 
membership. A hundred volumes or more were soon procured, and a 
suitable cnse provitled for them, together with "good, substantial 
wrapping paper or sheepskin sufficient to cover them." Still the 
public was not satisfied. Many excellent standard works had been 
brought into their families: histories, travels, poetry, scientific 
treatises ; but there was still a great preponderance of the theologiosd 
element. "Too much Stackhouse," was the verdict of one critical 
subscriber, and so a "Junior Ijibrary " was organized. "At a meeting 
holden at Amasa GooilelFs, November, 1804, Voted, That John 
Holbrook be librarian, Solomon Gilbert clerk, John Tfolbrook collector 
and treasurer." Joshua Grosveiior, John Il4>Ibrook, Artemas Osgood, 
William Goodell, Darius Hutchins, committee. Some ninety volumes 
were soon collected, whose range must have satisfied the most 
progressive readers, enabling them to expatiate with Tom Jones, 
Humphrey Clinker, Gil Bias, Roderic 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 by his grandfather, Ebenezer 
Holbrook. Dr. Darius Hutchins had succeeded to the practice of Dr. 
Lord. CapUiin Lord, removed for a time to Brooklyn after marrying 
for his second wife a daughter of Dr. Whitney, but aAerward 
returned to his old home. One of the most active and useful of 
Abingtoirs citizens at this date was lA3inuel Ingalls, Esq., who after 
filling many lesser offices with great credit was made county sm*veyor 
and associate judge in 1806. 

Pomfret greatly agitated at this date by the proposed construc- 
tion of various turnpike roads through her territory. Progressive 
spirits favored these enterprises, but the heavy outlay and prospective 
imposts terrified a majority of the tax-payers. At the first proposal 
"to lay a road from liartfoi'd towauds Boston to the Miutsiichiisetts or 

Digitized by 


TURNPIKK ori»08mON, KTO. 287 

Uliode Island line,'* the town appointed Colonel Lemuel Grosvcnor, 
Lenniel Tngalls, Esq., and Captain Josiah 8al>in, to make such 
preparations for surveying as would be necessary for information, and 
to wait upon the committee sent by General Court. In December, 
the town deferred acting upon raising money to pay assessments to 
individuals for road laid out by State committee, and appointed Peter 
Chandler, Seth and Joshua Grosvcnor to confer with neighboring 
towns respecting laying out road from Hartford to Douglas, and for 
preparing 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 committee, 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, Lemuel Ingalls and 
Seth Grosvcnor were appointed to have it altered in ceilain 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 
ex))enses and pay assessments, but declined to accept shares in the 
company or to allow Captain Sabin for attendance upon committee. 
Projects for a new road in the west 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 appointed agents to oppose 
the memonal of Sampson Howe and others, and also acceptance of a 
road laid out through Pomfret from Norwich to Massachusetts line, 
but weit5 again obliged " to raise money to pay assessments made by 
State committee for said road." The Pomfret and Killingly turnpike 
was also carried through after much opposition and jefusing 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 Uiver, 
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 the burying-gronnd, and also 
one on Mashamoquet " where the turn[»iko crosseth it where old road is 
discontinued." So great was the outlay cause<l by all these turnpikes 
and bridges that it was proposed to sell the newly constructed 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 Grosvcnor and Sylvanus Backus were 
at once empowered to oppose this farther imposition. Surveys were 
however made, and two routes offered for consideration. In 1806, 
the town voted, that the north route by Snnmel White's to Cotton's 
bridge would best accommodate town and public, and to oppose the 

Digitized by 


288 nisTOUY of windiiam county. 

route from said White's to tlie Landing, but agaiu as in previous cases 
t1)ey were forced to give up their way and subniil to road and taxes. 

Important changes wertj now going forward in the Quinebaug 
vaiUey. 'Die Cargill Mills had passed into other hands. Adveitise- 
ments in the J^rooidence Gazette had made known to the public the 
superior business advantages of this locality, as follows: — 

** Being stricken in years and past labor, and having a desire to load a 
more peaceable and retired life, Is now to be sold and entered upon the 
enduing i^pring, tur notkd inhbuitancis ov Bknjauin Cauoill of Ponifret, 
situated on Quinebaug River, containing Ave 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 Kald river, so that the drier the season the more hay 
will It produce; together with houses and barns; a smith shop, with two 
trlp-hanuners for scythe-making; a saw-mill, fulling-mill, malt-house and gin 
distillery; also a grist-mill having three pairs of stones under one roof, with 
water suniclcut to grind three hundred bushels the driest day ever known, 
and has ground nearly Ave hundred bushels, nearly all by day-light, which 
now can be proved. The above works are all built lu the best manner, 
olmost all new, and go with great force and rapidity, and well situated for 
custom. Paper and 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 are 
cautioned to mind no such clamors until they really iind It so by the activity 
of the Owner, who Is Adiy determined to sell at a very low estimate, and iully 
convinced of meeting with success. Two gentlemen In conipauy in the 
mercantile line udglit perhaps be suitable purchasers. One half of the money 
in hand would be agreeable. For furtiicr particulars, lni|uire of 

Bknjamin Cakuill. 

Pomfrel, September 20, 1798." 

In spite of these inducements the Cargill '' inheritance *' remained 
in nnirket till 1798, when it W2is purchased by Moses Arnold and John 
Harris of Ithode Island. The latter soon sold his right to the 
l^Iessrs. Knight of Providence, and the various mills were run by 
'* Knight aii<l Harris " under the superintendence of Rhode Island's 
future governor, young Mr. Nehemiah Kidght. The '^churning-mill " 
had now given place to a popidar distillery, made needful by the 
increased demaiul for spirituous and distilled liquors. A store was 
opened in one of the Cargill 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 Quinebaug and Mill Kivei-s. The romantic beauty of this 
sequestered pathway was recognized by ihd few residents of the 
vicinity, and ** Solitaire," as it was named, became a favorite place of 
resoit for merry girls and youthfid 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 nuitters was quickeniMl in 1H0I by the 
pronu)tion of Lemuel (irosvenor to the command of the Fifth J^iigade, 

Digitized by 


TURNIMKK orrosiTiON, Kl'O. 289 

and of John Wilkes ClmncllcM- to tliat of the acconipunyini^ regiment 
of cavalry. Major Chandler was a very popular officer, entertaining 
military friends and his whole company at his own house. He was 
also a leader of the Republican party in Pomfret, and delegate to 
Pierpont Edwards* constitutional convention. A large majority of the 
town were still Federalists. Judge Grosvenor held his place in the 
Probate office and Governors Council. The Representatives sent 
during thin period were Ebcnezer Kingsbury, I^mucl Grosvenor, Evan 
Malbone, Josiah Sabin, Sylvanus Backus, Benjamin Durkee and 
Lemuel Ingalls. 

Dr. Waldo had passed away in the prime of life and height of 
professional 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 susceptible of all those amiable and 
benevolent virtues which adorn the human breast.'* He was borne to 
the grave by his brethren of the medical profession, in the presence 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 
General McClellan in behalf of the Masons. 

The monument erected l)y his fellow M:isons bore the following 
inscription : — 

The master wardens and brethren 

Of Morltth J^dgo 

In testimony of their esteem and respect 

For the vlrtucH, Uilcnts and usefulness 

of their Inte worthy brother 

Erect this monument 

To the memory 

of Alblgeuce Waldo, surgeon. 

Who attentively studying the works of God 

In the admirable frame of man 

Rose to eminent distinction 

In the noble art of healing. 

His name was charity; 

His actions Humanity ; 

His Intercourse with men benevolence and love. 

Born in Pomfret, Feb. 27, 1760. 

Died 29th Jan. 1794. 

Dr. Waldo left many scientific and medical treatises which it was 
hoped "would afford great light and benefit to future ages." His 
bereaved widow made ?nany fruitless efforts to publish a collection of 
his writings. He was succeeded in practice by one of his own 
pupils and townsmen — Thomas, son of IJonjamin Hubbard — who 
though yet under ago had made such proficiency in medicil studies 
and had such natural aptitude for the profession as to fill the position 
with great credit and usefulness, and gain in time a reputation 

Digitized by 



surpusaing that of his piodeceiisor. ]>r. Hall wius hIho lield in high 
reputo abroa(i and at home, both professionally and socially, and his 
children as they canio upon the stage were shining ornaments of that 
polite and retined society which so distinguidhetl Pomfret at this day. 
To this brilliant society was now added Sylvanus Backus of Plain- 
tield, who had o}>ened a law otKce on Pomfret street and was nlrciuly 
ranked among the leading lawyer of the County. His wife was the 
only surviving daughter of Dr. Waldo. 

Among other notable events of this period Pomfret had the excite- 
ment of two tnurihrs, an extravagant allowance for a town of its size 
and calibre. The iirst was connnitted in Novendicr, 179.5, by Ann, 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 Hve-yeai'-old Martha Clark who had offended 
her in their play, and with a shai*p knife did so cut the throat of the 
child that she died almost instantly. With remarkable self-command 
and cunning, Ann hei*self rushed out and gave the alarm, calling to 
Mr. Clark that a straggler had killed little Martha. This story was at 
Hrst believed by the distressed household, but suspicious cireumst:uices 
appearing a skillful cross-examination elicited the truth. Ann was 
thereupon taken to Windham jail, tried, convicted and sentenced. 
Thirty-nine lashes were intlicted upon her naked body and the letter 
M stamped upon her hand for immediate punishment, and she was 
confmed for life within the jail limits. 

The second nmrder occurred in the south projection of Abington, a 
sunny little nook apparently far removed from the evils and tempta- 
tions of the world, occupied by descendants of Mr. John Sharpe, and a 
few friendly neighboi*s. Among these residents were lieuben Sharpe 
and his wife Cynthia, a kindly elderly pair, uncle and aunt to tlie 
whole comnmnity. Childless themselves they loved to care for 
homeless children, and among the subjects of their beneficence was 
Caleb Adams, a motherless lad of weak intellect and morbid temper, 
who was apprenticed to Mr. Sharpe, and treated with great kindness. 
When Caleb was about seventeen years old, Oliver Woodworth, a 
nephew of Mr. Sharpe, came to reside with him, a most engaging 
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 spleen was aggravated by 
the pranks and tricks of the little Oliver, who took a childish delight 
in teasing his surly comrade. One day when Caleb was pulling beans 
in the field, Oliver came out to him with his sled and besought liim 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 

Digitized by 



to let him have his filed and put it over the wall. Oliver ^ot the Bled 

and brought it back, when Caleb took it away and ilung it up into an 

apple-tree, assuring the child that if he got it again he would be 

sorry for it, whereat the little fellow straightway pulled it down and 

doubtless looked defiance at the big boy who was trying to master 

him. Caleb instantly 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 out a sled-tongue. The 

delighted boy went with him to the house, helped grind the butcher's 

knife and caiTy 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 felled him. 

** A horrid gash with a hasty knife 
And then the dccjd was done." 

As the little life ebbt^d away Calebs scMises came back to him. 
From the moment of " that first fierce impulse unto crime," ho had 
thought of nothing but how he shoidd 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 carry out his design 
of drrsuhtfj his victim, and hanging him up like other butchered 
animals. His only impnlH<> now was to shrink aw:iy from the sight 
of man, and he travelcMl off several miles to a distant uncle's residence. 
Night brought no boys to Uncle Henben's hearthstone. The neigh- 
bors were aroused, search made, the pitiful remains discovered, Caleb 
traced out. At first denying the charge he was brought ere long to 
make confession. lie was taken to Windham and committed to jail, 
Sej)tember 15, 1803. Tlie affair excited the greatest interest and 
many visited him in prison. The trial was held Si»pt ember 29. So 
great was the throng that the court adjouriie<l to the meeting-house. 
There was little or no doubt as to the commission of the murder; the 
only question at issue was the responsibility of the murderer. The boy 
had been tainted even before his birth. It was " confidently stated and 
su]>ported by credible testimony," that si.x months before the birth of 
Caleb, his father had brought into his household a vile woman with 
an idiot child two years of age, and that he had persisted in keeping 
them there to the infinite distress of his neglected wife, who died with 
grief when her baby was about five months old. Within two months 
of her decease Mr. Adams married his paramour, and she had charge 
of the child until her own death, after which he was trundled about 
to any one who would keep him for a trifle. It was said that the 
form of his face and the motions of his body resembled those of the 
idiDt child who hatl given such distress to his mother, and that ho very 
early manifested great perversity and ciuelty of temper, and an 

Digitized by 



innate propensity to indnlge in lying, stealing and varions vicions 
practices, while the circnnistiuices under which he had been place<l had 
prettlnded any counUMiicting inihiences or snitnhio training. But all 
these facts and the allege<l insanity of his father, which wouhl seem to 
indicate the unsoundness of the })ri8oner and ]»lead for a mitigation 
of sentence, only seemed to convince judge and jury of his unfitness 
to live, and the necessity of keeping him from further mischief, and 
the supreme penalty of the law was pronounced against him. A 
petition in his behalf was sent to the General Assembly but that body 
declined to interfere with the course of justice. As in the case of 
Elizabeth 8haw, very great tenderness and sympathy were maidfeste<l 
for the unhappy criniinal, and most earnest eObrts ntade to aid him in 
preparing for the great change. Mr. and Airs. Sharpe visited him in 
prison; the Intter in particular "was very tenderly affected towards 
him and treated him with christian compassion," freely forgiving him 
and hoping that Go<l would also forgive him. His execution Novem- 
ber 20, was made a grand scenic display, affording the highcKt satisfac- 
tion to many thousands of sympathetic spectators. Divine service was 
peiforme<i on the Green before the Court House. "Caleb walked to 
the place of public worshi)), accompanied by Sheriff Abbe and the 
attending clergy, exhibiling on a serine countenance nigns of deep and 
solemn thought. A pathetic and well adaptc<l prayer by lie v. Mr. 
Nott, opened the service," followetl by a sermon from Rev. Elijah 
Waterman, upon words taken from Luke xi. 3o: — Take heed, there- 
forCy that the light t/uit is in thee he not darkness — a solemn and 
appropriate discourse upon the nature and power of conscience. The 
request of the prisoner to receive baptism and leave his dying testi- 
mony in favor of the religion which supported him, was then stated, 
and " after ascending the stage and making his confession of faith, 
the ordinance was administered by the Ilev. Mr. Lyon, in the presence 
of thousands of solenm and deeply affected spectators. In walking 
thence to the place of execution, he conversed freely, and stated the 
ground of his hope, and the support it gave him that through Jesus 
Christ he should find mercy. When coming in full view of the 
giillows he observed it with a countenance unmoved," finding strength 
in prayer and passages of Scripture, liev. Moses C. Welch thus 
opened his aildress, at the place of execulion : — 

*' We are met, my friends, on one of the most Interesting occasions. Wo 
are come togetlier to see the sentouce of law executed on one of our fellow- 
creatures, ogrceably to the declaration of Jehovah :— Who shetldeth man*a 
Hood by man sJiull his blood be shed. Here we see the instruments of death 
prepared. Here we behold on the scaffold one bound for execution and 
going soon, even in u few mtuncntM, into tlie world of spirius, and to the bar 
of Jesus. While our minds are much aflectc-d with the awful spectacle it may 
be Interesting to our feelings, it may bo prodtabio to us, to hear a few facta 

Digitized by 



concerning the prisoner's life witli some reflections and rcmarfis. Ttiis, at 
liiet request, I shall now attempt, not so much to gratify your cariosity as to 
do good to my Tellow sinners." 

J^efore and at the close of this address " Caleb kneeled and prayed 
with coin[»osure and in words well suited to convey his feelings and 
desires, that he might obtain mercy and find forgiveness of sins 
through Christ — that he might be suppoiled in the trying moment — 
that all might be for the glory of God, and particularly that the 
people might take warning by his end and foreake the ways of sin." 
The llev. Mr. Lyon, his pastor from Abington, "then addressed the 
Throne of Grace in language the most interesting and affectionate — 
at the close of which the ciiminal was launched into eternity." The 
tender-hearted sheriff burst into tears after performing his most pain- 
ful ofHce, and a most deep and solemn impression was left upon all 
who had witnessed the scene. 



ASIIFORD was still prominent among Windham County town- 
ships, its citizens expressing their views upon all pi>blic ques- 
tions and bearing their part of all public burdens. Captain Benjamin 
Sunmer was still at the head of town affairs, and sometimes designated 
as King of Eastford Parish. Josias Biles in 1 780 succeeded Isaac 
Perkins as town clerk and treasmer. Selectmen in 1783 were 
Esquire Perkins, Captain Reuben Marcy, CapUiin David Holies, Lieut. 
John Warren, Edward Sumner; constables and collectors, David 
Brown, Jed. Ward, Ebenezer Bosworth, Captain Ebenezer Mason ; 
highway surveyors, Ephraim Lyon, Joshua Kendall, Ephraim 
S|)alding, Amasa Watkins, Jacob Chapman, Thomas Ewing, Jonathan 
Chaffee, Timothy Bnbcock, Isaac Kendall, C/aptain Samuel Smith, 
Medina Preston, John Looniis, E[)hraim Walker, Stephen Snow ; 
grand-jurors, Medina Preston, Samuel Spring, Abel Simmons, Deacon 
C^hnpman, Josias Biles. The selectmen were " desired and inipowered 
to provide for the town a suitable house for the reception of itlle, 
lazy and impotent persons, and the same employ at work in said 
house, and appoint an overseer, and the sanie supply with necessaries 
at the town's expense." Esquire Clark, Doctor Huntington and 
Ensign Lyon were directed to look after schools. 

Digitized by 


294 niSTOBY OF windiiam oountv. 

Thefttror for emigration that broke out so violently afler the return 
of peace carried away many of Ash ford's vahioti oilizens. Captain 
Jantes l")ana rem«»ved willi liis family to Schoharie County, New 
York. ]\Iajor Jolm Kcyes, his comrade in arms and many a gallant 
exploit — appointed in 178G to the high position of adjutant general of 
Connecticut militia, — stepped over the line into Scotland. The 
excellent Dr. Huntington, so useful in church and town, removed to 
Canaan, Conn., and many other sterling families sought Vermont, 
New York and o|>ening regions westward. Among the gains oi* the 
town were Dr. Andrew Huntington of (Iriawold, who took the place 
of his relative in West ford, Jonathan Nichols tif Thompson, Abner 
liichmond of Woodstock, James Trowbridge of Pomfret, Isaac 
l^M'kins of Manstield, whose wife was daughter of Deacon Benjamin 
Chaplin. Lieut. ]>aniel Knowlton, CapUiin Marcy, and many other 
veterans who had served through the war, remained in Ashford, 
actively interested in military and public alfairs. The former, who 
had suffered so severely in imprisonment, was especially noted for 
fervent affection for his own coinitry and a corresponding hatred for 
all whom he deemed its enemies. He could never forget his sufferings 
in the old church and the Jersey prison ship, and was most invetenite 
in his resentments towards anything that hore the name of llrilon. 
He was accustomed to attend worship with the Congregational church 
in Westford till one Sabbath when the minister read a hymn, having 
for its refrain, "(iive Britain praise." Lieut. Knowlton immediately 
rose up in his seat and requested that this hymn should be omitted 
and some other sung in its stead, but the minister paid no attention 
to his request^ and the choir beginning to sing, the old soldier 
marched deliberately out of the meeting-house, declaring he could 
not worship with a congregation that gave Britain praise in 
anything, and never entered it again. . 

These old soldieis nmst have Inien very especially interested in that 
most notable event of Ashford*s history — a Sabbath-day *s visit from 
General Washington and his suite on their return from the 
Presidentiad tour of 1780. Leaving Ilxbridge before sunrise. Satin*- 
day, November 7, they breakfasted at a tavern kept by " one Jacobs," 
in Thompson — the well-known "half-way house" between Boston and 
Hartford — and thence proceeded on the road to Pomfret. Major 
Jackson and Private Secretary Lear occupied the state carriage with 
the President, ami four servants followed on horseback, a goodly 
cortege indeed, and one that would have gladdened the eyes of 
hundreds of devoted adherents and admirers, but that unfortunately in 
that pre-telegraphic day none knew in advance of its coming, and only 
here and there a bewildered citizen caught an imperfect glimpse of his 

Digitized by 



Connlry'H honored Fnllier. At Giosvcnor'B, in l*oinfVet^ they pnuRed 
for rest and refreahnient, and to inquire for (General Putnam, whom 
Washington had hoped to see here and which indeed liad been one 
of hia inducemenls for coming this road, but finding that he lived five 
miles away and that he could not call upon him witliout deranging his 
plan and delaying his journey, he continued on the main road, up and 
down long hills some eight miles further to *' Perkins' tavern iu 
Ashford,*' where he "rested on the Sabbalh-day according to 
commandment." The host and hostess, taken unawares, doubtless did 
their best to accommodate their illustrious visitor, but to their lasting 
discredit the truth-telling President records that the Uivern " is not a 
good ofie." Tradition gives few details or incidents of this visit. 
Washington is said to have attended church, occupying the most 
Iionored si»at in the house of worship, and Mr. Pond and the towu 
oflicials doubtless paid their respects, but the Sabbath-keeping 
etiquette of the time did not permit any formal demonstration, and he 
was probably allowed to spend the day in peace and <piiet 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 opjiortunity 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." Dr. Cogswell 
also reports the accompanying visitation of a remarkable epidemic 
that followed the com*se of the President from 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 illustrious successors. 

Ashford was greatly interested in the improvement of those public 
thoroughf ai es to which she owed so much of her prosperity and 
standing. William, son of Isaac Perkins, her first practicing attorney, 
was made in 1705, agent for the town in all road cases. A committee 
was appointed to treat with General Newell respecting the road by his 
mills in the north part of the town. Captain Ward, Lieut. Joseph 
Burnham, Major Smith and Asa Howe were also a])pointed to wait 
upon the committee sent by the Assembly "to lay out a highway 
from East Hartford to Massachusetts, or Rhode Island line." The 
Boston Turnpike Company was incorporated in 1797, and within two 
or three years the great Boston and Hartford Turnpike, running 
through Mansfield, Ashford, Pomfret an<l Thompson, was completed 
and opened to the public. James (Gordon, Shubael Abbe and 
Ebenezer Devotion were appointed to ovei*see repairs, gates and 
collections upon this road. About half a mile east of Ashford 
village this road connected with another great turnpike leading to 

Digitized by 



Providence, constructed a few yeurs later by the Connecticut and 
Rhode Ishnid Turnpike Company. Unlike some otiier towns Ashford 
made no opposition to these improvements, but willingly paid the 
needliil impost to gain better acH^onnnodations and increascnl travel. 
Daily stages passing to and fro over these roads ntade the town very 
lively. Chaises and other vehicles were coming into vogue. A large 
amount of freight was carried over the turnpikes. The numerous 
taverns needed to 8up))ly the wants of travelers and teamsters, were 
kept by Jed. Fay, Benjamin Clark, Isaac Perkins, Josiah Ward, 
William Snow, Josiah Convei*se, Stephen Snow, Samuel Spring. 

In 1803, Ashford was accommodated with its first post-oitice, David 
Bolles, Jun., postmaster. Mr. 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 '^ the Sectaries *' of Ashford and neighboring 
towns, by his open and uncompromising opjiosition to any taxation 
for support of public worship, and the religions Constitution of Con- 
necticut. A little fellow of six years old, he had stood by his mother's 
side when her precious pewter was taken by the collector and ciirried 
to the town post to pay a '^ priest tax," and her tears and unavailing 
remonstrances had such an ellect 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 distress — a purpose which was 
still farther strengthened by surrounding influences and later de- 
velopments. With tongue and \Hii\ he kept this childish vow and 
became one of the " foremost champions " of . the Baptist cause, 
'^ defending them in pamphlets of his own, issued at the expense of 
himself or his friends." lie was an earnest advocate for the celebrated 
" Baptist Petition for the Removal of Religious Restrictions," which 
was circulated throughout the State in 1802, obtaining many thousand 
signatiu'es, and was one of the committee which laid it before the 
General Assembly. Much merriment was excited by the presentation 
of this petition. ^' Some culled 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 the table, and putting bis 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 ground of complaint which this Legislature could 

Digitized by 



remove, except John T. Petei-s, 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 ofHciated as its 
pastor, and was then dismissed at his own request, preferring to live 
in the country 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 yeai-s with Dr. Stillman of 
Boston, was installed pastor 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 other 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 otiier business enterprises in West- 
ford. Mills for grinding and sawing, tannenes 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 ofllice for public deliberations when the meeting-house 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 obtiiined 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 

After the lamented death of Rev. James Messenger, the First 
church of Ashford remained for seven yeai-s without a stated pastor 
when it happily united in the choice of Enoch Pond of Wrentham, 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 

Digitized by 



, nnd installed over the church in Aj^bford, September 16, 1789. Pos- 
sessing unusual ability nnd cultivation, be gained great influence 
over bis people and enjoyed an harmonious pastorate. Ebenezer 
Mason and Isaac Perkins, Esq., were chosen deacons the same year, 
and upon the death of the latter in 1795, were succeeded by Matthew 
Read and David Brown. The old meeting-house niler seventy years' 
occupation was now enlarged and thoroughly repaired ; the pi*actice 
of admitting baptized persons to certain church privileges abolished 
by vote of the church. A revival of religious interest soon followed 
the settlement of Mr. Pond, and some sixty were added to the church. 
Two gifted young men were fitted by Mr. Pond for the ministry, 
Daniel and Hendrick 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 fall communion. 

II. That we esteem conversion nccuiisary 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 offer ihomselves to join with us, shall prior to their admis- 
sion submit tliemselves to examination, and make profession to our personal 

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 reconunendatory certify their good and regular 
standing elsewhere— otherwise be denied the privilege of communion.'* 

Deacons Sumner and Perrin, and Captain John Works, were ap- 
pointed a committee to assist in discipline. A very serious difliculty 
with a prominent 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 efToit was made to do 
sontething for the more comfoitable support of Mr. Judson. The 
prosperity of church and society was somewhat checked by the increas 
ing infirmity of their pastor, who was alUicted with a hypochondriao 
melancholy, that at times incapacitated him for public service. 
In 1791, the society voted not to have preaching for the summer, 
and to petition the Ilonorable Association of the County to supply the 
pnlpit for the year ensuing. Two years later, Mr. Pond was solicited 
to prepare a memorial to the Association for their assistance in preach- 

Digitized by 



ing, and a committee appointed *Ho hire preaching eleven Sabbaths, if 
there be money enongh.*' The malady increasing npon him, Mr. 
Jndson mistmstcd his ability to serve his |>cople 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 terra of one 
year, he giving up his salary during 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 S])alding, first clerk and treasurer 
of the society, was succeeded in 1795 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 vote<l "to continnc Mr. 
Judson's salary to the bereaved widow.'* An effort was now made to 
raise a fund for the pur|>ose of supporting the Gospel. The preaching of 
Mr. Allen was very satisfactory to the society but they were unable to 
retain him. Andrew T. Jndson, youngest son of the deceased pastor, 
served as clerk of the society, while pursuing legal studies. He after- 
wards settled in Canterbury. One of the first young men who went 
out from Enstford Parish was Solomon, son of Josiah Spalding, who 
was graduat<;d from Dartmouth in 17H5. lie read law for a time 
with Zephaniah Swift, but experienced a change in his religious views 
which le<l him to turn his thoughts to the ministry. lie preached for 
a time in Cherry Valley, New York, and then removed to Ohio. 
Failing in health, he amused himself by writing an imaginary narrative 
of the wanderings of the Children of Israel across Behring's Straits to 
Americ4i, which, after his derease, 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 insullicient salary. Afler 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 yeara to administer the 

Digitized by 



ministerial office* in Westford to tlie great satisfaction of all — "a man 
of peace," piety and wisdom, niach respected in the comuiunity and 
ministerial ass<»ciation. 

A Baptist churcli was formed in this parish " in the glorious year 
1780," through tlie instrumentality to a gi'eat degree of Mr. John 
Hallibuni, who liad removed from Stoiiingtoii to this vicinity, and was 
ordained as its pastor, March 15, 1781. A membersliip of fifty -four 
was reported by Brckus in 1795. 

The Knowlton chnrch, after some bickering with its pastor. Elder 
Ebenezer I^tmson, with regard to the office work of deacon, and the 
manner of supporting ministers, (the Elder maintaining the strict 
Scriptural view that the deacons should literally snp]>ly 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 well towards his support and fulfilled its agreement, and 
as Elder Lamson maintained the contrary, the church now confessed 
that it had done ityrong in giving him any recommendation and sent 
him and his wife '*a gentle admonition." This afi*air 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. Bobert 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 gi-ound. 
"Glazing the windows," delayed by the difficulty of obtaining glass 
during the war, was 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 purchase 
a farm for the use and improvement of a gospel minister for and 
under the control of the Baptist chnrch and society of Ashford, 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 thjit purpose." Some 
fifty persons assisted in this purchase, in sums ranging from one 
shilling to over thirty pounds, Abraham Knowlton contributing the 
largest amount. While making these arrangements a formal call was 
extended to Mr. Nesbet, October 8, 1787 — EInathan Brigham, Deacon 
Hanks and Thomas Knowlton, committee — but just at this juncture 
the church was cilled to labor respecting the former difficulties with 
Elder Lamson, and possibly on this account he thus curtly duclincd : — 

Digitized by 



" To the First Baptist Church of Christ at Ashford, i^rectliig. Yon was 
plcAsed to give IDC a call to the ministry, but upon serious serch, circum- 
stances on my part forbid it. Farewell. 

From jonr bumble servant, Robert Nbsbbt." 

After some years' labor the chnrch removed the adinoDition from 
their former pastor and proceeded, Id 1791, "to take a deed of Mr. 
Benjamin Uanks of his farm in behalf of the church for the. nse of 
ministers.** Elder Dyer Stark now manifested a freedom in adminis- 
tering specitil ordinances. September 12, 179«3, Elder Stark was 
requested " to administer the ordinances of the gospel so long as he 
continues to reside amongst ns.*' Tlie society at the same time agreed 
to allow Elder Stirk 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 Inittering the farm by fencing or walling. Elder Stark^s 
ministry was blessed to the building up of the church which 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, Isaao 
Abbe, Moses Sibley, Azariah Hanks, John Utley, Jonathan and 
Abraham Weston and Chester Main, were allowed the improvement 
of their gills 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 
unfinished 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 Eldridgo 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 
their 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 effort the "Knowlton meeting-house'* was completed in 
1802 — a convenient and comfort^ible edifice for the times, with large, 
square pews and lofly, 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 yeaiti, 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 
Wiglitman of Warwick, II. I. "The duty of all men to worship 
God," and distance from existing places of worship, led to the 

Digitized by 



formation of other Baptist clmrchea in Ashford during this period. A 
titird Baptist church was organized within the limits of Eastford 
Parish, and Mr. Daniel Bolton ordained therein, June 27, 1792. 
Residents in Ahington also united with this church, but owing to the 
lise of Methodism and the vicinity of other Baptist churches, it did 
not gain a permanent standing. A memberahip of thirty-eight was 
reported in 1795. In 1801, they had become so weakened as to 
luiite with the Second Baptist church of Woodstock as a branch, 
reserving the privilege of resuming their former independency if it 
should be expedients 

In the northeast corner of Ashford, known appropriately as 
Northford, seven men organized as a Baptist society, November 11, 
1793, and pleilged themselves to build a house of worship and support 
a religious teacher. '* In the winter following the liord put it into 
the hearts of his people to set up conference meetings," and upon 
relating to each other the wonderful dealings of God with their souls, 
and discussing the rules, order and discipline of a church of Christ, 
they 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 Woo<l8tock convened for this | nrpose, November 5, 1794, 
but upon examination it was found that those who had ai11e<l 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 jisking 
church privileges, were baptized that day by £lder Daniel Bolton, 
and with one brother who was furnished witli a letter, ''were 
recognized as the Fourth Baptist church of Ashford." 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 church in Wilbraham, Mass. The meeting-house was 
used for public services, though not completed for several yeara. A 
sufticient suppoit was provided for the pastor, 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 
beneticial influence upon the community. Pastor and delegates were 
present at the organization of the Sturbridge Association and faithfully 
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. 

Digitized by 



Methodism also giiincd adherents in Ash ford. Early itinerants pass- 
ing over its convenient thoroughfares 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 
alioweil to hold meetings in the village school-house. Young INIr. 
Mumford, 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 iuvaders, that out of sport he dropped in to hear 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 fancy by storm, and made him through life a devoted 
champion of Methodism. In time he joined the society, helped build 
the first Methodist meeting-house, and by hid zeal and influence proved 
a valuable acquisition to the Methodist ranks. Many young people in 
the vicinity of Eastford were awakened and convcrtc<l under Methodist 
preaching, and gathered into a class and society. Stated preaching 
was held after a few years in a rough meeting-honse built about IBOO, 
it is believed, some two miles west of the village. David Bolles, Esq., 
Capt4iin Mumford, Leonard Deanc, Nathan Palmer, Jun., were among 
the attendants upon this worahip. 

Ashford like several of its neighbors had the excitement of a 
murder during this period with the accompanying search, trial and 
execution. Samuel Freeman, a dissolute colored man of mongrel 
blood, came up to Ashford from Rhode Island, and pei*suaded 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 oiiminal. 

NoTB. The ** Ashford Whipping" reported ante page 28, was probably In- 
Aicted under SectioD 16, of the Act for the due Observation of the Sabbnth, 
viz. : — ** That whatsoever person shall be convicted of any profanation of the 
I^rd'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 snch worship, 
and shall, being flncd for such offence, neglect or refuse to pay the same, or 
to present estate for that purpose; the Court, Assistant or Justice before 
whom conviction Is had, may sentence snch offender to be whlpt, not exceed- 
ing twenty stripes, respect being had to the nature and aggravation of tlie 

Digitized by 







I^VEN amid the burdens and engrossments of tlie war, Canterbury 
-^ was compelled to expend money and labor upon her bridgeSy 
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 Stal«, 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 Quincbaug, four over Little River, six 
over Rowland's brook ; that the bridge over the Quincbaug 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 traveling from Boston to Norwich, 
and was now out of repair, and asked for a lottery of £250, to aid in 
this now 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 biidge 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 lefl on their hands to the 
selectmen. In 17B8, the town was again called to join with Plainfield 
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 dipping 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 parU he 
sustained with unblemished correctness till impaired with age," de- 
parted this life February 25, 1779, in the eighty-seventh year of his 
age. "A man of sound judgment and unbiased integrity." Dr. 

Digitized by 



Jabcz Fitch, youngest son of Mnjor James Fitch, having " for many 
years sustained witli fidelity and honor the offices of justice of the 
Peace and Quorum, and judge of Probate," and also served as colonel 
of the Eleventh Regiment^ died at an advanced age in 1784. 
Colonel Aaron Cleveland, so prominent in public affairs during the 
Revolution, was struck with palsy while yet in the prime of life, and 
afler long and distressing sickness died in 1785. Deacon Asa Witter 
died suddenly in 1702, after being chosen town deputy and before the 
session of the Assembly. John Felch though advanced in years still 
served the town in many capacities. Captain Ephraim Lyon, Nathan 
Waldo, Eliashib Adams, Jabez Ensworth, David Baldwin, Benjamin 
and Asa Bacon, Captain John Adams, Daniel Frost, Captain Stephen 
Butt« and other older men, were active and i)rominent in town affairs. 
Dr. Gideon Welles served acceptnbl}' as town clerk and treasurer. 
Dr. Jabez Fitch succeeded to the medical practice of his father. Dr. 
Walter ]lc»ugh rciturnod to Canterbury afler the war, ofliciating as 
surgeon and sheriff. Dr. Jaireb Dyor engaged extensively in trade 
and nie<lical practice. 

Cant^jrbury participated largely in that spirit of emulation and 
business enterprise that sprung into life with the Nation, and was 
especially disttngnished by the great nniubur 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 the 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 there were 
graduated in 1777, Ebenezer, son of Dr. Fitch, and Moses, sou 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 Rufus, son of Nathan Adams; 1797, Seth P., son 
of Rev. John Staples; 1803, John, sou of Dr. Hough; Ilezekiah, 
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; Stedraan, 18DI ; Corneliu??, 1803 ; Daniel, 
1806. From Dartmouth were graduated, 1785, Moses Bradford; 
1787, Eleazer Brown, Elihu Palmer; 1791, Ebenezer Woodward; 
1795, Luther Jewett Ilebard ; 1794, James Brown, who <lied in 
Canterbury the following year. William and Ebenezer Bradford 
were also graduated from Princeton. 

Many of these young men went out into the world to fill 
distinguished positions. Ebenezer Fitch was the first president of 

Digitized by 



Williams College, Asa Spalding one of Norwich's most brilliant and 
successful lawyers. Scth P. Staples won a high name among many 
legal competitors in New York city. Ilongli, profe.sHor in MidtUfbury 
College, was gi*eatly admired for eloquence and varied accomplisb- 
ments. His classmate. Frost, entered the legal profession and 
achieved a good position in Windham, Maine. Parker Adams served 
usefully in the Episcopal ministry, and most of the Dartmouth 
graduates were honored as Congregational ministers.* 

Foitunately for Canterbury some of these energetic and brilliant 
young men remained in their native town. Moses Cleveland o|Hjned 
a law office on his paternal homestead, and engaged with much 
spiiit in public and military aifaiiu 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 Western 
Reserve Land Company and was very efficient and active in the 
settlement of northeastern Ohio, and in other iniportant business 
enterprises. He M'as 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 othei*s, and many young men studied law in his 
office. His brother, William I'itt Clevelantl, Aua Hacon, Jun. and 
Rufus Adams were among those students, and all for a time practiced 
law in Canterbury. Elisha I'aine also opened a law office in his own 
house in the south part of the town. John Adams afler 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 pupils. Plaintield 
Academy was at this time suffering a temporary depression, which 
gave Canterbury an opportunity to establish a rival institution. In 
the spring of 1796, Master Adams was induced to remove his school 
to Canterbuiy Green, where it achieved immediate success and 
popularity, attracting pupils from all the adjacent towns and even 
from distant Woodstock and Thompson. Mr. Adams had in large 
measure the true teacher's art of calling out the best that was in his 
pupils and awakening their enthusiasm for school, studies and master. 
Combining sympathy and kindness with authority he won their niost 
affectionate regard. He was especially noted for his kindness to 
indigent young men seeking education. Among those thus aided and 
encouraged was Rinaldo Burleigh of Ashford, who, in the face of 
great poverty and hardship, having lost his father in early childhood, 

♦There Is strong reason for believing that a still earlier celebrity — 
Jonathan Carver, the dlstlngulNhed traveler and explorer ol* the Northweat 
wilderness— was bom lo Canterbury. 

Digitized by 




mid his left arm a few years later, was strnggling t.o fit himself for 
intellectual employment Mr. Adams took him not only Into his 
school but into his " very heai-t^" enabling him to meet his expenses 
by assisting in teaching till he was qualified to ent«r college. 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, afVerward a successful merchant in Boston, Bela P. 
Spalding of Brooklyn, William Lamed of Thompson, were among 
the students. Canterbury was never more flourishing than during 
the continuance of this school. The presence of so many energetic 
young men made everything lively. Business and trade were active. 
Many stores were opened on Canterbury Green. Farmei*s found a 
roa«ly market for all their produce. Dr. Dyer carried on a brisk trade 
with the West Indies, dealing largely in horses and cattle, and 
maintaiiif»d an extensive establishment in the south part of the town. 
John Clarke, an eccentric Englishman with ample means and a 
patriarchal family, reported to have been engaged in the tea- 
overthrow at Boston, also occupied a fine farm in that vicinity. 
Joseph Moore of Long Tsland, purchaneil \:x\u\ and settled in 
Cai»terbury. Thomas (^oit., <ine of Norwich's sterling citizens, after a 
bi-ief sojourn in Scotland i-cmoved to Canterbmy Green, and engaged 
in mercantile trafiia John Francis of Boston, after trying Scotland 
long enough to find a wife there, followe*! on to Canterbury. 
Alexander Gordon of Plainfield opened trade in Westminster and 
won a high position among the solid men of the town. Luther, son 
of David Pnine, engaged in trade. Jeditliah, giandson of Obadiah 
Johnson, ** kept tivern,'* engaged in trade and was active in military 
aflairs. Abel Brewst<jr opened a jeweler's store. William liord 
engnged 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 
Canterbury. 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-ofiice 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 
connect^'d with the Masonic Lodge at Hartford. Upon petition of 
Colonels Gray and Grosvenor, Moriah Lodge was instituted at 

Digitized by 



Canterbury, in 1790, and soon received into its brotherhood most 
of the active, leading men of the County. Its first grand master 
was Colonel Ebenezer Gray. Moses Cleveland, Evan ^falbone, 
Thomas and I^mnel Grosvenor, Sunmel and John McCleilan, Daniel 
Larned, Daniel Pntnam, William Danielson, Lemuel Ingalls, Albigence 
Waldo, John Brewster, Jared Warner, were among the many who 
were actively interested in this Lodge. Its annnal conunemoration of 
St John's day in Jmie was one of the great festivals of the year, 
exceeded only by Fonrth of July and General Training. The Masonic 
brethren from all the surrounding towns in full regalia, marcheil 
through the street with bannern, music and open Bible, to be enter- 
Uiined in hall or grove with a grand oration and fine dinner. The 
young men of Canterbury were enthusiastic in devotion to this order, 
and maintained its appointed services with nuich spirit ami fidelity. 
An elaborate oration delivered by Asa Bacon, Jan., June 27, 17D1), 
in which the youthful orator prestuned to deviate " from the fiowery 
field of friendship,'* into "the wilderness of politics," excited nmoh 
attention and praise, and was deemed worthy of public«'itiou in I'he 
Windham Herald. 

The "young blood" in the town was manifested in numy public 
enterprises and improvements. An elaborate code of laws, adopted in 
1700 for the better regulation of town meetings, shows the hand of 
the young lawyei*s, and hints at previous informalities, now to be 
remedied : — 

** 1. No motion sliall be objected to, or considered within tlic possession of 
the meeting, except it l)e Tor reconsideratiou, without it be seconded by some 
other nien)l>er than liim who Urst made tlie Hiune. 

2. No member shall speak more than twice to one and the same question or 
motion before the meeting witiiout leave of said meeting, nor more than once 
before each member desirinj; to spealc has had his turn. 

8. No motion shall be made for rcconHlderatlou of any choice, vote or act 
of said meeting, but by some member who acted the affirmative in passing 
the same, which shall all be done In the same meeting in which said vote was 

4. No member shall speak, or ask liberty to speak, when any other member 
is speaking, except to call the member speaking to order, and the member 
called to order shall sit down, and be may appeal to the meeting to decide the 
question of order, but if he refuse 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. 

6. That for the future we will choose our selectmen, listers and grand- 
Jurors so as to place them In the dill'erent quarters of tlie town, and before 
we proceed to choose either of tlie above class of otlicers the moderator 
shall mention which quarter of the town to begin at. And the foregoing 
rules shall by the clerk or moderator be publicly read at the opening of our 
annual to wu meeting.'* 

By-laws were ])asHcd the following year regulating the impounding 
of cattle, and geese were denied the liberty tif the ruatl unless *^ well 

Digitized by 



yoked ami one wing cropt." The selectmen were niithorized to pur- 
chase or liire a home for the poor, and Colonel Benjamin Bacon 
offered to provide for them for one-fifth per week less than the year 
preceding. Town meetings were held alternately in the meeting- 
houses of the two societies. Schools were cared for by each society, 
though " squadrons " had given place to modern districts. The cen- 
tral district of the Fii-st Society had liberty to erect a convenient 
school-house on the green north of the meeting-house in 1795. In 
the following year a school society was organized — Luther Paine, 
clerk and treasurer. Colonel Benjamin Bacon, John Felch and Luther 
Paine were authorized to take care of the loan money. Timothy 
Backus, Hufus Baldwin, Walter Hough, Thomas Coit, Lot Morgan, 
Waldo Brown, Daniel Frost, Jesse Ensworth, school committee. 
JohIiIi Robinson, 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 ap]>ointed by the several districts, with nine overseers 
to superintend them. 

Turnpike projects called out the usual discussion and opposition. 
The town wholly " disapproved of any turnpike gate being erected at 
or n<*:ir Mr. Sanuiel Hnrstow*s blacksmith shop, on the great road from 
Piainfield to Windham, judging it unjust and impolitic." The pro- 
pf)scd " Norwich and Woodstock turnpike," excited much opposition. 
General Cleveland at this date was usually moderator at town meet- 
ings, but now Colonel Benjamiti Bacon was placed in the chair, and 
with Elisha Paine and David Baldwin, made a committee to confer 
with committees from 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 their 
iniiuenco to procure the rejection of the committee's report. As 
usual in such cases their opposition was unavailing and in Mny, 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 tavern 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, aiul a gate erected near the centre 
of the town. Upon petition of the Windham Turnpike Company a 
change was made in 1804, the central gate removed to near the 
dividing line between Canterbury and Windham, and a new gate 
placcil near the line between Canterbury aiul Plainfield. The high- 
way running north and south through Westminster Society was a 

Digitized by 



publio thoronghfare from time immemorial, accommodating travel 
from Norwich town to the Massachusetts lino. The earliest laying 
out of this road h:is not been rfcovereil, but it was improved from 
time to time and made more passable. Rough field stones were used 
to mark oflf 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 eastward, fearing to lose custom lay in wait for the engineers, 
and so plied them with liquor and courtesies that they consented to 
lay out the road to accommodate the tavern, intersecting the 
survey about one-and a-fourth miles from the point of deviation. A 
highway was laid out in 1785, from Ephraim Tiyon's Potash works to 
Parker Adams' mill, crossing the south part of the town. Stephen 
Butts and Phinehas Caiter were also manufaisturers of potash. Mr. 
Carter afterwards carried on coopering, on (piite a large scale in 
Westminster village, employing from four to six hands in the winter 
season. Tanneries were now established in several parts of the town. 
The extreme west of Canterbury was first settled by one or more 
families of Downings, 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 alfairs of the town ; 
were fond of frolic and dancing and enjoyed the repute of having 
plenty of money. Saw and grist-mills were carried on successfully 
by the Morses and Hradfords in the North Society, a dam being 
allowed on Rowlands Brook in 1804. 

IVesident Dwight in his ^'Tmvels " reported Canterbury as suffering 
nmch from lack of clergymen, want of harmony and declension 
of morals. Standing and Separate churches were alike affected. 
Nathaniel Niles, Samuel Hopkins, Job Swift, supplied the pulpit in 
the First society at irregular intervals. The Separate church enjoyed 
the occasional ministrations of some wandering Separate or ** Lyon, 
the Baptist." In 1784, attempts were made to unite both congrega- 
tions under the ministry of Rev. Solomon Morgan, the standing 
church voting, ''That there is a willingness and freedom that the 
members of the Separate church should meet with us in hearing the 
preaching of the Gospel, and have equal privileges with us if they 
desire it." Capt. Cobb, Asa Bacon, Dr. Gideon Welles, Samuel 
Adams, Jun. and Samuel Ensworth were appointed a conmiittee to 
confer with one appointed by the Separates. A Confession of Faith, 
Heads of Agreement and Covenant, were accordingly drawn up and 
signed by a number of the membera of both churches, and it seemed 
likely that they would unite and go on in |H3ace and good agreement, 
but on calling a meeting to confer respecting the settlement of a 

Digitized by 



ininiRtcr it nppcnred Hint the adoj>tccl artirlcB were not «n<lerBtocMl 
alike by both partieB, and they were not disposed to practice alike 
on tliem, *• whereby the good ends and much-wished-for happy union 
between the aforesaid churches were likely to prove abortive, and 
ootne to an end." Each church was then recpiested to state in 
wnting the matter of dispute and difference between them. John 
Bacon, David Kinne, Daniel Frost, John H. Adams and Esther Fish, 
in behalf of tlie Standing church, therefore gave it as their opinion, 
"That the real cause of disagreement was the question, * Who shall be 
the Council to ordain our minister in case we are happy enough to 
agree in one, and who shall administer ordinances to us occasionally 
when destitute of a settled minister t*" — to which they answered, 
"That although they were willing that any of their brethren should 
occasionally partake and commune with those churches and ministers 
that are called Separate and practice lay ordination, and that those 
ministers should preach amongst us occjisionally, yet they did not 
judge it proper or expe<lient that any of the above-mentioned ministers 
should assist as council in the ordination of our minister, or admin- 
ister ordinances to us as a body ; and on their part, tfiey did not 
judge it expedient or proper to have those ministers officiate that 
were oflensive to their Separate brethren, especially those that practise 
upon the Stodard-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 apparently received this as a clear and satisfactory 
statement of the cause of difference, but declined to accept the 
situation. The Standing church ai)d society proceeded to call Mr. 
Morgan to settlement. Farther attempts wore made to compound the 
difference. The Reverends Paul Park, John Palmer, Tvevi Hunt and 
Micaiah Porter, convened at their summons, tenderly urged their 
Separate brethren to labor to agree on some churches and ministers 
with whom they could a// hold fellowship in gospel ordinances and 
institutions, reserving to each individual the liberty of personal 
communion with such churches and ministers as they might judge to 
be for their ediBcation. Before the installation of Mr. Morgan another 
effort was made by both churches. The Reverends Joseph Snow of 
Providence, John Cleveland of Ipswich (expelled from college forty 
years before for attending worship with this siune Separate church), 
Timothy Stone of Lebanon, l*anl l*ark of I'reston, .lohn Staples and 
Micabih Porter, met in council, and unanimously agree<l: — 

** 1. As to the case of Capt. Shepherd and his wife, the church from which 
they withdrew should take off the censure from those persons. 

2. The Council wa.<» persuaded that tliere wa.s a differeuce between the two 
churches, which lu their view appeared so Important that they saw uo 

Digitized by 



prospect of a liappy union, and could only Advise thcni for the present to 
uiuintiiin a spirit of Chiistiun forbeunince until God should open the way lor 
them to be of one ntlnd and ouc Judgment. 

8. Hut whereas there was a prospect in the view of some that a door 
might by-and-by be opened for the rcmovid of those things that made the 
diU'erence bciwecn these churches and others under similar circumstunccs, 
the Council advised that both churches and congregations should unite 
together In the public worship of Qod, attending bn the ministry of the Word 
us at present dispensed and cultivate harmony, If this may be consistent 
with their views and feelings — but, if they cannot thus agree, advised each 
church and congregation to set up and maintain that worship and order 
which ap|)ears 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 former Bpirit, voted : — 

** 1. Kespecting advice of Council, concerning Capt. Shepherd and his wife, 
as the Council has given no reasons wliy this church slionld take olf their 
censure, nor ottered any light upon the matter, they cannot consistently take 
oA* their censure till proper repentance Is manifested to the church by the 
persons aforesaid. 

2. With respect to the advice of Council that both churches and congre- 
gations unite 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 tlds advice should be 
construed to mean that we meet together as we have done for ihree months 
past by having equal privileges in carrying on the public worship, we cannot 
conscientiously comply with advice In tliiv respect. 

Therefore, In the third place, we are willing to comply, and do hereby 
comply with that pairt 4>f the advice of Council, which advises each church 
and congregiilion to set up and niadiitain liiat worship and ordor widrii to 
tliem appears most agreeable to the ndnd 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 instiillcd 

over the Standing church. Kliashib Adams and Daniel Frost now 

8ei*ved as it« deacons ; Joseph I^Ipore was afterwards added. Walter 

Ilongh 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. lie was so 

far successful that in 1788 about thirty of the more prominent 

Separates — including Moses, Timothy, Tracy and Eliphaiz Cleveland, 

Benjamin, Jacob and Samuel Bacon, John and James Adams, William 

and Jacob Johnson, Luther Paine, Thomas Boswell and othei-s — gave 

in their names and returned to the First Society. The remaining 

membera of the Separate church persisted in separation, and now 

removed their meeting-house to the north part of the town, where 

they gathered a small congregation. William, son of William and 

Mary (Cleveland) Bradford, was graduated from New Jersey College 

in 1774 and ordained to the ministry, and after teaching and preaching 

in various fields, returned to his old home in the north part of 

Canterbury, and assumetl tlio charge of this Separate fiock. I lis 

Digitized by 



brotlicrs, Moses .in<l Kbenczcr J5ra<lfor<l, l)oUi ctitered the ministry, the 
latter settliug in Rowley. 

The Tew Baptists in Canterbury were extremely irregular in faith , 
and practice, as well as in mode and place of worship. They held to 
what was called ^* mixed communion,** and with a small number of 
similar churches, formed Groton Conference. Capt 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 reported to have become a 
Methodist, and his associates lost coherence and visibility. Some had 
been led away by the eloquence of Elhanan Winchester, baptized in 
Canterbury by Elder Ebenezer Lyon, who after a brilliant career as a 
Baptist popular preacher, had embraced the doctrine of Univeraal 
Salvation. Dr. Cogswell reports many Universalists in Canterbury, 
who despised and flouted Mr. Morgan and seemed likely to do much 
damage. Several united with the Universal ist Society of Oxford, then 
under the pastoral charge of Uev. Thomas 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 univei*Hal salvation could be 
proved from Scripture." 

So widely had free opinions leavened the town that in 1791, the 
First Society voted to admit occnsionnlly to prench in the meeting- 
house on Lord's Day, preachei-s of the Gospel of different persuasions 
from the present established sentiments, provided those men should 
be persons of good moral character and professors of the christian 
religion, which shall be at the option of the present society committee, 
and their sticcessors. This vote, opening the pulpit to " Friend 
Barnes," as he was called, and other heterodox preachers, occasioned 
much disturbance, and after some yeai-s of controversy the church 
prevailed upon the society to reconsider and revoke, and grant the 
control of the pulpit to the pastor. This decision gave great offence 
to Canterbury's spirited young men who were fully imbued with the 
revolutionary spirit of the day, averse to orthodox principles and 
preaching, and eager for a new meeting-house and minister, better 
music and other modern improvements. A movement was instantly 
set on foot to organize as an " Independent Catholic Christian society," 
after the pattern of one just formed in Pomfret^ and met with 
great favor. Fifty of the leading men of Canterbury signified their 
dissent *• from the doctrine preached and held by minister, church and 
society," and pledged their names to the new organization. This 
great defection tilled 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 device 

Digitized by 



waytt to accommodate matters «and prevent divihion. The members of 
the Independent Catholic Society were most earnestly besought to unite 
themselves wilh the old society, ^'so that we may unitedly support 
the social and public worahip in a ni4)re decent and respectable man- 
ner, and belter promote our spiritual editiciition/' In response to their 
entreaties, a council was held, viz. : — ^the lie v. Messrs. Hart, Benedict, 
Whitney, Staples, Lee and Porter, with Asa Bacon, John Felch and 
Thomas Coit to wait u])on them. Through their mediation accom- 
modation was effected. Mr. Morgan was dismissed fron) his charge, 
and old and new societies unitcil — signing the fuUowing Articles of 
Agreement : — 

** Articlk I. Charity, which is so strongly inculcated in Divine ncvclntion, 
and declared to be an essential ehrisliau duty, teiiciies us nt ali times to con- 
cede towards each other in our religions associations. Wo will therefore 
never withhold from each other a convenient and proper opportunity of 
receiving such diirercut chrisitan instructors as may be agreeable to their 
consciences — paying at all times a decent regard to engagements and priority 
of appointments. 

Art. II. Whenever it shall be Judged prudent and best to build a meeting- 
house, or procure instruments of music that will render tUe worship of God 
decent, orderly and graceful, tlie same shall be done by free and voluntary 
donations and used for the purposes assigned by the donors. 

December 20, 1797." 

This breach being healed, some improvements were eflected. Five 
choristers were appointed, and a cummillee *' to juomote psahnody.'* 
A bell was procured by voluntary subscription, its ringing regulated 
by the society committee. In 1709, it was voted to build a meeting- 
house with a steeple. Asa IWon, «)nn., and liufus Adams, committee 
to procure subscri])tions, failed to secure sutlicient encouragement. 
The proposal to unite with Westminster Society in building a new house 
of worship in the centre of the town was equally unsucceHsful. 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 subscription, and in 1805 a new nieeting- 
liouse was completed to the satisfaction of all pai-ties. Daniel C. 
Banks and Tliaddeus Fairbanks had supplied the pulpit during this 

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 his diary, July 2, 1788, reports the 
devastations of a terrific thunder-storm — a black cloud seemed to 
settle down upon Westminster Parish ; hail nineteen inches deep ; 
glass much fractured ; gi*ain and grass lo<1ged ; gardens destroyed, so 
that people in neighboring towns sent relief to the sufferei-s — and also 
irreconcilable feuds between prominent chiu'ch members that seemed 
likely to lead to the dismissal (»f Mr. {Staples, but which like the hail- 

Digitized by 



fitorm left no lasting impress. To outward appearance there was more 
than usual harmony in the society. Deacon Eliashib Adams often 
presided in society meetings. Deacon Ilerrick and Captains William 
Ilebard and Joseph Burgess served as connnittee; Stephen Butts, 
clerk ; Nathaniel Butts, collector. Joseph Ilebard and Elijah Mer- 
rick filled the useful office of chorister. Coinmtttees 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 construction of those called pillar-i>ews, provided 
he gave up the same when built to the society. George Williamson, 
Captnin Hebard, Sherebiah and Stephen Butt and Rufus Darbe, were 
authorized " to confer respecting the heavy tax that now lies on the 
society for the payment of the minister's salary." An abatement of 
thirty pounds was accepted by M\\ Staples. To prevent a recurrence 
of such difficulty a movement was instituted for "a perpetual fund 
for the purpose of supporting a j>reachcd Gospel, performed by 
men of zeal, practical jjicty, Calvinistic principles, an<l approved by 
Windham County Association/' which resulted in the sub.scriptioii of 
more than six hundred pounds.* Thus well established with fund and 
convenient house of worship, the society was little inclined to favor 
the proposed reunion with the Fii-st Society, but considered the ques- 
tion so far as to afiix for a central site, a spot " within twenty rods of 
turnpike road, between the houses of Dr. Gideon Welles and Mr, 
Sanmel Barstow." Mr. Staples contiimed 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 8 2d of 
his ministry — ministers not being suffered to contiiuie 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 wi(/, and either taking 
cold in consequence, or taking the fever from the aged lady, he 
followed her to the grave, in a few days. His death matle a great 
impression upon all his flock, and especially upon the young people 
who had ever regarded " Priest Staples " with the most reverential 
affection. The funeral was conducted with the usual elaborate for- 
mality. The bereaved church continued failhfidly to observe the usual 

♦Si'HSCumKiis TO fund: Mnry Davis, Joseph SnflTonl, Thomas Jowett, 
Snuu(»n I*ark, Uciibcii Turk, David Miiiiro, Joseph JJutts, riiliieiiiis Carter, 
Asa Hiir^esH, Joiiatliaii Kingsbury, Jonas Cary, Abncr Robinson, Willliiin 
llowaril, John Munro, David Mnnro, Rnfus Darbe, John IJarsiow, James 
Jlowjiid, Gideon Butts, William lllpley, William D. Foster, Jabez Fox, 
Josiali, i)avld, Asa, and John Butts, John Staples, Charles Justin, Samuel 
Barstow, John Smith, Sherebiah and Stephen Butts, Kbenezer Park, Jonas 
Bond, William Carew, lle/.<ikiah Barstow, Peter Woodward, Robert llcrrick, 
Kphralm SafToril. Jose|di Adams, Joshua Raymond, Joseph Raynsford, Ruflis 
JohuNon, James Burnap, Benjamin Raynsford, Bethuel Bond. 

December 10, 1708. 

Digitized by 



aeaBGiis of worshi]), and also instituted a special meeting for religious 
exercises on the first Wednesday of every month. In November, a 
call was extended to Uqv. ICrnstus Larned of Charlton, with a salary 
of $833.2)4. Wr. Larned acce])ting, Dr. Whitney, Wessi*s. Lee and 
Wehl were invited to carry forward a preparatory service of fasting. 
A committee was then appointed to prepare the meeting-house for 
installation, and preserve order and regularity during the exercises. 
Mr. John Barstow's generous offer to make provision for the council 
was accepted with thankfulness. Eleven ministers and probably an 
equal nuntber of delegates, partook of the proffered hospiUility, and 
the installation was effected to genenU satisfaction. Mr. Larned wou 
like his predecessor the affection of his people, and reared like him a 
large family of children who shared the friendly regard of the pansh. 
A bequest from his father, Mr. James Larned of Killingly, enabled 
him to build a convenient house opposite the meetinghouse. The 
widow of I^[r. Staples occupied the house built by her husband, and 
her sons and daughters grew up to fill honorable positions in New 
York and New Haven. Seth P. Staples, long remembered in West- 
minster for boyish pranks and subsequent benefactions, attained to 
much eminence. 

In cjire of its public schools Westminster vied with the ohler 
society. Alexander Gordon, Samuel Barstow an<l Asa Ni>wleu were 
appointed to oversee the schooling in 1787. Nine districts were set 
out, antl Shercbiah Butts, John Barstow, Isaac liackus, Uoswell 
Parish, Joseph Uaynsford, Joshua liaymond, Daniel Downing, Hubert 
Herrick an<l Nathaniel Smith, made each collector and committee man 
for his res|)ective district. With increasing travel brought by 
turnpike, and improved business facilities, Westminster village became 
a place of more importance. Its first resident physician was Dr. Uufus 
Johnson, brother of Col. Jedidiah Johnson, who purchased a strip 
of the meeting-house green in 1700, where after a time he built a 
dwelling-house. Captain Stephen Butts 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 

Ijack of endowment and suitable building accommodations com- 
pelled Canterbury in 1801 to yield her honored ''master" to the older 
institution in Plainfield. Asa Bacon, Jan., 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 " Canterbury pilgrims " were 
wending their way to distant Slates. Captain Josiah Clevi^land, of 
Bunker Hill fame, removed to Owego, N. Y. Dr. Azel, son of 

Digitized by 



William EiiRworUi, RcUlod southward in l^nl^lyra, and was ninch 
respected " as an active, exemplary and influential citizen." A 
pleasant eminence in Rome called Canterbury Hill in honor of its 
fii*st settlers, became the residence of Gideon, John, Elisha and Daniel 
J^utts, Sanmel and Asa Smith, Samuel Williams, Thomas Jewett^ 
Daniel W. Knight, and other roving sons of Canterbury. Eliashib 
Adams, Jun., Elijah llerrick and William ]}ingham attempted 
settlement in Lewis County, near Lake Ontario, but llenick was 
drowned in crossing Black Uiver and Adams finally settled in Maine. 
Deacon Eliashib Adams, now far advanced in years, followed this son 
to a temporary home in Massachusetts. Alexander Gordon sought 
fortune in the far South : William Moore established himself in the 
snows of Canada. General Cleveland's comiection with the Western 
Reserve Company may have led some emigrants to tm-n their 
thoughts to the Northwestern Territory, but no Canterbury names 
appear among the early settlers of New Connecticut. His own name 
already marked the site of the beautiful city that now a<lornR the 
southern shore of Lake Erie. In 1796, he had gone out as commander 
of an expedition sent by the Connecticut Land Company to survey and 
settle the Western Reserve. After a wearisome journey through the 
State of New York, an<l a successful conference with the chief of the 
Six Nations at Huflalo, they "arrived at the confmes 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 American 
Independence, and also " memorable as the day on which the settle- 
ment of this new country was commenced," 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 Coimecticut." They gave three cheei*s 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 this day he succcRsnil and prosperous. 5. May their sous and 
daughters nailtlpiy In sixteen years, sixteen times fifty.*' 

" 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, 
be 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 niounting the blufll* took 
possession of the site of Cleveland City. The "original plan of the 

♦ Kxirnrl.s from .loiininl i»f (Joncrnl riovHnnit. 

Digitized by 



town and village of Cleveland, Ohio/' was completed October 1, 
1700. General (/leveland's energy, decision and buoyancy of spirit, 
admirably fitted liini to command in tliis important enterprise, which 
he accomplislieil to tlie apparent satisfaction of all concerned, llo 
was very popular with the Indians, whom in person he strongly 
resembled. His complexion was very dark ; his fignre square and 
strong, and the Indian dre^s which he wore upon this expedition so 
completed the likeness that the Indians themselves were ready to 
claim him as a brother. Ilis connection with the Ohio settlement 
brought him honor, but little pecuniary profit He continued through 
life very prominent in public affairs. 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 ordinary incumbents. He was 
sent as representative of the town whenever at liberty to accept the 
office, 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 Windham Jlerald reports : — 

•• Feb. 27, 1800. 

On Saturday Inst, In compliauco with the recommendation enjoined in the 
Proclamation of tlie President of tlie United Stotes, tlie inliabltunlM of this, 
and many from adjoining towns, togetlicr witli a innnbcr of tlie brethren of 
Moriah and Ka»tern Suir Lodges, met ut Mr. Staniford*s, aeconling to pre- 
vious notice; from wliencc they wall(*d in procession to the meeting-houHO, 
preceded by a military escort in uniform, and a band of music, where they 
united to oiler their undlssembled tribute of respect to the memory of 
General Qkohok Wasuinoton, the Father, Friend, and IVoteetor of his 
country. The solemn services were appropriate, well perfornn-d, and very 
mueh contributed to awaken the feelings of a great assemblage of mourners. 
The Address of Gen. Washington, to the people of the United States, ou 
his retiring from ollicc, and declining their future suffrages, was read; the 
cstinmtion of its worth and excellence by the people present, could not luivc 
been better expressed, than by the decorum and silence observed while it was 
reading ; after which, an oration, by Gen. Cleveland, Master of Moriah Lodge, 
called to mind the great sacrifice of blood ond treasure which the struggle 
for independence cost us, and impressed the mind with gnititude for the 
invaluable gift of Providence, in the Man, who fluully 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 believe, not a siugle trait of indecorum, to cost a 
shade ou the good order which had been observed thro* the day." 

General Cleveland's death in 1806, at the age of fifly-two, was 
greatly lamented at lionie and throughout the State, and his obsequies 
surpassed in dignitied ceremony anything ever before seen in 

Digitized by 





THE united church of Plaiiifield met with many Irijils and dis- 
appointments in re-settling the ministry after the loss of Mr. 
P'uller. Having voted "lo proceed upon principles of Christianity 
without being directed by rules of civil law,** they appointed a 
committee to supply the pulpit and agreed, to raise money for its 
suppoit by subscription. But to raise money by free contributions 
at a time of so much scarceness proved so arduous an enterprise 
that they decided to resort to the expedient of a fund, and appointed 
General John Douglass, James Bradford, Esq., William l%obiiison, 
Dr. Perkins, Captain Joseph Eaton, Perry Clark, John Cady, Ephraim 
"Wheeler, Cajjt Samuel Hall, Elias Woodward, committee to draw 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 world was not sufficiently advanced to allow 
•Christians to carry on business aflairs without recognition of "rules 
of civil law," and the 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." This being 
accomplished, and legal recpiirements satisfied, the subscription went 
forward and a few hurfdred dollai*8 were secured for the foundation 
of a fund. To this* was added in 1782, the sum of two hundred 
pounds procured by the lease for 990 years of the old cedar swamp. 
No stated minister was yet procured. Mr. U])Son preached five 
months; Mr. Alexander five weeks. Tlie congregation met during 
the winter seasons at the Brick school-house, " read sermons and 
prayed." A conference was held on the first Monday of every month 
in the meeting-house. The eyes of the church were very much upon 
Mr. Job Swift, who had made himself very popular while preaching 
at Canterbury, and Captain Eaton took a journey across the State to 
Nine Partners to confer with this favorite, and had a " prospect of 
gettiiig him, but a remarkable unanimity in the church where he was 
juevented his coming." Jonhua Spalding of Killingly preached to 
])ublic acceptance. Ephraim Judson was invited to preach but 
preferred to settle in Taunton ; Micaiah Porter declined overtures in 
favor of Voluntown. Again Mr. Swifl ap})eared on the scene, but 
after a long interval of suspense decided against them. Conferences 

Digitized by 



and deacon's meetings became at length so thinly attended that 
the church closed the dilapidated meeting-house for a season and 
let the people go where they fancied. Mr. Morgan was then 
secured for a time, hut yielded to more urgent appeals from 
Canterbury. David Avery was next invited to settlement, ^* answer 
long delayed and dubious at last/* Wearied and discouraged, tho 
church remitted its efibrts to procure a pastor, and joined 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 Dunlap, Joseph Sliepard, Timothy Lester, Dr. Ebonc- 
zer llobinson, Major Andrew Backus, Captain Abraham Shepard, 
James Bradford, General John Douglas, William Dixon, Esq., Stephen 
Clark, Dr. Elisha Perkins, Nathaniel Parks, Elias Woodward, Jabez 
Tracy, Samuel Fox and Ephraim Wheeler, were appointed committee 
by the town to delibei-ate upon the very impoiiant question "of a 
pro|)er place for erecting a new meeting-house about to be built in this 
town." Population was now gravitjiting towards the Academy 
and turnpike, and it was decided to build in this vicinity 
upon land purchased of l^Iessi-s. Jesse and Ezckiel Fox. Upon 
memorial of William Dixon the County Court confirmed this 
decision, and aflixed the site of Plainiicid meeting-houHe " 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 fm* 
religious purposes, and the meeting-house was built by subscription 
and contribution. In October, Uev. Joel Benedict, already favorably 
known as pastor at Newent, came to preachy on probation. At a 
church meeting held at Mr. William Ilobinson's, Deacon Samuel 
AVarren served as moderator. Dr. Elisha Perkins, clerk; — voted with- 
out one dissenting vote to call Mr. Benedict " if it be agreeable to the 
society and support be obtained in a gospel way." This call was 
accepted, and December. 22, 1784 — "having examined his orthodoxy 
in sentiment, spiritual acquaintance with divine things, his ability to 
teach and defend tho doctrines of Christianity," and being fully satis- 
fied therewith — Mr. Benedict was happily installed into oilice by a 
proper ministerial council. The new meeting-house was ready for 
tho reception of the new pastor, and public religious worship so long 
interrujjted was established to general satisfaction. 

Plainiield Academy so prosperously opened during the war con- 
tinued to flourish "beyond the most sanguine expectation," of its 
projectors, numbering "one hundred and upwards of youth from 
abroa<l," together with a large number from their own town. A 
petition laid before the General Assembly, January 18, 1783, repro- 

Digitized by 


DR. BBNSDICrr, BTO. 321 

senlecl that the petitioners had erected suitable biiihliiigs 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 bouse, for the use and bene6t of said 
academy, and begged to be made a body corporate and politic. After 
a year*8 delay the request was granted, and Ebenezer Peraberton, 
Hon. Samuel Huntington, Hon. Eliphalet Dyer, Rev. Levi Hart, 
Preston ; lie v. Joseph Huntington, Coventry ; and General John 
Douglas, Major Andrew Backus, Dr. Elisha Perkins, Captain Joseph 
Dunlap, William Ilobinson, Samuel Fox, Ebenezer Eaton and Ileze- 
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 powers for managing 
the affairs of the school. Only two schools had then been incorpo- 
rated in Connecticut — the Union School, New