First Period, 1700-1726
Extracted From Early Annals Of Newington
Comprising The First Records Of
The Newington Ecclesiastical Society
And of the Congregational Church Conneced Therewith;
With Documents & Papers Relating to
The Early History of the Parish
Transcribed & Edited by Roger Welles
Clerk of the Society & Church
[Transcribed by Dave Swerdfeger]
FIRST PERIOD, 1700-1726.
Wethersfield is the most ancient town in the Commonwealth of Connecticut. It was first settled about the year 1634, and called Watertown. Within twenty years after that time, the General Court of the Colony adopted a code of laws for the Colony, since called the "Code of 1650." This body of laws required among other things that all towns should set out their bounds and perambulate them every three years, and that "The most ancient town, which for the river is determined by the Court to be Wethersfield, "should give notice of such perambulation.
This official enactment, made by men highest in authority in the Colony, who were themselves probably among the first settlers of these towns, and knew whereof they spake, ought to settle the question that Wethersfield is the pioneer town. This provision of the law was retained in the printed revision of 1672-3 and in that of 1702, and was not omitted till the revision of 1750, one hundred years after it was originally passed (Conn. Col. Rec. 1636-1665, page 513, and note). The original domain of the town was ample. It extended from Hartford south, six miles to Middletown, and east from the river three miles, and west from the river six miles to Farmington. From its territory have been incorporated the town of Glastonbury, a portion of the town of Berlin, and the towns of Rocky Hill and Newington. The first settled towns were divided into tiers of land or plantations called divisions of lands. There were such divisions in Wethersfield. How early in its history they were made, might possibly be disclosed by its ancient records. There was such a division of lands on its western border, running from Hartford, south to Middletown six miles, and from Farmington east, about two miles and fifty rods, called "the west division" of lands.(This division of lands contained apparently four tiers of lots, called "East Tier," "Short Lots," "Sawmill Lots," and "Fifty Two Acre Lots." Some of the large land-owners, about 1720, were the Chester family, who held about 632 acres, of which 400 acres belonged to Major Chester and were by him entailed, 298 acres belonged to Capt. Wells' sons, 127 to Capt. Robbins, about 109 to Ensign Robbins, about 104 to Mr. Mix, also Governour Saltonstall, Jonathan Deming of Rocky Hill, and Thomas Wright each owned a "Fifty-two Acre Lot.") "It began to be settled probably about 1700. In the year 1708 its inhabitants had so increased in its fruitful valleys, that the spirit of liberty arose in their hearts, and they desired to break the ministerial tie that bound them to their brothers located at the other side of the town. They accordingly petitioned the town of Wethersfield to be allowed to be a distinct parish, as appears by the following vote, passed at a town meeting held December 20, 1708.
"Whereas the inhabitants on the west part of this town do petition to be a distinct parish, the town think it meet to refer the consideration thereof to the next town meeting, and for that purpose choose Mr. Stephen Mix, Lieut. James Treat, Capt. Joshua Robbins, and John Chester, a committee to consider of what may be proper to offer concerning said petition of the west inhabitants, and make report thereof at the next meeting.
"This committee did not apparently consider "the matter very attentively. At all events the result of the next meeting was to postpone the subject for another year, as appears by the following vote.
"At a town meeting held in Weathersfield on the 14th day of December, 1709. This town do continue the power of the committee chosen in December, 1708, for the considering of the petition of the west inhabitants, and to consider a suitable place for the setting a meeting house on, and to make return of their thoughts to the town meeting the next opportunity.
"It is probable that the committee were still slow to grant the prayer of the petition, and that they did not favor the formation of a new parish, and the consequent release of the west farmers from paying ministerial charges to the Wethersfield parish, then under the pastoral care of Rev. Stephen Mix, the chairman of the committee. Undoubtedly the committee reported the plan of compromise which received the sanction of the town, and is embodied in the following record. At a town meeting holden in Wethersfield on the 18th day of December, Anno Domini, 1710.
Our brethren dwelling towards the west end of this town, viz. Ezekiel Buck, senior, and the rest hereunto subscribing, desiring liberty to be a distinct assembly for the public worship of God, because of their being remote from the place of public worship in this town. In answer to their petition; the proprietors, inhabitants of the town of Wethersfield, return as followeth, viz. That they being many of them newly planted and settled where they now live, we can't see how they can honorably, and without apparent straightening themselves to that degree as shall overbalance the toil of attending the public worship where it is now carried on, set up and support the public worship of God amongst themselves: and that therefore the proprietors, inhabitants of this town, do consent and vote, as far as it is with them so to do, that the said petitioners, and any that shall inhabit within half a mile of any of their houses, shall have liberty of assembling separately from the rest of the town, and jointly and publicly to gather in the worship of God amongst themselves for four months of the year yearly, that is to say, December, January, February and March, until the lands about them being more peopled, and themselves and their labors blest to such a sufficiency as that they shall be able comfortably, and without distraction, decently and honorably to set up and maintain the ministry and ordinances amongst themselves, and that they shall be released from one-third part of the charge that shall yearly arise for the maintaining the ministry in the town where it now is.
"Thus the people of this hamlet, four or five miles distant from Wethersfield church, and separated from it by Cedar mountain and two or three ranges of high hills and intervening valleys, had liberty granted them, for a third part of the year, when the weather was most inclement and the traveling the worst, to assemble in neighborhood meetings to worship God among themselves; and were released from a third part of the tax for the support Of the ministry at Wethersfield. The two went together, freedom to worship God and the necessity of paying for it. The vote shows how firmly linked were church and state in those days. Indeed the church was dominant, the civil power subsidary. Every man was held to his allegiance to his God, and it was considered right that his property which he held as the steward of his Master, should pay its due proportion towards the Master's service. The sturdy men of that time saw no ecclesiastical despotism in these principles. They based their action upon the sure foundation of the written word of God. The words of our Saviour "Render therefore unto Cesar the things which are Cesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" contained a short summary of their duty to their God and their King, an epitome of their religion and their loyalty.
All compromises are apt to fail. This one lasted about two years, when the subject was again brought up in town meeting. The record tells the story as follows: "At a town meeting lawfully assembled and held in Weathersfield, December 24, 1712. To the inhabitants of the town of Weathersfield now met in town meeting. The petition of those that now inhabit in the west divisions of lands in the said Weathersfield, with others that are proprietors therein. The good Providence of God having cast our lot here in this place. And we being willing for ourselves and of ours to serve the Lord God of our fathers, and finding it very difficult in the best season of the year, with our families, to attend the public worship of God at Weathersfield, and at many seasons very difficult. And being increased to such a number at present that we may in a tolerable manner be capable to maintain a minister amongst us, with the ordinances of the Gospel, do earnestly entreat of the said town that they would compassionate us under our difficulties, (so far as to grant,) that we may be a distinct parish for the carrying on the worship of God amongst us. And that the town would please to set out our parish bounds as may include the west divisions of lands in Weathersfield, that all persons inhabiting within the said bounds, with the lands that are therein improved, may be obliged to pay their proportion to all charges for the setting up and maintaining the worship of God amongst us. And herein you, the said town, would be pleased to gratify our desire and oblige our persons to thankfulness to you. This is the earliest desire of us the subscribers, inhabitants and proprietors as above.
Ezekil Buck, Nathaniel Churchel, Abraham Woren, Jonathan Buck, Richard Bordman, Enock Buck, Ephraim Whaples, John Whaples, Joseph Andrus, Simon Willard, Benjamin Andrus, John Stoddar, Joseph Camp, John Camp, Samuel Hun, Nathaniel Hun, Eliphilit Whittlese, Jonathan Wright, Steven Buck, John Keley, Steaven Keley, Daniel Andrus, Jonathan Hurlbut, Jonathan Buck, Thomas Molton, Richard Beckly, John Deming, Ephraim Deming, Jabez Whittlese, Benjamin Beckly.
"The action of the meeting was now favorable to the petitioners, as recited in the votes passed as follows:- "At this meeting, December 24th, 1712. This petition as above was by vote granted to the petitioners, that they should be a distinct parish by themselves for the carrying on the worship of God amongst themselves. And it was also by vote agreed and consented to, that the aforesaid petitioners should be discharged from paying their part of their minister's rate to the town of Weathersfield when once they have attained to those abilities that they can maintain the worship of God among themselves. It was at the same meeting voted and agreed, that Capt. Joshua Robbins, Lieut. Benjamin Churchel, Mr. Stillman, Nathaniel Stodder and Jacob Griswould, Sen., shall be a committee to look out a convenient place on the commons between the two last divisions, whereon the west farmers shall erect their meeting house for the carrying on the worship of (God) amongst them. And to make return thereof to the next town meeting."
Thus after an agitation of the question for four years the town of Wethersfield granted, so far as they could, to the west farmers, their cherished desire of becoming a distinct parish. But this step involved the expense of building a meeting house and of settling a minister, necessarily a considerable tax upon the slender resources of the community. And the grant of the town must be confirmed by the General Assembly to enable them to become a corporate body, with power to lay and levy taxes within their geographical limits. The next session of the General Assembly was holden at Hartford, in May, 1713, and the following petition was presented to that body.
To the Honorable, the General Assembly now holden in Hartford, May 14, 1713. May it please this Honorable Court. Some of the inhabitants of Weathersfield, particularly those dwelling in the western part of the said town, near the borders thereof, being allowed by the inhabitants thereof to be a distinct society for the public worship of God; dwellings of the said western inhabitants being remote from the place of public worship in Weathersfield. We, the subscribers, in the behalf of the majority of the said remote dwellers, pray the approbation of this honored court, that they should be such a distinct society for the end aforesaid, and that they may be furnished with powers for doing and performing what is or may be needful to the aforesaid end of said society, particularly that they may be enabled to raise and levy in a due proportion and by an equal rule the necessary costs and charges for the said end on all persons inhabiting, now or hereafter, the westward part near the western border of Weathersfield, that is to say, two miles and fifty rods in width from Farmington township eastward, bounded on the north by Hartford and on the south by Middletown, and on their ratable estates within this said tract, and also on the appropriated lands, improved and unimproved, lying in the said tract pertaining to others dwelling without the said limits, as well as on the improved and unimproved lands of those that dwell within the said tract, unless that right would that the improved lands of those which dwell not within the said tract should be taxed lower than the improved lands of those that inhabit within it, the latter receiving the greater advantage of the ministry for the present. All of which is humbly submitted. Jabez Whittlesey, John Deming; Committee. In the name and behalf of the west proprietors, petitioners.
There were nine or ten families "dwelling towards the south-west comer" of the town, at the south end of the proposed society, who attended worship at the Great Swamp Society, located in the south-east part of what was then Farmington. These families bore their part of the ministerial charge in the town of Wethersfield, to the Rev. Mr. Mix, as by law they were obliged to do, being included in the limits of that town, but they did not wish to be put to the additional expense of helping to pay for the settlement of a new minister and the building of a meeting house, which would be the natural result of the formation of a new society, within whose geographical limits they would be embraced. These families, then known as the Becklys, opposed the granting of a charter to the proposed society. They presented to the General Assembly their written declaration, dated May 15, 1713, signed by Benjamin Beckly, Stephen Kelsey, Thomas Morton, Jonathan Buck, Richard Beckly, and Jonathan Hurlbut, in which they declare that they did not desire to be "joined or included in said society with those inhabitants towards the northwest part of said township of Weathersfield," stating that some of them were "twice so near to the meeting house in the south-east part of the township of Farmington" as to the place appointed by the committee for the meeting house in the new society, and preferring to remain as they were.
They appointed Stephen Kelsey and Jonathan Hurlbut a committee to represent them before the Colonial Legislature. They also presented a paper, entitled "An account of the case of those nine or ten families that inhabit toward the south-west comer of Weathersfield bounds, the Beckleys and those about them," which contained a statement in detail of the grounds of their opposition. But their labor was in vain. The General Assembly granted the charter by the following resolution:
"Upon the petition of divers inhabitants of Wethersfield, dwelling in the west division of lands on the borders of said town, requesting that they may be allowed to be a distinct parish for setting up the public worship of God amongst them. This Assembly allows and grants the said petitioners to be a distinct parish, for the public worship of God, according to the grant of the town of Wethersfield. Which parish is contained within these following limits, that is to say: Two miles and fifty rods in width from Farmington township, eastward, bounded on the north by Hartford, and on the south by Middletown. And that they shall be discharged from paying their dues to the minister of the town of Wethersfield, when and so long as they maintain the public worship of God amongst themselves. "(Conn. Col. Rec. 1706-1716, p. 374.)
The society was now legally established, with the corporate powers of a parish, being the second ecclesiastical society in the town of Wethersfield. Its geographical limits formed a parallelogram, long and narrow, extending from Hartford to Middletown, between Farmington on the west and Cedar Mountain on the east, making a natural boundary between the new and old societies of Wethersfield. It contained two settlements, one comprising the great majority of inhabitants located towards its northern extremity, the other comprising the Beckley quarter situated on its southern border. The latter community were dissatisfied with the alliance. They had opposed the granting of the charter. Now that the society was a fixed fact they turned their attention to bringing about their own separation from it, and their union with Great Swamp Society where they attended worship.
For some years there had been more or less controversy between Wethersfield and Farmington in relation to the boundary line dividing these two towns. A new element was now introduced to still further complicate the matters of dispute. At last, after nearly two years had passed away, the conclusion arrived at between those in Farmington and the West Society who favored the Beckleys, was, that an exchange of territory would best heal the difficulty.
At a meeting of the inhabitants of the West Society held April 4, 1715, a committee was appointed who favored- the exchange policy, consisting of Benjamin Beckley, John Stoddor, Jonathan Hurlbut, and Nathaniel Churchel. They immediately began to treat with their friends in Farmington who were to be annexed to the West Society in compensation for the annexation of the Beckleys to the Great Swamp Society. The terms were arranged and were put in writing in a paper which was signed by those proprietors in Farmington who consented to their proposition, as follows:
CONSENT OF FARMINGTON PROPRIETORS.
Whereas, on April 7, 1715, a committee from the Westernmost Society in the Township of Weathersfield, and sundry inhabitants of the Southeastern Society in Farmington, have been treating with us, the subscribers, being part of the proprietors of lands lying westward of the divident line between said Farmington and Weathersfield, extending to the northward of the bounds of the Great Swamp Society, in order to our willingness to have our lands and estates in said place released from ministerial charge in the Northward Society in Farmington on and annexed to the said Westernmost Society in Weathersfield, we, the said proprietors, do hereby signify our willingness to said motion, upon condition that we and our estates shall be excused from any rates for the building the first meeting-house, and from all charge about settling the first minister, except our proportion according to law, with our neighbors in said Westernmost Society in said Weathersfield, of one hundred pounds, as money if needful, for the settlement of said first minister in said place, and also upon condition that the meeting-house in said Westernmost Society of Weathersfield be set upon the plain in the common land, about 20 or 30 rods to the northwestward from the house formerly belonging to Joseph Andrus, late of Weathersfield, deceased.
The next step was to obtain the consent to this arrangement of the society in Farmington to which the above proprietors belonged. A meeting of the First Society of Farmington was called, and was held April 11, 1715. To this meeting the Committee of the West Society made a formal request in writing that the above agreement might be ratified and carried out by the First Society. The document is as follows:
COMMITTEE'S REQUEST TO FARMINGTON.
Whereas, some of the proprietors of lands within the Township of Farmington in a division against Weathersfield have signified their willingness that their lands in said place shall be released from ministerial charge in the Northward Society of Farmington and annexed to the Westernmost Society in the Township of Weathersfield, upon certain conditions mentioned in an agreement bearing the same date with these presents. The request of us, the subscribers, a committee from the Westernmost Society in Weathersfield to the Northward Society in Farmington, met April 11, 1715, is as followeth: That the said Northward Society in Farmington will please to release all the lands in the division against Weathersfield, from the north bounds of the Society of the Great Swamp to the north side of the lot in said division which belongs to the heirs of Thomas Stanley, late of Farmington, deceased, together with all ratable estate thereto belonging, from ministerial charge in said Northward Society in Farmington, in order to their being annexed to the said Westernmost Society in said Weathersfield, upon the conditions mentioned in said agreement. Signed by us.
The request was favorably received and acted upon by the Northward Society. The meeting passed the following vote: "The Society granted a liberty to the proprietors of the several lots in the division of land butting upon Weathersfield Township, from the south side of John Norton's lot on West Plain to the north side of the bounds of the Great Swamp Society, to annex their lots and estates within the said bounds to the society granted in Weathersfield west bounds, provided all that part of Wethersfield West Society from the north side of Hurlbut's lot (and to include the Kelsys) to Middletown bounds, comprising the Beckley's farm, all said land and estates be annexed to the Great Swamp Society, and so to continue. Yet allowing a liberty to any such persons, when any other ministerial society: shall be erected nearer, to remove to said society. Upon the persons so doing, to be freed from all ministerial charge in the First Society in Farmington, arising after this time, for said lands and estates so annexed.
"The consent of the Society having been thus given to the exchange, nothing was now needed but the confirmation of the agreement by the General Assembly. Accordingly the following petition was presented to that body:
PETITION TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
The Petition of some of the inhabitants of the Western Society of the Township of Weathersfield to the General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut, begun on May 12, 1715, humbly showeth: That, whereas at a meeting of the inhabitants of the said Society, holden on April fourth, sundry persons were appointed by said Society a committee to endeavor an exchange of some part of the bounds of said Society to make it more compact together, and the North Society in the Township of Farmington have so far complied with the motion of said committee as to be willing that a certain tract of land in their bounds adjacent to the main bulk of the inhabitants of the said Western Society, together with all ratable estate thereto belonging, (as by the act of said society may more fully appear), should belonging released from ministerial charge among them, upon condition that the southern part of said Western Society in Weathersfield be annexed to the Southeastern Society in Farmington. The desire and request of the subscribers is that this Honored Court will please to perfect and confirm the above mentioned exchange. And your humble petitioners shall always pray. Benjamin Beckley, Richard Beckley, Stephen Kelsy, Daniel Andrus, John Kellsy, Jonathan Hurlbut, John Andrus, Samuell Hun, Simon Willard, Heze. Deming, John Camp, John Stoddor, Nathaniel Churchell, Mindwell Whaples, James Francis, Benjamin Andrus, Thomas Francis, Josiah Willard, Samuel Churchell, Thomas Morton, Abigail Camp, Nathaniel Stodder, Jonathan Stodder, Isaac Buck, Joseph Andrus. (The names in italics stricken out.) But there was a large and very respectable number of persons in Wethersfield who did not approve of the policy proposed. A remonstrance headed by Rev. Stephen Mix and Rev. Elisha Williams, the latter the first minister of the parish some years later, was numerously signed, as follows:
We, the subscribers, proprietors, or intrusted with the rights of minors in the western tract of Weathersfield, allowed for a distinct parish or Ecclesiastical Society, expressive of our dissent from the project of uniting of a part of said tract to Farmington South Society, and of Farmington to the northward part of our Society, as subversive to the said Society, have hereto subjoined our names. Stephen Micks, Elisha Williams, James Treat, Thomas Wells, Joshua Robins, Joshua Robbins, 2d, Josiah Deming, Ebenezer Dickinson, Jonathan Belding, Daniel Warner, Joseph Hurlbutt, Michaell Griswould, David Wright, Samuel Wright, Jonathan Goodrich, Jacob Griswold, Joseph Killburn, John Rose, Robert Wells, Ebenezer Deming, Gideon Wells, Benjamin Belding, Thomas Wright, Elizabeth Curtis, wid., Samuel Benton, Nathaniel Nott, Daniel Bordman, Richard Robbins, Hannah Chester, Mary Chester, Ephraim Goodrich, Sarah Kilborn, Sarah Chester, Mercy Chester, William Warner, Elizabeth Warner, wid., Joseph Wells, Josiah Bellding, Samuel Dix, Samuel Bird, Jun., Abigail Lattimore, Thomas Standdish, John Deming, John Deming, Stephen Lusk, John Griswold, Abraham Woren, Ephraim Deming, Ezekel Crab (?) (an inhabitant not proprietor), Richard Boardman, Jonathan Buck, Jabez Whittelsey, Eliphelet Whittelsey, Jonathan Wright. But the Beckleys and those interested with them in securing their annexation to the Great Swamp Society, for the encouragement of their project executed a bond, for the payment of fifty pounds to the West Society in case the annexation should be granted by the Colonial Legislature. This bond was presented to the Assembly and lodged on file in the office of the Secretary of the Colony at Hartford. It is as follows:
BOND LODGED IN THE SECRETARY'S OFFICE.
Whereas, sometime in April last, at a meeting of the inhabitants of the Western Society in the Township of Weathersfield, in the County of Hartford, and Colony of Connecticut, in New England, a committee were appointed by said Society to endeavor an exchange of some part of the bounds of said Society; for the encouragement of said exchange, and upon condition that all the lands in said Westward Society in Weathersfield southward of the home lots of Stephen Kelsey and Jonathan Hurlbut inclusively (comprehending said home lots and Beckley's farm), and all the persons and estate either now or hereafter belonging to the southward part of said Society within the limits above mentioned, may be wholly released from ministerial charge in their own Township, and annexed to the Southeastern Society in the Township of Farmington, in the County aforesaid, by order of the General Assembly of this Colony; we, the subscribers, inhabitants of the said Township of Weathersfield, do hereby covenant and promise to and with our neighbors in said Western Society in the Township of Weathersfield, in manner following: That is to say, that we will do our proportion with our neighbors there of building the first meeting-house among them, except what is already done to said meeting-house, and also pay to the said Western Society, or to any that shall legally represent them, upon demand thereof, the full sum of fifty pounds in current money of New England, or bills of credit, or that which is equivalent thereto, in manner following: That is to say, twelve pounds and ten shillings within one year after the date of these presents, also twelve pounds and ten shillings more within two years, and twelve pounds and ten shillings more within three years, and twelve pounds and ten shillings more within four years after the date of these presents, which above said fifty pounds is to be borne by us, the subscribers, according to the lists of our estates; and to the faithful performance of the above written agreement we, the subscribers, do hereby bind ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators firmly by these presents, both jointly and severally. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals, this thirteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifteen.
Upon the presentation of these papers to the General Assembly they took no further action than to appoint Joseph Talcot, Esq., Col. William Whiting, and Capt. Aaron Cooke a committee to "go upon the place" to effect a settlement if possible between the parties; if this were impossible, to fix upon a site for the meeting-house, consider the subject of the exchange, and report at the next October session of the Assembly (Conn. Col. Rec. 1706-4716, p. 499). Two of the Committee performed the duty assigned to them, and made the following report at the October session of the Assembly, 1715, held at New Haven.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE ASSEMBLY.
We, the subscribers hereunto, being appointed by the General Assembly, holden at Hartford, May 13, 1715, to go to the West Farms in Weathersfield, to endeavor to bring the people there to an agreement and accommodation between the petitioners and other the inhabitants of the said West Society in Weathersfield, in respect to an exchange of the south part or southwest comer of Weathersfield West Society to the Great Swamp Society in Farmington, and for an addition of a part of Farmington Old Society to the foresail West Society in Weathersfield, and any other thing that the situation of the lands and convenience or inconvenience of the exchange aforesaid, and place of setting the meeting-house, and any other things that may conduce to the peace and good settlement of said society, and make report to this Assembly in October next. We have accordingly been upon the spot and called together before us said inhabitants, and have endeavored an agreement between them, which proved ineffectual, have also had a map of said lands laid before us, and upon the whole of our inquiry do conclude and report to this Assembly that we judge the best regulation of that affair, and that which will conduce most to the weal and convenience of said people that do or may inhabit there, that the exchange of land between Weathersfield West Society and Farmington, laid before the Assembly in May last, be confirmed, and that the meeting-house place for the West Society in Weathersfield be on the Commons or common land near Dea. Joseph Andros's house, within about twenty or thirty rods of said house, and that the southwest comer of Weathersfield help build the meetinghouse at the said West Farms, and pay 50 pounds to the people of the West Society in Weathersfield, according to their agreement upon file in the Secretary's office, and that the lands, stocks and heads belonging to that part of Farmington now added to Weathersfield West Society shall be annexed to them, said Weathersfield West Farms, and be obliged to pay to the support of all ministerial charges there in equal proportion with the rest of the said West Society.
The General Assembly accepted the report, and passed an act to carry it into effect, annexing to the Great Swamp Society that part of the West Society "From the north side of Hurlbut's lot and the north side of Stephen and John Kelsey's lands to Middletown bounds, including the Beckley's land. "And requiring them to pay the fifty pounds bond and help finish the meeting-house in the West Society. Also annexing to the West Society "All the land in the several lots in Farmington bounds from the south side of John Norton's lot on Wolf Plain to the north side of the bounds of the Great Swamp."(Conn. Col. Rec. 1706-1716, p. 532.) The Great Swamp Society was in 1722 named Kensington. (Conn. Col. Rec. 1717-1725, p. 316.) And the territory taken from the West Society of Wethersfield in the manner detailed was wholly lost to Wethersfield, and now forms a part of the town of Berlin, which was incorporated May, 1785. The West Society of Wethersfield was now established in more compact form, so far as its geographical limits were concerned, than when it was first chartered. Those of its former inhabitants who had formed an element of discord had departed in peace. It was now ready to build a meetinghouse preparatory to settle a minister, and to enter upon a career more favorable to its harmony and prosperity. The Society became better organized. The next year, 1716, it began to keep a record of its Society meetings. The next ten years witnessed the building of the meeting-house, the formation of a church, the settlement of the first minister, Rev. Elisha Williams, the naming of the parish Newington, and the close of Mr. Williams' ministry, in 1726, by reason of his being chosen Rector of Yale College. This record still exists, but in a state of decay; it is worth preservation. It tells the story of the life of the parish during these years more truly than a brief condensation could do.