The First Book Of Records
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]
THE FIRST BOOK OF RECORDS FOR NEWINGTON PARISH, OF WETHERSFIELD. April 5, 1716.
At a Society meeting lawfully assembled and held at the dwelling house of James Francis, in the westwardmost society in Wethersfield, upon the 5th day of April in the year 1716, it was voted and acted as followeth: We then chose Josiah Willard, clerk of the West Society. It was voted to raise our meeting house in this instant month April, and also that the said meeting house should be raised within a few rods of the place where the timber now lies. John Stodderd, Saml. Hunn, Stephen Buck were chosen a committee to take care to raise, (and) provide for the raising of, the said meeting house: to act according to the best of their discretion for the public interest.
May 5, 1716: At a Society meeting lawfully assembled and held upon May the 5th, 1716, at the dwelling house of James Francis in the westwardmost society of Weathersfield, it was voted and acted as followeth, viz. to say, John Stodderd and Samuel Hunn, Stephen Buck, chosen a committee to take care to cover the meeting house that was of late raised in the westward-most society in Wethersfield, to take care to provide all things necessary for said work that belongs to that meeting house, to act according to the best of their discretion for the public interest. It was voted that the same committee should underpin the said house. At the same meeting Josiah Willard was chosen and empowered to demand and receive the money that is due from our neighbors by the bond lodged in the Secretary's Office;(That Mr. Willard entered upon the discharge of this duty appears from the following receipt given by him "Whereas I, Josiah Willard, at a Society meeting lawfully assembled and held upon the 15th (5th ?) day of May, 1716, at the dwelling house of James Francis, in the Westward most Society of Wethersfield, was chosen and empowered to receive the money due from several of our neighbors upon the account of the bond that is lodged in the Secretary's office. Received this 20 day of March, 1717, of Mr. Daniel Beckley, the just sum of twelve shillings due upon the account of the fifty pound bond lodged in the Secretary's Office, I say received by me JOSIAH WILLARD.)from the persons concerned or so bound to the Society, the above said Josiah Willard is to demand, receive and keep and deliver to the society the said money at their demand.
Dec. 2, 1717: At a meeting of the west society of Wethersfield December the 2nd day 1717, being lawfully warned: at this meeting it was voted and agreed, that there should be a rate raised on all our polls and ratable estate to raise money to defray the charge of the General (2) Court to the obtaining our first grant for a society, and also to defray all the charge already laid out about our meeting house; always provided and to be understood, that all those that have done more work than their neighbors about the meeting house, shall stay for their pay for the space of one year, to or till others of their neighbors have come even with them in their labor, according as others that have already wrought at the meeting house, as to the price of their labor by the day or otherwise. At the same meeting it was also voted, that all men that labored at the meeting house shall have three shillings per day, from the first day of March till the first day of September for the time past, and so annually for the time to come, and from the 1st day of September till the 1st day of March, they shall have two shillings per day, and also a man and team that is good and well fitted shall have six shillings per day, from the first day of March till the first day of September, and from the 1st day of September till the 1st day of March a man and team shall have four shillings per day: At the same (meeting) it was voted that Abraham Woring,(Woren was the way he spelled his name himself, now written Warren. The spelling of the original records as to names has been retained in all cases.)James Francis and Josiah Willard, or any two of them, shall be a committee to adjust and account with those that have laid out money or done any labor about our meeting house, or about the concerns of our society, and also to get a true list of our effects, and make a rate to defray the charge as above said: this is to be done upon the present list. At the same meeting Caleb Androus was chosen collector to gather the rates when made as above said. At the same meeting Jabezeth Whittelsey, Joseph Androus and John Deming were chosen a committee to manage the prudentials of our Society about our meeting house or other things needful for the year ensuing, with as full power as the selectmen in the town. At the same meeting Josiah Willard was chosen clerk and sworn.
Dec. 15, 1718: At a society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington(This is the first mention of the word Newington in any records. It is said to have been- so called "out of regard to the place of Dr. Watts's residence near London." (Sec Dr. Brace's Dis., 65.) parish lawfully assembled and held upon the 15th day of December 1718 (3) voted and agreed, Josiah Willard chosen clerk and sworn. Also voted, Jabezeth Whittelsey, Mr. James Patterson, James Francis a committee to order the prudentials of our Society about our meeting house or other things needful for the year ensuing, with as full power as selectmen of a town. Also voted that our committee for the year ensuing are impowered to receive and allow any further amounts that are just, and shall add them to the Society debts already brought in. Also voted, granted a rate on polls and all ratable estate in this Society for the payment of all debts allowed by, our committee, it is to be understood only the charges already passed. Also voted, Samuel Hunn collector to gather our society rates when made as above directed.
January 13, 1719: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held upon 15th of January, 1719-20, it was voted and agreed as followeth: Voted, Jabezeth Whittlesey, John Deming, Samuel Hunn a committee to order the prudentials of our Society for the year ensuing. Also voted, to call a minister to preach with us until the last of March next ensuing. Also voted, John Stoddard, Abraham Woring a committee to treat with Mr. Nathanel Burnham to come and preach with us.
May 6, 1719: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held upon sixth day of May, 1719, voted and agreed to petition to the General Assembly for a repeal of that act concerning an exchange between some part of the bounds of Farmington and Wethersfield. Also voted, Jabezeth Whittelsey, agent to go with a petition to the General Assembly.(* This petition was not granted. (6 Conn. Col. Rec., 116.)
April 6, 1720: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held upon the 6th day of April, 1720, it was voted as followeth: Jabezeth Whittelsey, Abraham Woring, a committee to treat with Mr. Elisha Williams to come and be our minister in Newington.
April 21, 1720: (4) At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish lawfully assembled and held upon the 21st day of April, 1720, voted and agreed: To get hewed plank and lay a floor in our meeting-house, and to get window-frames and glass for the lower tier of windows, and also to make doors for our meeting-house. Also, Richard Borman, Isaac Buck, Abraham Woring, a committee to lay a floor in our meeting-house, and to make doors. Also voted, Jabezeth Whittelsey, Samuel Hunn, a committee to get window-frames, glass, hooks, and hinges for our meeting-house doors.
May 3,1720: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, upon the 3d day of May, 1720, voted and agreed as followeth: Whereas, through defect of warning, our votes on the 21st day of April last are of no effect, now voted, that all of the votes passed by us on the 21st day of April last be good and valuable respecting our meeting-house, except that of getting hewed planks to lay a floor; also voted to get two summers(The summer is the technical name of the large central beam that supports the joists, seen in old buildings.) and joists, and to buy one thousand and half of pine boards for the floor of our meeting house. Also voted, Dea. Joseph Androus and James Francis a committee to buy boards.
August 5, 1720: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, upon the 5th day of August, 1720, voted and agreed as followeth: We did make choice of the Rev. Mr. Elisha Williams (to) be our minister. Also voted and empowered Jabezeth Whittelsey and Abraham Woring our committee to go and treat with the Rev. Mr. Elisha Williams to be our minister, and agree with him as to a settlement and maintenance according to the best of their discretion, and make return to this society.
September 15, 1720: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, upon 15th day of September, 1720, voted and agreed as followeth: To make hollow walls to our meeting-house. Samuel Hunn, John Stoddard, and Isaac Buck a committee to lath and plaster said walls. Also voted, Dea. Joseph Androus, James Francis a committee to lay a floor in our meeting-house.
December 6, 1720: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, upon the sixth day of December, 1720, voted and agreed as followeth: Samuel Hunn, Abraham Woring, and John Deming, a committee to order the prudentials of our society for the year ensuing. Also voted, Samuel Hunn, John Camp, a committee to treat (5) with the Rev. Mr. Elisha Williams, in order to a settlement, and make return to this Society; and endeavor with the town to get a piece of land for our minister, by gift, or by exchange, or by purchase, according as they shall be most likely to obtain it, to act according to the best of their discretion.
December 21, 1720: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held upon the 21st day of December, 1720, it was voted and agreed to give the Rev. Mr. Elisha Williams one hundred and seventy pounds for a settlement, for and in consideration that he will be our minister, which is to be paid in money or labor done to building him a house, to be paid in two years after this present date, and he shall also have that money that is subscribed or shall be subscribed in the time.(This house was not the property of the Society, but belonged to Mr. Williams. It afterwards came into the possession of the Kellogg family, And so continued till it was destroyed by fire, in 1872.) Also voted, to give to him two days' work in a year of every man that is or shall be in this Society, from sixteen years old and upwards, capable of labor, for the space of five years ensuing this date, which labor is to be done half in the summer and half in the winter, yearly. Also voted, to give Mr. Williams, for his salary fifty pounds the two first years, and so to rise two pounds a year until we come to seventy pounds per year, and so to continue so long as he continues in the work of the ministry with us. Also voted, to raise a rate on polls and all ratable estate to pay Mr. Williams from the time of his first coming unto the last of March, in proportion to a rate of fifty pounds a year, and then to begin the year with Mr. Williams.(* It would seem from this vote that Mr. Williams had preached for some time before this. (See the votes passed January 15, 1719, April 6, 1720, and August 5, 1720.) Mr. Nathaniel Burnham had certainly preached before this time. (See Dr. Brace's Half Century Discourse, pp. 10, 11.) Also voted, that a Society rate granted the 15th of December, 1718, shall stand in force and be collected. Also voted, to raise a rate on polls and all ratable estate to defray all the charge or debts raised in our society since. Also voted, that Samuel Hunn John Deming, Abraham Woring to receive, accept any just accounts that are behind and not yet brought in, and to make a rate to defray them. Also voted, Richard Borman and Abraham Woring collectors to gather our minister and society rates.
January 4, 1721: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held by an adjournment from the 21st of December, 1720, to the 4th day of January, 1720-21. Voted and agreed as followeth: For a man to have 2s. 6d. per day from this time to the 1st of March, and for a man and team to have five shillings per day to work at Mr. Williams' house. Also voted, Isaac Buck, Hezekiah Deming and Abraham Woring committee to take care of the building of Mr. Williams's house (6) to see who labors and who does not, and keep an account. Also voted, Samuel Hunn, John Camp a committee in behalf of the Society, to make demand of the fifty pounds due by bond from those persons included (in) the bond and annexed to Farmington: that is to say, Benjamin Beckley, Daniel Androus, Stephen Kellsey, Richard Beckley, John Androus, John Kellsey, Jonathan Hurlburt, Daniel Beckley; this committee is also empowered upon neglect or refusal to sue for the money due by the above said bond from those persons that are bound, viz. Benjamin Beckley, &c.
February 16, 1721: At a Society meeting (of) the inhabitants of Newington parish, upon 16th of February, 1720-21, it was voted and agreed as followeth: granted to Mr. Elisha Williams liberty to make a seat or pew for his family in our meeting house. Also voted, to pay Mr. Williams' rate in grain at the price as followeth, viz: Wheat at five shillings per bushel, rye at three shillings and four pence per bushel, indian com at two shillings four pence per bushel. Also voted, for the payment of the fifty pound bond due from Benjamin Beckley, Daniel Androus, Stephen Kellsey, Richard Beckley, John Androus, John Kellsey, Jonathan Hurlburt, Daniel Beckley, that wheat should be five shillings per bushel, rye at 3s. 6d. per bushel, indian com at 2s. 6d. per bushel. May 10, 1721. At a Society meeting (of) the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held upon the 10th day of May, 1721, it was voted and agreed as followeth, to petition to the General Assembly for some relief, that they would grant to us our country rate or grant a tax on all land unimproved, belonging to proprietors; and that the Court would grant that our four public training days for some time might be improved in the public service of our society. Also voted, Jabezeth Whittelsey agent to go to the General Court with the above vote and manage it according to the best of his discretion.(Mr. Whittelsey immediately attended' to this duty, as appears by the following petition: "To the Honorable, the present General Assembly at Hartford, May, A.D. 1721. The prayer of the inhabitants of the West Society in Weathersfield implores the indulgence of the Court, that the said Society may be exempted from Country Rates by the space of four years as other new poor places have been. That a reasonable tax for a reasonable time may be laid on their unimproved lands. That their training days may be turned into days of public service of the Society, at the discretion of such officers as the Society shall from year to year for that end appoint; and all traininr, soldiers and officers obliged to attend the same under suitable penalties by the space of the above said four years. And finally that the said society may be named and called Newington. And your poor petitioners, as in duty bound, shall ever pray. JABEZ WHITTELSEY, For the Society. The Assembly granted "That the said Society raise a tax annually on all the land in the said parish or society that by law is not ratable, of ten shillings per the hundred acres, and pro rata for greater or lesser parcels, for the term of four years next coming ; and that the said society or parish be called Newington. "(6 Conn. Col. Rec., p. 246.) This was passed May 25, 1721. One hundred and fifty years afterwards (July 10, 1871) Newington was incorporated a town.)
June 26, 1721: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish lawfully assembled, and held, upon the 26th of June 1721, voted and agreed as followeth: Samuel Hunn, Jabezeth Whittelsey, Richard Borman, Samuel Churchel should undertake to make twenty thousand bricks for Mr. Elisha Williams, to take the' care, and provide hands and all things for said work.
December 13, 1721: (7) At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held upon the 13th day of December, 1721, it was voted and agreed as followeth: Mr. James Patterson, Ephraim Deming, Richard Borman, a committee to order the prudentials of our Society for the year ensuing. Also voted Jebezeth Whittelsey, Caleb Androus collectors for the year ensuing. Also voted, for a man to have three shillings per day from the first of March to the first of September, and from the first of September to the first of March two shillings and six pence per day, and for man and team shall have six shillings from the first of March to the first of September, and from the first of September to the first of March five shillings per day, for labor already done to Mr. Williams' house or yet to be done. Also voted, Granted a rate to be raised on polls and all ratable estate, of the present list of our Society, to pay the one hundred and seventy pounds granted to Mr. Elisha Williams for a settlement December 21, 1720. Also voted, Granted fifty pounds, to be raised on polls and all ratable estate in our Society, for Mr. Elisha Williams' salary, to be paid in money cr grain, as followeth, viz. wheat at 5s. 4d. per bushel, and rye at 3s. 6d. per bushel, and indian com 2s. 10d. per bushel. Also voted, to build a pulpit in our meeting house, as soon as we can in the spring. Also voted, twenty pounds money to defray the charge of a pulpit. Also voted, Stephen Buck, Tho. Frances, Sam'l Churchel, Jonathan Stoddard, Joseph Benton should undertake to build a barn for Mr. Elisha Williams,(Stephen Kellsy was paid for eight days work "framing Mr. Williams' barn.") and to employ those men that are behind in their rate of 170 pounds above mentioned as him or them and they can agree, viz, Stephen Buck, Thos. Frances, &c.
February 8, 1722: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish lawfully assembled and held on the 8th day of February, 1721-22, voted and agreed that Leonard Dix shall have two pounds out of the treasury or (the) fifty pounds due from the Beckleys. Also voted, that the remainder of the fifty pounds and the tax laid on the proprietors's unimproved land, to be laid out in our meeting house, to build a pulpit and deacon seat, and to prepare timber and nails for the finishing the lower part of our meeting house, and to proceed as far as we can with the money granted. Voted, Jabezeth Whittelsey, Samuel Hann and Samuel Churchel a committee to take care and proceed to do the work above mentioned in our meeting house, to proceed as fast as they can with prudence, also voted, the tax put into our minister's rate should be laid out and improved as above, and the rate made on ratable estate.
December 20, 1722: (8) December 20 Day, 1722. That the Society grant the money of the tax granted by the General Assembly on the unimproved land to the committee for the finishing the meeting house for the charge that is past, that is, so much of it as to answer the same, that is the proprietors' and not the inhabitants' land, the galleries is exempted, the charge of them for this year. It was voted this 20th day of December 1722.(Another record of the same meeting follows in its order. This seems to be inserted out of its chronological order.)
September 5, 1722: At a Society of Newington inhabitants lawfully assembled and held upon the fifth day of September, 1722, it was voted and agreed: That Mr. Elisha Williams shall have sixty pounds money for his salary this year and next year, and next year he shall have sixty-two pounds, and so to raise two pounds a year for the space of ten years, which will make eighty pounds, and so to continue eighty pounds per year so long as he continues in the work of the ministry with us. Also voted, that Mr. Williams' rate should (be) paid by the last of March annually, so long as he continues to be our minister. (See page the 5th.) Also voted, to find Mr. Williams his wood annually, so long as he continues in the work of (the) ministry with us. Also voted, that a former vote bearing date the December 21, 1720, to give Mr. Williams two days works in a year of every male from sixteen to sixty years of age, shall be in full force and virtue, and if any man in our Society shall refuse or neglect to do the two days labor in the vote above mentioned (he) shall pay three shillings for the summer's day and two shillings six pence for a winter's day, and (it) shall be gathered by the collectors annually. Also voted Jabesh Whittelsey moderator for this meeting, and if any man shall presume to speak without liberty (he) shall forfeit the sum of one shilling. Also it was voted that if Mr. May(Mr. Hezekiah May, of Wethersfield, did "joining work" on the meeting house to the amount of fifty-five pounds, for which Jabez Whittelsey, Samuel Hun and Samuel Churchell gave their personal bond, dated Sept. 25, 1722, payable 12£. on or before the first day of October next, 31£. on or before the 15th of March next, and 12£. on or before the last day of May next thereafter. The office of committee was no sinecure in those days.) would make window frames for the lower part of our meeting house, and Mr. Kelloug make the glass (?) for wood, then to take the windows that (are) now below and put them up in the upper part of our meeting house. Also voted, Richard Borman, Ebenezer Kilburn, James Francis, Isaac Buck, should keep a public house of entertainment on the day of the ordination of the Rev. Mr. Elisha Williams.
September 12, 1722: (9.) At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish lawfully assembled and held upon 12th day of September, 1722, voted, and agreed as followeth: It was voted, having had some considerable experience of his life ect., we do make choice by a full vote of the Rev. Mr. Elisha Williams to be our minister and pastor. Also voted, to keep Wednesday the 3rd day of October next ensuing as a fast, to implore divine assistance of God in gathering a church of Christ here, and in the ordination of the Rev. Mr. Elisha Williams. Also voted and made choice of the Rev. Mr. Stephen Mix, of Wethersfield, and Mr. Samuel Whitman, of Farmington, to assist on the day fasting as above mentioned, Mr. James Patterson and John Deming to go to the ministers above said and to intreat them to come and help us.(The church was forst organized.(see Dr. Brace's Discourse, p. 11) Also voted, that the third Wednesday the 17th day of October next ensuing to be the day of the ordination of the Rev. Mr. Elisha Williams. Also voted, Dea. Joseph Androus, Jabezeth Wittelsey, Joseph Hurlbut, David Curtis and Samuel Churchel to take care and provide for the ministers and messengers on the day of the ordination.
December 20, 1722: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington Parish, upon the 20th day of December, 1722, it was voted and agreed: John Camp, Hezekiah Deming and Samuel Churchel a committee to order the prudentials of our society for the year ensuing. Also voted, Joseph Hurlbut and Ebenezer Kilburn collectors for the year ensuing. Also voted, Mr. James Patterson, Deacon John Deming, and Josiah Willard, a committee to seat our meeting-house. Also voted, granted a rate to be raised on polls and all ratable estate to pay Mr. Williams' salary, according to our agreement. Also voted, Mr. Elisha Williams should have the parsonage at his disposal as long as he continues in the work of the ministry with us.(The parsonage was opposite the present residence of Martin Robbins, Esq. Mr. Williams lived in his own house. (Dr. Brace's Dis., 66.)) Also voted; 1 pound 12s. to the widow Elizabeth Androus, for sweeping our meeting-house. Also voted, that the present committee should inspect the old rates, and all that can't be had or got by law, and to deduct it and add it to our minister's rate. (See page 12.)
March 1, 1723: (10.) At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held upon the 1st day of March, 1722-3, it was voted and agreed as followeth, viz.: Concerning our parsonage, lying so that there is a great inconveniency in the highway, we do consent and desire to remove it to a more convenient place, provided it be no damage to our Society, town, or to Mr. Williams, and that the land may be as good. We do appoint Mr. James Patterson, David Curtis, and William Smith, to use the circumstances thereof, and to discourse Mr. Williams, and to have his consent, and make report at the town meeting. Also voted, to fill the walls, and lath and plaster the lower part of our meeting-house. Also voted, that Joseph Hurlbut and Tho. Francis, a committe to see said work done.
December 31, 1723: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held upon the 31st day of December, 1723, it was voted and agreed as followeth: Hez. Deming, Eliphalet Whittelsey, and Josiah Willard, a committee to order the prudentials of our Society for the year ensuing. Also voted, Ebenezer Kilburn and Hezekiah Griswould, collectors to gather our minister and Society rates, and tax money granted by the General Court. Also voted, that all former committees shall make up their accounts with the collectors chosen when they were, and to bring the arrearages to the present committee, and to be added to the present Society charge. Also voted, for the payment of our minister rate that wheat should be at 5s. 6d. per bushel, rye at 3s. 9d. per bushel, and Indian com at 2s. 8d. per bushel. Also voted, that the present committee to adjust all accounts in our Society about our meeting-house, from the laying of the floor and filling of the walls to this day; all such accounts to be examined by the committee, and to allow or disallow as they find them to be just or unjust. Also voted, granted a rate to be raised on polls and all ratable estate to defray the necessary charge of our Society. Also voted, that our committee should purchase a drum, and add it to our present Society charge. Also voted, Jebezeth Whittelsey, Isaac Buck, a school committee, and the country money to them to defray part of the charge of a school.(The first mention of the subject of schools.)
February 8, 1725: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held upon the 8th day of February, 1724-5, (11) it was voted and agreed as followeth: Mr. Josiah Deming, John Camp, and Josiah Willard, a committee for this year to order the prudentials of our Society according to the best of their discretion. Also voted, Nathaniel Stodderd and Jonathan Griswould, collectors for this year. Also voted, for the payment of our minister's rate, wheat should be at 6s. per bushel, rye at 4s. 6d. per bushel, Indian com at 4s. per bushel. Also voted, one pound ten shillings to be added to our minister's rate. Also voted, to carry Mr. Williams wood as heretofore we have done, and to cart it on the first Thursday of March.
January 6, 1726: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held upon the sixth day of January, 1725-6, voted and agreed: Deacon John Deming, Joseph Hurlbut, and Isaac Buck, committee for the year ensuing to order the prudentials of our Society. Also voted, David Griswould, and Nathaniel Churchel, collectors to gather our minister and Society rates. Also voted, that the necessary charge of our Society for this year should be added to our minister's rate. Also voted, that grain for the payment of Mr. Williams' rate should be as followeth: wheat at 6s. 6d. per bushel, rye at 4s. 6d. per bushel, and Indian com at 3s. 6d. per bushel. Also voted and agreed, that our annual meeting for the choosing of Society officers in this Society for the future shall be on the third Monday of December, beginning at twelve of the clock of the day. Also voted, whereas this society are obliged by covenant to provide Mr. Williams his firewood so long as he continues in the work of the ministry among us, and the method heretofore practiced of warning all or most of the society in a day been found by experience to be troublesome, uncertain, and unequal, for remedy hereof it is now voted and agreed to grant a rate of twelve pounds to be raised on polls and all ratable estate appertaining to all persons inhabiting within this Society, for providing Mr. Williams' wood; and every person hath liberty to pay his proportion of the said 12 pounds in wood, provided he doth it in season; but if any person refuses or neglects to pay his proportion seasonably in wood, they shall pay it in money, or that which is equivalent, to the committee for the Society for the time being, to be by them improved for the providing of said wood; and further, the committee for the Society for the time being (12) for the time shall order every person as to the time of his carrying Mr. Williams his proportion of wood, and those that attend not this order as to time shall be deemed unseasonbly, always provided no person be hindered from carrying their proportion sooner than the committee orders; and every load is to be reckoned at the price of three shillings. Also voted, to provide all joists and boards for the galleries' floor of our meeting-house, and to lath and plaster the walls of our meeting-house up to the plate, and the new windows to be put up below, and the present windows of our meeting-house to be put up above. Also voted, to have a school in our Society, and what the country money don't pay is to be raised on polls of the children that go to school, to defray the charge of the school. Also voted, Dea. Joseph Androus and James Francis, a committee for the school. Also voted, that for the payment of our minister rate grain should be as followeth, viz: Wheat at six shillings per bushel, rye at four shillings per bushel, and Indian com at two shillings eight pence per bushel. Also voted, to have a school six months in this Society for the instruction of children, and all the charge more than is allowed by the country to be raised on the polls of those children whom their parents send to school. Also voted, Jabezeth Whittelsey and Richard Borman a school committee. To the Honorable Governor and Council: We, the inhabitants of Newington, having considered the weighty affair of the removal of our Rev. pastor from us to Yale College.(This is the beginning of a petition to the Governor and Council, inserted here perhaps by mistake. I do not find any such petition.—[R. W.])
April 15, 1726: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held upon the 15th day of April, 1726, voted and agreed as followeth: That we desire to be heard as to the removal of our Rev. pastor to Yale College by the honored Governor and Council. Also voted, Deacon Jabezeth Whittelsey, John Camp, and Joseph Hurlbut, a committee to represent our Society, if by any means our minister may stay with us; and if not, act according to the best of their discretion that we may have the charge returned that we have been at in settling our minister.
May 25, 1726: At a Society meeting of the inhabitants of Newington parish, lawfully assembled and held upon the 25th day of May, 1726, it was voted and agreed to call the Rev. Mr. Simon Backus upon probation for our minister. Also voted, Jabezeth Whittelsey, to call Mr. Backus upon probation. Yale College had for some years been without a rector. The General Court had appointed a Committee to inquire into the reasons for the long delay in filling the vacant chair of president of that "school." At last the trustees of the College met at Hartford, May 22, 1724, and there presented a memorial to the General Assembly then in session at Hartford, stating among other things their action in attempting to fill the vacant rectorship as follows: "We have unanimously chosen the Rev. Mr. Wigglesworth, Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, to be the Rector of Yale College. And in case of a disappointment of our hope of obtaining him, we have chosen the Rev. Mr. William Russell, of Middletown, to that office. And in case our expectations should there fail us also, in a farther attempt, the Rev. Mr. Elisha Williams, of Newington, hath had the voice of the major part of the trustees here present." The memorial was signed by T. Woodbridge, as moderator, and Eliphalet Adams, as scribe. This memorial contains the following endorsement, "Upon consideration of the above address of the trustees of Yale College, and the extraordinary charge they will be at in settling a rector there, it is granted that the impost of rum for the present year be allowed and paid to them to enable them therein. "During the following year the trustees of the College made unanimous choice of Mr. Williams as rector. Only two or three years before, he had been settled as pastor for life over the parish of Newington. A considerable sum of money had been paid to him and expended for him for his settlement. It was in part consideration of his entering into a life-long contract to labor with them and cultivate this long destitute portion of the Lord's vineyard. He was their first pastor, and had but just begun his appointed work with them; had scarcely got his settlement money in his pocket. He could not now break this binding contract. He could not abandon it without the consent of the other party to it. This fact was recognized by all. Negotiations therefore were commenced between the trustees of the College, Mr. Williams, and the people, to effect an amicable arrangement for his release and removal. The people were unwilling to part with him. They asked to be paid their disbursements if he went away from them. This, was certainly reasonable, for they were poor; so was the College. Recourse for help was had to the General Court. In October, 1725, the trustees of the College presented the following memorial to the General Assembly. "To the Honorable the Governor, Council and Representatives, in General Court assembled, at New Haven, October 14, 1725. The memorial of the trustees of Yale College humbly sheweth, that the said trustees after many endeavors for the gaining a rector for Yale College, have at our late meeting in New Haven unanimously chosen the Rev. Mr. Elisha Williams, minister of Newington, a parish belonging to Wethersfield, unto that service, and judge him a person well qualified for the work we have called him to, and in him have a fair prospect that he will be a repairer of the breach that has been made in that society; and as that school has had its being from this Honorable Assembly, and testimonies of their good will in supporting it hitherto, so we count it our duty not only to inform this Honorable Assembly of the measures we have taken for the promoting the good thereof, but now pray that by your act you will give your public approbation of our choice, which we shall take as a favor. We (as appointed by the trustees) have made application, both to the Rev. Mr. Williams, and to the people of the parish, with him, and have a likely prospect of obtaining him, both from him and them; but the parish being small, and generally new beginners, it will necessarily bring a considerable charge upon them in settling of another minister. The College, out of their small stock cannot fully answer the charge we shall put them to; we therefore humbly pray this Honorable Assembly that as they have often done to divers places in this Government, that upon Mr. Williams' removal to the College, so you will please to allow them their country rates (which are but little,) for the space of four or five years, and by your act state it to be applied to the settling the next succeeding minister in their parish; and we shall accept it as a token of the favor this Honorable Assembly bears to the College, and a manifestation of their delighting in its prosperity. And your memorialists shall ever pray, &c.
Upon the reception of this memorial the Assembly congratulated the College, saying, "This Assembly rejoice in the good providence that conducted the Reverend Trustees to fill up the vacancy of a rector in said College with a gentleman so agreeable to the country, and so very acceptable to the Assembly; and, do enact that when the said Mr. Elisha Williams shall remove to New Haven into the service of rector in Yale College, according to appointment of the said reverend trustees, that Newington, or the inhabitants of said parish, shall be freed from paying their country tax for the space of four years next coming, on condition that the money be improved towards settling another minister in said. parish. "6 Conn. Col. Rec., 569. After this aid was extended to Newington by the General Court, negotiations were again renewed. The College, acting through its trustees, and the parish, acting through its committee, at last agreed that the terms of adjustment between the College and society should be settled by a committee. The College selected Mr. Nathaniel Stanley and Capt. Ozias Pitkin; the society Mr. Nathaniel Burnham and Mr. Martin Kellogg, as a committee of arbitration, to adjust the accounts presented by Newington, for expenses incurred in settling Mr. Williams. The parish presented the following bill of particulars "A true account of the settling of Mr. Williams, at Newington.
These items amount to £362 6s. 8d. The committee however did not allow the whole of the bill. They rejected all but the sum of £200 -16s. which they awarded should be paid by the College. A memorandum of the adjustment, which still exists, shows its terms in full. "A. D. 1726, May the 4th. It was concluded by Mr. Nathaniel Stanley and Capt. Ozias Pitkin, chosen by the Rev. Trustees of Yale College, (Mr. Timothy Woodbridge, and Mr. Thomas Buckingham, and Mr. Samuel Whitman,) and also Mr. Nathaniel Burnham, and Mr. Martin Kellogg, chosen also by the committee of Newington, (Dea. Jabez Whittelsey, John Camp, and Joseph Hurlbut,) to adjust the accounts that the people of Newington were at in settling of the Reverend Mr. Elisha Williams amongst them. as their pastor. It was concluded that there should be delivered to the committee the sum of two hundred pounds, sixteen shillings, in bills of credit, by the last day of October next ensuing the date of these presents, and also to pay to them what the General Assembly granted to them, also the releasing of their country rates for the term of four years." On the same day the committee drew up their report to the General Assembly in which they announced the conclusion to which they lead arrived. This sum was higher than the College felt able to pay. Again recourse was had to the General Court. It would seem that even now the question of Mr. Williams leaving for the new field of labor at New Haven, depended upon the action of the General Court in affording their aid. The College was felt to be in danger of sinking unless the enterprise could be carried through. The following carefully drawn memorial for help gives a vivid picture of the situation. "To the Honable Governor, Council and Representatives in General Court assembled, in Hartford, May 12, 1726. The memorial of us the subscribers, in behalf of Yale College, humbly offered. Whereas for public benefit the said College hath been erected, and hitherto supported in great measure, by the favor and beneficence of the Honorable Assembly of this Colony, so as our necessities have required, upon application to them by the trustees of said b Collecre, it has from time to time been supplied, wherefore make bold to inform this Honorable Assembly that it stands in great necessity of relief: It is well known that the sufferings of the College through the defection of the rector have been long and great, and will increase till there be a rector settled in it. Through the good hand of God's providence the trustees have been directed to make choice of the Rev. Mr. Elisha Williams, of Newington Parish, in Wethersfield, to supply that place, which this Honorable Assembly has well approved, and given a good token of their approbation. We, according to the instructions given us by the trustees, have applied to the said Mr. Williams, and, to the people of his parish, and have, though not without difficulty, obtained the consent of Mr. Williams and his people, that he shall remove to New Haven, and as it appears both just and reasonable, that the people should be made good in their temporal interests. We have agreed with their committee to take the judgment of prudent and indifferent persons in stating their accounts, who have given their judgment in the case, and have determined what they judge to be just and reasonable for the people to receive, to make up what they have expended in settling Mr. Williams amongst them, which sum ariseth higher than what the College can pay, and what the General Assembly in October last granted; wherefore we make our humble address to this Honorable Assembly to assist the College, which will be in danger of sinking without it. We therefore humbly pray that this Honorable Assembly would according to your usual bounty, and from their good will to the support of the College, grant to the trustees for the use of the College, the impost settled by law on the importation of rum, from the beginning of last May, to be continued till the May next coming, which possibly may reach to what is due to the people of Newington, to repair the rector's house, and fit it to dwell in. And we hope and desire that the Divine Goodness will graciously accept your offering. And we obliged ever to pray as in duty bound, &c.
The General Court received the application graciously, and responded by voting to pay one half of the money out of the Colonial treasury, as follows: "Upon the memorial of the Rev. Mr. Timothy Woodbridge, and Mr. Samuel Whitman, Trustees of Yale College, informing this Assembly that they had prevailed with the Rev. Mr. Elisha Williams to remove from his parish at Newington to Yale College, and to undertake the trust and service of rector of said college, and that the people of Newington ought to be considered with respect to the disbursements they have made in settling Mr. Williams amongst them. It is, therefore, considered by this Assembly, that the Treasurer pay out of the, public treasury to the inhabitants of Newington, the sum of one hundred pounds and sixteen shillings, in satisfaction of part of the sum the trustees agreed the said inhabitants should have as a recompense for their said disbursements; provided the said Mr. Williams be settled in the trust of rector of the said college." 7 Conn. Col. Rec., 24. The record also shows an act of courtesy to Mr. Williams which proves the high estimation in which he was held personally: At a meeting of the Governor and Council in Hartford on April 13, 1726: "A letter to Mr. Williams, elect rector of Yale College, was read and approved at this board, and ordered that the same be signed by the secretary; and his Honor is desired to have it transmitted to Mr. Williams." 6 Conn. Col. Rec., 380. The Trustees of the College were now enabled to comply with the terms of the adjustment, and they did so. The money was paid to the committee of the parish, as shown by the following receipt: "November 4, 1726. "The money received from the Reverend Trustees was thus disposed: "John Camp, 13 five-pound bills. "Joseph Hurlbut, 13 five-pound bills. "Of the society money received by me, JOSEPH HURLBUT. "Jabez Whittelsey, 14 five-pound bills and sixteen shillings. "Witness our hands, "JOHN CAMP. "JABEZ WHITTELSEY." The grant of the General Court in May, 1726, settled the question of Mr. Williams' removal. He probably dissolved his connection with the Newington parish and church at once. The society meeting of May 25, 1726, voted to call Rev. Simon Backus on probation. The Society lost a revered pastor, the College gained an able rector. Mr. Williams was a man of ability and culture. He had ,represented the town of Wethersfield in the General Assembly, at its sessions held in October, 1717; May, 1718 May and October, 1719; and May, 1720. He had been appointed Clerk of the House at all these sessions, except that of May, 1719, when he held the office of auditor of public accounts. He had also acted as tutor to some of the students of Yale College, at Wethersfield, in 1719. His ability had been tried and approved in all these positions. He acted as rector of the College for thirteen years, till Oct., 1739, when he resigned on account of ill health. Soon after, in May, 1740, we find him again representing the town of Wethersfield, in the General Assembly, and Speaker of the House during that session. He continued to be a deputy from Wethersfield and speaker of the House for several sessions thereafter. He was judge of the Superior Court in 1740, and for some years following. He was also a Justice of the Peace for Wethersfield, in 1740, and for a number of years after that time. He held the office of Town Clerk for the same town. He was appointed by the General Assembly held in March, 1745, chaplain to the State forces sent in April in the expedition against Cape Breton. He was chaplain during that spring and summer, and witnessed the capture of Louisburg, June 17, 1745. In August he had probably resigned, as we find a vote of the General Assembly passed in that month requesting him to continue as chaplain. In May, 1746, he was again a Deputy from Wethersfield to the General Assembly. That session determined that another expedition should be sent to Canada, and Mr. Williams was appointed its colonel. The regiment, however, did not go. It was raised and expenses were incurred. Mr. Williams was sent as special agent of the colony to Great Britain to negotiate for the payment of these expenses, by the General Government. Without following his career further, the foregoing incidents of his life, prove his great versatility of talent. He was a prominent character in theology, education, law, legislation, diplomacy, war and military affairs. He died in Wethersfield, July 24, 1755.(See Dr. Brace's Discourse, for a sketch of his life and character.) His removal from Newington to Yale College properly closes the first epoch in the history of that parish.