Third Period, 1747-1805
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]
Third Period, 1747-1805.
The death of Rev. Simon Backus, at Cape Breton, on March 15, 1746, as already related, made it necessary for the parish to settle another minister. Rev. Joshua Belden began to preach May 10, 1747, if not earlier, and proved acceptable to the people. On June 15, 1747, the society voted to give him a call to settle as pastor over the parish, with a settlement of nine hundred pounds, and a salary of two hundred and fifty pounds, old tenor, a year. (These sums, apparently large, were really moderate. Currency at this time was greatly depreciated, and its value very uncertain and fluctuating. Current coin was worth eight shillings per ounce. It was by this standard that bills of credit were compared. In 1710 bills were at par. In 1721 it took twelve shillings in currency to buy an ounce of silver; in 1724 fifteen shillings, in 1732 eighteen shillings, in 1739 twenty-six shillings, in 1742 twenty-eight shillings, in 1744 thirty-two shillings. The bills of credit issued up to this time were all old tenor, but by "King George's War" the people were put to great expense, and in the depreciated condition of their bills they resorted to a new issue of currency, called new tenor. Connecticut emitted, in May, 1744, £4,000; in October, 1744, £15,000; in March, 1745, £20,000; in July, 1745, £20,000; in May, 1746, £20,000. These new issues had a disastrous effect. They damaged the old emissions, but did not sink so low as the latter, one shilling new tenor being equal to three shillings and sixpence old tenor. Accounts were, however, kept and payments made in old tenor. After this inflation the depreciation was about as follows: In 1745 it took thirty-five shillings in currency to buy an ounce of silver; in 1746, 7 and 8, thirty-seven to forty shillings; in 1749, 1750, 1751, 1752, sixty shillings. The British Parliament appropriated in 1747 about £800,000 to reimburse the colonies for their expenses in the Louisburg expedition. Of this sum Connecticut received about £28,864. Connecticut used this money in redeeming her bills of credit, which was accomplished by 1756. She redeemed them at the market price, paying one ounce of silver for fifty-eight shillings and eight pence in paper, or at the rate of one shilling for eight shillings and ten pence. (These facts are taken from Bronson's Conn. Currency.) Accordingly, at a meeting held September 7, 1747. Mr. Josiah Deming was appointed an agent to exhibit a memorial to the Assembly, "to request some consideration for the loss of our minister, who died in their service at Cape Breton some time past." Mr. Deming presented the following memorial: To the Honorable General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut, holden at Hartford on the second Thursday of May, A. D. 1748. The memorial of the inhabitants of the parish of Newington, by their agent, Josiah Deming, humbly sheweth; That whereas our late reverend pastor, Mr. Simon Backus, was called by public authority to serve, as a chaplain, the forces of this Government employed at Louisburg for the defence thereof, and we, in obedience thereto, did consent to his undertaking so dangerous a service, entirely relying on the justice, honor, and goodness of the General Assembly, at whose call we understood our said pastor was willing to serve their forces, in which service he lost his life and we our minister, whereby a great burden is rolled upon us, that of the settlenient of another minister, in which, through the good providence of God, we are happily agreed; yet, being but a small and poor society, we find ourselves greatly burdened in our paying, the settlement of our present minister, and believing this honorable assembly is really interested in our case, as we have resigned into their hands at their call so great a good, we cannot suffer ourselves to doubt of their stretching forth a hand to our relief, and since we understand the British Parliament has voted a reimbursement of the charges this colony has been at in reducing and keeping Louisburg, we are the more encouraged at this time to lay our case before this honorable assembly, and to beseech their compassion that they would afford us relief and help in the settlement of our present minister, and alleviate our burden in such manner as your honors shall see fit. And your petitioners, as in duty bound, shall ever pray. Dated at Hartford the 12th day of May, 1748.
JOSIAH DEMING, Agent.
The General Assembly did not disappoint the hopes of the society, but recognised their obligation to Newington by the following resolution: Upon the memorial of the inhabitants of the parish of Newington, representing that the reverend Mr. Backus, their late. minister, having been called by public authority to serve as chaplain at Louisburg, after having been there some considerable time, died in. said service, to their great and unhappy loss, and praying relief, &c. Resolved by this Assembly, That the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds, in bills of credit of the old tenor, be paid and delivered to the memorialists, out of the public treasury of this colony. This money the society appropriated to the payment in part of the first installment of Mr. Belden's settlement. This relief from the public treasury was, in a few years, more than counterbalanced by the permanent loss to the society of their Farmington neighbors, who had formerly been annexed to them in compensation for the loss of the Beckleys, as has been detailed. In October, 1753, the parish of Kensington, being greatly divided in sentiment as to the propriety of continuing as one parish, or of being divided into several parishes, sent a memorial to the General Assembly requesting that a committee might be appointed by that body to hear all parties and determine what was best, and make report to the Assembly. This memorial was signed by John Hooker and Isaac Lee, as society agents. The Assembly granted the prayerof the memorial, and appointed Jonathan Trumbull, Shubael Conant, and Jonathan Huntington a committee for the service mentioned, and if this committee should think it best that Kensington should be divided into several parishes, they were authorized to give notice to the adjacent parishes to appoint committees to appear and be heard before them, as to the propriety of adding any portion of the adjacent parishes to any of the proposed parishes in Kensington, and they were instructed to make report of their doings to the Assembly at that October session, or the one to be held in May, 1754. The committee attended to the duties of their appointment, and caused a society meeting to be called to meet at Kensington, Nov. 27, 1753, when 96 of the members of that parish were for continuing in one society, and 81 favored a division. For the two following days the committee viewed the society, and then adjourned to the 3d. Tuesday of April, 1754, and gave notice to the people of Newington, and first parish of Farmington, and first society in Middletown, and the parish of Meriden, to appear by their committees at said meeting in Kensington, "to show reasons, if they see cause, why there should not be some part of their adjoining parishes taken off from them to be added to the parish of Kensington, to accommodate the dividing the parish of Kensington into several parishes. "All the parties met, except the parish of Meriden, and were fully heard on the day appointed. The committee judged it best and "most for the peace of the said parish of Kensington," that it should be divided into three distinct parishes, with some additions from other societies. They made report May 16, 1754, to the General Assembly, of their doings, and of the conclusion to which they had arrived, giving the boundaries of the three proposed societies. By these boundaries Newington was stripped of the addition formerly made to its territory by the annexation of a part of Farmington. The society, at a meeting held May 3, 1754, appointed Ebenezer Kilborn and Bavil Seymour a committee to appear before the Assembly and remonstrate against the acceptance of this report of their committee, on the ground of -the hardship it would be to Newington to lose so many of its inhabitants, " but nevertheless if they must be taken from us we beg the favor of the honorable Assembly that we may have an equivalency made us. "The committee did not succeed in preventing the taking away of these inhabitants, and of the annexed territory, but they gained some "equivalency" therefor. A remonstrance was also presented to the Assembly May 9, 1754, by 56 persons in Kensington, and nine from that part of Farmington annexed to Newington, protesting against the acceptance of the committee's report, and professing their desire to continue in their present situation. The General Assembly accepted the report, with material alterations, confirming to Kensington the Beckley quarter, in consideration of sixty pounds being paid Newington in three annual installments of twenty pounds each, lawful money,(Probably pounds sterling, and not bills of credit. This money was called the "Kensington consideration.") and establishing the society of New Britain, including that part of Farmington formerly annexed to Newington, as appears by the following act: An Act limiting the bounds of the parish of Kensington, and for establishing one other Ecclesiastical Society in Farmington, in the County of Hartford. Be it enacted by the Governor, Council, and Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, That the bounds of the parish of Kensington, for the future, shall extend no farther north than to an east and west line drawn across the bridge called Beach Swamp Bridge, from Weathersfield town line to Southington parish line. Easterly by the ancient line of said Kensington, including those two pieces of land taken off from Weathersfield and Middletown, and from the southwest comer of the said Middletown part of said Kensington to run westerly until it comes into the middle of the highways, where they cross each other, between the houses of Elisha Cole and Stephen Cole, from thence westerly until it comes to the southwest comer of John Cole's home lot; from thence due west to said Southington Society line, thence northerly as that line runs, to the line first mentioned. And that the parish taxes arising, or that shall be levied on, the improved lands in said Kensington, shall be paid to said society only. And it is further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that said parish of Kensington shall have full power, and full power and authority is hereby granted to said parish, at their legal meetings, to tax all such inhabitants as live south of said society, and within the ancient bounds of Kensington, equally with themselves for defraying the charge of preaching only, and that their collectors have full power to collect the same, until this Assembly shall order otherwise. And it is further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said society of Kensington, exclusive of those inhabitants that live in the Weathersfield part, shall pay to the society of Newington the sum of twenty pounds, lawful money, on the first day of May, A. D. 1755, and twenty pounds more on the first day of May, A. D. 1756, and twenty pounds more on the first day of May, A. D. 1757. Each payment to be made with the lawful interest arising on such sum from the first day of June next. And said society of Kensington, exclusive of the said Weathersfield part, shall have full power, at their legal meetings, to tax themselves for the payment of the said sixty pounds and the interest thereof. And that the said society committee make a rate accordingly, and that the collector, chosen in said society, shall have full power to collect the same as other society rates by law are collected, and pay the same to the society committee for the use aforesaid. And that the inhabitants living south of said parish of Kensington shall have free liberty to attend the public worship with the said society of Kensington till this Assembly shall order otherwise. And it is further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be one other ecclesiastical society erected and made, and is hereby erected and made, within the bounds of the town of Farmington, bounded and described as followeth, viz.: South on the north bounds of Kensington parish, easterly on Weathersfield town line, as far north as the north side of Daniel Hart's lot, where his dwelling house now stands, and from thence to run west on the north side of said Hart's lot to the west end of that tier of lots; from thence to run southerly to the old Fulling mill, so called, on Pond river, and from thence southerly to the east side of a lot of land belonging to the heirs of Timothy Hart, late deceased, near Bare Hollow, and from thence due south until it meet with the north line of Southington parish; thence by said Southington line, as that runs, until it comes to Kensington north line, excluding Thomas Stanley, Daniel Hart and John Clark and their farms, on which they now dwell, lying within the bounds above described. And the same is hereby erected and made one distinct ecclesiastical society, and shall be known by the name of New Briton, with all the powers and privileges that other ecclesiastical societies by law have in this colony, and that all the improved lands in said society shall be rated in said society, excepting as before excepted. By this act Newington was circumscribed within her original limits, as first chartered, on all sides except the south, and there she was permanently curtailed of the Beckleys.
She was left with less territory than ever before in her history, and thus remained till she was incorporated a town in 1871, when she gained some addition to her limits on the east. This particular territory of the Beckleys was incorporated as a school district in October, 1757. In October, 1772, the parish of Kensington was divided into two societies, an east and west society, the west society retaining the name of Kensington, and the east being called Worthington. This territory was included in Worthington. In May, 1785, the town of Berlin was incorporated, including the society of Worthington, and of course this territory, where it has since remained. During the long pastorate of Mr. Belden great changes took place, not only in the parish but in the colony. A few of these may be here mentioned. In the parish a new meeting-house was built in 1797, after a long controversy. The society was divided into three school districts in 1783, and new school houses were built. In May, 1795, the General Assembly passed an act appropriating the money arising from the sale of the western lands, amounting to $1,200,000, by which act a distinct capacity was recognized in ecclesiastical societies as relative to the objects of schooling, and for the purpose of receiving and applying the avails of the school fund derived from the source above mentioned. And the ecclesiastical societies were denominated school societies, so far forth as schools were concerned. (Rev. Stat. of 1808, pp. 43-44.) So that school societies were, so to speak, carved out of ecclesiastical societies. This explains the reason why the subject of schools is not mentioned in our ecclesiastical society records after 1796. The Newington School Society probably was then organized, and went into operation. In May, 1791, Enock Kersey and others petitioned the General Assembly to annex to the society of Worthington a certain portion of the adjacent territory of Newington. That body granted the petition, and provided that this territory should be annexed to Worthington "for parochial purpose merely, and shall hereafter be holden and considered as part and parcel of said parish of Worthington." (1 Pri. Laws.of Conn., 561.) By reason of this annexation this territory became, by force of laws afterwards passed, a portion of the Worthington School society. And as school societies were authorized by law to divide their territory into school districts, the school society of Worthington apportioned this territory into the northeast school district of that society, now the sixth and seventh school districts of Berlin. This was the second time the parish of Newington parted with a slice of her territory for the benefit of her southern neighbors. For this second dismemberment Newington received no compensation. Her resources had been seriously diminished in 1754 now they were still further crippled by the strong arm of the supreme power of the state. There were during this period great national changes, which may be briefly mentioned. The "French and Indian War" extended from 1754 to 1763, called in Europe the "seven years war." Although hostilities began in America in 1754, war was not declared between England and France till 1756. It was a struggle for dominion in this country. It resulted in the conquest of Canada by England. By the Treaty of Paris, February 10, 1763, France surrendered to Great Britain all her possessions in America east of the Mississippi river. Spain also ceded her possessions in Florida. The colonies freely responded to the call of the mother country in this as in all former wars, sacrificing men and means in battle and campaign, till the contest was brought to a successful close. The war of the Revolution followed, in which the colonies for the first time turned their arms against the oppression of England, and achieved their independence. Connecticut furnished more than her full share of blood and treasure in these wars. Every town did its part in the common cause every parish suffered, Newington sent officers as well as privates into the battalions of the commonwealth. Some of her sons never came back to tell the story of their deeds, but died in the public service. "Their names may not be emblazoned upon the historic page, but they are enshrined in the memories of their grateful descendants. Extracts from the records of the society during these years will give, in an official and reliable form, a picture of its history.
EXTRACTS FROM SOCIETY RECORDS.-1747-1805.
At a meeting of the Society held June 15, 1747, it was voted "To give Mr. Joshua Belding a call to be our minister." and to give him "Nine hundred pounds for a settlement to be paid in three years," and "Two hundred pounds, old tenor, money for his salary the three years whilst we are paying his settlement." "That Dea. John Deming, Capt. Josiah Willard, Peletiah Buck, be a Committee to treat with Mr. Joshua Belding about his salary and settlement." At a meeting held July 6, 1747, it was voted "To give Mr. Joshua Belding the use of the parsonage so long as he is our minister, and preaches the Calvinistical Doctrine, as is generally, at this day, preached among the dissenters."Also" To give Mr. Belding 8 cords of wood yearly whilst he is a single person and sixteen cord of wood yearly after marriage," and "Two hundred and fifty pounds, old tenor, money, and the parsonage, for his salary after the settlement is paid." At a meeting held August 10, 1747, it was noted "That Mr. Joshua Belding, for his more convenient settling in the work of the ministry in said place, have 100 pounds more given him, in addition to the 900 pounds heretofore granted to said Belding as a settlement, all which being 1000 pounds to be paid within the term of three years from the time of said Beldings ordination, viz: three hundred thirty-three pounds six shillings and 5 pence per annum till the whole be paid and that the value of the money be made good, equal to what that same is now in the present common currency." "That the parsonage, the use of which was heretofore granted to said Belding so long as he shall continue in the ministry in said place, be delivered unto him with the fence rectified for one crop. Also that the 200 pounds, before granted as a salary to be annually paid the first three years after said Belding ordination, be kept in its present value." " That after the expiration of the term of three years, in which the settle- ment aforesaid is to be paid, said Belding have given him the sum of fifty-seven pounds, to be paid in grain at the following rate, viz: Wheat at four shillings, Rye at two shillings and 8 pence, Indian com at two shillings, oats at one shilling and four pence the bushel, and in the following proportion, viz: a hundred bushels of wheat, a hundred and fifty of rye, a hundred and fifty of indian com, and thirty of oats, or in the lieu of said quantities of each sort of grain above specified, that he have given him the equivalent therewith in bills of public credit, or in the general currency or medium of trade, that shall from time to time be used or improved as or in the lieu of money in the Colony of Connecticut: which equivalent shall be annually judged of or estimated according to the general rate or market price of said kinds of grain in the month of August next preceding, and thus, including the 250 pounds before granted or the stated salary now resolved to be the stated salary, annually to be paid so long as he the said Belding shall continue in the ministry in said place." At a meeting held September 7, 1747, it was voted, That Capt. Josiah Willard, Capt. Martin Kellogg and Dea. John Deming, be a "Committee to appoint a time with Mr. Belding for the examination and ordination of Mr. Belding, and likewise to appoint the fast and tavern keepers." "Voted that Mr. Josiah Deming be our agent, to represent this society at New Haven before the General Assembly to be held in October the 8th, 1747, to hinder those of Farmington annexed to us, going from us,.&d." "Voted, That Mr. Josiah Deming represent this society by a memorial exhibited to the General Assembly abovesaid, to request some consideration for the loss of our minister, who died in their service at Cape Breton, some time past." "Inasmuch as the society of Newington in our last meeting voted the month of August yearly to be the standard, that is to say, the market price of wheat, rye and indian com and oats payable to Mr. Joshua Belding in our minister rate, in ease of want of specie, &c., we, being now allowed by Mr. Belding herefor, we now say, that the month of June shall be the standard yearly for us to know how much we must pay to Mr. Belding per bushel for each kind of grain in our rates."
MR. JOSHUA BELDINGS' ANSWER TO THIS SOCIETY.
"To the Society of Newington in Weathersfield: "Forasmuch as the infinitely wise God has been pleased to commit the invaluable treasure of preaching the Gospel to earthen vessels, (which is a work worthy heavenly messengers,) that the excellency of the power might appear to be of God and not of man, and to promise his presence and assistance to his regular and faithful ministers, and has also ordained that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel, and forasmuch as pin have given me an invitation to engage in this important and difficult work of the gospel ministry among you, and for my encouragement and support therein have made offers to me of a settlement and salary. I have taken the matter into serious consideration, and, (hoping for the divine aid and blessing, and your prayers and united good will in the arduous work.) do now signify my ready acceptance of your invitation and offers, and also I would signify that whereas the month fixed upon in your vote as a standard by which to judge of an equivalent to the grain proposed, appears upon consideration to be a time when grain generally bears the highest price, and may therefore be a ground of uneasiness to some. I am willing to recede from that, and pitch upon the month of June in lieu thereof; as a medium betwixt the extremes. I do hereby further signify that as it would have been more agreeable to me to have omitted making any explicit covenant of this nature, and to have rested with only the common obligation arising from the gospel, were it not for the common practice in these churches. So I would do nothing now that should render the gospel burdensome, and therefore, since 1000£ may seem much to be offered as a settlement by such a society to some that are not so well acquainted with the inconstancy of our current medium, and so may occasion some dissatisfaction, although I make no doubt it would not, were the matter duly understood and weighed, yet, trusting to your good affection and generosity, that you will not hereafter see me want what may be sufficient to render my life comfortable to me and serviceable to you, I am willing to forego the 100£ last added, and leave it with you to act your pleasure about it, now desiring nothing may be done but with a ready mind, hoping for the blessing of God upon you and me in all our ways, and that we may be built up in peace and love through faith unto salvation.
An account of the society's debts, December, 1747, which is recorded in detail, contains this item: Due to Mr. Joshua Belding, for preaching with us from the tenth day of May last until the 7th day of instant Dec., 1747, as our minister, ls. 8d. This includes the wood and parsonage part which was voted, and also his board or billeting." The following agreement also appears on record : "Whereas the society of Newington have granted the sum of £1,000 to be given to me, the subscriber, as a settlement, in order fur my more convenient settling among them in the work of the gospel ministry, I do hereby promise and engage, that if, by embracing or maintaining any erroneous or corrupt doctrines or tenets, or by changing my persuasion in matters of church order from what it appears to be at present, or by any unlawful practice, I shall at any time render myself; in the judgment of the Association to which I shall belong, unfit for to continue in the work of the ministry, then to return back to said society such a part of whatever sum or sums of said settlement I shall have received as shall be deemed by indifferent judges a proportional for that part of the time then to come, compared with the whole time from my ordination, I might be supposed to have served in the work of the ministry according to the ordinary course of life.
At a society meeting, held December 5th, 1748, it was voted, "That the one hundred and fifty (pounds) money granted by the General Assembly to this society, which money is now in the hands of Mr. Josiah Deming, agent, shall be put into the society treasury, and the said money shall be to pay part of the £333 6s. 8d. which is to be paid to the Rev. Mr. Joshua Belding." "Voted, that Thomas Robbins procure a lock for the school house door, and be paid for it out of the society treasury:" "That the school be divided, to be kept three months, in the middle of the society, six weeks at the west side, and six weeks at the north end." At a meeting held December 19th, 1748," Voted, That whereas the town of Wethersfield have heretofore granted to us a parsonage of fifty acres of land for our use, etc., and other lands, on this consideration, we remise, release, and forever quit claim to the first society in Wethersfield all our right and title we have, or ever had, in or to the parsonage in the abovesaid society, to their own use, benefit, and behoof; without any molestation from us or any under us, always provided, they will be so good to the society of Newington as to give them a piece of land to help them in settling of their minister." At a meeting held April 3d, 1749, it was voted, "That Joshua Andruse and Eliphelet Whittlesey, Jun., be a committee to succeed Capt. Martin Kellogg and Dea. John Deming, in letting out and taking care of the society school money granted by the Assembly." At a meeting held December 4th, 1749, it was voted, "That the school be kept part of the time near Serg't Thomas Francis, and part of the time near Mrs. Backus." At a meeting held December 2d, 1751, it was "Voted, That the school shall be kept in this society six months the year ensuing, the school to be kept four months and a half in the school house and six weeks of the time in some place at the west side of the society." "Voted, Thirteen pounds ten shillings money for building and finishing a pound for the use of the society. That the pound shall be erected upon the north side of Lieut. Kilborn's shop, partly upon the commons and partly upon his own land. And likewise it was voted, that Lieut. Kilborn shall be a pound-keeper as long as he shall pay twenty shillings per year into the society treasury; and likewise takes but six pence per head for his fees of this society; and likewise takes but one penny per head for a sheep." At a meeting held February 18th, 1754, "Voted and agreed, To send a committee to Kensington to answer the citation sent by the Assembly's committee respecting the taking from us our western neighbors. That Peletiah Buck, Josiah Kilborn, and Robert Welles be a committee to represent the matter before the Assembly's committee at Kensington. Voted, that we are very loth to have our neighbors in Farmington separated from us by reason of the smallness of the parish. But if it will be any ease for Kensington to have a few more added, we do agree rather to have that, provided our meeting house comes no further west than the front of the lots called the fifty acres lots, and that Messrs. Peletiah Buck, Josiah Kilborn, and Robert Welles represent this matter before the honorable court's committee on the third Tuesday of April next." At a meeting held May 3d, 1754, "Voted, that we will appoint a committee to appear before the General Assembly at Hartford, in behalf of the society. "Voted, That Messrs. Ebenezer Kilborn and Bavil Seymour be a committee to appear before the honorable Assembly at Hartford to remonstrate against the report of the Assembly's committee respecting the taking away the inhabitants in Farmington that were annexed to the society of Newington; and for reasons which may be given, we shall look upon it a hardship if they be taken away from us, but nevertheless, if they must be taken from us, we beg the favor of the honorable Assembly that we may have an equivalency made us." At a meeting held December 18th, 1754, "Voted, to appoint a committee to go to the General Assembly in the society's behalf. Dea. Josiah Willard and Lieut. Ebenezer Kilborn were appointed a committee or agents in behalf of the society, to go to the General Assembly next May to lay before the said honorable Assembly the case and circumstances of the society by reason of a great part of the inhabitants being set off from them by the Assembly last May, and there to endeavor, by petition or by a memorial, to have an addition to the society eastward, and to endeavor to have a just and reasonable equivalency for said inhabitants taken from us." At a meeting held June 2d, 1755, "Dea. Josiah Willard and Lieut. Ebenezer Kilborn were appointed a committee in behalf of the society to apply themselves to the first society in Wethersfield, and there to endeavor to have an addition eastward to this society, and likewise the said committee are appointed to apply themselves to the General Assembly next May, if need be, to prosecute the same design." At a meeting held July 7th, 1755, " Voted to let out the money upon interest that the General Assembly ordered the society of Kensington to pay to this society. Dea. Josiah Willard, Lieut. Ebenezer Kilborn, and Robert Welles were appointed a committee to let out the money till the first of June next. At a meeting held August 17th, 1756, " Voted, that the money received and paid by the society of Kensington, June, 1756, be put in the society's treasury to defray the charge of the meeting house, the (amount) of the money received, £.23 10s. 3d. "Voted, That after the present year, the school in this society shall be kept in two parts, and the one part to be kept yearly as near the dwelling house of Daniel Willard southwardly as may be, the other near the dwelling house of the heirs of the Rev. Mr. Simon Backus, and that each of said schools shall be kept not less than three months annually by a schoolmaster, and also that each of said schools shall have their equal part of the country money and loan money for that purpose, and that if any school house be built at said places, it shall be at the charge of particular persons and not at the charge of this society." At a meeting held December 21st, 1756, "Voted to build two pews each side the broad alley in the meeting house." "Lieut. Ebenezer Kilborn and Martin Kellogg were appointed a committee to apply themselves in behalf of the society to the General Assembly in May next, and there to move to the said Assembly, by a memorial, for an addition to (of ?) the lands adjoining eastward to said society." At a meeting held December 1st, 1757, "Voted, That the school for the year ensuing be kept in two parts, and that the charge of said school be paid; to be kept and (at ?) the north end at the new school house, near Sergt. Daniel Willard's, and the other near about Nathaniel Kirkum's." At a meeting held December 4th, 1758, "Voted, That the burying place be fenced in (at) the society's charge." "That the school be kept at the north end of the society at the school house, and at the south end near about Nathaniel Kirkum's. "At a meeting held December 1st, 1760, "Voted, That the school be kept the year ensuing three months in the winter season, in two places, one at the school house near Daniel Willard's, and at the south end near the widow Robbins. And that the school be kept three months in the summer at three places, one at each end, and in near the middle of the society, by a school dame." "Voted, That Mr. David Webster and Martin Kellogg be a committee in behalf of this society, in a matter of controversy between the society and Mr. David Smith of Hadley, relating to a legacy of eighty pounds by the last will and testament of Mrs. Mary Willard, deceased, bequeathed to this society for encouraging of schooling or support of the poor in the same, and the said controversy to refer to arbitration with Mr. Smith according to their best judgment and discretion." (Item. I bequeath eighty pounds lawful money, or value thereof, to be improved forever, that is, the yearly income of the same, for the encouragement of schooling in the society of Newington, or benefit of the poor, at the discretion of the Rev. Joshua Belding, Capt. Robert Wells, Deacon Joshua Andruss, and their successors, as a committee for said purpose, to he chosen or appointed by the surviving two when one of them shall be removed by death, and so said committee to he continued." Executed May 17th, 1759. Her estate inventoried, Aug. 26th, 1759, £429 7s. 13d.) At a meeting held February 15th, 1764, "Voted, That David Woolcott, Martin Kellogg, and Charles Churchel be a committee to seat the meeting house. That the committee in seating the meeting house, seat it by list, age, parentage, and usefulness." "Voted, to Charles Hurlbut and Jonathan Blin, for a house to keep the school in, 10s. "At a meeting held December 2d, 1765, "Voted, That the seats be taken up in the meeting house, and pews be made in the body of the meeting house." "That Lieut. Martin Kellogg be a committeeman to take the care of making the pews." At a meeting held on the last Monday in April, 1766, "Voted, That whatsoever part of Mr. Belding's salary is not paid annually by the first of June, shall draw five per cent. interest from that time until paid." At a meeting held December 12th, 1770, "Voted, That Sergt. Daniel Willard, Dea. John Camp, and Sergt. Janna Deming be a committee to seat the meeting house. That men and their wives be seated together." "Voted, That the society move to the General Assembly, in order to obtain the legacy given to the society by Mary Willard, deceased, in her last will. That Captain Charles Churchel be appointed to assist in that affair." "That the society be at the cost if it cannot be paid out of the estate. "At a meeting held January 14th, 1771, "Voted, That two more school houses be built in this society, one near the south-west comer of Lieut. Martin Kellogg's home lot, and the other near Francis Deming's home lot, the school houses be built by subscription. "At a meeting held April 6th, 1773, "Whereas this society covenanted with Mr. Joshua Belding, previous to his settlement in the ministry in this place, to give him, besides the use of the parsonage and sixteen cords of wood, fifty-seven pounds, to be paid in certain quantities of grain, as specified in said covenant on record, or the equivalence to said quantities of grain in money, according to the market price of grain in June, as his stated salary, annually to be paid him during his continuance in the ministry here; and whereas said covenant is so expressed as to admit of various constructions, and by experience the grain is found not to be an equal standard, which has occasioned frequent uneasiness and disquietude, to the disturbance of the peace and harmony in the society, and of wrongs being done: therefore, to remedy the same and prevent the like difficulty for the time to come, it is now agreed and voted, with the consent of Mr. Joshua Belding, that the following alteration be made in said covenant, viz.: that Maj. Belding have paid him annually for the future, during his continuance in the ministry with us, instead of grain or equivalence thereto, the sum of seventy pounds lawful money, for his yearly salary, together with the use of the parsonage and wood as before." "Voted, That Joseph Androus, Martin Kellogg, and Charles Churchel be a committee to consult in the affairs of the parsonage." [Extract from the will of Mary Willard.] At a meeting held May 24th, 1773, "Voted, Capt. Martin Kellogg (and) John Lusk be a committee in the affair of Worthington memorial." At a meeting held on the first Monday of December, 1773, "Voted, To Josiah Willard, two pounds six shillings and six pence for a funeral cloth." At a meeting held December 23d, 1773, " Voted, Twenty-two pounds nine shillings and two pence to defray the costs of obtaining the legacy that Mary Willard gave to the society." "Voted, That two school houses be built in this society by the society's cost. That a committee be appointed to affix the places for the school houses. (That) William Welles, of Glassenbury, Capt. John Warner, of Stepney, and Selah Hart, of Kensington, be a committee to view the society and affix the places for the school houses. That Dea. John Camp, Capt. Martin Kellogg, and Capt. Charles Churchel be appointed to wait upon the said committee to show them the situation of the society. Capt. Martin Kellogg, John Lusk, and Capt. Charles Churchel were appointed a committee to go to the old society of Wethersfield, to ask to have the mountain tier of lots to be annexed to this society." At a meeting held February 7th, 1774, "Voted, That a committee be appointed to build the school houses at the places where the committee affix them. "At a meeting held March 23d, 1774, " The question was put whether the parsonage lot of land belonging to said society be leased for the space of nine hundred and ninety-nine years, in such manner and on such terms and conditions as this society shall agree on. Capt. Martin Kellogg, Capt. Charles Churchel and Mr. John Lusk were appointed a committee to lease said parsonage lot of land for the said term of nine hundred and ninety-nine years, to such person or persons as shall appear to take the same and give such security for the sum or sums it shall be leased for, with the interest arising thereon, as said committee shall agree; which security shall be either a bond with sureties to the acceptance of said committee, or a mortgage deed of lands of double the value of the sums to be secured, well executed and recorded, and free of all incumbrances whatsoever. That the said lands should be leased in several parcels or allotments, as said committee shall judge best for the benefit of said society. That the money for which the parsonage lot is or shall be leased, shall, by a committee by this society appointed, be let on interest to such persons as shall from time to time appear to take the same, and give security, according to the votes of said society, to the acceptance of said committee, for payment of the principal sums borrowed when required, and for the payment of the interest thereof annually; and that the whole of the interest, arising on the several respective sums so loaned or let on interest, shall be improved annually for and towards the payment of the salary of the minister of this society in Newington, and in case of any vacancy by death or otherwise, towards the payment of such as shall be called to preach on probation or otherwise, and to or for no other use or purpose whatsoever; and that the principal sum or sums aforesaid shall be and remain in the disposal of said society, to be improved as aforesaid forever, without diminution or decrease on any account whatsoever." "Newington, April the 6th, 1774. "These presents witness that I, Joshua Belding, for the consideration of seventeen pounds lawful money, to be annually, well, and truly paid to me by the society of Newington, by the first day of May in each succeeding year during the term of my continuing in the ministry in this place, have released and quitted, and do by these presents actually and fully release and quit to said society forever all my right, title or claim to the use and improvement of the parsonage land lying in this parish to their proper use, improvement, and disposal, without hindrance or molestation from me or any by or under me, as witness my hand." At a meeting held April 6th, 1774, "Voted, That in consideration of a release and quit claim, given to this society by Mr. Joshua Belding, of the use and improvement of the parsonage land lying in this parish, which was granted to him, the said Mr. Joshua Belding, by this society at his first settling here, to hold during his continuance in the ministry in this place, that Mr. Joshua Belding have, in lieu of said parsonage, for the future, annually paid to him the sum of seventeen pounds lawful money, to be paid duly by the first day of May in each succeeding year, that is, the first payment to be made the first of May, 1775, and so on yearly so long as Mr. Joshua Belding shall continue in the ministry with us. "At a meeting held the fifth day of December, 1774, "Voted, Lemuel Whittlesey, Robert Wells, jr., and Unni Robbins, and Martin Kellogg, jr., to build the school houses at the places where the committee set the stakes." At a meeting held December 8th, 1774, "Voted, That the north end of the society, down as far as the north side of Deacon Joshua Andrus' common lot, to be a school district." "Voted, to build a school house, upon the society's cost, at the southwest comer of Mr. John Lusk's lot, near to Capt. Martin Kellogg's house." "Voted. That what was voted in the last meeting respecting the building the school houses, be revoked and null." "Voted, That the school (be kept) twelve months in this society, three months in the winter, in three places at the same time, at the north school house, and at the south school house, and in the middle of the society, and one month in each of said places in the fall of the year." At a meeting held February 27th, 1775, "Voted, Capt. Martin Kellogg and Capt. Charles Churchel be a committee to examine and to take advice in the affair between Worthington and this society." At a meeting held December 6th, 1779, "Josiah Willard chosen clerk of said society."(Robert Welles was chosen clerk Dec. 3d, 1744, and the records are in his handwriting from that time to the record of this meeting, 39 years. The first clerk of the society, Josiah Willard, acted from 1716 to 1744, 28 years. The clerk chosen at this meeting is the third clerk of the society, and probably the son of the first, of the same name.) "Voted, To the Rev. Mr. Joshua Belden the sum of thirteen hundred pounds as his salary for his service the year past. "Voted, The sum of two hundred forty-nine pounds four shillings and five pence for maintenance of the schools." "Voted, To Mr. Abel Andrus the sum of thirty pounds for sweeping the meeting house.(These votes show the great depreciation of the currency at this time.) "At a meeting held December 14th, 1779, "Voted, That the society committee shall warn a society meeting to consider about building a new meeting house or repairing the old one." (The question of building a meeting house, and especially where it should be located, agitated the society for many years. It was not settled till May 22d, 1797, when it was located where it still stands. The votes in relation to the matter are so numerous that they must be omitted, except those which finally settled the question.) At a meeting held November 23d, 1780, "Voted, To give Mr. Belden the sum of fifty-four pounds ten shillings lawful money, or old Continental money, at the rate of forty for one, in addition to the thirteen hundred heretofore voted to him by this society for his salary for the service of the year 1779." At a meeting held December 4th, 1780, "Voted, To give Mr. Belden, our minister, the sum of eighty-seven pounds lawful money for his salary for his service of the year past, to be paid in silver, or an equivalent in States' money or Continental currency or in produce." At a meeting held March 5th, 1782, "Voted, That Capt. Churchill, Capt. Kellogg, Unni Robbins, James Blin, and Josiah Willard should be a committee to go and treat with Mr. Belden in respect of his salaries for the years 1777, 1778, 1779, and to make proposals to him according to the best of their discretion, and try to come to an agreement with him to pay him the interest of the parsonage money towards his salaries for said years or otherwise, as said committee shall think fit, and said committee shall transact the said affair with Mr. Belden as though it was their own case (excepting that they refer it to the society for ratification), and they are to make their report to the next adjourned meeting." (The committee came to an agreement with Mr. Belden, which they reported to the next adjourned meeting held April 2d, 1782, and which is substantially set forth in Mr. Belden's agreement which follows, and was satisfactory to the society and ratified.) "Newington, April the 2d, 1782. "A committee being appointed by this society, at a meeting lately held in this place, to treat with me, the subscriber, and make proposals in order for a settlement of the deficiencies occasioned by the depreciation of Continental money, in the payment of my salary for the years 1777, 1778, and 1779, said committee after deliberately looking into the matter, computing what the society were in arrears, and attending to the peculiar, intricate, and perplexed circumstances of the affairs, proposed to give me £100 in addition to all I had received for said three years, which, having taken into consideration, although I look upon it far short of what is my due, and laying upon me (under my circumstances) more than my proportion of the extraordinary burdens of the times, yet, feeling tenderly affected towards the parish, and considering the heavy taxes occasioned by the war, the great difficulty many find to pay them, and with a view and desire to restore, if possible, and promote peace and harmony in the society, I have agreed, in compliance with the said proposal, to accept of a 100 pounds lawful money, with the lawful interest from this day till paid, in lieu of all arrearages due for said three years, and accordingly do hereby, for myself and my heirs, etc., promise and engage, upon condition the society readily consent to and confirm said proposal and agreement, and also shall satisfy unto individuals who have paid their rates in full in all or either of said three years, then to relinquish all further demands for the service of said years, and also, upon my receiving said money agreed upon, do promise to give discharges in full to the society for those three years. As witness my hand, JOSHUA BELDEN." At a meeting held February 11th, 1783, "Voted, That they would build two school houses upon the society's cost." "Voted, That the place for the North school house shall be near the north-west comer of the lot formerly owned by Eli Stoddard, and between the houses of William Andrus and Guinea, as shall appear by the committee most convenient, and the place for the South school house at the stake set by a former committee." "Voted, That Elijah Welles, Jonathan Stoddard, John Graham, Unni Robbins, Levi Lusk, and Levi Churchill shall be a committee to build the said school houses." "Voted, To raise four pence on the pound to defray the cost of building said school houses. "At a meeting held March 10th, 1783, "Voted, That the society should be divided into three school districts by a committee now to be appointed for that purpose." "Voted, That Col. Gad Stanley, Gen. Selah Hart, and John Robbins, Esqr, should be this committee."(Non-residents.) "Voted, That the said committee should divide the society equally, taking the list, conveniency of travel, and all other matters into consideration." "Voted, Capt. Kellogg, Capt. Mitchell, and Josiah Willard should be a committee to wait upon the aforesaid gentlemen." At a meeting held April 14th, 1783, "Voted, To Capt. Kellogg and Capt. Mitchell three pounds one shilling and nine pence for defraying the cost and expenses of the school district committee." "Voted, That we approve of the report and doings of the committee appointed to divide the society into three school districts."(The committee presented the following petition: "To the inhabitants of the Town of Weathersfield, legally assemtled by adjournment on Monday, the 3d day of January, 1785: "The petition of the inhabitants of the Society of Newington, within said Town, humbly sheweth: That there is a certain piece of land containing about an acre, owned by Capt. Martin Kellogg, and lying in said society a few rods North of the meeting house, running out into the highway the whole length of "said piece: and that when said piece is inclosed it greatly injures a beautiful and commodious green, and is a great inconvenience to said society, and an obstruction to the travel of the inhabitants of said society, and of strangers, who cannot pass that way without loss of travel, especially as it naturally leads them into a comer from whence they cannot pass without returning back or breakin through an inclosure set apart and improved for a piece of burying ground: breaking which the inhabitants of said society and the public must suffer. Your petitioners therefore pray that the said piece of land may be purchased of the said Capt. Kellogg with the money raised by the sale of land out of the highways in said town, and the said piece of land thrown out to the highway for the benefit of the public. That the matter of their petition may be attended to with candour and a view to the public good, so that relief may be granted. "And your petitioners, as in duty bound, shall ever pray, etc.
By order of said Society,
JOSIAH WILLARD. Society Clerk.
"Dated at Newington, this 31st day of December, 1784." It does not appear that the town granted the prayer of the petition, but the land was "thrown out to the highway" about 1806 by its owners, and now probably belongs to the town.)
As early as in October, 1766, the General Assembly passed an act relating to schools, appropriating 20s. to every £1,000 of the list of the several towns.and societies for the benefit of schools, in which it was provided, "That each town and society shall have full power and authority to divide themselves into proper and necessary districts for keeping their schools, and to alter and regulate the same from time to time as they shall have occasion: which districts so made shall draw their equal proportion of said monies, as well as all other public monies, for the support of schools belonging to such respective towns or societies, according to the list of each respective district therein. Stat. of 1769, p. 330.) At a meeting held April 29th, 1783, "Voted, To build two school houses upon the society's cost, the North one in the most convenient place at or near the mouth of Guinea's lane, and the other in the most convenient place against a little piece of land granted by the town to Billy Blin." "Voted, To build the school houses twenty-five feet long and twenty feet broad." "Voted, To raise a rate of three pence upon the pound to defray the cost of building the aforesaid school houses." "Voted, That the inhabitants may have liberty (if to the acceptance of the committee) to pay their respective rates in labor, timber, and materials for building said houses." "Voted, That Capt. Jonathan Stoddard, Ebenezer Dickinson, and James Welles shall be a committee to build the North school house." "Voted, That Capt. Mitchell, Francis Deming, and Unni Robbins shall be a committee to build the South school house." At a meeting held May 3d, 1784, "Voted, To appropriate four pounds of the loan money, or other monies that may be had out of the society treasury, towards hiring a teacher to instruct the people in this parish in the art of singing." At a meeting held December 6th, 1784, "Voted, To petition the town to purchase a piece of land belonging to Capt. Martin Kellogg, near the burying yard in this place, that the said land may be open for a green or highway, and that the society clerk and society committee be directed to prepare a petition or memorial in behalf of the society, and lay it before the next or some future town meeting." At a meeting held February 14th, 1785, "Voted, To apply to the town for the mountain tier to be annexed to this society, and to make application to the Assembly to have the same annexed to it.(Josiah Willard resigned his position as clerk of the society at a meeting held Dec. 19th, 1786, and Daniel Willard, jr., was appointed in his place.) "Voted, That Charles Churchill, Esq., and Capt. Martin Kellogg should be a committee to make the above said application." At a meeting held March 20th, 1789, "Messrs. David Lowrey and Lemuel Whittlesey were appointed to take care of the excise money." "Voted, That the interest arising upon, and is now due upon, the hard money part of the soldiers' notes, belonging to the excise money, he added to the principal. "At a meeting held June 1st, 1789, "Voted, That the committee who have the care of the indents for interest now belonging to this society, be directed to use their best discretion in regard to the disposing of said indents, as they shall judge shall be most for the advantage of said society." "Whereas there was a legacy left by Mr. Jedediah Deming, in his last will, to the society of Newington for the purpose of procuring a library for public use in said society, and as the said society have never received any benefit therefrom, thereof voted, That Messrs. David Lowrey and Simon Welles be a committee to inquire into the same, and to take the most prudent and effectual measures to recover the benefits of said legacy for the use and improvement of said society, as soon as may be and as far as is agreeable to said will.(Extract from the will of Jedediah Deming, executed April 14th, 1787. His estate was inventoried May 22d, 1787. "Item. I give and bequeath unto the society of Newington a legacy of the sum of sixty pounds, lawful silver money, accounting Spanish milled dollars at six shillings each, to be raised and paid out of my personal or movable estate, for the. purpose of procuring only a sufficient quantity of good orthodox books of divinity, at the care and direction of the two standing officiating deacons for the time being in said society, and from time to time by them and their successors in said office, to be improved as opportunity and occasion may require for procuring a suitable quantity of books of the aforesaid description, of Calvinistical principles, for furnishing a suitable library for public use in said society, as far as the same may necessarily extend, forever: which legacy shall be paid by my executors within one year after my decease, and provided the said sum of sixty pounds shall be more than sufficient for the purpose aforesaid, my will is that the surplusage shall be loaned and the annual interest applied and improved for the support of the school in the south district in said society of Newington, their heirs and successors forever.") At a meeting held September 21st, 1789, "Upon a motion of Deacon Stoddard to resign the trust reposed in him by Mr. Jedediah Deming, late of Wethersfield, deceased, in his last will and testament, for applying a legacy given by said Deming to the society of Newington for procuring a public library for said society: Voted, That Messrs. David Lowrey, Roger Welles, John Goodrich, Simon Welles, and Daniel Willard, Jun., be appointed to assist the. deacons in the discharge of the trust reposed in them by said will, in applying said legacy, procuring books, and forming a constitution for said library, and to assist them in any other matters that shall be thought necessary respecting said legacy, agreeable to said will, according to their best judgment and discretion, and to report from time to time, when called, their proceedings in the business aforesaid."(This committee reported, September 14th, 1790, a constitution and regulations for a library, called " Charity Library.") At a meeting held December 7th, 1789, "Messrs. Unni Robbins, Elizur Andrus, and Daniel Willard, Jun., were appointed to consider the petition of the south end of the society respecting a school district, and to report to the society." At a meeting held December 22d, 1789, "Voted, That the sum of one hundred and eighty pounds be raised on the list of this society for defraying the cost of the school houses already built in this society and for building a school house at the southern part of the society, the said sum to be equally divided to said houses, and that the south end, extending to one third part of the list of 1788 as near as may be, be impowered to call a meeting and transact any matters respecting the building said house, and that the proprietors of the other houses be empowered to meet and make an average of the sums so voted to each house. (Carried, nineteen against twelve.) "At a meeting held March 2d, 1790, "Voted, To empower the committee. who have the care of the public monies belonging to this society in the loan office, both interest and principal, to dispose of the same according to their best discretion for the benefit of said society." At a meeting held July 7th, 1791, "There was then laid before the meeting a written obligation, signed by Capt. Martin Kellogg, promising to give to the society ninety pounds in money to be laid out towards a frame for a meeting house in consideration that the society agree to erect and build said house on the west side of the old green and about five rods southward of the south-east comer of the burying yard, so as to enclose a stake set there by him." "There was also an obligation in writing, signed by Lt. Lemuel Whittlesey, laid before said meeting, promising to give one hundred pounds towards building a meeting house for said society, provided said society shall proceed to build said house near where the first committee set a stale therefor."(This was near the dwelling house of Luther Latimer.) "A division was then called for, and there were for accepting Capt. Kellogg's proposal, 24, for Lt. Whittlesey's proposal, 14, majority of 10 for Capt. Kellogg's proposal." "Messrs. David Lowrey and James Welles were then appointed to receive the said donation of Capt. Kellogg. Messrs. Roger Welles and Jonathan Stoddard were then appointed to apply to the court to establish the above vote for the acceptance of Capt. Kellogg's proposal."(*The county court, in January, 1792, decided in favor of the site near Luther Latimer's house. The society, at a meeting held Feb. 6th, 1792, disapproved of this judgment of the county court by a vote of 49 to 20.) At a meeting held March 13th, 1792, "Voted and agreed, That this society will apply to the honorable General Assembly in May next, to obtain, if may be, the place already agreed upon by this society at their meeting in July last, to be affixed and established for the purpose of building a new meeting house upon. 20 for the vote, 14 against it." "Voted, That Messrs. David Lowrey and Roger Welles be and they are hereby appointed agents in behalf of this society to apply to the honorable General Assembly in May for the purpose expressed in the above vote. (19 for the vote, 14 against it.)" At a meeting held October 8th 1792, "Voted, That this society will confine their petition, now pending in the honorable General Assembly, respecting a meeting house, to a committee to view the society, hear all parties, and determine where a meeting house shall be erected in said society." At a meeting held October 23d, 1792, "Voted, That Col. Roger Welles be appointed to make provision for the committee from the Assembly. Charles Churchill, Esq., Col. Roger Welles, Martin Kellogg, and Capt. Robert Welles were appointed to wait on said committee expected from the Assembly, and show them the society. Daniel Willard, Jun., and David Lowrey were appointed by said meeting to make a statement to said committee." At a meeting held December 31st, 1792, "Voted, That a committee be appointed to look into the state of the public law books and Kirby's reports belonging to this society, and report to the next meeting. Also, that Messrs. James Welles and David Lowrey be appointed for said purpose." "Voted, That this meeting approve of the following report and resolve of the honorable General Assembly, laid before the meeting. And the numbers taken were 39 against 3. At a General Assembly of the State of Connecticut., holden at New Haven on the second Thursday of October, Auno Dom., 1792. Upon the memorial of the inhabitants of the society of Newington, in the town of Wethersfield, and county of Hartford, by their agents, David Lowrey and Roger Welles, of said society, sheaving to this Assembly that their old meeting house in said society is much decayed and unfit to repair, and that the attempts to erect a new one have hitherto proved ineffectual: praying for the appointment of a committee to view the various places in said society mentioned for the building a meeting house, and report what place is most convenient as per petition on file. And this petition came to the General Assembly of this state, holden at Hartford in May last, and by continuance to this Assembly; when this Assembly appointed a committee to examine into the facts stated in said petition, which committee having viewed the various places mentioned as suitable to erect a meeting house, at this Assembly have reported that at a stake by the said committee set, about six rods south east from the public burying ground in said society, is the most proper place whereon to erect a meeting house in said society, which report hath been accepted by this Assembly, all which appears on file. Resolved by this Assembly, That a meeting house may be erected at the said "place reported by said committee, viz.: at a stake set about six rods south-east from the public burying ground in said society; and said society are hereby authorized to erect a meeting house in said society at said place. A true copy of record. Examined by George Wyllys, Secretary." At a meeting held May 13th, 1793, "Voted, That this society will oppose the petition of certain memorialists who have petitioned the Hon. General Assembly, at their present session, to annex sundry persons belonging to this society, together with their estates, and also to annex a certain tract of land at the south end of this society, to the society of Worthington, relative to society and school charges." "Voted, That Col. Roger Welles and Charles Churchill, Esq., be appointed agents in behalf of this society to oppose said petition." (The petition of Theodore Beckley and others, dated April 22d, 1793, prays that they, with their ratable estate, "may be annexed unto the said society of Worthington, in said Berlin, relative to society and schooling charges." The society of Worthington, at a meeting held May 13th, 1793, voted that they were "cordially willing" the annexation of the petitioners to that society should be granted by the Assembly, and that they esteemed it "not only expedient, but just and reasonable that this union he made." The petition was granted by the lower house May 20th, 1794. In the upper house, it was granted so far as to annex a part of Stepney (now Rocky Hill) to Worthington. Afterwards, the upper house reconsidered their action and concurred with the lower house.) At a meeting held May 20, 1793, "Voted, That Messrs. James Lusk and Martin Kellogg be employed to repair the fence around the burying yard, and that the expense be paid out of the rate-bill in the hand of Mr. Simon Wells." At a meeting held March 31, 1794, "Voted, To General Roger Welles, three pounds ten shillings, which he paid to Chauncey Goodrich, for memorial for meeting house and attendance on the Court, Nov. 25, 1791, and January, 1792, and for petition to the Assembly in May, 1792." At a meeting held April 14, 1795, "It was then voted, To raise three shillings on pound on the list of this society for the year 1794, one shilling of the same to be paid annually for the purpose of building a meeting house at the stake set by the Assembly's Committee. 13 for it; 11 against it. "Voted, That Messrs. Unni Robbins, Elizur Andrus and Joshua Belden, jun., be a committee to procure materials and build a meeting house, agreeable to the above votes. "Voted, "That Mr. Solomon Stoddard be appointed sheep master, to take care of the sheep in this society the coming summer." At a meeting held April 27, 1795, "Voted, That General Roger Welles and Deacon James Welles be appointed to procure subscriptions to ease the burdens of the south-western people in this society, on condition that a meeting house be built at the stake set by the Assembly's Committee." At a meeting held May 18, 1795, "Voted, To General Roger Welles, two pounds eight shillings, to enable him to settle with Mr. Wm. Mosely, and one pound ten, to enable him to settle with Mr. Thomas Y. Seymor, for services to the Assembly, on the petition of Theodore Beckley and others against this society, being in the whole 3 pounfds, 18."(General Roger Welles died May 27, 1795, in the 41st year of his age. He was a graduate of Yale College, Class of 1775. After his graduation he taught school in Wethersfield till the Revolutionary War broke out, when he entered the service and continued to the close of the war. He was captain of a company of picked men, under the command of Gen. Lafayette, at the siege of Yorktown, and his company, under his command, led the storming party on the redoubt taken by assault by the Americans. He was the second man in the fort, Col. Alex. Hamilton being the first. He was afterwards presented with a sword by Gen. Lafayette. He married Jemima Kellogg, March 27, 1785, and settled in Newii•ton. In May, 1788, lie was appointed colonel of the Sixth Reg't of State Militia. In May, 1793, he was appointed brigadier-general of the Seventh Brigade of Militia. He was a member of the House of Representatives at the sessions held in May, October and December, 1790, May, 1791, May, 1792, May and October, 1793, May, 1794, and May, 1795, being a member when he died. In personal appearance he was tall and commanding, being over six feet high, and by his training and martial bearing was well fitted to be a general in reality as well as in name.) At a meeting held October 3, 1796, "Voted, To keep five months' school at each district in this society the year coming. "Voted, Eight pounds to each school, to be raised on the list of this society. "Voted, That half a cord of wood to a scholar be carried to the schools, and that those who carry the same be allowed at the same rate it shall be set to Mr. Belden. "Voted, That Messrs. Martin Kellogg, Levi Wells and Jonathan Blinn be appointed a school committee for said schools, and that they collect the poll tax. "Voted, That Capt. Levi Lusk draw the country money for the schools."(These are the last votes of the Society on the subject of schools. The school society was probably soon organized.) At a meeting held June 12, 1797, "Voted, That this Society will build a meeting house at the stake set by the Assembly's Committee, agreeable to a resolve of said Assembly. 22 for, 17 against." At a meeting held August 7, 1797, "Voted, That the north-west comer of the meeting house be set at a stake now set on the green, and that the sills be ranged due north and south, east and west, with the perch or steeple at the east end." At a meeting held August 28, 1797, " Voted, That this Society direct the present committee of superintendence for building a meeting house in this society proceed to erect and finish a meeting house at the stake set by the Assembly's Committee where the foundation now lies. 33 for, 21 against." At a meeting held August 30, 1798, "Voted, To proceed to finish the lower part of the meeting house, now erecting, with the breastwork of the gallery, as soon as may be, lathing and plastering excepted." At a meeting held September, 24, 1798, "Voted, That the Committee appointed to superintend the building a meeting house in this society, be directed to engage some suitable person to finish the same as they shall judge will be best for the society." At a meeting held October 15, 1798, "Voted, To build pews in all the lower part of the meeting house instead of seats." At a meeting held November 12, 1 798, "Voted, To sell and dispose of the old meeting house in this society, and apply the avails of it towards defraying the charges of the new meeting house now building in said society, according to the discretion of a committee hereafter to be appointed for that purpose." At a meeting held March 23, 1801, "Voted, That we will raise one cent on a dollar, for the purpose of painting the meeting house, on the list of 1800." At a meeting held December 6, 1802, "Voted, That James Wells, jun., be a society clerk in the room of Daniel Willard who has resigned said office." At a meeting held March 8, 1803, to take into consideration "Mr. Belden's proposals to the society." "Voted, To comply with Mr. Belden's first proposal."
"Voted, To appoint a committee to hire a candidate if there should be need."
At a meeting held December 5, 1803, "Voted, To pay the Rev. Joshua Belden the salary due to him to the present time, $290, to be raised on the list of 1803."(Mr. Belden did the actual service of the ministry during fifty-six years. Dr. Brace's Dis., 17.)
"Voted, To raise $200, on the list of 1803, for the purpose of supplying the pulpit the year ensuing, and that one half be collected and paid by the first day of March next, and the reminder by the last day of June next."
"Voted, That Col. Levi Lusk, Dea. James Wells, Dea. Daniel Willard and Mr. Abel Andrus be a committee to supply the pulpit the ensuing year, according to the best of their discretion."
At a meetin5, held November 19, 1804, "Voted, That this society will give Mr. Joab Brace a call to settle with us in the gospel ministry, (51 for 0.)
"Voted, That Col. Levi Lusk, Dea. James Wells, Dea. Daniel Willard, Mr. Abel Andrus, Mr. Martin Kellogg, Maj. Justus Francis, and Mr. David Lowrey, be a committee to confer with Mr. Brace on said subject, and to obtain his mind with respect to settling in this society, and make report to the next meeting."
At a meeting held December 3, 1804, "Voted that this society agree to the report made to this meeting by the committee appointed to confer with Mr. Joab Brace with respect to his settling in this society."
At a meeting held Dec. 17, 1804, "Voted, That this society agree to the proposals made by the Committee appointed to confer with Mr. Joab Brace, and his agreement thereto be agreed to, and that the day appointed for his being ordained be on the third Wednesday of January next. (45 for, 2 against.)
"Voted, That the society's committee be appointed, in concurrence with the committee to be appointed by the church, to grant letters missive and to transact all business relative to the ordination.
"Voted, That the aforesaid committee be appointed to seat the counsel and strangers that shall attend on the day of ordination, and that they confer with Mr. Brace on what day he wishes to have a fast, and make public proclamation on the Sabbath."(The fast was January 9, 1805, and the ordination January 16, 1805.)"
At a meeting held January 7, 1805, "Voted, That Abel Andrus, David Lowrey, Martin Kellogg, Unni Robbins, jun., Simon Kilbourn, Lemuel Holmes, Widow Honor Blinn, and Widow Jemima Welles be appointed to keep houses of entertainment on the day of ordination."
At a meeting held February 11, 1805, "Voted, $39.83 to Joshua Belden, Esq., for entertaining the counsel."
"Voted, Widow Jemima Welles $25.50 for boarding Mr. Brace and keeping his horse."
Joab Brace's Call from the Society.
"Newington, December 3d, 1804. "Whereas Joab Brace, candidate, has been preaching for a length of time among us, and us, universal satisfaction, we hereby give him a call to settle among us, in the work of the Gospel ministry; and for his encouragement in the same we engage with him on the following terms, viz: That we will give him a permanent salary of three hundred and seventy dollars a year so long as he shall continue to officiate with us in the ministry of the gospel. Provided, however, that his salary shall not cease for any temporary interruption from any providential illness or inability. Also in addition to the above we will give him, for the four first years successively, one hundred dollars a year, out of the interest of the public moneys belonging to this society, for his present assistance. And, further, we will fetch and deliver to him yearly the wood he shall provide, not exceeding twenty loads a year, from a lot lying about two miles south-west of West Hartford meeting house. Signed, in behalf of the society, Abel Andrus, David Lowrey, Martin Kellogg, James Wells, Justus Francis, Levi Lusk, Daniel Willard, committee.
Mr. Brace's answer to the Society.
The people of this society having given me a regular call to settle among them in the work of the gospel ministry, and having proposed their engagement with me on the following terms, viz.: That they will give me a permanent salary of three hundred and seventy dollars a year so long as I shall continue to officiate with them in the ministry of the Gospel. Provided, however, that my salary shall not cease in case of any temporary interruption by any Providential illness or inability. That in addition to the above permanent salary, they will give me, for the four first years successively, one hundred dollars a year out of the interest of the public monies belonging to this society, for my present assistance. And further, that they will fetch and deliver to me yearly the fire wood which I shall provide, not exceeding twenty loads a year, from a lot lying about two miles south-west of West Hartford meeting house. And I, also, having turned my attention to this great and solemn subject, with mature deliberation, with much prayer to God, and with consultation of those friends whom I judged capable of advising. These are therefore to signify my acceptance of their proposals and agreement stated above, and my willingness to comply with their call, depending on divine aid, to be their minister in the Gospel of Christ, devoutly praying to Almighty God that by His sovereign grace I may be the humble instrument in His hands of awakening and converting sinners, and of building up saints in holiness and comfort, through faith unto salvation, and that this solemn connection may be for the everlasting peace and happiness both of this people and Newington, December 11th, A. D. 1804. myself. Joab BRACE.
Addition to Arr. Brace's answer.
That there may be no objection in the minds of any person, I am content that the donation for the four first years should be paid on the following conditions, viz.: If I should be dismissed from this people at my own request, at the end of four years, that only half the four years donation be retained by me, if at the end of six years, three fourths of the four years donation be retained, and if I continue eight years that the whole be retained; but if I am dismissed at the people's request, no refunding shall be made. Newington, December 17th, 1804. J. BRACE.
Rev. Joshua Belden was born July 19, 1724. He was a graduate of Yale College in the class of 1743. He began to preach in Newington in May, 1747, and was ordained as pastor Nov. 11, 1747, when he was twenty-three Years of age. He actively discharged the duties of the pastoral office from that time till Nov. 1803, a period of fifty-six years, when the infirmities of age compelled him to relinquish them. The pulpit was then supplied by Rev. Aaron Cleveland, and perhaps others, till October 7, 1804, when Rev. Joab Brace began to preach. Mr. Brace was ordained January 16, 1805, entertering this "solemn connection" at the same age as his immediate predecessor had done, when he was but twenty-three years old. He continued the pastor of the church till he also resigned, after a service of fifty years. He preached his last discourse as pastor, January 16, 1855. This discourse, which was of an historical character, was published by vote of the society. Dr. Brace died at Pittsfield, Mass., at the residence of Rev. John Todd, his son-in-law, April 20, 1861, aged 80.
The history of the society to the close of Mr. Belden's pastorate is virtually the history of Newington. For nearly the first century of its existence it was the only organization within its geographical limits. Even the church, during the time of Mr. Williams and Mr. Backus, has left no traces to show that it was in any sense separate from the society. Either no church records were then kept, or if kept they have been lost. The ecclesiastical society appointed the days for the ordination of the three first ministers and the days for fasting and prayer. No reference is made to any concurrent action on the part of the church.
The society voted September 12, 1722, "to keep Wednesday, the 3d 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," yet Mr. Williams had already preached two years, the meeting house had been raised in April, 1716, and January 15, 1719, the society voted to call a minister, and appointed a committee to treat with Mr. Nathaniel Burnham. The meeting house was located by the Legislative Committee, "near Dea. Joseph Andrus' house," so that there was a deacon at that time, May 13, 1715. He was undoubtedly the first deacon, and the only one before the ordination of Mr. Williams; whenever his name occurs he is uniformly given the title of Deacon. The second was Dea. John Deming, who is given the title for the first time in the record of the next meeting held after the ordination of Mr. Williams. He was probably appointed deacon at the fast, when the church was organized. These two were the deacons during nearly the whole of the ministry of Mr. Williams. The name of Dea. Andrus appears for the last time in the record of the meeting held January 6, 1726. He was succeeded by Dea. Jabez Whittelsey, who first receives that title in the record of the meeting held April 15, 1726. Dea. Whittelsey continued to act till he removed from the place in 1745. He was probably succeeded by Dea. Josiah Willard, whose name next appears with that title in the records. Dea. Willard died March 10, 1757, and was succeeded by Dea. Joshua Andrus. Dea. John Deming died May 1, 1761, and was succeeded by Dea. John Camp, who was appointed July 2, 1761. Dea. John Camp was succeeded by. Dea. Elisha Stoddard, who was chosen August 14, 1782. Dea. Joshua Andrus was succeeded by Dea. Charles Churchill who was chosen August 81, 1786. Dea. Elisha Stoddard was succeeded by Dea. James Wells, who was Chosen August 5, 1790. Dea. Charles Churchill was succeeded by Dea. Daniel Willard, chosen Feb. 24, 1808. Dea. Wells and Dea. Willard were the two deacons of the church when Mr. Brace was ordained.
The first church records kept, separate from the society records, are those of Mr. Belden. These records are quite defective as to chnrch votes and proceedings. All the records of cases of discipline were purposely destroyed by him. His record of Baptisms, Marriages, and those who owned the Halfway Covenant, appears to be complete. The others are more or less defective. These records are appended, and together with the society records, form the treasury to which we must go for accurate information during the period of Mr. Belden's ministry. Only a selection from the society records could be admitted within the compass of this Work, the aim has been to present those votes which best illustrate the history of the parish. They show that the powers of the society in its early days embraced many subjects now within other jurisdictions, such as schools, pounds and pound-keepers, the flocking of sheep, appointment of sheep-masters, the burying yard, &c. The minister's salary and the other society expenses were paid by "minister and society rates" or taxes which were assessed each year upon the list of all the inhabitants within the geographical limits of the parish. The Collector of these rates was armed with a warrant which authorized and required him, "in his Majesty's name, "to collect the sums named in his rate bill, of the several persons therein named, and in default of payment, to distrain their goods and chattels, and for want of goods or chattels, to seize the bodies of the delinquents and them to commit to the common jail, there to remain till they paid and satisfied the sums assessed upon them, unless upon application to the County Court, their rates were abated. With this formidable power it is presumed the Collector was generally successful in raising the minister's salary and the society expenses. Rates were quite commonly paid in wheat, rye, or Indian com, at standard prices, varied from year to year, and fixed by votes of the society, a medium of exchange more stable and certain oftentimes, than the fluctuating currency of the Colonies, especially. when inflated in times of war or great necessities for money. The seats in church were not sold, neither were they free, but they were assigned by a committee duly appointed for that purpose, called "seaters," who, in seating the inhabitants, paid due regard to their list, age, parentage and usefulness. During the time of Mr. Williams and Mr: Backus, the male and female portions of the audience were separated, but afterwards men and their wives were permitted to worship together. When the second meeting house was built, the then modern invention of pews was substituted for seats, in the lower part of the house. In the first meeting house, though its walls were not lathed and plastered for some years, no artificial heat ever warmed the hearers in their devotions. Not till after Mr. Brace's settlement was this innovation made. The zeal of the worshipers more than supplied the want of luxuries. The long doctrinal sermons of the day enabled them to become well grounded in the tenets of their religion, and better qualified to give reasons for the faith that was in them, than the worshipers of the present day, who, in more luxurious churches, listen to less exhaustive sermons. Cases of discipline were more common then than now, probably because the watch and care of the church over its members were more strict and constant, the church members fewer in number, and the church more accustomed, from the union of the church and State, to wield the arm of power than at present then there was also one prolific source of evils, the sin of intemperance, far more common in the church than to-day. The circumstances of the times in which they lived in the last century, tended to make our fathers and mothers rugged in body, and strong in mind and character. They were trained amid privations and necessities, contest succeeded contest with Indians, French, and lastly with the English. They had to grapple with nature itself, and turn the wild wilderness into the cultivated field, to build roads and bridges, meeting houses and school houses, causing endless disputes between conflicting interests. The first settlers had to fight against the adverse influences of a new climate, diseases laid them low, and death consigned them to the "place of silence." Educated in such a school they were taught, first, reliance on God, second, reliance on themselves, and they became valiant soldiers, whether battling for their spiritual or temporal interests. They laid the foundation of religion and education, broad and deep. They biiilded better than they knew. Let their descendants, while they reap the benefits of their toil, also cherish and honor their memory. "Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation."