Modern Annals - First Period, 1803-1857
Extracted From
Early Annals Of Newington
Comprising The First Records Of
The Newington Ecclesiastical Society
And of the Congregational Church Conneced Therewith;
With Documents & Papers Relating to
The Early History of the Parish

Transcribed & Edited by Roger Welles
Clerk of the Society & Church

[Transcribed by Dave Swerdfeger]



FIRST PERIOD, 1803-1857.

Dr. Brace, in his published half-century discourse, has given the history of the parish during the time of his administration of the pastoral office. During the first century of its existence there was great turmoil, strife, and controversy, not only with its neighbors on the West and South, but intestine war within its own limited borders. Continual recourse was had to the General Assembly, to settle boundaries, to settle the locations of the two meeting-houses that were built and to assist the parish for the loss of the first and second ministers. The town also and the Courts were frequently applied to for help, and intervention. These vexed questions were happily all disposed of before the settlement of Dr. Brace. During the time of his ministry peace reigned without and within unbroken save by a few cases of discipline. No petition was presented to the Legislature, and but one to the town, and no recourse was had to the courts. It is unnecessary to go over the ground covered by Dr. Brace's discourse. His ministry was not only a time of peace, but it was also a time of great improvement in the material interests and welfare of the people. One of these improvements is alluded to, by him as follows. "Fifty years ago there was no road from this place to Hartford, and the little intercourse with the city was carried on, either by going over the mountain to Wethersfield, or by passing round through West Hartford. "The present road to Hartford by the house of Charles K. Atwood, Esq., was laid out in 1807, its southern terminus being near the meeting-house, throwing open a space for a green north of the road running east to Wethersfield, while its western terminus was near the north school house, the two roads forming a junction near the house of Robert Francis, thence running towards Hartford, to and along the base of Cedar mountain. (As this road is a main thoroughfare, and as it is important to preserve the ancient land marks, the decree of the court laying out the road is worthy of an insertion at this place. It is as follows:

"On the Petition of Joshua Belden and others praying far highways in Newington society in Wethersfield, leading to Hartford, by petition on file, dated February 28. 1807, the case was continued. to this term, the committee in the case laid before the court their report in these words. "To the honorable County Court to be holden at Hartford, within and for the county of Hartford, on the second Tuesday of August, 1807. The subscribers appointed by your honors a Committee on the petition of Joshua Belden, Jr., Esq., and others, inhabitants of the parish of Newington in the town of Wethersfield, to view, and, if judged by said Committee expedient, lay out a highway from near the dwelling house of said Joshua Belden, Jr., to the south line of the town of Hartford, in such direction as would best accommodate the travel from said Newington to the city of Hartford, or to alter the present traveled roads in a manner most convenient to the public, and least injurious to private property, and report make to the then or some future session of said court, beg leave to report. That having given legal notice of the time, place, and purpose of our meeting we met at the house of deacon Wells in said Newington on the 25th day of June last and from thence proceeded to view the several roads leading from near the house of said Joshua Belden, Jr., Esq., mentioned in the bill in form appointing said Committee, with the intermediate ground from the west street in said Newington to the mountain; and upon a full view and hearing of those concerned your Committee were clearly of opinion that by altering and widening the present highway from near the house of said Belden and running by said deacon Wells's, and by laying a road from the junction of the road running easterly from the North school house in the west street in said Newington across the lands of Unni Robbins and Martin Kellogg in a Northeastward direction to the old road, and from thence widening the present road to the road running, under the mountain to said Hartford would best accommodate the public travel from said Newington to Hartford, and be the least damage to private property. We therefore began at a stake and stones in the old road at the north line of Jemima Welles's land near the house of Joshua Belden, Jr., Esq., and run northerly in said road 22 chains 57 links to the south line of Fitch Andrus's land, thence in said old road and widening the same on said Andrus, by a line from the southeast corner of his lot to a stake and stones near the brook 6 chains 35 links thence running, in said old road 12 chains 10 links to Elijah Wells's land to a stake and stones in the fence east of old road, thence N. 7degrees E. 5 chains 37 links on said Wells's land, thence the same point 4 chains 97 links on Jemima Welles's land, thence in the old road 1 chain 56 links to a stake and stones, thence N. 1 degree E. 8 chains 10 links to Unni Robbins's land, thence the same point on said Robbins 10 chains 78 links, thence N. 53 degrees E. 10 chains on said Robbins, thence running the same point on Martin Kellogg's land 34 chains 41 links to the old road, thence the same point 50 links across said road, thence in the old road opening the same two rods on the north side on Ezekiel Atwood's land 6 chains 50 links, thence in the old road opening the same two rods in width on Benjamin Water's land 7 chains 50 links to the turn of the road leading to Hartford, the old highway above described is opened to four rods in width, and that part of the road which we have laid on new ground is laid the same width, and the line above described is in the centre of said road. The Committee then proceeded to lay out a piece of a road to accommodate the travel passing from the north school house in the west street in said Newington, and began at a stake and stones at the east fence of the present traveled road running northwardly from deacon Wells's at a point making the line directly strait with the centre line of said road leading to said north school house, and from thence continued a strait line eastwardly on the lands of Unni Robbins about two chains and meeting the road above described. And your honors' Committee beg leave further to report that in reviewing the road south of the point of departure above described between that and the meeting house they were of opinion that the public would be greatly accommodated by cutting off the east end of a lot of land belonging to the said Jemima Welles, and laying it open for a highway, which lot projects east so as to intersect the whole width of the road north and south of said lot, destroying the beauty of the situation and causing much extra travel, they therefore proceeded, submitting the question of its being within their commission to the honorable Court, to run a line beginning at a stake and stones in a line of the west fence of the road north of said lot, and from thence running S. 3 degrees 30" E. 5 chains 69 links across said Jemima Welles's land, which line will strike the northwest corner of the meeting house, laying the whole land lying east of said line open for a public highway, taking from said lot one acre and 34 rods of land. And the Committee have assessed the damages in favor of the proprietors of the land on which said road was laid or widened as follows, to wit,
  • To Wd. Jemima Welles for her land near the meeting house, $120.
  • To Fitch Andrus, 5.
  • To Elijah Wells, 30
  • To Jemima Welles, 25.
  • To Unni Robbins, 110.
  • To Martin Kellogg, 278.
  • To Ezekiel Atwood, 20.
  • To Benjamin Waters, 8.
  • Total................................. $596.
All which is submitted by your honors' most obedient servants, July 6th, 1807.
Committee under oath
The court accept said report of Committee whereupon it is considered by the court that the highways, as by said Committee laid out or widened, he and the same are established public highways, and that the same be opened by the 20th day of June next, and that said town of Wethersfield pay to the individuals the damages assessed to them by said Committee in said report by the 20th day of June next, and that the Petitioners recover of said town of Wethersfield, Cost taxed at 28 Dollars 13 cents. Execution granted for said Cost August 22d, 1807." The above is copied from the Records of the County Court, in the book of records from August, 1803 to December, 1809, in that part of the book containing the record of the doings of the County Court for Hartford County at the August term, 1807, being a little past the middle of the book, there being no paging. It is quite probable that the green taken from Mrs. Jemima Welles' land was to make it conform to the green opened east of the Burying ground not long before. The following vote which appears to have been passed at a town meeting held December 26, 1798, apparently authorizes the opening this green. "At this meeting the selectmen who were appointed in April last to view the ground near the meeting house in the society of Newington, Reported, that in their opinion it would be proper to lay out a highway four rods wide across the west end of Unni Robbins's lot adjoining the burying ground.

Voted, that this meeting do accept the report.

Voted, that the selectmen be directed to view the road to Newington, and to straighten it by crossing the corners of certain lots, which they are hereby authorized to purchase of individuals and so open the road.") Not only were great improvements made in the roads and bridges of Newington and vicinity, but in 1833 was incorporated the Hartford and New Haven Railroad Company who laid their iron track through Newington, bringing it within ten minutes of Hartford, afterwards the Hartford, Providence, and Fishkill Railroad gave another avenue to Hartford, so that no town in the County of Hartford, outside of the city, has greater facilities of access to the capital of the state; midway between the two great emporiums Boston and New York, an hour's ride to New Haven, it is an eligible location for speedy egress and ingress and for quiet residence. There have been four public libraries in Newington, "The Newington Library," "The Charity Library," " The Social Library," and "The Young Men's Library."
  • 1. The Newington Library is the most ancient, and is supposed to have been purchased by the Ecclesiastical Society in its early days. There was formerly a small tax_ levied on those who used the books.
  • 2. The Charity Library was a gift to the Society from Jedediah Deming, as has already appeared. It consisted of religious works almost entirely. It was free to all. The books were usually exchanged on lecture days. Simon Wells was for many years the librarian. Some books of these two libraries still remain.
  • 3. The Social Library was of much later date. It belonged to individuals, and was destroyed by fire with the house of the late Roger Welles in October, 1865.
  • 4. The Young Men's Library was also the fruit of individual enterprise, instituted by the young men of the generation of Gen. Martin Kellogg and Capt. Daniel Willard. That library is supposed no longer to exist as a library. The books are probably dispersed or lost. When Dr. Brace was settled there was in Connecticut a union of church and state. Every ecclesiastical society having territorial limits was considered to be, and was in fact, a municipal and public corporation. And every individual residing within the limits of any such society was considered by the law as much a member of it, as each resident of a town was deemed its inhabitant. When the State Constitution was adopted in 1818, it was ordained in that instrument that every person then belonging to any religious association should remain a member thereof until he should have separated therefrom by leaving a written notice thereof with the clerk of such society, after which time he should be no longer liable for any future expenses incurred by such society. Our ecclesiastical society was established with local limits more than a hundred years before the adoption of the state constitution, and was not by that instrument or by subsequent legislation divested of its local character. It still has its local limits the same as in the days of our fathers. Consequently all the residents of Newington, who have not formally separated themselves from the society, who were residents at the time of the adoption of the constitution in 1818, are now, members of the society. The members of this class formerly constituted almost the entire body of the society, but time has thinned their ranks, a few only are left, and soon they too will have passed away forever. The society consists now almost wholly of those who have been voted in as members, whose previous voluntary assent thereto would be implied; and those also who have accepted office in the society, their assent would be implied, they treat themselves as members and so hold themselves out to the world; probably also those who vote and participate in the meetings of the society, their voluntary association would be implied. Memberships, being no longer coercive but voluntary, must be determined in the light of these principles.
The school society of Newington was organized as early as 1797; it was continued as an organization during the entire ministry of Dr. Brace, but did not long survive it: in July, 1856, the General Assembly passed an act abolishing school societies, and vesting their property in the towns.

As early as May, 1799, an act was passed providing "That each school society shall have full power to divide itself into proper and necessary districts, for keeping their schools." (Rev. Stat. 1808, p. 581, sec. 1.) Under this authority the school society of Newington, in 1835, passed a vote creating a new district, called the South East School District, as follows:

"Voted, That there be a new district formed from the present South district in Newington, to be called the Southeast district. The north line of said district to run an east and west course from the Southwest district, ten rods north of the house in which Reuben Whaples now lives; thence east to the Wethersfield line, and to include all the inhabitants living south of said north line, in Newington school society."

This made the fourth school district in Newington, three having been previously created by authority of the ecclesiastical society, as already related.(When the school society was abolished in 1856, the record book disappeared. This is much to be regretted, as it contained valuable records which can not be replaced. The vote given in the text, however, was fortunately preserved, as also the following document establishing the lines between the societies of Newington and Worthington: "We, the school society's committee of Worthington and Newington, with the assistance of Loton Porter, County Surveyor, have run out and established the lines betwixt said societies in the following, manner, to wit: Beginning at the northwest corner of David Kelsey's farm, on town line betwixt Wethersfield and Berlin, near his dwelling-house, we ran a line on the north side of said Kelsey's farm, north 89 1/2 degrees east, to a highway, where we found a stone placed in the ground betwixt Amon Richards and Oliver Richards, thence continuing the same course to the Hartford and New Haven turnpike, where we erected a stone monument betwixt Oliver Richards and Samuel Steele, thence continuing the same course (to) the highway leading from Newington, and erected a stone monument, marked on one side W. and on the other N.; thence southerly by the said last highway one hundred and forty-one rods to the Berlin corner.
Committee for Worthington Society.
Committee for Newington.

DATED AT BERLIN, this 6th day of Nov., 1849,
At a town meeeting held Nov. 4, 1856, the north line of the district was established as follows: "Voted, That the north line of the Southeast school district of Newington shall commence on the west, at the northwest corner of Amon Richards' home farm, where it intersects with New Britain town line, and run easterly on the said Richard's north line to a highway, thence in the same direction on the line of the said Amon and Oliver Richards to the present west line of said district, including all the property south of the above described line not included in other districts.")

In 1829 an association was formed by twenty-five of the prominent men of the society, called "the Newington Education Company," for the purpose of building an academy for a school of a "higher order" than the district schools. The building was erected, and a school flourished there for a quarter of a century. It was the means of giving a higher education to many who would otherwise have finished their studies at the common schools. Nothing has since taken its place. The enterprise being wholly private one, and the children of those who started the enterprise having been educated, the school was dropped, and the building has been suffered to go to decay (*)


At a meeting held Dec. 2, 1805. "Voted, That this society agree to have the burying ground fenced with stone that are at present there, with posts and two boards above nailed on the sides of the posts, with a gate upon the North side."

At a meeting held Feb. 3, 1806, "Voted, That no vote hereafter taken in the Ecclesiastical Society in Newington after sunset be considered as legal unless by a special vote to the contrary." "Voted, That the society's committee be empowered to appoint a sexton yearly for this society."

At a meeting held Dec. 5, 1808, "Voted, To allow Mr. Brace $100 out of the interest of the public money belonging to this society for one year only, in addition to his stated salary." "Voted, To allow Mr. Brace $24 in lieu of fetching his wood the ensuing year."

At a meeting held Dec. 29, 1808, "Voted, That this society appoint a special committee to confer with Mr. Brace on account of his salary." "Voted, that Dea. James Wells, Col. Levi Lusk, Major Justus Francis, Dea. Daniel Willard, Timothy Stanley, Hezekiah Belden, Esq., Asaph Whittlesey, Martin Kellogg, Jun., and Capt. Jonathan Stoddard, Jun., be appointed a committee for that purpose."

To the Ecclesiastical Society in Newington:
The committee appointed to confer with the Rev. Mr. Brace upon the subject of his request made to them at their last meeting, beg leave to report. That agreeably to their appointment they have waited upon the Rev. Mr. Brace and conferred with him upon the subject of his request that the society should join with him in the call of a Council to dissolve his relation as pastor over them. That your committee find upon enquiry that Mr. Brace has no other reason operating upon his mind in assigning this except the want of an adequate and decent support, and that he was fearful, (judging from the uneasiness expressed by some with the late vote adding a hundred dollars to his salary for the current year,) that if he should make known the sum which he should think a sufficient salary, although it might be voted, yet that it would cause so much dissatisfaction that it might tend to divide and lessen the Society, which, in its present undivided situation, is not large, that he thought it his duty rather to leave than by asking for an addition to his salary to be the cause of dividing the people. Your committee further report, that they conferred with Mr. Brace respecting the sum which he should think an adequate and honorable compensation for his services, and which if granted as a permanent salary would be satisfactory, and that the sum named by him as such was five hundred dollars, and fifteen cords of wood. Your committee further report, that by an estimate made by them of the expense of maintaining a family in the decent and respectable manner in which a minister of the Gospel is entitled to live, the expense falls very little short of the sum proposed by Mr. Brace, and this without allowing anything for sickness in the family, or for incidental expenses for journeying or for the purchase of books. Your committee grant that this calculation is theory merely, and that a single fact is worth a thousand paper calculations, they therefore requested Mr. Brace to keep an accurate account of all his expenditures for the current year, to be exhibited to a committee appointed to examine it at the close of the year; to this Mr. Brace cheerfully assented. Your committee report further, that Mr. Brace accepts the salary voted him for the current year, but expects if he continues your minister, that the salary above named of five hundred dollars and fifteen cords of wood yearly will be granted him as his permanent salary.
All which is submitted.
Levi Lusk, Justus Francis, Daniel Willard, Timothy Stanley, Jun., Martin Kellogg, Jun., Hezekiah Belden, Jonathan Stoddard, Jun., Asaph Whittlesey—SpecialCommittee.

At a meeting held January 9, 1809, "Voted, That this society accept of the report of the committee appointed to confer with Mr. Brace on account of his salary." "Voted, That the society's committee be appointed to receive the account of Mr. Brace's expenses for the current year, and make report to the next annual meeting."

"To the Prudential Committee of Newington, a parish of Wethersfield,
You are hereby requested to warn, according to law, the Ecclesiastical Society of Newington to meet forthwith that they may choose one of these two alternatives, viz: either to render permanent the sum stated in the report of their special committee in the last society meeting, as the salary of Joab Brace, or to comply with his request made sometime in December last to be dismissed from his pastoral relation to the church and people in said parish, and further, to transact whatever business may be brought before the meeting. Signed, JOAB BRACE, Pastor., NEWINGTON, March 29th, 1809."

At a meeting held April 4, 1809, "Voted, That this society waive, for the present, the alternative contained in the report, of their select committee, (but which may if necessary be taken up afterwards,) and attend to Mr. Brace's third proposal." "Voted, That this society give Mr. Joab Brace five hundred dollars a year as a permanent salary so long as he continues to officiate with us in the Ministry of the Gospel."

WETHERSFIELD, April 12th, 1809.
"Whereas. the Ecclesiastical Society of Newington did in their last meeting, by a very unanimous vote, make an offer to me of five hundred dollars as a permanent salary during my ministerial labors with them, and whereas divers individuals did very generously offer their assistance in the article of wood, these are therefore to show that withdrawing my motion for a dismission, I accept the offer and ratify the stipulation. JOAB BRACE."

At a meeting held November 7, 1810, "Voted, To appoint a committee to draw a petition to present to the next town meeting for liberty to sell lands belonging to the highways in this society, to raise a fund, the annual interest of which shall be appropriated for the support of the ministry in this society." (*At a town meeting held December 31, 1810, "The petition of the inhabitants of the society of Newington praying for a grant of the highways that may be sold in said society was read, and upon the question whether this meeting will, do anything upon the petition, it passed in the negative.") "Voted, That Levi Lusk, Hezekiah Belden, and Martin Kellogg, Jr., be a committee for said purpose."

At a meeting held December 3, 1810, "Voted, That the annual meeting of this society shall be held on the first Monday in November instead of the first Monday in December."

At a meeting held December 2, "Voted, That the trustees of the public moneys belonging to this society be directed to call In the same as soon as convenient, also to dispose of the money in the Loan Office of the United States, and to vest the whole in bank stock in the Hartford Bank."

At a meeting held November 20, 1815, "Voted, That the society do agree to paint the meeting house as far as has been painted before, and that Amos Andrus and Roger Welles be a committee to purchase oil, paints, &c., also engage some suitable person to do the work and superintend the painting, "Voted, That this society lay a tax of one cent on the dollar on the list of 1815, for the above purpose, also that the committee be directed to borrow a sum sufficient to complete the painting of the meeting house if the tax should be insufficient. "Voted, That in future when a society meeting is to be warned the Society Committee shall put notifications on the several school houses." "Voted, That the Society's Committee be directed to purchase a pall for this society."

At a meeting held November 3, 1817, "Voted, That the trustee call in the amount of the notes he now holds against individuals by the first a March next, and deposit the same in the Phoenix Bank, also that he receive and deposit in the same bank the money to be received from the Treasurer of the State of Connecticut on account of the Appropriation act."

At a meeting held November 1, 1819, "Voted, That this meeting take measures to sell the pews in the meeting house to pay the expenses of this society the year ensuing, provided a sum of four hundred dollars or more be raised from the sale of the pews, these sales to be valid, if not, to be null and void." "Voted, That Levi Deming, Origen Wells, Gen. Martin Kellogg, Jr., Elisha Stoddard, Joseph Camp, Gen. Levi Lusk, and Uzziel Lattimer be a committee to obtain information and devise the best method of carrying into effect the above vote respecting the selling of the pews in the meeting house, &c., and report to the next meeting."

At a meeting held November 16, 1819, "Voted, That the report of the committee as amended be accepted."

"REPORT OF COMMITTEE, To the members of the Ecclesiastical Society of Newington. Gentlemen.
The committee appointed to devise the most probable means of carrying into effect a vote of this meeting (society ?) for a sale of the pews in the meeting house, for the purpose of raising funds for the support of the Gospel in this place respectfully report. That after having attentively examined the subject, and having taken advantage of such information as they could obtain from other places where similar measures have been pursued for similar purposes, they at an adjourned meeting unanimously adopted the following resolutions.
  • (1) Voted, That the, 23d day of November instant be recommended to be appointed for the commencement of the sales, at 9 o'clock A. M., and to be continued by adjournment if necessary until the business be completed, and that the pews be set up by pews and struck off to the highest bidder, and the person or persons who purchase them shall hold them for one year from the 1st day of December next.
  • (2) Voted, That every such person or persons who shall purchase a pew shall be required to execute his or their note payable to the society's treasurer or his order in 6 months from the first day of February next, with interest after nine months.
  • (3) Voted, That this Committee recommend to reserve the Northeast and Southeast corner pews and not offer them for sale, also a pew or share of a pew, such as the Rev. Mr. Brace shall choose for the accommodation of his family.
  • (4) Voted, That it be recommended to appoint an auctioneer and clerk to transact the business respecting the sales, that it shall be the duty of the auctioneer to expose the pews for sale, and when sold he shall inform the Clerk to whom they belong, and the price for which they are sold: that it shall be the duty of the Clerk to provide himself with a suitable number of blank notes which he shall fill up with the amount and require them to be signed by the purchaser.
  • (5) Voted, That it be recommended to offer two or three pews for sale in the south gallery, and also the high pew in the gallery, on the same terms as those on the lower floor. Your committee would beg leave further to remark that it is a duty incumbent on every citizen to do something in support of the institutions of religion, that in addition to the weighty concerns of Eternity and the solemnities of an hereafter, the advantages resulting from these institutions are not trifling, for should they be suffered to fall, our respectability as a people would dwindle to insignificance and contempt, that by it the value of property is enhanced, that it contributes to order, peace, and good regulations in society, promotes cleanliness in our persons and apparel, points us to the paths of virtue and morality, restrains the licentious and profane, adds weight to parental authority, recommends our youth to the passing stranger and the wayfaring man, and nerves the arm of government without which our persons and our families would be insecure. Your committee further believe that the time has come when those who are determined to support the preaching of the Gospel, (whatever means are taken for the purpose,) must make greater exertions than they have hitherto been required to do, that the votes of your last meeting demonstrated the impracticability of raising funds sufficient by a tax, and that they know no other way so likely to succeed as that which you have adopted. Your committee are aware that some of your most respectable and worthy citizens, fearful of the consequences of innovations, would have preferred the ancient mode of raising their necessary funds by a tax on property, yet, as all communities must be governed by a majority of such community, and when they reflect on the difficulties in the way of taxation, it is believed they will support the measures which the majority have adopted. There are others alike respectable, who conscientiously believe that coercive measures in matters of religion are not warranted by scriptural precepts, to such there is now an opportunity for the exercise of that liberality for which they are accountable to none but their conscience and their God. With regard to the pews, there is undoubtedly a choice, fancy will prefer one seat to that of another, but the liberal contributor will be actuated by higher motives, he will doubtless reflect that the primary object is to support the everlasting gospel. All which is respectfully submitted. By order of your committee, LEVI LUSK, Chairman.
At a meeting held November 6, 1820, "Voted, That the clerk of this society be requested to make an estimate of the sum necessary to raise to complete the Rev. Joab Brace's salary, after deducting the amount arising from the sale of the pews the last year, and make report to this or a future meeting." " Voted, That a committee be appointed to converse with Mr. Brace, and see if he will be willing to relinquish a part of his salary." "Voted, That Amos Andrus be a committee to converse with Mr. Brace as above."

"Communication from the Rev. Joab Brace.
Moderator and Brethren. Solicitude for your welfare and desire for the prosperity of the gospel of Christ in your salvation, induce me to do whatever I can for your relief and encouragement in maintaining the institutions of divine worship. I am in debt about twelve hundred dollars, and of course pay a heavy interest. I have already anticipated and expended about three-fifths of my salary for the year which is to end on the first of December next, and must therefore run into another year for the current expenses of the passing year. The expenses of my family have been every year much more than my salary, which I have supplied by other means. But my brethren and my beloved people, I seek not yours, but you, therefore, notwithstanding all these things, I will make a sacrifice for your accommodation. I know you are far from being a poor people, yet I consider the difficulties of the time, and 1 propose to make an abatement in your favor, and of my own accord I do hereby relinquish fifty dollars for one year, viz., the ecclesiastical year, to commence on the first Monday of December next, and accordingly do authorize you to record this communication as a testimony of such abatement of my salary for the said year. Imploring the blessing of God upon your present meeting. and upon all your best interests, and wishing that grace, mercy, and peace may. ever abide with you, I subscribe myself; Yours with sincere affection, J. BRACE.(This communication was presented to an adjourned society meeting held November 23, 1820.) NEWINGTON, November 23d, 1820.

At a meeting held February 19, 1821, "The will of Rosanna Deming being read, On motion, Voted, That a committee of three be appointed to convrse with Mr. Hubbard, to see if any and what arrangements can be made concerning the will of Rosanna Deming, and report at the next meeting.(Rosanna Deming died January 27, 1821, aged 73; she by her last will and testament, bequeathed to Laura Dillings, her wearing apparel and household furniture, and a horse and three acres of land on the East side of the way, also "Item. Eight acres of land on the west side of the way, with the house and barn thereon, to be at her use during her life, then to revert to the use of the ministry, with the other land as hereinafter directed. "Item. One acre of wood land in the Belden lot to be hers as in the last article. "Item. One cow to be at her use and disposal. "Item. I give and bequeath unto Rev. Joab Brace my other creatures and the farming materials, to be at his own proper use and disposal. "Item. I give and bequeath unto the Ecclesiastical Society in Newington, all my other lands to remain as they are, the avails of them to be given to the Presbyterian or Congregational minister of said society as a perquisite, aside from his stipulated salary, forever." Executed October 2, 1809. "Inventory of the estate of Rosanna Deming, deceased, taken by the subscribers, March 7, 1821.

Amount of personal property, per Inventory, $170.82
House $25.
Barn $100.
39 Acres, home lot, at $38 = $1482,
= $1,607.00

43 acres east side highway at $28,
7 do. Belden Lot, $50.= $350
= $1,554.00

6 acres ledge lot at $30, = $180.00

------- $3,511.82



Voted, That Absalom Wells, Amos Andrus, and Joseph Camp be the committee according to the above vote."

At a meeting held February 26, 1821, "The committee appointed the last meeting reported that they had called on Mr. Hubbard to consult with him on the business of their appointment, but were unable to make any arrangement with him whatever."

At a meeting held April 23, 1821. "The following statement was made to the meeting by Gen. Lusk, and voted, At a meeting of the Ecclesiastical Society of Newington, being legally warned and holden on the 23d day of April, 1821, for the purpose of taking into consideration the subject of a donation purporting to be given partially or indirectly to said society by the last will and testament of Rosanna Deming, late of Wethersfield, deceased. Having duly considered and examined into the case, we believe it is just and commendable, that persons have an unquestionable right to give and bequeath donations for charitable or public uses where it may be done, legally and without injuring the lawful heirs, and none (more) laudable than that of encouraging and supporting the preached gospel in regular established societies, which we are zealous ever to support in a legal and christian manner, and shall ever be grateful to any who may be disposed to contribute to aid us in the important work; but finding in the present case now in question that there appears many embarrassments in accepting and supporting the donation alluded to, however pure the motive of the donor might be, we with regret are under the necessity of declining the acceptance of the donation, for the following reasons. It is believed that through age and infirmity of body and mind she did not duly consider the natural obligation she was under to her nephew, the only heir by law, who has ever lent her all the possible aid and assistance in his power to render her life comfortable in her declining years, (The will was executed twelve years before her death, when she was about 60 years of age.) who is by said will wholly cut off from any share in the property which in justice would and ought to have descended to him as the only natural heir of his grandfather. Under all these circumstances we are led to believe that it is for the interest of the society, and will most conduce to the harmony among the people in said society, to relinquish all claims by virtue of said will, so far as this society is concerned as a corporate body. Believing that by attempting to support a claim by virtue of said will we shall be embarrassed in many expensive and vexatious law-suits, which will tend to disunite the people in said society. Therefore we consider that it is for the interest of the society, and strictly just to the heir in law, that we, as the society, should relinquish all claim, as, in the capacity of the society of Newington, we might claim by virtue of said will. And it is our wish that the property may be vested in the hands of the heir in law, and we will trust to his liberality to make such donation to said society as he may think proper for the support of the preaching of the gospel in said society, believing that he will so far carry the views and wishes of his deceased aunt into execution, as will satisfy the feelings of the people in said society, and will still remain a useful member in said society as he ever has been." "Voted, That the foregoing vote be binding on the society, if Mr. Leonard C. Hubbard will give, or be obligated to pay to this society, the sum of 500 dollars." (Mr. Hubbard gave his note to. the Society for $500.) At a meeting held November 11, 1822, "Voted, That for the purpose of raising the sum of 400 dollars to defray the expenses of this society the year ensuing, a committee be appointed to receive subscriptions, and if the sums amount to 400 dollars the clerk shall request the subscribers to give their note to the treasurer, payable in six months from date and on interest after nine months. After the notes are executed, as many as wish to sit in one pew shall inform the clerk, who shall find the amount of their subscriptions, and the company whose subscription shall exceed that of any other shall have the first choice of the pews, and the next highest the second, and so on till all are supplied with seats. In case two or more companies are equal in their subscriptions the choice shall belong to the one who shall raise his more than the other, or the choice may be determined by lot. The pews to be taken possession of and to be held one year from the first day of December next." "Voted, That Boger Welles, Jedediah Deming, Josiah W. Griswold, Lester Luce, William Wells, Allen Stoddard, and Martin Robbins be a committee to receive subscriptions."

At a meeting held November 26, 1822, "The sum of 400 dollars having been raised by subscription, the members of this society proceeded to class themselves and choose their pews, according to the vote of a former meeting."

At a meeting held Nov. 10, 1824, " Voted, That Messrs. Amos Andrus, Daniel Willard and Lowrey Robbins be a committee to devise together upon the best method of raising the sum necessary to meet the expenses of this society the ensuing year, and report to the next meeting."

At a meeting held Nov. 18, 1824, "Report of a committee appointed the last meeting to devise some plan, &c., received and acted upon.


The committee appointed by the society to devise a plan to raise the sum of 375 dollars, to defray the expenses of the society the ensuing year, having investigated the subject according to the best of their abilities, and availed themselves of such information and advice as they have had opportunity to obtain, beg leave to submit the following report. Although no plan has been suggested to your committee entirely free from objection, the following measures appear to them the best adapted to accomplish the desired object. Let the pews in the meeting house be sold at auction for one year, the highest bidder being entitled to a choice of pews, with one exception, viz., that when the purchaser has chosen his pew the auctioneer shall make known to the meeting which pew has been chosen, and shall proceed to offer said pew for sale to any person or company who will bid more, and if no person shall offer more for the pew, it shall belong to the person or company to whom it was struck off; and when two or more persons shall purchase the same pew they shall inform the clerk of the meeting of the names and the sum each individual is to pay for the pew. If a less sum than 375 dollars should be raised from the sale of the pews, your committee would recommend that the deficiency be made up by a tax on the property of such persons as are willing to be taxed for that purpose. It is further recommended that a committee of three, that is, one in each district, be appointed to inquire of all the persons who are possessed of taxable property, whether they will or will not be taxed to make up said deficiency, then the committee shall proceed to find the amount bid for pews by those persons who did not consent to be taxed, which sum shall be deducted from the 375 dollars, and the remaining part shall be the sum to be raised by a tax on the property of those persons who give their consent to be taxed, and whatever sum any person has bid for his pew shall be applied towards the payment of his tax. The above report is respectfully submitted, (Signed) AMOS ANDRUS, DANIEL WILLARD, LOWREY ROBBINS.

"Voted, That Roger Welles, Allen Stoddard, and Jedediah Deming, be a committee to obtain the names of those who are willing to be taxed."

"Voted, That the pews in the meeting house be sold according to a report of a committee, on the 24th of instant Nov., at 1 o'clock P. M."

"Voted, That Gen. Martin Kellogg be auctioneer on the day of the sale of the pews."

At a meeting held April 3d, 1826, "Voted, That this society receive with gratitude the very generous donation lately made them by Mr. Amos Andrus, deceased, and comply with the requisitions of his will."(Amos Andrus died Feb. 21, 1826, he was treasurer of the society at the time, the vacancy was supplied at this meeting by the election of Roger Wells to that office, who was annually re-appointed till he resigned in 1845, when John M. Belden was appointed, who was continued till 1873.)

"Voted, That the society's committee be directed to borrow 400 dollars, and that they pay to Mrs. Lydia, the wife of Horace Goodwin, 300 dollars, and to Mrs. Hannah, the wife of Phineas Hurlbut, 100 dollars, and take receipts therefor as a legacy from Mr. Amos Andrus deceased."

" Voted, That Messrs. Levi Deming, Martin Kellogg, Jr., and Joseph Camp, be appointed to superintend the erecting a fence to enclose a piece of wood land lately given to this society by Mr. Amos Andrus deceased, and to see that it is kept in repair."(Extract from will of Amos Andrus. "Item 5th, I give and bequeath to the Ecclesiastical society of Newington in connection with the Congregational Church of the Calvinistic or orthodox sentiments, a farm situate in said town of Wethersfield, known by the name of the Wright lot, together with a piece of land containing about four acres situate at the east end of said Wright farm, the rent of which, if unsold, to be appropriated to the use and benefit of said society, either in building or repairing a place for the worship of God, or for the support of the gospel. And provided that three fourths of the members of said society shall be in favor of selling said property, the avails shall be added to the funds of said society, and the interest only be appropriated to the above said objects. And also I give and bequeath to said ecclesiastical society one piece of land situate in said town, known by the name of Vexation lot, containing about forty-two acres, partly wood land and partly clear, on the followity, conditions, to wit: that said society enclose the wood land within fifteen months from and after the day in which the society shall be put in possession of said lot, and ever keep it enclosed under the inspection of a committee appointed for that purpose. And that said society pay to my sister Lydia Goodwin three hundred dollars, and to my sister Hannah Hurlbut one hundred dollars. If the said society comply with the above mentioned conditions, the said lot is to be for their use with liberty to sell the clear land if three-fourths of said society judge best. If said society do not comply with said terms then the land will revert to my heirs according to law." Executed Feb. 20, 1826. His estate was appraised March 8, 1826, at $11,938.43.)

At a meeting held Nov. 6, 1827, Voted, That the society's committee with the agent be directed to devise some plan for the payment of the debts the society owes, and report at the next meeting."

At a meeting held Nov. 20,1827. The committee presented the following report. " The committee appointed by the Ecclesiastical Society of Newington to devise measures for the extinguishment of said society's debts beg leave to report. That they have examined the wood lot belonging to the society, to ascertain whether it would be policy to sell the wood to pay said debts, and they find that most of the wood is thrifty growing timber. There is about two acres at the east end of said lot that is rather on the decay, your committee would recommend to have sold as soon as it can be disposed of to advantage. There are a few trees about the woods that are growing worse, they think it best to sell, and the money applied to extinguish said debt. They would also recommend that all the avails of the land over one hundred dollars a year be applied for the same purpose, and that whenever the sale of wood and the extra avails of the land shall not amount to one hundred dollars, there be taken from the avails so much as shall enable the society to pay 100 dollars a year until they shall extinguish their debt." "Voted, That the report of a committee appointed the last meeting to devise some plan for the extinguishment of the debts of this society be accepted." "Voted, Mr. Uzziel Latimer, with the agent, be appointed to dispose of the wood, according to the report of a committeee in the best manner they can. At a meeting held Nov. 4, 1828, "Voted, That the society's committee be authorized to receive proposals from some persons for ringing the bell and to officiate as sexton the year ensuincr."(This is the first mention of a church bell. See Dr. Brace's Dis., p. 42.)

At a meeting held Nov. 21, 182S, "Voted, That William Deming and Dositheus Hubbard be a committee to settle with Mr. Roger Welles, an agent appointed to purchase a bell, and apply the balance if there may be any to repairs and ringing the bell as they think best. (The agent went to Albany for the bell and transported it from there to Newington with his own team. That was before the time of railroads.) "Voted, That the society's committee be directed to employ some suitable person to ring the bell the year ensuing at 12 o'clock and at 9, and on the Sabbath. "Voted, That Col. Joseph Camp, Roger Welles, and Dea. Levi Deming, be a committee to view the Wright farm, so called, and receive proposals from any person, who would wish to buy said farm, and report at some future meeting."

At a meeting held Nov. 2, 1830, "Voted, That Col. Joseph Camp, Capt. Daniel Willard, and Dea. Levi Deming be a committee to confer with a committee of the school society of Newington, to make some arrangement about the division of the public moneys belonging to the two societies."

At a meeting held Nov. 16, 1830, "Voted, That a report of a committee on the public moneys be accepted."


"The committee appointed by this society to confer with a similar committee of the school society for the purpose of investigating the Situation of the funds belonging to the two societies, and to ascertain in what manner a division of said funds can be best effected, beg leave to report "That they have carefully attended to the duties of their appointment, and find that the sources from which our Ecclesiastical and school funds are derived are as follows:
  • 1. The parsonage money, received from the sale of 50 acres of land granted by the town of Wethersfield to the society of Newington for the benefit of the Ecclesiastical society in said place. This part of the fund we find to be $1,718.60.
  • 2. The loan money, derived from the sales of land in certain townships in the western part of the state, done by authority of the Legislature, and appropriated exchisively for the benefit of schools. This part of the fund we find to be $279.23.
  • 3. The excise money, accruing from certain imposts or duties paid on the importation of goods, which was appropriated by the legislature for the support of schools. This part of the fund amounts to $168.58.
  • 4. The Kensington money, This was paid by the town (society) of Kensington to the society of Newington, as a compensation for that portion of said society which was annexed to Kensington, and now belongs to the society of Worthington. This part of the fund amounts to $195.40.
  • 5. After the termination of the late war with Great Britain, Connecticut received of the United States --------- dollars as a remuneration in part for expenses incurred by the State during the war, which sum the Legislature apportioned among the several religious societies in the State. Of this money the Ecclesiastical Society of Newington received $70.33.
  • 6. The sum of $500.00, which the Ecclesiastical society received for the relinquishment of its claim to the estate of Rosanna Deming, deceased.
  • 7. The bequest of the late Mr. Amos Andrus, deceased. As this property consists wholly of real estate, no estimation of its worth has been made by your committee.
" With regard to the several items which compose our funds, the inquiry next arises which of these belongs to the school society. "Your committee are not yet satisfied that the school society has a legal claim to any except the Loan and the Excise moneys. No difficulty arises with regard to any except the Kensington money. Your committee cannot find any record or document which shows conclusively for what purpose it was to be applied. It was simply given to the society of Newington. "Athough your committee are unanimous in the opinion that the Ecclesiastical society has the best claim to the Kensington money, yet considering that there is some diversity of opinion on the subject, and also that our fathers usually applied a part of the interest of the Kensington money for the support of schools, your committee would beg leave to recommend that a vote be passed authorizing your trustee to transfer to the treasurer of the school society one half of the Kensington money, (This division of the Kensington money was certainly liberal to the school society. In 1715 when the original annexation of the Beckleys to the Great Swamp Society took place, the main consideration urged by them was their nearness to the meeting house in the Great Swamp Society where they attended worship and their distance from the Newington meeting house, the subject of schools was not mentioned and probably had no influence in the matter. In 1754, when the annexation was confirmed to Kensington society, apparently the same consideration governed. The people annexed were incorporated a school district by themselves in 1757, so that their school privileges were very little affected by their annexation. The Kensington money was paid for the loss to Newington society of the territory annexed to Kensington, this teritory would have furnished a revenue to the Newington society by way of taxes, had it not been set off, these taxes were in 1754 almost wholly for the support of the ministry, and even in 1830 the cost of schools did not probably equal the cost of supporting the ministry.) together with the Loan and Excise moneys, the whole amounting to $545.51, to be paid in notes or cash as shall hereafter be determined. "All which respectfully submitted,
Nov. 16, 1830.

At a meeting held Nov. 30, 1830, "Voted, That a committee of three be appointed and directed to sell the farm owned by this society called the Wright farm, as soon as practicable, provided that a sum shall be offered which, in the opinion of the committee, shall be a fair price for it. Also that this committee be authorized to give, in the name of the society, to the purchaser a good and lawful deed of the same. (In the affirmative the votes were thirty-one, Neg. none.) Voted, that Gen. Martin Kellogg, Col. Joseph Camp, Dea. Levi Deming, be the committee for the object as above stated."

At a meeting held Nov. 4, 1834, "Voted, That Gen. M. Kellogg, Levi Deming, and Col. Joseph Camp, be a committee to give and receive deeds in exchange of some land to straighten the line on the society's lot. Also to sell the Clear lot, if an offer shall be made that they shall consider reasonable."

At a meeting held April 5, 1837, "Voted, That Messrs. Roger Welles, Jeremiah Seymour and Martin Robbins be a committee to draw a plan of such alterations as this society propose to have made to the meeting house and report at the next meeting."

At a meeting held April 12, 1837, "Voted, That the committee appointed the last meeting be directed to apply the sum of 800 dollars now raised by subscriptions, and whatever more may hereafter be raised, in making such alterations in the meeting house as they shall think expedient."

At a meeting held Nov. 7, 1837, "Resolved, That (this) meeting present their thanks to the Rev. Mr. Todd and wife for the prompt and lively interest they have manifested in fitting up and adorning our church, and also for their very liberal donations presented for said purpose. "Voted, That the thanks of this meeting be given to the Rev. Joab Brace, our pastor, and his family, for the aid they have given and the interest manifested in repairing the church, and fitting it for the public worship of God." (Among other changes the pews were altered into slips)

At a meeting held Sept. 1, 1841, "Voted, To purchase a bell for the Ecclesiastical society of Newington of from 700 to 800 lbs. "Voted, That a committee of two be directed to dispose of the old bell and to purchase a new one. "Voted, That Roger Welles and Homer Camp be that committee."

At a meeting held Nov. 2, 1841, "Voted, That the society's committee be directed to set out trees about the meeting house for public convenience, according to their judgment, at the expense of the society."

At a meeting held Oct. 1, 1842, "Voted, That a committee be appointed to sell a part of the society's land, Roger Welles, Martin Robbins, Erastus Latimer, committee."

At a meeting held June 2, 1845, "Voted, That the society's committee be authorized to borrow a sum not exceeding two hundred dollars, to be expended in painting, blinds, repairs, &c., on the meeting house of said society. Voted, That J. M. Belden, M. W. Stoddard, and Levi S. Deming be a special committee to carry the above vote into effect."

At a meeting held Nov. 21, 1845, "Voted, That Jeremiah Seymour, Martin Robbins, E. Stoddard, L.S. Deming, and Henry Luce be appointed a committee to view and stake out the ground in the vicinity of the Congregational Church where in their opinion it would le expedient to plant shade or ornamental trees, and to invite individuals of the society to select their spot, and plant and maintain a tree or trees on said spot. Voted, that the secretary be invited to take the names of those who will volunteer to set out trees.

M. W. Stoddard, D. H. Willard, Erastus Latimer, E. Wimples, Jr., S. J. M. Kellogg, R. W. Kellogg, William Wells, Newman Bundy, William Kirkham, Martin Brown, Henry S. Kilbourn, L.S. Deming, Henry Luce.

At a meeting held November 5, 1851, "Voted, That Mr. Brace be invited to remain as pastor until he shall have completed the term of fifty years."

At a meeting held November 9, 1852, "Voted, That a committee of three be appointed to take into consideration the enlargement of the church. That M.W. Stoddard, Levi S. Deming, and D.H. Willard be that committee.

At a meeting held November 16, 1852, "Voted, That the report of the committee on enlargement be accepted."

At a meeting held December 7, 1852, "Voted, That a committee be appointed to take into consideration the enlargement of the church, said committee to consist of one. That Dea. Jedediah Deming be that committee."

At a meeting held January 4, 1853, "Voted, That the special committee be directed to procure the opinions and estimates of some other architect. Dea. Jedediah Deming be that committee."

At a meeting held January 18, 1853, "Voted, That the committee report on or before the first Tuesday in March. "Voted, That Homer Camp, Erastus Latimer, John M. Belden, and M.W. Stoddard be added to the committee."

At a meeting held February 15, 1853, "Report of committee on enlargement accepted. "Voted, That a committee he appointed and instructed to obtain a side and front elevation, with a view of the steeple raised and improved, with estimates of costs. "Voted, Edwin Wells and L.S. Deming be that committee."

At a meeting held February 23, 1853, "Voted, That the sum of One Thousand Dollars be raised by subscription. That Levi S. Deming be agent to obtain subscriptions. That subscriptions shall be paid on or before the first of October next. That the agent be authorized to take notes in payment of subscriptions, to be paid with interest on or before the first of June, 1856. That a committee of seven be appointed as a building committee. That Albert S. Hunn, J. Deming, jr., Charles K. Atwood, John M. Belden, Willis P. Davis, Daniel H. Willard, H. L. Kellogg be that committee."

At a meeting held March 14, 1853, "That a building committee be appointed and authorized to enlarge and improve the meeting house in accordance with a general plan presented, (called White's plan,) said plan to be subject to alterations and amendments, as to the committee shall appear best. "Voted, That Levi S. Deming, Edwin Welles, and Albert S. Hunn be a building committee. "Voted, That a resolution appointing a committee of seven as a building committee, at a former meeting, be rescinded."

At a meeting held December 1853, "Voted, That the report of the building committee be accepted, and that the society assume the debt by them contracted. "Voted, That this society present a vote of thanks to the building committee. "Voted, That this society present to Mr. Eliphalet Richards, (and his subordinates,) building contractor on their meeting house, a vote of thanks for the acceptable manner in which he has fulfilled his contract."

At a meeting held November 7, 1854, "Whereas Rev. Joab Brace notified this society three years since of his readiness to discontinue his active duties as pastor with us, and at the request of the society, by a committee appointed for the purpose, agreed to continue as pastor for three years more, and this period having nearly expired, Therefore, Voted, That a committee of three be appointed to confer with Mr. Brace, and ascertain his views and wishes on the subject, and report to the next meeting. "Voted, That Homer Camp, Charles K. Atwood, and Marcus W. Stoddard be that committee."

At a meeting held November 13, 1854, "Voted, That the report of the committee to confer with Rev. Mr. Brace be accepted, and that their report and his communication be recorded." " Committee report that they met Mr. Brace at his house on the evening following their appointment, and after a very pleasant and somewhat lengthy interview, Mr. Brace, at our request, agreed to put his views in writing, which is herewith submitted."

Communication from Mr. Brace. NEWINGTON, November 9, 1854.
To the Ecclesiastical Society of Newington.
Your committee called on me last evening to converse on the question of my resigning my pastoral services among you, and now, through that committee I have to say, (1.) I thank you for the respect shown to me herein, by you and by the committee. (2.) I was ordained January 16, 1805, as the minister of this people. In the year 1851, I offered to cease from my labors, if my people wished it, as that was the year of my three score and ten, otherwise I would go on and complete, if God would give me strength and grace, the half-century of my ordination. The society voted that a committee be appointed to signify to me their pleasure that I should continue my ministry during those three years. I rejoice that having obtained help of God I continue to this time. (3.) I now propose, with your approbation and concurrence, to resign, not to be formally dismissed, but to resign, all the active services of the pastor and minister, to the charge of my colleague, (as soon as he shall be settled,) at the close of the fifty years. (4.) I design, (if God be willing,) to preach my last pastoral sermon on Tuesday, the sixteenth day of January, 1855, at two of the clock, P.M. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. J. BRACE. To Special Committee. H. CAMP, M.W. STODDARD, C.K. ATWOOD.

At a meeting held March 10, 1856, "Voted, That we concur with the church in extending a call to Mr. William P. Aiken to settle with us in the gospel ministry. "Voted, That we will pay Mr. Aiken the annual salary of Nine Hundred Dollars. "Voted, That Henry L. Kellogg, Albert S. Hunn, and John M. Belden be a committee to carry into effect the votes of this meeting. "Voted, That the committee express to him the desire of this society that he come as soon as convenient to him."

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