Traditions And Reminisences Of Newington
Church Votes & Proceedings, 1805-1874
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]
TRADITIONS AND REMINISENCES OF NEWINGTON, COMPILED BY THE LATE CAPT. DANIEL WILLARD.
(Mr. Willard was contemporary with Dr. Brace, and lived to an advanced age. In the latter years of his life he gathered and compiled a mass of materials about "Newington", its family genealogies, with historical and biographical sketches, incidents, reminiscences, anecdotes, traditions, &c., "from which the following account has been condensed, retaining as far as possible his own language. The original manuscript is in the possession of his son, Daniel H. Willard. It contains genealogies of the families in Newington of great interest.)
For quite a number of years, perhaps some thirty or forty years after the first settlers came to Wethersfield, in 1634, that part of the town lying west of Cedar Mountain, since called Newington, was a wilderness, "Where nothing dwelt but beasts of prey, Or men as fierce and wild as they."
The Indians were somewhat numerous, many of them lived around a pond near the center of the place, where they had a little village of wigwams. From the pond they obtained an abundance of fish. Sequin was then Sachem, they were tributary to the Sachem at Middletown. The people of Newington need not be ashamed of their early ancestors. Most of them were descendants of the pilgrim fathers of New England, and retain much of the "steady habits" of Connecticut. Some thirty years ago a Connecticut historian, speaking of Newington, says, "Its inhabitants (about 650 in number) are chiefly engaged in agriculture, and are distinguished for their general intelligence, and attachment to the institutions of morality and religion." At a very early period they built school houses, and provided teachers for their children. As soon as they were able they erected a house for public worship. Previous to that time they attended church at Wethersfield, they walked through the woods, the women carrying their infant children in their arms, and taking off their shoes and stockings to ford the streams, and the men carrying their loaded guns, for fear of the Indians. The early settlers of Newington were not more than two generations later than their Puritan fathers, who came to Hartford and Wethersfield about the year 1634, than whom a more worthy race of men cannot be found in Modern History. The first settlers and their more immediate descendants were a strong, hardy, athletic race, capable of greater endurance of bodily toil than the more refined and better educated men of the present day. To reap, bind, and stack an acre of heavy, new-land wheat, was but a common day's work. The late Mr. Amos Andrus, who was born in 1765, said that he could well remember when the old men were not so tall in stature, but larger, heavier, more thick set and hardy, as he expressed it, than the men of later generations. Our maternal ancestors were the fit companions of the brave pioneers and founders of a new settlement, most of them pious women, some of them "mothers in Israel," with strength equal to their day; see them, after the toils and hardships of the week, without servants, without the modern improvements in houses, fires, and culinary utensils, see them, on the morning of the Sabbath, take their infant children in their arms and walk through the forests to Wethersfield to attend public worship. I ought to have added, that until the last half century, most of the clothing both for summer and winter, was of their own manufacturing, except the dressing of it by the clothiers. When all wore homespun, they were as proud of a new garment as many are now of the most costly fabrics. I remember well when there was not a white house in the place, one was of a greenish color, a few were painted with Spanish brown, all the others of the natural wood color. Stoves were not known, many of the old fire places were wide and deep enough to seat a number of children on stools inside the jambs; few or none of the rooms were plastered, papered, or painted; women rode to church on side-saddles or pillions, except a few who owned a poor two-wheeled carriage, called a eurricle, I know of only one one-horse wagon that was for the conveyance of people to church and other places. The old meeting house was very much dilapidated. When a child I watched the swallows as they flew in and out, where some clapboards had fallen off near the ridge, chirping and twittering to their young in their nests under the ridge pole, while Mr. Belden was reading from the 84th Psalm., Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, 0 Lord of hosts." I do not blame our ancestors for not building a better house, they did all that they were able to do. I only blame those of later time for not building a good church sooner than they did. The people had to submit to the inconveniences and discomforts of the old house 80 years. The house was not finished inside except the pulpit, pews, galleries, and gallery stairs, which were at the northeast and southeast corners of the house. Children were often seated on the stairs, in full view of their parents and the minister. The tithingmen had the oversight of those in the galleries. There was a very wide sounding-board over the pulpit, suspended in part by an iron rod running from the board to the side of the house. I was not the only child who was afraid that the rod would break or draw from its fastenings, and let the sounding board fall on the minister's head. I remember well the neighboring ministers who exchanged with Mr. Belden, previous to the year 1800. I remember well their venerable forms, their solemn deportment, their dignified step, as they passed through the middle aisle and up the pulpit stairs. Such men as Dr. Perkins of West Hartford, Dr. Smalley of New Britain, Mr. Washburn of Farmington, Mr. Hawley of Northington, now Avon, Dr. Upson of Kensington, Mr. Fenn of Worthington, Mr. Robinson of Southington, Dr. Chapin of Rocky Hill, Dr. Marsh of Wethersfield, and once or twice Dr. Strong or Dr. Flint of Hartford. Dr. Flint was the best reader of Psalms and Hymns that I ever heard. Drs. Strong and Smalley were great theologians. These ministers were all faithful embassadors of Christ. Like all other good men they had some failings and imperfections. They were not so free and sociable with the youth and children as the ministers of the preseut day. Most of us could never divest ourselves of the awe and reverence we felt, when in the presence of Mr. Belden. He continued to wear his three-cornered, wide-brimmed, cocked hat, and Dr. Marsh his great white wig, I think while they continued to preach. Their dress, address, and whole demeanor was calculated to inspire us with reverence, rather than win our love and affection. My father, who was one of the committee who engaged Mr. Brace to be our pastor, said to him, "I hope that my children will not stand in such fear of you as I have of Mr. Belden." "I hope not," said Mr. Brace, "I shall endeavor not to give them any occasion for it. "The boys of former times took off their hats and made a low bow to a minister, whenever he passed by them in the street. Many years before Sabbath schools were ever known, Mr. Belden, on certain Sabbaths in the summer season, would request all the children of the Congregation to stay and recite the Assembly's Catechism, after the adult portion of the assembly were dismissed. The sermons were more formal, less concise, too much time spent in the introduction, in enumerating the different heads (quite too many of them sometimes,) or divisions of the discourse, all tending to make it too lengthy, especially in a cold day, in a cold house, with no means of warming it, but the few coals in the foot stoves, which the women carried to church with them. The holy Sabbath is not so strictly kept by us as it was by our ancestors. Like the Puritan Fathers, they considered the Sabbath as beginning at sun down on Saturday evening; all worldly avocations and secular business, (except works of necessity or mercy,) were brought to a close as near as possible at that time; the evening, as well as the Sabbath day, except attendance at church, was spent in reading the Bible and other religious books, of which those in the Charity library formed an essential part. The children often recited the Assembly's catechism, the little children were taught to learn Dr. Watts' catechism and divine songs, &c. It was considered sacred time from the setting of the sun on Saturday eve. to the same hour on Sunday evening. The means of information have been multiplied many fold. I recollect well when there were but few books except those contained in our three public libraries, of which we were in advance of most country places. There were then no daily newspapers, no weekly papers accessible to us but the Courant and Mercury, both of which were smaller than our daily papers now are. There were no reports of Bible, Missionary, Tract, and Sabbath School Societies, &c., which were not then in existence, with the exception of the Connecticut Missionary Society, which employed a few laborers in the new settlements in the State of Vermont, Western New York, and later in New Connecticut, as it was then called. That society once a year, published a pamphlet containing an account of the labors of their missionaries, one copy only of which wassent to Newington for the whole society to read, on which Mr. Belden, with his characteristic precision, wrote, "This book belongs to the Ecclesiastical Society of Newington, to be circulated from neighbor to neighbor as speedily as may be." There was one magazine, viz. The Connecticut Evangelical Magazine, the articles of which were very ably written by such men as Dr. Strong, Dr. Smalley, Dr. Perkins and others. It is well known that slavery once existed in Newington, though our young children will hardly realize that several of their forefathers owned negro slaves. But the servitude here was much milder than it is in the Gulf States, in Cuba, Brazil, or, as I should think among the serfs of Russia, who have lately been emancipated by the Emperor Alexander, 2d. It was more like that which existed in the family of Abraham, and the other Patriarchs of old. Our ancestors who owned them were humane, benevolent, and conscientious men, who taught them to read, especially the Bible, to go to church, and in some cases they were allowed almost as much liberty as members of their own families. A part of these slaves were emancipated by the voluntary acts of their masters, others by enactments of our State Legislature. Deacon Josiah Willard, in his will, provided for the freedom of Guinea, whenever his old mistress died, which I should think was before he arrived at middle age. He was brought from the coast of Guinea in Africa and sold to Dea. Willard. Deacon John Camp bought a negro boy, named Pomp, said to have been brought from the West Indies. I was told that the Deacon paid pound for pound for him, that is, he paid twenty shillings in money for every pound that Pomp weighed. Pomp, after he obtained his freedom, married Zilpah, by whom he had eight children. Mr. Gideon Hunn, I think, had a negro whose name was Toney; James Lusk had a negro named Peter; Unni Robbins, 1st, had one whose name was Benoni; Daniel Willard, 1st, had one named Brisco; he died when a boy; Rev. Mr. Belden had one whose name was Job; Lemuel Whittlesey had one named Dick; Capt. Martin Kellogg owned two negroes, Step and Katrine, he permitted Step to marry Katrine. Step had a little child named Pegg. I remember that on the Mitchell farm in the south part of the place, lived two aged negroes, called Tom and Frank. Towards the close of Tom's life, at his own request, the pastor, deacons, and several members of the church met at his house and with him partook of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Capt. Jonathan Stoddard had one who was called Jim. The names of some of the physicians who have resided in Newington are; Dr. Andrus, a shrewd, observing man, who had a very retentive memory; Dr. Richards was one of our early physicians, he introduced the innoculation of the small pox in Newington; Dr. Joshua Belden was an excellent physician; Dr. Archibald Hall practiced medicine more or less many years; Dr. Wadsworth also during a much shorter period. In 1776 the population of Newington was about 500. Many of its inhabitants have lived to a good old age. During the fifty years of Dr. Brace's ministry the number of deaths of persons between 70 and 80 years were 64; between the ages of 80 and 95 there were 36 persons; making in all 100 deaths of those 70 years old and upwards. Newington has been blessed with several revivals of religion. The greatest of them was that of 1821, under the solemn and pungent preaching of Rev. Dr. Nettleton. It is often spoken of as the great revival. There were fifty heads of families, viz. 25 husbands with their 25 wives, that were soon afterwards received into the church at one time, as the fruits of that revival. Several others of different ages united with the church, Widow Charity Tryon, then 70 years old, was one of them, she lived to the advanced age of 94 1/2 years. This work of grace was previous to the era of Sabbath schools, since then, revivals have been greater in Dr. Brace's Bible class and in the Sabbath school than among other classes of people. In 1831 there was a great revival, followed by another in 1844. These last two were the most powerful among the young people and children. The Sabbath school has been well sustained ever since its commencement. It has proved to be an important auxiliary to the ministration of Divine truth. It has shared largely in the religious revivals. There has been a time when more than one-half of all belonging to or connected with the school were members of the church. The superintendents of the school have been Daniel Willard, superintendent the first 13 years, William Deming, assistant superintendent and secretary during the same time, Dea. Origen Wells, Dea. Jedidiah Deming, Levi S. Deming, Marcus W. Stoddard, Charles Atwood, and Joseph J. Francis. After the revolution the schools in Newington progressed rapidly. By the year 1800, our schools were in a good state, and before 1830, the principal branches of a common school education, such as reading, spelling, writing, arithmetic, grammar, and geography were as faithfully taught as they have been at any time. Our old people well remember the times when the two oldest classes of the several schools, at the close of the winter sessions, were assembled at the church for a public examination and exhibition. Newington has not fallen short of other country places in its military character. At an early period a militia company was organized, I find by a diary kept by Daniel Willard, 1st, that in the year 1741, there was a draft made of one half of the company, viz. 1 ensign, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer and 23 privates, in all 29 persons, which would make the company at that early date to consist of 58 persons. I can name but a part of those who were Captains of the Company before the Revolutionary war and during its continuance. John Camp, Josiah Willard. Martin Kellogg, 2d, Martin Kellogg, 3d, Robert Wells, Sen., Robert Wells, Jun., Charles Churchill, Jonathan Stoddard, Sen. Captains of the company after the Revolution, Levi Lusk, Absalom Wells, Robert Francis, Jonathan Stoddard, Jun., Martin Kellogg, 5th, James Deming, Joseph Camp. On the re-organization of the militia a Light Infantry Company was enlisted from the 1st and 2d societies, about two-thirds of them from Newington. Captains of the Light Infantry Company who belonged to Newington: Joseph Camp, Simeon Stoddard, Daniel Willard, Erastus Latimer, Erastus Francis, Selden Deming, Daniel H. Willard, Albert S. Hunn. The light infantry company for many years after its organization was considered superior to any company in the regiment. Newington has furnished its full share of soldiers in the war of the Revolution. It has furnished more Generals and Field Officers, in proportion to its population, than any place with which I have been acquainted. Four Colonels, viz. Roger Welles, Levi Lusk, Martin Kellogg, and Joseph Camp, three of them, viz. Welles, Lusk, and Kellogg were afterwards Brigadier Generals, and two of them, Lusk and Kellogg were promoted to the Rank of Major Generals. Newington furnished many men in the Revolutionary war. Some of them lost their lives in that service. In the war of 1712-15, two small drafts were made from the company, and stationed at Groton to defend New London and the frigate Macedonian and the sloop of war Hornet, from any attack that might be made from the British fleet on the coast. Gen. Levi Lusk commanded the militia and Lieut. Joseph Camp, (afterwards Col. Camp) had a command there.
V. CHURCH VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS.
Feb. 28, 1805. Church meeting after lecture, "Voted, a tax on the communicants to supply the deficiency of the fund given by Deacon Deming, for the support of the Communion table. "Appointed David Lowrey and Levi Deming a committee to direct this business, also to purchase a record book for the church. Attest, J. BRACE, Col. Pastor.
Oct. 29, 1818. A special meeting of the church was held for the choice of two deacons, one in the place of the late deacon Willard, and the other in the room of deacon Wells, resigned. Levi Deming, 2d, and Origen Wells were chosen, and commended to God in prayer. Attest, J. BRACE, Pastor.
Jan. 4, 1830. The church resolved to appoint a committee to aid in the exercise of church discipline, and to renew the appointment annually, to consist of the two deacons, and three additional members. The two deacons were appointed by nomination, and the other three were chosen by ballot. The whole committee are Dea. Levi Deming, Dea. Origen Wells, Brother Josiah W. Griswold, Brother William Deming, and Brother Jedidiah Deming, to hold their office until the sacramental lecture preceding the first Sabbath in January, 1831. After prayer, the meeting was adjourned.
Dec. 30, 1830. At the time of sacramental lecture, the same persons were re-appointed church committee.
Dec. 29, 1831. After lecture the church re-appointed the same persons committee for the year ensuing.
Jan. 3, 1833. At lecture, the same church committee was re-appointed.
Jan. 2, 1834. At lecture, the same church committee was re-appointed.
Jan. 1, 1835. At lecture, the same were re-appointed except J. W. Griswold.
Mar. 2, 1837. The church held a meeting after the sacramental lecture for receiving the communication of six members, (who had in a disorderly manner left the communion and ordinances of this church,) wishing to be dismissed, without naming any church to which they wish to go. The church deferred these petitions for consideration on the next lecture day. In the meantime, the church committee were especially appointed to attend to these members, and report to the next meeting. The committee appointed were Dea. Deming, Dea. Wells, William Deming, Jedidiah Deming, and Josiah Atwood. The meeting was adjourned to the time of the next sacramental lecture.
May 4, 1837. The church held a meeting by adjournment, after the sacramental lecture, for receiving the report of the committee, when it appeared that they had with christian kindness and patience admonished the delinquent members, but without any effect in reclaiming them. Whereupon, after mature deliberation, the church came unanimously to the following decision. "Voted, That whereas . . . . have for a long time, contrary to their covenant engagements, separated themselves from the communion of this church, and have refused to listen to the admonitions of the church committee who were, especially appointed to reclaim them, this church does by this act, (2 Thess. Ill, 6.) withdraw from them, and considers itself as discharged from the covenant obligation to watch over them."
Jan. 4, 1838. At lecture, Church Committee were appointed, viz: Dea. Levi Deming, Dea. Origen Wells, Br. William Deming, Br. Jedidiah Deming, Br. Josiah Atwood. Jan. 28. Voted by the church unanimously, that the pleasure and the thanks of this church be expressed to Lucy L. Robbins and Mary L. Seymour for the mahogany table this day presented by those two sisters for the possession and use of this church in the sacramental communion.
Jan. 1, 1839. Voted by the church and people in general meeting to drop Dwight's edition of the Psalms, and adopt Watts' entire, with select hymns.
Jan. 3, 1839. Lecture. "Voted, That Wm. Deming, Lester Luce, and Jeremiah Seymour, with Dea. Deming and Dea. Wells, be the standing committee of the church for this year."
July 7, 1839. Church furniture this day presented and consecrated, viz: two flagons, six cups, four platters, and a baptizing bason, procured by a ready-subscription, bought of Thomas Wiggins, of Philadelphia, (by whose favor, $20. were deducted from the price,) to be the property of the church, (gathered Oct. 3, 1722, whose covenant is written in this book and in the Pulpit Bible,) to be used in the administration of the Lord's supper so long as the church shall choose. Whole cost of furniture and trunk $119. J. BRACE, Pastor.
Dec. 31, 1840. The same church committee were appointed.
Dec. 30, 1341. The same were re-appointed as the committee of the church.
Dec. 29, 1842. Jan. 4, 1844. Jan. 2, 1845. The same were re-appointed committee of the church.
April 30, 1846. Joseph Camp was chosen by ballot committee in place of William Deming, deceased. The others re-appointed.
Dec. 31, 1846. The same re-appointed.
July 1, 1847. Jedidiah Deming was chosen deacon in the place of Dea. Levi Deming.
Dec. 30, 1847. Church Committee. Two deacons, Joseph Camp, Lester Luce, and Jeremiah Seymour.
Jan. 4, 1849. The same were re-appointed.
Nov. 29, 1849. Dea. Origen Wells, having served the church ever since 1818, resigned his work as deacon, on account of the loss of sight, and brother Jeremiah Seymour was chosen deacon in his place.
Jan. 3, 1850. Church Committee, two deacons, Joseph Camp, Lester Luce, Roger Welles.
Jan. 2, 1851, and Jan. 1, 1852. The same were re-appointed.
Dec. 30, 1852. Two deacons, (ex-officio) of the standing committee. Josiah Atwood chosen by ballot in the place of Joseph Camp, deceased, for the year ensuing. Roger Welles and Lester Luce re-appointed.
Dec. 29, 1853. Same Committee re-appointed. Widow Dorothy Stoddard re-admitted to the church.
Jan. 4, 1855. Dea. Deming, Dea. Seymour, Roger Welles, Josiah Atwood, and Lester Luce re-appointed church Committee. Dea. Deming's account reported, and a contribution directed for paying the account. (The last entry by Dr. Brace.)
May 4, 1855. Charles K. Atwood was appointed Clerk.
Jan. 5, 1856. Deacons J. Deming and J. Seymour, and brethren Roger Welles, Josiah Atwood, and Erastus Latimer were appointed committee for the year.
Mar. 3, "Voted, That we make choice. of and invite Mr. William P. Aikin to become colleague pastor with Rev. Dr. Brace. "Voted, That Erastus Latimer be a committee to inform the society of our action and request their concurrence. "Voted, That Charles K. Atwood, Marcus W. Stoddard, and Levi S. Deming be a committee of the church to inform Mr. Aikin of our call, and to take measures necessary to his settlement. "1857, Mr. Aikin having accepted the call, Friday, January 9, was appointed as a day of fasting and prayer. Public exercises in the afternoon were conducted by. Rev. Samuel J. Andrews, assisted by Rev. Frederick Gridley. CHARLES K. ATwooD, Clerk of Church.
Note—The records kept by Dr. Brace are written in a very plain hand, and are still in a very good state of preservation. They contain the church Covenant, Ordinations, Admissions to Communion, Baptisms, Confessions, Publishments, Marriages, Funerals or Deaths, Church Proceedings, Those dismissed and recommended to other churches, and the Delegates to Councils. A large portion of these records is omitted, and that portion printed has been abridged to some extent; as an instance of this abridgment may be mentioned the fact that Dr. Brace records not only the deaths of his people and their ages, but also the diseases which carried them off; the latter have been omitted. A single case of discipline has been given where certain persons were excluded for absenting themselves from the communion and ordinances of the church, in whose case the action of the church was the reverse of that taken recently by a distinguished church in Brooklyn. Only two other cases of discipline occur in Dr. Brace's ministry.
The resignation of Dr. Brace, January 16, 1855, closed a ministry of fifty years ; and although he had passed the age of threescore years and ten, it could almost be said of him that "his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." The affection of his people towards him was certainly unabated. In his valedictory discourse he said : "The great body of this congregation can not look back to the time when I was not here. They have known no other minister. "He was as a father to them all. Under these circumstances his withdrawal from his life work was, in the language of a brother minister, "a fitting close of a favored ministry. This termination of the pastoral office, and laying down the commission borne for more than half a century, while yet conscious of the possession of vigorous powers, and of the active confidence and affection of a grateful people, was a delightful exhibition of the power of the gospel. "He himself has left on record the following remarkable testimony of his devotion to his chosen work and people : " Now, my people, if you should rise up in a body here to-day, and propose this one question to me, viz: If we should all go back to Our youth again, would you, with all your experience, come and. be our minister again ? what would I say ? If I were to go back and begin my life anew I would choose the Christian ministry for my work, and for the joy of my life, Lord Jesus accept me. 'Would I come and be the minister of Newington again ?' Yes, yes, my brethren, I think I can say that I would, and spend the half century with you. "And his people would, in response, also have taken him anew to their hearts, as their minister for the half century over again. A portion of his work appears in the preceding records, but the whole will never be made manifest until the final books of account shall be opened at the; bolding of the Great Assizes. After his resignation he left; the scene of his life long labors, and took up his residence with his son-in-law, Rev. Dr. John Todd, at Pittsfield, Mass., where he ended his earthly pilgrimage in peace with all men and with his Maker, having length of days, and honor, and "riches incorruptible and that fadeth not away." During the season following the resignation of Dr. Brace the pulpit was supplied by Rev. Jno. Whittlesey, of New Britain. A revival followed his preaching, which resulted in the addition to the church of about thirty persons. In December, 1855, a call was extended to Rev. David H. Thayer, then settled at Mount Carmel. Mr. Thayer declined. In March, 1856, Mr. William P. Aiken, then a tutor in Yale College, received a call, which he accepted with the understanding that his ordination should not take place until January, 1857. During the interval between his call and ordination the pulpit was supplied by Rev. Samuel J. Andrews, of Hartford.
SECOND PERIOD, 1857-1874.
Mr. Aiken was ordained Tuesday, January 15, 1857. The churches represented on the occasion were the following: Hartford 1st, Rev. Joel Hawes, D. D.; Samuel Ward; Farmington, Dea. Thomas Treadwell; West Hartford, Rev. M. N. Morris, Dea. Josiah W. Griswold; Berlin, Josiah Webster; Rocky Hill, Rev. L. B. Rockwood, Dea. Thomas D. Williams; Wethersfield, Rev. W. S. Colton, Dea. Galpin; Pittsfield 1st, John E. Todd; Hamden, Rev. David H. Thayer, Joshua Carpenter; church in Yale College, Rev. George P. Fisher, Rev. Theodore D. Woolsey, president of Yale College; Rev. Frederick Gridley, Rev. Samuel J. Andrews, Rev. Joab Brace, senior pastor of the church. Dr. Hawes was appointed moderator, and Rev. Mr. Colton scribe. The several parts of the public service were performed as follows: Invocation and reading of the Scriptures, Rev. Mr. Morris; sermon, Rev. Pres. Woolsey; ordaining prayer, Rev. Dr. Brace; charge to the pastor, Rev. Royal Robbins; right hand of fellowship, Rev. Prof. Fisher; address to the people, Rev. S. J. Andrews; concluding prayer, Rev. D. H. Thayer; benediction by the pastor. Rev. Mr. Aiken continued to discharge the duties of the pastoral office for ten years, most acceptably to his people, who with great reluctance yielded to his departure to another field of labor in the summer of 1867. He resigned, and a mutual council was called which severed the tie which had so happily bound pastor and people together. He became principal of the Lawrence Academy at Groton, Mass. He is at this time settled at Vergennes, Vt. In February, 1868, Mr. Sandford S. Martyn received a call, which he accepted March 12, 1868, and was ordained April 29, 1868. He continued pastor two years, when he resigned to take charge of the church in New Hartford, where he is still settled. On the second Sabbath in June, 1870, Rev. Robert G. Vermilye, then professor in the Hartford Theological Seminary, began to supply the pulpit. July 3d, 1870, on invitation of the Society's Committee, he became stated preacher, and so continued until November 2d, 1873, when he ceased his services on account of failing health. He is now living in Hartford. He continued to discharge his duties as professor while acting as preacher in Newington. This ends the catalogue of worthy men who have for nearly a century and three-quarters proclaimed the glad tidings of salvation to hungry souls in Newington. Most of them have gone to their reward, but their influence has left its impress upon the character of the people, who are pre-eminently moral, intelligent, temperate, and industrious, and who from the first have been engaged almost wholly in the peaceful cultivation of the soil. Like the Acadian farmers, they have been "Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the woodlands, Darkened by shadows of earth, but reflecting an image of heaven. Living in a fruitful valley, formerly, "Distant, secluded, and still, the description of the poet might be very truthfully applied to the homes of our fathers. "There, in the midst of its farms, reposed the Acadian village, strongly built were the houses, with frames of oak and of chestnut, There in the tranquil evenings of summer, when brightly the sunset Lighted the village street, and gilded the vanes on the chimneys, Matrons and maidens sat in snow white caps and in kirtles Scarlet, and blue, and green, with distaffs spinning the golden Flax for the gossiping looms, whose noisy shuttles within doors Mingled their sound with the whir of the wheels and the songs of the maidens. Then came the laborers home from the fields, and serenely the sun sank Down to his rest, and twilight prevailed, Columns of pale blue smoke like clouds of incense ascending, Rose from a hundred hearths, the homes of peace and contentment. Thus dwelt together in love these simple Acadian farmers. Dwelt in the love of God and of man. Newington has an honored past. May her sons ever prove worthy descendants of those noble sires who originally obtained the liberty to be a distinct parish from the parent society, for the high purpose of " carrying on the worship of God amongst themselves." "Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain, Where health and plenty cheered the laboring swain, Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid, And parting summer's lingering blooms delayed Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease. Seats of my youth, when every sport could please, How often have I loitered o'er thy green, Where humble happiness endeared each scene; How often have I paused on every charm The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm, The never failing brook, the busy mill, The decent church that topped the neighboring hill."
EXTRACTS FROM SOCIETY RECORDS. 1857-1874. LEASE OF PARSONAGE TO REV. WM. P. AIKIN.
Know all men, That the Newington Ecclesiastical Society, for the consideration hereinafter mentioned, have leased to Rev. William P. Aikin the house, barn, and land lately purchased by them for a parsonage, (This was the late residence of Rev. Brace, sold by him to Milo Doty, formerly of Hartford, of whom it was purchased by the society.) to occupy and use the same, with the appurtenances thereof; so long as he shall remain ministerially connected with said society; the said William P. Aikin paying therefor the yearly rent of one hundred and fifty dollars, to be deducted from his salary. And the said William P. Aikin agrees with said society, to keep the fences and buildings in good repair, and to painted, so often as shall be necessary or proper; the society to provide timber for repairing the fences, and whenever it shall be necessary to renew the roof of any building, or replace any timber by reason of decay, the said society will do it at their own proper cost. This agreement is to be of force for one year, and then from year to year, unless annulled by the society at their next annual meeting, or at some other meeting called for purpose. WILLIANI P. AIKIN
NEWINGTON January 14, A.D. 1857.
It is not to be understood by the above agreement that I am to paint the fences now needing it until they have been once painted by the society. W.P.A.
J. DEMING, JR.,
A. S. BUNN,
CHAS. K. ATWOOD,
At a society meeting held April 19, 1858, "Voted, That the society committee be authorized to put a new roof on the parsonage house; that the society committee be authorized to remove the present front fence south of the parsonage, and build a slat fence, and to bring it out so as to correspond with the line in front of the house of Miss Prudence Hall." At a society meeting held Nov. 2, 1858, "Voted, That Dea. Jeremiah Seymour, Erastus Latimer, and Charles K. Atwood be appointed to inquire as to the expediency of this society giving a bond or making to covenant with the occupant or owner of certain property formerly given by Roxanna Deming, to remain for the use of the Congregational minister of Newington. "At a society meeting held Nov. 16, 1858, The committee appointed to inquire concerning the property bequeathed by Roxanna Deming, reported adversely to any claim on the part of the minister or society of Newington, because said claim was relinquished years ago, and said report is on file. "Voted, That the report of our committee appointed to inquire concerning the property bequeathed by Roxanna Deming be accepted. "At a society meeting held Nov. 1, 1859, "Voted, That all money received by the agents of this society shall be paid to the treasurer, and that the treasurer shall pay no money out without an order from the society's committee. "At a special society meeting held June 11, 1860, in consideration of the request of Rev. William P. Aikin that his connection with this people as junior pastor be dissolved, Resolved, That we believe the labors of the junior pastor of this people have been in a high degree acceptable and profitable to us, and we desire in this manner to testify to our confidence in his ability to continue to minister unto us to our edification and satisfaction; and we feel that the severing of the ties existing between the pastor and people will be highly detrimental to the spiritual and temporal welfare of this church and society. We, therefore, earnestly and affectionately invite him to withdraw the request in compliance with which this meeting was called. At a society meeting held Nov. 3, 1863, "Voted, That the society's committee with the treasurer be authorized to obtain an iron safe for the society." At a society meeting held March 9, 1864, "Voted, That a committee of three be appointed to enquire and report in regard to an organ or other instrument of music to be used in the church. H. L. Kellogg, Rufus Stoddard, Edwin Welles, committee."
At a society meeting held March 16, 1864, "Voted, That whereas Rev. William P. Aikin, our pastor, has expressed a desire to purchase the real estate known as the parsonage, and whereas it is our desire to encourage his labors, and efforts to procure for himself a permanent residence with us, therefore, Voted, That the society's committee be instructed to offer to him the above named property for the sum of $22,50." (Mr. Aikin did not purchase.)
At a special society meeting held Jan. 31, 1865, for the purpose of taking action upon a notice given to the society's committee by the president of the Phoenix Bank of Hartfbrd that said Bank has voted to effect a new organization, as a national banking association under the national currency act, and that said society should surrender up its certificate of stock in said bank, and withdraw its stock from said bank at its par value, Resolved, That this society elects to continue to hold its shares of stock in the Phoenix Bank of Hartford, consisting of seven shares, as transferable stock; and to hold the same as stock of the proposed national banking association. The action of the society's committee in giving notice to such effect, to the said bank, is hereby ratified and confirmed. At a special society meeting held March 1, 1865, "Voted, That we appropriate the sum of $375, to increase the salary of our pastor, Rev. William P. Aikin, for the present year."
At a society meeting held Nov. 14, 1865, "Voted, That the society's committee he directed to employ a sexton, and stipulate with him in regard to digging graves and attending funerals. "Voted, That the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars be added to the salary of our pastor, Rev. W. P. Aikin, for the ensuing year. Whereas Rufus Stoddard has expended for musical instruments the sum of $27.85 more than he has received. Voted, That the above sum be paid to him from the treasury of the ecclesiastical society; if it is not raised for him in some other way, in three months from the present time." At a society meeting held Nov. 6, 1866, "Voted, That the society accept the lot known as lot No. 11, in the new part of the old burying ground, donated by the Newington School Society for the use of the pastor of the Congregational Church." (The school societies of the State were abolished by public act in 1856. In 1862 the Newington School Society was re-established. At the annual meeting of the voters of the Newington School Society held Oct. 15, 1866, "Voted, That this society hereby donate the north half of the Burial lot, No. 11, in tile old ground, to the Ecclesiastical Society, as a parsonage lot, for the use of the pastor of the Congregational Church; and the treasurer is hereby authorized to issue the usual certificate, upon being notified that the Ecclesiastical Society have accepted the donation for the use specified." In 1865, the school society purchased additional land for burial purposes adjoining the old burying ground on the west, and employed Mr. Scott of New Britain to law out the ground into suitable lots, and make a plan, which was deposited with the clerk of the society for reference. Unoccupied lots in the old ground were also examined and numbered and assessed. At a meeting of the School Society held Dec. 18, 1865, "Voted, That the society's committee is hereby instructed to sell, subject to all rules and regulations which, from time to time, may be made by the society, only the exclusive right of burial in the lots offered for sale in the new burying ground, reserving to the society the title in fee simple to the lots, and the society hereby guarantee to all who shall become purchasers thereof and to their heirs and assigns forever, upon receipt of the purchase money for said lots sold, the exclusive right and title of burying their dead in said lots, and all other rights and privileges necessary to the full enjoyment of said right of burial." "Voted, That the terms of sale be cash or approved notes on interest for three months." At a meeting held Dec. 25, 1865, "Voted, That no person shall plant or retain on his lot on the new ground any tree, or set or retain around his lot any fence or hedge without the approbation of the society's committee." It was afterwards voted to sell lots in the new ground to members of the society only. By the action of the legislature in 1872, the school society was again abolished, and its property vested in the town of Newington, which now therefore owns the burying ground, and holds it upon the same terms and subject to the same rules and regulations as did the school society. The last meeting of the school society was held Sept. 28, 1871. In the fall of 1872, the town by vote authorized the town clerk to sell the lots in the burying ground, subject to the same conditions as before. It is believed most if not all of these conditions are enumerated above.)
At a society meeting held Dec. 4, 1866, " Voted, That the sum of three hundred dollars be added to the salary of William P. Aikin, for the year ensuing."
At a society meeting held July 13, 1867, "Voted, That from and after January 1st, 1868, the salary of our pastor, Rev. William P. Aikin, shall be thirteen hundred and fifty dollars a year and the parsonage."
At a special society meeting held July 20, 1867, "Voted, That the members of this society deeply regret the action of our pastor, Rev. William P. Aikin, in tendering his resignation of the pastoral office in this place; that the ties which have, for the last ten years, so happily bound pastor and people together are not willingly sundered on our part; but acquiescing in his decision that to change his field of labor would be more consistent with his sense of duty, and give him a wider opportunity to use his influence for good, we hereby accept his resignation, tendering him our heartfelt thanks for his faithfulness to us in the past, and assuring him that our benedictions will go with him into his new sphere of action. "Voted, That the society's committee are hereby instructed to unite with the committee of the church, and with Mr. Aikin, in calling a council for his dismission. "Voted, That the society's committee be authorized to act as agents for the society, to represent the society before the council.
"Voted, That Edwin Welles and H. A. Whittlesey be and they are hereby appointed a committee to communicate to Mr. Aikin the action of this meeting, and present to him a copy of the foregoing vote."
At a special society meeting, held Feb. 10, 1868, to give a call, if deemed expedient, to the Rev. S. S. Martyn to become the settled pastor in the gospel ministry over the congregational church and people in this place, and to arrange terms of his settlement as such pastor. Whereas a communication has been received from the church, informing us that they have chosen Mr. S. S. Martyn for their pastor, and desire our concurrence. Therefore, Voted, That we concur with the church in the choice of Mr. Martyn, and direct the committee, to be appointed for the purpose, to request his acceptance of the offer. (The society voted to give him $1,200 a year in addition to the parsonage, which he accepted March 12, 1870. Previous to this time the pulpit had been supplied partly by Rev Mr. Winslow, then of Newington, also Rev. Mr. Riggs of West Hartford had held many meetings which resulted in a revival which was in progress at this time.)
At a special society meeting held April 22, 1870, "to take into consideration the resignation of Rev. S. S. Martyn. "The moderator, as committee of the church, reported that the church had passed a vote to unite with the pastor and society in calling a council to take action upon Mr. Martyn's resignation, "Voted, That this society unite with our pastor and the church in calling a council to act upon his resignation. Roger Welles, Charles K. Atwood, and John M. Belden were then appointed a committee to represent the society before the council." At a society meeting held Nov. 8, 1870, " Voted, That the society's committee be authorized to employ Rev. Dr. Vermilye to supply the pulpit for the ensuing year." At a special society meeting held April 12, 1871, "to take into consideration the expediency of celebrating the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the existence of Newington." The clerk read by request a report of a committee of the "Farmers Club," recommending that a celebration be held on the 25th day of May next, as the 25th day of May, 1721, was the date of the passage by the General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut of the resolution which gave the name of Newington to this parish. "Voted, That Charles K. Atwood, Henry M. Robbins, Joshua Belden, and David L. Robbins be a committee to take into consideration the expediency of celebrating the 150th anniversary of Newington, and if deemed expedient by them, to make the necessary arrangements for such celebration." (A majority of the committee were of the opinion that the best mode of celebrating this anniversary, was to obtain another grant from the General Assembly making Newington a new town. It was accordingly done. The history of that transaction is too long for insertion here. It marks an epoch in the annals of Newington, which will be long remembered by those who participated in it. The statute book gives one result of the action that was taken, other results are unfolding and will continue to unfold so long as Newington stands firm on its foundations. Let us cherish the hope that these results will always prove conducive, to the permanent prosperity and advancement of the place. The "Farmer's Club," is also one of the institutions of Newington which deserves more than a passing notice, social in its character, it has brought the people together for their mutual pleasure and improvement, in agricultural, literary, and saltatory pursuits. Its chronicles may be found written in the book of records kept by its clerk, which, being at once instructive and amusing, will repay perusal. Its meetings will ever remain green in the memories of those who attended them.)
At a society meeting held Nov. 7, 1871. "Highly appreciating the past services of Rev. Dr. Vermilye, and desiring to enjoy them still further, it is Voted, That the society's committee be instructed to engage him for another year. Passed unanimously.
At a special society meeting held Feb. 24, 1873, "to take action upon the acceptance of the devise of Miss Prudence Hall of certain land with conditions attached." "Whereas Prudence Hall, late of Newington, deceased, has, by her last will and testament, given and devised all her real estate unto this society, to be and remain to the use and benefit of this society and their successors forever, as and for parsonage property, for the maintenance of the ministry of the gospel in the Congregational church or society in said Newington, subject however to the condition that this society shall pay the expenses of her last sickness, her funeral expenses, the expenses of settling her estate, and shall erect a suitable monument to her memory, as appears by said will duly proved and approved by the Probate Court in and for the Hartford Probate District. Now, therethre, "Voted, That this society accepts said gift and devise of said real estate above mentioned for the purpose and upon the condition named in said will as aforesaid. Voted, That the society's committee be and they are hereby authorized and instructed to draw an order or orders on the treasurer of this society in favor of the executor of said will for the payment of the expenses of the last sickness of said Prudence Hall, her funeral expenses and the expenses of settling her estate, whenever bills for the same shall be duly presented to them by said executor, taking his receipt therefor, and that they cause a suitable monument to be erected to her memory at her grave, satisfactory to her said executor. "Voted, That a true and attested copy of the above votes be furnished to said executor by the clerk, also a like copy together with a copy of the will be furnished to the town clerk to be recorded in the land records of the town." (Extract from the will of Prudence Hall. "I give and devise all of my real estate unto the Ecclesiastical Society of Newington aforesaid, to be and remain to the use and benefit of said society and their successors forever, as and for parsonage property, for the maintenance of the ministry of the gospel in the Congregational Church or society in said Newington, this devise is however subject to the condition that said Ecclesiastical Society shall pay the expenses of my last sickness, my funeral expenses, the expenses of settling my estate, and shall erect a suitable monument to my memory." After making certain bequests of personal property to other parties, the will provides as follows. " All the rest and residue of my estate both real and personal, I give and devise to said Ecclesiastical Society, to them and their successors forever." Executed October 22, 1870. Exhibited in Court Feb. 3, 1873.) Voted, That John D. Seymour, Joshua Belden, Henry M. Robbins, and Samuel N. Rockwell be a committee to take into consideration the subject of heating and repairing the meeting house, and report to the next meeting.
At a meeting held March 3, 1873. Voted, That Mrs. Marcus Stoddard, Miss Mary Robbins, Miss Agnes W. Belden, and Mrs. Charles Stoddard be added to the committee of gentlemen appointed at the last meeting to estimate expenses and recommend alterations and improvements inside the church.
At a meeting held Aug. 11, 1873. Voted, That the special committee be authorized to make repairs on the inside of the church to the amount of three thousand dollars, to be raised by subscription in such manner as they think best, also such other repairs as future contributions may provide fon (The committee made extensive repairs, modernizing the whole interior, putting in new windows, and two furnaces instead of the old stoves, making the church look quite attractive.)
At a meeting held January 15, 1874. Voted, That the rent of all slips shall be due and payable on the first day of November, 1874. Voted, That all persons who purchase slips and may choose to pay the rent thereof before it becomes due, shall be allowed a deduction on such rent of one per cent for each full month between the time of payment and the first day of November.
At a society meeting held May 9, 1874. Voted, That we concur with the church in extending a call to Mr. Greenwood to settle with us in the gospel ministry.(Mr. Greenwood declined. The society offered him a salary of $1,000, and the use of the parsonage)
At a society meeting held May 30, 1874, Voted, That the Clerk have permission to print, at his own expense, and for his own use, such of the society records as he may desire.