Sketch of Westfield [Middletown, Middlesex Co., CT]
David D. Field, D.D.
Middletown, Conn., 1853
pp 192-195

This Society lies directly north of Middlefield and is inhabited generally by a farming population, though some have turned their attentions to manufactures. The first settler was Edward HIGBY, who lived at the foot of the bluff, wich from him is called Higby Mountain. He settled there about 1720, perhaps a little earlier, and died in November, 1775, aged about 90. The other early settlers were, Benjamin ATKINS, Benjamin, Nathaniel, John and Joseph BACON, Joseph CORNWELL, Joseph DOOLITTLE, Samuel PLUMB and Daniel ROBERTS from the First Society of Middletown; John WARNER, Israel, John and Jeremiah WILCOX from Cromwell; Joseph CLARK, a native of West Haven, Nathaniel CHURCHELL, from Wethersfield; Edward and Josiah BOARDMAN, from Glastenbury; David and Richard DOUD, Asahel DUDLEY and Joseph GRAVES, from Guilford.

The people were incorporated as a parish in 1766, but did not build them a house for public worship until 1773. In this year they built one 48 by 38 feet, which they used as a sanctuary more than three fourths of a century. On the 29th of December, the same year, the church was organized, consisting of twenty-six members, twenty-one of whom were received from the church in the First Society, and five from the church in Cromwell. At this time Rev. Thomas MINOR, a native of Woodbury, graduate of Yale College, 1769, was ordained their pastor. He sustained this relation until death, April 28, 1826, aged 88; but was so enfeebled in the latter part of his life, that Rev. Stephen HAYES, mentioned in the account of Middlefield, was installed May 24, 1820, as a colleague pastor with him.

Mr. HAYES preached in Westfield two-thirds of the time, and more than a year after the death of Mr. MINOR, being dismissed June 6, 1827. He afterwards preached in North Madison, and Exeter.

Rev. Stephen TOPLIFF, a native of Willington, graduate of Yale in1825, and of the Theological Department in that institution, having preached sometime in Westfield, was installed May 27, 1829, and dismissed September 25th, 1838. He has benn pastor, since September 1st, 1841, of the church in Oxford.

Rev. James Hanmer FRANCIS, native of Wethersfield, graduate of Yale 1826, and of the Theological Department of that college, who had been pastor of the church in Dudley, Mass., was installed in Westfield, December 2d, 1840, and dismissed, June 11th, 1845.

Rev. Lent S. HOUGH, native of Wallingford, educated classically at Bangor, Maine, and theologically at Bangor and New Haven, was pastor in Chaplin and in North Woodstock, and stated supply in North Madison, and in Bethel in Danbury, before he came to Westfield sometime in 1846, where he was stated supply until his installation, February 10th, 1847. He is the present pastor.

There have been two hundred and ninety-four members in this church from the beginning; twenty-six at the organization, ninety-two admitted by Mr. MINOR when sole pastor, twenty-one admitted while Mr. HAYES was colleague, and while soe pastor after Mr. MINOR's death; ninety-two while Mr. TOPLIFF was supply and pastor; thirty-three by Mr. FRANCIS, and thirty-eight by Mr. HOUGH. The number of members January 1st, 1852, was one hundred and eighteen.

Deacons Elected Died or moved from Soc. Age
Nathaniel BOARDMAN about 1779 April 9th, 1807 64
Amos CHURCHILL about 1779 Became a Baptist and left
Samuel GALPIN about 1794 Sept. 21, 1842 82
Jedediah WILCOX Ap'l 30, 1830

Selah GALPIN Ap'l 14, 1843

The people built a new house for public worship, in 1849, which was dedicated in December of that year. This is 64 feet by 40, and exclusive of the foundation, cost $4,500. This sum however covers the expense of the bell, clock and furniture.
The Society had a fund, raised by subscription in 1818, about half of which was lost by the failure of the Eagle Bank in New Haven. The present funds of the Society are:

The residue of that fund, about $1,000.00
Appropriation money     $27.79
Money lent, secured by mortgage   $250.00
Money lent, not thus secured   $200.00
Lands given by the late Thomas
Minor, M.D. estimated at
Parsonage, estimated at $1,000.00

Total $3,047.79

The contributions made by the people to benevolent objects for the last four years have been, for the Bible cause, $100.54; for Foreign Missions, through the American Board, $199.51; for Home Missions, $105.04; for the Tract Cause, $93. 48 -- to which may be added $10, given to the Sabbath School Union -- Total, $508.57.

The Baptists in Westfield

The Strict Congregationalists in this place, spoken of in the sketch of the First Society, professed themselves Baptists in 1804, and were formed into a Church which then consisted of 12 members. Elder Joshiah GRAVES was their pastor. He died July 24, 1825, and after his death, they had preachers by the name of HIGBY, JUDD, GOODWIN, WAKEMAN, BALLARD and BATY.

A meeting house which they built in the west part of Westfield in 1812, 36 feet by 26, in 1840 was moved to near the site of the Congregational Church, and repaired. For two or three years the Baptists have not held meetings by themselves.

In 1815 there were 93 families in Westfield, and about 81 dwelling houses. In the beginning of 1852, there were 120 families and 104 dwelling houses. There are four school houses in the Society, but the children of some families attend school without the bounds of the Society, while the children of some other families come from beyond the bounds and attend school here.

There have been four Cemeteries in the Society. One is wholly abandoned on account of the wetness of the ground, another is nearly abandoned. Of the other two, one is not far from the churches; the other is on West Stree, belongs to families and is much used.

The deaths in the Society for the last ten years have been eighty-four. In some years the mortality has been much greater than in others, as the following statement shows: In 1842, there were 7 deaths; in 1843, 9; in 1844, 3; in 1848, 8; in 1846, 8; in 1847, 9; in 1848, 4; in 1849, 17; in 1850, 7; in 1851, 14.

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