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The daily morning journal and courier. [volume] (New Haven, Conn.) 1894-1907, June 12, 1907, Part 2, Image 10

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NEW HAVEN MORNING JODBNAL AND COURIER, WEDNESDAY JUNE 1J 1907
STRATFORD CBURGH
TWO HUNDFED YEARS
Important Anniversary of
Episcopal Church to Be
Held Wednesday.
FIRST PARISH IN STATE
Interesting History of Oldest
Episcopal Parish in
Connecticut.
The two hundredth anniversary cele
bration of the founding of Connecti
cut's first Episcopal Church and Par
ish will take place in Stratford on Juno
12, Rt. Rev. Chauncey Brewster, bishop
of the diocese, officiating.
Christ church and parish was found
ed in Stratford, Conn., early in April,
170", but the prayer book was not of
ficially used at a public serviec till
June 12 following the founding, and it
was this fact which fixed the date of
the bicentennial celebration. , Invita
tions have been sent to the officials of
the Venerable Society for the Propaga
tion of the Gospel in Foreign Parts of
ticmgiana tunper wnose auspices, and
Iby whose financial help the church was
founded in 1707), to the bishop of Lon
don twhose predecessors had jurisdic
tlo nover the Colonial parishes) o the
bishops of New England, New York,
Long Island and New Jersey, and to all
bishops who were born in Connecticut,
or who, as priests, had charge of Con
necticut parishes. Invitations have also
been sent to the presidents of Yale and
Columbia universities. Dr. Arthur
Twining Hadley will represent Yale,
and Professor Dr. William A. Dunning
will represent President Butler of Col
umbia. .
ISplcopnl Church in Sew England.
Although Christ church is not the old
est Episcopal church in New England,
Its history, for certain reasons, Is the
most lmpportant and interesting of any
in New England, for It was subjected
tb' the constant and strenuous opposi
tion of the Orthodox Puritans for near
ly seventy yeats, and because the
Episcopal people had the courage,
faithfulness and staying powers to pa
tiently persist in maintaining their ec
clesiastical rights. For this reason, it s
' doubtless true that they did more to
ward -encouraging the establishing of
Episcopal , parishes in New England
than anything else in the history of
that church.'
The first New England parish was,
in Weymouth, Mass. In 1623 Captain
Robert Gorges, the son of Sir Ferdi
nando Gorges, re-established, or rather
revivified the colony that was started
as Wessagussett (as the Indians call
ed the site of Weymouth) by Thomas
eston, in 1822. He brought in his :
company of settlers Rev. William Mor
rill had received authority from the i
British government to organize a
church and parish, and eventually he
was tp have the ecclesiastical powers
of a. bishop. But Mr. Morrill returned
to England after a year and a half at
Weymouth and Plymouth and the
Episcopal parish gradually became a
Congregational parish. lAnother attempt
was made in Salem (Naumkeag, the
Indians called it) by the brothers John
and Samuel Browne, laymen, who held
services, using tho prayer book, In
1629. But they were soon arrested and
sent back to England, because of their
adherence to the Church of England.
In 1GS6 King's Chapel was founded in
Bost6n by order of Governor Sir Ed
mund Andros; and in 1698 ,Rev. Mr.
Lockyear held services, with the prayer
book, in Newport, R. I., and as an out
growth of, his efforts old Trinity
church was established in Newport and
the first church edifice was built In
1702; So, while Christ church in Strat
ford is the first in Connecticut, it is
not the first in New England in age,
but it is the first as far as the import
ance of history is concerned.
When Christ church was organized
in Stratford, in 1707, there was but one
other dissenting church in Connecticut
and that was a Baptist congregation In
Grptqn, on the Connecticut river, which
was also established in 1707. But there
were forty-one flourishing congrega
tions of the Orthodox Puritan faith in
Connecticut, so, if the maxim that the
"majority rules" is a good one the
Puritans were doing no more than llv
: isg up to their rights in opposing the
Organization of non-orthodox churches.
1 An Episcopal Center.
As early as 1690 there were a few
Episcopalians in Stratford, and a .'few
years later there were known to be fif
teen families of that communion there.
So large a number of Episcopalians in
Puritan Connecticut, at that early day,
was unusual in any portion of New
England. Many of the families which
settled In Stratford, toward the end of
the seventeenth century, came there
directly from England, instead of
from other towns in New Eng
land, and. they were Epis
copalians who came to America to
better their temporal condition and not
to be rid of persecutlbn, as was the
case of the Puritans.
Lay services were held In the differ
ent homes of the churchmen of Strat
ford till 1702, when they felt they
were of sufficient strength to help sup
port a missionary, so application was
made to the bishop of London for a
missionary. ' Although they strongly
emphasized the fact that their condl
tion, without a minister or a teacher
was a sad one, for some unknown rea
j son the bishop did not send them any
j one. But they were in earnest, and,
j as they could not have a minister of
their own, they concluded to try to
j borrow one for special occasions. With
j this idea in mind In 1705 they asked
i Rev. William Vesey, rector of Trinity
church in New York, to come to Strat
ford to baptize candidates, to admin
ister communion and to preach to
them. But the long journey on horse
back through an almost trackless for
est was more than he could undertake
so he referred them to Rev. George
Muirson, the missionary-rector of the
parish at Rye, N. Y. It was not, how
ever, till a year later that Mr. Muir
son went to Stratford, where "he
preached to a large congregation and
baptized twenty-four persons," many
persons coming to hear him from
"scattered hamlets and settlements that
were a day's horseback ride distant.
"Dangerous to be n Clmrclimnn."
With Mr. Muirson was Colonel Caleb
Heathcote, "fully armed," the old re
cords and letters tell us, for it was
dangerous to be a Churchman and to
talk Episcopacy in Puritan Connecti
cut of those days. Colonel Heathcote
was one of the most prominent men
in the Province of New York and the
richest man in Westchester county,
his manor including nearly the whole
of the parish at Rye. He was how
ever, more notable for his champion
ship of Episcopacy than for his so
cial and civil prominence or for his
wealth. He was one of the parishion
ers of Trinity parish In New York
city and gave generously toward erect
ing the church edifice, and many of
the parishes in Westchester county, N.
Y., owe their beginning to him. Says a
writer of Episcopal church history in
that county: "To Colonel Heathcote's
Influence, cordial co-operation and per
sonal participation in his ' labors did
Mr. Muirson owe, under God, the suc
cess, he met with in Connecticut."
Colonel Heathcote's habit of carry
ing arms while traveling as loader of
tne cnurcn "militant proved an ex
cellent habit on this visit, for he and
Mr. Muirson were stopped on the way
and threatened with rough handling
and imprisonment if Mr. Muirson
preached. Notwithstanding ' which
Mr. Muirson preached to "a large con
gregation." He was in Stratford
again two or three times, and on one
occasion Rev. Evan Evans of Philadel
phia, Pa., accompanied him.
The month of' April, 1707, is a mem
orable month to all Connecticut
churchmen, for it was early In April
of that year that the happy, earnest
ly desired event took place for which
those few, faithful, patient churchmen
had been hoping' and prayingthe or
ganization of Christ church and par
ish, No great imagination is required
for one to hear, coming down through
the two centuries, the faint echo of
the exultant voices of those Yankee
churchmen and of their wives and,
their children as they sang the "Venite
exultemus Domino" and the Te Deum
on that joyous occasion. Buf tt was
many bitter, sorrowful, soul-trying
years (in fact, not till after the Revo
lution) that they could utter those
words from the Benedictus: "That we
being delivered out .of the hand of our
enemies, might serve Him without
feari"
On the second Sunday that Mr.
Muirson was to preach in Stratford,
one of the town officials, supported by
a considerable number of the Inhabit
ants, stood, in the public road and
warned all Episcopalians to keep away
from the service on pain of having to
pay a fine of five pounds, should any
of them disobey .this order.
A Fine Roll o Honor.
Not all the names of those first.
earnest churchmen are known, but a
few have been preserved on the peti
tion to the bishop of London In 1702.
There Is but one opinion
about tho Ga3 Range. Every
woman who uses one agrees
it is the perfected means of
cooking, and every woman who
cooks with coal wishes she had
one. Summer is the season tn
enjoy life. It Is the playtime of
the year. But there isn't much .
fun in spending the hot days in
an over-heated kitchen. Sum
mer is just beginning. Get a
Gas Range and leave drudgery
behind. With one, meals are
prepared in short order, while
the entire house remains cool
and pleasant Our ranges are
the best make for sale. Send for
the Gas Man to-day.
NEW HAVEN GAS LIGHT CO.
Their' names are" as worthy of being
remembered and venerated by all YanT
kees, for they made as courageous a
stand for the support of a struggling
cause In 1707, as their descendants, to
gether with their well loved Congrega
tional brethren, made in 1776, and .as
their descendants made in 1861. The
nineteen names signed on that petition
are: Richard Blacklatch, Richard
Blacklatch, Jr., Isaac Brint, Daniel
Bennett, Thomas Brooks, Archibald
Dunlop, Thomas Edwards, Samuel
Gaskill, Samuel Hawley (the . ancestor
of General Joseph R. Hawley), Samuel
Henry, Isaac Knell, Jonathan Pitman,
John Peat, William Rawllnson, Daniel
Shelton, William Smith, , John Skit
more, Isaac Stiles, Timathy Titherton.
A request has been sent to England,
to the Venerable Society for the Pro
pagation of the Gospel ,in Foreign
Parts, that Mr. Muirson should be ap
pointed their missionary, and It was
granted, but the knowledge of his ap
pointment did not reach Stratford till
after his death, which occurfed In
October, 170S.
A Boomeraug.
During tho five years succeeding the
death of Mr. Muirson the people of
Stratford had no missionary but they
were occasionally visited by clergymen
from a distance. By 1700 Episcopacy
had become so firmly established in
Stratford that the ecclesiastical au
thorities of the Orthodox church in
Connecticut felt that something must
be done to neutralize its "dangers."
They decided "that one of the best
preachers both colonies afforded (Con
necticut and Massachusetts) should be
soi:ght out and sent there." They de
cided upon Rev. Timothy CutW of
Boston, and he became the minister of
the Stratford Congregational church,
in 1709. His scholarly attainments and
brilliancy as a preached were the
cause of his election in 1719 as presi
dent (rector it was then called) of Yale
college. At Yale he found some books
which turned his thoughts toward the
Episcopal church, and in 1722 he, with
Rev. Samuel Johnson, minister of the
Congregational church In West Haven,
went, to England to be ordained as
priests of the Episcopal church. They
returned to America in the fall of 1723
and Rev. Pamui-1 Johnson became rec
tor of Christ church, Stratford.
In the meantime, the parish had been
provided with a rector from England
In 1712, Rev. Francis Philips, who was
In no way suited for the life or work
in the colonies and who by his unwise
conduct injured the church. Fortun
ately, he left suddenly at the end of
but eight months. From that time till
1722 tho parish had no rector, but in
that year another Englishman, Rev.
George Plgfltt, was sent, out as mission
ary to Providence, R. I., with directions
t.) stop for a time at Stratford. Ha was
in every way a fine mm nnd he suc
ceeded in repairing much of the harm
done by Mr. Phl.lpS. He was relieved by
Mr. Johnson upon his return from Eng
land In 1723.
PcrneeutJonii Tbnt Hurt.
It was In 1710 that the hardest per
secutions began. An agreement w.ls en
tered Into by the opponents of Episco
pacy not to trade with or give employ
ment to Churchmen. Because of this
many families were forced to leave
Stratford and begin the hard work of
clearing the land nhd building homes
all over again, as the "fathers and sons
were deprived of all ways of. earning
a living for those dependent upon
them. Many of those who remained in
Stratford were fined and Imprisoned for
refusing to pay toward the support of
the Orthodox minister, or toward buy
ing him a farm and building a house
upon it. And although they ,were tax
ed for the support of the .minister of
the Established Church of New Eng
land, they were not permitted to vote
or hold office, for only such Inhabit
ants as were communicating members
of the Congregational church could
vote or hold office in Connecticut, or
in Massachusetts. Later, when , Rev.
Bamuet Johnson was rector, he was
obliged to send a boat across the sound
to Long Island to get supplies for his
family as he could not buy them In his
home town'. One day, when he went to
the jail (he wrote to a friend) h found
it filled with his parishioners and a
number of their fellow townsmen out
side mocking and Insulting them. '
ft
22."
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In offering this clock to the public The Carrington Publishing Company feds that
it is giving an opportunity to obtain an article of genuine merit and usefulness at a
price much below its actual value, at the same time using a product of an old reliable
home industry, THE NEW HAVEN CLOCK COMPANY. :
We have avoided, and will continue to avoid, the many cheap and worthless pre
mium schemes, relying rather upon the merits of the JOURNAL AND COURIER as a
newspaper to make it welcome to our citizens, as its present rapid growth in circulation
amply testifies that it is.
iBSBSBSBBSBESSSia
A Grent KlKure.
Rev. Samuel Johnson was a remark
able man, a minister and an. educator.
President Dwlght of Tale reparded
him as being "the father of Episco
pacy in Connecticut and the church's
most distinguished minister In that
Colony." Oxford university honored
him with the degrees of Master of
Arts and Doctor of Divinity, In 1752
Benjamin Franklin Invited him to be
come president of the Academy which
became "The College, Acndemy and
Charitable School of Philadelphia" in
1765, but Dr. Johnson declined. In
1754 he was elected to and accepted the
presidency of King's college In New
York (Columbia) and was assistant
rector ot old Trinity church In that
city, Dr. Johnson resigned from the
presidency in 1764 and returned to
Stratford to again become rector of his
well loved and loving parishioners, and
he continued with them - until his
death In 1772. His influence and per
sonal labors in the ministry and as a
educator extended through the coast
towns of Connecticut and across
Rhode Island to Newport. In his rec
torshop in Stratford 1,172 persons were
baptized and 4 1 3 became communi
cants. Foiled the Yankee Pnrltnii.
Next to the founding of Christ
church in 1707, the most important and ,
Joyous event in the history of that I
church was the dedication of the' first
house for worship on Christmas day, j
1723; the first Episcopal church, edifice
in Connecticut. A little while before
Rev. George Pigott left for Providence,
he petitioned the town, on behaft! of
his parishioners for a central site for
the proposed edifice', but the orthodox
town omciais wanted to have the site
Which," says the town record. "In
the judgment of all thinking persons
may be very inconvenient and a great
disturbance to each society, the houses
being so near together, If erected
there.' Then the officials offered to
"swap" the site for which Mr. Pigott
hnd petitioned for the" land they had
bought next to the meetinghouse, ex
actly as he believed they would. Tho
church was built and dedicated soon
after Dr. Johnson became its rector,
generous contributions of money being
received from friends, especially in
New York city and in Westchester
county, N. Y.
In 1727 a general petition from
churchmen in Stratford and the neigh
boring towns obtained for them par
tial relief from being taxed for the
support of the Congregational minis
ter, in general court passed an act
In that year permitting Episcopalians
to apply their tax for religious purposes
toward the support of their own min
ister, but the magistrates of Stratford
limited the benefits hoped for from the
act, by declaring that only those who
lived within a mile of the Episcopal
minister were to be regarded as Epis
copalians. As the parish covered a
great territory, and as the homes ' of
the parishioners were widely separat
ed, only a few of them were benefited
by the act. To prevent Episcopalians
from coming from other places to set
tle in Stratford, where was the only
church in the colony a law gave to the
town officials authority to warn all
strangers to Immediately leave.
In 1728 one-seventh ' of the whole
population of the town was Episcopa
lian, and by 1713 the congregation had
Increased so greatly that the first
church of 1723 was too small, and so a
new one was built at a costof 1.500
pounds, which sum was given by many
persons, William Beach's gift of 1,000
pounds being the largest single con
tribution. This building was one of
the finest houses of worship in Con
necticut. In a letter to a friend Dr.
Johnson described It as being "finished
m a very neat and elegant manner.
further off, they- did not wish to have ! the architecture being allowed in some
the church built to near their meeting things to exceed anything before done
house. As the rector savs. thev found
the proposed sites "clogged with great
difficulty." Then Mr. Pigott, although
an Englishman, played a clever Yan
kee trick to obtain what he and his
parishioners wanted. He bought
some land next to the meetinghouse.
in New England." There was a clock
in the tower, and a bell costing 300
pounds that was given by Dr. John
son. Damage Vroneht by llie Revolution.
The Revolution caused the closing of
every Episcopal church in Connecticut
with the exception of the one in New
town, 'Fairfield county, where there
was a strong Tory sentiment. This
closing was chiefly due to the pighead
edress of the clergy, who Could not see
that they were relieved of their moral
obligation to pray for the king and
royal family when the king failed to
live up to his moral obligations toward
the' colonies. The great majority of
the laymen were patriots and fought
for Independence, shoulder to shoulder
with their Congregational, Baptist and
Methodist brethren. In that respect the
Congregational ministers exhibited a.
much finer spirit .than did the Episco
pal ministers. Indeed, in the town of
North Branford, In the neighboring
county of New Haven, Rev. Samuel
ltlls organized a company from among
his parishioners, one Sunday after ser
vice, led them to New York to join
Washington's army, und was given a
captain's commission by Governor Jo
nathan Trumbull, and he was by no
means an exception among the Congre
gational clergy.
When peace was declared in 1783, the
Venerable society for the Propagation
of the Gospel ceased giving financial
aid to the parishes In America, so
Christ church was obliged to depend
upon its own resources, and they were
slender Indeed, for the war had great
ly reduced the finances and number of
the Stratford churchmen. So late as
180!) there were but eighty families and
sixty tommuhicants left in Stratford.
This was a great falling off from the
numbers In Dr. Johnson's time. But
as time progressed prosperity return
ed to the famous old church. And now,
in 1907, Christ church has over tvy-o,
hundred communicants and thrives.
And when, In a few days, a great
company of bishops, priests and lay
men shall gather in the beautiful old
town of Stratford to celebrate, with
their brethren of other church bodies,
the two hundredth anniversary of the
founding of the first Episcopal church
in Connecticut, the knowledge that
these two hundred years have not been
spent in His service in vain, that the
strife of two hundred years ago has
beer, replaced by peace and good will,
will be indeed Inspiring. George G.
Roberts, Boston Transcript.
MEET TO-MORROW.
New Ilnvea County Public Health A
;' '. suointlon.
The New Haven County Public Health
association will hold Its quarterly meet
ing to-moprow at the Hotel Garde in
this city, aud representatives " from
health association in other" counties of
the state are expected;
The subjects for discussion are: "Uni
form Methods of.: Fumigation." "Is it
Necessary or Advisable to Amend Town
Health Oflibers Regulations as Now in
Force?"
'.'How Best Can We Protect Public
or Private Ice or Water Supplies, Es
pecially With Reference to the Use o?
Pcnds by the Public for Skating or
Bathing?" "The Present Law and
How it Can be Enforced." . ,
Dr. Joseph H. Townsend, secretary
of the state board of health, will read
a paper on "Fumigation."
The officers of the New. Haven County
Public Health association are presi
dent, Carleton E. Hoadley; vice presi
dent, Dr. Lewis Barnes; secretary and
treasurer, Dr. Edgar Adams Wilson.
TM BAY STATE FRANKLIN
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360 STATE
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STREET.

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