City of Derby
New Haven County
Connecticut

History of the Old Town of Derby, Connecticut



The History of the Old Town of Derby, Connecticut, 1642 -- 188O.
by Samuel Orcutt and Ambrose Beardsley

Published: Press of Springfield Printing Company, Springfield, Mass., 1880.

Part 13


Introduction    Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 4    Part 5    Part 6    Part 7    Part 8   
Part 9    Part 10    Part 11    Part 12    Part 13    Part 14    Part 15    Part 16    Part 17   


575 (continued)

LIEUTENANT JOSEPH HULL,

Son of Joseph Hull, 3d, was born in Derby in 1750, and received the ordinary common school education. In early life he engaged in the West India trade, and became familiar with a seaman's as well as a farmer's life. A Scotch historian has said that "bravery like royalty runs in the blood," and it was so in the Hull family.

He was appointed Lieutenant of Artillery in Washington's army in 1776, and was taken prisoner at the capture ot Fort Washington, that same year.

In defense of this fortress he is said to have behaved with great gallantry. He remained in captivity two years and was then exchanged (1778), when his unbroken spirit was once more given to the service of his country.

In 1779 he was appointed to the command of a flotilla on Long Island Sound, consisting of some boats formerly used in the whale fishery, but now fitted out to annoy the enemy, as opportunity might offer. In this limited but dangerous sphere of action, he gave an earnest of a mind and spirit which under other circumstances would probably have developed more important results.

On one occasion a British armed schooner was lying in the Sound, being engaged in transporting provisions from the country to New York, where the British army was then stationed. Lieutenant Hull proposed to some of his companions of the town of Derby to go and capture the schooner.

On the evening appointed twenty men placing themselves under him embarked in a large boat, similar to those used in carrying wood to the city of New York. The men lay con-

576

cealed in the bottom of the boat; and the dusk of the evening favoring the deception, it had the appearance of being loaded with wood. As they approached the vessel the sentinel on deck hailed him. Hull, who was steering, answered the call, continuing his course till quite near the vessel without exciting suspicion, when by a sudden movement he drew close along side of her. His men being well trained sprang to her deck with great celerity. The commander of the schooner was sleeping below, and aroused by the firing of the sentinel, he made an attempt to gain the deck, but was instantly shot dead. The Americans immediately fastened down the hatches, took possession of the vessel and conducted her in triumph up to Derby.

This gallant soldier was the father of Commodore Hull, who, by his coolness and intrepidity, was the first to give to America the knowledge of her naval superiority, as exhibited in his celebrated escape from a British squadron, and afterwards by his victory over the Gucrriere.

Lieutenant Hull -- he is sometimes called in the family, captain because captain of a vessel, but he was a lieutenant in the Revolutionary army -- is said to have been entirely engaged in the war during the Revolution. His coolness, presence of mind and energy of character as well as fearlessness, is manifested in the following anecdote: While on his way to New Haven, just as he came to the top of the hill in West Haven, he saw some British soldiers advancing towards him. It was too late to retreat, and he at once resorted to a ruse, and turning in his saddle he motioned as if for his company to hasten forward, then riding forward demanded a surrender. The men, believing the enemy close at hand in numbers and that resistance would be unavailing, delivered up their swords.

Lieutenant Hull married Sarah, daughter of Daniel Bennett of Huntington, son of Nathan, son of Isaac of Stratford, son of James of Fairfield, who came from Concord, Mass., in 1639.

Captain Hull owned and occupied the Bennett farm, a large tract of land on the west side of the Ousatonic, in the latter part of his life. During his most active career the whale fishery was carried on in the Sound and the immediate coast, in open boats manned by four or six oarsmen, a steersman and chief or harpooner; a most dangerous calling, requiring a high degree of

577

skill, perfect drilling and unity of action to insure success. In this school his son Isaac took his first lessons in seamanship.



GEN. WILLIAM HULL
[Mrs. Campljell's Military Life of Gen. Wm. Hull.]

Was born in Derby, June 24, 1753, being the second son of Joseph Hull, a prominent farmer of the town. At an early age William resided with his grandfather, where he attended public school according to the custom of the times.

He fitted for college under the Rev. Mr. Leavenworth of Waterbury, and entered Yale at the age of fifteen, and was graduated when in his twentieth year, the English oration being assigned him at commencement.

His first occupation after leaving college was the teaching of a school. He used to say frequently that "this was among the happiest years of his life." His parents anxiously desired that he should become a clergyman, and he commenced the study of divinity rather from the motives of filial affection than from a conviction of religious duty. He studied a year with Dr. Wales, subsequently professor of theology in Yale College. After this he changed his course of studies and entered the celebrated Law School in Litchfield, Conn., and was admitted to the bar in 1775.

The war with Great Britain was now the subject ot universal interest, and while at home one evening, his father returned from a meeting of the citizens of Derby, and said to his son, "Who do you suppose has been elected captain of the company raised in this town?" He named several, but his father replied, "It is yourself." He hesitated not in accepting the appointment so unexpectedly offered by his townsmen, and prepared himself to join the regiment of Colonel Webb, then being raised by the state. At this interesting period his father was seized with a severe illness, which soon terminated his useful life. By his will the property was bequeathed to his widow and children. William refused to receive any part of it. He said, "I want only my sword and my uniform." With a full but resolute heart he left his peaceful home and aflflicted mother's family, and with his company immediately joined the regiment.

578

which marched to Cambridge, the head-quarters of General Washington.

The next year, in the midst of the sanguinary battle on Long Island, General Washington crossed from New York to Long Island with a part of his army and took possession of Brooklyn Heights. The regiment of Colonel Webb, consisting in part of Captain Hull's company, was in this division, and took part in the masterly movements of the next forty-eight hours.

Captain Hale, whose melancholy end is a sad part of the history of the Revolution, was an intimate friend of Captain Hull. They were of the same age and had been classmates at college. Two years after they graduated their names were enrolled under the standard of their country, and they marched in the same reo-iment to join the army of Washington. Captain Hull had every opportunity to learn the true character of his much esteemed associate, and says of him: "There was no young man who gave fairer promise of an enlightened and devoted service to his country than this my friend and companion in arms."

Captain Hale became a spy, was detected and executed within the British lines on Long Island, and thereby the English laid the foundation for the execution of Major Andre, a short time afterward. Captain Hull urged him not to enter upon so hazardous and ignoble an undertaking, but his great desire to do something for the good of his country, and this alone, led him to undertake the venture.

Captain Hull was with his company in the battle of White Plains, in Colonel Webb's regiment, which sustained the heavy onset of the enemy in that engagement so as to receive the thanks of Washington. From this place Captain Hull's company marched to the Highlands and thence across New Jersey to Delaware, and in December joined the main army in Pennsylvania. In five days they were again on the march for Trenton, where a battle was fought and a great victory gained for the colonies. Captain Hull was acting field officer during this battle at the personal request of General Washington. At this time the weather was extremely cold and the soldiers suffered beyond description. The victory was worth the effort. Hull wrote: "To give you some idea of the excessive fatigue of the troops engaged in this enterprise, I relate the

579

following respecting myself. It was between two and three o'clock in the morning of the second night, when my company recrossed the Delaware. I marched them to the house of a farmer, and halted to obtain refreshments and rest. After my men were accommodated, I went into a room where a number of officers were sitting around a table, with a large dish of hasty-pudding in its centre. I sat down, procured a spoon, and began to eat. While eating, I fell from my chair to the floor, overcome with sleep, and in the morning, when I awoke, the spoon was fast clenched in ray hand."

Soon after this, Washington marched to meet Cornwallis, and on the way promoted Captain Hull to be a major in the eighth Massachusetts, and the battle with a part of the enemy's troops was fought, resulting in great gain to the Americans. It was the fortune of Major Hull to be in the severest parts of these memorable battles of Trenton and Princeton. The classical and eloquent Italian historian of the war, Charles Botta, after describing these transactions, adds: "Achievements so astonishing acquired an immense glory for the Captain General of the United States. All nations shared in the surprise of the Americans; all equally admired and applauded the prudence, the constancy and the noble intrepidity of General Washington."

Hull wrote: "When I left the Highlands my company consisted of about fifty, rank and file. On examining the state of the clothing, I found there was not more than one poor blanket to two men; many of them had neither shoes nor stockings; and those who had, found them nearly worn out. All the clothing was of the same wretched description.

"In the attacks at Trenton and Princeton we were in this destitute situation, and continued to sleep on the frozen ground, without covering, until the 7th of January, when we arrived at Morristown, N. J., where General Washington established his winter quarters. The patient endurance of the army at this period is perhaps unexampled in this or any country."

As soon as the army was established in winter quarters, Major Hull was ordered to Boston to recruit his regiment, and thence to Springfield soon after to take command of the discipline of the new forces then gathering there. Here he remained until April (1777) when he was directed to march with

580

his men to reinforce the army at Ticonderoga, under St. Clair, where he arrived in May. In the retreat from that place he, as also the other officers, lost all but the clothes he wore. This retreat continued to Fort Edward, and thence across the Hudson above Saratoga, Hull commanding the rear guard under General Schuyler. The next morning Major Hull was forced to meet a much superior force and repelled their attack with much energy and bravery until reinforcements arrived, and received the thanks of General Schuyler for his conduct on this occasion.

In the battle at Saratoga, September 19, Major Hull held a separate command on the right of the main army and did very efficient service, being under fire from one o'clock until nearly dark. At the second day's battle at Saratoga, October 7, he held an important command in the midst of the battle, being connected with Arnold's division, and maintained himself nobly, and the victory of the day was very great to the Americans.

From this field of victory Major Hull and his regiment were ordered to reinforce General Washington at Whitemarsh, Penn., where they went into winter quarters at Valley Forge, about twenty miles from Philadelphia.

At this place, during the winter, the sufferings of the army were indescribably wretched, and Hull was in the thickest of it ordered to pursue a foraging party of the English under circumstances of intense suftering.

He speaks of his own house at this place, which was constructed of logs like all the rest, as follows:

"The hut we occupied consisted of one room. This was dining-room, parlor, kitchen and hall. On one side shelves were put up for our books, on another stood a row of Derby cheeses sent from Connecticut by my mother, a luxury of which the camp could rarely boast, and with which visitors to the hut were often regaled."

The conduct of Congress that winter, in debating and struggling over place and position, while the soldiers were starving in their camp, unable for want of food and clothing to pursue the British foraging parties, was worthy of the disgust of every patriot. It was this struggle for personal preferment that sent General Gates to Saratoga in the midst of the battle, to super-

581

sede General Schuyler, and who took to himself all the glory of that victory, (who scarcely left his tent during the day of that battle,) not so much as mentioning Arnold, who was really the general of the day, in his report; it was this that made Benedict Arnold what he became, and caused mutiny in the camp at Valley Forge; and which rose so high that Washington was urged to join the uprising and make himself Dictator of his country, instead of submitting to the shameful neglect of Congress. This Congress would change the appointee over the commissary, against the protest of Washington, and that was what fed the soldiers with hunger and secured frozen feet in the camp. It was this political faction that favored the starving of the soldiers so as to raise prejudice against Washington and secure his removal as Commander-in-Chief and instate General Gates in his place, a man who never won a great battle except through his political friends.

Major Hull, commanding the eighth Massachusetts, was present, under General Sterling, at the battle of Monmouth, N. J., directly in front of the enemy's right, which division was in a severe part of the battle, which lasted until dark and was undecided. The American army lay on their arms that night, during which the enemy retreated.

Hull writes: "I went over the field of battle the next morning, and discovered a large number of dead bodies without wounds, who probably died of heat. We buried four officers and two hundred and forty-five privates, and more must have been killed, for there were a number of new-made graves."

The campaign of 1779, with Major Hull and his command at the Highlands, opened with the purpose of the British commander to obtain possession of the Highlands on the Hudson, and the purpose of Washington was to retain possession of this stronghold. The enemy, in order to draw off Washington's forces, sent General Tryon to pillage and burn the villages along the shore in Connecticut, and well did he perform his errand, beginning at New Haven, and burning Fairfield and Norwalk. General Washington determined to attack a stronghold of the enemy rather than send troops to oppose General Tryon. He therefore organized an expedition to capture the fort at Stony Point, and gave the command to General Wayne, a

582

brave officer, whose troops included Hull in command of about four hundred men. At eleven o'clock on the 15th of July, the march was commenced over rugged and almost impassable mountains, and continued for fourteen miles, when the detachment arrived a little before dusk within a mile and a half of Stony Point. Here it halted and the object of the march was made known to the troops. The fort was garrisoned with about six hundred men under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Johnson.

"About half-past eleven o'clock in the evening," writes Major Hull, "the two columns commenced their march in platoons. The beach was more than two feet deep with water, and before the right column (in which was Major Hull) reached it, we were fired on by the outguards, which gave the alarm to the garrison. We were now directly under the fort, and closing in a solid column ascended the hill, which was almost perpendicular. When about half-way up, our course was impeded by two strong rows of abattis, which the forlorn hope had not been able entirely to remove. The column proceeded silently on, clearing away the abattis, passed to the breastwork, cut and tore away the pickets, cleared the cluveaux-de-frise at the sally-port, mounted the parapet, and entered the fort at the point of the bayonet. All this was done under a heavy fire of artillery and musketry, and so strong a resistance as could be made by the British bayonet. Our column on the other side entered the fort at the same time. Each of our men had a white paper in his hat, which in the darkness distinguished him from the enemy; and the watch-word was, ' The fort's our own.' Our troops reached the area of the garrison not having fired a gun, the enemy still firing on us. The men made free use of the bayonet, and in every direction was heard ' The fort's our own.' The enemy did not surrender until nearly one hundred men were killed or wounded, after which their arms were secured, and they were assembled under a strong guard in an angle of the fort until morning. In ascending the hill, just after he had passed the abattis, General Wayne was wounded in the head by a musket ball and immediately fell. He remained on the spot until the British surrendered, when some other officers and myself bore him into the fort, bleeding, but in triumph. The

583

prisoners amounted to five hundred and forty-three. One ball passed through the crown of my hat, another struck my foot."

Of the capture of Stony Point, Sparks, in his Life of Washington, says: "The action is allowed to have been one of the most brilliant of the Revolution."

Late in the autumn the detachment of Major Hull was returned to West Point, and was established in winter quarters, and the Major was promoted to be Lieutenant Colonel of the Massachusetts Third.

During the campaign of 1780, the attention of Colonel Hull was devoted to the discipline of the division of the army commanded by Major-General Howe, of which he was appointed deputy inspector under Baron Steuben.

At this time Colonel Hull writes: "General Parsons called one morning on me, and informed me that he was requested by General Washington to inquire if it would be agreeable to me to come into his family as one of his aids, and if so the appointment would be made."

This honor Lieutenant Hull, after consideration and consultation specially with Baron Steuben, declined with expressions of gratitude, and he recommended David Humphreys, then captain, who had been aid to General Putnam. Colonel Humphreys was appointed and remained in that situation until the end of the war. During the following winter Colonel Hull was in the vicinity of White Plains with his command, and did very great service for the American cause, receiving the thanks of General Washington and of Congress.

In February, 1781, he asked, for the first time in six years, leave of absence to pass the remainder of the winter in Boston. Having obtained his request, he repaired to Boston and was soon after married to the only daughter of the Hon. Judge Fuller of Newton, Mass.

Colonel Hull was now appointed Adjutant and Inspector General of the army at West Point and the neighboring posts in the Highlands. The duties of these offices he performed until the summer of 1783, when General Washington had returned from the South, after the capture of the army of Lord Cornwallis.

At this period the preliminary articles of peace were signed, and hostilities between Great Britain and America ceased.

584

On the memorable 25th of November, Colonel Hull had the honor of escorting, with his light infantry, the Commander-in-Chief into New York, upon the delivering up of the city by the British; and for thirty years thereafter whenever General Hull was in New York on that anniversary, he was invited to the public dinner and treated with particular honor.

Before General Washington retired from his command he was authorized by Congress to disband the whole army excepting one regiment and a corps of artillery. The regiment was composed of such officers as he should designate, and soldiers whose time of service had not expired. Colonel Hull was selected by the Commander-in-Chief as the Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment, and accepted the appointment; General Heath being first in command, and Colonel Hull second.

In 1786 Colonel Hull retired to civil life and commenced the practice of law at Newton, Massachusetts, at which place he led a busy life in his profession and as a prominent man in the community.

In 1798 he passed the winter in London and the spring in France, amidst the public commotions of that time.

On his return he was appointed by the Governor and Council Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and also selected by the third division, in the place of General Brooks, to whom he had been second in command many years, both in the Revolutionary army and in the militia. He was likewise elected senator in the Legislature of Massachusetts, and thereafter was annually elected senator, and continued in other public situations until he voluntarily resigned them on being appointed Governor of the Michigan territory. This appointment he received in 1805 from Thomas Jefferson, and held it until 1812, when he was appointed brigadier-general to command the north-western army. He was also while governor appointed Indian agent, an office then connected with that of executive magistrate.

In the war of 1812 General Hull, while in command at Detroit, Mich., being overwhelmed by the combined forces of the British and the north-western Indians, surrendered that military post in order to save the lives of the people, not only of Detroit but of Michigan, and for this conduct was denounced as a traitor, tried by a court-martial and condemned to death, but

585

the President of the United States reprieved him from the execution of the sentence. It has since been shown that the charge against the General and the conducting of the court-martial were all pursued for the purpose of saving the President and his advisers in that war from just censure, and to save the party that supported hini from defeat before the country. Not until after twelve years did General Hull have access to his own letters and other papers at Washington by which to clear himself from the charges made against him. When Mr. Calhoun became Secretary of War, he gave Gen. Hull full access to the papers, when he vindicated himself in the eyes of the country most clearly, by a series of articles published in the American Statesman of Boston and copied into many other papers throughout the country. A review of the circumstances concerning the surrender has been published in book form by the Rev. James Freeman Clarke of Boston, which'most clearly establishes the above statement of judgment.

The "North American Review," in a notice of these letters, understood to have been written by Jared Sparks, said that "from the public documents collected and published in them, the conclusion must be unequivocally drawn that General Hull was required by the Government to do what it was morally and physically impossible that he should do." Many other periodicals throughout the Union expressed the same opinion.

After this a public dinner was given to General Hull in Boston, by citizens of both parties. He also received very gratifying letters from various quarters, particularly from old companions of the Revolutionary army, expressing their pleasure at his having vindicated so completely his conduct and his character.

General Hull did not live long after his vindication. He however had the pleasure of meeting Lafayette in 1825, who paid him a visit when in Boston during that year. He was present at the celebration of the battle of Bunker Hill, and afterwards visited his mother in his native town of Derby. While on this visit the citizens of Derby gave him a public dinner at the Narrows, at which many distinguished persons were present, including veterans of the Revolution and the war of 1812. James Bassett then kept the Derby Hotel and pro-

586

vided the entertainment. The occasion was one of great rejoicing. Cannons corresponding to the number of states were discharged, flags floated in the breezes, toasts were volunteered, and speeches exhumed from the vaults of tradition were made. Among other things said, a veteran of the war of 1812 presented the following toast: "General William Hull -- Derby's born. His civic and military services in the war of the Revolution and the war of 1812 justly entitle him to the gratitude of his countrymen." To this, the General, then seventy-two years of age and feeble in health, feelingly responded at some length, which proved to be his last public address. A citizen of this town, now living, was employed at the time by a man who attended this dinner.

Returning home he was attacked by a disease which soon proved fatal. On his death-bed he declared, in the most solemn manner, his conviction that he had done right in surrendering Detroit, and expressed his happiness that he had thus saved the lives of the peaceful citizens of Michigan from being needlessly sacrificed. He died in November, 1825, in the seventy-third year of his age.

The sources of information upon which the above statements are founded are very numerous, an enumeration of which may be seen on page 302 of the "History of the Campaign of 1812," by James Freeman Clarke.

Mr. Benson J. Lossing, the historian of the American Revolution and the war of 1812, has given a review of "Hull's Surrender of Detroit," in pamphlet form, which was a reprint from "Potter's American Monthly" for August, 1875, in which, after examining carefully the historica,l niatter he renders the following conclusions:

"This sensational history [The letter written by Col. Cass, concerning the surrender.] was scattered broadcast over the country by the newspapers, and excited intense indignation against the unfortunate General in the public mind. It was welcomed by Dr. Eustis, the Secretary of War, and General Dearborn, the Commander in-Chief, as a foil to the just censure which they would have received for remissness in official duty had the whole truth been known; how the Secretary omitted to inform Hull of the declaration of war until it was known

587

in Canada, and even in tlie wilderness near Mackinaw, and how Dearborn had failed to communicate to Hull ihe fact that he had agreed to an armistice which relieved Brock from duty on the Niagara frontier and allowed him to hasten to the western frontier of Canada. Hull was made the scapegoat of these officers, and they allowed him to suffer for their own sins. He was abused by almost everybody and everywhere, without stint, and the most impossible stories were told and believed about his being bribed by the British to surrender. The absurd story was put afloat and absolutely ci edited ttiat a wagon-load of' British gold' had been taken to his house at Newton, whither he had retired to the shelter of domestic life from the storm of vituperation, after his return from captivity in September.

"The well informed government and the ill informed people joined in the pursuit of General Hull with the lash of bitter calumny; the former with the selfish intention to shield itself from reproach, and the latter impelled by a righteous indignation against one whom they regarded as an almost unpardonable sinner. The people had been made to believe by the politicians of the war party that Canada might be very easily conquered by a small American force, and public expec tation ran high, when news came that our flag had been unfurled upon its soil. But men of more wisdom and experience had formed contrary opinions. General Harrison had seen from the beginning the danger of such an invasion as that undertaken by Hull. And when he heard of the fall of Mackinaw, he regarded it as the forerunner of the capture of Chicago and Detroit. This opinion he expressed in a letter written on the 6th of August. On the lOth he again wrote to the Secretary of War, saying: ' I greatly fear that the capture of Mackinaw will give such eclat to the British and Indians that the Northern Tribes will pour down in swarms upon Detroit, oblige General Hull to act on the defensive, and meet and perhaps overpower the convoys and reinforcements which may be sent to him.' This is precisely what happened when Van Home, with a detachment, went to meet a convoy of supplies from Ohio. Harrison continues: ' It appears to me, indeed, highly probable that the large detachment which is now destined for his (Hull's) relief, under Colonel Wells, will have to fight its way. I greatly rely on the valor of those troops, but it is possible that the event may be adverse to us, and if it is Detroit must fall, and with it every hope of re-establishing our affairs in that quarter until the next year.

"This trial, in most of its aspects, was a remarkable and most disgraceful one, and no sensible man can read the record of it without a conviction that General Hull was offered a sacrifice to appease public indignation, and to the necessity of preserving the administration from

588

disgrace and contempt. The court was evidently constituted for this end. The president of the court, who was the Commander-in-Chief of the armies, was deeply interested in the conviction of General Hull. He had made a serious and (for Hull) a fatal blunder in concluding an armistice with Sir George Prevost without including the Army of the North west, or even advising its commander of the omission. If Hull should be acquitted, the president of the court might be compelled to appear before a similar tribunal on a charge of neglect of duty. It is a significant fact to be remembered that the president was called from very important military duties at that time to preside over a trial that lasted eighty days, when there were other peers of the accused not nearly as much engaged as the Commander-in-Chief The principal witnesses against the accused were allowed extraordinary latitude. They were permitted to give their opinions concerning military movements, which were admitted as evidence; a thing unheard of in a court, except in case of medical or other experts. Chiefly upon such kind of testimony the unfortunate General was condemned. Some militia officers, who had never been under fire, testified that because of the peculiar appearance of the General's face during the cannonade of the fort, it was their opinion that he was moved by fear; whilst others, who had been in battle, attributed his appearance to the real cause -- exhausting fatigue of mind and body, for neither had enjoyed any rest scarcely for several days and nights.

"The charge of treason was withdrawn at the beginning of the trial in a manner most injurious to the accused, namely, that the court had no jurisdiction; but when the trial was over, they saw the necessity of saying in their verdict: 'The evidence on the subject having been publicly given, the court deem it proper, in justice to the accused, to say that they do not believe, from anything that has appeared before ihem, that General Hull has committed treason against the United States.' Why this show of 'justice to the accused.'" The reason is obvious.

"The principal fact on which the charge of treason was based was the sending of the baggage, intrenching tools and sick, by water past a British fort after war was declared. Because of the neglect of the Secretary of War to send an early notice to Hull of that declaration, the latter was ignorant of the important act until after his schooner had sailed. He might have received the notice some days before she sailed, had the Secretary not been remiss in his duty. That fact, and the proof which appeared that the British at Maiden had received a notice of the declaration of war before Hull's vessel sailed, in a letter franked by the Secretary of the Treasury (in consequence of which the British were

589

enabled to send an armed vessel out of Maiden to capture Hull's schooner), were likely to be damaging to the administration; so the court, more ready to serve the government than to do justice, dismissed the charge of treason, and made a forced acknowledgement of the General's innocence of that crime. But upon the strength of the extraordinary testimony alluded to, they found the veteran soldier guilty of the second and third charges, and sentenced him to be shot dead! On account of his Revolutionary services, as the court alleged, they earnestly recommended him to the mercy of the President. Madison approved the sentence, but pardoned the alleged offender. By this act justice and mercy, in the public estimation, were satisfied; the administration was absolved from its sins, by sacrificing upon the altar of its selfishness the character (which was to him clearer than life) of the innocent victim, and history was allowed to unconsciously defile her pen by writing falsely of the immolated patriot. What a relief to the administration from crushing responsibility was this unjust sentence! The Secretary of War, conscious of his own errors, expected to feel the public wrath, and had written to General Dearborn: 'Fortunately for you, the want of success which has attended the campaign will be attributed to the Secretary of War.'

"General Hull lived under a cloud of unmerited reproach, and was compelled to keep silent for the want of access to the facts to establish his innocence. His papers were burned while on their way from Detroit to Buffalo, after the surrender; and during two administrations he was denied the privilege of obtaining copies of papers in the War Department at Washington that might vindicate his character. When John C. Calhoun became Secretary of War, he generously gave Hull permission to copy any paper he wished. With the material so obtained the General began the preparation of a vindication, which was published in a series of letters in a Boston paper (Amertcan Statsman) in 1824, when he was past three-score and ten years of age. He lived long enough after publishing that vindication to perceive unmistakable signs of sympathy in the partially disabused public mind, which prophesied of future awards of justice.

"The conception of the campaign against Canada was a huge blunder, Hull saw it and protested against it. The failure to put in vigorous motion for his support auxiliary and co-operative forces was criminal neglect. When the result was found to be a failure and humiliation, the administration perceived it and sought a refuge. Public indignation must be appeased; the lightning of the public wrath must be averted. I repeat it -- General Hull was made a chosen victim for the peaceofifering -- the sin bearing scapegoat -- and on his head the fiery

590

thunderbolts were hurled. The case of General Hull illustrates the force of Shakespeare's words:

"'Tis strange how many unimagined charges
Can swarm upon a man when once the lid
Of the Pandora box of contumely
Is opened o'er his head.'"



REV. DANIEL HUMPHREYS

Is said to have been born in Simsbury; was graduated at Yale College in 1732, ordained at Derby in 1733, and died in 1787, just one hundred years after the death of the first pastor, Mr. Bowers. Some account of his labors and peculiar church views is given in the first part of chapter five, showing him to have been a progressive and spirited man in religious opinions; but after twenty years as pastor we find him practicing church discipline after the Saybrook order.

He married April 18, 1739, Sarah, widow of John Bowers, and daughter of Captain John Riggs. She was a very efficient, worthy, elegant woman, called always Lady Humphreys. The family were polished in their manners, whether on the farm or elsewhere.

The following record is given to show how good people thought it right to obtain all the law would give them:

"Derby, May 25, 1874. Then by virtue of the within execution of the plaintiff, I took possession as follows: one log dwelling house, two log barracks. Test, David Hitchcock, constable."

In 1784 Rev. Daniel Humphreys and Sarah his wife, brought a suit against Samuel Hazelton of Derby for "the sum of £2, lawful money, damages, and for the sum of £35 14s, lawful money, cost of suit," to which one shilling and sixpence was added for the writ, and sufficient to pay other expenses. Upon this a writ was sent to the constable and he attached the above houses, and the appraisers appraised them thus:

"One dwelling-house, £3. The south barrack, 15 shillings; the north barrack 10 shillings. Appraiser's fee, 7s 6d; officer's fee £1 2s 6d. Recorded June 3, 1784. John Humphreys, clerk."

For a certainty the house and barracks were all the man had, else more would have been taken. The transaction stripped Mr. Hazelton of his only house (so far as appears) and left Mr. Humphreys to pay over £30 costs; all for £2 damages."

591

From the records still preserved of Mr. Humphreys's work, he was evidently a diligent, faithful, earnest minister and pastor, and served his day and generation very acceptably according to the style of the times.

As to slavery the following is recorded: "December 31, 1781. Voted that the selectmen are desired to give the Rev. Mr. Daniel Humphreys a certificate of liberty to manumit his servants, Cambridge and Cale his wife."

The following statement was recorded by John Humphreys, the town clerk at the time, and is probably a very faithful, as it is a very interesting, sketch of the character and life of his father.

"The Rev. Daniel Humphreys died at Derby on Lord's day morning, the second day of September, A. D. 1787.

"For more than half a century he was the established minister of tbe First society in said town. His funeral was attended on Tuesday, when, the corpse being carried into the meeting house, the Rev Dr Edwards began divine service with prayer, which was succeeded by singing a favorite psalm of the deceased, the seventy-first. Then the Rev. Mr. Leavenworth preached a sermon from 2 Tim, iv. 6-8, to a numerous and mournful auditory. After w'hich was sung an anthem taken from the seventh chapter of Job The procession then moved to the grave and performed the interment with every mark of affectionate respect for so pious and venerable a character.

"The Rev. Mr. Humphreys having received a liberal education at Yale College, and devoted his future days to books and contemplation, his mind was embellished with human literature, but the study of theology was his favorite employment. He was possessed of a masculine understanding, particularly calculated to reason and distinguish. His manner, instead of being tinctured with the austere gloom of superstition, exhibited that hilarity which made him the delight of his acquaintances. A consciousness of intentional rectitude was productive of cheerfulness and serenity, a desire of making others happy was the effect of philanthropy and religion. This conspired to give him a peculiar facility and dignity of behavior on every occasion. The honorable discharge of all the duties of the domestic, the social, the sacred functions, and the undeviating practice of unaffected piety through a long life will be the best comment on his creed and complete his character.

"Mrs. Sarah Humphreys, the affectionate wife of his youth and the tender companion of his advanced age, died the Lord's day, July 29, 1787 A. D.; five weeks before him."

592

LADY HUMPHREYS.

Sarah Riggs, daughter of Capt. John and Elizabeth (Tomlinson) Riggs, was born in 1711, and married John Bowers in 1732, and had three children before his death, which occurred in 1738. In 1739 she married the Rev. Daniel Humphreys, and continued a noble and much honored minister's wife until her death, July 29, 1787, only two months before the death of her husband. During forty-eight years she was known as "Lady Humphreys," and a more perfect ornament to that title was probably not known in the community. Elegant in personal appearance, refined in education and manners, she became, through President Stiles of Yale College, celebrated for her intelligence and knowledge of Derby history. It was at her great grandfather's house that the Judges were sheltered from the English officers, fifty years before her birth, and yet she was quite familiar, when over fifty years of age, with the minute details of the friendship rendered to the Judges, and with the early history of Derby. Her elegance of personal appearance and style of manners descended from her and her husband to the third generation at least, illustrating the most ancient teachings in a highly creditable manner. Nor was this all. There exist a number of prominent evidences that the family, among themselves, were warm in their attachments, sympathetic and true hearted, and the outside style was not an appearance put on, but that it sprung from a true, generous nature. These statements apply not only to General Humphreys in his life-long familiarity with society, but equally if not more emphatically to the other members of the family. There was one minister's family that did not, by far, produce the worst boys in the community.



GEN. DAVID HUMPHREYS
[image]
[This portrait of General Humphreys is from an engraving in Herring's Portrait Gallery,
from the original by Gilbert Stuart, now in the Art Gallery of Yale College.]

Was born in Derby July 10, 1752, and was the son of the Rev. Daniel Humphreys. When a boy he was passionately fond of books, and his father, after giving him the preparatory course, sent him to Yale College at the early age of fifteen, where he

593

was graduated with distinguished honors in 1771. After which he resided a short period in the family of Colonel Philips of Philips Manor, N. Y., and returned to New Haven where he was when the Revolution began. He became noted for his poetical tastes during his college course, and, with two others, was denominated "the young bards of Yale," and during the war, but specially afterward, he made good and honorable use of this talent.

On entering the army he was commissioned captain, and soon after appointed aid-de-camp to General Putnam, with whom he became familiarly acquainted, and after the war wrote a history of the general's life.

In the following lines from his poem on the "Happiness of

594

America," it appears that he was also aid for a time to General Greene:

"I too, perhaps, should Heaven prolong my date,
The oft-repeated tale shall oft relate;
Shall tell the feelings in the first alarms.
Of some bold enterprise the unequaled charms,
Shall tell from whom I learnt the martial art.
With what high chiefs I played my early part;
With Parsons first, whose eye with piercing ken
Reads through their hearts the characters of men;
Then how I aided in the following scene.
Death-daring Putnam -- then immortal Greene --
Then how great Washington my youth approved."

Early in 1780, by the recommendation of Gen. William Hull, he received the appointment of aid and secretary to General Washington, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, and soon after joined the General's family, with whom he constantly resided until the close of the war, "enjoying," says Burton, "his full confidence and friendship, and sharing in the toils of his arduous duties."

It was just after this appointment as aid that Colonel Humphreys went to Boston, and on his return in the spring of the year met with various mishaps, which he celebrated in a poem considerably amusing, entitled "Sleighing Adventures."

On the staff of General Washington he proved himself an efficient and worthy officer, and especially at the siege of Yorktown, where he held a separate command. When Lord Cornwallis surrendered, with his army, to the American forces, Colonel Humphreys had the distinguished honor of receiving the English colors, and, as a mark of approbation, bearing them from the Commander-in-Chief to Congress, with copies of the returns of prisoners, arms, ordnance, and twenty-five stands of colors surrendered, with a letter from Washington warmly commending the bearer to the consideration of the government. In the following November he was voted an elegant sword in the "name of the United States in Congress assembled," and in 1786, it was presented by General Knox, then Secretary of War, with imposing ceremonies. Congress also commissioned him lieutenant colonel, dating his commission back to his appointment as aid to Washington.

595

By the United States in Congress assembled, November 7, 1781:

Resolved, That an elegant sword be presented, in the name of the United States in Congress assembled, to Colonel Humphreys, aid decamp to General Washington, to whose care the standards taken under the capitulation of Yorktown were committed, as a testimony of their opinion of his fidelity and ability; and that the Board of War take order therein.

Extract from the minutes.
Chas. Thompson, Secretary.

At the close of the war he accompanied Washington, at his special reqtiest, to his home in Virginia, where he made his residence, until appointed in 1784 secretary of legation at Paris under Jefferson, then minister to. the court of Portugal. He was accompanied in this mission by Kosciusko, between whom and himself a strong friendship was matured.

Revisiting his native town in 1786, he was elected to the Legislature, and soon after appointed to command a regiment raised for the Western Reserve. During this period he resided at Hartford, and with Hopkins, Barlow and Trumbull, published the Anarchiad. On the reduction of his regiment in 1788, he repaired to Mount Vernon, remaining with Washington until appointed in 1790, minister to Portugal. Revisiting America in 1794, he was after returning to Lisbon appointed in 1797 minister to Spain, continuing in that station until 1802; and concluding treaties with Tripoli and Algiers.

During his residence in Spain he carried into execution a project which resulted in great benefit to his country: the introduction of merino sheep into the United States.

In an essay, on the subject of the improvement of sheep in this country, addressed to the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, at their request he gives some account of this importation.

"Many circumstances concurred to favor the importation, some of which may not be expected to unite again: the season was the best that could have been chosen for a safe and easy passage; the conclusion of a general peace rendered the transportation less exposed to embarrassments than it had been for several years; and the diminution of the freighting business made it less difficult than it otherwise would have been to engage a convenient vessel for transporting a greater number of sheep than probably ever before crossed the Atlantic together.

596

My acquaintance in the capitals of Spain and Portugal, as well as with the officers commanding on the frontiers, afforded me greater facilities for the extraction than any stranger could be supposed to possess.

"The race of merinos, probably first imported from Barbary to Europe, are believed to have become superior to the original stock, or at least to the sheep that now exist on the opposite coast of the Mediterranean Climate and culture have both an influence in the formation and constitution of animals . . . Convinced that this race of sheep, of which I believe not one had been brought to the United States until the importation by myself might be introduced with great benefit to the country, I contracted with a person of the most respectable character, to deliver to me at Lisbon, one hundred, composed of twenty-five rams and seventy-five ewes from one to two years old. They were conducted with proper passports across the country of Portugal by three Spanish shepherds and escorted by a small guard of Portuguese soldiers. On the loth of April last (1802) they were embarked in the Tagus on board the ship Perseverance, of 250 tons, Caleb Coggeshall, master. In about fifty days twenty-one rams and seventy ewes were landed at Derby in Connecticut; they having been shifted at New York on board of a sloop destined to that river. The nine which died were principally killed in consequence of bruises received by the violent rolling of the vessel on the banks of Newfoundland.

"If the project of introducing this breed of sheep should be attended with the desired success, our country will be principally benefited by it. In case of failure no one can be the suft'erer but myself The trouble and expense have been considerable for an individual to incur, but a consciousness of the patriotic motives by which I was actuated, and the anticipation that some national good might be produced by the attempt, have furnished no inconsiderable compensation."



A LETTER FROM REV. DOCTOR PARKER.

Boston, December 15. 1802.
Hon. David Hunphreys, Esq.:

Sir:-- The Trustees of the Massachusetts Society for promoting Agriculture, at their meeting, held October 29. 1802, voted that a gold medal be presented to you by said society, for your patriotic exertions in introducing into New England one hundred of the Spanish merino breed of sheep; and appointed me a committee to procure and transmit the same to you.

It is with pleasure I have executed this commission, and now transmit to you the medal accompanying this; and, in the name of the

597

trustees, request your acceptance of the same, as a small testimony of the high sense they entertain of your merit in accomplishing this arduous enterprise.
  I have the honor to be,
    With sentiments of the highest esteem and respect,
      Your most obedient and very humble servant,
        S. Parkkr, Corresponding Secretary."

These sheep, when landed on the dock at Derby, attracted as much curiosity as if they had been so many elephants, and thousands of persons flocked to witness their advent into the town. They were driven from Derby Narrows into an inclosure at Squabble Hole, where they were kept some weeks.

General Humphreys, in all this enterprise, did not seek to advance his own private interests in the introduction of these sheep. A favorable opportunity presented itself for that purpose, but he scorned to speculate in an enterprise, which, if successful, he designed for the benefit of his country. In fact, in every way he discouraged speculation as subversive of the great object to be gained. He sold a part of his flock judiciously, distributing them among the most enterprising farmers for the improvement of their sheep at one hundred dollars per head, a price, it is said, less than they cost. When the market price rose to four hundred a head he refused to sell, declaring his opinion that such sales would prove a ruinous speculation; but his advice and entreaties were unheeded, for soon the price of a Humphreys merino buck went up to from $1,500 to $2,000, and that of ewes from $1,000, to $1,500. A few were sold as high as $2,500, and $3,000. Many honest and well meaning men suffered great loss in the operation. John Bassett of Derby, overjoyed at the birth of a full-blooded merino ewe lamb, and being offered for it by Philo Bassett $1,000, refused to sell it for less than $1,500. A day or two after this tempting offer, the lamb, with the flock, being turned into an inclosure, a fox, seeming to know its great value, seized it for his prey and dragged it dead nearly to his hole in the mountain. About this time two young farmers together bought a buck to improve their flocks for which they paid $1,500, but in less than an hour after the purchase they had the great mortification of seeing him die in attempting to swallow an apple. These mishaps

598

though they dampened the faith of many in the fortunes of merino sheep, did not materially put a stop to a ruinous speculation, which was not confined to Derby. When the merino sheep mania was at its height, -- Doctor Ives of New Haven is responsible for the story, -- a woman in Humphreysville actually knocked her child in the head that she might raise a merino lamb in its stead.

Soon after the introduction of the merino sheep the General purchased the fulling mills at the Falls on the Naugatuck and arranged to produce fine broadcloths, in which he succeeded so well that in 1808 he had the reputation of producing the best quality of that kind of goods of any one in America, and Thomas Jefferson procured of him a sufficient quantity for a suit to wear on his inauguration as President. [See New Haven Hist. Society Papers Vol. I. 143.]

After some effort in making broadcloths the General went to Europe and obtained the partnership of John Winterbotham, a man bred to the trade, who came to this country and took full charge of the woolen mill and continued its manager until the General died.

General Humphreys was particularly philanthropic as to the education and moral training of the operatives in his factory, devoting much thought and effort in their behalf. [See chapter XV.]

At the opening of the war of 1812, he took command of the militia of Connecticut, was appointed general, and as a member of the Legislature was active in organizing for the local defense.

He married an English lady of great wealth, whose annual income was £30,000. Her residence in this country was in Boston.

General Humphreys died February 21, 1818, and was buried in the New Haven cemetery where his monument still stands.

After his decease the people of Derby, in town meeting assembled, took the following action: "April 13, 1818. Voted that we appoint a committee to prepare resolutions expressive of the sense entertained by this town of the distinguished character and services of our fellow citizen, General David

599

Humphreys, comprising a biographical sketch of his life, and report to this meeting, to be held by adjournment on the 27th inst. at one o'clock, afternoon, and that John L. Tomlinson, Truman Carr and Dr. Crafts be the committee."

Careful search has not brought to light the report of that committee.

Upon a careful review of the life of Gen. David Humphreys it is impossible not to award him the character of a most unselfish, patriotic and high-minded man. He was one of Derby's noblemen, of whom she has had a large number, who lived for his fellow-man, having, in the language of the inscription on his monument, "enriched his native land with the true golden fleece." A scholar, poet, historian, statesman, patriot, and philanthropist, his name is held in high esteem, and will be for generations yet to come.

His literary works have been collected into one volume of 430 pages, octavo, and are very pleasant reading.



MAJOR ELIJAH HUMPHREYS,

Son of Rev. Daniel Humphreys, was town clerk of Derby many years and seems to have been a man of great candor and reliability in the community. He served as a major in the Revolutionary war, three horses being shot under him. He married the daughter of Rev. Dr. Mansfield the Episcopal minister, in 1774, just at the beginning of the troubles with the English government.

There is a tradition in the family that when Dr. Mansfield attempted to go within the British lines on Long Island, in the war, he was captured by his son-in-law; and that he was afterwards allowed to preach with a guard in the pulpit to prevent him from preaching against the American cause; and that John Humphreys, the brother of Elijah, fearing the soldiers might be rough or disrespectful to the Doctor, solicited and obtained the privilege of being the guard instead of the soldiers, and under this arrangement quiet and good feeling was restored.

This tradition looks very much like the events of that day. No intimation is given that Elijah Humphreys w-as not perfectly kind and respectful to the Doctor, but that as an officer he felt under the necessitv to detain him. The Doctor, how-

600

ever, did go to Long Island for a time, but returned and preached as above described.

Of Elijah Humphreys, his brother made the following record on the town clerk's book:

"He died July 2, 1785, on his way to the West Indies and was buried on the Isle of Martinico, in the 40th year of his age.
Pr. John Humphreys."



ELIJAH HUMPHREYS, JUN.,

Son of Elijah and Anna (Mansfield) Humphreys, was born in 1779, in the midst of Revolutionary times, and became a very successful merchant and honored young man in New York city, and died young. The following is from the "Old Merchants of New York City," Vol. I. 197:

"I must say something about Elijah Humphreys. He was originally from Connecticut, as I have said. So was Stephen Whitney, who was born in the same town of old Derby as was John Lewis, and they used to go to school together. In 1803 Elijah Humphreys formed a partnership with Archibald Whitney at No. 22 Burling Slip. They did a large grocery business Among their customers were Joseph D. Beers of Newtown and John P. Marshall of Woodbury, Conn.

"I omitted to mention that Elijah Humphreys had been brought up by Theophilus Brower, the great grocer of his day, at No. 5 Burling Slip. Brower started after the war and in 1789 was doing a large business. Elijah was with him from 1795 to 1803 At that time the accounts of grocers were kept in pounds, shillings and pence, and I have before me some of the accounts of Mr. Brower made out in the neat business handwriting of Elijah Humphreys. At this period, and as late as 1805, his cousin David Humphreys [son of John] was a clerk with Oliver Wolcott, then doing a large business in the city, and president of one of the banks, and who was afterwards governor of Connecticut.

"Elijah Humphreys was partner with A. Whitney for many years, or until the war of 1814. He afterwards continued alone and became quite rich. He was a bachelor and boarded at Washington Hall when it was kept by Mclntyre. There a very romantic matter occurred. He had boarded there several years and was worth $60,000, a great sum in those days He was a director in the Fulton bank. Prosperity in business could not save him from a severe attack of bilious fever. He came near dying; probably would have died but for the careful nursing of the sister of Mrs. Mclntyre. She nursed him as tenderly as

601

if he had been her brother and saved his life. After he recovered Mr. Humphreys felt grateful and offered the young girl his hand in marriage. He was accepted, and shortly after they went to housekeeping in very handsome style at No 4 Murray street, near Broadway. He was out of business some time; had a good income and would have had for life, but he began to reflect that he was married, that he should probably have a large family, and that he should want more. So he decided to go into business again. The Erie canal had been opened, which was in his favor. Still he had been out of business three years and was out of the traces. He had to pick up a new set of customers, and these he soon found in the West. They came to New York as greedy as sharks. Mr. Humphreys sold heavily. There could be but one result -- he stopped payment. . . . Every one was surprised and every one was sorry."



REV. JOHN JAMES

Began to preach in Derby in the latter part of 1693, and in the beginning of 1694 the town gave him a call to settle, which he seems to have accepted soon after, and continued to labor with much devotedness both in teaching and preaching until 1706, when his health had so failed that he was unable to supply the pulpit all the time, and was dismissed at his own request. Of his labors some account is given in the early part of chapter four. Mr. James is said to have graduated at Harvard. He preached at Haddam as early as 1683. President Stiles says: "He came from England; was devoted to books, and died at Wethersfield, August 10, 1729, having there lived in private some years." It is supposed that this is the man Rev. Mr. Mix, minister at Wethersfield, called "a very good man with a very ungraceful delivery." (Savage H. 536.)



ISAAC JENNINGS, M. D.,

Was born in Fairfield, Conn., November 7, 1788, and died of pneumonia March 13, 1874, at his residence in Oberlin, Ohio, at the advanced age of eighty-five years. He was favorably known in Derby more than a quarter of a. century.

He entered the ofifice of Eli Ives, M. D., of New Haven in 1809, and pursued his studies with him until he fitted himself to sustain the examination then required before the state committee of examination, there being then no medical college.

602

The exhibition of his medical knowledge was such as to entirely satisfy the committee, and he was licensed to practice medicine, and in 1828 Yale College conferred on him the degree of M. D. Soon after beginning his professional studies he gave attention to Latin and Greek, and exhibited an extraordinary aptitude for these studies, and a remarkable memory for text books. At one interview he recited to his instructor (Rev. Mr. Humphrey, afterwards president of Amherst College) large portions of the Latin grammar, showing that he had in like manner mastered the whole of it; and in the same way his memory retained much that he read. He used to quote at times the whole of the Westminster Catechism, question and answer.

After receiving his license he procured him a horse and equipments, including the saddle-bags well filled, and located in Trumbull, Conn., and commenced the practice of his profession. After a year or more Dr. Pearl Crafts of Derby, being in a lingering consumption, invited him to locate here to take his practice, which he did in 1820. He soon secured an extensive although not a very lucrative practice, and for a series of years enjoyed the confidence of such distinguished physicians as Doct. Ives, Doct. Hubbard and the learned Doct. Knight.

Being a strong temperance man he regarded alcohol, in all its forms, an enemy to the living principle in the human system, and with alcohol he classed drugs and medicines. This fact, with other considerations, led him after a time to adopt the theory of the remedial powers of nature as more curative in diseased action than pills or powders.

Discarding medicine, he continued to practice disguisedly, giving his patients nothing but bread pills and colored water, as he and his friends claimed, with' more success than on the old plan. Too honest to humbug the people, and not wishing to keep his light under a bushel, he after a little time gave bold publicity to his views and tried to enforce the doctrine of no medicine, or the let alone principle of curing curable disease in all its phases. This narrowed down his practice to about four hundred dollars a year, a sum inadequate to the support of his family, and in 1837 he sold his office fixtures and library to the then young Doctor Beardsley, and bade adieu to a profession

603

which he always honored and respected until the day of his death. Many worthy and influential people in Derby endeavored to prevail on him, by liberal subscriptions of money, to remain in town, as he had made great sacrifices in his pecuniary interests for the good of his fellow men, but the effort failed, and in 1839 he left for Oberin, Ohio, where he married his second wife and lived until the time of his death, highly esteemed and beloved as a citizen and Christian.

The last twenty-five years of his life he devoted principally to .writing, some of the time to lecturing; and in furthering and maintaining his views he has published three books, entitled respectively "Medical Reform," "Philosophy of Human Life," "The Tree of Life;" and a fourth work was ready for the press at his decease, "Orthopathy," -- right action, disease simply a negation of health, -- which fully embodied and illustrated his theory and system.

He had nine children by his first marriage, three of whom are still living; the eldest, a graduate of Yale College, is a Congregational minister in Bennington, Vt.; another was a business man in Cleveland, at the head of the Ohio agency of the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York; besides a daughter, who is now a most worthy and self sacrificing missionary in Asiatic Turkey. Two of his deceased children, a son and a daughter, were graduates of Oberlin College, Ohio.

Dr. Jennings was a thinker and, in more senses than one, a genuine reformer, but perhaps he attempted too much. When he dropped the use of medicine fifty years ago, he at the same time gave up unreservedly the use of alcoholic stimulants, also tobacco, tea, coffee, spices of every variety, and meats of all kinds, living on the plainest vegetable diet up to the hour of his last sickness. His longevity, considering that he belonged to a consumptive family, must be taken as evidence that there is some truth in his position on diet.

Dr. Jennings had noble traits of character. His uprightness and integritv commanded universal respect.

In his religion he was a Congregationalist, being a deacon in Derby and in Oberlin. unflinching and unyielding in his Christian principles; and from early life was an ornament and example of the faith he professed.

604

This sketch cannot more appropriately be concluded than by quoting the closing stanza of the most beautiful elegy in our language:

"No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode;
(There they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his father and his God."



REV. ISAAC JENNINGS,

Son of Isaac Jennings, M. D., was born in Trumbull, Conn., July 24, 1816, and attended the common schools and academy of Derby. He graduated at Yale College in 1837, and at Andover Theological Seminary in 1842; was ordained pastor of the Congregational church in Akron, Ohio, in 1843; became pastor of the First Church in Stamford, Conn., in 1847, and the pastor of the First Church of Christ in Bennington, Vt., in 1853, where he still remains, having nearly completed the twenty-seventh year of his pastorate in that place. While in Akron he secured the passage in the Ohio Legislature of the "Akron School Law" and the founding of the Akron graded schools.[See 28th Annual School Report, Akron, Ohio. In 1859 he visited Europe. In 1869 he published "Memorials of a Century." [Bennington History, 408.] He has published several addresses, discourses and sermons. He is secretary of the board of directors of the Bennington Battle Monument Association, and president of the Bennington County Society School Union. His son, Isaac Jennings, jun., A. M., is the successful principal and teacher of the Classical High School of Waterbury, Conn.



MRS. CATHARINE (JENNINGS) PARSONS,

Daughter of Isaac Jennings, M. D., was graduated at Oberlin College and became the wife of the Rev. Justin W. Parsons. They went as missionaries of the A. B. C. F. M., first to Salonica in European Turkey, thence to Smyrna, thence where they are now, at the head of the missionary work, including a prosperous boarding and day school for girls, in the Nicomedia mission field, having their residence in Batchejuk, Turkey in Asia. One of her daughters, Miss Sella C. Parsons, is assistant missionary

605

teacher. Another daughter, Mrs. Louisa S. Whiting, is a missionary of the Presbyterian Board, near Shanghai in China.



THE REV. STEPHEN JEWETT

Succeeded the venerable Dr. Mansfield in the rectorship of St. James's church. He was born in Lanesboro, Mass., August 18, 1783. His parents were originally Congregationalists, but at the time of Stephen's birth his father withdrew from that communion for want of belief in all the doctrines of Calvinism and connected himself with the Episcopal church. In a great measure self-taught in the rudiments of an English education, he assisted his father in his humble occupation until his failing health at the early age of twenty-three years influenced him to seek other and lighter pursuits. He studied the classics with the Rev. Mr. Pardee, an Episcopal minister of Lanesboro; keeping school winters and studying summers, and at length found his way to the Episcopal academy at Cheshire, which institution was then in its zenith of prosperity, serving the church in the double capacity of a college and theological seminary. Mr. Jewett by occasional school keeping, economy and the liberality of friends, completed his education, incurring a debt of only $150, which he discharged in the first year of his ministry.

"Ordained deacon by Bishop Jarvis in Trinity church. New Haven, September 5, 1811, he was advanced to the priesthood by Bishop Hobart, October 5. 1813. He removed to Hampton, New York, and with filial affection received into his house and under his own care and protection his parents, both then aged and infirm. Though his cure was large enough to demand his entire attention, yet, in the then scarcity of Episcopal clergymen, he was a missionary for all the region from Fort Edward on the south to Plattsburgh on the north. He has been heard to say that children have been brought one hundred miles to him for baptism, and he himself has traveled forty miles or more to attend a funeral. This was not in the days of railroads but of slow stage or private conveyance. A faithful ministry, running through a period often years in the same place, left its abiding marks in the form of a house of worship in Hampton commenced by ail denominations with the understanding that it should belong to the body that should finish it. This house was through his zeal and influence properly completed and quietly surrendered to the Episcopalians." [Commemorative sermon by Rev. E. E. Beardsley.]

606

Mr. Jewett was called to the rectorship of St. James's church of Derby, December 9, 1821, and for thirteen years divided his labors between this church and Union (now Trinity) parish of Humphreysville "on a salary of $500 a year and his fire-wood," as shown in the records.

Dr. Mansfield was then rector and the Rev. Calvin White his assistant, but the latter's perversion to Romanism caused divisions among the people, and Mr. Jewett upon his advent into Derby found he had not only "a flock to feed, but a fold to defend." Old prejudices against the church, her doctrines and her liturgy, for certain causes, coupled with the defection of Mr. White, freshened anew the seeds of discord and rendered it all the more necessary for him to be vigilant, cautious, godly and firm.

In addition to his pulpit and parochial duties he kept a private school in which he fitted for college or the theological seminary several young men, among whom may be mentioned Abel Nichols, John D. Smith, Oliver Hopson, Isaac Smith, Edward Hardyear, Sheldon Clarke and Caleb S. Ives, all of whom became ministers in the Episcopal church. Mr. Jewett also had great influence in the way of encouragement to other young men to enter the ministry, one of whom was Rev. S. Davis. From Mr. Jewett's ministry in Derby up to the present time not a single young man has been induced to enter the Episcopal ministry in this town (with the exception of Charles H. Proctor) during the long period of forty-seven years. This speaks well for the record of Mr. Jewett.

Coming into possession of unexpected wealth Mr. Jewett relinquished his salary in Derby for the last two years of his rectorship. In 1834 he removed to New Haven, and here and there for some years performed valuable ministerial services, commensurate with his failing health. The most important were those rendered to the feeble parishes of West Haven, Westville and Fair Haven, where his services were gratuitous, and he thus contributed largely to their revival and prosperity; and to this day the fruit of his labors, broken by repeated attacks of illness, are duly appreciated. He was some months an assistant in Trinity church, New Haven. His hospitality was noteworthy; under his roof his brethren always found acceptable

607

rest and refreshments. In his life-time he gave what he could to promote the objects of humanity, learning and religion. A quarter of a century before his death he founded a scholarship in Trinity College, Hartford, the largest individual gift up to that time that the institution had ever received. The contribution of $2,000 to St. Thomas parish. New Haven, while in its infancy, it is due to him and his family to say, was a strong incentive to others to abound "more and more" in good works for the glory of God and the benefit of His church. Feeble in the beginning, with only a handful of worshipers, this parish (St. Thomas) under thirty-one years' ministration of one clergyman, the present rector. Rev. E. E. Beardsley, D. D., L. L. D., has grown to be among the strong and substantial churches in the diocese.

Mr. Jewett was gathered to his fathers August 25, 1861, and the following Sunday Rev. Mr. Brainard, then rector of St. James's church, Birmingham, announced his death to his congregation, and immediately after divine service a meeting was held by the rector, wardens and vestrymen of the parish, at which the following resolution, among others in relation to Mr. Jewett, was unanimously passed:

"Resolved, That we remember with gratitude the fact that for the space of thirteen years Rev. Stephen Jewett, whose public and private character, adorned as it was with rare and excellent virtues, went in and out among us as the zealous and faithful parish minister, active in every good work, rendering most efficient services to the church in this vicinity in the days of her comparative feebleness, contributing largely by God's blessing to the present position of strength and prosperity which it now enjoys."

Thus the name of this man of God, like his patriarchial predecessor's, is still held in pleasing and grateful remembrance. Many are now living who testify warmly to his self-sacrificing devotion, his unswerving fidelity and Christian zeal in building up and strengthening the walls of Zion in the ancient parish of St. James's church, Derby.



PLINY ADAMS JEWETT, M. D.,

The son of Rev. Stephen Jewett, was born June 4, 1816, and spent his early years in Derby where he attended the village

608

school, and after being fitted, entered Trinity College, Hartford, from which he was graduated in 1837, and then entering Yale Medical School received the degree of M. D. from that college in 1839. He has been one of the most prominent physicians and surgeons in the state, and held the chair of professor of obstetrics in Yale for ten years. He has been intimately connected with the State Hospital since its organization, and is a life director and consulting physician and surgeon in that institution. At the commencement of the Rebellion he offered his services to the government to take command of the Government Hospital at New York, known as the Knight General Hospital, where he remained in charge until the close of the war in 1865. He has been an active and influential member of the State Medical Society for many years, having held all the offices within the gift of that society, and is an honorary member of the New York State Medical Society. Although Dr. Jewett's professional life has been spent in New Haven he still considers himself a Derby boy, and has lost none of his love for the home of his childhood.



THOMAS B. JEWETT, M. D.,

Son of Pliny A. jewett, M. D., and grandson of the Rev. Stephen Jewett, was born at New Haven, January 9, 1850. His early education was pursued at the rectory school, Hamden, Conn., and the Collegiate and Commercial Institute of New Haven. He fitted for college at the Hopkins Grammar School, New Haven. He studied medicine with his father and Dr. Ambrose Beardsley of Birmingham, graduated from the medical department of Yale in January, 1879, and immediately located himself at Birmingham with Dr. Ambrose Beardsley. He has been very specially engaged in some cases of surgery of public interest and notoriety in the state.



COL. EBENEZER JOHNSON

Is supposed to have been the son of Peter Johnson of Fairfield, and was born about the time his father settled in Fairfield, 1649. He came to Derby, a single man, about 1668, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Wooster, in 1671, and made his home

609

not long- after on the south-east part of Sentinel Hill as it was then called; the place being now on the turnpike east of Derby Narrows, and still known as the old Johnson place. He very soon became a leading man in all the interests and enterprises of the plantation and town, developing marvelous activity and energy, and a generosity of character that won the confidence and esteem of the whole community, and a large circle of associated officers both military and civil throughout the state. He seemed to believe in everybody, and feared nothing. He was once censured by the General Court for administering the oath to certain persons without requiring a record of those persons of the necessary legal qualifications in order to receive the oath. This was like the man. He knew those persons to possess the necessary qualifications as his neighbors, and thereupon administered the oath, not doubting but that all others knew the same, and would accept the fact without further question.

The location of his farm indicates the native good judgment and discrimination of the man; the land being of the best quality, and its position being warm for early seed in the spring. He was such a worker that he accepted several pieces of land from the town, which were scarcely regarded as worth fencing, and soon made them most productive and valuable.

He was early introduced to military position, which secured some little money, and thereby he had large advantage over most of his neighbors; for a little silver in the hand in those days was equal to a large capital stock in the best manufacturing enterprises of the present day. In 1685 he was chosen lieutenant, and Abel Gunn, his neighbor, ensign of the first company organized in Derby, and in 1689 he was commissioned by the General Court to the office of captain in a volunteer company, raised to aid England to oppose the French in the twenty-four years' war that followed. In this war he went on two expeditions to Albany and one to New York, besides others against the Indians of his own state, and to protect the seacoast. He was also appointed as one of the commissioners, or governor's council, several years during the war, and as such seems to have been depended upon as much as any one in the state. He-was appointed sergeant-major of New Haven county militia in 1704, and in 1709 the General Assembly made the

610

following record: "Upon consideration of the age and long service of Major Ebenezer Johnson, sergeant-major of the regiment of militia in the county of New Haven, this assembly have thought meet to excuse, and do now hereby excuse and release him from any further labor in that post." But his retirement did not last long, for the French war continuing, an expedition was organized in 1710 to go to St. Johns, or Port Royal, in that reo-ion, and Major Johnson was commissioned colonel of the reo-iment on that expedition. After this Colonel Johnson was more respected and honored than before, which was scarcely necessary, for in 1701 the town clerk wrote: "The worshipful Major Johnson," and in after years repeated this appellation several times, denoting the highest honor.

He was justice of the peace much of the time, if not all, from 1698 to 1716, and was representative much of the time from 1685 to 1723, a term of thirty-eight years, the equal of which is seldom known in any state. This is evidence that sometimes men do receive some proportionate honor in their life-time.

For his public services, the town gave him while captain, one hundred and seventy-five acres of land at "Quaker's Farm, including the Eight-mile brook from north to south." He received also of the state, by vote of the General Assembly, in 1700, three hundred acres of land as a recognition of his public services, particularly during the French war.

"Liberty and full power is by this assembly granted to the Honored Deputy Governor, Col. Robert Treat, and to Capt. Ebenezer Johnson, and to the Reverend Mr. James to take up their respective grants of land . . in the country lands adjoining Stratford nordi bounds."

Dr. Benjamin Trumbull, the historian, in his manuscript notes says of Major Johnson: "About this time (1706) Major Johnson transacted almost all the public business in the town. He was a man of great resolution, courageous even to temerity, which gave him a great superiority over the common people and especially over the Indians."

It is very seldom that such a character is found who is so considerate of his fellow men as Major Johnson, as manifested in his proposition to Ensign Samuel Riggs in town meeting in 1700.

Colonel Johnson's first wife died early, leaving one daughter.

611

Elizabeth, who married Jeremiah Johnson, and to her he gave his interest in certain lands "which did of right belong to my first wife and her heirs, she being long since deceased and without any other heir or issue, male or female, surviving but only the said Elizabeth, descended to her from her father Edward Wooster." Deed given in 1710.

He gave to his son Peter in 1707, "one piece of land adjoining to Pootatuck river, containing by estimation one hundred acres, and another piece adjoining to Two-mile brook, containing fifty acres."



HARVEY JOHNSON

Of Ansonia was born in Monroe, Conn., February 14, 1798, and married Nancy Riggs of Oxford, by whom he had twelve children, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren are numerous. By trade he was a stone mason, and few men if any in the state have erected more monuments to their memory in the shape of public buildings (stone and brick), factories, stores and dwelling houses than he. His first contract for public buildings was the Insane Retreat at Hartford. He next built the state prison at Wethersfield, then Washington College, now Trinity, at Hartford, a church at Hartford, St. John's Church at Bridgeport, St. James's Church at Birmingham, St. John's in Waterbury, and a stone church in Washington, Conn. In addition to these he has erected sixteen large stone factories and a great variety of stores and dwelling houses. In the construction of some of these buildings other masons have been associated with him.

He has been an industrious, hard working man, always leading his men in the work before them. He is still in good health and is much respected in the community. His neighbors celebrated his golden wedding February 14, 1869. Having seen so much polished stone, he has erected a monument in Evergreen Cemetery, a native, rough, bayonet-shaped stone, fourteen feet high, a curious and unpolished monument.



SHELDON C. JOHNSON, M. D.,

Settled in Humphreysville in 1825. He attended lectures at the Yale Medical School, where he received his degree of M. D. He married a daucrhter of Doct. Abiram Stoddard and is still a

6l2

practicing physician and surgeon in Seymour, and is upwards of eighty years of age.



WILLIAM JOHNSON, M. D.,

Was born in Montgomery county, Penn., in 1849. His early education was obtained at the Normal School, Westchester, Penn., and the Polytechnic College, Philadelphia, from which institution he was graduated; and afterwards was graduated at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, receiving the degree of M. D., in 1869. He practiced his profession three years in Philadelphia and one year in Meriden, Conn., before coming to Ansonia, where he has been located over eight years, during which time he has proved himself a careful and attentive follower of Esculapius.



DONALD JUDSON

May be reckoned among the pioneers of Birmingham. He was born in Huntington, Conn., and in 1834 was senator from the loth senatorial district. In November, 1835, he removed to Birmingham and built the stone store on Main street, one of the first buildings in the village. Previous to June 29, 1830, he and Philo Bassett, bought the old Leavenworth bridge and removed it, or rather built a new one near Hawkins Point, before Birmingham as a village was started. This investment proved profitable and Mr. Judson then became variously interested in the advancement of the place. He was a man of sterling integrity and greatly respected. The Judson bridge, which was a sort of monument to his name, was carried away by a terrible ice flood in February, 1857, and immediately rebuilt by his widow, Mrs. Polly M. Judson, and Dr. Martin B. Bassett." Mr. Judson died September 2, 1847.



ITHIEL KEENLY

Was born at Derby Narrows, March 17, 1755. being the first white child born at that place. He kept the tavern in the corner house, still standing opposite the store now occupied by Frank D. Jackson, and also kept the tavern, for a while, which is now occupied by Emery Hotchkiss; was a sea captain, sailing to foreign ports as well as on home waters. He was town

613

treasurer about thirty years, which implies that great confidence was placed in him, and that he was much respected by the people of the town.



COL. ELISHA STRONG KELLOGG

Was born in the town- of Glastenbury, Conn., in 1824, and a love for adventure led him to choose the life of a sailor. For many years he was buffeted by the waves and disciplined by hardship, until, like a true son of Neptune, he grew in stature, robust and vigorous in body;-- in mind honest, sincere, and kind, with a certain brusque roughness, which pertains to the hardy sailor. His sailor life terminated with a visit to California in the days of the gold excitement, whither he went but found little success, and from which he returned to the vicinity of his native village when he settled in one of the mechanical pursuits of busy New England industry, where aptitude in mechanic art soon made him a skillful worker. He married the lady he loved, and whose affection he prized more than any earthly treasure. Upon a hill in Winsted, Conn., resides the widow with their only child, Eddie. Those who are familiar with the history of the state militia will remember Lieut., Capt., Major, and Lieut. Col. Kellogg, for this is the order in which he rose from rank to rank, until he was acknowledged the best drilled soldier in the state.

Col. Kellogg had been a resident of Derby about five years when the news of the fall of Fort Sumter surprised the nation. A company was soon organized and he was called to command it, but before they were ordered to rendezvous the call for three years' troops was issued, and Capt. Kellogg's company offered their service for the three years, and was mustered in as company B, fourth Connecticut volunteers, it being the first three years' regiment from the state. In March, 1862, he was promoted to be major in this regiment, then changed to heavy artillery. One month later, it went with the army of the Potomac on the "Peninsular Campaign." At the siege of Yorktown he commanded battery No. I, consisting of five onehundred and two two-hundred pound Parrott guns, the only battery which opened on the rebel works. It was the first time guns of this calibre had been used, and the practice attracted

614

much attention. The skill displayed by Major Kellogg in the management of these guns was admired by all the generals, and he was honorably mentioned in the report of the "Chief of Artillery." He distinguished himself in the battles of Gaines Mills and Malvern Hill, and a few weeks after was promoted to be lieutenant colonel of the 19th regiment, a new organization in Litchfield county. After a short time he was transferred as colonel of his old 19th heavy artillery, and on the ist of June was ordered to charge the enemy's works at Cold Harbor, where after distinguishing himself as a cool fighting soldier, and after having taken two lines of the enemy's works he was seen standing on one of these works cheering the "boys on after the fleeing rebels, his face covered with blood from a wound in the cheek, and where soon after he was found dead with four wounds, two in the head, and near him a score of our brave boys had fallen." The officers of Col. Kellogg's regiment said: "He fell a hero at the head of his command, fighting his country's battles. We cherish his memory and hold his honor dear." He was a man of sterling character. What is ordinarily termed "manhood," was his distinguishing trait of character. Truth, honor, bravery, sincerity, were in his esteem cardinal virtues; these were his idols. Thus fell a hero; once for all.



JOSHUA KENDALL, M. D.,

Came to Humphreysville in 1833, and is now next to the oldest physician of the place. He attended medical lectures at Castleton University, Vt., where he graduated. As a physician and as a citizen he has been a leading and influential man; has been a most efficient member of the school board over thirty years, and has done good work for the advancement of education, temperance and sound morality in the town. He has been ardent and unyielding in his politics and represented Derby in the Legislature in 1849, before Seymour was organized as a new town. He is still in active practice as a physician.



EDMUND LEAVENWORTH
[image]

Was born in Huntington, December 14, 1766. His father was Edmund, his grandfather Thomas, and his great-grandfather Doct. Thomas Leavenworth, who came to this country and set-

615

tled on the west bank of the Ousatonic, near the Indian Well. Edmund had small advantages in his early training, but grew to be a man of more than ordinary intelligence, activity and capacity for business. When a boy he was identified with his father in ship-building, who lost heavily of his property in vessels upon the high seas. In early life he engaged extensively in butchering, and in the war of 1812 barreled beef in large quantities for the government. He was elected first selectman of the town of Huntington for thirteen successive years, and was very vigilant in protecting the treasury of the town. A physician rendered his bill for services to the town poor, and Mr. Leavenworth demanded the items, since the bill seemed larger than he supposed it should be. The Doctor proceeded to read the statements, and after making some progress in the Latin names of the medicine, Mr. Leavenworth broke in suddenly by saying, "Squills and the devil and all," and proceeded to pay the bill. Mr. Leavenworth came to Derby about 1826, and was well known by the familiar name of "Uncle Ed," being a genial and warm-hearted man. For many years he was deputy sheriff in Derby, discharging his duties as an efficient and faithful officer, and was a favorite among the people for his fund of anecdote.

6l6

JOHN LEWIS

Was a native of Derby and attended school, with Stephen Whitney. The following account is taken from the "Old Merchants of New York." Vol. II. 197:

"I remember among the clerks of Hoffman and Son, at that period, one named John Lewis as late as 1827. Hoffman sold largely for Archibald Gracie, and I used to see Mr. Lewis frequently. He had been a merchant at Derby, Conn. He was born there. He came to this city and went with the Hoffmans for the sole purpose of acquiring a knowledge of business paper. At that time Elijah Humphreys was doing a very heavy business as a grocer at 171 Front street. He was anxious to see Mr. Lewis go into the brokerage business, then a different business from now. John Lewis did go into that business from Hoffman's and took an office at 53 Wall street, in a basement which then rented for $50 a year. Probably now it would be $3,000.

"John Lewis made a success. He kept an account in the Bank of America, and then aided his old townsman, Stephen Whitney.

"The firm of Mr. Lewis was John Lewis and Co. . . . Mr. Lewis afterwards left business in 1840 with an ample fortune of $100,000 At that time he was at No. 12 Wall street. He retired against the protestations of every friend. They advised him to stay in the street and get rich.

"John Lewis had a favorite object for many years, and he used to travel at his own expense between this and Albany to get it carried out. I allude to the New York Free Academy. He was a warm advocate for the advancement of the highest educational facilities. He, before and since that time, had advanced substantial means as high at one time as $20,000. As he never aspired to riches, he gratified himself in spending his money in that way and it was very laudable. I do not know among the list of names I have rescued from oblivion any one who has done more good in a quiet way, and added to the prosperity of our city more than John Lewis.

"I see that he many years ago paid taxes on mure than $200,000 real estate in the city."



JOHN LINDLEY
[image]

Was born at Oxford, April 17, 1816, and worked on his father's farm until he was seventeen, when he engaged in school teaching, which he followed for seven winters, working at his trade summers with W. and L. Hotchkiss, builders, then of Birming-

617

ham. He afterwards engaged in the lumber business and continued therein until 1858, since which time he has been a merchant in a furniture, carpet and variety store in Ansonia, in which place he was one of the pioneers in 1845. He has always taken a deep interest in the cause of common school education, which he has most effectually served a number of years. He was first selectman and town agent for three years, and since the organization of Christ Church, Ansonia, has been a devoted worker in that church.

6l8

LYMAN L. LOMER

Was born in South Hadley, Mass., July 20, 1814; came to Seymour in 1834, and to Birmingham in 1836, where he worked for David Bassett at the auger business for three or four years, and then became the market dealer in meats. After this he engaged in the livery business, having this peculiar rule, he would not let a horse on Sunday. He established a stage route from Birmingham to Bridgeport, then from Seymour to Woodbury. After following the business of staging a number of years he returned to that of the meat market for a time, and then engaged in the manufacture of corsets, to which he is still devoting his attention. In his business enterprises he has been successful. He has been warden of Birmingham, and selectman of the town.



REV. RICHARD MANSFIELD, D. D.

The annals of Derby furnish no character more conspicuous and deservedly honored than the subject of this sketch. His ancestor, Richard Mansfield, came from England to Boston about 1636, and thence to New Haven in 1643. The son of the first Richard, Moses, born in England, became distinguished in New Haven, holding the highest military office in the county, who in 1673 routed a party of hostile Indians, where the town of Mansfield is now situated. For this heroic act he received a large tract of land, which was afterwards incorporated as a town and called Mansfield.

Richard Mansfield was born in New Haven in October, 1724 and his early religious training was in the Congregational faith; his father, Jonathan Mansfield, being a worthy deacon in that church. At the early age of eleven years he was prepared for college, but owing to its rules could not enter it until fourteen. He graduated with the first honors of his class in 1741, being greatly respected by his instructors as a remarkably steady and studious young man. He was a "scholar of the House " as it was termed and received the premium founded by Bishop Berkeley for the best examination in Greek, provided the student remained in New Haven as a graduate one or more years. He read attentively many of the works donated to Yale College by

619

Bishop Berkeley, and during this period began to think favorably of the Episcopal church, and finally, with great warmth of feeling united with that fhurch. In 1744 he took charge of a grammar school in New Haven, remaining as its principal more than two years. He was a ripe scholar for those times, and fitted many young men for Yale college, and the college in after life conferred on him the degree of D. D. Being determined to enter the ministry of the church of England, although bitterly opposed by his father's family, he sailed in the summer of 1748 for England, where he was admitted to Holy Orders by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Herring.

Dr. Mansfield returned to this country and under the eye of Dr. Johnson of Stratford, who had undoubtedly aided him in his theological preparation, he began his work in the face of the jealousy, prejudice and opposition engendered by the early Puritans. His field of labor was appointed in Derby, having been preceded by the missionaries, Arnold, Morris and Lyons, and he established his residence in Derby village, the centre of his extensive field of labor, and was supported here by that venerable "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts" until the acknowledgment of the American independence.

The papers containing his declaration of allegiance to the Episcopal church, the certificate of the same, and his parchment of ordination are still preserved, and are as follows:

"I do declare that I will conform to the liturgy of the Church of England as it is now by law established.
Richard Mansfield."

"This declaration was made and subscribed before us, by the said Richard Mansfield to be licensed to perform the ministerial office in the province of New England in America, this nth day of August in the year of our Lord 1748, and in the twenty-sixth year of our translation.
Edmd. London."

The following record of Dr. Mansfield's ordination is facsimile copy of his parchment; the name "Thomas of Canterbury" was the title as Bishop. A green ribbon was attached to the parchment, which is also preserved.

620

[image]

621

On the l0th of November, 1751, in his church he was married to Sarah Anna, eldest daughter of Joseph Hull, 2d, of Derby by the Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson of Stratford, who has been justly styled, "the father of Episcopacy in Connecticut." For a quarter of a century Dr. Mansfield received annually from the society in England forty pounds sterling, besides Bibles, prayer-books and other church works for distribution among the people. This parish included the present towns of Derby, Orange, Woodbridge, Seymour, Oxford. Southbury, Naugatuck and Waterbury. After 1755, his labors being abundantly blessed, his duties were mostly confined to Derby and Oxford.

The war of the Revolution brought troublesome times to the church. Dr. Mansfield was a loyalist, and having sworn allegiance to the British crown in his vows of ordination, his mind and conscience were not easily forced to abandon his chosen ground. It is said he was ordered not to pray for the king. In 1775 he preached a sermon from the words "Fear God; honor the king," which created a bitter feeling against him. The sermon was loyal to the British ministry, but it was strangely perverted; the Puritan element declaring that Dr. Mansfield's doctrine was, that "in fearing God you must join the Episcopal church, and to honor the king you must fight his battles." A short time after this, on a Sunday morning while preaching, a guard of American troops marched into his church, when the good parson came down from his pulpit in "double quick" and escaping from the sanctuary without his hat, hastened to his home and soon fled to Long Island, then in possession of the British, leaving his wife and infant, and seven other children to the care of others; one daughter being married to Elijah Humphreys. It is said that his son-in-law being an officer on a war vessel arrested him in his flight, but it is more probable that he became a guarantee for his conduct and obtained the privilege for him to return not long after to his home and his pulpit. There is good authority for the statement that this sonin-law obtained the privilege for his brother John to take the place of the guard in the church to see that the devoted loyalist did not preach against the American cause. After the war his opposition to the cause of liberty in the colonies seems to have been soon forgotten in the piety and zeal he manifested towards

622

his church, and the meek but dignified deportment he exhibited toward all who entertained different religious views from himself.

Dr. Mansfield was rector of St. James's church seventy-two years without a break, -- a solitary instance it is believed in the Episcopal church in this country.

The labors of Dr. Mansfield were arduous and extensive. The ministerial rates in support of the church services were paid directly to him, and he gave his receipt as follows:

"Derby. January 6, A. D., 1755. Then received of Mr. Nicholas Moss his ministerial rate in full for the year 1753. I say received per me, Richard Mansfield, Missionary."

Dr. Mansfield's register of baptisms numbers 2,191, and there is reason to believe his marriages and burials were equally proportionate. He taught from house to house, and was diligent in his attentions to his people. He was particularly tender and affectionate towards the lambs of his flock, and thus they grew in years to love and venerate his person and cherish his fatherly instructions. He generally rode on horseback, being a good horseman, and no inclemency of weather or almost impassable roads prevented his visiting the sick, or in any way discharging his duty. On one Sunday he appointed to preach and hold a baptismal service in Oxford, and the week previous rains fell in torrents, the streams were greatly swollen and bridges swept away; but mounting his horse in the morning, around gullied roads, through lots, and traveling eight miles out of his way to cross the Naugatuck, he reached Oxford and found his little flock waiting his arrival. This he considered no hardship in the line of duty. Again on one stormy afternoon he was sent for to marry a couple in Waterbury, and he hurried to be in season to return before night. The ceremony over, he was asked his fee for such services. The Doctor replied: "It's a stormy time, and as you are entering on a new and uncertain life, I shall be governed by your liberality," whereupon the happy groomsman handed him a pistareen and two coppers, wishing him a safe return home. Again he was called to tie the "indissoluble knot" at Wooster's tavern in Gunntown, in the limits of old Derby. The happy pair were colored, and

623

they wanted to be "married like white folks." "Will you pay the same as white folks, if I marry you in that way?" said Dr. Mansfield. "Oh yes, massa," was the reply. The ceremony over and the parson ready to leave, waiting for his fee, the sable groomsman turned him off by saying, "You no sing the psalm nor kiss the bride, as you. do with white folks."

Dr. Mansfield was very familiar with his laymen, who loved him as a father, and always provided "something good" when he came among them. Visiting a parishioner one day in Oxford, the wife had prepared him a meal with the luxury of coffee sweetened, as was common in those days, with molasses "fretted in." Passing his cup for more sweetening, the good lady said, "La me, parson, this coffee would be none too good for you if it was all 'lasses!"

He frequently officiated among his people by special appointment. On one occasion he was to preach on Great Hill where the church services were a rarity and the people anxious to hear him. Prayer-book exercises through, the Doctor felt for his sermon but drew by accident from his loose pocket nothing but his long pipe, for he was a noted smoker. Before he began to extemporize a layman "spoke out in meeting" and said, "Parson, if you had put your sermon with your pipe you would have known where to find it."

Dr. Mansfield was never idle. Among his diversified and arduous duties he found time to cultivate the lands about his residence, in which he took particular pride. The venerable elm that now adorns the front yard of the "old Mansfield house" at Up Town, was planted and nourished by him more than a hundred years ago, he having brought it from New Haven on horseback. The black walnut so fashionable in this age was first introduced into Derby by Dr. Mansfield. On his return from England in 1748, the year of his ordination, he brought in his pocket some of the "old England walnuts" and had them planted on the farm now owned by the heirs of the late Capt. Asa Bassett. One seed took root and grew to be a large tree, the stump of which we believe, in part, still remains. In his old age, then ninety-five, one of his parishioners (named Hawkins) carried him some walnuts from that tree with the remark: "These grew from the seed planted by you seventy years ago."

624

The old Doctor smiled and said: "If such be the fruits of England in the vegetable world what may we not expect in the animal? "

We might call up many more pleasing reminiscences of this excellent divine. As a preacher he was earnest, persuasive and scripturally interesting. In a word, his connection with the Episcopal church in Derby for nearly three-quarters of a century largely identifies his name with her history, and the people here are greatly indebted to him for the good fruits of his long, faithful and untiring ministry. How striking the example, and how suggestive to the clergy of modern times, the labors of such a man. In season and out of season he went about doing the will of his divine Master. Ever watchful for the greatest good of his people he was an acceptable minister indeed. "An Israelite in whom there was no guile." In the language of the excellent Cowper:

"We would express him simple, grave, sincere;
In doctrine uncorrupt, in language plain,
And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste,
And natural in gesture; much impressed
Himself, as conscious of his awful charge.
And anxious, that the flock he feeds
May feel it too. Affectionate in look,
And tender in address, as well becomes
A messenger of grace to guilty men."

In person he was tall, venerable and commanding, and it is said of him for fifty years he scarcely changed the cut or color of his garments, which were the small clothes and shoes. He wore the large white wig surmounted with a broad flat-brimmed hat. Such was an embassador of Christ in olden times, who closed his useful labors August 12, 1820, aged ninety-six years. He still lingers in the affection of those who remember his godly example and pious teachings, with profit and comfort to their souls. A "memorial window" in the flourishing church of Ansonia holds sacred his memory. Near where was the cornerstone of the first Episcopal church edifice erected in Derby, an humble slab, leaning towards the rising sun, for over half a century has marked the place where he lies, over which many grateful tears have been shed. Through the munificence of his descendants an imposing monument has very recently been erected.


History of the Old Town of Derby - End of Part 13

Introduction    Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 4    Part 5    Part 6    Part 7    Part 8   
Part 9    Part 10    Part 11    Part 12    Part 13    Part 14    Part 15    Part 16    Part 17   


USGenWeb City of Derby CT Home Page & Search



Search billions of records on Ancestry.com