Search billions of records on

Lisbon UsGenweb Home

Hanover Congregational Churchthe steps to Old Hanover cemetery
Hanover Church and the steps to Old Hanover cemetery...
Just beyond the steps lie the graves of Phineas ADAMS and his wife Lydia (Bishop) ADAMS


This was incorporated as an ecclesiastical society in 1761. It included a small portion of Canterbury and Windham. A fund of £1400 was raised by subscription for the support of the ministry, and a church of fourteen members gathered May 13, 1766, under the temporary ministry of Rev. Timothy Stone. A house for worship was erected about the same time. Rev. Andrew Lee, the first pastor, was ordained October 26, 1768, and continued in office, fulfilling its duties without special assistance, for sixty-two years. In 1830, the Rev. Barnabas Phinney became his colleague. Dr. Lee died Aug. 25, 1832, aged 87. Mr. Phinney was dismissed the November following.

Dr. Lee was a man of generous impulses, candid and liberal in sentiment. Mr. Nelson, his friend and neighbor, said of him, "He was made originally on a noble scale, and his faculties were finely developed by carefully and diligent culture." [Footnote: Sprague's Am. Pulpit, P. 671.] He published a volume of sermons, and various separate discourses, which display vigorous thought and nice discrimination. He was, however, deficient in pulpit oratory, his delivery being heavy and monotonous.

He was a son of John Lee, of Lyme, and born in 1745. His mother was Abigail Tully. Though a graduate of Yale College, he received the degree of S.T.D. from Harvard.

Since the dismission of Mr. Phinney, the church has had the following pastors:

Rev. Philo Judson, installed June 6, 1833; dismissed in December, 1834.

Rev. Joseph Ayer, installed in September, 1837; dismissed in June, 1848.

Rev. James A. Hazen, installed in December, 1852; died Oct. 29, 1862, age 49.

[Transcribed from Frances Manwaring Caulkins's History of Norwich, Connecticut. (1866).]


2 Jan. 1843: at a meeting of the church consisting of the pastor [Rev. Joseph Ayer], the two acting deacons and L. P. Rowlands, the following report was accepted:

"Whereas the Christian Church is established to be the light of the Gospel, it is therefore Resolved, that the church ought to hear decided testimony against all sin, and especially reprove with all tenderness and fidelity those members of the Christian body who punish in open transgression.

Resolved, that the system of Slavery, as it exists in the United States and as tolerated in many churches in our land, is a violation of the letter and spirit of the Gospel – inasmuch as it withholds from almost three million of the human family their personal freedom – denied them generally the memory of education – the privilege and protection of civil institutions – the sacred rights of matrimony and the true reward of their labor – thus reducing and holding them in a state of oppression, ignorance and moral degradation scarcely paralleled in the civilized world.

Resolved, that we feel constrained in a spirit of meekness to reprove and rebuke all professing Christians, ministers, and Churches who tolerate Slavery in word and deed – and that we cannot extend the fellowship of the Gospel to those who continue to enslave their fellow men after the faithful administration of their Christian brethren.

Resolved, that these resolutions be published in the New York Observer and the New England Puritan.

[transcribed from Volume II, pages18-19 of the Hanover Congregational Church Records. FHL Microfilm #5821]

Established in 1761-1766.

Messrs. Timothy Stone, Theodore Hinsdale, Panderson Ausin, and others, supplied the preaching, and two of those mentioned received and declined calls to settle as pastors. In 1768, August 31st, the church voted to invite Mr. Andrew Lee to settle as their minister. Mr. Lee on October 1st, 1768, having replied affirmatively, was taken into the church as a member on the 25th of October, 1768, and on the following day was ordained as their pastor, which relation was not dissolved till his death on the 23rd of August, 1832. This long pastorate of Dr. Lee in Hanover extended almost sixty-four years. In a confession of faith of this church on May 2d, 1787, they adopted nearly the same as that of the Newent church, although there had been all along some divergent views in regard to covenants, which were binding in holding persons baptized in infancy on church rolls, etc., etc. Whether Dr. Lee was at first (as some suspected) lax in respect to theology, Rev. Levi Nelson, with good reason, said of him, 1849: "He left behind him, when he had finished his labors, a united orthodox church."

During the four or five years preceding Dr. Lee's decease ministerial aid was afforded him by Rev. Henry Perkins, Rev. Daniel Hemingway, Mr. James Anderson, and Rev. Jonathan Cone. The said Mr. Perkins and Mr. Anderson received each, in 1828, a call to become colleague pastors, but neither became such. Mr. Cone, in 1829, was called with like result.

Mr. Barnabas Phiney, in compliance with an invitation which the church had unanimously given him, became by regular ordination associate-pastor in February, 1830. And he retired November, 1832.

Rev. Philo Judson was installed pastor June, 1833, and retired July 1834. Rev. Joseph Ayer was pastor from September, 1837, to June, 1848, and the Rev. James A. Hazen from December, 1852, until he died on the 29th October, 1862. Between the pastorate of Mr. Judson and that of Mr. Ayer, Rev. Daniel Waldo and Edward Cleveland supplied the service, and between Mr. Ayer's and Mr. Hazen's terms the Rev. Ebenezer W. Robinson officiated.


Before Hanover was separated from Lisbon the Deacon's names and terms were as follows:

Joseph Bushnell from 1769 to 1791
Nathan Bushnell from 1769 to 1791
Reuben Peck from 1791 to 1806
Asa Witter from 1791 to 1793
David Knight, Jr. from 1793 to 1796
Nathan Lord from 1796 to 1819
Barnabas Huntington from 1806 to 1830
Ebenezer Allen from 1819
William Lee from 1830


Of 125th Anniversary of the Hanover Church, 1891.

An address before the Hanover Congregational Church covering a period of a hundred and twenty-five years from its beginning in 1766 to 1891, has been published by the Bulletin Company of Norwich, Conn.

Of this interesting and full historical account by the Rev. L. H. Higgins (the pastor, in 1891, when the celebration took place), I cannot speak too highly. Its completeness for the Hanover Church-History is so well established that no historical scholar need expect to add much to, or improve upon it. It is the best record to be found in print, not only of the church, but of the town's history.

In the year 1843 two Methodist Societies were gathered within the boundaries of Lisbon. Those Societies were not of long duration and did not make a very marked history in the town, and not many facts concerning them are now obtainable.

After Hanover was divided from Newent these two Methodist Societies and six other parishes remained parochially within Norwich, and territorially were constituted parts of its township twenty-five years longer, and thus Norwich, as to municipal concerns, continued so much longer a unit. Had her attempt made in 1745 to divide Newent been successful she could not have so long maintained so broad a territory. The inhabitants of Norwich had gained great advantages by partitioning its township into eight parishes, and keeping them under her own supervision for a long while. The civil interests and obligations of these parishes were still inconvenient to them in distances to travel to the town centre, where increasing population had demanded and obtained more frequent town meetings, to meet the urgent necessities of the people, and had to be borne for twenty years or more. The colonial Legislature repeatedly denied all requests for division into different townships, till Norwich with one dissenting voice agreed that three of the parishes lying north and east might be made into one new town, and with one dissenting voice only, agreed that two of the parishes, with part of another, lying north and east might be made into another new town. Two memorials were presented to the General Assembly asking it to carry into effect that design, and the result was that the Assembly in 1786, instead of making from Norwich two new towns, made three, namely, Bozrah, Franklin, and Lisbon (except that part of Preston, which afterwards became Griswold, was not included in the act incorporating Lisbon). The joint petition of Newent and Hanover was granted, and these two parishes remained together, each forming part of Lisbon's township seventy-five years - till 1861 - when Lisbon, in turn, itself was divided. At this time Norwich had been in existence as a town two hundred years, Newent as a parish nearly one hundred and fifty years. Hanover just about one hundred years after it had been made a parish became in 1861 a portion of a new town called Sprague, and from that date (1861) we do not connect its history longer as properly belonging to the town of Lisbon; although the social bond was not severed, the people cherished kindly a great interest in each other's welfare, and they really feel that they are yet, as one people, not separated, though represented in two townships.

[transcribed from pages 36-37 of Henry F. Bishop's Historical Sketch of Lisbon, Conn.]