Town of Goshen, Connecticut
With Genealogies and Biographies
The Records of Deacon Lewis Mills Norton
Rav. A. G. Hibbard, A.M.
Deacon John Beach was born at Wallingford, October 15, 1690; married there and all his children, excepting the
youngest, were born there. He removed to Qoshen in 1738 or 139. L. M. Norton's records contain the following: "In
the purchase of the township of Goshen lie was an original proprietor in one right; besides which he purchased
of Oliver Dudley one right, March 11, 1738. His two first division lots were laid together, 103 1/2 acres, on the
east side of East St., N. E. of the graveyard. The south line is the present north line of the lands lately owned
by William Stanley, and the north line was about 80 rods south of the house of Robert Palmer. hlis choice was the
35th in the first Division. Of course he could have no lands surveyed until late in the autumn of 1738. The fact
is, indeed, stated on his tombstone that he moved to Goshen in 1738, and this is possible. But to me it seems much
more probable that the removal of his family did not take place until the spring of 1739.
"His house was located on the northerly part of the west line of his 103 1/2 acres, on the east side of the road, and nearly opposite to the present house of Eber Bailey. His first house was undoubtedly of logs; but that in which he afterwards lived was a framed house, and the hollow place of the cellar is' still to be seen on the north side of the road leading to Whist Pond. Here his last child was born, October 27, 1739, the mother being at that time almost 45 years of age.
"At the first town meeting which was held in Goshen John Beach was chosen Moderator, and elected the first Selectman, for the year then ensuing. He represented the town in the General Assembly at the May session, 1757, and continued to do so at seven sessions, the last held in April, 1775."*
"The following inscription is on the stone at his grave, in the East St. cemetery:
"In memory of John Beach Escjr. who departed this life May 9, 1773, th his 83d year. He was born at Wallingford 1690, removed ':o this place 1738, was chosen first Deacon of the Church 1741, and WftS one of the Civil Authority; which offices he sustaiied until the fatil hour. "Useful in life, Lamented in death."
"At the grave of his wife:
' Mary late wife of John Beach Esqr. died October 27, 1767, In her 73d year."
"Deacon John Beach is supposed to have been a man of serious piety, of a steady and consistent Christian character. lIe should be remembered as eminently one of the Fathers in this town. He had the satisfaction of seeing all his sons settle in his vicinity; but Amos was that son who took the paternal home, and upon whom he leaned in the decline of life.
"There is an undoubted tradition in the family that the ordination of Mr. Heaton took place in his house, in November, 1740; at which time and place there can be no doubt that the Church was organized."
* A mistake; should be 1761.
Deacon Nathaniel Baldwin was born in Guilford, Conn., in 1693; removed to Lithcfield about 1732; bought two
rights in the township of Goshen, February 14, 1738, and removed to Goshen in 1738. At the first meeting held in
Goshen he was chosen one of the selectman. This was December 6, 1739. At the next town meeting, January 11, 1740,
he was Moderator and one of the committee "to go after a minister, and full power to agree with the said minister."
At the first proprietor's meeting, held in Litchfield, he was chosen Treasurer, This was September 27, 1738. At
the next meeting, held on December 6, 1738, he was appointed chairman if the committee for laaying out two "Divisions
if land," and he was continued in this position untill his death.
From the first settlement of the town to the time of his death he was frequently and almost continously called to fill some of the various town offices, and the evidence is abundent that he possessed the confidence of the people. This town was not represented in the General Assenbly until 1757, and he was sent twice between that time and his death in 1760.
He was chosen first deacon, first in Guilford. He served in this office in Litchfield and was made deacon in this church at the time of it's organization, in November, 1740. He is said to have been unassumong in his manners, a good citizen, and a meek and devoted Christian.
Abraham Permelee, born at Guilford, April 28, 1717. came to Goshen unmarried, with the first settlers; married,
May 3, 1746, Mary, daughter of Nathaniel Stanley. He died at Goshen March 25, 1795; she died at Goahen October
25, 1815, age 93 yrears.
He superintended the laying out of his lands, at the time being 23 years of age. He lived the summer with his uncal, Deacon Nathaniel Baldwin, The second summer he brought a bag of grass seed from his fathers home, North Guilford, and made his bed upon it all that summer. The distence from his log cabin to Deacon Baldwin's was one and one-quarter mile through the woods. His father, residing in Guilford, October 8, 1742, deeded to him the greater part of his lands in Goshen. The consideration named in the deed was "natural affections, love, and good will."
At the last town meeting in Goshen he was chosen one of the "Listers, " from which it would seem that he was accounted a young man of respectable talents. Physically he was large built and powerful. He was called "Lieutenant Permelee." This tital he, doubtless, obtained as a militia officer. It is not known that he served in the Old French War. He united with the church in November, 1747, or January, 1748, and was deemed a man of sound piety and evangelical sentiments.
On his gravestone, in the East St. Cemetery, is the following inscription:
Mrs. Parmelee was a consistent professor of the religion, but the date of her uniting with the church is not known. In the time of the Revolution she was a very strong patriot. She felt and expressed a very strong confidence in the ultimate success of the American Cause. Beesides fitting out at several different times her son, Theodore, who commanded a company of horse, for the battle field, she made with her own hands and gave at differant times five blankets to the destitute American Soldiers.
Samuel Nash, son of Lieutenant John Nash of Hadley, Mass, came to Goshen from Farmington. His first purchase of land was made August 1, 1745. He was appointed Town Clerk and Treasurer, December 31, 1750, succeeding Amos Thompson. He held the office of Town Clerk until December 5, 1791, 41 years without intermission. During this time he was elected to many other offices. He was Justus ot the Peace for several years. He represented the town in the General Assembly for 25 sessions, for October, 1757, to May, 1775. He was chosen deacon in 1761, and continued in this office until 1800, when, on account of his age and infirmities he was virtually excused, although their is no record of a vote being taken. He must have died about 1802, and was probaly burried in the old Middle Street graveyard.
Asaph Hall, the son of David, come to Goshen from Wallingford, the precise date not knowm. He inherited a large amount of land from his father, He was first chosen as Representive in October, 1733, and was last chosen in October 1792, ab between these dates attended 24 sessions of the General Assembly. The fact that he was among those chosen to direct the affairs of the county in the times that tried men's soals, is sufficient evidence of the confidence reposed in him by the people. He held the office of Justice of the Peace for many years. He was a warm patriot during the War of the Revolution, and, on the authority of David Hart, was with Col. Eathen Allen, at the taking of Ticonderoga, and at other times was personally in the service.
James Thompson was born in Goshen March 1, 1741, and mist have been very nearly the first white child born in
the town. He boult and occupies for nany years the house situated on the west side of West Street, facing the road
which leads from that point to the residecne of Mrs. Moses Lyman. The dwelling has been recently torn down. What
follows relating to his life is compiles from the recollections of those who know him, and found in letters addressed
to his children after his death.
He was above the average in size of men, say six feet high, and well formed. He was quick in action, cheerful in habits, kind in his attentions of children, winning their gratitude and confidence. Although a farmer, he was often engaged in building grist and sawmills. He owned and imporved large tracts of land. He owned more horses than any other man in town, introduced the first pleasure wagon, and, I think, the first wagon of any kind in the towm. He was active in town and society affairs, He was a slave-owner. He liberated "Old Hess" and his wife, built them a house and barn and gave them the use of as much land as they could cultivate, and always overloooked and advised them.
He was an earnest and consistent Christian, distinguished for hid hospitality to ministers of the Gospel, and a pioneer in gegard to Christian benevolence. He was a liberal contributor to the Connecticut Missionary Society, the oldest missionary society in the country, sending the Gospel to the "new settlements". His wife was in complete sympathy with him in Christian benovolence and work. She was a woman of a degree of intelligence not in common in those days, and as a result of the parents' teaching and prayers, all their children have had a place in the visible church of Christ, or have died in the hope of the believer in Christ.
Captain Jonathan Buell (usually called so, perhaps, because of his service in the war of the Revolution), son of Captain Jonathan, was born in Goshen June 9, 1753. He residence as described by L. M. N., was "the red house on the west side of of the road leading from Town Hall southerly." Mr. Norton adds: "A kind of providence amiled upon the industry and economy of this man and his wife, and gave them a competence of things of this world. They lived happily together, but never had a child. She was a member of the church here before the settlement of Mr. Hooker. She died October 20, 1828.It is from this Capt. Buell, noe (February, 1841) in his 88th year, and enjoying comfortable health, that I have recieved much information in regard to many other persons and things in Goshen. He died at his home February 14, 1847. This man was a patriot and a soldier of the Revolution. He was at the North at the taking of Burgoyne and at New York under Gen. Washington. A sergent in the campaine at New York. (Note March 1, 1848.) This Jonathan Buell was a man of much esteemed and beloved. He left by his will to the American Board for Foreign Missiions, the Home Missionary Society, and the Theological Institute at East Windsor, 100 dollars each. He was liberal to the benevolent ovjects in his lifetime, and in all outword respects lived the life of a Christian, except that he never made a public profession of his religion. We loved him much and we are not without hope in his death.
Adino Hale, son of Justus Hale, who came to Goshen from Wethersfield about 1752, was born here in 1754; married
Candice, daughter of Capt. Isaac Pratt. Mr. Hale was a man of very Respectable talents and a worhthy citizen. He
was first chosen as head Constable December 5, 1785, and held that office several years. He was chosen Town Clerk
December 5, 1791, and held the office until has death, in 1831, 39 years. Much of the handweiting of Mrs. Hale
is to be seen upon the town records. He was first chosen representive in May, 1786, and attended thirty-three sessions
of the Assembly, to October, 1804, inclusive, and many times afterwords, including the convention for the formation
of the State Constitution. He was a Justice of the peace for many years, and it is said of him that he was more
willing gratuitously to render his service as a peacemakeer than to take his fees for granting writs.
His widow, in her will, made peovisions for the purchase of the silver communion service now in use in the Congregational Church, and gave the remander of her property to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. They Resided in the leanto house on the north side of the road leading to Torrington, about 50 rods east of the Church.
Deacon Augustus Thompson was the oldest son of Mr. James Thompson, born in Goshen March 17, 1770. He united
with the church under the pastorship of the rev. Asahel Hooker, November 3, 1799. He was appointed a deacon in
the church November 13, 1817, under the pastorship of the Rev. Joseph Harvey, D.D. He removed to Norwich in 1831,
and thence to East, now South Windsor, in 1834, where he die April 7, 1851.
It was principally in Goshen and as a member of that church for thirty-five years, and under the ministeries of the pastors there, that his character as a man and a Christian recieved its formation and came to its maturity; but his "path" as that of "the just" was in the place of his latter residence as the "shining light shineth more and more unto the perfect day". One who lived near him and had long ocserved his manner of life," wrote of his son as follows: "As far back as my memory extends, your honored father was an acknowledged standard of 'every-day Christian' excellence." "A man without guile," was my father's remark of him. We should as soon have expected to see the sun turn backward from his course, as that Deacon Thompson should do an unchristian deed. His hospitality and benevolence were proverbial; and he experienced richly the truth, "there is that giveth and yet increaseth." In addition to his other virtues he was habitually mindful of the comfort and happiness of others, particularly of the widow, the fatherless, and the needy. He also remembered — what some good people forget — to notice little children.
The Rev. Dr. Harvey, for many years his pastor, writes of him: "Amiableness of disposition, gentliness of manner, a sound judgment, a well-balanced mind, — constituting what is called good common sense, discrimination, and decision, were qualities which Deacon Thompson, as a man, possessed in an eminent degree. He was also distinguished for enlarged views of public affairs, and an active public spirit. In all the burdens and sacrifices required for public and social benefit, he was ready not only to do his part, but to lead the way and set the example; and was almost always the first man to move in any benevolent enterprise. In Christian liberality he was eminent, not only giving liberally, but he was judicious, discriminating, and cheerful in his gifts.
An a husband, a father, a neighbor, a friend; as an honest, sincere, upright man in all his intercourse with others; as just and merciful; as trusted, respected, and honored by all that knew him ; his life is an epistle of integrity and piety "known and read of all men."
He devoted three sons to the work of the Gospel ministry: Rev. William Thompson, D.D., Nettleton Professor of Sacred Literature in the Theological Institute of C'onnecticut, now known as the Hartford Theological Seminary; and the Rev.Augustus 0. Thompson, D.D., pastor of Eliot Church, Boston (Roxbury), Mass. Mr. Charles J. Thompson died a member of the Senior Class, Union College, Schenectady, N. Y., in 1823, at the age of 23. It may be interesting,, in this connection, to mention some of the cotemporaries of Deacon Thompson, who were promient and good men in Goshen, who, like him, have long entered into rest: Samuel Norton, Sr., Deacon Jonathan Beach, Deacon Samuel Norton, William Stanley, Sr., Deacon Jesse Stanley, Israel Thompson, Deacon Daniel Norton, Ephraim Towner, Samuel Lyman, Stephen Baldwin, Nathan Hale, Allen Lucas, Sr., Theodore Parmelee, Nathaniel S. Parmelee, Mineas Beach, Jonathan Beach, Moses Wadhams, Daniel Rice, Isaac Baldwin, Eben Norton, David Hudson, John Doud, David Hart. Some of these men removed to western New York, and some to New Connecticut, then so called, now Western Reserve, Ohio; and assisted in laying the foundations of churches and societies, modeled after the New England plan and character. It will be seen that Goshen has furnished many valuable men, not only for the maintenance of all good things within itself, hut for the advancement of time interests of religion amid good society in other portions of the country.
Deacon Moses Lyman, the first of the name residing in Goshen, purchased of Aaron Cook and Divan Berry, Oct.
24, 1739, two fifty-acre lots on Town Hill, bounded N. arid E. by the highway; and also the proprietor's right
of said Cook and half the right of John Moses. At that time he is said to be of Northampton. On April 18, 1740,
he sold to Joseph Curtiss the northern 50-acre lot on Town Hill and the half right of John Moses. At the first
town meeting, held Dec. 6, 1739, he was appointed collector of a rate of 40 shillings and "Treasurer for said
He held an influential position in the church from the first and "Ensign Moses Lyman" was on the first committee to treat with the Rev. Mr. Heaton to induce him to resign the pastorate. He had previously been a member of the church in Northampton under the care of Jonathan Edwards. He was elected deacon to succeed Deacon Gidcon Thomson, in 1759. One of his contemporaries said of him: "He was remarkable for his endeavors to make peace and reconcile difficulties." He was a magistrate many years. His judgment was good and much depended on.
On the occasion of his death the Rev. Abel Newell, then pastor of the church, preached a sermon which was printed at the request of the hearers. The title of the sermon: "Good Men the Strength and Defense of a People.." This was the first sermon delivered on a funeral occasion in this town that ever appeared in print.
Deacon Lyman was first chosen Selectman in 1746, and represented the town in the General Assembly at fourteen sessions.
The wife of Deacon Lyman went to Northampton to finish her education when she was about eighteen years of age. The following statement was made to Deacon Lewis M. Norton by her grandson, Moses Lyman, Esq.: "While at school in N. her attention was called to the great subject of her soul's concerns, and although her mind was much exercised with a sense of her need of personal religion, she was not willing to have it known. While her mind was in this state she received a polite invitation to attend a ball. She hesitated, but finally, from motives of politeness, accompanied her partner to the ballroom. She had danced once and began again when she felt, to use her own expression, "Dancing over the pit of hell," and that if she died she must drop there. She spoke to another young lady to take her place and disappeared. She danced no more. She is believed to have been a professor of religion before she came to Goshen, as was her husband.
Deacon Lyman and his wife were buried in the old Middle Street graveyard.
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