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"A man can't make
a place for himself
in the sun
if he keeps
taking refuge
under the family tree."

- Helen Keller

The "Old Courthouse" on Main Street, Middletown, Conn. The Greek Revival style building was completed in 1832, replacing an earlier courthouse (on Court & Pearl Sts.) built in 1786. The "Old Courthouse" was torn down in 1893, and a new city hall was built on the site. The c. 1890 photo of the row of buildings includes the Custom House at the far right, built in 1834 and torn down in 1916 to make way for a new post office.


The fine print: SMFSD Bylaws

The following are the SMFSD organizational bylaws as revised and adopted November 1, 2004, and amended in December 2009:

Article I - Name

The name of this Society shall be The Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants 1650-1700.

Article II - Purpose

Section 1. The purpose of this fraternal, social, and charitable, not for profit organization is to celebrate the settlement of the town of Middletown by those settlers who are listed on the plaque that was installed on the Founders Rock in 1900.

Section 2. The Society shall include but not be limited to the promotion of harmonious and cooperative goodwill, as well as comradeship, among our membership and the total Middletown community at large.

(a) To encourage the advancement and knowledge of the history of Middletown, in cooperation with the total community.

(b) To gather, provide and publish historical/genealogical information that enhances and promotes the overall interest and betterment of our Society and its relationship to the greater Middletown community.

(c) The Society may become affiliated with any other organization to further the Society's interests upon positive vote of 2/3 of the total membership. We agree to assist any other historical or genealogical organization in their activities related to Middletown, including but not limited to, any philanthropic or fundraising activities.

Article III - Membership

Section 1. Membership shall be open to any person who is descended from someone who settled between 1650 and 1700 in the area described as Middletown, Connecticut. Membership classes shall be Charter (CM), Annual (AM), Life (LCM or LM), Honorary (HM), and Associate (ASM). Membership classes other than Honorary and Associate shall include member, member's spouse, and their children under the age of 19 years. Only one vote per membership shall be allowed.

Section 2. Charter members shall be members who paid their dues on or before October 30, 2000 and shall be limited to descendants of Middletown's 23 first male settlers as listed here:

Thomas Allen
Nathaniel Bacon
William Blomfield
William Cornwell
John Hall
John Hall, Jr.

Samuel Hall
Richard Hall
Giles Hamlin
Daniel Harris
William Harris
George Hubbard

John Kirby
John Martin
Thomas Miller
John Savage
William Smith
Samuel Stocking

Matthias Treat
Samuel Stow
Robert Webster
Nathaniel White
Thomas Whitmore

Section 3. Annual members shall be members who are accepted after October 30, 2000 and are descendants of persons who settled in Middletown between 1650 and 1700. The first list was published in The Middler, Volume 1, No. 1. The presently accepted list is included in our membership flyer and also in each issue of The Middler.

We will update this list from time-to-time based on substantiated research. If we identify documented pre-1700 Native Americans or African-Americans in Middletown, they belong on the list, too. (Note: the burden of proof will continue to rest with the applicant or researcher who seeks to add another settler to the list.

Section 4. Life members shall be Charter or Annual members who have paid the appropriate fee for Life membership.

Section 5. Honorary Membership may be conferred by a majority of positive votes cast following notice mailed to members at least 30 days prior thereto.

Section 6. Associate members shall be members who are not known to be eligible for class CM or AM but who desire to join in promoting the purpose of the Society. Associate members may be persons, libraries, or other associations. Associate members shall not be entitled to a vote and shall not be included in the membership count in determining eligibility.

Section 7. Dues and fees shall be as set by the Officers and are payable annually to be effective for the 12 month period beginning November 1. A member who has not paid dues by December 31 of the then current year will be in arrears and ineligible to vote.

Article IV - Officers

Section 1. The officers of this Society shall be President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Historian, and Registrar. An officer may hold more than one office.

Section 2. The term of office shall be six years. Officers shall take office on November 1 following their election and shall serve until their successor is elected and seated. The President, Secretary, and Registrar shall be elected at one triennial meeting of the Society and the Vice President, Treasurer, and Historian shall be elected at the subsequent triennial meeting with elections alternating thereafter in the same manner.

Section 3. A nominating committee of three voting members shall be appointed by the Commander to fill the offices due to become vacant by reason of expiration of term of office. They will submit one candidate for each office whose term is due to expire. Other nominations by members may be submitted to the President in writing, at least 60 days prior to a triennial meeting, provided the person being nominated is in good standing and has consented to the nomination. The names of all nominees will be sent to members at least thirty days prior to the meeting immediately preceding the date the term expires. A positive vote of a majority of all votes cast shall constitute election.

Section 4. For removal from office an incumbent officer will be sent a registered letter stating the reasons for the proposed removal. The officer will be requested to respond in writing within two weeks by return registered mail to the President (or the Vice President if the President is the officer proposed to be removed). This removal proposal may be initiated by unanimous vote of the other officers or by a petition submitted and signed by 10% of the total eligible membership of the Society as of the previous meeting. Following a formal opportunity for the officer to be heard, a positive 2/3 vote of the eligible membership shall determine disposition.

Article V - Duties of Officers

Section 1. The President shall have general supervision of the affairs of the Society, preside over meetings of the Society, shall represent the Society at public affairs, shall appoint committee members, shall fill vacancies of office, shall sign all membership certificates.

Section 2. The Vice President shall in the absence or inability of the President assume the duties of that office, shall perform the duties assigned by the President, shall serve for the unexpired term in the event of the resignation, removal, or death of the President.

Section 3. The Secretary shall keep a record of the proceedings of the meetings of the Society, shall send a copy of those proceedings to all officers of the Society, and shall keep an accurate record of the membership rolls. In the absence of the President and Vice President the Secretary shall call the meeting to order and shall preside until the immediate election of a chairman pro tem. The Secretary shall prepare and mail membership certificates or dues cards acknowledging all such payments.

Section 4. The Treasurer shall have custody of and responsibility for the funds of the Society, shall deposit same in a bank account approved by the officers of the Society, shall collect and deposit application fees, annual dues and life membership fees, pay authorized bills and perform the normal duties of a Treasurer.

Section 5. The Registrar shall examine all application papers for the purpose of verifying the genealogical data, approve the same or report any discrepancies or changes to be made to the applicant.

Section 6. The Historian shall collect historical data of the Society and will deposit this data in the Society archives at the Godfrey Library in Middletown, Connecticut.

Article VI - Meetings

Section 1. Regular meetings of the Society shall be held every three years in Middletown at the time and place selected at the previous meeting.

Section 2. Special meetings of the Society may be called by a majority of the Officers or by 10% of the eligible members submitting a petition to the President. Decisions made at special meetings will not become effective until ratified by a 2/3 vote of members voting by mail within thirty days following said meeting.

Section 3. Officers shall meet at their discretion and meetings may be held via teleconference or other electronic media.

Article VII - Committees

Section 1. A membership committee consisting of a liaison from each family group represented by the Society shall be formed. The Chairman shall be appointed by the President. The duties of the liaison will be to recruit others in the family group, to gather genealogical data from group members and to assist with communication between the group and the Officers.

Section 2. Other committees will be determined as necessary from time-to-time by the Officers of the Society.

Article VIII - Dissolution

Although the period of duration of the Society is perpetual, if for any reason the Society is to be dissolved or otherwise terminated, no part of the property of the Society, or any of the proceeds shall be distributed to or inure to the benefit of any of the Officers or members of the Society. They shall be distributed to the Godfrey Library or its successors.

Article IX - Authority

Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall be the parliamentary authority governing the conduct of the Society, where not otherwise provided for by these Bylaws.

Article X - Amendments

These Bylaws may be amended by two-thirds of the votes cast by members voting provided that a copy of the proposed amendments has been sent to each of the current members of Society at least 30 days before the Society meeting.


As amended and approved, effective November 1, 2004; and amended in December 2009.


Bylaw changes by vote of membership, Dec. 2009

We will update our list of pre-1700 settlers from time to time based on substantiated research. See Article III, Membership Section 3.

The term "President" will replace the title of "Commander" and the term "Vice-President" will replace "Deputy Commander." See changes throughout the Bylaws.


SMFSD Policies

Adopted by the board Dec. 8, 2007: Any individual whom the Registrar declares a new member of the organization between June 1 and November 1, and who has paid one year's annual dues, will be considered paid up through Oct. 31 of the following year. The membership date is the date the Registrar notifies the other officers of the individual's acceptance - typically, the date an email is sent to that effect. This dues policy will accompany any copy of the Bylaws distributed in the future. The Secretary will keep a log of board votes taken by email to supplement our minutes.

Adopted by the board Aug. 28, 2009 at the Triennial Meeting: At the discretion of the board, the Editor of the Newsletter (currently The Middler), the Webmaster, and the coordinator of liaisons may be appointed to serve on the board in an advisory position. A past board member who has shown particular value to the Society may be named as a member at large. They will have voting rights. No more than four advisory board members may serve at any one time. The whole board will be called the Administrative board. The Officers of the Society will be called the Executive Board and will have the power to conduct meetings independently as needed to quickly manage affairs as per article VI Section 3.

Adopted by the board Aug. 28, 2009 at the Triennial Meeting: The Treasurer, President, and Vice President will be designated to sign checks. If the treasurer is not available when a check is needed, either of the other two may sign the check. They will be the designated signers on the bank’s records. Only one signature will be required on the check.