The Beginnings of the Episcopal Church in
ARLINGTON is the
birthplace of the Episcopal Church in Vermont. People are always
being asked where they were born, and as a rule are proud of
their birthplace. It is because we are proud of Arlington’s
traditions and of its important place in Vermont history that it
becomes of great interest to know that it was the seat of the
establishment of the Anglican faith in Vermont.
When people arrive at
maturity they like to think of their childhood days, and to
recall what their parents did to help to assure their future
So it will be
interesting and profitable to make a survey of those days and to
make mention of those people and of those events, which were the
groundwork of the life and activities of this venerable and
The village of
Arlington proper has but two churches at the present time, St.
Columban’s Roman Catholic (1875), with 342 members, and St.
James’ Episcopal Church (1784).
In West Arlington,
where once in the early years of the last century there was an
Episcopal Church called Bethesda, there is now a Methodist
parish, which was established about 1894.
In East Arlington
there are two churches, the Olivet Congregational (1843), with
126 members, and the Methodist (1859) with a membership of 75.
From 1813 to 1840 the Baptists had a society which numbered
about 80 members. However, during the first forty years of the
life of Arlington, the Episcopal Church was practically a
This is a very
unusual fact, as in most rural communities in New England, by
reason of its Puritan or Separatist ancestry, the traditional
religious training has been in Congregationalism or Methodism.
The early settlers in
Arlington were not, of course, all Episcopalians; many were no
doubt, as is the case now in all communities, indifferent to
religion or definitely irreligious. However, there is reason to
believe that they were a company ninety percent of whom were in
the strength of young manhood, and that a goodly proportion of
them were Episcopalians who had migrated from Old England to New
England, not to be Puritans, but to carry on their Anglican
faith and traditions.
In some places,
notably Stowe, St. Johnsbury and Montpelier, the records show
that there was in the early days of their settlements opposition
to the building of a church. The people were interested in
building schools and libraries, but not churches.
Fisher, a descendant of Nathan Canfield, one of the early
pioneers, has suggested that the lack of zeal in the above
communities for the Church and religion arose from the fact that
they had come from sections in New England where Puritan and
Calvinistic teaching had impressed upon people the somber and
severe side of life, and these young settlers, coming to a new
land, were yearning for a life that would be free from those
restraints and inhibitions which had repelled them.
They were perhaps
like the truant from school, who conscious of his wrong yet
takes delight in his stolen liberty.
But the settlers of
Arlington, many of them, brought their religion with them, and
they were devoted to it because the Anglican was taught that
religion is not necessarily a somber thing, that there is room
in it for the expression of human nature in wholesome
recreations and amusements.
In a most worthwhile
book, "This is Vermont," by our neighbors, Margaret and Walter
C. Hard, published by the Stephen Daye Press, is the following
tribute to the early settlers of Arlington:
"I’ve always been
proud of those early settlers of Arlington," I said. "You know
they tired of the rigid Calvinistic religion of their neighbors
in Connecticut who criticized them for their frivolity, and so
they came up here and brought their Church of England with
"Yes," she added,
"and I’ve heard what they wanted especially was to be free to
celebrate Christmas and Easter and May Day, and they wanted to
dance too. I’m as proud as punch of those people."*
The town of Arlington
was chartered by Gov. Benning Wentworth, provincial governor of
the Province of New Hampshire, with his commission from the
King, July 26, 1761 (F. A. Wadleigh in Vermont Historical
Magazine, p. 122).
exercised jurisdiction over territory now the State of Vermont,
as being a part of his province.
He issued about one
hundred and thirty-eight charters granting lands in this state
in the King’s name. The charters give the location of the land
and the various provisions of the grant.
Among the provisions
the following is found in most of the charters issued: "To His
Excellency Benning Wentworth, Esquire, a certain tract of land
to contain 500 acres as marked B. W. in the plan, which is to be
accounted two of the within shares; one whole share for the
Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in
Foreign Parts; one share for a Glebe for the Church of England
as by law established; one share for the first settled minister
of the Gospel; and one share for the benefit of a school in said
It seems to have been
the good fortune of Governor Wentworth to have been allotted
these two shares in each township presumably as a kind of
perquisite for his office. In these days such an allotment would
be characterized as a form of graft.
The proprietors were
a body of men named by Governor Wentworth who participated in
each allotment of the Grants in every section of the State and
who met together to make proper division of the lands, which
were awarded by lot.
They had the whole
management of the laying out of the lands, each township being
six miles square. They were a board of Land Agents.
At a meeting of proprietors held September 10, 1762, in Pownal,
Vermont, John Sean was appointed Moderator and Issac Searl, John
Searl, William Searl, Stephen Davis and Simon Burton, a
committee to lay out the township of Arlington and parts thereof
into lots, that is, two lots to each proprietor’s right, one of
one acre and one of one hundred acres.
Gideon Searl and
Ebenezer Wallis were appointed to attend the said committee "to
make camps, to take care of horses and cook."
It was voted to raise
four dollars on each proprietor’s right to defray the charges of
laying out the town and to clear roads.
At another meeting
June 1, 1763, at the house of William Searl it was voted "to
give a bounty to the first ten settlers that settle in this town
in one year.
What was Arlington
like at this time?
It is extremely
difficult to project one’s mind back one hundred and
seventy-five years and visualize the appearance of Arlington in
The Rev. Frederick A.
Wadleigh, Rector of this parish from 1844 to 1864, writes in
Hemenways Historical Gazetter:
"Inasmuch as the
settlement (Arlington) now for the first appears to have
acquired an independent and permanent existence, let us pause
and consider its general appearance".
"A few hardy pioneers
had overcome the obstacles presented by an unbroken wilderness".
"A rude road north
and south had been constructed passable for an ox team. The town
was covered with a dense forest. In a small clearing north of
the present Arlington village, where perhaps the trees were not
originally quite so thick as in other localities, were a few log
houses inhabited by the Searl’s (John, Issac, Gideon and William
Searl were among the proprietors of the town as stated above),
and their families."
Dr. Simon Burton, one
of the committee appointed to lay out the town of Arlington,
lived in a house near the Reuben Andrew property. Ebenezer
Wallis (who was appointed to attend the committee to make camps,
take care of horses and cook) lived on the place known as the
A family named Peck
had a house about three miles north of the present village where
Mrs. Eliza Brownson now lives.
What these "houses"
were like and how they were built is told in a series of letters
entitled "A Descriptive Sketch of the Present State of Vermont,
one of the United States of America" published in London in 1797
by John A. Graham, a Rutland lawyer who had been sent to
Eng-land as an agent of the Episcopal Church.
This is his
description of taking possession of a new settlement:
"When any person
fixes upon a settlement in this quarter of the country with the
assistance of one or two others, he immediately sets about
felling trees proper for this purpose. These are from one to two
feet in diameter, and forty feet or upwards in length, as best
suits the convenience and wishes of the builder".
"When the branches
are lopped off, and a sufficient number of logs are prepared,
blocks are cut for the corners".
"The largest four of
these are placed in a square form, upon a solid foundation of
stone. This done, the logs are rolled upon blocks, one above
another, until the square becomes about twenty or twenty-five
feet high. The rafters are then made for the roof, which is
covered with the bark taken off the trees, and placed lengthways
from the ridge, with a jet sufficient to carry off the rain".
"The interstices in
the body of the hut are filled up with mortar made of the wild
grass chopped up and mixed with clay".
"When the outside is
thus completed one of the corners is chosen within where some
flat broad stones are fixed for the fireplace, with a small
opening directly over it for the smoke to ascend through, and
which also serves to give light to the inhabitants".
"Here large fires of
wood are constantly kept burning (in winter both day and night)
so that scarcely anything can be imagined more comfortable and
warm than this large apartment".
"Around the walls and
in the corners are the beds, and sometimes those of the young
men or women are elevated on lofts made of raft-ers, laid across
from side to side with a flooring of bark over them.
"In this manner is an
abode furnished spacious enough to accommo-date twelve or
fifteen persons, and which often serves for as many years or
till the lands are entirely cleared and the settlers become
sufficiently opulent to erect better houses.
‘‘Three men will
build one of these huts in six days."
Of the first company
who came to Arlington, this name being given in honor of Lord
Arlington, these named above appear to have been the only
permanent settlers; others were either discouraged by the
prospects of hardships and privations, or they were speculators
who after locating their claims went elsewhere.
Again Mr. Wadleigh
relates that in the spring of the next year 1764, the infant
settlement was reinforced by a number of families from Newtown,
Connecticut, as follows: Captain Jehiel Hawley, and his brothers
Abel, Josiah and Gideon; Phineas Hurd, Issac Bisco, Samuel
Adams, Ebenezer Leonard, Zaccheus Mallory, Thomas Peck, James
Frume and Remember Baker from Roxhury, Connecticut.
At a Proprietor’s meeting May sixteenth, 1764, Captain Hawley
was chosen Moderator, and it was voted that he have the care of
From 1765 to 1780 the
following persons, mostly from Newtown and New Milford,
Connecticut joined the settlement:
Austin Seele, David
Watkins, George Oatman, Daniel Oatman, Caleb Dayton, Josiah
Dayton, Eliakim Stoddard, Zadok Hard, James Hard, David Crofut,
Captain John Grey, Lemuel Buck, David Buck, Daniel Burritt,
George Mitchell, Pitman Benedict, Nathan Canfield, Israel
Can-field and others. Many of the descendants of these settlers
have their homes here now, notably, the Hards, Crofuts, Bucks,
Canfields, Bene-dicts and Hawleys. These people from Newtown, it
is recorded, had belonged to the congregation of the Rev. John
Beach, who from a Congregationalist had become a Churchman in
1732, carrying a large part of his former congregation with him.
Mr. Beach in a letter
dated October, 1743, says that his people were fined, both for
using the Book of Common Prayer and for not attend-ing
It was natural that
as men not identified with the Church or religion are apt to
rebel against the "standing order," the people of Newtown should
have given their sympathy to the Anglicans.
congregation grew so strong that in 1762 he reported three
hundred communicants out of one thousand church people.
However, it was far
from satisfactory for a church to he obliged to worship under
the ban of the recognized authorities.
therefore, both to improve their fortunes and to secure for
themselves the privileges of worshiping God in peace, left their
native state for the New Hampshire Grants and purchased their
lands in good faith.
Jehiel Hawley was the
outstanding leader among the settlers at Arlington. He was a
captain in the militia from the town of New Milford, and was
annually chosen lay reader of the Episcopal Church of Roxhury,
Connecticut. As he was also one of the citizens who was deeply
devoted to the welfare of the Church of England in this new
country, it is well here to speak particularly of the qualities
of this man and the reasons for his important connection with
Captain Hawley was
counselor, spiritual leader and friend. His civic interest was
shown by the following instances recorded by the Rev. A. H.
Bailey in his centennial address at Arlington in 1890:
"The early settlers
first of all needed an assured means of livelihood, and the
proprietors offered a portion of land to anyone who would
establish a grist mill".
accepted this proposition and made arrangements to set up a
"However, since there
was some delay and the people had become dissatisfied, Captain
Hawley gave his bond that a grist mill would be set up by a
"There were certain
proprietors named in the town charter residing in New Hampshire
and Massachusetts who objected to the amount of taxes assessed
for defraying the expenses of surveying the town and making
"In the autumn of
1765 Captain Hawley was appointed ‘agent to go to Boston and
elsewhere if he think proper, on the proprietor’s business.’ He
fulfilled his mission satisfactorily, purchasing the rights of
those who remained dissatisfied."
Magazine published in Connecticut in 1805 says:
encumbered with many things, Captain Hawley did not forget ‘the
one thing needful,’ but with unrelenting zeal for his Master’s
glory and the salvation of his fellowmen, he commenced the
worship of the Church at Arlington upon settling there, and with
the blessing of God upon his unrelenting and pious labors he so
spread the doctrines of the Church that until the time of the
Revolutionary war almost the whole town consisted of
"Soon after the
settlement of Captain Hawley in the State of Vermont a dispute
arose between the Stare of New York (another colony) and Vermont
concerning certain titles and claims to land comprehended in the
bounds of the latter, the right to which could not be
ascertained but by submission (of the question) to the King of
England. ("Hawley Records" by Elias S. Hawley, published 1890 in
the Library of the Vermont Historical Society).
"Vermont sent two
representatives, of whom Captain Hawley was one and James
Breckenridge the other.
"To blacken the
character of the New Hampshire Grants and intimidate their
agents, some people in New York were very active, but their
efforts did not succeed.
"In England, Captain
Hawley was treated with the most flattering marks of respect by
some of the first characters and by the Earl of Dartmouth in
particular; and such was the estimation in his judgment and
opinions held by the copartners of the agency that they would
not act without his cooperation, and by his efforts chiefly were
the Vermont claims substantiated.
(The result of the
negotiations was that an order was issued by the King forbidding
the Governor of New York from making grants of any lands already
patented by New Hampshire (Wadleigh, in Historical Gazetteer,
"After his return
from England Captain Hawley continued Reader of the Church in
Arlington, but for the heinous crime of loyalty to his sovereign
he was apprehended and committed to Litchfield jail, from which
through mediation of his friends and the fame of his character,
having obtained his liberty, and not knowing any asylum where he
could be safe, necessity obliged him to join the army of General
Burgoyne, who was then on this side of Lake Champlain, and who
appointed him President of a Board of Examiners to ascertain who
were and who were not, loyalists among his prisoners.
"Before this Board of
Examiners persons were frequently brought who were not loyalists
to whom Captain Hawley was always wont to show every indulgence
compatible with his office, even though his co-adjutors were of
a different opinion".
His language used to
be: ‘Man is a free agent. The question between America and the
Mother Country is not decided. Today these men are in our power,
tomorrow we may be in theirs. That mercy we would receive from
our enemies is certainly due to such as are in our hands. Let it
be known that we are Christians, whose duty it is to be merciful
and to forgive our enemies".
"Such had been his
conduct that after the capture of Bourgoyne (one of the Articles
of Capitulation being that those who had not taken up arms might
go to Canada) those very people who had so much vexed him
before, now invited him to return with them to Arlington. But
true to his purpose, he undertook the journey to Canada, but
died at Shelburne, Vermont in 1777.
"Thus ended the life
of this truly great and good man, a man to whom Daniel’s
characterization may not un-properly be applied, "that his
enemies could find no fault in him, except that it be found
concerning his God."
The following record
is made in the parish register:
"The parish of Bethel
Church (now St. James’) was organized in --- by Jehiel Hawley,
who was Lay Reader until 1772, and during his absence (in
England) from the fall of 1772 to 1773 services were continued
by his son Andrew."
Inasmuch as Jehiel
Hawley died in 1777 the parish must have been organized before
that time, and it is probable that the date of organization was
sometime before 1772.
Captain Hawley built
the first framed house in Arlington. It was situated a short
distance south of the railroad station. This was where the
services of the Church were held. It was the birthplace of the
Episcopal Church in Vermont.
During the period of
Captain Hawley’s religious activities in Arlington, much
interest was shown in his efforts by the clergy of Newtown and
New Milford, Connecticut, by reason of the fact that many Church
families in Arlington had emigrated from these towns.
The Rev. Frederick A.
Wadleigh in his history of Arlington relates that the Rev.
Gideon Bostwick, of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and the
Rev. Daniel Burban, of Lanesboro, Massachusetts, parishes that
derived their origin from the parish in New Milford,
Connecticut, came to visit Arlington often to administer the
Mr. Bostwick who was
a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in
Foreign Parts, made eight distinct visits to this part of
Vermont within the years 1772 and 1789 and appears to have been
the main dependence for official services during that time.
The Rev. A. H. Bailey in an historical address at Arlington in
1890 spoke of the fact that this parish was indebted to quite a
number of clergymen in neighboring districts for their pastoral
The Rev. Samuel
Andrews, Missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the
Gospel in Foreign Parts to Wallingford, Connecticut, made a
journey of three week’s time and to five different towns, in
three different governments, preached six lectures and baptized
twenty-nine children. "The two remotest towns I visited," he
said, "were Allington (This spelling of Arlington is in the
original text) and Sunderland, (1767). The settlers have been in
Allington three or four years. I am the first clergyman that has
been among them. However, I found that they had constantly
attended the service of the Church, at the house of Captain
Hawley, and he has read prayers for them ever since they have
been settled there, by which means a sense of religion is
preserved among them.
Hawley, who lives on the spot, one of our communion, and a
gentleman of unblemished reputation and a good understanding
would willingly accept the office of agent for the Society for
the Propagation of the Gospel if it were deemed advisable.
"Allington is happily situated to be the seat of the mission.
There are now twenty-two families in Allington, and better than
twenty more that could conveniently attend church there."
Mr. Bailey states
that in the next year 1768, the Rev. Richard Mans-field, a
missionary of the same Society to Derbe, Connecticut, made a
like journey as far north as Pownal, Arlington, and Manchester,
preach-ing and baptizing thirty-six.
Again in 1769, the
Rev. Harry Monro, the Society’s Missionary to St. Peter’s,
Albany, came to Arlington and baptized twenty-one persons.
In these early days people from Sandgate, Sunderland and other
neighboring settlements were included in the parish of
Arlington, and before the days of a settled minister the
designation "parish" is not to be understood in the modern sense
as having definite boundaries and jurisdiction with its parish
officers and committee but rather a company of Christian people,
not too well informed about Canons and Rubrics, and the details
of Church government, but desirous to maintain divine service
and to educate their children in the principles of Godly living.
At the first
Convention of the Church of Vermont at Arlington in 1790, the
Rev. James Nichols who was the first Rector of the parish
preached the sermon and the Rev. Daniel Barber, of Manchester,
read the prayers.
The delegates from
Arlington were Zadok Hard, Nathan Canfield, Caleb Dayton and
represented by Abraham Bristol, Elihu Andrews, Seth Bristol and
Enoch Basset. These men were the prominent men of these two
The descendants of
Zadok Hard mentioned above are numerous and almost all have
remained identified with the Church.
Among them were the
Rev. Anion B. Hard, once a Rector of the parish, the Rev. Dr.
Coit, and his brother of Concord, New Hampshire, sons of Dr.
Coit once Rector of Arlington; Miss Sarah F. Hard, Mrs. Florence
Hard Bevis and Mrs. Fanny Hard Buck who now have their homes in
After the death of
Captain Hawley the services of the Church had been held
irregularly, but in 1784 the inhabitants were strongly of the
opinion that a church and ministry were necessary for the
welfare of the community.
The Episcopal Society
was organized in 1784 under the name of Bethel Church.
At first it was the
plan to build the church half way between East and West
Arlington, but later the location of the church was reconsidered
and it was voted to build south of the Churchyard.
Here are some of the
Minutes of the meeting of November sixth, 1784, which relate to
the building of the church:
"Voted to build a
church forty-five feet long thirty-five feet wide, eighteen feet
posts. Voted Nathan Canfield to have the charge of building the
church. Voted to raise two shillings on the pound for the use of
building us a church".
"Voted that a man
with a good team have six shillings per day, man with an axe,
"Voted that shingles
shall be twelve shillings per thousand".
‘‘Voted that good
pine boards be six dollars per thousand delivered at the frame".
sideboards be five dollars per thousand delivered at the frame".
"Voted that the
carpenters have four shillings and six pence per day and joiners
four shillings per day.’’
The Church was a
large two-story building of wood, without a tower, standing on
the same site as the present stone church, the front entrance
however, being in the south side instead of the cast side, as in
the present church.
It had galleries on
three sides, a broad aisle and two side aisles; on the right
side of the broad aisle before the chancel stood the Font, and
on the left the Reading Desk, back and over which was the large
box Pulpit of those days reached by a flight of ten or more
The floor was occupied by square pews, which would hold about
twelve persons each. The troubles of the time delayed the
Nathan Canfield was appointed to have sole charge of the work.
In 1786 it was
ordered that the church be covered as soon as might be. It was
not completed till 1803 (Brownson’s Historical Letters).
It is worthy of note that the Churchmen who were instrumental in
establishing the parish at Arlington were many of them, like
Captain Hawley, men of strong character and deep religious
Nathan Canfield the
pioneer among the Canfield’s, was first married to Lois eldest
daughter of Captain James Hard. They moved to Arlington about
Squire Canfield is
said to have been a man of sagacity and prudence, who in the
troublous times when party feelings ran high retained to a high
degree the confidence of both parties.
His connections and
sympathies were without question with the Loyalists but he
maintained friendly relations through all the controversies,
with Allen, Baker, Warner and the other leaders.
He represented the
town in 1786. He died April sixteenth, 1809 in his seventieth
The Rev. F. A.
Wadleigh, in the Vermont Historical Gazetteer, wrote the
following under the title "Hard Family":
"According to a
tradition, carefully transmitted, there was in London at the
time of the great plague, a family by the name of ‘Hard.’ All
perished but James, a lad fourteen years of age, who was by the
public authorities apprenticed to the celebrated Captain Kidd,
whom he served in various capacities for seven years".
"Being then free
James Hard came to Strafford, Connecticut, then to Newtown,
where he married a woman by the name of Tomlinson, and died at
the age of one hundred and seven years.
"From the above
circumstance the Hards were for several generations called
James Hard left two
sons, Joseph and James, and several daughters. James the younger
was an opulent farmer of Newtown, Maine. He married Hannah
Kimberley. They had eleven children. Zadok the youngest came to
Arlington in 1768.
Ann who married
Andrew Hawley, came, perhaps, a year or two earlier. Captain
James, the older, married Hester Booth and came a few years
later. Captain James Hard was a devoted loyalist.
Zadok Hard, Esq.,
brother of Captain James, was a loyalist in principle, but
actively employed on his farm, gave very little occasion for
complaint. It was said that he secreted and fed the loyalists
who fled to him for shelter. For this, and perhaps other kindred
offences he was several times arrested and heavily fined. He
seems to have had a habit of assisting the needy, as many well
authenticated anecdotes show.
On a certain
occasion, a Negro who had run away from his master, fled to the
house of Zadok Hard for protection, and was not betrayed. On
another occasion twenty-five famished American soldiers were fed
at Squire Hard’s house, on Mrs. Hard’s express invitation. It is
certain that no needy person ever left the house unrelieved.
In 1788 there arose
in the congregation a dissatisfaction with the manner of life of
the Rev. James Nichols.
The Minutes of the
Vestry state that a committee was chosen to confer with Mr.
Nichols and the verbal report of this committee was that he had
declined any kind of a settlement with the Vestry respecting the
"Minister’s Rights" in this town or any other matter whatever.
It was then voted
that the "Yeas" and "Nays" might be taken of such persons as
have over do pay Notes to Mr. Nichols, whether they choose to
continue to hire Mr. Nichols any longer, and that the Yeas and
Nays might be taken when such person can be found. Which motion
being seconded, a vote being called it was passed in the
On June fourth, 1788,
the Vestry again met and the following Minutes are recorded:
1st. - Voted that
Simon Toll be Clerk protein for this meeting,
2nd. - Voted that Elnathan Merwin and James Read be the
committee to invite the Reverend James Nichols to Treat with
3rd. - On motion made to the Vestry to hire the Reverend James
Nichols one half of the time for six months, Voted in the
4th. - On a motion made for this vestry to withdraw from the
Ministry of the Rev. James Nichols, Voted for the following
Reasons we withdraw,
"First, his life and
conversation is not agreeable to the character of a Gospel
"Secondly, in his
administration he had neglected a part of the Apostles’ Creed
and the sign of the cross after Baptism, also the Communion
5th. - Voted that we
will not pay him any salary after this date for services.
6th. - Voted that Captain James Hard and David Norton be a
committee to make up the Minister’s Note.
7th. - Voted that Mr. Samuel Read and Issac Oatman be collectors
to collect the Minister’s Note.
8th. - Voted that Mr. Caleb Dayton is appointed to inform the
Reverend James Nichols of the proceedings of this Vestry.
9th. Voted that this meeting be Dissolved."
There is no record of
the proceedings of "the Society" from June, 1788 to September
sixth, 1790, when at a Vestry meeting Zadok Hard, Caleb Dayton
and Nathan Canfield were elected as delegates to attend the
convention of the Episcopal Church to be held at Arlington
September twenty-first, 1790 (see next Chapter).
The following is the
copy of the agreement entered into on September seventh, 1792
between the vestry and the Rev. Russell Catlin on the event of
Mr. Catlin’s taking charge of the parish.
agreement is now on the wall of the Sacristy of St. James’
"Be it known that We,
Russell Catlin Preacher of the Gospel, late a candidate for the
Ministry, now a minister over the Episcopal Church in Arlington,
on the one part, and Timothy Todd, Miller Turner, Luther Stone,
Zadok Hard, and Nathan Canfield, a committee from the Town of
Arlington being duly authorized to act for and in behalf of said
town, on the other part, do Covenant & Agree in the Manner
The said Catlin on his part Covenants that he will continue in
the office of Minister over the Episcopal Church in this Town
taking Charge of the People as their Minister and by doing and
Rendering every Service expected or Required from a Minister to
his people so long as it shall please God in His Providence to
Continue Him in full life and give Him abilities Therefor. -
"The said Committee
on their part for said Town agree to pay the said Catlin Seventy
Pounds to be paid in Cattle or Grain the one half on the first
day of June next and the one the first Day of June which will be
in the year of our Lord 1794 as an Incouragement for his
Settling in the Ministry among us".
"The said Committee
further stipulate and agree to pay the said Mr. Catlin Fifty
pounds per annum to be paid annually in Grain on the first of
October for four next succeeding years Reckoning from the first
Day of October next, at the expiration of said four years. The
above sum of Fifty Pounds to Increase or Rise in proportion as
the Grand List of the Inhabitants Increases until it amounts to
Sixty Pounds per Annum, to be paid in like manner so long as the
said Mr. Catlin shall continue in full Life or in the Ministry
in this Town".
"And we the above
mentioned parties do in the most Solemn manner agree to abide
without Deviation by this our agreement, Each Party agreeing the
said Catlin for Himself and the said Committee for the Town of
Arlington, to be subject to such Damages as may ensue by the
neglect or failure of either Party.
"In Witness whereof
we have hereunto Interchangeably set our hands and seals this
Seventh Day of September anno Domini 1792
TIM J. TODD,
This early period in
the life of the Church at Arlington was marked by struggle
against religious prejudice and political hostilities and
It is remarkable that
in the bitter strife that prevailed between patriot and loyalist
during the Revolutionary period any vestige of an Episcopal
organization remained. Indeed the Church was almost extinct.
Inevitably the early
settlers who came with firm determination to establish the
Anglican faith as their refuge from the religious intolerance of
Puritan rule in Connecticut must have been viewed with suspicion
by other settlers of other religious folds or of none, as having
at least some sort of sympathy with the royalists in whose
political and religious faith they had been reared.
No records are in
evidence to give a picture of how our churchly forefathers held
their ground and day by day sought to better their social and
religious welfare, but may we not believe that the men and women
who were the founders of this Society were a God-fearing,
courageous and physically fit type of people gifted with a large
share of the homely virtues of common sense and thrift?
Is it too fanciful to
conjure up images of the sturdy stock that furnished the pluck,
the common sense, the plain living and high-thinking, the wit
and humor, the philosophy and the wisdom, all of which qualities
must have made up in some measure the warp and woof of
characters and personalities which bore the burden and heat of
that day, burdens borne that their children and children’s
children might enjoy a heritage which they struggled to preserve
there were, in fact one of the historians of that day, the Rev.
Nathaniel Perkins, in his "Tours of Vermont" describes in far
from glowing terms, the manner of living, the homes where
vulgarities and coarseness were rampant, and where religion was
despised and flouted. That picture contains the seamy side of
human nature, which marks every generation.
But in those
yesterdays there must have been in that hamlet, as there is
today (and that is why we prize it as our home), a group of
people who served God and who struggled to maintain a
law-abiding community where prevailed the spirit of
neighborliness and the will to make the best of life in their
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