Chapter Two

The Beginnings of the Episcopal Church in Arlington

 

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 welfare.
 

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 honored parish.
 

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 Community Church.
 

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.
 

Dorothy Canfield 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 them."
 

"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).
 

Governor Wentworth 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 town."
 

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 embryo.
 

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 Benjamin property.
 

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 public rights.
 

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 Independent worship.
 

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.
 

Mr. Beach’s 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.
 

These families, 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 this history.
 

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".
 

"Remember Baker accepted this proposition and made arrangements to set up a grist mill.
 

"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 given time.
 

"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 public improvements.
 

"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."

 

The Churchman Magazine published in Connecticut in 1805 says:

 

"Although much 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 Episcopalians."
 

"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, Vol. 1).
 

"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 Sacraments.
 

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 ministrations.
 

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.
 

"Captain Jehiel 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 Luther Stone.
 

Sandgate was represented by Abraham Bristol, Elihu Andrews, Seth Bristol and Enoch Basset. These men were the prominent men of these two communities.
 

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 Arlington.
 

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, three shillings".
 

"Voted that shingles shall be twelve shillings per thousand".
 

‘‘Voted that good pine boards be six dollars per thousand delivered at the frame".
 

"Voted that 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 steps.
The floor was occupied by square pews, which would hold about twelve persons each. The troubles of the time delayed the construction.
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 convictions.
 

Nathan Canfield the pioneer among the Canfield’s, was first married to Lois eldest daughter of Captain James Hard. They moved to Arlington about 1768.
 

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 year.
 

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 ‘Kidd."

 

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 Negative.
 

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 this Vestry.
3rd. - On motion made to the Vestry to hire the Reverend James Nichols one half of the time for six months, Voted in the negative.
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 Minister.
 

"Secondly, in his administration he had neglected a part of the Apostles’ Creed and the sign of the cross after Baptism, also the Communion service.
 

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.
 

The original agreement is now on the wall of the Sacristy of St. James’ Church:

 

"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 following:
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
 

RUSSELL CATLIN,
TIM J. TODD,
ZADOK HARD,
MILLER TURNER,
NATHAN CANFIELD,
LUTHER STONE

 

This early period in the life of the Church at Arlington was marked by struggle against religious prejudice and political hostilities and controversies.
 

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 for them?
 

Failures undoubtedly 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 chosen homeland.

 

 

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