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History of First Church of Christ Congregational Church, 1859

By Benjamin Bradley

Collection Overview

Title: History of First Church of Christ Congregational Church, 1859

ID: 00/2011-117-0

Creator: Bacon, Leonard Woolsey (1830 Jan. 1 - 1907 May 12)

Extent: 4.0 Folders. More info below.


The collection is arranged into four folders:

Folder 1: The Manuscript

Folder 2: Membership List

Folder 3: Laurens Perseus Hickok and Benjamin Lincoln Swan Letters

Folder 4: Memberships of Local Churches, Miscellaneous Notes, and Items

Date Acquired: 06/27/2011

Languages: English [eng]

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The History of First Church of Christ Congregational Church collection (2011-117-0) is a collection of papers and a manuscript found in Small Acquisitions. The collection pertains to a history and list of members of the First Church of Christ Congregational Church in Litchfield Connecticut. Leonard Woolsey Bacon the pastor of the church was compiling a list of members from 1721 (when the church was founded) to 1859 (when he was pastor of the church). The collection contains two letters from former pastors relaying information from when they were pastors of the church to Bacon. The collection also contains a manuscript which is a collection of the names of members fof the church and a historical introduction which seems to focus on Lyman Beecher. Other papers in the collection include miscellaneous notes and records of families and their religion throughout the region which seem to mostly be collected by other people. Please see the detailed descriptions below for a much more detailed description of the contents of each folder.

Biographical Note

Leonard Woolsey Bacon was born in New Haven, Connecticut on January 1st, 1830 to Rev. Dr. Leonard Bacon and Lucy Johnson Bacon. Bacon was graduated from Yale in 1850 and then attended the Andover Theological Seminary for two years; he then attended Yale’s Divinity School graduating in 1854. On October 16th, 1854 Bacon was ordained to the ministry of the First Congregational Church in Litchfield, Connecticut. Three years later in 1857 Bacon married Susan Almoran Bacon; they had thirteen children together. In 1879 he received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Harvard in 1879. Bacon was the pastor at various churches in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and even Geneva; he held posts in: Litchfield, Connecticut (1856-1861), First Church in Stamford, Connecticut (1862-1865), New England Congregation Church in Brooklyn, New York (1865-1870), Baltimore, Maryland, 1870-1872, American Church in Geneva, Switzerland (1872-1877), Norwich, Connecticut (1878-1882),Woodland Presbyterian Church Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1883-1886), Savannah, Georgia (1886-1887), Park Congregational Church Norwich, Connecticut (1887-1902), Assonet, Massachusetts (1902-1906). He married a second time to Letitia Wilson Jordan Bacon in May 26, 1890; they had one son together. Leonard Bacon passed away on May 12th, 1907 in Assonent, Massachusetts. Bacon has been known for “controversial statements” mainly regarding pro-segregation sentiments. He also has published several works including: A Life Worth Living: Life of Emily Gould (1878), History of American Christianity (1898), The Congregationalists (1904), and he edited Martin Luther’s Deutche gesitliche Lieder (1883).

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: 4 folders of loose papers.

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of copyright holders. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright holders. Responsibility for any use rests with the user.

Acquisition Source: Unknown Donor.

Acquisition Method: Found in collections.

Preferred Citation: History of First Church of Christ Congregational Church (2011-117-0), Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759.

Box and Folder Listing

Folder 1: Manuscript, 1859Add to your cart.
The manuscript appears to be for a book that was never published. The manuscript opens with a short historical introduction which describes briefly the history of the First Congregational Church as well as the history of the church’s records including the fruitful ministry of Lyman Beecher and the recordkeeping started by Laurens P. Hickok.  The introduction ends with a list of pastors and deacons as well as a key for the list of names. After the key comes the large list of names which comprise the majority of the book; the list is broken down by year and then organized alphabetically. When a new pastor came to the church a small note is attached to the sheet containing the year the pastor joined the ministry at the church. Page 11 of the manuscript is missing.
Folder 2: Membership lists, 1859Add to your cart.
The Membership List is an alphabetized list of names of members who attended the First Congregational Church in Litchfield, Connecticut. The list is broken down into last names and then provides the first names as well as the year the person attended the church.
Folder 3: Laurens P. Hickok and Benjamin Lincoln Swan Letters, 1859Add to your cart.
The Laurens P. Hickok and Benjamin Lincoln Swan Letters folder contains 2 letters sent from Laurens Perseus Hickok to Benjamin Lincoln Swan to Leonard Woolsey Swan about the history of the church. The Hickok letter is mostly biographical information, and the Swan letter, while containing biographical information, also describes the history of the church (especially past pastors) to some depth.

Arrangement: The folder is arranged into two sub-folders.

Sub-Folder 1: Laurens P. Hickok Letter

Sub-Folder 2: Benjamin Lincoln Swan Letter

Folder 4: Memberships of Local Churches, Miscellaneous Notes, and Items, 1859Add to your cart.
The Memberships of Local Churches, Miscellaneous Notes, and Items folder contains notes used for the creation of the manuscript in the collection as well as other items found in the collection. Of some note, there is a collection of lists of families and their religious affiliation or church they attended. There is a list for each local school district. It is believed that these lists were created for Laurens P. Hickok, but each list was actually created by a different person. Also found in the folder are some lists of names that appear to have been used by Bacon to organize names he needed to find dates for as well as an item labeled “Memorandum of cost of House + Barn.” The last sub-folder in the folder is comprised of three items pasted to three sheets of paper. Two items are the same, labeled "Covenant" and seems to detail the requirements to join the congregation, or they are a sort of creed. One of the two items has been cut and on the sheet of paper the item is glued to there is a title "Back of Title" which seems to hint to the possibility that the manuscript may have been created with the intention of becoming published. The final item is labeled “Articles of Faith and Covenant” which is a confession of faith.

Arrangement: The folder is organized into three subfolders:

Sub-Folder 1: Memberships of Local Churches

Sub-Folder 2: Miscellaneous Notes

Sub-Folder 3: Covenant and Profession of Faith