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CHAPTER XV.

THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.

    In 1795 four Congregationalists of this town joined the Rev. Eden Burroughs’ church at East Hanover. In 1799 the town wished to settle Rev. Ezra Wilmarth as preacher, but the church refused to conform and the town voted to raise no money for preaching, which was a set-back for the long-winded deacons. Meantime Rev. Aaron Cleveland of Norwich, had arrived here to visit Connecticut friends. He preached in the unfinished meeting house. He was a Congregationalist, as were many of the settlers from Connecticut. They offered Mr. Cleveland $105 and 150 acres of land, half of the Minister’s Right under the charter, to come and be their preacher. It was not much of a temptation to the old gentleman, and when he left town he had raised such desires in the hearts of the brethren of his faith that they sent a committee to Hanover to lay their hopes and desires before the church in that town. As a result of this day’s work, Rev. Eden Burroughs and one of his deacons came over to Canaan, where they found thirteen persons willing to enter into covenant relations as Congregationalists, after which they were constituted a branch of the Hanover church, and this relation continued until the spring of 1803, then Doctor Burroughs, and Rev. Mr. Dickenson of Meriden, came here and the “branch” was lopped off from Hanover and became the Congregational Church of Canaan. Joshua Pillsbury was the first deacon. This church was never self-sustaining, even in its best days. It was always a beneficiary of the New Hampshire Missionary Society. During several years the church enjoyed preaching by missionaries and neighbor preachers. Rev. Curtis Coe used to come up here from Newmarket and spend a few weeks, preaching in the meeting house, for each denomination had to use it; laboring lovingly without pay or the hope of reward in this world. After him, Rev. Broughton White come occasionally and preached pure Congregational truth to the people. The labors of these men were acceptable and fruitful. Additions were made to the