Asylum Hill Sabbath School opens -- Maybe

11/04/1860 |


The first session of the Asylum Hill Sabbath School was held at West Middle School. Probably. There were 17 teachers and 49 students in attendance.

Neat Little Tidbit

The head of the local school district, which would have been the West Middle School District, was Erastus Collins.

Trust but verify

The exact date comes from the article by Melva Swartz, written in 1940.  F. Irvin Davis said only that it happened during the month of November 1860.  Atwood Collins, speaking in 1915, says only that the first class occurred before the end of November 1860.

Put into context

Despite Swartz’s reporting, it seems best to go with Collins here because everyone agrees the motivation to open a Sunday school in Asylum Hill came from David Hawley, and that motivation couldn’t have come before the annual meeting of the City Missionary Society on October 28, 1860.  This is not to diminish claims about Marie Metcalf’s efforts – but Collins gives her more than 6 days to pull off what must have been a herculean undertaking.

Questions to pose

Here is another place that Marie Metcalf’s letter should be illuminating.


Swartz, Melva J., “Hill Church Will Observe Anniversary,” Hartford Courant, March 18, 1940, page 1.

Unattributed, “Fiftieth Anniversary of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church,” Hartford Courant, February 14, 1915, page X5

Unattributed, “History of the Hill Church – F. Irvin Davis Gives It in Brief,” Hartford Courant, March 2, 1908, page 4.

Unattributed, “Rev. Dr. Joseph H. Twichell Honored at Anniversary of His Church,” Hartford Courant, March 24, 1915, page 16.

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