Support (or not) for the Asylum Hill Congregational Church

04/01/1864 |


During this month, other Hartford churches held meetings at which their representatives passed resolutions in support of the new Congregational church on Asylum Hill. 

OR:  they held a joint meeting of an advisory committee and accomplished the same result.

Neat little tidbit

At least one letter did arrive in response to this effort, and it came from North Congregational Church.  The letter, which was signed by the church’s clerk, Theodore Lyman, who along with his father Christopher, would eventually join Asylum Hill Congregational Church.  Christopher, who at the time of his death was the largest stockholder in the Harford Fire Insurance Company, apparently donated the funds for the church bell.  Theodore lived at 22 Woodland Street, now the Town and County Club.

Trust but verify

Along with deciding to move forward on February 3, the men assembled at that meeting also agreed to seek the advice of the other churches in the city due to the magnitude of this decision. They addressed a circular letter to the churches at or shortly after this meeting – it’s not clear when exactly that letter went out or what then happened next.  Either the existing Congregational churches agreed to attend (or convene) a meeting to discuss this question, or they simply met among themselves and sent letters of support (or not, in the case of North Congregational Church).  In any event, the other churches seem to have acted in April, with Atwood Collins saying they came together at one meeting and F. Irvin DavisL2 and Melva SwartzL3 saying the met on their own at separate meetings.

Put into context

Atwood Collins had read the letter from North Congregational Church, which he said was “on file” at Asylum Hill Congregational Church.  Collins summarized the letter as saying that North Congregational declined to send delegates to the advisory meeting because “they were too much interested.”  During this period of time, North Congregational was contemplating or had already decided to relocate from Main Street to the corner of Asylum and High Streets, where it would become the Park Congregational Church.  It seems likely that they considered they had some claim to keeping members of their church who lived on the Hill, 33 of whom would leave North Congregational to become original members of Asylum Hill Congregational.


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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