The Asylum Hill Congregational Church formally organized with 114 members. They did so according to the “ancient New England method.”
Neat Little Tidbit
No, I have no idea what the “ancient New England method is.”
Trust but verify
During the fiftieth anniversary service on March 23, 1915, Atwood Collins gave an address called “The Beginnings of the Church,” and he gave the number of original members as 114. Immediately following Collins’s address, Waldo Pratt gave an address called “The Subsequent History.” Pratt said there were 113 original members. There are a lot of reasons for this difference (printing error, for example), but it is awfully fun to contemplate that Pratt dozed off during Collins’s address.
Put into context
The 114 members all came from somewhere, and that somewhere was existing churches. Center Congregational lost 40 members to Asylum Hill Congregational, and North Congregational lost 33 members. Pearl Street Congregational also lost a significant number of members (25), and the remaining members came from Fourth Congregational (4), South Congregational (2), and an unknown number of churches outside of Hartford (10). Losing members stung: the pastor at the Center Congregational Church bemoaned the loss of its members to Asylum Hill Congregational fifty years later.L1
Speculating without facts
Although it’s difficult to say what the loss of members to a new church would have meant to the existing churches without knowing how many members they had at this time, it can be speculated that North Congregational Church would have gained possibly 81 new members as it moved to its new location on the corner of Asylum and High Streets. They also would have been likely to retain the 33 members they lost. These members all meant losses in pews purchased and in regular donations. Given that the Asylum Hill Congregational Society was able to raise over $100,000 to buy the land and build the church in very short order, it isn’t hard to see why the North Congregational Church might have opposed the creation of the new church on Asylum Hill.
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.Related Chronicle: