Cornerstone laid at Asylum Hill Congregational Church

05/02/1865 |


The ceremony to lay the cornerstone of the church building was held at 6:00 PM. After singing a psalm and saying a prayer, a sealed box was placed into the cornerstone. The box’s contents included:

  • A list of the subscribers who contributed to the building of the church
  • The Emancipation Proclamation
  • Newspaper accounts of Lincoln’s assassination
  • Inaugural address of Andrew Johnson with proclamation declaring a national fast in May
  • The names of the architect and the building committee
  • Photographs of the church edifice, Lincoln, William Buckingham, and several of the oldest clergymen now living in Hartford
  • Fractional currency
  • Papers of the Day
  • The Independent containing Henry Ward Beecher’s address at Fort Sumter

The event concluded with remarks from Joel Hawes and Calvin Stowe.  Between 300 and 400 people attended the event.

Neat Little Tidbit

There’s a connection between the corner stone and the installation of Joseph Twichell, and it’s The Independent.  Leonard Bacon, who participated in the service to install Joseph Twichell, worked on The Independent with Beecher.

Put into context

In case you hadn’t guessed, Asylum Hill Congregational Church was Republican.  This would also be true of Asylum Hill through the end of the 19th century and of the Hartford Courant.  That notwithstanding, Lincoln died just over two weeks before this ceremony.

Trust but verify

Of note, the 1908 article on the lecture before the men’s club, the 1915 article on the 50th anniversary of the church, and the 1940 article on the 75th anniversary of the church all give May 5 for the date of the laying of the cornerstone.  Since I found the contemporary article on the ceremony, I’ll stick with May 2.

Question to pose

Where was Horace Bushnell?


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, “Laying a Corner Stone,” Hartford Daily Courant, May 3, 1865, page 2.

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