Wolcott Historical Society News - May 2009
By Florence Goodman
In the last edition I concluded the series of historic structures found on or around the Town Green, but since I was concentrating on the structures that were found specifically in our "Historic District" I did not discuss the Episcopal Church, the old Congregational Church Parsonage and the Thomas Barns House. I would like to discuss these structures in this edition.
All Saints Episcopal Church, which is located on Boundline Road west of the Green, was dedicated on November 5, 1964, but this was not the original structure nor was this the original location. Some of the earliest settlers of the town were Episcopalians, and like the Congregationalists, they attended church in Waterbury.
By 1779, their numbers had increased enough to petition the state to become a distinct society, but it was not granted at that time. It wasn’t until about 1805, that the members began to hold services at the home of Daniel Byington at the Mill Place and this continued for several years.
The Episcopal Society in Wolcott was organized on January 26, 1811, and meetings were then held at the home of Mr. Titus Hotchkiss. Taxes were paid by the members to run the Society and to pay for preachers.
From 1811 to 1813, the Rev. Mr. Prindle, of Naugatuck, preached in Wolcott and for a short time afterward, Rev. Tillotson Bronson, of Cheshire, preached here.
From 1817 until 1835, records do not mention names of ministers, but from 1836 through 1860, various ministers from surrounding towns preached at their meetings and these names can be found in Orcutt’s book.
Around 1821, the Society began to make arrangements to build a church and Levi Hall, Ambrose Ives, and Erastus Welton were chosen to find a location to build it. It was voted to build a church 30 by 40 feet with two stories and a cupola suitable for hanging a bell.
From 1822 to 1830, discussion continued about building the church and choosing a place to build the church, but it wasn’t until 1830 that they began to gather materials for the building, and at that time, the size of the building was reduced to 24 by 36 feet.
On April 5, 1830, at a public town meeting, it was voted to build the church on town property on "the south side of the public green." (The picture that accompanies this article shows that first church located near where the present town hall now stands. Remember many of the early structures that were built on the Green have been taken down and replaced by newer buildings.) The church frame was raised in the summer of 1830 and by December of that year, the outside of the church was covered, but it wasn’t until 1832 that the church was completed. By 1836 a stove was placed inside the church. This church was taken down in 1893.
On All Saints Day in 1961, the property belonging to the Moss Family (the Daniel Tuttle House west of the Town Hall) was transferred to Episcopal Society of Connecticut to provide living quarters for the vicar of the new All Saints Parish. It wasn’t until 1964 that the present church was erected next to that house.
The Congregational Church Parsonage is located at 17 Brooks Hill Road. Land records indicate that a local carpenter, Aaron Beach, built the house for Augustus Minor circa 1854 or 1855. It is architecturally significant as an excellent example of a 2 and 1/2–story Greek revival-style frame home with a stone foundation. The 2 and 1/2–story wing in the rear of the building and an additional add-on were built in the 20th Century.
Today Mr. and Mrs. Ray Rogozinski own this home. During the early 1960s, a tornado came up Brooks Hill Road causing much damage in this area. The roof of this home was torn off as the tornado came through.
Throughout most of the 19th Century, this house was used as a parsonage for the Congregational Church, but it was not the first parsonage used by the church. The original Congregational Church Parsonage was the dwelling place of the first minister, Reverend Alexander Gillet, and was located north of the meetinghouse on the corner of Bound Line Road and Orchard Lane. That house is no longer standing and another house has replaced it, but the original well in the front yard can still be found there today. Judy and Paul Gallucci own the property.
The Thomas Barns House is located at 281 Center Street east of Catering Road. This 1 and 1/2-story post-and-beam frame home was built in 1780 for Thomas Barns. He lived there until 1838 when the house and 15 acres of land were sold to Charles Byington, who remained in the house until 1844.
In 1844, Noah and Rosannah Byington purchased the house. Mr. & Mrs. Francis Scully have owned the house since the 1970s.
(Information for this article was taken from the The Meeting House Atop of Ben's Hill by John Washburne, Wolcott, Connecticut 175th Anniversary booklet 1796-1971 by John Washburne, History of the Town of Wolcott, Connecticut from 1731 to 1874 by Samuel Orcutt, and The 1986 Historic Resources Inventory by J.P. Loether.)
Attention: Garden lovers!!!SAVE the date - July 11th - for our Garden Tour. It will be held from 1 – 4 PM and we will have at least five gardens for your perusal. As a special bonus, when you purchase a ticket (for $10.00), you will get one FREE antique appraisal from CT ANTIQUE APPRAISALS by Carl Hotkowski. Any additional items will be appraised for $5 each. Hope to see you at the Garden Tour in July.
The Thomas Barns House built in 1780.
This well shows the location of the original Congregational Church Parsonage.
All Saints Episcopal Church built in 1964.
Congregational Church Parsonage, circa 1854.
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