“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”
– Mark Twain

April 21, 2010 marks the Centennial of Mark Twain’s passing and provides the residents of Connecticut with a great opportunity to showcase and celebrate Twain’s life in Connecticut and encourage a re-awakening of interest in Twain related research and tourism here in Connecticut.

For the past year, we have been uncovering Connecticut towns/cities connected with Mark Twain to celebrate his life and promote future tourism in Connecticut.

Our project involves online and offline exhibits designed to increase awareness of Mark Twain’s time in Connecticut by showcasing the people and places connected to him across the State. This project is timed to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of his passing in 2010.

Project Prototype. We’re using Illinois’ Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition as prototype, especially in the brochure aspect of the project.

To-date, one town – Norwalk, Connecticut – has embraced the concept and showcased their local connection with Mark Twain…I cannot tell you how thrilled I am about that and hope that the trend continues across the State.

The specific problem our offline Twain Connections exhibits address is the dismal funding environment our local libraries, museums, and historical societies are facing in the current economic downturn. Connecticut has allotted $1 for state tourism marketing in 2010. Our offline exhibits provide a means for Connecticut’s libraries, museums, and historical societies to not only increase foot traffic to their buildings, via this historic Twain Centennial, but to also showcase their own offerings and talents to an audience they may otherwise have missed. This is important as the ultimate goal of this project is to make Connecticut a destination for Mark Twain tourism and research in the future. We feel that merging information about Twain with information about the “Friends of Twain” in the many towns and cities that have a Twain Connection is a great way to promote town pride and Connecticut tourism in the future.

Bridgeport’s P.T. Barnum Museum would be a perfect example of a museum that would benefit from this “friends of Twain” marketing concept, another is Keeler Tavern in Ridgefield. In the present day people visit Keeler Tavern to learn about a colonial tavern. We hope in the future they’ll visit to learn more about Architect Cass Gilbert and his friendship with Mark Twain. By simply collaborating with us to provide the public with a location specific exhibit that sheds light not only on Twain but their local individual as well, these historic and cultural museums/centers can expand their audience and attract future visitors.

To date we have made connections in 56 towns here in Connecticut.

Full story about our efforts are posted here: http://www.marktwainlibrary.org/centennial/


Some people eat at halftime, some grab a new beer, hit the bathroom…not me. I head out into the woods and see what I can find.

This past Sunday I was down in Ridgefield at my friend Craig’s on Hickory Lane watching the NCAA Basketball games. At halftime of the Tennessee vs. Michigan State game I remembered Craig had mentioned finding a granite marker in the woods behind his house. And so it was off to the woods! as soon as the buzzer sounded.

I was not disappointed. The marker was there and it had a very interesting flaw…the person who carved the R’s must have been a local because he almost carved a B and not an R on the Ridgefield side of the marker. After all that is the Branchville side of town.

Boundary Marker for Redding & Ridgefield

On the Redding side the R is clearly an R.

Ridgefield Side of Boundary Marker

On the Ridgefield side it’s a lot closer to a B. See the photo below.

Close up Showing the B

These boundary markers are more common than you think in Redding and Ridgefield. Down at the corner of Mountain Road & Peaceable Street there is a boundary marker with a R, R, W. The boundary of Redding, Ridgefield and Wilton.

Off of Old Mill Road there is a very old boundary rock marked with N, R, F. The boundary of Norwalk (Wilton), Ridgefield (Redding) and Fairfield (Weston).

Georgetown's Boundary Rock

“Ye surveyors find that ye east and south boundary lines meet on a rock on ye banks of the Norwalk River, 20 rods north of ye Danbury Cart Path fording place. Ye bounds of Norwalk and Fairfield meet on said rock.”

Close-up of N

For more on Branchville and a little about the mining industry in the area. Visit the History of Redding’s Branchville pages.

winter scene at Putnam Park

Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhh Not again!!!

In the winter of 1778-79, General Israel Putnam’s division of the Continental Army encamped at Redding, Connecticut. Troops began to arrive at camp in November and would continue to arrive until late December.

Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons arrived at Camp 2nd Hill (the middle camp) on November 14th.

The journal of Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn, 3rd New Hampshire Regiment shows his troops arrived at the main camp (Putnam Park) on November 30th. It also indicates a mixture of snow & rain in December:

* Dec. 10th: the weather very Cold, the Snow about 6 inches.
* Dec. 13th: a very heavy storm of Rain and no bread for two days.
* Dec. 17th: a heavy Rain…
* Dec. 22nd : a severe Snow storm…
* Dec. 24th: we had Snow last night & very severe Cold today. Our men are well…Clothed and well hutted.
* Dec. 26th: we have a very severe Snow storm.
* Dec. 27th: the weather seems more like Canada, then Connecticut…

The 8th Connecticut Regiment, which encamped at Camp 2nd Hill (the middle camp), 1-2 miles to the West of the main camp, arrived “about Christmas or a little before”. Private Joseph Plumb Martin’s writes:

“We arrived at Reading about Christmas or a little before, and prepared to build our huts for our winter quarters. And now came on the time again between grass and hay, that is the winter campaign of starving.”

“…I assisted in the building of our winter huts. We got them in such a state of readiness that we moved into them about New Year’s Day. The reader may take my word, if he pleases, when I tell him that we had nothing extraordinary, either eatables or drinkables, to keep a New Year or housewarming.”

Camp Life: What the soldiers did during waking hours depended on the day and the weather. Rainy/Snowy days would be spent in their huts and/or tents repairing their gear and weapons, sewing torn clothing, or if they were lucky playing cards or dice. Sunny days would be spent foraging for wood and food; assembly and drilling in preparation for battle; scouting missions to ferret out Tories or spies; scouting missions to determine whether Cattle or any species of provision found near the lines are in danger of falling into the hands of the Enemy, or are carried there with an intent to supply them.; patrols or marches in response to British alarms.

Many of the Connecticut troops were placed on patrols at Horseneck, Stamford and Norwalk. Some were sent over to “no-man’s land” in Westchester County and several hundred troops were sent to New London for guard duty and the construction of Fort Griswold.

Private Martin’s diary indicates some of the local troops obtained furloughs in February.

“It was now the beginning of February. Many of the men had obtained furloughs to go home and visit their friends…”

Martin was one of those sent to New London from March until May, and from his entries, the conditions there were not any better than in Redding.

“I had not been in camp more than a week before I was sent off with a large detachment to New London to guard the fortifications in and about that town…we were put into houses, and here, too, we almost starved to death, and I believe should have quite starved, had we not found some clams…we stayed here, starving, until the first of May, when we received orders to march to camp and join our regiments.”

Orders and reports coming out of Redding or relating to Redding:

Camp, 2nd Hill, Nov. 17, 1778

“The General having obtained permission of the Commander in Chief to be absent a few days from the Division, the Command will devolve upon Brigadier General Huntington. General McDougal is happy that it falls upon a gentleman in whose care for and attention to the Troops he has the utmost confidence. The orders will be issued as usual at the Headquarters of the Division.”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Date unknown

“162 men in Hazen’s regiment were ‘unfit for duty for want of shoes.'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 5, 1778

“at twelve at night we were alarmed by hearing that the enemy are at Terry Town (below Peekskill) in force. In consequence of which a detachment of 1500 men from the three brigades under General Putnam’s command were ordered to march…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 9, 1778

“we returned to camp…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 12, 1778

“we are very busy at work upon our huts, amongst the snow…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 16, 1778

“we begin to get into our huts…'”

General Putnam’s Orders, Dec. 18, 1778

“Lieut. Col. Bulter of Wylly’s Regiment is promoted to the command of the 2nd Company Battalion and is to be obeyed as such. Colonel Meigs is appointed Inspector of the Division and to do the duty of Adj. General for the same until further orders. Quartermaster Belding of the 1st Connecticut Brigade is appointed Quartermaster of the Division and is to do that duty until further orders. David Humphrey, Esq. Late Brigade Major to General Parsons is appointed aide de camp to General Putnam until further orders.”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 19, 1778

“we are in our huts…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 22, 1778

“a severe snow storm…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 25, 1778

“Christmas Day. The Weather is so cold we take but little notice of the day…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 26, 1778

” we have a very severe snow storm…”

Parsons’ Brigade Orders, Dec. 27, 1778

“The General of the brigade informs the officers and soldiers that he has used every possible method to supply flour or bread to the brigade. Although a sufficiency of every article necessary is at Danbury, the weather had been so extreme that it is impossible for teams to pass to that place. Every measure is taken to supply flour, rum, salt and every necessary tomorrow, at which time, if a quantity sufficient comes in, all past allowances shall be made up. The General, therefore, desires for the honor of this corps and their own personal reputation, the soldiery, under the special circumstances caused by the severity of the season, will make themselves contented to that time.”

Petition of the Connecticut Soldiers in the Revolutionary Army, to His Excellency, Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut. Captain Nathaniel Webb’s Orderly Book, Camp Reading, Dec. 27, 1778.

“May it please your Excellency. The Sense of Importance of opposing with Force, ye attempts of Great Britain to enslave our Country, induces us to lay before your Excellency the Condition of that Part of ye Army raised from the State of Connecticut & ye great Danger of their disbanding & returning to their several Homes.

They have may it please your Excellency been promised a Blanket, & other Clothing annually from ye Continent & a Blanket from ye State every year, for each non-commissioned Officer & Soldier, those Promises have not been complied with, so far from it, that although we have not, one half ye Quota of Men this State was to raise, we assure you not less than four hundred are to this Day totally destitute, & no one has received two Blankets according to Contract, nor has more than one half of the Clothing promises ever been received or any compensation made for ye deficiency, that when they have Coats they are without Breeches, & when they are supplied with Shoes, they have neither Stockings nor Shirts, & at this Inclement Season many of our Men are suffering for want of Blankets, Shirts, Breeches, Shoes & Stockings, & some are destitute of Coats & Waistcoats.

The increasing Price of every necessary [necessity] and Convenience of Life, is another Grievance most [unreadable] experienced by ye Soldiery in their Marches, & in other Situations, they are necessitated to purchase Provisions and Vegetables when in Camp. The Prices now asked for one Meal is from three to eight Shillings. Turnips from two to three Dollars per Bushel & other Vegetables in proportion, that a Soldiers month Pay is consumed in about three days in furnishing himself with necessaries not supplied by the Public. – These are Grievances very greatly and Justly complained of by your Soldiers, & Officers of every Rank are Sharers in the Consequences of these Evils.

An expectation of Redress has retained ye Soldiery hitherto, but Desertions Daily increase & unless that Justice which is their due is done, We assure your Excellency we fear it will not be in our Power to retain them. We have ye greatest Reason to believe they will wait ye Event only of their Petition at ye Adj. Assembly, & should that Assembly arise without doing them Justice in ye past depredation of ye Currency, we are convinced ye greater part of ye Soldiery will desert.

We assure your Excellency we have & shall continue to appease every discontent which has ye remotest Tendency to produce Mutiny & Desertion or any other Act prejudicial to ye Service & we have ye Satisfaction to believe we posses ye Love & Affection of ye Soldiery & that they are not desirous to forsake us or ye Cause of their Country.

But it may please your Excellency they are naked in severe Winter, they are hungry & have no Money… We have promised them redress, we have assured them of ye good Intentions of their Country towards them, & that Justice…us as their Soldiery under our Command which is our just Right, but we cannot be convinced tis’ more.

Reasonable for us to rely on ye Provision Congress may be supposed to make some future Time, than for this State to rely on that Body for doing them Justice, especially when we consider ye conditions of ye Officers & Soldiers from ye Extreme Parts of ye States in ye Union, are so very different that one general Rule cannot be adopted which will do justice, & that when we consider that your Excellency is your Proclamation for raising ye Soldiers pledge ye faith of ye State for ye punctual fulfillment of every Engagement, made with ye Soldiers by Congress.

We hope & trust that our Assembly at their next Session will remove ye Causes of out Complaint & satisfy us those Loses we have sustained by ye past depreciation of Money & give those Assurances of keeping good our future pay & redress our other Grievances that no Cause of Complaint may remain among us, but should not this be done, we still think it to be our Indispensible Duty to make this public Representation before ye Evils we are convinced will flow from them have happened, least we should be [tough to read, ends in r-e-d] for our Silence when ye Event has taken place.

We beg your Excellency to lay this Representation before ye Assembly & to assure them we have ye most ardent Desire to assist in our several Stations in reducing that Power which involved out Country in this Cruel War & to promote that Order & decency in ye Soldiery, so necessary to ye Attainment of this End. We have furnished our Agent with a Calculation, founded on ye best Evidence in our power, that being adopted by our Assembly will in our Opinion quiet our Troops & that nothing short will give them Satisfaction.

We have the Honor to be with ye Greatest Esteem Your Excellencies.
Ob’t Servants”

Source: New England Historical and Genealogical Register (1873) Vol. 27:58-60

The journals of private Joseph Plumb Martin (stationed with the 8th Connecticut in Parsons’ middle camp) January, 1779

“We settled in our winter quarters at the commencement of the new year and went on in our old Continental Line of starving and freezing. We now and then got a little bad bread and salt beef (I believe chiefly horse-beef for it was generally thought to be such at the time). The month of January was very stormy, a good deal of snow fell, and in such weather it was mere chance if we got anything at all to eat.”

George Washington to Deputy Clothier Gen. George Measam, January 8, 1779

“It has been represented to me that the troops of Connecticut are in great want of Shirts, Stockings and Shoes. This leads me to inquire of you whether they have not received their proportion of these Articles in common with the rest of the Army. The troops in general have obtained orders for a Shirt and pair of Stockings per man and a pair of Shoes to each that wanted. If the Connecticut Troops have not been furnished … you will on receiving proper Returns for that purpose supply them in conformity to this Rule.”

George Washington to the Board of War, January 9, 1779

“Sir: I have the honor. of yours of the 7th. instant. As there is not probably a sufficiency of Mittens for the whole Army, a partial distribution would occasion uneasiness among those who were not supplied. Instead therefore of a general delivery, I should think it better to have them lodged with the Clothiers attending the Army to be delivered out occasionally to detachments going upon a duty that will expose them to the inclemency of the Weather.”

General Putnam’s Orders, Feb. 4, 1779

Edward Jones was tried at a General Court Martial for going to and serving the enemy, and coming out as a spy. He was found guilty of each and every charge exhibited against him, and according to Law and the Usage’s of Nations was sentenced to suffer Death:

“The General approves the sentence and orders it to be put in execution between the hours of ten and eleven A.M. by hanging him by the neck till he be dead.”

General Putnam’s Orders, Feb. 6, 1779

John Smith of the 1st Connecticut Regiment, was tried at a General Court Martial for desertion and attempting to go to the enemy, found guilty, and further persisting in saying that he will go to the enemy if ever he has an opportunity.

“The General approves the sentence and orders that it be put in execution between the hours of ten and twelve A.M. for him to be shot to death”

Report out of Canadian 2nd Regiment, Feb. 11, 1779

“This day a detachment from our Brigade (under the command of Major Torrey of our Regiment) consisting of one Major, two Captains, four Subalterns, six Sergeants, six Corporals, two Drums and Fifes, and one hundred and one Privates, marched from here to reinforce the Detachment at Horse Neck (Greenwich).”

General Putnam’s Orders, Feb. 13, 1779

“The General directs that no person be permitted to visit the prisoners under sentence of death unless at their request as frequent complaints have been made that they are interrupted in their private devotions by persons who come for no other purpose but to insult them.”

Headquarters, Reading, March 21, 1779

“Col. Hazen’s Regiment will march to Springfield in 3 Divisions by the shortest notice: the first Division will march on Monday next, and the other two will follow on Thursday and Friday next, weather permitting, and in case the detached parties join the Regiment, Col. Hazen will take with him one piece of Cannon and a proportionate number of Artillery men.”

Headquarters, Reading, April 11, 1779

“The officers are requested to lose no time in preparing for the field, that they may be ready to leave their present quarters at the shortest notice…No officers whose duty does not really require him to be on horseback will be permitted to keep horses with the Army- It ought to be the pride of an officer to share the fatigues, as well as the dangers to which the men are exposed to on foot…General Washington strongly recommends the officers divest themselves (as much as possible) of everything superfluous.”

Headquarters, Reading, May 24, 1779

“General Parsons orders the Brigade to be ready to march tomorrow at 6 o’clock A.M. Complete for Action.” *This Brigade seems to have returned to the Highlands via Ridgefield and Bedford.

Headquarters, Reading, May 27, 1779

“Major General Putnam about to take command of one of the Wings of the Grand Army, before he leaves the troops who have served under him the winter past, thinks it his duty to signify to them his entire approbation of their regular and soldier like conduct, and wishes them a successful and glorious campaign.”

Headquarters, Reading, May 28, 1779

“Daniel Vaughn and Jonathan Gore of the 8th Connecticut Regiment. Tried by a Brigade Court Martial whereof Lt. Col. Sumner was President, for stealing a cup from Captain Zalmon Read of Reading. The Court are of the opinion that the charges against Vaughn and Gore are not supported.”

Local housing market: More activity spurs hope

Written by Rachel Kirkpatrick
Monday, 01 February 2010

Things are “picking up” in the local housing market, according to several Realtors, and the spring season may bring the needed proof.

“Everyone talks about spring — but traditionally, for Realtors, it starts three or four weeks into January,” said Redding resident Ira Stone, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Previews. “We consider it the spring market now, and while it’s certainly not as robust as we’ve seen in some prior years, it’s definitely kicking off with much more momentum than it did last year at this time.”

Locally, the numbers show how much of a change the market has been through in just a couple of years. In 2007, 107 listings were sold in Redding. In 2008, there were 75 listings sold, and in 2009, 70.

The average list and sale prices have also dropped over the last two years. The average list price in 2007 was $889,768, with an average sale price of $843,994. In 2008, the average list price was $765,200, with an average sale price of $717,714. And in 2009, the average list price was $708,442, with an average sale price of $664,338.

Download the 2010 Redding Real Estate Report

Redding resident Randi Hutton, a Realtor with Hutton Edge of William Raveis, points to the lowest price of a home sold in 2009, which was $168,900; looking back to 2007, the lowest price of a home sold was $392,000 — both were for three-bedroom homes.

“Buyers are very savvy and very cautious now and they’re also not necessarily having the largest-is-the-best mentality,” Ms. Hutton said. “Their mindset is more conscious of the costs of running a home, maintenance and taxes.”

Full Story:

In an effort to raise awareness of Mark Twain’s time in Redding, Connecticut I have put together a slideshow presentation that highlights his final home, Stormfield, and the library he founded for the people of Redding.


The Credits:

A special Thank You to all those that made this PowerPoint Presentation possible.

Thank you to Barbara Schmidt and her amazing Twain resource site.

Thank you to David Thompson and his collection of Twain photos and montages.
http://www.twainquotes.com/DaveThomson.html & http://steamboats.com/museum/davet.html

Thank you to Kevin Mac Donnell for his knowledge, insights, rare photos and books. http://www.MacDonnellRareBooks.com

Thank you to Susan Boone Durkee for her knowledge, photos, artwork and parties. Two of Susan’s portraits appear in the slideshow- Jean and Sam in his Oxford Gown. http://www.SusanDurkee.com

Thank you to The Mark Twain House, for their truly amazing museum, and priceless photos. Thank you to Patti Phillippon for access and usage. http://www.MarkTwainHouse.org

Thank you to Heather Morgan and her staff at the Mark Twain Library for access and usage. The MTL is a treasure trove of new information on Twain’s Final years. http://www.MarkTwainLibrary.org

Thank you to The Mark Twain Forum and all its members for sharing their knowledge and bringing Twainiacs together.

Thank you to The Mark Twain Journal, for promoting Stormfield and Redding in Volume 44. http://www.MarkTwainJournal.com

Thank you to The Mark Twain Project, for access to Sam’s letters. Your work has allowed for the research that fuels us all to keep searching and sharing. http://www.MarkTwainProject.org

Winter Has Arrived

“Winter is begun here, now, I suppose. It blew part of the hair off the dog yesterday & got the rest this morning.”
– Samuel L. Clemens letter to Chatto and Windus, October 21, 1892.

Redding is portrayed as a Tory town in my brother Sam is dead but town records contain very few references to the Loyalists of Redding during the Revolutionary period. They most certainly existed, and prior to the war openly disapproved of opposing the British Government, stating “a firm dependence on the Mother Country is essential to our political safety and happiness.”

Many, if not all, of Redding’s Tories were Anglican Church members. Anglicans were in a difficult position, their choice of religion was tied closely to the crown of England and a split from England left them with an uncertain future. Congregationalists did not have these ties, so for them it was a matter of right or wrong…did they agreed with the actions of England’s leaders or disagree.

The confusion of the Tories/Loyalists is explained by Tim Meeker in Chapter 2,

“Ever since I could remember, all my life in fact, there had been discussions and arguments and debates about whether we ought to obey His Majesty’s government or whether we should rebel. What kept confusing me about it was that the argument didn’t have two sides the way an argument should, but about six sides.”

It should be noted that many Anglicans were angered by the actions of England’s leaders, but felt a Rebellious split from England was excessive and a diplomatic approach to the issues was in the best interest of all colonists involved.

Redding’s Tories referred to themselves as the Redding Loyalist Association. The Redding Loyalist Association was led by the son of John Beach, Lazarus. In February of 1775, they and other Tories living in Fairfield County published an article in a New York publication proclaiming their loyalty to the King.

The Redding Loyalist’s “resolutions” sent to James Rivington’s Gazetteer, the government organ (paper) in New York City, proclaiming their allegiance to the Crown of England is as follows:

“Mr. Rivington: In the present critical situation of public affairs, we, the subscribers, Freeholders and Inhabitants of the town of Reading and the adjoining parts in the County of Fairfield, and Colony of Connecticut, think it is necessary (through the columns of your paper) to assure the public that we are open enemies to any change in the present happy Constitution, and highly disapprove of all measures in any degree calculated to promote confusion and disorder; for which purpose and in order to avoid the general censure, incurred by a great part of this colony from the mode of conduct here adopted for the purpose of opposing the British Government, we have entered into the following resolves and agreements, viz:

1st Resolved, that while we enjoy the privileges and immunities of the British Constitution we will render all due obedience to his most Gracious Majesty King George the Third, and that a firm dependence on the Mother Country is essential to our political safety and happiness.

2nd Resolved, that the privileges and immunities of this Constitution are yet (in a good degree) continued to all his Majesty’s American subjects, except those who, we conceive, have justly forfeited their rights thereto.

3rd Resolved, that we supposed the Continental Congress was constituted for the purpose of restoring harmony between Great Britain and her colonies and removing the displeasure of his Majesty toward his American subjects, whereas on the contrary some of their resolutions appear to us immediately calculated to widen the present unhappy breach, counteract the first principles of civil society, and in a great degree abridge the privileges of their constituents.

4th Resolved, that notwithstanding we will in all circumstances conduct with prudence and moderation, we consider it an indispensable duty we owe to our King and Constitution, our Country and posterity, to defend, maintain and preserve at the risk of our lives and properties the prerogatives of the Crown, and the privileges of the subject from all attacks by any rebellious body of men, any Committees of Inspection, Correspondence, etc…

This document was signed by 141 Freeholders and Inhabitants of the town of Reading and the adjoining parts in the County of Fairfield but the signers were not revealed by the publisher, James Rivington.

Patriots’ Reaction

Historian Charles Burr Todd wrote: “The effect of this document on the Patriots of Redding was like that of a red flag on a bull. They at once set to work to discover its signers and presently made public in a circular the entire list so far as they belonged to Redding. It was given out by the Committee of Observation under this preamble:”

“Whereas, there was a certain number of resolves published- and whereas said Resolves are injurious to the rights of this Colony, and breath a spirit of enmity and opposition to the rights and liberties of all America and are in direct opposition to the Association of the Continental Congress: and notwithstanding said resolutions were come into with a seeming view to secure the said signers some extraordinary privileges and immunities, yet either through negligence in the printer or upon design of the subscribers, said signed names are not made public – and now if there be any advantage in adopting those principles we are willing they should be entitled there to; and for which end and for the more effectual carrying into execution and Association we have taken some pains and by the assistance of him who carried said resolves to said Printer we have obtained the whole of said names. But as we mean not to publish the names except those who belong to said Reading(Redding).

The Committee of Observation added: “There are only 42 Freeholders in the above number. There are several minors, etc. that make the above number of 74 that belong to said Reading, and we hereby hold them up to the public as “adversaries” to the Association of said Congress.”

“Signed by the order of the Committee of Observation for said town of Reading.
Ebenezer Couch, Chairman.”

The entire list of Redding Loyalists was published by the Committee of Observation for all to see, publicly exposing the signers and placing them in great danger among their Patriotic neighbors. Not all of those who had signed were ardent adherents to the British cause, and the “pressure” applied by the Patriots in publishing the names of the signers caused some to realign themselves with the Patriot cause. Those remaining adamantly against the War of Independence fled to the safety of the British lines, while the majority simply fell silent opting for their trusted and beloved church leader, Rev. John Beach’s policy of passive resistance in the Revolutionary period.

The Loyalists of Redding, Revolutionary Period

In 1775, a number of loyalists in town signed what was essentially a neutrality agreement, saying they would not bear arms on the side of the British and would not discourage enlistment in the American army. Rev. John Beach was one of these signers and perhaps it was concessions such as this agreement that allowed the Anglican community to survive in Redding, while other Anglican parishes in Connecticut dwindled and the ministers of some of them went either into exile or were jailed.

Redding Tories that chose not to heed the warnings and yield to the Patriots were fined and imprisoned. Minutes of the Connecticut’s Governor and Council of Safety reveal the price paid by those parties:

“Lazarus Beach, Andrew Fairchild, Nathan Lee, Enos Lee, and Able Burr of Reading, in the county of Fairfield, being Tory convicts and sent by order of law to be confined in the town of Mansfield to prevent any mischievous practices of theirs, having made their escape and being taken up and remanded back to his Honor the Governor and this Council, to be dealt with.”

“Resolved, and ordered by the Governor and his Council aforesaid, that the said Lazarus Beach (etc…) be committed to the keeper of the goal in Windham, within said prison to be safely kept until they come out thence by due order of the General Assembly, or the Governor and his Council of Safety, and that they pay cost of their being apprehended and being remanded, etc…, allowed to be 25 pounds, 3 shillings. Mittimus granted Jan. 28, 1777.”

On Feb. 10, 1777, Beach, Burr, and Fairchild were ordered to “return to Mansfield and there abide under the direction of the Committee of Inspection of that town, while Enos and Nathan Lee were permitted to return home on their giving bonds for their good behavior.”

Though he headed efforts to protect the safety of his church societies, one agreement Rev. John Beach refused to comply with was the omission of the King’s prayer in his church services. This position brought upon him the active persecution of radical Patriots like the Sons of Liberty. In February of 1778, the Justices and Selectmen of Redding informed Rev. Beach that “in order that we may have peace and quietness at home” it was in his best interest to omit the prayer:

“Redding, Feb. 12th, 1778

Dear Sir: We have no disposition to restrain or limit you or others in matters of conscience. But understanding that you, in your Public Worship, still continue to pray that the King of Great Britain may be strengthened to vanquish and overcome all his enemies, which manner of praying must be thought to be a great insult upon the Laws, Authority, and People of this State, as you and others can but know that the King of England has put the People of these United States from under his protection, Declared the Rebels, and is now at open war with said States, and consequently we are his enemies.

Likewise you must have understood that the American States have declared themselves independent of any Foreign Power – Now Sir, in order that we may have peace and quietness at home among ourselves, we desire that for the future you would omit praying in Public that King George the third or any other foreign Prince, or Power, may vanquish, etc… the People of this Land.

Your compliance herewith may prevent you trouble.

We are, Rev. Sir, with due Respect, your obedient humble servants.

To the Revd. John Beach.

Lemuel Sanford, William Hawley – Justices

Hezekiah Sanford, Seth Sanford, Thaddeus Benedict, John Grey, William Heron – Selectmen of Redding”

Mr. Beach, however, continued to read the prayers for the King vowing that he would “do his duty, preach, and pray for the King till the rebels cut out his tongue.”

Rev. John Beach, as a result, wasn’t safe inside or outside of his churches. The Rev. Beach served not only Redding, but many of the surrounding towns as well. And it seems there’s a story of rebels bursting into his services and threatening his life in every one. The Redding version is as follows:

“A squad of soldiers (hired, it is said, by Squire Stephen Betts for a gallon of French brandy to shoot Mr. Beach), gathered outside the open door of the church, and from one of them a bullet was fired which lodged in the ribs of the sounding board, a foot or more above the head of the venerable preacher.

As the congregation sprang to their feet in unfeigned consternation to rush from the church, he quieted them by saying: “don’t be alarmed, brethren. Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” and then proceeded with his discourses as if nothing had happened.”

The Rev. John Beach died in March of 1782, well before the peace treaty of September, 1783, but not as a result of a Rebel sword or bullet, simply old age. In many recorded histories, he is credited for maintaining a more tranquil community than others in Connecticut.

Redding Tories: Issac Drew, Ephraim DeForest, John, Joseph and Peter Lyon, and Daniel Read, were among those whose land was confiscated by the State courts. Many others were fined for refusing to perform military duty but as a whole the Loyalists of Redding were a less tortured one – before, during and after the Revolution in comparison to others in the state, where recriminations against British sympathizers took the form of wholesale jailing and even murder. Lazarus Beach, most certainly a thorn in the patriot’s side in the early stages of the conflict, eventually fell into rank and remained in Redding after the Revolution serving as selectman from 1788-1789. Proof that extreme measures were not taken against the Loyalists of Redding unless the person had actually gone over to the enemy to take up arms or screen themselves under the protection of the Ministerial Army.