- The First Congregational Church of
Beloit, Wis., was organized by Rev. W. M.
in the large kitchen at the east end of Caleb BLODGETT's
house, northeast corner of State and School streets, December
30, 1838, with these twenty-four charter members: Deacon Peter
R. FIELD; wife, Hannah, and son, Alfred L.; her sister,
Mrs. Nancy CRANE; nephew, Robert P. CRANE; niece,
Sarah T. CRANE, and son-in-law, Horace HOBART,
all from Colebrook, N.H. Three were from Groton, N.H.; Benjamin
I. TENNY and wife, Ann, and Mrs. S. CUMMINGS (later
Mrs. McELHENNY); Asahel B. HOWE and wife, Betsey;
Henry MEARS and wife, Louisa, and her sister, Maria CLARK;
Ira HERSEY and wife, Omittee; Elizabeth FIELD (wife
of Alfred), Amanda COOPER, Chauncey TUTTLE and
wife, Amy; Sophronia BLANCHARD, Mrs. Cordelia Blodgett
HACKETT and Martha BLODGETT. At the first communion
season, January 27, 1839, were added Samuel G. COLLEY
and wife; his sister, Mrs. Ann Jane ATWOOD, and Mrs. Esther
- At first this church received home
missionary aid to the amount of $75, but
- thereafter became independent of aid.
Meetings were held in private houses until the Union school house
was built, by private subscription, in the fall of 1839, at the
northeast corner of School and Prospect streets. In that house
the Methodists and Episcopalians held services on alternate Sunday
mornings, and the Congregationalists every Sunday afternoon and
evening. April 7, 1840, Rev. W. M. ADAMS reported a Sunday
school of twenty scholars, organized during the previous year,
the first superintendent being the surveyor, John HOPKINS.
The first child baptized (in November, 1839) was the infant son
of Deacon HOBART, Horace R., (now, 1908, editor of the
"Railway Age," Chicago).
- In November 1840, Rev. Dexter CLARY
became the minister (1840-1850), and
- Mrs. Sarah M., his wife, came with
him. (She lived here until her death, in 1899, at the age of
ninety-two years.) The corner stone for their first building,
"the old stone church," was laid at the northwest corner
of Broad and Prospect streets, July 6, 1842, and the completed
building was dedicated January 3, 1844. In May, 1843, Benjamin
BROWN joined that church, where his wife was already a
member, and in 1845 their infant son, William Fiske (the editor
of this county history) was baptized there by the Rev. Mr. CLARY.
There also, December 25, 1843, had occurred the funeral services
of Dr. Horace WHITE, leader of the New England colony.
In this church, August 7, 1844, was held the first convention
which met to consider the organization of a college, leading
finally to our Beloit College.
- The succeeding ministers were: 1850-1851,
Rev. A. L. CHAPIN; Rev. W. S.
to November, 1852. H. N. BRINSMADE, D.D., 1853 to 1861;
Simon J. HUMPHREY, D.D., 1861 to 1864; George BUSHNELL,
D.D., 1865 to 1884; Cyrus HAMLIN, D.D., 1885 to 1895;
George R. LEAVITT, D.D., 1895 to 1906; Wilfred A. ROWELL,
- In 1852 the first building was lengthened
twenty feet and the front approach
- changed. The new brick building on
the hill, northeast corner of Church and Bushnell streets, was
dedicated July 6, 1862 and seats with the galleries 1,200. The
chapel at the north end was erected in 1873. Plans are now (1908)
matured for changing this chapel to a modern structure.
- This church is organized for the usual
forms of Christian service, and has a present
- membership (January 1, 1908) of 327
resident and 149 non-resident; total 476. Of these, three are
missionaries in this country - Rev. and Mrs. Cyrus HAMLIN,
Tougaloo, Miss., and Rev. Thomas L. RIGGS, Oahe, S.D.;
and seven are foreign missionaries - Mrs. T.D. CHRISTIE,
Tarsus, Asia; Mary H. PORTER, Henry D. PORTER,
M.D. and D.D., and Mrs. Elizabeth Chapin PORTER, Rev.
Dr. Arthur H. SMITH and Mrs. Emma Dickinson SMITH,
and Mrs. Isabella Riggs WILLIAMS, all of China.
- [The First Congregational Church of
Beloit's] first pastor, Rev. Dexter CLARY,
- kept a register of marriages and deaths.
As there is no record elsewhere of these facts his account for
those earlier years is given here, so as to help preserve a valuable record.
The original book, with the consent of Dr. CLARY's grandson,
R. J. C. STRONG, M.D., of Beloit, Wis., will be deposited
in our new state historical library building at Madison, Wis.
- [Source: Rock County, Wisconsin:
A new history of it's cities, villages, etc., Vol. I, by
William Fiske Brown (editor-in-chief); ©1908
C. F. Cooper, Chicago, IL; pp. 263-264]