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History of Ryegate, Vermont
Chapter XII


ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY.

RETROSPECT.—PRESBYTERIANISM. - THE CHURCH or SCOTLAND.—THE STUARTS.—THE RESTORATION.—RISE OF THE COVENANTERS.—ORIGIN or "TOKENS."—THE PERSECUTION.—ANECDOTE.—REV. JAMES RENWICK.—THE REVOLUTION OF 1688 .—PATRONAGE.—THE ASSOCIATE SYNOD.—BURGHERS, AND ANTI-BURGHERS.—THE RELIEF CHURCH —THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.—REV. PETER POWERS—ACTION OF THE TOWN.—THE OLD MEETING HOUSE.— EARLY MINISTERS.—REV. Wm. FORSYTHE.—REV. WILLIAM GIBSON.

THAT which more than anything else distinguishes Ryegate from all other towns in Vermont, or indeed in all New England, has been its adherence to the Presbyterian form of faith and practice. Although there are, and have ever been divisions in minor matters, yet the religious system brought from Scotland has been completely ingrained into the very life of the people, and after all the changes of the years, it is still the strongest influence in its life, and no other denomination has ever obtained an organization here. But our inquiries into the religious history of the town reveal the interesting historical circumstance that certain divisions originating in far-off Scotland have been perpetuated here in Ryegate. This subject is well worthy of our careful study, and the religious history of the town cannot be understood without some knowledge of the conditions which caused these divisions in Scotland and in America.

Many who will read these pages are not familiar with the Presbyterian form of church government, and a little explanation is necessary.

In each local congregation the government is vested in the minister and elders, the latter being set apart for their office by ordination. The minister and elders constitute the "Session," which is not oniy an integral, but a very important part of the polity of the church. It was intended to be a check and bar to the rise of priestly assumption in the reformed Scottish church. The session, which meets at stated times, controls the affairs of the church; hears and determines cases of discipline. One of the members who records the proceedings of each meeting, is called the session clerk. Appeal from the decision of the session is to the Presbytery, which consists of all the ministers and elders within a certain territory. A still higher court of appeal is the Synod, which is constituted of the minister and one elder from each session. The synod has many responsibilities in the general oversight of the churches, and may review, confirm or reverse the decision of the presbyteries. The General Assembly, which is the highest court of appeal, is constituted from the synods, and its decision is final. In the Presbyterian church all the ministers are of equal rank; the moderator of the General Assembly, the great tribunal of the church, is merely a presiding officer, and has authority only during its session. It will then be seen that eminence in the church is attained only by virtue of talent and piety.

The Church of Scotland had its origin with the reformation, about 1527, and fifty years later, the Presbyterian polity was introduced into the country by Andrew Melville, who had studied the workings of the system at Geneva. Its introduction, and the teachings of John Knox, were opposed by the King and the priesthood, but many of the nobility embraced the cause of the people. But the Stuart kings hated the Presbyterian church because it was in its very nature independent of the crown and they aimed to make the Episcopal church the church of Scotland, and compel obedience to their demands. They desired to establish in Scotland the same form of church government as had been established in England, in which the king is the head of the church, and under him in their order are the descending grades of the clergy, from arch-bishops down through a host of minor officials to the laity. Thus to the king, whatever his character or fitness may be, all the clergy and laity are bound in obedience.

But the system introduced into Scotland by John Knox and his followers held the very opposite view. They proclaimed an equality of the clergy; that Christ, and not the king or the Pope of Rome was the supreme head of the church, and that the Holy Scriptures, and not the decrees of bishops and councils, are the only rule of faith and practice.

Notwithstanding the opposition of the king and his adherents, the Presbyterians increased in numbers and influence, attaining such strength that it was not safe to attack them openly. James VI of Scotland who afterwards became king of England, was intent upon the restoration of Episcopacy in the former country, and was able to enforce the passage of laws which made the Episcopal church, the only church recognized by law in Scotland. His son, Charles I, went still further, and attempted to force the liturgy of the Church of England upon the Presbyterians of Scotland, and established a set of canons which abolished the control which kirk sessions and presbyteries had held in ecclesiastical affairs.

These measures were resisted by the multitude, and those who were opposed to them entered into a combination known as the "Solemn League and Covenant," which was generally signed throughout Scotland, and which bound its supporters to resist all measures tending toward the establishment of prelacy. They lent their aid to the measures which resulted in the overthrow of the Stuarts, and the establishment of the Commonwealth.

After the restoration in 1660, Charles II endeavored to force the Episcopal form of church government upon Scotland. An Order in Council, Oct. 1, 1662, commanded that all ministers who had not received presentations from lay patrons and ordination at the hands of bishops, should be removed from parishes, and their adherents were forbidden to attend upon their ministry, expecting thereby to compel the obedience of all the Presbyterian clergy in Scotland. But the consequence was that about three hundred and fifty ministers, about one-third of all in Scotland, resigned their churches, choosing poverty rather than renunciation of their faith.

The Parliament commanded the Solemn League and Covenant to be burned at the Cross of Edinburgh, and it was prohibited, under pain of death, to attend upon the ministry of those clergymen who adhered to the Covenant, and the most brutal measures were taken to compel obedience. The exiled ministers were compelled to hold their services among the mountains and on barren moors in places well known to their followers, who went armed to the places of meeting, where they could not easily be followed or surprised by the soldiers who were sent to disperse the congregations.

In those unhappy times there arose a custom which is still followed in a few churches in this vicinity. The sacrament was observed in the open air, and as many of the communicants came from a distance, some of them would not be known to many of the congregation, and it was necessary to devise some expedient to distinguish those who were entitled to receive the sacrament, as the country abounded with spies and informers. On the day before the service the minister with the elders stood in front of the congregation, the applicants passed before them in single file, and to each, when identified by one of the elders, was presented a small metal disk, called a "token," which entitled the holder to receive the sacrament, and thus the intrusion of unauthorized persons was prevented. This is the origin of the use of "tokens," and it might seem that a custom with such deep historic interest should not have been discontinued.

The Covenanters, or as they were often called from one of their leaders, the Cameronians, were not rebels against the laws, and only asked leave to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, but they were treated as if their views were intended to destroy religion and society, to be exterminated by fire and sword. Between 1661 and 1688, it has been computed that out of a population of Scotland not exceeding a million, sixteen thousand persons "suffered for the faith." Men, women and children were put to death without any form of trial, and in cruel and treacherous ways.

Among the many tales which have come down from those terrible days is one related by a minister of Covenanting ancestry in this vicinity which we have never seen in print:

During the times of the persecution in Scotland, little bands of peopie used to assemble for worship among the hills, and one day word was brought to a small company of these faithful people that the soldiers were coming. They all fled among the bushes, creeping around the hills, when the leader heard the pursuers very near. He raised his eyes and prayed in these words, "Oh Father, hide Thou us in thy plaidie." Just then a heavy mist arose, and in the darkness they escaped.

The last person of eminence to suffer was Rev. James Renwick, who was executed on the 17th of February, 1688. He was a clergyman of great eloquence, and of exemplary life. His name is held in reverence among the Covenanters as a martyr to the faith, and the editor of this volume has discovered among the Covenanting families of Ryegate and Barnet, the names of forty-seven persons who were named for him, and many for Daniel or Donald Cargill, as well as other worthies of the times of the persecution.

The Covenanting churches of Ryegate and Barnet are the lineal descendants of the Covenanters of Scotland two hundred and fifty years ago, and there have been among them many who would have died for their faith as bravely as did their ancestors in the times of the persecution.

At the revolution in 1688, freedom of conscience was granted to all, and the Presbyterian church was declared to be the national church of Scotland, and the Episcopal church that of England. But there was a small body among the Covenanters who felt that the revolution had not gone far enough in not recognizing the Solemn League and Covenant, and declined to take oaths in support of the government.

The habit of independent thinking which Calvinism inspires has made Scotland what it is and has transformed one of the most turbulent countries in Europe into a nation whose influence in the world has been out of all proportion to its size or population.

But this independence of thought led to a division in the national church. At the reformation the nobility seized upon a large part of the lands and revenues which had belonged to the church, and assumed the burden of supporting the clergy of the reformed faith. The owners of the land in a parish claimed the right to nominate the clergyman maintained at their expense. This was called "patronage," and as the patrons were often men of widely different views from the members of the churches, they nominated, in many cases, very unfit men, and men of dissolute life were placed in the pulpit, the courts deciding that the presbyteries could not refuse to ordain men thus presented. In some cases the appointments were so obnoxious that the military had to be called.

upon to enforce the ordination and the minister was left to preach to empty pews. This system was denounced by many excellent men, and in consequence of some very unworthy persons being thus obtruded into the ministry, Dr. Ebenezer Erskine of Stirling, in a discourse before the Synod of Fife in 1737, denounced the system with great earnestness and power. For this he was ordered to be rebuked for slandering the church, and this sentence being confirmed, on his appeal, by the General Assembly, he with three others in 1733, left the established church, and formed a separate communion called the Associate Presbytery. This communion which became very prosperous, and drew thousands from the established church, was generally known as the Seceder Church. The United Presbyterian church at Ryegate Corner was formed by ministers of the Associate Presbytery, and bore the name till 1858. Mr. Miller often speaks of that church as the "Seceder" church, thus recalling here in Rye-gate a controversy whose entire history was in Scotland. As the cause of the disruption had no existence in America, members of the established church who settled here, usually connected themselves with this church.

In 1747, a schism arose in this body as to the lawfulness of accepting a clause in an oath which the law required should be taken by the burgesses, or magistrates, of the larger towns. One party held that taking this oath was unlawful, as it implied the approval of a civil establishment with all its evils. Those who thought thus left the Associate church and formed another body called the General Associate Synod. These latter were called the Anti-Burghers, and the former the Burghers. Some of the early settlers of Ryegate and Barnet presented certificates from the General Associate churches. Both these bodies prospered, and were at variance with each other. But in process of time these dissenting bodies began to approximate toward each other, and the burgess oath being repealed at the close of the wars of Napoleon, the two bodies were re-united under the title of the United Secession church. This name was afterwards changed to the United Presbyterian church, in consequence of the accession of another body, called the Relief church. This was a further secession from the established church in 1753, by some clergymen who refused to assist in the ordination of certain ministers whom they considered as unworthy of a place in the ministry. They rejected the idea of an established church altogether, and formed a synod called the Relief, that is, relief from the exactions and tyranny of the presbyteries. This became a very influential body and its union with the United Secession church was brought about by a course of events which removed the small differences between them. John Park and wife, John McLam and wife and others were members in Scotland of the Relief church.

Meanwhile a great controversy was going on in the established church, which led to a disruption in 1842, under the lead of the celebrated Dr. Thomas Chalmers, and Dr. Thompson, out of which grew the Free Church of Scotland. Many of the later corners to Ryegate were from the Free church. In 1904, this body combined with the United Presbyterian church, to form the United Free Church of Scotland.

The various divisions and subdivisions of the Presbyterian church in America are, generally, outside of our range of inquiry. It is enough to say that in 1858, a union was formed between the Associate Presbyterian synod, to which the Ryegate church belonged, and the Associate Reformed synod, under the title of the United Presbyterian church of America.

The Reformed Presbyterian church, known as Covenanters, had no independent organization in America after 1782, but its affairs were managed by a committee of the Reformed presbytery in Scotland. In the latter year, the Reformed Presbyterian church of the United States was formed by Revs. McKinney, King, and Gibson, the latter of whom, lately arrived from Ireland, was for many years settled in Ryegate. The ordination, in 1804, at Ryegate, of Rev. S. B. Wylie, was the first ordination of a Covenanting minister in America. In 1808, the synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States was constituted.

In 1833, a division arose in this body upon the subject of the elective franchise, and a separate organization, bearing the same name, was formed. This decision was reflected in Ryegate by the formation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church at South Ryegate, and was generally distinguished from the parent body by the title of New School Presbyterians, locally called the "New Lights."

In this hasty survey no attempt has been made to indicate the theological differences between these branches of the Presbyterian churches.

The first religious service held in Ryegate was by Rev. Peter Powers of Newbury, and probably in the year 1774. Mr. Powers was a Presbyterian, and the Congregational church at Newbury was organized in 1764, upon a basis which was, in part at least, Presbyterian. Mr. Powers preached frequently in the town, and baptized several children. He was highly esteemed, and in 1779, a deputation from Ryegate sought to obtain his services for part of the time.

As the law stood for many years after its settlement, the minister was paid by a tax, and so we must in the absence of other authority, consult the town and company records for such meagre information as they convey concerning early ecclesiastical services in Ryegate.

At a meeting of the members of the Company Aug. 17, 1784, it was voted, "That the inhabitants will join in proportion with the inhabitants of Barnet toward supporting the gospel." Six years later, March 9, 1790, the town appointed the selectmen and elders a committee "to conclude what sum is necessary for the support of the gospel." On the 10th of April the committee seem to have reported, and 40 bushels of wheat were voted "for the support of the gospel in town the ensuing year." At the March meeting in the following year the town voted, "not to raise anything for the support of the gospel or for a school." This may not imply that there were to be neither school nor preaching that year, but they were to be supported by subscription. No further action of the town is reported till 1795, when it was voted, "to build a meeting house." But the vote alone did not build it, as a special town meeting two weeks later, "could come to no agreement about a meeting-house." But two years later they seem to have come to some agreement, as the town voted, March 14, 1797, "To build a meeting-house on John Orr’s land" (where the town house now stands). On the 30th, James Henderson, William Neilson and Alexander Miller were chosen a committee "to build a meeting-house 40 x 30, 20 ft. post." It was also voted "to raise a tax of nine pence on the Pound on the List of 1796, ¾ of said tax to be paid in materials laid on the spot and 1/4 in cash, to be paid into the town treasury by the 1st of August, 1797." They also voted "a sufficient sum to pay the remaining part of the expense of completing the outside and ground floor to be paid into the town treasury in cash or wheat at cash prices."

On Dec. 20, 1797, the town voted "to underpin the meeting-house with rough stone, John Gray to superintend the work."

It would appear that the meeting-house.was begun, but not finished, as the town on the 12th of March two years later, "chose Andrew Brock and Hugh Gardner, a committee to call on the meeting-house committee and find out why it (the meeting-house) is not finished." No report of the committee is preserved, but it would seem that the outside of the house was finished, and the inside, in some sort made so it could be used. It is believed that it was, during the first year provided with temporary benches, on which the congregation sat. A very curious entry in the town records is that on Dec. 25, 1800, when the warning for a special town meeting contained as Article 5, "In regard to the meeting-house:

To see if some punishment cannot be inflicted on persons who allow their dogs to follow them to meeting, or on the dogs themselves." No action is reported, and we are left in the dark as to the specific offence of the poor doggies. Whether they were inattentive during the sermon or objected to the teachings of the catechism, we shall never know. This meeting voted: "To complete the meeting-house, and adopt a plan presented by James Whitelaw for the form and order of the seats, except some alterations in the gallery." They also voted to erect a porch at each end of the house and "that the mode for raising money shall be by choosing a committee to appraise the pews—then have a public vendue, each pew to be sold as high as the appraisal. James Whitelaw, Benjamin Wright, Jabez Bigelow, John Cameron, James Henderson and Josiah Page were chosen the committee.

The completed meeting house was built in the manner common in New England at that day, and modeled after the one at Newbury, which was long considered one of the best in the state. It was not as large, or as elaborately constructed, and had no steeple. A diagram of the interior, found among the Henderson papers, gives a very good idea of its seating arrangements, and it will be observed that there was more vacant space than our modern houses of worship have. There were twenty-six pews on the main floor and twenty-eight in the gallery—the Newbury meeting house having forty-eight pews on the ground floor and thirty-five in the gallery. The pews were square.

On the 12th of January, 1801, the pews were sold at public vendue, paid in notes, one-half due in one year, to be paid in cash or wheat, the remainder in the next year, and paid in cash or beef cattle at cash prices with interest. The purchasers and the prices paid for them were as follows:

The gallery pews sold for $905.74; all the pews in the house bringing $2082.24. The entire cost of the house we do not know.

The building thus completed was for many years the principal building in Ryegate, and the center of the religious, political, and social life of the town. From it all roads radiated, and the return of the Sabbath brought almost the entire population of Ryegate within its walls. It was the only large public room in town, and was used for many purposes, the Presbyterians of Scotland, like the Puritans of New England, attaching no special sanctity to the building in which public worship was held. It was the occasion, not the place, which was sacred. It stood till 1855, when it was taken down and the town house erected on its site. The annals of that building, during its life of nearly sixty years, would, if they could be collected and properly arranged, form a most interesting volume, and a record of the inhabitants of the town, such as no other book could ever give. It is to be regretted that some one, familiar with the subject, has not woven its history and associations into narrative.

No provision for warming the building in winter was made for the first twenty years, and it was not until 1817, that measures were taken for that purpose. At a special town meeting held on the 18th of November, Alexander Miller, John Neilson and Robert Whitelaw were chosen a committee "to get glass, repair the porches and the doors leading to the west gallery, and put on corner boards, also to procure a good stove, one knee, and 30 feet of large pipe." The cost of these improvements was $73.62, raised by subscription, and to be paid in cash or wheat. In the next year four gallery pews, whose owners were gone, dead, or unable to pay, were sold at auction. The town records show that small repairs were made from time to time for many years, and that not all the notes given in 1801 for pews, had been paid twenty years later. -

In 1805 the town voted: "To support the selectmen in opposing persons who claim the Glebe lot." This was probably in opposition to the action of the Episcopal church in claiming the church lands. What result the action had is not preserved.

From the outset there was more or less friction about the use of the house, between the two congregations by whom it was occupied, and the matter had, more than once, to be settled in town meeting. On the 14th of July, 1812, the town voted:

To appoint a committee of five persons, two of which to belong to each society, and one to be neutral, whose business it shall be to arrange the days on which each society shall occupy the meeting-house in proportion to their interest in the same, three of whom shall be a quorum, viz.:

one of each society, and the neutral one, whose powers shall continue till the next March meeting, and no longer. John Gray and James Henderson on the part of the Seceders, James Whitehill and Alexander Miller on the part of the Covenanters, with Josiah Page as the neutral were chosen.

The committee seems to have managed matters successfully for a few years, but trouble seems again to have arisen, and the following extracts show how it was decided:

"At a meeting of the Associate Congregation, Oct. 1, 1822, at Ebenezer Morrill’s house, a committee consisting of William Neilson, James Henderson. James Whitelaw, William Gray and William Gibson were appointed to confer with, and receive proposals from the Reformed Congregation of the town, or of any persons claiming an interest in the Meeting-house, the object being to apportion the use of the house in proportion to ownership."

"Oct. 7, 1822. The Reformed Congregation being informed that the Associate Congregation had appointed their committee, met this day and made choice of Campbell Sym, Alexander Miller, Walter Buchanan, John Harvey and John Hunter as a committee on their part. They found that the share of the Meeting-house owned by members of the Reformed Congregation was $863.03, and the portion of the Associate Congregation was $476.83."

It being then found that the proportions of the house owned by the members of each society would give its use for 33 Sabbaths in each year to the Covenanters, and 19 to the Associate Congregation, it was decided that "Mr.Milligan should improve the house 8 Sabbaths and Mr. Ferrier 5 Sabbaths in each quarter, the committee to furnish wood, make repairs, and take care of the house."

In 1825 the Associate Congregation erected a house of worship of its own, leaving the old building to the Covenanters. In January, 1826, a petition from 17 members of the latter congregation petitioned a meeting for repairs to the house. Robert Whitelaw, Alexander Miller, and John Nelson were chosen the committee and instructed to make partial repairs— "patch the roof, fix the loose clapboards on the front of the house, and put on what corner boards are wanting, raise the porches to the house and repair the windows, to receive their pay out of such notes in the hands of the treasurer as are collectable."

After the erection of a new church in 1850, the old building was left to the town, and when it was taken down in 1855, had become much dilapidated. The old building was sold to A. S. Miller, who used a part of it in some out-building. It stood with its side to the road the pulpit was on the North side of the house, with a broad aisle to a large door which was in the middle of the front side. There was a sort of stoop with an entrance at the west end, to an aisle which ran the length of the church. The stairs to the galleries were in the body of the house.

As the services of the earlier ministers who preached for any length of time in Ryegate were engaged and paid for by the town,, it may be as

well to note here what we know of them. The details are very meagre, and, probably a number of clergymen preached here for longer or shorter periods, whose names have not come down to us. Rev. Thomas Good-willie, about 1863, .prepared for Miss Hemenway an account of the Associate church, from which we copy the following:

"Before, during and after the Revolutionary war, several Scotch clergymen came, and preached occasionally, and sometimes administered baptism. Gen. Whitelaw, on his way to Ryegate in 1773, called on Rev. Thomas Clark, a Scotch clergyman of the Associate church, settled in Salem, N. Y., and Col. Harvey, on his way to Barnet in 1774, called also upon him, and to this clergyman John Gray of Ryegate traveled on foot 140 miles to obtain his services. He gave them a favorable answer April 8, 1775 and came and preached some time in Barnet and Ryegate, in the latter part of the summer of that year. He revisited these towns several times afterward, during the war. Rev. Hugh White, a Scotch clergyman, preached in Ryegate at the end of 1776. Rev. Robert Annan preached in both towns in 1784, and returned next year. Rev. David Annan preached for some time in 1785.

Rev. John Huston was present with the session of Barnet August 31, 1786, where the record says, "a petition was drawn up by the elders of Barnet and Ryegate, and referred to the Associate Presbytery, to sit at Peterboro, Sept. 27, 1786, earnestly desiring one of their number might be sent to preach, visit and catechise the two congregations and ordain elders at Barnet. Accordingly the Presbytery appointed Mr. Huston for that purpose."

He goes on to say that Mr. Huston came in October, 1786, and remained till May, returning in October. In .the Barnet session records his name is spelled Houston, and from the Whitelaw correspondence he seems to have been a nephew of that William Houston at Glasgow who was the business head of the Company in Scotland.

The town meeting on March 17, 1789 voted a committee to appoint preaching and settle with the minister agreeable to the Acts of the state. John Gray, Andrew Brock, William Neilson, James Henderson and Hugh Gardner were the committee.

At an adjourned town meeting held May 30, 1798, it was

Voted; "That the money due for pine timber from the Glebe lot be paid for preaching done after this date, Mr. Goodwillie to have one-third and Mr. Forsythe two-thirds."

Voted; "That the money to pay Mr. Forsythe for preaching through the summer be paid by subscription when the timber money is done."

On the 17th of September the town voted:

"To pay Mr. Wm. Forsythe $6 per week for the time he has preached to date, out of the pine money.

To hire Mr. Forsythe, and settle him as minister for the town, as soon as he produces proper credentials. 40 yeas, 6 nays."

Voted; "To pay Mr. Forsythe $200 for the year ensuing, and increase his salary as the grand list increases, till it amounts to $250."

Mr. Forsythe declined the offer, but the town seemed desirious to retain him, as at a meeting on the 13th of November it was

Voted; "To pay Mr. Forsythe $200 the 1st year, and let the salary advance with the list till it amounts to £80 per annum."

This offer was also declined, and there appears nothing further in the town records about the man. Mr. Miller, after transcribing the votes of the town, says—"I know nothing about him, think he was a Covenanter." We are more fortunate. Some letters of his, (in which it appears that while living here he taught school) among the Whitelaw papers, led the editor to inquire about him. Through the kindness of Prof. J. B. Calkin, L. L. D., for more than thirty years principal of the Nova Scotia Normal School at Truro, we learn that Mr. Forsythe was from Scotland, and educated there, and ordained by a College of Lay Elders in the United States, becoming in 1800, pastor of the Associate Presbyterian congregation at Cornwallis, in which he continued till his death in 1840.

Dr. Calkin prepared an historic sketch of the church at Cornwallis, in which he says that Mr. Forsythe, "in addition to the care of his congregation, taught a private school, in which he won a high reputations and his work was of priceless value to the community."

"Mr. Forsythe was a sturdy, decided man, with distinct views of his own, and was possessed of the full courage of his convictions, ready to state what he believed in no unmistakable terms."

Dr. Calkin, who is a native of Cornwallis, is one of the few persons living who remember this first minister of Ryegate. We speak of him as the first minister, because he was the first who, while preaching in Ryegate, was actually living here at the time.

In his letters to Gen. Whitelaw, he appears to have regretted having left Ryegate, and it would seem, in the light of his subsequent career, that the town should have retained the services of so valuable a man. A printed sermon of his, in pamphlet form, delivered before the "Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of Harmony Lodge, at Danville," June 25, 1798, is also interesting as being, as far as we know, the first printed publication of a resident of Ryegate. A copy is in the library of the Vermont Historical Society.

At a special town meeting held Sept. 4, 1799, it was voted to give Rev. William Gibson, who had been preaching here for a few weeks, a call to settle. Those voting in the affirmative were:

John Cameron, William Neilson, 2d, John Smith, David Reid, Jonathan Gates, James Neilson, Hugh Gardner, Campbell Sym, Alexander Holmes, William Craig, Jr., John Orr, James Taylor, James Aikin, Samuel Ingalls, James Whitehill, James McKinley, Robert Hall, John Hunter, Josiah Page, Alexander Miller, Hugh Laughlin, John Johnson, George Ronalds, John Park, William Craig, Sr., John Harvey, John Dunn, John Holmes, Kimball Page. 29

Those voting Nay were:

Lieut. Wm. Neilson, John Gray, Samuel Johnson, Andrew Warden, Benjamin Wright, Andrew Brock, William Johnson, James Whitelaw, Alexander Shields, Jacob Page. 10

Seven others voted by proxy.

John Cameron, James Henderson and Josiah Page were chosen a committee to wait on Mr. Gibson and receive his answer. At a town meetting held Dec. 10th, the committee reported Mr. Gibson’s answer in the affirmative. The above vote gives some idea of the relative strength of the Covenanters and the "Seceder" or Associate Presbyterians. The March meeting in 1800 voted "to support the minister this year by voluntary subscription."

The annual meeting in March, 1801, voted to raise Mr. Gibson’s salary by subscription. Alexander Miller was chosen to take the subscription paper, one-half to be paid by Sept. 1, and the other half by March 1, 1802. John Cameron, James Henderson, and William Neilson were chosen a committee.


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