Sketches of Church Life in Colonial Connecticut
Being the Story of the Transplanting of the Church of England into Forty Two Parishes of Connecticut,
with the Assistance of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel
THE parish of Ripton, in Huntington, and the parish of New Stratford, in Monroe, were originally part of Christ Church parish, Stratford. St. Paul's Church was built about 1740. Ripton parish was set off from Christ Church parish in April, 1749. The first missioner was the Reverend Christopher Newton, one of a small number who went to England for ordination. He was ordained both Deacon and Priest in July, 1755, and was appointed Missioner at Huntington the same year. Mr. Newton died in 1787. The Rev. Abram Lyson Clark succeeded him in 1787, and resigned in 1792, to go to Providence, R. I. He was succeeded by the Rev. Charles Seabury, the son of Bishop Seabury, who served as Rector for one year.
In 1811 the old church was burned down, and the present building was begun soon after the fire and completed before Easter, 1812.
Among the leading laymen of Ripton parish in its early days was Mr. Daniel Shelton, a wealthy landed proprietor, who was a sturdy opponent of the tax for the State Establishment, and subscribed largely for a minister in his town.
It was at one time one of the leading parishes in the Diocese; and there is a tradition that one of the early Rectors of Christ Church, Hartford, came to St. Paul's Church, Huntington, "on his way up the ladder." So long as the town of Huntington retained its position among the towns of the State, the parish held a high position in the Diocese. When industrial conditions changed, especially after the Housatonic railroad was built, the population gravitated towards the railroad center, as elsewhere, manufactures were given up, one by one, and the town became almost entirely a farming community. The history of St. Paul's Church ran parallel with that of the town. Little by little it has declined, both numerically and financially, until now it is on the list of 'aided parishes." And this record can be duplicated over and over again in the case of the Colonial parishes. We are now engaged in the usual task of the country parish,--that of training the young people for life and work in the city parishes. Much of the strength of our large city parishes is owing, in great measure, to the faithful and efficient work of the remote and almost forgotten country church.