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 first Church clergyman to visit Horseneck (now Greenwich) was the Rev. George Muirson, Rector of Parish of Rye, who, about the year 1708, accompanied by Colonel Caleb Heathcote, made a missionary tour through Greenwich and Stamford, preaching and administering the Sacraments. Later on, about 1727, occasional services were held by Rev. Henry Caner, missionary at Fairfield. In 1739 Rev. James Wetmore of Rye Parish officiated over a month, and people from this place attended service at Rye. In 1748, Mr. Ebenezer Dibblee was ordained by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and appointed Missionary to Stamford and Greenwich. He entered upon his duties on Oct. 26th of the same year. An immediate result of his work in Greenwich was the erection of Horseneck Chapel. Writing to the Secretary of the Venerable Society, under date of Sept. 29, 1749, Dr. Dibblee stated: "I preach at Horseneck the second Sunday in each month, about six miles from Stamford; have had some converts to the Church there, and the people have zealously exerted themselves to build a small chapel, of about 36 feet in length and 25 feet in breadth, to accommodate our assembly at these times, which they have enclosed and glazed. And if they could be favored with a Bible and Common Prayer Book for that Church, it will be a very welcome present." The request for the Bible and Prayer Book was granted, and these are now in the possession of Christ Church Parish. Horseneck Chapel was built upon the brow of the hill, afterwards made famous by the daring ride of Israel Putnam in 1778, and which since then has borne the proud title of Putnam Hill. In this little chapel, Dr. Dibblee officiated regularly; and we read that the building was oft overcrowded. When the trying times of the war of the Revolution came, Dr. Dibblee remained at his post, ministering as best he could. When the war was over, and the support of the English Society was withdrawn, the Church people of Stamford and Greenwich undertook to provide for their clergyman's maintenance, it being agreed that the former place was to have two-thirds of his service and the latter one-third.
After Dr. Dibblee's death in 1799, Rev. George Rogers officiated in Stamford and held services in Horseneck Chapel. But the building was neglected, and at last in two gales in 1821 or 1823 it was unroofed and demolished. The door was preserved by some devoted church people, and half of it is now in the possession of the Rector of Christ Church. From this time to the building of the new church in 1832, and the organization of the parish of Christ Church, few if any public services of the Church were held in Greenwich.