Search billions of records on


First Minister of the First Congregational Church in Norwich, Massachusetts

By Louis Lehmann (March 28, 2011)

Stephen Tracy was born 27 April 1749 to James Tracy (1720-56)and Susannah (Bishop) Tracy (1727-50) at Windham, Connecticut. She died on 24 Nov 1750, a few weeks after the birth of her youngest son, Nathaniel. There is no indication that James Tracy remarried. He probably had help from relatives caring for his two motherless babies.. (1) Sadly those children did not have many years to know their father. James Tracy was named in 1755 as a First Lieutenant with the provincial troops in Captain Ezekial Pierce's Windham Company and sent to Fort Edward , New York. He was still there a year later when he was assigned to Captain John Payson's Windham Regiment. He and many other Windham citizens were at Fort Edward because they had been mobilized into provincial troops and sent there to be part of the British army's campaign against the French and Indians.

Several miles southeast of Lake George, Fort Edward was the northern terminus of the British army's advance toward Canada and the French troops at Fort Carillon, a few miles north of the lake. Near Fort Edward was Fort William Henry, established to protect a road between Fort Edward and Lake George and to be a point for launching supplying assaults against the French. During the 1756 campaign which lasted from May to November, raids and counter raids led to casualties at the hands of the Indians supporting the French. .. . (2) (3)

Lieutenant James Tracy and his fellow soldiers must have been horrified by the atrocities committed during such attacks as the following, reported in "A Letter from Albany" within the June 12, 1756 edition of the "Connecticut Gazette.".............."A Letter from Albany, dated last Monday" "At present there is a great Stir and Hubbub in Town; what the event will be I cannot tell; but certain Expeditions do not seem to be carried on with any Life: The blood-thirsty Enemy are daily committing Outrages on our Frontiers; last Friday was killed and taken eight Persons about two Miles above Fort Edward. One Lieutenant Brooks, a Connecticut Gentleman, was most cruelly massacred, having his Mouth cut open, and Tongue cut out, his Entrails taken out of his Body, and afterwards crammed into his Mouth. Such is the Fate of almost all that have the Misfortune to fall into their Hands." (4)

By May and throughout the summer, British and colonial troops at Fort Edward and at Fort William Henry were not only harassed by Indians who periodically captured or scalped soldiers, but hundreds of them also suffered from sickness, including smallpox. On September 19, 1756 fifty men were ambushed and only six escaped. Lieutenant James Tracy died at Fort Edward on Sept 21, Could he have been one of those six, perhaps wounded so severely that he died two days later? Or did he die from one of the diseases, including smallpox, which thinned the ranks of the provincial solders? (5)

Whatever the cause, Stephen and Nathaniel were abruptly orphaned (6) (7) (8) Then, if not earlier, they appear to have been taken into guardianship by their maternal uncle, Samuel Bishop,. For many years he had been clerk of the parish of Newent where the babies probably then went to live with much support from their elderly grandparents in nearby towns; Samuel and Sarah (Forbes) Bishop in Lisbon and Stephen Tracy in Windham (9) (10)

Uncle Samuel was 48 years old in 1756 when Stephen and Nathaniel were orphaned.. Four of his eight children had died young; Joanna at age three in 1736, Thomas at age five in 1740, Lydia at age five in 1748, and Zacharias at age eight in 1749. The other four were largely grown. Twenty-four year old Daniel had married in 1754 and may have established his own household elsewhere. Nineteen year old Abigail may or may not have been married and living elsewhere in 1756. At age seventeen, Nathaniel was probably still living with Samuel and his second wife, Abigail (Sprague) Bishop. Samuel's first wife, Abigail Corning, was the mother of all his children and had died in 1747, about two years after the birth of their youngest child, Ezra in 1745. Samuel then married Abigail Sprague in 1750. So it most likely that their household in 1756 after the death of Lieutenant James Tracy included Stephen Tracy (7), Nathaniel Tracy (6), Nathaniel Bishop (17), and Ezra Bishop (11). (11)

What kind of a childhood might the Tracy brothers have experienced? They may have been more advantaged than many others in the Lisbon community as the Bishops and Tracys were both relatively wealthy families. Very probably they attended school and church, perhaps reading some of the titles in the following description of books read by children in 18th century America:

"Children's books appeared, at first with formidable titles such as A Token for Children; Being an Exact Account of the Conversion, Holy and Exemplary Lives and Joyful Deaths of Several Young Children. By the middle of the eighteenth century, some parents were allowing to read expurgated versions of Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, Tom Jones and other English novels. By this time, too, books specially written for children - such as Mother Goose's Melodies - were sold in the colonies by John Newberry, the famous English publisher and bookseller." (12)

Stephen and Nathaniel surely had much religious education as Uncle Samuel was deeply religious as evidenced when he hosted a meeting on Oct 12, 1768 involving the establishment of a new Congregational church at Hanover, which was known as the eighth Church of Christ in Norwich. (Hanover was incorporated at the May session of the General Assembly in 1761 and was made up of the northerly part of Newent [now Lisbon], the southwest corner of Canterbury and the Southeast corner of Windham) (13)

The Tracy children would have been expected to be well-behaved boys during meeting as people who laughed or talked in the wrong way during meeting could be fined.. (14)

Like children throughout the ages, they must have liked to play, perhaps being introduced to games mostly by Ezra, who was just a few years older. They may have played blind man's bluff, hopscotch, marbles, top spinning, leap frog, and tag. But they probably didn't play cards because in those times people in that area could also be fined for doing just that. (15) Maybe they liked to sing, probably being introduced to singing through hymns. And they might have enjoyed swimming and perhaps hunting and fishing when they were a bit older" (16) However their childhood was not without further grief and loss. Their Grandmother Sarah Bishop died on 11 March 1759 and Grandfather Samuel Bishop died the next year on 18 Nov 1760. (17)

Generous bequests from Grandfather Samuel Bishop's estate made it possible for Stephen to enter the College of New Jersey (later to became Princeton) which had been established in 1746 to train ministers. Little detail is known about his years in college but Stephen may well have been alarmed on March 10, 1769 when a fire erupted on the roof of the college during a windy and freezing afternoon. Despite the excitement, the fire did little real damage. (18) The ignited building may well have been Nassau Hall, the college's main structure. It was a Georgian building with massive stone walls and included .... "a dormitory, chapel, dining hall, library, and recitation rooms. , the central pavilion housed the classrooms and library. On the southern portion of the pavilion, the prayer hall protruded slightly. The two side blocks held dormitory rooms. The basement was devoted to the refectory and more bedchambers. .......With three students to a bedchamber, and with some of the less fortunate students consigned to the damp and poorly lit half-basement, the building could house about 150 people -- far more than were enrolled at the time....Nassau Hall had twelve chimneys -- a necessity of life in the days before central heating. In 1762, a simple frame kitchen, managed by a steward, was attached to the rear of Nassau Hall, probably through a wooden passageway. There were also the inevitable backbuildings: privies. Nassau Hall did not receive indoor plumbing for another century." (19)

Young Stephen graduated from Princeton Sept 26, 1770 with a B.A. (20) (Assuming four years of study, he probably entered about 1766, the year in which England repealed the unpopular Stamp Act.) Shortly before his graduation he received a bequest of land from the estate of his grandfather, Stephen Tracy, who had died 19 December, 1769 at Windham, Connecticut . (21)

Stephen Tracy entered the ministry in April, 1772 when he was ordained and installed as the first pastor of the Congregational church at Partridgefield (later became Peru) in Massachusetts. He served there four years. During that time he married Mary Throop on September 23, 1773 at Lebanon, Connecticut where he must have known her.. One can only speculate what he might have thought about her parents, Captain Daniel and Sarah (Huntington) Throop Perhaps he was impressed by the fact that Captain Throop's gr-gr- grandfather was Richard Warren, a Mayflower passenger. (22) But if his religious training had led him to question slavery, he might have had some concern about the slaves that Captain Throop had brought to Lebanon from his former home in Bristol, Rhode Island. A descendant has described the Throops of Lebanon as :

"...ingenuous, sincere and open-hearted. They took everything easily. They were social, gregarious, fond of good humour, and good living. In Lebanon they were agriculturists and formed very much a neighbourhood by themselves. They were industrious but never, I believe, in a hurry about their business. The Throopes in their persons, so far as I can recollect, have been of manly stature, well proportioned, comely, and naturally graceful in their bearing. I remember among them an unusually large proportion of handsome women and good singers. One feature somewhat striking was a large, prominent eye..... (23)

If this description is accurate, especially in reference to some of the Throops having a "large prominent eye," could Mary have been one of those with that particular physical characteristic? But regardless of how she looked, Stephen took her back to Massachusetts where he resumed his ministry at his Partridgfield church. However, because of some doctrinal opinion (details not known) which offended his congregation, he was dismissed from the Partridgefield church on 23 May 1776 at his own request. Nevertheless he remained in the town for four more years, taking an active part in town affairs, including presiding at town meetings to raise men and means to support the Revolution. (24)

Stephen's brother, Nathaniel, came from Connecticut to join him at Partridgefield about 1775. Nathaniel then became an active soldier during the Revolution, first in Captain Nathan Walker's Partridgefield company as early as Nov 13, 1775. He was a lieutenant in the following companies: (25)

Capt. William Watkin's 16th (Partridgefield) co.

Col. Benjamin Simonds's (2nd Berkshire Co.) reg.t of Mass. militia

Capt William Clark's co., Col. Benjamin Simonds's regt (serving 13 days on a march from Gageborough to Manchester)

Capt. William Fletcher's co., Col. Simons's regt.; engaged Oct 13, 1780; service 6 days; company marched to Pawlet Oct 13, 1780

Capt. Fletcher's (7th) co., 2nd Berkshire Co., regt of Mass. militia

Stephen Tracy's first four children were born during his residence in Partridgefield: David in 1774, Mary in 1776, Susanna in 1778, and Elizabeth in 1880. The rest of his children were born in Norwich Hill, Massachusetts where he was installed on May 23, 1781 as the first minister of that town's Congregational church. Samuel was born two years later in 1783, Sarah in 1785, Stephen in 1787, Laura in 1790, Lima in 1793, and John in 1797. (26) Norwich voted to pay Rev. Stephen Tracy 40 for five years, then to increase 4 annually until it reached 50. They also gave him a settlement of 100. In 1797 it was voted to raise 90 for Mr. Tracy's salary, including his fire wood. (27)

The first building to house the church where he preached in Norwich was a log structure erected in 1780-81 on the hill, the present site of the First Congregational Society. It was s described as .. "A one-story building, rudely constructed, unsightly in exterior, and uncomfortable within; the adornments of modern times were wanting, but it answered for purposes of devotion; the prayers and praises there were as acceptable to God as though offered within marble walls beneath a gilded spire."... This crude structure was replaced by a second church in 1790 amidst many arguments about where it should be located.. Some inhabitants wanted it to be more centrally located. Many meetings were held to argue the questions. Much bad feeling developed. Nevertheless it was finally decided to build it on the same spot as the original church. It was voted that some of those who objected might be released from paying their share of the expense. This second church stood for the next 50 years. Rev. Tracy preached in it until his dismissal in 1799. (28)

"The building erected was a plain, two-story edifice, without any steeple; a porch on one side formed the entrance below, with a stairway for the gallery; the pulpit was on the side opposite the entrance; over the pulpit was suspended a large sounding-board; galleries were on three sides; with seats for singers in front and pews in the rear for the young people. The pews on both floors were square pews with seats on at least three sides; no man claimed to own a pew; the people were annually sorted by the Selectmen of the town. It was used in the coldest weather without any heating apparatus except the foot-stoves of a few old ladies; these were sometimes passed around the pew for the benefit of all its occupants. The knocking of men's boots together to keep the feet war, often made considerable clattering."

Church attendance was not voluntary. Inhabitants of Norwich were required to attend public worship or face legal penalties. A fine of five shillings was, at one time, the penalty for absence on the Lord's day, Fast day, or Thanksgiving. (29)

During his service as minister of the Norwich Hill church Stephen's eldest daughter, Mary, married Titus Doolittle on Feb 5, 1794 and presented him with his first three grandchildren: John Doolittle born 1794, Electa Doolittle born 1795, and Laura Doolittle born 1796. However it was not an entirely happy decade. Rev. Tracy's eight year old son, Stephen, died on March 6, 1795. (30) He was buried in the Norwich Hill Cemetery. His tombstone inscription reads: ... "In Memory of Stephen, son of Revd Mr. Stephen Tracy who died March 6, 1795 in the 8th year of his age....Look here, see this is my grave.....Look there, and you will see yours.....My judgement is come "

On the very first day of 1799 Rev. Stephen Tracy was dismissed from the Norwich Hill church for some unknown reason, perhaps something about payment of salary. Whatever the reason, dissatisfaction grew to the point that the town, contrary to the usual custom of that time, voted not to give him anything at his dismissal. But at the same time they did so, they said they would leave it to" indifferent men", mutually chosen by each party, "to say whether the town shall give him anything, or he them." (31)

Despite his dismissal he continued to live in the town for the rest of his life. In 1802 he became one of the town's selectmen (32) and in 1804 he was a state representative from Norwich. (33) For a brief period in 1812 he was a missionary in Rhode Island where he was apparently interested in his family's history as he gathered some genealogical information from a relative, Olive Tracy. In 1815, he was also a missionary for a little while in Cayuga County, New York (34) And he may or may not be the subject of this brief November news item in 1815..... "The dwelling house of Mr. Tracy of Norwich in this state has been accidentally destroyed by fire." (35)

In 1815 Stephen Tracy and his family were actively involved with tythingmen activities. During a town meeting at Norwich on March 6, 1815, Stephen's son, David Tracy, and is son-in-law, Titus Doolittle, were two of six men designated to be tythingmen. (36) Stephen was one of four men on a committee charged with assisting the tythingmen. The following list illustrates the power and duties of tythingmen in early New England: (37)

1. Tythingmen have power and it's their duty to carefully inspect all licensed houses, and to inform of all disorders or misdemeanors which they shall discover or know to be committed in them, to a justice of the peace or to the General Sessions of the county; and also of all such as shall sell spirituous liquours without license."

2. They shall also inform of all idle and disorderly persons, profance swearers, and the like offenders, to the end they may be punished"

3. They may enter into any of the rooms or other parts of an inn or pubic house of entertainment, on the Lord's Day, and the evening preceding and succeeding. [ if any landlord or licensed pershon refuse such enterance he forfeits 40s ]

4. They may examine all persons whom they shall have good cause, from the circumstance thereof, to suspect of unnecessary traveling on said day and to demand of all such persons the cause thereof, together with their names and place of abode"

5. They are held and obliged by law to enquire into, and inform of all offences against the act providing for the due observation of the Lord's Day, passed March 8,1792. The substance of which act is as follows, viz.

a) That no person shall keep open his shop. warehouse, or workhouse, nor shall upon the land or water do any manner of labour, business, or work .[works of necessity and charity only excepted] nor be present at any concert of music, dancing, or any public diversion, shew, or entertainment, nor use any sport, game, play or recreation.

b) That no traveller, drover, waggoner, teamster, or any of their servants, shall travel on the Lord's Day

c) That no vinter, retailer of strong liquors, or innholder or other person keeping a house of public entertainement shall entertain, or suffer any of the inhabitants of the town...not being travellors[sic] , strangers, or lodgers in such houses, to abide and remain in their houses, yards, orchards, or fields, drinking or spending their time either idly or at play, or doing any secular business on the Lord's Day.

d) That no person shall be present at any concert of music, dancing, or other public diversion, nor shall any person or persons use any game, sport, play, or recreation, on the land or water, on the evening preceding or succeeding the Lord's day.

e) That any person being of able body, and not otherwise necessarly prevented, who shall, for the space of 3 months together, absent him or herself from the public worship of God on the Lord's Day, providing there be any place of worship at which he or she can conscientiously and conveniently attend, shall pay a fine of 10s.

f)That if any person shall on the Lords Day, within the walls of any house of public worship, behave rudely or indecently, he or she shall pay a fine not more than 40s, nor less than 5s.

g) That if any person either on the Lord's Day, or at any other time, shall wilfully interrrupt or disturb, any assembly of people met for the public worship of God, within their place of their assembly or out of it, he or they shall severally pay a fine not exveeding 10 pounds, no less than 20s

h) That no person shall execute any civil process from midnight preceding to midnight following the Lord's Day"

However the area in which Stephen Tracy was most active during those years was in leading Norwich's strong opposition to the War of 1812. Records of a town meeting held on 4 April 1814, indicated that the town would choose a committee to draft a communication to the General Court expressing opposition to the war and to "the restrictive measures of the general government" Stephen Tracy and his son-in-law. Titus Doolittle, were two of the five men appointed to the committee. The others were Samuel Kirkland, Aaron Hall, and William Hooker, Jr. On Jan 23, 1815, the town appointed Stephen Tracy, Aaron Hall, and William Fobes to a committee to advise what instruction were to be given to the town's representative in the General Court regarding the town's opposition to the direct taxes for the support of the war. The committee reported the following resolutions: (38)

1st Resolved. In the opinion of this meeting, that the whole course of measures pursued by the general government with regard to commercial restrictions and the present war with Great Britain meets our most unqualified contempt and disapprobation.

2d Resolved. That we feel deeply alarmed at the unconstitutional, tyrannical, and oppressive measures now in power; that if carried into effect, the dear-bought privileges of our common country, which we hold far dearer than property or life, are erased and gone forever.

3d. Resolved, That in our opinion the grossest falsehoods and deception have been practiced by the members of the general government , or the people would never have forborne with their measures; that a continuance of the war, the annihilation of our commerce, the extravagant and unparalleled expenditure of public property among their favorites and supporters, without the least benefit to their country, have led us to believe that they have rather sought to aggrandize themselves and the Western States on the ruins of New England.

4th Resolved. That we have no confidence in such men, nor in any men who shall seek to betray the liberties of their country; nor who would abandon our whole Atlantic frontier to the mercies of the enemy, and exhaust our resources in the wilds of Louisiana or in the more than wild attempts at the conquest of Canada.

5th. Resolved. That we highly prize liberty and our constitutional privileges; that we have borne and forborne until our patience is exhausted; that forbearance hitherto has only tended to increase our burdens, our taxes, and encourage our oppressors; that thus tamely to surrender our liberties without a struggle would be the blackest ingratitude to our ancestors who have procured our independence at the price of blood, and would be an incalculable injury to generations yet to come.

6th. Resolved. That we place the fullest confidence in the Governor and Legislature of Massachusetts, and in the State authorities of New England, and that to them, under God the Great Governor of the world, we look for aid and direction; and that for the present, until the public opinion shall be known, we will not enter our carriages, pay our continental taxes, or aid, inform, or assist any officer in their collection.

When the town of Norwich met on January 23, 1815 to appoint the committee which produced the above resolutions, they had no way of knowing that the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812, was signed on Dec 24, 1814. News of the peace did not arrive in North America until February 8, 1815: On Feb 17 the ratifications of the peace treaty were exchanged and President Madison declared the war at an end .

Stephen Tracy and virtually every other inhabitant of Norwich must have been affected in one way or another by a disastrous flood of the community in July, 1819..... "A flood swept away practically every bridge in town, mills floated off, a dwelling was carried away, other buildings were undermined, and several individuals narrowly escaped drowning.." (39)

By 1818 most of the rest of his children were married. Mary Tracy married Titus Doolittle on 5 February 1794, most likely at Norwich where Rev. Tracy was still the minister. By 1820 they were living in Russell, Massachusetts where Titus owned a farm and a hotel. David Tracy had married Mindwell Parsons, date and place unknown perhaps at Norwich as he appears there on census returns from 1810 through 1830. He died 27 April 1835 in Russell, Massachusetts. . Samuel Tracy married Nancy Lindsey (date and place unknown). They also may have been married at Norwich as they are there on census returns from 1820 through 1860. They both died in 1861, Nancy on June 1 and Samuel on August 17. She is on census returns there from 1810 through 1860. John Tracy married Betsey Dimock on 1 Nov 1821, a little more than a year before his father died. They may have been married at Norwich where they appeared on census records in 1830 and 1840. But in 1850 and 1860 they were living in West Springfield. (40) (41)

At least three of Stephen Tracy's children were married in other communities despite the fact that he continued to reside in Norwich. Perhaps it was too awkward for them to be married by the minister who had replaced their father. Sarah Tracy married Nathan Wood at Chester, Massachusetts. (42) Her father reportedly performed the ceremony, (43)apparently traveling to Chester for the occasion. According to census returns, Nathan and Sarah appear to be living there in 1810 and 1820; and in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1830. But in 1840 and 1850 they were in Madison, Ohio where they both died, Nathan on 2 July 1864 and Sarah on 13 Sept 1876. Susanna Tracy and Lima Tracy were married at West Springfield, Massachusetts where they lived out their lives. (44) Susanna (died 17 Aug 1868) married Jeduthan Bliss on 7 May 1805. Lima (died 21 Aug 1821) married Charles Stebbins on 17 May 1818. They may have been members of the Agawam Congregational Church in 1845 when it voted to appoint four additional tything men to keep the children and young people quiet and older people awake during the sermon." (45)

Perhaps the most mysterious marriage among Stephen Tracy's children was that referenced in the following passage from Historic Hampshire in the Connecticut Valley about the pastor who replaced Stephen in Norwich: (This second pastor of Norwich's Congregational Church was Benjamin Ruggles Woodbridge who was installed Oct 17, 1799. He served there for more than thirty years). (46) (47)

"The second pastor never married .... He had once been engaged to the daughter of his predecessor but was supplanted by another man. To add to his grief he was called to perform the marriage ceremony, and the wedding scene is said to have sensational to a marked degree." (48)

Who was this daughter whose marriage was performed by Rev. Woodbridge whom she had spurned? It couldn't have been Mary Tracy who married Titus Doolittle before Benjamin Woodbridge appeared in Norwich Nor could it have been Susanna Trace or Lima Tracy, both of whom were married in West Springfield. Sarah Tracy was married in Chester with her father performing the cemetery.. Nothing has emerged to indicate that Laura Tracy ever married. That leaves only Elizabeth Tracy who married Thomas Kidd. No record of date and place has surfaced but Charles Kidd, the first child of Thomas and Elizabeth, was born 18 June 1803, suggesting a marriage date no later than 1802. Assuming that Elizabeth is the daughter who had once been engaged to Rev. Woodbridge, she would, of course, have been married in Norwich.

The following passage from History and Genealogy of the Families of Chesterfield, suggests that Elizabeth Tracy's marriage to Thomas Kidd must have very unhappy if not terrifying as it portrays him as a brutal and bloodthirsty man:

THOMAS KIDD (Charles2, Thomas1), b. 6 Dec. 1774; m. (int. 7 Dec. 1800), Betsey Tracey of Norwich. The high hill in the eastern part of the town known as Kidd's Lookout was so called from the fact that it was formerly occupied by Thomas Kidd, who built a large square house at this place. The house had a flat roof with a walk extending around the roof, protected by a railing. From this lookout, the Connecticut Valley and its mountains were plainly visible...."This house was said to be haunted and that, at certain seasons, drops of blood could be seen dripping from the chamber stairs, reputed to be the blood of murdered victims of Kidd's malice. Thomas Kidd was at one time Deputy Sheriff of Hampshire County and, as such, officiated at the execution of Halligan and Daly at Northampton. His children left home as soon as they were old enough to care for themselves on account of brutal treatment at home and the unsavory repute of the place. He removed to Albany, N. Y., where all trace of him was lost. The house was occupied later by Tyler, Paine and Orange Field and was burned to the ground during the occupancy of Mr. Field, April 1836." (The above was written by Sophronia Damon, reporter, 1892.) (49)

Athough there is no evidence to support this story's implication that there were any "murdered victims of Kidd's malice," Thomas Kidd was indeed Deputy Sheriff of Hampshire County. In fact he unsuccessfully sued the sheriff in 1810 over a dispute about the sheriff's right to require his deputy to pay him 1/4 of fees collected. (50)

Thomas Kidd and his family appear on the 1810 census in Chesterfield and on the 1820 census in Albany, New York. He may have moved his family there about 1811 as his name appears in a newspaper's list of letters left in the Worthington post office on March 31 of that year. (51) At Albany he was elected constable of the First Ward in September, 1819. (52) He died in Albany on 17 March 1826. (53)

If there is any truth to the tale of Thomas Kidd's brutality, it must have been agonizing for Rev/ Stephen Tracy to worry about the safety of his daughter, Elizabeth, and her four children (Charles, born 1803; Elizabeth, born 1805; Mary, born 1807, and Harriett, born 1810.)

Stephen Tracy may also have worried about problems in the family of his daughter Mary. Less than a year before Reverend Tracy's death, her eighteen year old son, Stephen Tracy Doolittle, abruptly left home prompting his father to place the following notice . (54)

"NOTICE" Left my family and board on the night of the yth inst. without the least provocation, my Son Tracy, aged 18 years. This is to forbid all persons harboring or trusting him on my account, as I will pay no debts of his contracting. Titus Doolittle Russell, Jan. 7, 1822

Unfortunately that was not Stephen Tracy's only worry about Mary and her family during his last year of life. Problems developed in her family's relationships with their fellow parishioners at the Baptist Church in Russell where Titus Doolittle had for some years been an active member and deacon of the Russell Baptist Church, sometimes providing funds when others did not pay their share. But records of church meetings in June 13, 1822 reveal that Titus Doolittle was not then getting along with at least two other church members: (55)

"June 13, 1822 - Church Meeting. Voted Elder Todd serve the church as an agent to procure a signature in writing from Esq Phelps of Chester and Brother Moses Parks of Montgomery respecting the settlement of difficulty between Titus Doolittle and Mark Sacket..." ..... " June 26, 1822. Opened the meeting by prayers. 1st. Vote the acceptance of the signature in writing presented by Eld Todd from Esq Phelps and Moses Parks relative to former difficulty between Titus Doolittle and Mark Sackett.... Voted the acceptance of the acknowledgment of Titus Doolittle relative to slandering Mr. John Hastings at his house some time since."

Rev. Stephen Tracy died at Norwich on Dec. 11, 1822, unaware that Mary's family was destined to endure further problems with their church in Russell. (56)

(57) In 1825 the Russell Baptist Church admonished "Bro JL Doolittle"(Either Titus's son, John, or his son, Joel.) That same year the church appointed a committee to admonish Titus's daughter, Mary Lasell and also granted Titus's request to be excused from serving in the capacity of Deacon. The next year Titus told the church that he intended to withdraw from them as a member The church records include the following mysterious entry........."As to the reports in circulation, he was not willing to say whether they were true or not." The church then withdrew fellowship from him. Two years later Mary's daughters, Electa Bishop and Mary Lasell were subjected to the same action:...."Jan 7, 1828. Voted to withdraw fellowship from Bro Alvah Bishop and his wife Electa, also from sister Polly Lasell for their neglect of church obligations" (58)

No longer part of the church community and perhaps tired of all the admonishments put upon his family, Titus sold the hotel and farm about 1828 . He and Mary then moved to West Randolph, in Cattaraugus County, New York, where he lived near his daughter Electa and her husband, Alvah Bishop. He farmed 160 acres, created a sawmill, and was regarded as one of that area's leading settlers. However the Russell Baptist Church was apparently not eager to relinquish their concerns about his daughter, Mary, whose husband, John LaZelle had moved his family to Manlius, New York. The church voted on April 8, 1832 to "make an inquiry of the Baptist church at Manlius, NY relative to the Christian deportment of Mary Lasell since last Jan." (59) (60)

The church problems faced by Mary and her family in Massachusetts paled in comparison to the tragedies they experienced during the 1830s in New York Titus suffered a series of tragedies. Their daughter, Elizabeth, was said to a beautiful young lady. She was engaged to be married but died of accidental poisoning when she mistook arsenic for quinine.. Their son, Joel, took a lumber raft down the Ohio to Cincinnati where he suddenly became ill and died. It took some weeks for the news to reach Titus and Mary in New York. And Titus lost his right arm after he was thrown from his logging sled.. (61)

Mary and Titus then moved to Ohio to be near their daughter, Sophia and her husband, Ellis Scott. (62) Unfortunately tragedy continued to follow them. In 1843 Mary, became overcome by fumes from a charcoal furnace, fell into the fire, and died from the burns. But family tragedies did not cease . Seven years after her death, her son, Herman, who was an engineer on a lake steamer , was crushed to death by machinery. (63)

"A most shocking accident occurred on board the Steamboat Fairport, on the morning of the 5th instant, in the vicinity of Eagle harbor, Green Bay. Mr. Heman Doolittle, the second Engineer, while in the act of stepping over the Pitman, near the crank, aft the shaft, was caught by some part of the machinery, drawn in under a heavy revolving beam, and instantaneously killed - indeed, literally crushed to atoms. His remains were conveyed to the town of Green Bay, where, after a coroner's inquest had been held , they were decently interred. The deceased is represented to have been a temperate and worthy young man, of respectable parents, who reside in the town of Saybrook, Ashtabula county, Ohio."

Stephen Tracy did not live long enough to know about most of the troubles experienced by Mary and her family. And with the possible exception of Elizabeth's life with Thomas Kidd, none of Stephen Tracy's other children seem to have comparable misfortunes.

The fortunes of Reverend Stephen Tracy fluctuated during his lifetime. Despite being orphaned by the death of his father in the French and Indian War, Stephen was apparently well cared for by his uncle with support from his relatively wealthy grandparents. Graduating from Princeton, he became a minister but was dismissed from the only two churches where he was a pastor. However he actively supported the Revolution (in which his brother was an officer) and even more actively opposed the War of 1812. Most of his children married and established their own families, at least two of which had many problems. Stephen himself apparently had his own problems during his final years as his estate revealed that he was essentially insolvent at the time of his death. (64)


1. The Tracy genealogy : being some of the descendants of Stephen Tracy of Plymouth Colony, 1623 : also ancestral sketches and cha [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

Original data: Tracy, Sherman Weld,. The Tracy genealogy : being some of the descendants of Stephen Tracy of Plymouth Colony, 1623 : also ancestral sketches and chart. Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle Pub. Co., c1936.

2. McCarty, Paul (Fort Edward Historian) and Petit, James. "The History of Fort Edward "

3. Fort William Henry. The Siege & Massacre.

4. The Connecticut Gazette #62 Saturday, June 12, 1756 the article appears on Page 3, the left hand column This same report appears in The Pennsylvania Gazette of June 10, 1756

5. Operations on Lake Champlain. This article incorporates texts from the following book which is now in the public domain: 1. Parkman, Francis, Montcalm and Wolfe, Collier Books, New York, 1884, pp. 219-256 2. Lévis, chevalier de, Journal des campagnes du chevalier de Lévis en Canada de 1756 à 1760, Montréal, Beauchemin, 1889, pp. 44-78 ...

6. Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society. Volume IX. Hartford, Published by the Society. 1903. Page 98 "Campaign of 1756 A muster roll of the Windham Company shows Lieut. James Tracy as among those in last years Service and thus are to Have Half Pay (Page 98). A Muster roll of Lieutenant-Colonel and Captain John Payson's company shows James Tracy [of Windham], as a First Lieutenant, "Discharg'd Dead" ib 21 Sept 1756 at Fort Edward, page 96.

7. Connecticut Soldiers, French and Indian War, 1755-62. Windham Company: 1755 Pay Roll. Page 15;.... Windham Regiment: Muster Roll 1756. Page 96

8. Connecticut Town Death Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006. Original data: White, Lorraine Cook, ed. The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records. Vol. 1-55. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994-2002.


E.F. Waterman The Granberry family and allied families : including the ancestry of Helen (Woodward) Granberry Page 172 - Samuel Bishop of Norwich made his will 5 Jan 1756, proved 29 Nov. 1760. He gave legacies to his sons Samuel, Caleb and Joshua Bishop; to son Ebenezer Bishop, homestead, husbandry tools, livestock, and 'my gon and sword'; to well-beloved wife Sarah Bishop a third of the personal estate and use through widowhood of a third of the realty; legacies and movable estate to daughters Ester, Sarah, Elizabeth, Hannah, and heirs of Susannah; wife and son Ebenezer to be executors. His grandchildren Stephen and Nathaniel Tracy were mentioned in the will and in a codicil dated 20 Apr 1757. The inventory, which calls him of Newent [Lisbon], totaled 2807 pounds, 9 shillings, 3 pence. Thomas Brown gave a receipt, 16 Nov 1764, to Ebenezer Bishop for 'the Legassy gev en to my wife Sarah.' Receipts were also given by Samuel Bishop for himself and as guardian to Stephen and Nathaniel Tracy (heirs of Susannah), Reuben and Hannah Bishop (heirs of Joshua), Jonathan Rudd (for wife Ester), Matthew Perkins (for wife Hannah), Caleb Bishop, and William Witter (for wife Elizabeth). [Norwich Probate District, File 1184.]

10. Connecticut Probate Court Norwich District Records V 3-4 1761 - 1773 Film # 0005055 page 314

Norwich 21sst of April 1764 Then recd of Even Bishop as Executor to the last will & testament of Capt Samuel Bishop, late of Norwich Dec the sum of eighty eight pounds four shillings and four pence in full of the legacy left in the will to Stephen & Nathaniel Tracy the heirs of Susannah the Daughter of the Dec. I say recd - me Samuel Bishop Guardian for Stephen & Nathaniel minors Samuel Bishop

11. The genealogy of Samuel and John Bishop, brothers (1901]) Author: [Bishop, Henry Fitch], 1820-1910. [from old catalog]

12. Reich, Jerome R. Colonial America. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 1984. Page 190

13. Descendants of Richard and Sarah Rogers Knight

Hanover was incorporated at the May session of the General Assembly in 1761 and was made up of the northerly part of Newent (now Lisbon), the southwest corner of Canterbury and the Southeast corner of Windham. agreement was made with the Rev. Andrew Lee to become the pastor of the new church at Hanover, which was known as the eighth Church of Christ in Norwich. A meeting was held at the house of Capt. Samuel Bishop on Oct. 12, 1768, and the following was adopted: .....We agree to take the Scriptures for the perfect Rule of our Lives & also for our Rule as to the affairs of God's house. And for the better understanding of God's mind in his word concerning Church discipline we agree to practice according to the Platform drawn up by the Synod at Cambridge in the year 1648, which we look upon to be the Congregational way that we choose to practice; concluding that all organized Church acts proceed after the manner of a mixt Administration, so that no Church Act can be consummated & compleated, without the Consent of the Elder & Brotherhood.

14. Caulkins, Frances Manwaring. History of Norwich, Connecticut. 1866. Page 280

15. Caulkins, Frances Manwaring. History of Norwich, Connecticut. 1866. Page 280

16. Reich, Jerome R. Colonial America. Prentice Hall, , N.J. 1984. Pages 190, 242

17. Tracy, S.W. The Tracy Genealogy. 1936

18. GenealogyBank Extract of a Letter from Princeton, New-Jersey, March 10

(News Article) Date: 1769-04-12; Paper: Georgia Gazette. "About three o'clock this afternoon a fire broke out in the roof of the College, but by the blessing of God on the activity of the students and inhabitants of Princeton, it was soon subdued; notwithstanding the wind blew to excessive hard as to prevent the use of the engine, and the water froze almost as soon as it was thrown on, the College did not receive any considerable damage."

19. "The Evolution of the Princeton Campus. Chapter 1: The Foundations of the Campus, 1746 - 1802.

20. New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury. Oct 8, 1770. Early American newspapers. Series I 1690-1876. From New England Ancestors

21. Tracy, Sherman Weld,. The Tracy genealogy : being some of the descendants of Stephen Tracy of Plymouth Colony, 1623 : also ancestral sketches and chart. Rutland, VT.: Tuttle Pub. Co., c1936..... "An inventory of Stephen Tracy's estate, taken 27 December 1769 totaled 708 pounds, eight shillings, six pence. A distribution dated 7 May 1770 set off land to Thomas, Prince, John Tracy, to Deborah Moseley, and to the heirs of James, who were Stephen and Nathaniel"

22. Captain Daniel Throop was born 31 July 1715 at Bristol, Rhode Island to Captain Daniel Throop (1670-1737) and Deborah Church. (1672-1752) She was the daughter of Joseph Church (1638 - 1711) and Mary Tucker (1640-1710) Joseph was the son of Richard Church (1608-1668) and Elizabeth Warren (c1616-1670) who was the daughter of Richard Warren who died at Plymouth in 1628.

23. Throop, Herbert. "Throop Genealogy: with special reference to the Throops of Grenville County, Ontario, Canada" -

24. Tracy, Sherman Weld,. The Tracy genealogy : being some of the descendants of Stephen Tracy of Plymouth Colony, 1623 : also ancestral sketches and chart. Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle Pub. Co., c1936.

25. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War, Vol 16

26. Tracy, Sherman Weld,. The Tracy genealogy

27. Bisbee, Rev. J. H. Bisbee, History of Huntington. 1876...Reproduction Edition Publ 2001 By Stephen W. Hamlin and the Huntington Planning Board....Huntington, MA Pages 26 - 31

28. History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers.. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts, 1879. Page 514

29. Bisbee, Rev. J. H. Bisbee, History of Huntington. 1876

30. Tracy, Sherman Weld,. The Tracy genealogy

31. Bisbee, Rev. J. H. Bisbee, History of Huntington. 1876

32. History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts. Page 511

33. GenealogyBank. Date: 1804-05-25; Paper: New-England Palladium

34. Tracy, Sherman Weld,. The Tracy genealogy

35. GenealogyBank,. Nov 23, 1815 MA Paper Sun

36. Town Records of Norwich, Massachusetts FHL US/CAN Film 879901 March 6, 1815

37. Source: Digging for Genealogical Treasure in New England town records; Ann S.Lainhart. Referenced in VTWINDSO-L Archives Archiver > VTWINDSO > 2000-02 > 0951892908 From: "Cynthia " < Re: [CRV] Date: Wed, 1 Mar 2000 01:41:48 -0500

38. History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts Page 3-519

39. Historic Hampshire in the Connecticut Valley Page 351-2

40. Tracy, Sherman Weld,. The Tracy genealogy

41. Vital Records of West Springfield.

42. Vital records of Chester, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1850. [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: Vital records of Chester, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1850.. Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1911.

43. Tracy, Sherman Weld,. The Tracy genealogy

44. Vital Records of West Springfield.

45. A History of Agawam Significant dates - 1636 - 1912 From a 1930's Minerva J. Davis type-written manuscript currently in the Agawam Historical Association collection

46. History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts Page 514

47. GenealogyBank. Rev. Benjamin Woodbridge; Norwich; Rev. Joel Hayes] (News Article) Date: 1799-10-30; Paper: Hampshire Gazette..... "On the 17th (October) Rev Benjamin Woodbridge, a grandson of the late Rev Jo. Woodbridge of South Hadley, was ordained to the pastoral office in Norwich".

48. Historic Hampshire in the Connecticut Valley [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004. Original data: Johnson, Clifton,. Historic Hampshire in the Connecticut Valley : happenings in a charming old New England county from the time of the dinosaur down to about 1900. Springfield, Mass.: M. Bradley Co., 1991. Page 346..

49. History and Genealogy of the Families of Chesterfield

50. Williams, Ephraim. Reports of cases argued and determined in the Supreme Judicial Court..., Volumes 40-41. 1853. September Term - 1810. Ebenezer Mattoon vs Thomas Kidd. Page 28

51. GenealogyBank 1811-04-24; Paper: Hampshire Gazette

52. GenealogyBank Albany Register (New York) 1 Oct 1819

53. "The annals of Albany" Notes from the Newspapers 1826

54. "Hampden Patriot" Jan. 30, 1822 . Early American Newspapers, Series I, 1690-1876. ( New England Ancestors.Org)

55. Russell Baptist Church Records 1816-1871, Hampden County, Mass.,Film 954399

56. . In October, 1993, Louis Lehmann visited the Congregational Church and the Norwich Hill Cemetery in Huntington, Hampshire county, Mass. and examined the following tombstone inscription: "In Memory of Rev. Stephen Tracy who died Dec 22, 1822...was pastor of the Church in Norwich 18 years"

57. GenealogyBank Hampshire Gazette 1 Jan 1823 "In Norwich, Mass. Dec 22d, Rev Stephen Tracy, formerly pastor of the church in that town, aged 73

58. Russell Baptist Church Records 1816-1871, Hamden County, Mass.,Film 954399

59. Doolittle, William Frederick. The Doolittle Family in America. P 355

60. Russell Baptist Church Records 1816-1871, Hamden County, Mass.,Film 954399

61. Doolittle, William Frederick. The Doolittle Family in America. P 355

62. Titus Doolittle appears as head of a household on the 1840 census in Saybrook, Ashtabula county, Ohio. The household includes himself and his wife, Mary - both 60-70 years old. The household also includes one male under 5, one male 30-40, one female under 5, one female 10-15, and one female 30-40. This may be the family of Sophia and her husband, Ellis Scott since Ellis Scott does not appear as a head of a household anywhere in the area.

63. GenealogyBank. Steamboat Fairport; Green Bay. 17 June 1840 Wiskonsan Enquirer. Page 2

64. GenealogyBank Date: 1823-04-16; Paper: Hampshire Gazette A notice by Artemis Knight and Richardson Hall, Commissioners appointed by the county probate judge "to receive and examine claims of creditors to the estate of Stephen Tracy, late of Norwich, deceased, represented insolvent."