Note: Jacobus, Donald Lines, Families of Ancient New Haven, Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., Baltimore, MD, 1981, plus Additions and Corrections.
Note: A grandson of Deacon Eleazer was ordained to preach at the Baptist Church at Northville which was organized January 7, 1814. History of New Milford: In Sept. 1750 several members of the First Church of New Milford were cited for withdrawing and separating themselves from the church. "Also, proposed what methods we should take with those persons who were in full communion with us and also with those who had withdrawn from us upon the Sabbath? Voted, that an enquiring committee should be appointed to go and enquire into the particular reasons of each one, and make their report to the church. Accordingly, Dea. Samuel Canfield, Dea. Eleazer Beecher, and Leut. James Hine were appoint." "Some time after, Eleazer Beecher absented himself from us, and Dea. Canfield and Leut. Hine enquired into things, and made report to the Church, and a Church meeting was warned February following. Eleazer Beecher and his wife, ....(twelve) were all cited to appear and give in their reasons for their separations. Accordingly, they appeared and mentioned some things why..." "It was adjourned till the first Tuesday in May, and then appeared...Eleazer Beecher...Frances Beecher (seven) and signed some reasons offered in writing which the Church judged to be no reasons at all, and returned them an answer in writing together with an admonition to return to us."
Notwithstanding all these efforts, the Separate Congregational Church was organized in May, 1753 and the spirit of rivalry took full possession of the Congregational people as to themselves, as well as in regard to the other two churches in the community.
In 1754 the Separate Church petitioned the First Society as follows: "Upon the memorial of Thomas Weller, Lemuel Bostwick, Eleazer Beecher, Ebenezer Hotchkiss, Nathan Gaylord, Johnathan Botsford, David Camp, Israel Baldwin, Michael Brownson, and Benjamin Phillips, inhabitants of this society, showing that the said memorialist soberly dissent from the way of worship and method of supporting the ministry established by the laws of this Colony, and that they do maintain and attend the public worship of God among themselves, in a way agreeable to their consciences; praying this society to show their minds, whether they are willing that the memorialists should be exempted from paying taxes for the support of the ministry and building meeting houses for the established constitution, etc; Voted, that this society are willing that the persons named in the memorial shall be exempted from paying taxes for the future as they request, so long as they shall continue soberly to dissent from the established constitution as aforesaid, provided the Hon. General Assembly (upon application to them made) shall approve the same." In the record of the First Church, in 1750, citing persons before that body as having separated themselves, the following are named: Joseph Ruggles, Eleazer Beecher and his wife, Jonathan Buck and his wife, Ann, the wife of Joseph Buck, David Beardsley, and his wife, Jonathan Botsford and his wife, Lemuel Bostwick and his wife, Ebenezer Hotchkiss, Ellen Mackeney.
Deacon Eleazer Beecher came from Milford a single man, and settled in New Milford before 1726, when he united with the First Church, and in October of 1729 he married Frances Oviatt. He possessed great energy of character, was prominent in the transactions of the town, and was a successful farmer. He voted against what were said to be illegal proceedings in the effort of 1745 to settle Mr. Noah Wells, and was among the first, with his wife, who were cited before the First Church to make satisfaction for separating from that church, but as he lived until 1797, to the good age of 90 years, the censure of the church did not harm him seriously. If he could have lived about thirteen years longer he would have seen the old church fully established on the platform he adopted fifty years before. Mr. Griswold placed him as one of the deacons of the First Church, but Rev. Mr. Taylor made the following record in the church book, Mr. Beecher having officiated on trial as a deacon over two years in that church "..February 1750-51 At a church meeting regularly warned, it was fully voted in ye negative yet Eleazer Beecher should not be established in ye office of a deacon; he fell off to a party called Separates and could not be reclaimed." He was a deacon many years in the church of the Separates.
New Milford Burying Place Tombstone: Deacon Elezar Beecher who died Dec 23, 1797 aged 90 years. Weep not for me, my children dear, For though my dust lies sleeping here, My soul has gone to God above, Rejoicing in redeeming love.
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