From the Connecticut Historical Collection
BY John Warner Barbour
Published 1836


WATERFORD was formerly included within the limits of New London. It was incorpo ed as a distinct town in 1801. It is bounded N. by Montville, W. by byrne, E. by New London and the Thames, on the S. by Long island sound. Its average length is 7 miles, and its average breadth about live miles. Its surface is uneven and the soil a gravelly loam, better adapted to grazing than grain, of which there is little cultivated, excepting Indian corn. There ate two woolen factories in the town.

There are three houses for public worship in this town, all of which are for the Baptist denomination; one of which is for the Seventh day Baptists so called, from their observing Saturday, the Jewish sabbath, instead of the first day.

The following is from Backus' history of the Baptists, vol. 1, published in Boston in 1777.

"A new sect came out from among the Baptists about this time, who have caused not a little trouble to themselves and others, of whom 1 have collected the following brief account, chiefly from the letters preserved by Mr. Samuel Hubbard. In the close of the year 1674, the family of Mr. James Rogers of New London, called Mr. Crandal over from Westerly, who preached among them, and baptized his sons John and James, and an Indian named Japhet. This alarmed the other denomination, and Mr. Bradstreet, minister at New London, said be hoped the next court would take a course with them. They sent to Newport, and elder Hickox, Mr. Hubbard and his son Clarke were sent to visit them in March, 1675, when Jonathan Rogers was also baptized, and all four of them were received as members of their church by prayer and laying on of hands. Hereupon John Rogers' father-in-Law, took his wife and children from him; and upon her complaints against him, he was carried before their deputy governor, and committed to Hartford goal, from whence he wrote to Mr. Hubbard, April 6th, 1675. How long he continued there I do not find, only he visited the church at Newport, the next September. On September 18th, 1676, those four members went with a boat, and brought elder Hickox and Mr. Hubbard to New London again, when old Mr. Rogers, his wife, and daughter, were all baptized and received into that church; whereupon they were called before the magistrate, but were soon released; though-from that time they began to imprison the Rogerses for working on the first day of the week. and when Mr. Hickox and Mr. Hubbard visited them again, and held worship with them two miles out of town, on their sabbath, Nov. 23, 1677, and Joseph Rogers' wife had next morning given them a satisfying account of her experiences, John must needs have them go up to town to baptize her there. Mr. Hubbard opposed it, but John carried the day; and while Mr. Hickox was preaching at town, the constable came and took him, and they all went before the magistrate; where also was the minister, Mr. Bradstreet, who had much to say about the good way their fathers had set up. Upon which Mr. Hubbard, obtaining leave to speak, said, `you are a young man, but I am an old planter of about forty years, a beginner of Connecticut, and have been persecuted for my conscience from this colony, and I can assure you, that the old beginners were not for persecution, but we had liberty at first.' After further discourse, the magistrate said could you not do it elsewhere? `A good answer,' says Mr. Hubbard and so they were released and went to Samuel Rogers' house, where his brother John put himself forward, prayed, and then went out to the water and baptized his sister: upon which Mr. Hickox was seized again, as supposing he had done it, but John came before the magistrate, and was forward to make known his act therein; so the others were released and returned home."

"Jonathan Rogers, had married Naomi Burdick, grand daughter to Mr. Hubbard, and on March 2, 1678, elder Hickox baptized her at Westerly, together with James Babcock, George Lamphere, and two others, and on the 5th of May following, Joseph Clarke wrote from thence to his father Hubbard, that John and James Rogers with their lather were in prison; having previously excommunicated Jonathan, chiefly because he did not retain their judgment, of the unlawfulness of using medicine, nor accuse himself before authority, for working on the first day of the week." Hereupon the church at Newport sent messengers to New London about this matter, who reported on their return that, "a practice was started up (out of conscience,) that because the world, yea, most professors, pray in their families mornings and nights, and before meats and after, in a customary way, therefore to forbear prayer in their families, or at meats publickly except some are led forth upon some special occasion; saying they find no command in the word of God for it.' ..... "The church repeatedly sent and labored with them but to no effect." ..... "From this-beginning proceeded a sect which has continued to this day, who from their chief leader have been called Rogerenes. In their dialect, and many other things, they have been like the first Q.uakers in this country (?) though they have retained the external use of baptism and the supper, and have been singular in refusing the use of means and medicines for their bodies. Their greatest zeal has been discovered going from meeting to meeting, and from town to town, as far as Norwich and Lebanon, (the one 14, the other 24 miles,) to testify against hireling teachers, and against keeping the first day of the week as a sabbath, which they call the idol sabbath. And when the authority have taken them up and fined them therefor, and have sometimes whipt them for refusing to pay it, they have soon published accounts of all such persecutions, which has been the very means of keeping their sect alive. When the Small Pox was very terrible in Boston, in 1721, and great fear of it was discovered in the country, John Rogers their founder, was confident he could go in where it was and not catch it: and to prove his faith, went 100 miles to Boston, but catched the distemper, came home and died with it, and scattered it in his family: yet his successors still kept on in their way. So late down as 1763, some of them repeatedly came and clapped shingles and pieces of boards around the meeting house in Norwich town, as well as delivered messages to the worshippers against their keeping of the Lord's day ..... Besides these there have been some sabbatarian Baptists in that place, from the beginning to the present time, though not a distinct church."

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