Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Rev. Joseph Eliot

Male 1638 -

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Generation: 1

  1. 1.  Rev. Joseph Eliot was born on 20 Dec 1638 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

    Other Events:

    • Alternate birth: of Guilford, New Haven, Connecticut

    Joseph married Sarah Brenton before 1676. [Group Sheet] [Family Chart]

    1. 2. Jemima Eliot  Descendancy chart to this point was born on 14 Nov 1679.

Generation: 2

  1. 2.  Jemima Eliot Descendancy chart to this point (1.Joseph1) was born on 14 Nov 1679.

    Jemima married Rev. John Woodbridge, VIII on 14 Nov 1699. John (son of Rev. John Woodbridge, VII and Abigail Leete) was born on 10 Jun 1678; died on 10 Jun 1718 in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts. [Group Sheet] [Family Chart]

    1. 3. Rev. John Woodbridge, IX  Descendancy chart to this point was born on 25 Dec 1702 in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts; died on 10 Sep 1783 in South Hadley, Hampshire, Massachuetts.

Generation: 3

  1. 3.  Rev. John Woodbridge, IX Descendancy chart to this point (2.Jemima2, 1.Joseph1) was born on 25 Dec 1702 in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts; died on 10 Sep 1783 in South Hadley, Hampshire, Massachuetts.

    Other Events:

    • Alternate death: 10 Sep 1783, South Hadley, Hampshire, Massachuetts


    He was the minister for which the citizens of South Hadley, Massachusetts built the house called the "Second Parsonage." The story of how this came to be the case is worth recapitulating. According to In Old South Hadley by Sophie E. Eastman (Chicago: Blakely Printing Company, 1912), the first minister sent to officiate at South Hadley, a town that began to have an existence separate from Hadley in the early 1700s, was a Rev. Grindall Rawson, whose stern orthodoxy was very much at variance from the relative liberalism of the average local, because even in the early 18th century, western Massachusetts was notable for its tolerant ways. Among other things, Rawson refused to baptize infants whose parents' marriage was in any way irregular. Over many years the Rev. Rawson's parishioners expressed their dissatisfaction, passing resolutions against him, confiscating the keys to the church, withholding his pay and his firewood.

    The rest of the story, from In Old South Hadley:

    On February 25, 1740, at a meeting held in South Hadley, it was voted that "It is the desire of this precinct that the Rev. Mr. Rawson be dismissed from and lay down the work of the ministry among us." Mr. Rawson took no notice of this request. On January 12, of the succeeding year, they voted that they would give him neither wood nor salary. Mr. Rawson insisted that until the town should settle its past indebtedness to him he was still legally their pastor and should continue to preach.

    A committee had been appointed to keep the keys of the meeting house, it was not to be opened or shut except "According to their prudence." A minister not far away had been locked out by his parishioners, for the manners of the day were rude. Upon this the parson shouldered his axe and broke down the door, then mounting the pulpit in triumph he preached a vigorous sermon. Perhaps the committee people suspected that the present incumbent might be tempted to do the same thing, as indeed he was quite likely to.

    Finally, on October 30, 1741, their last shred of patience gave way. A committee of fifteen were ordered, in more explicit language, in case he again attempted to preach, "To put him forth from the meeting house." To this threat, which had been so often repeated, he paid no attention.

    The committee met, thirteen of them agreeing that now they would obey instructions, only two dissenting. Some of the elders proposed to delegate their sons to perform the task that had been assigned them.

    One Sabbath morning later on, Mr. Rawson appeared in church. When he had ascended the pulpit stairs, one of the deacons rose and solemnly warned him against attempting to officiate. Mr. Rawson's reply was simply to begin reading one of the Imprecatory Psalms, or, as another version of the story has it, commencing a long prayer. A number of men now advanced, and, taking him from the pulpit, either carried or dragged him from the church. Tradition tells us that he continued the prayer or psalm until a handkerchief was placed across his mouth.

    This was Mr. Rawson’s last attempt to enter the pulpit. It was expected that he would cause the arrest of the young men who had forcibly removed him from the meeting house, and ten pounds were raised to be used in their defense. He refrained from taking the matter into court, but, none the less, refused to resign his pastorate.

    The precinct had previously voted that they would pay him up to November 20, 1740, "but not after that." As he would not accept this overture, they extended the time until May of 1741, when the council had advised a separation. Finding him still obdurate, some peace-loving members of the community gave him their personal bonds for the payment of one hundred pounds if he would resign his pastoral office, which he did, and in 1742 the precinct repaid them.

    Many of Mr. Rawson's friends had become so much embittered against the church that they removed to other towns. The discarded minister did not find it easy to secure another settlement. When pastors were engaged for life there were but few empty pulpits; he must wait until a new church was formed and a new building erected in some thinly populated district.

    Three years passed and still he remained here. Then the people of Hadlyme, Conn., hired him to preach there for three months. At the expiration of the time they engaged him for three months more on probation. In May, 1745, they invited him to become their minister, taking the Cambridge Platform as the basis of belief.

    There had been dissension among the people of Hadley in regard to the new church, but now they all united upon Mr. Rawson, and under his guidance they enjoyed a long season of "satisfaction and rest." At his death, in 1777, the faithful congregation erected a tombstone at their own expense.

    After the resignation of their minister, the South Precinct were not long in finding a successor. About two hundred years before this, Rev. John Woodbridge, a clergyman of Wiltshire, England, had named a son after himself and educated him for the ministry. This practice had been continued from generation to generation, until now South Hadley's second minister was the ninth Rev. John Woodbridge in unbroken succession. [...] Unlike his predecessor, he was dignified in bearing, prudent in council, and full of gentleness and sympathy to all who were in sorrow.