Wolcott Historical Society News - November 2021
By Florence Goodman
I always marvel at the connections I make while researching information for my monthly articles. Several months ago Tony "the barber" Gugliotti donated a 1906 letter to the Wolcott Historical Society. It was written to the Honorable F.J. Kingsbury (Waterbury) and referenced information about when the original Episcopal Church on our town Green was taken down. I knew the Society had a postcard of that old church and I remembered much of its history. I also, knew that the Tuttle House next to the town hall had been gifted to the Episcopal Church and it too had a great history. The final connection came when I attended the dedication of a beautiful Prayer Garden done as an Eagle Project by Brandon Price for the Episcopal Church. As I sat on the bench looking out towards the church I knew it was time to once again share this interesting history of the Episcopal Church and the Daniel Tuttle House.
All Saints Episcopal Church located on Bound Line Road west of the Green was dedicated on November 5, 1964, but this was not the original church nor location. Some of the earliest settlers in our town were Episcopalians, and like the Congregationalists they attended church in Waterbury. By 1779 their congregation was large enough to petition the State to become a distinct Society, but it was not granted. It wasn't until 1805 that the members began to hold services at the home of Daniel Byington at the Mill Place, which continued for several years. On January 26, 1811 the Episcopal Society in Wolcott was established and meetings were held at the home of Mr. Titus Hotchkiss. Taxes were paid by the members to run the Society and to pay for preachers. From 1811 until 1813 the Reverend Mr. Prindle of Naugatuck preached in Wolcott and for a short time afterward the Reverend Tillotson Bronson of Cheshire preached there. Records do not mention the names of ministers that preached at the church from 1817 until 1835, but from 1836 through 1860 various ministers from surrounding towns preached at their meetings. The names of these ministers can be found in Samuel Orcutt's, History of the Town of Wolcott From 1731 to 1874."
Around 1821, the Episcopal Society of Wolcott began to discuss building a church and Levi Hall, Ambrose Ives and Erastus Welton were chosen to find a location. It was voted to build a church 30 by 40 feet with two stories and a cupola suitable for hanging a bell. The church building discussions continued for nine more years. In 1830 members of the church began to gather materials for the building and at that time the size was reduced to 24 by 36 feet. On April 5, 1830 at a public meeting it was voted to donate town property "on the south side of the public green" to build the Episcopal Church. The picture postcard that accompanies this article shows that the first Episcopal Church was located near where the present town hall now stands. The church frame was raised in the summer of 1830 and by December of that year the outside of the church was covered, but it wasn't until 1832 that the church was finally completed. By 1836 a stove was placed inside the church. According to the letter donated by Mr. Gugliotti services were held in the church until 1865 and the pastor or assistant pastor from St. John's Church in Waterbury officiated.It also states that this information was from Mrs. Minor as she recalled it. The church was taken down in 1893 and once again members had to travel out of town for Sunday services.
On All Saints Day in 1961 the property belonging to the Moss Family known as the "Daniel Tuttle House" located west of the Town Hall was transferred to the Episcopal Society of Connecticut to provide living quarters for the Vicar of the new All Saints Parish.It wasn't until 1964 that the present church was erected next to that house. The Daniel Tuttle House built in 1792 has a rich history. Daniel Tuttle, a carpenter by trade, built the house; he lived there until 1797 when he sold it to Asoph Hotchkiss, one of the settlers who had donated land for the Green. In 1852 Eratus Warner, a merchant moved into the house and lived there for several years. Later, William French owned the house and operated a store and post office on the premises. In 1900 a shed and stone garage were added to the property. Miss Emily Tuttle Morris, daughter of Connecticut Governor Luzon B. Morris purchased the house in 1918. Miss Morris immediately set about restoring the house, which had fallen into disarray.She hired Mr. Frank Arthur Harrison to build the beautiful stonewalls that surround the house and church along Kenea Avenue and Bound Line Road. In 1924 Mr. Richard Ely an official from Chase Brass and Copper Companies purchased the home. He lived there until 1931 when he sold it to Mr. Frederick Moss who worked for Standard Oil Company of New York. During his ownership the grounds were landscaped and beautiful flower gardens and shrubs were added to the property.As stated above, the Moss Family transferred ownership of the property to the church in 1961. The church used this property for many years until it became too much of a financial burden so they used it as rental property. At some point in the early 21st century the property was sold and later went into foreclosure. In 2010 Susan Clarke purchased the house and lived there for five years. She did some restorations and renovations, but it proved to be an enormous task and she sold the property. In 2015 John and Kristen Lopez purchased the house and they have spent much money, time and energy bringing it back to its original state. Today this beautiful saltbox stands proudly next to our Town Hall.
The next connection is last, but definitely not least; the Prayer/Meditation garden, which was an Eagle Project completed by Brandon Price. Brandon and his family are members of the All Saints Episcopal Church and he wanted to do something for the church. He knew the Congregational Church had a prayer garden and wanted one for his church. He was able to get the project approved in 2020 by the Church vestry, but then Covid hit and things were put on hold. The project officially began after the Memorial Day 2021. Brandon wasn't sure if he would have time to complete the project because of the delayed start, but he had lots of help from Scout leaders Al Podzunas and Pete Grasso, Mayor Dunn, Jim Carey and the Town Crew as well as parents and scouts from Troop 230. There was also financial support from a fundraiser that was held at one of La Fortuna Restaurant's community dinners.On September 19, 2021 the Prayer Garden ceremony was held and Reverend Karen, the minister of the church, blessed the garden.
An Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America. Congratulations Brandon on a job well done. To view the garden drive to the end of the parking lot behind the Town Hall or the Episcopal Church, park your car and walk around this beautiful garden and enjoy its peaceful beauty.
(Information for this article was taken from my April 2009 Wolcott News article; The 175th Anniversary Book by John Washburne; a 1906 letter from written to the Hon. F. Kingsbury of Waterbury referencing information about the first Episcopal Church in Wolcott; a phone conversation with Brandon Price (10.8.21); Samuel Orcutt, The History of the Town of Wolcott From 1731 to 1874; Program from the Garden dedication-9.19.21)
This is an old postcard of the first Episcopal Church that was located on the Town Green.
A sketch of the first Episcopal Church built in 1832 on the Green. Sketch by Russ Benson of Wolcott.
Tony "the barber" Gugliotti donated this 1906 letter to the Wolcott Historical Society. It was written to the Honorable F.J. Kingsbury (Waterbury) and referenced information about when the original Episcopal Church on our town Green was taken down.
The Daniel Tuttle House built in 1792 is located on the west side of the Town Hall. The Moss Family transferred ownership of the property to the Episcopal Church in 1961.
Brandon Price, Eagle Scout would completed the project is standing in front of the Prayer Garden.
Reverend Karen blessing the Prayer Garden on Saturday, September 19, 2021.
Prayer Garden helpers standing in the garden.
Wreaths Across America will be held this year on Saturday, December 18, 2021. Last year wreaths were placed on the graves of veterans in Edgewood Cemetery. This year they hope to also place wreaths on veteran's graves at Woodtick Cemetery. Kevin Huber is once again organizing the event. Donations are needed to complete this project. The cost of one wreath is $15, but for $30 they can purchase three. Please consider making a donation to help fund this project.
To view past installments of the Historical Society News, click here.