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Hauley, Rev. Thomas

NUGGET #8

Hauley, Rev. Thomas (1689-1738), the town’s first minister, lived in the “town’s oldest house,” a gambrel-roofed residence at Main Street and Branchville Road. A native of Northampton, Mass., he graduated from Harvard in 1709 and was ordained in 1712. He and his wife, Abigail Gould of Fairfield, came here in 1713 as newlyweds as he became minister of First Congregational Church. Then the operations of the church and the town were virtually the same – “government” meetings were held in the church, church records and town records were kept together, and the minister was the only schoolteacher — he was probably the most educated settler. He was also the first town clerk, then called “register.” Hauley was spelled in that fashion until Benjamin Smith became town clerk and register of records in 1785 and began spelling it Hawley, the “modern” version. His predecessor Stephen Smith, town clerk from 1747 to 1785, had always written it Hauley, as had Minister Hauley himself. His slate gravestone is the oldest readable headstone in Titicus Cemetery (q.v.).

From Jack Sanders, Ridgefield Names.

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