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Rev. Ebenezer Kellogg - Vernon's First Minister
EBENEZER KELLOGG (1787-1817) was born in Norwalk, CT on April 5, 1737, the son of Daniel Kellogg and Eunice Jarvis. He graduated from Yale with the class of 1757 and proceeded to study theology with the Reverend David Judson of Newtown. After becoming licensed to preach he was called to North Bolton, now the town of Vernon, and was ordained here on November 24,1762. He was the first settled minister in North Bolton, which had been formed in 1760 as a society from Bolton. The meetinghouse was completed for his ordination in 1762, but the pews were not added until 1770 and the walls were finally plastered in 1774.
» See the story of Meetinghouse Hill and Vernon's First Church.
At the time of his ordination, the society had thirty-five members and agreed to pay him a salary of £70 per year. Kellogg was to remain as the minister of the North Bolton church until his death in 1817 - a ministry of over fifty-five years.
Having obtained a position, Kellogg could afford to marry. He married Hannah Wright, daughter of the Reverend Ebenezer Wright of Stamford, in Bolton on October 20, 1768. Three sons and three daughters were born to the couple.
He early bought a house and farm and by his own labor and prudence reared a family and somewhat extended his possessions although his salary never exceeded 70 pounds. Bolton land records show he had 16 acres near the meeting house in 1768. It was on the road from the Allis Mill, but the exact location is yet to be discovered. Over the years the family added to their land including houses at Vernon Center and Baker Road.
Kellogg was noted for his reliability and good health. In his half-century sermon, he noted that in fifty years he had missed only about a dozen Sabbaths due to infirmity. His sermons that were preserved are serious discourses upon the most important doctrines and duties. They were read from the manuscript without gestures.
An original sermon from 1798 was obtained, preserved and transcribed to give a sense what his congregation heard each week.
» Read about Rev. Kellogg's 1798 sermon.
In 1800 he responded to The Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences survey with a lengthy description of North Bolton at that time. He was one of the few respondents to answer the Academy's survey in the same year in which he received it.
» Read about Rev. Kellogg's letter to the Academy.
The following descriptions from town historians describe Kellogg as a stern, fatherly figure.
A close friend the Rev. Woodruff said, "As a minister of Jesus Christ he obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. He was evangelical in his instructions and his preaching was know to be of a discriminating mind. His uniform character was that of a peace maker."
J. R. Cole, writing more than a half-century after Kellogg's death, recognized the enormous influence he had on the town: "The lapse of years since his death has done little to change the social and religious structure of the church and society trained under his efficient ministry. Rarely has any pastor been able so to mold a people into religious faith and action, He was of a sturdy and vigorous mind, Puritan himself, his people became, like him, Puritans."
"Affectionately known as 'Priest' Kellogg, a scion of that sturdy stock which has given many distinguished men to the country, strong mentally, he held his people with a vigor ious hand." - Harry Conklin Smith
"The saintly Ebenezer Kellogg always read his lengthy sermons. They were serious discourses, carefully setting forth the most important doctrines and duties of religion. The theology of the First Church was stern in theory and strict in practice. There were seasons of uncommon spiritual awakening and influence in the years 1772, 1782, 1800, 1809, 1815. The children respected him, and many called him 'father.'" - George Brooks
There is no known portrait of Ebenezer Kellogg.
Rev. Ebenezer Kellogg died on September 3, 1817 at the age of 81. He served as the church's minister until his death.
He and his family were buried in the Old Burial Ground of North Bolton on Bamforth Road. The family was moved to the Maxwell plot at the Grove Hillt Cemetery in October 1936 by the decendents of the George Maxwell family, Kellogg descendants.
Following is the inscription on the original stone erected in honor of Reverend Ebenezer Kellogg:
Rev. Ebenezer Kellogg died
Sept. 3rd, 1817 in the 81st year
Of his age, and 55th year
Of his ministry in this place.
In yonder sacred meeting house he spent
his breath Now silent; senseless, here he sleeps in
death. These lips again shall wake and then
declare, A long amen to truths they published there.
The Kellogg family was prominent throughout Connecticut contributing in many areas. Rev. Ebenezer's six children and their descendants were very involved with the development of Vernon.
» Read more about the Kellogg family and Rev. Ebenzer's descendants.
"The Connecticut Magazine, Volume 12", 'Centennial of Vernon 1808-1908' by Harry Conklin Smith, 1908. The magazine and article are online to read. Available at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford.
"Voices of the New Republic: Connecticut Towns 1800-1832, Volume I" by The Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2003, 493 pages. Includes Rev. Ebenezer Kellogg's 1800 description of North Bolton (Vernon) and a short biography on page 425.
"History Of Tolland County, Connecticut" by J. R. Cole, 1888, W. W. Preston & Co.
"Historical Address, The Church Of Christ, Vernon, Connecticut" by Allyn Stanley Kellogg, 1894, 48 pages. Early history of the Congregational Churches in Vernon and Rockville. Connecticut State Library.
"Cascades and Courage" by George S. Brooks, 1955, 529 pages. This is the classic local history book. The entire text can be found online.
"200th Anniversary Celebration of The First Congregational Church, Vernon, Connecticut (1762-1962)" compiled by Mildred S. Willes, 1962, 22 pages. Originally printed as a booklet for the anniversay, it was updated in 1974 and is available on the church's website as a pdf.
"240th Anniversary History of The First Congregational Church of Vernon (1762-2002)" compiled by Geraldine Risley Strong, 2002, 31 pages. This is an update of the Willes history and is available on the church's website as a pdf.
"The Kelloggs in the Old World and the New" by Timothy Hopkins, 1903. Can be read online.