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His Descent.-Family of Edwards.-Family of Stoddard.His Father's Family.
THE number of those men, who have produced great and permanent changes in the character and condition of mankind, and stamped their own image on the minds of succeeding generations, is comparatively small; and, even of this small number, the great body have been indebted for their superior efficiency, at least in part, to extraneous circumstances, while very few can ascribe it to the simple strength of their own intellect. Yet here and there an individual can be found, who, by his mere mental energy, has changed the course of human thought and feeling, and led mankind onward in that new and better path which he had opened to their view.
Such an individual was JONATHAN EDWARDS. Born in an obscure colony in the midst of a wilderness, and educated at a seminary just commencing its existence; passing the better part of his life as the pastor of a frontier village, and the residue as an Indian missionary in a still humbler hamlet; he discovered, and unfolded, a system of the divine moral government so new, so clear, so full, that while at its first disclosure it needed no aid from its friends, and feared no opposition from its enemies, it has at length constrained a reluctant world to bow in homage to its truth.
THE two families, from which the subject of the present memoir was immediately descended, are those of EDWARDS and STODDARD.
THE family of EDWARDS is of Welch origin.
The Rev. RICHARD EDWARDS, the great-great grandfather, and earliest known ancestor of President Edwards, was a clerVOL. I.
gyman in London, in the time of Queen Elizabeth. Hece. according to the family tradition, from Wales to the metronolis, and was of the established church; but in what shi family lived, or of what church in London he was the mister, is not known. His wife Mrs. ANNE EDWARDS, after the ic of her husband, married Mr. James Coles; who, with her son, William Edwards, then young and unmarried, accompanied her to Hartford in Connecticut about the year 1640, where they both died.
WILLIAM EDWARDS, Esquire, the great-grandfather, resi in Hartford, and is supposed to have been by profession a merchant. His wife whose christian name was AGNES, and who came when a young lady with her parents to America, had tv brothers in England-one the mayor of Exeter, the other th mayor of Barnstable. Their marriage occurred probably about the year 1645. It is not known whether they had more than one child.
RICHARD EDWARDS, Esquire, the grandfather, so far as can now be ascertained the only child of William and Agnes Edwards, was born at Hartford in May, 1647, and resided in that town during his life. He also was a merchant and a man of wealth and respectability.* At an early age he became a communicant in the Presbyterian church in Hartford, and adorned his profession by a long life of conscientious integrity, and unusual devotedness to the prosperity of religion. He married ELIZABETH TUTHILL, the daughter of William and Elizabeth Tuthill, who came from Northamptonshire, in England. Mr. Tuthill was a merchant of New-Haven, and one of the proprietors of the colony attempted on Delaware Bay. By this connection Mr. Edwards had seven children, the eldest of whom was the Rev. TIMOTHY EDWARDS. After her decease, he married a Miss Talcot, of Hartford, sister of the Hon. John Talcot, by whom he had six children. He died April 20, 1718, in the 71st year of his age; exhibiting, during his last sickness, a bright example of christian resignation and triumphant faith.§
THE family of STODDARD is of English descent.
ANTHONY STODDARD, Esquire, the maternal great-grandfather of President Edwards, and the first of the family in this country, emigrated from the west of England to Boston. He had five wives; the first of whom, MARY DOWNING, the sister of Sir George Downing, was the mother of the Rev. Solomon
* I learned these particulars at East Windsor, in 1823, from two parishioners of his son, the Rev. Timothy Edwards, both of them upwards of ninety years of age.
+ Trumbull's Hist. of Connecticut, Vol. I. pp. 178, 197, and 201.
See Appendix A.
See Appendix B.
Stoddard of Northampton. His other children were Anthony, Simeon, Samson, and Israel.
The Rev. SOLOMON STODDARD, his eldest child, and the maternal grandfather of President Edwards, was born in 1643, and received the degree of A. B. at Harvard College in 1662. Soon after his licensure, the first minister of Northampton, the Rev. Eleazer Mather, then a young man, died ;* and the parish applied to one of the ministers of Boston to designate a successor. He advised them at all hazards to secure Mr. Stoddard. When the parish committee applied to him, he had already taken his passage for London, and put his effects on board the ship with the expectation of sailing the next day; but, through the earnest solicitation of the gentleman who had recommended him, he was induced to relinquish the voyage and go to Northampton. He began to preach there in 1669, soon after the death of Mr. Mather, and on the 4th of March, 1670, received a unanimous call from the church and people of that village to become their minister; but was not ordained until September 11, 1672. On the 8th of March, 1670, he married Mrs. ESTHER MATHER, originally Miss WARHAM, the youngest child of Rev. JOHN WARHAM,† of Windsor, in Connecticut, and widow of his predecessor, who had left three children. Mr. and Mrs. Stoddard had twelve children: six sons and six daughters. He was a man celebrated throughout the colonies for his capacity, his knowledge of men, his influence in the churches, and his zeal for vital religion; and will long be remembered for his valuable writings, which have often been published on both sides of the Atlantic.|| He was the minister of Northampton from 1672 until his death in 1729, and left impressions of a character strongly marked for originality, for talents, for energy and for piety, on the minds of its inhabitants, which the lapse of a century has scarcely begun to diminish. We shall have frequent occasion to refer to him, in the progress of this memoir.
THE REV. TIMOTHY EDWARDS, the father of President Edwards, was born at Hartford, May 14, 1669, and pursued his studies preparatory to his admission to College, under the Rev. Mr. Glover of Springfield, a gentleman, distinguished for his classical attainments. In 1687, he entered Harvard College, at that time the only seminary in the colonies; and received the two degrees of Bachelor and Master of Arts on the same day, July 4th, 1691, one in the morning and the
* Mr. Mather was ordained June 18, 1661, and died July 24, 1669.
+ See Appendix C.
See Appendix F.
See Appendix D. (See Appendix E.
other in the afternoon :-" an uncommon mark of respect paid to his extraordinary proficiency in learning."* After the usual course of theological study, at that time longer and more thorough than it was during the latter half of the following century, he was ordained to the ministry of the gospel in the east parish of Windsor in Connecticut, in May, 1694.
Windsor was the earliest settlement in that colony, the first house having been erected there in Oct. 1633. The original inhabitants came from Devonshire, Dorsetshire and Somersetshire, in England. They arrived at Boston in the beginning of the year 1630; and planting themselves at Dorchester in Massachusetts, were there formed into a congregational church on the 20th of March; when the Rev. John Warham, previously a distinguished clergyman in Exeter, but ejected as a non-conformist, was installed their pastor. Finding themselves straitened for room at that place, in consequence of the great number of emigrants from England, the church with their minister left Dorchester, and planted themselves in Windsor, in the summer of 1635. This town, lying immediately north of Hartford, and delightfully situated in the valley of the Connecticut, originally comprehended a very large tract of land on both sides of the river, and is distinguished for the fertility of its soil, and the beauty of its scenery. The inhabitants constituted one parish until the year 1694; when those residing on the eastern side of the Connecticut, " finding it inconvenient to cross the river, and being grown sufficiently numerous to support public worship among themselves, proceeded to build a church, which stood near to the present burying ground, and invited Mr. Timothy Edwards, son of Richard Edwards, Esquire, of Hartford, to be their minister."†
Mr. Edwards was married, on the 6th day of November, 1694, to ESTHER STODDARD, the second child of the Rev. SoTomon Stoddard, who was born in 1672. His father, immediately after his settlement, purchased for him a farm of moderate extent, and built him a house which was regarded at the time of its erection, as a handsome residence. I saw it in 1803; it was a solid substantial house of moderate dimensions, had one chimney in the middle, and was entered like all other houses of that period, by stepping over the sill. In this house his children were born, and he and Mrs. Edwards resided during their lives. They had one son and ten daughters, whose names follow in the order of their births-Esther, Elizabeth, Anne, Mary, Jonathan, Eunice, Abigail, Jerusha, Hahnah, Lucy and Martha.‡
In the spring of 1711, Mr. Edwards and the Rev. Mr. Buck
*Re cords of East Windsor. + Records of East Windsor. See Appendix G.