FactsYou Should KnowAbout First Church
On view in theJonathan Edwards Room
Many are aware that George Washington worshiped in our then new (18-year-old) Meetinghouse. Yes, the one we are still using.
A lot of people also know that our second president, John Adams, climbed our steeple (which remains unchanged) and wrote about the “grand and beautiful” view he beheld.
But did you know that Jonathan Edwards, one of America’s greatest theologians, worshiped here (in our previous meetinghouse) for three years? Or that his illustrious cousin and tutor, Elisha Williams, is buried behind the church?
And did you know that five of our members, back in 1638, helped to write a document that ended up as the prototype of our federal Constitution?
There is a “Jonathan Edwards Room” in the Morgan House, in which you will find two fascinating information sheets—one on Elisha Williams (and his gravestone), the other on the document mentioned above.
Framed on a stand next to a superb replica of Edwards’s six-sided rotating desk is a rare, high-resolution photo of the Preamble of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, which five from First Church helped to create. In it you will find evidence of the Christian roots of our nation, where the page acknowledges the sovereignty of God and states that its purpose is “to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess.” Check out its info sheet (on the desk) or read the sheet’s contents here.
On the wall behind the desk is a photo of Elisha Williams’s gravestone, complete with a coincidental spider on its little flag, silhouetted against the sky. It was while being taught by Williams that Jonathan Edwards wrote his first major essay—a philosophical, Christian piece on the habits of spiders. See Elisha’s info sheet (on the desk) or read its content here.
Visit the Jonathan Edwards Room to learn more. It's a beautiful, relaxing spot on the Morgan House’s main floor, northwest corner, across from the Drawing Room.