This letter was written by Rev. Joseph Homer Patrick (1792-1870), the son of Asa Patrick (1763-1852) and Ruth Homer (1766-1845). Joseph was married to Mary Patrick (1792-1875), his cousin, in August 1825. Rev. Patrick graduated from Brown University in 1817. After graduation, he spent five years teaching in Kentucky, then returned to the east coast to take up the ministry. He came to Greenwich, Massachusetts in 1830 and labored there in the ministry of the Congregational church until 1842. This letter was written to Rev. Absalom Peters, the corresponding secretary of the American Home Missionary Society who provided supplementary funding to the church in Greenwich for Rev. Patrick’s salary.
Addressed to Rev. Absalom Peters, No. 150 Nassau Street, New York City
March 29, 1833
To the Rev. Absalom Peters
Cor. Sec. of the A.H.M.S. [American Home Missionary Society]
It is with the mingled emotion of pleasure and pain that I am called upon to render to you a statistical account of the history of the past year in relation to the cause of Zion in this place. My present commission expires in June next which will complete three terms in which I have received aid from your Society. This embraces the whole period of my ministry among this people. The year 1831 was a year of special blessings to this church. The Lord appeared whis His people were in distress & darkness, and shed down upon as the refreshing door of heaven.
It was a time of ____, anxiety, and solemnity. We held a protracted meeting in August at which time the Lord prepared the way for the coming of Christ among us. During the Autumn of 1831, there were more than forty made the subject of renewing grace. These were principally youth from the ages of 14 to 21 who were most of them baptized in their infancy. Some that season has fled away,; God’s people have wandered away into the valley of B___. We have, however at that time the evidence before us of the distinguished benefits of Sabbath School instruction. Our class of 9 female youth were all made as we trust the subject of renewing grace. Our Sabbath School and benevolent operations have been in rather a prosperous condition & still promises to do more for the time to come.
A statistical account of the church under my pastoral care from April 1, 1832 to the present time:
The above statement would be more satisfactory to me if I had it in my power to make it more full and accurate. But I have given it to you as accurately as the means which I now possess would enable me to do it. Thine is work which has not been disposed of in the ____ due to a considerable amount. The ___ of members is 40 but the burden of labor has generally fallen on a small portion of the society. They hope, however, to do much more this season than they did last.
The population of this town at the last census was 813 divided into three societies — Congregationalists, Methodists, & Universalists. ___ we have nearly all the powers of darkness to combat in order to secure our existence as a church. But we are encouraged by the divine pledge of our blessed Redeemer who has said to his people, Lo I am with you alway. Our Sabbath congregations would average I think through the year 250 — about 28 ____ ____ may salary with the exceptions of the aid which we have received from your society.
We have been hoping for a brighter day to dawn upon us & I trust that this hope may hereafter be realized. I know not but this church is indebted to the H. M. S. for its existence under God. We have many reasons to express holy gratitude to God for the timely assistance which you have given us. May the Lord prepare us to refund not only what has been kindly given us from your society or its auxiliary but may we be able to render fourfold. Through the past winter, the Lord has laid my wife very low upon a bed of sickness but as the spring opens she appears to revive and I am in hopes she will be able to aid me in prayer and effort among my people. I send you a dollar for the H. M. which ought to have been paid in June but it has been deferred partly through neglect and partly owing to other cares and interests which have lain with great weight on my mind. I am, dear sir, yours in the Christian faith & fellowship of the gospel of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, — Joseph H. Patrick