Benjamin Lord (1694 - 1784) MP

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Birthplace: Old Saybrook, New London County (Present Middlesex County), Connecticut Colony
Death: Died in Norwich, New London County, Connecticut, United States
Managed by: Jason Peter Herbert
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About Benjamin Lord

THE whole church were so united in their approbation of Mr Benjamin Lord who was called to preach on tryal in 1716 that they extended to him a unanimous call to be their pastor with the offer of 100 per annum the use of the parsonage land formerly purchased of Stephen Gifford and wood sufficient for his use to be dropped at his door provided he settle himself without charge to the town He accepted the call and was ordained Nov 20 17 17 He proceeded to settle himself by purchasing the Mason home lot and erecting a house on a site near the present residence of John Sterry At his ordination the Saybrook Platform was distinctly renounced and from this time the relations of pastor and people were most harmonious As Dr Lord writes From a Massah and Meribah a place of Temptation and Strife this in a good measure became a Salem or place of Peace In 1721 1735 and 1740 there were great revivals in the church In 1744 the pastor and the majority of the people voted to adopt the Saybrook Platform and again the church became greatly excited and thirty members one of whom was Deacon Joseph Griswold left the church and formed the order known as Separatists Others joined them and soon they established a distinct church From 1740 to 1772 Dr Lord was a member of the Corporation of Yale College and in 1774 he received the degree of DD He preached his half century sermon on Nov 29 1767 from II Peter 1 12 15 He was then 74 years old In the fifty fourth year of his ministry at his request a colleague was provided in Joseph Howe who however left in 1773 to become the pastor of the New South Church of Boston Another colleague was procured in 1777 Joseph Strong of Coventry Ct In 1778 Dr Lord delivered his sixty first anniversary sermon Both this and his first sermon were published The sermon preached on his sixty fourth anniversary was never printed In his eighty seventh year his eyesight failed but he was still able to write his sermons which his granddaughter Caroline used to read over repeatedly to him so that he was able to deliver them with ease and some of these were considered by many as among the best of all his discourses His mind was clear till the last and though feeble he was still able to appear in the pulpit and occasionally with the help of his colleague conduct the services He preached for the last time on the Thanksgiving subsequent to the restoration of peace to America seemingly by a special Providence gratified in living to such a memorable period which he had often expressed his wish to see He died March 31 1784 in the ninetieth year of his age and the sixty seventh of his ministry His funeral sermon was preached by the Rev James Cogswell of Windham from I Cor 4 1 Mr Cogswell alludes to the beauty of Dr Lord's character in old age when his meekness humility philanthropy and heavenly mindedness were apparently increased and he seemed to Stand with his starry pinions on Drest for the flight and ready to be gone 1 His funeral was attended by a respectable number of his own profession the gentlemen of the Superior Court and their officers together with a large concourse of people of almost every denomination whose very countenance loudly expressed the general loss We learn from his obituary in the Norwich Packet that his talent at expounding the scriptures and representing them in their true analogy was singular The solemn animated and commanding manner of his public address was a distinguished part of his character and exceeded by nothing unless it was that spirit of prayer which on every occasion dwelt upon his lips His first prayer at morning service on the Sabbath occupied the full run of the hour glass at his side How full of interest must this prayer have been to that part of the congregation which came from the outlying districts for in it was condensed all the news of the week public and town events deaths accidents and storms In war time his supplications and thanksgivings were so particular and specific as to give the congregation the best information that had been received of the progress of affairs Notes were sent up to the pulpit not only in cases of sickness and death but by persons departing on a journey or voyage and also on returning from the same It is said that a petition was once sent up to the pulpit for public prayer in behalf of a man gone going or about to go to Boston According to the testimony of the Rev Joseph Strong Dr Lord was assiduous in visiting the sick and afflicted a Barnabas to the dejected and feebleminded and very skillful in discriminating characters and making proper applications and giving suitable advice in soul troubles Dr Lord was small in stature and in his old age his figure was bent yet his face was said to have been attractive and pleasing He had bright keen blue eyes and was very neat and careful in his dress He wore an imposing white wig and silver buckles at his knees and on his shoes A portrait of him is still extant in the possession of his gr gr grandson John Bliss of Brooklyn LI which represents him with hand raised as if in the act of preaching Of his wig this tale is told how John Rogers the founder of the sect of Rogerenes who regarded it as his duty to inveigh against the clergy and especially the observance of the Sabbath followed Dr Lord to church one day using abusive and insulting language and when Dr Lord arrived at the church door and taking off his hat disclosed his carefully adjusted wig Rogers exclaimed Benjamin Benjamin Dost thou think that they wear white wigs in heaven Though Dr Lord lived to be so old he was far from strong and suffered all his life from pain and disease His first wife the daughter of Rev Edward Taylor of Westfield was also a great invalid They were married for twenty eight years and during sixteen of these she was confined to her bed and for eight years of that time unable to feed herself Yet with all these trials Dr Lord was still able to attend to all his church duties and in addition to his long weekly sermons to prepare for publication eighteen pamphlets or sermons preached on special occasions On his eighty first birthday he writes in his diary It is a wonder to many and especially to myself that there are any remains of the man and the minister at this advanced age and that I am still able to preach with acceptance to my numerous assembly It is much that I have survived two former climacterics in which many have died and ministers not a few and still more that I have lived to this greater climacteric nine times nine But the climax is at hand the certain crisis Death has not gone by me not to come upon me On his eighty third birthday he alludes to his being the oldest preaching minister in the State yet considers himself but a babe and dwarf in religion in proportion to its high demands On the eighty fifth anniversary of his birth he writes Oh my soul hast thou on the garment of salvation both inherent and imported righteousness the one to qualify for heaven the other to give the title Art thou the subject of that effectual calling which is both the fruit and proof or evidence of election His tombstone in the old burying ground bears the following inscription In memory of the Rev Benj Lord DD Blessed with good natural abilities improved from a liberal Education and refined by Grace he early dedicated himself to the sacred office tho incumbered through life with much bodily infirmity he executed the social duties of his charge in a manner which was acceptable and usefull In 17 14 he had conferred upon him the highest honors of Yale College after having been the faithfull Pastor of the 1st Ch of Ch in Norwich for 67 years he departed this life March 31st 1784 JE 90 tho now unconscious in Death may the living hear or seem to hear from him the following address Think Christians think You stand on vast Eternity's dread brink Faith and Repentance Piety and Prayer Despise this world the next be all your care Thus while my Tomb the solemn silence breaks And to the eye this cold dumb marble speaks Tho dead I preach if e en with ill success Living I strove th important truths to press Your precious your immortal souls to save Hear me at least O hear me from my Grave As we turn from this inscription to the portrait where the hand is raised as if in admonition we can still hear or seem to hear the old pastor with his slow impressive manner preaching to the people of whom he said I have lived in their hearts and they in mine The marble slab with its conventional grotesque cherub's head carving has been removed from this tombstone and ground to powder within the last two years The Hon John T Wait gives this little anecdote to show that the good parson did not entirely despise the things of this world He was invited out to dine on a Thanksgiving day at the house of one of his deacons who was troubled with a slight impediment of speech Beginning to hesitate in his blessing which was rather lengthy Dr Lord at once turned his plate over and said Deacon this is no time to hesitate when the turkey is cooling Ann Taylor b 1697 the first wife of the Rev Benj Lord was the daughter of Rev Edward Taylor of Westfield and his second wife Ruth Wyllis Through her mother she was descended from two Connecticut governors Gov John Haynes and Gov George Wyllis The second wife of Dr Lord was Elizabeth widow of Henry Tisdale of Newport RI who died in New York shortly after her marriage His third wife was Abigail Hooker possibly daughter of Nathaniel and Mary Standley Hooker and great granddaughter of Rev Thomas Hooker She died in 1792 aged 86 It will be interesting to know how a minister's wife attired herself a little more than 100 years ago so here are a few items of Abigail's inventory For gowns she had among others a brown damask a green tabby and a black taffety a grogram and a black padusoy and a green full suit and a reddish colored silvereth She had 26 aprons in all among which were 12 Holland aprons and one of black silk of cloaks to choose from she had one of black satin one small black padusay and one black velvet fringed cloak She had also a flowered gauze shade a crimson cloth riding hood trimmed with red two lutestring hoods with gauze a velvet hood with lace a black silk bonnet and a gauze scarf besides 23 caps Then she had fans of black gauze of paper ivory and bone six silvered girdles gloves of black silk leather and white leather and white mitts red and blue silk stockings silk clogs three strings of gold beads and a pair of stays In his will the Rev Benjamin Lord gives to his widow the use of the house for life and he then divides the house and home lot frontage 8 rods 4 links between his sons Benjamin and Ebenezer the west half to the former the east part to the latter The east end of the former Mason lot where the new school house now stands with a frontage of 17 rods on the highway to the river and of 4 rods 4 links on the Green is given to his daughter Elizabeth The west part where the Sterry house now stands had been sold to Nathaniel Lathrop Benjamin Lord and dies in 1787 He was a farmer and lived at that time on Plain Hills Ebenezer Lord died in 1800 and his son Ebenezer then occupied the house Lucy Lord Avery widow of Richard Avery and daughter of Benjamin Lord and resided here in 1825 She married in 1826 Capt Erastus Perkins In 1830 the Lord heirs sell the property to William Cleveland grandfather of President Grover Cleveland He builds a shop east of the house where he carries on the business of a goldsmith until his death in 1837 The house remained in the possession of his heirs though occupied at times by other tenants until 1852 when it was burnt to the ground In the old drawing of the Green we have a picture of this house and shop Joseph Howe the young colleague provided at Dr Lord's request in 1772 was born in Killingly Ct in 1747 He was the son of the Rev Perley and Damaris Cady Howe of Killingly He graduated at Yale College in 1765 for a while had charge of the public school in Hartford and was afterward a tutor at Yale until 1772 In that year he was called to Norwich and preached alternately with Dr Lord for a part of 1772 and 1773 While at Yale we learn from Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit that he was distinguished for his literary accomplishments and especially for his remarkable powers of elocution not less than for his fine moral and social qualities

source: Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich [Conn.] 1660-1800

By Mary Elizabeth Perkins
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Rev. Dr. Benjamin Lord's Timeline

1694
May 31, 1694
Old Saybrook, New London County (Present Middlesex County), Connecticut Colony
1714
1714
Age 19
Yale
1750
November 21, 1750
Age 56
Newport, Newport, RI
1784
March 31, 1784
Age 89
Norwich, New London County, Connecticut, United States