Author Archives: The First Congregational Church of Lyme

First Lady of Hamburg Cove

The First Lady of Hamburg Cove

A very nice article written by the Shoreline Times on Doris Reynolds Jewett. Take a look here:

Resurrection Day Behind the Church

by Tina West

Here’s the story of the magnificent stone wall around the graveyard behind the church.  Betty Plimpton, Lyme’s first archivist, transcribed it a few decages ago.

But who wrote it?  Some old-timer about a hundred years ago determined to make sure the younger generation had the facts to appreciate their elders properly, I guess.

He throws in a lot of facts – some we get, some we don’t.  The total length of wall is 1/8 mile or one furlong.  Who knows, though, what a boy would charge for cutting whipstick?  Or what else late nineteenth century Lyme boys did to make a bit of money?

He knew the wall-builder as an older man – he gives us not just the man and his reputation but the scene night after night in the little general store.  You can see photos at Jane’s, the little general store across from the church, of men gathered around the woodstove there.

I like these looping continuities.  The wall is here and Ira Chapel, who did a good job building it, is here – his grave and his depiction.   Betty Plimpton made sure to rescue the unknown writer’s work.  The church is here and its work.  The Lyme community is very much here – and if you heard our First Selectman laying out the facts in no uncertain terms you’d hear the ring of the writer’s voice resurrected.

Here is the full text of the depiction:

Found in the Back of the Secretary’s Book

North Lyme Cemetery, Lyme, CT

Sometime when you are passing the Cemetery in Hamburg – stop for a moment and examine its wall a little more closely than you ever have before.  Did it ever occur to you that the man who built that wall was building a monument for himself and many a man might take pride in such a lasting achievement and say the wall should remain as a memorial to the builder for the money he received for the work he performed was scarcely enough to pay his board while he worked.  Let us cast these matters up and the totals.

Down to the year 1854 there was not a cemetery in this part of the town where a man might purchase a burial plot and have it exclusively for his own.  Burials were made in various places but no special attention was paid to ownership.  The idea of a cemetery under corporate control was the idea of but one man.  The pan was so interesting that it required but little argument to cultivate its growth.  The 3rd Ecceastical Society owned a small tract of land on the East side of its church: other lands adjoining was owned by their proprietors.  This land seems to be the most feasible.  An organization under the name of the North Lyme Cemetery Association was formed consisting of 100 shares of $5 each.  The shares were quickly subscribed then on December 27, 1854 Allen Griffin deeded nine and a half rods to the association for the sum of $297.  The Ecclescastical Society on April 18, 1854 deed to the Association thirty and a half rods for the sum of one penny.   January 19, 1855 H.A. Brockway ninety two and a half rods for the sum of $33.75 making a total of two hundred eight and a half rods for $65.63 a few rods over one and a quarter acres.  That was the cemetery and it exists today exactly the same (two later additions were purchased of Hayden Reynolds).  On April 10, 1854 it was voted “that the Directors be instructed to contract for the building of a stone fence on the north, east and south sides of the cemetery “If anyone at this day have any question regarding the success of that contract they should study the wall that was built.  It stands after 60 years almost as perfect as the day it was completed.  The wall is probably four feet high, four feet wide at the bottom tapering to say three feet with a capping stone covering the entire top.  Both sides are composed of stones with a smooth face and the detail of the wall does not vary a particle from one end of it to the other.  A Memorandum made in the treasurers book reads as follows: “March, 10 1862 S.L. Lord E. _ Brockway and C.L. Ely measured this day the cemetery wall and found it to be fourty four and one half rods and this wall was built wholly by one man more than an eigth of a mile nearly every stone of which was broken either with a maul or drill and carted some distance all for the sum of $7.50 per rod.  Think of it.  The blacksmith’s charges today would exceed this amount per rod and itwould be but little in excess of a boy’s charges today for cutting whipstick and backing them from the forest which to drive the oxen.  On January 4. 1855 the first payment of $60 was made on this wall and the last $10 on January 15, 1866.  No man living here today knows whether the wall was eleven years in building.  The records show it was eleven years in being paid for.  If there be those who think this task was petty let them set two stakes with a furlong between them and they contemplate the building of a structure after the above dimensions unaided a liftime might be little enough but for $333.95 would scarcely be a compensation.  No man ever heard the one who built this wall boast of it.  He was a shy and reserved man talking but little, but a keen observer.  The writer, once a clerk in Sissons Store, has seen this man enter the store night after night taking his seat with the others assembled about the stove and possibly a quiet chuckle over some story or a movement of his gait as he molded his tobacco quid into a different shape was all the evidence of animation that he might show save two eyes that twinkled like stars.  He was an ardent fox hunter and once spent a whole day patiently in an “stand” and when he went fishing as he often did and the fish were not hungry he would wait for them to ______ an appetite.  He was scrupleously honest in every act of his life.  Should a visitor to the North Lyme Cemetery incline towards a merited respect for the one man who enclosed the grounds so perfectly let them go down to plot 112 on the south side and on a modest and suitable tablet he may read the name Ira Chapel.

From the secretary’s book, North Lyme Cemetery Records

Tina West lives on Sterling City not to far from the stone wall, is a courageous knitter, and is an active member of the church.

I can do without endless springs.

by David Adams

I moved to California in the summer of 2009 against better judgement of most everyone .  People in my family generally didn’t leave and the one’s who leave for the longest generally come home and marry farmer types.  I would miss everyone, but I wanted to go.

I wanted to be in the middle of it all and I had also heard that they had endless springs.

Turns out that California isn’t in the Middle.  Anyone with a map could have told me that.  Also turns out that I can do without endless springs.  Here in New England Spring comes once a year.  Spring came to California and never left.  The result is a monotone joy that is a little too much.  It’s like when a dinner guest leaves a giant blueberry pie at your house and you eat it after every meal for three days straight.

When spring comes to Connecticut everything my family and I do together feels fresh and important.  Even if we are just sweeping out the shed.  If we had forgotten, the warmth and energy pushes us out and reminds us how good it can be.

Unlike spring I left California.  I came home to a short fall, a Surprising Christmas, and a really long winter.  As some expected, Spring has come again to our part of the world and I have never been happier for it to arrive.  Sometimes you just have to rediscover things for yourself.

Dave Adams delivers toys, lives in Lyme, leaves sometimes, and is a member of the church. 


by Ann Kloman

In retrospect, the first solution HE suggested was such a disaster that both of us were appalled at all that wasted work. So I told him to get lost and I started over. On the first day I created nothing⎯and I don’t now know how it will end⎯I hope with neither fire or ice.  In the beginning, I knew I’d made a painterly effort, but what a smug mistake to have been so pleased.

Bored after millennia of nothingness and existence with HIM, on a whim I brought into being with a single Big Bang, a masterful chain of events. From my recipe for primordial broth⎯an ion of this; a particle of that⎯emerged both tranquil and tumultuous waters of varied warmth and size. I studded these watery bits with large and small solids, some temperate and others not so hospitable to the flora and fauna that would either adapt or fail. So be it⎯my motto for shucking responsibility. Such a fine variety I conceived and, my imagination exhausted, I needed a day of rest.

But not for long. The implanting of these infinite, self-generating diversities took a minimum of my capabilities and too much sleep is a waste of time. Time to tweak my master plan. To project feelings of virtual reality proved a major difficulty. I wanted to provide the emotions and possible   reactions to these variables without personal experience.

Didn’t want to get involved in anything unpleasant.

A pea of guilty discomfort jabbed me while resting on my cushy cloud—but only a moment. I cringed in expectance of those embarrassing curses or platitudes my nouveau humans would produce⎯centuries of literary propaganda in all its forms. The gush of Teachings: the Torah, Koran, the Bible, Book of Mormans, all those dreary volumes of shalts and shants. I grinned. Now that illustrated Kama Sutra was a keeper. Need some heavy gym work to handle those kinky maneuvers.

Back to business. All those platitudes: the end justifies the means, you get what you deserve, an eye for an eye. the meek shall inherit, the good die young, blah blah.  Hey believe whatever makes you happy, or for the depressed⎯enjoy being sad. That pitiful belief in Divine Intervention⎯a nice sop to my ego.

Again that pang of anxiety. Being a responsible Creator is a lot of work. Time to release my power point presentation? Or   just wing it without a ‘Creation for Dummies’ manual. Egotism nags me. Can’t get it wrong as the new celestial designer. No divine white-out. Wrong moves could be a disaster.

What I needed was an anti-reactive force⎯an angel for each demon. But careful, once the battle between perceived good and evil began that eternal contest, I’d lose control. The Beginning of the End. Chaos theory mucho multo. All those uncertainty principles with infinite choices predestined by the flutter of that butterfly’s wings. Maybe nix butterflies. Oh woe,   the onus of it all.

A shadow fell across my cushy cloud and I heard a rumble of discontent. Who did that? I looked around; rested my chin in my palm. All was serene, pleasant, very nice. But was something missing? No, not something. Was some ONE crucial missing? I regarded my corporal image. Shapely legs, perky breasts, round parts here complemented by hollows there. Attractive facial features. Oh, oh. Watch that ego. Be careful. This was the crux of my creation and remember⎯NO eraser. But attractive to whom?  I ‘d made only one of each creature. Parthonogensis⎯self-perpetuating. No fuss, self sex. So simple. Why not keep it that way? Another ominous rumble.

Then I recognized HIS big mistake. The slithery snake with its bad rep would never suffer dis. Snakes slide about on their bellies because that’s the best way for the legless to travel. The dire portent of an innocent apple (it was a fig) will remain just a tasty piece of fruit. No fairy tale allusions. Those literary witches will have to find another charm. As for that rib business. Ouch! No way. That was HIS idea? Some male joke of thoracic circumcision?

A eureka moment! Was a MALE person necessary?  It would be easy to eliminate those future disasters: Jesus, Mohammad, Moses, Buddha, that Mormon Smith, Hitler, all those Popes and worse. The Grand Inquisitor? Who did he think He was? So Phfft! They will never be born. I sighed. A nano second of regret for the good guys lost to ‘mankinds’ intellectual enrichment, but plenty of women poets, painters, stateswomen, mothers, saints and more moderate sinners will peaceably fill their places.

I pushed send. I’ve done my best on this final day and we shall wait and see.

Ann Cloman is a mystery writer and a 15 year resident of Lyme. She likes to sing and was a member of our choir up until it’s last day.  Ann participates in our church from her home and on this website.