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Frederick William Hotchkiss papers

Call Number: MS 974

Scope and Contents

Original and photostatic materials pertaining to Frederick William Hotchkiss and to his parish, the First Church of Saybrook, Connecticut, make up this collection. The original documents include four copies of the Articles of Faith and the church covenant of First Church, a selection of sermons, addresses, and prayers by Hotchkiss (1787-1838), and a small notebook of letters from Hotchkiss to William Tully, Jr. (1802-1807). Supplementing these items are photostatic copies of records of First Church (1783-1844), further writings by Hotchkiss (1802-1844), and several memorandum books. These copies were made from a microfilm of the original documents belonging to Frederick Sheffield. He donated the Frederick William Hotchkiss Papers to Yale University in 1941-1942, and gave the microfilm to the Connecticut State Library.


  • 1783-1844


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Frederick Sheffield, 1941-1942.


0.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Sermons, prayers, records of the First Church of Saybrook, Connecticut (1783-1844), memorandum books, a few items of correspondence, and materials relating to a private school that Frederick Hotchkiss conducted in his house. The records of the First Church and the memorandum books are available in photostatic copies from a microfilm of the originals.

Biographical / Historical

Frederick William Hotchkiss, the fifth of seven children of John Hotchkiss (Yale 1748) and Susanna (Jones) Hotchkiss, was born in New Haven on October 30, 1762, and was baptized on the following day. An elder brother was graduated here in 1774.

During the invasion of New Haven by the British on July 4, 1779, he acted as an aid to the officer who commanded the force raised in resistance. In this conflict his father and two of his uncles were slain.

For four years after graduation he taught school,--during the latter part of the time in Wethersfield, Connecticut. Meantime he studied theology, and he was licensed to preach by the Hartford South Association of Ministers in October, 1782.

Early in the following month he began to supply the pulpit in Saybrook, Connecticut, where the Rev. William Hart (Yale 1732) had been for six months disabled from preaching. He soon received a unanimous invitation to settle as colleague-pastor, but owing to his consciousness of inexperience he deferred compliance with the repeated requests of this people for several months, and was finally ordained on September 24, 1783, over a church of 69 members.

The senior pastor died in July, 1784, and Mr. Hotchkiss remained in sole charge of the society until June, 1838, when in response to his own request a colleague was settled. During this ministry over six hundred persons had been admitted to the church. He continued in office until his death, in Saybrook, after three days' illness, on March 31, 1844, in his 82d year.

He was married, on August 29, 1790, by the Rev. Richard Ely, of Westbrook, to Amelia Hart, the youngest child of his predecessor in office, who died on August 8, 1845, aged 84 ½ years. Their children were two daughters, who survived them.

Father Hotchkiss, as he was called, was an ideally faithful pastor, and an affectionate, fervent preacher of practical righteousness. His voice was of almost phenomenal strength. Besides his other labors, for a number of years he taught a private school in his own house, at which some thirty young men were fitted for College.

(Taken from Yale College Biographical Sketches, 1778).
Guide to the Frederick William Hotchkiss Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
October 1982
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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