Contents Previous Page Next Page
24th day of November in the year of our Lord Christ 1720.
Sealed and delivered in the prefence of
Milford Nov. 24th. 1720 Then perfonally appeared Richard Bryan (Sr.) and acknowleged the above writeing to be his free act and deed before me
Samuel Eells Afsistant
Recorded March the 23rd. 1721 (Old Style)
John Fowler, Clerk
The house described in this land record of 1721 still stands today. Located on Old Tavern Road, it is the oldest existing house in Orange. In later years history notes, that "a descendant, John, lived south of the 'green' and his son Richard had a store on the west side of that plot of ground."
Between 1687 and 1700 many of the settlers were still fighting in the Indian wars and in February of 1690, when Schenectady was burned by the Algonquins, many soldiers from the Milford area, which included the Bryan's Farms area, were killed.
First School Established
Upon the deeding of land and buildings to Richard Bryan, Jr., by his father, it was not long before other farmers saw fit to follow Bryan's footsteps. As early as 1750 it became necessary to set up a "winter school" for the children of the numerous families in the area.
With the establishment of a school, the farmers of Bryan's Farms were able to give their children the rudimeints of reading, writing, and arithmetic; however, they and their families were still tied to the southern part of Milford by the necessity of Sunday worship.
There were two meeting houses in Milford proper and those families in Bryan's Farms were obliged to travel there each sabbath for worship. Winter was especially difficult for them, what with unimproved roads and the usual mode of travel was by foot. Upon arrival, the farmers and their families spent the entire sabbath in an unheated meeting house. In the evening when they returned home, they found a cold hearth and chores to be done. When they retired for the night, it was to cold rooms and beds.
Sabbath worship was a "must" in those days and as decreed by law:
All and every person and persons whatsoever, shall and they are hereby required on the Lord's Day, carefully to apply themselves to the duty of religion and piety, publically and privately; and that whatsoever person shall not duly attend the public worship of God on the Lord's Day, in some congregation by law allowed, unless hindered by sickness, or otherwise detained or hindered, shall incur the penalty of three shillings for every offense, and being presented by authority for such neglect, shall be deemed guilty thereof, if such person shall not be able to prove to the satisfaction of said authority that he or she has attended the said worship.
This law had been enacted by the governor, the council and the representatives in the General Court. For this reason, was it any wonder that the sabbath played a governing role in the lives of those farmers at Bryan's Farms and that the meeting house was the center of their lives. For these reasons they felt that it was necessary to have facilities for sabbath services closer to home during the winter months. Therefore, in 1792, they erected a simple meeting house, 30 feet by 36 feet, on the north end of the present green in the center of Orange.
After petitioning the two church societies in Milford for preaching in Bryan's Farms in winter, they were finally granted six Sundays. The clergymen of the two Milford churches, who traveled on horseback, alternated in conducting these services.
In the following year, the two societies granted 10 services but it was not until three years later, 1796, that the sabbath services were increased to 12.
Settlers in Early Wars
While those at home were involved with the matters of schools and sabbath services, a number of the men were serving in the campaigns of the French-English-Indian Wars. One of these was David Hine of the 7th Company, 2nd Regiment who marched to war from New Haven on September 12, 1755. Others who served in 1757 were Joseph Riggs, Lieutenant and his command, Fletcher Prudden, David Miles, Elijah Hine, Charles Prindle, David Woodruff, David Lambert, Eli Tomlinson, John Crowfoot, Hezekiah Hine and Benjamin Clark. The previously listed names are but a portion of the "Muster Roll of Ye