Samuel Seabury : Biography

Samuel Seabury : Biography

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Samuel Seabury was born in New York City in 1873. A lawyer, he served on the supreme court (1907-14) and the court of appeals (1914-16) in New York.

In 1930 Seabury was selected to head the investigations into political corruption in New York City. As a result of his investigations, James Walker, the mayor of the city, was forced to resign. The brought about the decline of the Tammany Society in city politics and Fiorello LaGuardia was elected as the new mayor. Seabury, the author of The New Federalism (1950), died in New York in 1958.

The American theologian Samuel Seabury (1729-1796) was an important figure in the establishment of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Samuel Seabury was born in Groton, Conn., on Nov. 30, 1729, a son of Samuel Seabury, a minister of the Congregational Church who became a convert to the Church of England and was ordained in its ministry in 1730. Young Seabury graduated from Yale College in 1748, went to England in 1751, studied medicine in Edinburgh, and was ordained in 1753. A year later he returned to America under the auspices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and became rector of Christ Church, New Brunswick, N.J. Later he served churches in Jamaica and Westchester, N.Y.

Conflict characterized Seabury's life. He was a High Churchman and a royalist. He believed that the establishment of a strong episcopate in America should take precedence over the organization of a national church.

The Business of Framing Women

Seabury’s first target was the magistrate court system. The commission interviewed over 1,000 witnesses from every level of the court system to find out if it was actually meting out justice. The task force suspected that the justice system and the rest of the city’s administration thrived on bribes and power shares that were handed out by Tammany Hall Democrats and which benefited party members. They quickly homed in on 𠇏rame-ups,” a practice by which police officers framed innocent women for financial gain.

Vice squad officers would find a woman to frame, then send a “stool pigeon” to trick the woman into entering a hotel room in which he had planted money. The police would burst into the room, purportedly to question the stool pigeon, and arrest the woman instead, accusing her of prostitution on the basis of the planted money. Corrupt bail bondsmen and lawyers would then charge exorbitant fees to get her declared not guilty, and the funds were distributed among all parties in the police and judicial system, from judge to bailiff, attorney to bail bondsman.

Seabury and the commission suspected frame-ups were common. But it would take a murder to illuminate just how unscrupulous the courts had become. The commission was already in full swing in 1931, when Gordon was found strangled to death in a Bronx park. Her death intrigued the public and caught Roosevelt’s eye. He ordered Seabury to look into her murder.

Investigators discovered that in the 1930s, Gordon had established a bustling business selling sexual favors, then blackmailing men who didn’t want their wives to learn about their relationships with her. She used the proceeds to curry favors with mobsters, lending them money and buying property throughout New York. Her address book, recovered at her apartment after the murder, revealed connections to over 300 mobsters, many of whom were her clients.

Rope with strands of hair that were around the neck of Vivian Gordon when she was found strangled in Van Cortlandt Park. 

NY Daily News/Getty Images

But the Seabury commission was less interested in Gordon’s prostitution than her 1923 arrest. She had long suspected she was the victim of a frame-up arranged by her ex-husband, John Bischoff. When Gordon was subsequently sentenced to a reformatory, Bischoff had gotten custody of their daughter, Benita. Gordon’s supposedly sordid life was justification enough for judges to repeatedly deny her custody over the years.

When Gordon heard about the Seabury commission, she wrote to both her ex-husband and the cop who had arrested her, telling them she planned to reveal the frame-up. She had even spoken with an attorney about testifying for the commission. Within days of sending the letter, she was murdered.

The Gordon case gave Seabury reason to dig even deeper into frame-ups. Special hearings about Gordon’s earlier arrest revealed that the police officer who had arrested her had received tens of thousands of dollars for his vice work despite a salary of $3,000 a year. They also provided Seabury with leads on the justice system’s connections to mobsters and party bosses.

“It is impossible to estimate how many honest women in this city have been gouged under threat of arrest or conviction of a crime which they were totally innocent” wrote Seabury, 𠇋ut enough testimony has been given on this subject to indicate that the business of framing honest women was very well established and lucrative.”


Samuel Seabury was born on 30 November 1729 in Groton, Connecticut, the son of an ordained Anglican deacon. Seabury graduated from Yale College in 1748 and studied theology with his father, and he became a rector at various churches such as New Brunswick in New Jersey and Jamaica and Westchester (now a part of The Bronx) in New York. Seabury wrote "Free Thoughts on the Proceedings of the Continental Congress", which included "A Farmer's Letter" he said that the Congress did not speak for him, as he opposed the American Revolution. Alexander Hamilton responded with "A Farmer Refuted", where he criticized Seabury's views, and Hamilton said that his dog spoke more eloquently than Seabury, although their "mange (was) the same". In November 1775, he was arrested by local patriots and was imprisoned in Connecticut for six weeks he served as the chaplain of King's American Regiment during the American Revolutionary War. However, he was loyal to the United States after independence in 1783, and he became the first Episcopalian bishop of Connecticut. He died in 1796.

Trinity and Slavery

Samuel Seabury (1729-1796)

Bishop Samuel Seabury proposed and planned for an Episcopalian college in Connecticut.[1] In 1823, the men who founded Washington College (soon to be Trinity College) in Hartford fulfilled this vision. They immediately honored Seabury by naming the main college building after him. Bishop Seabury is celebrated on Trinity College’s current campus in the form of an academic building, Seabury Hall, and the original Seabury Hall at Washington College is depicted in the Trinity College seal. In recent years, the college community has explored its commemorative connection to its looming forefather.

Samuel Seabury was born in Groton, Connecticut, on November 30, 1729, and was the first American Bishop in the Episcopal Church and the first Bishop of Connecticut. He was educated at Yale University–graduating in 1748–where he studied theology, and at the University of Edinburgh, where he studied medicine. After returning to the United States, Seabury served as a rector in parishes in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Jamaica, New York, Westchester, New York, and New London, Connecticut. Seabury died in New London in 1796.[2]

Samuel Seabury was familiar in a direct and intimate way with the institution of slavery as well as enslaved individuals. He supported and benefitted from the eighteenth-century slave economy and enslaved persons over the course of his life.

Seabury and Slavery

The place where Seabury worked and lived for most of his life, the Connecticut Colony (and then the State of Connecticut), featured a robust maritime trade with intimate ties to the transatlantic slave economy. As one historian notes, “when the great city of Hartford was little more than a raw fort, a ship from Wethersfield was already ferrying onions and a horse down to Barbados, where African slaves worked the sugar plantations.” [3] The sugar cane produced by enslaved men and women in the West Indies was brought to Connecticut, where some 21 distilleries in Hartford County alone turned it into rum. The wealth of many early British colonists in Connecticut was tied to slave labor. [4]

Human slavery in the Connecticut Colony was legal and, by the time of the American Revolution, Connecticut had the most enslaved individuals (about 5,100) in all New England. Slaves represented about 3% of the colony’s population in the eighteenth century, but in larger towns like New Haven, Middletown, and New London, slaves made up nearly 10%. Most Connecticut slave owners, except for those on a few plantations in the eastern part of the colony, enslaved one or two, and at times up to six, individuals. [5]

Samuel Seabury grew up in a colony and family shaped by the slave economies and human enslavement. Seabury’s father owned at least one slave, named Newport, whose existence is marked in his father’s will. [6] Two weeks before Seabury married Mary Hicks on October 12, 1756, his eventual father-in-law gifted Mary the slave who had served and would continue to serve as her personal servant. The Seabury-Hicks marriage, therefore, meant that yet again Samuel Seabury lived—and this time managed—a household bound to human enslavement. [7]

There is no record that Seabury supported anti-racist or even antislavery principles. Indeed, at some point in a 1760s legal dispute over money with father-in-law Edward Hicks, Seabury obtained ownership of four enslaved men. These men moved into Seabury’s home, as did his father-in-law. After Edward Hicks died, as part of the ongoing financial disagreement, Seabury transferred ownership of three of these men back to the Hicks estate while continuing to claim a man named Charles as property.[8] Comfortable dealing with human collateral, Seabury disrupted the lives of the enslaved in untold ways as he and members of the Hicks family shuffled around roughly £200 of bonded humans. [9]

Seabury’s ownership and contact with enslaved individuals did not stop in the 1760s. According to the 1790 census, Samuel Seabury in New London County, Connecticut, had 3 enslaved persons in his household. [10] Two of the three slaves documented in the census are likely the ones named in the probate inventory from Seabury’s estate on his 1796 death. This document names among Seabury’s property the 38-year-old Nell and the 9-year-old Rose.[11] Lastly, Seabury’s journal states that his daughter, Maria, lived with him in the parsonage house supplied by St. James’s Church in New London. The Seaburys occupied this property from 1785 until Seabury’s death. Here, Maria directed the household, which included one servant and the enslaved woman Nell. [12]

Seabury’s Writing on Slavery

In the Revolution, Seabury earned a reputation as a loyal defender of Great Britain. He wrote extensively under the pen name A.W. Farmer in the Letters to a Westchester Farmer, pieces that display not only Seabury’s Loyalism, but a particular view of human hierarchy and human slavery. In “A View of the Controversy,” Seabury wrote that “liberty is a very good thing, and slavery a very bad thing” and later notes that “abject slavery” equated in some way with “cruel oppression.” [13] It is important not to remove these comments from the context of Seabury’s life. North American slavery was a racialized institution. Seabury, a slave owner, clearly did not believe “slavery a very bad thing” for Black individuals. In his Revolutionary writings, he indicated again and again that enslavement was a state that individuals—White, Loyal individuals—must avoid. In this Seabury aligned with his rebel American slaveholding counterparts, such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. These White men all wrote fearfully about being placed in bondage to American or British tyranny (though none was ever actually enslaved) because as enslavers they understood the emotional and physical traumas people suffered in conditions of unfreedom.

[2] The best work on Samuel Seabury is Bruce Steiner, Samuel Seabury, 1729-1796 A Study in the High Church Tradition (Oberlin: Ohio University Press, 1971).

[5] All statistics from Peter Hinks, “Enslaved Africans in the Colony of Connecticut.” Microsoft Word – MOD 1 Hinks_forPDF.doc (

[7] All family details from Steiner, Samuel Seabury, 65-66.

[8] “Certifying the transfer of four slaves to father-in-law Edward Hicks from Samuel Seabury, 1765,” Samuel Seabury Papers, MSS Se116, General Theological Seminary, New York, NY. The document is misnamed as Seabury only transfers three slaves in the document. The catalogue entries of the Bishop Samuel Seabury Papers, General Theological Seminary, are found here: Bishop-Samuel-Seabury-1729-1796-Papers.pdf (

[9] For greater understanding of family financial dispute and estimate of slave worth see, Steiner, Samuel Seabury, 66, 75-79.

[10] See entry on page 129 in the 1790 census for New London, CT: New London County – Windham County ( While Seabury’s son, Samuel Seabury, Jr., also lived in New London at the time, Samuel Jr., required regular financial assistance from his father and could not afford slave ownership. See Steiner, Samuel Seabury, 315. The 1796 probate inventory for Samuel, Jr., records no slave property.

[12] “Seabury’s Journal B. 1791-1795,” The Bishop Samuel Seabury Papers, General Theological Seminary, Item 453, as cited in Steiner, 314.

[13] Samuel Seabury, Letters of a Westchester Farmer (White Plains, NY: Westchester County Historical Society, 1930), 109, 120.

Biography of Samuel Seabury

The American theologian Samuel Seabury (1729-1796) was an important figure in the establishment of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Samuel Seabury was born in Groton, Conn., on Nov. 30, 1729, a son of Samuel Seabury, a minister of the Congregational Church who became a convert to the Church of England and was ordained in its ministry in 1730. Young Seabury graduated from Yale College in 1748, went to England in 1751, studied medicine in Edinburgh, and was ordained in 1753. A year later he returned to America under the auspices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and became rector of Christ Church, New Brunswick, N.J. Later he served churches in Jamaica and Westchester, N.Y.

Conflict characterized Seabury's life. He was a High Churchman and a royalist. He believed that the establishment of a strong episcopate in America should take precedence over the organization of a national church. An early controversy left a mark on him. Dissenters, who were in the majority in the Jamaica vestry, opposed the governor's action in making Seabury, rather than the man they had chosen, the town minister. Later, in Westchester, using a pseudonym, he wrote pamphlets in defense of the Church of England and of British rule in America. In November 1775 he was arrested but was permitted to return to Westchester 2 months later. He sought refuge behind the British lines in September 1776 and in 1778 was appointed chaplain to a British regiment. After the war he received a pension from the British government.

In 1783 Seabury was chosen by the Connecticut clergy to obtain consecration as a bishop. The lack of bishops in America had been an obstacle to the growth of the Church, for ordination could be effected only in England. But the English authorities would not agree to Seabury's candidacy, and he was consecrated in the Episcopal Church of Scotland in November 1784. The following year he returned to America as rector of St. James Church, New London, Conn., and bishop of Connecticut, the first bishop of the Episcopal Church in the country.

Efforts to establish a national Episcopal Church had begun during Seabury's absence. His position as bishop caused some opposition to unification some clergymen condemned him because of his actions in support of the British others doubted the validity of his consecration. He was strongly supported by most of the New England clergy, however, and Church unity was achieved at the General Convention of 1789 in Philadelphia. Seabury died on Feb. 25, 1796, in New London.

A Photo of Samuel Seabury and a biography

American Episcopate
(From the Anglican Kalendar)

A crucial date for members of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America is the consecration of the first Bishop of the Anglican Communion in the United States. During the colonial era, there had been no Anglican bishops in the New World and persons seeking to be ordained as clergy had had to travel to England for the purpose. After the achievement of American independence, it was important for the Church in the United States to have its own bishops, and an assembly of Connecticut clergy chose Samuel Seabury to go to England and there seek to be consecrated as a bishop.

However, the English bishops were forbidden by law to consecrate anyone who would not take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. He accordingly turned to the Episcopal Church of Scotland, which had no connection with the government (having originated around 1690 with the non-Jurors: those Anglicans who, having sworn allegiance to James Stuart, would not during his lifetime swear allegiance to William of Orange, and who were accordingly all but outlawed under the new dynasty), and was accordingly free to consecrate him without political complications.

In Aberdeen, 14 November 1784, Samuel Seabury was consecrated to the Episcopate by the Bishop and the Bishop Coadjutor of Aberdeen and the Bishop of Ross and Caithness. He thus became part of the unbroken chain of bishops that links the Church today with the Church of the Apostles.

In return, he promised them that he would do his best to persuade the American Church to use as its Prayer of Consecration (blessing of the bread and wine at the Lord's Supper) the Scottish prayer, taken largely unchanged from the 1549 Prayer Book, rather than the much shorter one in use in England. The aforesaid prayer, adopted by the American Church with a few modifications, has been widely regarded as one of the greatest treasures of the Church in this country.

PRAYER (traditional language)
We give thee thanks, O Lord our God, for thy goodness in bestowing Upon this Church the gift of the episcopate, which we celebrate in this remembrance of the consecration of Samuel Seabury and we pray that, joined together in unity with our bishops, and nourished by thy holy Sacraments, we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

PRAYER (contemporary language)
We give you thanks, O Lord our God, for your goodness in bestowing Upon this Church the gift of the episcopate, which we celebrate in this remembrance of the consecration of Samuel Seabury and we pray that, joined together in unity with our bishops, and nourished by your holy Sacraments, we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

--> Seabury, Samuel, 1729-1796

Loyalist Connecticut clergyman, physician, First Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut, and son of prominent clergyman Samuel Seabury (1706-1764) as an opponent of the revolutionary cause, Seabury retired to New York City during the war, practicing medicine and serving as chaplain and physician to the king's American regiment.

From the description of Account book, 1780-1781. (New York University, Group Batchload). WorldCat record id: 58776033

Samuel Seabury, first bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America, was bishop at St. James Church, New London, Conn., 1785-1796.

From the description of The grace of God that bringeth salvation, ca. 1785-1796. WorldCat record id: 26271847

First Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut and first bishop of the American Episcopal Church.

From the description of Samuel Seabury papers, 1784-1884. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 663999051

Seabury was the first bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America.

From the description of [Sermon by Samuel Seabury, 1773?]. (New England Historic Genealogical Society). WorldCat record id: 50844665

Samuel Seabury was born in 1729 in Groton, Connecticut. He attended Yale College and was ordained a priest of the Anglican Church in 1753. During the Revolutionary War Seabury supported the Loyalist cause and served as chaplain of the King's American regiment. In 1784 Seabury was consecrated the first bishop of the Episcopal Church in America. He served as bishop of Connecticut and Rhode Island until his death in 1796.

From the description of Samuel Seabury collection, 1727-1896 (inclusive), [microform]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122513777

Samuel Seabury, first Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut, born in Groton November 30, 1729, died in New London, February 25, 1796 graduated Yale in 1748 and went to the University of Edinburgh to study medicine but turned to theology in 1753 he was ordained deacon and two days later priest sent by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel as a missionary to New Brunswick in 1754 and espoused the cause of the Anglicans who were fighting for control of the proposed Kings College, New York wrote newspaper articles in their behalf, thus beginning his career as a "controversialist and pamphleteer" served in Jamaica, Long Island, where he also practiced medicine he and his colleagues began their literary struggle to keep the colonies loyal to the crown and his most important pamphlets were signed A.W. Farmer imprisoned and released during the Revolutionary War and after the war was selected for Episcopal consecration which he received in Scotland from the Non-juring Scottish prelates (the English Anglican clergy did not think they could perform this ceremony) returned to America as rector of St. James Church, New London and Bishop of Connecticut until his death.

Evert Bancker, surveyor and member/speaker of the New York state assembly?

From the description of Letter to Evert Bancker, 1792 December 6. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 57620971

Seabury was the first bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.

From the description of Papers, 1718-1814, 1770-1796 (bulk) (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155475360

Added 2014-08-04 21:21:49 -0700 by Mary Kathryn Laumar

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About Dr. Samuel Seabury, Sr.

Dr. Samuel Seabury, s. of John Seabury and his wife Grace, b. Dec. 10, 1640 of record at Boston, Mass. He was bapt. at the Boston 1st Ch. May 22, 1642, being then "aged about 1 yr 6 mos."

On Nov. 9, 1660 of record at Weymouth, Mass., Samuel m. 1) Patience Kemp, dau. of William Kemp (deceased) and Elizabeth,2 Partridge (Rev. Ralph,1 of Duxbury) and step-dau. of Rev. Thomas Thacher, b. circa 1642 at Duxbury, Mass. Patience d. Oct. 29, 1676 at Duxbury.

Children of Dr. Samuel Seabury and 1st wife Patience Kemp, b. of record at Duxbury, Mass. [Dux. VRs]:

• 1. Elizabeth Seabury, b. Sept. 16, 1661 m. 1) circa 1691 Joseph Childs (q.v. Chiles), who d. testate Apr. 11, 1718 at Marshfield, Mass. five children of the marriage Elizabeth m. 2) July 31, 1718 of record at Marshfield [Marsh. VRs], Lawrence Caire (q.v.), but their subsequent whereabouts and fate has not been found.

• ii. Sarah Seabury, b. Aug. 18, 1663 is included in her father's 1681 will, but not named as living in 1707 in a petition to the Plymouth Probate Court by Sarah's brother-in-law Joseph Childs. No marriage or death for her has been found.

• iii. Elder Samuel Seabury, Jr., b. Apr. 20, 1666, d. Nov. 10, 1763 at N. Yarmouth, Maine m. 1) Dec. 13, 1688 at Duxbury, Abigail Allen, dau. of James Allen, Esq. & Elizabeth,2 Partridge (George,1 of Duxbury), b. Dec. 28, 1667 at Sandwich, Mass. She d. July 31, 1733 at N. Yarmouth, Maine. They had 12 children of record at Duxbury, but only five survived beyond childhood, and only s. Dea. Samuel Seabury, 3rd remained at Duxbury, Mass. Elder Samuel Jr., m. 2) Sep. 27, 1738 at N. Yarmouth, Margaret, wid. of Stephen Larribee. There were no children of this second marriage and Margaret d. at N. Yarmouth May 18, 1754.

• iv. Hannah Seabury, b. July 7, 1668, d. before May 1700 m. Dec. 24, 1684 at Duxbury, John Partridge, s. of George,1 Partridge & Sarah2 Tracy (Stephen,1 of the Little Ann), b. Nov. 29, 1657 at Duxbury. Five children of the family. He m. 2) May 23, 1700, Mary Brewster of Kingston, Mass., widow of Wrestling Brewster, the gr.son of Elder William Brewster of the Mayflower and Plymouth Colony. They had two children and John d. at Duxbury Apr. 5, 1731, Æ 74. His widow Mary d. at Kingston, Mass. Nov. 12, 1742, Æ 81.

• v. John Seabury, b. Nov. 7, 1670 d. in infancy Mar. 18, 1671/2.

• vi. & vii. Grace & Patience Seabury, twins, b. Mar. 1, 1672/3 both died in infancy, Patience Mar. 7, 1672/3 and Grace Mar. 13, 1672/3.

• viii. John, b. circa 1674, d. Dec. 17, 1759 at Hempstead, NY m. Dec. 9, 1697 at Duxbury, Elizabeth Alden (David,2 John,1 of the Mayflower.) Eight children of the family.

Samuel Seabury m. 2) on Apr. 4, 1677 at Duxbury, Martha Pabodie, dau. of William Pabodie and Elizabeth Alden, latter the gr.dau. of John,1 Alden (Mayflower) & Priscilla Mullins, b. Mar. 6, 1650/1 at Duxbury. They had the following two children at Duxbury:

• ix. Joseph Seabury, b. June 8, 1678, d. Aug. 22, 1755 at Little Compton, RI m. 1) Sept. 25, 1701 at Little Compton, Phebe Smith, who d. at Little Compton Apr. 21, 1715. Phebe was NOT nee Fobes.[*1] He m. 2) Mary Ladd, who d. at Tiverton, RI Feb. 26, 1733/4.

• x. Martha Seabury, b. Sept. 23, 1679, d. after May 3, 1747, prob. at Little Compton, RI m. Dec. 20, 1705 at Tiverton, RI, Josias Sawyer, s. of John Sawyer & Mercy Little, who d. at Little Compton in 1733.

Dr. Samuel Seabury d. testate at Duxbury Aug. 5, 1681. The widow Martha m. 2) as his only known wife, Lieut. William Fobes, by whom she had four more children. Lieut. Fobes d. testate at Little Compton (at the time part of Mass., now in Rhode Island) Nov. 6, 1712 and Martha there Jan. 25, 1711/12.

[*1] Phebe is claimed to be the dau. of Lieut. William Fobes, Joseph Seabury's step-father, but this claim is the result of an imaginary 1st marriage of Lieut. Fobes to Elizabeth Southworth based on erroneous records by the Town clerk of Little Compton, RI. Phebe Smith did not have a first husband surnamed Smith and was not the widow Smith when Joseph Seabury married her. The writer leaves it to others to find the proof.

Birth: 10 DEC 1640, Boston, Suffolk Co., MA

Death: 05 AUG 1681, Duxbury, Plymouth Co., MA

Married: 04 APR 1677, Duxbury, Plymouth Co., MA

Spouse: Martha Pabodie b: BET 24 FEB 1649/50 AND 24 FEB 1650/51, Duxbury, Plymouth Co., MA d. January 12, 1712 (61) Little Compton, Newport County, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

Samuel Seabury : Biography - History

ANDREWS, SAMUEL, Church of England clergyman b. 27 April 1737 in Wallingford Township, Conn., youngest son of Samuel Andrews and Abigail Tyler m. 13 Sept. 1764 Hannah Ann Shelton of Stratford Township, Conn., and they had six children d. 26 Sept. 1818 in St Andrews, N.B.

When he was a young boy, Samuel Andrews’s family left the Congregational Church and joined the Church of England. It was the time of the Great Awakening and young Samuel grew up in the midst of a clamorous ecclesiastical atmosphere. He graduated from Yale College in 1759, spent two years as a lay reader in Wallingford, and was chosen by his fellow churchmen as a candidate for holy orders.

In April 1761 Andrews proceeded to England with John Beardsley . They were ordained deacons on 23 August and priests on 24 August by the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Secker, in Lambeth Palace chapel . Appointed a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to serve the Wallingford area, Andrews took up his charge in January 1762 and proved to be an untiring worker. His conscientious reports to the SPG show a steady growth in church membership while recounting the difficulties in ministering to widely scattered congregations, some of them far outside his own mission. At the time of the Stamp Act crisis in 1765 Andrews reported that under “the peculiar Circumstances of the Times” he had been preaching on the “Duty of Obedience to the higher Powers,” a stand taken by most of his fellow Anglican clergy. Although his lack of sympathy with those opposing the Stamp Act marked him as a tory, his work was undisturbed until the actual outbreak of hostilities.

In June 1775 Andrews had occasion to exhibit his loyalist sympathies. At a town dinner in George Washington’s honour, the guests suffered through a long-winded, patriotic opening prayer. When called on to give thanks after dinner, Andrews simply quoted Eccles. 5:21, “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” He then sat down, having displayed not only his political stripes but a well-honed sense of humour as well.

On 20 July 1775, a day prescribed by the Continental Congress for prayer and fasting, Andrews’s most overt action against the rebellion took place. Choosing as his text Amos 5:21, “I hate, I despise your feast days . . . ,” he gave a sermon in which he again spoke against resistance to authority, calling on Americans to do nothing “but what the laws of God approve” in order to serve their country. His remarks aroused much hostility, and in response Andrews published them to show that he was not in contempt of the fast day but was prompted by a concern for his countrymen. He was nevertheless placed under heavy bonds to keep the peace and severely restricted in his movements only the high regard for him in the town saved him from physical violence. During the war years he ministered as best he could, but undoubtedly suffered indignities and distress. Upon renewing his correspondence with the SPG in 1782, after a lapse of six years, he was reluctant to describe “my own Concerns, since the Troubles,” reporting instead on the work he had performed in that time.

After the war Andrews and his friend James Scovil, rector of Waterbury, travelled to Nova Scotia in 1784 as agents for parishioners wishing to settle there. A promise of land in the Chedabucto Bay area was obtained from Governor John Parr*, but the scheme fell through for lack of aid with moving costs and supplies. When the SPG was obliged to withdraw its support of missionaries in the United States it offered several positions in New Brunswick to its Connecticut clergy. In August 1785 Andrews advised the SPG that he would continue in its service, but it was not an easy decision. Despite his wish to enjoy British government, his first concern was for his parishioners, which “would prevail against every Consideration, did I not conceive that the Penury to which I and my Family must soon be reduced, would prevent the Success of my Labours.”

On 25 May 1786 Andrews arrived at Saint John and received his appointment from Lieutenant Governor Thomas Carleton to serve the shiretown of St Andrews and the whole of Charlotte County. It was a rugged coastal and inland area just being settled, but at St Andrews itself the new rector found a well-ordered populace “of different National extractions.” He set to work without delay organizing his mission, and then in October 1786 returned to Wallingford to settle his affairs and to fetch his family. While there he suffered a paralytic stroke and after a partial recovery arrived back in St Andrews on 14 July 1787. A second attack in November severely curtailed his ability to travel, but by the end of 1788 he had recovered sufficiently to resume his rounds.

Andrews’s ministry in Charlotte County involved extensive and arduous travel by sea as well as land to reach remote settlements. His reports recount a continuous tale of service, illness, and financial hardship as he worked to counter “straggling New Lights,” “fanatic teachers from the American States,” and “ignorant Anabaptist Teachers” who “infested” the extremities of his mission from time to time. Despite repeated requests he did not obtain an assistant until just before his death, but his persistent efforts led to the appointment in 1811 of Richard Samuel Clarke as SPG missionary in St Stephen (St Stephen-Milltown).

During his years in New Brunswick Andrews maintained contact with old Connecticut friends, among them Abraham Jarvis, the second bishop of Connecticut. Andrews had played a full role in the struggle to establish an episcopate in the American colonies during his ministry there, and he espoused a similiar cause while in New Brunswick. Along with most of the loyalist clergy, however, he did not favour the choice of Charles Inglis as bishop of Nova Scotia in 1787. Eventually Inglis’s neglect of New Brunswick brought forth requests for a separate diocese, and Andrews and his fellow clergy urged Carleton to press for a bishop resident in the province.

Along with his religious orthodoxy Andrews possessed a liberal outlook and a fine sense of humour which were able to win and retain the affections of the large nonconformist element in St Andrews. The persistent exertions of the preacher Duncan M’Coll* to establish Methodism on a firm footing in St Andrews met with little success, and during his lifetime Andrews was able to maintain the town&rsquos allegiance to the Church of England. Only after his death did the various denominations set up their own churches, and for a decade after his death Methodism remained &ldquoa foreign element&rdquo in the town. Andrews&rsquos service in St Andrews can truly be said to have &ldquorepresented a triumph for the Church of England in that parish.&rdquo

Although he had no commercial interests, Andrews gathered regularly with the town’s leading merchants in the Friendly Society, which he founded in 1803. At its convivial gatherings members discussed science, philosophy, and other learned matters. These meetings and his printed sermons, which are superior in style and matter to many of those published by his contemporaries, show Andrews to have been a man of broad intellectual interests.

In 1791 Andrews purchased an island near St Andrews on which he lived the rest of his life, riding across the tidal bar to and from his duties. Now called Ministers Island, it commemorates his former presence in the area. At his death Andrews was widely mourned on both sides of the border. This “venerable and Pious and Primitive Missionary” performed a masterly job in organizing the church in his large pioneer mission despite frequent bouts of ill health. His diligent efforts, and those of the other loyalist clergy who worked long and hard to serve the needs of their parishioners, firmly settled the Church of England in New Brunswick.

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