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Jonathan Todd4, (John2, Christopher1) born March 20, 1713; d. Feb. 24, 1791; married Jan. 9, 1735, Elizabeth, dau. of Capt. Samuel Couch, of Fairfield, Conn., who was born 1710, died Dec. 14, 1783. No children. Ordained pastor of the church in East Guilford, now Madison, Connecticut, Oct. 24, 1733, where he remained until his death in 1791, an exceptionally long pastorate of 58 years, all spent in one place. Graduated from Yale, 1732.3,
“He was a distinguished scholar, and a judicious critic in the learned languages: had given considerable attention to philosophy, and had thoroughly studied history, both ancient and modern…..Assiduous in his application to reading, and preparations for the sanctuary, making the sacred oracles his guide, he fed his hearers with knowledge and understanding…Christ Jesus and him crucified was the sum and substance of his preaching.
He had a happy talent at conversation. In times of uncommon sickness and mortality he devoted almost the whole of his time to visiting, and praying with the sick and dying, and administering consolation to the afflicted. A clear discernment and sound judgement made him an able counsellor.
He was singularly mild and amiable in his disposition, clothed with humility and plainness.
At his death, not one of the sacred order in the State had been of so long standing in it. Not one head of a family was then living, of all who were living at the time of his ordination. During his ministry he buried about twice his whole congregation. The calmness and resignation for which he was distinguished under all the afflictions of life of the gospel, were conspicuous in his most painful visitation through the last year of his life. Having uniformly and eminently exemplified the spirit of Christianity, he closed life with serenity, with peace, with joy, with hope.”
From his sermon of Rev. James Dana, D. D., quoted and amplified by Rev. John Elliott.
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“My great uncle was a plain, primitive clergyman in olden times. He lived a very long quiet life, dwelling among his own people, equally primitive.
He seldom went out of his parish, and though he was a great student and thorough scholar yet in the things of this world he was a child in simplicity. It so happened that there was a vessel cast ashore near his house, and from the wreck several Africans, directly from Guinea, emerged. I never knew all the circumstances: but they came into his hands, and my uncle made pets of them all. He thought of instructing and educating them, and sending them back to Africa, and he thought of making them school-teachers here, and he had divers schemes for their elevation.
But they were full grown people, could not speak a word of English, were immensely stupid, and never having been brought up to work, were anything but industrious. He gave them Scripture names, Cush, Tamar and the like. Cush was the oldest, uniting simplicity and cunning so that it was often difficult to say on which principle he was acting. His simplicity always had his own ends in view. Among his exploits, he got up a company of boys as soldiers. He made them long sticks for guns, but–a drum! He set his heart on having a drum for his company. In those days gentlemen wore small clothes and white-top boots. My uncle was nice in his dress, and no one in his parish had his head in more perfect wig, or his feet in more becoming white-top boots.
At great expense and pains he had procured a side of white leather for his boots, and laid it up carefully. All at once the leather was gone; but a smothered sound from something called a drum among the boy-soldiers revealed the secret. Cush had cut it up to make two drum heads: when called to account, he gravely assured his master that his company were delighted, and said, “the minister had more patriotism than all de gemmen in de town.”
By Rev. John Todd, D. D.
By his will, Mr. Todd emancipated all his servants, making at the same time sufficient provision for them to encourage them to support themselves.
“I do Declare my will in respect of my Servants and Slaves: I have long been convinced in my own mind that the Enslaving of the Africans brought from Africa, or those Born in this country, is unjust: and it is one of the sins of the land, and would Endeavour to free my Estate from the Cry of such a sin against it: and therefore do order and will in the manner and form which is following.”