|The Barnum and Richardson families provided
the lion's share of the capital for construction of Trinity Church.
Senator William H. Barnum provided the building --
that much is clear from a November 10, 1874 article in the Hartford
Daily Courant as well as another article from January 1875,
while the Richardsons largely furnished it. Names of both families are clearly tied to the furnishings, as the remaining physical
evidence in the church shows.
The November 10, 1874 article says in part
"....It is paid for, I cannot tell how much it cost but was informed
that a certain well-known, large-hearted and generous railroad and iron
man in the Village of Lime Rock could if he would, tell all about it.
To that man the people in that region are much indebted for one of the
best churches in the state."
The subsequent article, detailing the proceedings
at the Diocesan Convention the following year, a quotation from the
Bishop makes it clear that the church was the donation of one
individual. Given what we know of the history of the parish and of
Lime Rock, there is no question that it was Senator Barnum.
for some information about Barnum Richardson
Company, the company for which Lime Rock was a "company town".
to download our
Self-guided tour brochure!
Memorials in Trinity Church
Please click on any of the pictures
below to see a larger version.
This plaque, identifying William H. Barnum as "a
founder of Trinity Church" is, interestingly enough, found today on
the door of the Episcopal Church Women closet in Walker Hall. It's not known whether the
plaque was made when Walker Hall was added, or whether it previously was
located somewhere else in the building. Also of interest is that
Barnum is not usually referred to as "the Senator" or even
afforded the honorific "the Honorable" around the church,
although he, a Democrat, was the Junior Senator from Connecticut from 1876
- 1879. He was also Chairman of the Democratic National Committee for
the campaigns of 1880 and 1884.
According to the inscription on our bell, it was donated
by James L. and Cornelia Richardson, shortly after the church was
Our spectacular lectern, the inscription tells us, was
donated in memory of William H. Barnum and Charlotte Barnum in 1900.
Clearly the influence -- or at least the generosity -- of the Barnum family
was still considerable at that time. We do not yet
know who funded the donation, although Senator Barnum's son, William Milo
Barnum, one of three founders of the Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett (at
that time called Simpson, Thacher & Barnum) law firm in New York City
would have been a good candidate. That firm was especially involved
in railroad reorganizations, and Barnum was responsible for setting up the
American Locomotive Company in 1901 -- no doubt his father's business
specializing in train wheels would have given him a good background for the
task. He retired from Simpson, Thacher in 1904 and at that time his
name was dropped from the firm's name. (This information from the website
of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, LLP, July 2003)
While it is difficult to photograph well, the two main
windows in the back wall of the church (the wall facing Route 112) were
donated in memory of Leonard Richardson. He and his
Barnum, father of William H. Barnum, were the founders of Barnum Richardson
Company. Leonard Richardson died in 1864, before Trinity Church was
established, but his heirs continued to maintain an interest in both the
company and in Trinity Lime Rock.
Our ornate brass pulpit was a memorial to Lucy Caroline
Richardson Harwood. Parish tradition is that she died in childbirth
at the age of 27, and that the intricate brasswork of the pulpit includes
27 lilies, one for each year of her life.
Other memorials include the following:
The brass altar vases and the font cover, in memory
of Helen Gilbert, granddaughter of Charles W. Barnum and Mary
Altar and Reredos in memory of Lucy Ann
(Barnum) Richardson, born 1814, died 1898, widow of Leonard
The Mary Magdalene window, in
the chancel, donated my Mrs. William H. Barnum "In memory of our
mother" Lucy Beach Burrall, born February 21, 1791 and died
September 4, 1834.
The altar windows in memory of
Walter Phelps, born May 1, 1789 and died December 14, 1872. Me
married Julia Beach, and they were the grandparents of Ann Theresa
Phelps, who married William Milo Barnum.
Quite obviously our efforts to document the early days of our parish are
an ongoing effort. We have located several binders of
pictures and ephemera from several periods in the history of the parish,
and as well some portraits of the founders.
to see the pictures we've already got in the pictorial
archives on this website. We periodically scan and add more from
Further, we have
the parish's paper archives to review, and have located a significant
collection of the papers of the Barnum and Richardson Company in the
University of Connecticut Libraries that will bear analysis. As
still another project, we hope to collect some oral history from the
Many members of the Barnum and Richardson families are buried in the Lime
Rock Cemetery, across Dugway Road from Trinity Church.
to see photographs of many gravestones from that cemetery.
In short, we
anticipate bringing considerable additional information about the
place of Trinity Lime Rock in the iron industry of the Upper Housatonic
Valley in coming months and years. Please come back and see!