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Saugatuck Congregational Church

The church's history began in 1830 when the village, named Saugatuck (meaning "mouth of the tidal river") was but a part of Fairfield, Norwalk, and Weston — the towns from which Westport would be carved in 1835. Saugatuck was a busy, flourishing community; a shipping port for the produce from surrounding farms, which was carried by onion boats to Boston and New York. It was a stagecoach stop on the important Post Road. Among the prominent families at the time was that of Ebenezer Jesup. He was a dealer in wholesale grain and produce, shipping mostly to Boston, and soon became the wealthiest resident of the village. Although an inhabitant of Greens Farms, Jesup's wharf and warehouses were along the river, and it is not surprising that in 1810 he decided to build a residence more convenient to his place of business. The handsome dwelling was considered the finest mansion in Fairfield County, and that location eventually became the center of town. As the community grew, there arose an interest in organizing a local church and ecclesiastical society. Their meetinghouse in Greens Farms was but three miles away, but travel was difficult and attendance at divine worship in those days was required. This was no small decision for these men and their families. In addition to a commitment for supporting the new building, there was the decision to leave their current society. The church played an important role in the social life of the families involved, and one can well imagine the difficulties caused by such an upheaval, despite the fact that they were moving only a short distance. The decision to establish a new center of worship came in 1830 when the Saugatuck Meetinghouse Association appointed a committee consisting of the Honorable Samuel B. Sherwood, Ebenezer Jesup, Dan Taylor, Thomas F. Rowland, Samuel Avery and Sullivan Moulton to attend to building a meetinghouse on land which belonged to Ebenezer Jesup. In conformity with honored custom, they chose a lofty and commanding site on the south side of the Post Road, about 600 feet east of the present church.