Part 9: Williamstown
This is a reprint of The Haystack Prayer Meeting. It was written by Edward Warren Capen, PH.D. president of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, now Global Ministries, and published as one of the 1906 Envelope Series. Subscribers paid 10 cents per year for the series.
PLEASE NOTE: This piece was written in 1906 and therefore reflects the language of that time.
While these events were occurring in Massachusetts, an equally important work was going on in Connecticut. The Spirit of God was working mightily in the churches of Litchfield County. So widespread was it that Rev. Edward D. Griffin, later professor at Andover, pastor of Park Street Church, Boston, and president of Williams College, declared that in 1797 he could stand at his door in New Hartford, Connecticut, and count fifty to sixty congregations in contiguous counties “laid down in one field of divine wonder.” From these towns a small procession of students was going to Williams College, recently organized in 1793, among the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts. The influence of these men was needed, for in the fall of 1800 there were but two Christian students in the institution, both of these the fruits of the Connecticut revival. Through these men and those who joined them, the new spirit began to creep into the college. Their influence was seconded by a revival at Williamstown which began in the spring of 1805 and continued for two or three years. This helped to arouse the students to an interest in religion. In April, 1806, to the freshman class, which already contained James Richards, was added a young man from Litchfield County. This was none other than Samuel J. Mills, only recently a Christian, but already filled with the missionary spirit.