September 19, 2020

Hear About the History of Old Lyme’s Meetinghouse in a Virtual Talk This Evening by Carolyn Wakeman

OLD LYME — The Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library hosts Carolyn Wakeman discussing her new book, Forgotten Voices, in a virtual program slated for this evening, Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 6:30 p.m.

To register and receive a link to this program, email

Wakeman will speak on the hidden history of the New England Meetinghouse, which is now better known as the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Quoting from the publicity information about the book, “The history inscribed in New England’s meetinghouses waits to be told. There, colonists gathered for required worship on the Sabbath, for town meetings, and for court hearings. There, ministers and local officials, many of them slave owners, spoke about salvation, liberty, and justice. There, women before the Civil War found a role and a purpose outside their households.”

This innovative exploration of Old Lyme, which is the birthplace of two governors and a Supreme Court Chief Justice, retrieves the voices preserved in record books and sermons and the intimate views conveyed in women’s letters.

Told through the words of those whose lives the meetinghouse shaped, Forgotten Voices uncovers a hidden past.

It begins with the displacement of Indigenous people in the area before Europeans arrived, continues with disputes over worship and witchcraft in the early colonial settlement, and looks ahead to the use of Connecticut’s most iconic white church as a refuge and sanctuary.

Relying on the resources of local archives, the contents of family attics, and the extensive records of the Congregational Church, this community portrait details the long ignored genocide and enslaved people and reshapes prevailing ideas about history’s makers.”

The book is a joint project of the Old Lyme meetinghouse and the Florence Griswold Museum.




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