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Then and Now: Valentine Wightman and Branford's First Baptist Church

The mystery sketch from last week is the first Baptist parsonage in America -- the home of Valentine Wightman, ancestor of First Baptist Church's Rev. Palmer Wightman.

found a lot of good details while guessing about the identity of the house last week and got awfully close -- especially considering that the home pictured in the image was not actually in Branford! The home was the First Parsonage in America, according to the description of the sketch, which is housed in a frame at Branford's own . Built in 1705 in Groton, it served as the home for Rev. Valentine Wightman. Wightman was the first Baptist preacher in the Connecticut Colony.

Palmer Wightman, who commissioned the sketch, was born in 1820 in Groton, was Valentine Wightman's great-great grandson. Pete wrote in:

Rev. Palmer G. Wightman was a Baptist minister, his total service covering a period of fifty-four years. For twelve years, from 12 June 1864 to 1876, he was pastor of the historic church at Groton, Conn., "one of the most successful periods of the Groton church" (Stark, 159). Other pastorates were at East Lyme, Conn., at Taunton, Mass., and lastly at Branford, Conn.

The sketch was drawn in 1868 and was donated to First Baptist Church by Nancy Kahl, wife of Richard Kahl, a descendant of Wightman's.

SolarPete March 09, 2012 at 03:35 AM
I knew what it was and location, but was trying to be nice and let others guess too :)

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