Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Dancing On an Autumn Day in 1824

Dancing and socializing on an autumn day with friends sounds pleasant. Not quite for Great Grandmother Mary. Here’s the story.

My 3rd Great Grandmother Mary A. (Case) Peck was born Jan. 23, 1800 in Norwich, New London Co., Connecticut. Mary was the fourth child of Asahel Case and Rosanna Sloan.

It’s likely the Case family attended the First Baptist Church in Norwich since two daughters were baptized into the congregation. Great Grandmother Mary was baptized when she was 17 years old on Nov. 12, 1817. Eleanor Case, Mary’s older sister, was baptized the same year. Baptists generally didn’t believe in Sunday school or baptizing infants. They felt it was the parents’ responsibility to teach their children the Christian faith. On her baptism day, Mary was immersed in water according to First Baptist traditions.

Church meetings began with singing and prayer. I can’t say if this was the case with Great Grandmother’s church but some Baptist churches wouldn’t allow musical instruments at their services.

Apparently, the Baptists frowned on dancing. At an unknown locale in the fall of 1824 Mary enjoyed a little dancing with the young people. You know how word gets around; someone told the Church Elders. At the Oct. 5, 1824 church meeting, the fifth order of business directed Elder Palmer to call on Mary Case.

Three days later, Friday, Oct. 8, 1824, Sister Mary Case appeared at the meeting house and admitted “she has done wrong” and appeared contrite.  Afterward she was warmly accepted by the church community.

Image from Connecticut State Library Microfilm Collection

                               Friday, Octr. 8th 1824
                                                    Met pursuant to
                               adjornment opened the Meeting by Singing
                               & prayer and proceeded to business - - - - -
                               1st Sister Mary Case being present manifested
                               She had done wrong in joining with the youts
                               in dancing manifested repentanes of past  Gave
                               Satisfaction to the Chh. & was cordially received

You can read more about Mary Case’s married life at blog post Bester B. Peck, Husband and Father, 1798-1863.

   Vital Records of Norwich 1659-1848, pub. Hartford; Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut; 1913, Part II, Page 628
   First Baptist Church Records, Norwich, Connecticut, 1800-1889, Microfilm Reel #64, 65, LDS #0005066 housed at the Connecticut State Library, Hartford, Connecticut

My Ancestry
3rd Great Grandmother Mary A. Case and husband Bester B. Peck
2nd Great Grandmother Mary M. Peck and husband Walter S. Wilson
Great Grandfather Jerome W. Wilson and wife Grace Lee Clark
Grandmother Viola L. Wilson and husband Frank Leroy Doty
My Mother

Anton Romako's Watercolor, 1889
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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