United Church of Ludlow as it originally appeared
Submitted by Robert Kottkamp
Hon. Daniel A. and Sarah E. Heald appeared at the United Church of Ludlow on Sunday, April 29 to give a sketch of their lives and importance in the church’s history. The visitors created excitement about the public Birthday Party of the church on Saturday, May 5th and Sunday, May 6th to which all are invited.
Daniel A. Heald was born in Chester in 1818 and grew up on a farm. He attended Chester Academy and Kimball Union Academy of Meriden, NH, and graduated from Yale in 1841. After moving to Ludlow, Heald was admitted
Lisha Klaiber and George Thomson as the Healds
to the bar in 1843. While in Ludlow, he practiced law, was a Representative and Senator in the Vermont Legislature, and built a large lumber mill in Healdville.
In Ludlow, Daniel met colleague at the bar, Judge Reuben Washburn, and his daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, born in Cavendish in 1820. Daniel and Sarah married in 1843 and took up residence on Main Street adjacent to her parents. Both families were active members of the Congregational Church. Later, Sarah published her remembrances as a young girl attending Sunday services in the 1806 Congregational building on High St. She and Daniel worshiped and participated in leadership in the 1839 building after their marriage.
The Healds left Ludlow in 1856 for New York City as Daniel became General Agent for the new Home Insurance Company. By 1888, he became President. Of more importance nationally was his work addressing the danger of fire, especially in large cities. He invented fire insurance and was the prime mover in organizing the National Board of Fire Underwriters, quickly becoming president. He was a major advocate of full-time, paid fire services in New York City and elsewhere.
By 1890, the church was cramped in its 1839 building, and the Heald couple became interested in the church’s growth. They received Ludlow property in her parent’s estate and talked with the Building Committee, including Dr. Daniel and Viola Cooledge, and offered to donate a building lot on the corner of Elm and Pleasant Streets. The church accepted their generous offer. The Healds engaged an architect to plan the existing, now 120 years old, only authentic shingle style church in Vermont.
Their beneficence continued.
They gave the main stained glass window in honor of Sarah’s parents, Hanna B. and Reuben Washburn and the porte-cochere. Sarah donated the Ladies Parlor and its complete furnishings, including frescos on the ceiling. She engaged in all the details of the room’s decoration and convinced Mrs. Seth Thomas to donate a mantel clock.
While Daniel was the financial provider, Sarah was a strong woman, both a writer and artist. She authored children’s books. An Old Family (1887) and Mother Kate and the Brownies: A Christmas Story (1888) are still available on Amazon.com. She painted from memory the 1806 church, which hung in the current building for years. The atypical central window indicates her influence. It depicts Jesus talking with Mary and Martha. Then and today it is very unusual to see women centrally depicted in protestant church windows. The accompanying photo shows two rocking chairs still in use selected by Sarah for the Ladies Parlor.
The whole community is invited to the Church’s 220th (of founding) and 120th (of the building) Birthdays. Some of the many features of the birthday party will feature:
- · meet the Rev. Peter and Lydia Read (Peter was the first pastor),
- · Dr. Daniel and Viola Cooledge,
- · Daniel and Sarah Heald,
- · explore graffiti inside the organ,
- · hear interpretations of Plaques to “Pop” Dorsey and Edwin O’Connor, Jr.,
- · find Revolutionary, Civil War, and WW I records of church members,
- · see the 46 star flag from the parsonage attic,
- · climb the belfry to the 1839 bell,
- · and many other activities.
Saturday, May 5: Activities from 3:00; Dinner seatings at 5:00 and 6:00. Sunday, May 6: Worship and Building Rededication 10:15; free Ice Cream Social and simultaneous Activities repeated 2:00-4:00. For more information: Bob Kottkamp 802-228-6282 or email@example.com. Church website: www.unitedchurch.us.
Pictured above is a photo of the church as it appeared shortly after it opened.