Tolland — Churches
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
The only church in the town is the Congregational Church at Tolland Centre. The organization of this church dates back to 1795, when what is now Tolland was yet known as West Granville. In that year, or the year following, a church structure was erected near where the present edifice stands, but there was no regularly settled pastor until in January, 1798, when Rev. Roger Harrison was ordained. Besides fulfilling the office of pastor, Mr. Harrison served the towns of Granville and Tolland in various offices of public trust. His pastorate continued from 1798 to 1822, when he was dismissed. He continued, however, to reside in Tolland until his death, in 1853, at the age of eighty-four. During Mr. Harrison's ministry Gordon Hall, who was born in 1784, in what is now Tolland, made a profession of religion as a member of Mr. Harrison's church, and shortly thereafter entered college, whence he went to India as an American missionary. He became distinguished in the missionary field, and at the time of his death, which occurred in Bombay in 1826, he was somewhat noted as an author.
After Mr. Harrison's retirement, the church depended for upward of twenty years—until 1843—upon supplies. In that year Rev. Alonzo Sanderson was ordained, and continued to be the pastor until 1852, after which there was no settled pastor until 1853, when Rev. Franklin D. Austin was called to the charge. The old church building stood until 1842, when it was replaced by the present edifice. Rev. David Ogden is the pastor now in charge (1879). The church membership, which numbers about 75, includes several persons resident in adjacent towns.
There is in the "south quarter" a Baptist society, which was organized in 1830, but it has never owned a church building, nor has it enjoyed regular worship. Services are occasionally held in the dwellings of the members, as convenience serves.