Connecticut Missionary Society

The Connecticut Missionary Society (also known as the Missionary Society of Connecticut) was a Congregational Church agency founded on June 21, 1798 by the General Association of Ministers in Connecticut. The Society raised funds and sent ministers, as missionaries, to work in the frontier settlements in Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and the Western Reserve (New Connecticut) of Ohio.

Between 1798 and 1818 the Connecticut Missionary Society sent 148 trained ministers to the frontier. Vienna Township's earliest ministers--the itinerants Joseph Badger, Thomas Robbins, and Nathan Bailey Derrow--were sent by the Connecticut Missionary Society. Thomas Robbins was the minister who helped to establish Vienna's Presbyterian Church in 1805, achieving one of the Society's premier goals in its evangelical mission.

The Society also published, beginning in 1800, the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine. This journal, published to raise funds, contained information about the Society's missions and revivals and reprints of theological tracts. Ministers and migrants carried the Connecticut Missionary Society's tracts, books, and other printed materials on their westward journeys. These works were then distributed to frontier settlers.

The ministers of the Connecticut Missionary Society fostered the creation of libraries and schools and aided in the spread of movements such as temperance and abolition.

Updated 8/13/2020
DeRogatis, Amy. Moral Geography: Maps, Missionaries, and the American Frontier. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.
Rohrer, James R. "The Connecticut Missionary Society and Book Distribution in the Early Republic." Libraries & Culture, 34:1 (Winter 1999): 17-26.
Stiffler, Stuart A. "Books and Reading in the Connecticut Western Reserve: The Small-Settlement Social Library, 1800-1860." Libraries & the Cultural Record 46:4 (2011): 388-411.