A Brief History
The Merryall neighbors formed a society and called it the Merryall Union Evangelical Society. Its object was to build a house of worship for the community. Miss Elsie Nickelson donated land to the association for the chapel because she believed in the cause. It was women like Emeline Good who persuaded the families of the area to build the chapel.
The Merryall Chapel was dedicated on December 18, 1890. It was dedicated as a non-sectarian Christian chapel. The Merryall Chapel was not built by any denomination, but by people who wanted their children to have a religious education. They held their beliefs with a strong conviction, but allowed room for the beliefs of others.
In the early 1900’s a group of neighborhood women joined together to maintain and support the Merryall Chapel and Sunday School. They formed the Merryall Sewing Club in 1916. It continued for over 50 years. The members provided the upkeep and care of the building and property and held religious services each summer. They also provided social activities for the families of Merryall neighbors. My mother was a member of the Merryall Sewing Club and I remember the Christmas parties with Santa Claus. The children of the members had to memorize pieces and recite them at the party. We had to do this at the front of the chapel.
The members of the Sewing Club raised money by holding annual dinners and bazaars where they sold their hand made quilts, aprons, pot holders and baked goods, also white elephant items. The money taken in was not only for maintenance of the chapel, but also for donations to Newington Children's Hospital, New Milford Hospital, Red Cross, etc. During the Second World War, the women rolled bandages and provided other items requested by the American Red Cross.
The efforts of these women preserved this historic building for over half a century. They kept the roof on and doors open during the middle 60 or 70 years of the chapel’s existence. Three of the member’s children are active today in the Merryall Union Evangelical Society. They are Clifford Burnett, Pamela Ramsey Collins and Glenys Burnett Stack. Ella Skoog Schultz is probably our most faithful older member. Her husband’s father was the first Sunday School class member.
Dr. McFarlane Tilley and his wife rejuvenated interest in the chapel and led the neighbors and friends in repairing the building.
At the present time, we have services once a month from May to December. Members of the clergy from various denominations conduct our services.
We also welcome couples to have weddings in the chapel. The first was in 1898. The couple married were Vesta Abbot and John Wells. Their son was George Wells.
All are invited to attend the services. Call Duane Stone, President, at 860-350-1987 for more information.