During the 1600s, the exodus from Wethersfield was often by groups of families that moved to new places, such as Hadley, Massachusetts, and Stamford, Connecticut, which were founded by people who had disagreements with their fellow First Church members. By the 1800s the exodus was mostly families moving west to take advantage of the better and more plentiful farmland available there.
In 1693, Glastonbury, originally part of Wethersfield, became an independent town-the first in a series of breakaway communities, the last one being Newington, which became independent in 1871. The Connecticut River separates Glastonbury from Wethersfield, and that natural barrier made it difficult for those living in what is now Glastonbury to attend church each Sunday as was generally required, and for men from Glastonbury to attend required militia drills. This encouraged the formation of an independent Glastonbury.
Today, the Connecticut River is no longer the barrier it once was, and as a result, over a hundred families from Glastonbury attend First Church in Wethersfield. They are joined here by people from all over Connecticut and even from southern Massachusetts. This trend of people from outside of Wethersfield traveling here regularly for church began in earnest in the 1980s.