History of New Haven County, Connecticut

VOLUME I

The preparation of this History of New Haven County was begun more than Iwo years ago, work on it having been assiduously prosecuted since October, 1889. The magnitude of the undertaking has been much greater than was contemplated, and the volume of matter has far exceeded the limit originally set by the publishers. It has been found necessary, after the book had been sold, in order to properly embrace these hundreds of additional pages to bind it in two handsome volumes instead of one, as purposed and agreed with the subscribers. These changes have been made at an expenditure o several thousand dollars-apparently a loss to the publishers, but clearly a gain to their patrons. They feel that they have been somewhat compensated for this extra outlay by the appreciative support they have received, in spite of many adverse circumstances The publication, in 1886, of a voluminous and exhaustive history of the city of New Haven .so fully supplied the demand in that locality for such a local work that no patronage was there solicited or received for this book In the city of Waterbury, also, a comprehensive history is being prepared by careful and competent writers, which will afford the people of that section of the county a vast fund of information upon such local matters as will most interest them. Naturally, that prospective work limited the patronage for our book, in that town. Very properly, then since the histories of these localities have recently been so fully recorded elsewhere, and a sense of obligation does not demand their repetition by us, the narratives of these two towns are not here given m detail But complete outline histories of them have instead been prepared, wherein may be found all the salient features of the events connected with them since their settlement. We believe that this arrangement will be generally satisfactory to the citizens of the county, as it has permitted us to write the accounts of other towns, with much greater attention to details, so that a very good knowledge of their affairs and relation to the body corporate can be obtained. In general, these narratives are far more comprehensive and finished than anything heretofore published; and in several instances they are the only accounts of the kind, being the results of original investigations by the compilers of this book. A number of these are citizens of the county, and being men of excellent character, their accounts of the local history of their respective towns may be accepted as based upon the facts of the subjects treated.

Notwithstanding the extended limits given us by the publishers, Ve have been obliged by the vast expanse of the territory embraced and the abundance of its historical matter, to confine ourselves, in most cases, to the simple record of events. Plainness of statement and brevity of style have been conspicuously kept in view, and there has been but little attempt at embellishment. The compilers have endeavored to perform their work impartially, and to give every interest a proper representation. They have sought to avoid the favoritism often seen in works of this nature, and which so greatly detracts from their value. The rich and the poor, the lowly and the exalted, the humble toiler and the prosperous employer, have alike received creditable mention for what they have done. This is proper; this is just. The true history of any country is the simple recital of the deeds of its citizens. Each one in his own sphere is a useful factor in the body politic, and however diverse their interests one is the complement of the other in forming the harmonious whole. But in a work of this nature there is no such thing as absolute perfection. No doubt this book contains mistakes of statements and errors of judgment, as well as the works of others who have heretofore gleaned in this extensive field. We claim, however, credit for an honest intention to make our book as nearly as possible authentic in all things. To that end we have not only compiled from the published works of others and examined much manuscript matter, using diligent effort to verify the same, and spending many months in careful personal investigations, but we visited every part of the county, and in every locality consulted many citizens of worth in every department of life, who were reputed to possess knowledge of this nature. We thus called on at least three thousand of the most progressive people of the county, and these pages contain to a large extent what was learned from them.

It is proper here to acknowledge our gratitude toward all who have so kindly aided us. Without their intelligent and generous assistance we should have failed in our purpose to make this a valuable, popular work; with the help given us we have striven modestly to perform this task, beset by so many discouraging obstacles, and cherish the hope that every reader of this book may derive much pleasure and satisfaction from the perusal and contemplation of its pages.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I.
GENERAL HISTORY OF NEW HAVEN COUNTY 1

CHAPTER II.
TOWN AND CITY OF NEW HAVEN (CONCLUDED) 97

CHAPTER III.
TOWN AND CITY OF NEW HAVEN (CONCLUDED) 144

CHAPTER IV.
THE TOWN OF EAST HAVEN 317

CHAPTER V.
THE TOWN OK NORTH HAVEN 248

CHAPTER VI.
THE TOWN OF HAMDEN 288

CHAPTER VII.
THE TOWN OF WALLINGFORD 340

CHAPTER VIII.
THE TOWN OF WALLINGFORD (CONCLUDED) 378

CHAPTER IX.
TOWN AND CITY OF MERIDEN 456

CHAPTER X.
TOWN AND CITY OF MERIDEN (CONCLUDED) 516

CHAPTER XI.
MERIDEN. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 574

CHAPTER XII.
THE TOWN OF CHESHIRE 657

CHAPTER XIII.
THE TOWN OF PROSPECT 732

 

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VOLUME II

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I.
THE TOWN OF BRANFORD 1

CHAPTER II.
THE TOWN OF NORTH BRANFORD 72

CHAPTER III.
THE TOWN OF GUILFORD 108

CHAPTER IV.
THE TOWN OF MADISON 183

CHAPTER V.
THE TOWN OF MILFORD 210

CHAPTER VI.
THE TOWN OF WOODBRIDGE 282

CHAPTER VII.
THE TOWN OF BETHANY 311

CHAPTER VIII.
THE TOWN OF ORANGE 330

CHAPTER IX.
THE TOWN OF DERBY 365

CHAPTER X.
THE TOWN OF DERBY (CONCLUDED) 417

CHAPTER XI.
THE TOWN OF ANSONIA 476

CHAPTER XII.
THE TOWN OF OXFORD 531

CHAPTER XIII.
THE TOWN OF SEYMOUR 551

CHAPTER XIV.
THE TOWN OF BEACON FALLS 615

CHAPTER XV.
TOWN AND CITY OF WATERBURY 626

CHAPTER XVI.
THE TOWN OF NAUGATUCK 699

CHAPTER XVII.
THE TOWN OF MIDDLEBURY 757

CHAPTER XVIII.
THE TOWN OF SOUTHBURY 774

CHAPTER XIX.
THE TOWN OF WOLCOTT 808

 

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New Haven county was one of the four original counties of the state, created by the general court at Hartford, in May, 1666, the others being the counties of New London, Fairfield and Hartford. It comprised, originally, the towns of Guilford, Branford, New Haven and Milford, the bounds being described as extending from the east side of the former to the west side of the latter. On the south was then, as now, a limit fixed by the waters of Long Island sound, but the northern bounds were vague and undefined. The county included, properly, all the lands ceded by the Indians to the foregoing towns, in the New Haven colony, the remainder of the present area being at that time included in Hartford county. In 1891 New Haven county embraced 26 towns, and was bounded as follows : On the north by the towns of Roxbury, Woodbury, Watertown and Plymouth, in the county of Litchfield; Bristol, Southington and Berlin, in the county of Hartford; on the east by the towns of Middletown, Middlefield, Durham, Killingworth and Clinton, in the county of Middlesex; and on the west by the county of Fairfield, the Housatoni; river forming the dividing line. The contiguous western towns, from the south and lying opposite the towns in New Haven, are: Stratford, Huntington, Monroe and Newtown. The shape of the county is irregular, but it is about 26 miles from east to west, and 21 from north to south. From the extreme southeast corner, in Madison, to the extreme northwest point, in Southbury, the distance is about 35 miles. The area in square miles and acres has never been accurately determined.