History of Windham County, Connecticut

VOLUME I (1600-1760)

Town, church and court records, the archives of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, standard histories, the collections of many Historical Societies, unpublished manuscripts, private diaries and letters, and such local traditions as could be substantiated, have furnished the material for this work. The genealogical investigations of Mr. William L. Weaver of Willimantic, the ecclesiastical researches of Rev. Robert C. Learned, and general facts, gathered and preserved by Rev. Daniel Hunt of Pomfret former residents of Windham County, all now deceased have been of great service. Aboriginal items and translations of Indian names have been kindly given by Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull. No pains have been spared in sifting, collating and arranging this mass of material. Statements conflicting with those in previous histories, have been very carefully considered, and are only made upon positive evidence.

The numerous extracts from records and ancient documents are believed to be faithful transcripts of the originals, save corrections in spelling and the occasional supply of words when needful. Dates are copied as written. Those prior to September, 1762, are therefore in old style and it will be necessary to add eleven days to any date to bring it in correspondence with the same day of the month at the present time. Celebrators of coming bicentennials will need to pay especial heed to this point.

The map of Ancient Windham includes all the territory ever pertaining to Windham County, and original bounds and land-grants, so far as they could be identified. The plat of the Mashamoquet is a fac-simile of the original, which is preserved among the town records of Pomfret. The reader will observe that it reverses the points of compass.

The history of towns afterward incorporated into other counties, is not here given. A second volume, to be published, it is hoped, within two years, will bring the History of Windham County to the latest date.


Table of Contents

Aboriginal Gleanings... 1

BOOK I. 1670-1726.
BOOK II. 1726-46.
BOOK IV. 1745-60.


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VOLUME II (1760-1880)

It is perhaps in it natural in completing work of this character, attempting to cover so large a field, that the author should be more conscious of its omissions than its inclusions- To show what had been accomplished by Windham County in the past it was necessary to include the present a delicate and difficult matter, rather within the province of the gazetteer than the historian. Passing events and conditions have been touched as briefly as possible and present actors very sparingly introduced. Critics will note with more asperity of judgment the absence of statistical details and tabulated statements, especially with reference to the three wars in which Windham bore a part; as also of genealogical and topographical data, so essential to a thorough knowledge of any particular section, A future supplement may supply these facts, which it has been impossible for the author to collect at the present time. She has achieved, she trusts, a clear and truthful narrative of the settlement and development of the towns comprising Windham County, gathered from the archives of the towns and State and from innumerable other sources a narrative which though strictly confined to county limits, very strikingly sets forth the growth and development of the Nation, and its institutions. The observing reader will see in how many ways this little corner has sent out its influence, and how vitally it is connected with the growth of the body politic. Great pains have been taken to represent its social character and changes, and to gather up and collate every possible detail of the lives and services of those residents most connected with its development. Undoubtedly with all this care persons worthy of mention have been omitted, and undue prominence may have been given to others. Mistakes and misapprehensions in a work of this kind cannot be avoided, especially in such matters as were never before brought into history, derived from many independent sources. But it is believed that these defects and errors are comparatively trilling, and that the friends of Windham County have good reason to be satisfied with this record. Especially will they be gratified with the faces of honored citizens, familiar still to some and greatly revered by all, that enrich its pages. Long cherished as priceless treasures by descendants and friends, they will be warmly welcomed in many Windham County homes, and will give to future generations a more vivid realization of the days and scenes with which they were connected. The public will join with the writer in thanks to the kind friends who have generously aided in the reproduction of these valued portraits ; others which were greatly desired it was impossible for various reasons to secure. As the record of events comes down to the present, it seemed but fitting that our picture gallery should include a living representative our chief official resident, the present lieutenant-governor of Connecticut which his friends and constituents will highly value.

Grateful thanks are also due to the many friends who have given valuable information. Especial mention should be made of our efficient State Librarian, Charles J. Hoadly, Esq., who furnished needful material and opened many sources of information. Reports of interesting incidents, not to be found in the County, were sent back from the papers of the late Hon. Ephraim Cutler, Marietta, Ohio. J.R. Simms, Esq., Fort Plain, New York, author of the History of Schoharie County, and other historical works; Mr. George Webb, Elizabeth, New Jersey; Mr. Pulaski Carter, Providence, Pa.; Mr. J.Q. Adams, Natick, II. L former residents of Windham County have kindly contributed many valuable notes, incidents and reminiscences. Documents collected by the late William L. Weaver, Esq., received from Mr. Thomas S. Weaver, and excerpts from his local notes and genealogical papers, preserved by Prof. Cleveland Abbe, of Washington, D.C, were especially helpful. Very valuable papers and pamphlets were found in the collection left by John McClellan, Esq., Woodstock. For these many favors, and the innumerable details furnished by residents of every town, for the sympathy and aid received from so many sources, the writer can only express lier appreciative thanks, and her hope that their expectations may be fully realized. In completing a work which has given her a much higher estimate of Windham County's past standing, the writer cannot but hope that it may excite a truer appreciation in others, and by stimulating county feeling and healthy emulation, help to make its onward course yet more prosperons. and its future record yet fairer and more honorable.


Table of Contents

BOOK V. 1740-1775.
BOOK VI. 1764-1783.
BOOK VII. 1783-1807.
BOOK VIII. 1807-182O.
BOOK IX. 1820-1845.
BOOK X. 1840-1880... 551

A. Origin of Town Names 591
B. English Report of Putnam's Wolf Fight 591
C The Battle of the Frogs 592
D. A Relic of Slavery 593


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The heavy burden borne by Windham County through the wearisome French and Indian war was not without its compensations. Stringent compulsory demands called out the energies of the towns and developed their resources. Wider experience, and the stimulating discipline of camp and battle, made stronger men of those engaged in warfare, and fitted them for greater usefulness at home. No town was more favored in this respect than Pomfret. Her sons greatly distinguished themselves in the war, and returned to engage with equal zeal and fidelity in the service of town and county- At the annual meeting of the town, December 1, 1760, many of these returned soldiers were elected to town offices. Deacon Jonathan Dresser served as moderator. More than fifty men were needed to fill the various public offices.