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History of Connecticut
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Local History Notes:
The two chief points of difference between the Dutch and British in America were, that the Dutch were traders, possessed of wealth, but rather commonplace, from a social and intellectual standpoint; the British were settlers and home-makers, and were of a superior class socially and intellectually but possessed of less fortune. This social and mental difference was probably due to the fact, that the Dutch pioneer traders in America were men who were born to that calling and in that station of life, while the British settlers were people of education and gentle birth who were forced to leave their homes in Great Britain, because of their strong religious convictions. They came to found homes in the New World as settlers, rather than as traders, whose place of abode was changed for a more profitable location when trade diminished or the chief commodity of trade, fur-pelts, became
scarce. The trading posts of New Amsterdam and Fort Orange became permanent settlements when the British superceded the Dutch, and the names of those posts were changed to New York and Albany.
The first white settlement in the Connecticut Valley was made in Wethersfield in 1634, for, when Captain William Holmes, when he sailed up the Connecticut, past the dumb Dutch cannon at Hartford, to Windsor and set up his frame trading house, he did no more than to establish a trading post which, however, became a settlement later.
The Dutch purchased their right to the land from the chiefs of the Pequot Indians. It was but a small area immediately about Dutch Point. The English purchased their right to the land from the Sachems of the Indians who were generally spoken of by the settlers as the River Indians. It was a vast territory. The English claimed the stronger title from the fact that they had purchased from the original owners of the land while the Dutch had purchased from a usurping nation.
The Pequots were a powerful, savage and cruel tribe which had come to the Connecticut from the north-west, in the neighborhood of the Mohawks, of New York, to which tribe it is not improbable that they were related, or at least allied, in times long past. The Pequots became the terror of the southern New England Indians and were regarded as their conquerors. They drove the River Indians from their long-time homes in the valley.
The law-loving, law-making, and law-abiding English, wishing to base their claim to the land upon a deed that would be sustained in law, sent with Captain William Holmes, in his little vessel, to Windsor the Sachems who had been driven out by the Pequots. The English restored the River Indians to their ancient birth-right and then purchased it from them. There was probably no wish to be just in this transaction. It was a matter of shrewd business on the part of the English. The superficial friendship of the River Indians for the English was almost as good business since, without the support of the irresistible wills of the English and their straight shooting firearms, the River Indians would soon again have been reduced to their former abject, homeless state. On the part of the settlers, their intense desire to save the souls of the heathen was gratified to a certain extent
by the closeness of the Indian village to the white settlement. They felt, that although the Indians generally refused Christianity, some good was accomplished through the example of the whites. And besides this, so long as they maintained a nominal friendship for the settlers, the number of Indian enemies, against whom they must be constantly on the watch, was lessened. But the people were greatly annoyed by these same friendly Indians for they were habitual thieves and once in a while would-be murderers.
When the people of Watertown, Massachusetts, moved to the Connecticut Valley they settled at a great bend in the river at a place called by the Indians Pyquag, meaning the dancing place or place for public games, which they named Wethersfield. This was the first permanent settlement in Connecticut. Here the few pioneers built their poor little log-cabins and passed a hard winter of cold and privation, but they were content in the knowledge that they were far from the irksome conditions in Massachusetts which, to be rid of, they had taken the long, wearying journey to the Connecticut.
Early in the following year the people left behind in Watertown, who were destined for the Connecticut, arrived, the majority coming by ship. It is said that they arrived several months earlier than the Hooker party, which made the journey through the forest. After the vessel which bore them to their new home in the west lay moored by the bank of the river, the honor of being the first to set foot upon the land of hope and promise was hotly contested by the men of the party, each one stating this or that reason why he was entitled to enjoy the privilege. While this dispute was going on a woman, by the name of Barber, seeing an opportunity to wrest the honor and privilege from the men, jumped from the vessel and reaching the shore made herself famous, for so long as the history of Connecticut shall exist, by being the first white woman to tread upon Connecticut soil.
The village was built upon a slight, flat elevation, above the rich meadows that lay along the river. Could one of those early settlers come back to Wethersfield now and find the streets and houses just as he knew them in 1635, he would still be at a loss to know where he was. This confusion would be caused by the great change in the appearance and course of the river. It would be difficult to describe the changes which have taken place in the Connecticut at Wethersfield, since 1635. The change in the course of the river at Wethersfield was the cause of at least
one law suit, for land which had formerly been on the east side of the river was found to be on the west side. An account of the resulting law suit is given under the caption, Glastenbury.
Wethersfield was so situated that it was more harried by the Indians, being nearer to the Pequots' headquarters, than either of the two other settlements, Hartford and Windsor. One of the most atrocious acts of that cruel and bloodthirsty tribe, the Pequots, committed in Wethersfield was one of the chief causes for the Pequot war of 1637.In April, 1637, as the men were going into the fields to begin the work preliminary to planting, they were ambushed by a band of Pequots. Three women and six men were killed and scalped and two girls were taken as prisoners; twenty cows were killed and considerable other property was destroyed.
From 1673, to 1693, the Town of Wethersfield included the present Towns of Newington, Glastenbury, Rocky Hill, and portions of Berlin and Marlborough. In October 1693, the area of Wethersfield was reduced one half, by cutting off all that part on the east side of the Connecticut River.
Wethersfield was the mother-town of many of the towns in western Connecticut. In 1638, and '39, there was an exodus to Quinnipiac by Lieutenant Robert Seeley and John Evans, to whom the old records gave the title of gentlemen; Abraham Bell, John Clark, John Gibbs, Richard Gildersleve, John Livermore, and Richard Miles. In 1639, the Rev. Peter Pruden headed a considerable company that settled at Milford -- then called Wepo-waug -- in 1640, the Rev. Richard Denton and about thirty others, went to Stamford -- then called Rippowams -- and in 1639, and '40, a small company settled Stratford -- then called Cupheag. In 1644, and '45, Branford -- then called Totoket -- was settled by the Rev. John Sherman, Robert Abbott, Roger Betts, Leslie Bradfield, Robert Foot, John Norton, William Palmer, John Plumb, Sam Richells, Robert Rose, Charles Taintor, John Ward, Thomas Whitway. The Rev. Mr. Sherman went from Wethersfield to Milford in 1639, thence to Branford. He was an ancestor of General W. T. Sherman and Senator John Sherman. By 1660, the number in Branford had been increased by about sixty other settlers. In 1659, the trouble in the Hartford Church caused another and considerable exodus, this time
to Hadley, Massachusetts, under the spiritual leadership of the Rev, John Russell, Jr. This was the last organized company to leave Wethersfield.
Unlike the settlers of Hartford and Windsor, those of Wethers-field had no organized Church when they arrived in the Valley of the Connecticut. The Church was not organized till the spring of 1636. Although there were several ministers in Wethersfield the Church did not have a minister, till the Rev. Henry Smith was settled over the parish, in 1641. Mr. Smith's pastorate was made unpleasant by that still-existing cause of discord -- the rich and influential member -- who in this instance was the ruling elder, Clement Chaplin. The Rev. John Russell, Jr., who went to Hadley, was the second minister. Unlike the majority of the Connecticut towns, Wethersfield's ministers were constantly changing, their pastorates being brief. The Rev. John Cotton was minister from 1660, to 1663; the Rev. Joseph Haynes, son of Governor Haynes, succeeded Mr. Cotton for about a year; the Rev. Thomas Buckingham preached for one or two months,
in 1664; in 1664 and 1665, the Rev. Jonathan Willoughby preached; the Rev. Samuel Wakeman preached for a few months in 1666; the Rev. Samuel Stone -- son of the original Samuel Stone of Hartford -- from 1666 to 1669. The Rev. Gershom Bulkeley became minister in 1667, and continued as such till his health failed in 1676. Mr. Bulkeley was a man of broad mind and liberal education. He was a graduate of Harvard and was as well known throughout New England for his skill as a surgeon and lawyer, as for his ability as a preacher. In the Indian war of 1675, he served in the dual capacity of chaplain and surgeon. His wife was a daughter of President Chauncey of Harvard. The Rev. Joseph Rowlandson was the minister from 1677, to 1678, in which year he died; the Rev. John Woodbridge, from 1679, till his death in 1691; the Rev. William Partridge from 1691, till his death in 1693.
The first typical New England pastorate began in 1693, when the Rev. Stephen Mix became the minister. Mr. Mix's pastorate continued for forty-four years, ending at his death in 1738. The Rev. Stephen Mix was a son of Thomas Mix, of New Haven. He was graduated from Harvard. His wife was Mary Stoddard, daughter of the Rev. Solomon Stoddard, of Northampton, whom re married in 1696. Mr. Mix was succeeded by the Rev. James Lockwood, who was minister from 1738 till his death in 1772. Mr. Lockwood was offered and declined the presidency of Prince-ton and of Yale. The Rev. Dr. John Marsh was settled in 1774. His pastorate continued for forty-six years and ended at his death in 1821. The Rev. Dr. Caleb Jewett Tenney, who was Dr. Marsh's assistant for the last five years of his pastorate, succeeded Dr. Marsh as minister. Dr. Tenney was graduated from Dartmouth in 1801, at the head of the class of which Daniel Webster was a member.
When the first meeting-house was built is uncertain, as the records give no information on that subject. That there was a meeting-house in 1646, which was probably begun in the previous year, is certain, from the records. Authorities differ as to whether this was the first or second church structure. In 1685, a new church was built not far from the site of that of 1646, and in 1761, the present fine specimen of Colonial church-architecture was erected, not far from the sites of its predecessors. It
is of the same style as the famous Old South Church, on Washington street, in Boston. General Washington, and the elder Adams, attended service there.
The first Baptist Church was organized in 1784, and the first church edifice was erected in 1816. Although George White-field preached under the great elm on Broad street, in 1740, Methodism cannot be said to have started till 1790, when Jesse Lee, of Virginia, and Freeborn Garrettson preached in Wethersfield, but the first Methodist church was not built till 1824. An attempt was made by the Rev. Samuel Johnson, of Stratford, to establish an Episcopal Church in Wethersfield in 1729, but no parish was organized in the town till 1797, in that portion that is now Newington. It soon ceased to exist. There were schools in the town for many years before 1700. The records show that the first school-house was in such condition that it was unfit for use in 1660.
While Wethersfield of to-day is proud of the fact that it has no hotel nor any place where the weary and hungry traveler may rest and eat, it was well supplied with taverns in the old days. John Saddler was probably the first tavern-keeper, in 1642, on High street. In 1675, Richard Smith, who was the ferryman, kept a tavern on the New London road, at the ferry; and John Belden was licensed to keep a tavern in the same year, on Broad street. John Devotion kept a tavern in 1713; Benjamin Belden, in 1714; Corporal John Francis in 1717. Stillman's tavern was the house in which Washington consulted with officers of his army, in 1781.
From: Historic towns of the Connecticut river valley, by George S Roberts, published ca 1906
The 1854 Gazetteer of the United States by Thomas Baldwin shows:
CONNECTICUT, one of the original states of the American confederacy, and the most S. W. of the New England states, is bounded N. by Massachusetts, E. by Rhode Island, S. by Long Island sound, and W. by New York. It lies between 41° and 42° 3´ N. lat., and 71° 55´ and 73° 50´ W. lon.; being about 93 miles in length from E. to W., and 68 miles in its greatest breadth from N. to S.; including an area of about 4674 square miles, or 2,991,360 acres, of which 1,734,277 were improved in 1850.
Population: The population of Connecticut is, in common with the other New England states, of more pure English origin than the other states of the Union, though of latter times an influx of emigrants from foreign countries has commenced. In 1790, there were in this state 238,141 inhabitants; 251,002 in 1800; 262,042 in 1810; 275,202 in 1820; 297,675 in 1830; 309,978 in 1840; and 370,791 in 1850; of whom 180,001 were white males; 183,404 white females; 3749 colored males; and 3737 colored females. This population was divided among 73,448 families, occupying 64,013 dwellings. To confine one's attention to the increase of the residents of the state, would give a very inaccurate idea of the increase of the enterprising and sturdy sons of Connecticut; who has been sending forth all over the Union, leading merchants, statesmen, and lawyers, who have not only assisted in founding new states but are among the prominent men who direct the affairs of those already formed. And although she may also send forth some itinerant tradesmen and sharpers, these are not to be regarded as the fair representatives of the morals of Connecticut or New England. Of the population in 1850, 290,653 were born in the state; 39,883 in other states of the confederacy; 5091 in England; 26,689 in Ireland; 2027 in Scotland and Wales; 959 in British America; 1671 in Germany; 321 in France; 704 in other countries; and 794 whose places of birth were unknown. Number of deaths in the year ending June 1st, 1850, 5781, or nearly 18 in every 1000 persons. The number of paupers who received aid in the same period, were 2237, of whom 465 were foreigners. Of 192 blind, 15 were colored persons. Of 389 deaf and dumb, 4 were colored. Of 462 insane, 13 were colored. Of 300 idiots, 4 were colored.
Counties: Connecticut is divided into 8 counties, viz. Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, and Windham. Capitals, alternately Hartford and New Haven.
Cities and Towns: New Haven is the largest town in Connecticut; population, 20,345. The other most important towns are Hartford, population 13,555; Norwich, 10,265; Danbury, 5964; New London, 8991; Bridgeport, 7560; Stamford, 5000; Stonington, 5431; Middletown, 4230; Litchfield, 3953; Fairfield, 3614; and Windsor, 3294.
Face of the Country: Much of the surface of Connecticut is hilly and rugged, being crossed by several ranges of low mountains, or perhaps more properly, high hills. The Green mountains, entering the N. W. portion of this state from Massachusetts, extend in a succession of detached eminences through the W. part of Connecticut. Another range, in the N. of the state, intervenes between the Green mountains and the Talcet, or Greenwoods range, which cross the state from its northern boundary to near New Haven. Farther east are the Middletown mountains, extending parallel to the last-named ridge, between Hartford and a point east of New Haven. Crossing the Connecticut river, we come upon a ridge that appears to be a continuation of the White mountains of New Hampshire. The Green mountain ranges, and the mountains east of the Connecticut, are primitive, or granitic; while the ether ranges, near the west bank of the Connecticut, are composed of trap rock, more precipitous on the western than on the eastern declivity. There are, between these ranges, valleys and plains of greater or less extent, and, those on the river intervals particularly, of great agricultural capabilities. The channel of the Connecticut, in the lower part of its course, is cut through a primitive formation. The trap rocks generally rest on a base of sandstone.
Mineral: Public attention has been much excited, in this period of mineral development, by the rediscovery, near Middletown of an argentiferous lead mine, which appears to have been worked previously to the Revolution. The fortunate (if we may call that fortunate which was the result of scientific skill) re-discoverer, was Eugene Frankfort, M. D., a French mineralogist and chemist, a pupil of the celebrated Liebig. Dr. Frankfort was led to the discovery by the appearance of certain rocks, which indicated mineral treasures, near the mouth of what proved to be a lead mine, that appears to have been closed for a long period. The archives of the past have been searched, and proof is thought to have been found that Governor Winthrop knew of and worked this mine, which it is supposed he closed to elude the vigilance of the crown officers. Independently of its richness in lead, the ore of this mine is largely argentiferous. The region around Middleton is rich in lead, zinc, cobalt, and copper, and companies are forming, with large capitals, to work the different mines.
Rivers, Bays, &c: Long Island sound washes the entire southern boundary of the state. New Haven bay is the largest bay opening into the sound, though there are a number of small ones. The Connecticut river, entering the state from Massachusetts, traverses its whole extent from N. to S., and divides it into two nearly equal portions. This river is navigable 50 miles for vessels, drawing 8 feet water. The Housatonic, crosses the western part of the state, first in a S. W. and then in a S. E. direction, and is navigable for small vessels 12 miles. The Thames, in connection with its main branch, the Quintbang, traverses the E. part of the state, and is navigable 14 miles to Norwich. New London, on this river, has an excellent harbor. These rivers all empty into Long Island sound. The Farmington river enters the Connecticut from the W. above Hartford. The Shetucker, on the east, unites with the Quintbang to form the New Thames. The smaller rivers and streams abound in falls and rapids, which afford valuable water-power.
Objects of Interest to Tourists: Though Connecticut has no high mountains, or any scenery reaching the sublime, she has much that is highly picturesque in various parts. The shores of the Connecticut river are often bold and precipitous; sometimes with rugged cliffs on one side, while the other spreads into beautiful meadows, terminated by hills or mountains at no great distance. Romantic hills and low mountains diversify the whole of that part W. of the Connecticut river and some of the eastern portion. "At Rocky Hill, near Hartford," says Goodrich, "in a quarry of building stone, the junction of sandstone and trap is conspicuously exhibited. Most of the ridges are parallel, and their western parts generally precipitous, so that in many places the country seems divided by stupendous walls. Immense masses of ruins are collected at their feet. These consist sometimes of entire cliffs and pillars of many tons weight, which are thrown off by the freezing of water in the gullies, and often fall with a mighty concussion into the valleys. On the opposite side, there is generally a gradual slope, covered with trees." "In Meriden," (we quote the same author,) "is a natural ice-house, in a narrow defile between ridges of greenstone. The defile is choked up with the ruins of the rocks which have fallen from the ridges, and form a series of cavities overgrown with trees, and strewn with thick beds of leaves. The ice is formed in the cavities of these rocks, and remains the whole year. A portion of it melts during summer, causing a stream of cold water perpetually to flow from the spot. The space between the mountains is called Cat Hollow, and presents the most wild and picturesque scenery in the state." Mount Tom, near Litchfield, is 700 feet high, and Bald mountain, near the Massachusetts line, is the highest elevation in the state W. of the Connecticut river. The chalybeate springs of Stafford, in the neighborhood of Bald mountain, are the most noted in the state. There is a waterfall near Norwich, that Bartlett has thought worthy of a place in his Views of American Scenery. Sachem's Head, Say Brook, and Guilford, on Long Island, are places of resort in the bathing season.
Climate, Soil, and Productions: The climate of Connecticut, like that of New England in general, is severe in winter, though vegetation, owing to its somewhat more southern latitude, commences a little earlier in the spring than in the other Eastern States. It is liable, in March and April, to chilling N. E. winds from the ocean, but the same proximity to the sea mitigates the heats of summer and renders the nights pleasant. The soil in the valleys of the Connecticut, Quinipine, Housatonic, and other streams, is generally very fertile, especially that of the Connecticut. The N. W. and E. parts of the state are best adapted to grazing, but the W. has many fertile districts suited to raising grain. Wherever the soil admits of it, it is skillfully tilled, and is generally made to produce the most it is capable of with our present system of culture. Connecticut yields most abundantly butter and cheese, live stock, Indian corn, oats, rye, market products, tobacco, wool, and Irish potatoes; she also produces wheat, peas, beans, barley, buckwheat, hay, grass-seeds, and beeswax and honey in considerable quantities, and some sweet potatoes, wine, hops, flax, silk, and maple sugar. In 1850 there were in the state 22,445 farms, occupying 1,768,168 acres of improved land, or less than an average of 80 acres to each farm, which produced 41,762 bushels of wheat; 600,893 of rye; 1,935,043 of Indian corn; 1,158,738 of oats; 2,689,725 of Irish potatoes; 229,297 of buckwheat; 30,449 of grass-seeds; 1,267,264 pounds of tobacco; 497,454 of wool; 6,498,119 of butter; 5,363,277 of cheese; 50,796 of maple sugar; 93,304 of beeswax and honey; 516,131 tons of hay; live stock valued at $7,467,490; orchard products, at $175,118; market products, at $196,874, and slaughtered animals, at $2,202,266.
Manufactures: Connecticut has long been celebrated for the itinerant vendors of its manufactures, who have travelled over our country in all directions, and have even penetrated the neighboring countries of Mexico and Canada. Though its wares are generally fabricated in small quantities by individuals with trifling capital, yet the aggregate amount is great, placing Connecticut among the first of the manufacturing states of the Union. The wooden clocks of this state note the lapse of time to the remotest settlers of our Western States, and have of later years been exported even to Europe. Wooden, iron, copper, tin, and brass ware hats, boots, shoes, coaches, combs, axes, buttons, saddlery, paper, and agricultural and mechanical apparatus, are all largely manufactured in this state. Extensive factories of cotton and woolen goods have lately sprung into existence, and the following figures will show that Connecticut does her full proportion in the production of these important articles. She is nearly equal to New York or Pennsylvania in the absolute amount of those articles produced, and, compared with her population, greatly superior, while she is only inferior to Pennsylvania in the relative amount of iron manufactured. In 1850, there were 3913 manufacturing establishments, producing annually $500 and upwards; 128 of these were cotton factories, employing capital to the amount of $4,219,100, and 2707 male, and 3478 female hands; consuming $2,500,602 worth of raw material, and producing 51,780,700 yards of stuffs, and 950 pounds of yarn, worth a total value of $4,257,522; 149 woollen factories, employing a capital to the amount of $3,733,950, and 2907 male and 2581 female hands; consuming raw material worth $3,325,709, and producing 9,408,777 yards of cloth, worth $6,465 115 tanneries employing $360,500 of capital, consuming raw material worth $453,854, and producing a total value of $731,000; 91 furnaces, forges, &c., employing $1,335,900 of capital, and 1464 male and 7 female hands, consuming raw material worth $999,374, and producing 30,955 tons of castings, wrought iron, &c.; $15,500 were invested in the manufacture of spirituous and malt liquors, consuming 20,000 bushels of Indian corn, 20,000 of rye, 10 hogsheads molasses, and 2 tons of hops; and producing 130,000 gallons of whisky, wine, &c., and 1200 of rum; and homemade manufactures were produced, valued at $188,996.
Commerce: The foreign commerce of Connecticut is nearly all carried on through the ports of New York and Boston. She has, however, some direct trade with the West Indies, and an active coasting trade. Her domestic trade consists principally in the export of her manufactures. There were 9 arrivals in the ports of Connecticut from the whale fisheries in 1852, bearing 802 barrels of sperm and 12,065 of whale oil; indicating a decline in the trade, as in 1851, 4387 gallons of sperm and 99,124 of whale oil were imported. The foreign imports for the fiscal year 1852 amounted to $394,675, and the exports to $506,174; tonnage entered, 30,850; cleared, 37,744; of which about one-third was foreign; tonnage of the several districts, 125,088 21/95; of which 25,992 11/95 was engaged in the whale fishery, 6764 32/95 in the cod, and 1554 20/95 in the mackerel fishery; and number of vessels built 65, with an aggregate tonnage of 9034 93/95. Of the vessels built, 6 were steamers.
Internal Improvements: Connecticut is threaded in all directions by railways, connecting her principal towns with each other, and with New York and Boston. Lines of railway coast Long Island sound from New York to New London, from which branches diverge to the N. from Bridgeport, New Haven, New London, Stonington, and smaller places, uniting the towns just named with Albany, Pittsfield, Winsted, Tarriffville, Hartford, Springfield, Palmar, Worcester, Providence, and various intermediate places. The Providence, Hartford, and Fishkill railway is completed for 51 miles. Several branch railways diverge from the main tracks to Danbury, Collinsvilla, and other villages. In January, 1853, there was a grand total of 647 miles of railway in operation in Connecticut, and 198 miles in course of construction. Of the lines projected, one is an air-line railroad, between Boston and New York.--See Table of Railways, APPENDIX.
Education: This state has long been celebrated for the attention she has given to the subject of popular instruction. She had, in 1852, a school fund of $2,049,482, originally derived from the sale of certain public lands in Ohio, the property of the state. Although this fund has distributed among the schools of the state nearly $4,000,000 since its formation in 1795, it has nearly doubled its principal. In 1852, the revenue distributed among the different schools was $132,792. 80. The number of children in 1851, between 4 and 16 years, was 94,852. The Legislature appropriated $10,000 in 1849 for the formation of a state normal school for the instruction of youths intending to become teachers which had, in 1850, 154 pupils. These are educated gratis, but the number at one time in the institution must not exceed 220. There are schools connected with this for exercising the pupils in the practice of teaching, which had 400 pupils in 1851. An active zeal is manifested in this state for improvement in the modes of instruction, and, to promote this end, societies of teachers are formed, and state and county conventions held. Yale College, the most numerously attended of any college in the United States, had 440 students in 1852, and 51,000 volumes in its library. This is one of the oldest colleges in the country, and has sent forth some of the most distinguished scholars, divines, and statesmen of the Union. It is located at New Haven. There are two other colleges in Connecticut with an aggregate of 195 students and 27,000 volumes in their libraries. There are also 2 theological schools with 55, 1 law school with 26, and 1 medical school with 37 students: See Table of Colleges, APPENDIX.
Religious Denominations: Of the 719. churches in Connecticut in 1850, the different sects of Baptists owned 113; the Congregationalists, 252; the Episcopalians, 100; the Methodists, 178; the Presbyterians, 17; the Roman Catholics, 12; and the Universalisis, 22. The rest belonged to the Africans, the Christians, the Free Church, the Friends, Mariners' Church, Scandinavians, Second Advent Union Church, and Unitarians. These give an average of one church to every 515 persons. Value of church property, $8,554,894.
Public Institutions: Connecticut has manifested the same wise and benevolent care for her erring and unfortunate children as for literary instruction to the virtuous, healthy, and sane. An act was passed in 1851 for the establishment of a State Reform School, for the instruction and reformation of juvenile offenders under 16 years of age. The state appropriates $10,000, a like sum to be contributed by individuals. The Retreat for the Insane at Hartford receives a liberal contribution from the state. Since its establishment in 1824, it has received 2818 patients, of whom 1203 have recovered, 712 improved, and 222 died: April 1, 1852. there were 181 patients in the institution. The expenditure for the year was 828,637.50; received for the support of patients, 831,341.50. The Deaf and Dumb Asylum at Hartford was the first institution of the kind established in the United States. Appropriations are made for the benefit of their own citizens in this institution, severally by Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. Of the 207 pupils in the institution in 1852, May 1, 16 were supported by the State of Maine, 23 by New Hampshire, 18 by Vermont, 72 by Massachusetts, 6 by Rhode Island, 29 by Connecticut, and 6 by South Carolina. The charge for tuition, board, &c. is $100 per annum, an extra charge being made during sickness. The state prison is at Wethersfield, and in March 31, 1852, had 171 inmates, 116 of whom were white males, 10 females; 42 colored males, and 3 colored females. The male convicts are employed in manufacturing shoes, cabinet-ware, and cutlery, and the females in cooking, washing, mending, and boot-binding. There is a library connected with the institution for the benefit of the prisoners, who are also instructed in the elements of knowledge. There is a Sunday-school also in the prison. The receipts for 1852 exceeded the expenditures by more than $4000.
Government, Finances, &c: The governor of Connecticut is elected by the people annually, and receives $1100 per annum; a lieutenant-governor, who is also president of the senate, is elected in a like manner, and for the same period, and he receives $300 per annum. The senate, which consists of 21 members, and the house of representatives, of 215 members, are both elected annually by popular vote. Connecticut sends four members to the national house of representatives, and is entitled to six electoral votes for president of the United States. Any white male, 21 years of age, who has resided in the town (township) where he wishes to vote, six months next preceding the election, or four months, if previously admitted to the electoral oath, and of good moral character, is a constitutional voter. The judiciary consists--1. Of a supreme and superior court, composed of one chief, and four associate judges, receiving from $1250 to $1300 per annum. One term of the superior court is held triennially in each county by a single judge; and the supreme court, comprised of five judges, meets annually in each county. The judges in this court cannot hold their seats after the age of 70. The judges of the supreme court hold the circuits of the superior court, one judge holding such superior court quarterly each year. 2. Of county courts, held in each county three times a year by one judge, appointed annually by the legislature. The assessed value of property in Connecticut in 1850, was $119,088,672; the state debt $91,212, (in 1852;) and the ordinary expenses, exclusive of debt and schools, $115,000. There were 53 banks in April, 1852, with an aggregate capital of $12,509,808, a circulation of $7,118,625, and $825,379 in coin.
History: The early history of Connecticut is fraught with adventure, savage forays, and abundance of incident for the novelist but this is not the place to dwell upon such themes, and we enter at once upon a few brief facts. Though the Dutch had erected a trading house at Hartford as early as 1631, the English colony (an off-shoot of the Plymouth) at Windsor is generally considered the first permanent settlement in Connecticut. Two years after, Hartford was founded by English emigrants, Wethersfield in 1636, and New Haven in 1638. In 1637 the settlers in Connecticut were much annoyed by the Indians, several persons killed and animals destroyed at Wethersfield and Saybrook. Shortly after, however, the savages were completely subdued in engagements at Mystic and Fairfield, and never more gave the whites of this state serious trouble. Some difficulties occurred between the Dutch of New York and the people of this colony, as to the right of possession, which was terminated by a treaty in 1650. New Haven was for several years a separate colony; and when Charles II., in 1665, granted a charter to Connecticut, she refused her adhesion for a time, but at length submitted, and the Connecticut colonies were consolidated into one government. Sir Edmund Andros was sent over by King James II., in 1686, to resume the charters granted to the colonies. The assembly was in session on his arrival at Hartford, and while the subject was under consideration, the lights were suddenly extinguished, and the charter secretly conveyed away and concealed in the cavity of an old oak. This tree is still in existence, and is called the "Charter Oak." After the deposition of Andros, the charter was resumed, and continued in force till 1818, when the present constitution was adopted. Connecticut early took an active part in the cause of American independence, and throughout the entire contest sustained an eminent distinction both for the wisdom of her statesmen and the bravery of her soldiers.
Charles Roberts Ingersoll - A Biography
Charles Roberts Ingersoll, governor of Connecticut, was born in New Haven, Conn., Sept. 16, 1821; son of the Hon. Ralph Isaacs and Margaret (Van den Heuvel) Ingersoll. He was graduated at Yale in 1840. He visited Europe on the U.S. sloop of war Preble as clerk of his uncle, Capt. Ralph Voorhees, remaining abroad two years. He was admitted to the bar in 1845; was representative from New Haven in the state legislature, 1856-58, 1866, and 1871, and was a delegate to the Democratic national conventions at Chicago and Baltimore in 1864 and 1872, respectively. He declined nomination as state senator in 1871, and in 1878 was elected governor of Connecticut, and re-elected in 1874, 1875 and 1876, serving, 1873-77, three years and nine months, under the constitutional amendment of 1875. He was a Tilden elector in 1876. He declined re-nomination, and resumed his practice. He married, in 1847, Virginia, daughter of Rear-Admiral Francis H. Gregory, U.S.N. Yale conferred on him the degree of LL.D. in 1874. He died in New Haven, Conn., Jan. 25, 1903.
From: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans,
Johnson, Rossiter, editor
Francis Gillette - A Biography
Francis Gillette, senator, was born in Bloomfield (then a part of Windsor), Hartford county, Conn., Dec. 14, 1807; son of Elder Ashbel and Acsah (Francis) Gillette, and a descendant of the two brothers, Nathan and Jonathan Gillette, who came from France to New England in 1630, and settled first in Dorchester, Mass., then removed to Windsor, Conn., when that place was settled in 1635, and became proprietors there. Francis was graduated at Yale in 1829 valedictorian of his class. He studied law with Gen. W. W. Ellsworth, but on account of ill health decided to become a farmer. He was a representative in the state legislature, 1832 and 1836; and the unsuccessful candidate of the Liberal party for governor of Connecticut in 1841, and of the Liberal and Free Soil parties for several gubernatorial elections. In 1854 he was elected by a coalition of the Whigs, Temperance men and Free-soilers to fill the vacancy in the U.S. senate caused by the resignation of Truman Smith, and he served from May 25, 1854, to March 4, 1855. He was an active anti-slavery advocate, and introduced into the state legislature a proposition to strike the word "white" from the state constitution. He was an early member of the Republican party, and a silent partner in the Evening Press of Hartford, the first Paper in the state to support the new party. He was a prominent promoter of the cause of education, and a trustee and for many years president of the state normal school. He married in 1834, Elisabeth Daggett, daughter of Edward and Elisabeth (Daggett) Hooker, and a descendant of Thomas Hooker. He died in Hartford, Conn., Sept. 30, 1879.
From: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans,
Johnson, Rossiter, editor
Biography of William Pitkin
William Pitkin, governor of Connecticut, was born in Hartford, Conn., April 30, 1694; son of William (1664-1723) and Elizabeth (Stanley) Pitkin, grandson of William (1635-1694) and Hannah (Goodwin) Pitkin, and of Capt. Caleb and Hannah (Cowles) Stanley. His father, a noted jurist, prepared him for the law, and in 1715 he became town collector. He was married to Mary, daughter of the Rev. Timothy and Mabel (Wyllys) Woodbridge of Hartford, Conn. He represented Hartford in the colonial assembly, 1729-34, serving as speaker in 1732; was captain in the colonial militia in 1730 and colonel in 1739; was a member of the colonial council, 1734; judge of the county court, 1735-41; judge of the superior court, 1741-54; and chief justice, 1754-66; lieutenant-governor of Connecticut, 1754-66; and a delegate to the Albany convention of June 19, 1754, where he was chosen a member of the committee to prepare a plan of colonial union. He was the first to resist the "stamp act," 1765, refusing with Governor Fitch and the members of his council to take the oath to support it. He was governor of Connecticut, 1766-69, defeating Governer Fitch by a majority so great that the votes were not counted. Jonathan Trumbull was at the same time elected lieutenant-governor, and succeeded to the governorship. Governor Pitkin died in East Hartford, Conn., Oct. 1, 1769.
From: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans,
Johnson, Rossiter, editor
Owen Vincent Coffin Biographical Sketch
Owen Vincent Coffin, governor of Connecticut, was born in Union Vale, Dutchess county, N.Y., June 20, 1836; son of Alexander Hamilton and Jane (Vincent) Coffin; grandson of Robert and Magdalena (Bentley) Coffin, and of German and Mary (Fowler) Vincent; and a lineal descendant on his father's side of Tristram Coffin, governor of Nantucket, and of James Vandeburgh, a colonel in the American army and a friend of Washington. On his mother's side he descended from Capt. Israel Vale, who participated as captain in the battle of White Plains and other battles of the Revolution. He was educated in the common schools, at Cortland academy, Homer, and at the seminary at Charlotteville, N.Y. He taught a district school with success for a while, but gave it up for mercantile business in New York city, residing in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was a member of the U.S. Christian commission and president of the Brooklyn Y.M.C.A., 1862-64. In 1864 he removed to Middletown, Conn., where he was an active executive officer of the Farmers' and Mechanics' savings bank, 1864-78. His health then became impaired and he did not re-enter active business life till 1884, when he accepted the presidency of the Middlesex mutual fire assurance company. He was made president of the Middlesex county agricultural society in 1875, director and vice-president of the First national bank of Middletown; a director, secretary and treasurer of the Air Line railroad company, and president of the Y.M.C.A. He was mayor of Middletown, 1872-73; state senator, 1887-88 and 1889-90; and governor of Connecticut, 1895-97, having been elected on the Republican ticket by the largest majority and plurality given to a candidate for that office in the state up to that time. He was married June 24, 1858, to Ellen Elizabeth Coe. Their son, Seward Vincent, was graduated from Wesleyan university in 1889, and married Della M. Brown in 1891, and their grandson, Vincent Brown Coffin, born in 1897, was in the tenth generation in direct line bearing the family name, in America. Governor Coffin received the degree of LL. D. from Wesleyan university in 1896.
From: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans,
Johnson, Rossiter, editor
ADDITIONAL BIOGRAPHIES AVAILABLE:
Biographical Sketch of Ezra Clark
Biography of Chauncey Fitch Cleveland
A Short Biography of David Daggett
William Wolcott Ellsworth Biography
A Short Biography of James Edward English
The Biography of Smuel Augustus Foote
A Biography of Lafayette Sabine Foster
A Biography of Matthew Griswold
Biographical Sketch of Roger Griswold
George Edward Lounsbury Biographical Sketch
John Samuel Peters Biography
Local History and Genealogy Links:
Tree: white oak
Bird: American robin
Flower: mountain laurel
Nickname: Nutmeg State, Constitution State
Motto: Qui Transtulit Sustinet (He Who Transplanted Still Sustains)
Area (sq. mi.): 5,009
Admitted: 9 Jan 1788