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Copyright, 1914 



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'T is a rough land of earth and stone and tree, 

Where breathes no castled lord or cabined slave; 

Where thoughts and tongues and hands are bold and free, 

And friends will find a welcome, foes a grave; 

And where none kneel, when to Heaven they pray, 

Nor even then, unless in their own way. 

Fitz-Greene Halleck. 


WHILE Connecticut is passing from foundation work 
and a style of living, moulded by the frugal Puritan 
influences of the early years, into conditions, shaped largely 
by people from many other lands; while wealth, luxuries 
and amusements multiply, it is well to review the past, 
study the reasons for the migrations hither; glance at early 
idealism, hardships and problems; see the thrift, wari- 
ness and common sense; observe what farmers had for 
breakfast, what and how they believed, the way they worked, 
struggled and occasionally played; how fines as well as 
interest in a warm theology promoted attendance at the 
icy meeting-house. It is diverting to notice leather breeches, 
home-spun coats and linsey-woolsey gowns issuing from 
forest, sheep-pasture and flax-field ; watch the evolution of 
the log-house into the gambrel-roofed and lean-to; see the 
bridle-path widen and harden into turnpike, railroad and 
trolley; schooner change to steamboat and ferry to bridge; 
mark how the versatile people managed with Indians, wolves, 
rattlesnakes, witchcraft, slavery, tramps and Sunday; how 
they erected schools, meeting-houses, whipping-posts and 
pillories in every town; how they relieved the monotony of 
brewing beer, working the loom and hoeing corn by a journey 
to Tower Hill to enjoy the luxury of a moving picture of a 
public hanging. We are to see the innocent-looking sloop 
go down the river toward Barbados, loaded with horses, 
pipe- staves, salted fish, beef and pork, returning with a 
cargo of rum and molasses, or of unwilling immigrants from 


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Guinea; examine afresh the evolution of town and colonial 
government; the working of Charles II's liberal charter; the 
development of courts, schools, colleges, taxation, insurance, 
temperance, music, art, literature, industries, penal and 
reformatory methods, philanthropies and religious freedom; 
how slavery grew, waned and ceased; mines were opened, 
inventions multiplied, looms worked and brickyards 
poured forth their treasure; how tobacco fields, market 
gardens, orchards, factories, Yankee notions and tin-peddlers 

In touching so many interests, adventurous were the 
daring that should expect to include in one volume all that 
deserves saying, and with infallible accuracy, but in this 
endeavor to describe the place and influence of Connecticut 
in the onward movement of the country, the author believes 
that the work invites to an instructive and interesting 
excursion into a vital and inspiring field. 

The author wishes to express his hearty thanks to all 
who helped him by suggestions and criticisms: chief of these 
is Charles M. Andrews, Professor of History in Yale Univers- 
ity, who, with accurate scholarship, made many invaluable 
comments. Among others who have placed the writer 
under decided obligations are the following librarians: 
George S. Godard of the State Library, Albert C. Bates of 
the Connecticut Historical Society Library, Frank B. Gay 
and Forrest Morgan of the Watkinson Library. Material 
assistance has also been rendered in lines in which they are 
experts by President F. S. Luther and Professor J. J. McCook 
of Trinity College, Professor W. S. Pratt of Hartford Theo- 
logical Seminary, Professors W. M. Bailey, Williston 
Walker and H. A. Beers of Yale University; Dr. Edwin A. 
Down, Chairman of the State Board of Charities; C. D. Hine, 
Secretary of the State Board of Education; Dr. W. N. 
Thompson, Superintendent of the Hartford Retreat for the 
Insane; Dr. G. H. Knight, late Superintendent of the School 
for the Feeble-minded; Albert Garvin, Superintendent of 

:i ;.. . 

u-:'' c'.i . . ■■■":. ^a..". 

Preface ix — ^ 

the State Reformatory; W. A. Garner, Warden of the Con- 
necticut State Prison; W. G. Fairbank, Superintendent of 
the Connecticut Industrial School for Girls; C. M. Williams, 
Superintendent of the Connecticut School for Boys; Dr. 
W. E. Fisher of the staff of the Connecticut Hospital for the 
Insane; Dr. H. M. Pollock, Superintendent of the Norwich 
Hospital for the Insane; E. M. Warner, Esquire, of Putnam; 
C. M. Thompson, Secretary of the Connecticut Prison Asso- 
ciation; J. M. Taylor, President of the Connecticut Mutual 
Insurance Company; Burton Mansfield, Insurance Commis- 
sioner; W. S. Corbin and C. C. Maxfield, Tax Commissioner 
and Clerk; R. B. Brandegee, C. N. Flagg and James Britton, 
artists; Charles Hopkins Clark of the Hartford Courant and 
Professor Anson D. Morse of Amherst College. 

G. L. C. 

Wethersfield, Connecticut, 
April I, 1914. 



I The Prehistoric Period . . . . i 

II The Settlement 

III Settlement Concluded 

IV The Indians 
V Wars with the Indians 

VI Forming the Government 

VII Courts and Laws 

VIII How THE People Lived in the Early Days ioi 

IX The Early Religious Life 

X Witchcraft ..... 

XI Slavery ...... 

XII Connecticut Struggles for Herself and 
Neighbors .... 


XIII The United Colonies of New England 181 

XIV Early Manufactures and Commerce . 185 
XV Expansion 195 

XVI Education 207 

XVII The Colleges 228 









XVIII Development of the Highways 

XIX The Great Awakening . 

XX The Revolution 

XXI Connecticut and the Constitution of 
the United States 

XXII Conditions at the Close of the Eigh 
TEENTH Century 

XXIII Finance and Taxation 

XXIV The Second War for Independence. 

XXV The Constitution of i8i8 

XXVI Inventions, Discoveries, and Industries 
OF the Nineteenth Century 

XXVII The Later Religious Life 

XXVIII The Anti-Slavery Movement in Con 
necticut .... 

XXIX Connecticut in the Civil War 

XXX Insurance .... 

XXXI Transportation 

XXXII The Poor-Law. 

XXXIII Penal and Reformatory Institutions 

XXXIV Philanthropic Institutions 
XXXV Temperance Legislation 

XXXVI Literature 

XXXVII Art .... 

XXXVIII Music .... 

r. 3 


xiii— )f/V 


XXXIX Agriculture .... 

XL The City .... 

XLI The Old Connecticut and the New 

Bibliography .... 

Index ..... 



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The Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford, Conn. 
Completed in 1879 .... Frontispiece 

The Perched Glacial Bowlder at Taftville . . 4 

Glacial Stri^, Summit Street, Hartford . . 4 

John Winthrop, Jr., of New London .... 14 

Rev. John Davenport . .... 18 

The Old Home of Hon. John Webster, Fifth Governor 

OF Connecticut, at Hartford .... 20 

A Typical Chain Ferry ...... 20 

Whitefield House, Guilford, in 1640. ... 28 

The Plan of the Pequot Fort .... 42 

Belt and Strings of Wampum ..... 42 

The Monument at the Scene of the Swamp Fight, 

Westport ........ 46 

A Pastoral Scene in Woodstock .... 50 

Bissell's Ferry in Windsor, in Continuous Operation 
SINCE about 1645 ....... 50 

Yale College at the Left and State House near the 

Middle, Center Church at the Right, New Haven 60 

The Title-Page* of the First Election Sermon 
Preached in Connecticut ..... 72 




The Charter of 1662 ..... 

Facsimile of the Title-Page of Peter's History , 

Chief-Justice Oliver Ellsworth and his Wife, Abigail 
WoLCOTT Ellsworth 

The Tapping Reeve Law School 
Tapping Reeve .... 

Facsimile of the Title-Page of the First Published 
Law Reports in America .... 

Seals of Connecticut and Hooker's Declaration 
Facsimile Title-page of a Roger Sherman Almanac 
Edmund Andros ...... 

The Wyllys Mansion and the Charter Oak 

Early Sailing Vessels 

Abel Buell's Petition for a Lottery. 

Ticket of a Lottery to Build the Bulfinch State 
House .... 

The Connecticut Land Gore 

The Horn Book 

A Page of Webster's Speller 

Noah Webster 

Henry Barnard 

Sarah Porter 

Catherine E. Beecher 

Emma Hart Willard . • > - » U'.-'J, 

J 'ri 'O ^^f,.J 

Illxistrations xvii 


Manasseh Cutler 226 

The Buildings of Modern Yale University . . 230 

View of the Connecticut State Library, on Capitol 

Hill, Hartford ....... 230 

Timothy Dwight . 234 

Professor James D. Dana ...... 236 

Professor Benjamin Silliman ..... 236 

The Right Reverend Samuel Seabury, D.D. . . 240 

The Stage-Coach America ...... 254 

Chaise Belonging to Sheriff Ward of Worcester . 254 

A Stage Notice at Hartford ..... 258 

A Tavern Sign at Saybrook 258 

The Connecticut River Bridge (new) . . . 262 

The Connecticut River Bridge (old) . . . 262 

Jonathan Edwards ....... 266 

Laurel in Winchester ...... 268 

Birthplace of Jonathan Edwards, South Windsor . 268 

Jonathan Trumbull ....... 280 

Silas Deane ... . . . . . . 284 

General Israel Putnam ...... 284 

Israel Putnam's Plow ...... 286 

The Putnam Wolf Den, Pomfret .... 286 

Nathan Hale, a Bronzf. Statue in the Connecticut 

State Capitol . . . . . . . 288 



,/ 1 dA.. 




The Groton Monument Commemorating the Battle 
OF September 6, 1781 . 

" Hospitality Hall, " Wethersfield . . . , 

A View of Wethersfield from the Connecticut 
River ......... 

Roger Sherman . . . . . . 

William Samuel Johnson, LL.D.. . . . . 

Samuel Huntington ....... 

The Old Hom'e of Roger Sherman, "The Signer" and 
First AIayor of New Haven ..... 

Temple Street, New HavExN ..... 

A Yankee Tin Peddler ...... 

The Wethersfield Elm ...... 

First Page of First Copy of Connecticut "Courant" 

The Ruins of the Forge where the Anchor of the 
"Constitution" was Cast 

The Steamboat of John Fitch 

Continental Currency. Origi 
State Library 

Oliver Wolcott, Jr. . 
Eli Terry .... 
Setii Thomas 
CnAKLi',s Goodyear 
Samui:l Colt 

NALs IN Connecticut 








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Eli Whitney 

First Church, Hartford . 

Henry Ward Beecher 

John Brown . . . . 

Roger S. Baldwin 
Governor William A. Buckingham 
General Alfred H. Terry 
General Joseph R. Hawley 
Major-General John Sedgwick 
General Nathaniel Lyon . 
Admiral Andrew H. Foote 
Gideon Welles .... 

Modern Steamboating on the River, 
Line" . . 

A Rare Sketch of Newgate Prison 

Convict Dining-RoOxM at Meal Hour 
State Prison 

The Main Cavern 
F. H. Gallaudet 
Eli Todd . 
Horace Wells . 
Elihu Burritt . 
Fitz-Greene Halleck 
James G. Percival 

"The Hartford 

AT Connecticut 









Dr. Horace Bushnell 
Harriet Beecher Stowe 
Charles Dudley Warner . 
Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) 
Frederick E. Church 
John Trumbull .... 

The Athen^um and Morgan Memorial, Hartford 
The Old State House, Hartford, now City Hall 
Dudley Buck ....... 

Bear Mountain, Salisbury, 2354 Feet High 
The Connecticut State Flag .... 

Orville Platt ....... 

Map of Connecticut 1758 ...... 

Map Showing the New York and Boston Post Road 
IN Connecticut ...... 








Map of Connecticut, 1914. 


at end 


A History of Connecticut 


CONNECTICUT extends on Long Island Sound a 
hundred miles, rises to an average height of a thou- 
sand feet at its northern line, and in the case of Bear Moun- 
tain in Salisbury, to the extreme height of two thousand 
three himdred and fifty-four feet. The eastern boundary is 
forty-five and the western seventy-two miles in extent, and 
within these modest limits lies one of the original thirteen 
colonies, busy, thrifty, inventive, and conservative. It is on 
the turnpike between empire states, — sharp for the best trade, 
keen for the main chance, laughed at for its steady habits, 
wooden nutmegs, peddlers, and Blue Laws; leaned on in 
times of national peril ; sought by tired nerves for its lovely 
valleys, whispering brooks, and radiant lakes. The eastern 
counties are sandy, stony, sometimes rocky and wild, but 
beautiful. The western parts are famous for their noble 
mountains, picturesque lakes, and entrancing scenery. The 
three main rivers and the streams which flow into them once 
abounded with salmon, shad, and trout. These streams are 
still beautiful, and are useful for steamboats, tugs, sailboats, 
power-boats, and for turning wheels to manufacture every- 
thing from a jackknife to an automobile. Varied is the wealth 
of Connecticut — forests, mountains, orchards, and meadows — • 



2 A. History of Connecticut 

and in their season there abound sweet and blushing peaches, 
spicy apples, deHcious grapes, mammoth strawberries, the 
lowly potato, the rank tobacco, the crisp celery, the royal 
Indian corn, the courtly rye, and the graceful herd's grass. 

Searching for the foundation of this park-like state, we 
see beneath all else the ancient rocks — granite, quartz, feld- 
spar, found in abundance in the eastern and western counties, 
and sometimes cropping out elsewhere. Midway, the high- 
lands sink into a wide trough, in which are rocks of a 
later date, showing that a muddy valley once ran through 
the state into Massachusetts, and that over it sauntered 
in lazy promenade, or leaped in hungry pursuit of prey, 
huge reptiles and the terrible mastodon ; some of those foot- 
prints used to be called "Connecticut River bird-tracks," 
but it is now known that birds did not appear at that early 
period, and that the animals must have been reptiles. An 
interesting example of the monsters in Connecticut thou- 
sands of years ago was found in Farmington in August, 
191 3, by workmen digging on the shore of an ancient lake, 
whose mud bottom rests on glacial rock. It is a skeleton 
of a mastodon, which is supposed to have been eleven 
feet high and to have weighed about eight tons. Upon that 
weird scene a volcano rolled its molten lava, spreading 
over the beds of mud, hardening it into rock, after which 
there succeeded a long era of peace, with busy streams 
pouring in their tribute of sand and gravel. Then there 
occurred another volcanic outburst, and later still another, 
for there are in central Connecticut three sheets of volcanic 
trap, and sandwiched between them are beds of sand, clay, 
and gravel, long since hardened into rocks known as shale, 
sandstone, and conglomerate. The three fiery torrents 
killed the animals, preserving many of their tracks. Long 
after the rocks were laid, and the last lava stiffened, there 
were powerful earthquakes, which tilted the rocks. The 
latter, through the weathering of the ages, form the mountains 
we call Talcott, Hanging Hills of Meriden, Lamentation, 

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TKe PreHistoric Period 3 

Three Notches, and Pond Rock, in the long range from 
Mount Tom to the Sound. 

Then came the Glacial Age, whose vast sheet covered 
the land and moved heavily down mountain and hill, carry- 
ing bowlders for miles, grinding the surface of the rocks, 
leaving piles of sand here and there. All the rocks of the 
state show the results of the Glacial Age, but the clearest 
markings are in the trap ridges of the central parts, wherever 
the trap comes to the surface. The broken material torn 
off by the ice is found in the gravelly soil of the cultivated 
land, in the hills of gravel, and in the sandy bluffs along the 
rivers. Long Island is probably a terminal moraine, and 
Saybrook rests on a glacial sand plain, as does the town of 
Essex, and a part of Norwich. In the central part of the 
state, the drift is mostly of trap, sandstone, or shale, but in 
the eastern and western sections the light-colored crystalline 
rocks and gravels are seen. 

The central valley, about twenty miles in width, is drained 
by the Connecticut as far south as Middletown, where 
the stream forces its way between two mountains, leaving the 
valley that reaches the Sound at New Haven. This valley, 
the home of the first settlers, is of a deep, rich loam, until the 
river leaves it, after which it is sandy. The more broken 
country, often rugged and grand, in the eastern and western 
parts is less favorable for agriculture than are the central 
parts, but the rivers are powerful sources of wealth. 

Connecticut is well supplied with clay for bricks in New- 
ington, Windsor, North Haven, and elsewhere; its granite 
quarries are many and inexhaustible, its sandstone measures 
at Portland abundant, and its iron mines at Salisbury of 
great value, especially where toughness is required. It was 
a long, stiff discipline through which Connecticut passed to 
prepare for the coming days; she was wrenched, twisted, 
racked, pounded, frozen, washed and burned, but at length 
the sturdy foundation was laid for a resolute people and a 
vigorous history. 

"■^ ^'^n'T 

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IT is well that this singularly favored tract with its varied 
wealth of building materials, soil, rivers, and harbors 
stayed in obscurity so long, until the seed of a highly developed 
civilization could be winnowed out of the gloomy and weari- 
some life of Europe. It was in 1614, that the clear waters 
of the Connecticut were first traversed by a keel steered 
by a pale-faced mariner. The first European visitor to 
Connecticut was the Dutch navigator, Adrian Blok, who, on 
his way through the Soimd in his American-built yacht, the 
Restless, explored for sixty miles the river, which the Indians 
called " Quaneh-ta-cut," the long tidal river. It was spring- 
time, and forest and meadow were charming to the keen 
mariner ; few signs of life were seen until he reached Middle- 
town, where the Indians were numerous, and he learned 
that they were of the nation called Sequins; near Hartford 
he came to the country of the Nawaas, where "the natives 
plant maize," and their village was fortified to withstand 
the Pequots. Landing there, Blok parleyed with the 
Indians, and learned that natives from the upper parts of 
the river brought rich peltry in bark canoes. Then he 
sailed up-stream as far as Enfield Rapids, where he turned 
and went down to the Sound ; thence he continued eastward, 
taking note of the Thames and Montauk; explored Narra- 
gansett Bay, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket; named 
Rhode Island the Red Island, from the color of the soil; 


XKe Settlement 5 

glanced at Plymouth Rock, and entering Massachusetts 
Bay, went as far as Nahant. On his way back he fell in 
with another Dutch captain, Christaensen, in the Fortune, 
and turning over his vessel to another, Blok sailed for 
Holland, where so much interest was awakened that the 
Amsterdam Trading Company was formed; a map was 
made from Blok's data, and the whole matter was laid before 
the States-General, which gave the company a charter, and 
exclusive right to trade for four voyages during three years. 

Under that charter of 1614, Dutch ships were soon sailing 
up and down the river, trading with the Indians, and for 
nearly eighteen years Amsterdam vessels were on the Con- 
necticut, which was unknown to the English until a Dutch 
captain from Manhattan, seeing the Pilgrims at Plymouth 
"seated in a barren quarter," shortsightedly told them of 
the rich valley Blok had discovered; said that it was a "fine 
place for plantation and trade," and wished them to make 
use of it. This was in 1627, and, the hands of the Pilgrims 
being full, the acceptance of the invitation was deferred for 
six years. In 1631 , some Mohican Indians visited Plymouth 
and urged the settlers to go to Connecticut, extolling it as 
a good place for plantation and trade; they wished to gain 
the help of the English in behalf of their chief, the able and 
unscrupulous Uncas, who was seeking the headship of the 

Moved by these persuasions, in 1632, Edward Winslow 
went in a boat to the river, confirmed the statements of 
Dutch and Indians, and on his return went with Bradford 
to Boston to discuss a plan for a joint trading-post, but they 
received no encouragement. In September, 1633, a vessel 
was sent from Boston into the Connecticut, and John Old- 
ham with three others set out from Watertown overland 
to explore the river. Plymouth waited no longer, but 
I equipped "a great new bark," in the hold of which was the 

frame of a house, with "boards to cover and finish it," and 
sent it forth under command of Captain William Holmes. 

I fX •■■^ f-Yi-** O ^-bf-C, 


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-. ,• ,-, 

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6 A. History of Connecticvit 

When they reached the Connecticut, they were surprised 
to find the Dutch at Hartford in possession of a fort, on 
which were mounted two cannon. In the previous June, 
the Dutch bought of the Indians twenty acres, and called 
their fort the "House of Hope," on reaching which Holmes 
heard the drum-beats and saw the cannoneers beside the 
guns with lighted torches, under the banner of the Nether- 
lands. The commander, Jacob van Curler, bade Holmes 
"strike and stay," but the Plymouth captain appealed to 
his commission and went on. No shot was fired, and on 
reaching the point just below the mouth of the Farmington 
River September 26, 1633, they landed, quickly "clapt 
up" the house and soon had a palisade around it to protect 
against the Dutch and the far more dangerous Pequots. 

The Dutch in the House of Hope found their English 
neighbors disagreeable, but they stayed in their meager 
stronghold till 1654, i^ almost constant broils, their land 
invaded, workmen harassed, and claims challenged. They 
were "disgusted with a post so constantly insulted," the 
English denying the right of the Dutch to any land about 
the fort. Facing the question of Governor Hopkins, "Show 
your right and we are ready to exhibit ours," there was only 
one thing to do since the English were becoming so numerous. 
In 1636, the English secured deeds from Sequasson, the son 
of Soheag, "lord and rightful owner of the entire river and 
land thereabouts," and he testified in the Hartford Court 
that "he never sold any ground to the Dutch." A little 
later, the colony procured from Uncas, who, after the Pequot 
overthrow, was the all-powerful Mohican sagamore, "a 
clear and ample deed of all the lands in Connecticut, except 
the lands that were planted." The purchase money was in 
wampum, shoes, and trading-cloth. Boundaries were in- 
definite, especially when a distance was described as far as 
"one day's walk," and Connecticut carried out the advice 
of Sir William Boswell, English ambassador at The Hague, to 
"crowd on, crowding the Dutch out of those places which 

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THe Settlement 7 

they have occupied, without hostility or any act of violence." 
Soon English and Dutch farmers came to blows; Evert 
Duyckink, a garrison man, while sowing grain was hit "a 
hole in his head with a sticke, so that the bloode ran downe 
very strongly, downe upon his body." Ground which 
the Dutch had made ready for seed was seized in the night 
and planted with com by the English, and then held by 
them. At length, after coimtless irritations, retaliations, 
and negotiations, the English cold shoulder proved so stiff, 
and the English disposition so freezing, that in the April 
session of 1654, the Court at Hartford "ordered and declared 
that the Dutch Howse of Hope, with the lands, buildings 
and fences thereto belonging bee hereby sequestered." 
Captain John Underhill posted this notice on the doors of 
the House of Hope, "I, John Underhill, do seize this house 
and land for the State of England, by virtue of the commis- 
sion granted by the Providence Plantation." The Dutch 
were glad to leave a place which had become so uncomfort- 
able, and long ago the river wore away the last vestige of 
the fort, of which the only relic remaining is a tired-looking 
yellow Holland brick with the halves of two others, which 
are now among the relics of the Connecticut Historical 
Society at Hartford. 

We must now go back to the story of the settlers from 
Boston Bay. The people of Watertown, Dorchester, and 
Newtown (Cambridge) were growing restless under the 
Massachusetts authority, and the lure of Connecticut ap- , 
pealed strongly.- The master mind of this migration was 
Thomas Hooker, a man of majestic presence and powerful 
intellect, who had graduated at Cambridge at the age of 
twenty-two, and continued for a time in residence as a lec- 
turer, at a time when Laud was advancing to become Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, and the policy of "thorough" was 
developing. Hooker's disposition is seen in his unwilling- 
ness to accept a living, for which he would come under 
obligations to a bishop, and as an alternative he accepted a 

8 A. History of Connecticvit 

living of forty pounds, the gift of Francis Drake. Soon 
afterward he was appointed to a lectureship, a method of 
reaching the people when preaching fell into disuse. Laud 
said that lecturers were "the people's creatures" and "blew 
the bellows of sedition." Hooker's influence appears in a 
letter written to Laud's chancellor by a minister who said, 
"His genius will still haunt all the pulpits where any of his 
scholars may be admitted to preach. There be divers young 
ministers about us that spend their time in conference with 
him, and return home and preach what he hath brewed. 
Our people's pallets grow so out of tast, yt noe food contents 
them but of Mr. Hooker's dressing." The lectures were 
delivered on the market-days and Sunday afternoons, and 
on one occasion in the presence of the judges and before a 
large congregation, he "declared freely the sins of England, 
and the plagues that would come" for such sins. Mather 
quotes one as saying of him that "he was a person, who 
while doing his Master's work would put a king in his 

In 1629, Laud turned his attention to the lecturers, and 
among the first to feel the weight of his heavy hand was 
Thomas Hooker of Chelmsford, who was compelled to retire 
to a village four miles away, where he taught school in his 
house, and the next year he was cited to appear before the 
High Commission, but he escaped arrest, he went to 
Holland and, in 1633, we find him in Boston. Hooker's 
sister was wife of John Pym, who pleaded for the restoration 
of the Puritan clergy, but the opposition was too strong and 
Laud's influence was growing. The voyage was of eight 
weeks' duration, and the conversations must have been 
interesting, for besides Hooker was Samuel Stone, a lecturer, 
and later associate pastor with Hooker, and also John Cotton 
and John Haynes. Cotton stayed in Boston, while Hooker 
and Stone went to Cambridge. On October 11, 1633, 
Hooker was chosen pastor and Stone teacher, and Hubbard 
says that "after Mr. Hooker's coming over, it was noticed 

TKe Settlement 9 

that many of the freemen grew to be very jealous of their 
hberties." Cambridge was prospering with its himdred 
famiHes; its tax was as large as that of Boston, and John 
Haynes was chosen governor in 1635, but an uneasiness 
arose. The town "complained of straitness for want of 
land, especially meadow." Enlargements were granted to 
include what is now Brighton, Brookline, Newton, and 
Arlington, but the uneasiness continued. Hubbard, who 
lived within fifty years of these events, says that other motives 
did "more secretly and powerfully drive on the business. 
Two such eminent stars as were Mr. Cotton and Mr. Hooker, 
both of the first magnitude, could not continue in one and 
the same orb." In a letter written to John Wilson, a writer 
says that he heard ' ' that ther is great diusion of judgment 
in matters of religion amongst good ministers and people 
which moued Mr. Hoker to remoue." He also wrote: 
" You are so strict in admission of members to your church, 
that more than half are out of your church . . . and that 
Mr. Hoker, befor he went away, preached against yt." John 
Winthrop, the grave, scholarly and deeply religious Moses 
of the Puritan migration to America, found John Cotton, 
his gifted minister, an able yoke-fellow in the position that it 
would be calamitous to allow any one who was not a 
member of the Congregational Church to vote or hold office. 
This combination of the aristocratic and the political was 
not popular in some of the towns. Samuel Stone said it was 
a "speaking aristocracy in the face of a silent democracy." 

The number of freemen had increased so rapidly that in 
1630, they could not all meet in one place to transact busi- 
ness, and a board of assistants was appointed to choose the 
governor and make laws, and in May, 1631, it was further 
decided that the assistants need not be chosen every year, 
but might keep their seats during good behavior, or until 
set aside by the vote of the freemen. This was not agree- 
able to Cambridge, Watertown and Dorchester, and they 
sent a deputation to Boston to inspect the charter, to see 


■} I 

10 A. History of Connecticvit 

if such power was authorized by it. The method of electing 
assistants was changed, but Cotton was ever strenuous in a 
position, in which he had with him a majority of the ministers, 
that democracy was no fit government either for church or 
commonweahh. Chief in opposition was Hooker, who 
maintained against the proposition that "the best part is 
always the least, and of the best part the wiser is always the 
lesser," that "in matters of greater consequence, which 
concern the common Good a General Council, chosen by all 
to transact businesses which concern all, I conceive, under 
favor most suitable to rule, and most safe for relief of the 

It appears thus that the motives leading to the migra- 
tion were political, democratic, and commercial, for there 
were many who preferred a more popular basis for the govern- 
ment than that which prevailed at Boston Bay, where the 
right to vote was so strictly guarded that only one man in 
six had suffrage. Land hunger also impelled many, not so 
much through lack of pasturage, of which there was suffi- 
cient in eastern Massachusetts, but the fertility of the 
Connecticut valley appealed strongly to the enterprising. 
Although theoretically there was scanty place for freedom in 
Massachusetts, especially for extremists like Mrs. Hutchin- 
son, Roger Williams, and the Quakers, the actual condition 
was not as trying as one might think for most people, because 
of the sturdy common sense of the settlers, who demanded 
much liberty of discussion. The towns of Cambridge, Water- 
town, and Dorchester (together with Roxbury, which settled 
Springfield) developed a more energetic local self-govern- 
ment than elsewhere, and in 1631, Dorchester and Watertown 
led the way in organizing town government by selectmen. 
In that year a tax of sixty pounds was assessed upon the 
settlements to pay for building frontier fortifications in 
Cambridge, and the inhabitants of Watertown at first 
declined to pay their share of this tax, on the ground that 
Enghsh freemen cannot rightfully be taxed, save by their 

\ , ■ '■ 

■j! ?I 

>! r.-^i v...„i 

TKe Settlement II 

consent, a protest which led to a change in the constitution 
of the colony. In view of these facts it is not strange that 
in May, 1634, the congregation at Cambridge petitioned 
the General Court for permission to move to some other 
quarter within Massachusetts. The petition was granted, 
and messengers were sent to Ipswich and Merrimac to 
look for a location, but after the invitation of the Indians 
on the Connecticut, a petition was presented to the Court 
in September for leave to go outside Massachusetts, and it 
was rejected by the assistants, though the deputies favored 
it. In the spring of 1635, some of the Watertown and Dor- 
chester people were more successful with their application, 
and it was voted to allow them to go, provided that they 
continued under the Massachusetts authority. 

We have given an account of the building of a trading house 
at Windsor in September, 1633; in the autumn of 1634, ten 
householders and planters, called "Adventurers," including 
the venturesome and trying pioneer, John Oldham, settled 
at Pyquag, or Wethersfield; building huts they broke 
the land and sowed some rye, thus starting agricultural life 
on the Connecticut, and during the following May about 
thirty more took up land there. In 1635, Windsor received 
the first installment from Dorchester, and a company direct 
from England. In October, some sixty men, women, and 
children, driving before them cows, horses, and swine, set 
out by land and reached the Connecticut "after a tedious 
and difficult journey," but the river froze over by November 
15, and the vessel that carried provisions for the winter 
for the colonists was stayed at Saybrook. Fearing starva- 
tion, most of the settlers went to the mouth of the river, 
loosened a sloop from the ice, and returned to Boston. 
When the spring came many Cambridge people sold their 
lands on the Charles River, and in June, 1636, a large 
number of people took the " Old Connecticut Path," through 
Wayland, Framingham, Oxford, and Springfield, the path 
over which Oldham went three years before, "lodging 

n ' :'l HbiU 

12 A. History of Connecticxit 

in Indian towns all the way." It was not an imposing- 
looking procession: men, women, and children on foot, 
though, because of ill health, Mrs. Hooker was carried in a 
litter; the only band of music that attended it was the 
lowing of a hundred and sixty cattle and the squealing of 
the pigs; but the presence of Hooker, Haynes, Stone, and 
Bull gave dignity to this movement of American democracy. 
Through the summer of 1636, people traveled to Connecti- 
cut, and almost daily a few would take up land and build 
their houses. Fever for change also seized some of the 
Roxbury people, and Agawam, or Springfield, was settled 
by a company of people under the leadership of William 

The site of Hartford was deeded by Sachem Sequasson to 
Samuel Stone, William Goodwin and others, and while the 
original deed of 1636, was lost, a deed confirming the first 
and extending the original grant westward, executed by the 
heirs of Sequasson, is recorded in the Hartford Land Records. 
The settlers were known as proprietors, and to every one were 
allotted a house lot, a piece of meadow land and a wood lot; 
the remainder of the land was called the Town Commons. 
These lots were not recorded until October 10, 1639, when 
the General Court ordered that the three towns should 
provide a "ledger Booke, with an index or alphabett imto 
the same : Also shall choose one who shall be a Towne Gierke 
or Register, who shall . . . record every man's house and 
land already graunted and measured out to him." This 
book, known as the Book of Distribution, is the first book of 
land records in the town clerk's oflSce in Hartford. Here is 
a sample entry: "Severall parsilles of land in Hartford upon 
the River of Coneckticott belonging to John Steele, Sinor, 
and to his heirs forever. Viz : One parsill on which his now 
dwelling house standeth with other outt houses, yardes and 
gardins." The name of Hartford at first was Newe Towne, 
but within a year it was changed, since Stone and many 
other settlers were from Hertford, England, and the capital 


XKe Settlement 13 

of Connecticut was called "Harteford Towne. And like- 
wise the plantacon nowe called Watertowne shall be called 
Wythersfield, and the plantacon called Dorchester shall be 
called Windsor." There are two landmarks remaining 
from the earliest times: the graveyard back of the First 
Church, where many of the famous settlers were buried, 
and the well of Thomas Hooker, still in use in a foundry on 
Arch Street. 

The coming of the Dorchester people to the neighborhood 
of the Plymouth fort at Windsor gave the Pilgrims there no 
little uneasiness in the spring of 1635, and Jonathan Brew- 
ster, in a letter from the fort in July, tells of the daily arrival 
by land and water of small parties of settlers. At length 
these newcomers, headed by Roger Ludlow, one of the ablest 
and richest men in Massachusetts, claiming that the land 
was theirs as the "Lord's waste" by "the Providence of 
God," moved into the midst of the Plymouth people, who 
protested against the Dorchester settlement on the Plymouth 
Great Meadow. As the Plymouth men had ignored the 
claims of the Dutch, so now the Dorchester people ignored 
the Pilgrim claims to the property, and proposed to allow the 
Plymouth people only one share, "as to a single family." 
A protest against the Dorchester intrusion was reported 
by Brewster at Plymouth, and Bradford entered his objec- 
tion, contending that it was an attempt to "thrust them all 
out." Winslow went from Plymouth to Boston and had a 
fruitless conference with the Dorchester leaders. The 
negotiations with the Bay magistrates came to nothing. 
"Many were the letters and passages" that were indulged 
in by the sturdy combatants. Pious phrases and greedy 
purposes furnish interesting reading. Both appealed to 
God's good providence, and while Plymouth had the better 
argument, Dorchester had the greater power. The Ply- 
mouth men would not resort to arms, as it was "far from 
their thoughts to live in continual contention with their 
friends and brethren, though they conceived that they suf- 


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h[ii- ;, , tg vii a3ifii- 

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14 A. History of Connecticut 

fered much in the thing"; accordingly they entered into a 
treaty, insisting only that the Dorchester people should 
acknowledge their rights to the territory. "After much 
ado," the Plymouth house was retained by the Plymouth 
men with a sixteenth of all the land bought of the Indians, 
and the project of abandoning the "barren place" on 
Plymouth sands was given up. 

While these settlements were forming on the river, 
steps were being taken to secure the mouth of it. There 
arrived at Boston on October 5, 1635, the ship Abigail, bring- 
ing among her passengers three men of note, representing 
the Lords and Gentlemen. These were John Winthrop, Jr., 
Sir Harry Vane, and Rev. Hugh Peters. Winthrop bore 
a commission from the Lords and Gentlemen, dated July 
I5» 1635, and this commission named the bearer "Governor 
of the River Connecticut, with the places adjoining there 
unto, for and during the space of one whole year, after the 
arrival there," with "full power to do and execute any such 
lawful thing ... as to the dignity or office of a governor 
doth or may appertain." Learning that the Dutch were 
bent on gaining the same place, twenty men went to the 
river and soon a fort was erected by Lyon Gardener, an 
expert military engineer, who had seen service in the Nether- 
lands, near the point where Hans den Sluys had affixed the 
Dutch arms to a tree two years before. Hardly had the 
English mounted two cannon, when a Dutch vessel appeared, 
but finding the place occupied it returned to New Amster- 
dam. Winthrop was a superb leader of an enterprise which 
was designed to establish a home for some of the English 
gentry and plain folks after the persecution of the Puritans 
by the royal government had reached its height. Gardener 
was an able officer and skillful in laying out the town. He 
was just in his dealings with the Indians, whose prowess he 
did not slight, and whose cruelty he understood. When 
some Bay men spoke lightly of the Indian arrows, Gardener 
sent them a dead man's rib, with an arrowhead, which had 

tf^t .. >^ /■ 

.. , '■• ■ ..,4. <■'■ 

, f-i 

John Winthrop, Jr., of New London, 1606-1676; Governor 1657-1676, 
with the Exception of 1658 a Painting by C.eurge F. Wright of Hartford, in Memorial Hall Connecticut State Capitol 


^4> :■; 

TKe Settlement 15 

gone through the body, and stuck so fast that no one could 
draw it out. An effort was made to persuade the English 
up river to acknowledge Governor Winthrop of Saybrook, 
and though the appeal was skillfully and courteously made, 
the "loving resolutions," which the politicians at the mouth 
of the river longed for, never floated down stream, the 
question being adroitly evaded or quietly ignored. The 
Hooker and Haynes contingent "carved largely for them- 
selves." George Fen wick went to Saybrook in the summer 
of 1635, while Winthrop was in control, and three years 
later he returned with more parade, two vessels, and wife 
and family. His home on Saybrook Point was described, 
in 1641, as a "faire house" well fortified. With the Fen- 
wicks was John Higginson, a young minister who was 
chaplain, and after his death at ninety-three, his eulogist 
sang : 

Young to the pulpit he did get, 

And seventy-two years in 't did sweat. 

Fenwick maintained his independent state till the end of 
1644, when he ceded his possessions to the up-river colony, 
with the jurisdiction of all the territory claimed under the 
Lords and Gentlemen's patent, on condition of a tribute for 
ten years of certain duties on com, biscuit, beaver-skins, and 
live stock exported from the river, and while the carrying 
out of this agreement brought Connecticut into conflict 
with Massachusetts over the question of taxing Springfield, 
the question was decided by the commissioners of the colonies 
in favor of Connecticut, which continued the tax for ten 

In 1643, Winthrop was admitted to the first conference 
to form the New England Union, and as that body recognized 
only four colonies, Plymouth, Massachusetts, Connecticut, 
and New Haven, Connecticut wisely appointed him one 
of her commissioners in 1643, and 1644, with Edward Hop- 
kins as the other. Fenwick was as closely identified with 

V ■'V, .'..;. •:mi J. 

; "'T'^ 

> ' i C 

•» V i 


i6 A History of Connecticvit 

Connecticut as he could be, and he rendered an important 
service to Connecticut, when Massachusetts laid claim to 
the Pequot country after the war with the Indians. He 
interposed a protest against any decision in 1644, which 
would impeach his principal's title, and thus gained time 
for the Connecticut Colony to secure a stronger hold on the 
conquered lands; with the conclusion of the agreement 
of 1644, Say brook became a Connecticut township. 


FIVE years after the colonists began to build their log 
houses on the Connecticut, another settlement started 
on the Sound at Quinnipiac, or New Haven, under the leader- 
ship of Theophilus Eaton, Edward Hopkins, John Daven- 
port, and several other well-to-do and most serious men. 
Massachusetts authorities made every effort to persuade 
these desirable emigrants to tarry there; Charlestown mak- 
ing them large offers, and Newbury proposing to give up 
the whole town to them ; the General Court promising them 
any place they might choose. But this friendliness did 
not persuade them, and after a stay of nine months, they 
chose to have a colony after their own ideas. Resulting 
from the Pequot war was the discovery of land west of Say- 
brook, and in the autumn of 1637, Theophilus Eaton and 
others explored the region; so well pleased were they 
that in March, 1638, a company settled at New Haven, 
and on April 18, they kept their first Sunday there, 
gathering under an oak to Hsten to John Davenport, their 

A leading reason for the settlement was to be away from 
the general government of New England should there be 
any, and also because there were so many able men in office 
in Massachusetts that newcomers had scanty opportunity 
to build a state after their own ideas. On reaching New 
Haven, the wealthy leaders, accustomed to elegant houses 
2 17 


V •• "''■■■ no Ir:.; 


i8 -A. History of Connecticvit 

in London, put up elaborate homes; Governor Eaton built 
one on Elm Street, large enough to contain nineteen fire- 
places, and Davenport's opposite is said to have had thirteen 

Determined to establish the colony according to the 
Scriptures, a meeting was called soon after the arrival, and 
at the close of a day of fasting and prayer, they made a 
"Plantation Covenant," in which they solemnly bound 
themselves "that, as in matters that concern the gathering 
and ordering of a church, so also in all public offices, which 
concern civil order, as choice of magistrates and officers, 
making and repealing laws, dividing allotment of inheritance, 
and all other things of like nature, they would all of them 
be ordered by the rules which the Scriptures held forth to 
them." This was the general platform on which all were 
to stand, until they could elaborate the details of state. It 
was a backward spring, and com rotted in the ground, but 
at length warm weather came and the crops were generous. 
The purpose was to have an extensive colony, and if possible 
to keep on friendly terms with the Indians. On November 
24, 1638, they bought of Momaguin, the sole sachem of the 
region, a large tract, paying for it twelve coats of EngHsh 
cloth, twelve brass spoons, twelve hatchets, twenty-four 
knives, twelve porringers, and four cases of French knives 
and scissors. In December, they bought a tract ten by 
thirteen miles, north of the former, a tract which now in- 
cludes parts of New Haven, Branford, Wallingford, East 
Haven, Woodbridge, Cheshire, Hampden, and North Haven. 
For the second lot the payment was thirteen coats, with 
liberty granted to the Indians to hunt within the lands. 
In the summer of 1639, they met in Robert Newman's 
bam, and in a formal way laid the foundations of their 
permanent government. It was on June 4, that the free 
planters gathered, and Davenport preached from the text, 
"Wisdom hath builded her house; she hath hewn out her 
seven pillars," and from this he gathered that the church 

■I ;!«w r? 


' ■ M / 

Settlement Concluclecl 19 

should be formed of seven principal men. He proposed a 
series of propositions, and Robert Newman was asked to 
"write in characters, and to read distinctly and audibly," 
six questions, which were discussed, and the results were 
adopted "by holding up their hands." The following reso- 
lutions which were subscribed and signed by the one hundred 
and eleven present, were the fimdamental articles of New 
Haven Colony. 

I. That the Scriptures give a perfect rule for direction 
and government of church, family, and commonwealth. 

n. That churches, public offices, magistrates, making 
and repealing laws, and inheriting of property should be 
governed by Scripture rules. 

HI. That all who had come into the plantation had 
done so with the purpose of being church members. 

IV. That all free planters bound themselves to establish 
such civil order as might best secure peace and purity to 
themselves and posterity, according to God. 

V. That church members only should be free burgesses ; 
and that they should choose magistrates among themselves 
to transact all public business, make and repeal laws, divide 
inheritances, decide difficulties, and attend to all else of a 
like nature. 

VI. That twelve men should be chosen to select seven 
to begin the church. 

A solemn charge or oath to give to all freemen was drawn, 
and it was ordered that all candidates for citizenship in the 
colony should subscribe to the foregoing agreement. After 
due term of trial, Theophilus Eaton, John Davenport, 
Robert Newman, Matthew Gilbert, Thomas Fugill, John 
Punderson, and Jeremiah Dixon were chosen to be the seven 
pillars of the church, and they proceeded to organize church 
and state. They first set up the church by associating 
with themselves nine others, and on October 25, 1639, they 
held a court at which those sixteen men elected Theophilus 
Eaton as governor for a year and four others to aid him as 

.V ;.i, ; : i 

20 A. History of Connecticvit 

deputies; those officers were addressed by John Davenport 
in what was called a charge. There were no statute laws 
for many years, and for the time the only restriction on 
the rulers was the rules of the Mosaic law. The body of 
free burgesses was cautiously enlarged. This government 
of New Haven disfranchised more than half of the settlers, 
and the laws afterward enacted gradually brought the 
government into close resemblance to that of Massachusetts. 
The next half-century saw the settlement of twenty-five 
other towns, three of which began in 1639 — Guilford, Mil- 
ford, and Stratford. The people of New Haven were hardly 
established before Guilford, sixteen miles east of New Haven, 
was settled in August by a company of forty planters from 
Surrey and Kent ; they had left England in full sympathy with 
Davenport, and formed their government on seven pillars, 
with Henry Whitfield and Samuel Desborough as leaders. 
The first town to settle on the Housatonic was Milford, whose 
Moses and Aaron were Peter Prudden and William Fowler. 
They chose their seven pillars and formed their government 
after the New Haven model, except that they admitted six 
planters who were not church members. Their land was 
purchased by four men who went in advance of the rest and 
purchased a tract two miles long, paying six coats, ten 
blankets, one kettle, and a number of hoes, knives, hatchets, 
and glasses. The settlers in Milford came from Essex and 
York, with the addition of a few who had been unhappy in 
Wethersfield — forty-four in all. The Stratford lands were 
purchased in 1639, settlement made at once, and in 
1673, after a church quarrel, about fifteen families, consti- 
tuting half the congregation, taking their minister, settled 
in Woodbury. In the political isolation of these towns we 
see the principle of church independence advocated by 
Davenport and his followers. Branford was purchased in 
December, 1638, by the New Haven colonists, a few days 
after they had bought New Haven, and in 1644, a tract of 
this land was sold to William Swaim and others for some 

■-ij ■ -u, 


The Old Home of Hon. John Webster, Fifth Governor of 
Connecticut, at Hartford 



* ,.;*> 

Settlement Conclxided 2i 

people in Wethersfield, who wished to move; and at the 
same time with the coming of the Wethersfield people, 
Abraham Pierson appeared on the ground with a part of 
the church and congregation of Southampton, Long Island, 
and a church was formed with Pierson as minister, but they 
soon became discontented with the New Haven style of 
government and moved to Newark, New Jersey, a migration 
in which Milford, New Haven, and Guilford had a prominent 
part. Another ancient town, Fairfield, is in the territory dis- 
covered when the troops were in pursuit of the Pequots in 
1637. Roger Ludlow, who was with the troops when they 
went to the great swamp in the town, was so well pleased 
with the fine land in the vicinity, he planned a settlement, 
and, in 1639, he, with eight or nine families of Windsor, began 
the settlement of Fairfield, being reinforced in a short time 
by pioneers from Watertown and Concord. 

Greenwich was bought of the Indians in 1640, and was 
under the Dutch government for several years, which was 
imfortunate for the settlement as the Dutch were hostile 
to the Indians, and the settlers were in consequence exposed 
to dangers. The year 1640, also saw the purchase of land 
on Long Island and the beginning of Southold. In 1641, 
Rippowams or Stamford was purchased for twelve coats 
and as many hoes, hatchets, and knives, together with two 
kettles and four fathoms of white wampum; some of the 
settlers coming from Wethersfield, under the leadership of 
Rev. Richard Denton. 

In April, 1643, fear of the Indians and of the Dutch 
caused a union of New Haven, Guilford, Milford and Stam- 
ford, and this confederacy became a member of the larger 
confederation of New England, which formed that year. In 
October, 1643, a constitution was agreed upon, which limited 
suffrage to church members and established three courts — 
the Plantation Court for small cases, consisting of "fitt and 
able" men in each town; the Court of Magistrates, consisting 
of the governor and three assistants for weighty cases; and 

22 A. History of Connecticxit 

the General Court, consisting of the magistrates and two 
deputies for each of the four towns, and this was to sit in 
New Haven twice a year, to make laws and annually elect 
magistrates. As trial by jury was not found in the Mosaic 
law it was dispensed with. In 1649, Southold, in 1651, 
Branford, and in 1656, Greenwich were admitted to the New 
Haven Confederacy. These seven towns^ — New Haven, 
Guilford, Milford, Stamford, Southold, Branford, and Green- 
wich — -were the only towns that ever belonged to the New 
Haven Confederacy. Knowing that they were not to be far 
from Massachusetts, Eaton and Davenport had not brought 
a military officer, but while at the Bay they discovered a 
valuable man who had been in the Pequot war, Captain 
Turner, whom they persuaded to attend the expedition to 
Quinnipiac, and on November 25, 1639, thirty days after 
the organization of the court, it was 

ordered that every one that bears arms shall be completely 
furnished with arms; viz., a musket, a sword, bandoleers, a rest, 
a pound of powder, twenty bullets fitted to the musket, or four 
pounds of pistol-shot or swan-shot at least, and be ready to 
show them in the market-place, before Capt. Turner, under 
the penalty of twenty shillings fine for every default or absence. 

Attracted by the fertile meadows ten miles to the west, 
settlers from Hartford went over the mountain ridge and 
laid out a beautiful town on the banks of the Tunxis River, 
buying lands of the Indians, and in 1640, Farmington was 
incorporated ; people from Boston, Cambridge, and Roxbury 
taking part in the enterprise. In 1646, New London was 
settled, and two years later more than forty persons joined 
those who were there, and among them was John Winthrop, 
Jr. The next town to organize was Stonington, which was 
settled in 1 649, under the leadership of William Cheesborough, 
a member of the Plymouth Colony. It was at first a part 
of Massachusetts and was named Southerton; in 1662, it 
became a part of Connecticut, and was named Stonington. 

CiJjT »■-, >■ . 

Settlement Conclxided 23 

Norwalk was settled in 1649, and incorporated in 1651. A 
committee was appointed in March, 1650, to explore Matta- 
besett, and it reported that fifteen families might get a 
living there, and in November, 1653, planters from Wethers- 
field, Hartford, and England established the settlement of 
Middletown. The center of every one of these plantations 
was the meeting-house, which was built after about the 
same style and composed of wood (except in Guilford where 
stone was used), and the one in New Haven was fifty feet 
square, with a roof like a pyramid, ending in a tower and 
turret. There were also "banisters and rails on the meeting- 
house top, whence the drummer could summon the people 
on the Sabbath or when Indians attacked the town." 

Preparations for the settlement of Norwich began in 
Saybrook as early as 1654, under the leadership of the famous 
and martial Captain John Mason, with whom were associ- 
ated thirty-four others. Mason had been the friend and 
adviser of the wily Uncas for twenty-four years, and having 
frequently visited him, was thoroughly acquainted with the 
country, and it was doubtless by Mason's influence that 
Uncas and his two sons appeared at Saybrook in June, 1659, 
and signed a deed of conveyance, which gave the company 
of thirty-five proprietors a title to a tract of land of nine 
square miles at Mohican, There was another reason, for 
in 1645, Uncas was closely besieged by the Narragansetts, 
and Captain Mason, who was in command at the Saybrook 
fort, sent a boat-load of beef, corn, and peas by night, under 
the command of Thomas Leffingwell, and Uncas never 
forgot the favor. Seventy pounds was the price for the 
land, and since Connecticut had bought it before and paid 
for it, the English were more than fair with the Indians. 
Mason was then commissioned by the legislature to buy the 
rest of the Mohican country, which he did, and a deed of 
cession was signed in August, 1659, and in the following 
November, a few settlers made their way to the new town 
and spent the winter there. The Mohicans assisted them 

:> '■..■■.■.fi-^f£Zi-4'. ■ ) i. 

/f»» 1' 

'Q: _d' 

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24 A History of Connectic\jit 

in carrying their goods, and soon the town was laid out. 
The eadiest act recorded on the town book was on December 
II, 1660, and the name Norwich was given to the place about 
1662. The settlers were the church of Rev. James Fitch 
of Saybrook, and the minister was a leading spirit in the 
enterprise. There was much trouble and litigation in later 
years between the settlers and the Indians over the title to 
the lands, since it was claimed that Uncas had made over the 
title to the lands to Mason to secure them to his tribe, of 
which Mason was the guardian. One phase of this was the 
act of Mason in 1671, in making over to the tribe a tract of 
more than four thousand acres, usually called the sequestered 
lands. But disputes continued for seventy years over the 
lands occupied by settlers in Colchester, Windham, Mans- 
field, Hebron, and some other towns, and it was not until 
1743, that the case was settled by a decision to refer the 
matter to the king in council. The final decision was 
given in 1767, and it was against the Mohicans, who soon 
faded away. The same year of the settlement of Norwich, 
1660, Suffield was settled, the land having been bought of 
two sachems for one hundred dollars. 

There is a curious story about Lyme, which was settled 
about 1664, taking at first the name of East Saybrook, that 
in a controversy with New London over the ownership of a 
tract of land claimed by both Lyme and its neighbor, it was 
decided to settle the difficulty by a fight with fists by two 
champions of the towns rather than to go to the expense of 
an application to the legislature, and as the advantage was 
with Lyme, it took possession of the land. 

The river towns are the mothers of eleven daughters: 
Windsor of five — East Windsor, South Windsor, Simsbury, 
Ellington, and Windsor Locks; Hartford of three — East 
Hartford, West Hartford, and Manchester; Wethersfield 
of three — Glastonbury, Rocky Hill, and Newington. In 
1662, Windsor began to overflow into East Windsor; 
the same year the lands forming Haddam and East 

1 £ ;•>'• . 

i .' ■ , 'if', ^i -"■ • .' "A ''.[' I- •"> ^ '^ '(.J ;■ : 


Settlement Conclvidecl 25 

Haddam were bought for thirty coats, worth perhaps a 
hundred dollars, being soon taken up by twenty-eight 
young men, mostly from Windsor, Hartford, and Wethers- 
field, and Haddam was incorporated in 1668. In 1663, 
the legislature approved of a proposition for a town in 
what is now Killingworth, and twelve planters from Hart- 

;[ ford, Windsor, and Guilford moved into it at once, liv- 

ing on friendly terms with the Indians. In the process of 
filling in around the older towns, land west of AVindsor was 
bought of the Indians in 1670, and the town of Simsbury 
settled, though six years later, the inhabitants, alarmed by 
the hostility of the Indians, buried their goods and went 
back to Windsor, and the savages destroyed every vestige of 
improvement so completely that on the return of the settlers 

\ they could scarcely find their property. As we have seen, 

in 1638, "New Haven village" was purchased, and it was 
not until 1670, that it was settled, and then it was called 
Wallingford, and four years later it received its own minister. 
In 1672, the legislature granted liberty to William Curtis 
and others to make a plantation at Pomeraug; two years 
later, the settlement was constituted a town with the name 
of Woodbury, and Southbury was settled the same year. In 
1673, a number of the inhabitants of Farmington obtained 
permission of the legislature to investigate the lands on the 
Naugatuck, then called Mattatuck, now Waterbury ; the dis- 
tresses of King Philip's war delayed the purchase and settle- 
ment, but in 1677, there were a few temporary huts on the 
east bank of the river, and in 1686, it was incorporated and 
the name changed to Waterbury. The settlement of Dan- 
bury, one of the county seats of Fairfield County, began in 
1683. In 1675, Joshua, son of Uncas, the Mohican sachem, 
gave by will to Captain John Mason and fifteen others the 
tract containing Windham, Mansfield, and Canterbury, and 
in May, 1686, the main streets of Windham were laid out. 
In 1659, Governor Winthrop obtained permission of the 
legislature to buy a large tract of land, which in 1689, was 

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26 A. History- of Connecticvit 

sold to people from Massachusetts, who settled Plainfield, 
and lived on friendly terms with the numerous Indians in 
the neighborhood. 

The organization of the towns stimulated vigor and 
individuality, furnishing a bulwark of singular pertinacity, 
and one method of strengthening this was the giving so many 
people something to do in public affairs. Every town had 
two or more townsmen, or, as they came to be called toward 
the end of the seventeenth century, selectmen, also justices 
of the peace, constables, town clerk, treasurer, highway 
surveyors — sometimes to the number of twenty, fence-view- 
ers, listers, collectors of taxes, leather-sealers, grand jurors, 
tithing-men, haywards, or guardians of the boundaries, 
chimney-viewers, gaugers, packers, sealers of weights and 
measures, key-keepers, recorders of sheep marks, branders 
of horses, and others. These offices gave more or less of 
influence and authority, and a little salary to many men. 
If the oldest office in the town was the constable, the oldest 
institution was the pound, which is said to be older than the 
kingdom in the history of England. Before the community 
was recognized as a civic or religious unit, the settlers were 
given permission to "make and maintain a pound," some- 
times without conditions, sometimes subject to the approval 
of the town from which the settlement was made. The 
next step was often a request for "winter privileges," with 
a remission of one half of the ministerial taxes ; this was the 
case where the settlement was six or eight miles from the 
center. Sometimes the "liberty of a minister" was asked 
for at first, and sometimes, when the call was made for a 
pound there was also a petition for a separate church. Then 
followed the incorporation of the society by a charter from 
the legislature, following which was election of officers. 
Glastonbury stepped at once into the possession of the full 
privileges of a town. Towns were less republican than now, 
more overshadowed by the General Court, and questions 
regarding religious differences, choice of sites for meeting- 

% . r- 


Settlement Conclxidecl 


houses, organization of ministers, and settlement of ministers 
were decided by the legislature, with or without the request 
of the town. In the first sixty years it was easy to obtain 
permission to form a new town, but later on it was differ- 
ent, and some towns petitioned years for the privileges 
of incorporation. The settlement of the commonwealth 
was promoted by the coming of many settlers from England 
during the disturbances of the Puritan uprising, as well as 
by church quarrels and Anglo-Saxon enterprise. 


ONE of the most powerful influences affecting the early life 
of the settlers was that of the aborigines, the Indians, 
who belonged to the Algonkin stock, members of which 
were found from Labrador to South CaroHna; King Philip, 
Powhatan, Pocahontas, and Black Hawk, who have appealed 
most to our novelists and dramatists, were all of Algonkin 
lineage. It is believed that widespread pestilences had 
carried off many of the natives, so that the process of taking 
possession of the country was less difficult than it would 
have been a few years earlier. It was trying enough as 
it was, for the Indians were swift, wary, cruel in war, 
shrewd in council, ingenious and skillful with their devices. 
The name Connecticut is the same as the name of the Indi- 
ans dwelling on its banks, and it vividly reminds us of the 
tribal title of the people, whose rude faces looked on the 
first boat-load of settlers ascending the river. It is pure 
guesswork to try to estimate the number of the Connecticut 
Indians. There is evidence that the Pequots could muster 
six hundred warriors, and it is probable that they were as 
numerous as" all the other tribes of Connecticut combined. 
The Quinnipiacs extended along the shore from Milford to 
Madison, holding the bay of New Haven and the little 
rivers that empty into it as fishing-places. Yet when they 
sold their country in 1638, to Davenport and his associates, 
they could state that the number of men of their tribe was 


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TKe Indians 29 

only forty-seven, their total population being but two hun- 
dred souls. The sea-coast was the most thickly peopled, and 
next to this the river courses, on account of the fishing. 
The Paugussetts, who inhabited Stratford, Huntington, 
and the surrounding townships, and the Wepawaugs, who 
lived opposite them on the east bank of the Housatonics, 
were similar people, and were not very numerous. Litch- 
field County, the northern part of Fairfield County, and 
the western part of Hartford County were an uninhabited 
wilderness. On the Farmington River, ten miles west of 
Hartford, lived a small tribe, the Timxis Indians, who, 
according to tradition, had been conquered some years 
before by the Stockbridge Indians. There was evidently 
a considerable tribe in the vicinity of Hartford, or it may 
have been a confederacy, as some of the same names are 
found attached to deeds in the town records from Windsor 
to Middletown. They embraced the bands that Blok in 
1614, described as the "nation called the Sequins," with 
lodges on both sides of the river at or above the great bend 
at Middletown, and also the Nawaas with their fortified 
town at South Windsor. The capital of the Sequins, or 
Wangunks as they were afterwards called, was Middletown, 
and their chieftain Sowheag sold Wethersfield to the settlers. 
Allied with him was Sequasson, sachem of Hartford. In 
East Hartford and East Windsor Hved the Podunks. There 
was a small clan in Haddam and East Haddam, much given 
to religious ceremonies, and who "drove a prodigious trade at 
worshiping the devil," being aided in their superstitious 
ceremonies by the earthquake shocks, or whatever else it 
was — the famous "Moodus noises" — prevailing in early 
times. Tolland and Windham counties had a scattered 
population of Nipmucks, who were peculiarly degraded and 

The Pequots, the most numerous, the fiercest, the brav- 
est of all the tribes of Connecticut, had two forts at Mystic, 
but their wigwams extended for miles along the stony hills 

/ ■-.-■J. 

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30 TV History of Connecticvit 

of New London County, a district of about five hundred 
square miles; their northernmost community, the Mohicans, 
living on the Thames where Norwich and the neighboring 
towns are now. Pequots and Mohicans were of the same race 
as the Hudson River Mohicans, and not much before 1600, 
it is supposed that they abandoned their lodges on the 
Hudson and fought their way into southeastern Connecticut, 
killing and driving out the Indians there, going by way of 
Massachusetts, as Pequot traditions agree in asserting that 
they migrated from the north shortly before the arrival of 
the English. It is probable that the predecessors of the 
Pequots and Mohicans were of the same family as the 
Narragansetts ; and since the Niantics of Lyme were con- 
nected with the Niantics of Rhode Island, and Sequasson, 
chief of Farmington and Connecticut River countries, was a 
connection of the Narragansett sachems, and the Indians 
of Windsor were closely united to the Wepawaugs of Milford, 
it appears reasonable that before the Pequots came upon 
the scene, the Rhode Island and Connecticut Indians were 
of one great family or confederation. 

The interloping Pequots found themselves in a large and 
attractive country, furnishing ample food supply, and their 
fierce war parties swept into the Narragansett country on 
the east; and thrice their armies came into collision with 
Sequasson, the most powerful of the sachems of central 
Connecticut. Sequasson was completely overthrown, and 
became their subject until relieved by the English. The 
Pequots conquered as far as the bay of New Haven, com- 
pelling the Quinnipiacs to pay tribute. Then they crossed 
in their canoes to Long Island and to Block Island and 
extorted tribute there. The sagamore of the Mohicans 
was Uncas, a man of powerful build, and heir apparent to 
the Pequot sachemdom through the female line, his mother 
being aunt to the reigning sachem when the English moved 
to the river. Growing proud, and becoming treacherous, 
it is said, to the reigning sachem, he suffered repeated hum- 

XHe Indians 31 

blings, and was driven from his country, and permitted to 
return only on the promise of submission. 

After Wapegoot, the Pequot sachem, was slain, Uncas 
made claim to the sachemdom, but the aggressive Sassacus 
was chosen, and he with his twenty-six war captains became 
a terror to Uncas and the River Indians. The Narragan- 
setts were the only tribe in New England which the Pequots 
had not conquered, and there was perpetual war between 
the two tribes. Canonicus was chief of the Narragansetts, 
but his wily nephew, Miantonomo, was the ruling spirit. 

There was another reason why Uncas and the Indians on 
the river cordially welcomed the coming of the English, 
and that was the hostility of the Mohawks, fierce members 
of the Five Nations of the Iroquois in central New York, 
who were the leading Indian power in North America. The 
Connecticut Indians were in deadly fear of the Hudson River 
Indians, and when a band of those warriors appeared they 
fled with the cry, "The Mohawks are coming." The Mo- 
hawks would cry out, "We are come, we are come to suck 
your blood." When the Connecticut Indians could not 
escape to their forts, they would run into English houses 
for shelter, and sometimes the Mohawks would pursue so 
closely as to enter with them, and kill them in the presence 
of the family, if there was not time to shut the door, but they 
would never enter by force, nor would they injure the Eng- 
lish. Every summer, two old Mohawks would visit the 
River Indians, issuing orders and collecting tribute. Up 
and down the Connecticut valley they passed, seizing 
wampum and weapons, and proclaiming the last stem edict 
of the savage council of Onondaga, heedless of the scowling 
Mohicans and Sequins, ground between Mohawks and 

The Indians were large, straight, well-built men, capable 
of enduring excessive hardships and torture. They could 
run a hundred miles in a summer day. They were unclean 
in their habits and cruel to the last degree. As a warrior 

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32 -A. History of Connecticvit 

the Indian was a master, reveling in war. The approved 
tactics of our day are those which Indians developed, which 
the whites learned from them at large expense. Discipline 
was preserved, yet there was abundant opportunity for 
personal initiative. Their methods of signal service, finding 
and using cover, scouting, gaining information, keeping in 
touch with the enemy, learning as much as possible of 
the foe without self -betrayal, became a revelation to men 
familiar only with European ways. It is too much to say 
that the United States owes to Indians its independence, 
but they emphasized the value of individual effort, and 
taught a new science of warfare, by which the colonial 
troops harassed the British regulars to desperation, and 
overmatched EngHsh pluck and endurance. 

The claim that a few Indians — perhaps six thousand — 
had a property right over great forest lands which they did 
not clear and till, whose boundaries they did not mark, on 
which they had no fixed habitation, about whose ownership 
they did not fight with one another, except over game, is 
about as reasonable as would be the claims of the bears of 
the wilds. As a rule the whites paid the Indians all the 
lands Vv^ere worth, and saved not a few from death at the 
hands of other Indians. Pequots were interlopers equally 
with the English; they tortured captives to death, cut large 
gashes in the flesh and poured in live coals, and made sufferers 
eat pieces of their own bodies. True, it was a cruel age; 
torture was a civil institution in England and Scotland. 
As late as 1646, a woman had her tongue nailed to a board 
at Henley-on-the-Thames, because she complained of a 
tax levied by Parliament. Frontenac burned prisoners at 
the stake in 1692. It was a common thing for European 
armies to kill all prisoners. 

It is not strange that the Indians should have been 
jealous of the English. It could not be otherwise when 
men determined, aggressive, and not too gentle, came in 
contact with a people little above the brutes, whose religion 

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THe Indians 33 

was a kind of pantheism; the sun a god, the moon a goddess; 
every fish, bird, reptile, tree, endued with mysterious powers; 
whose reHgious leaders were conjurers; whose good god 
Kiehtan was a cloudy bewilderment of goodness, whom 
they thanked for favors; whose devil Hobbamocke received 
the majority of their prayers and offerings; whose women 
were slavish beasts of burden; whose ruling, passions were 
ambition, envy, jealousy, revenge; whose treachery was 
surpassed by their suspicion of the treachery of others. 
"They are a people," wrote Edward Winslow, "without any 
religion or knowledge of God." Mather and Eliot were 
obHged to use the English word for the supreme being in 
describing their beliefs. They had no sacred days or machin- 
ery of religion, hence nothing entitled to the name of reli- 
gious sentiments. The medicine-man or powwow was not 
so much a priest as a conjurer, a healer of diseases, and 
supposed to control the elements by virtue of mystic arts. 
The Algonkins had a myth-cycle of the rabbit, like the 
tar-baby tales. From the burial customs it is evident that 
Indians had some idea of a future life, but the belief in a 
happy hunting-ground is more radiant in the imagination 
of sentimental writers than in the faith of "these dregs of 
mankind," as their faithful friend, Roger Williams, called 
them; after extended experience with them, he said, "There 
is no fear of God before their eyes; and all the cords that 
ever bound the barbarians to foreigners were made of self 
and cove tousn ess." In a letter to Winslow, Williams 
wrote, "Lying, stealing, lying and uncleanness are Indian 
epidemical sins." 

The head chiefs were in absolute authority, surrounded 
by courtiers, the largest, wisest, bravest men, a bodyguard 
firm and undaunted, trained from boyhood by coarse fare 
and whips. The mugwump was head of a subtribal band, 
the boss of the concern; the hereditary sachem entertained 
travelers and ambassadors; he was brave, subtle, and some- 
times eloquent, careful to move in accordance with the 

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34 -A. History of Connectic\it 

wishes of the people. Indians usually hunted alone, but 
sometimes grand hunts were organized. Their dwelling 
places were made of poles set firmly in the ground, bent 
together and fastened at the top; the sides were covered 
with boughs, thatched with rushes or bark. Sanitary laws 
and cleanliness were unknown, and the diseases few but 
deadly, for want of proper treatment, and when the small- 
pox appeared it swept away hundreds of the people. Quin- 
sies, pleurisies, rheumatisms, and quick consumption were 
common, and toothache a dreaded malady; Roger Wil- 
liams records the fact that while they could endure every 
other pain with fortitude, this was too much for their resolu- 
tion, and they would cry and groan after the most piteous 

For curatives they used sweating, and sometimes purged 
the system with herbs, which they knew how to select. 
One mode of sweating was by standing closely wrapped over 
a hole in the earth containing a heated stone. Another was 
to remain an hour or more in a little cabin or sweating hut, 
which was always on the bank of a pond or stream, so that 
when the patient had perspired sufficiently, he could finish 
the prescription by a swift plunge in the water. But another 
method was considered vastly more efficacious, and the 
practitioner was the powwow, who began his treatment 
after receiving a present, the size of which regulated his 
violence and effectiveness. Attiring himself like a wild 
beast or gorgon, he entered the presence of the patient and 
began in a low tone to invoke the deities, singing and gestur- 
ing; becoming frantic and violent he closed with furious 
howls and shouts; the sick man, forgetting his pain, joined 
in the hideous song. After the powwow had exhausted 
himself and worked out his gift, he breathed a few times on 
the patient, and went away. If the disease was too deep 
and death came, friends would visit the mourners, stroking 
gently cheek or head and saying, " Be of good cheer." Then 
a respected man would adorn the body with such ornaments 

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1764775 The Indians 


as the relatives could afford, swathe it with skins and mats, 
and it was buried, and with it dishes of food and implements 
of war, while the relatives stood by with faces freshly painted 
in black. (p^^^l 

In buying lands from the Indians there was a curious cere- 
mony called turf and twig. In February, 1639, Ansantawae, 
sachem of the Paugussetts, sold to the English a considerable 
tract near the center of Milford. The purchasers laid down 
before the sachem six coats, ten blankets, one kettle, and a 
quantity of hoes, knives, hatchets, and looking-glasses. A 
twig and a piece of turf were handed to the chief by a fol- 
lower, he stuck the twig into the turf and gave both to 
the English, indicating that he had passed over the soil and 
all it sustained. An instrument of sale was also drawn, and 
signed by leaders of both parties. The Indians were a 
trial in the early period, entering houses freely and some- 
times causing accidents by their eagerness to handle firearms, 
hence penal laws were passed ordering that for handling 
weapons an Indian was to pay a fine of half a fathom of 
wampimi. An Indian who came to a settlement by night 
might be summoned by the watchman, and if he refused to 
obey, he might be shot down. In times of Indian warfare 
it was sometimes ordered that no one except a magistrate 
should receive a native into his house. In 1647, Indians 
were forbidden to hire lands of the English, because of their 
corrupting influence on young men. Since the Indians 
complained of being cheated out of their territories, a law 
was passed in 1663, forbidding private individuals buying 
lands of them. 

Connecticut was an Indian country, its colonies only 
two or three days' march on both sides from the most 
cruel and dangerous tribes in North America, and there 
were times when braves would lurk in the neighboring forest 
for three months waiting for the right opportunity to strike. 
It was stiff discipline : grim and bloody is the story of those 
bitter years ; it was a rough experience for both races in that 

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36 j\ History of Connecticxit 

stem age, and at length the English killed, drove out, or 
enslaved most of the Indians, after more than a century of 
fear and struggle. 

Just how much the settlers owed the Indians, and how 
far the presence of the aborigines affected the settlements 
and the history, are questions it is hard to answer. No 
doubt the fact that there were powerful tribes had a decided 
influence on the method of procedure of the whites. Had 
the land been unoccupied by human beings, the English 
might have swarmed over America in a short time, and the 
compact settlement on the Connecticut and its neighbor- 
hood with the resulting government would perhaps never 
have existed. One of the important contributions of the 
Indians was the system of trails, camping-places, and trade- 
routes which they had established. The Bay Path was 
learned of the Indians by the first pioneers to Connecticut. 
Indians were an agricultural people and cultivated maize, 
squashes, pumpkins, beans, and tobacco. It was possibly 
due to the raising and storing of Indian com that the occu- 
pation of the continent at that time was made possible. 
The general distribution of the plant brought from the south 
had long before taken place, and this, with wild roots and 
beans, often eked out the food supplies of the conquering 
race. The English learned from the Indians to plant com 
in hills and to fertilize with fish. Governor Bradford says 
that in April, 1621, "They began to plant their come, in 
which service Squanto stood them in great stead, showing 
ye manner how to set it and after how to dress and tend it. 
And he tould them, excepte they got fish and set with it 
(in these old grounds) it would come to nothing." Thomas 
Morton in his New Engla?id's Canaan says, "You may see 
in one township a hundred acres together set with fish, 
every acre taking 1000 of them, & an acre thus dressed will 
produce and yield as much com as 3 acres without fish." 
In the early history of the English settlements there is 
frequent mention of the "bams" of the Indians. These 

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THe Indians 37 

were holes made in the ground in which com and other 
foods were cached, and these helped out the settlers. The 
corn-cribs set on posts are an Indian invention, and have 
been slightly changed by the white settlers. The hominy- 
mortar and the device of preserving com on the cob by 
braiding the husks are mentioned by early chroniclers as 
Indian devices. 

The influence of the Indians on the whites is suggested by 
the prevalence of such names as "Indian file," "Indian 
com," "Indian summer," hickory, chipmunk, mugwump, 
moccasin, squash, woodchuck, toboggan, Saratoga, skunk, 
hominy, Tammany, and more than two hundred others. 
Indian in origin are such expressions as these: "fire-water," 
"paleface," "medicine-man," "Great Spirit," "happy 
hunting-grounds," "Great Father," "to bury the hatchet," 
"to smoke the pipe of peace," and "to take his scalp." 
The Indians were familiar with valuable febrifuges, pur- 
gatives, astringents, balsams, and stimulants, and the "In- 
dian doctor" was sometimes called in by the settlers to 
stanch wounds and alleviate pain. Upon the Indian repu- 
tation in medicine many quacks and impostors have ven- 
tured their claims to cure dozens of diseases. Sweat-baths, 
corn-poultices, lobelia, witch-hazel, cascara, and scores of 
other terms suggest the wealth of Indian " folk-medicine." 
Ropes and strings were made of "Indian hemp." Corn- 
husk mats are of Indian origin, and the European settlers 
learned from their neighbors of many durable ways of 
staining and dyeing. The white settlers owed much to 
the Indians. 


REFERENCE was made in the previous chapter to the in- 
fluence of the Indians upon the EngHsh in training them 
for war, and the discipHne came hot and heavy at the very 
start, for the settlers had barely secured a foothold and a 
covering when they were met by a sharp challenge and 
stem defiance from the most dangerous tribe in New Eng- 
land. During the sixteen years since the settlement of 
Plymouth the Indians had been in the main friendly, but 
so numerous were the English becoming that the Pequots 
from their forts at Groton determined to strike for their 
hunting-grounds. Outrages opened in 1634, when Captains 
Stone and Norton were killed by allies of the Pequots, while 
ascending the Connecticut to trade; the Pequot chiefs 
Sassacus and Ninigret were in the conspiracy and shared 
the plunder. In 1636, John Oldham, who had been appointed 
collector of tribute from the Pequots, was killed by them 
off Block Island, and his boat seized; the murderers were 
attacked by John Gallop, another trader, killed or driven 
off, and the body of Oldham, still warm, was found in the 
boat. The fugitives fled to the Pequots, where they gained 
protection. Although the Pequots had nothing to do with 
the affair, the Massachusetts government sent Captain 
Endicott with a force to avenge the murder, and after 
stopping at Block Island and destroying some Indian houses 
and two hundred acres of com, he went to the mainland 

, 38 - 

"Wars -witH tHe Indians 39 

and burned some of the Pequot wigwams, which, as Gardener, 
the commander of the Saybrook fort, told Endicott, was 
outrageous and would serve only to bring the Indians "Hke 
wasps about his ears," a prediction that came true. Sas- 
sacus tried to draw the Narragansetts into a general war, 
which might have annihilated the English settlements in 
Connecticut, but an ancient hostility toward their fierce 
rivals was too strong, reinforced as it was by the diplomacy 
of Roger Williams, who, at peril of life, visited the forts, 
and persuaded the Narragansett chiefs to go to Boston in 
the autumn, and conclude a treaty of peace and alliance with 
the English. 

The formidable Pequots, left to battle alone, spared no 
pains to provoke resentment. Early in October, they 
attacked five haymakers from the Saybrook garrison; 
seized a man named Butterfield and tortured him to death 
and a few days after, they took two men from a boat, — one 
they killed, the other, Joseph Tilly, was tortured to death 
by cutting off hands and feet. The Saybrook fort was in a 
state of siege all winter; outhouses and haystacks burned; 
cattle killed or wounded. It was worse in the spring as Indi- 
ans watched roads and river. In March, Gardener, the 
commander, went out with ten men to work on the land; 
they were waylaid, three slain, the rest escaped to the fort, 
which was at once surrounded by a great number of Pequots, 
who challenged the English to come out and fight ; mocking 
the groans and prayers of tortured men ; boasting that they, 
could kill the English "all one flies," until grape-shot drove 
them away. Not long after this, three men sailing down the 
river were overpowered, one man was killed and he fell 
overboard; the others were cut in two lengthwise and hung 
up on the river bank. In April, Indians went as far as 
Wethersfield and waylaid some farmers while going to their 
fields, killed two men, a woman, and child; they carried 
away two girls, killed twenty cows, and destroyed much 
other property. 

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40 j\. History of Connecticut 

In the midst of these calamities, the General Court met 
at Hartford, May i, 1637, representing the little republic 
of eight hundred souls. It was a momentous time for the 
company of fifteen — six magistrates and nine committee- 
men, who were to decide the fate of Connecticut, at least 
for a time. They were surrounded by Indian tribes, scat- 
tered through the country from Hudson River to Narragan- 
sett Bay; these tribes united could have fallen upon the 
whites with a force of four or five thousand warriors. The 
Pequots had five hundred fighting men and no one could 
tell how soon fresh allies would join their forces. The 
Indians already had killed thirty people, and were growing 
bolder; there seemed to be no alternative. We are not 
surprised to read on the record the following vote, "It is 
ordered that there shall be an offensive war against the 
Pequots, and there shall be ninety men levied out of the 
three plantations of Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield." 
Hartford was to furnish forty-two, Windsor thirty, and 
Wethersfield eighteen men. There have been longer sessions, 
and less pointed legislation since then, but none more ef- 
fective. Busy days followed, and on Wednesday, May 10, 
the little army of ninety Englishmen and seventy Mohicans 
embarked in three small vessels, with the queer names of 
"a pink, a pinnace and a shallop." The commander was 
Captain John Mason, who had served in the Netherlands 
under Sir John Fairfax, and the chaplain was Samuel Stone. 
The vessels ran aground so frequently in the shallow waters 
of that season that Uncas begged leave to go ashore; when 
the English reached Saybrook fort on Monday, May 15, 
they found Captain John Underhill, with twenty men from 
Massachusetts, with Uncas, happy over a battle with the 
Pequots, in which seven had been killed and one captured. 
The last was handed over to the Mohicans, who tortured, 
roasted and ate him. 

It was an anxious time for Captain Mason and his slender 
army, lying wind-bound from Monday until Friday in front 

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"Wars -witK tKe Indians 41 

of the fort, knowing well that every motion was watched 
by sharp Pequot scouts, that his passage into the Thames 
would find the enemy well prepared, that the moment he 
landed his men on the rocky shore, Pequot warriors would 
hasten by the hundreds from the woods. His orders were 
to land near the mouth of the Pequot, now the Thames 
River, and attack the enemy from the west. The keen 
officer knew that it would be suicidal to leap into a swarm 
of arrows with his little band. There was delay, for the 
other officers and the men were in favor of obeying instruc- 
tions to assault the Indian fort at once; they shrank from 
the long march through the woods on the east, and the long 
exposure of their homes through their absence. In the 
division of opinion. Chaplain Stone played a valuable part : 
urged by Captain Mason to pray for guidance, he spent most 
of Thursday night in prayer; the next morning he reported 
the harmony of the captain's plan with the divine will. It 
was decided to send twenty men to Hartford to strengthen 
the home guard, while Captain Underbill, with nineteen 
men, took their places. 

It was a stiff undertaking, for it was learned from 
the two Wethersfield girls, captured by the Indians and 
brought back by the Dutch, who had exchanged for them 
six Indians, that the Pequots had sixteen muskets, and knew 
how to use them. Following the good judgment of Captain 
Mason, backed up by the prayers of the chaplain, the tiny 
fleet set sail for Narragansett Bay, determined to march 
through the woods across Rhode Island, and crush the 
Indians by night. They passed Watch Hill and Point 
Judith and on Saturday evening reached Narragansett 
Pier, and came to anchor near Tower Hill, where they spent 
Sunday on shipboard, a northwest gale preventing the 
landing before Tuesday at sunset. Then the captain led 
his army to an Indian village, not far away, where was 
a Narragansett chief, who approved of the design of the 
expedition and the program, but thought the force too small 

■ i. ' i I, .1 J. 1 

; ■,} iKw: 

rrf '--'K 

42 i\ History of Connecticxit 

to deal with an enemy, which was, as he said, "very great 
captains, and men skilful in war." 

During Tuesday night, an Indian rimner came from 
Providence to tell Mason that Captain Patrick was on his 
way from Massachusetts with a small body of troops, but 
Mason balanced the value of surprise against the import- 
ance of additional troops, and decided to push on at once. 
He set out through the wilderness Wednesday morning, 
May 24, with "seventy-seven brave Englishmen, sixty 
frightened Mohicans, and four hundred terrified Narragan- 
setts and Niantics." They marched twenty miles to 
Niantic, a village of the Narragansetts, on the borders of 
the Pequot country. The chief, fearing the enmity of the 
Pequots, refused admission to the English for the night. 
On Thursday, Mason advanced fifteen miles to a place five 
miles northwest of Stonington, near a hill, where stood the 
principal stronghold of the Pequots, a few miles from the 
residence of Sassacus. The day was sultry and oppressive, 
some of the men fainted from heat, and most of the Nar- 
ragansetts, "being possessed with great fear," fell behind. 
Evidently the Pequots had not been alarmed, since the 
sentinels of the English could hear the noisy revels in the 
fort, celebrating possibly the departure of the English in 
fear. Had there been a seer among those fierce men in that 
fort on the hill a mile west of Mystic, he might well have 
thrilled his companions with a tragic tale, for it was the 
last night of the Pequot tribe on earth. It was a clear, 
beautiful evening in spring, and amid the weird shadows 
cast by the trees in the bright moonlight, the soldiers, 
exhausted by the march, threw themselves on the ground 
and slept. "The rocks were our pillows," said Mason, 
"but rest was pleasant." About an hour before light, the 
men were roused and bidden make ready for battle. The 
moon still shone on them as Chaplain Stone prayed softly 
for the help of God, and soon the little army was in motion 
for the fort two miles away on Pequot Hill. They feared 

-■■)., r. 

The Plan of the Pequot Fort 


Belt and Strings of Wampum 

'\ I 

"Wars -witK tKe Indians 43 

at first that they were on the wrong track, but were reas- 
sured when they saw a field of corn newly planted, and soon 
Uncas the chief and Wequash the guide came near. "Where 
is the fort?" asked Mason. "On the top of that hill," 
was the answer. "Where are the rest of the Indians?" 
asked the commander. "Tell them not to fly, but to stand 
off as far as they please, to see whether Englishmen will 

The fort was a nearly circular area of several acres, 
enclosed by trunks of trees set firmly in the ground close 
together, and rising to the height of twelve feet. Within 
were seventy wigwams in two rows. There were two en- 
trances, one on the northeast side, the other on the west. 
Mason led at one, and Underhill at the other. The Pequots 
had no sentinels, and the garrison was sound asleep. When 
the storming party was within a rod of the palisade, an 
Indian dog barked, and a voice of an Indian was heard 
shouting, "Owanux! Owanux!" (Englishmen, Englishmen). 
No time was lost. Mason pushed away the brush before 
the entrance and led sixteen men into the enclosure; a des- 
perate hand-to-hand struggle began with the Indians who 
swarmed from the wigwams like bees. Some of the Pequots 
began to shoot from the doors of their lodges. One of them 
was on the point of shooting Mason through the head, when 
a soldier cut the bowstring with his sword. Soon the 
captain saw two soldiers lowering their swords toward the 
earth as though the undertaking were hopeless; the attack- 
ing party was getting out of breath as it swept through 
the area, killing the braves right and left; some of the whites 
were wounded, two were dead. "We shall never kill them 
this way; we must bum them," shouted Mason, touching 
a firebrand to the mats which covered a hut. The fire, 
fanned by a rising northeaster, spread through the fort. 
Underhill set the other side afire with a train of gunpowder, 
and the English were driven from the furnace. In an hour 
the fort was in ashes; English muskets shot down a part of 


t , ■ ■■:t...ij - 1; 

44 -A. History of Connecticut 

those that escaped, and the native alHes brought down nearly 
all the rest. "It is reported by themselves," said Under- 
hill, "that there were about four hundred souls in this fort, 
not above five of them escaped out of our hands." Mason 
said that seven hundred perished, and seven were captured. 
Of the English, two were killed and twenty wounded. 

There was another Indian fort a few miles farther west, 
near the path to Pequot harbor, where Mason had arranged 
to meet the vessels; food and ammunition were almost spent ; 
the surgeon was on shipboard; the heat was overpowering, 
and early in the day, the Indians from the other garrison, 
seeing the smoking ruins of their neighbors, tore their hair, 
and working themselves into a frenzy, rushed upon the 
Englishmen to avenge the slaughter, but Mason, hiring his 
allies to carry away the wounded, drove back the enemy, 
and at evening the soldiers embarked and returned to 
Hartford, after an absence of three weeks. 

On the day after the battle, the last council of the Pequot 
nation was held, at which a program for the future was 
adopted. It was decided, after a stormy debate, to burn 
their wigwams and supplies and join the Mohawks on the 
Hudson. Thirty men, with as many women and children, 
took refuge in a swamp near their former home. Stoughton 
of Massachusetts with one hundred and twenty men found 
them there and killed all the men but two, who were kept 
for guides to lead the English to Sassacus, the fugitive chief- 
tain. Thirty-three of the Pequot women were given to the 
Indian allies; the remainder were sent to Massachusetts 
and sold as slaves. The captured women reported that 
thirteen sachems had been slain, and that thirteen survived. 

In June, the Connecticut Court met at Hartford and 
ordered Mason to go with forty men to carry on the war. 
He joined Stoughton with his Massachusetts men at New 
London. It was decided to follow Sassacus in his flight to 
the Hudson, Grim, persistent, relentless attack and pursuit 
were the program ; the conduct of the Indians in their flight 

■") . .1 

1 >f .3^1 

I' <^y 

"Wars -witK tKe Indians 45 

did not dull the edge of the sword; Sassacus and Monotto 
with the main body of the tribe, while crossing the Connecti- 
cut, killed three men in a canoe and hung their bodies on 
trees; Mason, Stoughton, and Uncas were on their track. 
Sachem's Head gained its name from the fact that Uncas 
cut off the head of a Pequot chief and hung it in an oak there. 
In hot pursuit Mason overtook the foe in a swamp in Fair- 
field, where the Indians made a stand ; a cordon was formed 
about the Pequots; all who were not red-handed from the 
murder of whites were offered life; it was specially desired 
to save local Indians who had fled to the swamp in terror of 
vengeance, and also the women and children of the Pequots. 
Some availed themselves of the offer, but not the men. 
In a thick fog the Indians fell upon the English, but were 
repulsed ; in the hand-to-hand struggle which followed many 
Pequots were killed, and one hundred and eighty captured. 
A massive block of granite has been recently placed in the 
swamp with the inscription: 

The Great Swamp-Fight 

Here Ended 

The Pequot War 

July 13, 1637 

Sassacus was not present at the swamp fight. Accused by 
his people of being the author of their misfortunes, he fled 
westward to the country of the Mohawks, with a few war- 
riors. The Mohawks, hating the Pequots as cordially as 
did the English, and wishing to conciliate the latter, be- 
headed Sassacus, his brother, and five sachems, sending 
their scalps to Connecticut. In the autumn a black, glossy 
lock of hair was received in Boston; it was from the head of 
Sassacus, who was more fortunate than Uncas, who lived 
to be a degraded, drunken dependent of the English. 

This victory benefited Uncas, who with Miantonomo, 
sachem of the Narragansetts, met the magistrates at Hart- 

46 A. History of ConTiectic\jt 

ford, September 21, 1737, and a treaty was formed between 
Connecticut, the Mohicans, and the Narragansetts, according 
to which there was to be perpetual peace. Connecticut was 
to have the territory of the Pequots, remnants of whom 
were to be absorbed by the Mohicans and Narragansetts, and 
the name Pequot was to cease, save in that sightly elevation, 
Pequot Hill, on which stands a rude bowlder crowned by a 
bronze statue of Captain John Mason, and the stately 
soldier is in the act of drawing his sword. The later years 
of Uncas were not enviable, though he had the pleasure of 
giving away or selling for a trifle large tracts of land about 
Norwich, often with boundaries covering previous grants, 
until in 1680, becoming alarmed at approaching poverty, 
he applied to the legislature to take jurisdiction over 
his remaining property, allowing him compensation for 
sales; agreeing to keep the peace and to assist the colony 
in case of attack. The Assembly accepted the trust, prom- 
ising to give good advice if Uncas were attacked, and 
furnish ammunition at a fair price. Uncas lived only two 
or three years to enjoy this one-sided arrangement, dying 
in 1682, or 1683. His son Owenico was in a still more 
pitiful state at the end. In 1680, he made over all the lands 
his father had given him on the Quinnebaug to James Fitch, 
his loving friend, as he called him, giving as a reason for the 
deed the fact that some of the English extorted land from 
him by importunities, and others by inducing him to sign 
papers while he was under the influence of strong liquors. 
James Fitch was son of the Norwich minister, but unlike 
his father was grasping and eager for land. One night 
Owenico became very drunk, fell out of his canoe, and 
would have drowned had it not been for two settlers, to one 
of whom he gave one hundred acres of land. This princely 
Owenico, the brave warrior in early manhood, fighting 
gallantly the Pocomtocks, Pocanokets, and Narragansetts, 
became a vagabond in his old age. With squaw, blanket, 
gun, and a pack on his back, he wandered about the settle- 

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"Wars "witH tHe Indians 47 

ments, presenting to strangers who could not understand 
his Enghsh the following doggerel: 

Oneco, king, his queen doth bring, 

To beg a little food ; 
As they go along his friends among 

To try how kind, how good. 

Some pork, some beef, for their relief, 

And if you can't spare bread, 
She'll thank you for a pudding, as they go a-gooding, 

And carry it on her head. 

The question now arises, can we justify this fearful 
campaign? The war would not have been waged at that 
time had not the Endicott expedition, carried on in defiance 
of the judgment and wishes of Connecticut, enraged the 
Pequots. After thirty murders by the savages, Connecticut 
was obliged to take the field. It was clear to the wisest 
and best men in Connecticut that the question was squarely 
before them, either to slay or to be slain. 

The next Indian war was in 1675-76, and the Indians 
were far more dangerous than the Pequots of thirty-eight 
years before. Their weapons were no longer confined to 
the spear, the arrow, the tomahawk, and the scalping-knife ; 
firearms with powder and shot were in their hands. They 
were also better acquainted with the methods of the 
English, who in turn had been studying the ways of the 
Indians. While many armed men went forth from the Con- 
necticut villages in King PhiHp's war, the battle scenes 
were outside the colony, though heavy losses fell within. 
King Philip, the Indian leader, was sachem of the 
Wampanoags, and his chief fort was at Mount Hope, in 
the eastern part of the town of Bristol in Rhode Island. 
For several years it had been supposed among the colo- 
nies that the Indians were forming a general conspiracy, 
with the purpose of ridding their hunting-grounds of people 

2^ ' ^ .•-• ' '.^ 

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c \ OS 1 

4^ -A. History of Connecticvit 

who seemed to the independent sachems as intruders and 
usurpers. John Sausaman, a Christian Indian, who had 
once been a subject of Philip, told the English of the plot. 
Philip secured the murder of Sausaman. The murderers 
were tried by English laws and executed. Philip armed his 
subjects and began to march up and down the coimtry. In 
June, he made an attack on Swanzey near Mount Hope, 
killing nine and wounding seven of the people. Other 
places in the neighborhood were attacked, and the colonies 
sent soldiers against them. The Narragansetts did not 
enter very cordially into the alHance, which Philip sought 
to make as general as possible. They did harbor the old 
men and women of their warHke neighbors. The chiefs of 
the Narragansetts, with Canonchet at their head, for a time 
resisted the appeals of Philip, and a treaty was forced from 
them which they soon violated. The commissioners of the 
United Colonies, convinced that the Narragansetts were 
aiding PhiHp, decided that an army of a thousand men 
should be sent against the Indian headquarters in the Nar- 
ragansett country. Of these Connecticut furnished three 
hundred Englishmen, and one hundred and fifty Pequot 
and Mohican Indians, with Major Treat in command. 

On December i8, 1675, these made a junction with the 
Massachusetts and Plymouth forces. Wading through the 
snow until about one o'clock, they reached the vicinity of 
the Indian fort, which was on a hill in the center of a great 
swamp. The fort was attacked with spirit, and after con- 
siderable loss was taken and given to the flames; hundreds 
of the Indian warriors were killed, many captured, and 
many perished in the snow. It was a costly victory for the 
colonists, as eighty were killed or mortally wounded, and 
the sufferings on the return were extreme. Of the five 
Connecticut captains, three, Seely, Gallup, and Marshall 
were killed, and Captain Mason died of a wound nine months 
afterwards. It was a fearful winter for many towns in 
Massachusetts, as the enemy had lost their dwelHngs and 

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Wars witK the Indians 


provisions, and there was little to detain them in Rhode 
Island. March brought disasters to Northampton, Spring- 
field, Chelmsford, Groton, Sudbury, and Marlborough; 
Northfield, Hadley, and Deerfield were also sufferers. Con- 
necticut troops with many faithful Pequots under Majors 
Talcott and Treat ranged through the country back and 
forth, destroying many warriors and capturing others, and 
at length the war came to an end. It is impossible to' esti- 
mate the number of Indians engaged. About six hundred 
of the sturdiest men in the colonies were killed and wounded, 
and the country was in mourning. Connecticut suffered 
nothing from the ravages of the enemy in this war, but it 
was a time of dread ; palisades were erected, guns kept within 
reach, garrison houses built, heavy expenses incurred, but 
the country was rid of a dangerous enemy by a campaign 
determined and thorough. The most serious loss was 
incurred in the great swamp fight, and the valor of the 
soldiers was thus described by the General Assembly: 

There died many brave officers and sentinels whose memory 
is blessed, and whose death redeemed our lives. The bitter cold, 
the tarled swamp, the tedious march, the strong fort, the numer- 
ous and stubborn enemy they contended with, for their God, 
King, country, be their trophies our death. Our mourners over 
all the colony witness for our men that they were not unfaithful 
in that day. 

Despite all that has been said to disparage the treatment 
the Indians received at the hands of the whites, the careful 
student of the times must admit that it was fair. In the 
nature of the case there were cases of meanness, cruelty, and 
revenge. There were men, who, after seeing wife and chil- 
dren butchered in cold blood in midnight assault, spent the 
remamder of their days in killing with a kind of mania, 
a method which partook of the severity of the savage race, 
and there were many whites who fell below the purpose which 
filled the minds of some of the noblest of the Puritans when 

•I '. ^ G1 

rr. ■ ^0 

50 A. History of Connecticut 

they came hither: "the glory of God, and the everlasting 
welfare of these poore, naked sonnes of Adam." But there 
were efforts made to teach and evangelize them. In 1650, 
the colony made some provision for their religious education. 
In 1654, the General Court, lamenting that so little had 
been done through want of an able interpreter, ordered 
that Thomas Myner of Pequot (New London) send his son 
John to Hartford "where this Court will provide for his 
maintenance and schooling, to the end that he may be, for 
the present, assistant to interpret the things of God to them 
as he shall be directed." Rev. Abraham Pierson of Bran- 
ford learned the Indian language and preached to the Indi- 
ans; Fitch and Narber did likewise. Gookin and John 
Eliot entered the colony for the same purpose, but only the 
scantiest results followed. In 1657, John Eliot, "the apostle 
to the Indians," was in Hartford at a council of minis- 
ters, and desiring to preach to the natives, some of the 
Podunks across the river were gathered to listen to him. 
He spoke to them in their own language, and when they 
were urged to become Christians, they answered angrily, 
saying that the English had taken away their land and now 
they were attempting to make the Podunks their servants. 
It is not strange that men who were addicted to war, revenge, 
and laziness should have found little in the Bible to please 
them. The friendly and patient Rev. James Fitch of Nor- 
wich did everything in his power to Christianize the Mohi- 
cans, preaching to them in 1671, and later, but he was 
forced to admit that "Uncas and Owenico at first carried it 
teachably and tractably, till they discerned that practical 
religion would throw down their heathenish idols, and the 
tyrannical authority of the sachems; then they went away 
and threw off their people, some by flatteries, some by 
threats." Embittered by their poverty and misery before 
the advancing prosperity of the English, the Indians were 
in no mood to receive, with the humility required, the teach- 
ings of their conquerors, though the commissioners of the 

'.( -.■.". 

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. 'i/_'/. I . ) 

: ■;/ :.£ ' 

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•A Pastoral Scene in Woodstock. Pulpit Rock in Foreground, from which John 
Eliot Preached to the Indians in 1670 


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''" ■■"iv;^" 

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Eissell's Ferry in Windsor, in Continuous Operation since about 1645 

Redrawn from an (MJ Print 


Wars -witK tHe Indians 51 

United Colonies voted money for their education in New 
Haven. Stone, Newton, and Hooker taught in Farmington 
an Indian school from 1648, to 1697, and further records of 
the school are dated 1733-36. At one time there were 
fifteen Tunxis Indians in the school, and in the list of church 
members of the Farmington church are the names of Solomon 
Mossock, admitted June, 1763, and Eunice Mossock, ad- 
mitted in September, 1765. In 1728, a grandson of Captain 
John Mason taught the Mohicans English and religion, 
receiving for his services fifteen pounds, and in 1727, a law 
was passed ordering masters and mistresses to teach their 
Indian servants to read English, and also the Christian 
faith by catechizing them, under a penalty of not over forty 
shillings. In 1733, the legislature made an appropriation 
for the Indian school at Farmington, and in 1736, contribu- 
tions for Indian education were ordered from the churches 
at the next Thanksgiving. 

The most celebrated school for the Indians was the 
"Moor Indian Charity School" in Lebanon. Samson 
Occum, who had been converted in 1740, in the Great Awak- 
ening, applied to Rev. Eleazer Wheelock, the pastor in 
Lebanon, who began preaching to the Indians in 1735; the 
application was made in 1745, and for three years the young 
Mohican received instruction from Wheelock. In 1754, 
Joshua Moor left, after death, his house and two acres for 
a school. Wheelock gathered pupils in that house, beginning, 
in 1754, with two Delawares; soon others followed. In 
1762, there were over twenty: one Mohican, six Mohawks, 
and the rest Delawares. Contributions came in from 
various quarters. Four Indian girls were taught sewing 
and housework. Occum was ordained by the presbytery 
of Suffolk Long Island in 1759, and he became a suc- 
cessful preacher to his people, though it is painful to be 
obliged to say that this lonely and comparatively respecta- 
ble product of Christianity among the Indians vibrated 
between drunkenness and repentance. Thackeray would 

...-■ ~ .. ■ jV o 

52 A. History- of Connecticxit 

say that he wept over his sins until he grew thirsty, then 
drank again. ' 

Like similar schools in later days, the treasury was usually 
empty, and in 1766, Occum and Nathanael Whitaker went 
to Great Britain for money. The presence of the Mohican 
there made a decided sensation, and there were large contri- 
butions to the Lebanon school; the king gave two hundred 
pounds, Lord Dartmouth fifty pounds, and soon seven 
thousand pounds was gathered from England and two 
thousand from Scotland. In 1770, the school moved to 
some lands that were opening in Hanover, New Hampshire, 
and it became the foundation of Dartmouth College. Here 
and there the Indians lingered in Connecticut, with an 
occasional "praying Indian" like good old Mamousin of 
the Mattabesetts, but most of them were ignorant, poor, de- 
graded, and licentious — miserable relics of a barbarous race. 

This story from that stern, fierce age is too bloody to 
be romantic, too bitter and cruel to be proud of, too sad to 
dwell upon longer. It is a story of courage and daring on 
both sides. It is not strange that the Indians should have 
hated the English, when they saw their hunting-grounds 
vanishing. Nothing short of miracles could have prevented 
injustice and ill-feeling. The destruction of the Pequots 
and the Narragansetts has been stigmatized as cruel by 
critics, sitting in their studies or on their verandas, but 
there was only one issue — to destroy or be destroyed. The 
struggle had to come, soon or late. Indians, wolves, and 
panthers were doomed to death or exile. The work of 
extermination was done in a grim age thoroughly, save for 
a few that yielded to the civilizing influences so patiently 
exerted: some went to newer parts of the country; some 
stayed in Connecticut communities, as slaves or thievish, 
drunken remnants of a race in which civilization found thin 
soil. The descendants now living in the state are hardly 
enough to count. 


THE process of establishing a government over a new state 
by men of such decided ideas and keen consciences 
was a difficult one, and they could not take the mother 
colony of Massachusetts as a model in every respect because, 
as we have seen, their settlement on the Connecticut was 
due in part to a protest against the methods of the Bay State. 
New ground had to be broken in the forming of constitution 
and laws, and the process was necessarily one of evolution. 
As soon as the sharp collision with the Pequots was over, 
the able men, with whom the young commonwealth was 
well supplied, addressed themselves resolutely to the task 
of establishing a system of laws which would make perma- 
nent and secure the principles which had led to the migration. 
It is impossible to understand the early conditions 
without taking notice of the fact that Springfield was settled 
at the same time with Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield. 
In 1635, William Pynchon, the principal man of Roxbury, 
Massachusetts, with the main body of the church and com- 
munity, followed the Indian trail, the famous Bay Path, 
westward until he reached Agawam or Springfield, at the 
intersection of a trail north and south, — a convenient center 
for trade in furs; and near Enfield Falls, Pynchon built a 
warehouse, at a place now called Warehouse Point, conve- 
nient for the Agawam settlers. From the first, the emi- 
grants on the Connecticut were recognized as four distinct 


54 -A. History of Connecticvit 

companies, and William Pynchon and Henry Smith repre- 
sented the Roxbury party. 

There is one thing to be made clear at this point and that 
is that the towns did not migrate as towns; not one half of 
the Dorchester people went to Connecticut; of the ten 
townsmen elected in 1634, only three went; of the nine 
elected in 1635, only three went, and of the thirteen later, 
only four migrated. There is nothing in the records to 
indicate a removal or reorganization. The assessment lists 
of Massachusetts contain the names of Newtowne, Dor- 
chester, and Watertown after 1636. Companies from those 
towns migrated and not towns. In each of the three settle- 
ments on the Connecticut there was the embryo of a town, 
which in four years came into organization, having of course 
local management from the first, but the government was 
purely democratic, and not the government of an independ- 
ent town. The settlements were forced to form a provi- 
sional government early, for the dreams of trading with the 
Indians as a lucrative line of business in addition to farming 
soon changed into the stark proposition of fighting the 
fiercest tribe in New England. The agricultural settlements 
changed into armed camps, and farmers into soldiers. 

The first government was provisional, and was under 
the authority of Massachusetts, which gave her first recog- 
nition of the Connecticut plantations in June, 1635, ^-P^ 
pointing one of the settlers as constable, "sworn constable 
of the plantations, till some other be chosen." Three 
months later, permission was given by the mother colony 
for the loan of military stores, and the election by each 
plantation of its own constable, who was to be sworn in by a 
magistrate of the Bay Colony. The constable was a com- 
mander of militia, and the first organization was for defense. 
When Massachusetts was forced to allow the churches to 
emigrate, the Newtowne church came to Hartford in the 
spring of 1636, with its two ministers, and a new stage of 
organization began. It is clear that the church organiza- 

.<« ■■■' -.'^/'•^r'-"!^ lo -K,"'M.ot'^.':f"". y\ 

i r^'' ■"■: fm >i) noch- 4 hk; [.-■7/' Lria ,'Vi" 

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;I ■ rorl ; .-y:* .v 

Forming the Government 55 

tion did not coincide then with the town organization ; it 
certainly did not in Wethersfield, where seven men consti- 
tuted the legal church, while there were more than fifty 
in the plantation. At a later time town and church were 
one, but at first the township was broader than the parish. 

In March, 1636, the Massachusetts Court instituted a 
provisional government imder a commission, or in the quaint 
words of the time, "graunted to severall prsons to governe 
the People att Connecticott fr the Space of a Yeare nowe 
nexte comeing," and it ordered that Roger Ludlowe, Esquire, 
William Pynchon, Esquire, John Steele, William Swaine, 
Henry Smith, William Phelps, William Westwood, and An- 
drew Ward, "or the greatr pte of them shall haue full power 
and aucthoritie." It was a court for the investigation of 
questions that might arise, and for the decision of all public 
matters pertaining to the settlements. This was the first 
General Court, and its authority came from the mother 
colony, which expected these eight magistrates to issue 
decrees and govern the towns. This Court met eight times 
between April 26, 1636, and May i, 1637, Agawam not being 
represented until the fifth meeting on November i, 1636. 
The Massachusetts Court provided that after the close of a 
year for which the eight commissioners were appointed, 
there could be held a convention of the inhabitants "to any 
convenient place that they shall think meet, in a legal and 
open manner by way of court." It came to pass that on 
March 3, 1637, Connecticut ceased to acknowledge political 
dependence on Massachusetts, and in the next Court the 
people were represented by committees to the number of 
nine men, who were present with the magistrates at the 
session of May i, 1637, to take action concerning the Pequots, 
the additional men being called to act with the magistrates 
on account of the gravity of the situation. Under this 
arrangement the Connecticut people were governed for 
three years, war being undertaken, troops equipped, heavy 
taxes levied and collected and the Pequots destroyed, with 

i" -■ ' 

:, ^ T 

1 ■ y V . 'A--' f 

56 A. History of Connecticxjt 

but little help from Massachusetts. The inhabitants 
signed a written compact of local government May 14, 1636, 
and by action of the court which met in February, 1637, 
Newtowne became Hartford, Watertown Wethersfield, 
and Dorchester Windsor. The basis of this government 
was the assumed consent of the grantees under the alleged 
Warwick patent, represented by John Winthrop, Jr., rather 
than on any inherent authority of the Massachusetts Bay 

One of the earliest acts of the court was to declare 
officially that the government of the towns was determined 
by the constables — the military officers, with cannon, watch, 
and train-band, and this was done in April, 1636, when it 
was voted that the three plantations could each appoint a 
constable. It thus appears that the towns drew their 
authority from the government established by Massachu- 
setts, and this Court went on to boiuid and name settlements, 
increase the powers for self-support and defense, and legally 
organize the church in Wethersfield. Hartford was more 
advanced than the other plantations, and was probably 
first to establish a town organization, which was started in 
December, 1639. There is no evidence of official organiza- 
tion in the towns in the first years, and the only officers 
were probably a constable, collector, and commissioner for 
each town, selected by the central authority. In short, 
there was a provisional government in 1636-37, an inde- 
pendent government in 1637-38, and a regularly organized 
government in 1639. 

At the court of March 8, 1637, Pynchon and Smith rep- 
resented Agawam, and again at the court of March 28, 
1638; a tax for the Pequot war was levied upon the up-river 
settlement, the separation of which from the others came 
in 1638, being hastened by a business difficulty. The General 
Court gave a monopoly of the trade with the Indians to 
Pynchon, on condition that he supply Connecticut with five 
hundred bushels of com at five shillings a bushel. A bitter 

•i' VUI •7' 

■: • ri' V 


Forming tKe Government 57 

controversy followed, as Pynchon was charged with bad 
faith, and was fined forty bushels of corn, but an olive branch 
was offered him in the shape of a monopoly of the beaver 
trade. The four towns evidently worked together through 
the fall of 1648, for an Agawam culprit was then punished 
by the General Court, and Hooker spoke in the fall of that 
year of magistrates from the four towns. On January 14, 

1639, the court met, but Agawam had no part in it, and 
two days later, the fine was demanded of Pynchon. Mas- 
sachusetts hesitated to take Agawam, which seemed as far 
away as the Philippines do now; Cotton Mather expressed 
the opinion many held in Massachusetts of the settlements 
on the Connecticut when he said that "worthy, learned and 
genteel persons were going to bury themselves alive on the 
banks of the Connecticut." The colonists decided the 
question for themselves and on February 14, 1639, Agawam 
voted to cast in her lot with Massachusetts, and on April 16, 

1640, it was voted to wipe out the Connecticut name and 
"call the plantation Springfield." It was several years 
before the matter was entirely settled; Haynes and Hooker 
went to Boston to propose a renewal of the treaty, though 
nothing came of it, and it was ten years before Springfield 
delegates were received at the Court at Boston. 

The earliest place for the assembling of the Court may 
have been at the home of one of the magistrates, and after 
a little while at the meeting-house, probably not far from the 
site of the Hartford Post-office. Some have held that the 
place of assembling until 1661, was in an upper room in 
the meeting-house, but others have insisted that since that 
room was but ten feet square it is improbable that such was 
the case. There is no certain information on the subject of 
the meeting place until September, 1661, when the General 
Court took up its abode for nearly fifty years in Jeremy 
Adams's tavern, which was situated on a lot of two or three 
acres south of "Meeting house Yard," a little south of 
the present City Hall Square. There was a well on the 

' i'J c 

r:;c 1. ;ir i':- i.. 

58 -A. History of Connecticvit 

north of the lot one hundred and twenty-five feet from 
Main Street, and the tavern stood fifty or sixty feet back of 
the well. There is a record of 1661, that "Jer. Adams hath 
mortgaged his house and home lot whch. he bought of John 
Mouice with all other ye buildings erected thereon since his 
Purchase (unto Capt. John Talcott as Treasurer to Con- 
necticut Collony)," and in the Colonial Records of May, 
1662, "It is granted and ordered by this court upon the 
motion and desire of Jeremiah Adams that ye house that 
the said Jeremy doth now possess and improve for an Ordin- 
ary, or house of common entertainment, shalbe and remaine 
to ye said Jeremie and his successors, provided as hereafter 
expressed." This license was perpetual, obligatory, and 
irrevocable, and the colony was mortgagee of the tavern. 
Among the requirements aside from the usual "accom- 
modation and provision for the entertainment of Travellers 
with horse and otherwise and that both respecting wine and 
liquors and other provision for food and comfortable refresh- 
ing, both for man and beast," was this, that Adams was to 
provide "a chamber for the meeting of the court, furnished 
with chairs and tables, a large leather chair and carpet, with 
accommodation for forty or fifty people." In that court 
chamber the committee of the Indian Court met in 1678; 
there laws were enacted to establish new towns and settle 
difficulties in older ones; to provide for taxes for King 
Philip's war and guard against the dreaded Quakers; to 
settle estates and allay church quarrels; to arrange treaties 
with Indians and determine the policy toward England and 
the other colonies; to decide on post roads and decree the 
ordinances of trade and commerce. There Winthrop de- 
scribed his brilliant success with Charles II., and there it is 
probable was held the controversy with Andros over the 
charter and the government of the colony. 

Jeremy Adams died in 1684, and the following year the 
court appointed a committee to make sale of the house 
and lot, authorized the treasurer to sign the deed of sale, 

l\ r 

V ."'J 

•i ■ !.;: . a. 

Forming tHe Government 59 

indicating that the colony was proprietor in fee; on 
December 2, 1685, the lot was conveyed by the treasurer to 
Zachary Sanford, grandson of Jeremy Adams, and the Court 
continued to sit in the Court chamber of the tavern. In 
1 7 13, Landlord Sanford died, and by his will the tavern and 
home lot passed to his daughter Sarah and her husband, 
Jonathan Bunce. The tavern had grown dilapidated, and 
soon after the death of Sanford the court moved to the new 
tavern of Caleb Williamson, which stood on the site of the 
old Travelers' Building. As the colony advanced in wealth 
and importance, it became evident that more suitable pro- 
vision should be made for the General Court, and in October, 
1717, the Colonial Records tell us it was voted "that a 
quantity of the ungranted lands of the Colony be sold to 
procure" six hundred and fifty pounds for a state-house, 
besides money for county court-houses. A year later it was 
voted to allow five hundred pounds toward the state-house, 
and a building committee was appointed to consist of Wil- 
liam Pitkin, Joseph Talcott, and Aaron Cook. In 1719, it 
was voted that this committee 

with all convenient speed proceed to carry on said building ac- 
cording to the dimensions given or agreed upon by this As- 
sembly, viz. 70 foot in length, 30 foot in width, and 24 foot 
between joynts &. that in pursuance thereof the said committee 
are ordered to receive of the committees appointed for the sale 
of land the sum of 500 pounds, which the said committees are 
hereby ordered to pay to the said committee for building the 
State House : and that the county of Hartford shall pay toward 
the finishing of said State House the sum of 250 pounds, and it 
shall be requisite to the finishing said house, which sum this As- 
sembly impower the judges of the county court of Hartford to 
levy upon the polls, and what is wanting, draw on the public 

The further specifications of the building were as follows : 

With a range of pillars under the middle of the beams of the 
chamber floor, a door on each side, & at each end, a staircase at 

; n 

6o -A. History of Connecticxit 

the south-west, and another at the south-east comer; two cham- 
bers of 30 foot long at each end, one for the Council and another 
for the Representatives, with a space of 12 foot between the 2 
houses, and a staircase into the garrets, and on either side a 
lobby to the council chamber will serve the occasions designed 
by the Assembly. 

This building stood on the west side of the square, near 
Main Street, and it had a gambrel roof. In 1792, the General 
Assembly appointed a committee to build a state-house of 
brick, and Hartford County bore part of the expense that it 
might have a room in the building for its courts. This 
well-known state-house was completed in 1795, and was in 
use by the Assembly from 1796, to 1878. The present state- 
house was completed in January, 1880, and it is upon a site 
bought by the city of Trinity College. The cost of erec- 
tion was three million three hundred and forty-two thousand 
dollars, and it is the custom to emphasize the fact that it 
was finished within the appropriation. 

The place of meeting in New Haven for the legislature 
was the meeting-house; in 1717, the first county house 
was built on the northwest of the Green, to accommo- 
date the General Court and also the Superior and County 
Courts. In 1763, a state-house of brick was built be- 
tween Center and Trinity churches; in 1827, the imposing 
structure west of the Center Church, modeled after the 
Parthenon, was erected, and was in use until 1875, after 
which Hartford became the sole place of meeting of the 
General Assembly. The salary of the early governors was 
modest, since on November 9, 1641, it was ordered "that 
one himdred and sixty bushels of Come shall be sent in by 
the County to the Governor, to be levied upon the towns by 
the proportion of the last vote." Four years later the salary 
was thirty pounds in "wheat, pease and come." 

We do not know when the settlers of the three towns 
discovered that they were not within the limits of Massa- 
chusetts, but on January 14, 1639, the fathers of the colony 

> 'J. 

2 l:.'d 

r-f! I. 

Forming tHe Government 6i 

met at Hartford, either in a popular gathering as Trumbull 
says, or through the Court, which is more probable, and 
drew up a form of government for the colony, a system 
similar to that of Massachusetts, except that it came into 
shape at one time, instead of through a course of years. 
The "Orders" have been called a "Constitution," but they 
were more like statute law, for they contained no provision 
for amendment, and when amended later, it was through 
the ordinary process of legislative action. It was really a 
plantation covenant with the addition of eleven legislative 

The seed of the Connecticut government was in a sermon 
preached by Hooker, May 31, 1638, of which Henry Wolcott, 
Jr., of Windsor took notes, and from those notes we learn 
that the Hartford minister laid down the doctrine: I. That 
the choice of public magistrates belongs unto the people by 
God's own allowance. H. The privilege of election must 
be exercised according to the blessed will and law of God. 
HI. Those who have power to appoint officers and magis- 
trates have also power to set the bounds and limitations of 
the power and place unto which they call them. The rea- 
sons are as follows : i . Because the foundation of authority 
is laid in the free consent of the people. 2. Because by a 
free choice the people will be more ready to yield obedience. 
3. Because of the duty and engagement of the people. 

The lesson taught is threefold, i. Thankfulness to God 
for his faithfulness in permitting these measures. 2. Of 
reproof — to dash the counsels of opposers. 3. Of exhorta- 
tion — to persuade us, as God hath given us liberty, to take 
it. 4. Lastly, as God hath spared our lives, and given us 
them in liberty, so to seek the guidance of God, and to 
choose in God and for God. There is no reference in the 
sermon to the king of England, no sign of deference to any 
class, every one exercising his rights "according to the 
blessed will and law of God," and to hold himself responsible 
to God alone. 

. , V-' 


-yr.- 11 

,;• O'l! y.-:> 

e.i 1 <^ '■ 'w \:-. 

62 j\ History of Connecticut 

Seven months after Hooker's sermon, the leaders of the 
three plantations met in Hartford, on January 14, 1639, 
and put into form Hooker's teachings for the orderly govern- 
ment of the settlements on the river, "the first example in 
history of a written constitution, a distinct organic law con- 
stituting a government and defining its powers." The 
three settlements regarded themselves as one people, one 
sovereignty, and, as all the writers agree, the Fundamental 
Orders were adopted at a mass-meeting of all the people. 
It is significant that the framers of this constitution — Hooker 
with his passion for democracy, Haynes with his liberal 
spirit, and Ludlow with his profound legal knowledge and 
insight — arranged that the sovereign rights of the people 
be given up and vested in the General Court, declaring that 
since the inhabitants of the three settlements are dwelling 
together on the Connecticut, and the Bible requires peace 
and union, therefore, 

we do associate and conjoin ourselves to be one public state or 
commonwealth; and do, for ourselves and our successors, and 
such as shall be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter 
into combination and confederation together to maintain and 
preserve the purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus; as also in 
our civil affairs to be guided and governed according to such 
laws, rules, orders and decrees, as shall be made, ordered and 
decreed, as followeth: 

first, the state consists of towns, each town regulating, to a 
certain extent, its own affairs as a pure democracy; secondly, 
elections in the state are annual, all powers going back to 
the people once in every year; thirdly, legislation is by the 
representatives of towns, acting coordinately with another 
body of men chosen by the people at large; fourthly, the 
judicial and executive powers are distinguished from the 
legislative, though committed to men having a share in 
legislation. Later, a distinction was made between the 
judiciary and the other branches, but this was not required 


1 ,i.r '^ 

Korming tKe Government 63 

in the infancy of the government, when it was natural and 
safe to identify judiciary and executive. The following 
are the provisions of the Fundamental Orders of 1639: 

1. The right of suffrage was broad. Neither the pos- 
session of real estate, nor the payment of a tax, nor the 
performance of military duty, was placed among the qualifi- 
cations of a voter. The choice of magistrates was to be 
"made by all that are admitted freemen, and have taken 
the oath of fidelity," living within the jurisdiction, "and 
admitted inhabitants by the major part of the town, or by 
the major part of such as shall be then present." It was 
not universal suffrage, but near it. 

2. The executive and judicial power was vested in a 
governor, and at least six assistant magistrates ; to be elected 
on the second Tuesday in April, annually. No person could 
be elected governor who was not "a member of some ap- 
proved congregation," or who had not formerly been a 
magistrate within the jurisdiction, nor could any person 
be governor oftener than once in two years. The only 
qualification for the magistracy was that the persons chosen 
should be "freemen of this commonwealth." 

3. Elections were held in a general assembly of all the 
freemen of the colony. Magistrates were chosen thus: At 
a preceding General Court, within the year, the names of 
those who were to stand as candidates for the magistracy 
at the ensuing election were propounded to the people for 
consideration. This was done, not by a caucus, or a party 
convention, but every town had the power of nominating, 
by its deputies, any two names, and the General Court 
could add to the nomination at its own discretion. On 
election day the secretary read the names of all who were 
to be voted for; after that, every name was voted upon by 
ballot, a paper with any writing on it being an affirmative 
vote, and a blank paper negative. Every person was 
voted for in turn. If at the close, six, in addition to the 
governor, had not received majorities, six should be made 

f T )V :)i i '■■) '■ f. 

ai 5ii 

If;.. ■ JT.r J'tS.' '"J I' r 



64 -A. History of Connecticxit 

up by taking the one or more for whom the greatest number 
of votes had been cast. 

4. The legislature consisted of the governor and his 
assistants in the magistracy, together with the representa- 
tives of the towns. Each of the three towns included in the 
jurisdiction was empowered to send four of its deputies to 
the General Court; and the towns that should afterwards 
be added were to send as many deputies as the Court should 
judge meet in view of the number of freemen in the new 
towns. Though the deputies did not sit in a different room 
for the transaction of ordinary business, it was provided 
that they should meet by themselves before the opening of 
any General Court, to judge of their elections, and " to advise 
and consult of all such things as concern the public good." 

5. Another feature of this constitution is its implied 
renunciation of the laws of England, the common law as 
well as the statute law. The magistrates were empowered 
" to administer justice according to the laws here established, 
and for want thereof according to the word of God." This 
was a prophecy of the Declaration of Independence. It has 
been easy to ridicule this provision, but, since the colonists 
had cut loose from the mother-country, with its royal 
government, prelacy, and liturgy, and had gone beyond the 
reach of laws which had been trying, the freemen determined 
that not even common law should burden them without 
express enactment, and to prevent the necessity of falling 
back on the common law in cases where no express statute 
had been enacted, the magistrates were to administer justice 
according to the principles of equity laid down in a book of 
universal authority — the Bible. 

6. The religious cast of this constitution, its connection 
with the religious opinions and institutions of those who 
framed it, appears in the preamble, which asserts that the 
end of the commonwealth is "to maintain and preserve the 
liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we 
now profess, as also the discipline of the churches, which, 

Forming tHe Government 65 

according to the truth of the Gospel, is now practiced among 
us." More explicit is the provision, which requires that 
the governor be "a member of some approved congregation 
within the jurisdiction." In Massachusetts and New 
Haven, only church members could have political power, 
and the breadth and freedom of the "Orders" of Connecticut 
were due to men like Thomas Hooker, John Haynes, and 
Roger Ludlow. 

It remains to notice the provision by which this primitive 
constitution would secure its own perpetuity, and keep the 
supreme power inalienably in the hands of the people. In 
all ordinary cases, the General Court, of which there were 
to be two sessions annually, was to be convened by the 
governor, sending out a summons to the constables of every 
town, upon which they were to call upon the inhabitants to 
elect their representatives. The governor was also em- 
powered to convoke a special session of the Court on any 
emergency, with the consent of a majority of the magistrates. 
But if, through the neglect or refusal of the governor and 
magistrates, the General Court should not be convoked, 
either at the stated time of meeting, or at other times when 
required by "the occasions of the commonwealth," then 
the freemen, or a major part of them, might call on the 
magistracy by petition to perform its duty; and if that 
petition should be ineffectual, then the freemen, or the 
major part of them, might give order to the several towns, 
which order should have the same validity as if it proceeded 
from the governor. And the Court thus convened, without 
a governor and without magistrates, should consist of the 
major part of the freemen present or their deputies, 
with a moderator chosen by them; and the General Court 
so constituted should have "the supreme power of the 
commonwealth," including, among other things, "power to 
call in question courts, magistrates, or any other person 
whatsoever, and for just causes to displace them, or deal 
otherwise according to the nature of the offence." Thus 


.' 'J. 

' C'1 

66 A History of Connecticut 

if magistrates should destroy the government, or interfere 
with the rights of the freemen, full provision was made for 
reorganization, whenever the people should choose. 

In August or September, 1639, the Court appointed a 
committee to complete the town organization, and this was 
finished in October, and a schedule of powers delegated to 
the towns was adopted at that time, securing to the people 
of the towns power to sell lands, choose officers, pass local 
laws, assess, tax, and distrain, hold local courts for minor 
offenses, to record titles, bonds, sales, and mortgages, and 
to manage the probate business in the several towns. The 
relation of the towns to the General Court was clearly de- 
clared by the Supreme Court in 1864, when the chief justice 
announced the judgment of the Court as follows: 

That extraordinary instrument [the constitution of 1639] pur- 
ports on its face to be the work of the people — the residents and 
inhabitants of the three towns. It recognizes the towns as 
existing municipalities, but not as corporate or independent, 
and makes no reservation expressly or impliedly in their favor. 

The towns never failed to recognize the fact that power ran 
from the commonwealth downward, and there is no instance 
of their passing the bounds of the Court orders. Toward 
the end of the seventeenth century, Hartford said, "If the 
General Court see cause to overrule in this case, we must 
submit." At first the legislature recommended to the 
towns, and later it did not hesitate to order. 

To the question, "Did the deputies represent the towns 
as equal entities, or the body of the freemen as a whole?" it 
must be said that in theory the freemen and inhabitants 
were separated only by an oath of allegiance, which the 
electors of magistrates and deputies were required to take, 
but in practice not one half of the men availed themselves 
of the privilege. It was ordered that the three original 
towns should have four deputies each, and that when other 
towns were formed, they were to have as many deputies as 

;, /" 

;.'• Ji' ...j -jjj ' . ., 'jtfi. 

rr/0. ■. i 


"> ' o 


? .JAHC"' 3". ' Bii 

Forming tHe Government 67 

the Court should judge meet — a reasonable proportion to the 
number of inhabitants, indicating that the General Court 
proposed to keep in its own hands the number of deputies, 
and that the towns were not to have necessarily an equal 
number. Thus the deputies, who came to form a lower 
house in 1698, were considered the representatives of the 
freemen of the colony, and no town except the first three 
has ever sent more than two, and since the time when the 
charter was read before the legislature, even the three river 
towns have had but two deputies. 

We come now to a consideration of citizenship in Con- 
necticut towns, and the official system that prevailed. As 
is well known, the early settlers could not agree to the method 
which prevailed in Massachusetts of restricting freemanship 
to church members. It was a radical and far-reaching 
principle that was stated in the first section of the Orders 
of 1639, that choice of the governor and magistrates "shall 
be made by all that are admitted freemen and have taken 
the oath of Fidelity and do cohabit within this jurisdiction 
(having been admitted Inhabitants by the major part of the 
Towne wherein they live or the major parte of such as shall 
be present). " This laid upon the different towns the power 
to regulate the admission of citizens. 

We are to bear in mind the close union of church and 
state, that while in theory they were separate in those first 
sixty years, in practice they were interwoven, though not 
in the strict way that prevailed in Massachusetts and New 
Haven. It was the opinion of the colony that "loathesome 
Heretickes, whether Quakers, Ranters, Adamites or some 
other like them," had no place in Connecticut, though it 
was not until 1656, that the General Court, following the 
recommendations of the commissioners of the United Colo- 
nies, passed an order forbidding the towns to entertain such 
people. But no one became a permanent resident of a town 
until he was admitted as inhabitant, and transients found 
scanty hospitality. To say that the suffrage in Connecticut 


, ; -I ■-■00 ■■■ I 

68 A History of Connecticvit 

was universal up to 1657, would be nearly correct, for free- 
manship was conferred upon all above sixteen in a town and 
upon others who brought certificates of good behavior from 
other towns; the oath being administered in both instances. 
This is the more significant from the fact that in Massa- 
chusetts only freemen (chosen by the General Court) could 
"have any vote in any town in any action of authority or 
necessity, or that which belongs to them by virtue of their 
freedom," which means, as we have noticed, that only 
about one-sixth of the inhabitants there were allowed any 
voice in the business of a town, though all were taxed. 

In 1657, there came a change in the passage of the law, 
which defined inhabitants who were mentioned in the 
seventh Fundamental of 1639, as householders that are one 
and twenty years old, and have borne office or have thirty 
pounds estate. This was a large sum when ratable estate 
averaged about sixty pounds for every inhabitant. But 
why was it that suffrage was restricted in 1657? The colony 
was losing faith in the people as the first generation passed 
away, and more questionable immigrants were coming in, 
and in 1659, it was voted in Hartford that no one was to be 
admitted as an inhabitant "without it be first consented to 
by the orderly vote of the inhabitants." 

With the narrowing of the elective franchise, the right 
of voting for colonial officers was taken from a number of 
inhabitants, though the towns clung to their democratic 
principles longer than the colony, and paid little attention 
to the order of the Assembly of 1679, which declared that 
no one except an admitted inhabitant, a householder, and a 
man of sober conversation, who had at least fifty shillings 
freehold estate, could vote for town or county officers or 
for grants of rates or lands. 

The growth of the official system in the towns was after 
this fashion. We have seen that the first officer was the 
constable, and the first mention of town officers is January 
I, 1638, when Hartford chose four townsmen, and defined 

"! f .1. 

r a 

Forming tHe GovernmenLt 69 

their duties, which were soon widened to cover powers as a 
court for petty cases (for which a separate body might be 
chosen), supervision of estates of deceased persons, taking 
inventories of wills and similar duties. About the same 
time Hartford, following out the order of the Court, elected 
two constables, and in December, 1639, gave the towns- 
men liberty to appoint two men to "attend them in 
such things as they appoint about the town affairs and be 
paid at a publique charge." These men were to view the 
fences about the common fields when requested by the 
townsmen, and to receive threepence an hour, and fourpence 
if obliged to spend time repairing. This was to be paid by 
the owner of the broken palings. They were to survey the 
common fields, and if any stray cattle or swine were found, 
they were to do "their best to bring them to the pound," 
for which they were to receive extra pay for every animal 
impounded. They were also to "warn people to publick 
employment or to gather some particular rates or the like," 
for which they were to receive threepence an hour. We 
have here the germs of the fence-viewer, hayward or bound- 
viewer, the public warner, and the rate-collector. Highway 
surveyors had been appointed just before this, whose duty 
it was to supervise the roads. In 1640, the town officers 
of Hartford were two constables, four townsmen or select- 
men, two surveyors, and a committee of two to attend to a 
number of things. Of these the constables and townsmen 
were elected annually ; the surveyors were a committee , 
appointed for an indefinite period, and the two others were 
chosen as a temporary expedient. As highways were called 
for more and more, surveyors became regular officers, and 
in 1643, chimney- viewers were elected, as the town had 
already established the requirement that every house should 
have its ladder or tree for use in case of fire. In some of 
the towns the townsmen had charge of the fences, highways, 
animals, and rates, but gradually various officers were ap- 
pointed to meet the increasing needs, and in nearly all cases. 

70 wA. History of Connecticut 

save that of townsmen, town officers were the result of an 
order of the Court to that effect. 

Special officers were needed to regulate the finances. 
There were at first three rates and afterward a fourth. , The 
first was that paid to the colony ; then there was the town rate, 
and it was paid according to the estate of each inhabitant; 
there was also the minister's rate, and afterwards there was 
the school rate. The lister made up the list of the estates, 
and his associates made up the rate; the collector or bailiff 
was the officer to whom the inhabitants brought wheat, 
peas, and Indian corn ; the inspector, who was to see that no 
one's estate was left out of the list, was a short-lived officer. 
There soon came into existence a large number of other 
officers, such as packer of meat, brander of horses, sealer 
of leather, examiner of yarn, sealer of weights and measures, 
the standards of which were procured from England, public 
whippers, cattle-herders, sheep-masters, tithing-men, ordi- 
nary-keepers, ensign of the train-band, town criers, town 
Warners, and town clerk. 

The most important set of officers in the town was the 
townsmen — the executive board of which appeared on the 
records of Hartford, January i, 1639. At a meeting of that 
board, two weeks before the Constitution was adopted, it 
was ordered that the townsmen, for the time being, should 
have the power of the whole to order the common occasions 
of the town, with certain limitations; they could not receive 
new inhabitants without vote of the whole; could make no 
levies on the town except concerning the herding of cattle; 
could grant no lands save in small parcels to a needy in- 
habitant; could not alter any highway already settled and 
laid out; in the calling out of persons and cattle for labor 
they must guarantee in the name of the whole the safe return 
of cattle and a reasonable wage for the men, and should not 
raise wages above sixpence a day. They were required to 
meet once a fortnight, under penalty of two shillings six- 
pence for every offense. The number of townsmen differed 

/i'chto r J j;>. 7 r/5 0,^ : ■ ^-Jti.. '^>'.a 

!•.;••■■ rj,-( y U-,, .or 

Forming tKe Government 'Ji 

in the several towns: in New Haven the number was ten, 
and later seven; Hartford regularly had four; Wethersfield, 
in seventy years, had at different times five, four, and three ; 
Windsor had seven and then five. Their business, according 
to the records, was " to agetat and order the townse occasions 
for the present year." Since town affairs included church 
affairs, the townsmen had on their hands the care of the 
meeting-house, superintending those who were chosen by 
the town to clapboard, underdaub, sweep, and dress it, and 
also the construction of porch, seats, and pulpit. Through 
the townsmen the expenses of the town were met, such as 
paying the herders, watch, drum-beaters, building and repair 
of bridges, setting the town mill, surveying lands, repairing 
the minister's house, payment of minister's salary, occa- 
sionally supporting poor persons, repair of town property, 
as ferry, town stocks, payment of bounties for wolves and 
blackbirds, payment of town officers, and such extra ex- 
penses as "liquor for boimdgoers." There was no law 
that required the townsmen to make an annual statement 
of receipts and expenditures, and they sometimes failed 
to square accounts and hand over the surplus to their 

The townsmen gradually changed into the selectmen. 
This name does not appear in Hartford and Windsor until 
1 69 1, and for twenty-five years after that there was a com- 
mingling of the terms. The title selectmen might be used 
in recording the election, but the old name of townsmen was 
often used in the further accounts. After 1725, selectmen 
was the generally accepted term. 

The constable was the right arm of the law, and a very 
important officer, and since the river towns were of a military 
character, the earliest act of the provisional government was 
directed against a laxity of military discipline, and the next 
forbade the sale of arms, powder and shot to the Indians, 
following which is the appointment of constables as military 
officers. Then the constable was to patrol a town to guard 

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72 A History of Connecticxit 

against Indian attacks, and also to view the ammunition, 
which every inhabitant was ordered to have in readiness; 
soon also every town was to be put into military condition 
by monthly trainings under the constable, with more fre- 
quent meetings for the "unskilful." The constable was to 
examine the arms to see "whether they be serviceable or 
noe," a duty which was afterward given to the clerk of the 
train-band. After the war was over the inhabitants were 
ordered to carry to the constable "any armor, swords, belts, 
Bandilers, kittles, pottes, tooles, or anything else that be- 
longs to the commonwealth," and he was to return them to 
the next Court. 

After Captain John Mason was appointed general train- 
ing officer, the constable became a purely civil officer with 
many police duties. The town meetings were held at first 
monthly, but later they were held less frequently in the 
summer, and the autumn and winter meetings were of the 
greatest importance, for then the officers were elected, rates 
proclaimed, and laws read. The town meeting was usually 
called together by the beating of the drum or blowing of 
the trumpet from the top of the meeting-house, as is sug- 
gested by a Windsor record, "determined that provision 
should be made from the top of the meeting-house, from the 
Lanthom to the ridge of the house, to walk conveniently to 
sound a trumpet or drum to give warning to the meetings." 
There were also wamers in Wethersfield who went from house 
to house, to give notice to the inhabitants. The time of 
meeting was nine in the morning, and at first fines were 
imposed for absence. Officers were generally chosen by 
ballot, though at times, for "dispatch of business," show of 
hands was employed. 

The government formed in 1639, was steady in its work- 
ing; at the first election on April 11, 1639, John Haynes was 
chosen governor; in a period of twenty years, Haynes 
was governor eight times and Edward Hopkins seven times. 
In 1657, John Winthrop, Jr., was chosen governor, and he 

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The Title-Page of the First Election Sermon Preached in Connecticut 

This sermon was ilic first of the famous scries of election sermons delivered to the Cieneral 

Assembly at the opening; of tlie annual scssitjn. A copy is in the possess on 'if 

the ("onneclicul Stale Library 

Forming tKe Government 73 

held office for eighteen years. Early in the next century, 
Gurdon Saltonstall was governor for seventeen years. 

The ecclesiastical excresence on the constitution, natural 
at the time, though contrary to the spirit of the document, 
remained to trouble the commonwealth until the political 
system came up to its own standard in 1818. The wisdom 
of Hooker is seen nowhere else more clearly than in the 
third proposition of the sermon that "they who have the 
power to appoint officers and magistrates, it is in their power 
also to set the bounds and limitations of the power and place 
unto which they call them." The government was a crea- 
tion of the people, and governor, legislature, and judges 
were to have a limited power, and that limiting element 
afterwards developed into the Supreme Court. This fea- 
ture of Hooker's sermon is probably the most important 
development of our political system. There had been 
democracies before, but the supremacy of the law, coming 
directly from the people, limiting the government created 
by the people, is original here, and is a principle which 
found expression in the Constitution of the United States, 
a fact which has led many admirers of the Connecticut 
system to declare that the former can be traced to the con- 
stitution of 1639. This is an alluring view, which is not 
now accepted by those who have examined the subject, 
though, no doubt, the Connecticut government had a 
decided influence at the convention of 1787, because of the 
presence there of Sherman, Ellsworth, and Johnson. 

The fact that there was no sovereignty of the towns 
before 1639, enhances the glory of Connecticut as the birth- 
place of American democracy, and it is enough honor for 
this commonwealth to have been the first organized govern- 
ment to draft for itself an organic law, and first to build 
that law on the theory that the sovereignty of a state is in 
the people of the state. 

It is not a gracious task to criticize so great an instru- 
ment as the famous "Constitution" of the colony, but the 


t- .' ...... ,..m 


' w'l 

74 -Au History of Connecticxit 

open suffrage provision was found in practice to be too doc- 
trinaire, and had to be changed in twenty years; the throw- 
ing off of all connection with English law made New England 
inferior to the South in the production of able lawyers, and 
the equality of representation in the towns has left a legacy 
which has retarded progress, and permits the injustice of a 
town of a hundred voters having as many representatives 
in the legislature as a city of a hundred thousand souls. 
Then, too, the refusal of the founders to grant larger power 
to the governor has led to an excessive development of the 
legislative factor, which in the judgment of many has proved 
a detriment to colony and state. 

The question now arises as to the authorship of this 
remarkable document. An easy answer is the common one 
— Thomas Hooker — and we are not to lessen the glory of 
that great mind, but there was one other man, and only one, 
who had the training and the ability to fashion the Funda- 
mental Orders, and that was Roger Ludlow of Windsor. 
Ludlow came of a distinguished, liberty-loving family, a 
family of soldiers, lawyers, and statesmen. From 1547, to 
1660, six Ludlows studied law in the Inner Temple, and 
Roger Ludlow, after two years at Balliol College, Oxford, 
became a student at the Inner Temple in 1 61 2, and for the 
next period, until at forty he sailed for Massachusetts, he 
was engaged in legal training and research ; mastering prin- 
ciples and precedents; becoming an expert in handling 
constitutional forms, thus commending himself to his 
critical associates as the one man to whom they could look 
to grasp and form the laws of the new state; to serve as 
magistrate and jurist, and to put into final shape the colo- 
nial statutes. Ludlow married Mary Endicott, a sister of 
the Massachusetts governor. He sailed in the spring of 
1630, in the first ship of the fleet, and landing in May at 
Nantasket, he went to Dorchester with a group known as 
the Dorchester Company, — "a godly and religious people, 
many of them persons of note and figure, being dignified 

rorming tHe Government 75 

with ye title of master, which but few in those days were." 
When, in 1630, the famous charter of Massachusetts Bay 
was secured from King Charles, Ludlow was chosen an 
assistant by the stockholders in London, "that his counsel 
and judgment might aid in preserving order, and founding 
the social structure upon the surest basis." Among his 
associates were the Earl of Warwick, Lord Say and Sele, 
Winthrop, Vane, Mason, Underhill, and Wareham. To be 
chosen assistant in association with such men marks Ludlow 
as a man of superior ability and knowledge. His service 
in Massachusetts for five years as magistrate in the Great 
Charter Court and as deputy governor, brought him oppor- 
tunity for many important duties and to meet questions of 
the gravest concern, to which he brought all the resources 
of his powerful mind. 

Remembering the situation at Boston Bay, the disposi- 
tion of Winthrop, Cotton, and the other leaders to keep the 
reins of government in the hands of the few, it is significant 
that when the struggle began between magistrates and 
commons, Ludlow, an assistant, stood with his associates, 
but when the freemen demanded a sight of the charter, and 
appointed deputies to advise the magistrates, Ludlow took 
his place with the people, and in 1634, was elected deputy 
governor, from which office he graduated to cast in his for- 
tunes with the settlers on the Connecticut. We need not 
repeat the story of diplomacy and force by which the Dutch 
were ousted, the Pilgrims checkmated, and the younger 
Winthrop led to abandon his claim to the upper Connecticut. 
We have seen that Ludlow was at the head of the Massa- 
chusetts commission to govern the colony for a year, was 
practically the first governor; when the Court assembled 
at the opening of the second year. May i, 1637, Ludlow 
presided, and "offensive warr" against the Pequots was 
voted. He was in charge of the defenses about Windsor 
while the soldiers were absent; he was in the army at the 
Swamp Fight, and when the Fundamental Orders were 

c- ' i. 

■■ le^i: :v- 

\: -)'?.' fit 


76 A. History of Connecticvit 

adopted at Hartford January 14, 1639, who was the man 
who put into form that immortal instrument? Ludlow 
was a lawyer — the only one in the colony ; he was trained in 
the best English schools; had served on the government of 
Massachusetts for four years; had drawn the main acts of 
the colonial government, and while Haynes, Wyllys, Web- 
ster, Mason, Goodwin, and Steele had part in the delibera- 
tions, we cannot refrain from the belief that Ludlow was 
the leading mind in framing the Fundamental Orders. This 
cannot be proven, for there is no record of the meetings, 
but it is a natural inference from the facts cited above, and 
from the fact that in 1646, it was ordered by the General 
Court that 

Mr. Ludlowe is requested to take some paynes in drawing forth 
a body of Lawes for the government of this Commonwelth, 
and p'"sent the same to the next Generall Court; and if he can 
provide a man for his occasions while he is imployed in the said 
searvice, he shall be paid at the country chardge. 

While the three plantations on the Connecticut were 
forming their government, New Haven, Milford, and Guil- 
ford were laying their civic foundations with sermons and 
prayers. On reaching New Haven in 1638, the settlers 
first bound themselves by a "plantation covenant," similar 
to that of the Plymouth Pilgrims, making a temporary 
government, and thirteen months later, in the barn of 
Robert Newman, the civil and ecclesiastical foundations of 
New Haven were laid. In 1643, the neighboring colonies 
of Milford and Guilford were admitted into the jurisdiction 
of the New Haven colony, and at that time a written consti- 
tution, consisting of certain "fundamental orders," appears 
upon the record. This differed from the constitution of 
Connecticut in that it insisted that none but church members 
could vote; the number disfranchised in New Haven was 
probably a majority; in Guilford nearly a half. It also 
guarded carefully the independence of the churches, and 

- ■( 

.» ' : '• [. ;v '11 

Forming tKe Government ^^ 

established various courts whose powers were carefully 
prescribed. At New Haven as at Hartford, the settlers 
felt that they were not founding colonies but states. During 
many of the earliest years, the records of New Haven 
contain no recognition of the English king. This was 
natural, for the twelve years from 1628, to 1640, were a 
period when the prospects of liberty in England, under Laud 
and Strafford, were at the darkest; when freedom existed 
only in a memory or a hope. During those years, when 
the realm was governed, not by Acts of Parliament, but by 
Orders in Council, twenty thousand Puritans emigrated to 
New England ; and it is not strange that a knowledge of the 
condition in England should have colored the constitutions 
forming here. 

On March 14, 1661, the General Court of Connecticut 
voted to acknowledge allegiance to Charles H., with request 
for a charter, and in August, John Winthrop, Jr., sailed in 
quest of the boon. He was to ask for the renewal of the 
patent, or for a charter. There was a happy combination 
of influences working for the good of the colony; Lord Say 
and Sele was interested in Winthrop and in the community 
he represented, and the scientific tastes and scholarly bearing 
of Winthrop commended him to the English government, 
so that it came to pass that a charter was obtained more 
democratic than was ever given by another king, by which 
was constituted the Governor and Company of the English 
Colony of Connecticut in New England in America. The 
boundaries of the territory were: on the east, 

the Narragansett River, commonly called Narragansett Bay, 
where the said river falleth into the sea; on the north, the line 
of the Massachusetts Plantation; on the south, the sea; and, in 
longitude, as the line of the Massachusetts Colony runneth from 
east to the west, that is to say, from the said Narragansett Bay 
on the cast, to the South Sea on the west part, with the islands 
thereto adjoining. 

u< ■ ; . 1/ ...- '1 ' "■■ ^.1 

78 -A. History of Connecticvit 

These boundaries included the whole of New Haven colony, 
as well as the territory of Rhode Island. 

The government was to be administered by a governor, 
a deputy governor, twelve assistants, and a house of deputies, 
which was to consist of two members from each town, to 
be elected annually by the freemen of the colony. The only 
limiting clause was that the local legislature could not make 
laws contrary to those of the realm of England, but this had 
little weight, for there was a method in the English govern- 
ment of annulling laws passed by colonial legislatures. It was 
an extraordinary document to be issued while Lord Clarendon 
was minister, and one reason for its quality may have been 
the desire to punish New Haven for harboring the regicides. 
The king issued a sign manual bearing "Charles R," Febru- 
ary 28, 1662, and the charter passed the great seal, as is 
indicated by the chancellor's "recipe," April 23. The 
arrival of the charter in New England four months later, 
created a decided sensation. Great was the joy; it was 
read in Hartford, October 9, committed to Wyllys, Talcott, 
and Allen; the General Court declaring in force all the 
laws and orders of the colony, making a declaration of the 
same to all civil and military officers. Westchester, lying 
within Dutch territory, received notice of the claims of 
Connecticut, and the dwellers at Mystic and Stonington 
were notified that they were within Connecticut. Border 
towns that had been allied with New Haven waited on the 
legislature of Connecticut and asked admission to its citizen- 
ship. A committee of two magistrates and two ministers 
was appointed' to go to New Haven, to say they hoped that 
a happy union might be formed, and the reply was that 
the New Haven colony preferred to hear the particulars 
from the lips of Winthrop. Meanwhile meetings of the 
freemen were held, and protests made against the union 
which was thrust upon them, and votes were taken in the 
towns to defer action until Winthrop's home-coming. 

Connecticut made no response to the remonstrance of 

The Charter of 1662 

This is from a photograph of the thiirtcr issiit.l to the (uloriy in 1662, by Charles II. For a 
sliort time it was secreted in the famous Charter Oak. At the ri«ht is the Constitution of 
iSiS. Above is Stuart's Washington. The group is in the south end of Memorial Hall. 
Connecticut State Library 


Forming tKe Government 79 

New Haven until some four months later, when it sent a 
committee of four magistrates to New Haven to settle the 
matter of union and incorporation. They were instructed 
to consent to no concessions and to make no compromises. 
New Haven, at a meeting of its General Court, resolved to 
recognize no changes of the government, and to go on as 
usual. In the face of the advice of Winthrop in the com- 
munication he sent to Deputy Governor Mason of Connecti- 
cut, that colony proceeded to appoint magistrates for the 
New Haven towns, and invited from those towns deputies 
to the Connecticut legislature. Since New Haven declined 
to treat with Connecticut, that colony addressed the several 
towns of New Haven. At the meeting of the federal com- 
missioners in Boston in 1663, the question of union was 
the most important matter of consideration. New Haven 
presented its grievance over the usurpation of Connecticut, 
and the representatives of Massachusetts and Plymouth 
gave it as their opinion that 

the colony of New Haven might not by any act of violence, have 
their liberty of jurisdiction infringed by any other of the United 
Colonies without breach of the Articles of Confederation and 
that, wherein the act of power had been exerted against their 
authority, the same ought to be recalled, and their power reserved 
to them entire, until such time as in an orderly way it should be 
otherwise disposed. 

Meanwhile the New Haven alliance tended to disin- 
tegrate; the plantation convenant excluded forty per cent, 
of the population from citizenship, and this element was 
friendly to a change. It was not easy for the New Haven 
confederacy to pay the expenses of the government after 
all but three towns seceded, but the order received from 
England at that time, requiring the observance of the navi- 
gation laws, was addressed to the governor and assistants 
of New Haven, and that was considered by the authorities 
as a virtual recognition of their separate capacity, and they 
made it the basis of a claim for taxes on the seceding towns. 


8o A. History of Connecticvit 

To bring the intolerable situation to a close, the General 
Court of New Haven prepared a paper to transmit to the 
Connecticut authorities, entitled New Haven's Case Stated, 
wherein the full history was set forth, and the Connecticut 
authorities were requested no longer to force a union. To 
this plea Connecticut made no reply, and the contest con- 
tinued until the summer of 1664. The leading men of 
Massachusetts advised New Haven to yield, saying that the 
Case Stated justified its position and it could yield with 
dignity, and this advice was followed after a few concessions 
had been made. The movement toward union was not 
retarded by the fact that Charles H. granted to his brother, 
the Duke of York, March 12, 1664, New Netherlands and all 
Long Island "and the land from the west side of Connecticut 
to the East side of Delaware Bay." Royal authority had 
disposed of New Haven without her knowledge. Between the 
two powerful claimants, Connecticut and the Duke of York, 
there was no hesitation about the decision. It was better 
to be connected with a people of their own faith than become 
the property of a prince of the House of Stuart. When 
Colonel Richard Nicolls came with three ships of war and 
troops to secure possession from the Dutch, the charter of 
Winthrop was a welcome resource. Winthrop preferred 
to yield Long Island rather than the west, and the boundary 
on the west was declared to be "the creek or river called 
Mamoronock, which is reputed to be about twelve miles 
to the east of Westchester, and a line drawn from the east 
part or side, where the fresh water falls into the salt at high 
water mark, northwest to the line of Massachusetts." 
Thus Connecticut kept substantially all she had formerly 
claimed on the mainland in return for the loss of Long 
Island. By that time New Haven saw that union could 
no longer be delayed, and on December 13, 1664, she held 
her last General Court and adopted resolutions dissolving 
the colony. Davenport was bitterly disappointed, and said 
the independence of his colony was "miserably lost." 

L>;-orv '.• 

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1 ;1 '■ .7 J. 

V ■ r' 1 - -'" 

■f- /. i 1 


AT first the legislative and judicial powers of the colony 
were vested in the General Court, whose authority came, 
as we have seen in the previous chapter, from the Massachu- 
setts legislature. In accordance with the commission from 
Boston, a"Corte" was organized, consisting of magistrates 
from Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield on April 26, 
1636, at Hartford, and the following men were present: 
Roger Ludlow, John Steele, WilHam Swain, William Phelps, 
William Westwood, and William Ward, and this Court had 
power to make and repeal laws, grant levies, admit freemen, 
dispose of unappropriated lands, and discipline any one, 
even a court magistrate. There was no check upon its 
power, except the provision that its acts must not be con- 
trary to the laws of England, and within such lines it had 
absolute power over life, liberty, and property. As we have 
seen, it gave little thought to the common law of England, 
but Roger Ludlow was there, a man thoroughly trained 
in English precedents and the methods of the courts of the 
mother country, and he was probably the most powerful 
influence in those early meetings of the magistrates; if not, 
he would know the reason why, for Ludlow had a temper as 
well as brains and scholarship, and he was practically the 
first governor. This Court made a very modest beginning 
at its first meeting, and did little but elect constables and 
forbid "trade with the natives or Indians any peece, or 

6 81 

A-: 1 . 



:ji\-: < ♦■^.'■^ 

^2 A. History of Connecticut 

pistoll, or gunn, or powder, or shott." It was ordered that 
any stray swine should be confined two weeks, and if they 
were then unclaimed, they should be sold. This suggests 
the policy of the settlers in their court procedure: to make 
their laws to fit the cases as they arose, meet all occa- 
sions with common sense and practical measures, and let 
their jurisprudence evolve with the growth of society. At 
New Haven it was somewhat different, for the Old Testa- 
ment laws had a stronger hold there, and of course there 
was a large supply of common sense on the Sound as well as 
on the Connecticut. In both colonies it was the policy to 
face the intricate often vexing questions of the new govern- 
ment, and to undertake the laborious duties of society with 
calm deliberation and good judgment. 

The second session of this Court was held in Windsor, and 
the third in Wethersfield, and as we shall see, this plain 
gathering of straightforward magistrates became in 1639, 
the General Court, the heart of authority in the common- 
wealth, and the mother of all the other courts that came 
into existence as occasion required. Since the "Corte" for 
which the mother colony so thoughtfully arranged was the 
only legal authority there was the first year, it fined a citizen 
for cursing, and ordered that no one should "drink" any 
but home-raised tobacco; it also passed regulations concern- 
ing courting, but by degrees it divested itself of a part of 
its judicial power by constituting local tribunals for settling 
of estates and to try cases whether of witchcraft, theft, 
sailing a boat on Sunday, or murder. The election of depu- 
ties after the adoption of the Fundamental Orders in 1639, 
was the beginning of the two houses of the legislature, the 
germ of which is found in the committees from the towns 
which had met previously with the magistrates. In 1645, 
a step was taken toward the ultimate division into Senate 
and House by the provision that no act of the General 
Court should become a law, without the concurrence of the 
magistrates and deputies. When Connecticut and New 

Covirts and La-ws 83 

Haven were united in 1664, the General Court became the 
General Assembly, and in 1698, the distinction between the 
governor and council as one house and the deputies as 
the other was made distinct. 

In accordance with the only sensible course, there was a 
division of labors as early as 1638, a year before the adoption 
of the Orders, when the General Court organized a Particular 
Court to meet in Hartford on the first Tuesday in May for 
the trial of two persons charged with misdemeanors. This 
Court was doubtless made up of magistrates, and it be- 
came a tribunal less formal than the General Court, meeting 
more frequently for the trial of cases. It had no stated 
time for its sessions and was held once in Wethersfield, once 
in New London, and the rest of the time in Hartford. It 
was probably held in the meeting-house or the house of a 
magistrate at first, and as the years passed court-houses 
became necessary. The methods were simplicity itself, 
as lawyers were rare; rules of evidence hardly thought of; 
magistrates conducted the examination of witnesses; argu- 
ments were infrequent; judgment was based on conscience 
rather than on legal precedent. The Fundamental Orders 
make no reference to it, but it continued to hold sessions at 
irregular times until May, 1642, when it was enacted that it 
should meet only once in three months, and should be known 
thereafter as the Quarter Court. The times of meeting 
were the first Thursdays in March, June, September, and 
December. When held at other times, it was called the 
Particular Court. 

The earliest record of the definite formation of a court 
is in May, 1647, when the General Court enacted that it 
should consist of the governor, deputy governor, and two 
magistrates: and in the absence of the executive officers, 
three magistrates should hold court. Its jurisdiction ex- 
tended to all minor disputes and it was purely judicial in 
its construction, though its functions included both civil 
and criminal cases. While it was a court of appeal from 

•,<- , ;l ,t 


84 A. History of Connecticut 

inferior tribunals, its decisions could be appealed to the 
General Court. In civil cases, where the amounts involved 
exceeded forty shillings, the trial, at the discretion of the 
magistrates, could be submitted to a jury of six or twelve, 
and two thirds of their number could render a legal verdict. 
If, in the opinion of the magistrates, the verdict was not in 
accordance with the testimony, they could empower the 
jury to reconsider its decision, or impanel another, if the 
jury had not "attended to the evidence." In suits for 
damages, if the magistrates deemed the sum allowed exor- 
bitant or inadequate, they had power to alter it, if done in 
open court. In July, 1643, provision was made for a grand 
jury of twelve or fourteen able men to present breaches of 
laws or misdemeanors. As the magistrates received only 
fees for their services, a statute was passed to oblige persons 
to pay the costs of prosecution before leaving court, or 
suffer imprisonment. The inferior judicial bodies were 
limited to the township, and were called town courts, con- 
sisting of three, five, or six men, who were called principal 
men, or tow7i's men, afterwards selectmen, who were elected 
annually, and one of their number was chosen moderator, 
whose presence was required to form a quorum. Their 
judicial powers were confined to claims of debt and trespass, 
where the amount involved was less than forty shillings, 
and before the execution was issued the case could be ap- 
pealed. Sessions of the town court were held once in two 
months. Thus we see that up to the time of the charter 
there were three courts. General, Particular, and Town — 
tribunals to decide cases according to "conscience and 

After the charter there were changes as settlements 
multiplied, and counties were formed, with courts according 
to the new divisions. In 1665, the colony was divided into 
four counties— Hartford, New Haven, New London, and 
Fairfield. The old Particular or Quarter Court gave way 
to the Court of Assistants, so called because it was composed 

Courts and La-ws 85 

of a majority of the assistants, the successors of the magis- 
trates of the old General Court, and this was constituted 
in October, 1665, with jurisdiction over crimes relating to 
life, limb, banishment, and appellate, also questions of divorce 
and admiralty. It was held semi-annually, one week before 
the General Assembly. When the counties were organized, 
a County Court was established in each, of three assistants 
and two commissioners, afterwards called justices of the 
peace. In 1698, it was voted that in each county, four of 
the most able and judicious freemen should be justices, 
three of whom, with a judge appointed by the General 
Assembly, should have power to hold a County Court. In 
October, 1698, it was voted that three justices could hold 
court. From that time until 1821, the formation of County 
Courts was unchanged with one judge and from two to 
five justices of the peace, all commissioned by the General 
Assembly. From 1821, to 1839, there were three judges. 
In 1839, a coimty commissioner was added; in 1853, the 
County Courts were abandoned, to give way to one judge and 
two or three commissioners. The jurisdiction of the County 
Court was at first substantially the same as that of the 
Particular Court. It had power in settling property, and 
probating wills, and also over prerogative powers that were 
transferred to it. It could try all cases, "real, personal or 
mixt," and all criminal cases, "not extending to life, limb, 
banishment, adultery or divorce." In 1798, it was pro- 
hibited from trying cases whose punishment extended to 
confinement in Newgate, except horse-stealing. 

In 1669, the Town Courts were reorganized, to consist of 
an assistant or commissioner and two selectmen, and appeals 
could be taken to the County Court, thence to the Court 
of Assistants, then to General Assembly. In 171 1, the 
Court of Assistants was superseded by the Superior Court, 
with powers of the older tribunal transferred to it, namely, 
punishment of offenders, civil causes, appeals, and writs of 
error. It held sessions in each of the counties, having a 

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86 JK History of Connecticut 

chief judge and four others, — the governor as chief judge 
and the rest from the council. The power of the Superior 
Court gradually increased; in 1762, authority was given to 
it to grant new trials on discovery of new evidence and 
afford equitable relief up to one hundred pounds; later to 
four hundred pounds and in 1778, to eight hundred pounds, 
while cases relating to sums under one hundred pounds went 
to the County Courts. In 1784, it was enacted that the 
lieutenant-governor and council should be a Supreme Court 
of Errors, to which questions of law and equity from the 
Superior Court should be referred, — to meet annually, al- 
ternating between Hartford and New Haven, and in 1795, 
the governor was added. The docket became so crowded 
with the increase of the population that in 1806, the Su- 
preme Court of Errors ceased, and judges of the Superior 
Court assumed the duties of the court of last resort, and the 
number was raised to one chief judge and eight assistants, 
meeting annually in alternate years in Hartford and New 
Haven. In 18 19, this court consisted of one chief judge 
and four associates. In 1855, the Supreme Court was 
changed to consist of a chief and two associates. In 1859, 
the associates judges were increased to three, and in 1865, 
to four. From the foundation of the Superior Court in 
171 1, the appointment of the judges was by the General 
Assembly year by year, and with the adoption of the consti- 
tution in 18 1 8, it was ordered that they serve during good 
behavior until seventy years old; in 1880, it was voted that 
the governor nominate the judges. Owing to the accumula- 
tion of cases in the Superior Court, the Assembly in 1869, 
established a Court of Common Pleas in Hartford and New 
Haven; New London and Fairfield in 1872; Litchfield in 
1 88 1, with jurisdiction in legal and equitable relief in sums 
from one hundred to five hundred dollars, and later five 
hundred to one thousand dollars, with the concurrence of 
the Superior Court. 

The growth of the Probate Courts has been as follows: 

.,'^'>,- . -•i-.-.f-ito 7rroJ ,. 


'5 ^^c . '": ,"' .... "Xii '{UG^J. .rr: iivoO 

i i 

Courts and La^vs 87 

Ludlow's code made provision for the settlement of the 
estates of deceased persons under the title of records. By the 
statute of October 10, 1639, on the death of a person possessed 
of an estate, leaving a will in writing, or by word of mouth, 
those men who were "appointed to order the affairs of the 
town where any such person deceaseth" were to make and 
report a true inventory of the estate, and record the will and 
names of children and legatees within three months. The 
court intended was the Particular Court, which exercised 
probate duties until abandoned. Sometimes there were 
three witnesses, sometimes two, sometimes none. In case 
a person died intestate, the town officers distributed the 
property to the family, or "for the good of the common." 
After the abandonment of the Particular Courts, the pro- 
bate powers went to the County Courts, and in 1698, these 
powers were lodged with the respective judges with two 
justices, and there began the separate Probate Court, in 
that one less judge was needed than for the County Court. 
In 1702, the duty of making an inventory was taken from 
the selectmen and given the executors or administrators. 
In 1 7 16, it was enacted that Courts of Probate be established 
in the several counties, with one judge and a clerk. The 
first probate districts were coextensive with the four original 
counties; the first change to a district less than a county 
was made in 17 19. There were one hundred and twelve 
Probate Courts in 191 3. 

The office of justice of the peace began in 1669, when an 
act was passed to empower an assistant or commissioner, 
with the selectmen, to hear and determine cases at which 
less than forty shillings was at stake, with right to appeal to 
the County Court. Various changes in the powers of these 
officers were made from time to time, and it was not till 
1848, that a justice of the peace could sentence a criminal to 
imprisonment, and never over thirty days. Appeals could 
be taken to the higher courts for everything, except convic- 
tions for profanity or Sabbath-breaking. The right of trial 


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88 j\ History of Connecticxit 

by jury (though declared by the Constitution inviolate) does 
not exist in justice suits, and is only exercised by special 
statutes; when permitted, six persons are selected from the 
jury list of the town. 

As we have seen, the oldest office in Connecticut is the 
constable, originally the military center, and afterwards 
the conspicuous and authoritative peace officer of the colony, 
to put forth hue and cry after murderers, thieves, and robbers; 
to arrest Sabbath-breakers and vagrants without warrant; 
to keep the oversight of taverns and lock up loiterers. He 
could call on any citizen to aid him, under penalty of ten 
shillings, and, if obstinate, forty shillings. He summoned 
town meetings, enforced the collection of taxes, and helped 
the tithing-men guard the Sabbath. In 17 15, the General 
Assembly ordered that "constables and grand jury men shall 
on the evenings after the Lord's day, and after pubHc days 
of religious solemnity, walk the street, and duly search all 
the places suspected of harboring and entertaining any 
persons assembled contrary to law." These three officers, 
tithing-men, constables, and grand jurors, met in January 
and June to "advise, consider and use their joint interest 
in suppressing profaneness, vice and immorality." These 
officers received two shillings a day for their services as 
police, and their pay came from fines upon offenders. Only 
one was paid for one arrest. The symbol of office was a 
black staff, furnished by the selectmen. There were no 
sheriffs until 1702, though the office had existed from earliest 
times under the name of marshal, and the code of 1650, as- 
sumes it. The marshal was a civil officer, appointed by the 
General Court to preserve order. After the union of Con- 
necticut and New Haven, there was a marshal in every 
county, appointed by the County Courts. In 1702, the 
sheriff superseded the marshal, and in 1722, his duties were 
defined : to conserve peace, suppress riots and tumults and 
summon militia. In 1724, his powers were still further 
enlarged, and he could summon any one to assist him. 

■/■f.., ■;, -fj ■' 

-I :.'. -t 

Courts and La^ws 89 

Deputy sheriffs were appointed from time to time in the 
eighteenth century, and in 1766, several deputy sheriffs were 
appointed in every county by the sheriffs. In 1724, the 
sheriff was appointed to have charge of the jail, with the 
right to appoint keepers. 

The code of 1650, contains an act, which first appeared 
in 1643, by which it was ordered that a grand jury of twelve 
or fourteen men was warned to appear at every court yearly, 
in September, or as the governor or court fovind necessary 
to present breaches of laws. When County Courts were 
estabHshed, this provision was made appHcable to them, and 
twelve grand jurymen were to meet in each of the four 
counties. In 1680, it was ordered that they should serve 
for a year. By 1702, clerks of the several County Courts 
were directed to summon one or more men from every town 
to serve as grand jurors, to report once a month all misde- 
meanors to the next assistant or justice of the peace. These 
men became informing officers, with power to make com- 
plaints individually. They were liable to a penalty of forty 
shillings if they failed to take office when summoned. In 
1 7 12, it was voted that two or more grand jurors be appointed 
at town meetings, and their names reported to the clerk 
of the County Court. The Superior Court summoned its 
own grand jury of eighteen. In capital cases it was neces- 
sary that indictment should be made by a jury of eighteen, 
in which twelve must agree. The constitution of 18 18, 
declared that "no person shall be holden to answer for any 
crime, the punishment of which is death or imprisonment 
for life, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand 

This sketch of the development of the courts and various 
offices as occasion arose needs to be supplemented by an 
account of the growth of common and statute law. After 
the adoption of the constitution in 1639, the General Court 
built on that foundation numerous enactments needed to 
perfect the civil organization of the new colony. In October, 

.'. ."^ x\ 

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90 A. History of Connecticvit 

1639, Wyllys, Webster, and Spencer were appointed a com- 
mittee to "review all former orders and lawes, and record 
such of them as they conceave to be for publique concern- 
ment; and deliver them into the secretaryes hands to be 
published to the several townes; and all other orders that 
they see cause to omit, to be suspended until the Court 
take further order." There was one manuscript statute 
book for every town, in which the new laws were copied 
after every session. For more than a generation, the laws 
were conveyed to the towns by word of mouth, and once a 
year the constable read the laws to the assembled freemen. 
New Haven taught the advantage of circulation of the 
statutes, which were printed in 1673, and after January, 
1674, every household was required to have a copy. The 
first time that the incorporation of towns was recognized was 
in Ludlow's code, which regarded them as component parts of 
the body poHtic, but there was no special title given to the 
subject. In the code of 1672, their duties and powers were 
gathered and established. On them was laid the burden 
of supporting the poor, making and repairing roads and 
bridges, and, by taking impost, the responsibility for mihtary 

The criminal code was taken with few exceptions from 
that of Massachusetts, which was based on the English law. 
The code of laws was put into shape, as has been said, by 
Roger Ludlow, who was requested to "take some paynes in 
drawing forth a body of Lawes," by the General Court of 
April 9, 1646, a work which he completed in four years, 
taking fourteen articles from the Body of Liberties of Massa- 
chusetts, adopted in 1641 ; but sixty-three of the articles 
were new and distinct, and the seventy-seven articles from 
the hand of Ludlow were adopted by the General Court in 
May, 1650, and the only recognition of his great service is 
certified by a minute in the records of February 5, 1681: 
"This Court grants and orders that the secretary shall be 
allowed and paid the sum of six pounds, being in p't pay- 


o i. 

Courts and La"ws 91 

ment of his great paines in drawing out and transcribing 
the country orders, concluded and established in May last." 
There is no record of a compensation to Ludlow, other than 
the statement that "it is the mynd of the Court that he be 
considered for his paynes." Ludlow's code covers fifty 
pages of the Colonial Records, and his classification was 
retained until 1854, when fifty-eight of his titles, somewhat 
modified, were still used. Ludlow was a man of iron will 
and unyielding integrity, but his tongue was apt to express 
a sharp temper, which sometimes "grew into a passion," 
and after his great work of codifying the laws ended, he left 
Connecticut. In 1654, ^^ carried out a plan he had defined 
at Boston twenty-two years before, and went back to the 
mother-country, settling in Dublin, where he served on the 
first Irish commission under Cromwell, and afterwards was 
made a Master in Chancery. 

A new era began with the union of Connecticut and New 
Haven, and the revised code went into effect in January, 
1664, with suffrage limited, punishments still tainted by 
medievalism, reHgious freedom unknown, land held by 
tenures, which were free from the dangers of forfeiture, since 
no property reverted to the colony. The subject of educa- 
tion was prominent in legislation by 1672, and many of the 
regulations then passed remained in force for two hundred 
years. Divorce became a fruitful cause for legislation, and 
four divorces were allowed in 1653. The grounds for divorce 
given in 1677, at a time when no divorces were granted in 
any other Christian country, were adultery, fraudulent con- 
tract, willful neglect of duty, and seven years' providential 
absence, without being heard from. 

In the preface to the revision of 1672, it was declared 
that it was not the purpose of the planters "to impugn 
the state laws of England so far as we understand them," 
and while the legislature was independent, not taking the 
trouble to ask what was the law of England, the common 
law of the mother-country slowly and insidiously grew into 

92 7\ History of Connecticvit 

the decisions of the colony as the lawyers and judges here 
became better educated, and it came to pass that Connecti- 
cut common law rested on English common law in recogni- 
tion of its wisdom and propriety. The declaration of the 
Fundamental Orders of 1639, that the General Court should 
embody the supreme power of the commonwealth, and the 
bill of rights in the code of 1650, by which no person should 
be damaged in life, liberty, and property, "unless it be by 
virtue or equity of some express law of the county warrant- 
ing the same, established by the General Court and suffi- 
ciently published, or in the case of the defect of a law in any 
particular case by the word of God," were a practical repu- 
diation of the common law. It was the intention of the 
settlers to base the government on a code and in harmony 
with revealed religion. There was a radical departure from 
English methods, in equipping the government with an 
executive head without power, and a strong legislature, in 
combining law-making and law-interpreting, in the recogni- 
tion of equality among men, and in refusing to admit classes, 
titles, and aristocracy, though there was quite enough of 
caste in many communities. 

Primogeniture rested on the Mosaic code, and was 
adopted in England as a military necessity in rude times, 
but it was never adopted in Connecticut, not even in the 
code of 1650, which permitted all persons of twenty-one 
years to make such wills and alienation of land as they chose. 
The law of 1672, provided that property of persons dying, 
intestate should be divided among wife and children accord- 
ing to equity. In 1699, a law was passed in Connecticut 
providing that there should be an equal distribution of the 
whole estate, except a double share to the eldest son. This act 
was annulled in 1727, because contrary to the law of England, 
but the colony never paid any attention to the annulment. 

In May, 1776, there was passed what has been called 
"the most important statute in Connecticut history." It 
was then enacted that the 

Coxirts and La-ws 93 

form of Civil Government in this State shall continue to be 
established by charter received from Charles II., King of Eng- 
land, so far as an adherence to the same will be consistent with 
the absolute independence of this State on the Crown of Great 
Britain, and that all officers civil and military heretofore ap- 
pointed by the State, continue in the execution of their several 
offices, and the laws of this State shall continue in force until 
otherwise ordered; and that for the future all writs and processes 
of law and equity shall issue in the name of the governor and 
company of the State of Connecticut, and that in all summonses, 
attachments and other processes before any Assistants or Justices 
of the Peace, "one of His majesty's Justices of the Peace" be 
omitted, and that instead thereof be inserted "Justice of the 
Peace," and that no writ or process shall have or bear any date, 
save the year of our Lord only, any law, usage, or custom to 
the contrary notwithstanding. 

Of all the laws of Great Britain, under which the colonists 
lived when the supreme head was an English king, only one 
has remained in force: an act of Parliament passed in 1762, 
establishing the Gregorian calendar. The steadiness of the 
Connecticut temper is seen in the lack of radical changes in 
the laws up to the Revolution. After the revision of 1702, 
forty years passed before there was another. 

There has long been a keen interest in the Connecticut 
"Blue Laws," and after years of attack and defense, it is 
possible now to consider the subject reasonably. Before 
the Revolution, there existed the phrase, current in New 
York, Massachusetts, and even New Haven — "Connecticut 
Blue Laws." It is a colloquial term applied to severe and 
antiquated laws found on the statute books of the older 
colonies, of which Connecticut was believed to possess an 
unusually stern edition. Soon after the Revolution, this 
state was made still more conspicuous by the publishing of 
a history by an Episcopal minister, Samuel Peters, who was 
bom in Hebron in 1735, became rector of the little church 
in his native town, where he lived until the Revolution. 

S*--,. wl^ 




F R O M 1 T S 

firft Settlement under George Fenwick, hTq. 


Latcft Period of Amity with Great Britain. 



And many curious and intcrefting Anecdotes. 

To which is ^ddcd. 

An A?PtNDit, wherein new and the true Sources of the prcfrnt 
Rebellion in America are pointed out; together with the parlicu- 
Tar I'art taken by the People of Coiinei\icut in il» Promotion. 

By a G E N T L E M A M of thc Province.' 

Plus afud me ratio va/tiif, qiiam Vftf^i opinio. 

Ci c. Parad. i. 


Printed for the A u t h o a ; 
And told by J. Bew, No. 28. P;»trr.Noftfr.Ro;r» 

Facsimile of the Title-page of Peter's History 

This history of Connecticut by thc loyalist Rev. Samuel A. Peters gave occasion 

to the Connecticut " Blue Law " trailition. A copy of the first edition. 

IJrinled in L.jndon, 17X1, is in the Connecticut State Liljrary 

^ u'} I ii jAmm no 

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f *, ,!■■ >i, .,•- r-":' 

94 -A. History of Connecticut 

His aggressive loyalist convictions provoked the resentment 
of the Sons of Liberty, and a party of them threatened 
him with tar and feathers, and compelled him to promise 
to refrain from meddling with political affairs. Repeated 
offenses led to a second visit, and Peters, putting on his 
priestly robes, addressed the crowd, "quibbling and equivo- 
cating," as the story comes down to us through biased minds, 
but the men pressed into the parsonage and found loaded 
guns and pistols. Then they seized Peters, tearing his 
clothes, putting him in a cart, they hauled him by his 
own oxen to the Green, where they set him on the public 
horse-block, and forced him to sign- a declaration and con- 
fession that he repented of his past misdeeds, and promised 
that he would give no further cause for complaint. He was 
then made to read the papers aloud to the crowd and give 
three cheers. Peters says that the mob "destroyed his 
windows, rent his clothes, almost killed one of his church 
people, tarred and feathered two, and abused others." 
Governor Trumbull ordered the civil authority at Hebron 
to "preserve peace and good order, and put the laws in 
execution." Peters knew he would be safer and happier 
elsewhere, and he soon moved to Boston, and in November, 
1774, sailed for England, sending back letters to friends in 
Hebron, but spies behind stone walls overheard his messen- 
gers talk about the letters, and securing the missives of the 
angry minister they offered the unfortunate letter-carriers a 
whipping or running the gauntlet; choosing the latter, they 
became the objects of the spite of the Sons and Daughters 
of Liberty of the neighborhood, and were glad to get through 
with their lives. 

Peters was twenty years in England, and it is not sur- 
prising to learn that, burning with rage over the rough treat- 
ment he had received, he published in 1781, a history of 
Connecticut, which no one can read without seeing that 
there is opportunity for self-control and judgment in coming 
to a conclusion upon the Munchausen writings of a man who 


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Courts and La"ws 95 

speaks of the water at Bellows Falls as so "consolidated by 
pressure, by swiftness, between the pinching, sturdy rocks, 
to such a degree of induration that no iron crow can be forced 
into it," and the stream is "harder than marble." He also 
speaks of the "infamous villainy of Hooker, who spread 
death upon the leaves of his Bible, and struck Connecticote 
(a great sachem) mad with disease," and of the conviction 
and punishment of an Episcopal minister in 1750, for break- 
ing the Sabbath by walking too fast from church and comb- 
ing a lock of his wig on Sunday. As specimens of the "Blue 
Code of Connecticut," he says, it "made it criminal in a 
mother to kiss her infant on the Sabbath-day"; "Every 
male shall have his hair cut round according to a cap"; 
"No one shall read Common Prayer, keep Christmas or 
Saints-days, make minced pies, dance, play cards, or play 
on any instrument of music, except the drum, trumpet and 
Jews* harp." It must be admitted that the irritated Peters 
went beyond his authorities in these statements, but it must 
also be said that in the large majority of the forty-five laws 
which he collected, there was a basis not only in the statutes 
of New Haven and Connecticut, but also in the laws and 
courts of Massachusetts, whence, as we have noticed, most 
of the Connecticut laws were derived. The injustice of the 
Blue Law charge is in singling out Connecticut for derision, 
and in publishing four ridiculous laws which had a place 
only in Peters' s heated imagination. In 1631, Massachu- 
setts passed a law that no man should court a maid unless 
by consent of the parents, and Connecticut borrowed it. 
In 1647, Massachusetts passed a law to banish Quakers, 
under penalty of death if they returned, while New Haven 
never threatened Quakers with death, but gave a choice of 
imprisonment, banishment, whipping, and branding, with 
the expenses paid by the resolute visitors. The law against 
card-playing prevailed in Massachusetts as well as in Con- 
necticut, and as late as 18 12, seven young men in New 
Haven were fined for violation of this law. The law that 

Mi; ,■( 


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-1 : ' IT 

9^ A History of Connecticut 

married people should live together was no bluer in Con- 
necticut than in Massachusetts. The law permitting the 
rack or torture in examination of witnesses, or, as we should 
now say, "third degree," was a law of Massachusetts too, 
though it was not to be "inhumane." 

It would be impossible to give more than the faintest 
idea of the regulations in the different towns, ranging from 
settling a minister to killing blackbirds and rattlesnakes. 
Swine appear to have been one of the most fruitful topics. 
Innumerable were the perplexities that came up year after 
year. ^ Sometimes they were ordered to be rung and yoked; 
sometimes to be confined, then again they could go at large! 
Here is a sample vote passed in Norwich: "In the time of 
acorns, we judge it may be profitable to suffer swine two 
months or thereabouts to go in the woods without rings." 
Yokes were to be two feet in length, and six inches above 
the neck. The recording of cattle marks was a serious task, 
and necessary, as pasture lands were held in common, and 
private fences often insecure. These marks were made on 
the ear, and were a cross, a half-cross, and various kinds of 
sHts and notches. The towns were in the habit of making 
grants of land to those who promoted public improvement. 
Hugh Amos, who in 1681, first established a ferry over 
Shetucket River, received one hundred acres of land. Millers 
and blacksmiths were so valuable that they were given prizes 
of land. In 1680, Captain Fitch of Norwich was granted two 
hundred acres on condition that he build a saw mill in a cer- 
tain place. Thomas Harris of Glastonbury received in 1667, 
a grant of forty acres of land on condition that he should 
build a saw mill in Glastonbury. There was much confusion 
m the deeds and lines, because of imperfect surveys and 
vague and contradictory deeds. Many of the bounds were 
transitory, as appears when one considers such bounds as 
these,— a black oak with a crotch, a white oak, a tree with 
a heap of stones around it, a bowlder, a clump of chestnuts, 
a walnut with a limb lopped off, and a birch with a gash in it. 


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The Tapping Reeve Law School. The First Law School in the Country 

Tapping Reeve (1744 1823) 

Troin an Old I'liiU 

i f cvr 

Covirts and La-ws 


Connecticut has had many distinguished lawyers, as 
might be imagined from the quaUty of the settlers, the con- 
ditions favoring strong individuahty and the establishment, 
in 1784, of the first American law school in Litchfield. 
Tapping Reeve was the founder of the school, and after 
exerting a profound influence upon successive classes of 
students in his school, he became judge of the Superior 
Court, and then chief justice. Reeve was a man who "loved 
law as a science and studied it as a philosopher." It was 
from Litchfield that the first volume of reported law cases 
printed in the United States appeared in 1789. Among the 
graduates of the school were five Cabinet ministers, two 
justices of the United States Supreme Court, ten governors 
of states, sixteen United States senators, fifty members of 
Congress, forty judges of the higher state courts, and eight 
chief justices of the state. 

In the constitutional convention of 1787, the three 
lawyers from Connecticut, Sherman, Ellsworth, and John- 
son, contributed keenness, good judgment, and experience. 
In 1789, Oliver Ellsworth was sent to represent the state 
at the first session of the Senate; he was made chairman 
of the judiciary committee, and drew up the act of Con- 
gress under which the courts of the United States were 
organized after the pattern found in Connecticut, the 
merit of which appears in the fact that they remained sub- 
stantially unchanged for a hundred years. In 1795, Chief 
Justice Swift published at Windham the first general and 
systematic treatise on the laws of any state, it being the ' 
System of the Laws of the State of Conjiectiad. In 18 10, 
Swift became the author of the first American treatise on the 
law of evidence, it being also the first American case-book, 
for use in legal education, and in 1823, he published the 
first American work descriptive of the whole body of law 
and equity. 

Jeremiah Mason, who was bom in Lebanon In 1768, 
became United states Senator and attorney-general of New 

. «•' 

(.; . , 1- \ii ■ 

I 1: 

98 -A. History of Connecticvit 

Hampshire, of whom Daniel Webster said: "Of my own 
professional discipline and attainments, whatever they may 
be, I owe much to that close attention to the discharge of 
my duties, which I was compelled to pay for nine successive 
years from day to day, to Mr. Mason's efforts and arguments 
at the same bar." Webster said also: "Go as deep as you 
will, you v/ill always find Jeremiah Mason below you." 
From Bozrah went Reuben H. Hyde to be chancellor of 
New York, and Story called him "the greatest equity judge 
of his time." Lyme has furnished three chief justices of 
the Supreme Court of the state, Henry M. Waite, Matthew 
Griswold, Jr., and Roger Griswold ; also Judge C. J. McCurdy 
and M. R, Waite, chief justice of the United States. 

Connecticut has been a leader in making law, of which 
there are three important instances according to Simeon E. 

1. The common law excluded from the witness-stand 
every one who had a pecuniary interest in the event of the ac- 
tion. The first statute to abolish the rule was by the General 
Assembly, in 1848, and the author of the reform was Justice 
McCurdy of Lyme, who, on going abroad later on diplomatic 
service, brought it to the attention of some men of influence 
in England; in 1851, Parliament took similar action, and 
every other state in the Union has adopted the method of 

2. The United States inherited an artificial system of 
legal remedies, and in 1879, Connecticut enacted a brief 
"Practice Act," leaving all details to be worked out through 
rules adopted from time to time by the judges of the higher 
courts. Of this act David Dudley Field, an author of the 
New York code, said that it was the best form yet devised, 
and it has remained substantially unchanged for thirty 

3. In 1895, Connecticut took action to prevent the 
marriage of the unfit, extending the prohibition to paupers, 
epileptics, and imbeciles. 


O F 




O F T H E 

State of ConneBicut, 

From t h i; Y r. a k 17B5, to May 1788; 



: 1 N T U E 






Facsimile of the Title-page of the First Published Law Reports in 


II i-, frcjiii lliL- (j;i>;lnal volume in the posscobion of the Connecticut State Library 

Courts and La-ws 99 

This is a good place in which to speak of the seal of the 
state. In a paper by Roger Wolcott, written in 1759, he says 
that his stepfather, Daniel Clark, secretary of the colony 
between 1658, and 1666, told him that the seal was given 
the colony by George Fenwick, agent for the proprietors, 
under the Warwick patent. There is an impression of this 
seal in the State Library; it is in wax and is affixed to the 
commission of John Winthrop as magistrate of New London 
in 1 647. It represents a vineyard of fifteen vines, with a hand 
above, and the motto, "Svstinet qvi transtvHt." It was 
ordered in 1662, that the seal previously used remain the seal 
of the colony, and the first printed revision of the statutes 
made in 1673, had, by order of the Assembly, an impression 
of it on the title page. When Andros took the government 
in 1687, the seal disappeared, and Gershom Bulkley says 
John Allyn delivered it to Andros. When the charter 
government was resumed in 1689, a larger seal was made with 
the motto, "Svstinet qvi transtvlit," and no further change 
was made imtil the next century when a new stamp was 
ordered, suitable to seal wafers. It was larger, and instead 
of fifteen vines, it had but three, with a hand pointing to 
them, and on a label below, the motto, "Qvi transtvlit 
svstinet." Aroimd the seal are the words, "Sigillvm 
Colonias Connecticensis." In 1747, the Assembly ordered 
that the oval be changed to a circle, and engraved, with 
corrections of mistakes, but nothing was done. In May, 
1784, the Assembly voted to change the words around the 
seal to "Sigill. reip. Connecticutensis," but the inscription 
was cut without abbreviation, though the shortened form 
is in the engravings of that period. In October, 1784, the 
new seal was approved, and ordered to be kept by the 
secretary. In the constitution of 1818, it was ordered that 
the seal be not altered, and now there are two seals: one 
procured in 1842, for sealing with wax or wafer, a seal with 
three clusters of grapes on each vine, made of brass; the 
other, used on paper, without wax, and declared sufficient 

; V Mj;.i .V /n ■. :.,■^, boojjl B -a <.aVi' 


) Ml , •!' 

lOO y\. History of Connecticvit 

in 1851 ; supposed to have been obtained in 1782. The first 
issue of bills of credit in 1709, has the seal with three vines. 
When small bills were issued in 1777, a small seal with one 
vine was used; it was used also in the secretary's office to 
seal letters. 

Connecticut has always had able political leaders, and 
statesmen of national renown; the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence was signed by Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, 
William WilHams and Oliver Wolcott. Of the more recent 
are Buckingham, Foster, Jewell, English, Eaton, Barnum, 
Burr, the Baldwins, Hubbard, Andrews, Piatt, and Hawley. 
Three of these were both governors and United States sena- 
tors. Buckingham's unsurpassed efficiency during the Civil 
War is described elsewhere. In the reconstruction which 
followed the War, General Joseph R. Hawley was as effec- 
tive as statesman as he had been patriotic while soldier. 
He was in the United States Senate for twenty-four years, 
able, eloquent, devoted, sincere. Orville H. Piatt was born 
in Washington in 1827, and he rose swiftly to the office of 
United States Senator ; dying in office after twenty-six years 
of service — the longest term in the history of the state — 
after achieving a career, whose solid worth was distinguished 
for integrity, sagacity, breadth and manliness. He is best 
known as the author of the " Piatt Amendment," which 
governs the relations between Cuba and the United States. 

For years there was but a narrow margin between the 
Republican and Democratic parties, but after the breezy 
campaign of 1872, the state became decidedly Democratic, 
and continued so for years. The famous deadlock of 1890, 
when Governor Bulkeley held over, was due to a conflict be- 
tween a Democratic Senate and a Republican House over the 
question of the recount of votes for governor. This deadlock 
aroused so much feeling that an amendment to the state con- 
stitution was adopted, declaring election to state offices by 
plurality of votes. 


•,*^-r-[i r_ 


.t .;m,.; j .... j. ... -i.) .-^.i. ; . :;. -.2* 


Seals of Connecticut and Hooker's Declaration 

This collection of seals, with Hooker's concise statement of the reason for the migration from 
Massachusetts to Connecticut, is the central jjanel in the floor in Memorial Hall in the Con- 
necticut State Library. The lower seal at the left is the English seal used during colonial 
days; that at the right of this was in use, 1711-1784. The upper right-hand seal came 
into use in 1662, and disappeared in 1787, when Andros was governor. That at the upper 
left was made in 1784, and the Constitution of 1818, declared that it should not be altered. 
It is now in use. 


.':■' i«P* 



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,.'.-, J : / 


> "1 ■'- S 


HOWEVER important we may consider a clear view of the 
settlement, government, and courts of Connecticut, 
the question how the people lived appeals to most of us more 
intimately. The story is an interesting one, because of the 
vigor of the actors and the variety and strenuousness of the 
surroundings. It is a story of resolute men and women 
making their way into a stern situation, and with good sense, 
ingenuity, steady nerves, and unconquerable resolution 
carrying their task through. The Puritans, unable to re- 
form the church at home, and unwilling longer to brave the 
hostility of William Laud, who wielded the despotic power 
of the star-chamber, came to America to build after their 
own ideas a state, in which Christian institutions should 
exist in their simplest forms. None, save the Pilgrims at 
Plymouth, had renounced the Church of England, or sepa- 
rated from its communion, and only one boat-load of these 
came to Connecticut, faring so badly at Windsor, that their 
neighbors at Plymouth preferred to bear the ills there, 
rather than to crowd in where they were not wanted. The 
settlers of Connecticut were members of a great religious 
and political party, in an age when every man's religion was 
a matter of political regulation. They were in the reforming 
party in church and state, earnest, determined, practical 
men, with a keen sense of the presence of God and of the 
value of their theory of civil government. Though humble 


i ili/' "i/'l 

102 A History of Connecticvit 

before God, they proposed to follow their convictions with- 
out fear or favor. They were plain, shrewd, straightfor- 
ward people, who usually knew what they wanted to do, 
and went at once to the point. Even their burial service 
suggests their dread of ceremony, for Lechford says of the 
customs about 1640: "Nothing is read, or any funeral 
sermon made, but all the neighborhood, or a good com- 
pany of them, come together by tolling bell, and carry the 
dead solemnly to his grave, and stand by while buried." 
Their seriousness made it hard for them to enjoy certain 
j'okes as appears from a record of 1648, as follows: "The 
Court adjudgeth Peter Bussaker for his filthy and profane 
expressions (namely, that he hoped to meete some of the 
members of the church in hell ere long, and he did not but 
question that he should) to be committed to prison, there 
to be kept in safe custody, till the sermon, and then to^stand 
the time thereof in the pillory, and after the sermon.. to be 
severely whipped." 

There is a type of mind which cannot think of Puritan- 
ism save as "mere acrid defiance, and sanctimonious 
sectarianism, nor of the Puritans save as a band of ignorant 
and half crazy zealots." A calmer and clearer view of them 
leads us to see that they were, as Bradford said, "muskeeto 
proof, " and that they were also men with a passion for God 
and the kingdom of heaven which often gave to their devo- 
tion to righteousness a seriousness which easily became 
sternness; a devotion like that of Cromwell, a keen convic- 
tion of the sovereignty of God as the absolute and invincible 

authority over all. They believed ^hat things_are right 

or \vrong_because_j:_hey are made so by the_fiats of__their 
.infinite^Ruler and King. That they were not depressed 
by this conception, and did not become weak and dreamy, 
is due to the fact that with their practical, Teutonic ambi- 
tion for trade and enterprise they had too much else to do, 
and while they were idealists, they were too busy to become 
morbid, and had too much common sense to brood. The 

Ol.:!'' )' > ■>..i 


How tHe People Lived in tKe E^arly Days 103 

fashion of speaking of them as joyless and hopeless, of 
dwelling in gloom and severity upon the dismal and the dis- 
agreeable, is appropriate for a mind soured as was that of 
Samuel Peters, but read the quaint humor of that sturdy 
age. Notice how readily the writers of that day passed 
into rhyme. Husbands and wives loved each other as 
tenderly as now, though not every woman could express her 
affection for her husband as gracefully as Margaret Win- 
throp. "Faith in God, faith in man, faith in work," this, 
as Lowell says, is the formula which sums up the teaching 
of the founders of New England. Our account of Puritan 
character were incomplete without reference to the Blue 
Laws, described at length in the preceding chapter, and to 
the distorted portraiture -SamueLJPeters- made of the Con- 
jigcticut Puritans, who he said /'out-pop'd the Pope, out- 
Jdng'd_the King, and put-bishpp'd theB.isliQps." 

A more cheerful view of the seventeenth century in 
Connecticut is found in the daily lij e of the Puritans. There 
was ^; whether their axes bit their way 
into the forest, or the night wind brought the howl of the 
wolf — a sound dreaded by the bravest — rthere was little.time 
.forjreverie. Governor Leete, while chief magistrate of the 
colony, kept a country store for the convenience of his 
neighbors at Guilford, and his sons were taught to toil in 
the field. Governor Treat was as well skilled in the faculty 
of ploughing a cornfield, or mowing a field of grass, as in 
fighting for the colony or defending the charter, and his 
father, Richard Treat, one of the first men in the colony, 
daily crossed the Connecticut in a boat and helped break 
up the stiff sward of Glastonbury. Winthrop endured 
severe hardships going from place to place to serve as 
magistrate, mediating between contending parties, pro- 
curing and defending land titles, and fulfilling the office 
of physician. Industry, frugality, thrift, and honest work 
were wrought into the foundations of the commonwealth. 
,The earliest houses of logs soon gave way to frame 

"J .:C 


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i.:i.;> '-'.f 'P 

I 'rr '' ■ ■_ ; 

104 -^ History- of Connectic\at 

houseSjqr_eyen_Jg. stone,, as in the case of a house built in 
1640, in Guilford, by the Rev. Henry Whitfield, its solid 
and massive walls still celebrating the fame of one of the 
founders of Guilford,— -An . occasional style in early times 
was the old plank frame dwellings, whose sides were com- 
monly, of. two-inch plank, spiked perpendicularly to the 
heavy framework, and either clapboarded or shingled on the 
outs ide. _ There was little studding used on the -inside,-aiid 
even the partitions were often of inch lumber carried from 
floor to cross-beams, with a paneled base. In the central 
part of the house was a chimney with many flues, being 
about twelve feet square in the foundations, and sometimes 
containing a small room on the first floor. The typical 
house of the first period was of two stories, with two rooms 
in each story, and the large chimney between. On one side 
of the chimney was the stairway leading to the second story. ~ 
The cellar usually extended under only a part of the house. 
The frame was of oak, and the walls were not sheathedj^ 
but the space between the studs was often filled in with 
clay mixed with hay. The exterior was covered with wide 
clapboards, and the hand-rived shingles on the roof would 
last one hundred years ; those on the roof of the Farmington 
meeting-house lasted one hundred and thirty-five years. 
The interior was ceiled, or sometimes left unfinished. 
Across the center of each room from wall to chimney ran 
an immense beam parallel with the front of the house. This 
beam was called the sinnmer or the summer-tree, and was 
either boxed in or left as the axe hewed it. In many of the 
houses, the second story overhung the first, and was over- 
hung by the attic. The overhanging was produced in this 
way: the comer oaken posts were placed with the larger 
part at the top, and, just below the second story, a part of 
the thickness was hewn away, leaving a scroll-like ornament 
called a corbel, and the second story projecting over the 
first about four inches, with sometimes a pendant at the 
comer. As wealth and family increased, such a two-story 



How tKe People Lived in tKe E,arly Days 105 

house was enlarged by extending the rear roof to the level 
of the first story, giving a place for three rooms behind the 
original two rooms, with a loft above. The middle room 
of these three was the kitchen with its capacious fireplace, 
and later on a brick oven in the chimney, in which number- 
less pies were baked. One of the other rooms was a pantry 
or buttery, and the third a bedroom. Such a house was 
called a lean-to, or in some places a salt-box house from its 
resemblance to the salt-box hanging in the chimney corner. 
It is said that this form of roof was adopted to avoid an 
extra tax. 

Not far from the time that the lean-to house was intro- 
duced the gambrel roof came into fashion — so named be- 
cause of its fancied resemblance to the hind leg of a horse. 
After a time, the builders began to put in two chimneys 
and have an entry run through the middle of the house, 
though many conservatives clung to the older style, 
often the lean-to was given up, and instead a shed was 
built. Houses were usually large, as lumber was plenty and 
children apt to be numerous. Fireplaces were commonly 
large. The Shipman House in South Glastonbury contains 
a fireplace nine feet and five inches in length, four and a 
half feet high, three feet deep, and two brick ovens. Often 
there was a porch in front, with a chamber over it. That of 
Thomas Hooker, had a porch, and the chamber over it was the 
preacher's study. The early houses were often built of wood 
put up cob-house fashion, or having posts at the comers with 
small branches of trees between, and clay mixed with hay. 
These chimneys were lined with clay, and were inspected 
often by the chimney-viewers. Brick chimneys were in the 
houses of the wealthy, but catted chintfieys, as those we have 
just described were called, were common. In Hartford, it 
was voted in 1640, that "every householder shall provide 
a sufficient ladder standing at his houseside, reaching to 
the ridge of his house, or within two feet, by his chimney." 
Chimney-viewers were to examine the chimneys every six 

rA V ^ \ : :i 


io6 A History of Connecticxit 

weeks in winter and every quarter in summer. It was also 
ordered in 1640, that "Jo Gening shall sweep all chimneys, 
and have 6d for brick and 3d for clay." 

Later, there was a change in the style of building houses, 
and the house of Colonel Joseph Pitkin, built in 1726, in 
East Hartford is a good illustration of the substantial homes 
before the Revolution. It was built after the old scribe 
method by which every stud or piece of timber was marked 
or scribed for the particular place it was to occupy. The 
sills were of oak, forty-one feet long, eight by ten inches. 
The building had oak posts nine by nine inches at the bot- 
tom and ten by fifteen inches at the top, being mortised about 
half-way up to receive the cross-beams of white oak, eight 
by twelve inches. The beams were thirty feet long and 
carried the weight of the second floor without any studding 
to support them. The interior finish was heavy paneling 
of native yellow and white pine. The main plates were 
of white oak forty-one feet long and seven inches square, 
which were securely framed into the posts. The king 
rafters were of white oak, five by six inches and twenty-two 
feet long. Some of the boards were twenty-six inches wide, 
and there were five large fireplaces. Several of the sleeping 
rooms had beds the posts of which were mortised into the 
floor and extended to the ceiling, supporting a framework 
from which draped a heavy curtain. The house was studded 
with three-by-four oak studs, mortised into the sills and 
plates, to which were nailed the sheathing boards, the edges 
of the sheathing being beveled so as to make a tight joint, 
and then reinforced by an inner sheathing upon which the 
laths were nailed to receive the inner finish of plaster. 
Paper was in use before the Revolution, and in the room 
in the Webb House in Wethersfield in which Washington 
rested, the paper was imported from England, and is rich 
and heavy. Nails, hinges, and latches were hammered out 
on the anvil. 

ComiQg_now to the food of the people, we start with the 

if '. 


How tKe People Lived in tHe E-arly Days 107 

_ brea kfast _of the farmers, which often consisted of a-.sjQiiii_ 
made of sal t mea t and beans, seasoned with herbs, — a dish 
called hean-porridge. JJinner was the ^iibatantiaL-ineal, 
and was served at noon; a large Indianjmeal pudding, with 
an appropriate sauce, was often the. first course, and was so 
filling that the boiled_beeL Dr_.poxk„ which_ followed_was 
^attacked less ravenously, — a _prudent_jexpedienti__ as_.meat 
jtag^not always plentiful, though those living near river and 
Sound could easily obtain fish, and at certain seasons 
r,Xa,mQ-.was abundant. The -:^at£r s te emed _with fish, and 
[|CJ' -^ b^h_saimon^and shad 'were caught in great numbers, and 
salted f or ho me and foreign use. It was an occasional 
custom of apprentices, in binding themselves to their 
masters, to stipulate that.salmon should not be served oftener 
.than_ twice a week; and at times_shad_were_so_plenty_and 
jchea£»__that— it-was. considered .disreputable for any but 
'.'poor folks to eat shad." In all but the most wealthy 
families, food was cooked in the apartment where it was 
eaten, at the large fireplace, and a trammel in the 
chimney, by means of its hook, which could be moved up 
or down, held the kettle at the right distance above the 
fire. At one end of the fireplace there came in time an oven, 
and there were also the gridiron, a long-handled frying-pan, 
and a spit for roasting before the fire. At the end of the 
room were pewter platters, porringers, and basins, also a brass 
ladle, skimmer, colander, and warming-pan. A brew-house 
was a necessity, and b££i.^as_often onjthe table_ as^ bread. 
Seeds of vegetables were imported, and while p otatoes w ere_ 
regarded jvith suspicion for many years — making their entry 
into the menu at about 1720, and used sp arin gly— turn i ps, 
were much enjoyed, as were 2eaSj_beanSj_^nd__2umpkms. 
Succotash, name and dish borrowed from the Indians, was 
soon popular in August and September, when Ind.iaiL-QPiSI 
was in the milk and beans were plenty. Hasty pudding,, 
consisting of boiled'rneal of com or rye, and sweetened with 
molasses or maple syrup on the table, was a common food. 


■r ■ .Ti_ p'l': rJnr/v: 7^:;t-, 'j t o 

1-.: L^'L 

io8 A History of Connecticvit 

^BrowiLhread,-"rye and injun," a mixture of two parts com- 
meal and one part rye, was the bread of the majority of the 

Very substantial food was served at supper. It was 
almost always cold, with an occasional variation of -cakc§ 
of conitiiiealj^jj^ej_o^r_buckwheaL,„^Samp_and_hQ 
enjoyed by both Indians and English. .Baked_bgail§ formed 
a nourishing food from early times and the favorite time 
for them was Saturday night. The regular dinner on 
-Saturdays (not on Fridays, which wouldhave savored of the 
papacy) _was salted _codfish. Th^--dishei^ were of pejwterj 
.wood, and crockery, though there was not much of the last 
for many years. Chief Justice Ellsworth, who was bom in 
Windsor in 1745, told his son that when he was a boy "all 
ate upon wooden trenchers, that manners were then so 
coarse and such as would now in many respects prove 
disgusting, that men in Windsor assembled in each other's 
houses and would drink out a barrel of cider in one night." 
Silver tankards, cups, and spoons were owned by the wealthy, 
but cups, platters, and pitchers were usually of pewter. At 
one house a broken pewter spoon was given to Washington, 
with which to eat bread and milk, he gave the maid two 
shillings to borrow a silver spoon, and she found one at the 

Yankee cooks early achieved a skill that made them 
famous the world over, and before long they became experts 
with berries of all kinds, also with plums, nuts, grapes, and 
apples, which were put into all kinds of preserves, pickles, and 
syrups. There was little money in circulation, and little 
was needed, as most of the Hving came from forest, field, 
and river. One cone of sugar, weighing ten or fifteen pounds, 
with honey, molasses, and maple syrup would sweeten a 
family for a year. The art of making the syrup was learned 
from the Indians, who made it in large quantities. 

Wind and water were used from early times, though the 
timber of the earliest days was sawn in saw-fjits, the "top- 

t^.' J ■•■■.?'■* ■ 

>3 i 

o ii^? i. 



i:.] ) 


Ho"w tKe People Lived in tKe Harly Days 109 

sawyer" standing on the timber, and the "pitman" beneath 
it. Clapboards were split with axes and wedges. In 1677, 
Wethersfield gave Gershom Bulkley, their new minister, 
"liberty to make a mill pond," since it was informed that 
he was "minded to build a come mill." Wind as a motive 
power was used in grist-mills to some extent. Brick mills 
were in early use; in 1653, Samuel Dickenson, a youth of 
sixteen, was employed by Matthew Williams of Wethers- 
field to assist in making bricks, and was paid sixpence a 
day "in wampum." In 1635, the Court established the 
size of bricks. Tanning and curing the skins of cattle, sheep, 
and goats was an important industry, regulated by law as 
early as 1640. Farmers usually took the pelts of the 
slaughtered animals to the local tanneries, and from the 
hides had boots, shoes, and other useful articles made, as 
the needs called. 

There were few wheeled carriages, besides the rude ox- 
cart, until the middle of the eighteenth century, and not 
many until after the Revolution. It is with a feeling of 
surprise that we read in the will of Jabez Hamlin of Middle- 
town, probated in 1788, of the bequest of "sleigh and riding 
chair" to his widow; that carriage must have been an un- 
usual feature in the quiet town. The first pleasure carriage 
in Litchfield w^as in 1776, and was owned by a prisoner of 
war. The bridegroom carried his bride home on a pillion 
behind him, if he had not asked a neighbor to be his help- 
meet, and the Sunday worshipers from a distance rode on 
horseback, or went afoot; in winter, sleds drew the devout 
worshipers to the icy meeting-house, where the patient 
hour-glass measured off the long sermons, communion 
bread sometimes froze, and the foot-stoves gave a slight 

The militia in the early period covered all of the 
sterner sex between sixteen and sixty, except those who 
were exempt, and men were expected to provide arms and 
ammunition at their own expense, if possible. Soldiers 

i /tl ».'•.,•« I ;>!c; -'■• ■■' ' Sr*- HCt 

1 ■ '1:,' ' ■' ■■ '-■■V fi _-•■ ■ l|. 

Ji..;' I '. •. .■: '■■• 



no -A. History of Connecticvit 

wore corselets and coats quilted with cotton. They car- 
ried pikes, matchlocks, swords, a pair of pouches for pow- 
der and bullets, and a rest, on which to poise the heavy 
musket when firing. The pikes were ten feet long. The 
train-band was the unit of the army, varying in number 
from fifty-four to two hundred. There were twice as many 
musketeers as pikemen, the latter being of superior stature; 
trainings began and closed with prayer. 

The prominence of warfare is suggested by the preva- 
lence of military titles. Previous to 1654, captain was the 
highest office in the colony. Captain John Mason of Windsor 
was the first officer of that high rank in Connecticut; and 
he was a noble specimen, tall, portly, soldier-like, with the 
proud consciousness of having served in the Netherlands, 
under William of Orange. Wherever he went, the boys 
and girls looked up to him as though he were a visitor from 
a superior planet. Only a few were called "Mister" or 
"Missis"; the common word for a person above servitude 
and below gentility was "Goodman" or "Goodwife, " 
sometimes "Goody." In New Haven colony "Brother" 
was the common title in early days. There was a decided 
nasal prevalent, a "Puritan heirloom" due possibly to the 
climate, which fosters a chronic cold in the head. 

From earliest times, the smithy was prized, as axes, 
chisels, shovels, picks, hoes, nails, spikes, bolts, and 
iron bars were fashioned there, as well as shoes for oxen 
and honses. Charcoal was in common use, and coal-pits 
abounded in the forests. Cordage was manufactured from 
hemp for the rigging of ships from an early time. Hemp 
was raised in Wethersfield as early as 1640. Fulling mills 
came in the seventeenth century ; carding and weaving were 
done by hand, and there were looms for weaving serges, 
kerseys, flannels, fustians, linsey-woolseys, tow-cloth, dimi- 
ties, and jeans; flax and hemp were the earliest materials, 
and after wolves were subdued, wool came into use. The 
dress was plain homespun and leather, and leather breeches 

10 1 

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■■'■■ '' ^ ':';;::Tf;-.' , ' :.r. '" 
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Ho-ve tKe People Lived in tKe Early Days HI 

were so full and free in girth, that the front could be changed 
to the rear when signs of wear appeared. In winter, the 
coats of homespun were proof against wind and rain. The 
well-to-do were dressy, wearing shoes of buff leather, and 
through the slashes could be seen scarlet or green stockings. 
Buckles of pinchbeck and silver ornamented with garnets were 
worn at the knee and on the shoe. Ladies wore elegant shoes, 
mourning shoes, fine silk shoes, flowered russet shoes, shoes 
of black velvet, white damask, red morocco, and red ever- 
lasting; damask worsted shoes in red, blue, green, pink, and 
white; shoes of satinet with flowers in the vamp. Those 
who could afford it wore silks, velvets, and beaver; red was 
a favorite colour, with blue as a close second; red cloaks 
were the top of a tireless fashion. Coats of red cloth were 
much worn by the men, with long vests of plush in various 
colors; and plush breeches with no suspenders. The test 
of a well-formed man was his ability to keep his breeches 
above his hips, and his ungartered stockings above his 
calves. In the earliest times men wore the sugar-loaf hat; 
but later, the hats usually had broad brims, turned up into 
three comers. Laborers wore a coarse linen for shirts, and 
striped breeches of the same material ; working women wore 
petticoats and half gowns, drawn about the waist with 
a cord. Hats were made of wool, with the exception of a 
few in every town who took off a costly "black beaverett" 
at the church door. The poorer sort of people wore a 
cap, knit from woolen yam. The coat was made with a 
long, straight body, falling below the knee, and with no 
collar, so that the band, or neckcloth of spotless linen, 
fastened behind with a silver buckle, was clearly seen. Red 
woolen stockings were much admired. The shoes were 
coarse, square-toed and adorned with large buckles, and if 
any boots appeared, they made a heavy thumping passing 
up the aisles. 

In the years before the Revolution, Connecticut was not 
celebrated for its economy. There was a passion for gather- 

5 V ^ 

■L. : ; 

ir ' ,'. 

112 A. History of Connecticiat 

ing and hoarding articles of attire. A woman had an am- 
bition to have a chestful of Hnen. Here is an inventory of 
the possessions of a Norwich lady in 1757. There were 
gowns of brown duroy, striped stuff, plain stuff, black silk, 
crepe, calico and blue camelot; a scarlet cloak, blue cloak, 
satin flowered mantle and scarf: a camlet riding hood, 
long silk hood, velvet hood, white hood trimmed with 
lace, and nineteen caps; also sixteen handkerchiefs and 
fourteen aprons, together with fan, necklace and cloak 
clasps. In 1760, gowns began to be worn with close-fitting 
bodice, and skirt sewed on with a multiplicity of fine 
gathers; with petticoats beautifully quilted. Every lady of 
fashion wore an ornamental case suspended from the waist, 
in which were thimble, scissors, and scent-bottle. Snuff-box 
and pomander for both sexes were elegant features of the 
eighteenth century. As early as 1766, French fashions 
began to decorate the ladies and empty pocketbooks. 
Artificial flowers were much worn. The calash was a 
charming article of dress on the head of a pretty girl; one 
"looked down a green lane to see a rose blooming at the 
end." Skirts were expanded by hoops, three or four feet 
across. For great occasions, the hair was sometimes tor- 
tured for four hours, and ladies would sleep in a sitting 
posture to avoid disturbing the majestic sugar-loaf creation. 
Wigs were worn for years with long queue, or ending in a 
silk bag behind. 

Furniture was substantial; the cherry desks, high-boys, 
low-boys, chests of drawers and oaken chairs suggest a 
sterling age. There was one extravagance which the 
Puritans were slow to give up, and that was the habit of 
wearing expensive boots and shoes. Ephraim Williams 
of Wethersfield was a maker of fine boots and shoes, and his 
account-book for 1746-60 has come down to us. It gives 
prices which seem extravagant in these economical times. 
Colonel Israel Williams of Hartford paid him four pounds 
for a pair of double-channeled pumps, and for a pair of 

r) B 


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>, ir'T L '.'7 [. '\ il?tr 'I'j /. :c 

An Afironomical DIART, "1 



tor the Tear of our LoKU Christ, 

Being the flrO after Bjssextili» or Leap- 
Ykar : And in the Twmty-Sixtli Year 
ot the Kcign of our moft Gracious Sovc 
reign Kino GEORGE //. 

Wherein is contained the Lunations^ Eclipts, 
Mutual Alpccls «'f the Planets'Sun and 
Mooii'sRiri.)g.&Settmg,Ririn^, Setting & 
Southing oi the Seven Stars, Time of H igh 
Water, Courts, Obfervablc Days,. Spring 
Tides, Jlidgment of the Weather, ^c. 

C.ilcuIatedforlhcLat.of4i Deg.Norci),&the 
Meridian oi New-London in Connecticut. 


Time fprung fromDaiknef5,& from aucieniNighf 
Afvtl rtifti'dalohP wi<h thefirft Reamsof Light j 
n .9o/'j bright CV»»v hu fcisM the flowing reins. 
And droivc hja Courfers rhro' the ^fhcrcalplains, 
Whafe R^diaor BcAnis iffed o\ir feeble Eyes 
Arid fill our M«nd> wich WoTider and Surprite, 
And ItiU hts tVhtels on thtir fwift Axlex Roil 
WithM^er hafte to reach the dcftin'd Goal V 
F^Kt as \\\t Winds their rapid Courfe they bend, 
Crottd on kht Scenes to bring the fatal End. 

~ ^ ""n E w-ITo'nI)"© n7 ^^^ 

^Prlntcd^ Sold by T.G r e g k< 1755. 

Facsimile Title-page of a Roger Sherman Almanac 

The vcjlunie is in the Library of the Connecticut Historical Society 


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.1 ■■.. Ts 


■' : I . 

How tKe People Lived in tHe Early Days 113 

double-channeled boots the price was fourteen pounds; an 
enormous price, but there was leather enough in a pair for 
six pairs of shoes, and those great hand-made, square-toed 
casings would last years, and perhaps become heirlooms. 

For most of the people life was simple, neighborly, and 
without parade. Quarters of beef, veal, and lamb were ex- 
changed; wages of unskilled labor in the earlier years were 
two shillings a day, and double that after the Revolution. 
There was no glass on the table to break, no tablecloth to 
wear out, no china to nick; sand was good enough for the 
parlor carpet, and fashions came to stay. No description 
of the early Hfe of Connecticut would be complete without a 
reference to the almanac, for the Bible and almanac were 
necessary in every home. Long before the almanac became 
a composite of information on sun and moon phases, pills, 
salves, jokes, and bitters, it held the place of a small en- 
cyclopedia of knowledge concerning the heavenly bodies, 
court and freemen's meetings, interest tables, distances 
from tavern to tavern, prophecies about the weather, texts 
of sermons, household receipts, date of neighbor's birth, 
wedding, or death, when the big storm occurred, the great 
tree blew down, and the sheep went to pasture. The first 
Connecticut man to compile an almanac was John Tully 
of Saybrook Point, and his series continued from 1687, to 
1702, and at the latter date, he "dyed as he was finishing 
this Almanack." 

In 1750, Roger Sherman brought out an almanac; he 
continued the series until 1761. One gains fresh confidence 
in Sherman's uncommon common sense as he reads his 
prophecy of the weather for December 2, 1754, "Freezing 
cold weather, after which comes storm of snow, but how 
long after I don't say." 

There were then two ways of reckoning time: the his- 
torical, which began on the first of January, and the 
ecclesiastical year, which began on the twenty-fifth of 
March. In the earlier seventeenth century almanacs 


o\ i 

114 A. History of Connecticxit 

March appears first while January and February follow 
December. This accounts for the double dates found in 
books of that period. In 1709, Thomas Short established 
the first printing-press in Connecticut ; it was set up in New 
London, and that year an almanac by Daniel Travis ap- 
peared with the New London imprint. 

In the practice of medicine the doctors were helped out 
by the Indians, but more by the home-made remedies in 
which "roots and herbs" played a leading part. Since 
doctors charged extra fee when bleeding was resorted to, 
it is not perhaps strange that the physicians discovered fre- 
quent need of letting out blood that the disease might have 
less to feed upon. Bills were not very high, as appears from 
the bill of Dr. Caleb Bushnell of Norwich in 1723, "tords 
the cure of Christian Challenge: 

To 3 travells 7 6 

to Lusisalig Bolsum 4 o 
to 3 times bleeding i 6" 

Fresh air was considered dangerous for the sick, especially 
night air, and cooling drinks for fevered lips nearly fatal. 
Dentistry was an undiscovered country, except as the family 
physician wrenched out a tooth by aid of an instrument of 
torture called a turn-key. 

The first artificial light used by the settlers was the pine 
torch, the idea coming from the Indians. Then came 
"candle- wood," sections of dry pine logs, cut into lengths, of 
eight inches and split thin, which were used for carrying 
about the house and to read by, although the pitchy drip- 
pings were trying. In 1696, Farmington voted that no 
inhabitant should be prohibited from felling pine trees for 
candle wood, and Higginson wrote: 

Yea, our pine trees that are the most plentiful of all wood, doth 
allow us plenty of candles which are very useful in a house; and 
they are such candles as the Indians use and no other, and they are 

,':.•.■.,-•::.:( ■: 

Ho-w tHe People Lived in tHe Early Days 115 

nothing else but the wood of the pine tree cloven into little slices, 
something thin, which are so full of the moisture of turpentine 
and pitch, that they burn as clear as a torch. 

By 1660, candle-making was a common task for housewives, 
and deer and bear suet was mixed with beef tallow; wax 
also was furnished by the bees. RushHghts were used 
instead of candles, when a slight flame would do, and they 
were formed by dipping rushes in tallow. Fats, grease, and 
table refuse were combined with vegetable oils and used in 
the old Betty lamps, and for a century and a half beginning 
with 1690, the oil in common use in lamps was crude whale 

There was plenty of hard work in the early years, and one 
only needs to think of the toil connected with making cloth 
to see that the imited energies of the whole family were en- 
listed. After the men had raised and harvested the flax, 
it was no easy task to break and swingle stubborn fiber 
before the hands of the women could hatchel and card it. 
Then it was wearisome to cleanse, separate, and comb out 
the matted fleece. Children and grandparents were en- 
listed to wind the quills and turn the reels, while grown-up 
daughters and sturdy matrons accomplished their "day's 
work" at loom or spinning-wheel. At length the household 
was supplied with sheeting, blankets, towels, coverlets, 
heavy woolen cloth for winter wear, and tow-cloth, linsey- 
woolsey s, and ginghams for the summer. Families were 
large, and there was much good-fellowship in the neighbor- 
hoods except when quarrels raged, and then the people were 
vigorous haters. There were many pleasures mingled with 
the anxieties and hard work; the people enjoyed going to 
church, and their nerves were so deep that they were not 
fretted by long sermons. If bad came to worse they could 
drop off to sleep, provided they evaded the watchful 
tithing-man with his long pole with a squirrel's tail at the 
end of it. Domestic and neighborly festivities, such as husk- 

i be-v I .> 

•f. ' 

Ii6 i\ History of Connecticvit 

ings and raisings, were merry occasions, and flip increased 
the hilarity. Thanksgiving was a delightful home feast, 
and training days were bright spots in quiet Hves. There 
was a kind of spice given to their humdrum existence by the 
many signs and superstitions they watched and were pos- 
sessed by. We shall notice later the witchcraft epidemic, 
but must refer here to the fear lest the moon be looked at 
over the left shoulder, and the anxiety to plant vegetables 
and butcher steer or pig in the right phases of the moon. 
Potatoes, carrots, and beets, growing under the surface, were 
planted in the "dark of the moon," and com, peas, and beans 
in the "light of the moon." Then, too, pig or steer must be 
slain when the moon was waxing, otherwise it would "shrink 
in the pot." Brush was cut "when the moon was in the 
heart"; to see an odd number of crows was lucky; when a 
cow was lost, a stick was set on end and let fall to see in 
which direction she went; it was supposed that the place 
to dig for water could be discovered by a piece of hazel, 
which would turn toward the springs. A story went the 
rounds of a scoffer, who started to build a ship on Friday; 
named it Friday, laimched it Friday, set sail on Friday and 
was never heard from again. To spill salt was sign of a 
quarrel, but if a little were thrown over the right shoulder, 
the danger was averted. There were haunted houses in 
most of the towns, and demons were supposed to inhabit 
lonely roads to terrify travelers. 

One of the most laughable events of those credulous 
years was the so-called Battle of the Frogs, which has come 
down in ballad and story from the early summer of 1758, 
when on a dark foggy night, just after midnight, shouts and 
cries were heard by the people of Windham, coming from a 
pond a mile east of the village. The whole town turned out 
and women and children tried to compete with the frogs 
in their outcries and screams, for some thought the French 
and Indians were about to make an attack, while others 
thought the noise was the trump of doom ushering in the 

'•<r*roJ^ir*5 A, 

Ho^w tHe People Lived in tKe E-arly Days 117 

close of history. Toward daybreak, the noise died away, 
and in the morning hundreds, and some say thousands, of 
frogs were found dead in the pond. There must have been 
millions if Samuel Peters of Blue Law notoriety was accu- 
rate, for he says they "filled a road 40 rods wide and 4 
miles in length." Some have thought that an earthquake 
killed the frogs, others that they killed one another in a frog 
Gettysburg, others that they died of over-excitement, 
since it is supposed that the frog sings only when it is happy. 
A suggestion concerning one side of the life of the people 
is found in the fact that until 1700, there was a winter 
wolf hunt in Windham County; the last wolf at Woodstock 
was shot by Pembascus in 1732, and Ashford's last wolf in 
1735. Israel Putnam achieved considerable fame by his 
adventure in a wolf's den, and the story that has come down 
to us is as follows: There was near his farm a craggy, 
precipitous hill range with ragged rocks and tangled forest; 
for years the neighboring country was ravaged, and in- 
numerable sheepfolds robbed, by a wolf from that wild 
fastness; children feared to go up among the hills for berries. 
One morning seventy sheep and goats were reported as 
killed, besides many lambs and kids wounded and torn. 
Putnam had a bloodhound of superior strength, and with 
five neighbors the resolute farmer agreed to watch until 
the wolf was killed. The final hunt was in the winter of 
1742-43, when a light snowfall enabled men and boys to 
track the wolf to his den. A day was spent in fruitless 
endeavor to persuade the beast to come out. Failing in 
that, Putnam threw off coat and waistcoat, and with a rope 
around his body, and a torch in his hand, he was lowered 
into the cave until he saw the glaring eyeballs; the second 
time he entered the cave he carried a gun and shot the wolf. 
The wildness of the life appears also from the fact that 
rattlesnakes were so numerous that for years a prize of 
fourpence a head was offered for them. The first fifteen 
days of May were set apart to hunt them in Windham 

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Ii8 A. History of Connecticut 

County. Bounties were offered for tails of rattlesnakes in 
various towns, and in Norwich, early in the eighteenth 
century, twopence apiece was given for all rattlesnakes 
killed between the fifteenth of April and the first of May, 
and people turned out in large numbers to hunt them. In 
1 72 1, the bounty was claimed for killing one hundred and 
sixty snakes in Norwich, and in 1730, the bounty was 
increased to two shillings apiece and three hundred were 
killed in fifteen days. In 1735, twenty pounds was paid, 
with the bounty at fourpence. In 1739, the bounty 
was raised again to ten shillings, and among those who 
claimed it were the Widow Woodworth, who was paid for 
twenty-three, and the Widow Smith for nine, and in those 
years he who claimed the bounty was obliged to take 
oath that he went out for no other purpose than to de- 
stroy them. There was enough to jar the nerves of the 
timid, and there is an old Norwich tradition that an ad- 
venturous lover, going home late one night from a visit to 
his lady-love below Little Plain, was snapped at by a wolf 
and hissed at by a rattlesnake. 

There was much variety in the early life, and enough to 
foster brawn, courage, and daring. Struggles with Indians, 
wild animals, backward seasons, and reluctant soil were 
reinforced by problems of government, fears of the devil, 
wrestlings with the claims of a severe theology, church 
quarrels, and benighted superstitions. The sturdy conscious- 
ness of being engaged in doing the will of God, however 
stern the adversities, trained steady nerves, encouraged 
sound sleep, and promoted tireless thrift. 

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IT is a short step from a study of the way the people lived 
in the early years to a glance at their religious experi- 
ence and devotion, so vital and all-pervasive was their 
consciousness of the presence of God, and so sure their 
faith in the infinite will, which they beheved to be at the 
heart of the vast system over them. In the preamble to the 
Fundamental Orders, they said that they joined in one 
commonwealth "to maintain and preserve the libertty and 
purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus, which we now pro- 
fess, as also the discipHne of the churches, which, according 
to the truth of said Gospel is now practiced amongst us." 
Religion was to them a practical and urgent claim. Re- 
volting against the formalism and corruptions of a state 
church, whose hand had been heavy against them, they 
crossed the Atlantic with a tireless assurance that every- 
thing is controlled by God's sovereignty, and that things 
are right or wrong because God says so ; that nothing escapes 
the notice of God, whose clutch holds fast the freest choice. 
They also held strongly to the idea of human helplessness. 
No higher authority for this can be quoted than Thomas 
Hooker, who once likened a "poore sinner" to the "wheele 
of a clock that is turned aside, and by some contrary poyse 
set the wrong way," which cannot be set right except 
by "a kind of holy violence" on the part of God. He says, 
"If there were a great and old distemper in a mans stomacke, 


!ii i. 

-r\* '" I 

)l<- V 111 

I20 A. History of Connecticvit 

if a man should put a rich doublet upon him and lay him 
in a Featherbed, and use all other meanes, this would doe 
him noe good." Conversion as a violent process was the 
normal type in that strenuous age. The devil was as real 
to the settlers as the Lord, and almost as hard to down. 
"It is a tough work, a wonderfully hard matter to bee saved. 
It is not shedding a teare at a Sermon, or blubbering now 
and then in a comer, and saying over thy prayers, and 
cry^ing God mercy for thy sins, will save thee," says 
Thomas Shepherd, Hooker's son-in-law. Willingness to be 
damned for the glory of God, which was developed more 
fully in the next century, was implied in the faith of 
the early Puritans. Minute and rigid self-inspection and 
thorough analysis of the inner life were urged and practiced. 
Merciless exposure of the naked soul was demanded that 
all danger of self-deception might be avoided; and candi- 
dates for church membership were required to run the gaunt- 
let of fifty searching questions before they could be received. 
The solemnity and strictness which gathered about the 
Sabbath, the sharp watch on church-going, and the mi- 
croscopic scrutiny of the soul by the Almighty and the 
individual, would have resulted in a piety more morbid 
than sound, more debilitating than healthful, had it not 
been for the wholesomeness and common sense of the Anglo- 
Saxon settlers and the hard work encountered. They 
believed that an Indian could not kill a settler unless God 
willed it; they also believed that God willed the settler to 
fire first if he could. 

There is a story that has floated down the years of a 
settler spending a long evening in argument with a neighbor 
over the divine decrees, and when he took his gun and 
stepped out into the darkness, he examined the priming, 
which led his friend to say, "What is the use of that.? If it 
is foreordained that an Indian should kill you, you cannot 
help yourself." "True," said the other, "but if it is fore- 
ordained that I should kill an Indian, I must be ready." 

I / J . . 1 1 

■ '."i-li'y}- 

'■| .. I ':( ■, i 

■" ' ' i ' J 

"! ') . 

TKe Early Religiovis Life 121 

Wielding ax and swinging scythe helped to modify extreme 
views of divine control, while diabolic spite, morbid fancies, 
and torpid liver were corrected in some degree by the healthy 
outdoor living. Despite the wise teachings of Hooker, it was 
in the year 1648, six months after the powerful preacher 
breathed his last, that a woman was hanged in Hartford for 
familiarity with the devil. Watchfulness for Satan's officious- 
ness in securing the death of a cow, a tempest, rheumatism, 
or Indian depravity helped correct excessive self-examination. 
Far more valuable was the daily reading of the Bible and 
prayer. Recoiling from the supremacy of the Church, they 
enthroned the Scriptures as the supreme authority. 

The New Haven congregation rose while the minister 
solemnly pronounced the text. The whole Bible, even the 
Solomon Love Song, carried reverent worshipers straight 
to the heavenly throne. John Pynchon, the founder of 
Springfield, wrote a book in 1650, on the Atonement, pre- 
senting a view which has since prevailed largely in New 
England, and the Massachusetts legislature ordered it 
burnt, because it was supposed to be unfair to the Bible. 
Mrs. Hutchinson with her teaching of the higher life, and the 
Quakers with their claim to the immediate guidance of the 
Holy Spirit, were dangerous, because they seemed to disturb 
the authority of the Scriptures. The saintliness of the 
early years was neither morbidly sentimental, gloomy, 
excessively mystical or hard, considering the age and the 
heredity, but religion was at the center of everything. 
Family worship was an important feature of a Puritan house- 
hold. At the beginning of every meal the blessing was 
asked, and at the close, thanks were given, every person 
standing by his chair in both instances. The day began 
and ended with Scripture and prayer, all standing during 

From about 1660, there appeared symptoms of a decline 
from the austerity of the first years. Hardship, severe 
toil, worry over food, wolves and Indians, poor schools, and 


"I 1, 

122 A History of Connecticxit 

the natural reaction, which our changeful human nature 
practices, brought in what has been called The Puritan 
Decliiie. This is clearly indicated in a book published in 
1 701, A Testimony to the Order of the Gospel, in the Churches 
of New England, by John Higginson, who taught school in 
Hartford in 1638, and preached in Guilford and Salem. 
When he was eighty-five years old, he joined with William 
Hubbard, the pastor at Ipswich, in a statement which 
contains the following sentences: 

We are sensible that there is Risen and Rising among us, a 
Number who not only forsake the Right icayes of the Lord, where- 
in these holy churches have walked, but also labor to carry away 
as many others with them as they can. It is too observable, 
That the Power of Godliness, is exceedingly Decaying and Expir- 
ing in the Country. 

That this is not the gloomy brooding of a depressed old age 
appears from the fact that in sermons, legislative enact- 
ments, records of the courts and of the churches, the decline 
was generally recognized as widespread and serious. In 
1679, a "Reforming Synod" was called by the General 
Court of Massachusetts, and it pointed out a "great and 
visible decay of the power of Godliness" in the churches. 
It specified as evils of the times, neglect of divine worship, 
disregard of the church sacraments, pride, profanity. Sab- 
bath-breaking, family lawlessness and irreligion, intemper- 
ance, licentiousness, covetousness, and tmtruthfulness. 

In the words of Thomas Prince: "A little after 1660, 
there began to appear Decay, and this increased to 1670, 
when it grew very visible and threatening and was generally 
complained of and bewailed bitterly by the pious among 
them : and yet more to 1680, when but few of the first genera- 
tion remained." The colonists had passed into a life of 
strain; religious ties between them and the strong reHgious 
life of England were severed by the Restoration; they were 
no longer the vanguard of a great religious movement. 

iU. ' i 

'■ ■■ .7" 

■f' • n ,■:_■[. 

THe Early Religious Life 123 

Their religious life ceased to interest any considerable 
section of England; left to themselves in the wilderness, 
their zeal flagged and their moral life fell away. There 
had been a falling off in the ability and scholarship of the 
pulpit and the intelligence of laymen; land-grabbing had 
crowded out self-examination in that vigorous town-planting 
period, over eighty Connecticut towns being incorporated 
between 1660, and 1735. To get more land was a fever 
which dulled the anxiety to checkmate the devil and get to 
heaven. Political worry, military activity, and heavy taxa- 
tion made the strain so stern and constant as to interrupt 
self-investigation and obscure the great White Throne. 
King Philip's war carried fire and slaughter to many towns. 
It was hard to grow in grace when the church was trans- 
formed into a fortress. Action under James II. to take 
away the charter, the trying sway of Andros, the French 
War, expedition to Albany, another to Canada, witchcraft 
craze. Queen Anne's War, controversies over colonial 
boundaries, commercial and currency problems and em- 
barrassments, smallpox and diphtheria epidemics, together 
with a thousand questions arising with the settling of new 
towns, gave the people enough to think about without 
spending too much time in morbid duels with their inner 

There was also much contention in the churches, which 
went far to paralyze the religious life. Church quarrels 
were fruitful sources of migrations to form new towns; there 
were disagreements in Wethersfield which led to the settling 
of Stamford in 1641, and Hadley in 1659. There was a 
protracted quarrel in the Hartford church from 1653, to 
1659. The union of church and state was the occasion of 
numberless difficulties, which hindered the religious life. 
The action of the Half-way Covenant, which will be de- 
scribed later, seriously blighted the spirituality of the times. 
Religious controversies, which were fought out in the legis- 
lature, the courthouse, and the town meeting, with the 


■ ■ . U jC; 

• -f 

124 A. History of Connecticut 

jail standing near by as a threat, furnished poor soil for a 
vital spiritual life. The domineering spirit of the churches, 
which brooked no disagreement with their vicious con- 
ception of the nature and province of the church, helped on 
the decline. The uncharitable severity with which con- 
scientious dissent on matters of religion was treated chilled 
the tender plant of piety, and converted churches, dis- 
tinguished at the start for brotherly love, into refrigerators 
which the people must attend, or be fined. The people 
in democratic Connecticut seem to have had an average 
amount of human nature, and it was not conducive to 
piety that, despite the reaction against class distinctions 
in England and Massachusetts, they should have preserved 
and established the caste system in seating the meeting- 
house. An illustration of this is found in the fact that in 1698, 
the townsmen and Goodman Elderkin, the carpenter, were 
engaged in Norwich to arrange the pews into eight classes, 
according to their dignity, and then five of the most respected 
men were directed to seat the people with due regard to rank : 
"the square pue to be considered first in dignity ; the new seats 
and the fore seats in the broad ally next, and alike in dignity." 
In view of all this we do not wonder that Higginson, 
Hubbard, and others joined in the lament. The Rev. 
Samuel Mather of Windsor, writing in 1706, says in a pastoral 
letter to his people: 

It is a time of much Degeneracy ... In great measure we in this 
wilderness have lost our first love. . . . We do not walk with God 
as our Fathers did, and hence we are continually from year to 
year under his Rebukes one way or another; and yet alas, we 
turn not tmto him that smites us: these considerations call for the 
utmost of our endeavors, for the reformation of what is amiss 
amongst us: and for the upholding and strengthening of what yet 
remains, and is perhaps ready to dy. 

In East Windsor, Rev. Timothy Edwards — father of the 
famous Jonathan — preached a sermon in May, 17 12, on a 

THe Early Religiovis Life 125 

topic upon which the ministers of Farmington, Hartford, 
and Windsor united, namely: "Irreverence in the wor- 
ship of God, and profanation of his Glorious and fearful 
Name by Causeless Imprecations and Rash Swearing." 
In 1 714, Samuel Whitman of Farmington preached the 
election sermon in Hartford before the General Court. 
In it he said: 

Is not religion declining? Indeed 'tis too evident to be denied, 
that Religion is on the Wane among us, 'Tis Languishing in all 
Parts of the Land. . . . Time was when the Ordinances of God 
were highly-prized ; Our Fathers had a high Esteem of them, and 
laid great Weight on them. . . . But now, the Love of many 
is grown cold. . . . We are risen up a Generation that have in a 
great Measure forgot the Errand of our Fathers. 

Similar in spirit and substance was the election sermon of 
Stephen Hosmer of East Haddam in 1720, the title of which 
was: "A People's Living in Appearance and Dying in 
Reality." In 1730, William Russell of Middletown spoke 
in the same vein. He challenged his hearers to consider the 
undoubted fact of "Vanity, Worldliness, Pride, great Un- 
thoughtfulness of God." He asks: 

And is there not abundance of Unrighteousness & Unmerciful- 
ness among us? Injustice in prices, delays and dishonesty in 
Payments, Deceit, Falseness and Unfaithfulness in Bargains, 
Contracts and Betrustments, griping Usury, Evading and 
Baffling the Laws made for the Security of men from that Op- 
pression? a multitude of Law Suits, Men ready to take one an- 
other by the Throat? 

Similar reports come from the civil rulers, the courts, 
the jail records, the church records; all bear witness to an 
unspeakable laxity of morals. The sins were those of in- 
temperance, lying, slander, and licentiousness. Of the last 
mentioned Jonathan Edwards, preaching to his well-to-do 
people in Northampton, speaks of certain customs that were 

%; • ^.,^.;- n rr ,,, r. 

126 A History of Connecticut 

common among the young people, which had been one main 
thing that had led to the growth of uncleanness in the land. 
With the increase of drunkenness, profanity, and licentious- 
ness, it is clear that a change had come since 1643, when the 
author of New England First Fruits wrote: "One may 
live there from year to year, and not see a drunkard, hear 
an oath, or see a beggar"; and Hugh Peters, in a sermon 
before Parliament, said in 1646: "I have lived seven years 
in a country where I never saw a beggar, nor heard an oath, 
or looked upon a drunkard." There was also a falling away 
from the early intensity of religious experience as appears 
in the statements made by candidates for church member- 
ship. A less strenuous type was discovered and expected. 
Formality was on the increase as appears from the fact that 
baptism was made prominent as a bond to hold people to 
the church when there was a lack of spiritual life. 

There was no falling off in the forms of religion ; tithing- 
men were busy, and constables were earning their fees, 
arresting the wayward Sabbath-breakers. The people 
in every town gathered at the meeting-house for long ser- 
mons, and, before bells were obtained, the drum called all 
who could get out of bed to the solemn meetings. The 
first was beaten at eight o'clock in the tower of the meeting- 
house and through the streets of the town. When the 
second drum beat at ten, families went forth from their 
houses and walked, children following parents to the door, 
though not allowed to sit with them; the ministers wearing 
gowns and bands, but not the surplice. There were also 
meetings during the week. In New Haven the church 
had a meeting by itself on Tuesday, and on Thursday a 
lecture open to all, though perhaps not every week. 

It may relieve this rather gloomy story to look at a picture 
of a Sunday meeting in one of the towns on the Connecticut 
in 1650. It was a small, square structure, clapboarded and 
wainscoted. The people came together to the beat of the 
drum, as it was to be seven years before a bell was to hang 

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XHe Early R^eligioxis Life 127 

in the belfry. See the people coming, mostly on foot, though 
some from the more distant farms on horseback, the wife 
on the pillion, behind her husband, with the youngest child 
in her arms, while the rest followed on foot, young men and 
maidens according to a law discovered by Darwin two 
centuries later. At the west end of the meeting-house was 
the lofty pulpit, in front of which was the seat where the 
two solemn-faced deacons sat. The people were seated 
with respect of age, office, and estate. The guard of eight 
men with muskets at shoulder marched in, and stacking 
their arms near by, took their seats on either side, and the 
minister walked up the aisle with stately tread. The meet- 
ing began with a prayer lasting a quarter of an hour, then a 
chapter was read and explained, a psalm announced, and 
one of the deacons rose and read : 

That man is blest that hath not blent, 

Getting as near D as he could, he launched on the ocean of 
song, and the people joined. Then the deacon read the 
second line : 

To wicked reade his eare. 

By this time, the people took hold with a will, and when the 
third line was given, a mighty shout rang through the forest: 

Nor led his life as sinners do, 

They concluded with : 

And eke the way of wicked men 
Shall quite be overthrown. 

The people sat while the minister turned the hour- 
glass and announced the text. After the sermon there was 
a prayer and a blessing, and the people went home to a cold 
dinner or to the "Sabba day house," or to a neighbor's 
to replenish foot-stoves and eat luncheon. The afternoon 

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128 yV History of Connecticut 

meeting was like that in the morning, except that after the 
concluding prayer all children of recent birth were presented 
for baptism, though zero weather froze the parson's breath. 
Then one of the deacons rose and said, "Brethren of the 
congregation, now there is time left for contributions, 
wherefore as God hath prospered so freely offer." The 
people went forward with their gifts, then all rose, and 
another psalm was lined off, and a blessing concluded the 

In passing now to consider the government of the 
churches, we must bear in mind that the settlers of Con- 
necticut lived in an age in which a sturdy and well-balanced 
organization was considered indispensable to the life of 
religion, especially in a new country, to which all kinds of 
people might come, and those who might infect the new 
society with dangerous views. Although the settlers had 
suffered much in England because of the union of church 
and state, it wa-s too early for even as able and broad- 
minded men as the pioneers on the Connecticut to rise to 
the level of what is now a commonplace of civil and religious 
liberty. The emigrants to the River, and still more dis- 
tinctly the colonists on the Sound, followed the traditions 
and practices of the parish system of England, and considered 
town and church as practically one, settling the affairs of 
both at the same meeting, which was held usually in the 
meeting-house, and one meets on the records in one paragraph 
an appropriation to pay the minister, and in the next a 
reference to the appointment of pound-keeper. 

The first code, that of 1650, required that all persons 
should be taxed for both church and state, and all rates — 
for church, school, constable, and fence-viewer — were col- 
lected by law. All persons were required to attend Sunday 
worship under penalty of three shillings, and to go to church 
on days of public fasting and thanksgiving appointed by the 
governor, under penalty of five shillings for every instance 
of neglect. It was enacted: "That no persons within the 

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TKe Early Religious Life 129 

colony, shall in any wise embody themselves into church 
estate, without consent of the General Court, and approba- 
tion of neighboring elders." The laws also ordered that no 
ministry or church service should be entertained or attended 
by the inhabitants of any plantation distinct and separate 
from that which was publicly observed by the approved 
minister of the place, under penalty of five poimds for every 
violation, and that the civil authority " haue power and liberty 
to see the peace, ordinances and rules of Christ, observed 
in every church, according to his word; and also to deal with 
every church member in a way of civil justice, notwith- 
standing any church relation, office or interest." So long 
as the establishment lasted, down to the adoption' of the 
constitution in 1818, the connection with the civil power 
continued. If a church refused to pay its minister, the 
legislature settled the proper amount for his maintenance, 
and enforced the payment. If a church remained without 
a minister for a year, the legislature could name an amount 
for ministerial purposes, and compel the town to raise it, 
according to the time-honored view of the union of church 
and state : the state the caretaker of the church ; the church 
taking charge of public morals, and furnishing ministers to 
instruct magistrates. A man who found himself within the 
territory of a parish was not allowed to vote on purely church 
matters, unless he was a church member, but he was com- 
pelled to pay toward the support of a minister in whose call 
he had no voice, and to support a church for which perhaps 
he had no sympathy. In Connecticut, a man did not lose his 
franchise in civil affairs, though under censure of the church, 
but in New Haven, as in Massachusetts, loss of church 
membership cost a man his vote in town affairs. 

The Cambridge Platform, adopted by a council in 1648, 
governed for sixty years. The need of this was due to the 
feeling that there ought to be uniformity of religious faith 
and practice. It was seen that some provision ought to be 
made for outsiders coming into the colonies; the exacting 

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130 -A. History of Connecticut 

oversight of the members in the local church had to give 
way to a system capable of meeting larger needs. When the 
Cambridge Synod adjourned, it was known that the churches 
of New England accepted the Westminster Confession "for 
substance thereof" in matters of faith; but in government 
there were differing views. 

The Cambridge Platform, a law to the churches in the 
sense that Kent's Commentaries are law in courts of justice, 
taught that the Congregational Church was not national, 
but a brotherhood of believers, with pastors, teachers, and 
ruling elders, who have a certain "power of office," while 
the people who elected them had "power of privilege." 
After election, the officers governed as they saw fit. But 
in case of excommunication, the more liberal policy of 
Plymouth and Connecticut prevailed, and civil rights were 
not forfeited. Pastors and teachers were such only by 
election, and the laying on of the hands of the elders of the 
church electing them, though elders of other churches could 
lay on hands "when there were no elders, and the church so 
desired." Maintenance of the churches was to be collected 
from all the citizens. Communion between the churches 
was defined to be for mutual welfare, sisterly advice, com- 
mendation of members, succor of the needy, and the propa- 
gation of Christianity. Synods or councils, consisting of 
ministerial and lay delegates, were considered "necessary 
to the well-being of the churches for the establishment of 
truth and peace." These might be called by the churches, 
but, unlike the Presbyterian synods, they were disbanded 
when their work was done; moreover they were not to 
"exercise church censure in the way of discipline nor in any 
other act of authority." Civil magistrates should not 
meddle with the work of the churches, but see that godli- 
ness was upheld, by putting down blasphemy, idolatry, and 
heresy; by punishing all profaners of the Sabbath, con- 
temners of the ministry, all disturbers of public worship, 
and to proceed against "schismatic or obstinately corrupt 

>, -M 

TKe Early R^eligioxis Life 131 

churches." This platform, known in later years as the Book 
of Discipline of the Congregational Church, defined the 
principles of this bod3^ In England the Independent 
churches were strictly what their name implies, but the 
Cambridge Platform tended to introduce order and unity 
in the action and influence of the churches. Cotton, 
Norton, and Hooker saw the importance of giving perma- 
nence to a system of mutual supervision. Provision was 
made for an occasional council or "Synod, " to be composed 
of ministers and laymen from the neighboring churches, 
with no power to compel any church to take any particular 
action, but only to advise and admonish. The severest 
action the Synod could take was to withdraw fellowship 
from the offending church. 

Thus the Congregational became the established form of 
church order. The members of the Cambridge Synod used 
the term in the preface to their platform. There was a 
slight leaning toward Presbyterianism in the provision 
which allowed the ordination of the officers of a church by 
officers of other churches, "in case where there were no 
elders and the church so desired." As a last resort the 
church looked to the civil power for the guarding of peace 
and purity. "If any church shall grow schismatical, 
rending itself from the communion of other churches, or 
shall walk incorrigibly or obstinately in any corrupt way of 
their own, contrary to the rule of the word, in such case the 
magistrate is to put forth his coercive power as the matter 
shall require." Such interference came into play in the 
famous Hartford quarrel, but without much success. 

A well-furnished church had a pastor and a teacher, both 
of whom preached and administered the ordinances, while 
the distinctive function of the former was to preach, and 
that of the latter was to enforce the truth and interpret 
Scripture. Each church had also one or more ruling elders, 
who shared with the pastor and teacher the task of disci- 
pline; the deacons had charge of the business affairs, and 


•J v',: HI'.' 

132 A. History of Connecticut 

provided for the poor. The office of pastor was not long 
discriminated from that of teacher, and the practice of 
maintaining the two officers soon passed. At the time of the 
confederation of the New England colonies, there were 
nearly eighty ruling elders. The occasion of the Hartford 
quarrel, which began soon after the death of Hooker, was 
this: Goodwin, the ruling elder, wanted Michael Wiggles- 
worth as Hooker's successor, and Stone, the surviving 
minister, refused to let the proposition be put to vote. The 
Goodwin party withdrew from the church, and the Stone 
party tried to discipline the former; a council of churches 
failed to reconcile the parties ; the General Court intervened, 
and the angry elements became furious. It was not until 
1659, when sixty members removed to Hadley, that peace 
was restored. In 1663, a keener struggle took place, when 
the two tactless pastors. Stone and Whiting, led the two 
wings of the church in a four years' fight over the question 
of the requirements for membership in the church. In 
May, 1669, the General Court passed a law permitting the 
formation of another church in the town. In October, 
Whiting applied for permission to form the Second Church 
of Hartford; and when it was formed, the new church 
adopted the practice of the Half-way Covenant, against 
which he and his party had been contending for years. 

What was the Half-way Covenant? The theory of the 
New England churches was that their membership should be 
restricted to those who could give proof of their conversion; 
and that only such persons and their children might rightly 
be baptized. There were some in the colony who wished to 
follow the "parish- way" of the Church of England; these 
were disposed to receive into the church all persons of good 
moral character, and baptize their children. Many of the 
children of the second generation of the settlers could not 
give a satisfactory account of their religious experience, and 
consequently their children could not be presented for 
baptism. Hence many people of exemplary lives had no 

"V U~ 

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TKe Early IVeli^iovis Life 133 

standing in the churches, and meager political standing. 
In February, 1657, a- ministerial council was called in Boston 
to consider the question which was vexing the churches, to 
see if it might not be wise to widen the door into the church. 
There was strong opposition to that council, especially at 
New Haven, but it met, and sustained the new view. It 
declared that baptized infants could, on arriving at years 
of discretion, "own the covenant" and become formal 
church members; that the church was bound to accept 
them (if they were not of scandalous life and understood the 
grounds of religion), and was bound to baptize their children, 
thus continuing the chain of claims to church-membership 
to all generations. This made membership in the church 
an affair of morals and formality, and gave great offense 
at New Haven and among many of the Connecticut people, 
for it introduced a dual membership, worked against the 
old Puritan theory of a covenant church, and brought in a 
national church of mixed membership. In 1662, a Synod 
met in Boston, in which neither Connecticut nor New Haven 
was represented, which reaffirmed the crude Half-way 
Covenant. In 1664, the General Court formally adopted 
the decision of the council, and commended it to the churches 
under its jurisdiction, which then included New Haven. 
It was a political idea, and not all of the churches adopted 
it. This made the break in the Hartford church, for 
when Haynes in 1666, undertook to put the Half-way 
Covenant in practice. Whiting, the senior colleague, for- 
bade him to proceed with the service. Later, the church 
split into two churches with the Half-way Covenant running 
merrily in both. In 1668, the legislature, unable to per- 
suade Massachusetts to call a Synod, passed its first Toleration 
Act, allowing "until a better light in an orderly way doth 
appeare, " that "sundry persons of worth for prudence and 
piety amongst us . . . may haue allowance of their per- 
swasion and profession in church wayes." Yet there was 
no release from support of an unacceptable ministry or from 


(. .. ;. jj' 11. 


134 A History- of Connecticut 

fines for neglect of church-going. Tolerance extended only 
to differences of opinion within the fold. 

The support of religion was voluntary in Connecticut 
until 1640, and both New Haven and Connecticut adopted 
the suggestion of the Commissioners of the united colonies 
on September 5, 1644, "that each man should be required 
to set down what he would voluntarily give for the support 
of the Gospel, and that any man who refused should be 
rated according to his possessions, and was compelled to pay" 
the sum levied. We have spoken of the action of the legisla- 
ture in connection with the Hartford quarrels; it was the 
practice of the General Court from the beginning to consider 
itself the arbiter of all matters relating to the churches, 
compelling them to own its authority. As early as 1643, 
it demanded from the Wethersfield church a list of the 
grievances that disturbed it. It is not strange that people, 
brought up under the ecclesiastical system of England, 
should have taken the course they did, since it was an abid- 
ing conviction that the state ought to support one form of 
religion and only one. 

The office of ruling elder was soon given up, partly 
because of a lack of suitable men to fill the position, and 
partly because of the arrogance of domineering elders. The 
office of teacher was also abolished, and the minister held 
all the power formerly vested in pastor, teacher, and elder, 
and, retaining the veto power, sometimes became autocratic 
when he was so disposed and dared. The notion that 
ministers rode rough-shod over the minds of their people, 
holding the reins with iron hand, betrays imperfect knowl- 
edge. The people had minds of their own as well as the 
ministers, but for many years there were outlets in new 
towns for the disaffected, and occasionally a minister colon- 
ized with a part of the congregation. 

The Half-way Covenant, notwithstanding vigorous op- 
position, gradually became the general practice. It was 
not considered as exactly Congregational; the religious 


'7. (cT 


TKe Early IVeligioxis Life 135 

character of Connecticut was thus officially represented in 
1676, to the Lords of Trade and Plantations: "Our people 
are some of them strict Congregational men, others more 
large Congregational men, and some moderate Presbyteri- 
ans." As time passed and the new leaven spread, strict 
Congregationalists decreased. "A church without a bishop, 
and a state without a king," was still the theory; but the 
General Court saw that something better than its meddling 
was needed to keep the churches in peace, and in 1708, it 
issued an edict to each of the forty-one churches to send 
pastor and delegate to a synod to convene at Saybrook, to 
draw up a church system for the commonwealth; sixteen 
men, twelve of them ministers, obeyed the summons. The 
Synod met in September, adopted the Savoy Confession, 
and formed the Saybrook Platform as the church system, 
commending an explicit covenant of communion between 
the churches, called Consociation — a permanent organiza- 
tion — consisting of minister and a delegate from the churches 
"planted in a convenient vicinity." It proposed that each 
church should enter into the confederation, consenting to 
certain principles and rules of intercourse ; that a church or a 
person should have the right to bring disputes before the 
consociation; that a pastor or church refusing to be bound 
by the decision of the consociation should be put out of the 
communion; and that there should be an annual meeting 
of delegates from all the consociations. The "Heads of 
Agreement" assented to by the Saybrook Synod with its 
membership of twelve ministers and four laymen was an 
English platform, and formed a compromise with the 
Presbyterian theory. The legislature at once ratified the 
Saybrook Platform, coolly affirming that it had been pre- 
sented as "unanimously agreed and consented to by the 
elders and churches, " as if the action of that little conclave 
of less than a third of the ministers and four laymen could 
be regarded as "the elders and churches." Churches 
united by this platform were "owned and acknowledged 

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136 A History of Connecticut 

established by law." All were taxed for the support of the 
established, that is the Congregational, churches. It was a 
modified Presbyterianism, without coercive power, except 
as the provision for the ministers' support, and the with- 
drawal of it from refractory members, formed a stem 
compulsion. After a time the terms Congregational and Pres- 
byterian were interchangeable. The General Association of 
1805, affirmed that "The Saybrook Platform is the Con- 
stitution of the Presbyterian Church of Connecticut." In 
accordance with the form of government outlined in the 
platform, the churches were formed into five consociations; 
one each in New Haven, New London, and Fairfield counties, 
and two in Hartford County, and the ministers were formed 
into five associations, to provide ministerial standing and 
oversight for one another. This system was definitely 
imposed upon the churches by excluding from the benefits 
of the previous establishment every church that should 
decline conformity. All churches of the earlier. Congrega- 
tional way were disowned. 

How was the new religious constitution received ? Trum- 
bull says that it "met with a general reception, though some 
of the churches were extremely opposed to it." There were 
decided differences of opinion concerning its application. 
The local independence of the churches was sacrificed, but 
it tended to bring the churches into a closer union with one 
another, and to prepare for the perils and struggles, the 
trials and conquests that were before the people. While 
the system after a time developed into a barren and rigid 
formalism in many quarters, with evil results upon morals; 
while it exalted the eldership and pastoral power; while it 
replaced the sympathetic help and friendliness of neighbor- 
ing churches with organized associations and the authority 
of councils, it was valuable in many ways in the new towns. 
It made strenuous efforts to stay the tendency toward 
barbarism during Indian, French, and Spanish wars. It 
encouraged catechising of the children, and reformation of 

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THe Early Religious Life 137 

morals. It lessened the excesses of the Great Awakening, 
and anodyned some of the bitter controversies and move- 
ments toward Deism and infidelity. There were church 
quarrels enough under the new system, some of them lasting 
for ten or fifteen years, but this "permanent establishment, " 
in which church and state were bound together more securely 
than before, in which the legislature turned over to the 
"government within a government " the whole control of the 
religious life of the colony, and endowed it with church 
courts, may have been the best possible device to tide the 
churches over trying times. 

In a day and generation when men were convinced that 
religious uniformity was necessary to civil order, it is signifi- 
cant that the General Assembly, in the act of establishing 
the Saybrook Platform, should have added a proviso — 
"that nothing herein shall be intended or construed to hinder 
or prevent any Society or Church that is or shall be allowed 
by the laws of this government, who soberly differ or dis- 
sent from the United Churches hereby established from 
exercising worship and discipline in their own way, ac- 
cording to their conscience." This liberal clause was a 
shrewd endeavor to win to the platform the minority 
who clung to the earlier faith, and it also covered dissenters, 
though no rival church was desired in Connecticut. The 
Toleration Act had largely in view also the favor of the king 
who might disturb the charter if the government here were 
unfair toward any religious sects. Four classes, Quak- 
ers, Episcopalians, Baptists and Rogerines, were much in 
evidence. The treatment of the Quakers is often spoken 
of as a brilliant example of intolerance. The colonists 
made it uncomfortable for the members of this aggressive 
sect, not by hanging, as in Massachusetts, but by branding 
whipping and fining; and very Hkely they would have hanged 
them if necessary to be rid of them, for it was too early to 
understand religious freedom. Having come to establish a 
state after their own ideas, they proposed to defend it 


)i. i. -'rC ;• t X : hv i' 

1 ;. v/ !, f 


138 -A. History of Connecticut 

against all invaders, and the Quakers were invaders who 
came from the old world for the declared purpose of dis- 
turbance and overthrow, publishing principles aiming at 
the foundations of religion and society as the Puritans 
understood those priceless boons. The Quakers reviled 
the faith and worship which the settlers had endured all 
kinds of hardships to enjoy, outraging the religious rights 
and freedom of the people. Deborah Wilson, a Quaker 
preacher, went through the streets of Salem, undecorated 
even with fig leaves, and in similar plight women sometimes 
went into public religious assemblies, to show the nakedness 
of the people's sins. In view of the dread the sect awak- 
ened, the New England commissioners in September, 
1656, advised the colonies to take measures against the 
Quakers, and Connecticut complied, so far as to direct that 
any town that harbored them should be fined; but the 
execution of the penalties was to be left to the discretion of 
the magistrates, a discretion which seems to have been 
exercised with so much judgment that, despairing of martyr- 
dom, Quakers gave Connecticut a wide berth. New Haven 
took up the matter with more zeal, and court trials increased 
offenders, who indignantly assailed the methods and manners 
of the government on the Sound. 

It is not within the province of as sturdy human nature 
as that which settled New Haven as a theocracy to endure 
men who would abolish all distinction between clergy and 
laity; refusing to pay tithes, render military service, take 
the oath of allegiance, or yield the doctrine of the In- 
ward Light. Humphrey Norton was whipped, burned in 
the hand with the letter H for heretic, and banished, and 
others were carried back to Rhode Island. Less vehement 
was the treatment in Hartford of John Rous and John Cope- 
land, traveling preachers, who reached the city in 1658, 
and being allowed to hold a discussion in the presence of the 
governor and magistrates, they were told at the close that 
the laws of the colony forbade their remaining in it, and that 

' ,' .-'C' VH": 

TKe Early Relig'ioias Life 139 

they would better continue their journey to Rhode Island. 
They did so, and Rous testified in behalf of Connecticut 
that "among all the colonies, found we not like moderation 
as this ; most of the magistrates being more noble than those 
of the others." In 1676, when the constables broke up a 
Friends' meeting in New London, the leader of the Quakers 
says that "the sober people were offended because of the 
attack," and on the following Sunday at Hartford, he was 
allowed to speak unhindered after the morning meeting. In 
1705, the queen was persuaded by William Penn to annul the 
Connecticut law of 1657, against "Heretics, Infidels and 
Quakers," and in 1729, influenced by the action of English 
law, the General Assembly released the Quakers from paying 
taxes to support the established churches, provided that they 
could show a certificate vouching for their support of their 
own meetings and presence there. Connecticut shared 
with Massachusetts in dislike for the Baptists, and in 1704, 
refused them permission to incorporate church estate. 
While paying secular taxes cheerfully, the Baptists endured 
flogging, fines, and imprisonment rather than pay the 
church tax. The oppressive measures against them ceased 
on the inauguration of Governor Talcott, at which time the 
Toleration Act gave them some freedom, and in 1729, the 
legislature extended to the Baptists the measure of freedom 
which had been granted to Quakers. 

The year 1702, marked the beginning of a definite move- 
ment in behalf of an American Episcopate. The prosperous 
and contented colony attracted settlers, so that the popula- 
tion trebled about every twenty years. With the new- 
comers, there appeared in the latter part of the seventeenth 
century members of the Church of England, who settled in 
Stratford and other towns near New York. To their sur- 
prise, Connecticut would not tolerate their services. Com- 
plaint was made in England in 1702; John Talbot and 
George Keith, missionary priests of the Church of England, 
reported to the Bishop of London, and lodged complaint 

y.ii ' 

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140 A History of Connecticut 

of oppression of dissenters from the Congregational Church. 
Talbot's appeal for an American Episcopate found a re- 
sponse in a strong party in the English Church, which had 
formed in 1701, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 
in Foreign Parts, to which belonged all the English bishops. 
In 1705, fourteen clergymen from the middle colonies framed 
a petition to the English archbishop and bishops for a bishop 
in America, referring to the "inconveniences which the 
church labors under by the influence which seditious 
men's counsels have." Until 1709, there was little persecu- 
tion beyond that of the tongue. When they were not al- 
lowed to organize churches, and were forced to pay taxes 
to support Congregationalism, friends in England heard 
some emphatic protests from churchmen here. It was an 
anxious time in Connecticut, which had not forgotten 
Laud's purpose in 1638, to appoint a bishop over New 

The enemies of this commonwealth were scheming to 
consolidate the New England colonies under a royal gov- 
ernor. Bills to that end were introduced into Parliament 
in 1 701, and in 1706; in the latter year John Talbot pleaded 
in England for an American bishop, voicing the importunity 
of Connecticut Episcopalians for relief from taxation for the 
Congregational order. Frightened by the discontent, and 
the stormy looks of English friends of the rising body, the 
General Assembly in 1708, added a proviso to the Saybrook 
Platform, by which dissenters could qualify before county 
courts for organization into distinct bodies by taking oath of 
fideHty to the crown, denying transubstantiation, and by 
declaring their sober dissent from Congregationalism; 
provided that it worked no detriment to the established 
church. It would be for a man's pecuniary advantage to 
stay in the state church, otherwise he would be doubly 
taxed. At a time when money was scarce, double taxation 
was like prohibition, yet the meager Toleration Act was 
regarded as a measure of dangerous liberality. In 1709, 

'I _. f 

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TKe Early Religious Life 141 

fines and imprisonments began in earnest and persecution 
continued for forty years. Episcopalians could not build, 
and they would not attend Congregational worship, and 
magistrates, refusing to recognize the services held in pri- 
vate houses, fined them for absence from public worship. 
This treatment ceased when it was learned that a report 
of the court proceedings would be sent to England. In 
1707, an Episcopal church was organized at Stratford, with 
thirty communicants; in 1 71 8, it had increased to one 
hundred baptized persons, thirty-six communicants, and a 
congregation of more than two hundred people, ministered 
to by traveling missionaries of the Society for the Propaga- 
tion of the Gospel, and by a missionary priest. Rev. George 
Pigott, under whom, in 1722, Timothy Cutler, the eloquent 
Rector of Yale College, and six of his associates declared 
their dissatisfaction with Congregationalism, or, as they 
called it, the Preshyterianism of the Connecticut established 
church. Cutler and three other ministers went to England 
for ordination, and fear seized the Congregationalists lest 
Episcopacy become established here as in England; hope 
cheered the churchmen in view of the "glorious revolu- 
tion." Classes in Yale from 1723, to 1733, gave many of 
their members to Episcopacy. Agitation for exemption 
from support of Congregationalism, and fines for neglecting 
its worship, continued. In 1727, the General Assembly 
passed a law ordering that in a town where there was a 
Church of England, the taxes of such as declared themselves 
as attending said church were to be paid to it. There 
was more or less of haggling and petty persecution together 
with ostracism of churchmen, and attempts to defraud 
Episcopalians of money from sale of public lands. Trying 
as were these experiences, their own writers admit that at 
that period the churchmen in Connecticut suffered less 
than in New York and the southern colonies; the effort for 
an Apostolic Episcopate did not cease until it culminated, 
in 1784, in the consecration of Samuel Seabury as bishop 

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142 A. History of Connecticut 

of Connecticut. In less than twenty years from the passage 
of the Toleration Act, Baptists and Quakers had challenged 
the Establishment and obtained concessions which prepared 
for a larger liberty later on. 

The Rogerines, a species of Quakers, began to make 
trouble about 1720, near New London. They were the 
followers of John Rogers, and since their business was to 
destroy priestcraft they began by trying to break up the 
Sunday meetings. They would go in small bands to the 
churches, carrying their knitting, sewing, hatcheling, and 
joinering, and by hammering, singing, and shouting try to 
drown the voice of the speaker. Rogers beset the mild and 
gentle Dr. Lord on his way to church, and followed him, 
shouting against priestcraft, and just as the minister reached 
the porch of the meeting-house, and taking off his hat dis- 
played a white wig, Rogers exclaimed in a loud voice, 
"Benjamin! Benjamin! dost thou think that they wear 
white wigs in heaven?" Benjamin would have been just as 
saintly had he asked in reply, "John! John! dost thou think 
there will be revilers in heaven?" Some of them were 
fined for traveling on Sunday, and in July, 1726, six of 
them were arrested at Norwich for this offense, and were 
committed to prison. When taken before Justice Backus, 
they were sentenced to pay twenty shillings apiece, or to 
be whipped ten or fifteen lashes; not being able to pay 
the fine they were taken to the plain and whipped with 
privet. One of them had warm tar poured upon his head,, 
and his hat put on, for refusing to remove his hat in court. 
The prosecutions and persecutions went on for a few years, 
John Rogers claiming that he was sentenced at one time 
without benefit of jury and at another that his son's cattle 
were seized to pay the father's fines. 

We have noticed that at first the support of ministers 
was by voluntary contributions, a method which worked 
well, while devotion to religion flamed. It was the custom, 
for example, in Norwich for the people to carry their pro- 

l^,r:^U A, 

"•1 '■ 'b >: J'f; h ;. .'O 


•nil. ' T'): 

TKe Early Religious Life 143 

portion of wheat, rye, peas, and Indian com on or before 
March 20, but it became necessary even in Norwich, trained 
as it was by the reverend James Fitch, to appoint collectors, 
which was done in 1686, and monthly contributions were 
sometimes taken to make up deficiencies. We have spoken 
of the code of 1650, as requiring all persons to bear their 
share, and soon it was the custom to lay a tax of from one 
penny to threepence in the pound "for the encouragement 
of the ministry," but, in 1677, the matter was transferred 
to the town, and made a part of the town finances, and at 
that time a regular salary was proposed. There was a 
custom which tended toward the permanence of the pastor- 
ate, and that was the habit of laying a special tax when 
a minister was installed over a church ; a sum equal to the 
salary of two years was paid him "for settlement," as it 
was called, and with the amount he bought land, built a 
house and bam, and thus made a home, which he was sup- 
posed to occupy until death. It was expensive to settle 
a minister, and there was more than one reason why churches 
were reluctant to change. The permanence of the pastorate, 
together with the fact that the minister was usually the best 
educated man in the community, tended to give him a 
prominent place in the life of a town. 

In this review of the religious life of the early years we 
have seen how the earlier seriousness passed into indiffer- 
ence or worse, and the heavy hand of the magistrate was 
enlisted to keep the people faithful to the churches; that 
while the Half-way Covenant was considered an adroit 
way out of a serious difficulty, it tended toward weakness: 
diminishing the conviction of need of a spiritual life ; calling 
into a quasi-membership in the churches many who made no 
pretensions to such a life — men in formal covenant with a 
church, and careful to have their children baptized, yet 
caring little for the church as an institution of religion. We 
have glanced at some of the causes of decline in the religious 
life of the people toward the close of the seventeenth century, 

144 A History of Connecticxit 

and have seen a growth in toleration toward religious people 
of different views from the established Congregationalists— 
a progress real, though largely brought about by pressure 
from England — but it is pleasant to close the chapter with 
the note of a broader charity and a more tolerant spirit. 



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IT is a melancholy passage from the religious life of the early 
years, depressing as are some of the phases of it, to the 
deHrium of witchcraft: the morbid and often cruel notions 
.prevailing concerning the unseen world. Would that the 
settlers might have risen above the pitiful slough of belief 
in the possession of demons! But it was the seventeenth 
century, and the delusion, which is as old as the race, pre- 
vailed in Europe for hundreds of years, that Satan and his 
associates were exploiting the world, as the sworn enemies 
of God and the churches. The fundamental authority for 
all legislation on the subject was Exodus xxii., i8, "Thou 
shalt not suffer a witch to live," and since the Bible was 
reverenced as authoritative in every part, there was but 
one thing to do. From its earliest history, the church looked 
on witchcraft as a deadly sin, and disbelief in it as a heresy, 
and no better definition of it as a popular delusion can be 
found than the one set forth in the New England indictment, 
" Interteining familiarity with Satan, the enemy of mankind, 
and by his help doing works above the course of nature." 
Compacts with Satan were regarded as common for centuries, 
and the destruction of those who made them was regarded 
as the plainest duty. For three hundred years, the flames 
were hot and fierce in Europe, spreading slowly from the 
continent to England and Scotland. 

Coke, Bacon, Hale, and even Blackstone, were infected. 

10 145 , 

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146 A. History- of Connecticxit 

It was a misdemeanor at English common law, and made a 
felony without benefit of clergy in the reign of Henry VIII. 
and of Elizabeth. In 1603, at the accession of James I., 
a new law was enacted with an exact definition, which was 
in force for a century. Its main provision was this : 

If any person or persons use, practice or exercise any invocation 
of any wicked spirit, or consult, entertain, employ or reward any 
wicked spirit for any purpose, or take up any dead man, woman 
or child out of their grave, or the skin, bone or any part of any 
dead person, to be used in an^'' manner of witchcraft, sorcery, 
charm or enchantment, or shall use, practice or exercise any 
witchcraft, charm or sorcery, whereby any person shall be killed, 
destroyed, wasted, consumed, pined or lamed in his or her body: 
every such offender is a felon, without benefit of clergy. 

Under this law witchcraft increased, and persecutions multi- 
plied, especially under the Commonwealth, and notably 
in the eastern counties of England, — rich source of emigrants 
to America. It is estimated that more than one hundred 
thousand persons were put to death in Europe during the 
three centuries in which the delusion prevailed. Possessed 
with such notions, the General Court, in 1642, ordered that 
"If any man or woman be a witch, that is, hath, or con- 
sulted with, a familiar spirit — they shall be put to death." 
New Haven had a similar law, and persons suspected of 
witchcraft were tried, condemned, and executed, without 
any question of the justice of such proceedings. The Salem 
witchcraft raged from March to September, 1692, and 
nineteen persons were hanged, one man pressed to death 
and fifty-five suffered torture, but it was forty-five years 
before the Salem tragedy that the Land of Steady Habits 
entered the campaign against the poor, unfortunate creatures. 
The first victim was Alse Young of Windsor, who was 
hanged in Hartford, on May 26, 1647, according to the diary 
of Matthew Grant, the town clerk of Windsor. In the 
following year, Mary Johnson of Wethersfield was arrested 

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WitcHcraft 147 

and a "Bill of Inditement" was framed against her of 
"familiarity with the Deuill, " and chiefly on her own con- 
fession she was found guilty and executed, and the prison- 
keeper's charges being allowed by the Court, were ordered 
paid "out of her estate." A pathetic incident attaches 
to the case, as a child "was borne in the prison to her." 
Mather says in his Magnalia, "She dyd in a frame extreamly 
to the satisfaction of them that were spectators of it." 

On February 20, 1651, an indictment was found against 
a Wethersfield carpenter named John Carrington and his 
wife for having "Interteined familiarity with Sathan, the 
Create Enemy e of God and Mankinde, " and for accomplish- 
ing works past human power. They were hanged on March 

I9» 1653- 

One of the most pathetic cases was that of Goodwife 
Knap of Fairfield, a woman, who, so far as we can now 
judge, was very different from some of the others who were 
arraigned; "simple-minded," Schenck calls her in his history 
of Fairfield, but gossip and scandal got after the poor crea- 
ture and she was committed to the jail, the cold and gloomy 
prison of logs, with a single barred window and massive 
door, in charge of a harsh jailer. On the day of her condem- 
nation, a self-constituted committee of one man and four 
women visited the jail and pressed the victim to name any 
other witch in town, and after they had baited, threatened, 
and badgered her to their hearts' content, in the agony of 
her soul she cried out to her relentless persecutors, "Never, 
never poore creature was tempted as I am tempted, pray, 
pray for me." 

The cases of 1662, were the nearest approach made in 
Connecticut to the Salem cases of thirty years later. Seven 
cases were indicted, of whom two were executed, and prob- 
ably a third. This epidemic began with the eight-year- 
old girl of John Kelley, who in the spring of 1662, cried out 
in the delirium of illness against Mrs. William Ayres, who 
saw in the cry a death-warrant and fled. Soon afterward, 

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148 A History of Connecticvit 

Ann Cole, a religious melancholiac, tormented with doubts 
about her rehgious welfare, had fits of derangement in which 
she talked for hours about a company of evil spirits taking 
counsel to ruin her. Others caught the contagion, and Ann 
and two others had attacks in church. A special day of 
prayer was held for them, on which the demonic exhibition 
was so effective that one of the company fainted at the 
sight. Ann Cole denounced Mrs. Richard Seager as a 
witch. The accused said the charge was a "hodge-podge," 
but she barely escaped with her Hfe, being indicted three 
times. On July 16, 1665, Mrs. Seager was convicted and 
lodged in prison for a year, then removed to Rhode Island, 
that refuge of the oppressed. Later, Ann Cole recovered 
control of her nerves and also acquired a surplus, for she 
married Andrew Benton, a widower with eight children. 

An average sample of the people implicated in this 
debauch of superstition, ignorance, and disordered nerves 
was Nathanael Greensmith, who lived in Hartford, next 
to the Coles' on the first lot on the present Wethersfield 
Avenue. He was a well-to-do farmer, occasionally convicted 
of thefts, assault, and lying. His wife Rebecca was described 
by Rev. John Whiting as a "lewd, ignorant, and consider- 
ably aged woman." Rebecca Greensmith had a genius for 
confessions of everything alleged by the witch-hunters. 
She had evidently fed her degenerate mind with all sorts 
of rubbish from the witch lore, was prompt to admit 
all kinds of misdemeanors, and accused every one within 
reach, even her husband. Gossip and rumor about these 
unpopular neighbors culminated in a formal complaint, and 
December 30, 1661, at a Court held in Hartford, both the 
Greensmiths were separately indicted in the same charge, 
which ran as follows : 

Nathanael Greensmith, thou art indicted by the name of 
Nathanael Greensmith, for not having the fear of God before 
thine eyes, thou hast entertained familiarity with Satan, the 


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W^itcHcraft 149 

grand enemy of God and mankind — and by his help has acted 
things in a preternatural way beyond human abilities in a 
natural course, for which, according to the law of God and the 
established law of this commonwealth, thou deservest to die. 

The extent to which the delusion went is suggested in the 
account given by two ministers, Haynes and Whiting, who 
interviewed Goody Greensmith while she was in prison, 
and wrote out the confession which Increase Mather re- 
garded as convictive a proof of real witchcraft as most cases 
he had known. 

"She forthwith and freely confessed those things to be 
true, that she had familiarity with the devil. The devil 
told her that at Christmas they would have a merry meeting, 
and then the covenant would be drawn up and subscribed." 
This made a decided impression on the learned Rev. Samuel 
Stone, who was in the Court, and he laid forth with weight 
and earnestness the dreadful sin Rebecca had committed, 
and solemnly took notice that the devil loved Christmas! 
She said that the devil first appeared to her in the form of a 
deer or fawn, skipping about her; some of the company 
came in one shape and some in another; one flying as a 
crow. One of the reasons why Rebecca was convinced that 
her husband had help from the devil was, as she testified 
in the court, "I have seen logs that my husband hath brought 
home in his cart that I wondered at it that he could get them 
into the cart being a man of little body, and ye logs were 
such that I thought two men such as he could not have done 
it." The Greensmiths were convicted and sentenced to 
suffer death, and in January, 1662, they were hanged 
on "Gallows Hill," on the bluff a little north of where 
Trinity College now stands; an excellent place for the crowd 
in the meadows to the west to witness a popular form of 

Two days before the last confession of Goody Green- 
smith, Mary Barnes of Farmington was indicted for witch- 


. ,-i t 

150 -A. History of ConriLecticvit 

craft and found guilty by the jury. The only further note of 
her fate is a bill for "keep " in prison; and as it was for about 
the same length of time as the Greensmiths, she was prob- 
ably executed like them. In May, 1669, occurred the most 
remarkable case in the colony, when Katheran Harrison, 
one of the richest people in Wethersfield, was indicted for 
witchcraft at the Court of Assistants in Hartford, presided 
over by Deputy Governor John Mason, and the suspected 
woman was committed to the common jail until the trial. 
On May 25, at a court presided over by Governor John 
Winthrop, Jr., with Deputy Governor William Leete, Major 
Alason, and others as assistants, the indictment was as 
follows : 

Katheran Harrison, thou standest here indicted by ye name of 
Katheran Harrison (of Wethersfield) as being guilty of witch- 
craft, for that thou not haueing the fear of God before thine eyes 
hast had familiaritie with Sathan, the grand enemie of god and 
mankind, and by his help hast acted things beyond and beside 
the ordinary course of nature, and hast thereby hurt the bodyes 
of divers of the subjects of our souraigne Lord and King, of 
which by the law of god and of this corporation thou oughtest to 

Katheran pleaded not guilty and "refered herself to a 
tryall by the jury present." A partial trial was held in 
May, but the jury could not agree, and the court adjourned 
to October, while Mrs. Harrison went to jail. 

Here are samples of the miserable drivel to which Win- 
throp, Mason, Treat, and Leete listened. Thomas Bracy 
testified that he was at the house of Hugh Wells, over 
against the Harrison house, making a jacket and pair of 
breeches, when he fell into unaccountable blunders, and 
looking out he saw a cart loaded with hay approaching the 
Harrison bam, and on the top of the hay a "red calves 
head, the eares standing peart up," and keeping his eyes 
on the cart till it came to the bam, the calf vanished. Then 

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i^;. I. 'J .iJO. L /.' li 

'Oil'; fr^, -T. 


"Witchcraft 151 

he said he suspected Katheran Harrison of witchcraft, and 
once while in bed he saw Mrs. Harrison and James Wakely 
at his bedside consulting to kill him ; Wakely wanted to cut 
his throat, but Katheran wished to strangle him. Pres- 
ently Katheran seized him and pulled or pinched him so 
that it seemed as though she would pull the flesh from his 
bones, and he groaned. His father heard him and spoke, 
and he stopped groaning; then Katheran "fell again to 
afflictinge and pinching," at which repeated groans brought 
his father and mother to the bedside, and James and 
Katheran went to "the beds feete." The next day 
appeared marks of the pinching. Joane Francis said 
that four years before, on the night her child was taken 
ill, Goodwife Harrison or her shape appeared, and Joane 
said, "The Lord bless me and my child, here is Goody 
Harrison." Three weeks later the child died. The widow 
of Jacob Johnson said that her husband was lying in 
bed in Windsor, when he had "a great box on the head, 
and after he came home he was ill, and Goodwife 
Harrison did help him with diet, drink and plasters," 
then she sent for Captain At wood to help, and that 
night, "to the best of my apprehension, I saw the like- 
ness of Goodwife Harrison with her face toward my 
husband, and I turned about to lock the door, and she 
vanisht away. Then my husband's nose fell a bleeding 
in an extraordinary manner, and so continued (if it were 
not meddled with) to his dying day." Mary Hale testified 
that while lying in bed she saw an ugly dog with the head of 
Katheran Harrison instead of its own, and it walked over 
her and crushed her; then came a sharp blow on the fingers. 
On another night she heard the voice of a woman who said she 
had a commission to kill her, and she knew it was the voice of 
Katheran Harrison. Elizabeth Smith gave some neighborly 
gossip, saying that Katheran was a "great or notorious liar, 
a Sabbath breaker and one that told fortunes ' ' ; that she never 
knew any one else who could spin such yams as she. 

\ ' V." t t: 

152 A. History of Connecticvit 

On such testimony as this the jury returned a verdict of 
guilty. But the magistrates doubted about receiving the 
verdict, and took counsel of the ministers, who rendered a 
cautious response to the four questions asked of them in 
a paper in the handwriting of Rev. Gershom Bulkley of 
Wethersfield, in which it was declared that the communica- 
tion of things that cannot be known by human skill or 
strength of reason, "in the way of divination seemes to us 
to argue familiarity with ye devill, in as much as such a 
person doth thereby declare his receiving the devills testi- 
mony, & yeeld up himselfe as ye devills instrument to com- 
municate the same to others." 

Meanwhile Katheran was not idle. She addressed a 
petition to the court, setting forth her sufferings in person 
and estate. We are not surprised that in her sense of wrong 
she should have told Michael Griswold that he would hang 
her, though he damned a thousand souls, and as for his own 
soul it was damned long ago. For this Michael brought 
two suits for slander, and Katheran was adjudged to pay 
him twenty-five pounds and costs in one case, and fifteen 
pounds and costs in the other. On May 20, 1670, the 
General Assembly refused to concur with the court in its 
verdict, sentencing Mrs. Harrison to death, and dismissed 
her from a year's imprisonment, on condition that she pay 
the costs of the trial, and remove from Wethersfield, "which 
is that will tend most to her own safety, and the contentment 
of the people who are her neighbors." She went to West- 
chester, N. Y., but the stories followed her, and the people 
there tried to send her back. After three years of harrying, 
an accusation before the Dutch governor failed, and she was 
released, and told she could live where she pleased. 

At the time of the Salem craze in 1692, one spot in Con- \ 
necticut suffered deeply; that bloodshed did not attend it 
was due to the broadening of mind which had begun to 
appear. A special court was held in Fairfield, the storm 
center, in September, 1692, including Governor Treat, 

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WitcKcraft I53 

Deputy Governor William Jones, and Secretary John 
Allyn — and a grand and petty jury. To prepare evidence, 
the townspeople had put two suspects to the water ordeal; 
both "swam like a cork," though the crowd tried to push one 
of them under. Four women were indicted, and two hundred 
witnesses examined. The distinguished court listened for 
days to gossipy stories about roaring calves, mired cows, 
creases in the kettle, frisky oxen, unbewitching sick children, 
optical illusions, and mesmeric influence. The jury dis- 
agreed, and the court met again on October 28, for the final 
decision. A committee of women examined the prisoners' 
bodies for witch-marks. The jury acquitted all except 
Mercy Disborough, who was convicted. The governor 
pronounced the death sentence; but a memorial for her 
pardon was drawn up, and since she was living fifteen years 
afterward, we know that the poor creature escaped the 
gallows. An indictment in 1697, closed the Connecticut 
witchcraft persecutions, when a woman and her daughter 
of twelve years were indicted for " misteriously hurting the 
Bodies and Goods" of several people. They were searched 
for witch-teats, subjected to the water ordeal, and excom- 
municated from the church; what became of them we do not 
know, except that they fled to New York for their Hves. 
The number of executions in Connecticut is believed to be 
nine and possibly eleven. Three other convictions were 
found, but the court set aside the verdicts. 

We are ashamed of this dreary story of gossipy, half 
crazy, superstitious people, and our meager consolation 
is a remark of Hutchinson, late in the eighteenth century, 
that "more have been put to death in a single county in 
England in a short space of time, than have suffered in 
all New England from the first settlement to this time." 
New Haven escaped bloodshed by having judge instead of 
jury trial, and that judge, the sensible and considerate 
Theophilus Eaton. 

In the main, the suspects were apt to be cranky and 


:i. ; •. [f 


154 -A. History of Connecticut 

unbalanced people, whose neighbors became social police 
to rid the community of trying characters. That only ten 
lost their lives in Connecticut during this craze is a trib- 
ute to the common sense of the Connecticut lawyers 
and ministers, in an age when the people gave the devil so 
conspicuous and dignified an agency in the affairs of life 
that they were inclined to confess his presence at all times; 
and when an authority like Blackstone could write in a 
century after the witchcraft craze, "To deny the possibility, 
nay actual evidence of Witchcraft and sorcery, is at once to 
flatly contradict the revealed word of God in various pas- 
sages both of the Old and New Testaments." 

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ONE of the curious inconsistencies of the Puritan 
emigration is that for generations there were slaves 
in Connecticut. Abhorring as they did rehgious and 
political slavery, the people did not object to family slav- 
ery so long as it paid. Sagacious and heavenly-minded 
as were John Davenport and Edward Hopkins, they were 
not averse to keeping slaves, and the tradition is that 
the Rev. Ezra Stiles, later on president of Yale College, 
and a vigorous advocate of emancipation, sent a barrel 
of rum to Africa to be exchanged for a negro slave. 
The justification ran in this fashion, "It is a great privi- 
lege for the poor negroes to be taken from the ignorant 
and wicked people of Guiana and placed in a Christian 
land, where they can become good Christians and go to 
heaven when they die." The caste system was marked 
in the colony, and superiors, equals, and inferiors were 
recognized in church, prayer, and social life; there being 
no more question about the rightfulness of keeping slaves 
than of owning cows or chickens. 

From 1639, when the records say there was a boy in 
Hartford from Dutch Guiana, slavery prevailed for two 
hundred years. The Pequot war furnished the first slaves, 
and the money paid for them helped meet the expenses of 
the war. Few individual men owned many of these humble 
workers, and the largest owner was Godfrey Malbome of 


; . , 


/jr. I 

156 Al History of Connecticut 

Brooklyn, who had fifty or sixty slaves on his large estate. 
In the early part of the eighteenth centun>', a slave sold for 
from sixty shillings to twenty-five pounds; later, the price 
rose to one hundred pounds for choice goods. In 1756, there 
were in Connecticut three thousand six hundred and thirty- 
six slaves, one to every thirty-five of the whites. In 1774, the 
number had douVjled, giving a slave to every twenty-nine of 
t?ie v,-hites, while in 1800, there vrere four thousand three 
hundred and thirty slaves, or one in fifty-nine of the freemen. 
Reference has been made to Guiana as the source of 
slaves, and the question how they came to Connecticut is 
interesting in its bearing upon the traffic of those days, and 
the zeal of a Yankee when he could see some money alluring 
him. Soon after the settlement there sprang up a trade 
with the West Indies, and some of the vessels, after leaving 
their cargoes, went to Africa and gathered a load of negroes 
for the southern market. Of the twenty-two sea captains 
of AIiddleto^\-n before the Revolution, three were in the slave 
trade, Captains "Walker, Gleason, and Easton. The last 
named was one of the most successful slave-dealers of his 
time; he would take droves of negroes to New Hampshire 
and Vermont, when the market was dull in Connecticut, 
and exchange them for horses. In 1804, a vessel from Hart- 
ford carried two hundred and fifty negroes to Charleston, 
S. C, and captains from New Haven and New London were 
engaged in the traffic. 

It was a family institution and the slaves seem to have 
been treated fairly well. Tapping Reeve, the head of the 
famous Litchfield Law School, says that 

the master had no control over the life of his slave. If he killed 
him he was liable to the same punishment as if he killed a free- 
man. A slave was capable of holding property in the character 
of a devisee or legatee. If a slave married a fre'e woman with the 
consent of his master, he was emancipated ; for his master had suf- 
fered him to contract a relation inconsistent with a state of slavery. 


r.' . i 

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Slavery I57 

Owners were required to support slaves; it was voted by 
the Assembly in 1702, that if a slave gained his Uberty, and 
afterwards came to want, he should be relieved at the cost 
of the person in whose service he was last retained, and by 
whom set at liberty, or at the cost of his heirs. General 
Putnam freed his body-servant Dick and bought a farm 
for his Indian servant. Deacon Gray of Windham kept 
his old negroes in a cabin, where he supplied them with food. 
It appears that the law of 1702, to insure the care of freed 
slaves, was evaded, for, in 171 1, a further act was passed, 
applying to all "negro, malatto, or Spanish Indians . . . 
servants . . . for time," who come to want after the expira- 
tion of the term of service. The provision was that in case 
those responsible refused to care for them, the sufferers 
should be relieved by the selectmen of the towns to which 
they belonged, who might "recover of the said owners or 
masters, or their heirs, executors or administrators, all the 
charge and cost they were at for such relief, as in the case of 
other debts." In 1777, the law was modified. A man 
wishing to emancipate his slave could apply to the selectmen, 
who were required to investigate the case. If they decided 
that it was for the best interests of the slave that he should 
be liberated, and that he would probably be self-supporting, 
and that he was of "good and peaceable life and conversa- 
tion," they were empowered to give to the master a certifi- 
cate stating their decision, and allowing him to free his slave 
without any obligation to support him. 

By an act of 1792, permission might be granted by two 
of the civil officers who were not selectmen, or by one of 
them and two selectmen, to Hberate a slave who was not 
less than twenty-five or more than forty-five years old, who 
was in good health, and who, they were satisfied from per- 
sonal examination, wished his freedom. If after examina- 
tion the certificate was granted and recorded in the town 
records, together with the letter of emancipation, the mas- 
ter's responsibility ceased. A strict fugitive slave law was 

!. > 

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158 i\ History of Connecticut 

passed in 1690, and, in 1702, it was ordered that no slave 
could travel without a pass from his master or the town 
authorities, and any one assisting a runaway was liable to 
a fine of twenty shillings. In 1774, there appeared in the 
Connecticut Gazette the following advertisement: 

Ten Dollars Reward. Run away from the subscriber in 
Canterbury, a Mulatto slave. He is a slender built fellow, has 
thick Lips, a curled mulatto Head of Hair uncut, and goes stoop- 
ing forward. He had on & carried with him when he eloped 
from his Master a half worn felt Hat, a black and white tow 
shirt, a dark brown Jacket, with slieves cuffed & Pewter Buttons 
down before, a Butter Nut colored Great Coat with Pewter 
Buttons, a Pair of striped long Trowsers, & a pair of white 
Ditto, a pair of White Tow Stockings; & a pair of single chan- 
nel Pumps. Whoever will take up said Slave and deliver him 
to the Subscriber in Canterbury shall have the above Reward, 
and all necessary Charges paid by me, Daniel Tyler, Canterbury, 
June 27, 1774. 

In the preamble of an act passed in 1708, it was stated 
that negroes and mulattoes had become numerous in parts 
of the colony and were turbulent and quarrelsome. Any 
such person as struck a white man was subject to a 
flogging of not more than thirty stripes. In 171 7, New 
London voted to oppose a negro "buying land in town or 
being an inhabitant," and instructed its representatives 
to the legislature to "take some prudent care that no person 
of color may ever have any personal or freehold estate 
within the government," and that same year the legislature 
passed a bill prohibiting negroes "purchasing land without 
liberty from the town, and also from being in families of 
their own without such liberty." When the Revolution 
came on it was found convenient to allow negroes to become 
food for bullets, and, in 1777, an act passed providing that 
slaves of "good life and conversation," when adjudged by 
the selectmen to be suitable for the army, were to be put 

Slavery 159 

into the service, and many slaves went to war, and in 
the stress of the conflict it came to pass that "neither the 
selectmen nor the commanding officers questioned the 
color; white and black, bond and free, if able-bodied, went 
into the roll together, accepted as the representatives or substi- 
tutes of their employers." Many slaves were promised their 
freedom on condition that they would serve three years in the 
army, and many displayed superior bravery when death was 
near; a negro named Lambert at Fort Griswold in 1781, slew 
the British officer who so savagely murdered Colonel Ledyard 
and fell, "pierced by thirty-three bayonet wounds." 

We read of balls given by negroes, and they were allowed 
to elect a governor from their number, and to inaugurate 
him with ceremonies which gratified their desire for display. 
They chose a man of dignified presence, firmness, and ready 
tongue, and he settled disputes, imposed fines, punished 
gross and immoral conduct, and acted as supreme arbiter 
among his people, displaying every evidence of authority, 
even to a claim of descent from a line of African kings, 
being usually reelected until health failed. On inaugura- 
tion day the whole black population turned out in an 
"Election Parade," in which borrowed horses, saddles, and 
gay trappings made a brilliant display, and fantastic garbs, 
boisterous shouting, laughing, and singing, with fiddles, 
drums, fifes, and brass horns filled the air with a noise which 
the blacks called "martial music." 

It was amusing to see the black governor, sham dignity, after 
his election, riding through the town on one of his master's 
horses, adorned with plated gear. An aide rode on either side, 
and his majesty, puffing and swelling with pride, sat bolt upright, 
moving with a slow, measured pace, as though the universe were 
looking on. When he mounted or dismounted, an aide flew to 
his assistance, holding his bridle, putting his feet into the stirrups, 
and bowing to the ground before him. The great Mogul, in a 
triumphal procession, never assumed an air of more perfect 
self-importance than did the negro governor at such a time. 

i6o A History of Connecticut 

After the parade there was a feast, which often ended with 
a drunken riot. The ceremonies took place in Hartford, 
until 1800, when they were removed to Derby. The early 
notices sent to the blacks in different places in the common- 
wealth read "negro men"; later the reading was "negro 
gentlemen"; but the grotesque display, the ridiculous antics, 
and the brass horns figured just the same. The first record 
of a black governor is that of Governor Cuff, who resigned 
in 1766, in favor of John Anderson. 

The coarse and brutal side of this slavery is suggested 
by the following advertisement which appeared in the New 
London Gazette in October, 1766: "To be sold, a strong 
and healthy negro man, 29 years of age, and brought up in 
the country to the farming business. Also an able-body'd 
wench, 16 years old (with sucking child), can do all sorts of 
housework ... for no other fault but her breeding. En- 
quire of printer." As the consciences of the people became 
more alert to evils in the social conditions, slavery came in 
for its share of criticism, and for many years there was an 
increasing sentiment against it, and a movement toward its 
downfall. Sermons were preached against it before the 
Revolution, and Samuel Hopkins wrote a dialogue on the 
duty of freeing slaves. Jonathan Edwards, Jr., proclaimed 
the "Injustice and Impohcy of the Slave Trade," and, 
aside from the injustice of the practice urged in pulpit and 
l3y pamphlets, there was another reason for its passing away; 
it was an economic failure, and the shrewd Yankees, finding 
that it did not pay, started the entering wedge in 1774, in a 
measure against the importation of more negroes for slavery. 
In the preamble of that law, there is no claim to morality, 
justice, or humanity; the reasoning is wholly economic. It 
reads, "Whereas, the increase of slaves in this Colony is in- 
jurious to the poor, and inconvenient, " it was enacted that 
"no Indian or molatto slave shall at any time hereafter be 
brought or imported into this Colony, by sea or land from 
any place whatsoever, to be disposed of left or sold within this 

■, Xi^^«-.' 

:a. '- -^-y- -J ' . -c -If, •:./ 

> ■ 'f ) ^'* .i'Xe; • :):-l.. 

Slavery i6i 

Colony." The penalty was one hundred pounds. Business de- 
pression and scarcity of labor for many of the white people led 
to the conviction that, on the whole, slavery would better be 
given up. A more radical measure was passed in 1784, which 
provided that no negro or mulatto child, born after March 
I, 1784, should be "held in servitude beyond the age of 
twenty-five," and in 1797 it was ordered . that negro or 
mulatto children born after August i, of that year should be 
released at the age of twenty-one. In 1788, the General 
Association of Congregational ministers declared the slave 
trade to be unjust, and that every justifiable measure 
ought to be taken to suppress it. At the next session of 
the legislature, Connecticut shippers were prohibited from 
engaging in the slave trade anywhere. In 1848, an act was 
passed to emancipate all slaves, placing upon masters or the 
towns responsibility for any in need, and there were but six 
slaves in the state at that time. 

There was little disposition to encourage the negroes who 
were coming out of slavery, and in 1831, the free negroes 
of the United States, wishing to establish a college for their 
young men, with a mechanical department, decided that 
New Haven was a good place for the school, because of the 
scholarly atmosphere and because of the opportunities 
offered in the state for mechanical training. The announce- 
ment of the plan met a storm of opposition ; the city officials 
and the voters denounced it in a public meeting, did 
their best to defeat it, and their action was fatal to it. There 
was a still more famous effort to start a school for negro 
girls in Connecticut, an enterprise which Henry Wilson 
in his Rise and Fall of the Slave Power places in the same 
class with Uncle Tom's Cabin — the endeavor of a young 
Quakeress, Prudence Crandall, to change her school of white 
pupils to one of negroes. Before taking the step, Miss Cran- 
dall consulted with leading abolitionists in Boston and New 
York, and soon announced to her pupils that they were to 
give place to "young ladies and little misses of color." A 

i-.boi!'^ -/!(. 

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l62 JK History of Connecticut 

committee waited upon Miss Crandall to protest; a public 
meeting was held and another protest made to the deter- 
mined teacher. Another stormy crowd gathered in the meet- 
ing-house and passed a resolution that "the locality of a said 
school for the people of color at any place within the limits 
of the town. . . meets with our unqualified disapprobation." 
Five days later, the town officers presented the resolution, and 
there were those who urged Miss Crandall to take the price 
she had given for the house, but she refused, though she 
said she was willing to move to another part of the town. 
The school opened on the first Monday in April, 1833, with 
a dozen or so of quiet little colored girls from the finest negro 
families in the northern cities, and trouble began. As there 
was no law to meet the case a committee was appointed to 
draw one and present it at the Assembly, and while waiting 
for the law boycott was tried; stones were thrown against 
the schoolhouse by day and by night. When the case came 
before the legislature, the sentiment of every town in the 
state was: "We should not want a nigger on our common." 
The statute was enacted that "no person should set 
up a school for the instruction of colored persons . . . 
without the consent of a majority of the civil authority and 
selectmen in the town, under penalty of one hundred dollars 
for the first offence, and a double for every succeeding of- 
fence." Canterbury received the news of the passage of this 
law with firing of cannon, bonfires, and ringing of bells. 
In June, Miss Crandall was summoned before the Justice 
Court, and bound over to the Superior Court. Though the 
bail was moderate, no friend appeared as her bondsman, 
and the young lady went to jail for a night, which tended 
to make her a martyr; and reports of unjust imprisonment 
had great influence in creating sentiment in her favor. 
There was much litigation, and at length the people 
became impatient, and in September, 1834, j^^t a year and 
a half after the school started, late one evening some men 
gathered about the building with axes and iron bars, and on a 

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Slavery 163 

signal dashed in the windows, and even Miss Crandall 
quailed before such ruffianism. The next day the pupils 
were told that the school must be given up, and the teacher 
left town. Fifty years afterward, the legislature voted her a 
pension of four hundred dollars. 

We cannot understand how these events could take 
place in the nineteenth century in civilized communities. 
We can discuss them with calmness only as we remember the 
extreme jealousy of the towns over their rights, and the 
stem way the citizens had of asserting them. The change 
of sentiment concerning slavery came slowly, but at length 
it was seen that the practice, as Roger Sherman said at the 
constitutional convention, was iniquitous, a conviction to 
which the people came after they had learned that there was 
no money in it. 

t u 

lA .,-; 'G < iit . '(;' 



IN establishing a commonwealth in a rude age, amid trying 
neighbors, when disagreeableness was not all on one side, 
when everybody wanted his rights, if not a little more, when 
boundaries north, east, and west were vague, when the terrors 
of a French and Indian war were scarcely more feared than 
British imperialism, Connecticut had a stern training. 
It was a long game, requiring shrewd calculation, quick 
thinking, sharp wits, steady nerves, strong wills, and patient 
waiting. Connecticut people could not endure interference 
of the British government, and the English kings found their 
settlers here hard to get along with. This colony thought 
Massachusetts and New York too grasping, and had it not 
been for the interference of the crown, Rhode Island would 
have been entirely swallowed up by her neighbors on north 
and west. The story may as well open with an event which 
occasioned much solicitude — the coming of the Regicides. 

The death of Cromwell and the crowning of Charles II. 
unsettled affairs in New England, and when the regicide 
judges, who had signed the death-warrant of Charles I., 
arrived in Boston in the summer of 1 660, there was much 
anxiety. They were Major-General Edward Whalley, a 
cousin of Cromwell, Major-General William Goffe, and 
Colonel John Dixwell, and they were among the seven judges 
who by the "Act of Indemnity" were refused pardon, 


<>' ; 

Strxag'gies for Self and Neig'hbors 165 

After the coronation of Charles II., a warrant was issued for 
their arrest, and hastily escaping from Cambridge, they went 
to New Haven, where they were concealed in the house of 
John Davenport, who in a notable sermon had prepared the 
people to shelter the men. After more than a month with 
Davenport the "Colonels" went to Governor Eaton's house. 
On May 11, two zealous loyaHsts appeared at Guilford at the 
house of Governor Leete, bearing a mandate from the king 
to arrest the men. The next day was Sunday, and, by 
one hindrance and another, the pursuers were detained till 
Monday morning, when they started for New Haven with a 
letter to the magistrate, advising him to cause a search to be 
made. Early as they started, some one else left Guilford 
before them in the night, and when the two officers of the 
king reached the city, the magistrate was not at home ; but 
on the arrival of the governor two hours later with the magis- 
trate of Branford, a long consultation was held in the court- 
room. The pursuers insisted that the regicides were hid in 
some of the houses in the town and that all their information 
pointed to the houses of Davenport and Jones; and they 
demanded of the governor a warrant to search for them. 
The governor and magistrates maintained that the Colonels 
had gone toward Manhadoes, and that they did not know 
the place of their concealment. As for the warrant which 
was demanded, they had constitutional and legal scruples, 
for Governor Leete was a trained lawyer. The governor 
told the pursuers that he could not and would not make them 
magistrates of his jurisdiction, as he should do if he should 
invest them with power to enter men's houses and search for 
criminals. Besides, the king's mandate appeared to be 
addressed to the governor of Massachusetts as if he were 
governor of all New England, and to others only as subordin- 
ate to him; and the magistrates feared that, by acting under 
such a mandate, they might acknowledge a governor- 
general, and might thus betray their trust to the people. 
When the pursuers asked if they would obey the king in the 

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■ ■ I ) ■ r. ,-i 1 ■ 

i66 A History of Connecticut 

matter, the governor replied, "We honor his Majesty, but we 
have tender consciences." The pursuers made as thorough 
a search as they dared under the circumstances, and a few 
days later returned to Boston. Meanwhile, the hunted 
men were in various places, spending many weeks in a cave 
on West Rock, while the colony was scoured for them, and 
large rewards were offered for information concerning them. 
August 19, they obtained a lodging-place in Milford, where 
they were hid for a few years. In October, 1664, they went 
to Hadley, Massachusetts, where the minister, Rev. John 
Russell, concealed them the rest of their days. 

Connecticut was prompt to acknowledge the authority of 
Charles 11. , and John Winthrop, Jr. was sent to the English 
court to secure a charter ; being a man of high standing and 
eminent scholarship, he easily secured influential friends at 
the court, and it is said that he had a valuable ring which 
had been given by Charles II. to his grandfather, which he 
presented to the king. Whatever the influences, in a season 
of good feeling, on April 2t„ 1662, Charles II. gave a patent, 
which conferred the most ample privileges and confirmed all 
lands which had been previously given according to the 
alleged grant to the Earl of Warwick, to the freemen of the 
Connecticut colony, and such as should be admitted as free- 
men. The territory given was, 

all the Part of Our Dominions in New England in America, 
bounded on the East by Narragansett-River, commonly called 
Narragansett-Bay, where the said river falleth into the Sea; and 
on the North by the Line of the Massachusetts-Plantation; and 
on the South by the Sea; and in Longitude as the Line of the 
Massachusetts-Colony, running from East to West, That is to 
say, From the said Narragansett-Bay on the East, to the South 
Sea on the West Part, with the Islands thereunto adjoining, 
together with all firm Lands, Soils, Grounds, Havens, Ports, 
Rivers, Waters, Fishings, Mines, Minerals, precious Stones, 
Quarries, and all and singular other Commodities, Jurisdictions, 
Royalties, Privileges, Franchises, Prehcminences and Heredita- 

Struggles for Self and Neig'Kbors 167 

ments whatsoever within the said tract, [on condition of paying] 
to Us, Our Heirs and Successors, only the fifth part of all the Ore 
of Gold and Silver which from Time to Time, and at all Times 
hereafter shall be gotten, had or obtained, in lieu of all Services, 
Duties and Demands whatsoever. 

The form of government which was established by this 
charter was the most popular possible and continued to be 
the fundamental law of Connecticut for one hundred and 
fifty-six years. Although it was granted at a time when the 
rights of the people were shghtly understood and little re- 
garded, and by a sovereign who ruled England with arbitrary 
sway, the form of government established by the charter was 
of a more popular description, and placed all power within 
the more immediate reach of the people, than the constitution 
for which it was deliberately exchanged a century and a half 
later, at a time of republican freedom. The charter granted 
that the colony under John Winthrop and his successors 
should have power through its 

Assistants and Freemen of the said Company, or such of them 
(not exceeding Two Persons from each Place, Town or City) 
to consult and advise in and about the Affairs and Business of the 
said Company . . . and Establish all manner of wholesome 
and reasonable Laws, Statutes, Ordinances and Directions and 
Instructions, not contrary to the Laws of this Realm of England. 

The joy of the colonists on the Connecticut on receiving 
this charter was unbounded, and that of the New Haven 
settlers lessened by the fact that they were cast in with the 
older colony. After the death of Charles IL, James IL pro- 
ceeded to carry out the plan of uniting a number of scattered 
plantations, circled by Indians and jealous, meddlesome 
Dutch, into a strong colony under an efficient commander. 
The idea was neither unreasonable nor unphilanthropic, for 
with all his faults, James II. had a strong sentiment of English 
nationahty, and the bringing of the northern provinces under 

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l68 ^ History of Connecticvit 

one head he hoped might unite New England in defense 
of the frontier. The idea did not appeal to the colonies, 
and though they knew that the soil of North America had 
been regarded as belonging to the crown, like the castle at 
Windsor, they were dismayed when, in the spring of 1686, 
Sir Edmund Andros arrived in Boston, in the frigate King- 
fisher, glittering in scarlet and lace, with a guard of British 
soldiers, to become captain-general and govemor-in-chief 
of New England. Moreover he was to have associated with 
him a council, whose first members were to be royal ap- 
pointees. The governor and council were to make laws 
which were to conform to those of England and to be sent 
over to receive the sanction of the king. The oath of alle- 
giance was to be required of all persons. The governor had 
authority to regulate the currency, to command the mil- 
itary and naval forces, and with the council to levy taxes 
for the support of the government. 

The way for Andros had been prepared by a quo warranto 
issued by the king in the summer of 1685, citing the governor 
and company of Connecticut to appear before the king to 
show by what right they exercised certain powers and privi- 
leges. Connecticut was charged with making laws contrary 
to those of England; imposing fines on its inhabitants; 
enforcing an oath of fidelity to itself, and not the oaths of 
supremacy and allegiance; prohibiting the worship of the 
Church of England; refusing justice in its courts; excluding 
men of loyalty from its government, and keeping the 
reins in the hands of the Independents. The writs were 
not served within the dates returnable, and when Randolph 
appeared in Boston in the spring of 1686, he sent a letter to 
the officials of Connecticut, and neglected to tell them that 
the writs had run out, but he did tell them that there was 
nothing left for them to do but to resign their charter at 
once humbly and obediently, since if they undertook to 
defend it at law, they would have all western Connecticut 
annexed to New York at once, besides other possible disasters. 

r '^ 

<; I.J J. S' 

t ■ .^ ) 

Edmund Andros, 1637-1714, Royal Governor of New England from 
November i, 1687, to May 9, 1689 

From the Engraving by E. G. Williams 


Strxi^^les for Self and Neig'Kbors 169 

He advised them to visit him at Boston, rather than have 
him go to them, "as a herald to denounce war." He said 
they need not think that they would gain any advantage "by 
spinning out time by delay, " as the writs would keep as fresh 
as when landed. The shrewd Connecticut Yankees had 
lived too strenuous a life to be overwhelmed by these threats, 
and knowing about the writs, they had divided the unap- 
propriated lands among the towns to keep them from the 
king's messengers, Hartford and Windsor obtaining most of 
Litchfield County. The magistrates held a special session, 
and decided upon an address to the king, entreating him to 
suspend his proceedings against their charter; and on July 
20, Randolph appeared at Hartford and served his stem 
writs, calling John Allyn and John Talcott, keepers of the 
charter, out of bed at midnight to impress them with the 
danger of delay. Meanwhile Dudley, president of the coim- 
cil at Boston, had written a letter urging armexation to 
Massachusetts rather than to New York. It was a time of . 
decided anxiety for the Connecticut leaders; the official 
heads. Treat, Allyn, Fitz John Winthrop and others, favored 
the surrender of the charter, for fear that the king might be 
provoked to make good Randolph's threat, and partition the 
colony among its neighbors ; others were determined to give 
away nothing until compelled to do so. The majority of the 
people in the colony were against the surrender, and em- 
ployed William Whiting, a London merchant, son of an old 
Hartford resident, to represent the colony, with power to 
submit to the king if compelled, but to employ counsel to 
defend the cases, and urge separate existence and not 

A new writ was issued October 6, 1686, and forwarded by 
Sir Edmund Andros, who, two days after he landed, sent an 
express messenger to Governor Treat, empowered to receive 
the charter; Randolph sent a letter by the same man insist- 
ing that the officials should comply without delay. The 
governor called together the General Assembly, which voted 

idm- ■ S«..o " •>? -A fs^'^v;'?-?.^ 

trxM ♦ r-«-T 

,^:: ^/d 'i 

■'AS-' :r"-' ?' O 

170 -A. History of Connecticxit 

to leave the matter to the governor and council. It was a 
trying situation, since the king was evidently determined to 
carry out his purpose, and he was not a man to be thwarted 
by the opposition of a handful of colonists on the Connecticut. 
Fifty corporations in England had been deprived of their 
charters; the city of London had stood trial with him and 
had given up its charter; the charter of Massachusetts had 
been vacated, and Rhode Island had submitted to the king. 
The Connecticut officials were quite the match for the resolute 
Andros and Randolph ; writing a diplomatic letter, they said 
that they were satisfied to remain as they were, if the king 
were willing, but they must submit to his will, and if he chose 
to join them to the Massachusetts government as a separate 
province they would like it better than annexation to any 
other. This masterly letter, yielding much on the face and 
nothing in law, had the effect desired, though hardly ex- 
pected, by its authors; the government accepted it as a legal 
surrender of their rights into the hands of the king, who 
dropped the proceedings in the writ, and wrote Andros to 
assume the power to which the colony had agreed. 

The Assembly met as usual in October, 1687, and the 
government continued according to charter iintil the last of 
the month, when Sir Edmund Andros, with his suite, and 
more than sixty regular troops reached Hartford, when the 
Assembly was sitting, demanded the charter, and declared 
the government under it dissolved. The Assembly was 
extremely reluctant to make the surrender: the tradition is 
that Governor Treat dwelt upon the expense and hardships 
of the colonists in planting and defending the country, and 
declared that it was hke giving up his life to yield. The 
affair was debated and kept in suspense until evening, 
when the charter was brought in and laid upon the table 
before Sir Edmund. Suddenly the Hghts were extin- 
guished; the charter was passed out of the room, and Cap- 
tain Joseph Wadsworth carried it away and hid it in a large 
oak, fronting the house of Samuel Wyllys, one of the magis- 

'■ "■■ ' •■ i>f' J V.)'. '.'-'1. . 
'J 'Ci '■ b.iJ''>i,i ti if I 1 .'J 

v:< 1 

"7V' 'I . Vi F-. 

Struggles for Self and NeigKbors 171 

trates. The people appeared orderly, the candles were 
relighted, but the patent could nowhere be found. It did 
not remain long in the oak, but was soon carried to Wads- 
worth's house and possibly to Andrew Leete's in Guilford. 
The colony was forced to submit for the time, and the next 
day, the secretary, John Allyn, wrote "Finis" on the colonial 
records, and closed the book. Sir Edmund began his 
government with flattering professions of friendliness and 
devotion to the public interests, but he soon placed vexatious 
and burdensome requirements upon the colony. Restraint 
was laid upon the liberty of the press, and Dudley was 
appointed censor; the writ of habeas corpus was suspended; 
fees of all officers were enormous: the common fee for the 
probate of a will was fifty shillings; colonial records were 
removed to Boston, requiring a long and expensive journey 
to enable one to consult them. Marriages could be per- 
formed only by magistrates. No land was to be purchased 
from the Indians except under license of the governor with a 
round fee. Sir Edmund said that Indian deeds were no 
better than the "scratch of a bear's paw." People who had 
been living for fifty years on their farms, and had gardens 
and orchards, had no clear title, except as they took out 
patents from the government of Sir Edmund, sometimes at 
an expense of fifty pounds. Writs were served against 
prominent men who would not submit to such impositions, 
and their lands were patented to others. All town meetings 
were prohibited, except one in the month of May, for the 
election of town officers. This was to prevent consultations 
for redress of grievances. It was a most rankling and 
humiliating imposition to men who had been accustomed to 
self-government, but the thorough Andros rode rough-shod 
over the people, carrying out the resolute purposes of King 
James. Randolph was not ashamed to make his boast in 
his letters, in respect to Governor Andros and his council, 
"that they \vere as arbitrary as the great Turk. " 

Governor Treat was a father to the people in their de- 

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172 A Historx of Connecticut 

spondency, and in the general depression in business and social 
life; and the joy was great when word came in April, 1689, 
that James II. had fled to France, and William and Mary 
had been enthroned. The officials brought the charter from 
its shelter, called town delegates together, and the old gov- 
ernment resumed its functions. In 1 693, Fitz John Winthrop 
was sent to England to obtain a confirmation of the charter 
and was assured by the best lawyers of the crown that the 
charter was entirely valid. The basis of the opinion was 
that it had been granted under the great seal; that it had 
not been surrendered under the common seal of the colony, 
nor had any judgment of record been entered against it; 
that its operation had merely been interfered with by over- 
powering force ; that the peaceable submission to Andros was 
merely an illegal suspension of lawful authority. William 
was willing to secure the fruits of James's plan of controlling 
the colonies, as he showed by enforcing the forfeiture of the 
Massachusetts charter; but the law in the case of Connecti- 
cut was too plain, and he ratified the lawyers' opinion in 
April, 1694. 

It is not possible to imagine how the colony could have 
conducted the affair of the charter with greater wisdom. The 
passive attitude of the government had disarmed Andros so 
far as to cause legal proceedings necessary to forfeit it to 
cease, and prompt action at the right time brought it again 
into force, after the Andros sway had been endured for a 
little more than two years. Having resumed her govern- 
ment, which she had enjoyed for fifty years, a government 
prized all the more because of the exactions and requirements 
of the Andros rule, Connecticut took in hand the settlement 
of the boundaries, which was a longer and more trying experi- 
ence, for the colony was dealing with men in New York, 
Massachusetts, and Rhode Island who were as intelligent, 
aggressive, and tenacious in their insistence upon acquiring 
the last square inch of land as was Connecticut herself. 

The boundary dispute between Connecticut and New 



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Strvi^gles for Self and Neig'Kbors 173 

York was serious and bitter. Soon after the royal charter 
was given to Connecticut, the king gave his brother James, 
Duke of York (March 12, 1664), a patent of an extensive 
tract, which included "all that island or islands commonly 
called Long Island . . . and all the land from the west 
side of the Connecticut river to the east side of Delaware 
Bay." Colonel Richard Nicolls sailed across the Atlantic 
and surprised the Dutch; New Amsterdam surrendered 
August 27, 1664, and was at once named New York. On 
October 13, Connecticut sent commissioners to New York 
to congratulate the commissioners there and establish a 
boundary. In the agreement it was declared that Long 
Island belonged to New York and 

that creek or river called Momoroneck, which is reputed to be 
about thirteen miles east of West Chester, and a line drawn from 
the east point or side where the fresh water falls into the salt at 
high water, north-west to the line of Massachusetts be the western 
bounds of the said colony of Connecticut: and all plantations 
lying westward of that creek and line so drawn to be under his 
Royal Highness' government, and ail the plantations lying east- 
ward of that creek and line to be under the government of 

This was never confirmed by the crown, and New York 
refused to abide by it. The line crossed the Hudson at 
Peekskill, but it was never surveyed. In 1672, the Dutch 
recaptured the province, and when the English again took 
possession by the treaty of Westminster, a new patent was 
granted the Duke of York, June 29, 1674, like the former, 
and he seemed disposed to execute it to the letter. 

Though King Philip's war was in progress, the govern- 
ment prepared to resist, and sent troops to garrison Say- 
brook and New London. Captain Thomas Bull was in 
command at Saybrook, and June 9, 1675, he saw an armed 
fleet approaching the fort. By command of the colonial 
authorities Captain Bull told Andros that the English 


.3 ■'■ 1,4 

f MO r i jj 

174 -A. History of Connecticvit 

needed no help against Indian foes. On the morning of 
July 12, Andros asked leave to go ashore for a conference 
with the officers. This was granted and he landed with his 
suite. Bull met Andros on shore and bluntly told him that 
he was instructed to resist the invasion. Bull knew the 
charter of the Dudley government of 1664 had named the 
Connecticut River as the eastern boimdary. He also knew 
Connecticut never surrendered anything unless compelled. 
Andros bade his clerk read aloud the two papers which 
gave him his authority, and Bull told the clerk to forbear. 
The latter persisted, and the captain commanded "For- 
bear!" in a tone which Andros did not choose to resist. 
Admiring the coolness of the Connecticut officer, Andros 
said, "What is your name?" "My name is Bull, sir," 
was the answer. "Bull!" replied the governor. "It is a 
pity your horns were not tipped with silver. " 

This game of bluff worked well, and matters quieted down 
for a while until the discussion of the boundary was opened 
afresh in 1682, and New York claimed twenty miles east of 
the Hudson, on the ground that the royal commissioners had 
said that the Mamaroneck River was "twenty miles every- 
where from the Hudson. " If Connecticut would not allow 
this, New York threatened that she would claim all the 
territory to the Connecticut River. Commissioners of the 
two colonies met in 1683, ^^^ came to an agreement that 
the By ram River, between Rye and Greenwich, should be ] 
the western boundary of Connecticut ; or from Lyon's Point 
at the mouth of the Byram River up the stream to the wading 
place, thence north northwest eight English miles, thence 
east twelve miles parallel to the Sound, and thence in a line 
parallel to, and twenty miles distant from, the Hudson River. 
It was further agreed that New York should receive from 
Connecticut along the remainder of her western boundary 
as much as Connecticut took from New York at Greenwich 
and along the Sound, This deprived Connecticut of Rye— - 
a loss severely felt. Connecticut has Greenwich, Stamford, 

■r I 

't, . J 

Striag'gles for Self and Nei^Kbors 175 

Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, and a part of Wilton to which 
New York yielded all claim. In return New York received 
a strip one and three-quarters miles and twenty rods wide 
along the west side of Connecticut, which is parallel to and 
twenty miles distant from the Hudson River. This was 
called the Oblong or Equivalent Tract, containing 61,440 
acres. In 1855, as most of the old landmarks had been 
removed or destroyed, it became necessary to establish the 
boundary lines, and there was a special reason for this in the 
** fact that people along the line had evaded paying taxes to 
either state. The commissioners established the boundary 
to the last angle, but on that to the Massachusetts line 
there was a difference of opinion. New York wished to find 
the old and traditional line, and Connecticut desired to sur- 
vey a new line. A line was run, but it differed from the 
other by forty- two rods at the widest part, made a differ- 
ence of twenty-six thousand acres, and New York refused 
to yield. The matter rested until 1859, when new com- 
missioners were appointed, who made a new survey, and 
Connecticut would not yield. Then New York empowered 
her commissioners to survey and mark with monuments a 
mile apart the line as fixed by the survey of 1731, but Con- 
necticut would not agree to the line thus marked. In 1878, 
there was again a dispute and the commissioners came to a 
decision December 5, 1879, whereby the western boundary 
of Connecticut was established on the old line of 1731, and 
the twenty-six thousand acres was given up to New York. 
In exchange the southern boundary was carried into the 
Sound six hundred feet south of Byram's Point, then south- 
east three and a half miles, then northeast to a point four 
miles south of New London lighthouse, thence through 
Fisher's Island Sound, as far as said states are coterminous. 
This was ratified by the states, and Congress confirmed 
the ratification in 1880. 

It consumed more than a century and a half to settle 
the northern boimdary. In 1642, Massachusetts em- 

■ Z \,: ''li •:,> 'fj' 


176 A. History of Connecticvit 

ployed two "mathematicians," Woodward and Saffery, 
to run the line according to the charter. These highly 
ingenious men began operations by finding a point "three 
English miles on the south part of the Charles River, or of 
any or every part thereof" from which to survey a line 
toward the Pacific ; preferring a boat trip to a tramp through 
the woods among wolves and Indians, they sailed around 
Cape Cod and up the Connecticut River to a point which 
they believed to be of the same latitude as at the starting- 
point. They erred on the safe side for their employers and 
gave Massachusetts a strip of Connecticut eight miles wide. 
There was no end of dispute over this, and in 1695, Con- 
necticut had a survey made, to the result of which Massa- 
chusetts objected, and Connecticut people continued to 
settle in Enfield and Suffield on disputed lands. Different 
sets of commissioners went over the question, and the only 
reason why there was no appeal to the crown was the heavy 
expense. There were petitions and threats, and until the 
Revolution, Connecticut continued to govern Enfield, Suffield, 
and Woodstock, while Massachusetts levied taxes without 
collecting; sending notices of fast days and elections, claim- 
ing as late as 1768, that she had not given up jurisdiction; 
warning the towns not to pay taxes to Connecticut. In 
1793, both states appointed commissioners to ascertain the 
boundaries of Southwick and west to New York, also east 
of the Connecticut River. They reported that the line 
was nearly all correct, except a tract of two and a half miles 
square at Southwick which Massachusetts thought that she 
should have to compensate for the towns she had lost. 
This was refused by Connecticut in 180 1. In 1803, Massa- 
chusetts was willing to compromise, and the following year 
it was arranged that Connecticut should keep a slice of 
Southwick, and Massachusetts hold land west of the pond 
in that town, — the same indentation into Connecticut re- 
mains to-day. 

The eastern boundary seemed for a long time hopeless. 


Strug'gies for Self and Nei^Kbors 177 

Rufus Choate said of it at one of its stages: "The com- 
missioners might as well have decided that the line between 
the states was bounded on the north by a bramble bush, on 
the south by a bluejay, on the west by a hive of bees in 
swarming time, and on the east by five hundred foxes with 
firebrands tied to their tails." Connecticut claimed all the 
Narragansett country to the Bay by the conquest of the 
Pequots ; and Massachusetts on the ground of her assistance 
to Connecticut. Both regarded Rhode Island as a nonentity. 
In 1658, the New England commissioners assigned the 
Mystic River as the boundary between Massachusetts and 
Connecticut, giving Rhode Island and the eastern part of 
Connecticut to Massachusetts. The Connecticut charter 
in 1662, carried that colony to the Bay. In 1663, Rhode 
Island secured, through its agent in London, a charter 
which assigned the Pawcatuck River from mouth to source, 
and thence due north to the Massachusetts boundary as 
its western line. Confusion followed with proclamations, 
arrests, and bitter controversies until 1703, when commis- 
sioners were again appointed, who agreed that the boundary 
should be the middle channel of the Pawcatuck River, from 
salt water to the branch called Ashaway, and thence in a 
straight line north to the Massachusetts line, through a 
point twenty miles due west of the extremity of Warwick 
Neck. Contentions followed till 1727, when the Privy Coun- 
cil recommended that the agreement of 1703, should stand; 
and except for a slight straightening in 1840, it is the bound- 
ary between the states, established after sixty-five years of 
quarreling. It was fortunate for Rhode Island to be able 
to appeal to England, and the victory was just. 

Another controversy gave the colony trouble for years, 
the case of the cession in 1639, by the Mohican Indians of 
New London County and parts of Windham and Tolland 
counties. Uncas deeded this tract, the famous Norwich 
tract, to thirty-five proprietors; it covered nine square 
miles, and in 1640, a deed was drawn between Uncas and the 

.•■■ ^'<ri> ..T 

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178 A History of Connecticvit 

colony. The deed is ambiguous, but it states that Uncas 
parted with his whole country, except the planting ground, 
for five yards of cloth and a few pairs of stockings. This 
was done with the consent of Major John Mason, the chief 
adviser of the Mohicans. 

Other sales and grants were made by Uncas and other 
Mohicans until, in 1680, of the eight hundred square miles, 
the extent of the original Mohican country, only a small 
portion remained in possession of the Indians. The Mason 
family acted as trustees of the Mohicans, and the case was 
in litigation for almost a century. The decision was repeat- 
edly rendered, supporting the colony in the possession of the 
lands; and appeals were repeatedly made by the Mason 
family. In 1743, commissioners from New York and New 
Jersey confirmed the original decision sustaining the conten- 
tion of Connecticut; an appeal was taken to the king's 
Privy Council, which decided in favor of the colony. The 
decision was reached January 15, 1773, when the Mason 
appeal was dismissed, and the judgment of 1743, affirmed. 

Connecticut was not only under a strain to secure her 
boundaries, she was called on to help her neighbors; and 
when, in 1669, New York was threatened by the French and 
Indians, Governor Leisler wrote to her neighbor on the east, 
asking for troops. Captain Bull led a contingent to Albany, 
another force went to New York, and later, Connecticut 
joined the rest of New England and New York in an expedi- 
tion against Canada, which proved a failure. Another call 
came for help in 1693, and Governor Treat sent a body of 
troops to the defense of Albany. It was about that time 
that the liberties enjoyed so long were threatened by the 
arrival of Colonel Benjamin Fletcher, the new governor of 
New York, who came from England with a commission to 
command the whole militia of Connecticut and the neighbor- 
ing provinces. The Assembly, September i, 1693, voted 
that Major-General Fitz John Winthrop intercede with the 
king, and William Pitkin was sent to interview Governor 

iir'yI)Ot:\j\ ■ . _,* *'■'- ■<*■"•» '5*' I >. <r\ 

■' ,( if'' •, a 

Struggles for Self and Nei^Kbors 179 

Fletcher; the latter made no Impression on the martial 
governor. On October 26, Fletcher reached Hartford and 
demanded the surrender of the militia, and ordered that it 
be summoned under arms. The officers called the train- 
bands together. With the soldiers before the Assembly- 
House, the Assembly insisted that Fletcher's demands were 
not consistent with their charter. In Fletcher's name, 
Colonel Bayard sent a letter to the Assembly setting forth 
the object of the visit: not to interfere with the rights of 
the province, but merely for the recognition of the king's 
abstract right to control the military force; and he tendered 
to Governor Treat a commission in Fletcher's name to 
command the militia. He said also that he would issue his 
proclamation to the people, and would then be able to dis- 
tinguish the loyal from the disloyal. 

The train-bands were arranged in due order, Captain 
Wadsworth was walking up and down in front of the com- 
panies, when Fletcher approached to within hearing distance 
and ordered his commission and instructions to be read. 
The moment Bayard began to read, Captain Wadsworth 
commanded the drums to beat, drowning the voice of the 
herald. "Silence!" said Fletcher, in a tone of authority. 
When the beating subsided Bayard again began to read the 
commission. ^^Drum, I say, drum!'' said Wadsworth, and 
again the voice was lost in the drum-beat, "Silence, 
silence!" shouted the New York governor. "Drum, drum, 
I say!" repeated Wadsworth; and then turning to Fletcher 
he said, "If I am interrupted again, I will make the sun 
shine through you in a moment!" At that point, Fletcher 
withdrew. To show her loyalty under the charter, the 
Assembly voted a tax of a penny a pound to raise soldiers, 
and fifty bushels of wheat from every county, and the 
amount was paid Fletcher for defense of Albany. Winthrop 
was sent to England to make a full statement of the situa- 
tion to the king's attorney and solicitor-general, who re- 
ported favorably concerning the action of Connecticut, and 

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l8o A. History of Connectic\it 

the king approved. It was voted to place one hundred and 
twenty men at the disposal of the governor of New York, 
and that the remainder be under the direction of the governor 
of Connecticut. In 1703, Governor Dudley of Massachu- 
setts called for troops to aid in the war with the Indians on 
the east, and four hundred troops were raised. General 
Phineas Lyman was an able officer in later campaigns. 

There was a long struggle to retain the powers granted by 
the charter in opposition to the Board of Trade, which for 
forty years sought to carry out the plan of a union of the 
colonies. Charges were made against Connecticut of piracy, 
contraband trade, and other crimes, and Gershom Bulkley's 
"Will and Doom" played a part in the proceedings; there 
were also complaints of the treatment of the Mohicans. 
Governor Dudley supported the movement, and was seconded 
by Governor Cornbury of New York. Connecticut was 
represented by Sir Henry Ashurst, who, knowing that it was 
a struggle for cherished privileges of the colony, secured two 
of the best advocates in England, and these men argued the 
case effectively, insisting that a copy of the charges should 
be sent to the governor of Connecticut, with a request for 
answers to each allegation, and also that Dudley and Corn- 
bury be required to forward proofs in legal form. In due 
time a letter arrived from Ashurst telling the colony that 
it was the opinion of the crown that the colony should con- 
trol militia and money. This was not the last attempt to 
weaken the force of the charter, and a good deal could 
be said from the imperialist point of view, for the attempt to 
unite the colonies to the crown was not pure tyranny and 
maliciousness. From the standpoint of Connecticut the issue 
was a happy one, and though the colony entered the eight- 
eenth century burdened with debts incurred in the struggles 
for herself and her neighbors, the debts were of slight mo- 
ment in comparison with the institutions and discipline which 
sixty years of alertness, resoluteness, and poise had developed. 

H ,' iT •t.x'. !.J '^.' ■ ■ "J :;) ■■"> '; 

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WHILE the colonies of New England were all animated by 
a spirit of extreme independence, which often found 
expression in jealousy verging sometimes almost on hostiUty, 
there was a time when it seemed wise to form a confederacy. 
The nearness and hostiHty of the Dutch settlements, ner- 
vousness about the action of the mother-country, and the 
fear of the Indians brought about a league of the four colo- 
nies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and 
New Haven. There was a population of twenty- three 
thousand five hundred souls, of which number Massachu- 
setts had fifteen thousand, Plymouth and Connecticut three 
thousand each, and New Haven two thousand five hundred. 
There were several reasons why it seemed best to form the 
confederation, for despite the growth, energy, and optimism 
of the settlements, their condition was precarious for years. 
The Pequots had been swept away, but the colonists were 
surrounded by undesirable neighbors: Mohawks were 
not distant, Dutch were meddlesome, and Narragansetts 
powerful. In August, 1637, during the war with the Pe- 
quots, some of the Connecticut leaders suggested to the 
authorities at Boston the expediency of a form of union, 
and the next year Massachusetts submitted a plan, but 
Connecticut objected, because it permitted a mere majority 
of the federal commissioners to decide questions. In 1639, 
Hooker and Haynes went to Boston and discussed the pro- 


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l82 A. History of Connecticut 

posal, but Plymouth and Massachusetts disagreed over the 
boundary line, and the needed covenant was postponed. At 
a General Court held at Boston, September 27, 1642, letters 
from Connecticut were read, "certifying us that the Indians 
all over the country had combined themselves to cut off 
all the English." Anxieties also arose from the Dutch 
at that time, hence the Connecticut proposal was favorably 
received, and was referred to a committee to consider it. 
At the next General Court at Boston, May 10, 1643, a com- 
pact of confederation, drawn up in writing, was signed by 
commissioners from Plymouth, Massachusetts, Connecticut, 
and New Haven. The settlements of Gorges and Mason 
at Piscataqua and the beginnings of Rhode Island were 
denied admission, — the former, because they "ran a different 
course from us both in their ministry and administration," 
and the latter, because they were regarded as "tumultuous" 
and "schismatic." 

It was natural that men who had so much in common, who 
had come hither with similar purposes, should wish to 
form a league for mutual helpfulness and defense, yet they 
got along better by living in different colonies, because men 
of their positive views needed considerable room. They 
thought more of one another because miles of forest separated 
them, yet they were all Englishmen of solid common sense, 
who saw that in union there is strength. It is suggestive 
of their independence of judgment, and of an event one 
hundred and thirty-five years later, that they did not ask 
permission of their home government. After a preamble 
which said "we live encompassed with people of several 
nations and strange languages," that "the savages have 
of late combined themselves against us," and that "the sad 
distractions" in England prevented advice and protection 
thence; the paper states that the colonics wished to maintain 
"a firm and perpetual league of friendship and amity, for 
offense and defense, mutual advice and succor upon all just 
occasions, both for preserving and propagating the truth and 

T'j- n. 'i. I :... II :»j. 

.1 . . : 

\ 1 

}y\t. ■' i s .' If- 

XKe United Colonies of Ne-w England 183 

liberties of the gospel, and for their own mutual safety and 

The first two articles bound together the four colonies 
under the name of The United Colonies of New England. 
The third provided that they be self-governing. The 
fourth ordered that levies of men, money, and supplies 
for war should be assessed on the colonies, in proportion to 
the male population between sixteen and sixty. By the 
fifth, upon notice of three magistrates of an invasion, the 
rest were to send relief; Massachusetts to the number of 
one hundred men, and each of the others, forty-five, "suf- 
ficiently armed and provided, " and if more were needed the 
commissioners were to convene. By the sixth, a board of 
commissioners, consisting of two men from each colony, was 
to "determine all affairs of war or peace leagues, aids, charges, 
and numbers of men for war, division of spoils, receiving 
more confederates, and all things of Hke nature." The 
concurrence of six commissioners should be conclusive; 
failing in this, the matter was to be referred to the legisla- 
ture of each colony, and the concurrence of the four was 
to bind. The commissioners met once a year, and as much 
oftener as necessary. The six other articles ordered that 
the president should have "no power or respect" except "to 
take care and direct"; that action should be taken to pro- 
mote peace and justice between the colonies and toward the 
Indians, and the extradition of runaway slaves and fugitives 
from justice ; that whenever any colony violated the alliance, 
the others should determine the offense and remedy. 

The two defects in the constitution were that the federal 
government had no authority to act on individuals, and thus 
no power to coerce ; and the equal number of votes allowed 
the colonies was plainly unjust, since the population of 
Massachusetts was greater than that of the other three 
colonies combined. The commission, with such men as 
Haynes, Hopkins, Mason, Winthrop, Eaton, and Ludlow on 
the board, increased the military force of the colonies, and 

c. '1 

l.//.:^ :'^ 

r.J,.' .T i ^ 

184 -A. History of Connecticvit 

helped to solve puzzling questions about boundaries, pay of 
soldiers, tax on com and beaver, and union of Connecticut 
and New Haven. 

The last annual meeting of the confederation was held 
in Hartford in 1664. The conditions leading to the forming 
of the commission had to a large degree passed away; the 
surrender of New Amsterdam to the Duke of York had re- 
lieved the colony of her Dutch neighbors; Indians within 
the colonies were friendly, and for six years the meetings 
ceased, but in 1670, a convention was held in Boston, and 
new articles of confederation adopted. Power for offensive 
war was given to the several legislatures, and a fiery debate 
was had over the apportionment of military forces and i 
supplies. In the days of its prosperity, the confederation 
was of some use in concentrating and combining the military 
strength of the colonies; and in time of trouble, it sometimes 
brought relief and satisfaction to people tempted to be dis- 
couraged. To say that it helped much to prepare for the 
union of a century later suggests more exercise of imagination 
than use of facts. 


IT is impossible to think of the ancestors of the Connecticut 
as we know it as other than interested in manufacturing 
and trade. As we have seen, one of the inducements the 
Indians urged, when they invited the settlers to come hither, 
was the opportunity for trade. Since there were no roads 
in the beginning, and Soimd and rivers offered many con- 
venient outlets for their products, ships and shipbuilding 
began to interest the people at an early date. The larger 
vessels had three masts, whose principal sails were extended 
by yards slung to the middle, and often small vessels 
which would not now deserve the term. The Alayfioiuer, 
a large ship for its day, registered only one hundred 
and twenty tons. There was a two-masted vessel called 
the "ketch," square-rigged like those just described, and 
also having a fore-and-aft mainsail. There were also 
schooners with two topsails, and there were full-rigged brigs. 
The smaller boats were generally sloop-rigged, with one 
stout and not very high mast, a very large topsail and 
mainsail. The vessels were well-built and strong, and slow 
sailers, with low decks, high waist, and less sharpness in the 
bow than now, but they were good sea boats, and varied 
from fifty to two hundred tons. They made two, and some- 
times three, voyages a year to the West Indies. They often 
stayed long in a port to pick up a cargo, sending boats far 
along the coast or inland to gather sugar, molasses, and rum 



l86 A History of Connecticut 

from the large estates, and on these excursions sailors some- 
times contracted fevers. Shipbuilding was a laborious 
trade, as there were no appliances for bending timbers by 
steam; and logs were converted into planks by having one 
man beneath in a pit, the other above; bolts, spikes, and 
nails were shaped by the blacksmith; pins with a broad- 
axe. The first man in Wethersfield to build a ship was 
Samuel Smith, in the year 1649, and for many years 
sloops, schooners, and brigs were built there, on both sides 
of the river. The launching was a popular event, at which 
there was a liberal supply of Santa Cruz rum, and balls were 
often held in the evening. A diary of a Glastonbury man of 
October 30, 1794, says: "Went to launching of a ship of 
five hundred tons ; not less than three thousand persons were 
present. " When vessels sailed, it was the custom to have 
prayers offered in the churches for their safe return ; and on 
their coming to port, thanks were given for their safety. 

Owing to lack of knowledge of the coast and dangers from 
freebooters, especially in times of war, it was regarded a 
risky thing to go from New Haven to Boston; Nicholas 
Augur, one of the earliest physicians of New Haven, and 
interested also in commercial ventures, being about to sail 
for Boston, made his will. A few years later, when returning 
home, he was wrecked on an island off Cape Sable, and died 
there. The first mention of commerce between New Haven 
and Barbadoes was in 1647, when salted beef was exchanged 
for sugar. Salted fish was early an article of export — the 
famous alewives or alewhorps, whose many bones became 
tender by the time they reached the West Indies. In 1680, 
there were but twenty-six vessels in the colony— four ships, 
three pinks, two barks, six ketches, and eleven sloops. 
Hartford had a sloop of ninety tons, which traded with 
England; Middletown a ship of seventy tons; New Lon- 
don the brigantine Dolphin of eighty tons. These were 
engaged in European and West India trade. The ton- 
nage tax was fifteen shillings, paid annually as a town tax. 

^fr f: ■ X ; 


Early Man\ifact\irers and Commerce 187 

The slender commerce was carried on mostly from New 
London, whence all vessels had to clear, and where a naval 
officer was stationed. Goods could be imported only from 
the town of Berwick on the Tweed and the West Indies. 
In 1702, the number of lawful ports in the colony was in- 
creased to include Saybrook, Guilford, New Haven, Milford, 
Stratford, Fairfield, and Stamford. Commerce was handi- 
capped by scanty sawmills and shipyards, ignorance of 
channels and inlets, danger from pirates, and during wars, 
by French and Spanish privateers. The English Acts of 
Trade, dating from 1660, applied to the colonies, and there 
were restrictive laws passed by the several colonies against 
one another. A law was passed by the legislature in 1694, 
which required vessels to pay "powder money" at every 
fort, within whose range they came, at risk of cannonade. 
In 1659, nine men were appointed by the General Court, one 
for every port, to enter and record such goods as were sub- 
ject to custom. An excise of a shilling apiece was laid on 
beaver skins as early as 1638, and in 1659, a duty of twenty- 
five shillings was laid on every butt of wine, and a tax on 
liquor or rum, except that from Barbadoes, commonly called 
Kill Devil, which was not allowed to land. In 1662, an act 
was passed prohibiting the carrying of corn or other pro- 
visions out of the river, and in the same year, the General 
Court passed a vote to require the customs-masters to col- 
lect an import duty of twopence per pound on tobacco, 
"according to the law of England." 

In 1702, Saybrook became a port of entry for the river, 
and was allowed a naval officer, but he was not recognized 
by the crown, and vessels clearing from that town were 
liable to seizure in England, when they could not produce 
clearance papers signed by the collector of the crown at 
New London, the only port established by British authority. 
In 1 7 14, an export duty of twenty shillings per thousand was 
levied on barrel staves, and thirty shillings on pipe staves 
shipped from the colony, in which Wethersfield had the 

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i88 >V History of Connecticut 

largest business. "Pipe staves, clapboards, and tar" appear 
to have been the earliest articles of export, and these were 
carried off in such quantities that a fear arose that there 
might be a total destruction of timber, and as early as 1641, 
a law provided for the dimensions of pipe staves, and for 
an inspector in every town. The staves were shipped in 
bundles to the West Indies; many returning in the shape 
of pipes or hogsheads, filled with molasses, sugar, or rum; 
while many were made into casks in the colony, and filled 
with salt beef, pork, fish, and kiln-dried corn meal for the 
West Indies, whence also salt was brought in large quantities. 
In 1 715, a duty was imposed on ship timber sent to other 
provinces, and a duty of twelve shillings and sixpence was laid 
on every hundred pounds of goods imported here by non- 
inhabitants. In 1747, a five per cent, ad valorem duty was 
placed on goods imported from other colonies, if the importer 
resided in the colony; if he lived outside, the duty was half 
as much more. Exceptions to this law were iron, nails, 
steel, salt, beaver, leather, deerskins, fish, train-oil, whalebone, 
rice, tar, turpentine, window-glass, and lumber. From the 
report made to the Privy Council by Governor Leete in 
1680, it appears that horses, rye, wheat, barley, peas, wool, 
hemp, flax, cider, tar, and pitch were shipped to Barbados, 
Jamaica, Fayal, and Madeira, but much was taken to Boston 
and "bartered for clothing." Afterward, beaver, deer- 
skins, brick, salted beef, pork, and fish, flaxseed, and onions 
were added to the exports, and "European goods," with 
salt, rum, molasses, and sugar from the West Indies, formed 
the chief imports. 

There was another line of business carried on by the sea 
captains of which we have no definite records, a clandestine 
business, but one that had money in it, in which some of the 
vessels from Connecticut ports may have engaged — that of 
slavers. Vessels left New England for the Canary Islands 
"and a market," and the market was the west coast of 
Africa, and the return cargo was a load of blacks for the 



Early Manufacturers and Commerce 189 

West India ports or the southern cities of America. We 
wish it were not morally certain that some Connecticut 
captains engaged in this traffic; but the chances are that 
the attractions of making money in this way would 
appeal as strongly to an occasional Connecticut man as to 
a captain from Newport, and Narragansett Bay was the 
home of many vessels engaged in transporting blacks from 
Africa. If a vessel out of the Connecticut river, or New Lon- 
don harbor was gone six or nine months on a trading voyage, 
the wise ones looked as though they could a tale unfold. 
There was an effort in 1665, to make New London the 
center of trade in the colony; a letter was written by the 
colonial government to the commissioners appointed by 
Charles II., complaining of the low ebb in traffic, and asking 
for free trade for seven, ten, or twelve years. Again in 1680, 
there was a request for free ports for twenty, fifteen, or ten 
years. In describing the harbor the letter says: "A ship 
of five hundred tunns may go up to the Town, and come so 
near shoar that they may toss a biskitt on shoar. " No 
royal privileges were granted, nor were they necessary, for 
the energy and enterprise of the people were sufficient. The 
first shipbuilder of importance at New London, the best 
port of the colony, was John Coit, who built barks of from 
twelve to twenty tons for from fifty to eighty-two pounds. In 
1661, the first merchant vessel built in the place was launched 
with the name of New Loridon Try all, and the cost of it 
was two hundred pounds. There was soon a coast trade 
with New York, and in 1662, trade sprang up with Virginia 
in dry hides and buckskins. The captains were usually 
part owners, and vessels, carrying two men and a boy, went 
along the shore, stopping here and there to trade and dicker. 
New London soon became famous for its coasters and 
skippers, and men from other seaside places were engaged in 
the business. It was a notable event for the commerce of 
Connecticut when in October, 1707, John Shackmaple was 
appointed by the home government collector, surveyor. 

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190 A. History of Coninectic\it 

and searcher for the colony. Commerce increased, and 
horses were sent in large numbers to the West Indies. On 
June 26, 1724, six vessels went together, loaded with horses. 
The vessels were called " horse- jockeys " and forty or fifty 
horses were sometimes carried on one vessel. In 1720, 
Captain John Jeffrey came from Portsmouth, England, and 
settled at Groton Bank. Five years later, he built for 
Captain Sterling the largest vessel yet constructed on this 
side of the Atlantic, a vessel of seven hundred tons, and soon 
New London had a reputation for large ships. 

In 1730, the "New England Society of Trade and 
Commerce" was formed with eighteen members scattered 
over the colony, but misfortune attended it from the start: 
a whaler which it sent out came to grief; other vessels were 
lost, and it tried to redeem its fortunes by emitting paper, 
but to no good purpose, and the governor and council were 
forced to dissolve it in 1735. In 1760, the first lighthouse 
on the coast was erected at the entrance to New London 
harbor from the proceeds of a lottery. 

A famous enterprise of Connecticut Yankees started 
in 1740, when William and Edward Paterson came from 
County Tyrone, Ireland, skilled in the art of shaping tinned 
sheet iron into small ware. Settling in Berlin, they began 
work. Their goods were eagerly bought as luxuries, and in 
the dearth of roads and wagons they carried their products 
around in handcarts, and in large baskets swung from the 
backs of horses. Many shops were soon in full blast until the 
war interrupted the work. The minds of the people almost 
from the first turned to inventions and manufactures, and 
within a few years there were developed trades, engaging the 
skill of sawyers, carpenters, ship-carpenters, thatchers, chim- 
ney-sweepers, brickmakers, bricklayers, plasterers, tanners, 
shoemakers, saddlers, weavers, tailors, hatters, blacksmiths, 
gunsmiths, cutlers, nailers, millers, bakers, coopers, and 
potters. Often the same man practiced several trades. 
Little could be done without iron and copper and in 1651, 

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Early Man\ifactvirers and Commerce 191 

John Winthrop, Jr., petitioned the legislature for "incourage- 
ment to make search and trial for metals in this country." 
There was a cordial response, and in 1665, iron works were 
projected; Winthrop and Stephen Goodyear uniting in 
setting up a mill for rolling balls of iron, and a forge at the 
outlet of Lake Saltonstall, near New Haven, and the works 
were in operation there for several years. In 1661, Winthrop 
prospected in the vicinity of Middletown, and a lead mine, 
which had traces of silver, was worked there by skilled miners. 
Early in the eighteenth century, interest in mining awoke 
afresh when copper was found in Wallingford and Simsbury, 
and in 1709, the General Assembly granted the first charter 
in America to a mining company; this organization was 
formed to work the mine at Simsbury, now Granby. The 
first record of copper at Granby was in 1705, when a com- 
mittee from the town reported that there was a "mine of 
silver or copper in the town." Two years later a company 
was formed, and a contract made to dig for ore. The ore 
was shipped to England, and when assayed it was found to 
contain from fifteen to twenty per cent, of copper, with 
sprinklings of gold and silver; but the quartz mixed with it 
was refractory, and since England would not then allow 
smelters to be set up here, the cost of transportation being 
so heavy, with carting and loss of a vessel, which sank in the 
British Channel, and another captured by the French, the 
company bankrupted, and the buildings at the mines and 
the mine were attached in 1725. Work was carried on at 
intervals for seventy years, sometimes by slave labor some- 
times by free; now by private parties, then by chartered 
companies. In 1728, Joseph Higley took out a patent for a 
process of making steel — the first in America, and was given 
the monopoly for ten years, and in 1750, there was a steel 
furnace at Killingworth. The most important iron mines 
in Connecticut are those in Salisbury, where ore was first 
discovered about 1732, at Ore Hill, about a mile from the 
New York line — a deposit of brown hematite, and it was 

,'( /j.i:r: o: 

192 A. History of Connecticxit 

first forged at Lime Rock, five miles distant, in 1734. About 
1748, a forge was erected at Lakeville, and in 1762, the first 
blast furnace in the state was built, about two miles from the 
mine. After the Revolution opened, the government took 
possession and put it into full operation with sixty workmen, 
to furnish supplies for the army. Cannon up to thirty-two- 
pounders, with shot and shell, were cast there. The guns 
were tested under the eyes of such leaders as Jay, Morris, 
Hamilton, and Trumbull. The guns of the Battery at New 
York, of the Constellation, Constiiiitio?!, and many other 
battle-ships of the old navy, were made of the Salisbury 
iron, and probably at Lakeville. 

Other furnaces were established in that region, and at 
one time Litchfield County contained as many as fifty forges. 
The Salisbury mines furnish iron of decided value for cannon, 
gun-barrels, and chains, because of its toughness. For years 
the government arsenal at Springfield received from Salis- 
bury iron for guns. It is now used for car wheels, being 
mixed with other iron, thereby nearly doubling the life of a 
wheel. There are references in the records to iron works in 
Lyme in 1 741, in Derby in 1760; and the largest copper mine 
in Connecticut was opened in Bristol late in the eighteenth 
century. In 1766, Abel Buell of Killingworth made the 
first lapidary machine in this country. About 1769, there 
appeared the first series of historical prints — views of the 
battles of Lexington and Concord, also maps for Morse's 

Tobacco followed commerce from Virginia to Connecticut, 
and was first grown in the latter state in 1640; an old record 
says, "most people plant most so much tobacco as they 
spend." In 1641, the following law was passed: "It is 
ordered that what person or persons within this jurisdiction 
shall after September, 1641, drinke any other tobacco, but 
such as shalbe planted within their libertye, shall forfeit 
for every pound so spent, five shillings, except they have 
license from this Coute. " In 1646, the law was repealed; 


Early Manxifactvirers and Commerce 193 

and evidently the use rapidly increased, for in 1647, a law 
was passed to lessen the abuses arising from the new drug. 
It was provided that "no one under twenty years nor any 
other that hath not allreaddy accustomed himself to the Use 
thereof should take any Tobacco until he had a Certificat 
from some one approved in Physicke that it is usefull for 
him." A "Lycence" from the Court was also required. 
Even then, no one was to take it " Publicquely, " or in 
"fyelds or woods, unless they be on their travill or joyney at 
least ten myles. " The penalty for every violation was six- 
pence. A man might smoke at the "ordinary tyme of 
repast comonly called dynner, " but not take any "Tobacco 
in any howse in the same towne where he liveth with any one 
in company, if there be any more than one who Useth or 
drinketh the same weed with him at the same tyme." For 
fifty years the main question concerning the use of tobacco 
was from the standpoint of idleness and drinking. In 1662, 
a bill was passed in favor of high protection, putting on a 
tariff of twenty-five shillings per hogshead; after 1700, 
tobacco was one of the exports. 

In 1732, began the effort to raise silkworms. One of 
the earliest planters of mulberry trees was Gov. Jonathan 
Law, who introduced the raising of silkworms on his farm 
in Cheshire, and in 1747, appeared in public in the first coat 
and stockings made of Connecticut silk; Dr. Aspinwall of 
Mansfield doing much to promote the interest. The 
records of the General Assembly contain suggestive refer- 
ences to favors granted to promote infant industries; in 
1708, the exclusive right was given to John Elliot to man- 
ufacture pitch; potash received a favor in 1743, salt in 1746, 
in Branford and Lyme; tar and turpentine were subjects of 
law from 1720, bayberry tallow in 1724; in 1732, linseed oil; 
bells in 1736, and glass making in 1747, when Thomas 
Darling of New Haven was granted exclusive right to make 
window glass for twenty years, provided he made five hun- 
dred feet in four years. 

13 . 


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194 -^ History of Connecticut 

In 1769, Abel Buell of Killingworth established the first 
type foundry in America, and in the collection of petitions 
in the State Library is his appeal, printed with his type, ask- 
ing for a lottery or cash to enable him to manufacture type. 
The manufacture of paper began in Norwich in 1768; the 
colony giving to Christopher Leffingwell a bounty of two- 
pence a quire for writing paper, and one penny a quire for 
printing paper. In 1776, a paper-mill in East Hartford 
supplied the press at Hartford, which issued about eight 
thousand copies a week; and manufactured also writing 
paper used in the colony, together with much of that used by 
the Continental Congress. A bill to regulate the sale of 
onions dates from. 1 772 ; also a bill concerning the manufac- 
ture of ploughs in 1 77 1. In 1776, a man asked of the legisla- 
ture a loan of one hundred pounds to build a stocking factory. 
Inventive minds were seeking to solve the problem of per- 
petual motion, and asking the General Assembly for aid in 
achieving that brilliant exploit. It was a period of energy, 
enterprise, and venture — a vigorous preparation for the mar- 
vellous developments of the next century. 

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THE century following the grant of the charter was a 
season of quiet growth, during which Connecticut went 
steadily forward, building the institutions of a free common- 
wealth with judgment and energy. The charter was liberal 
and strong; the people thrifty, industrious, and energetic; 
occasions for commerce favorable; much of the soil good, 
and the climate stimulating. In 1680, the colonial govern- 
ment of Connecticut, in answer to a request of the English 
board of trade, sent a statement of the condition of the 
colony, which suggests the weakness of the colony and the 
sturdy hearts of the colonists. John AUyn wrote the draft 
of the letter, and he estimated the fighting men in train-hands 
of the colony at two thousand five hundred and seven, 
which would imply a population of ten thousand, or 
five persons to the square mile. The people had "little 
traffique abroad," except "sending what provisions we rays 
to Boston, where we buy goods with it, to cloath vs." He 
described the country as mountainous, rocky, and swampy ; 
most that was fit had been taken up: "what remaynes must 
be subdued, and gained out of the fire, as it were, by hard 
blowes and for small recompence." The principal towns 
were Hartford, New Haven, New London, and Fairfield, 
with twenty-six smaller towns. The buildings were of 
wood, stone, and brick, many of them "forty foot long and 
twenty broad, and some larger." The exports were farm 



196 j\ History of Connecticvit 

products, boards, staves, and horses, mainly sent to Boston, 
but some to the West Indies to barter "for sugar, cotton 
and rumme and some money." There were but twenty 
merchants in the colony, few servants, and about thirty 
slaves. Labor was scarce and dear; wages were two shillings 
and two and sixpence a day ; provisions were cheap ; beggars 
and tramps "were not suffered, " and when found they were 
bound out to service. Taxable property was estimated at 
one hundred and ten thousand pounds; two-fifths of it 
being of the nature of a poll tax, and this tax was assessed 
according to an arbitrary schedule of wealth or position, so 
that it took the nature of an income tax. 

In the development of new towns, one of two methods 
was followed: A speculator or company might buy lands 
from the Indians, with the approval of the General Assembly, 
and as soon as the rates became sufficiently large to need the 
extension of the Assembly's taxing power over the little 
community, a committee was appointed by that body to 
bound out the town ; it was then in order to choose constables, 
and send delegates to the Assembly. The other process 
tended to become the only one, and it was as follows: the 
original towns were usually extensive — six to ten miles square 
as Wethersfield embraced Glastonbury, Rocky Hill, Newing- 
ton and a part of Berlin; and persons living in remote 
parts finding it difficult to attend the central church, 
especially in winter, would ask for "winter-privileges" for 
a time and would have a preacher for themselves during the 
snowy months. When enough people could be found in a 
certain section to support a minister of their own, they 
applied to the General Assembly for permission to form a 
church. This usually met strong opposition from the old 
church, but at length the come-outers had their way; form- ; 
ing a church, which became a germ of a new town. A good '■ 
example is Plainfield, which was settled as the Qtdnnabaiig 
Plantation, and in 1700, becoming a town it was incorporated 
under the name of Plainfield, which gave as a brand for the 

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Expansion 197 

horses turned loose to pasture, a triangle. We are not to think 
that changes came in the towns, and separations of neigh- 
borhoods into new towns as gently and quietly as spring 
passes into summer. Such resolute men as settled Connecti- 
cut seldom neglected an occasion for debate and even con- 
troversy, when they imagined their rights threatened, or 
thought they could advance their interests. ' There was a 
border warfare between Plainfield and Canterbury, attended 
by pulling down fences and carrying off hay and grain. There 
were innumerable lawsuits, and nearly all the principal 
men of Canterbury were indicted for "stealing bales of 
hay," and fined ten shillings. In 1703, the General As- 
sembly ordered a division of the territory, and in 1714, the 
same body ordered the following of the line established at 
the earlier date, thus increasing the confusion, and fanning 
the flames of border-ruffianism; and finally, in 1 72 1, the 
limits of the contending towns were established. 

From 1700, until 1745, thirty new towns were incorpo- 
rated, and the growth in population was steady. In 1755, 
the board of trade estimated it at one hundred thousand. 
In 1762, all the .soil of the colony had been allotted to town- 
ships, and new towns formed after that year were carved 
out of those already in existence. Even in the dark days 
of the Revolution, the energetic people continued to pop- 
ulate the vacant places. In 1779-80, five towns were laid 
out; from 1784, to 1787, twenty-one, — twelve of them 
in 1786. Tolland County was divided off in 1786, as Wind- 
ham had been in 1726, Litchfield in 1751, and Middlesex in 
1765. These, with the four original counties of Fairfield, 
New Haven, Hartford, and New London, made the present 
eight counties. 

The settlement of Windham County may illustrate the 
way the later counties came into being. Windham County 
is the northeast section of the state, about eighty miles 
from Boston, and across it travelers toiled without halting 
for over half a century, regarding its broken, rock-strewn 

:-'"'^V^. i 



198 -A History- of Connecticvit 

surface, its lakes and rivers, its wild, craggy forests, miry 
swamps, and sandy barrens as a part of a "hideous and 
trackless wilderness." Large parts of it had been kept 
burned over by the Indians for pasturage for deer. In 1664, 
settlers came from Roxbury to the Nipmuck region, travel- 
ing over the Old Connecticut Path to form a town in what 
is now Woodstock, and on March 5, 1690, the Assembly 
voted to call it Woodstock, and in the following May, the 
first town meeting was held in the town. Two years later, 
a similar meeting was held in Windham, and Pomfret held 
a meeting before 1700; Plainfield, one in 1700; Canterbury, 
one in 1703, and Killingley in 1708. In Ashford, that wild, 
forest region, remote from civilization, yet on the Old 
Connecticut Path, which ran across what is now its common, 
the first town meeting was held in 17 15. It came to pass 
that, during the forty years following the first settlement of 
that region, eight towns were formed in Windham County, 
and every one of them had settled "a learned and orthodox 
minister," and had grist mills, tanneries, the beginnings of 
roads, besides taverns. Money was scarce, food scanty, 
hard work plentiful, a conspicuous arena for the Great Awak- 
ening so soon to come, and a rich field for the builders 
of summer homes in recent years. 

Litchfield County, so famous for its glorious scenery, 
learned jurists, and powerful preachers, was organized in 
1 751, having eleven towns, Canaan, Cornwall, Salisbury, 
Kent, Sharon, Torrington, Harwinton, Woodbury, New 
Hartford, Goshen and New Milford. This is the largest 
county in the state, with a gravely loam, interspersed with 
fertile lands, and watered by the Naugatuck, Housatonic, 
and Farmington rivers. 

Before all the soil of the colony had been taken by settlers 
there was a disposition to swarm. The first effort was due 
to the boundary settlement of 1713-14 between Connecticut 
and Massachusetts. Because of concessions made by 
Connecticut, Massachusetts gave the sister colony sixty 

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; I -_ • 

Expansion 199 

thousand acres of her western lands. Some of these were 
in Vermont, though believed to be in Massachusetts. Pri- 
vate parties bought them, and the erection of Fort Dummer 
in 1729, gave some promise of protection. New York 
claimed the whole territory under the grant to the Duke 
of York, but the Connecticut colonists carried with them 
the system of town government with which they were 
familiar, and asserted their "independence and imbridled 
democracy." When the territory became a state in 1777, it 
took the title of New Connecticut, the name Vermont being 
substituted during the year — a triumph for the Connecticut 
town system. The way Vermont was settled is also sug- 
gested by names of towns found in that state, such as Hart- 
ford, Wethersfield, and Windsor. Vermont may be thought 
of as a child of Litchfield County. Ethan Allen was born at 
Litchfield in 1739; when thirty years old he moved to what 
was then known as New Hampshire Grants, but is now Ver- 
mont, and became a vigorous opponent of the encroachments 
of New York. Seth Warner, born in Roxbury, Connecticut, 
in 1743, settled at Bennington, and with Allen became one 
of the active Green Mountain Boys, resisting New York 
encroachments and valiant in the Revolution. The first 
governor of Vermont was from Litchfield County, and in 
later times three other governors, three United States 
senators, and one chief justice. Forty-five of her governors 
have been natives of Connecticut; twenty-one of her Su- 
preme Court judges, and eleven of her United States 

The expansion of the colony westward was encouraged 
by the fact that the charter bounds extended to the Pacific 
Ocean. When the Plymouth council gave up its charter 
in 1635, it notified the king that the grant was "through all 
the mainland, from sea to sea, being near about three thou- 
sand miles in length." The geographers in England knew 
also that the Connecticut grant was three thousand miles 
long, though no one dreamed then of pressing the claim be- 


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20O A History of Connecticvat 

yond the Mississippi River to lands owned by the Spanish, 
but Connecticut did think that she owned the northern 
two-fifths of Pennsylvania. Soon after the charter was 
granted, Charles gave his brother James the Dutch colony 
of New Netherland, thus interfering with the contin- 
uity of Connecticut. In 1681, Charles gave William Penn 
a grant of Pennsylvania, which took from the Connecticut 
strip the northern coal, iron, and oil fields. In 1753, a move- 
ment was made to colonize the Wyoming Country as the 
Pennsylvania section was called: it started in Windham 
County. In 1754, the Susquehanna Company was formed 
with nearly seven hundred members, of whom six hundred 
and thirty-eight were of Connecticut. Their agents made a 
treaty with the Five Nations, July 11, 1754, by which they 
secured for two thousand pounds a tract of land, beginning 
at the forty-first degree of latitude, the southern boundary 
of Connecticut; thence running north, following the line 
of the Susquehanna to the present northern boundary of 
Pennsylvania; thence one hundred and twenty miles west; 
thence south to the forty-first degree, and back to the point 
of beginning. The General Assembly of Connecticut 
acquiesced, provided that the king approved. Pennsylvania 
objected, but the company sent out surveyors and plotted 
the tract. Settlement began on the Delaware River in 
1757, and in the Susquehanna purchase in 1762. There 
were conflicts between the settlers and the Pennsylvania 
men; the number of Connecticut men increased to some 
three thousand. The Connecticut Assembly passed a resolu- 
tion in 1771, maintaining the claim of its colony to its charter 
limits west of the Delaware. In 1774, i^ raised the Susque- 
hanna district into a town, under the name of Westmoreland, 
making it a part of Litchfield County, and its deputies took 
their places in the Connecticut legislature. In 1776, 
Westmoreland was made a distinct county. Connecticut 
laws and taxes were enforced regularly; Connecticut courts 
alone were in session there; the levies from the district 


;V'-pIlIS TICKET entitles the licarcr to IuTT^ Pi;/c :«.>.^^ 
'■'<'' Ihall be cirawM a air.U ii^ Nunilcr. Sub'i'.ct lo .:.') 

\.'4>I>aluction ot" 'l^vclvc and ai>;Tl:\!r [)cj><I^nr. • ') 

Ticket of a Lottery to Build the Bulfinch State-House. The Original is Owned by 

George S. Godard 

At the May session. 1793, the General Assembly granted a lottery to raise ^5000 lawful money 
for erecting and completing the State House at Hartford, and appointed Messrs. Jcjhn 
Chester, Noadiah Hooker, John Caldwell, John Morgan, John Trumbull, or any two of them , 
managers. Owing to circumstances the lottery was not productive 

Ah (titro fliom <iiii<> wiim hikIi 11 mokI.'' 

NuTK.— Tho |irlnrl|iiil aiitli<irlt,v Im- \\w Htiitiwiion'.H miikUi in tlil>« iiajxr !» 

mn'rriil llllll<lr<^<1 iiiuiiumi Ti|it tullcrit iiml (Idciiiiii'iilH owiu'd l>y tlio (.'• ci-iiciii. 

Sot'ioty. by t^ilOl«(^ Kiiul pul'liiUHldii llicy liitvn ln'uu ciiiiNiilti'il iinil iimi iI 
Till' lollnwiii^ AiK llin chii-t' iirliilxil mil hiiriUiN Ihiil liuvi Imm 11 •.iimiiltnl 
TIloCnniiiM'lli-iil (ill^^Till(lS^lt<<l iiikI I'uiisjili r. iI. Kitrltord, ITU'J 
1'Imi UI»(S rr<i(2ri>HN, iiinl IClVxt't nl' tlic ('liiliii of tli<i Cdiiiici-IUiiI (inrti Siiil<'( 
mil.n.l., \Avfl. 

All lll<|llil'.> Ciiliri'l'liiliK llli'liriilll <if llii> l.i't:l>llillllli\ of CiililH'rliriil to ,\ 11 
iiltil 4iM-oiiiiii)i IliiUi-y llinlfoiil. IHJl) 

fl mrie 


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MJ cloim 


New York 



Western ffeiene 



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U<-|)orl 4if llin I:i-){i-iiIn' lloilliiliir.\ (.'oiiiiiiImnIiiii ii|ioii IIio Ni'w VoiU iiikI rrliii-<\ Iv.iiii.i\ . ,\ll>.lll\, IMMl. 

I'iiiiiiImiII, llro.i.iiiiiii. A I'li'il III \ IlKlitutloti of tins (' |I<hI I'itir I.. ||>.' I 'oiiI. -i..! 

l.itioU l<.\lii« W.^lnl ll)« I'loviiin-of Ntw Vork. Now llav.ii 1771 (h.t I 

P.M.ri', Hill. I'cilcy, Tho KimIithI iiiul Sdilo C'on>itittiii.>MH, Culonml Ch.iiiri-i \\ .i-.|i. 
hiKloii, 1H<7 

The Connecticut Land Gore 

From The Connecticut Land Cure Cumpany, by Albert C. Bates 


Expansion 201 

formed the twenty-fourth Connecticut regiment in the 
Continental armies. In July, 1778, after the Continental 
Congress had refused to allow the men from Westmoreland 
in the army to return home, a band of tories and Indians 
under John Butler and Joseph Brandt, fell upon the defense- 
less settlement. The old men and boys mustered, and fought 
until half their number was cut down. The women and chil- 
dren were spared for the greater horrors of the overland retreat 
to Connecticut, and the new county disappeared. Detached 
parties returning from time to time, gathered slight crops, 
under danger from the Indians, but Westmoreland County 
was no more. When the articles of confederation went 
into force, a court was appointed to settle the Susque- 
hanna or Wyoming dispute. Connecticut asked for time to 
get papers from England, but was overruled by Congress, 
which ordered the court to meet at Trenton, The unani- 
mous decision was that Wyoming belonged to Pennsylvania, 
The Wyoming settlers had a hard time for years, being 
deserted by their own state, and left to the mercy of rival 
claimants. The old Susquehanna Company reorganized in 
1785-86, but there were dissensions between the first settlers 
and the newcomers, and in 1799, Pennsylvania passed an 
act to allow actual settlers to retain their lands, thus there 
came to be a large infusion of Connecticut blood in Pennsyl- 
vania. Had it not been for the Revolution, Connecticut 
might have retained the Wyoming country; as it was, the 
dreams of Westmoreland faded, and the state is restricted 
to the present territory. 

This seems to be the place to speak of the Connecticut 
Gore Land Company. In May, 1792, five citizens of Hart- 
ford were appointed to build "a large and convenient State 
House," and owing to a scarcity of money, the Assembly 
in May, 1793, voted that the committee be allowed to hold 
the Hartford State House Lottery. Tickets to the number 
of twenty-six thousand six hundred and sixty-seven were 
issued at five dollars a ticket. Twelve and a half per 

^ . 

202 A History of Connecticxit 

cent, was set apart for the prizes, which ranged from ten 
to eight thousand dollars. Two years dragged by with 
small sales of the tickets; the lottery was a failure. The 
money contributed by the state for the new building having 
been expended, the work was at a standstill, when, in May, 

1794, Jeremiah Halsey and Andrew Ward of Guilford pro- 
posed that the state deed to them the Gore west of the Dela- 
ware River, that they might sell the land in foreign markets, 
offering to share the proceeds with the state. On July 25, 

1795, Samuel Huntington, the governor, executed a deed, 
releasing the land to the men mentioned above. The Gore 
was a strip of land, two and a third miles wide and two 
hundred and forty-five miles long, and it came into possession 
of Connecticut in this way. The Plymouth Company, in 
1628, sold to an association of Massachusetts Bay all New 
England from the Atlantic ocean to the South Sea, between 
the parallels three miles north of the Merrimack River and 
three miles south of the Charies River, "or of any or every 
part thereof." The Connecticut charter described its 
northern boundary as the southern of Massachusetts. The 
question as to the boundary between Connecticut and 
Massachusetts, as we have seen in an earlier chapter, was 
long in controversy: In 1642, the Massachusetts surveyors 
placed it at forty-one degrees iifty-five minutes north lati- 
tude, and in 1695, Connecticut surveyors placed it at forty- 
two degrees north, or a difference of two miles and a third, 
and thus the strip of two and a third by two hundred and 
forty-five miles, west of New York, became known as the \ 
Gore. After receiving the deed. Ward and Halsey offered 
fifty thousand acres for sale, and the value of the land rose 
as farms were bought. New York interfered, and the courts 
supported the Connecticut Gore Land Company, but in the 
deal between the United States government and Connecticut, 
whereby the latter gave up all claims on western lands, on 
condition that it receive the Connecticut Reserve, the Gore 
was ceded to the United States and to the individual states. 

Expansion 203 

Meanwhile the statehouse had been finished; shares in the 
Gore Company dropped to nothing; in 1805-08, Connecticut 
paid it forty thousand dollars and the Gore became a dim 

In return for its surrender of its claims on western lands, 
the United States Government gave to Connecticut a tract 
about the size of Wyoming in the western part of Ohio, 
which became known as the Western Reserve of Connecti- 
cut, and it contained about three million three hundred 
thousand acres, the settlement of which was not attempted 
until after the passage of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, 
which was the beginning of government under territorial 
system. The authorship of that Ordinance has usually 
been attributed to Nathan Dane of Massachusetts, but 
Manasseh Cutler of Killingley, minister, doctor, scientist, 
and diplomat, had decided influence in Congress as he talked 
of the interests of Ohio with brilliant persuasiveness, in- 
sisting that slavery should be excluded, and provision made 
for a university. Indian hostilities delayed the settlement 
of the Reserve, but after Anthony Wayne's campaign in 
1 794, toilers on the rocky farms of Connecticut sighed for the 
mellow soil of Ohio, and in 1795, the General Assembly 
passed an ordinance, approving the sale of the land, and 
entrusting it to eight men, one from every county. The 
section was divided into twelve hundred thousand shares, 
and Oliver Phelps, a native of Windsor, led the enter- 
prise, opening an office in Canandaigua — the first in the 
country for sale of forest lands to settlers. Moses Cleave- 
land of Canterbury, magnetic, able, decisive, and patriotic, 
was selected as agent of the company. Cleaveland, whose 
name will always be associated with the city of that name, 
after service in the Revolution, and taking his degree from 
Yale, opened a law office in Canterbury and won a high place 
among the able lawyers of Windham County. The winter 
of 1795-96 was one of active preparation for the migration. 
Augustus Porter, a surveyor, a native of Connecticut, after 

.■^i- i^ Hi 


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204 -A. History of Connectic\it 

seven seasons of laying out lands in western New York, 
was well fitted to conduct the expedition. Six weeks carried 
the party to Lake Ontario, and the portage around Niagara 
Falls was wearisome. On the site of Buffalo, a conference 
was held with Red Jacket of the Six Nations, the stalwart 
form, martial air, together with the curt but courteous ad- 
dress of General Cleaveland won the admiration and con- 
fidence of the Indians. The payment of twelve hundred 
and fifty dollars in goods secured from the chiefs a formal 
relinquishment of their claim to land in the Western Re- 
serve, and the expedition embarked on Lake Erie. On July 
4, the twentieth anniversary of American Independence, 
they landed at a place they christened Fort Independence, 
and celebrated, by salutes for New Connecticut. Toasts 
were given and the day "closed with three cheers. Drank 
several pails of grog, supped, and retired in remarkable good 
order." A few more days of coasting brought the party 
to Cuyahoga River, where a landing was effected. After 
climbing to a broad plateau, and gazing upon the blue 
waters of the lake and the wide plain. General Cleaveland 
said: "This shall be the site of our city. Here we will lay 
the foundation of the metropolis of our Reserve." It was 
a sun-bumed, travel-stained company of men that stood 
there that July day, a fitting beginning for the city of 
Cleaveland, and the development of great business and 
educational interests of the Western Reserve. The cen- 
sus of 1850 shows that twenty-three thousand of the 
Ohio people were from Connecticut, and nineteen thousand 
from Massachusetts. 

Few other men in American history have accomplished 
results of greater importance than Moses Austin and his 
son Steven, in planning and carrying into execution the 
making of Anglo-American Texas. It was a venturesome 
family. Elijah served in the Revolution, and was the first 
to fit out a ship for China. Moses, brother of EHjah, was bom 
in Durham, in 1764; he established at St. Genevieve, Mis- 

■■ r: c ■' > : > "T « ■'tf ' / \. 

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[Expansion 205 

souri, the first mines west of the Mississippi ; he planted an 
Anglo-American colony in the rich wastes of Texas. Steven 
Austin, the son, took up the work; both father and son 
builded better than they knew, and are highly honored as 
noble founders of the Lone Star State. 

In 1666, Philip Carteret, the new governor of East 
Jersey, arrived, and he sent agents at once to New England, 
to publish the terms offered to settlers, and invite them to 
his lands. The offer was liberal, and, in the following year, a 
committee from Guilford, Milford, and Branford was sent 
ahead to look over the country, to learn more exactly of the 
offer, and discover how friendly were the Indians. The reply 
was favorable, and the word passed to buy a township, 
select a site and arrange for settlement. Soon thirty fam- 
ilies were on the way by boat from New Haven to Newark. 
On reaching the spot selected, delegates were appointed 
to form a government, and true to the principles of the 
New Haven colony, no one was allowed to vote or hold 
office, unless he was a member of a Congregational church. 
A typical pioneer was James Kilbum of Granby, who in 

1802, formed a company with seven associates to move to 
the Northwest Territory ; Kilbum going ahead to explore. In 

1803, a schoolhouse, log church, blacksmith shop, and twelve 
cabins were built in Worthington, Ohio, and a hundred per- 
sons had arrived. The first Episcopal church in the state was 
formed there, and in 181 7, Worthington College, of which 
James Kilbum became president. He also went to the legis- 
lature and to Congress, and he formed an early aboHtion 
society. Many of the first settlers in Ohio showed their 
origin, naming their towns Kent, Ashland, and Lebanon. 

Of eighteen early governors of Wisconsin, four were bom 
in Connecticut, whose pioneers were not apt to stop in 
Indiana, for the southern element was strong there, and the 
Virginian and Kentuckian were in danger of confusing the 
Unscrupulous Yankee peddler with the substantial Yankee 
farmer, treating both alike. 

c x:;^r;ie >T'.-f !§,A 

'f^A U 

3;'W .' .'!■ 

iCi J. j ;.r '; 


A. History of Connecticvit 

Connecticut people usually knew exactly whither they 
were going, and they moved in large numbers to Long Is- 
land, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, 
Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. The school system of 
Michigan was carried bodily to Wisconsin. They were 
great movers, and at ColHnsville, Illinois, opposite St. Louis, 
the three Collins brothers from Litchfield established a 
town in 1817. They used the same horse-power for a 
distillery, sawmill, cooper-shop, blacksmith and carpenter 
shop; built, in 1818, a union meeting-house, which was also 
used as pubHc school and Sunday School, and their father 
became the first substantial contributor to Illinois College. 
From 1676, to 17 13, Connecticut expanded more rapidly 
and emigrated more widely than any other New England 
colony, and the descendants of this state are found from 
New Hampshire to Michigan. 

J f 



SINCE the leaders in the settlement of Connecticut were 
men of trained intelligence and energy, they began as 
soon as possible to lay the foundations of a school system, 
and Hartford was three years old when John Higginson 
opened a school there. There must have been a school in 
New Haven that year, for a record of the Court says that 
Thomas Fugill was required to keep Charles Higginson 
at school for one year. Christmas, 1641, New Haven 
colony ordered that a free school be started in town, and 
John Davenport was requested to ascertain the amount of 
money which would be required to support it, and to draw 
up rules for it. In 1644, the legislature of Connecticut 
established a school system, and Lord Macaulay, in a famous 
address in Parliament in 1847, eulogized the fact that 
"exiles living in the wilderness should grasp and practice 
the principle that the state should take upon itself the educa- 
tion of the people." As in all the other colonies there was 
need of schools, for the greater part of the people had 
little education when they came hither, and some of the 
most active of the proprietors could not write their names. 
Eight of the first thirty-five that settled Norwich, as ap- 
pears from inspection of deeds and conveyances, affixed 
their marks, yet among them were townsmen, deacons, and 

The mode adopted was like that with which the colo- 



'■'■r . ■ w 

I . i 1 

•1 ' .■;] 

2o8 JK. History of Connecticxit 

nists had been familiar in England — the method of town 
control — and the duty was laid upon the local authorities to 
establish schools, and to work with parents in the endeavor 
"not to suffer so much barbarism in any of the families as to 
have a single child or apprentice unable to read the holy 
word of God, and the good laws of the colony; and to bring 
them up to some lawful calling or employment." Every 
town of fifty families was required to maintain a school in 
which "reading and wrighting" should be taught, and in 
every town of one hundred households a grammar school 
should be supported, and if any town failed to have a 
grammar school it was required to contribute to a neighbor- 
ing school. In 1658, the law was modified to read thirty 
families instead of fifty, and in 1672, it was ordered that in 
place of the requirement that there should be a grammar 
school in every town with one hundred families, every 
county town should have a grammar school, with teachers 
competent to prepare for college. There were then four 
county towns, Hartford, New Haven, New London, and 
Fairfield, and the law continued for a century and a quarter. 
In the early time the studies were few but the terms were 
long, for in 1677, it was ordered that the school year be at 
least nine months in duration, but in 1690, the time required 
was reduced to six months in a year. Evidently the laws 
to promote universal education were evaded, for in 1690, the 
legislature passed the vote that since there were "many 
persons unable to read the English tongue . . . the grand 
jury men in each towne doe once in the year at least, vissit 
each famaly they susspect to neglect this order . . . and if 
they finde any such children and servants not taught as 
theire yeares are capeable of . . . they shall be fyned twenty 
shillings for each offence." There was the beginning of a 
new era in the history of education in Connecticut in 1700, 
the year in which was established the "Collegiate School," 
which became Yale College. In that year was completed 
a revision of the laws, in which it was ordered that every 

;i J .C iT') ':' . ) 

Edxication 209 

town having seventy householders should have "a sufficient 
school master to teach children and youth to read and write, " 
and this school should be in session for eleven months in the 
year; also that every town with a less number than seventy 
households should have a "sufficient school master to teach 
for one half the year." The first mention of committees is 
in 1702. The clergy, authorized by the legislature, were 
the committee, visiting the schools to see that the catechism 
was thoroughly learned and religion drilled in. The custom 
of appointing a separate school committee crystallized into 
a law in 1750, when provision was made for the appoint- 
ment of such officers. 

The change from the town to the parish system was made 
in 1 7 12, when it was enacted that all the parishes, which 
were already made, or afterwards should be made, should be 
provided with funds for maintaining schools within their 
limits. At first the parishes were school districts of the 
towns, but in 1760, the societies began to organize as 
educational areas, often coterminous with towns. As 
population increased, the school districts multiplied, and 
in 1776, there were seventy-three towns and one hun- 
dred and ninety societies, every society having a de- 
finite territory. In 171 7, societies were authorized to 
choose clerks and committees, and levy taxes, and these 
powers placed them on nearly the same footing as towns. 
In 1766, it was enacted that "each town and society 
shall have full power and authority to divide themselves 
into proper and necessary districts, for keeping their 
schools, and to alter and regulate the same from time to 
time as they shall have occasion." Another step was taken 
in 1794, when it was enacted that "the several school 
districts . . . shall have power and authority to tax them- 
selves for the purpose of building and repairing a school 
house ... to choose a clerk . . . and to appoint a col- 
lector." From 1797, to 1839, committees were appointed for 
the districts by the town or society, after that they appointed 

'j -ir.t 


210 A History of Connecticut 

their own committees. A law passed in 1795, referred to the 
parishes or ecclesiastical societies "in their capacity of school 
societies," giving for the first time this title, and in 1798, 
the care of schools was transferred entirely from the towns to 
the school societies, with which it remained till 1856, when 
towns chose their system. During that period a school 
society might include a whole town, a part of a town, or 
parts of two or more towns, and all the business concerning 
schools was under its care. This system came about 
naturally, for the original towns were very large. After a 
time the dwellers in new communities petitioned for per- 
mission to form new parishes, and it was found convenient 
to manage the schools in those districts through the church 
organization. At length these societies became separate 
towns, and thus they prepared the way for a return to the 
town method. The act of 1798, perfected the old system; 
every society was given power to appoint a suitable number 
of persons (not to exceed nine) to be visitors, "to examine, 
approve and dismiiss school teachers, and appoint public 
exercises." County towns were no longer required to main- 
tain a Latin school, but every society might institute a school 
of a higher order. 

Before giving an account of the later development of 
public means of education, we must speak of the School 
Fund, which has played such a part in Connecticut schools. 
The funds to support public schools have been derived from 
several sources — taxes, tuition fees, and the income of 
invested funds. Taxation and tuition fees were resorted 
to from earliest times, the first school in New Haven being 
maintained wholly by taxes. Hartford guaranteed the 
teacher's salary, though a part, if not the whole, was expected 
from tuition fees, the town making up any deficiency, and 
paying for those who were unable to pay for themselves. 
The code of 1650, provided that the teachers' "wages shall 
be paid either by the parents or masters of children, or by the 
inhabitants in general." The New Haven code of 1656, 

Education ail 

provided that one-third be paid by the town in general, 
and the other two-thirds "by them who have benefite there- 
of." In 1677, a new step was taken when it was ordered 
that the teacher should be paid by taxation, "except any 
town shall agree upon som other way to rayse the maynte- 
nance of him they shall imploy in the afoarsayd worke." 
The revision of 1700, ordered that a tax of forty shillings to 
a thousand pounds be levied on all property for schools, 
and if that proved insufficient, one half of the deficit should 
be made up "by the inhabitants of such town, and the other 
half by the parents or masters of the children that go to the 
school." This law remained in force until 1820. In 1754, 
the rate was cut from forty to ten shillings on the thousand 
poimds. In 1 766, it was raised to twenty shillings, then to 
forty shilHngs, and after fifty years it was abolished. In 
1837, Connecticut received from the United States Treasury 
$763,661, its share of the Town Deposit Fund. 

There are special invested funds as sources of income, 
and the first of these was the gift of Edward Hopkins to 
Hartford and New Haven, and of Robert Bartlett of New 
London, funds used for schools of a high order. A large 
part of the funds belonging to towns and societies was de- 
rived from the Western Lands so called, in the northwestern 
comer of the state. When Sir Edmund Andros was endeav- 
oring to obtain control of the colony, a special session of the 
legislature was held January 26, 1687, to take measures to 
defeat Sir Edmund's purposes, and the public lands, that had 
not been previously sold or granted, were disposed of at that 
session, and more than half of what is now Litchfield County 
was given to Hartford and Windsor. After the Andros 
trouble was over, those towns proceeded to sell the lands, 
and of course a controversy arose between them and the 
colony, and this contest continued until 1731, when it was 
decided to divide the land into two parts, and have the 
colony take the western half and the towns the eastern. 
In 1733, the colony ordered that the seven towns, into which 


.h 'S I ii' 

212 A, History of Connecticvit 

the western territory was divided, be sold, and the money 
received for them be given to the towns already settled, 
according to the polls and ratable estates, to be set apart 
by each town as a permanent fund. It is not known how 
much was realized by the sale, but Salisbury was sold for 
nearly seven thousand pounds, and Kent for more than 
twelve hundred. Another source of school funds was from 
an act passed in 1766, granting the arrears of excise on 
liquors, tea, and other goods, but the main school fund was 
gained by the sale of lands in Ohio. As stated elsewhere 
the charter of Charles II., in 1662, conveyed a tract extending 
from Narragansett Bay on the east to the South Sea on the 
west. In 1 68 1, Charles II. gave to William Penn the charter 
of Pennsylvania, the northern part of which had been given 
to Connecticut. After emigration had made the territory 
valuable, Connecticut asserted her claim; in 1774, and 
for eight years after, the settlers on the Susquehanna sent 
representatives to the Connecticut legislature, established 
schools, and paid taxes like other citizens of the state. The 
controversy over that region was decided in 1782, in favor 
of Pennsylvania. Though the title of Connecticut to lands 
west of Pennsylvania had never been questioned, and it 
was not practicable to attempt to control a slender strip of 
land, only seventy miles wide and extending nearly one 
eighth of the circumference of the globe, in 1786, the General 
Assembly authorized the delegates in Congress to convey 
to the United States all lands belonging to Connecticut, 
lying west of a line parallel to, and one hundred and twenty 
miles west of, Pennsylvania. The offer was accepted, and 
the lands within one hundred and twenty miles of Pennsyl- 
vania became known as the Western Reserve and sometimes 
as the New Connecticut. 

In 1792, the General Assembly granted a tract of five 
hundred thousand acres, extending across the western end 
of the reservation as a compensation for the losses inflicted 
by the British army in the Revolution on the towns along 

••.'"> L^y v->'«^Ji»'H /V 


Education 213 

the Sound, from Greenwich to Groton. The tract thus given 
was afterwards called the Fire Lands or the Sufferers' Lands. 
In 1793, a committee of one from every county was appointed 
to sell those lands, and then came a warm discussion as to 
what should be done with the proceeds. In 1795, it was 
voted to put the money into a permanent fund for the use 
of schools, and under the control of the people in the different 
school societies; a few months later, the land was sold for 
one million two hundred thousand dollars, payable in five 
years. Interest was allowed to accumulate until 1799, when 
sixty thousand dollars was distributed on the basis of polls 
and ratable estates. In 1800, the care of the fund was 
assigned to a commission of four, whose unfitness threatened 
the fund, and James Hillhouse was appointed commissioner 
of it. In fifteen years it rose to one million seven hundred 
and nineteen thousand dollars, and more than three-quarters 
of a million had been divided among the school societies. 
The effect of this annual distribution of fifty or sixty thou- 
sand dollars was injurious in most towns, for it led to a 
decreasing taxation for the schools and a decrease of interest 
in education, and since High Schools were no longer obliga- 
tory, they were seldom organized. The state allowance 
of two dollars on every thousand raised by the towns was 
a feeble spur; in many towns the stipend from the School 
Fund was doled out at a starvation rate, giving a few weeks 
in winter and a short term in summer, and when the money 
was gone the door of the schoolhouse was locked. A short- 
sighted economy possessed the state, and since the schools 
cost little they were slightly esteemed and rapidly de- 
clined. They had been the pride of the state and the 
wonder of the land, and for a time after they waned, some 
who looked at them from afar applauded. A Kentucky 
legislator declared in 1822, "The Connecticut system has 
become an example for other states, and the admiration of 
the Union." The schools grew poorer; schoolhouses more di- 
lapidated ; the earlier method of having six months' and even 

' Mliji , l»t> J 

.vrl'- J oi fi u vrr y :■. ' '"'..'. \ . 

::>W'\ 'M 

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214 -^ History of Connecticxit 

eleven months' schooling in a year gave way to the limit of 
the elasticity of the meager public money, which for forty 
years was distributed on no other condition than that it 
should be used for schools. There was a spasm of awakening 
interest now and then; a bill was passed in 1810, which 
provided that the expense of the district schools, above that 
received from the School Fund, should be met by a tax on 
each proprietor according to the number of days his pupil 
or pupils attended school. In 18 13, a bill passed the legisla- 
ture to compel proprietors of factories to have all working 
for them trained to read, write, and cipher, with a glance 
at their morals, in which the selectmen were to help. 

Fervid imagination and Yankee pride have combined to 
halo the Little Red Schoolhouse with a glory mingled with 
sentimental pathos; and there have been in some of them 
teachers of power and inspiration, who would have taught 
just as well had they been paid according to their deserts, 
and if the schoolhouses had been less meagerly furnished. 
At length, public sentiment awoke, and in 1830, a convention 
of teachers complained of the indifference of parents; in 
1836, Governor Edwards deplored the quality of the teach- 
ers, and in 1838, school conditions were investigated, with 
the result that the citizens were declared to be lacking in 
interest, school visitors neglectful, and teachers inefficient. 
Wage of men teachers was fourteen and a half dollars per 
month, and of women five and three-quarters. More than 
six thousand children of school ages were not in attendance. 
Changes for the better rapidly followed the report: a bill 
for the better supervision was passed; the Connecticut 
Common School Journal was founded ; in 1849, a state normal 
school was established in New Britain under the auspices 
of Henry Barnard, who was aided by the cooperation of 
Mrs. Emma Hart Willard. In 1855, a vote was passed to 
enable a town to have a school of a higher grade; in 1865, 
the state board of education was organized, and in 1868, the 
town tax was increased enough to make schools free. The 

:-t^'H A 


"'.f >0 : • 5 1 J; A1 C'J r^j 

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t..iy ff: v;t 

.J . 1 

Education 215 

length of school required as the condition for obtaining the 
public money was fixed at four months in 1841, six months 
in 1855, and in 1870, it was voted that public schools be 
maintained for at least thirty weeks in a year in every school 
district in which the number of pupils between four and 
sixteen was twenty-four or more, and for twenty-four weeks 
in all others, but that there should be no schools in districts 
in which the number of children fell below eight pupils. 

In 1839, the powers of the school districts were greatly 
enlarged, and they were declared bodies corporate, so far as 
to be able to purchase, receive, hold, and convey property, 
and make all lawful arrangements for the management of 
schools such as taxation, providing rooms, and employing 
teachers. In 1866-67, it was voted that any town might 
abolish all school districts and maintain a central school — 
an entering wedge for the act of 1909, which declared that 
after July of that year, every town must be a school district, 
with a committee having the power of district committee 
and school visitors, except in a few towns organized under 
special acts of the legislature. Thus there was a return to 
the early town management. In 1897, it was voted that any 
town in which a High School was not maintained, should 
pay the whole or part of the tuition fee of any child residing 
with his parents in said town, and should have the written 
consent of the school visitors or committee to attend a High 
School in another town. In 1905, a law was passed requiring 
a committee or visitors, discovering any child over fourteen 
and under sixteen with insufficient schooling, to notify the 
parents or guardians, who should cause him to attend school. 
In 1907, it was voted by the Assembly that any town may 
direct the visitors, committee, or board of education to pur- 
chase, at the expense of the town, text-books and other 
supplies used in the public schools, to be loaned to the pupils 
free of charge. Ten years before, it was voted that towns 
should supply pupils incapable of buying books. Of late 
years much attention has been given to the subject of 

3 7 - 

J f i 

2i6 j\ History of Connecticvit 

libraries in the schools, and the state appropriates certain 
sums of money to them, on condition that the towns do 
their part. There are also loan libraries in circulation. It 
was voted in 1909, that a town shall insist, by transportation 
or otherwise, on schooling for every child over seven and 
under sixteen. Provision has also been made of late for 
the medical examination of children, ■ and it has been 
ordered that hygiene, including the eflfect of alcohol on 
health and character, shall be taught as a regular branch 
of study. 

In no other state is there a more rigid enforcement of 
attendance and employment laws. Rural supervision is 
of decided service in country towns. The passing of the 
corporate districts into the town system is a long step in 
advance. There are manual training departments in some 
High Schools, and in 1907, fifty thousand dollars was 
appropriated for trade schools, committing the state to 
the policy of public instruction in trades. Among the 
New England states Connecticut is second to no other in 
liberal provision for education; the school fund of more 
than two millions, with an annual income of one hun- 
dred and ten thousand dollars, ceased long ago to pro- 
voke a false economy, and is a decided benefit. The 
Normal Schools at Danbury, New Britain, New Haven, and 
Willimantic have a total of nearly eight hundred pupils, \ 
and graduate annually neariy three hundred teachers, 
though this does not supply the waste. The purpose of 
the Trade Schools is to "equip that large number of children 
who must work in the skilled trades with the primary es- 
sentials and practical principles of their trades," and the 
demand for this education far exceeds the facilities of the 
schools now in operation in Bridgeport and in New Britain. 
There are classes both in the day and evening, and the 
subjects treated are : machine work, carpentry work, pattern 
making, sewing, including dressmaking, printing, plumbing, 
and drawing. Evening schools are conducted in forty towns, 

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Edvication 217 

with a registration of over ten thousand pupils, and the 
number attending the one hundred and fifty-three kinder- 
gartens is over eleven thousand. In ninety-one towns 
children are conveyed to a central school with general 
satisfaction to all concerned. The elimination of the district 
system, referred to on an earlier page, is a return to the 
early town management of schools, and hastens the escape 
from the antiquated conservatism, the penurious extrava- 
gance of the district school system, which seemed necessary 
for the time, but is now as much out of date as are stage- 
coaches and spinning-wheels. An elaborate system of 
supervision has been organized by grouping towns, and 
thirty-four supervisors are at work, responsible to the state 
board of education; besides these many towns have their 
own supervisors. This tends to greater efficiency. It is 
coming to be recognized by the intelligent that local manage- 
ment in districts is apt to be attended by injustice and 
injury to pupils; that many do not receive adequate atten- 
tion, when several grades gather in a miserable room, with 
antiquated equipment, underpaid teachers, and an unscien- 
tific and haphazard course of studies. The movement from 
the condition in which the state lingered for years is slow. 
In a hundred towns there are over three hundred schools 
with an average attendance of less than twelve. Changes 
come gradually in the land of steady habits. The vigorous 
community life, so prominent in the towns, which in some 
ways have been little commonwealths, has fostered a con- 
servatism, if not a self-satisfaction, which sometimes fails to 
see that methods, which were the only ones available in the 
sparsely settled colony, have been outgrown, and that the 
schools need to be standardized in grades, studies, and books, 
for the sake of efficiency, economy, and the easy passage of 
pupils from school to school. The recent complete change 
of system, the valuable work of the state board of educa- 
tion and the deepening interest are putting Connecticut into 
the front ranks in public school education. 

^U ■T'" 

;: 1' -■ ■' 'I ■ . ' ■(. .;-. I. . 

2i8 A. History of Connecticut 

We pass now to the history of the instruction in the 
pubHc schools. In early times they were primitive, and 
were taught in the winter by men, and the larger boys 
attended, and sometimes matched their strength with the 
master's; the summer schools were attended only by the 
younger children, and were taught by women and girls. 
The seats were hard; the desks rude, but elaborately deco- 
rated by the versatile jackknife. Until the Revolution, 
about the only books in the hands of the pupils were the 
Bible, the New England Primer, with its doleful pictures, 
and the spelling-book. The younger children had the 
famous "horn-book," shaped somewhat like a fan; it was a 
thin board with a handle, and through the horn which 
covered the board there could be seen the alphabet and 
Lord's Prayer. Arithmetic to the "Rule of Three" was 
taught, and the one text-book was in the hands of the 
teacher, who dictated rules and examples from it. The 
first geography for schools was not published until 1784. 
There were no maps or charts or blackboards. English 
grammar received scanty attention, and it would seem that 
the spelling-book was neglected, judging from the ingenious 
literary samples that have come down to us, of which we 
may take as a fair specimen the indorsement on Governor 
Bradford's History of Plymouth Colony by his grandson, 
Samuel Bradford, which reads as follows: 

This book was rit by goefner William Bradford, and gifen to 
his son mager John Bradford, rit by me Samuel Bradford, 
Mach. 20, 1705. 

Teachers wrote copies for penmanship and mended the 
goose-quills. There is an interesting letter from President 
Humphrey to Henry Barnard concerning schools between 
1790, and 1800, in which he says: 

Our school books were the Bible and Webster's Spelling Book; 
one or two others were found in some schools for the reading 



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Edvication 219 

classes — grammar was hardly taught at all in any of them, and 
that little was confined almost entirely to committing and 
reciting rules. Parsing was one of the occult sciences of my day; 
we had some few lessons in geography by questions and answers, 
but no maps, no globes, and as for blackboards, such a thing 
was not thought of until long after. Children's reading and 
picturebooks we had none, the fables in Webster's Spelling Book 
came nearest to them. Arithmetic was hardly taught at all 
in the day schools; as a substitute, there were some evening 
schools in most of the districts. Spelling was one of the exer- 
cises in most of the districts. 

A very early book was the Dilworth speller, an English 
work, with many terms not fitted to American life. It was 
an epoch in education when, in 1783, appeared the first of 
a series of three books by Noah Webster. He wrote: 

In the year 1782, while the American army was lying on the banks 
of the Hudson, I kept a classical school in Goshen, N. Y. I 
there compiled two small elementary books for teaching the 
English language. The country was impoverished, intercourse 
with Great Britain was interrupted, school books were scarce 
and scarcely obtainable, and there was no certain prospect of 

The first of Webster's school-books to appear was the speller, 
through which the author gave to the country a uniform 
language. It sold in such numbers that, by 1847, twenty- 
four million copies had been disposed of, and by 1870, forty 
millions. In 1785, Webster issued a grammar, and in 1787, 
a reader. Another school-book by a Connecticut man was 
a geography published by Jedediah Morse of Woodstock 
in 1784 — the first of its kind in America; in 1789, he 
issued a valuable work called the American Geography and, 
in 1 8 12, there appeared an encyclopedia of knowledge by 
the same author. In one of his geographies Morse said of 
the trans-Mississippi region, "It has been supposed that all 
settlers who go beyond the Mississippi will be forever lost 

220 -A. History of Connecticvit 

to the United States." In 1827, Jesse Olney of Union 
published his Atlas-Geography, which was popular through 
the country, with a circulation of eighty thousand copies. 
In 1796, Thomas Hubbard of Norwich published an intro- 
duction to arithmetic for use in the public schools, in the 
preface of which is a statement which must have cheered 
the young folks, for he said, "I have omitted fractions, not 
because I think them useless, but because they are not 
absolutely necessary." The most widely used arithmetic 
was by Daboll, who was born in Groton in 1750. This work, 
called The Schoolmaster's Assistant, stood for years in the 
front rank with Webster's Speller. A new era in the study 
of Latin was created by Ethan A. Andrews, a native of New 
Britain, by his Latin-English lexicon and his text-books; so 
complete and scholarly was his work that the lexicon be- 
came a standard, and the First Lessons in Latin reached 
thirty-four editions. 

The education of girls was for years as scanty as that for 
boys, and in the second generation there were daughters 
of men in important positions who could not write their 
names, though in many towns the schoolmistress taught 
the children to behave, ply the needle through the mysteries 
of hemming, overhand, stitching, and darning, up to the 
sampler, and to read from spelling-book to the Psalter; 
laying emphasis on sitting up straight, conquering the spell- 
ing-book, never telling a lie, and being mannerly, especially 
to the minister, whose monthly round to catechize gave him 
an opportunity to chide the careless. Punishments were 
severe, and some fathers repeated at home the strokes 
given in school. A famous New London teacher had two 
strips of board, joined together by a hinge, in which the 
fingers of mischievous children were pinched, and the birch 
was a favorite form of torture, — a good training for torment- 
ing witches, and suggestive attendants of a stem theology. 

The decadence of the public schools after the Revolution 
led to the forming of many private schools, usually called 

,■ ■:C0 "^^ 

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Education 221 

academies, a name probably borrowed from an essay pub- 
lished by Franklin in 1749, and Franklin says that he was 
indebted to Defoe, who, in 1697, had urged the building of 
schools like the academies of France and Spain, The old 
academy at Lebanon was one of the earliest of the schools, 
which for half a century furnished the highest education 
that three-fourths of the young men received. . One of the 
earliest and best of these was the school at Greenfield Hill, 
conducted by Timothy Dwight, 1783-96, and it was one of 
the earliest coeducational schools in the country. Acade- 
mies differed from the High School in that they were designed 
for all the young people in the neighborhood, gathering 
picked boys and girls from twenty towns and often at 
greatest sacrifice; going to school for study there was little 
difficulty in maintaining discipline. The grammar school 
in Fairfield was succeeded in 1 781, by the Staples Acad- 
emy, and three years later the first academy in Windham 
County was chartered for Plainfield; in 1816, it had a fund 
of eight htmdred and thirty-four dollars, with eighty pupils. 
Not to be outdone by her neighbor, an academy was char- 
tered for Woodstock in 1802, and built by the voluntary sub- 
scriptions and labor of neighbors; a fund of ten thousand 
dollars was secured, putting the school on a firm basis. In 
1802, the Berlin Academy was incorporated, and eleven 
years later, the Bacon Academy at Colchester, thirty-six 
thousand dollars being raised and a "very beautiful building" 
of three stories erected. In 1816, it had two hundred 
pupils. In 1806, Noah Webster wrote: 

Many academies are maintained by private funds. In these are 
taught primary branches and geography, grammar, languages, 
and higher mathematics. There are also academics for young 
ladies in which are taught the additional branches of needle- 
work, drawing and embroidery. Among the academies of the 
first reputation are one in Plainfield and the Bacon Academy. 
The most distinguished schools for young ladies are the Union 
School in New Haven and the school in Litchfield. 

/■ '.' 

---: S-. r ::. I'' M i-;r ":'^ 

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222 A History of Connecticvit 

In 1806, an academy was incorporated in Stratford; in 1816, 
Wallingford had one, teaching Latin, Greek, and English; 
in 1 8 14, the Danbury Academy was incorporated; in 1821, 
the Fairfield; in 1823, the Goshen Academy; in 1825, 
the school at Madison, succeeded in 1886, by the Hand 
Academy. In 18 17, there was formed an academy at 
Wilton, which became famous under the Olmsteads; in 1829, 
Greenwich and Tolland followed the fashion; Brooklyn in 
1830, and Saybrook three years later. 

A pioneer in academies for girls was the school taught 
by Sarah Pierce in Litchfield, which began in 1792, and 
during nearly forty years it trained over fifteen hundred pupils; 
the building is gone but it is claimed that this was the first 
school for girls in the United States. Hartford Female 
Seminary was incorporated in 1827, and so popular was it 
under Catharine Beecher that it had at times one hundred 
and fifty pupils from outside the state. We have spoken of 
academies for girls at Litchfield and New Haven; Norwich 
also formed one, and in 1799, an academy for girls was in- 
corporated in New London. Nathan Hale, a hero of the 
Revolution, taught in New London in a school incorporated 
in 1774, ^nd he wrote his uncle that he had twenty young 
ladies in his school from five to seven in the morning, and 
thirty-two boys through the day. The Goodrich School 
in Norwich was popular for years. A school for girls was 
opened in Farmington in 1846, by Sarah Porter, who for 
more than half a century was a vital force for culture and 
philanthropy. The Golden Hill Seminary of Bridgeport, 
Grove Hall at New Haven, Windsor Female Seminary at 
Windsor, and St. Margaret's at Waterbury have had wide 
repute. Academies continued to form through the nine- 
teenth century — the Brainerd Academy at Haddam in 
1839; one in Durham in 1842; the Parker in Woodbury 
in 1 85 1; the famous Wauramaug at New Preston in 
1852. In 1700, Norwich was indicted by the grand jury 
for "failing to maintain a school to instruct," though 


fv" ■!?j>+ O'"',' .^r/vi. '' .1 hr :".i ''' li,iii r.M:::.3e'iO 

C/} f^ 

Edvication 223 

there were schools enough; districts running riot with 
forty school organizations; in 1854, the Norwich Free 
Academy was incorporated, and later, J. F. Slater gave a 
building, costing one hundred and sixty thousand dollars, 
together with other funds. The Connecticut Literary 
Institute was estabHshed in Suffield in 1835; three years 
later, the Betts Academy was started at Stamford, and soon 
afterwards the Black Hall School at Lyme was organized. 
The Gunnery at Washington has had a noted history : Fred- 
erick W. Gunn graduated from Yale in 1837, and went back 
to his native town and opened a school, but his abolition 
views called down the thunder of the pulpit and the excom- 
munication of the church; forced to leave town, he went to 
Pennsylvania, whence he returned to Washington in 1847, 
and reopened the Gunnery, a imique and famous school. 
The personality of the founder was strong and positive, and 
the methods of discipline original, A boy caught smoking 
swallowed an emetic, and a pupil who plunged a cat in water 
was soused in the same element. 

It is not easy to give the names of all the academies that 
did so much for the young people of the state during that 
dreary half century when the Connecticut public schools 
were passing through their dark ages. Many are held in 
affectionate remembrance, such as the Emerson School in 
Wethersfield, the Hart School in Farmington, and the Wood- 
stock Academy. They were feeders of Yale, trainers of 
many useful men and women, and sources of intelligence 
and power in scores of communities. There were also a few 
denominational schools of decided value, such as the Epis- 
copal Academy of Connecticut, founded at Cheshire in 
1794, with Principal Bowdin who had charge of the ed- 
ucation of Gideon Welles and Admiral Foote. In 1865, 
the Seabury Institute was incorporated in Saybrook. 
Roman Catholic schools came late, since the population 
of the earlier times was Protestant; the Academy of 
Notre Dame being opened in Waterbury in 1869, the 

• ^^f 

■V' .-■- : ■; 

224 -A. History of Connecticxit 

Seminary of Saint Joseph in Hartford in 1873, and the 
Academy of the Holy Family, a school for girls, in Baltic 
in 1874. 

Though academies were so valuable and so popular that 
as many as ten thousand young people were at times in 
them, it was at length seen that more ample provision 
should be made for higher education, and on July 4, 1838, 
it was voted to establish a free High School in Hartford, 
twelve thousand dollars being appropriated. The first 
building was on the comer of Asylum and Ann streets, 
and with it was incorporated a grammar school; a building 
large enough for three hundred pupils. Other cities soon 
had High Schools: Middletown in 1841, New Britain in 
1850, New Haven in 1859, Bridgeport in 1876, Meriden in 
1 88 1, and Bristol in 1887. Academies were not set aside 
entirely by High Schools ; many of the older ones continue. 
Schools of another class are forming: such as the Bulkley 
School in Meriden in 1881, the Mystic Enghsh and Class- 
ical School, the Hotchkiss and Taconic schools in Lakeville, 
the Westover School in Middlebury, the Williams Memorial 
Institute, the Gilbert School at Winsted, and Westminster 
School at Simsbury. 

Connecticut has done much for education outside the 
state, both in establishing schools of a high grade, and also 
in writing school-books. The most original and effective 
woman the state has produced is Mrs. Emma Hart Willard, 
who was bom in Berlin in 1787, and after considerable 
experience as a teacher, published in 181 8, a Plan for Improv- 
ing Female Education, a work which in 181 9, led to the 
adoption by the New York legislature of the first provision 
for the higher education of women ever passed by any 
legislature, and to the incorporation in 1821, of the Willard 
School in Troy, from which have gone thousands of well- 
equipped women, under whose influences have been formed, 
largely in the South, two hundred similar schools. In an- 
other department of education Mrs. Willard and her sister, 

•7 1 



Emma Hart Willard (1787 -1870) 

Fr(jm all Old Print 

Education 225 

Mrs. Almira Phelps, who has been associated with her, 
have been of decided service, publishing school-books in 
geography, history, and science. 

Reference has been made to Henry Barnard, who was 
born in Hartford in 181 1. After graduating from Yale 
in 1830, and teaching a short time, he went to Europe and 
studied European methods of education, devoting himself 
to the task of gaining a wide knowledge, not only of public 
schools, but also of the treatment of the insane and of 
criminals. In 1838, he obtained the passage of a bill in the 
General Assembly for the better local supervision of the 
schools. That bill provided for a board of School Com- 
missioners for the state, on which Barnard served for four 
years. He traveled over the country to elevate public 
sentiment, and gave a lasting uplift to public instruction. 
The Normal School at New Britain was one result of his 
work. He was for a time Superintendent of Schools in 
Rhode Island, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, 
and the first United States Commissioner of Education. 
He established the first system of state libraries, and 
organized teachers in a national association. The Journal 
oj Education, which he began in 1855, is called by the Bri- 
tannica "by far the most valuable work in our language on 
the history of education." 

Of Connecticut birth too is B. G. Northrop, originator 
of the village improvement societies and Arbor Day, and 
for years president of the National Educational Association. 
William T. Harris was born in North Killingley in 1835, and 
after his training at Yale, he established the Journal of 
Speculative Philosophy, edited a series of school text-books, 
and was United States Commissioner of Education for years. 
Samuel Kirkland, who has an honored place among educators, 
was bom in Norwich in 1741, became missionary to the Six 
Nations, and in appreciation of his invaluable services 
in the Revolution, he received a grant of land from 
the government, from which he set apart a portion for the 


I'. .w 

226 A. History of Connecticvit 

Hamilton Oneida Academy, which in 1812, was incorporated 
as Hamilton College. The name of Asa Packer, bom in 
Groton in 1806, is in the first class of educators. He de- 
veloped the Lehigh Valley railroad, and in 1865, he gave 
half a million dollars and a hundred and fifteen acres of land 
to found Lehigh University, to which he bequeathed in his will 
two million dollars. Similar in spirit was John F. Slater of 
Norwich, who gave a million dollars for the uplifting of the 
lately emancipated population of the Southern states; he 
also gave Norwich the Slater Museum, and did much for the 
Free Academy. Mention should also be made of Walter 
Newberry of East Windsor, who gave four milHon dollars 
to found the Newberry Library in Chicago, and of Daniel 
Hand, who gave a million and a half for the education of the 
negroes in the South. The name of Manasseh Cutler de- 
serves mention here as famous in education, since after his 
service in the Revolution he was a pioneer in Ohio, was the 
first to observe the transit of Venus, was prominent in 
organizing and settling the Northwest Territory, and had 
a leading part in drafting the Ordinance of 1787, which 
guaranteed complete religious liberty, public support of 
schools, and the prohibition of slavery in the Northwest. 

Reference has been made to school libraries, and it 
remains to mention the movement, which has been so 
strong for fifty years that nearly every town has a public 
library. There was an earlier endeavor, which resulted 
in forming subscription libraries, after the idea of Franklin. 
In 1893, Connecticut passed a bill authorizing the estab- 
lishing of a library commission, with the appointing power 
in the hands of the Board of Education. Every town 
was notified that the state was willing to give for one year 
as much as it would give, up to two hundred dollars. The 
first to respond were Suffield, Seymour, and Wethersfield; 
two years later, there were libraries in twenty-five 
towns. In 1895, the legislature voted to give every free 
public library an annual sum of one hundred dollars with 




Manasseh Cutler (1744-1823) 

Education 227 

certain mild conditions of state supervision, and many towns 
have availed themselves of this offer, though there are 
some, that prefer not to come under state supervision. 
Bridgeport was first to found a free public library, and New 
Haven was next, by a special act of the legislature in 1886. 
The name of Philip Marett of New Haven will be remembered 
for his gift of one-tenth of his estate of six hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars "for the purchase of books for the young 
men's Institute or any public library which may from time 
to time exist in the city." The income of that fund buys 
one-half the books for the New Haven public library. 
There are libraries housed in beautiful buildings, some of 
them richly endowed, such as: Scoville Library, in Salisbury; 
Eldredge Library, affluent with tapestries, supported by 
Isabella Eldredge, the Acton Library at Old Saybrook, 
the Scranton Memorial at Madison, and the James Black- 
stone Memorial at Branford. 

jOfhar /bJl 

:■ ■ jiVi "T-Jl 


IT was apparent in the first years of the settlement that a 
college was needed to carry to the goal the high ideals of 
the founders, to "perfect youth in English grammar, com- 
position, arithmetic, geography, Latin, Greek, religion 
and morality, to form for usefulness and happiness in the 
various relations of social life." Under the influence of John 
Davenport, New Haven began to plan for such an institu- 
tion in 1 64 1. Owing to a protest from the leading men of 
Massachusetts, it was allowed to wait; they urged that all 
the resources of New England were barely enough to support 
Harvard, whose first building was erected in 1637, In 1652, 
the project was formally given up for the time, but the New 
Haven authorities had been directed, five years before, to 
reserve one of the home lots for the college, and it was only 
a question of time. 

In 1698, the General Synod of churches devised a plan to 
establish a college, intending to call it "The School of the 
Church." "They were to nominate the first president and 
inspectors, and to exercise an influence over all elections to 
preserve orthodoxy in the governors." The institution 
was to be supported by the churches. The following year 
this plan was dropped, but ten ministers were named as 
trustees, and a body of the most prominent clergymen in 
the colony met in New Haven in the year 1700, and became 
a society of eleven members for the formation of a college. 


XHe Colleges 229 

Later in the same year, there was another meeting in Bran- 
ford, when each minister laid upon a table his contribution 
of books, with the words, "I give these books for the founding 
of a college in this colony." The contribution amounted 
to forty folio volumes pertaining to theology, with not a 
volume of classical literature or science. In the following 
year, Sir John Davie of Groton, while on a visit to England, 
sent to the college one hundred and sixty volumes, most of 
which were collected among the nonconformist ministers 
in Devonshire. The Rev. Noadiah Russell of Middletown 
was appointed librarian, and the volumes remained in his 
possession three years. The act of depositing the books has 
been considered the beginning of the college ; but it did not 
have a corporate existence until October 16, 1701, when the 
General Assembly gave it a charter to make it legal, to 
encourage donations, and that it might become an owner of 
real estate. Judge Samuel Sewall and Isaac Addington of 
Boston prepared the draft of the charter, which was pre- 
sented to the legislature with a petition signed by a number 
of ministers and laymen; an annual grant amounting to 
about sixty pounds being voted to aid in the support of 
the institution, which in the charter was called a Collegiate 
School; no place of habitation being mentioned, the trustees 
having powers to decide on the site and to grant degrees and 

The annual appropriation was continued for fifty years. 
The first private donor, other than the organizers, was 
James Fitch of Norwich, who gave six hundred and thirty- 
seven acres of land in Killingley, and glass and nails enough 
for a college hall. After the granting of the charter, the 
trustees met in New Haven, and decided that Saybrook was 
the most convenient place for the college for a time. 
After the eminent Rev. Isaac Chauncy of Stratford had 
declined the presidency, the Rev. Abraham Pierson of 
Killingworth (now Clinton) was appointed rector, and since 
his people were unwilling to part with their pastor, Yale 

T , ?. V ^r''' f' ■. •• o 1 ) 

•rr::;-) i-3f 

>i ),: 

230 A History of Connecticut 

College had its abode in the Killingworth parsonage. 
From March until September, 1702, Jacob Hemingway- 
travelled several miles to college, "and solus was all the 
college the first year." At the first commencement, which 
was held in Say brook in September, 1702, there were no 
public services, but the trustees gave the degree of Master of 
Arts to four Harvard students; making another Bachelor 
of Arts. The first student of Yale to be graduated was John 
Hart of Farmington, and at his graduation, September 15, 
1703, he was chosen tutor with a salary of fifty pounds 
country pay; the books showing that the treasurer paid 
him the first year, nine pounds "tuteridg money." Until 
1709, there were three classes. Senior Sophisters, Sopho- 
mores, and Freshmen, and a system of fines was arranged 
"for the preventing of irreligion, idleness and other im- 
moralities." The tuition was thirty shillings a year, and the 
studies were Latin, Greek, philosophy, mathematics and 
surveying, with a weekly recitation of the Assembly's 
Catechism in Latin and Ames's Theological Theses. In the 
second year, the students increased to eight, and a contribu- 
tion was soHcited from the colony to build a college house. 
The resources of the people were small, as there were only 
about thirty incorporated towns, and the population was 
scarcely fifteen thousand, but they gladly helped. 

After the death of Rector Pierson in 1707, Samuel 
Andrews of Milford was chosen rector, and the senior class 
went to Milford, while the other two classes were at Say- 
brook under the care of two tutors, and the college was thus 
divided until 1716. There was a decided difference of 
opinion among the trustees regarding the place for the 
college, and divided instruction, struggles of the towns to 
secure it, the coming on of the French and Indian war and 
smallpox so scattered the students that it looked as though 
the little school might vanish. Some students went to 
Wethersfield and placed themselves under the instruction 
of EHsha Williams. New Haven contributed seven hun- 


:M J 1 . • • , ; - 1 

,i *■< ■ 

XHe Colleges 231 

dred pounds toward the college and invited it to build there ; 
Saybrook gave four hundred pounds and wanted it there; 
while Hartford and Wethersfield gave money and claimed 
it. On October 17, 1716, the trustees voted to place it at 
New Haven, and continued Samuel Andrews rector pro tem- 
pore. The Assembly in 1717, approved the removal and 
voted a grant for buildings. Saybrook resisted the change 
of the library to New Haven ; and it was judged necessary 
for the governor and council to be present when the sheriff 
executed the orders of the General Assembly. The Say- 
brook people destroyed the carts furnished for the trans- 
portation of the books, the bridges between the town and 
New Haven were broken down, and many valuable papers 
and books were lost. The first commencement held at 
New Haven was in 17 17; the number of students was thirty- 
one, and four received the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Part 
of the students continued at Wethersfield, the northern part 
of the colony being opposed to New Haven as a site for the 
college. The commencement held September 12, 171 8, at 
New Haven, was the first one to which the public was in- 
vited ; it was attended by the principal laymen and ministers 
in the colony. In that year an edifice of wood, one hundred 
and seventy feet long, twenty-two wide, and three stories 
high, containing about fifty rooms for students, besides a 
hall, library, and kitchen, was completed at a cost of about 
one thousand pounds. One of the most liberal donors was 
Elihu Yale, a native of New Haven, who at the age of ten 
was taken to England, and later went to the East Indies, 
where he became governor of the East India Company. 
The books and goods he sent over were worth about five 
hundred pounds, and in recognition of his munificence, at 
the commencement in 171 8, the new building constituting 
the college was named Yale, and dedicated to Elihu Yale. 
On the same day commencement was held in Wethersfield 
for the students there; but the legislature healed the differ- 
ences by conciliatory acts, and the college moved out of 

1 !'•■' 



The Buildings of Modern Yale University; Phelps Gateway and Hall at the Left, 

then Welch, Osborn, and Vanderbilt; with " Old South Middle," now 

Connecticut Hall, near the Center, and President Woolsey's 

Statue at the Right of it 

From a Phot<ii;raph 

View of the Connecticut State Library, on Capitol Hill, Hartford 

From a I'lmldijiapli 


< {■^■\/ 1^ 

% ! 

i \ \ ^ 


232 J\. History of Connecticut 

troubled waters under the leadership of Timothy Cutler, 
a Congregational minister of Stratford, an accomplished 
scholar and imposing personality, who was appointed 
rector in 17 19, and for him a house was built; instructors 
and students increased, the hbrary was enriched, when 
suddenly, at the commencement in 1722, it was announced 
that the new rector and Tutor Brown, who comprised the 
faculty, had embraced Episcopacy. After a warm debate, 
the faculty was dismissed, and a resolution passed that 
henceforth every candidate for the office of rector or tutor 
should declare his assent to the Saybrook Platform, and 
satisfy the trustees of the soundness of his theology. 

Elisha Williams was the next rector, and under him the 
college prospered again. In 1732, the General Assembly 
granted Yale three hundred acres in each of the new towns 
of Norfolk, Canaan, Goshen, Cornwall, and Kent. The 
same year Berkeley, afterwards Bishop of Cloyne, made 
large contributions of money and books. In 1739, Rector 
Williams was compelled by ill health to resign, and Thomas 
Clap of Windham was chosen to fill the vacancy. Rector 
Clap was a scholarly man, and his genius for administration 
was prodigious. The library was catalogued; a new set 
of laws was compiled for the college, and a code was estab- 
lished for the government, ranging all the way from 
boxing a freshman on the ear to expulsion, though fining 
was a favorite penalty. In 1745, a new charter was ob- 
tained for "The President and Fellows of Yale College." 
In 1750, the General Assembly helped erect Connecticut 
Hall, and permitted a lottery to complete the work. 

The social strata of the times are shown in the college 
catalogues, which, until 1767, were arranged in order of 
rank : sons of officers of the colony, then of ministers, lawyers, 
artisans, and tradesmen. The etiquette was laborious be- 
tween faculty and students, and students conversed with one 
another in Latin. All undergraduates were forbidden to 
wear their hats (unless it was stormy) in the front door- 

THe Colleges 233 

yard of the president or a professor's house, or within ten 
rods of the person of the president, or eight rods of a profes- 
sor, or five rods of a tutor. Freshmen (except in stormy 
weather) were required to go uncovered in the college yard 
until the May vacation, unless their hands were so full they 
were forced to rest the hat where it belonged. The fresh- 
men were not allowed to run in the sacred college yard, nor 
up and down stairs ; neither were they allowed to call to any 
one from a college window. When near a gate or door in 
the college, freshmen were to pause and look around to see 
if there was a superior within three rods of the opening, and 
they must not enter first without a signal from the superior. 
Fines continued until the days of President Dwight. In 
three years under President Clap, one hundred and seventy- 
two pounds was collected by fines. Here are some penal- 
ties: absence from prayers a penny, tardiness a half-penny, 
absence from church fourpence, for playing cards or dice 
two shillings sixpence, for jumping out of a college window 
one shilling. 

In 1755, when revivals under the preaching of George 
Whitefield and others were causing much excitement through 
New England, President Clap issued a declaration, signed 
by himself and members of the faculty, denouncing White- 
field's teaching, and creating in the minds of many good 
people a prejudice against the college. Faculty and stu- 
dents had attended the church in New Haven, but the ortho- 
doxy of the minister not being clear to the president, he 
established a college church ; not even asking the legislature 
for the right to do so, but claiming that as an incorporated 
body the college was not dependent on the General Assembly 
in such a matter. The opposition attacked the college as 
"too independent," but President Clap appeared before the 
Assembly, and argued so powerfully in favor of the position 
that the civil authorities had no more control over Yale 
than over any other persons or estate in the colony that no 
action was taken in the matter, and the question has never 

,'•: J ^rn 

234 -A. History of Connecticvit 

been raised since. After Rector Clap died in 1767, Naphtali 
Daggett, professor of theology, was acting president, and, 
in 1779, when Tryon led the British against New Haven, 
among the hasty levies to repel the attack was President 
Daggett with a shotgun. After his companions fled, he 
stood his ground, blazing away until a detachment of the 
enemy captured him, and the officer, unmindful of Yale 
instructions to freshmen as to their manners, asked sharply, 
"What are you doing here, you old fool, firing on His Maj- 
esty's troops?" "Exercising the rights of war," said the 
theologian. The rights of war took a disagreeable turn for 
the preacher. In his own words : 

They damned me, those who took me, because they spared my 
life. Thus, 'midst a thousand insults, my infernal driver 
hastened me along farther than my strength would admit, in the 
extreme heat of the day, weakened as I was by my wounds and 
the loss of blood, which, at a moderate computation, could not 
be less than a quart. And when I failed in some degree through 
faintness, he would strike me on the back with a heavy walking- 
staff, and kick me behind with his foot. At length by the 
supporting power of God, I arrived at the Green in New Haven. 
... I obtained leave of an officer to be carried into the Widow 
Lyman's and laid on a bed, where I lay the rest of the day and 
the succeeding night, in such excrutiating pain as I never felt 

His life was spared through the influence of William 
Chandler, a Tory, and one of his pupils, but he never re- 
covered his vigor and died the next year, leaving some silver 
and negroes to the value of one hundred pounds. Ezra 
Stiles, who succeeded Dr. Clap, was inaugurated July 8, 
1778, and was also made professor of church history. He was 
a valuable leader of the college, with salary of one hundred 
and sixty pounds, to be paid in wheat, pork, com, and beef, 
or their equivalents in money, together with a house and ten 
acres of land. There were one hundred and thirty-two 

:.. -^irr-.T* A, 



Timothy Dwight (1752- 1817). President of Yale College (1795-1817) 

From an Old Eugraviny 

TKe Colleges 235 

undergraduates, and the faculty consisted of president, a 
professor of mathematics and another of divinity, besides 
three tutors, though lack of funds in 1781, caused the dis- 
missal of the tutors. In the strain of the Revolution the 
college was divided. Tutor Dwight took some of the stu- 
dents to Wethersfield ; Professor Story asked to take another 
contingent to Glastonbury, while President Daggett visited 
the classes as often as possible. Many students were in the 
army; four of the officers at Bunker Hill were Yale men; 
Nathan Hale was educated there; Major-General David 
Wooster, mortally wounded at the Tryon raid, Colonel 
Hitchcock, valiant at the Princeton fight, Captain David 
Bushnell of torpedo fame, and Oliver Wolcott were all of 

Modern Yale began with the inauguration of Timothy 
Dwight in 1795. The service his powerful mind and lofty 
personality gave to the mental and religious life of the 
college, in days when infidelity was rampant there, cannot 
be exaggerated. It was under the wise leadership of this 
man of breadth and foresight that the college entered the 
national field. At first, President Dwight and Professor 
Meigs, with three tutors, carried the whole burden of teach- 
ing, but when the students increased, the faculty was en- 
larged, and the three men who were added to the faculty 
were Jeremiah Day, James L. Kingsley, and Benjamin 
Silliman: the first an able mathematician, whose text-books 
were widely used; the second, an accurate scholar in Latin, 
Greek, and Hebrew, and called the Addison of America; 
the third, an accomplished pioneer in science. President 
Dwight abolished fines and fagging, and in his day there 
was published the first annual catalogue, a single sheet — ■ 
said to be first of its kind in America. He had the fore- 
sight to buy most of the land between College, Chapel, 
High, and Elm streets and in 1800, there were built North 
Middle and the Lyceum — parts of the Old Brick Row. The 
laboratory had been built earlier, in 1782, and there Profes- 

' "i s.< 

^-^;t^. ^TC 


■' hr. ■ •'+ tj'Ti' 


■■' ■ .',,i"- 

236 A History of Ccnnecticvit 

sor Silllman performed those electrical experiments which 
Morse, his pupil, carried to such effective issues. The 
laboratory was so deep in the earth that the lecturer's head 
was six feet below the surface of the ground; but Silliman's 
zeal was not buried. In 1806, President D wight urged the 
establishment of the Medical School, and helped to effect a 
union between the college and the Connecticut Medical 
Association, which had controlled medical education in the 
state, and in 18 10, the Medical Iiistitiition of Yale College 
was chartered. Three years later it opened with a medical 
faculty of Jonathan Knight, then but twenty-three, to be- 
come a distinguished surgeon and unrivaled lecturer, Eneas 
Munson, Eli Ives, a successful physician, who was noted 
for his knowledge of the indigenous materia medica, Nathan 
Smith, whose studies in Europe gave him an extraordinary 
medical education for his time, and Benjamin vSilliman. 

President Dwight's successor was Professor Jeremiah 
Day, who was inaugurated president in 181 7. Quiet and 
retiring, his administrative ability with his zeal for system 
and order had a decided influence on the college. A favor- 
ite expression of his was, " Punct-00-ality is a vir-too." 
It was a turbulent era, when the famous "bread and butter 
rebellion" and "conic sections rebellion" were waged, and 
the faculty won, though at the expense of the expulsion 
of forty sophomores. Among the new professors were 
Chauncey A. Goodrich, powerful in personality and persua- 
sive in speech, and Denison Olmsted, whose text-books on 
natural philosophy and astronomy were in the first class. 
The treasury, under the care of James Hillhouse, was wisely 
managed, and in 1 831, a fund of one hundred thousand 
dollars was raised. In 1822, the Divinity School was es- 
tablished as a department, and it soon became a power 
under the sway of the profound and eloquent Nathanael W. 
Taylor, who, with such associates and successors as Eleazer 
T. Fitch, Josiah W. Gibbs, and Leonard Bacon, George 
P. Fisher, Timothy Dwight and Samuel Harris had a 

^j(V>.7" ^ I ,?■ "yr'ncT.; ■ i 




.- o ■■.U\U \y.,\-r,,y, \j ;':j:^i -.-....^'l _.'"_. . , ,. 

- < '.V St. ■■'•:■■ 


TKe Colleges 237 

marked influence. The Law School, which as a private 
enterprise had existed for some time, became a part of the 
college in 1824, when David Daggett became Kent pro- 
fessor of law in the college. In 1833, the famous Litch- 
field Law School was discontinued, and its books and 
records were transferred to the school at Yale, which has 
flourished under such men as Woolsey and Baldwin. During 
those years, North College, the chapel, the cabinet, and 
treasury were built. 

In 1846, Theodore D wight Woolsey succeeded President 
Day, carrying to the college a broad and careful scholarship, 
enriched by studies in Europe, On becoming president he 
turned from Greek, of which he had been professor for 
fifteen years, to international law in which he became an 
authority. He was also an able administrator; the graduate 
department was strengthened; James Hadley brought high 
scholarship as linguist and philologist; Elias Loomis added 
his mathematical genius; James D. Dana made the college 
famous in geology ; Hubert A. Newton was accomplished in 
meteoric astronomy; Thomas A. Thacher was for over 
forty years an able teacher of Latin and molder of char- 
acter; in the year of Woolsey 's inauguration the library 
building, the first Gothic structure on the campus, was 
completed. Yale was continually broadening its course; 
in 1841, Edward E. Salisbury was appointed to the chair of 
Sanskrit and Arabic, and became the first in the line of 
great Oriental scholars who have given distinction to Yale. 
In 1854, William D. Whitney was made professor of San- 
skrit, and in 1869, he gave to comparative philology the 
weight of his rare scholarship. The founding of the Pea- 
body Museum, the Art School, and the Winchester Observa- 
tory strengthened the college. In 1866, Othniel C. Marsh 
took the chair of paleontology, amassed a treasure of 
fossils, conducted a series of expeditions to regions beyond 
the Missouri River, and brought back four hundred speci- 
mens of vertebrate fossils, new to science. Addison E. 


■v I 

y.'i..A: C 

238 A. History of Connecticut 

Verrill was making a study of deep-sea life, bringing together 
two hundred thousand specimens. 

The Sheffield Scientific School was an expression of the 
inspiring personality of Benjamin Silliman. In 1846, his son 
of the same name and John P. Norton began a school in 
analytical chemistry and mineralogy, and soon the atten- 
tion of Joseph E. Sheffield, well known in railroad enter- 
prises, was called to the needs of the college in science, and 
he made such generous donations that in 1861, the school 
that bears his name came into existence. The director was 
George J. Brush, the mineralogist; later, Russell H. Chitten- 
den, eminent in physiological chemistry, gave increased 
power to the school, as director. In 1856, Samuel A. 
Johnson, the chemist, became professor at Yale, and a 
leader in the establishment of agricultural stations through 
the country. The versatile William A. Brewer and the 
gifted authority in early English, Thomas A. Lounsbury, 
and in 1871, Josiah Willard Gibbs gave the faculty still 
greater power. Professor Gibbs, son of a noted Yale pro- 
fessor, had the chair of metaphysical physics, and was 
one of the most profound mathematicians the world has 
ever seen. 

The coming of Noah Porter to the presidency in 1872, 
brought to the headship of the college an eminent teacher 
of mental science, and a conservative and kindly leader. 
In the same year, the government was popularized by 
bringing in the practice of electing six members of the 
corporation by the alumni instead of the legislature, at 
the same time the rising interest in athletics was marked by 
the introduction of football, and in 1877, Yale began her 
annual races at New London with Harvard. Two years 
later, the Intercollegiate Baseball Association was formed, 
and members of the class of 1881, secured the purchase of 
the Yale Field, and now arrangements are in progress for 
a stadium, to seat sixty thousand spectators. A system 
of electives came in about that time, and the Sloane physical 

TKe Colleges 239 

laboratory, Kent chemical laboratory and Lawrence Hall 
were given. 

In 1886, Professor Timothy Dwight, the wise and genial 
scholar, became president; electives were multiplied; the 
force of instructors increased; Dwight Hall, the center of 
the religious life of the college, was completed; there rose 
the walls of Osburn, Welch, White, Winchester, Vanderbilt, 
Phelps Memorial, Berkeley, and Pierson halls. Yale 
infirmary was given by women in New Haven and New 
York, and a gymnasium was built during President Dwight's 
administration, and Hendrie Hall was given to the Law 
School, though it was not completed until 1900. The School 
of Music became a definite department, and foundations were 
established for fellowships, scholarships, and prizes. The 
earliest permanent college magazine was the Yale Literary 
Magazine, which was established in 1836, and among its 
editors have been William M. Evarts, Donald G. Mitchell, 
D. C. Gilman, and Andrew D. White. 

Just before the Bicentennial in 1901, President Dwight 
gave place to Professor Arthur T. Hadley, an authority in 
railroad science. At that celebration, alumni and sister 
institutions paid their tribute of honor to the college; the 
pageant was brilliant; a Bicentennial Fund of two millions 
of dollars was raised, by means of which were erected the 
Administration Building, dedicated as Woodbridge Hall, 
the new dining-hall, called University Hall, and theWoolscy 
Auditorium, in which the family of John H. Newbury 
installed the Memorial Organ. The Fayerweather Hall 
and Lampson Lyceum were also erected in that period; 
Kirkland Hall increased the facilities of the Scientific School 
in mineralog>^ and geology; Byers Hall, the headquarters 
for the Sheffield Young Men's Christian Association, and 
Vanderbilt Hall for the same department were also built. 
In 1900, James W. Pinchot made possible the founding of 
the School of Forestry, which is becoming an important 
department of the university, whose students have increased 

:iV' , / .V, 

TJF >l 


240 A. History of Connecticvit 

to more than three thousand and the faculty to nearly four 
hundred. The forty theological books given by the ministers 
have multiplied to nearly four hundred thousand. The Art 
School has some valuable collections, — such as the Trum- 
bull gallery of fifty-four works of the patriot-painter. There 
is also the Jarves gallery of one hundred and twenty-two 
volumes of Italian paintings from the eleventh to the seven- 
teenth centuries, illustrating the development of art in the 
old painters. There is the Steinert collection of antique 
harpsichords, claviers, and spinnets, besides autograph 
letters of great musicians. In the Peabody Museum is 
a paleontological collection unsurpassed by that of any 
other college in America, and according to Huxley — in Eu- 
rope. It has a skeleton of the primitive dog, the only 
complete one in existence, and a slab containing the skeleton 
of a cretaceous dinosaur, nearly thirty feet long and thirteen 
feet high, besides the huge remains of the largest land animals 
known; one from New Zealand is seventy feet long and 
twenty feet high. The museum is rich in minerals and 
meteorites, including the famous mass weighing sixteen hun- 
dred and thirty-five pounds that fell in Texas. The names 
of Yale men eminent in law, medicine, theology, invention, 
missions, and statesmanship are legion. The name Yale 
University was authorized in 1887, and in its many depart- 
ments it is developing in power under the able presidency 
of Arthur T. Hadley. 

In tracing the history of Trinity College, we go back to 
the days when everything that was not Congregational was 
under the ban in Connecticut. Soon after the consecration 
of Bishop Seabury, steps were taken to organize a college 
under the care of the Episcopal Church, and at a convoca- 
tion at East Haddam a movement started toward the in- 
corporation, in 1 80 1, of the academy at Cheshire, which was 
sometimes called Seabury College. The legislature granted 
only limited powers to it. It was not to confer degrees, for 
in that case it might become a rival of Yale. Repeated 

IT, -■ v; i 


The Right Reverend Samuel Seabury, D.D. (1729-1796). The First 
Bishop of Connecticut 

From an Old Copper Print 

The Colleges 241 

efforts were made in vain to secure an enlargement of the 
charter, until the adoption of the new state constitution in 
18 1 8, when, in connection with the consecration of Bishop 
Brownell, permission was granted to establish another col- 
lege in the state. A petition, signed by many citizens, was 
presented to the legislature on May 10, 1823; and soon 
afterwards an act incorporating Washington College was 
passed. Fifty thousand dollars was pledged within a year, 
and as Hartford subscribed three-fourths of this, it was 
chosen as the site. Bishop Brownell was elected presi- 
dent on May 16, 1824, and in the following month, Jarvis 
Hall and Seabury Hall were started. College opened in 
1824, with nine students, and on the faculty with Presi- 
dent Brownell were George W. Doane, Hector Humphrey, 
and Horatio Potter. Students were received for a par- 
tial course of two years, having in view an English di- 
ploma. The first commencement was held in August, 
1827, when ten graduates received the Bachelor degree. 
In 1 83 1, Nathanael S. Wheaton became president, and 
during the six years of his term, a foundation was laid for a 
system of endowment, placing the college on a firm financial 
basis. In 1837, Silas Totten became president, holding office 
for eleven years. In 1845, a second dormitory was built 
named Brownell Hall, and the same year the name of the col- 
lege was changed to Trinity, A board of fellows was organ- 
ized to superintend the course of study and the discipline. 
Alumni, not members of the corporation, were formed into 
a House of Convocation, a title which was changed in 1883, 
to the Association of the Alumni. In 1849, the charter was 
amended to make the Bishop of Connecticut chancellor 
of the college and president of the board of trustees. 
Bishop John Williams held the office for two years, until 
compelled by duties of his diocese to resign, and Daniel R. 
Goodwin was president until i860. Students increased; 
Hartford bought the college campus for six hundred 
thousand dollars for a site for the new capitol, and a tract 


t'Hal' 'O -..liT 

;li ijt ''r r 

7; -j.* : ■ r 

242 A History of Connecticut 

of nearly eighty acres was secured a mile south. Thomas 
R. Pynchon became president in 1874, ^^^ i^ the following 
year, ground was broken for the new buildings, and in 1878, 
two large blocks were ready for occupancy. The erection 
of Northam Hall in 1881, completed the western range of 
the quadrangle — named after Charles H. Northam of 
Hartford, whose total gifts to the college were a quarter 
of a million of dollars. Under President Smith, the course 
of studies was enriched. Gymnasium, Alumni Hall, Labora- 
tory and Observatory erected. The college is advancing 
in efficiency and influence under President Flavel S. Luther, 
who was inaugurated in 1904. 

The incorporation of the third college in Connecticut 
met no sectarian opposition, and early in the nineteenth 
century, leaders in the Methodist Episcopal Church, feeling 
the need of a college in New England or New York, while 
looking for a suitable place were attracted to Middletown. 
In 1825, Captain Alden Partridge, a former superintendent 
of the Military Academy at West Point, opened in Mid- 
dletown the American Literary, Scientific, and Military 
Academy, and to encourage the school, the citizens built 
two substantial stone structures, but failure to secure a 
charter led to the removal of the school to Norwich, Ver- 
mont, in 1829. The vacant buildings attracted the attention 
Ol Laban Clark, presiding elder of the New Haven district, 
and he told the owners that he would be one of ten to buy 
the property. The trustees gave it to the New York and 
New England Conferences — a gift of about thirty-three 
thousand dollars, on condition that it be used only for a 
college, and be endowed with at least forty thousand 
dollars. Trustees were chosen, and the college organized 
under the name of Wesleyan University, — the oldest in the 
country now existing, that was founded by and has remained 
under care of the Methodists. The first president was 
Wilbur Fisk, and in September, 1831, its doors were 
opened to men; in 1872, also women. Wesleyan was among 


' , ;'Ti •■ 'r: 

■J iC/'A, c ■ ': 

61 n: .jlT; 



TKe Colleges 243 

the first to have a scientific course, and under the presidency 
of Augustus W. Smith, beginning in 1851, the raising of an 
endowment of one hundred thousand dollars assured the 
permanence of the college. In the presidency of Joseph 
Cummings, the first alumnus chosen to the office, Isaac 
Rich built a library to hold one hundred thousand volumes, 
and a large library fund was raised; the boarding hall was 
remodeled into an observatory hall, a memorial chapel, 
and the Orange Judd Hall of Natural Science constructed, 
the last at a cost of one hundred thousand dollars. In the 
presidency of Cyrus D, Foss, who followed Cummings, the 
debt was paid, and nearly a quarter of a million dollars added 
to the endowment. Of late, the gifts of George I. Seney, 
Daniel Ayres, and others have enlarged the scope of the 
college, built a fine gymnasium, and led to a large increase 
in students. It has been for years a growing conviction that 
the student body should be limited to men, and the last year 
in which women were graduated from the college was 1912. 
With grounds, buildings, and endowment aggregating in value 
two million dollars, an amount increased in 19 12, by a million 
dollars, Wesleyan takes a high place under the leadership of 
William A. Shanklin, who was inaugurated in 1909. 

There has been a conviction in many minds for years 
that there ought to be a college in Connecticut for women, 
and during the session of the legislature of 1910-11, a charter 
was granted to establish such a college at New London, 
and a tract a mile long on the west side of the Thames has 
been secured, partly by purchase, and partly by gift of Mrs. 
Harriet U. Allyn of New London. The people of the city 
have taken up the matter of raising money for the college 
with enthusiasm, and already over one hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars has been raised there. In addition to 
this, Morton F. Plant of New London has given a million 
dollars for endowment. The date appointed for the opening 
is 1915, and under Dr. F. H. Sykes as president, the college 
will start under the happiest auspices. 


:>': ;/ct; • 


i ':\iv^^ :y a -'i- ll-a« 

: li: 'J 9-)X\r*: .''-n q 


244 -A. History of Connecticxit 

The Hartford Theological Seminary was founded as the 
result of a convention of thirty-six Congregational ministers 
held at East Windsor, September lo, 1833, for the purpose 
of devising means to counteract certain theological views 
prevailing in some quarters, views concerning depravity 
and regeneration, which seemed to those conservative men 
dangerous innovations. At that convention, the Pastoral 
Union of Connecticut was organized on the basis of a 
Calvinistic creed. The constitution adopted provided for 
the establishment of a Theological Seminary to guard 
against the perversion of consecrated funds. The control 
of the seminary was placed in the hands of a board of trus- 
tees accountable to the Pastoral Union. As a result, the 
Theological Institute of Connecticut was incorporated in 
May, 1834, ^^^ opened in the following September at East 
Windsor with sixteen students. The early years were 
marked by financial straits, and after a score of years, so 
depressing was the situation that the trustees made over- 
tures to Yale to unite the two theological schools. There 
was substantial unity on both sides, but the men who rep- 
resented Yale asked for delay, and when the matter was 
taken up again there had come a change over the situation, 
because of large gifts to the East Windsor school, the 
largest being that of James B. Hosmer of Hartford, who 
founded a professorship, and gave one hundred thousand 
dollars to erect a building. In September, 1865, the semi- 
nary was transferred to Hartford, and for fourteen years 
was housed on Prospect Street, moving in 1879, to Broad 
Street, where, through the liberality of Newton Case, a 
library building was erected to hold two hundred thousand 
volumes, and the name was changed to Hartford Theological 
Seminary. The old-school war-horses of the faith, Bennet 
Tyler and William Thompson, have given place to men 
equally able: Chester A. Hartranft with his large vision, 
his genius for administration and inspiration, and, since 
1903, William Douglas Mackenzie, a master of men and of 


L:V o_ ni ■ : :' .J ) 

.;- ^5^ .1 

0-'!\j ( 


:>■ >■■'. Mv '.;'.v ' o 

TKe Colleges 245 

ideas. Generous gifts of late have made possible enlarging 
the scope of the Hartford Seminary Foundation to include 
the Kennedy School of Missions and the School of Religious 
Pedagogy, with the outlook toward a university to meet the 
various needs of the churches, and a tract of thirty acres 
has been purchased in the western part of Hartford, to which 
it will move to enter its widening career. 

The Berkeley Divinity School began in a theological 
department informally organized in Trinity College in 1851, 
by the president of the college. Rev. John Williams. Three 
years later, a charter was granted for the school as a separate 
institution to be located at Middletown, where a large 
building was given for its use, and Bishop Williams was 
dean of the school for forty-five years, until his death in 
1899. Generous provision has been made from time to 
time for a spacious library, enlargement of buildings, and an 
endowment of nearly half a million dollars. Five hundred 
men have graduated from the school and have taken holy 
orders. There were in 19 10, five full professors and several 
instructors and lecturers. 

The influence of Connecticut on colleges in other states 
has been effective. The founding of Dartmouth College 
can be traced to Eleazar Wheelock of Windham, who, while 
pastor at North Lebanon, now Columbia, established a 
school for Indians, which he transferred to Hanover, New 
Hampshire, where fifty-five of the sixty-eight shares in the 
town had been assigned to settlers from Windham, and of 
the two hundred and eighty-four graduates of Dartmouth 
to 1790, one hundred and twenty-one were from Connecticut. 
The founder of Hamilton College was Samuel Kirkland, 
who was born in Norwich in 1741; after graduating from 
Princeton, he became a missionary among the Indians, and 
during the Revolution was able to secure the neutrality of 
the Oneida Indians, and in 1793, he founded the college. 

Among the presidents of Marietta College has been 
Israel A. Andrews of Connecticut. The first president of 

246 A History of Connecticut 

Beloit College was Andrew Chapin, and the projector of the 

Western Reserve University was Caleb Pitkin, both from 
Connecticut. Illinois College owes much to this state, as 
J. M. Sturtevant was one of its founders, and Edward Beecher 
was its first president. The Johnsons, father and son, were 
influential in founding and shaping Columbia College, 
whose first president, William S. Johnson was born in Strat- 
ford in 1696, graduated at Yale, was member of the Stamp 
Act Congress, took an active part in the Revolution, be- 
came a member of the Continental Congress, member of 
the constitutional convention, and was one of the first sen- 
ators; Abraham Baldwin, born in Guilford in 1754, grad- 
uated from Yale, was chaplain in the Revolution, then went 
to Savannah, Georgia, where he entered the legislature and 
became delegate to the Continental Congress. He was sent 
to the constitutional convention, and afterwards to Congress. 
Baldwin secured a charter for the University of Georgia, 
gave forty thousand acres toward its endowment and was 
also its first president. Union University owes much to 
Eliphalet Nott, a native of Ashford, who conducted its 
affairs in its early years with great skill, raising large 
sums of money for it by lotteries. Another Connecticut 
man who gave distinction to the faculty of Union was 
Laurens P. Hickok, a native of Danbury, who was pro- 
fessor in Western Reserve and Auburn Seminary before 
becoming president of Union. Hickok's works on psy- 
chology and moral science are those of a profound thinker. 
John J. Owen, the Greek scholar, a native of Colebrook, 
was an eminent member of the faculty of the College of the 
City of New York. 

Amherst College owes much to Connecticut; President 
Heman Humphrey, who did so much to put it upon its feet, 
was born in West Simsbury, and graduated from Yale; 
Julius H. Seelye, long a professor of mental and moral 
philosophy and for fifteen years its president, was a native of 
Bethel, as was his brother L. Clark Seelye, for years pro- 


^i J,.. 

XHe Colleges 247 

fessor of English literature, and for a quarter of a century the 
able president of Smith College. From this state have gone 
three presidents of Williams College: Ebenezer Fitch, from 
1793, when the college was chartered, — Fitch was born in 
Norwich, and was president fifteen years; Edward S. Griffin, 
born in East Haddam, who gave the college efficient service, 
1821-26; and Franklin Carter, born in Waterbury, who was 
president, 1881-96. The famous Charles G. Finney was 
born in Warren, and was professor and president at Oberlin, 
1835-54. Jared Sparks, professor of history at Harvard and 
for four years its president, was born in Willington. Cyrus 
Northrop, born in Ridgefield, was professor at Yale for 
eleven years, and in 1881, became president of the Univer- 
sity of Minnesota. Daniel C. Gilman was born in Norwich, 
and after serving as professor in the Sheffield School, he 
became the first president of the University of California, 
and later of Johns Hopkins, which he did much to organize 
in 1875, holding office until 1902, when he became president 
of the Carnegie Institution in Washington. Among the 
one hundred and five college presidents furnished by Yale, 
eighteen have been the first presidents, and most of them 
natives of Connecticut. 

The founder of the first dental college in the world was 
Horace H. Hayden, born in Windsor in 1769, and his vers- 
atile mind found play as an architect, builder, army- 
surgeon, and geologist. He became interested in dentistry 
through John Greenwood, Washington's dentist. Hayden 
opened an office in Baltimore. In 1840, he called together 
a few leading dentists in New York, and the American 
Society of Dental Surgeons was organized, with Dr. Hay- 
den as its president until his death, four years later. The 
next step was the publishing of a journal, the Arnerican 
Journal of Medical Science. A college was opened in 
Baltimore in 1840, the College of Dental Surgery, with 
Hayden as its president, and professor of the principles and 
practice of dental surgery. In 1S46, C. O. Cone, born in 

-'^:;M ■iT 


;i : J oj; 

248 A History of Connecticvit 

East Haddam, was appointed professor of mechanical 
dentistry in the new college. Hartford has also the dis- 
tinction of being the birthplace of E. M. Gallaudet, son of 
the distinguished founder of the American School for the 
Deaf in Hartford. Dr. Gallaudet organized, in 1864, the 
College for the Deaf in Washington, D. C. This institu- 
tion, of which the founder was until recently president, is 
the only institution of its kind in the world of the grade of 
college. In view of these facts, nothing further need be 
said to establish the claim that Connecticut has been true 
to the purpose of its founders to establish a commonwealth 
of intelligence. 

The coming, in recent years, of large numbers of people 
from Ireland, Italy, and other Catholic countries has led to 
the founding of important collegiate institutions, among 
which are Mount Saint Joseph's Seminary in West Hartford 
in 1874, by Bishop O'Reilly — a training school for young 
women ; Saint Thomas' Seminary in Hartford in 1897, to edu- 
cate young men in the classics for the priesthood ; Missionary 
College of La Salette, in Hartford in 1898; and Novitiate 
and Senior Scholasticate of Saint Mary, under the Fathers 
of the Holy Ghost, in Ferndale in 1906. There are also 
seventy-five parochial schools in the state with 31,877 pupils. 


THE development of a state is marked not only by its 
courts, industries, and schools, but also by its high- 
ways, since the road is a type of civilization, a duct of trade, 
a symbol of culture and progress. At the start, there were 
in the wilderness only Indian paths — " trodden-paths, " 
they were called in the early court-records — narrow passages 
scarcely two feet wide, deepened by the Indian moccasins, 
the hobnailed shoes of the settlers, the tread of cattle, and 
the feet of horses, often with blazed trees as guide-posts, — 
later known as "bridle-paths." For many years there were 
few horses in New England, and those that were owned 
there were too valuable on the farms to be spared for travel- 
ing. When Bradstreet was sent to Dover as Royal Com- 
missioner, he walked both ways in the Indian path. Streams 
were crossed on fallen trees, or at fords. There is one record 
of Governor Winthrop carried "pick-a-back" by a sturdy 
Indian guide. The Indians showed the English the two 
turnpike trails from Connecticut to Boston. 

The New Connecticut Path started from Cambridge, and 
ran through Waltham, Framingham, Dudley, and Woodstock, 
through the " Wabbaqt!asset Country." The most famous 
of all the trails was the Bay or Connecticut Path, through 
Framingham, Ashland, Hopkinton, Oxford, Charlton, and 
Brookfield (where turned off the Hadley Path), then south 
to Hartford. J. G. Holland wrote of these trails: 


'S'y o; 

250 A History of Connecticxit 

No stream was bridged, no hill graded, no marsh drained. It 
was the channel through which laws were communicated, through 
which flowed news from distant friends, loving letters and mes- 
sages. That rough thread of soil was a trail that radiated at 
each terminus into a thousand fibres of love, and interest, and 
hope and memory. Every rod had been prayed over by friends 
on the journey and friends at home. 

Gradually the paths widened into roads, though for years 
the phrase was "the path to New Haven," "the path to 
Aga warn, "and the first reference to a road appears to be in 
1638, when it was ordered that a road be made to Windsor, 
which is probably the oldest road in the state. There are 
records of appeals to the General Court for permission to lay 
out roads until all the towns were connected. In 1679, it 
was ordered that the roads from plantation to plantation be 
repaired, and that the inhabitants once a year should clear 
a roadway of a rod wide at least on " the country roads, or the 
king's highway." In 1684, the records say, "great neglect 
was fowned in mayntaining of the highways between towne 
and towne; the wayes being incumbered with dirty slowes, 
bushes, trees and stones. " It was at that time that William 
and Mary granted the colonies the right to have a postal 
system, and the first regular mounted post from New York 
to Boston started January i, 1684. The first post road 
between those two cities passed through Providence, Ston- 
ington, and New London, and extended two hundred and 
fifty miles, following closely the old Pequot Path as far as 
Providence. In 1698, travelers and postmen complained 
that they "met great difficultie" in journeying, especially 
through Stonington, which "difficultie arises from want of 
stated highways, or want of clearing and repairing, and erect- 
ing and maintaining suf^cient bridges, and marks for direc- 
tion of travellers, " and it was ordered by the legislature that 
these defects should be remedied, under penalty of a fine of 
ten pounds. A road was laid out, by order of the General 
Assembly before 1700, between New London and Norwich, 


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Development of tHe HigK-ways 251 

passing through the Mohican fields, being surveyed by 
Joshua Raymond, who was paid with the gift of a fine farm 
upon the route. 

In 1704, Madame Knight went from Boston to New York 
on horseback, and her experiences with bad roads, miserable 
taverns or huts, where she stopped for the night, give us a dis- 
mal picture of the rudeness of the times. On October 2, 1704, 
she wrote in her journal: "Began my journey from Boston 
to New Haven; being about two hundred mile." The 
food offered at the taverns was apt to be trying ; in one place 
the "cabage was of so deep a purple," she thought it had 
been "boiled in the dye-kettle. " She speaks of a "cannoo" 
so small and shallow that she kept her "eyes stedy, not 
daring so much as to lodg my tongue a hair's breadth more 
on one side of my mouth than tother, nor so much as think 
of Lott's wife, for a wry thought would have oversett our 
wherey. " She wrote that after leaving New London, 

Wee advanced on the town of Seabrook. The Rodes all along 
this way are very bad. Incumbered with Rocks and mountainos 
passages, which were very disagreeable to my tired carcass. In 
going over a Bridge, under which the River Run very swift, my 
hers stumbled, and very narrowly 'scaped falling over into the 
water; which extremely frightened me. But through God's 
goodness I met with no harm, and mounting agen, in about half 
a miles Rideing came to an ordinary, was well entertained by a 
woman of about seventy and advantage, but of as sound Intellec- 
tuals as one of seventeen. 

After crossing Saybrook ferry, she stopped at an inn to 
bait, and to dine, but the broiled mutton was so highly 
flavored that the only dinner received was through the 
sense of smell. After leaving Killingworth, she was told 
to ride a mile or two, and turn down a lane on the right 
hand. Not finding the lane, she continues, "We met a 
young fellow, and ask't him how farr it was to the lane, 
which turned down to Guilford. He said we must ride a 

*-■$ 'n. ■-( 1^ > ^•, 

V 1 , :v. 


'fii f 

■iv -^t 

252 A. History of Connecticut 

little further, and turn down by the corner of Uncle Sams 
Lott. " She found the people possessed of as "large a por- 
tion of mother witt, and sometimes larger than those who 
have been brought up in Citties" but needing "benefitt both 
of education and conversation. " Making shrewd comments 
she reached Rye, and stopped at a tavern where she ordered 
a fricassee, but could not eat it; she was then conducted to 
her bedroom, by way of a very narrow stairway. She says: 

arriving at my apartment, a little Lento Chamber furnisht among 
other Rubbish with a high Bed and a Low one, — Little Miss went 
to scratch up my Kennell, which Russelled as if she'd been in the 
Barn among the Husks, and suppose such was the contents of 
the tickin — nevertheless being exceedingly weary, down I lay 
my poor Carkes, and found my covering as scanty as my Bed was 
hard. Annon I heard another Russelling noise in the Room — 
called to know the matter, — Little Miss said she was making a 
bed for the men; who, when they were in Bed, complained their 
leggs lay out by reason of its shortness. My poor bones com- 
plained bitterly, not being used to such Lodgings; and so did the 
man who was with us: and poor I made but one Grone, which was 
from the time I went to bed to the time I Riss, which was about 
three in the morning. Setting up by the Fire till Light. 

Through mud, forests, and all sorts of difficulties she made 
her journey to New York and home again in Boston, and 
after an absence of five months, she broke out into the 
following verse: 

Now I've returned to Sarah Knight's, 
Thro' many toils and many frights, 
Over great rocks and many stones, 
God has presarv'd from fractured bones. 

In 171 1, the General Assembly of Rhode Island voted that 
"a highway be laid out from Providence through Warwick 
and West Greenwich to Plainfield, " and the following year 
the legislature of Connecticut voted that the selectmen of 

rijJ^ X ^-tai^iiii i' 

r;; )f 

■f. ^i>' r.i f 

Development of tKe HigH"ways 253 

Plainfield lay out at once a road to make the connection 
eastward from the Quinnebaug River ; a part of the distance 
the road was four rods wide, and elsewhere eight rods. 
Highways improved slowly : at the opening of the eighteenth 
century there was no good road through Thompson, except 
mean gangways to Boston and Hartford, crooked paths, 
i winding among "rocks, mountains and miry swamps, " which 
had been trodden out by the people, and made barely pas- 
sable. It was in 1732, that the first was reported in that 
section, and soon after that, references are found to roads " to 
the meeting-house" from the houses of "a considerable num- 
ber of the nabors"; and some of those "nabors" were com- 
pelled to pull down twelve pairs of bars before they reached 
the village. The layout of the early roads depended largely 
on the location of the houses, and since it was customary to 
build on the hilltops, perhaps as greater security against the 
Indians, the roads were as hilly as possible. The roads were 
also poor even in Hartford, where wheels sunk to the hub in 
the native clay of Pearl Street after the nineteenth century was 
well advanced. About the middle of the eighteenth century 
some effort was made to improve Main Street, but little was 
done then or for fifty years afterwards except to fill the worst 
holes and quagmires with stones. Benevolent farmers in 
Wethersfield, and no doubt in other towns, kept oxen yoked 
in "mud time" to relieve distressed teamsters, and there 
is a tradition that, near the opening of the nineteenth century, 
Mrs. Daniel Wadsworth on Thanksgiving Day was unable 
to cross Main Street from her home near City Hall to 
Colonel Wadsworth's home on the Atheneum lot, except on 
horseback. In 1774, when the county jail was on Trumbull 
Street, the prisoners petitioned that the jail limits be ex- 
tended to the court-house on the east, that the charitable 
who might aid them could get to them, since "all the roads 
which lead to it (the Hartford jail) being for a considerable 
part of the year miry and uncomfortable to walk in. " 

Early in the eighteenth century horses were more numer- 

254 -^ History of Connecticvit 

ous though the drain to the West Indies was heavy and con- 
stant. The Narragansett pacers were much bred, and highly 
esteemed; heavy draft horses were also imported, and from 
them sprang a race of powerful animals. Coaches were not 
common for years, though John Winthrop had one in 1685, 
and Andros in 1687. Roads were too poor for them outside 
of the towns, and the Puritan leaders lamented their coming 
as savoring of luxury and extravagance. A variety of 
carriages came into use as the roads improved, and wealth 
increased. There were the calash, a chaise with a folding 
top, the chaise with the fixed top, a two-wheeled gig with 
no top, the sulky for one traveler; these being hung on 
thorough-braces. There was also a four-wheeled carriage 
called a chariot. There is a reference in an inventory of 
1690, to a "sley, "and Bostonians had such vehicles for 
snow, though they were not common in Connecticut until 
a generation later. 

It was a little before the Revolution that the first chaise 
appeared in Norwich ; owned by Samuel Brown, who was 
fined for driving in it to church, since the rolling of the 
wheels broke the solemn and holy stillness of the Sabbath. 
At the Revolution there were six chaises in Norwich; the 
most wonderful was that of General Jabez Huntington, the 
first in town with a top that could be thrown back, being a 
large, low, square-bodied affair, studded with brass nails. 
Another belonged to Dr. Daniel Lathrop, said to have been 
the first druggist in the state. This had a yellow body and 
large windows in the sides of the top. We find references 
to carriage-making in Windham Green in 1808, and in the 
following year a wagon owned by Roger Huntington of 
Windham was sent to Leicester for a load of machine cards, 
and there could not have been more curiosity manifested 
along the road if it had been a menagerie. At Woodstock 
a crowd gathered to examine the new vehicle that was to 
kiU the horses. One man had seen such a thing in Hartford, 
"and the horse dragging it was fagged nearly to death.". 

;'-M r 

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■;, j . ;- l-i. 



The Stage Coach America 

Drawn by Capt. Basil Hall. R. M., by means of a camera obscura 




.»• * r».i»of.-j.jiw *.Uitiit:: *►— 


Chaise belonging to Sheriff Ward of Worcester 

FrMiii a l'h.,t... 1,> 11. C. ll:uiiiiinn,l 

'<> f-' , % ■- >4. , ,.■:■* ^;,;f *'4#.' 


Development of tKe Hig'K-ways 255 

On the return the next day with a load, Esquire McClellan 
and the others decided "that perhaps such wagons might 
come into use after all." 

Taverns came early, and under order of the General 
Court in 1644, they were established "not only in Hartford, 
but others in each town upon our river. " An old authority 
tells what a guest might expect: 

Clean sheets to lie in wherein no man had been lodged since they 
came from the landresse, and have a servante to kindle his fire 
and one to pull off his boots and make them clean, and have the 
hoste and hostess to visit him, and to eat with the hoste or at a 
common table if he pleases, or eat in his chamber, commanding 
what meate he will according to his appetite. Yea, the kitchen 
being open to him to order the meat to be dressed as he liketh 
it best. 

The landlord was not to allow a person to be intoxicated 
in his house, or to drink excessively, or to tipple after nine 
at night. Reference has been made in an earlier chapter to 
the tavern of Jeremy Adams on Main Street, Hartford, 
where the legislature held its meetings for nearly fifty years. 
Quite as famous was the Black Horse Tavern, which was 
built near the line of Main Street, not far from the Atheneum, 
and for half a century it was the most widely known of all the 
inns in the region. After a time the Bunch of Grapes Tavern 
of David Bull outstripped its neighbor in popularity. Many 
taverns were poor affairs, as Madame Knight discovered. 
From the first, they were closely connected with the church, 
and were licensed to promote public worship. It was usually 
next to the church, and such proximity was the single con- 
dition on which it was permitted to sell "beare. " There 
is a record of a permission granted to John Vyall in 1651, — 
"libertie to keep a house of Common Entertainment, if 
the County Court consent, provided he keepe it near the 
new meeting house, " — convenient for worshipers and 
voters. Strict laws regulated taverns, and in New Haven 

rij r 

f <Coj 

256 A History of 'Cjop^ecticxit 

twenty acres of land was set apart to pasture the horses of 
travelers in. 

Just before the Revolution, John Adams wrote of aji En- 
field landlord as follows: "Gated and drank tea at Peases — a 
smart house and landlord truly ; well-dressed with his ruffles 
&c. I found he was the great man of the town, representative 
as well as tavern-keeper ; retailers and taverners are generally 
in the country, assessors, select-men, representatives and 
esquires. " Notices of town meetings, elections, new laws, and 
ordinances of administration were posted in the taverns, where 
also could be found bills of sale, records of transfer, business 
exchanges, and daily gossip, — a local substitute for a daily 
paper. Distances were more apt to be reckoned from tavern 
to tavern than from town to town. Courts and town meet- 
ings were sometimes held there, as well as committee 
meetings and consultations of selectmen. Care was taken 
to clear the tavern when the time came for public worship in 
the bleak meeting-house, and citizens were frozen out of the 
one to be frozen within the sacred refrigerator. The Black 
Horse Tavern, which was built in 1732, by Samuel Flagg on 
Main Street, Hartford, nearly opposite the First Church 
in its present location, was for half a century the most widely 
known of all the inns for miles around, and later, the Bunch 
of Grapes Tavern of David Bull, standing near the corner 
of Asylum and Main streets, was more popular. 

Next in importance to the tavern was the stage-driver 
with his stage. As early as 171 7, the General Assembly 
voted to grant Captain John Munson of New Haven, to- 
gether with his executors, administrators, and assigns the sole 
and only privilege of transporting persons and goods between 
Hartford and New Haven for seven years. The only con- 
dition was that on the first Monday of every month, except 
December, January, February and March, he should, if the 
weather permitted, drive to Hartford and back again within 
the week. In winter there was no regular communication 
between the two cities by stage or boat. The most famous 


I I'. 

7 on) 



Development of tKe Mighjkvays 257 

stage-driver in those days was Captain Levi Pease, who was 
born in Enfield in 1740, and on October 20, 1783, he started 
a stage-route from Boston to Hartford, leaving Boston at 
six in the morning, and a man named Sykes set out from 
Hartford, changing horses at Shrewsbury. Pease advertised 
to go in "two convenient wagons," but the tradition is that 
the "carriages were old and shackling," and the harnesses 
partly ropes. At ten at night the passengers put up at a 
tavern, and were called at three, or before, the next morning. 
If the roads were heavy with mud or snow, the passengers 
were expected to get out to lessen the load. The wagon of 
Pease's stage-route was at first almost empty, but a resolute 
man like him was undisturbed, and he started a movement 
for better roads, an effort which resulted in the first Massa- 
chusetts turnpike, which was laid out in 1808. Pease has 
been called the "Father of the American Turnpike." 
After a time there was the 

New Post-Coach Line Dispatch, in six hours from Hartford to 
New Haven, leaving Hartford every Tuesday, Thursday and 
Saturday at eleven in the forenoon, passing through Farmington, 
Southington and Cheshire, and reaching New Haven in time 
for the steamboat. . . . The above line of Post-Coaches 
are new and modern in style, horses selected with great care 
and are first rate, drivers that arc experienced, careful and 

The horses were usually tough and wiry, weighing about 
a thousand pounds. Stages became less rude and primitive 
as the turnpikes spread, and as the schedule time was ten 
miles an hour, a breakneck speed was required down hill 
to compensate for the slow up-hill progress. A frightened 
passenger, after a terrible jolting down the western slope of 
Talcott mountain, stuck his head out of the window, and 
beckoning to the driver said, "My friend, be you goin' 
down any further? Because if you air, I'm goin' to get out 
right here. I want to stay on the outside of the airth a 

1 li: ioS v 

.. 1" 

<:;: ' ■» 

f OtMrfne 

258 A. History of OtMrtfhecticvit 

leetle longer. " Another traveler, who, to relieve the horses, 
had toiled on foot up a long hill in Barkhamsted, entered 
the tavern, and asked if the Lord was in. "For," he 
explained, "it seems to me that we 've come high enough to 
find Him." 

After a time the roads leading to the cities were used in 
the winter by farmers, who filled their two-horse pungs or 
one-horse pods with the products of toil and skill, and drove 
to market. They carried dressed pigs, a deer or two, fir- 
kins of butter, cheeses in casks, poultry, beans, peas, com, 
skins of mink, fox and fisher-cat, birch-brooms the boys had 
made, stockings, mittens, and yarn. They carried their 
rations with them with feed for the horses; rye and injun, 
doughnuts, pies, cold roast sparerib, and inevitably some 
frozen bean porridge, and when the pung was crowded, the 
chunk of porridge was suspended by a string to the side of 
the sleigh; a hatchet was put in to chop off a dinner of 
this nourishing food, called by the Indian name of tuck-a- 
nuck or mitchin. On reaching the city the goods were 
disposed of and a less bulky load carried home ; a few yards 
of cotton cloth, spices, raisins, fish-hooks, powder, shot, a 
few pieces of English crockery, jackknives, and ribbons. 
Emigrant wagons were often seen on the roads, and the 
peddler, the commercial link between city and country, was 
welcome everywhere, as he carried tinware, dry goods, and a 
hundred notions. Many a pack peddler was seen, and as he 
plodded along the dusty road, he dreamed of the time when 
he should have a wagon, and of the still more distant day 
when he should own a permanent stand in the city, whence 
he would send out wagons in all directions. 

It was an important epoch in Connecticut history when 
the turnpikes came in, for then began some method in build- 
ing roads. There had been the trails and bridle-paths from 
scattered farms to one another and to the church, store, and 
mill, and there had also been communication between the 
towns by the country roads, which were sandy in summer and 

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Development of tKe li-i^nijv^ays 259 

buried in snow in winter, and in the spring, when the frost 
was coming out, almost impassable. The story of the high- 
way to the Great Green Woods, as the north half of Litchfield 
County was called, illustrates the way roads were built. 
Dissatisfied with the rude bridle-paths, the inhabitants of 
Simsbury and Farmington joined the settlers of New Hart- 
ford in 1752, in a petition to the County Court for an order 
to open a road from Hartford to New Hartford. After the 
charter for the road was granted there came a war of words 
with emphatic language concerning the layout, and when 
the Old North Road was completed it was a wonder to the 
world that a direct route could be found through swamps and 
over steep hills, with all sorts of queer turns to keep it within 
the two-mile distance from a straight line, yet avoid rocks, 
and accommodate as many farmers as possible. Travel on 
the road was largely on horseback, and the wagons found a 
f single roadway, with slight opportunity to turn out. In 

the Revolution, troops and munitions passed over that road, 
and detachments of Burgoyne's army marched there as 
prisoners of war. Iron was carried there on the way from 
Salisbury to Hartford ; ship-builders found in the Litchfield 
forest lumber and masts; grist-mills were built on the 
streams, often with sawmills attached, and the road was 
convenient to some of these. It was over that road that 
Ethan Allen marched toward Ticonderoga; rugged men 
hastened over it toward Lexington and Bunker Hill. 

When the New London Turnpike Company was chartered 
in 1800, it was ordered that all were to be exempt from pay- 
ing toll who were going to attend worship, funerals, school, 
society, town or freemen's meetings, to do military duty, 
attend training, go to and from grist-mills, and attend to 
ordinary farm business. The towns on this forty-two-mile 
stretch from Hartford to New London were to build and 
maintain bridges over certain streams. The charter required 
four toll-gates on the road and the toll rate was as follows: 
four cents for a person and horse or for an empty one-horse 

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26o j\. History of Connecticxat 

cart ; six and a quarter cents for a one-horse pleasure sleigh, 
an empty two-horse cart, or a loaded one-horse cart ; twelve 
and a half cents for a chaise, sulky, or a two-horse loaded 
sleigh, also for a loaded cart, sled, sleigh, or wagon; twenty- 
five cents for a four-wheeled pleasure carriage or a stage- 
coach ; two cents for every horse, mule, or cow, and half a 
cent for every sheep or pig. It was not until 1857, that this 
road was wholly turned over to the towns through which it 
ran. Toll-gates were a favorite resort for the people who 
were eager to learn something of the doings of the great 
world. It was provided in some of the charters of the turn- 
pike companies that when the net earnings exceeded twelve 
per cent., the road reverted to the state. 

One of the problems of the highway was the crossing of 
rivers, and the earliest method was by fords and ferries. 
As early as 1681, Thomas Cad well of Hartford was licensed 

Keepe the ferry for seven years with sufficient boats to carry 
over horses and men, and a canoe for a single person. . . . 
Fare for horse and man, 6d if not of this town. Fare for a man, 
2d if not of this town. Fare for a man, id in silver if of this 
town or 2d in other pay. Fare for horse and man, 3d in silver 
if of this town or 6d in other pay. And of those of this town 
whom he carrys over after the daylight is shutt in, they shall 
pay sixpence a horse and man in money or 8d in other pay. 
For a single person, 2d or 3d. 

In 1 69 1, complaint was made of the great disorder at the 
ferry on Sundays because of the many who were on their 
way to church, and three years later the difficulty was re- 
He ved when the people on the east side of the river obtained 
the "liberty of a minister among them." In 1712, the legis- 
lature granted Richard Keeney of Hartford liberty to keep a 
ferry near the bounds of Hartford and Wethersfield, and 
ten years later another ferry was established near the former. 
The old records contain many references to ferries at various 

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Development of tKe HigH"ways 261 

points on the Connecticut and the other rivers, with a rigid 
fixing of rates. In 1745, the fares for the Hartford ferry 
were Qd for a man, horse, and load; for a man, 46.; for meat 
cattle, yd a head, and 2d for sheep. In 1758, Hartford voted 
that two boats be used at the ferry, and two years later, that 
one of the two ferrymen should live on the east side. 

As Hartford grew and its business increased, it became 
evident early in the nineteenth century that the ferry was 
insufficient, and on April 24, 18 10, a bridge across the Con- 
necticut was opened to the public. The construction of this 
bridge was pushed through by the Hartford Bridge Company, 
(- the president of which was John Morgan, and the cost of 

the bridge — ninety-six thousand dollars, was obtained by 
the sale of assessable shares. The toll was twelve and a 
half cents for a double team, sixteen cents for a barouche, 
twenty -five cents for a stage, and two cents for a foot pas- 
^ senger. This bridge was so seriously injured by the freshet 

P 7 ■ of 18 1 8, that the company vacated its charter, but was 

persuaded to go on under a more favorable charter and 
rebuild. The second bridge of 18 18, was seriously injured 
in the great storm of January 23, 1839. The growing de- 
mands for a free bridge came to a climax in 1889, when the 
state paid the company forty per cent, of the cost of the 
old bridge, and Hartford, East Hartford, Glastonbury, 
Manchester, and South Windsor the remaining sixty per 
cent. The bridge was made free on September 11, 1889, 
burned on May 17, 1895, and as the pine lumber sent 
out its blaze, twenty thousand people looked on. Work 
on a temporary structure began at once and a month later 
it was open to traffic, but before a year passed it was swept 
away. A second temporary bridge was opened on May 4, 1896, 
and that lasted until the present bridge was ready in 1907. 
The stone bridge was built under the auspices of a commis- 
sion appointed by the legislature soon after the burning of 
its predecessor. Its total length is twelve hundred feet 
lacking seven and a half, and it is said to be the largest 

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262 A. History of Connecticut 

stone bridge in the worid. It is of granite, and the stone 
came from Leete's Island and Stony Creek. There are nine 
spans, and the weight of the largest finished stone is forty 
tons. The cost apportioned among the towns of the bridge 
district was one million six hundred thousand dollars. 

The present interest in good roads and promotion of them 
owe much to the invention of the Blake stone-breaker. 
This machine had its origin in the brain of Eli Whitney Blake 
of New Haven, a relative of Eli Whitney of cotton-gin fame. 
The Blake Stone-Breaker is ranked with the great labor- 
saving inventions of the world. Wherever railroads are 
to be ballasted, foundations of bridges or great buildings to 
be laid, and roads macadamized, the Blake Stone-Breaker 
is used. Blake was led to make the invention by seeing the 
need as he superintended the macadamizing of a street in 
New Haven. During the ten years between 1862, and 
1872, the direct saving, computed from the actual working 
records of the five hundred breakers then in use, was over 
fifty million dollars. Since that time the machine has found 
its way over the world. The systematic movement for good 
roads began in 1895, when the legislature appropriated 
seventy-five thousand dollars to be distributed throughout 
the state, with the conditions that the counties should fur- 
nish one-third and the towns another third. In 1897, one 
hundred thousand dollars was appropriated; in 1899, one 
hundred and seventy-five thousand; in 1 901, two hundred 
and twenty-five thousand; in 1903, the same; in 1907, three- 
quarters of a million, a third of which was for trunk lines, 
of which the longest is the road from Westerly to Port 
Chester — one hundred and twenty miles long. In 18 12, 
there were three thousand miles of roads in the state, and in 
19 1 3, fifteen thousand. Much attention has been given of 
late to a system of trunk lines, of which there are fourteen, 
gridironing the state, enabling the commissioner to superin- 
tend the outlay of appropriations with foresight and system. 
The General Assembly of 191 1, appropriated for two years 

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The Connecticut River Bridge 

The Connecticut River Bridge 

The Original Bridge was Built 1809 and Carried away by Freshet in March, i8ii 

Rebuilt as Shown above in December, 1818. Became a Free Bridge 

September 11, 1889. Destroyed by Fire May 17, 1895 


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Development of tHe Hi^K"waya 263 

two million dollars for trunk lines, in one million of which 
the towns have a share, two hundred thousand for repairs, 
and twenty thousand for special post-roads. 

The coming of the automobile calls for better roads and 
furnishes more money to make and repair them, and now oil 
and tar harden and coat the surface of them that the swift 
tires may not destroy them. Multiplication, "of accidents 
at grade crossings, since touring cars raced over the state, 
has given an impetus to the movement to remove this fertile 
source of danger. It is a long cry from the Indian trails, 
the Bay Path, and the Newer Connecticut Path to the Hartford 
and New Haven Turnpike, carefully graded and smooth as 
a floor, with its flying motor-cars from every state in the 
Union, suggesting the complex conditions into which the 
commonwealth has grown. 


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