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Danbury, Conn 












Copyright, 1896, by A. N. Wildman, 


Danburt Relief Society. 


This first written history of Danbiiry, beg^^ll several years 
since by James Montgomery Bailey, but left unfinished by his 
too early death, has been placed, by the Relief Society of Dan- 
bury, in my hands for completion. 

The broken threads that fell from lifeless fingers have been 
reverently gathered up and woven into the web of this history, 
in the hope that the sons and daughters of Danbury, wherever 
they are scattered, may find some pleasing words of the old 
home, its early settlers, and its citizens of to-day. Besides the 
names of those mentioned in the various chapters to whom 
thanks are due, we are indebted for courtesies to Mr. Hoadley, 
State Librarian of Connecticut ; Mr. Dean, Librarian of the His- 
torical and Genealogical Society of Boston ; Mr. Putnam, Libra- 
rian of the Boston Public Library ; Hon. George White, of Wel- 
lesley, Mass. ; Mr. MUls, of Fairfield ; Mr. Seymour, of Bridge- 
port, and Mr. Hamilton, of Meriden. 

Among the residents of Danbury thanks are especially due to 
Colonel Samuel Gregory, General James Ryder, J. W. Bacon, 
Harvey Osborn, Dr. D. C. Brown, James S. Taylor, Stebbins 
Baxter, Luman Hubbell, E. A. Houseman, George F. Ives, 
Messrs. Hopkins and Hodges, of the Probate Office ; Mr. Ising, 
of the Record Office, and Mr. Turner, Selectman. 

Rev. H. L. Slack and Deacon Andrew Benedict, of Bethel, 
have been most helpful, and to Messrs. Israel Wilson and 
George Fairchild we owe thanks. 


We have found the genealogies of the Benedict, Hoyt, Starr, 
and Stevens families most useful, and have been aided by the 
various histories of Connecticut, and those of adjoining counties 
and towns. 

The committee of the Relief Society, under whose intelligent 
care this book has been completed, have made " crooked paths" 
straight by their unfailing courtesy and appreciative kindness. 

The material diligently gathered by Mr. Bailey has been 
carefully examined and used, and much additional research 
made. For the shortcomings which will exist, however faith- 
fully the work may have been done, we bespeak the charity of 
the people of Danbury, because of the kindly remembrance 
in which they hold Mr. Bailey, and their appreciation of his 
loyal love for this home of his adoption. 

Susan Benedict Hill. 

Danbury, Conn., December 31, 1895. 




Colony of Connecticut — Report of British Commission in 1724 — Militia and forta 
— Principal towns — Commodities — Early settlements — Religion and churches. 1 


Name and topography — Surrounding districts — Curious names of places — 
Indians — Route taken by first settlers — Indian name — Beantown — Abstracts 
early wills — Early wars 5 


Danbury's first historian — Parentage — Anecdote of paternal grandfather — 
Preaches in Brookfield— Accepts teacher's position in Danbury — Delivers ad- 
dress on death of "Washington — Extracts from diary — Retirement from active 
life- Death 19 

Century sermon of Thomas Robbins 24 

Century sermon (concluded) 33 

Danbury made a town— Judge Brewster's search work— Extracts from colonial 
registers 39 

Town patent— Names and descent of first settlers 42 

Record of marriages of first settlers, and births of their children 46 


The first hundred years— Churches built — Made a fortified post— Old deeds — 
Made a shire town — Census 51 


Danbury in the Revolution — News of Battle of Lexington — First military com- 
pany formed, with list of names — Some incidents — Residence of soldiers 56 




The attack on Danbury— Dr. Peters' views— General Tryon's march to Danbuiy 
— Wooster and Arnold hasten to Danbury— Dr. Foster's letter— General Silli- 
man at Redding — Troops in Bethel 60 


Lambert Lockwood— Tryon's troops through Bethel — Tryon's headquarters at 
Danbury— Benjamin Knap's guests — Silas Hamilton's experience — Burning 
of Captain Starr's house — Porter's prowess — Destruction of stores — New Eng- 
land rum— Alleged Tories 65 


Burning of Danbury — Benjamin Knap's trouble — Flames — Meeting-house and 
nineteen houses burned — Troops leave Danbury 71 


Retreat and pursuit — Through Miry Brook and Ridgebury — The fight — Wooster 
wounded and brought to Danbury 75 


Fight in Ridgefield — Different accounts— Clifford Bartlett's article from Maga- 
zine of American History, March, 1888 — Howe's report from Lomlon Gazette, 
June, 1777 78 


Wooster's death and burial — Some account of his life — Paternal genealogy — 
Births of his children 85 


After the fire— Sightseers — Jabez Starr — King George Hotel — Cider saves build- 
ing— 3Iaj or Taylor carries family to safety— Taylor House — Matthew and 
Jonah Benedict — Losses — Prisoners 88 

Legislative action on losses of citizens — Depositions — General Assembly reports . 84 


Incidents of the raid — John McLean — Colonel Barnum — British sympathizers — 
A. B. Hull — Army hospital — Last Revolutionary soldier in Danbury— Revolu- 
tionary soldiers of Connecticut living in 1859 — Danbury still a place for stores 
— Ebenezer Benedict's house 98 


A Danbury spy— Sketch of Enoch Crosby— Adventures— Place of burial and 
epitaph 103 




Execution of Anthony and Adams, latter part of last century 116 


To the end of the century— Hatting established— Made a half-shire town— Court- 
House and jail built — First Masonic lodge— First Methodist sermon— Second 
Baptist church— First newspaper — Paper mill 119 


First borough charter — Poor-house built by lottery— Comb-making established 
—Borough enlarged and officers appointed — Limits extended— Localities ex- 
plained— Tax-list a century ago— Tax-list 1836 and 1885 contrasted 131 


Christening ideas of our fathers — Districts named — Description of same 126 


Old Danbury — Extracts from old note-book and Goodrich's recollections of a 
lifetime — Joseph P. and Amos Cooke — Moses Hatch — Ebenezer White — Old 
advertisements — Comfort Mygatt — George Crofut — Ira Dibble — J. F. and 
E. M. White— Peter Benedict— Ezra Wildman— Justus Barnum— William 
Chappell— Edwards Ely— Ebenezer and Walter Starr— Ezra Boughton— Starr 
& Sanford- Ezra Starr— Jerry Hoyt — Lewis Elwell— Russell Hoyt— Ebenezer 
Benedict — Ezra Frost — Samuel H. Phillips — Caleb Starr— James Clark— Elijah 
Wood — Mr. Babbitt — Troubles of editors — Russell and Judson White — Eliakim 
Peck — Stephen Gregory — William A. Babcock— Comfort Hoyt, Jr.— Danbury 
in 1810 — MaUs — Militia — Attorneys and physicians 129 


Main Street 1815-20 — Old names and residences — Court House first used for elec- 
tions — Post-office anecdote — Whipping-post — Supplementary 140 »■ 


From 1820 to 1840— First Universalist service — Danbury Bank established — 
First fire companies organized — Pipe-water introduced — Census — First Roman 
Catholic service — Bethel made a separate ecclesiastical society — Grassy Plain 
set off to Bethel — Anti-slavery disturbances, Rev. Mr. Colver mobbed — From 
1840 to 1860— Gas introduced— Reminiscences of E. B. Stevens (1854)— Some 
poets of Danbury 165 


Early merchants and newspapers — Lotteries — Carrington & Mygatt — Nichols & 
Dibble— Foote & Pickett — Chap pel &White — Eliakim Peck — Isaac Trowbridge 
— Abijah Peck — Jacob Judd — O. Burr & Co. — Joseph Clark — Jeremiah Ryan 
— Joseph Moss White — Joshua Benedict — Ezra Starr — Jail burned — " Fire" 
articles — Captain Benjamin Keeler, of Ridgefield — Redding, Conn., Hudson, 
N. Y., and Rev. John Bloodgood — Zalmon & Seymour Wildman — Gilbert 


Cleland— Russell & Eli T. Hoyt— Benedict & Clark— Southern trade— Barber 
shop— John Dodd— Joseph Leland— Douglass & Ely— Joseph Clarke— Pre- 
served Taylor— Eli Hoyt — Elijah Sanford— Thomas Tucker— Samuel Gregory, 
of Norwalk — John Rider — Farmer's Chronicle, 1794 — Munson Gregory — 
Reuben Curtis— Hugh Cain, of Ridgefield— Timothy Foster— Tax notice— 
Sepubliean Journal and other papers — Newtown communication — New Eng- 
land Republican published— W. & M. Yale— Z. Griswold & Co.— Ebenezer 
Russell White —Benjamin & Dudley Gregory— Friend Starr— Charles F. Starr 
—Daniel N. Carrington— Bethel Morris— Lewis & Comfort Hoyt— Foot & Bull 
— Abel B. Blackman— Howard & Hoyt— Nathan Douglass — Samuel Morse — 
Andrew Beers — Selleck Osborn — Orrin Osborn — Advertisement of P. T. Bar- 
num — Alanson Taylor — Connecticut depository — Herald of Freedom — Danbury 
Gazette — Chronicle — Fairfield County Democrat — Danbury Times established 
— Jeffersonian, Danburian, and other papers 174 


How Danbury went away and got back — Land route to Norwalk — Water to 
New York — Sloop — First steamboat from Norwalk to New York — Slail route 
— Advertisement stage from Hartford to New York in 1804 — Line between 
Danbury and Poughkeepsie — Between Litchfield |and Danbury — Anecdotes of 
Hiram Barnes, the veteran stage driver 199 


Reminiscences and incidents — Cavalry company, 1773 — Names of captains — Ex- 
ecutions at Redding — White Plains — Gabriel Barnum — Uniform — Colonel S. 
Gregory — Fourth July celebration, 1838 — James Taylor, Reuben Booth, Rev. 
Anson Rood, Ira Gregory — Main Street park in beginning of this century — 
Training days — Samuel Jennings's hay crop — Danbury 's first Irishman 308 


History of hatting in Danbury, 1780-1895 — Zadock Benedict — Russell White — 
Oliver Burr — Eli Benedict — William Babcock — ZalmonWildman — Samuel Phil- 
lips — George Benedict — David Wood — Ezra Wildman — Ebenezer & John D. 
Nichols — Boughton & Starr — Gershom Nichols — Oliver Stone — Noah Rock- 
well — Hoyt Gregory — Thomas Peck — Old methods — Samuel Tweedy — Judson 
White— Starr Nichols— Russell & Eli T. Hoyt— David Boughton— David M. 
Benedict— Edgar S. Tweedy— F. T. Fanning— Lucius P. Hoyt— A. E. Tweedy 
— John Foot — Elias Boughton — Abel Hoyt — Packing and shipment of hats — 
Bowing of hats — John Fry — Alvin Hurd — Ephraim Gregory — Nirum Wild- 
man — Patent for forming wool hat bodies — Rory Starr — Eli White, N. Y. — 
Mr. Sprague— Coloring of hats— Joel Taylor— Isaac H. Seelye — White & 
Keeler— Hatch & Gregory — Joseph Taylor— Hugh Starr— Taylor & Dibble — 
Fry, Gregory & Co.— W. Montgomery— E. S. Brockett — Charles Benedict — 
Jarvis P. Hull— Silk hats— Panic of 1836-37— Hoyt, Tweedy & Co.— Wool 
hats — Charles Fry — David Wildman — Machine for forming hat bodies- 
Nathaniel H. Wildman — Truman Trowbridge — Frederick Nichols — Introduc- 



tion of cash system in 1850 — Paper-box making — S. A. Brewer & Co.— E. S. 
Davis — James 8. Taylor's hat sizing machines — Crosby, Hoyt & Co. — Band- 
boxes — Abijah Abbott — George Starr — George Stevens & Co. — Raymond & 
Ambler — Tip-printing — Hat-forming machines — G. E. Cowperthwaite — Alvah 
B. Taylor, N. Y.— Darius Stevens— H. A. Burr— Lyman Piatt— E. A. Mal- 
lory — Arthur Nichols — Pouncing machines — Brim-stretching machines — Hat- 
shaving machine — Nichols & Hine — Tweedy Manufacturing Company — Giles 
M. Hoyt, Lacey & Downs — A. T. Peck— Anson Taylor— W. H. Youngs- Kel- 
logg Nichols — Cyrus Raymond — Casper Zeigler — Mr. Beckerle — C. H. F*iex — 
T. F. Fay— J. H. Shuldice— J. D. & D. W. Meeker— Ransom Brothwell— 
P. A. Sutton — Jennings & Son — Stone & Downs — Senior & Son — John Harvey 
— Brindle&Gage — " Coney" hats — Crofut, Bates & Wildman — R0II0& George 
King Nichols— Joseph H. White— Mr. Peabody— E. A. Mallory & Co.— S. C. 
Holley — J. H. Gesner — A. N. Wildman — A. B. Holley — Shethar & Lacey — 
Henry Starr — Thomas Laurence — Theodore Hoyt— Moses Collier — Ives Bush- 
nell — George Downs — C. H. White — Elijah Sturdevant — D. E. Leowe & Co. 
— W. A. & A. M. White — Fur-cutting industry — Stephen Hurlbut — Peter 
Robinson — E. T. Robinson — Daniel Starr — Tracing old hatters — E. Moss 
White— T. B. Keeler— Joseph Taylor— Elias Taylor— Scott Dibble— M. H. 
Griffiug — Elijah Patch — George A. Andrews — Wolfpits hatters — Amount of 
work, 1859 — Article on hatting in Bethel, by Isaac H. Seelye — Zar Dibble — 
Walker Ferry- Eli Taylor— Thomas Taylor— Eli Ilickok— Hat materials — 
Noah Hickok — Eliakim D. Trowbridge — Daniel Morgan — Matthew Trow- 
bridge in 1801 — Phineas Taylor — Lemon Starr — Elias Taylor — William Chap- 
pell — A. & P. Nichols — Ambrose Collins— Lewis Taylor — Oliver Shepard — 
Nathan Seeley — Samuel Peet — D. Benjamin — Lewis Gregory — Joseph Gillett 
— Eden Andrews — Levi Taylor — Asel Dunning — Elam Benedict — Joseph 
Hitchcock — Starr Ferry — Sandy McLane — Major Dikeman — Sherman Ferry — 
Asel & Levi Beebe — Abel Hoyt — Eleazer Taylor and son Alva — Daniel P. 
Shepard — L. S. & Charles Dart — Extracts from Report of Connecticut Bureau 
of Labor Statistics — List of present firms — Annual shipment of hats, 1884-94, 
inclusive — Hat case manufacturers — Fur cutting factories — Hat wire manu- 
facturers — Hat sweats manufacturers — Hatters' supplies 214 


Other manufactures— Paper making— Ephraim Washburn — Ward Brothers — 
Daniel & Seth Comstock — Uncle Jerry Wilson — Nelson Flint — Calvin S. Bulk- 
ley — Amzi Wheeler— George, Robert, John, and William McArthur— Samuel 
Morris— E. S. Hull— Ebenezer Benedict— Boots and shoes, 1869— C. H. Mer- 
ritt— L. R. Sprague— R. W. Cone— Oil mill— Friend Starr— C. H. Starr- 
Benjamin & Fairchild Ambler — Sawmill — Sewing-machines — Walker B. Bar- 
tram— Bartram & Fanton— Cut nails— Eli Seger-Comb-making— Nathaniel 
Bishop— Foote & Barnum- Otis & Whiting— Alfred Gregory— Peck & Gillett 
— Bamum & Green— Daniel Taylor— A. & C. Smith— E. H. Barnum— T. T. 
Dibble — S. B. Peck — Ammon Taylor — Daniel Barnum — George Clapp — Am- 
mon Benedict — Rogers Silver Plate Company — Danbury Machine Company — 
Turner Machine Company— T. & B. Tool Company— Medical Printing Com- 
pany — Architects 238 




Danbury's railways— Canal project in 1825 — Railroad project in 1835 — Project 
of a through line from New York to Albany Ha Danbury — Views in favor of 
direct rail communication with tide-water — Figures and estimates — Bridge- 
port wakens — Road to New Milford from Bridgeport — Danbury and Norwalk 
Railroad offices — New York and Hartford Road — Comparisons — Extensions — 
First time-table — Leased to Housatonic — In hands of Consolidated Railroad — 
Housatonic by stage to Hawleyville — New York, Housatonic and Northern 
Railroad — Ridgefield and Port Chester — The Shepaug — New York and New 
England — Sketch of Eli T. Hoyt, first president of Danbury's first railroad. . . 365 


Ecclesiastical history — First Congregational church, 1696-1895 — St. James Epis- 
copal Church — Horace Marshall — Sandemanian Church — Methodist Episcopal 
Church — Starr's Plain Church — Second Baptist Church — Church of the Disci- 
ples — Universalist Church — St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church — Second Con- 
gregational Church — German Lutheran Church 280 


Educational history— Comfort Starr's bequest — School districts, 1769 — Ezra Bar- 
num — Thomas Tucker — Reuben Booth — Miss Sears — Eliza C. Starr — Elias 
Starr — Miss Ely— Miss Wilcos, now Mrs. Ives— Miss Gregory— Miss E. Bull 
— Rev. J. W. Irwin — Mrs. Irwin — James H. Rogers — John Sherwood — Miss 
Mary Bull— Ira Morse— L. C. Hoyt— Sliss Martha White— Rev. Henry Lobdell 
— Elias Schenck — Benedict Starr — Rev. Francis Lobdell, D.D. — Starr Hoyt 
Nichols— James C. Harvey — Rev. R. G. Hinsdale — Miss Price— Miss Perkins 
— Mrs. TV. Sherwood — Misses Meeker — Rev. Mr. Huntington — Nathan M. 
Belden— George W. Burr— Rev. I. Leander Townsend— Miss Augusta Hoyt — 
Miss Barnum— Misses Griswold— E. J. Partrick— F. J. Jackson— Mr. and Mrs. 
Whitlock— Mrs. G. H. White— Public schools, 1850-95 338 


History of the bar— Elisha Whittlesey— Matthew B. Whittlesey— Reuben Booth 
—Nelson L. White— Theodore McDonald— Roger Averill— Oliver A. G. Todd 
—William F. Taylor— WiUiam Burke— Arthur H. Averill— E. W. Bull— Moses 
Hatch— John R. Farnham— Allen W. Page— Frederick B. Hungerford— 
Thomas P. McCue— John A. Toohey— Frederick S. Barnum— Wilson H. 
Pierce. TU Present Bar: Lyman D. Brewster— Samuel Tweedy— Benezet 
A. Hough— Aaron T. Bates— Howard B. Scott— Howard W. Taylor— James 
E. Walsh— George Wakeman— William A. Leonard— Eugene C. Dempsey— 
John R. Booth— Granville Whittlesey— John F. Cu£E— Charles W. Murphy- 
Samuel A. Davis— Henry A. Purdy 352 

Medical history— Danbury's first physician, Samuel Wood— John Butler- 
Thomas Dean— James Picket— Samuel Dickinson— Noah Rockwell— Elind 
Rockwell — Peter Hayes — John Wood— Sallu PeU — Joseph Trowbridge — 
William Vaughn— Jabez Starr— Alfred Betts— Dr. Lyndsley— Titus Hull— 


Daniel Comstock — Daniel N. Carrington— Benjamin S. and Drake Hoyt — 
■William Hull — Joseph Crane — Dr. Knap — Preserve Wood — Charles Peck — 
Dr. Perry — Ansel Hoyt — Daniel Taylor — Amos Baker — Dr. Barnum — Chris- 
topher Avery Babcock — Lemuel Thomas — Dr. Davis — James Potter — Asa 
Norton — Apollos B. Hanaford — Russell B. Botsford — Chandler Smith — Ezra 
P. Bennett— William C. Bennett— J. H. Richards— William E. Booth— E. F. 
Hendrick — E. A. Brown — William E. Bulk ley — Danbury Medical Society — 
Resident physicians of to-day 368 


Civil War — War ideas of Danbury — Sumter — Roger Averill — E. Moss White 
— Wooster Guards — Roster of the company — Danbury cares for families of 
soldiers — Union Reserved Guards — Danbury Zouaves — Roster of Company A, 
Fifth Regiment — Loyal scholars — Bull Run — Return of Wooster Guards, and 
reception by citizens — New Fairfield — Zouaves enlist for three years — Com- 
pany A of the Eleventh Regiment formed and off for the front — Adopted the 
name of the " Averill Rifles" — Flag presented by Hon. Roger Averill — Forty- 
five volunteers for service assigned to Company B, of the First Heavy Artil- 
lery — Nelson L. White, lieutenantcolonel — Enthusiasm over news of capture 
of Fort Donaldson and the fall of Norfolk and Portsmouth — More troops 
called for — Danbury to the rescue — War meeting and volunteers for the Wild- 

. man Guards — Company C leave Danbury — Danbury sends more men — Roster 
of Company B, Twenty-third Regiment — Winter of 1863-63 — Death of Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Stone — Sad Fourth of July — Burial of soldiers — Drafts — Fair 
for benefit of sick and disabled soldiers — Welcome to the Twenty-third Regi- 
ment home from Louisiana — President calls for more men — Danbury's quota 
raised — Work of the Ladies' Soldiers' Aid Society — Danbury sends more men 
— Mourning the assassination of President Lincoln — Danbury's war record 
clear 380 


Wooster Monument — Soldiers' Monument — Monument to heroes in unknown 
graves 424 


Wooster Cemetery Association— Officers-First purchase of land — George W. 
Ives — Edgar S. Tweedy — Frederick S. Wildman — Memorial chapel 431 


Town libraries — Rev. Ebenezer Baldwin — First library in 1771 — Franklin 
Library in 1793 — Old books — Bethel Library — Mechanics' Library — Officers of 
association — Elias Starr — Eli Mygatt — Young Men's Literary Association — 
From about 1858 to 1871 no library — The Danbury Library — Gifts of the sons 
of Colonel E. Moss White and members of the family — Made a free library — 
Post-office building — Number of subscribers — Number of volumes — Genealogi- 
cal line of family of E. Moss White 437 




Baribwy's Charities : Children's Home — Mary Bull — Building of home — Epitaph 
— Martha Stokes — Mrs. Ives saves the Home — List of original incorporators — 
Present officers. Banbury Hospital : Address of J. M. Bailey at opening of 
present hospital building — Address of L. D. Brewster— Training school estab- 
lished — Officers of the institution. Selief Society of Banbury : Its organiza- 
tion — Statement of its work — Letter from selectmen — J. M. Bailey its presi- 
dent — Extracts from minutes. Almshouse : Method of the past — Mr. and 
Mrs. Eli C. White's gift — Late town farm — Broadview 445 


Banks of Danbury — Mutual Fire Insurance Company — Fairfield County branch 
bank — Danbury Bank — Officers from 1834 to 1895 — David Foot — Wooster 
Bank — National Pahquioque Bank, 1854 to 1895 — Origin Danbury Savings 
Bank — Its first home — Its officers — Sketcli of David P. Nichols — Union Sav- 
ings Bank — Officers — Danbury Mutual Fire Insurance Company, chartered in 
1850— Its officers 458 


The Danbury News — Its history from the original Danbury Kmes in 1837 to the 
present time 465 

Danbury 's water supply— Agricultural Society— Board of Trade 468 


Danbury a city — The city's first duties — Limits of the city — Wards of the city 
and their officers — Voting places — Mayors 478 


Fire Department, 1793, 1829, 1850 — Officers of different companies, past and 
present — Paid fire department 484 


Societies: Masonic — Odd Fellows — Temperance — Grand Army of the Republic 
— Knights of Pythias — Hatters' societies — Clubs of Danbury — Musical organi- 
zations — Military organizations. Benevolent Societies : Daughters of the Amer- 
ican Revolution 491 


Taverns, ancient and modern, and Danbury stock farms of to-day — King George 
Tavern— The Inn— Captain Clark's Tavern— White's Tavern— Wood's Tavern 
—Osborne's Hotel— Fountain House— Phcenix Hotel— Mansion House— Dan- 
bury House — Pahquioque Hotel— Turner House — Wooster House — Hotels of 
to-day— Stock farms, Ridgewood and HUl Top 501 




Old burial-grounds— Wooster Street— Upper burying ground — Episcopal burial- 
ground on South Street— Epitaphs from Mill Plain — Miry Brook — Great 
Plain — Pembroke — King Street Baptist ground — Gomes's burial plot — Middle 
River 505 

Danbury of to-day 521 


Bethel — Town and surroundings — Old houses — Old industries— Church and 
school — Medical — Present industries— Noted men — Julius Seeley — Laurence 
P. Hickok — Orris Ferry — Clark Seeley — P. T. Bamum, sketch of his life — 
His address on presenting fountain to the town — His death 524 


List of Danbury representatives from 1776 to 1895, inclusive 549 

Chronological table, 1684 to 1895 557 



James Montgomert Bailey Frontispiece. 

Lake Kenosia 8 

Bedford Deed 16 

Thomas Robbeks 34 

Citizens 32, 122, 273 

Homer Peters and Slave Sale 40 

Old Danbury 56 

WoosTER MosTMEST— House where Woosteb Died, with Cormeb Cup- 
board 64 

Ebenezer Nichols 72 

General David Wooster 85 

Taylor House — Rev. Nathaniel Taylor and Miss Sarane Taylor 90 

Benedict House — S. W. and E. Benedict — Old Chest — Danbury Spy 104 

Joseph Moss White — Joseph Faxrchild White — Colonel Joseph P. 

Cooke — Mrs. Joseph P. Cooke— E. Moss White 131 

Homestead of Ebenezer Russell White — Roswell White — Mrs. Ros- 

well White — Russell White — Mrs. Russell White 140 

Store of Peck & Wildman 144 

Averill Homestead — Present Block on its Site 146 

Homestead of N. H. Wildman, 184-5 — Business Block on its Site, 189.5.. 150 
Homestead Caleb Starr — Homestead Samuel Dibble — Portrait of Ira 

Dibble 160 

Pahquioque Hotel— Lyman Keeler — Woosteb House 168 

J. W. Nichols — H. B. Wildman and Homesteads 176 

Carriage License — Halter's Card^Ball Ticket 182 

Friend Starr, Ch.^rles Starr and Homestead 190 

Resolutions, War of 1813 200 

Old Dan-bury House— Turner House — Aaron Turner 210 

Hat Manufacturers 216 

Danbury News Building— Town Club House — Cowpehthwaite Block 

— Treadwell's Block — Harris Block — 5Ib. Phelany Block 224 

Hatter's Group 232 

Danbury Deed 248 

YtEw from Rose Hill 256 

Old Congregational Church— Rev. Rollin S. Stone— Mbs. Rollin S. 
Stone— Rev. Samuel G. Coe — Deacon Isaac Ives— Deacon Lewis 
HoYT 280 



Present First Congregational Church — Deacon Eli T. Hott — Dea- 
con John Frt— Deacon Oliver Stone— Deacon John F. Beard 288 

St. James' Episcopal Church — Horace Marshall — Mr. and Mrs. Will- 
iam Chappell 396 

Sandemanian Church — Rev. John Glas — Rev. Robert Sandeman — 

Nathaniel Bishop— William Ely— Levi Knapp— John Knapp 299 

Baptist Church— Rev. E. C. Ambler— Rev. William S. Clapp— Metho- 
dist Church— Rev. John Cravtford— George Starr 312 

Disciples' Church — Levi Osborn — John Abbot — Universalist Church — 

Stephen Bates — Colonel Dibble 320 

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Rectory and Parochial School.. 328 
West Street Congregational Church— Horace Bull— Ezra Starr- 
German Lutheran Church and Rectory 332 

School Buildings— J. M. Smith 344 

Lawyers 852 

Physicians 368 

Soldiers. 383 

Old Danbury Bank — David Foot— Samuel Tweedy 400 

Soldiers' Monument- Mrs. F. S. Wildman— Mrs. E. S. Tweedy — Mrs. 

Theodore Tweedy — Mrs. William Crofutt 428 

Memorial Chapel — Entrance to Cemetery — George W. Ives- Edgar 

S. Tweedy— Frederick S. Wildman 432 

Monument to Soldiers and Sailors in Unknown Graves — View in 

Cemetery 434 

Colonel E. Moss White and Homestead 440 

Children's Home— Miss Mary Bull — Mrs. Eliza Botsford — Mrs. G. W. 

Ives 446 

Danbury Hospital— E. S. Davis— J. H. Schuldice 448 

Library — Danbury Bank Post-Office 458 

Pahquioque Bank— Aaron Seeley — Mrs. Seeley— Barnabas Allen 461 

First Danbury Savings Bank Building— Present Savings Bank Bdild- 
ing — Homestead op George W. Ives — William Jabine — Desk in Ives 

Homestead Used as Safe for Savings Bank in 1849 463 

Union Savings Bank — Samuel Stebbins— Almon Judd 464 

Danbury Fair in 1884 472 

Public Buildings- Court House— City Hall — Jail — Almshouse 480 

White Street, North Side, Looking East, 1856 603 

Starr Gravestones 506 

Cemetery Views 512 

Farnum Homestead— Ethel Taylor Farnum 525 

Nathan Seeley and Seven Sons 531 

Orris Ferry — Laurens P. Hickok— Julius Seeley 534 

Old Bethel — P. T. Barnum— Homestead Daniel Hickok— Old Fire 

Engine 543 


James Montgomery Bailey, the son of James and Sarah 
(Magee) Bailey, was born in Albany, N. Y., on September 25th, 

In 1843 his father died suddenly from injuries received by 
a fall, and a few weeks later a sister was bom, who died in 

In 1846 Mrs. Bailey married Daniel Smith, of Rome, N. Y. 
Of this marriage were born three sons and three daughters. 
In 1860 the family moved to Banbury, Conn. , and within a week 
after their arrival the New York Sunday Mercury printed the 
first article from the pen of Mr. Bailey, and continued to publish 
his writings for a year or more. Those who remember Mr. Bailey 
at this time describe him as bubbling over with fun and frolic 
and a universal favorite. 

On August 18th, 1861, he enlisted in Company C, Seventeenth 
Connecticut Volunteers ; August 28th he was mustered into the 
United States service, and September 3d the regiment left the 
State for the front. 

Mr. Bailey remained in the army for three years, and his 
experiences during this time were material for many witticisms 
in after years. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Gettys- 
burg, and confined for two months on Belle Isle. 

Prostrated by malaria, and worn with starvation, he must 
soon have succumbed to these hardships had he not been ex- 
changed. Of his trip on the transport boat he wrote : ' ' How 
blessed that word, ' Free ! ' I kept repeating it to myself, with 
my eyes bent down on the water and my thoughts lifted to 
God." In September, 1865, Messrs. Bailey and Donovan pur- 
chased the Danbury Times, and first conducted it as a Demo- 


cratic paper. In March, 1870, Mr. Bailey, who " loved fun and 
success better than politics," made an arrangement for the con- 
solidation of the Times and the Jeffersonian—a. Republican 
sheet— and thus was started the Danbury News. 

On October 4th, 1866, Mr. Bailey mamed Miss Catharine 
Douglass Stewart, of Danbury. Three children were born to 
them, but all died in infancy. 

In 1873 Mr. Bailey visited California, and while absent wrote 
a series of articles for the JVews, headed with the letters " T. B. 
T. Q. G." These were a subject of much curious comment, 
untU the explanation came that they were the initial character, 
of " Tight Boots throiigh Golden Gate." 

In 1874 he made the tour of Europe, visiting England, Scot- 
land, Ireland, France, and other countries. A year before this 
his first book, "Life in Danbury," had appeared, and before 
leaving for Europe the "Danbury News Man's Almanac" was 

This trip abroad was for the purpose of gathering material for 
a third volume, happily titled " England from a Back Window." 
One of the charms of this record of travel is that while the 
writer is seldom more than half in earnest, he is frequently not 
more than half in jest. While he lightly banters our British 
brethren on their national weaknesses, he has for their sterling 
personal qualities and national physique only words of unstinted 

Within four years after the appearance of this book Mr. Bailey 
published " Mr. Phillips' Goneness," the " Danbury Boom," 
and "They All Dolt." 

In the fall of 1876 he appeared upon the lecture platform, 
under the management of the Redpath Lyceum Bureau. 

In 1878 the firm of Bailey & Donovan was dissolved, and from 
that time until his death Mr. Bailey was sole editor and propri- 
etor of the Danbury Neios. 

His love for Danbury, his faith in her future, and his efforts to 
build up her interests were unbounded. When the Board of 
Trade was established he became an active member, and was 
soon elected its president. 

As one of the founders of the Danbury Hospital, a member of 
the Board of Trustees, and its President, he was deeply inter- 
ested in the welfare of this institution. He was also a warm 


friend and practical helper of the Children's Home and of the 
Eelief Society. 

While resident in Albany Mr. Bailey united with the Baptist 
Church under the pastoral charge of Dr. E. L. Magoun. Upon 
his arrival in this city he joined by letter the Second Baptist 
Church, where he was constant in his attendance, zealous in all 
Christian work, and devoted to the Sunday-school, in which he 
was a beloved teacher until the time of his death. 

It was a peculiar phase of his character that he was subject to 
seasons of deep depression. Years ago, in the very height of 
his world-wide popularity, his sunny soul would pass at times 
into profound darkness, when he would pray for death, while 
yet he would confess that there was no external cause for such 

His love for children was deep and intense, and it was a sad 
grief to him that his own died in infancy. Every Sunday and 
holiday saw the tiny graves in Wooster Cemetery covered with 
flowers, placed there by his loving hands. 

The humor of Mr. Bailey was so entirely original that he may 
truthfully be called the pioneer of that school which is now so 
familiar to all readers. While peculiar and original, Mr. Bailey 
was marvellously natural in his humor, and his readers often 
found themselves pondering upon the sportive mixture of grave 
circumstances and hidicrous events in every-day life. He em- 
bellished the commonest events, the simplest subjects with the 
cap and bells of royal humor. 

Pure and wholesome, his wit never wounded ; it was ' ' the 
lambent flame of mirth that lit, but never burned," humor that 
has brightened many a life and sent sunshine into many a home. 

His great heart brimmed over with love for animals, made man- 
ifest in his daily life and through the columns of his paper. His 
friendship was loyal and intense, and his relations with his em- 
ployes of the most cordial kind. Unbounded was his generosity, 
and the memory of his kind deeds is warm and bright in count- 
less hearts. Had he valued money for its own sake, he might 
have been a millionaire, but money flowed as steadily and pro- 
fusely from his hands as did wit from his lips. No appeal to 
him for help was ever made in vain. 

Mr. Bailey died on March 4th, 1894, after a short illness, leav- 
ing a " city of mourners." He had no enemies ! 


' ' What pen can write for him a tribute, delicate, sympathetic 
and tender, such as he was wont to write for others ? Who can 
analyze that great soul, with its intense love for the beautiful in 
nature and art ; its sympathy with dumb creatures, so that the 
very dogs loved him with an almost deeper than human affec- 
tion ? Who can set in true light and perspective that strange 
blending of deep religious sensibility, profound melancholy, and 
sparkling humor ?' ' 

All who ever touched his life have lost a friend. 




D ANBURY was settled in 1684. It is interesting to note the con- 
dition of the colony of Connecticut at that time. Its study is a 
help to the right understanding of matters ecclesiastical, mer- 
cantile, legal, political, and social as they existed in this State 
when the planters of this city plodded hither through the wilder- 
ness. The particulars presented below are gathered from a re- 
port made by the General Court of Connecticut to a British com- 
mission in 1680, forty years after the settlement of the colony : 

' ' There were two General Courts, and only four counties. 
They had only one troop of sixty horse, but were raising more. 
There were twenty-one churches : the ministerial stipend was 
from £50 to £100. The train bands of militia were of the follow- 
ing strength : 

Hartford County 835 

New London " 509 

New Haven " 623 

Fairfield " 540 

' ' There was one fort at the mouth of the Connecticut. The 
principal towns were the large places of Hartford, New London, 
New Haven, and Fairfield. Their buildings were generally of 
wood, but some of stone and brick, and were comely for a wilder- 
ness. The commodities of the country were provisions, lumber, 
and horses, which were mostly transported to Boston and bar- 
tered for clothing. 

" Some smaU quantities were sent to the Carribee Islands and 
bartered for products and money. At rare intervals vessels were 
sent to Madeira, and the cargoes bartered for wines. They had 


no need of Southern trade, as most people planted as much 
tobacco as they needed. They had good materials for shipbuild- 
ing, and imported about £9000 in value annually. 

"The colony had about twenty petty merchants trading to 
Boston, other colonies, and the West Indies. The property of 
the whole colony did not reach £110,000 sterling. 

" There were but few servants and fewer slaves, not more than 
thirty in the colony. There were so few English, Scotch, and 
Irish arriving that they can give no account of them. 

' ' There came sometimes a few blacks from Barbadoes, which 
were sold for £22 each. 

" In 1677 the number of men was 2587, having increased only 
17 from the previous year ; 24 smaU vessels belonged to the col- 
ony. The obstruction to trade was owing to the want of estates 
and the high price of labor. There were no duties on goods ex- 
ported or imported, except wines and liquors, which, though 
inconsiderable, were appropriated to free schools. 

" The people were principally strict Congregationalists, a 
few ' large Congregationalists ' and some moderate Presbyte- 
rians. There were four or five Seven-day men, and about as 
many Quakers. Labor was 4s. 6d. per day ; wheat was 4s. a 
bushel ; peas, 3s. ; Indian com, 2s. 6d. ; pork, 3d. per pound ; 
beef, 2id., and butter, 6d. 

" Beggars and vagabonds were not suffered, but when discov- 
ered were bound out to service. 

" The country is mountainous, full of rocks, hills, swamps, 
and vales. What was fit was taken up, what remains must be 
gained out of fire, by hard blows, and for small recompense. 

" The trade with the Indians was worth nothing, because their 
frequent wars hindered them from getting peltry. 

" Great care was taken of the instruction of the people in the 
Christian religion by ministers and masters of families." 

This document is signed by Mr. Leete, Governor, and John 
'Allen, Secretary. 

In 1631, eleven years after the landing of the Pilgrims, an 
Indian sachem visited the governors of the Plymouth and Mas- 
sachusetts colonies, urging them to send Englishmen to settle 
in the Connecticut Valley ; and soon after Governor Winslow, of 
Plymouth, visited it. The next year other parties from Massa- 
chusetts explored the vaUey, and reported it as good. In the 


fall of 1634 a band of Massachusetts men came to Connecticut 
and settled at Pequag, now Wetliersfield. In the summer of 
1635 a party from Dorchester laid the foundation of the town of 
Windsor, and in October of that year a party of sixty men from • 
Newtown made the overland march, and settled where the city 
of Hartford now stands. 

In June, 1636, a party of "one hundred men, women, and 
children," under the leadership of Thomas Hooker and Samuel 
Stone, came from Cambridge to Hartford, over one hundred 
miles through a dense wilderness, a journey of two weeks. How 
beautiful to their eyes must have looked the Connecticut Valley, 
with " its oaks, whose patriarch was to shelter their charter, its 
great elms and tulip-trees, the silver ribbon of the river, and 
over it all the light of a day in June !" 

New Haven was settled in 1638 by " the most opulent com- 
pany" that up to that time had emigrated from England. It 
was under the charge of Theophilus Eaton. 

In 1639 settlements were made at ^lilford, Guilford, Fairfield, 
and Stratford. Norwalk was purchased of the Indians in 1640, 
but the permanent settlement of the town was not until 1651. 
In 1684 the " original eight" left Norwalk and settled in Dan- 

The men and women who laid the foundations of our common- 
wealth were exiles from their native land for conscience' sake, 
and sought in this new country freedom to worship God accord- 
ing to their convictions. From the landing of the Pilgrims at 
Plymouth Rock religious observances were not only duty, but 

" Religion was an essential part of daily life and politics, and 
town and church were but two sides of the one thing." The 
same persons in each town discussed and decided ecclesiastical 
and civil affairs indifferently, acting as a town or church meeting. 

The " church" was composed of church-members, having eccle- 
siastical jurisdiction, the " society" of pew-holders and contribu- 
tors having a financial and administrative control, joint action 
of the two being usually necessary. 

The churches of those days were sadly tossed about upon a 
sea of differing opinions, and "old lights" and "new lights," 
Cambridge and Saybrook platforms, were mingled in confusion, 
while separations among the churches went on apace. These 


sometimes led to the formation of new settlements, as, by a 
division in the chnrcli of Stratford, Rev. Mr. Walker with his 
adherents was granted in May, 1672, " Kberty to erect a planta- 
tion at Pomi)eroage." In 1674 this town received the name of 

The first chiirches were mostly of small numbers, but this was 
due to the promj)tness of the first settlers in organizing their 
churches, for " the church began with the settlement." 



The name Danbury is taken from a town in England, wliick 
was originally Danebury, a camp or town of the Danes, and 
where traces of the original earthworks when it was a fortified 
military post still remain. 

In the United States there are six towns bearing this name — 
viz., Danbury, Fail-field County, Conn.; Danbiuy, Woodbury 
County, la.; Danbury, Redwillow County, Neb.; Danbury, 
Merrimack County, N. H. ; Danbury, Stokes County, N. C.:. 
Danbury, Ottawa County, O. 

Danbury in Connecticut, of which we write. Lies in the north- 
A'ern part of Fairfield County, and is bounded on the north by 
New Fairfield ; east, by Brookfield and Bethel ; south, by 
Bethel, Redding, and Ridgefield, and west, by Ridgefield and 
New York State. It is pleasantly diversified with hills and 
vaUeys, and has several small lakes within its bounds ; Moun- 
tain Pond, Neversink, Marjorie, Boggs, and Kenosha ai-e all 
pretty sheets of water with well-wooded banks. 

The highest mountain in Danbury is that north of Boggs Pond, 
which is 1025 feet in height. The mountain west of Sugar 
HoUow ranks next, being 1020 feet high. Moses Mountain has 
a height of 1000 feet, Thomas Mountain, 960 feet, and Town 
Mountain, 900. 

The main street of the city runs through a valley lying between 
two ridges of land running north and south. When the first 
settlers came they chose the southern end of this valley for their 
new homes. Gradually as the years went on, and the little 
settlement increased in strength and numbers, the main street — 
then known as Town Street— extended its length and took on 
new houses and homes, until it stretched for nearly two miles 
from north to south. 


To-day it is brimful of life and activity, aud lined with resi- 
dences and fine business blocks. Handsome churches and public 
buildings are scattered along through its centre, and many tine 
old homesteads stand beneath the great trees of upper and lower 
Main Street. The business portion of the city has gi-own up 
around other homesteads, but many of the beautiful old trees 
that once shaded them have fallen in the march of modem im- 

Danbury has spread over the hills and across the dales, has 
blossomed out in streets and pleasant homes unto her very bor- 
ders, and nestles under her wings her surrounding little settle- 

King Street, lying at the northwest of the city, has two 
churches, the Fu-st Baptist and a Christian church. It lies 
along a slope of the hill, and is purely an agricultiiral dis- 

Middle River* lies south of King Street and directly west of 
the Centre District of Danbury, while west of that lies the settle- 
ment formerly known as the Boggs, but now called Westville. 

Mm Plain, lying next south, derived its name, according to 
tradition, from a mill that was a little east of the present Fair 
Grounds, which had so high a dam that it flooded the swamps 
hj Mill Plain Pond. This sheet of water is now known as Lake 
Kenosia, and is quite a pleasure resort. 

* From Mrs. Mary Depew, of Elkhart, Ind., a daughter of Elind Comes, and now 
in her eighty-third year, we have the following regarding the " Comes Meeting 
House" at Middle River. 

In the -winter of 1824 revival meetings were conducted in Middle River District 
^}y Orlando Starr and Jloses Hill, of Danbury, both of whom became afterward 
juinisters in the Methodist Episcopal Church. These meetings were held at the 
school-house, and the young people of the neighborhood continued them until 
William Stone objected to the use of the school building for such purposes, and the 
girls would take off their shawls and hang them before the windo^vs to hide the 
light, as his house was in sight of the school-house. 

To avoid further trouble, the meetings were held at a private house, and Mr. 
Comes resolved to build a church, which he did, furuisliiug the land, the material, 
and doing the work himself. When completed, lie had it dedicated, and it was 
thrown open to the public with the distinct understanding that it should be a Union 
church, free to all denominations, Universalists not excepted. 

Mr. Comes afterward bought the laud for the burial-ground that adjoins the 
church, and enclosed it with a fence. The graveyard as well as the church was 
free to all, and here is buried Elind Comes, with Dinah, his wife, and several of 
his children'and grandchildren. 


The first house built in Mill Plain was erected probably about 
1720, and belonged to Nathaniel Stevens. It is not in existence 
now. Thomas Stevens, a brother of Nathaniel, built a house in 
172.0, which was rebuilt in 182.'), and is still standing. " Bur- 
chard's Store," at the western boundary of old-time Mill Plain, 
was its commercial centre, and had quite a wide reputation. It 
was one of the first to pixt out shirts for making, and the women 
would come from far and near for the work, taking in payment 
goods from the store. 

There were several shoe shops, where, besides custom work, 
shoes were made for a firm in New Canaan. Most of the energy 
of the people was directed to farming. 

Lake Kenosia, now a popular summer resort for the people 
of Danbury and its vicinity, was known in the old days as Mill 
Plain Pond, and many of the older residents can remember boat- 
ing upon the lake in moonlit evenings, or enjoying picnics under 
the shade of the trees along its banks. 

In 1860, George Hallock, who saw a future for the lake as a 
pleasure resort, built the Kenosia Hotel, which was opened on 
August 16th of that year. The hotel was short-lived, as it was 
destroyed by fire on November 23d of the same year. Soon 
after the opening of the house its landlord, as an especial attrac- 
tion, arranged " a race between the noted trotters Flora Temple 
and Widow McChree at Kenosia Trotting Park, on November 
15th." The race was won by Flora Temple in three heats. 
Time : 2.39, 2.37, and 2.33. 

How much of an event this was, the following extract from 
the Danbury Times of the week previous will show : "To accom- 
modate those who it is expected will come to see the trot, the 
evening train of cars will be, on that day, delayed until 6.30 p.m." 

South of Mill Plain is Miry Brook (in some old deeds spelled 
Miery), a little agricultural settlement lying upon level ground 
with low meadows, where in spring the cowslips bloom and the 
birds sing. 

Early in the present century there was a saw-mill in this settle- 
ment, just opposite the homestead of the late Rev. Mr. Burton. 
On the side of the mountain in Mii-y Brook is the site of what 
was a silversmith's shop, where Samuel Scribner made watches 
and silverware and cast sleigh-bells. On a corner of the road 
running from Mill Plain through Miry Brook to Ridgefield was 


a cabinet-maker's shop, where were manufactured chairs, tables, 
spinning-wheels, and various household furnishings, but the 
name of its proprietor is not known. 

Sweeping around to the southward lies Starr's Plain, a little 
village diversified with hills, valleys, and watercourses, a good 
fanning district. The little church here has quite a history, 
which will be found in another chapter. 

Long Ridge lies east of Starr's Plain and south of the South 
Centre District of Danbury. This is also an agricultural settle- 
ment, which boasts of pleasant farmhouses and fertile acres. 
It has one church. 

On the east of Danbury is Beaver Brook, where is the McArthur 
paper mill. This is a farming settlement, and has a pretty little 
chapel. Beaver Brook has a bit of Indian history which may 
be interesting if not edifying. Long years ago an Indian family 
lived in a cave iinder Beaver Brook Mountain, and one was 
killed by his brother. The murderer was captured in the hills 
of New Fairfield by Philo Chase and William B. Hoyt, of Great 
Plain, tried and sentenced to State's prison for life. 

North of Beaver Brook, on the east side of the city, lies Great 
Plain, a broad and level expanse, as its name denotes, with fruit- 
ful fields and prosperous farmers. Here is a neat little chapel 
called " The Gift of God," which is used by all orthodox per- 

Early in this century an Indian family lived near Forty- Acre 
Mountain, in Great Plain, and there are traditions of a previous 
settlement and of an Indian burial-ground in this vicinity. 

Pembroke lies north of Danbury and adjoins King Street ; it 
is on high roUing gi-ound, and, like its neighbors, agricultural. 
Some years ago brick-making was carried on in the southern 
part of the settlement. 

Like the "mother State," Danbury believes in good educa- 
tional privileges, and each of these outlying settlements has its 
own school-house. 

The old deeds in the Record Office of the town show many 
curious names given to places in and about Danbury, such as 
Stubble-lot Road, Eunice Ground, Shorthills, NoonhiUs, Saw- 
miU Brook, Red-root Ridge, Stadley Ruff Ridge, Siah's Gutter 
on the west side of Moses' Mountain, Flatt Rock, Mashing-tub 
Swamp, Wolf Ridge, Millstone Swamp, Cripple Bush Swamp, 


Franks' Hill, Cat-tail Mountain, Hearthstone Hill, and many 

Newtown rejoiced in the ownershij) of "Jangling Plains." 
Jakin's Ridge belonged to the McLean estate, and was a part of 
Stony Hill. 

Tradition has said that the name Kohanza grew out of " cow- 
handy i^asture ;" but in the inventory of estate of John Vidito, 
in 1745, we find this item, " Land at Cohansey." 

In 1767, in inventory of estate of Joseph Houghton, we find 
" Cohansa, " and in estate inventory of Francis Knapp, in 1776, 
is mentioned " Cowhansy pastiire ;" in 1780, in the will of Rev. 
Ebenezer White, among other real estate is " Cohanzy orchard." 
In the inventory of estate of Zadock Benedict, in 1798, we find 
written " Cowshandy Lot." In 1809, in inventory of estate of 
Noble Benedict, it is written Cohanzy, and in 1839, in the will 
of Colonel Russell White, we find " orchard at Cohansy." 

Spruce Mountain Road, Brushy Hill, Walnut-ti-ee HiU, Chest- 
nut Ridge Hill, and Whortleberry Hills, thus named by our 
ancestors, are proofs that they appreciated their hill surround- 
ings. Tamarack Road appeals to the older generation of to- 
day as a charming drive. Thomas, Moses, and Town moun- 
tains stand as they have done for centuries, pleasant in as- 
pect, well w^ooded, and beautiful with wild flowers in their 

The Indians about here were not at any time within the knowl- 
edge of history numerous. De Forest, in his history of Connec- 
ticut, says that ' ' with the exception of the Paugussetts, Wepa- 
waugh, and an insignificant class known as the Potatucks, the 
latter inhabiting the limits of Newtown, Southbury, Woodbury, 
and some other townships, the whole country now known as 
Litchfield County, together with the northei-n part of Fairfield 
and the western part of Hartford counties, presented an uninhab- 
ited wilderness. The birds built their nests in the forests undis- 
turbed by the smoke of a single -nigwam, and the wild beasts 
who made it their home were startled by no fires save those of a 
transient war party or a wandering hunter. It is well under- 
stood that the natives were in the habit of passing down the line 
of the Housatonic and up Still River during the summer season, 
and planting in the valleys." 

It is said that the Schaticoke Indians were divided into north 


and south tribes, of which the former were of Kent, Conn., and 
the latter of Beaver Brook. 

Among the records of the first church, we find the following 
entry in the list of marriages j^erformed by Rev. Timothy Lang- 
don : " November 11th, 1787, John Lucas to Hannah Griswould 
— Indians." 

There was a family of Indians living near the bridge at Never- 
sink Pond as late as 1850. Indian arrowheads and other relics 
are still found in the fields and about the ponds and creeks of 
Danbury, but those who fashioned them have been for long years 
in the " happy hunting-groimds. " 


In 1879 the writer made the following statement in the News : 
" It is reasonable to suppose that the original eight families 
came to Danbury by what was since the turnpike between here 
and Norwalk. It is the most direct route, and presents less 
obstacles in the matter of high ground than any other way. So 
long ago there could not have been more than a trail, if as much, 
to direct and aid them. What must have been their thoughts as 
they forced their way we cannot know. Judging the aspect of 
nature to be then considerably more forbidding than it is now, 
we must admire the courage of the original eight, even if we 
cannot respect their judgment." 
Whereupon a correspondent of the Neios offered the following : 

*' To the Editor of the News : 

" I have a word to say in regard to the route taken by the first 
settlers of Danbury in coming from Norwalk. It ^oas not, as 
stated in your paper, over the present travelled road. With all 
due deference to your authority, I beg leave to say that the 
pond, mountain, and region now known as Sympaug was in my 
boyhood days known only as Ililking Yard. And first my 
grandfather, afterward my uncles and father, said that the name 
originated from the following circumstance : that the earliest 
settlers of Danbury built a fence from the south end of the pond 
across the neck of level land to the mountain to prevent their 
cattle, especially their cows, from taking the back track to Nor- 
walk, from whence they had been driven ; and that the citizen 
owners of said cows were in the habit of riding on horseback to 


this fence or barrier to milk their cows ; and also that during 
the last part of the last century the mail was carried on horse- 
back through the same territory. The market wagons of those 
old times also pursued the same course or road on the west side 
of the pond. " 

We incline to believe our correspondent is correct ; that the 
trail pursued by the original eight ran on the west and not on 
the east side of the pond ; but we are still persuaded that the 
course was largely what has since become the turnpike between 
Norwalk and Danbury. There is no doubt there was a trail of 
some kind between the two points, as the Indians occupying this 
ground must often have visited the Sound at its nearest point, 
which is Norwalk. 

Presuming there was a trail, its location through here must 
have been the present Main Street, and would naturally present 
to the newcomers a place of residence, principally because it 
defined something. 

According to Mr. Robbins's account, they located close to- 
gether, four on one side and four on the opposite side. Their 
object was to start a village. This, with a view to sociability 
and protection, would demand concentration. The lands on 
whose cultivation they depended they sought here and there, as 
the richness of the soil made necessary, and these locations varied 
so much that to reside upon the tracts would have so scattered 
the settlers as to have made the nucleus of a village " a barren 
ideality," and to have put social intercourse and mutual protec- 
tion beyond the pale of possibility. It is likely enough that the 
eight families' homesteads did not cover more than the ground 
between South Street and the Court House. 

By a careful wrench of the imagination we can see Danbury 
something as it existed then. We know from the quality of the 
land that the eminences were full of fir-trees. We deduct, also, 
from the lay of the land that along the streams alders grew in 
profusion, and that in that portion east of Main Street and 
west of the Town Hill Ridge there was a rather considerable 

We are jwetty confident that the swamp must have been a 
prominent feature in the topogi'aphy, from the fact that the first 
settlers set their heart upon calling their town Swampfield, and 


were only deterred therefrom by the arbitrary action of the 
general court, which substituted the name Danbury. 

Thus were we saved from becoming Swampfielders. 

Pahquioque or Paquaige was the name given to this valley by 
the Indians. It is still preserved in the sub-name of one of our 
national banks, and in one of our business buildings. The hat 
factory of Crofut & White in its early days was thus called, and 
almost wholly known by that name for many years. One of the 
streets of Danbury bears the old Indian name, which signifies an 
open plain. This feature of the wilderness here may have in- 
duced the original eight, to drop down where they did. 


Banbury's nickname is Beantown. There are various theories 
for the origin of this unsentimental title. One theorist claims 
that it comes from the pretty general disposition of the Danbury 
people in the past to cultivate beans. He says that he has seen 
great stacks of them in fields hereabouts, like stacks of hay, and 
has seen boys armed with pails and baskets gathering up the 
beans when the stalks were removed, like Ruth gleaning in the 
field of Boaz. Another observer, who takes a similar view, 
writes : 

" According to the ' oldest inhabitant, ' the name originated 
from the fact that there were large quantities of beans raised 
here in the early settlement of the town. Norwalk, being the 
parent town, was often visited by Danbury people, and trade to 
a considerable extent was carried on between the two places in 
the way of exchanging productions. No Danbury load was 
complete without beans, and half a century ago it was a common 
remark by those living on the road, when a team was passing, 
' Here goes a Danbury wagon, for there is a bag of beans on the 
top.' At that time there was a kind of bean known throughout 
the country as the ' Danbury bean.' It was a very small, round 
white bean of excellent quality, and farmers raised them in pref- 
erence to others." 

Another explanation is that the site of our town was bought 
from the Indians with a peck of beans, something like the bar- 
gain between Esau and Jacob. 

Of the years between the settlement of Danbury in 1684 and 
the beginning of the Revolution, we have little knowledge save 


that contained in the famous century sermon of the following 
chapters, the probate records of Fairfield to 1740, and our own 
probate records of later date. From these we glean the follow- 
ing, which, although meagre in detail, may be of interest to the 
descendants of our Danbury pioneers. 

Nearly two hundred years ago, when Danbury had been but 
eleven years settled, one of the "original eight" died, for we 
find among the probate records of Fairfield that " Tliomas Bar- 
num, of Danbury, died December 26th, 1695." He left a widow, 
five sons, and five daughters, some of them " under age." 

In October, 1697, Francis Bushnell, another of the original 
settlers, died, leaving seven daughters. 

The next to go of the first eight settlers was John Hoit, who 
died in March, 1711-12, leaving widow and children. 

" Deacon Samuel Benedict," of the originals, died in 1719. 

James Picket, of Danbury, died February 15th, 1701, leaving 
a widow, son John, and other heirs. 

John Bouton, of Danbury, died in 1704-1705 leaving "eldest 
son John," Nathanell, Eliazer, and daughters Sarah, Abigail, 
and Mary. 

Joseph Forwards, of Danbury, died October 3d, 1704, leaving 
a widow, Lidia, who afterward became the wife of Thomas Wild- 
man. He left four daughters, the eldest only six years of age. 
Ann, who at the time of her father's death was four years old, 
became the wife of Benjamin Barnum. 

Nathaniel Hillyer, of Danbury, drew his will October 30th, 
1709, and died the next day. He mentions " Brothers Wake- 
field and Ebenezer Dibble," James and Andrew Hillyer, also 
" Sister Elizabeth Palmer." 

Nathaniel Hoit, of Danbury, died in 1712, his estate being 
inventoried on May 16th of that year. 

Thomas Bennedick, of Danbury, died in 1714, leaving widow 
Elizabeth, one son and three daughters. 

Inventory of the estate of Thomas Picket was made January 
22d, 1711-12. He left a widow Sarah, six sons and three 

John Picket died May 23d, 1712, leaving widow Catharine, 
three sons, and two daughters. 

The estate of Samuel Weed, of Danbury, was inventoried 
September 9th, 1708. Widow Mary ; sons Jacob, Samuel, and 


Jonas, the latter two under age, as Jacob was made their guard- 
ian. Elizabeth, the daughter, made choice of her mother for 

Inventory of the estate of Captain Josiah Starr, of Danbury, 
was made July 3d, 1715-16, by John Cornwall and John Gregory. 
He had " property at Pocono by Ensign Knap, prop'' near Ben- 
jamin Stevens, prop'' next Thos. Hoit, prop'' at Pocono next 
Abraham Wildman, prop'' at Grassy Plain by John Benedick, 
prop'' bought of James Crofoot, prop'' bought of Samuel Beebe, 
prop'' bought of Thos. Picket, prop'' bought of Thos. Taylor, 
prop'' next . . . Benedick, prop'' next Daniel Taylor." He left 
widow Rebeckah, six sons and two daughters. 

The estate of Benjamin Hoit, of Danbury, was inventoried 
February 20th, 1722-23. He left -widow Mary, two sons and 
two daughters, all imder age. 

James Crofoot, of Danbury, died in 1724. His estate was in- 
ventoried by Israel Curtiss and John Hoit ; Norwalk estate by 
Benjamin Lines and Matthew Gregory. Widow and eight chil- 
dren, three sons, live daughters. 

Joshua Hoit died in 1726-27, leaving widow Sarah, and three 

Estate of Daniel Green inventoried March, 1724-25. Jasper 
Green (only surviving brother) sole heir. Property also at 

Thomas Barnum, Sr., of Danbury, di-ew his will December 
17th, 1730, when about 67 years of age. Will was probated 
December 27th, 1731. Widow Sarah, eldest son Thomas, 
daughter Sarah Hoyt, cliildren of daughter, Esther Judd, de- 
ceased — youngest daughter, Mary Barnum— grandson John 
Wilks. Sons Thomas and Ephraim sole executors. 

Estate of Thomas Starr inventoried April, 1734. Elizabeth 
Starr administratrix. 

Will of Samuel Benedict, Sr., of Danbury, dated March 4th, 
1734-35. Inventory April 4th, 1735. 

Widow Abigail, daughter of Thomas Picket ; sons Ebenezer 
and Samuel ; daughters Hannah and Mercy. Grandson Mat- 
thew Wildman, only child of daughter Mary, deceased, and 
under age. 

The will of Wakefield Dibble, of Danbury, dated in Stratfield, 
January 31st, 1733-34, mentions " sons Ebenezer, Ezra (oldest 


son), ISTehemiah (he is very lame), John (has property at Pocono, 
between Danbury and Newtown). " Will probated May 2d, 1734. 

Benjamin Picket died in 1724, leaving his estate to be divided 
between his five brothers, sisters Sarah Vidito, Abigail Benedict, 
wife of Samuel Benedict, and " ne^shew Thomas Noble, of New 
Milford, an only son of sister Hannah." 

The mil of John Wildman, of Danbury, drawm August 26th, 
1730, and probated the same day, mentions wife Joanna, father 
Abraham Wildman, brothers Abraham, John, Thomas, Isaac, 
Jacob, and Matthew ; and sister Mercy Gregory, wife of Ephraim 

Rev. Mr. Seth Shove, deceased, of Danbury. Inventory 
of Estate March 4th, 1735-36. Madam Abigail Shove, widow. 
Also mentioned Mary Minor, Hannah Starr, and Lydia Bouton. 
Inventory of his library made by Daniel Boardman, John 
Graham, and Ebenezer White. 

Captain John Starr. Inventory September 23d, 1739. Men- 
tions daughters Mary, Sarah, and Rachel. 

Mr. Ezra Dible, of Danbury. Will dated August 3d, 1739 ; 
probated in November of same year. Wife, Elizabeth ; eldest 
son, Wakefield ; under age, Elisha, John ; and daughters, 
Rebecca and Freelove. A posthumous child. 

Samuel Knap, Jr., drew his will January 8th, 1739-40. Wife 
Sarah ; sons Samuel, James, Elnathan, David. Brothers John 
and Francis Knap administrators. Will probated February 12th, 
1739-40. A posthumous child. 

"Mr. John Anderson, a transient person, now a resident of 
Danbury," drew his will on February 8th, 1739-40. Mentions 
" Mother Margaret Henderson and sister Elizabeth Anderson, 
living in parish of Dunfarm by Lime in ye shire of Feife in 
North Britton," giving them "i of estate." "To Deacon 
Elnathan Mead, of Horse Neck, my best suit of clothes now at 
Ridgefield. ..." 
" To Town of Danbury ) 
Parish of Horse Neck f ^ 
remainder of my estate between them, for a Presbt" school." 

WiU probated March 6th, 1739-40. Inventory made by Israel 
White, Comfort Starr, and Abraham Hayes. 

Nicholas Bates, of Danbury, drew his will June 17th, 1741, 
which was probated January 25th, 1741-42. " Wife Abegail ; 


only dangliter Mary, now wife of Jonathan Pierson, of Derby ; 
sons Elias, John, Henry. Brother Henry Bates, of Wallingford, 
and Lieutenant Ebenezer Hickock, of Danbury, executors." 

The will of Stephen Curtiss, of Danbury, was drawn January 
23d, 1740-41, and probated April 7th, 1741. Wife Abigail ; 
" only son Stephen a double portion ;" remainder divided be- 
tween two daughters. "Brother Francis Knap and Joshua 
Knap executors." 

Isaac Wildman. of Danbury. Will dated February 23d, 1742- 
43. Wife Elizabeth ; " daughter Sarah, now ye wife of John 
Towner, of Oxford Parish. Daughter Olive under 18. Sons 
David, John, and Benjamin. Wife Elizabeth and my 
brother-in-law, Benj. Eouton, to be exr"." Father Abra- 
ham Wildman, deceased, brother John Wildman, deceased, had 
legacies from estate. Will probated June 20th, 1743. 

Nathaniel Stevens. Will drawn February 1st, 1742-43, pro- 
bated July 5th, 1743. Wife Ruth ; sons Nathaniel, Nathan, 
Abraham, Timothy; daughter Hannah Stevens. "Grand- 
daughter Elizabeth Stevens £20 if she lives with us until 18." 
Youngest sons John and Ezra. 

Ensign Nathaniel Stevens's estate was inventoried July 24th- 
26th, 1743. 

Josiah Nickolls, of Danbury, died in 1743. Mehitable Nickolls 
swears to inventory, January, 1744-45. 

February 12th, 1755, Seth Kellog, a minor of Danbury, chose 
Ezra Kellog, of same place, as guardian. 

In 1760 Rev. William, Moses and Martha Gaylord witnessed 
the will of Joseph Atherton, of Danbixry. 

On October 15th, 1704, Benjamin Scrivener died at Danbury, 
but belonged to Norwalk. He left a widow, four sons, and a 
daughter. Scrivener was probably the original of Scribner of 

Besides the names already mentioned in these abstracts of 
wills, we find, as administrators, guardians, and witnesses, the 
following belonging to Danbury : Piatt, Raimond, Copp, Hub- 
beU, Jackson, Haris, Hayes, Bennit, and Waller. 


In Queen Anne's War, 1702, and in the caU for more troops to 
attack Quebec in 1709, Connecticut promptly fiUed her quota, 

O^or^- or -<:tx -^^^ -7*1 f^i- ^r>tJ -^jDcr^i cJ- -t^:^fc^^ 

//f/- /w <»,/)c/ci/ /i*^ «^^ >«>3r^ -y^v^/ ^-^i-yj- c.y /^rc^/f '-'^ 
of 4-ru^ -y ca^^} (£^ ^,^ o/ /a£>- /« ^-- -^e^^- ^ Ar'-A 


and perhaps the little village of Danbiiry may have contributed 
to this number, but of this we have no knowledge, and little of 
what Danbury may have done in sending out soldiers to King 
George's War in 1744. We find in the records of the Starr 
family that Captain Josiah Starr (born 1693) was appointed by 
the General Assembly of Connecticut in July, 1745, " to be cap- 
tain of one of the companies now to be raised and sent to Cape 
Breton to reinforce the troops there ;' ' and in May, 1746, he 
was appointed " to be captain of the Fifth Company in the regi- 
ment to be raised in the expedition against Canada." He died 
in Danbury in 1778, " fuU of honors and full of years." 

At the beginning of the French and Indian War, in 1755, 
Connecticut was called upon for one thousand men, which she 
promptly furnished, and in the unfortunate campaigns of 1756 
and 1757 regularly raised more than twice the number of men 
assigned to her quota, and we may be sure that Danbury sent 
her share into this war. 

We find Josiah Starr (son of the Josiah previously mentioned) 
was appointed in 1755 ' ' second lieutenant of the Fifth Company, 
to be raised to go against Crown Point." 

In 1757 Jonathan Starr, of Danbury, " volunteered as a soldier 
for the relief of Fort William Henry, " and Major Daniel Starr 
(born 1724) was "in the expedition of 1757 for the relief of 
Fort William Henry." 

Thomas Bamum, third, " fell in the French War in Canada." 
A descendant writes that he "was killed at the Heights of 
Abraham." His will was drawn on June 23d, 1755, and pro- 
bated October 1st of the same year, so that his death occurred 
between these dates. 

" Job Northrop, of the District of Danbury, having listed 
myself a soldier on an exjjedition for Cannoday," etc., drew his 
will May 19th, 1760, which was jjrobated in November of the 
same year, going to prove that he met his death on the battle- 
field, either in the summer or autumn of that year. 

Abel Sherwood, of the Probate District of Danbury, was a 
member of the Sixth Company, Second Regiment of Connecti- 
cut, under Captain Thomas Hobby. He was mustered in at 
Horse Neck in April, 1761, and was one of a company of " one 
hundred effective men." He was with General Montgomery 
when the latter met his death at Quebec. In September, 1761, 


he was discharged, but died soon after from the effect of wounds 
received in battle. 

In 1756 " John Wood was captain and John Benedict, third, 
second lieutenant of the Eighth Company, Fourth Regiment," 
of the forces raised against Crown Point. 

In 1758 Joseph Hoit was cajitain-lieutenant, Ezra Stephens sec- 
ond lieutenant, and Noble Benedict ensign of the First Company 
of the Fourth Regiment. 

In May, 1758, the General Assembly appointed John Wood, 
Jr. (son of Captain John Wood), of Danbury, second surgeon's 
mate in the Fourth Regiment. The Misses Comstock, of this 
city, have in their possession a j)owder-liorn which bears the 
following in pen and ink : A sketch of a full-rigged ship, coat 
of arms, with lion and unicorn, and the motto, ' ' Honi soft qui 
Trial ypense.y It bears also this inscrix^tion : "The Privateer 
Snow Royal hester Doer John Wood Surgeons mate to the 4th 
Regiment, ^tatis Sufe 23. Made at Lake George, August the 
15th 1758. 

" ' Subdue old Gallick haughty looks 

Then beat your spears to pruning-hooks.' " 

In March, 1759, the following were the officers of the Fifth 
Company, Third Regiment, Samuel Hubbell, captain ; Noble 
Benedict, first lieutenant ; Nathan Gregory, ensign. 

In 1760 Samuel Hubbell was captain ; Noble Benedict, first 
lieutenant ; and Lemuel Benedict, second lieutenant, of the Sev- 
enth Company, Third Regiment. 

In 1764 Joseph Hoit was captain and Noble Benedict first 

lieutenant of the Fourth Company, Regiment, "in the 

forces now ordered to be raised against the Indian nations who 
have been guilty of perfidious and cruel massacres of the 

The lists of soldiers in these old wars give the names but not 
places of residence, so that our certain information in regard to 
our fighting ancestors is meagre ; but our faith in them leads us 
to believe that all who were needed went with promptness and 


danbury's first historian. 

About all that we know of Danbury in the fii'st century of its 
existence is presented in an address called the " Century Ser- 
mon," which was delivered in the Congregational Church by 
Thomas Robbins. 

It has been the impression here for many years that Mr. Rob- 
bins was the pastor of the Congregational Church in Danbury. 
This is an error. Mr. Robbins was licensed to preach, but he 
was not a settled pastor here. 

He was born in Norfolk, Litchfield County, Conn., on August 
11th, 1777, and was the son of Rev. Amni Ruhanah Robbins, 
and Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. Lazarus, and granddaughter of 
Dr. Francis Le Baron.* 

His paternal grandfather was the Rev. Philemon Robbins, of 
Branford, Conn., who married Hannah Foot, and died in 1781. 
The following incident we copy from " Notes of the Baptists," 
by Rev. F. Denison : 

"In 1742 Mr. Philemon Robbins, a minister of the Standing 
Order in Branford, preached by invitation to the Baptist Church 
in WaUingford ; for this the ministers of the New Haven Con- 
sociation called him to an account, and his trial was continued 
for a long time. In 1745 they called him before them and de- 

* Governor William Bradford = Alice South worth, 

of Plymouth, Mass. I nee Carpenter (second wife). 

William =: Mary Holmes, nee Atwood. 

(First) Elkanah Cushman = Lydia = Lazarus Le Baron (second), 
born December 23d, 1719. I 

Elizabeth = Amni Ruhanah Robbins. 

Thomas Robbins, born August 11th, 1777. 


manded that he should ' confess tliat lie broke the law of Ood in 
preacliing to the Baptists against their consent.'' " 

Such was the broad and liberal spirit of our stern forefathers. 

Thomas Robbins pleasantly called his birth year " the year of 
the three gallowses/' from its lugubrious array of sevens. 

He graduated from Yale College in 1796. At the age of nine- 
teen he began school-teaching. In November, 1779, he accepted 
a call to the Congregational Church in Brookfield, as a tem- 
porary supply, and remained there for the several weeks he was 
engaged. As the parish was too poor to pay for a preacher 
through the winter, and receiving a call to teach the public 
school in Danbury, he left Brookfield and arrived here on Decem- 
ber 25th. Christmas could not have been much of a day here- 
abouts at that time, as Mr. Robbins does not refer to its signifi- 
cance in his diary, which he began in 1796, and faithfully con- 
tinued until 1854, two years before his death. 

In his entry for that day he simply says he rode horseback to 
Danbury in the morning, and took charge of the school that 
afternoon. At the same time came confirmation of a report that 
Washington was dead. 

Mr. Robbins must have created a remarkably favorable im- 
pression upon the people of Danbury, for, although a stranger 
and only twenty-two years old, a committee of citizens invited 
him to deliver a eulogy on the character of the dead Washing- 
ton. He accepted the invitation and delivered the discourse to 
an audience that completely filled the "meeting-house" of the 
Congregational Church. This all took place within a week after 
his arrival. The following extracts from his diary may be of 
interest : 

" Dec. 3\st. In the forenoon no school for want of wood. 
Wrote on my oration. Adieu, 1799." 

" Jan. 21st, 1800. Was invited to supper with a great com- 
pany. O, that I may not be permitted to dishonor the religion 
I have professed." 

" Jf'eb. 18th. Am invited out to tea almost every day." 

" -Feb. 25t7i. It is customary here for little children to have 
dances, even the youngest in my school." 

" jFeb. 28, 1800. Mrs. Whittlesey's mother, the wife of E. R. 
White, my father's classmate, died in the afternoon of a con- 


" April 5. Dined with the military company. Tlie militia 
here appears very well. Training here on the green to-day. In 
the evening all hands dance. Even the least of my school Join 
the game. No less than four different sets [companies] are 
dancing this evening. In the morning a little frost." 

"■^ July I'd. Very warm. Much worried. People here appear 
to be exceeding stupid and thoughtless about divine things." 

^^ July 15. This town is i")eculiar for good gardens. . . ." 

" July 30. Excessive hot. The thermometer rose to ninety- 

^' July d\. Wrote to my father. Wrote a piece for publica- 
tion. Thermometer at ninety-seven. Eat succotash." 

^^ Aug. I'd. . . . Had a hat made for my father. " 

" Sep. 1. Had no school, it being training day. The greater 
part of my school children dance. It being customary here, 
I cannot prevent it. I do not believe a town in the State can 
produce so respectable a militia as this. Two companies of 
infantry, one of cavalry, and one of artillery, all in iiniform, 
belong to this society." 

" Sep. 24. The regiment met here. Dined with the field 

" Dec. 22. The frost all out of the ground. Collecting mate- 
rials for a Century Sermon. Invited out to supper." 

" Dec. 24. Wrote on my Century Sermon." 

" Dec. 25. Considerable labor to make all the collections for 
my Century Sermon. Boys played ball." 

" Dec. 30. Still engaged on my Century Semion." 

" Dec. 31. Finished my Century Sermon on Gen. 1 : 14 at three 
quarters after eleven o'clock P.M. The year is now closing." 

" Jan. 1, 1801. Afternoon preached my Century Sermon to a 
very large audience." 

" Jan. 9. Have lived more than a year in this town, and all 
at one house, very agreeably. AVhat shall I render to the Most 
High for all his mercies ? . . . " 

' ' Jan. 31. Left Danbury.' ' 


" Hay 25, 1812. . . . Received a new hat from Danbury for 
which I paid $10.00. It is all beaver. ..." 

" May 1, 1835. . . . Received a letter from Mr. WMttlesey, 
of Danbury. ..." 


" May 4. Received a good hat from Danbury by New York, 
for which I paid $7.00. ..." 

A foot-note says : " Dr. Robbins first had a hat made in Dan- 
bury at the bej^inning of the century. He liked the Danbury 
hats so well that he generally had his hats made there, but 
they cost him more than good hats do now." 

His journal observes of his Danbury school that the attendance 
was small, and the children ignorant in spiritual matters. Sev- 
eral times during the winter he wi'ites of the school being closed 
" on account of no wood." 

The single public school building which the village had at that 
time stood on Wooster Street, between the graveyard and the 
old jail. The scholars were thus constantly reminded on one 
hand of the certainty of death, and, on the other, of the uncer- 
tainties of life. 

While Mr. Robbins remained in Danbury he boarded with 
Matthew Beale Whittlesey, a noted lawyer, and father of the 
late Ebenezer Whittlesey. 

In January, 1801, he gave up the charge of the school here 
and retired from Danbury. While he was here he on sev- 
eral occasions preached in the Congregational Church, the 
settled pastor, Rev. Mr. Langdon, being ill with consumption. 
He also acted as an occasional supply to churches in neighboring 
towns, but did not become a settled pastor until after he left 
Danbury. In 1844, after teaching and preaching for forty-five 
years, he retired from active life, became librarian of the Con- 
necticut Historical Society in Hartford, and remained at the 
Athseneum in that city until 1854, when the weakness of ad- 
vanced age obliged him to relinquish the office. He died in Col- 
brook on September 13th, 1856, and was buried in Hartford. 
He gave his large and valuable library to the society. His jour- 
nal has been preserved in print by the family, and copies are in 
the library of this city. 

Mr. Robbins was but twenty-three years of age when he pre- 
pared the remarkable century discourse. He never married. 
While here he fell in love with an accomplished young lady, 
who did not return his passion. She afterward married Knapp 
Boughton, and in course of time became the mother of our late 
fellow-citizen, Lucius H. Boughton. 

Mr. Robbins seems to have maintained an affectionate rem em- 


brance of Danbiiry, if we may judge from the frequent mention 
of both place and people in his remarkable diary. 

An enthusiast in matters of historic lore, he builded better 
than he knew when he wrote that Century Sermon, which will 
live as long as Danbury itself shall exist. 



This sermon, which comprised about all the record of Dan- 
bury in the first century of its existence and Avill forever iden- 
tify his name with Danbury, was delivered in the ' ' meeting- 
house" of the Congregational Society. The building was erect- 
ed in 1785, at the foot of West Street, where now stands the 
soldiers' monument. In 1858 the society removed into its pres- 
ent place of worship, and the old church became a place of 
amusement, and was named " Concert Hall. " In 1878 it was 
removed, and at this writing is used as a livery stable on Main 
Street, near Centre. 

When young " Tom" Robbins delivered his facts the building 
had its tower built square out at the Main Street front, and the 
principal entrance was on the south side, the pulpit being oppo- 
site on the north side. Inside the appearance was stiff enough 
to suit the most strait-laced. The pulpit was a heavy, ciimbrous 
affair, with a sounding-board frowning from above. Galleries 
ran round three sides of the room. In the centre of the main 
floor were seats, and about them were several rows of high Box- 
pews into which the worshipper was shut up as being dangerous 
to the community at large. 

Outside the scene presented was far different from that of 
to-day. The Main Street was a counti'y road above Wooster 
Street, and W^est Street was another country road emptying 
into it. Deer Hill Avenue was a cow path, and the greater part, 
of Main Street in the neighborhood was ploughed land and 
meadow, with a stone wall in the place of the present front of 
plate glass. 

Such was the vicinity when Mr. Robbins, having delved for 
weeks into the mystery of the past, spread out the treasure 
under the sounding-board of the Congregational pulpit on that 
afternoon in January, 1801. He took for his text the fourteenth 
verse of the first chapter of Genesis : " And God said. Let there 

Rev. Thomas Robbins. 


be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from 
the night ; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for 
days and years. " 


' ' The original Indian name of this place was Pahquioqne. 
The first settlement of this town was begun in the summer of 
the year 1684. The settlers came that year and began some im- 
provements, in buildings, sowing grain, and other things neces- 
sary. Some of the families moved here that summer, and con- 
tinued through the winter ; others did not move till the spring 
following. '' It may therefore be said that the first permanent set- 
tlement was made in the spring of the year 1685 by eight families. 
The names of the men were Thomas Taylor, Francis BushneU, 
^ Thomas Barnum, John Hoyt, James Benedict, Samuel Benedict, 
James Beebe, and Judah Gregory. ^ They lived near together, at 
the south end of Town Street,* beginning at the south end ; Tay- 
lor, BushneU, Barnum, and Hoyt lived on the west side ; the two 
Benedicts, Beebe, and Gregory on the east. All except James 
Beebe came from Norwalk. He was from Stratford. They pur- 
chased their lands from the Indian proprietors. Mr. Taylor had 
seven sons, from whom all of that name now in town descended. 
Mr. BushneU had a family of seven daughters, but no son. There 
have therefore been none of the name in this town since, only as 
it is still borne up in several Christian names. Mr. Barnum had 
five sons, from whom are the famiUes of that name. Mr. Hoyt 
left six sons, who are the ancestors of the families of that nanip 
now living. Mr. James Benedict left three sons, from Avhom 
are a part of the Benedict famiUes which survive, i^articularly 
those in which the Christian name James frequently occurs. 
His eldest son James was the first English male chUd born in 
town. The sons of Samuel Benedict were four. From them are 
those families of Benedicts in which the Christian name Samuel 
is often found. Soon after these fii'st families settled here, Daniel 
Benedict, a brother of the other two of that name, came and 
became a settler. He was not one of the first, as has been sup- 
posed. He left but one son, Daniel. f From him are the fam- 
ilies in which that Christian name is often found, of whom there 

* Main Street. 

t Daniel Benedict, Jr., married Rebeliah, daugliter of Mr. Tliomas Taylor. 


are as many families now in town as from either of the others. 
Mr. Beebe had two sons, James and Samuel. From his two sons 
sprang the families of Beebes now in town. The sons of Samuel 
moved to Litchfield, and afterward began the settlement of the 
town of Canaan. Mr. Gregory had two sous, from whom are 
the numerous families of that name. 

" One of the lirst settlers after the first eight families was Dr. 
Samuel Wood, a regular-bred physician, born and educated in 
England. Able and skilful iu his profession, he was very iiseful 
in the town for many years. From him are the families of that 
name now in town. Mr. Josiah Starr came to this town from 
Long Island, soon after its first settlement. He had six sons, 
from whom the many families of that name have descended. 
Joseph Mygatt, from Hartford, afterward mariied Elizabeth, 
daughter of Benjamin Starr, eldest son of Josiah, and settled in 
this town, from whom are the families of that name. The fam- 
ilies of Picket, Knapp, and Wildman are ancient families in the 
town, the latter of whom are now very numerous. Some of the 
grandsons of the original settlers are now living. Mr. David 
Taylor, of Weston, and Mr. David Benedict, of this town, are 
grandsons of Mr. Thomas Taylor. Mr. David Shove is a grand- 
son of Mr. Bushnell. Captain Comfort Hoyt, Thaddeus Bene- 
dict, Esq., Mr. Isaac Benedict, and Mr. Joseph Beebe, the two 
latter of Bethel, are grandsons of the first settlers Hoyt, the two 
Benedicts, and Beebe. Mr. Abel Barnum, who died about a 
year ago at New Fairfield, was the last grandson of the first 
settler Barnum. The last grandson of the first settler Gregory was 
Samuel Gregory, Esq., who has been dead about eighteen years. 

" The first settlers having purchased their lands of the Indian 
owners, became proprietors of the town. The town was surveyed 
in February, 1693, by John Piatt and Samuel Hayes, of ISTor- 
walk. The survey bill declares the length to be eight miles 
from north to south, and the breadth six miles from east to 
west. At the session of the General Assembly in May, 1702, a 
patent was granted, giving town privileges to the inhabitants 
and proprietors of Danbury. The patentees named are James 
Beebe, Thomas Taylor, Samuel Benedict, James Benedict, John 
Hoyt, and Josiah Starr. In this act the boundaries were fixed 
according to the former survey. 

" The first justice of the peace who was apx^oiuted was Mr. 


James Beebe. The first town clerk was Mr. Josiah Starr. For 
many years after this time there were Indians living in town, 
who held their lands separate from the English people by known 
bounds. It does not appear that they were ever troublesome ; 
but in the time of the wars, which were in the early part of the 
century, in which the French used great exertions to excite the 
enmity of the natives against the English settlements, it became 
necessary to provide some means of security. The house of Mr. 
Samuel Benedict, at the southeast corner of the street, and the 
house of Rev. Mr. Shove, on the eminence near where the two 
former meeting-houses stood, were placed in a posture of de- 
fence. When they were api^rehensive of danger, all the families 
used to repair to these two houses, especially nights. But it 
does not appear that they ever had any serious alaim. In 
October, 1708, it was enacted by the General Assembly that gar- 
risons should be kept at Woodbury and Danbury, if the council 
of war should judge expedient. It thence follows that this was 
then a frontier town, but we have no account that any garrison 
was ever maintained here at public expense. 

" The western part of the tovm, called Miry Brook, and the 
eastern part, which now composes part of the town of Brook- 
field, were settled within a few years after the centre. Many 
parts in the middle of the town, which are now very fertile and 
prolific, were considered by the early proprietors as not worth 
cultivation. Some of them, therefore, went from four to seven 
miles for land to raise theu- ordinary crops. 

" One of the early inhabitants in this town was John Reed, a 
man of great talents and thoroughly skilled in the knowledge 
and practice of the law. He possessed naturally many peculiari- 
ties, and aJBfected still more. He is known to this day, through 
the country, by many singular anecdotes and characteristics, 
under the appellation of ' John Reed the Lawyer.' The first 
representative from this town to the General Assembly was Mr. 
Thomas Taylor. He was for many years a useful man in the 
town, and died January, 1785, aged 92. He continued the long- 
est of any of the first settlers. The second justice of the peace 
was Mr. Josiah Starr. He held the office but a short period. 
He died January 4th, 1715, aged 57. The next to him in office 
was John Gregory, son of Judah Gregory, one of the first set- 
tlers. James Beebe, Jr., was successor in ofiSce to his father, 


who died April 22d, 1728, aged 87. It is noticeable that James 
Beebe, the father and the son, each bore the several offices of 
justice of the peace, captain of the militia, and deacon of the 
church. The father having commanded the military company 
of the town for many years (said to be thirty), on his resignation 
led them to the choice of a successor, which fell upon his son. 
The fifth justice of the peace was Thomas Benedict, son of James 
Benedict, a first settler. Samuel Gregory, son of John Gregory, 
the former justice, was next appointed to that office. The next 
to him was Comfort Starr, youngest son of Josiah Starr, Esq. 
These seven justices of the peace are all that have been in town 
prior to those now living.* It is worthy of remark that in five 
instances that office has been sustained by father and son. The 
town clerks have been in succession : Josiah Starr, Israel Curtis, 
Thomas Benedict, Thaddeus Benedict, Major Taylor, and Eli 
Mygatt. The Probate District of Danbury was established by 
act of Assembly, October, 1744. It then contained the towns of 
Newtown, Ridgefield, Jfew Fairfield, and Danbury. Reading 
and Brookfield have since been added. Before that time this 
town belonged to the district of Fairfield. The first judge was 
Thomas Benedict, Esq. He held the office until his death in 1775. 
The present judgef was then appointed. 

" Comfort Starr, Esq., who died May 11th, 1763, in the fifty- 
seventh year of his age, left to the town a donation of £800 law- 
ful money for the support of a perpetual school in the centre of 
the town, to be iinder the direction of the civil authority and 
selectmen ; the instructor to be capable of teaching reading, 
writing, arithmetic, and the Latin and Greek languages. In the 
general wreck of paper currency during the Revolutionary War, 
the fund depreciated to the sum of £488 12s. 9d., which now 
remains. In April this school was converted into a ' School of 
Higher Order,' agreeably to an act of Assembly passed May, 

"At an early period in the town, of which the year cannot 

* Those who have been appointed to the office of justice of the peace since those 
above mentioned are Hon. Joseph P. Coolje, Daniel Taylor, Thaddeus Benedict, 
Samuel Taylor, Eli Jlygatt, Thomas Taylor, James Clark, Elisha Whittlesey, Tim- 
othy Taylor, and Thomas Taylor, Jr. Daniel and Samuel Taylor are since dead, 
and Thaddeus Benedict is not now in office. The remaining seven are. [Note to 
Mr. Robbins's edition.] 

t Hon. Joseph P. Cooke. 


now be ascertained, a malignant nervous fever prevailed, by 
which numbers of the inhabitants died. Aside from that there 
never was any prevalent epidemic in the town till the year 1775. 
In that year a dysentery raged with great fui'y in all parts of 
the town. The number of deaths in the town during the year 
was about one hundred and thirty, of which eighty-two were 
witliin the limits of the first society. Says Mr. Baldwin, in his 
Thanksgiving sermon of that year : ' No less than sixty- two 
have been swept away from within the limits of the society in 
less than eleven weeks, the summer past, and not far from fifty 
in other parts of the town. Much the greater part of this num- 
ber were small children. A terrible blow to the rising genera- 
tion ! ' A remarkable fact occurred that year. A military com- 
pany of about one hundred men was raised in town and 
ordered to the northern army on Lake Champlain. When they 
went it was viewed by their friends as next to a final departure. 
At the conclusion of the campaign they all returned safely, and 
found that great numbers of their friends at home had sank in 
death. The disorder subsided before their return.* 

"The town was again visited with the same disorder in the 
year 1777, but it was far less malignant and mortal than before. 
In the autumn of the year 1789 the influenza spread throughout 
the country. This town was visited in common with others ; 
few persons escaped the disorder, yet in very few instances was 
it mortal. In the following spring, 1790, the same disease again 
spread abroad ; it was less universal and much more severe than 
before. Many of the persons died of it in this and most of the 
towns through the country. In the years 1793 and 1794 the 
scarlet fever spread considerably, but was not mortal but in a 
few instances. The small-pox has never been but little in this 
town, and there are now few or no towns in the State where a 
less population of the inhabitants have had that disorder than 
in this. 

" In the latter part of the year 1776 the commissioners of the 
American army chose this town for a deposit of a quantity of 
military stores. Large quantities of flour, meat, and various 
kinds of military stores were collected and deposited here. In 
April, 1777, Governor Tryon, of blazing memory, set out from 

* A strong evidence that the disorder was not brought from the army, as was 
generally imagined. 


New York with a detacliment of two thousand men, for the pur- 
pose of destroying the Continental stores in this town. They 
landed at Compo Point, in the town of Fairfield, and marched, 
without interruption, directly to Danbury. There was in the 
town a small number of Continental troops, but without arms. 
They with the inhabitants generally withdrew from the town as 
the enemy approached. The enemy entered the town on Satur- 
day, April 26th, at about three o'clock in the afternoon. They 
soon began those cruelties and excesses which characterize an 
unprincipled and exasperated enemy. Several persons were in- 
humanly murdei'ed. One very valuable house, with four persons 
in it, was burnt immediately. The utmost inhumanity was com- 
mitted upon all except the persons and property of the Tories. 
The next morning, before the king of day had arisen, the un- 
happy inhabitants who remained in the town saw the darkness 
of night suddenly disj)elled by the awful blaze of their dwell- 
ings. The enemy, fearful of their retreat being cut off, rallied 
early on the morning of the 27th, set fire to the several stores 
and buildings, and immediately marched out of town. Nineteen 
dwellings, the meeting-house of the New Danbury Society, and 
twenty- two stores and barns, with all their contents, were con- 
sumed. The quantity of Continental stores which were con- 
sumed cannot now be accurately ascertained ; accounts vary con- 
siderably. From the best information which can be obtained 
there were about 3000 barrels of pork, more than 1000 barrels of 
flour, several hundred barrels of beef, 1600 tents, 2000 bushels 
of grain, besides many other valuable articles, such as rum, wine, 
rice, army carriages, etc.* The private losses were estimated by 
a committee appointed for the purpose, £16,184 17s. lOd. 

' ' Generals Wooster, Arnold, and Silliman immediately collect- 
ed such a party of inhabitants as they were able, and eifectively 
annoyed the enemy on their retreat to their shipping. A spirited 
action was fought at Ridgefield the same day they left this town, 
i:i which Major-General Wooster received a mortal wound. He 
was brought to this town, died on the 29th, and was interred in 
the common burying-place. Congress resolved that a monument 
should be erected to his memory, and made the necessary grant. 
The charge was committed to his son, who has never fulfilled it. 

* Dr. Robbiiis's account of the losses in this town is certainly far short of the 


His grave still remains, and probably ever will, without a stone 
to tell posterity where he Hes. Notwithstanding the pnblic loss 
of this town, it was still used as a deposit for Continental stores 
through the war. A guard for security was maintained the 
whole period. A great hospital was also kept in this town from 
March, 1777, till the termination of the war, in which great 
numbers died. In the autumn of 1778 a division of the army, 
consisting of four brigades, under the command of General Gates, 
was quartered in this town for a few weeks. Small detachments 
of the army were here occasionally afterward. 

" The people of this town were united in one society tUl the 
year 1754. At that time a part of the town, with a part of the 
towns of New Milford and Newtown, were incorporated a society 
by the name of Newbury. The society of Bethel, which is 
wholly in this town, was incorporated by act of Assembly, 17.')9. 
In May, 1761, a small part of the town, with a part of the town of 
Ridgefield, was incorporated a society by the name of Ridgebury. 

" A public library was established in this town in the year 
1771, which afterward consisted of about one hundred volumes. 
In the conflagration of the to^vn the books, except a few which 
were out, were consumed. It remained in such a mutilated state 
till March, 1795, when it was dispersed. In January, 1793, a num- 
ber of inhabitants formed and signed a constitution for a library 
company ; $1.75 was paid on each share, and laid out for the 
purchase of books. An annual tax, generally of haK a dollar 
upon a share, has been regularly applied for the purchase of 
books judiciously chosen. The library now contains two hun- 
dred volumes. Should the same care in enlarging and preserv- 
ing it continue, it promises to be a respectable and useful collec- 
tion. A library was founded at Bethel about the year 1793, 
which now contains one hundred volumes and is increasing. 

" By an act of the General Assembly, passed in May, 1784, 
this town was made a half shire of the county of Fairfield. 
From that time to this the courts have met alternately in Fair- 
field and Danbury. A court-house and jail were built in the 
town, with some assistance from the neighboring towns, the year 
following— the sum of £318 was raised by a tax, the remainder 
by subscription. In the year 1791 the first jail was consumed 
by fire, after which a second one was built, more valuable and 
secure. The expense was defrayed by the product of a lottery. 


" A census of this State was taken in tlie year 1756. We 
know of no earliei' enumeration of the inhabitants having been 
made. At that time the whole number was 130,611 ; the num- 
ber in Fairfield county was 20,560 ; the number in this town was 
1527. Another census was taken in January, 1774. The State 
then contained 197,856 inhabitants ; the county of Fairfield, 
30,150 ; the town of Danbury, 2526. By the census of 1790 the 
population of the State was 237,946 ; the number in Fairfield 
County was 36,230 ; in this town it was 3026. This was after 
the town was diminished by the society of Newbury being incor- 
porated a town. In the census of the year past, returns from 
the whole State have not been made ; the county of Fairfield is 
found to contain 38,160, and the town of Danbury 3274 inhab- 
itants. The number of towns in the State in 1756 was 73, in 
1774 it was 76, in 1790 it was 98, in 1800 it was 106. 

" A printing-oflBce was established in this town in March, 1790. 
A weekly news print has been regularly published from that 
time to this on demi paper ; it has generally been, as it is at 
present, respectable for good principles and information. The 
number of papers issued at first were but one hundred ; there 
have been as many as two thousand ; the usual number has been 
about one thousand. In June, 1793, a second paper was pub- 
Kshed in town, which continued several months. 

EusSELL HoYT. JIaj. Seth C'omstock. Oliveii BURli. 

Saml, Wildman. Niuam Wildman. 

Amos Morris. Col. Preston Greuort. Ma.j. Wm. B. Hovt. 



" We now proceed to relate, in a concise manner, a sketch of 
the ecclesiastical history of the town. The time when a church 
was first organized in town cannot be exactlj^ determined ; it 
was probably at the ordination of the first minister. The first 
minister in this town was Rev. Mr. Shove, a very pious and 
worthy man, who was very successful in his exertions for the 
promotion of peace, virtue, and true religion, so that the general 
peace and union in his time are proverbial at this day. He was 
ordained in the year 1696, and died October 3d, 1735, aged 68. 
The town was destitute of a settled minister but a short time. 
In a few months the church and people, in great harmony, in- 
vited Mr. Ebenezer White to settle with them in the ministry. 
He was accordingly ordained March 10th, 1736. * Universal har- 
mony pi'evailed between the people and their minister for more 
than twenty-five years. The people of the town were considered 
by all the neighboring towns as eminent for morality and relig- 
ion, for regularity of conduct, and for constant attendance on 
the institution of Christianity, though it is to be lamented that 
there has never been any special revival of religion in this town 
from the first settlement. In the great awakening which spread 
through the land in the years 1740 and 1741, which was probably 
the most signal effusion of divine grace this country has ever 
experienced, this town was mostly passed over. In the great 
revival of religion in two years past, in the northern part of this 
State and many other places, which is doubtless the greatest 
display of divine grace, excepting the one before mentioned, 
which has taken place in this country the past century, this and 
the neighboring towns seem to have possessed no share. These 
considerations call for sei'ious contemplation and humility. 

" It is supposed, on good grounds, that the first meeting-house 

* The records of the Eastern Consociation of Fairfield County. 


was built prior to Mr. Shove's ordination. Its dimensions were 
about forty feet in length and thirty feet in breadth. It is re- 
markable that after the frame was raised every person that 
belonged to the town was present and sat on the sOls at once. 
The second meeting-house was built about the year 1719. Its 
dimensions were fifty feet in length and thii'ty-five feet in 
breadth. In 1745 an addition of fifteen feet was made to the 
whole front of the house. 

" About the year 1762 religious controversy began in this town, 
and was carried to a great extent for many years. It is pre- 
sumed that in no town in this State has there been more religious 
contention than in this. It is hoped that the flame is now 
mostly buried, never to break forth again. At the time above 
mentioned, Mr. White having altered his sentiments and preach- 
ing in several particulars, some uneasiness arose among his peo- 
ple. The efforts of several ecclesiastical councils to heal the 
division proving ineffectual, it finally issued the dismission of 
Mr. White from his pastoral charge, March, 1764. A major part 
of the members of Mr. White's church joined with him in deny- 
ing the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical councils, and renouncing the 
form of church government established by the churches in this 
State. The remaining part, who signified their adherence to the 
ecclesiastical government, were established and acknowledged 
by the two consociations of Fairfield County, convened in coun- 
cil, as the first church in Danbury. Soon after this Mr. White 
and his adherents separated from the church and society, and 
fonned a separate church. They were generally denominated 
' Mr. White's adherents.' In October, 1770, a number of the 
inhabitants of the town, individually named in the act, princi- 
pally those who composed this separate church, were incorpo- 
rated a society by the name of ' New Danbury.' Prior to this 
they built a good meeting-house — its dimensions about fifty feet 
by forty — in the year 1768, which was consumed in the general 
conflagration of the town. In the same year Mr. Ebenezer White 
was ordained a colleague with his father over that church. 

" In the year 1764 Mr. Robert Sandeman, a native of Perth, 
in Scotland, a man of learning, of great genius and art, and 
according to his views of divine triith, a man of strict piety, who 
had had some correspondence with Mr. White and some other 
minister in this country, came from Scotland and landed at 


Boston. He came to this town near the close of the year 1764. 
After tarrying several weeks he returned to Boston, where he 
soon organized a church. He came again to this town and gath- 
ered a church, July, 1765 ; he died and was buried in this town, 
April 2d, 1771, aged 53. The principal doctrines which he 
taught were similar to those of Calvin and Athanasius, which 
have been received in all ages of the Christian Church. His dis- 
tinguishing tenets were that faith is a mere intellectual belief ; 
his favorite expression was, ' A bare belief of the truth.' ' That 
the bare work of Jesus Christ, without a deed or thought on the 
part of man, is sufficient to present the chief of sinners spotless 
before God.' He maintained that his church was the only true 
church then arisen from the ruins of Antichrist, his reign being 
near to a close. The use of means for mankind in a natural 
state he pretty much exploded. In the year 1772, the Sande- 
manian church in this town moved to New Haven. In July, 
1774, several persons who had been members of that church, 
together with a number that belonged to the society of New 
Danbury, united and formed a Sandemanian church. That con- 
tinued and increased for many years, till March, 1798, when they 
divided into two churches, which still continue. There are also 
a few individuals at Bethel who compose a third church ; they 
all adhere, essentially, to the doctrines and practices which were 
established by their founder. 

"The society of New Danbury continued regularly, though 
constantly diminishing, till July, 1774, when the Rev. Ebenezer 
Russell White with a number of the society united with the 
Sandemanians. Public worship was maintained irregularly 
afterward for two or three years, till the society finally expired. 

" After the dismission of the Rev. Mr. White the first chiu'ch 
and society were destitute of a stated minister till February 
13th, 1765, when Mr. Noadiah Warner was ordained their pastor. 
The Rev. Mr. Warner was regularly dismissed from his pastoral 
charge February 23d, 1768. The people remained destitute 
about two years and a half. The Rev. Ebenezer Baldwin was 
ordained September 19th, 1770. He officiated with great repu- 
tation to the ministry, till a sudden death terminated his labors, 
October 1st, 1776, aged 31 years ; a man of great talents and 
learning, a constant student, grave in his manners, a constant 
and able supporter of the sound doctrines of the Gospel. He 


left a legacj^ of about £300 to the society, which is carefully- 
appropriated to the support of the Gospel. From that time 
there was no settled minister in the society till the Rev. Timothy 
Langdon, who was ordained August 31st, 1786. The Rev. 
Ebenezer White died September 11th, 1779, aged 70. The 
deacons of this church have been in the following order : Samuel 
Benedict, James Beebe, John Gregory, Richard Barnum, Joseph 
Gregory, James Beebe, James Benedict, John Benedict, Nathan- 
iel Gregory, Joseph Peck, Daniel Benedict, Thomas Benedict, 
Joshua Knapp, succeeded by those now in office. The present 
meeting-house, which is sixty feet in length and forty-five in 
breadth, with a steeple one hundi-ed and thirty feet in height, 
was raised October, 1785 ; it was enclosed the summer follow- 

" The society of Bethel built their meeting-house in the year 
1760. The Rev. Noah Wetmore, their first minister, was ordain- 
ed November 25th of the same year ; at the same time a church 
was organized by the ordaining council. Mr. Wetmore was regu- 
larly dismissed from his pastoral charge November 30th, 1761. 
In the society of Newbury, the Rev. Thomas Brooks, their first 
ministei", was ordained September 28th, 1758 ; a church was 
gathered at the same time. In May, 1788, the society of New- 
bury was incorporated a town by the name of Brookfield. Mrs. 
Abigail Knapp, now living, aged 75, widow of the late Deacon 
Joshua Knapp, was the first English child born within the limits 
of Brookfield. The Rev. Samuel Camp, the first and present 
minister of Ridgebury, was ordained January 18th, 1769. The 
church in that society was organized on the day of the ordi- 

' ' There were a few professors in this town of the mode of the 
Church of England as early as the year 1750. They built a 
meeting-house whose dimensions are forty-eight feet by thirty- 
six in the year 1763. In September, 1784, they were constituted 
a regular Episcopalian society. Sixty-six persons, the most of 
whom belonged to this town, were then considered as belonging 
to the society. The society have had occasional preaching, but 
no minister has been settled over them. There were a number 
of professors of the denomination of Baptists about the year 
1783. A Baptist church was constituted in the northwest part 
of the town, November, 1785. The year following they built a 


meeting-house, which is now standing. Mr. Nathaniel Finch 
was their minister for several years ; their present minister, Mr. 
Nathan Bulkley, was ordained the 8th of last May. A second 
Baptist church was constituted in the western part of the town 
in the year 1788. The members who survive are now mostly 
connected with other churches. 

' ' I shall now close with a few general remarks. The present 
number of schools in town is seventeen, twelve in the first society 
and five in Bethel. Much more attention is now paid in the 
education of youth than formerly, though it is conceived there 
might be still more to great profit. For many years there was 
but one military company in town ; at present there are three 
of infantry, one of cavalry, and one of artillery, which for 
accuracy in evolutions, military spirit and appearance may vie 
with any military companies whatever. There have been but 
few remarkable instances of longevity in this town, though it 
was formerly remarked there was a great many old people ; that 
is not the case at present. Mr. William Hamilton, born in Scot- 
land, who lived many years in this town, died in the year 1749,. 
aged 102 ; Mr. John Cornwall died in the year 1753, aged 101. 
Those two are the only persons known to have lived in town 
over 100 years of age. Mr. David Hoyt, who lived longer than 
any person ever born and living in town, died in Ajsril last, aged 
97. The family of Mr. Thomas Taylor, one of the first settlers 
as a family, was remarkable for longevity. He had ten chil- 
dren. The whole amount of his age and theirs is 947 years, the 
average of which is 86 years, but three of them saw less than 90 
years. The increase of this town, in a number of years past, 
has not been great, owing to very great emigration, which has 
been the case with this in common with all the towns in this 
State. The general occupation of the people of this town has 
been farming. Within a few years considerable manufactories 
have been established. In the manufacture of hats this town 
much exceeds any one in the United States. More than twenty 
thousand hats, mostly of fur, are made annually for exporta- 
tion. The manufacture of shoes is also carried on to a consider- 
able extent. At a low computation fifteen thousand pairs of 
boots and shoes are annually exported from this town. A paper 
mill was erected in the town in the year 1792, in which about 
fifteen hundred reams of paper are manufactured annually. A 


considerable number of saddles are also made yearly for ex- 

" The people in this town have generally been very free from 
litigation. Within a few years it has considerably increased, 
though it is not yet great. A spirit of litigation is one of the 
greatest evils which can befall any community. 

" In our revolutionary war the people in this town generally 
warmly espoused the American cause. Notwithstanding all 
that is said by the enemies of our government, to show that its 
supporters were enemies to the revolution, the people in this 
town, though they were great sufferers in the war, are almost 
unanimously firm friends of the present Government of the 
United States. 

" The list of the town is not to be obtained but for a few years 
past. In the year 1788, the first year after Brookfield was made 
a town, it was uj^ward of $66,000 ; in the year 1799 it exceeded 

" We have thus given a sketch of the history of this town 
from its first settlement to the present time. It is not pretended 
that some important facts have not been omitted, but from the 
materials which can be obtained this is the best that I have been 
able to collect. In the review of these things we witness the 
fading nature of all earthly scenes. How applicable are the 
words of inspiration, ' Your fathers, where are they ? and the 
prophets, do they live forever ? ' While it is our lot to be placed 
on the stage of human action, let it be our constant solicitude to 
seek an interest in that kingdom ' whose builder and maker is 
God.' To act our parts worthily in the vicissitudes of human 
life, that, through grace, we may be approved when called upon 
to pass in review before the intellectual world, that when the 
chief Shepherd shall appear we may appear with Him in glory." 

This closes Mr. Robbins's sermon. That it was a remarkable 
prodixction in the eyes of the people who sat and listened to it, 
our readers can well understand. That it is a valuable produc- 
tion in any case becomes patent enough when we consider that 
it is all we have on record of the doings of our people in the first 
century of the town. Mr. Robbins's intelligent perseverance in 
research has imposed upon this community a very large debt of 



There is no doubt at all that Danbury was first occupied by 
white people in 1684. The eight " originals" came here in the 
spring of that year. The families of a part came with them and 
remained here. The others returned to their homes and came 
back to Danbury with theu- families in the spring following. 
This is according to Mr. Robbins and other authorities ; but Mr. 
Robbins was in error in believing that the first survey of the 
town was in 1693, and the first patent granted in 1702. 

Hon. Lyman D. Brewster, of this city, in 1886 made a careful 
study of the Colonial Records, and reported the result in the 
News, his report showing conclusively that Danbury was con- 
stituted a town in 1687. 

We quote the following from Judge Brewster's article : 

' ' There was, to be sure, a survey of Danbury made by order 
of the General Court {i.e., Assembly) in 1693, but it was a re- 
survey, not the original survey of the town." (See Colonial 
Records, 1689-1706, pages 67 and 385.) 

In 1692 the General Assembly " enlarged" the town, changing 
its length from six to eight miles, and at the same time ordered 
a new survey, which was returned to the General Court in 1693 
and confirmed by the court in 1702. 

As to the " patent," the granting of it in 1702 had nothing to 
do with the original formation, organization, or constitution of 
the town. It came about in this way. At the May session, in 
1685, the General Court {i.e., General Assembly) ordered every 
township to take out " patents" and also " the like course for 
all f amies granted to any person." 

The purport and object of this " patent" is stated on page 177, 
with all the learned exactness of an ancient legal document — 

" For the holding of such tracts of land as have formerly or 


shall be hereafter granted to them [/.e., the proprietors or 
farmers] by this court, and to their heirs and successors, and 
assignes firme and sure ; according to the tenour of oiir charter 
in free and common soccage, and not in capitte, nor by knight 
service, which patent shall be sealed," etc. Thereupon a patent 
was forthwith gi-anted to Hartford, which had then been a full- 
fledged to\\Ti for many years. 

Between the time when, according to the Colonial Records, 
Danbury was constituted a town by the General Assembly, in 
1687, and the granting of its patent — or rather a patent to its 
proprietors in 1702 — it is repeatedly referred to and treated as a 
town in the Colonial Records. 

These facts conclusively show that the date of 1687 is the right 
and true date when Danbury was first made, or — as the old 
records say — constituted a town. As to the time of year and 
month when the act was passed and Danbury became a town, 
we learn from the State Librarian that all important acts were, in 
the early colonial days, sure to be passed the first week of the 
session ; and as the session of 1687 began on October 13th, our 
" incorpoi-ation," so to speak, "was undoubtedly between the, 
13th and 20th of that month." 

Other extracts from the Colonial Records, volumes 1678-1689, 
contain the following reference to the settlement of this town : 

" John Bur, Thomas Benedict, and Thomas Fitch, by this 
court [May session of General Assembly, 1684], were appointed 
and empowered a committee for to order the planting of a towne 
above Norwallie or Fayrefield, and to receive in inhabitants to 
plant there, and what they or any three of them shall doe in the 
premises shall be good to all intents and purposes for the plant- 
ing of Paquioge." 

The next is from page 166 : 

"This court [General Assembly, October term, 1684] orders 
that those of Norwalke who were removing to Paquag and have 
left out their persons and sundry of their cattell out of the list of 
estates shall pay the one half of rates due according to law 
from the estate left out. ' ' 

The third entry is from page 240 : 

" This court [session of 1687, commencing October 13th] named 
the new towne at Paquag, Danbury, and granted them a freedom 
from country rates for fower yeares from this date ; and this 

|)r.= '-^ 



court grants that the bounds of the sayd towne of Danbury shall 
be six mile square, provided it doe not prejudice any former 
grant to any particular person made by this court." 
To this last passage the following note is appended : 
" A petition was presented in behalf of the plantation of 
Pahquioque, that the same may be constituted to be a towne, 
and to be named Swamfeild, their south bounds to be by the 
north boimds of Faierfeild and Norwalke, the north boiinds to 
be halfe way to Weantinache, the east bounds halfe way to 
Stratford river, the west boimds by York line." 

The petition, dated October 6th, is signed by Thomas Fitch, 
John Bur, and Thomas Bennydick. They state that ' ' there are 
twentie families inhabitating at Pahquioque, and more desirable 
persons a-comiuge." Samuel Hayes, of Norwalk, was deputed 
to present the petition to the court. 




As has been stated, a patent was granted to the town of Dan- 
bury in 1702 by the General Assembly of the State, agreeable to 
the survey made in 1693. It read as follows : 

" Whereas, The General Court of Conn, have formerly granted 
unto the proprietors, inhabitants of Danbury, a certain tract of 
land commonly known as Pahquioque, said tract containing 
eight miles from the north to the south line, and from the east 
to the west line six miles, bounded at the northeast corner with 
a rock five or six feet high, with several small stones laid thereon. 
Bounded at the southeast corner with another rock with several 
stones laid thereon and several twos marked thereby ; Bounded 
at the southwest corner with a Rock, several stones lying upon 
it and several trees marked by it ; Bounded at the northwest 
corner with a white Ash tree with several stones laid thereto and 
several trees marked near to a pond. The whole tract being, as 
before said, in length eight miles from the south to the north 
line, and in Breadth, from the east to the west line, six miles. 
The foresaid tract of land having been by piirchase or otherwise 
lawfully obtained of Indian Proprietors by the proprietors, in- 
habitants of Danbury aforesaid, and whereas the inhabitants of 
Danbury aforesaid, and whereas the inhabitants of Danbury in 
the Colony of Connecticut, in New England, have made applica- 
tion to the governor and company of the said Colony of Con- 
necticut, assembled in court the fourteenth day of May, one 
thousand seven hundred and two, that they move a patent for 
confirmation of the aforesaid land as it is bounded unto the 
present Proprietors of the township of Danbury, of which tract 
the said town have stood seized and quietly possessed for some 
years without interruption. 

"Now, for a more fuU confirmation, know ye that the Gov- 


emor and Company assembled in General Court, according to 
the command and bj' virtue of the power granted to them by our 
late souverein Lord, King Charles the Second of blessed mem- 
ory, in the late patent, bearing date of the twenty-third of April, 
in the fourteenth year of his majesty's reign, have given and 
granted, and by these presents give and grant, ratified and con- 
firmed, unto James Beebe, Thomas Taylor, — Samuel Benedict, 
— James Benedict, —John Haite sen' r,— Mr. Josiah Starr, and 
unto the rest of the present proprietors of the township of Dan- 
bury and their heirs and assignes for ever, and to each of them 
in such proportion as they have already agreed upon for the 
division of the same, all of the aforesaid tract or parsels of land, 
as it is bounded and purchased, together with all the woods upon 
lands, arable lands, meadows, pastures, ponds, waters, rivers, 
islands, fishings, huntings, fowlings, mines, mineral quarries, 
and precious stones upon or within the said tract of land, with 
all other profits and commodities thereto appertaining, and do 
also grant to the forenamed Mr. James Beebe, Mr. Thomas 
Taylor, John Haite, Sr., Samuel Benedict, James Benedict, 
Josiah Starr, and the rest of the present proprietors, inhabitants 
of Danbury alias Pahquioque, to them, their heirs or assignes 
forever, tract of land shall be forever hereafter deemed, reputed 
and to be an entire township of itself, to have and to hold the 
said tract of land and premises with all and singular the appoint- 
ments together with the privileges, immunities, and franchises 
herein given and granted to the said Mr. James Beebe, Mr. 
Thomas Taylor, — John Haite — Samuel Benedict, James Benedict, 
Josias Starr, and the other present proprietors, inhabitants of 
Danbury alias Pahquioque, their heirs and assignes forever, 
according to the tenour of his Majesty's manner of East Green- 
wich and the County of Kent, in the Kingdom of England, in 
free and common socage and not in cap p' to or Knight's service, 
they yealding and paying therefore to our Souverein Lord the 
King, his Heirs and successors, only the fifth jmrt of all the ore, 
gold and silver which, from time to time and at all time, shall 
hereafter be gotten there, had, or obtained in lieu of all Rents, 
services. Dues, and demands whatsoever, according to charter. 
In witness whereof we have caused the Seal of the Colony to be 
attached hereto this twentieth day of May, one thousand seven 
hundred and two, and in the fourteenth year of our Souverein 


Lord, King William the third, by the grace of God, of England, 
King Defender of the faith. 

" By his Honor's command, 

" S. KiMBEKLY, Sec. 
"J. WiNTiiROP, Governor." 

In 1640 Roger Ludlow made the first purchase of Indian lands 
within the bounds of the present town of Norwalk. A little 
later the central portion of the to-mi was purchased by Captain 
Daniel Patrick. The western portion was not bought until 1651. 
At this time the inhabitants consisted of about twenty families. 
Among the list of names of the original owners of " Estates of 
Lands and Accomodations," in 1655, we find those of Griggorie 
and Haite. 

In the table of nome-lots for 1656 we find the names of Bene- 
dict, Bushnel, Greggorie, and Taylor. Thomas Barnum, of 
Fairfield, had a grant of land before 1663. On the list of orig- 
inal "grants of home-lots to pioneers," we find the name of 
James Beebe. 

Of the " original eight," Thomas Benedict, Sr., was a lineal 
descendant of William Benedict, who resided in Nottingham, 
England, in 1500. Thomas, of Norwalk, of the fourth genera- 
tion from William, was also born in Nottingham in 1617 ; came 
to New England in 1638 ; settled in Massachusetts ; removed to 
Southold, L. I., and in 1665 settled in Norwalk. 

Francis Bushnell was a carpenter, who came to America in 
1635, when twenty-six years of age, bringing with him his wife 
and one child, aged one year. [The name of Francis Bushnell 
appears among the first planters of Guilford, Conn., in 1650.] 
He arrived in Norwalk in 1653, and in October, 1675, married, 
for his second wife, Hannah, the daughter of Thomas Seamer. 

Benjamin, Alexander, and Thomas Griggorie came from Eng- 
land before 1635. John, another brother, came later. The date 
of his arrival is not known, but he was one of the original in- 
habitants of Norwalk, and Judah, one of the first settlers of 
Danbury, was his son. 

The Hoyt family are probably descended from one of that 
name in Ilminster or Curry-Rivel, Somerset County, England. 
" On the Court roll of this place, 4 and 5 Henry V.— 1417 and 
1418— appears the name of John Hoyt," which is the earliest 


mention of the name as yet found. In 1640 Walter Hoyt was 
living with his wife and three children in Windsor, later in Hart- 
ford, then Fail-field, and settled in Norwalk about 1653. 

James Beebe, son of John, of Broughton, Northamptonshire, 
England, settled fii'st in Hadley, Mass., next in Norwalk, and 
finally came as one of the original eight to Danbury. 

Thomas Taylor was the son of John, who came from Warwick- 
shire, England, in 1639, and settled in Windsor, where Thomas 
was born in 1643. John Taylor made his will in 1645, and sailed 
for England in the Phantom Shiji, which left New Haven in 
January, 1647. Nothing was ever heard of this ship, but in the 
following June, after a severe thunderstorm, "about an hour 
before sunset, a ship of like dimensions with the aforesaid, with 
her canvass and colours abroad (though the wind northernly), 
appeared in the air coming up from our harbour's mouth, which 
lyes southward from the town, seemingly with her sails filled 
under a fresh gale, holding her course north, and continuing 
under observation sailing against the wind for the space of half 
an hour. Many were drawn to behold this great work of God ; 
yea, the very children cryed out, There's a brave sJiip ! . . . 
Mr. Davenport also in publick declared to this effect : That Ood 
had condescended for tlie quieting of their afflicted spirits, this 
extraordinary account of Jiis sovreign disposal of those for 
whom so many fertant prayer were made continually.''''* A 
statement made by Rev. Nathaniel Taylor, born in New Milford, 
1772, and found in one of the volumes of Professor Stiles' s manu- 
scripts in the Yale Library, says that " the widow of John 
Taylor married and moved to Norwalk with sons Thomas, and 
John and Jeremiah, twins." But his will only mentions 
"daughters-in-law," doiibtless children of his wife, and "wife 
and two sons," with no names given. 

* From a letter written by the Rev. James Pierpont, found in Mather's " Mag- 



Samuel, James, and Daniel Benedict were the sons of Thomas, 
born in Nottinghamshire, England, 1617 ; came to New England 
in 1638 ; was of Southold, L. I., where his nine children were 
born, and settled in Norwalk, Conn., where he died about 1689. 
He married Mary Bridgum, and their children were : Thomas, 
John, Samuel, James, Daniel, Elizabeth, Mary, Sarah, and 

1. Samuel Benedict, son of Thomas, born 164 - ; married, first 
(unknoAvn), by whom he had Joanna and Samuel. He mar- 
ried, second, July 7th, 1678, Rebecca, daughter of Thomas An- 
drews, of Fairfield, Conn., by whom he had five children, the last 
two born in Danbury. His children were : Joanna, born October 
22d, 1673 ; Samuel, born March 5th, 1674-75 ; Thomas, born 
March 27th, 1679 ; Nathaniel ; Abraham, born June 21st, 1681 ; 
Rebecca, married June 18th, 1712, Samuel Piatt ; Esther. 

Samuel and Rebecca (Benedict) Piatt had a daughter Rebecca, 
born April 19th, 1713. Samuel Piatt departed this life Decem- 
ber 4th, 1718. Isaac Benedict, who was his grandson, died in 

2. James Benedict, son of Thomas, born at Southold, L. I. ; 
manied May 10th, 1676, Sarah, daughter of John and Sarah 
Gregory, of Norwalk. Their children were : Sarah, born June 
16th, 1677. Rebecca, born 1679 ; married January 17th, 1704- 
1705, Samuel Keeler, of Norwalk, Conn. ; died March 20th, 1709. 
Phebe, born 1682 ; married Thomas Taylor. James, born 1685, 
first white male child born in Danbury. John, born October, 
1689. Thomas, born November 9th, 1694 ; died July 4th, 1776. 
Elizabeth, born July, 1696 ; married Daniel Taylor. 

[Thomas, born in 1694 ; married Abigail Hoyt, daughter of 


John, one of the original eight. He was fifth justice of the peace, 
appointed May, 1738, and first judge of the district, and held 
both offices until his death. He was a member of the Connecti- 
cut Legislature for thirty-one sessions, between May, 1737, and 
October, 1766, inclusive.] 

Benedict Genealogy. 

3. Judah Gregory, son of John, who first settled in Norwalk 
in 1655 ; married Hannah, daughter of Walter Hoyt, October 
20th, 1664. Their children were : Hannah, bom September 
24th, 1665 ; John, born March 17th, 1668 ; Percie, born February 
11th, 1671 ; Joseph, born July 16th, 1674 ; Lydia, born January 
9th, 1676 ; Josiah, born July 13, 1679 ; Benjamin, born March 
26th, 1682. His last grandson was Samuel Gregory, who died 
in 1783. 

4. James Beebe, of Hadley, Norwalk, and Danbury, son of 
John of Broughton, England, was born in 1641, and married 
Mary Boltwood, October 24th, 1667. His second wife was Sarah, 
daughter of Thomas Benedict, whom he married December 19th, 
1679. He was justice of the peace, first captain of the troop, 
and for many years representative of the town. He died April 
22d, 1728, aged 87 years. His children by his first vdfe were : 
Mary, born August 18th, 1668 ; James, born and died in 1669 ; 
Rebecca, born 1670 ; Samuel, born 1672 ; removed to New Mil- 
ford and Litchfield. Children by second wife : Sarah, born 
November 13th, 1680. James, born in Norwalk, 1682 ; married 
Abigail, daughter of Samuel Sherman, Jr., December 22d, 1708. 
He was deacon of the church in Danbury for a long time, and 
followed in the footsteps of his father in that he was captain of 
the troop [chosen upon the resignation of his father], justice of 
the peace, and representative of the town for many years. He 
died in Danbury, 1750. His children were : Lemuel, James, 
Joseph, David, Jonathan, Sarah, and Abigail. 

5. Thomas Taylor, born in Windsor, 1643 ; married February 
14th, 1677, Rebekah, daughter of Edward Ketcham, of Strat- 
ford ; survived all the original settlers, and died in January, 
1735, aged 92 years. His children were : Thomas, born Novem- 
ber 26th, 1669 ; married Phebe, daughter of James Benedict, 
and died in 1753, aged 90. Deborah, born June, 1670-71 ; mar- 
ried Daniel Betts, of Norwalk, and died in 1750, aged 80. 


Joseph, born 1672-73 ; died unmarried in 1762, aged 90.* John, 

bom in 1672-73 (probably twin of Joseph) ; married Marvin, 

and died in 1742, aged 70. Daniel, born in 1676 ; married EUza- 
betli, daughter of James Benedict [second wife, Rachel Starr, 
died July 3d, 1741 ; third wife, Elizabeth Boughton, whom he 
married June 1st, 1742], and died in 1770, aged 94. Timothy, 
born in 1678 ; married Mary Davis, and died in 1734, aged 56. 
Nathan, born in 1682 ; married Hannah, daughter of Daniel 
Benedict, and died in 1782, aged 100. Theophilus, born 1687 ; 

married, first, Bushnell ; second, Sarah Gregory, and died 

in 1777, aged 90. Rebecca, married Daniel Benedict, and lived to 
the age of 99. Eunice, married Benjamin Starr [Lieutenant], and 
had children : David, born December 7th, 1724, and Elizabeth, 
who married, about 1732, Joseph, son of Joseph and Elizabeth 
[Stephens] Mygatt. From this marriage are descended the fam- 
ilies of that name in Danbury. Eunice [Taylor] Starr died at 
the age of 90. Thomas and Nathan Taylor married sisters. 
Daniel and Rebecca Taylor married brother and sister. 

6. John Hoyt, son of Walter Hoyt, was born at -Windsor, 
Conn., and married for his first wife Mary Lindall, daughter of 
Henry Lindall, a deacon in the church at New Haven. This 
marriage took place September 14th, 1666. The births of five 
children are recorded at Norwalk : John, born June 21st, 1669 ; 
married Mary, daughter of John Drake, of Simsbury ; lived in 
Danbury, and died here March, 1746. Samuel, born October 
17th, 1670 ; lived in Danbury, and died here 1749-51, probably 
without issue, as his will leaves his estate to children of his 
deceased brothers. Thomas, born January 5th, 1674 ; lived in 

* This record Is probably incorrect, although it has been accepted by the family 
for many years. The will of Joseph Taylor, drawn in January, 1764, mentions 
" wife Sarah, only son Joseph, son-in-law John Starr (wife, Sarah Taylor), daughter 
Rachel, wife Samuel Gregory." 

The Town Records show the death of Joseph Taylor (second) in 1793, who was 
born in 1703. His will, drawn in May, 1793, gives to each and every of his negroes 
their freedom ; "to Negro Servant Patience, who is now somewhat advanced in 
years, and hath been both to me and my parents a good, kind, and faithful servant," 
the interest of £100 during her life, and the disposal of the principal by bequest, 
with all his household furniture. To his nephew, Jonathan Starr, all the remainder 
of his estate, and makes Colonel Eli Mygatt executor. 

Evidently this is the Joseph who died unmarried, and is buried in the old South 
Street graveyard, where his grave is marked by the following inscription : " Joseph 
Taylor 3nd. was born in 1703 and died Nov. 7th 1793." 


Danbury ; was living in 1727, but died before 1749. Mary, born 
September 1st, 1677. Deborah, born December 28tli, 1679 ; mar- 
ried Francis Barnum. Joshua, born ; married Sarah ; 

lived in Danbury, and died about 1726, leaving widow Sarah 

and four daughters. Benjamin, born ; married Mary ; 

lived in Danbury, and died about 1721-22, leaving widow Mary 

and two sons and two daughters. Nathaniel, born ; married 

Mary ; died in Danbury about 1712, leaving vddow Mary. 

John Hoyt died in 1722, at an advanced age. 

7. Thomas Barnum was originally of Fairfield, but the births 
of four of his children are recorded at Norwalk — viz.: Thomas, 
born July 9th, 1663 ; John, born February 24th, 1667 ; Hannah, 
born October 29th, 1680. " Ebbinezer, the daughter of Thomas 
Barnum, borne May 29th, 1682." There were also Francis and 
Richard and four daughters, whose names are not known. 

Thomas Barnum, Sr., died in Danbury, December 26th, 1695, 
aged about 70. The name of his first wife is not known. He 
married, second, Sarah, widow of John Hurd [died 1681], of 
Stratford. After the death of Thomas Barnum she returned to 
Stratfield, in Stratford, where she died in 1718, aged 76 years. 

Francis Barnum married Mary , and had six sons and one 

daughter. His son Abel, who died in New Fairfield in 1799, 
was the last grandson of the first Thomas. Ephraim, son of 

Thomas^, married Mehetable , and lived in Bethel, where his 

descendants still continue. He had seven sons and two daugh- 
ters : Ruth, who married John Bassett, and Rachel, who mar- 
ried Benjamin Hickok. 

8. Francis Bushnell married, for his second wife, Hannah, 
daughter of Thomas Seamer, of Norwalk, on October 12th, 1675. 
Their children were : Hannah, Mary, Abigaile, Lidia, Mercy, 
Rebeckah, and Judith. Abigaile Bushnell chose Ensigne Thomas 
Tailer for her guardian after her father's death in 1697. 

The last grandson of Francis Bushnell was Daniel Shove. 

Samuel Wood was an Englishman by birth, and married 
Rebecca, daughter of Thomas Benedict, first. They had but 
two children : Mercy, born March 30th, 1717 ; Samuel, born 
August 30th, 1719. His grandsons, David Wood and Dr. John 
Wood, were among the nineteen principal sufferers by the British 
attack in 1777. 

Daniel Benedict, third son of Thomas Benedict, came to Dan- 


bury in 1689, and sold his land in Norwalk in 1690. His son 
Daniel married Rebekah Taylor, daughter of Thomas, one of 
the original eight. 

Josiah StaiT, from Long Island, Joseph Mygatt, from Hart- 
ford, and the families of Knapj^ and Wildman were early settlers, 
and probably came soon after the original eight settlers were in 

The families of Bouton and Comstock were probably here 
before 1700. John Bouton was one of the first settlers of Nor- 
walk, and a lineal descendant of the family of Bouton, of Chan- 
tilly, France. 

The Betts family are said to have come from Buckingham, 

Ralphe and Walter Keeler came from the port of London, 
England, in 1635 or 1636. 

Joseph Piatt was a French refugee who settled in Norwalk 
about 1699. He was representative from Norwalk at the Gen- 
eral Assembly from 1725 to 1790. He had one son, John. 

Richard Raymond, probably a French refugee, was a land- 
holder in Norwalk in 16.')4. 

Thomas Seamer (or Seymore), whose daughter married Francis 
Bushnell, is also supposed to have been a French refugee, who 
escaped into England and soon after came to America. His 
name appears in the town list of Norwalk in 1655. 

As families of these various names have been of Danbury 
since its early settlement, the above information may be of in- 
terest to them. 



The first ecclesiastical structure of Danbury was built by the 
First Congregational Society in 1696. It stood on Main Street, 
between the jiresent Court House and what is now the Turner 
House. The second was the Episcopal St. James, which was 
built in 1763 on South Street. The graveyard on that street was 
the churchyard of this structure. The building was moved to 
the west corner of Main and South streets, where it was modern- 
ized and converted into a tenement, and is thus occupied to-day. 
The third church society established in the century was the 
Sandemanian. The fourth was the First Society of the Baptists, 
now more familiarly known as the King Street Baptist Church, 
taking its name from the district in which it is located. The 
first Methodist services were held in 1789, but the church edifice 
was not erected until nearly twenty years after. The second 
Baptist Society was organized in Miry Brook District in 1790, 
and its building erected in 1794. 

The village was made a fortified post in 1708 by order of the 
General Assembly. Two houses were selected and fortified as 
shelter for the various families in case of an attack by the 
Indians, who were being incited to deeds of violence upon settlers 
at that time by the French Government. The Assembly further 
ordered that a good scout, consisting of two trusty men, be sent 
out every day to observe the movements of the enemy. To de- 
fray the expense of the fortification and the scout, the General 
Assembly, in the following year, voted the town " five pounds 
in country pay," which meant currency of the country, not 
country produce. One of these houses was the parsonage of 
Rev. Mr. Shove, of the Congregational Church, which stood near 
the church, and the other was the house of Samuel Benedict, at 
the foot of Main Street. 

The only incidents of note that occurred in the centixry were 
the dysentery and the War of the Revolution ; and the former 


destroyed more of our citizens than did the latter, but it caused 
no loss of property. The epidemic came the year before the 
Declaration of Independence, and caused the death of one hun- 
dred and thirtjr persons. 

We give a synopsis of a few old deeds which have been pre- 
served, while tlie folios in which they were recorded went up in 
riame at the burning of Danbury. Among the names are some 
that have never been known by the older generation now living. 
A century and a half ago those now forgotten " lived, and 
moved, and had their being" in this town of Danbury, but as 
years went by they were gathered to their fathers, and to-day 
these papers, yellow with age, are all the records that time has 
left of their once busy lives. 

On September 15th, 1722, " Benjamin Barnum and Anne 
Barnum, his Wife, formerly Anne forward, the second daughter 
of Joseph forward, of Danbury [Deceased]," deed to " Thomas 
Wildman [our Af ores'' father in law]" their share in a four-acre 
home-lot, and ' ' one half of A seventeen Aci'e lot of swamp and 
upland," at a place known by the name of forwards plain.* 
" Bounded easterly by the other half of s" lot which our sister 
Lydia sold to our father in law Thomas Wildman = Southerly 
by highway, westerly by Abraham Andros in part, and partly 
by Lieut. Daniel Benedick, northerly by Mr. Seth Shove. 

" Signed before John Gregory, Justice of the Peace. 

" John and Ephraim Gregory, Witnesses." 

March 14th, 1735, Samuel Halt deeded land to " Thomas 
Wildman [the son of Thomas]," which deed was signed before 
John Gregory, Justice of the Peace, and witnessed by Robert 
Silliman and John Gregory. 

April 9th, 1744, Ebenezer Knap sold land to Thomas Wild- 
man, " three acres and a half of land lying in s** Danbury" — 
"the same lyeth Southerly from forwards plain, being land 
bought of Joseph Mygatt, also the Remainder of my land. I 
also bought of s"* Mygatt lying nigh the wolf pond, being about 
two acres, be it more or less, bounded west by the myry brook 
and wolf pond and all other parts of highway or common land. 
" Thomas Benedict, Justice of the Peace. 
" Thomas Benedict and Nathan Stevens, Witnesses." 

* Near Wolf Pond, in Miry Brook. 


May 5tli, 1761, Matthew Wildman deeds to Thomas Wildman, 
Jr., " land to be laid out in the Clear Commons in s* Danbury, 
according to the Vote of the proprietors of the Common and 
nndevided lands in Danbury af ores'* . 

" Thomas Benedict, Justice of the Peace. 

" Thomas Benedict and Anna Benedict, Witnesses." 

January 29th, 1770, Charles Peck, of Danbury, deeded to 
Thomas Wildman, Jr., land in Berkshire County, Mass. 
Signed in Danb^•lry before Thomas Benedict, Justice, with Benja- 
min Crosby and Thomas Peck, Witnesses. 

From some old deeds kindly loaned us by Miss Hollister, of 
Grassy Plain, we glean the following : 

' ' A Record of a piece of Land of James Crof oots, lying within 
the Bounds of Danbury, beyond the East Swamp in the Great 
field, the s** land being swampy land, and lying for one acre and 
half being bounded all Round with Common land near to Benja- 
min Starr' s Broken up land, which is a Little homeward of the 
East butment, the Record of s"" acre and half of land is accord- 
ing to the Return of the Layers out of s"" land — Namely Thomas 
Hoyt, James Bole(0. Recorded March 18 Day A.D. 1714, by 
Josiah Starr, Clerk. 

" Thomas Benedict, Register." 

February 2d, 1744-43, Daniel Walker and Mary, his Wife, 
of New Milford, deed to James Crofutt " one Certain piece of 
land lying in Danbury, over Shelter Rock Hill, in the East Part 
of s'* Hill containing eight acres. 

" Witnesses, Thomas and Mary Benedict." 

April 23d, 1745, Abraham Bennit, of Ridgefield, in " con- 
sideration of Two Hundred and fifty pounds money Old Ten- 
ner," deeds to " Sergt. James Crofutt ten acres of land in Gras- 
see Plaine. 

" Witnesses, Thomas Benedict. 

Thomas Benedict y^ 3. 
" Thomas Benedict, Justice of the Peace." 

"May 31st, 1748, James Crofutt, of Danbury, in Fairfield 


County and Colony of Connecticut, in New England, in consider- 
ation of that Love, Good Will, and Affection which I have to my 
son-in-law, Stephen Trobridg, and Lydia Trobridg, his Wife, my 
eldest Daughter," deeds "land in Grassey plaine with half a 
house standing thereon, the other half of s"* House made over to 
Sam" Trobridg, of Stratfield, bounded easterly by the street, 
Southerly by Sam" Trobridg, Westerly by Capt. John Benedict's 
Land, and Northerly by my other Land. 

" Witnesses, Uriah White. 
Sam" Gregory. 
" Sam" Gregory, Justice of Peace." 

June 12th, 1755, Samuel Barnum deeds to Samuel Trobridg, 
of Danbury, five acres of land " lying in Danbury between Shel- 
ter Rock Hill and Richards Island, located on the South part of 
my land lying at s"* place. 

" Witnesses, Daniel Dean. 

Thomas Benedict. 
" Thomas Benedict, Justice." 

In 1784, one hundred years after its first settlement, Danbury 
was made a shire town, dividing with Fairfield the business of 
the county. The year following a court-house and a jail were 
buUt. In 1791 the jail was destroyed by fire, and a new build- 
ing took its place. 

Danbury did not make a remarkable stride in growth during 
the first century of its existence. This might be attributed to 
its distance from tide- water and its lack of railway facilities ; 
but even after the introduction of all rail communication, in 
1852, with the chief market of the country, there was no remark- 
able growth in the population until after 1880. 

There is no official census on record before 1756. The popula- 
tion of Danbury was then 1509. After that the census was taken 
irregularly until 1790. Estimating the population to have been 
three hundred at the beginning of the eighteenth century (1700), 
the increase in the fifty-six years shows an average yearly growth 
of twenty-one. 

The next official census was taken eighteen years later, in 1774, 
when the population was 2470, an increase of 961. The official 
figures from 1756 to 1800 are as follows : 









71 years. 

. . . 



18 " 




8 " 




8 " 




10 " 


By the above it will be seen that the greatest growth was in 
the first period, eighteen years, when the increase per year aver- 
aged a fraction over fifty-three. The period showing the least 
growth was the last decade of the centnry, when the average 
yearly increase was a fraction under fifteen. The average yearly 
increase from 1756 to 1800, forty-five years, was thirty-eight. 



The chief event in the history of Danbury was its capture and 
burning by the British in 1777. Rev. Dr. Robbins has given a 
sketch of the affair in his sermon, but it is surprising that he 
did not dwell more at length upon this event, especially in view 
of the fact that he was contemporary with many who were eye- 
witnesses of the proceedings. He gives less space to this than 
to the religious controversy which preceded it. 

In April, 1775, occuiTed the battle of Lexington. When the 
news of this famous and momentous engagement reached Dan- 
bury, there was great excitement. The bell on the meeting- 
house of the First Congregational Society was rung, the village 
cannon fired, as were muskets, and bonfires were kindled. A 
public meeting was held, and the village orators who were not 
friends of King George made fervid speeches, urging the able- 
bodied to enroll themselves in defence of the country. 

Noble Benedict, a resident of the town, aglow with patriotic 
fervor, started to raise a company of soldiers. Many enlisted, 
and the company was organized, with Mr. Benedict as captain. 
The first man to respond to his call was Enoch Crosby, a shoe- 
maker. He subsequently became locally famous as a spy, oper- 
ating in Putnam and Dutchess Counties, N. Y., where were a 
number of Tory organizations. He was instrumental in the 
capture of several companies of these enemies of the govern- 

There were ninety-eight members of this company, whose 
names are herewith given : Captain, Noble Benedict ; lieuten- 
ants, James Clark, Ezra Stephens ; ensign, Daniel Heacock ; 
sergeants, John Trowbridge, Eliph Barnum, Elijah Hoit, Nathan 
Taylor, John Ambler ; corporals, Aaron Stone, Jonah Benedict, 
David Weed, Moses Veal ; musicians, Joseph Hamilton, drum- 
mer ; Russell Bartlett, Nathaniel Peck, fifers ; privates, Seth 
Barnum, Eleaz Benedict, John Barnum, Eli Barnum, James 


Boughton, Josiah Burcliard, Samuel Bennet, Lazarus Barnum, 
Hez Benedict, Gilbert Benedict, William Benedict, David Bishop, 
Eben Barnum, Abram Barns, Joseph Boughton, John Comstock, 
Enoch Crosby, Samuel Curtiss, William Combs, Isaac Coller, 
Thomas Campbell, James Clements, Samuel Cook, Miles Canty, 
Henry Covel, John Chapman, Elnathan Edy, Eliph Ferry, John 
Guthrie, William Griffin, Drake Hoit, Thaddeus Hoit, Joshua 
Hinckley, Jonathan Hayes, John Holcomb, William Hawldns, 
Francis Jackson, Thomas Judd, John Johnson, Benjamin Gor- 
ham, John Green, Henry Knapp, Elisha Lincoln, John Linly, 
James Lincoln, Nathan Lee, Thomas Morehouse, Thaddeus 
Morehouse, Done Merrick, John Morehouse, Sylvanus Nelson, 
Isaac Northrop, Wilson Northrop, Joshua Porter, William 
Porter, Elkanah Peck, Farrel Picket, Caleb Spencer, Samuel 
Spencer, Eli Stephens, Samuel Sturdivant, Daniel Segar, Levi 
Starr, John Stephens, Jabez Starr, James Scovel, Stephen Scovel, 
i'eter Stringham, Isaac Smith, Thomas Starr, Ephraim Smith, 
Levi Stone, Stephen Townsend, "^Samuel Townsend, Stephen 
Trowbridge, Joshua Taylor, Thomas Weed, Samuel C. Warren 
(or Warden), Major Warren, Thomas Wheaton, Jonas Weed, 
David Sturdivant. 

Captain Benedict's company joined the Sixteenth Regiment, 
and was ordered to duty with the northern army, reporting at 
Lake Champlain. They enlisted for a term of six months, and 
the company returned home without the loss of a single member. 

This was the only organization that Danbury raised during 
the Revolution. Many of the citizens served in the defence of 
the country, but they went away and were enrolled in outside 

Captain Noble Benedict was the father of the late Archibald 
Benedict, and lived on North Main Street, near Franklin. The 
captain was a stutterer, and many anecdotes based on this in- 
firmity are related of him. We give one of them. When he 
was at Lake Champlain with his company the countersign in 
use one night was the word " Ticonderoga." The captain came 
across a sentry, who, halting him, demanded the countersign. 
T was a bad letter for the captain to overcome, and in his mad 
efforts to clutch it he lost all memory of the word itself. In this 
dilemma he shouted to the sentry, " S-s-s-s-say the word, and 1 
c-c-c-c-can teU it. " 


History does not tell what the sentry did, but as the captain 
safely returned to Danbury, it is presumed the matter was satis- 
factorily compromised. 

James Clark, first lieutenant, lived on South Main Street. His 
wife, on the coming of the British, sunk her silverware and some 
other articles in the well, and fled with her family to a more 
congenial latitude. 

Ezra Stevens, the second lieutenant, lived in Pembroke Dis- 
trict. His son, Eli, was in the company as a private. 

First Sergeant John Trowbridge lived at the upper end of 
Main Street. He was a grandfather of Truman Trowbridge. 
Second Sergeant Eliph Barnum lived at the south end of the 
village. Third Sergeant Elijah Hoyt lived where now stands 
the residence of Charles H. Merritt, on Main Street. 

" Corporal Jonah Benedict was a thorough patriot, and took 
an active part in the war. He was before Ticonderoga in August, 
1775, and was commissioned sergeant by Captain Noble Bene- 
dict, November 19th, 1775, at Port Johns. He was taken pris- 
oner with many others while on duty at Fort Washington, on 
the Hudson River, November, 1776. He was on the old prison- 
ship Grosvenor, lying at the Wallabout, and also in the old Sugar 
House, suffering greatly from sickness and iU-usage until per- 
mitted to depart, when considered at the point of death, in April, 
1777. He and his old father, Matthew, who was living with him in 
Danbury, were taken out of their beds before daylight on Sun- 
day morning, April 27th, 1777, and tied to trees in his garden, 
while the British troops set fire to his house. Prior to the Rev- 
olution he carried on a farm, and afterward manufactured hats 
at South Salem, where he died, March 28th, 1811." 

— Benedict Genealogy. 

Corporal David Weed lived in Westville District ; the drum- 
mer, Joseph Hamilton, lived in Pembroke District, which ap- 
pears to have been a very patriotic portion of the town. 

Private Seth Barnum lived in King Street, opposite the Baptist 
Church. John Barnum and Eli Barnum lived in the same dis- 
trict. Samuel Curtis lived near where Ezra Mallory & Co.'s hat 
factory stands. He was once sexton of the First Church. Drake 
Hoyt and Thaddeus Hoyt lived in Pembroke District. Thad- 
deus for a number of years kept the town poor on contract, as 


was then the custom. Thomas Judd lived in Great Plain Dis- 
trict. Benjamin Gorham lived in Miry Brook District. John 
Green lived at the junction of Elm and River streets. John 
Lindley lived in King Street District. Thaddeus Morehouse 
lived on Main Street. Stephen Trowbridge lived, we are told, 
on the corner of Main and Liberty streets, where is now Benedict 
& Nichols' block. Levi Stone belonged in the Middle River 
District. Joshua Porter came home from the northern campaign 
all right, but lost his life by Tryon's troops in Major Starr's 

John Ambler, the fifth sergeant, was a great-grandfather of 
Rev. E. C. Ambler, and was at that time a man of advanced 
age. The grandfather of Rev. Mr. Ambler, Peter Ambler, and 
two of Peter's brothers, Stephen and Squire Ambler, were in the 
war, but not in this company. The family lived in Miry Brook 

Ensign Daniel Heacock was a grandfather of Colonel Samuel 
Gregory. He lived in Bethel. His home is still standing. Col- 
onel Gregory has in his possession the powder-horn which Henry 
Knapp, private, carried in the company's campaign. Mr. Knapp 
lived in the Westville District. 

Jabez Starr kept the tavern which stood on property adjoining 
the News office. Daniel Segar lived on the Mill Plain Road. 
Stephen Townsend lived near the New York State line. 



Beyond what has been recorded in the preceding chapter, no 
event of Revolutionary interest occurred in Danbury until the 
latter part of the following year, 1776, when the commissioners 
of the American army chose Danbury as a place of deposit for 
army supplies. These were chiefly designed without doubt for 
the troops operating in the vicinity of the Hudson. Danbury 
was considered a good point of divergence, as it had fair roads 
running to the river, to the Sound, and eastward. Again, it 
must have been deemed a place of security, as but very few 
troops were left here to defend the stores. 

Several months later, in April, 1777, Governor and General 
Tryon, of New York, planned an expedition from that city to 
Danbury, for the express purpose of destroying those stores. 
He is spoken of by Dr. Robbins in his sermon as a man of ' ' blaz- 
ing memory." Another writer calls him the "firebrand." He 
has generally been pictured as a demon of blood and flame. 

By the Tories and Royalists he Avas spoken of as a just and 
humane man. Rev. Dr. Peters, in his views of Connecticut at 
this time, speaks very highly of him. Dr. Peters was to the 
manor born, being a native of this State, and a descendant of a 
first settler, but he was a stanch Royalist and a bitter Tory. He 
says of General Tryon : " He was humane and polite ; to him 
the injured had access without a fee ; he would hear the poor 
man's complaint, though it wanted the aid of a polished lawyer." 

Danbury was sacked and burned by the troops under Tryon, 
to be sure, but there is evidence fi'om our own people to show 
that Tryon was no worse in his conduct of the war than the 
other generals engaged, American or English ; and while his 
soldiers were vicious and mercenary, there is plenty of evidence 
in the records of our General Assembly to show that our own 
troops were not faultless in this respect. 


General Try on' s expedition saUed from New York on the 
night of April 24th, 1777. There were twenty transports and 
six war vessels in the fleet. The object of the expedition was 
kept a secret by those in command. The next morning, from a 
point of observation at Norwalk, the fleet was first discovered 
by onr people. Its destination was, of conrse, a mystery. The 
fleet passed Norwalk and stood in for the mouth of the Sauga- 
tuck River. In that harbor it dropped anchor. It was now 
four o'clock in the afternoon of April 25th. The troops imme- 
diately landed. The east shore of the river's mouth was called 
Compo Point. It was then in the town of Fairfield, since made 

On the landing of this large body of men at this place the 
object of the expedition was divined by the citizens, and as soon 
as possible a messenger was dispatched to Danbury to warn the 
garrison there. 

After the formation of their column, the British troops were 
marched into the country a distance of eight miles, and there — 
in what is now the township of Weston- — encamped for the night. 
It is probable this movement inland led the people of Fairfield 
to suspect General Tryon's destination, and it is likely the mes- 
sengers were then sent out. 

At the time a courier was sent to Danbury, and others were 
sent elsewhere to arouse the country. One of these went to 
New Haven, where General Wooster was abiding. 

General Benedict Arnold, whose home was also in New Haven, 
happened to be there at the time on a furlough. On being noti- 
fied, General Wooster directed the militia of the city to march 
to Fairfield, and he with Arnold immediately repaired to that 
place. At Fairfield they learned that General Silliman, who 
was in command of this department of Connecticut, had started 
for Redding, on the way to Danbury, and had sent word in all 
directions to have what militia could be got together to report 
at Redding. Wooster and Selleck hastened to that place. It 
was now Saturday, April 26th. 

The messenger sent from Fairfield to Danbury reached here 
at three o'clock on Friday morning. He said that a British 
force of between three and four thousand men had landed 
at Fairfield, and it was suspected their design was to capture 
the stores here. At sunrise another messenger arrived. His 


intelligence strongly confirmed the theory of the man who pre- 
ceded him. Great consternation prevailed among our people on 
the receipt of this news. There was no possibility of keeping 
the invader away from the village. The only reliable defence 
to the town consisted of fifty soldiers of the Continental Army, 
who were on their way to the Hudson, and one hundred militia- 
men. Of course nearly every family had a musket in those 
days, but the safety of the women and children demanded almost 
the entire attention of the males of the community. Dr. Foster, 
who had recently been appointed medical director of this depart- 
ment, had his headquarters here, in charge of the medical stores. 
Four days after the coming of the enemy he wrote to a friend 
the particulars of the raid. We make the following extract from 
this letter : 

" Danbury, May 1, 1777. 

" You have doubtless heard of the enemy's expedition to this 
place, and been anxious for us. This is the first moment of 
leisure I have had, and, if not interrupted, I will endeavor to 
give you a particular account. . . . The militia were mustered, 
and a few Continental troops that were here on their way to 
Peekskill prepared to receive them ; but their number was so 
inconsiderable, and that of the enemy so large, with a formid- 
able train of artillery, I had no hope of the place being saved. 
I had, upon the first alarm, ordered all the stores in my charge 
to be packed up, ready for removal at a moment's warning. 
Upon the arrival of the second express, I persuaded Folly, with 
M'hat money was in my hands, to quit the town. She was un- 
wOiing, but I insisted upon it. We were so much put to it for 
teams to remove the medicines and bedding, that I determined 
rather to lose my own baggage than put it on any cart intended 
for that purpose, and had not a gentleman's team, already loaded 
with his own goods, taken it up, I must have lost it. 

' ' As the enemy entered the town at one end after our troops 
had retreated to the heights, I went out at the other, not with- 
out some apprehension (as I was to cross the route of their flank 
guard) of being intercepted by the light horse. 

' 'After having seen the medicines, all of them that were worth 
moving, safe at New Milford, I returned to town the next morn- 
ing and went with our forces in pursuit of the enemy. About 


noon the action began in their rear, and continued with some 
intermission until night. The running fight was renewed next 
morning, and lasted until the enemy got under cover of their 

" We have lost some brave officers and men. Their loss is un- 
known, as they buried some of their dead and carried off others ; 
but from the dead bodies they were forced to leave on the field, 
it must have greatly exceeded ours. General Wooster was 
wounded early in the action. He is in the same house with me, 
and I fear will not live until morning." 

Dr. Foster must have remained here some time, as on May 
11th, 1779, he writes : 

' ' To-morrow all the gentlemen of the department at this post 
[Danbury] dine with me, and the next morning I begin my jour- 
ney to headquarters. I mean to take in Newark in my way. 

" General Silliman was taken jmsoner last week and carried 
to Long Island." 

The tew soldiers here could not, of course, offer any substan- 
tial resistance to the force under Tryon's command, and retreated 
probably in rear of the fleeing families to the northward, as the 
British came in from the south. It is in evidence that the enemy, 
in its march from the Sound, did not disturb the property of 
residents, and came through Bethel without inflicting any notice- 
able injury upon the citizens or the property of that village. 

The enemy reached Danbury between two and three o'clock 
Saturday afternoon. The sky was clear and the sun shining 
brightly when they appeared, but a storm of rain began shortly 
after and prevailed through the night. 

While the British were marching here General Silliman, of the 
American army, was proceeding to Redding with a handful of 
troops in pursuit. At Redding he halted to enable recruits to 
reach his standard. Here he was joined by Wooster and Arnold 
and such citizens as they could rally on the way, but it was 
eleven o'clock at night when the force gathered to punish Tryon 
reached Bethel, two miles south of this village. 

Owing to the weariness of the men, and the fact that their 
miiskets were seriously crippled by the downpour of rain, it 
was decided to rest for the night, and make an attack on the 
enemy on its return from Danbury. 


The number of our troops at Bethel that night is variously- 
estimated. The number of seven hundred appears to be the 
nearest correct. One writer is positive that it equalled the Brit- 
ish force ; but this, in view of all other evidence, is an unreason- 
able estimate. From the disposition of our forces in this part 
of the State at that time, no such body of organized troops could 
have been here then. It is probable there were five hundred 
soldiers, regular and militia, and two hundred citizens whose 
zeal for the cause made them shoulder the family musket and 
join in the pursuit. 

While the seven hundred Americans were making themselves 
as comfortable as possible in the rain at Bethel, Tryon's followers 
were making merry in this village. 

Uuu^E wiiKUE Gen'l David \V 


Corner Cupeoakh in Old IIofsE 


Shelves J^ed., Pillars and Doaie Blue^ 
Arch White, Outside Old Green. 



What military force was here to defend Danbury was under 
the command of Joseph P. Cooke, a resident, who held the rank 
of colonel. Another prominent citizen was Dr. John Wood. 
He had in his employ a yonng man named Lambert Lockwood. 
He sent him out as a scout to learn where the enemy were, some- 
thing of their number, and about the time they might be ex- 
pected to reach the village. 

Some four miles below here is an eminence called Hoyt's HiU.* 
It is not on the turnpike, but is located by the road to Lonetown, 
southeast of the "pike. It was along this road the British ap- 
proached Bethel. 

An incident occurred here that has been confused by two or 
three versions. Hollister, in his history of Connecticut, says 
that Try on was confronted on Hoyt's Hill by a presumably 
insane horseman, who appeared on the crest, waving a sword, 
and conducting himself very much as if he was in command of 
a considerable army in the act of climbing the opposite side of 
the hill. The British commander halted his force and sent out 
skirmishers to reconnoitre, when it was discovered that the 
stranger was alone, and instead of leading on an enthusiastic 
army to almost certain victory, was making the best of his way 
back to Danbury. 

This account is apparently a distortion of an incident that 
really did occur, although it has the sanction of local tradition, 
and is repeated (in honest belief) by several aged residents who 
had it from their parents who were living here at the time. 

* Dr. Adelaide Holten, a lineal descendant of Thomas Taylor, one of the first set- 
tlers, has heard her grandmother tell of seeing the approach of the British as she 
was returning on horseback over Hoyt's Hill from a visit to a neighbor. She de- 
scribed the gleam of the scarlet uniforms, and the flash of arms, and said that she 
dashed on toward Bethel, shouting, " The British are coming 1 The British are 
coming 1" 


Young Lambert reached the summit of Hoyt's Hill, when he 
suddenly and rather unexpectedly came upon the foe. He must 
have been riding at a smart speed, or he would not have become 
so helplessly entangled as he turned out to be. When he dis- 
covered the enemy he was too close upon them to get away, and 
in attempting it he was wounded and captured. 

He learned a great deal of the British and their designs, but 
the value of it was considerably impaired by this incident. 

Young Lockwood was brought to Danbury with his captors, 
and was left here. It is said that he was once a resident of Nor- 
walk. When there he did a favor for General Tryon, on the 
occasion of an accident to that officer's carriage when he was 
driving through Norwalk. General Tryon recognized him, and 
in return for the favor ordered his discharge, and was writing a 
parole for him, to secure him against further molestation by the 
British, when the news of the approach of Wooster caused him 
to turn his attention to getting out of town. 

After leaving Bethel the ranks were deployed, and Danbury 
was approached in open order, some of the advance being so 
far deployed as to take in Shelter Rock Ridge on the right and 
Thomas Mountain on the left. 

On reaching the south end of our village General Tryon took 
up his headquarters in the house of Nehemiah Dibble, on South 
Street. The same building was known as the Wooster place 
(from the fact of General Wooster dying there a few days later) 
until its destruction some years ago. 

It was between two and three o'clock in the afternoon when 
the British arrived. The leader having selected his headquarters, 
the quartering of the force for the protection of themselves was 
next attended to. Tryon's assistants, Generals Erskine and 
Agnew, accompanied by a body of mounted infantry, proceeded 
up Main Street to the junction of the Barren Plain Road (now 
White Street), where Benjamin Knapp lived. His house stood 
where is now the Nichols brick block, long known as Military 
Hall, the corner of which is now occupied as a drug store. 

The two generals quartered themselves upon Mr. Knapp, taking 
complete possession of the house, with the exception of one 
room, where Mrs. Knapp was lying ill. 

On this dash up Main Street the party met with two incidents. 
Silas Hamilton had a piece of cloth at a fuller's on South Street, 


It is said that Major Taylor was the fuller. When Hamilton 
heard of the approach of the enemy, he mounted his horse and 
rode off at full speed for his goods. He Avas rather late, how- 
ever, and wh6n he came out to remount his horse, a squad of the 
force was upon him. He flew iip Main Street wdth a half dozen 
troopers in full pursuit, and on reaching West Street he turned 
into it, with the hair on his head very erect. 

The pursuers followed him, and one in advance and close upon 
him swung his sword to cut him down, when a singular but 
most fortunate accident occurred. Hamilton lost a part of his 
hold upon the roll, to which he had until this time tenaciously 
clung, and the cloth flew out like a giant ribbon, frightening the 
pursuing animals, and rendering them unmanageable, so Mr. 
Hamilton escaped with his cloth.* 

The column that came up Main Street were fired upon from 
the house of Captain Ezra Starr, which stood where now is the 
residence of Mrs. D. P. Nichols, corner of Main and Boughton 
streets. The shots, it has been claimed, were fired by four 
young men. It was an act of reckless daring, and the actors 
must have been very young, as the shots could have had no other 
effect than to exasperate the invaders. 

Dr. Robbins, in his account of the battle, says that one valu- 
able house with four persons in it was burned, but does not say 
who the persons were. The men who fired on the enemy, from 
Captain Starr's house, were Idlled, and their bodies were burned 
in the building ; but there were not four of them, there were 
three. One of these was a negro, named Adams. The two white 
men were Joshua Porter and Eleazer Starr. The former was a 
member of Noble Benedict's company, organized in 1775. He 
was great-grandfather of Colonel Samuel Gregory of this town, 
and lived in that part of the town that is called Westville Dis- 
trict. He was in the village after a gallon of molasses when the 
enemy came. 

Starr lived where now stands the Neios building. He and 

* The first ancestor of the Hamilton family in this country was "William, a son of 
Gallatin Hamilton, of Glasgow, Scotland. William was born in Glasgow in 1643 ; 
came early to New England ; settled in Cape Cod, and was persecuted as one who 
dealt with evil spirits, for having killed the first whale on the New England Coast. 
He afterward went to South Kingston, R. I., and then came to Danbury, where he 
died in 1746, aged 103 years. This is a matter of family record, and also of anti- 
quarian history. 


Porter went into Captain Starr's house to observe the coming of 
the British. Colonel Gregory understands that the negro was in 
the employ of Captain Starr. Depositions before the General 
Assembly, made in 1778, show that this Adams was a slave and 
belonged to Samuel Smith, in Redding. His service may have 
been leased to Captain Starr ; at any rate, he died with Porter 
and Starr. A British officer, who was present at the time, sub- 
sequently spoke of the incident to a neighbor. He killed the 
negro himself. 

As the British troops reached the present location of the court 
house their artillery was discharged, and the heavy balls, six 
and twelve-pounders, flew screaming up the street, carrying 
terror to the hearts of the women and children, and dismay to 
the heads of the homes thus endangered. 

Immediately upon Generals Agnew and Erskine taking up 
their quarters in Mr. Knapp's house, a picket was located. One 
squad of twenty men occupied the rising ground where is now 
the junction of Park Avenue and Prospect Street. A second 
took position on the hill near Jarvis Hull's house. The third 
was located on what is now called Franklin Street. We have no 
information of other picket squads, but it is likely that every 
approach to the village was guarded. 

It is related of a brother of Joshua Porter that, coming into 
the village to see what the British were doing, he came upon 
three of the picket stationed on Park Avenue. They commanded 
him to halt. 

" What for ?" he inquired, still continuing toward them. 

" You are our jirisoner," said they. 

" Guess not," he laconically replied, moving steadily upon 

1 " We'll stick you through and through, if you don't stop," 
one of them threatened, advancing close to him. 

Porter was a man of very powerful build, with muscles like 
steel, and a movement that was a very good substitute for light- 
ning. They were close upon him. There was a gulch back of 
them. In a flash he had the foremost trooper in his grasp. In 
the next instant he had hurled him against the other two, 
and the three went into the gulch in a demoralized heap. 
The rest of the squad, seeing the disaster, immediately 
surrounded and subdued Porter. This little affair, it is 


said, gave the name of Squabble Hill to that neighbor- 

Porter and a man named Bainnm are believed to be the only 
prisoners the enemy carried away from Danbury. They were 
taken to New York City and confined in the infamous Sugar 
House prison. Porter was subsequently released and returned 
home, but Barnum died there from starvation. When found he 
had a piece of brick in his hand, holding it to his mouth, as if 
to draw moisture from it to cool his feverish throat. 

The main body of the troops remained in the village and 
shortly engaged in the destruction of the military stores. 

Those in the Episcopal Church were rolled out into the street 
and there fired, as the edifice was of the Church of England, and 
so reverenced by the English invader. 

Two other buildings contained stores. One of these was a barn 
belonging to Nehemiah Dibble. The goods were taken out and 
burned to save the building, as Dibble was a Tory. The other 
was a building situated on Main Street, near where is now Sam- 
uel C. Wildman's place. It was full of grain. It was burned 
with its contents. It is said that the fat from the burning meat 
ran ankle-deep in the street. No less free ran the ram and wine, 
although not in the same direction. The soldiers who were 
directed to destroy these tested them first, and the result was as 
certain as death. Before night had fairly set in the greater part 
of the force were in a riotous state of drunkenness. Discipline 
was set at naught. King George stood no chance whatever in 
the presence of King Alcohol, and went down before him at once. 
The riot continued far into the night. Danbury was never before 
nor since so shaken. 

The drunken men went up and down the Main Street in squads, 
singing army songs, shouting coarse speeches, hugging each 
other, swearing, yelling, and otherwise conducting themselves as 
becomes an invader when he is very, very drunk. 

The people who had not fled remained close in their homes, 
sleepless, full of fear, and utterly wretched, with the ghastly 
tragedy at Captain Starr's house hanging like a pall over them. 
The night was dark, with dashes of rain. The carousers tumbled 
down here and there as they advanced in the stages of drimken- 
ness. Some few of the troops remained sober, and these per- 
formed the duties of the hour. One of these was the marking 


of a cross upon the buildings which belonged to the Tories. This 
was done with pieces of lime. There was considerable of this 
property. Sympathizers with the government of the mother 
country abounded hereabouts. They were men who honestly 
believed that colonies had no right to secede from the crown, 
and they defended their belief when they could, and cherished 
it at all times. They were jubilant now. The proper authorities 
were in possession, the rebel element was overcome, and the 
Tories believed that Danbury was forever redeemed from the 
pernicious sway of the rebellion. 

It is said that two of these people piloted Tryon to Danbury. 
The names given are Stephen Jarvis and Eli Benedict. It is 
further said that they fled from Danbury. Some time after 
Benedict came back, but being threatened with violence he left 
for good. Jarvis went to Nova Scotia, where he made his home. 
Once he returned on a visit to his sister. He came privately, 
but the neighbors, getting word of his presence, went to the 
house in search of him. His sister hid him in her brick oven, 
and when the danger was over he secretly left Danbury for Nova 
Scotia, never again to return. This statement was made in an 
appendix to an edition of Eobbins's address brought out in 1851. 
In its issue of April 2d of that year the Danbury Times prints 
the following : 

" We refer to this statement in order to make a correction in 
point of fact, as well as of time. The brother of one of the 
alleged guides, a venerable resident of this town, proves an alibi 
in the case of Stephen. He says that at the time the British 
entered the town Stephen was confined at Stamford with the 
small-pox, and did not join the British until some time after- 
ward. He assigns a very tender reason for Stephen's Toryism. 
At that tune our neighboring village of Newtown was, according 
to his statement, largely given to the Tory faith, and Stex^hen's 
sweetheart was of that stock. ' ' 



That night of Ajiril 26tli, 1777, was not a particularly happy 
one for the general in command of the British forces. He had 
met with a complete success in reaching Danbury and destroy- 
ing the stores, which was the object of his mission ; but the 
great bulk of his force was helpless in the strong embrace of 
New England rum, and news had come that a force of the enemy 
was gathering and marching toward him. They were anxious 
hours to the three generals and their aids, but especially to him 
on whom rested all the responsibility of the expedition. 

Besides the approach of Wooster's men there was the small 
band of troops under command of Colonel Cooke, who were un- 
doubtedly near by, ready to give vigorous help to an attacking 
force, knowing every foot of the ground, and capable of giving 
an infinite amount of annoyance, if nothing more. Then there 
were gathering farmers from the outlying districts, who had 
through the afternoon given substantial evidence of their pres- 
ence by creeping up as near as possible and firing at the pickets. 
The darkness that fell about the town after nightfall might par- 
donably be i^eopled with many dangers by even a less imagina- 
tive person than was the British general. 

In the mean time Benjamin Knapp was having his own particu- 
lar trouble. 

Mr. Knapp was a tanner. His house stood on what is now 
White Street, near the corner of Main. White Street was then 
called Barren Plain Road, and this name was given it because 
the road ran across the Balmforth Avenue region, which was then 
pretty much sand. 

It is very rarely the resident of a humble village has two briga- 
dier-generals come to spend Sunday with him, and the advent of 
Generals Agnew and P>skine should have been an unbounded 
delight to Mr. Knapp, but it is doubtful if it were. 


The generals made themselves fully at home. There was no 
stiffness about them. They killed Mr. Knapp's stock, and cut 
up the meat on his floor, and the dents thereof were visible as 
long as the building stood. Mr. Knapp' s wife was a sorely afflicted 
invalid, but her inability to attend to domestic duties did not in 
any way embarrass the guests, yet it was very unpleasant for 
Mr. Knapp. Besides that, the neighboring people, on that event- 
ful afternoon, drew near to the town with their long-barrelled 
guns, and taking advantage of the heavy growth of alders along 
the stream, fired at a redcoat wherever he showed himself. 
There was a picket stationed on the Main Street bridge, and this 
party was a special target. All this made Mr. Knapp very ner- 
vous, as he could not very satisfactorily show that he was not in 
league with the ambushed patriots, and he feared his property 
would sufl'er. 

However, it did not. The British generals, in view of their 
accommodation and the illness of Mrs. Knapp, spared the house 
in the general conflagration that followed. 

The house was removed twenty-five years ago to make room 
for the present building. 

At midnight the uproar caused by the inundation of two thou- 
sand soldiers, and the absorption of such a great quantity of 
New England rum, had to a great degree abated. Tryon was 
fully awake. His position was becoming exceedingly perilous. 
Shortly after midnight word came to him that the rebels under 
Wooster and Arnold liad reached Bethel, and were preparing to 
attack him. This was unexpected to him. He had thought to 
spend the Sabbath leisurely in Danbury. The word that came 
from Bethel radically changed his programme. At once all 
became bustle. The drunken sleepers were aroused to new life 
by the most available means, and a movement made toward 
immediate evacuation. 

It was nearly one o'clock Sunday morning when Tryon got 
word of the Bethel gathering. Up to that hour there had been 
but thi-ee buildings destroyed (already mentioned). As soon as 
the men were aroused and in place, excepting those detailed for 
picket, the work of destruction began. This was about two 
o'clock. In the next hour the buildings owned by Tories were 
marked with a cross, done with a chunk of lime. The work of 
burning was then commenced. 

BoKN, May 4Tii, iios— Died, .March Oth, 1.S43. 
L'TioNARY Soldier, and was in the Battle where Gen'l Wooster was Shot. 



The first house burned stood just west of the Episcopal Church 
on South Street, but some little distance from the street. There 
was a long garden attached to it, and at the opposite end of the 
garden, almost reaching Main Street, was another house. 

It is not known who lived in either of these, but they may 
have been Jonah and Matthew Benedict, who lost property in 
the fire, and who are supposed to have lived on South Street. 
Captain Daniel Taylor, Major Taylor, Comfort Hoyt, Jr., and 
Joseph Wildman were also among the sufferers. The second 
house fired was on the east side of Main Street, a few rods from 
the corner of South Street, and where the big pine-tree now stands. 

After that there was no order in the firing, but the flames 
seemed to burst out simultaneously in all directions. 

The house of Major Taylor stood on the southwest corner of 
what are now South and Mountainville streets, and was the last 
house fired by the British as they left the town. An old lady 
afterward said that if slie had not been so frightened, she could 
have put out the newly kindled fire with a pail of water. 

Dr. John Wood's house, wliich stood where is now the home- 
stead of the late Philander Comstock, was destroyed. There 
were two wells in this vicinity, each of which was filled with 
iron, cannon-balls, etc., which could not be burned. 

On the opposite side of the street the house of Captain J^^liS''^'''''^ 
Clark was burned. Next was the house of Major Mygatt, which -' 
was burned, as was also the residence of Rev. Ebenezer White, 
near the court-house. 

Zadock Benedict's house stood just north of the depot. Mr. 
Knapp mi;st have thought the trouble was getting pretty close 
to him. Captain Joseph P. Cooke also lost his house, which 
stood on the site of the residence of Mr. Lucius P. Hoyt. 

The record says there were in all nineteen houses burned, and 
also several stores and shops. Near the homestead of the late 
Samuel C. Wildman was a blacksmith's shop which went up in 
flame. In it was made a part of the chains with which the 
Hudson was barricaded at West Point. The meeting-house of 
the New Danbury Society was burned. This stood on Liberty 
Street, between Delay Street and Eailroad Avenue. 

As but nineteen houses were burned, it was not so much of a 
conflagration after all. Danbury had then a population of some 
twenty- five hundred. To accommodate these, there must have 



been at least four hundred dwellings in the township, including 
Bethel village, and nearly, if not quite two hundred in this 
village. Historians say that every house was burned except 
those belonging to Tories. If this be so, then the humiliating 
reflection is ours that the great bulk of Danbury was Tory. 
Thank Heaven for the strength to believe it was not so ! It is 
likely that the British burned only those buildings that were 
available in their hasty getting together, including those whose 
owners may have been particularly obnoxious to the loyal heart. 

With the fire well under way, the pickets were caUed into the 
formed line, and the invading army took up its march in retreat. 

Tryon did not imdertake to return as he came. The force 
under Wooster, at Bethel, deterred him from that, and he sought 
to make detour through Ridgebury. The column left Danbury 
through Wooster Street, taking the Miry Brook Road. It was 
lighted by the flames of the burning buildings. It was not quite 
daylight of Sunday morning, April 27tli. 



All that was transpiring was made known to the anxious 
American leaders in Bethel by patriotic citizens, who were awake 
and alert all through that wretched night. When it was told 
Wooster that the British had withdrawn from Danbury, not 
moving back tlie way they came, but going toward the Hudson, 
he and his companions, Silliman and Arnold, held a brief coun- 
cil of war. It was suspected that Tryon was trying to make the 
river, or might possibly be engaged in a detour. 

The American force was divided into two troops. Wooster 
sent Silliman and Arnold with five hundred men across country 
to Ridgefield. With two hundred men he hurried to Danbury. 
With the first force he was going to intercept the enemy, with 
the second he would harass its rear, and do all the damage pos- 
sible until the general engagement came on. 

Before the last of the British were fairly out of the village the 
gray dawn of the Sabbath waved up from the east through the 
rain, and as it advanced into the broader light of the new day, 
it showed the long line of British filing through Miry Brook 
Road, and the straggling but determined rebels, armed with long 
miiskets, carried with both hands, bringing up the rear, and 
doing their level best to harass the foe, and succeeding. Still 
with all their patriotic zeal we are obliged to entertain but a 
poor idea of their marksmanship, for there is no record that any 
of the enemy were killed on Danbury soil. Among this crowd 
of daring, if not efl'ective, persons there was one who was suffi- 
ciently rapid in his manual of arms, however short he may have 
fallen from being effective. He was poised on a fence the after- 
noon before and fired thirty-two shots at the skirmish line of the 
advancing British, without being touched by a single one of the 
many bullets sent after him. When his ammunition was gone 


he held up his cartouch-box to the enemy to show its emptiness, 
and then left, shouting as he ran these very patriotic words : 

" He that fights and runs away 
May live to fight another day. 
But he that is in battle slain 
Shall never live to fight again." 

A movement of a body of two thousand men could not be 
made, of course, without the knowledge of the neighbors. The 
people of the adjoining districts and villages had been apprised 
of the arrival of the British in Danbury by the families who had 
lied from the doomed town. All that Saturday night men were 
hovering about the place, looking vpith hungry eyes for every 
manifestation from the enemy. 

No sooner had the line taken up its march than these people 
knew of it, and determining the route, sought to annoy the 
march all that was in their power to do. 

One of their acts was to destroy the bridge over Wolf Pond 
Run, in Miry Brook District. When the enemy reached this 
place they were obliged to stop and throw over a temporary 
bridge of rails. This made a delay and enabled the forces under 
Wooster to gain headway. 

One historian says that the British marched through Sugar 
Hollow. This is plausible enough if the force had been an ex- 
cursion party hurrying to Ridgetield to take a railway train, but 
no military man would be so insane as to take his men through 
such a defile, where there was every advantage and ample pro- 
tection for an enemy. 

General Tryon took his people through Ridgebury, having an 
open country for his skirmishers. He was confident that by 
making this detour he would mislead Wooster, and escape to his 
boats without serious interruption. 

General Wooster sent Arnold and Silliman, as we have already 
indicated, direct to Ridgefield, across the country from Bethel, 
while he struck out in a more northerly direction, intending to 
strike the foe before he reached Ridgefield. 

In this he succeeded. He came upon the enemy while they 
were breakfasting, about eight o'clock in the morning of that 
eventful Sunday. He appeared from a piece of woods, and 
struck a rear regiment with such unexpected force, that he cap- 


tured forty of the men before the command was fairly aware of 
his presence. He withdrew as rapidly as he came, but shortly 
after made another dash, while the enemy were in motion, and 
it was then the fight took place in which he lost his life. 

It was about eleven o'clock in the morning when Wooster's 
force made its second attack. The enemy had six pieces of 
artillery, three in front and three in the rear. It was with the 
latter guns that the attack of Wooster was resisted. The scream- 
ing grapeshot frightened the American troops, and caused them 
to waver. Seeing this, General Wooster turned in his saddle, 
and shouted to them, " Come on, my boys ! Never mind such 
random shots!" And it was then that he received the fatal 
wound. A mi^sket-ball, said to have been fired by a Tory,i^ 
struck him in the back, broke the bone, and lodged in his body.^- 

The British must have been on the retreat or his friends would 
not have been able to recover his person, as he fell when he was 
shot. The great sash* which he wore was unwound, and being 
spread out as a blanket, he was put in it and carried from the 
field. Then he Avas placed in a carriage and slowly brought 
back to Danbury. The wound was dressed on the field by a 
Dr. Turner. In Danbury he was attended by several surgeons. 
One of his aides took command of his little army after he fell, 
and retired wdth them. 

This engagement took place amid scrub pines and rocks of a 
plain two miles north of Ridgefield post-office. 

* This sash with his sword is now in Yale College. 



There are several accounts of this engagement, which was a 
part of the battle opened by Wooster. According to the accounts, 
Arnold and Silliman must have reached Ridgefield about the 
time that Wooster received his fatal wound, at eleven o'clock on 
Sunday morning. The firing in that fight must have been dis- 
tinctly heard by Arnold and Silliman. 

In the issue of the Connectictd Journal, printed the latter part 
of that week, May 2d, appeared an account of the raid in Dan- 
bury and the fight in Ridgefield. Of the latter it says : 

" General Arnold, by a forced march across the country, 
reached Ridgefield at eleven o'clock, and having posted his small 
party of five hundred men, waited the approach of the enemy, 
who were soon discovered advancing in a column with three field 
pieces in front and three in the rear, and large flank guards of 
war, two hundred men in each. At noon they began discharg- 
ing their artillery, and were soon within musket-shot, when a 
smart action ensued between the whole, which continued about 
an hour, in which our men behaved with great spirit, but being 
overpowered by numbers were obliged to give way, though not 
until the enemy were raising a small breastwork, thrown across 
the way, at which General Arnold had taken post with about 
two hundred men (the rest of our small body were posted on the 
flanks), who acted with great spirit. The general had his horse 
shot under him, when the enemy were within about ten yards of 
him, but luckily received no hurt. Recovering himself, he drew 
his pistol and shot the soldier, who was advancing with his bay- 
onet. He then ordered his troops to retreat through a shower of 
small and grape shot. 

" In the action the enemy suffered very considerably, leaving 
about thirty dead and wounded on the ground, besides a number 
of unknown buried. Here we had the misfortune of losing Lieu- 


tenant-Colonel Gold, one subaltern, and several privates killed 
and wounded. 

" It was found impossible to rally our troops, and General 
Arnold ordered a stand to be made at Saugatuck Bridge, where 
it was expected the enemy would pass. 

" At nine o'clock a.m. the 28th about five hundred men were 
collected at Saugatuck Bridge, including part of the companies 
of Colonel Lamb's battalion of artillery, with three field pieces, 
under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Oswald ; a field piece 
with part of the artillery company from Fairfield, sixty Conti- 
nental troops, and three companies of volunteers from New 
Haven, with whom General Arnold and Silliman took post about 
two miles above the bridge. Soon after the enemy appeared in 
sight their rear was attacked by Colonel Huntington (command- 
ing an army of about five hundred men), who sent to General 
Arnold for instnictions, and for some oflScers to assist him. 

" General Silliman was ordered to his assistance. The enemy 
finding our troops advantageously posted made a halt, and after 
some little time wheeled oflE to the left and forded Saugatuck 
River, three miles above the bridge. General Arnold observing 
this motion, ordered the whole to march directly for the bridge 
in order to attack the enemy in the flank. General Silliman at 
the same time to attack their rear. The enemy, by running full 
speed, had passed the bridge on Fairfield side with their main 
body before our troops could cross it. General Silliman finding 
it impossible to overtake the enemy on their route, proceeded to 
the bridge, where the whole were formed. They marched in 
two columns, one with two field pieces on the right, the other 
on the left of the enemy, when a smart skirmishing and firing 
of field pieces ensued, which continued aboiit three hours. 

" The enemy having gained the high hill of Compo, several 
attempts were made to dislodge them, but without efl'ect. The 
enemy landed a number of fresh troops to cover their embarka- 
tion, which they effected a little before sunset, weighed anchor 
immediately, and stood across the sound for Huntington, on 
Long Island. Our loss cannot be exactly ascertained, no return 
being made. It is judged to be about sixty kiUed and wounded. 
Among the killed are one lieutenant-colonel, one captain, four 
subalterns, and Dr. David Atwater, of New Haven, whose death 
is greatly lamented by his acquaintances. Among the number 
wounded are Colonel John Lamb (of artUlery), Amah Bradley, 


and Timothy Gorliam, volunteers from New Haven, though not 

" The enemy's loss is judged to be more than double our num- 
ber, and about twenty prisoners. The enemy on this occasion 
behaved with their usual barbarity, wantonly and cruelly mur- 
dering the wounded prisoners who fell into their hands, and 
plundering the inhabitants, burning and destroying everything 
in their way. The enemy, the day before they left Fairfield, 
were joined by ten sail, chiefly small sail." 

In the March number (1888) of the Magazine of American 
History, Clifford Bartlett gives a very interesting account of the 
American side of the conflict in Ridgefield. He says : 

" On arriving at Ridgefield, Arnold constructed a barricade 
across the village street, at its upper end, near the residence of 
Benjamin Stebbins. The Stebbins house is one of the oldest in 
the town. It antedates anything of the Revolution in Ridge- 
field. Here it was that Arnold awaited the enemy's approach, 
fearless and undaunted, although the odds against him were 

" The barricade was made of logs, wagons, and carts, anything 
the little army could gather for that purpose. The greater part 
of those who stood behind that barricade were unused to war, 
and had gone out to save their homes from destruction rather 
than to do battle with an enemy. 

" It was Sunday morning. A thick mass of vapor hung over 
the earth, with an occasional shower, until about eleven o'clock, 
when the sky lightened for a moment, revealing the wooded 
slopes of the Danbury hUls, blue and purple in the distance, 
only again to be hidden by the sweeping masses of clouds. 

" When within a few miles of Ridgefield General Wooster fell 
upon the rear of the column, and a sharp engagement ensued, 
in which forty Hessians were captured. Still the enemy con- 
tinued their advance." 

The writer speaks briefly of Wooster' s second attack, when he 
received the fatal wound, and then continues : 

" Stephen Rowe Bradley, then an aide-de-camp to General 
Wooster, assumed command, and gathering the scattered troops 
together retired from the field in good order. 

" Arnold and his men awaited the coming storm with breath- 
less anxiety. At about noon the British, advancing in tlu-ee 
columns, came within range, when General Agnew ordered the 


artillery to attack. When within musket range the engagement 
became general. Being unable to dislodge the Continental at 
the front, a strong body of Hessians under Agnew finally turned 
the left of Arnold's position. A column of infantry suddenly 
appeared over the ledge of rocks, and discharged a volley at 
General Arnold at a distance of not over thirty yards. He 
escaped being hit ; his horse fell, being pierced by nine musket 
balls. The fact that the horse was struck nine times was vouched 
for by a farmer, who with the aid of some boys skinned the 
animal the next day. 

" The fight at the Stebbins house was stubborn and bloody. 
Between forty and fifty Americans were killed. 

" Colonel Abram Gould was shot about eighty yards east of 
the Stebbins house, and his body was carried on his horse to his 
home in Fairfield, where he was buried. His sash and uniform 
are now in the Trumbull Gallery in New Haven. 

" Lieutenants Middlebrook* and William Thompson were 

* From a tablet in the Long Hill Burying-place at Trumbull, Conn.: 
"in memory of 
Lieut. Ephraim Middlebrook, 
Who fought, bled, and died in defence of his 
Country, at the Battle of Ridgefield, on 
the 27th day of April, 1777, in the 
41st year of his age ; and on 
the 3d day of May was .In- 
terred .here with the 
Honors of War. 

" Here on this Tomb cast an eye, 

and view the Eagle great : 
He represents our Liberty, 

the Union of the States : 
View in his claws the arrows sharpe, 

the branch of oak likewise :] 
A lively emblem of our smart, 

for victory o'er our enemies : 
For which cause this Hero bled 

on Ridgefield's bloody plain : 
And there was numbered with the dead 

his country's freedom to obtain :] 
In memory of which these lines were wrote 

and to perpetuate his name : 
That his descendants ne'er forgot 

that for their freedom he was slain." 

— Orcuit's History of Stratford. 


killed. Several of the dead were buried beneath an apple-tree, 
since decayed, back of the house, now the residence of Abner 
Gilbert. At the time of the battle Benjamin Stebbins occupied 
the Stebbins house. His son, Josiah, sympathized with the 
Royalist cause, and happened to accompany the British on their 
march from Daubury. Several times during the fight the house 
caught fire, but the son succeeded in quenching the flames. His 
crippled father had a narrow escape. In the midst of the con- 
flict he sought seclusion in a little bedroom with a window look- 
ing out on the meadow to the east, as the bullets were rattling 
through the gable end of the old homestead on the roadway. 
The window was open. All at once a bullet whizzed close to his 
head and ripped a long, ragged hole through the bedroom door. 
The room still remains in the same condition, and the door still 
swings on its rusty hinges. The house was riddled with bullets, 
and struck several times by solid shot. There are three cannon- 
balls yet to be seen at the house. Many others have been lost 
or carried away. 

" During the battle the house was used as a hospital for the 
wounded, and stains of blood that flowed from the wounds of a 
young British officer, who died there, are to be seen on the sea- 
soned oak floor of the long west room. 

" The old well now stands as it then stood, and supplies the 
best of water, as it did on that April day to the suffering men 
who lay in agony within reach of its kindly aid. 

" It has been thought that the battle ended with the attack 
by Wooster and the fight at the Stebbins house. This is prob- 
ably incorrect. There are strong reasons for the belief that as 
the British advanced their progress through the town was con- 
tested with stubborn bravery. Had this not been so, they would 
not have had to employ their artillery after dislodging the 
patriots from behind the barricade ; and that the artillery was 
used throughout their progress through the village is beyond 

" Besides the cannon-balls at the Stebbins house, a solid shot 
was unearthed a few years ago while repairing the highway in 
front of the residence of Governor Lounsbury. Then there is 
the famous shot embedded in the Keeler tavern, besides numer- 
ous cannon-balls which have been found at different points along 
the course of the march maintained through the town, the red- 
coats pressing forward and the patriots falling stubbornly back. 


On the ridge, where in late years the Agricultural Society held 
its annual fairs, the British encamped for the night. After 
burning several houses and destroying other property, the enemy, 
on the morning of the 28th, resumed their march toward the 

In the London Gazette of June 7th, 1777, was printed Sir 
William Howe's official report of the foray. He says (the italics 
closing the first paragraph are ours) : 

" The troops landed on the afternoon of April 25th (Friday), 
four miles to the eastward of Norwalk and twenty miles from 
Danbury. In the afternoon of the 26th the detachment reached 
Danbury, meeting only small parties of the enemy on their 
march, but General Tryon having intelligence that the whole 
force of the country was collecting, to take every advantage of 
the strong ground he was to pass on his return to the shipping, 
and finding it impossible to procure carriages to bring oft" any 
part of the stores, they were effectually destroyed, in the execu- 
tion of which the tiillage was unavoidably burnt. 

" On the 27th, in the morning, the troops gutted Danbury, 
and met with little oi^position until they came near to Ridge- 
field, which was occupied by General Arnold, who had thrown 
up entrenchments to dispute the passage, while General Wooster 
hung upon the rear with a separate corps. The village was 
forced and the enemy driven back on all sides. 

" General Tryon lay that night at Ridgefield and renewed his 
march on the morning of the 28th. The enemy having been 
reinforced with troops and cannon, disputed every advantageous 
situation, keeping at the same time small parties to harass the 
rear, until the general had formed his detachment upon a height 
within cannon-shot of the shipping, when the enemy advancing, 
seemingly with an intention to attack him, he ordered the troops 
to charge with their bayonets, which was executed with such im- 
petuosity that the rebels were totally put to flight, and the de- 
tachment embarked without further molestation. 

" The enclosed returns set forth the loss sustained by the king's 
troops, and that of the enemy from the best information . 

" Return of the stores, ordnance, provisions, etc., found at 
the rebeW stores, and destroyed by the 'king' s troops, in Ban- 
bury : 

" A quantity of ordnance stores, with iron, etc.; 4000 barrels 


of beef and pork ; 1000 barrels of flour ; 100 large tierces of bis- 
cuit ; 89 barrels of rice ; 120 puncheons of rum ; several large 
stores of wheat, oats, and Indian corn, in bulk, the quantity 
thereof could not possibly be ascertained ; 30 pipes of wine ; 
100 hogsheads of sugar ; 50 ditto of molasses ; 20 casks of coffee ; 
15 large casks filled with medicines of all kinds ; 10 barrels of 
saltpetre ; 1020 tents and marquees ; a number of iron boilers ; 
a large quantity of hospital bedding ; engineers', pioneers', and 
carpenters' tools; a printing-press complete; tar, tallow, etc.; 
6000 pairs of shoes and stockings. At a mill between Ridgebury 
and Ridgefield, 100 ban-els of flour and a quantity of Indian 

" Returned of the killed, wounded, and missing : One drum- 
mer and fifer, and 23 rank and file killed ; 3 field officers, 6 cap- 
tains, 3 subalterns, 9 sergeants, 92 i-ank and file wounded ; 1 
drummer and fifer and 27 rank and file missing. Royal artillery, 
2 additional killed, 3 matrosses and 1 wheeler wounded, and 1 
matross missing. 

" Return of the rebels killed and wounded. Killed : General 
Wooster, Colonel Goold, Colonel Lamb, of the artillery. Colonel 
Henman, Dr. Atwater, a man of considerable influence. Captain 
Cooe, Lieutenant Thompson, 100 privates. Wounded : Colonel 
Whiting, Captain Benjamin, Lieutenant Cooe, 250 privates. 
Taken : Fifty privates, including several committeemen." 

General David WootrTER. 



Poor Wooster ! He little realized when lie started for our 
insignificant hamlet that it would become his everlasting home 
so far as this world is concerned, and that here the only substan- 
tial honor he should ever receive would be given. 

In the Dibble mansion, where Tryon but a few hours before 
had had his headquarters, the unfortunate general was placed. 
A local surgeon dressed the wound as well as he was able, and 
shortly after a more experienced man came from New Haven to 
attend him. 

The bullet, which is said to have been fired by a Tory, entered 
his back obliquely, just as he turned to wave on his men, and 
cutting the spinal cord, was buried in his'stomacli. The nature 
of the wound precluded recovery even had he received the best 
skill on the moment. 

His wife arrived from New Haven, but a delirium had seized 
him, and he did not recognize her. 

For three days he lay in the old South Street house, suffering 
untold agony, and then he fell into a stupor. This was Thurs- 
day morning of that eventful week. 

" It was noted by her, who, faithful to the last, unremittingly 
watched his pillow, that during this and the following day (as 
is frequently the case in the closing scene of an active life) his 
mind was busied in exciting reminiscence. By the feeble light 
of flickering reason he was tracing the long and weary pilgrim- 
age, the cruises, sieges, battles, marches through which he had 
passed, only to reach his grave. The home of his childhood, 
the cabin of his sliip, the old mansion by the Sound, pass in a 
blended image before his fading vision. The dash of waves, the 
rattle of musketry, the roar of cannon, ring confusedly in his 
deafened ear. His hand cannot respond to the gentle pressure 
of affection. His breathing grows shorter and shorter, while the 
icy chill advances nearer and nearer to the heart. As his wife 
wipes the death damp from his brow, his eyes, hitherto closed, 


open once more, and in tlieir clear depths, for one glad moment, 
she discovers the dear, the old, the familiar expression of re- 
turned consciousness ; his lips gasp in vain to utter one precious 
word of final adieu, and the last e£fort is to throw on her one 
farewell glance of unutterable tenderness and love."* 

On Friday, May 2d, 1777, he died. On Sunday the funeral 
was held. It was a quiet affair, although the body was that of 
a major-general and of a soldier who for courage and patriotism 
had no superior. But Danbury was sorely afflicted. Many of 
the houses were in ruins, and nearly all the able-bodied men 
were away. 

Miss Betty Porter, aged sixteen, daughter of one of the men 
killed and burned in Major Starr's hoixse, and subsequently the 
wife of Caijtain Nathaniel Gregory, grandfather of our Colonel 
Gregory, was at the funeral. She says there were but six men 
present, and they bore the body to its resting-place. 

The remains were buried in the graveyard on Wooster Street. 

General David Wooster was born in Stratford, on March 2d, 
1710 ; so he was really what might have been called an old man 
when he came to Danlsury to fight the enemy, being in his sixty- 
eighth year, but there was no lack of the fire of youth in his 
movements, and it has always been the impression among our 
people that he was twenty years younger. 

He graduated at Yale in 1738. In 1739 he entered the navy, 
was made a lieutenant, and was later promoted to be captain. 
In 1740 he married the daughter of Rev. Thomas Clapp, then 
president of Yale College. She became a woman eminent for 
her piety and for social graces. 

In 1745 he served as captain in the Louisburg expedition, and 
in the same year he sailed to Europe in command of a cartel 
ship. He was accorded special honors in England. He was 
first a colonel and afterward a brigadier-general in the Seven 
Years' War. When trouble brewed between Great Britain and 
the colonies he took up the cause of the latter, and was one of 
those who conspired to capture Port Ticonderoga in 1775. When 
the Continental Ai-my was organized he received the appoint- 
ment of brigadier-general. He served in Canada, at one time as 
commander of the Continental forces. Later he returned to Con- 

* Heniy C. Deming's oration at the dedication of Wooster's Monument, 1854. 


necticut, where he was appointed first major-general of the State 
militia. It was in this capacity he came to Danbury. 

On April 27th, 1852, the remains of the hero were taken from 
the Wooster Street burial-ground, and deposited in VVooster 
Cemetery, beneath the imposing monument there placed to his 


Edward Wooster, bom in England in 1622, settled in Milford, 
Conn., about 1642, and was in Derby, Conn., in 1654. Of his 
first wife nothing is known. His second wife was Tabitha, 
daughter of Henry and Alice Tomlinson, whom he married in 
1669. He died July 8th, 1680, and his estate was divided among 
twelve children in 1694. 

Abraham, his second son and fourth child, married November 
22d, 1699, Mercy, the daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth {nee 
Wheeler, and widow of Samuel Blakeman) Walker, and settled 
at Farmill River, in Stratford, remaining there until about 1719, 
when the family removed to Quaker Farm, in Derby, now 
Oxford, Conn. 

David Wooster, the youngest child of Abraham and Elizabeth 
Wooster, was born March 2d, 1710-11 ; graduated at Yale Col- 
lege in 1738, and married on March 6th, 1746, Mary, daughter 
of Thomas Clapp, president of Yale College. The children of 
this marriage were Mary, born January 21st, 1747 ; died October 
20th, 1748. Thomas, born July 30th, 1751. Mary, born June 
2d, 1753. 



The firing of our people upon the British with the return fire 
of the enemy marked as distinctly as sight could have done to 
the refugees the progress of the march. Besides, there were 
messengers, in the person of boys, who kept track of the course 
and reported hourly. Long before the royal column passed 
Ridgebury church the people who had fled began to return to 
the village, some to undisturbed homes, others to smoking ruins. 
Before night the most of them were here, although it was not 
until the next day that all had returned. 

With the returning Danburians came a host of sightseers from 
Redding, Bethel Village, Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, 
and other places. It was a great spectacle for outsiders, and 
they flocked here just as people do to the scene of an overwhelm- 
ing disaster. 

All that Sunday afternoon Main Street and South were full 
of people viewing the ruins, sympathizing with the sufferers, 
cursing the enemy, and delivering oi^inions of reckless wisdom, 
as is common with the dear masses in matters they know nothing 
of. One of these visitors used to relate that the wheels of his 
wagon sank above their felloes in the cold grease on South 
Street, which came from the burnt pork. There were three tav- 
erns here at the time, and the business they might have done, 
had they the liquid facilities, would have been immense. 

Dr. Jabez Starr, grandfather of Frederick StaiT, kept one of 
the taverns. His place stood on the corner of Main and Elm 
streets, near where is now the Neios building. On the approach 
of the enemy he moved his goods out of town and harm's way. 

The house now occupied by Nathaniel Barnum, a few doors 
south of the News office, was a tavern at that time. On a sign 
swinging from a post it bore a copy of the arms of King George 
IV., which gave the tavern its name. It was kept by John Trow- 


bridge, who was Mr. Barnum's great-grandfather. Owing to its 
sign it was saved from destruction, but its furniture was piled 
up in the street and burned. Mr. Barnum has completely 
changed the outside appearance of the building, so that to-day 
it looks but little like it was at that time. Mr. Trowbridge was 
a lieutenant in the rebel army. He was away with his regiment 
at the time. His people removed themselves and what furniture 
they could get together to Nathan Corn wail's tavern in Beaver 
Brook District. The royal troops did not interfere with the 
property, but the destruction of the furniture was the work of 
Tory neighbors. 

The old house on South Street, at the very foot of Main Street, 
is a long, high-roofed building, with great stone chimneys of a 
Revolutionary pattern thrust through its antique roof. 

It is said that when the British visited Danbury in 1777 some 
of the soldiers quartered at this house, and saved it from the 
flames, because a boy in the family provided them with cider. 
We do not know what degree of hardness the cider of that time 
had assumed in April, but it must have been quite satisfactory 
to the minions of King George. This tradition, however, is 
devoid of that substantiality which we all like to see bracing up 

Farther west on this street was the residence of Major Taylor. 
When the British came to Danbury his ox-team was engaged in 
drawing stores to the American troops under Arnold. He had 
one horse, smooth shod, and a cart. As soon as he heard that 
the enemy were approaching he hurried home to get his family 
and what supply of produce he co^^ld out of the range of the 

One of the members of his family was an invalid. She was 
placed on a feather-bed in the cart. After putting his wife and 
what supplies he could hastily get together in the same vehicle, 
he looked about in vain for his daughter, who was then deeply 
engaged with some children of her own age in making mud-pies 
on the lower part of South Street. Major Taylor succeeded in 
finding her before a start was made, and took her with him on 
the cart, which he drove to Brookfield. This small girl who 
was making mud-pies in South Street in the spring of 1777 after- 
ward became the wife of Edward Wilcox, and the mother of Mrs. 
George W. Ives of this town. 


When the excitement was over Major Taylor returned to Dan- 
bury, built the house called the Martin Clark place, and used it 
as a tavern. Ten years later Mr. Taylor put iip a guide-stone in 
front of his place, which still remains and contains the following 
information : 

" 67 MILES to H. 

68 to N Y. 
This Stone erected 
by Mr. M Taylor 


The building is two-storied, with a tremendous garret. The 
dining-room was then used as the reception-room, with the small 
bar of those days opening off from it. A part of the second 
floor was used as a ball-room. Three stone chimneys pierce the 
roof. One of these at the base is eight by eleven feet, and five 
feet square in the garret. The others are nearly as large. 

There were two Matthew Benedicts, father and son, who figure 
in the list of losers. The latter, who was grandfather of the 
late Henry Benedict, lived where is now the homestead of Mrs. 
Henry Benedict. It is said that he owned a small hat shop, 
which was burned by the British, although Francis's " History 
of Hatting' ' says hatting was begun in Danbury in 1780, or three 
years later than the advent of the British. The senior Matthew 
lived with Jonah, another son. The junior's estate included 
what is now a part of the foot of West Street, long known as the 
Concert Hall property, which was given by the family to the first 
church society. We have not been able to locate the residence of 
either Jonah or Zadock Benedict, who were brothers of Matthew, 
Jr. The former is said to have lived at the lower end of Main 
Street. Still another brother was Noble Benedict, who raised a 
company of one hundred men at the beginning of the war. He 
was captured in November, 1776, at Fort Washington. Nathan 
was captured in the Danbury fight, and taken to the Sugar House 
prison. Jonah was in his brother's company at Fort Washing- 
ton, and was captured there. 

Joseph Wildman lived where stands the residence of the late 
Hon. F. S. Wildman, on West Street, near Main. In the award 
of land to the sufferers he received fourteen hundred acres in 


Ohio. So little did he value it that he sold it in exchange for a 

A part of the flourishing city of Sandusky is on that land, and 
is now worth millions of dollars. The singular sale was made 
with tlie right of redemption within thirty years. About a year 
or so after the expiration of that time, and when the projjerty 
began to be quite valuable, Joseph's heirs unfortunately discov- 
ered this clause in the deed. 

Perhaps the most serious loss Danbury sustained in the fire 
were its town records. The books of the probate office were 
saved. Had the former been equally fortunate much valuable 
matter could have easily been added to these papers from the 

This list of sufl'erers with the amounts of losses we herewith 
give, as awarded by the first-named committee, mentioned In 
the report following from Hinman's history : Mr. John McLean, 
$12,462.64 ; Captain Ezra Starr, $11,480 ; Captain Daniel Taylor, 
$4932; Colonel Jos. P. Cooke, $4767.50; Major Eli Mygatt, 
$580.30 ; Captain James Clark, $4112.62 ; Major Taylor, $3504 ; 
Comfort Hoyt, Jr., $3258.77 ; Thaddeus Benedict, Esq., $2610 ; 
Benjamin Sperry, $849 ; David Wood, $2165.24 ; Joseph Wild- 
man, $2087; Dr. John Wood, $1970.80; Matthew Benedict, 
$1672.50 ; Kev. Ebenezer White, $1637.60 ; Jonah Benedict, 
$1547.50 ; Matthew Benedict, $1026.16 ; Jabez Rockwell, $1189 ; 
Zadock Benedict, $849.25. 

The total loss as thus determined by the committee amounted 
to nearly $81,000. 

Immediately after the disaster the selectmen were instructed 
to present a petition to the Legislature for the relief of the suf- 
ferers. Hinman, in his " War of the American Revolution," 
says : 

" John McLean, Eli Mygatt, and others, selectmen of Dan- 
bury, stated to the General Assembly, convened at Hartford on 
May 8th, 1777, that the enemy, in their incursion into Danbury, 
burned and destroyed the public records of said town, and they 
apprehended great damage might arise to the inhabitants unless 
some timely remedy should be provided. The Assembly ap- 
pointed Daniel Sherman, Colonel Nehemiah Beardsley, Increase 
Moseley, Lemuel Sanford, Colonel S. Canfield, and Caleb Bald- 
win to repair to Danbury as soon as might be, and notify the 


inhabitants of said town, and by all lawfnl ways inquire into 
and ascertain every man' s right, and report to the next General 

"This committee reported to the Assembly that the British 
troops had made a hostile invasion into said town, and under a 
pretence of destroying the public stores, had consumed with fire 
about twenty dwelling-houses, with many stores, barns, and 
other buildings, and that the enemy on their retreat collected 
and drove off all the live stock — viz., cattle, horses, and sheep — 
which they could find ; and that the destruction of said property 
had reduced many of the wealthy inhabitants to poverty. Hav- 
ing notified the inhabitants, they from day to day examined the 
losses of each sufferer, on oath and by other evidence, and 
allowed to each his damage at the time said property was de- 
stroyed ; they found that by reason of the price of articles, the 
inhabitants had been obliged to pay large sums over and above 
the value in procuring the necessaries for their families ; that 
many of them had their teams forced from them to remove the 
public stores, etc. They gave the name of each sufferer, with 
his loss allowed, annexed to his name, which amounted to the 
sum of £16,181 Is. 4d., which report was accepted by the Assem- 
bly and ordered to be lodged on file, to perpetuate the evidence 
of the loss of each person, that when Congress should order a 
compensation, to make out the claims of sufferers. 

" On the receipt of this communication the pay-table were 
directed to draw an order on the treasurer for the sum of £500 
in favor of the selectmen of Danbury, as aforesaid, who could 
not subsist without such relief. 

" In 1787 the sufferers in Danbury having received no further 
relief, again petitioned the General Assembly of Connecticut, 
upon which petition Hon. Andrew Adams and others were ap- 
pointed a committee. 

" The chaii'man of said committee reported that for want of 
exhibits and documents they were unable methodically and cor- 
rectly to state the facts or losses and estimate the damages ; and 
also for the want of proper certificates from the Treasurer and 
Secretary of State, to report what had already been done for 
their relief ; but were of opinion that the houses and buildings 
and necessary household furniture, destroyed by the enemy, 
ought to be paid for by the State, at their just value ; and that 


the only manner in the power of the State, at that time, was to 
pay the same in Wesie7'n lands, which report was in October, 
1787, accepted by the House, but rejected by the U^^per House." 

In 1792 the General Assembly made the award of land. This 
territory is in Ohio, and has since been known as the Western 

The following named are the prisoners taken from Danbury at 
the time of the raid : John Bartram, Nathan Benedict, Benja- 
min Sperry, John Porter, Jonathan Starr, William Roberts, 
Jacob Gray, and Aaron Gray Knapp. 



A VOLUME entitled " The War of the American Revolution" 
furnishes some incidents of interest to Danbury — in fact, Dan- 
bury largely figures in the book, which was compiled in 1841 by 
Royal R. Hinman, who was then Secretary of State. The matter 
pertaining to Danbury was furnished by Reuben Booth, grand- 
father of Attorney John R. Booth, of this city. 

We learn from this book that Danbury' s grand list in 1775, at 
the beginning of the Revolution, was $142,507.66. 

In May, 1777, the month following the burning. Governor 
Trumbull issued, at the suggestion of the General Assembly, a 
proclamation. The document is a sorry confession of man's in- 
humanity to man, especially to his neighbor. It appears from 
this paper that a lot of shiftless and mercenary wretches took 
advantage of the appearance of the enemy here to burn the 
houses and steal the portable property of Danburians and others 
who escaped the raid of the British. The proclamation calls 
upon these graceless offenders to immediately restore such prop- 
erty and make good such losses, or suffer the severe penalties of 
the law. 

In the recoi'd of the General Assembly, May session, 1777, 
there are the following interesting entries : 

" Thaddeus Benedict, of Danbury, represented to the Assem- 
bly that the British troops, when in Danbury, burned his dwell- 
ing-house and several other houses kept for public entertain- 
ment ; and stated that he had provided a convenient house in 
the centre of said town, and asked for a license to keep a public- 
house, which was granted by said Assembly. 

" Mary Hoyt, the wife of Isaac Hoyt, then late of Danbury, 
showed to the Assembly that she had ever been a good Whig 
and a true friend to the rights of her country, and that her hus- 
band, when the enemy entered said Danbury, being an enemy 


to his country, went off and joined the British, by which he had 
justly forfeited all his estate, both real and personal ; and that 
the selectmen had seized upon all the personal estate of her hus- 
band, by means of which she was deprived of the necessaries of 
life, and asked the Assembly to order that one-third part of all 
the clear, movable estate should be given to her, and the use of 
one-third part of all the real estate, for her natural life, for her 
support. The Assembly ordered that said Mary Hoyt should 
have and enjoy one-third part of the personal and real estate 
during the pleasure of the Assembly." 

" Ruth Peck, the widow of Jesse Peck (then), late of Danbury, 
stated to the General Assembly that her husband, with three 
sons, in the spring of 1776, enlisted in the service of the State, 
and all went through the fatigue of the campaign. Two of the 
sons were taken prisoners at Fort Washington, and suffered the 
hardships of captivity in New York. One son had the small- 
pox in the worst manner possible, in the most scarce time of 
gold, the (then) last winter at New York, who started for home 
and froze his feet, so that he became a cripple ; another son was 
sent home by the British about January 1st, 1777, infected with 
the small-pox, of which he soon died after his arrival. The hus- 
band, who had arrived home a short time previous to his son, 
took the disease, and also died after a long confinement. One 
other son also took said disease, who by the goodness of God 
recovered, whereby said Ruth was grievously afflicted, and the 
town of Danbury expended the sum of £26 12s. 6d. in their sick- 
ness, and held a claim upon the small estate her husband had left 
for the payment of it, and if paid by her, would leave her with 
a family of small children and needy indeed ; and prayed the 
Assembly to pay the sum aforesaid." 

At an adjourned session of the same body in February, 1778, 
occurred the following : 

" John Marsh, of Danbury, stated to the Assembly that when 
the British troops went into Danbury he through surprise joined 
them and went away with them, but soon made his escape and 
returned home, and was committed to jail, and prayed pardon 
for the offence, which was granted him, by his taking the oath 
of fidelity and paying the cost of prosecution." 

In the January (1778) session were given the following depo- 
sitions regarding the negro who was killed in Major Starr's 


house, and who, we should judge, was a slave, whose owner was 
seeking remuneration. Here are the entries : 

" Ebenezer White, of Danbury, of lawful age, testifies and 
says, that on or about the 26th day of April, 1777, at evening, 
there being a number of gentlemen at his house belonging to the 
British Army, among which was one whom he understood was the 
Earl of Falkland's son, who told him (the deponent) that he was 
the first that entered Major Starr's house, and found a number 
of men in the house, among whom were two negroes, all of whom 
they instantly killed, and set fire to the house ; and gave this 
for a reason why they did so, that it was their constant practice, 
where they found people shut up in a house and firing upon 
them, to kill them, and to burn the house ; and further the de- 
ponent saith, that the said young gentleman told him that one 
of the negroes, after he had run him through, rose up and 
attempted to shoot him, and that he, the said Earl of Falkland's 
son, cut his head off himself ; which negro the deponent under- 
stood .since was the property of Mr. Samixel Smith, of Reading ; 
and further the deponent saith not. 

" Danbury, January 26th, 1778. 

"The Rev. Mr. Ebenezer White, the deponent, personally 
appearing, made oath to the truth of the above written depo- 

" Sworn to before me, Thaddeus Benedict, Justice of the Peace. 

" Ebenezer Weed, of Danbury, of lawful age, testifies and says, 
that on or about the 26th day of Aj^ril, 1777, he being at home 
across the road opposite to Major Daniel Starr's house, he saw a 
negro at the house, which he knew to be the property of Mr. 
Samuel Smith, of Reading, about a haK hour, as near as he can 
judge, before the British troops came to said house ; and further 
the deponent saith, that in the evening of said day, he heard a 
man belonging to the British Army say that they had killed one 
dam'd black with the whites, in said Starr's house ; and further 
the deponent saith not. 

" Danbury, January 26th, 1778. 

" Sworn before Thaddeus Benedict, Justice of the Peace. 

" Anna Weed, of Danbury, of lawful age, testifies and says, 
that on or about the 26th day of April, 1777, she being at home 


across the road opposite to Major Starr's house, she saw a negro 
at said house, which she understood was the property of Mr. 
Samuel Smith, of Reading, but a short time before the British 
troops came up to the house ; and further the deponent saith 
she heard one of the British soldiers say, ' Here is a dam'd black 
in the house ; what shall we do with him V Another answered, 
' Damn him, kill him,' and immediately the house was in 
flames ; and further the deponent saith not. 

" Danbury, January 26th, 1778. 

" Sworn to before Thaddeus Benedict, Justice of the Peace." 

In the March (1778) session of the Assembly occurs the fol- 
lowing : 

" Hannah Church, of Danbury, the wife of Asa Church (then), 
late of said Danbury, showed the Governor and Council that 
her husband had joined the British Army, and was then in New 
York, and that she had no estate to support her ; and prayed 
for liberty to go to New York to her husband. The Governor 
and Council gave her liberty to go to New York, with such 
necessary apparel as the Committee of Inspection of said Dan- 
bury shall think jtroper ; and General Silliman was directed to 
grant a flag or passport to the said Hannah accordingly." 

It appears from an item in the report of the General Assembly 
that an attack on Danbury was anticipated several weeks before 
from the Hudson River direction. Two weeks before the attack 
the Governor sent a letter to General Silliman, instructing him 
to keep a strict watch upon the enemy, who were preparing in 
New York to go up the North River, with a view, undoubtedly, 
to destroy the stores at Danbury. On the night of the 27th the 
General Assembly received word that there were alarming symp- 
toms from the North River, and almost immediately after that 
Danbury was burned. 



John McLean was commissary of the Continental troops in 
that vicinity, and the object of the visit of the enemy to Danbnry 
was to destroy the army provisions which he had accumulated 
in his store and in the Episcopal church, which was then unfin- 
ished. They would not burn the church, but rolled the barrels 
of flour and pork into South Street, and burned them and the 

Mr. McLean had sent off all his working teams toward West 
Point with supplies, and had nothing at home but a pair of fat- 
ting oxen and a saddle horse. Upon the alarm of the enemy's 
approach the oxen were put before a cart with a feather-bed in 
it, upon which his wife and children proceeded to New Milford, 
while he remained burying and putting in safety such of his 
property as he could conceal, until the British appeared over 
Coalpit Hill. They saw and pursued him, calling out, " Old 
Daddy," " Rebel," etc., and firing after him when the fleetness 
of his horse seemed likely to carry him out of their reach. Some 
of the bullets passed through his coat and hat, but he escaped 
uninjured, joining his family in New Milford, whence they re- 
moved to a farm which he owned in Stony Hill, and remained 
until the close of the war. They then returned to Danbury and 
built the house now standing near the foot of Main Street. 

We mentioned in a previous paper the death of a young man 
named Barnum, in the Sugar House prison in New York. His 
father, Colonel Joseph Barnum, was seriously affected by the 
deplorable fate of his boy, and became so full of the spirit of 
vengeance, that on the next day after getting the news he loaded 
his gun and started out to avenge himself on sympathizers with 
the British. Seeing a Tory at work in a field the half -crazed 
father fired at him, wounding him severely. "He had pre- 
viously been a professedly pious man, but frequently after the 


loss of his son concluded his devotions in his family by invoking 
a curse upon ' old King George and his hellish crew.' " 

Several writers say that Nehemiah Dibble, who occupied the 
old mansion which entertained General Tryon, and received the 
dying breath of Wooster, did not escape punishment for his Tory 
sympathies. They tell that shortly after the retreat of the Brit- 
ish, a number of young men took hold upon Dibble, and carry- 
ing him to Still River, near where is now the railroad, immersed 
him several times in the water, giving him what they called a 
" thorough ducking." 

Samuel Morris was an army teamster. He was employed in 
drawing the army stores from New Haven to Danbury. His- 
brother, Jacquin, was not equally eminent for patriotism — in 
fact, Jacquin took advantage of the presence of the British 
Army to join its ranks. He went away with them, and served 
through the war. Shortly after that he returned to Danbury on 
a visit to his mother, who was living in Beaver Brook Districts 
He did not come back with any ostentation, you may be sure. 

The first intimation of his presence was given to a little niece, 
who in crossing the bridge over Still River, near her grand- 
mother's house (and where is now the grist-mill), was startled 
by the appearance of a man's head from under the bridge. The 
man learning who she was told her to call her father. She did 
so, and then the stranger revealed that he was Jacquin Morris, 
the deserting Danbiirian. He was not immediately recognized 
by the brother, having changed considerably, but on uncovering 
his head, a bare spot on his scalp, well known to the family, was 
found, and he was received. He was obliged to keep himself 
secluded, and during his stay was secreted in the garret of his 
mother's house. Some years later he made a second visit home, 
but did not remain long. 

As an offset to this loss Danbury gained three citizens, and, 
so far as we can learn, they were good citizens, in the persons of 
three deserters from the British Army. One of these was a fifer, 
whose name was Hany Brocton. The others were privates. 
Thomas Flynn was the name of one of the latter. His compan- 
ion's name is not known to us at this writing. Brocton married 
and lived on Town Hill Avenue. Flynn also married here. He 
settled on South Street. 

The father of the late Aaron B. Hull was seventeen years old- 


when the British burned Danbury. He joined in the pursuit of 
Tryon through Ridgefield, and was in all the fighting. In escap- 
ing one of the dashes of the enemy, he found himself back of a 
rock in company with two boys a trifle younger than himself, 
who were having their first experience in battle. While waiting 
thei'e, he discovered that a Tory was in a brake near by, watching 
with ready gun for them to reappear. Putting his hat on the 
end of his gun he piished it out beyond the rock. Immediately 
the Tory fired, the bullet piercing the hat. The next instant he 
plunged toward the rock, when the three boys fired simultane- 
ously at him. At the discharge he sprang several feet in the air 
and came down full length upon his face, but turned in a flash 
upon his back, and lay there, motionless in death. 

After the battle Mr. Hull's father went over the ground to 
look for the body. He found it where it had fallen, but our 
pure-minded, gentle-hearted forefathers had stripped it of every 
stitch of clothing. 

During tliis catastroj^he to Danbury there was an army hos- 
pital in existence here. It was established the month before, 
and was not touched by the British. The location was on what 
is now called Park Avenue, at the junction of Pleasant Street. 

All that property was then owned by Samuel Wildman, grand- 
father of the late Samuel C. Wildman, who leased to the govern- 
ment the land for the use of the hosjMtal. Mr. Wildman lived 
then in the modernized house on the avenue, which stands on 
■the east corner. There are several pear-trees in this garden 
which were set out by Samuel Wildman over a hundred years 
ago, and which now yield abundantly. 

The soldiers who died at the hospital were buried in a plot of 
ground on Pleasant Street, near the corner of Park Avenue. 
This burial-place was held sacred by Mr. Wildman, who would 
not have it ploughed. Some years after it was rented, and the 
tenant, being either ignorant of its former use or extremelj^ prac- 
tical in his views, turned up with his plough many bones and 
some relics in metal. 

The hosj)ital itself was a one-storied building with a large gar- 
ret in its steep roof. The first floor was divided into four rooms ; 
the garret was of one room. The building was torn down many 
years ago by its owner. 

The last Revolutionary soldier in Danbury was Captain 


Nathaniel Gregory, who died April 12th, 1851, at the age of 
ninety years. He was the grandfather of our fellow-citizen, 
Colonel Samuel Gregory. He served in the army under Colonel 
Shelton and Major Tallmadge, and was engaged at various places, 
being present at Fair-field, Norwalk, and Horse Neck, and was 
one of the number composing the life guard of General Putnam 
on that day which terminated the life of Sir Nathan Palmer at 
Peekskill. He served his country with zeal and fidelity in the 
struggle for American independence, the benefits of which are 

In the Danbury Times of May 4th, 1854, was printed the fol- 
lowing : 

" Revolutionary Soldiers. — There were 232,791 soldiers engaged 
in the Revolutionary War. Of this number there are now less 
than 1400 living, whose ages must average nearly ninety years. 
Seventy-three have died during the past year. A few years 
more and those venerable octogenarians will only be known in 
the pages of history." 

In its issue of August 25th, 1859, the Times prints this item : 

" The following is a list of Revolutionary soldiers supposed to 
be living, and pensioners on the roll of the State of Connecticiit, 
with their ages in 1859 : 

" David Bostwick, Litchfield County, 98 years ; John Brooks, 
Fairfield County, 96 years ; Benjamin Cobb, Middlesex County, 
98 years ; Jacob Hurd, Middlesex County, 97 years ; Nehemiah 
W. Lyon, Fairfield County, 100 years ; William Williams, Litch- 
field County, 97 years." 

Despite the ill-luck of the invasion and burning, Danbury con- 
tinued to be used as a depot for army stores, especially for the 
provisioning of the army operating along the Hudson River. 

At one time several brigades of American troops were en- 
camped here, southeast of the village, on the ridge known as 
Shelter Rock. 

When the war ended and the French Army was on its return 
from the North to the South, it passed through Danbury, which 
was then on the line of a great thoroughfare. It was guided 
through this section by David Pearce and his two sons, Aaron 
and Joshua. 

When the British came to Danbury a little red house stood on 
the comer of West Street and Deer Hill Avenue, where is now 


tlie residence of Mrs. Charles Hull. Ebenezer Benedict lived 
there then. Several of the British officers made the house their 
headquarters, and Mrs. Benedict cooked for them. The build- 
ing subsequently changed hands several times and was as many 
times rebuilt. There is some of its timber in the present struc- 
ture. Mrs. Benedict became distinguished in after years by 
marrying Andrew Beers, who made almanacs for the public and 
love to the charming widow at the same time. 



Enoch Crosby, who is generally believed to have been the 
original of " Harvey Birch," the hero of Cooper's famous novel, 
" The Spy," was born in Harwich, Mass., on January 4th, 1750. 
He was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Crosby, who moved to 
Putnam County, N. Y., when Enoch was three years old. About 
1766 the family by misfortune were reduced from comfort to 
poverty, and Enoch left home to depend upon his own exer- 
tions for support, with a scanty outfit of clothes, a few shillings 
in money, and a small Bible. He became apprentice to a shoe- 
maker in Kent, and faithfully fulfilled his term of service, which 
ended January 4th, 1771, his twenty-first birthday. 

He was living in Danbury when the Eevolutionary War began, 
enlisted as one of the first soldiers under Captain Benedict, and 
went with his company to take part in the expedition against 
Canada, under Generals Schiiyler and Montgomery. He re- 
mained until the army were in jDossession of Montreal, when, his 
term of enlistment having expired, he returned to Danbury and 
betook himself again to shoemaking. 

Crosby was well contented for a time to pursue his occupation. 
He had seen hard service in the northern campaign and needed 
rest. During the following summer, however, his patriotic feel- 
ings began again to stir within him. The war was going on with 
redoubled fury. The British had in several instances gained 
the advantage. 

* Most of this chapter is taken from a little volume published over fifty years 
ago, entitled " Whig Against Tory ; or, The Military Adventures of a Shoemaker." 

A tale of the Revolution, it is given in the form of a relation by General P to 

his children. In 1855 another edition was brought out by Silas Andrews & Sou. 
We are also indebted to " The Spy Unmasked ; or. Memoirs of Enoch Crosby, alias 
Harvey Birch, the Hero of 'The Spy,' by James F. Cooper," by H. L. Barnum. 
Also to the " History of Putnam County, New York," by William 8. Pelletreau, 


It was not in such a man as Enoch Crosby to seek ease or shun 
danger in the hour of his country's trial. He saw others making 
sacrifices — women as well as men, youth as well as age — and he 
scorned to have it said that he could not make sacrifices as well 
as others. His musket was therefore taken down, and fitting on 
his knapsack, he took up his march toward the headquarters of 
the American Army on the Hudson. At this time (September, 
1776) the headquarters of the British Army were in the city of 
New York. The American Army lay up the Hudson, fifty or 
sixty miles, either at or near West Point. 

Between the two armies, therefore, was the county of West- 
chester, the centre of which, being occupied by neither, was called 
the " neutral ground." But in reality it was far from being a 
neutral spot, because it was here that a great number of Tories 
resided, the worst enemies which the Americans had to contend 
with. Many of this description of persons lived on the " neutral 
ground," and, what was worse, they often pretended to be 
Whigs, and passed for such, but in secret did all in their power 
to injure their country. 

Crosby had reached a part of this ground on his way to the 
American camp. It was just at evening that he fell in with a 
stranger, who appeared to be passing in the same direction with 

"Good evening," said the stranger. "Which way are you 
travelling — below ?" 

Crosby replied that he was too much fatigued to go much 
farther that evening, either above or below ; but he believed he 
should join himself to a bed could he find one. 

"Well," said the stranger, "listen to me. It will soon be 
dark ; go with me. I live but a short distance from this. You 
shall be welcome." 

Crosby thanked him and said he would gladly accept his kind 

" Allow me to ask," said the soldier, " your advice as to the 
part which a true friend of his country should take in these 
times. " 

" Do I understand you V inquired the stranger, his keen eye 
settling on the steady countenance of Crosby — " do you wish to 
know which party a real patriot should join V 

"I do," said Crosby. 



Ezra P. Hknekrt. Enoch Crosby, a Revolutionary Spy. 

The "Harvy- Birch" of Cooper's Xove 
Old Chest, Known to be Over 200 Years Old, was brought from England 
B\' Ephraim Morris, who Died in 1792. 


" Well, you look like one to be trusted." 

" I hope I am honest," replied Crosby. 

" Why," observed the stranger, " one mustn't say much about 
one's self in these days ; but — but some of my neighbors would 
advise you to join the lower party." 

" Why so f asked Crosby. 

" Why, friend, they read that we must submit to the pow- 
ers that be ; and, besides, they think King George is a good 
friend to America, notwithstanding all that is said against 

" Could jon introduce me to some of your neighbors of this 
way of thinking ?" asked Crosby. 

" With all my heart," replied the stranger. "I understand 
they are about forming a company to go below, and I pi'esume 
they would be glad to have you join them. " 

" I do not doubt it," observed Crosby. 

" Well, friend," said the stranger, " say nothing. Rest your- 
self to-night, and in the morning I will put you in the way to 
join our — the company." 

By this time they had reached the stranger's dwelling. It 
was a farm-house, situated a short distance from the main road 
— retired, but quite neat and comfortable in its appearance. 
Here the soldier was made welcome by the host and his family. 
After a refreshing supper Crosby excused himself, was soon 
asleep, and " slept well." 

The next morning Crosby reminded his host of the promise to 
introduce him to the Tories, and the farmer took him about 
among the neighbors, presenting him as one who felt favorably 
disposed to joining the king's forces. The Tories talked freely 
to him of their plans, one of which was the organization of a 
company. The company was to hold a meeting in a few nights 
for drill, and Crosby was urged to join them. He promised he 
would think on the matter, but gave them to understand that 
he would first go to New York, and might join the army there ; 
but if possible he would meet with the company on the night 
selected for the drill. 

In leaving his host, Crosby started on the road to New York, 
as a blind, but at a safe distance he struck off toward the river. 
He had heard of a Mr. Young, living at a distance, and farther 
down, although more toward the river, who was a strong Whig, 


and lie made for his place, to concert measures for the capture 
of the Tory company. 

It was late in the evening when Crosby reached Young's house, 
but he found that party up. Crosby convinced him that he was 
a " good rebel," and then told him what he had learned of the 
Tory company. The Committee of Safety for the country had 
headquarters at White Plains. One of the number was John 
Jay, afterward Minister to England. It was Young' s suggestion 
that the two proceed at once to White Plains with information, 
and they did so, reaching Mr. Jay' s hoiise at two o' clock in the 
morning. The committee acted promptly upon the information, 
and plans were soon laid to capture the Tory company on the 
night Crosby had learned they were to meet for drill. He volun- 
teered to lead the force to the place. The night arrived, the plan 
was put in operation, and resulted in a comj)lete success. It 
was a dark night, and Crosby kept himself in the background, 
so it is doubtful if any of the prisoners knew their betrayer, 
although the farmer, who was among the number, had his sus- 

After this success the Committee of Safety suggested to Crosby 
that he adopt the role of spy, instead of going into the army. 
The country was full of Tories operating secretly against the 
Americans, and it was desirable to get the fullest information 
of their movements. It was an extremely dangerous service, 
but Crosby was full of patriotic valor, and he did not hesitate 
to accept the proposition of the committee, merely stipulating 
that if he fell full justice should be done his memory. This 
they gladly promised. 

The greatest secrecy was necessary, and he was instructed not 
to reveal his principles to either party. If captured by the 
Americans as belonging to the British, the committee would help 
him to escape, but if there was no possible way to let them 
know, then he could use a paper they gave him, but it must not 
be used only in an extremity. 

In a few days he started out, using a kit of shoemaker's tools 
as an excuse for travelling. At night he knocked at a house, 
and was admitted by a woman whose husband had not returned 
from work. He solicited work, and she promised to hire him to 
make a pair of shoes. On his arrival he said to her : 

" Madam, have you heard the news ?" 


" What news ?" 

' ' Whj, that Washington is on the retreat, and that the British 
Army is pursuing him, and likely to overtake him." 

"Ah, that's good news!" exclaimed the old lady. "You 
may stay here to-night. Sally ! Sally ! here, get this man some 
supper. He brings good news. I hope the rebels, every one, 
will be shot ! Sally, make up the best bed ! Here's a chair ; 
sit down, sir, and make yourself at home." 

Crosby accordingly took a seat. Supper was soon ready, and 
he ate heartily. When he had done he drew his chair to the fire, 
about which time the man of the house came in. He was told 
the good news by his wife, and Crosby was made welcome. 

The farmer asked Crosby if he did not want to join a company 
of Tories to fight for King George, then being formed in the 
neighborhood. Crosby said he would like to see them first. 
The next morning he was presented to the captain, who showed 
him the rendezvous of the company, which was ingeniously con- 
cealed in a tremendous haystack in the captain's yard. The 
captain invited Crosby to stay with him all night, and join the 
company the next night at its meeting. Crosby accepted the 
invitation. In the night he slipped out of the house and made 
Ms way to White Plains, where he saw Mr. Jay and acquainted 
him with what he had found out. A plan was immediately laid 
to capture the company, and Crcsby returned to the captain's 
house, reaching it and his bed before daylight, and without dis- 
turbing the family. 

The next night the company assembled at the captain' s house, 
sixty-nine strong, and Crosby was presented to them. Shortly 
after, while he was being urged to join them, a troop of Ameri- 
cans descended upon the place and cajjtured every one of the 
party, Crosby included. The prisoners were tied together in 
couples and marched to White Plains. There they were exam- 
ined singly by the Committee of Safety, and then marched to 
Fishkill for confinement. The committee praised Crosby for his 
action, but they could not discharge him, as that would excite 
suspicion against him in the country. He was sent vidth the 
others to Fishkill, but with the assurance that his escape would 
be provided. 

On the following morning the whole party were early on their 
way up the river. On reaching Fort Montgomery, near Peek- 


skill, a short halt was made, and here Crosby met with one of 
the most trying incidents of his life. 

On entering the fort, whom should he see before him but his 
former schoolmaster, a worthy man who had often been at his 
father's while teaching the village school in Southeast. And 
well did that schoolmaster know the attachment of old Mr. 
Crosby to American liberty, yet here was his son among a set 
of Tories, and a prisoner. 

The schoolmaster started back with a kind of horror, and even 
Crosby was for a moment nearly overcome. 

" Is this possible !" exclaimed the schoolmaster. " Do my 
eyes deceive me ? Enoch Crosby, why do I see you thus V ' 

Crosby advanced, and taking his old friend by the hand, re- 
plied, " You see me Just as I am, among Tories, and a prisoner ; 
but I have no explanation to offer." 

"No explanations!" uttered the other. "Are you then, 
indeed, an enemy to your country ? Oh, your poor old father, 
Enoch ! It will bring down his gray hairs with sorrow to the 
grave when he hears of this." 

For a moment Crobsy felt a faintness come over him. His 
father ! He loved him, revered him, but he could not explain ; 
it would not do. He, therefore, only replied that God was his 
judge, and the time might come when things would appear other- 
wise than they did. 

The party at length reached Fishkill, and were conducted to 
the old Dutch church, where they were confined and strictly 

Within a few days the Committee of Safety arrived in the 
village to examine the jjrisoners more closely. Crosby, in his 
turn, was summoned to appear. But in respect to him the com- 
mittee only consulted how he might escape. There were diffi- 
culties in every plan they could think of. There was danger, 
great danger, yet they could not appear to favor him, and their 
advice to him was to run the hazard of an attempt by night in 
the best way he could contrive ; and shoiild he be so fortunate 

as to escape, he might find a safe retreat with a Mr. , who 

lived at some distance. 

A few nights later Crosby made the' attempt. He passed out 
of a window and to the ground by the trunk of a tree, without 
the giiard noticing him. From the tree he made his way among 


the tomb-stones, and thence took a dash for liberty. This move 
aroused the sentinels, who fired after him, but the darkness 

sheltered him. In a few hours he came to Mr. 's house, 

where he was hospitably received. 

Mr. , to whose house Crosby fled on the night of his 

escape, had instructions for him from the Committee of Safety. 
These were that he should proceed that very night across the 
river, and plan for the capture of a company of Tories that were 
reported to be forming in that neighborhood. Before daylight 
he had been put across the river, and by breakfast-time had 
reached the scene of operations. He stopped at a farm-house, 
and engaged himself to work for the farmer for two or three 
days. He very soon gave the farmer to believe that he was of 
Tory sympathy, and the confession struck a responsive feeling 
in the breast of the farmer, who proved to be a rank Tory. He 
suggested that his new help be enrolled in a company fomiing 
in the neighborhood, and the new help was nothing loth. Crosby 
soon ascertained that the rendezvous of the company was in a 
cavern on a mountain, and got the promise of the farmer to take 
him there and introduce him to the captain, who made his abode 
in the cavern while the company was being raised. Agreeable 
to this the farmer piloted Crosby to the place in the evening, 
and left him all night with the captain. Crosby learned from 
the officer that the company was to leave the following Wednes- 
day, and was to stay Tuesday night in the barn of a farmer near 
by. Crosby promised to be present, and the officer dismissed 
him, putting his name on his roll. This was Saturday morning. 

Crosby concluded to stay until the appointed time of march- 
ing, but he must get word to the Committee of Safety imme- 

At some distance from Farmer B 's Crosby had ascertained 

there lived an honest old Whig, whom he determined to employ 
to carry a letter to Mr. Jay, then at Fishkill. Accordingly, 
having prepared a letter, he hastened on the setting in of even- 
ing to fullil his purpose. In this he succeeded to his wishes, 
and before the usual hour of rest had returned without exciting 
the suspicion of any one. The important Tuesday evening at 
length arrived, and brought together at the appointed place the 
captain and about thirty Tories. Crosby was early on the spot, 
and before eleven he was the only individual of the whole class 


who was not quietly asleep. At length some one without was 
heard by him to cough. This being the signal agreed upon, 
Crosby coughed in return, and the next minute the barn was 
filled with a body of Captain Townsend's celebrated rangers. 

" Surrender !" exclaimed Townsend, in a tone which broiight 
every Tory upon his feet. " Surrender, or by the life of Wash- 
ington you'll not see daylight again." 

It was in vain to resist, and the English officer delivered up 
his sword. 

" Call your muster roll," ordered Captain Townsend. 

The Englishman did as directed, and at length came to the 
name of Enoch Crosby. No one answered. Crosby had con- 
cealed himself with the hope of escaping, but finding this impos- 
sible he presented himself before Captain Townsend and Colonel 
Duer, one of the Committee of Safety, who was present. 

" Ah ! is it you, Crosby ?" asked Townsend. " You had light 
heels at Fishkill, but my word for it, you will find them heavy 
enough after this." 

" Who is he V inquired Colonel Duer, as if he knew him not, 
though he knew him well, yet not daring to recognize him. 

" Who is he !" exclaimed Townsend. " Enoch Crosby, sir ; 
like an eel, slipping out of one's fingers as water runs down hill, 
but he'll not find it so easy a matter to escape again." 

The party were soon on their way to Fishkill, where they 
arrived in the course of an hour or two, and lodged their pris- 
oners in the old Dutch church. Crosby was not thus fortunate. 
Townsend's quarters were at some distance, and to these Crosby 
was quite civilly invited to go, as the captain declared that he 
wished to have him under his own eye. On his arrival Crosby 
was placed in a room by himself, heavily ironed, and a trusty 
guard detached to see that he came to "no harm," as the cap- 
tain said. During the expedition, which had occupied some 
twelve or fourteen hours, the company had fasted. Supper was 
therefore prepared with some haste after the return of the ofiicer, 
who on sitting down fairly gorged himself with food and wine. 
About midnight Crosby was unexpectedly awakened by a gentle 
shake. On opening his eyes, whom should he see before him 
but a female who assisted in doing the work of the family. 

"Here, Enoch Crosby," said she, "rise and follow me; say 
nothing ; hold fast your chains." 


Crosby was not at first satisfied wlietlier it were a dream or a 
reality, but quite willing to make his escape, lie rose as lie was 
bid and followed her. As they passed from the room there lay 
the sentinel extended at full length, dreaming of battles, it might 
be, but certainly very quiet as to the safety of his prisoner, 
having been drugged. 

" They sleep well," said Crosby, on descending from the cham- 
ber to the first floor, where he could hear the loud breathing of 
the captain. 

" I hope they'll sleep till morning," rejoined the girl. " Stay 
a moment till I put the key of your door into the captain's 

" What !" asked Crosby, " does he keep the key himself ?" 

" Yes, indeed," replied the girl. " He was determined that 
you should play no more Yankee tricks, as he said, while under 
his care." 

" He must have thought me a man of some contrivance to take 
such precaution." 

" Oh," said the girl, "I've often heard him call you the — a 
bad name, at least. He said he believed that you and the old 
boy understood one another pretty well." 

" I wonder what he'll think now ?" said Crosby. 

The key being once more safely in the pocket of the captain, 
the girl conducted Crosby out of the door, and pointing toward 
a mountain lying to the west, now but just discernible, "Hast- 
en thither," said she, " and lie concealed till the coming search 
is over." 

" But tell me," said Crosby, " before I go, how will you escape 
suspicion ?" 

"Oh," said the girl, laughing, "never fear for me. I shall 
be out of harm's way before morning." 

" One more question," said Crosby. " Who put it into your 
heart to deliver me ?" 

"Jay is your friend," said she, waving her head. "Fare- 

To Crosby the whole was now plain. With a light heart he 
directed his course toward the mountain pointed out, and before 
morning he was safely hid in some of its secret recesses. 

When Townsend discovered the escape, with the door locked 
and the key ia his own pocket, he was more confident than ever 


that Crosby and the devil were in league ; and he declared that 
he would hang him forthwith if he should catch him again. 

For several days from this time Crosby wandered round the 
country without any certain object. He greatly wished for an 
interview with the Committee of Safety, but the attempt he 
found would be hazardous until the troops in the immediate 
neighborhood of Fishkill should be sent on some exiDedition at 
a distance. Besides, he began to be known, to be siaspected ; 
and the double and treble caution which he found it necessary 
to exercise made his employment almost a burden. While 
maturing some plan by which he could effect an interview with 
the Committee of Safety, he called just at evening at a farm- 
house and requested a night' s lodging. This was readily granted 
him, and he laid aside his pack, thankful to find a resting-place 
after the toils of the day. It was not long before two very large 
men armed with muskets entered the house. One of them started 
on seeing Crosby, and whispered something to his companion, to 
which the latter apparently assented, then turning to Crosby, 
said : 

" I have seen you before, I think, sir." 

"Probably," replied Crosby, "though I cannot say that I 
recollect you." 

" Perhaps not ; but I am sure you were not long since at Fish- 
kill. Ha !" 

"The very fellow!" exclaimed the other. "You recollect 
how he escaped. Seize him!" 

In a moment the strong hand of the first was laid upon him, 
and his grasp was the grasp of an Anakim, and though Crosby 
might have been a match for him alone, prudence forbade resist- 
ance. They were two, he was but one ; they were armed with 
muskets, he had no weapon about him. 

" To-morrow," said the princiiial, " you shall go to headquar- 
ters, where, my word for it, you'll smng without much cere- 
mony. The committee will never take the trouble to try you 
again, and Townsend declares that he wishes only to come once 
more within gun-shot of you." 

Crosby was seldom alarmed, but now he could perceive real 
danger. Could he be faii'ly tried he might escape, but to be 
delivered into Townsend' s hands, and perhaps the Committee of 
Safety at a distance, he might indeed come to harm. He had 


one resort, he could show his pass, and it might save him. 
Accordingly, drawing it forth, he presented it to his captors. 

" Read that," said he, " and then say whether I am worthy 
of death." 

Astonishment sat on the countenances of both while they read 
the pass. When it was finished the principal observed : 

" I am satisfied we have been deceived, others are deceived 
also. You are at liberty to go where you please. This is the 
handwriting of Mr. Jay. I know it well." 

Crosby might, perhaps, have stayed where he was through the 
night, but his feelings were such that he preferred to seek other 
lodgings. Accordingly shouldering his pack, he set forth in 
quest of a resting-place, which at the distance of a couple of 
mUes he was so fortunate as to obtain ; but he was destined to 
other troubles. Scarcely had he laid aside his pack and taken a 
seat near a comfortable fire before a man entered whom he was 
sure he had seen before. At the same time the stranger cast 
upon him an eye of deep scrutiny and increasing severity. 

" A cool evening abroad," observed Crosby. 

The stranger made no reply, but springing upon his feet darted 
upon him like a fiend. 

" Now I know you !" exclaimed he. "I thought it was 
you ! You are the villain who betrayed us to the Committee of 
Safety ! Clear out from the house quickly or I'll call one of my 
neighbors, who says that if he ever sees you again he'll suck 
your very heart's blood." 

" Ah," said Crosby, quite calm and collected, " perhaps — " 

" Leave this house instantly !" vociferated the man, now 
nearly choked with rage. " But before you go take one pound- 

" A pounding !" exclaimed Crosby in contempt. " Come, 
then," rising like a lion fi-om his lair ; " come !" said he, at the 
same time rolling up his sleeves and showing a pair of fists which 
resembled a trip-hammer for hardness. 

" Why, we-we-U— upon the whole," said the man, " I— I — 
think I'll let you off if you'll never set foot here again." 

"I'll promise no such thing," said Crosby. "I'm willing to 
go ; indeed, I would not stay in such a habitation as this, but 
I'll not be driven." 

Crosby weU knew that prudence required his departure, and 


with some deliberation he shouldered his pack once more, and 
with a " good-by" left the house. At the distance of a mile he 
found lodgings, where he slept unmolested. On the following 
morning he ascertained that the Committee of Safety were alone 
at Fishkill, the troops having gone abroad on some expedition. 
Seizing the opportunity of their absence, he crossed the river, 
and was soon at the residence of Mr. Duer. That Crosby was 
in more than ordinary danger in traversing the country was 
apparent both to himself and Mr. Duer. He was advised, there- 
fore, to repair to an honest old Dutchman's, who lived in a 
retired place some miles distant, and there wait until further 
orders. Accordingly, being furnished with a complete set of 
tools, he proceeded to the appointed place, and was so fortunate 
as to find ample emj^loyment for some time under the very roof 
of his host. A few days only, however, had elapsed when an 
express arrived bringing him a letter from Mr. Duer, summon- 
ing him to Fishkill. On his arrival circumstances existed which 
rendered it imprudent for him to tarry, and he was directed to 
return to the Dutchman' s and wait for further orders. 

A few days from that time Crosby received definite instruc- 
tions from the Committee of Safety to repair to Vermont on a 
secret expedition, and as no time was to be lost, he was obliged 

to bid his host adieu quite suddenly. 

We shall not attempt to follow Crosby on his northern tour, 
nor to relate the many adventures with which he met during his 
absence. He proved of great service to the cause of his country, 
but often suffered much by being taken with Tories whose cap- 
ture he was instrumental in effecting. At length he returned to 
the theatre of his former operations, but he was now suspected 
by the Tories of being a secret friend to the Whigs and opposed 
to the royal cause. He was, therefore, narrowly watched, and 
even found it necessary to hide himself at a brother-in-law' s in 
the Highlands. Nor was he even here secure, for on the second 
night after reaching his brother-in-law's residence a musket was 
discharged through the window at him, the ball of which grazed 
his neck and tore the collar of his coat. It was apparent from 
this circumstance that his retreat was known, but it was ren- 
dered quite certain a few nights after by the appearance of an 
armed gang at the door. Crosby heard the coming of the assail- 


ants and sprung to his gun, but before he could reach it a ruffian 
had snapped a pistol at his head. Fortunately it missed fire, 
but now a most desperate engagement followed, in which Crosby- 
showed the most astonishing strength and agility, but numbers 
at length overpowered him, and he was left for dead. Life, 
however, was not extinct, and after the ruffians had retired 
Crosby in a measure came to himself, but months passed away 
before he was able to resume the business in which he had been 

After the Revolution Enoch Crosby and his brother, Benja- 
min, purchased from the Commissioners of Forfeiture a farm of 
two hundred and fifty-six acres in the village of Southeast, 
where he lived during the remainder of his life. For many years 
he was justice of the peace, was one of the associate judges of 
Common Pleas in 1812-13, and supervisor of Southeast during 
these years. He was a deacon in the old Gilead Church, and 
a worthy member till the day of his death. In person he was 
tall, being six feet in height and rather slender. 

His tombstone, near the northwest corner of the old Gilead 
burying-ground, bears the following inscription : 

in memory of 

Enoch Crosby, 

Who died June 26, 1835, 

Aged 85 years, 5 months and 21 days. 



There have been two executions in Danbury. The first was 
a man named Anthony, a free negro, living in Greenwich. He 
perhaps had no other name, as Anthony is alone used in the 
indictment and the warrant for execution. His crime was 
committed on March 7th, 1798, and he was hanged in November 

At ten o'clock on the morning of November 8th, 1799, Anthony 
was removed from the jaU and taken to the Congregational 
Church, late the Concert Hall building. The church was 
crowded to overflo'wing with spectators, as, despite the tragic 
character of the event, the town assumed a holiday appearance. 
Anthony was placed at the front, under the pulpit, during the 
preaching of the sermon. Rev. Timothy Langdon was the pastor, 
and delivered the discourse. He took for his text the thirty- 
fifth and thirty-sixth verses of the thirty-second chapter of Deu- 
teronomy : "To Me belongeth vengeance and recompense ; their 
foot shall slide in due time ; for the day of their calamity is at 
hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. 
For the Lord shall judge His people, and repent Himself for His 
servants. " The greater part of the sermon had a general applica- 
tion, and was the same as the reverend gentleman would have 
said in treating of the text to his regular congregation. Upon 
the close of this he personally addi'essed the prisoner. He said : 

' ' Anthony, it is by your request that I speak on this occasion, 
and this is the last address which I shall ever make to you. 
From the sentence pronounced upon yovi by the court, and from 
the preparations with which you are siirrounded, you must see 
that you have but a very, very short time to live. Your situa- 
tion is tinily deplorable. Whatever your crimes may have been 
against God and hximan society, yet seeing your present condi- 
tion, I pity you as a man, I pray for you as a Christian, and am 


now to address you as a minister of the Gospel. I must there- 
fore be faithful, and use great plainness of speech." 

Then followed a description of the enormity of his sin, com- 
mitted in the light of knowledge, and after that an earnest ex- 
hortation to the sinner to repent, to look to Christ, to die " in a 
Christian temi^er." 

We judge from these words that Anthony was in an impeni- 
tent frame of mind, and that he was doggedly meeting his 
wretched fate. 

The Rev. Mr. Langdon was an eminently sensible man. In a 
few remarks to the ' ' brethren and friends' ' present he said : 
" What but the sustaining grace of God has made us to differ, 
in our present situation, from the unhappy prisoner ? What is 
it owing to but this, that we have not committed enormous 
crimes f 

On the close of the sermon the civil authorities carried the 
prisoner to the place set apart for his execution. This was at 
the head of Elm Street, near the pond. The gallows was erected 
on land belonging to Samuel Dibble, and from the fact of this 
execution the place took the name of " Gallows Hill." 

There was a great crowd present, of course, as it was a public 
execution, and the first ever had here. People from quite a 
distance were in attendance, and nearly all the town folks were 

Sheriff Dimon, of Fairfield, was the county sheriff, and he 

At the gallows Rev. S. Blatchford, from Bridgeport, we be- 
lieve, made a short address, principally dwelling upon the evil 
of the deed, the need of repentance, the unhappy condition of 
the prisoner, and the justice of the law, summing up with a 
warning to those present to avoid sin and to seek after right- 

Amos Adams, the second culprit, was executed on November 
13th, 1817. A procession, accompanied by two military com- 
panies as guards, formed at the jail, and with the prisoner 
marched to the Congregational Church at the foot of West 
Street, where religious services were held. These consisted 
mainly of a full-fledged sermon, which the preacher launched 
at the congregation for the benefit of the prisoner. The build- 
ing was filled to suffocation. After the sermon the procession re- 


formed, and marched tip West Street on its way to the scaflFold, 
which was erected at a point near the head, of Elm Street, then 
an open country. 

The crowd of people was immense. They came from a dis- 
tance of twenty-five miles to witness tne execution, and as there 
were no raili'oads in that day, we may gather in what esteem a 
hanging was held by the populace. From the country and the 
neighboring towns the teams flocked into Danbury from early 
in the morning, many reaching here the night before in their 
eagerness to be on time. 

The procession moved up West Street, led by fife and drum, 
and to their music the prisoner and his guards kept step, while 
the teams of visitors were in the line, and the walks filled with 
a dense crowd. 

The ground about the scaffold was thronged with people, and 
all the trees in the neighborhood were filled with the more ven- 
turesome of the crowd. Several of the limbs gave way by the 
weight, precipitating the contents somewhat suddenly and pro- 
miscuously to the ground. Here and there were stands for the 
refreshment of the people, and with the exception of the scaffold, 
there was nothing to indicate the presence of an awful tragedy. 

The cutting of the rope was done by a sword, and Adams 
dangled in the air, dying easily. He was but twenty-eight years 
of age. 



From the war to tlie close of the century Danbury suffered 
from no disturbance. 

In 1784 Danbury was made a haLf-shire town by act of the 
Legislature. The following is the action of the town meeting 
held in August, 1784, in response to the legislative act. At an 
adjourned town meeting, held in Danbury, August 9th, 1784, 
James Seeley, Moderator, it was voted : 

" The General Assembly of the State having been pleased at 
their last session to constitute the town of Danbury a half -shire 
town, agreeable to the desire of the town, as by their vote and 
record appears, and directed that the Superior and County 
Courts for the County of Fairfield should be held one half the 
time in town, as soon as public building necessary for the pur- 
jiose should there be erected without expense to the County of 
Fairfield, this meeting taking into consideration the general advan- 
tages that will accrue to this part of the county in general and 
to the town in particular by ha^^ng the act carried into execu- 
tion, especially as among many other privileges this town will 
thereby be furnished when the building shall be completed, with 
a very commodious house for transacting all their town business, 
of which they now stand in great need, and without any further 
expense to the town in particular — do thereby give and grant 
two hundred and fifty pounds, L. M. to be applied to erecting 
the building aforesaid, and the meeting do grant a rate or tax 
of twopence halfpenny on the pound on the polls and ratable 
estate of the inhabitants of the town to be made upon the list of 
1783, and to be collected and paid to the treasurer of the town 
by the first day of November next, to be by him paid into the 
hands of a committee who may be appointed to carry on the 
building and to be by them appointed for that purpose. And 
Messrs. Edmond Washburn and James Clark were appointed 


collectors to collect and pay in the same ; and the whole of the 
civil authority in this town were appointed a committee to confer 
and agree with a committee to be appointed by the adjoining 
towns to inspect the btiilding of the house and the place where 
to set it, and to join with them in appointing a committee to 
carry on the building and to set it on any of the town land where 
they shall think proper." 

In the following year, 1785, the court-house and jail were 
built. In January, 1791, the jail was burned, but rebuilt the 
same year on the site of the present jail. The second jail was 
built with the proceeds of a lottery. The first Masonic lodge 
was instituted in Danbury in 1780. The first Baptist church, in 
King Street District, was organized in 1785. 

In 1789 the first Methodist sermon in Danbury was delivered 
by Rev. Jesse Lee, in the dwelling of a resident Methodist. 
Methodism, now having the strongest following of any Protes- 
tant denomination in Danbury, was bitterly contested on its first 
appearance here. In 1790 the second Baptist society was formed. 
This was in Miry Brook District. The society built in 1794. 

In 1790 Danbury' s first newspaper was printed. The first 
number was issued in March of that year. It was called the 
Farmers' Journal. Two other papers were established in the 
last decade of the century. These and the churches wiU be 
spoken of in detail in other chapters. 

Another industry located here was the manufacture of jiaper. 
The mill was started in Beaver Brook District in 1790. The plant 
is now operated by the McArthur Brothers, who have built up a 
large and prosperous business, but there have been no additional 
mills for making paper established here. 



Danbuet commenced the nineteentli century by holding a 
town meeting, at which the wages of a man and horse to " work 
the roads" were fixed at 75 cents a day. It is to be hoped that 
neither the man nor the horse had much of a family. 

The population of the town at the beginning of the century 
was 3180. In the year 1801 there was a great flood, and in that 
year there was an epidemic of small-pox. In 1804 the General 
Assembly gave to Danbury permission to hold a public lottery, 
the proceeds of which were to go to the building of a house for 
the poor at this end of the county. In 1807 there was an attempt 
made to dispossess Danbury of its title as a half-shire town, but 
the effort came to naught. In 1810 comb-making was established 
in this town, and continued for a number of years, but it died 
out entirely. In 1820 the population of the town had reached 
the figures 3783 ; and in 1822 the borough of Danbury was 
created by an act of the General Assembly. 

The application for the charter was made by Moss White and 
other citizens. The boundaries of the new borough we give 
below. As the face of many of the localities has changed since 
1822, we give herewith some information for which we are in- 
debted to one of the oldest citizens of Danbury, Frederick S. 

Middle River is the stream that flows from the Middle River 
District across Main Street, near the hat factory of Charles H. 
Merritt. The house of Stephen Ambler stood in that vicinity. 
The "barn plain" bridge mentioned is that on White Street 
across Still River. The tannery of Starr & Sanford was at the 
foot of Liberty Street. At the beginning of the century Main 
Street was called Town Street. The Episcopal church stood in 
the present graveyard on South Street. 

" Deer Hill Lane" is Deer Hill Avenue. The road leading 


from the Danbury Court House to Ridgefield is Wooster aud 
West Wooster streets. 

The other road spoken of in this connection is West Street. 
The Presbyterian meeting-house was the building of the First 
Congregational Church, later Concert Hall, which stood where 
is now the soldiers' monument. Blind Brook is the stream that 
crosses Elm Street, near River. Mr. Green lived in that vicinity. 
The Methodist " meeting-house" was then on Franklin Street. 

" Beginning at a point on the Middle River, thirty rods west 
of the bridge, near the dwelling-house of Stephen Ambler, thence 
following said stream to barn plain bridge ; thence southwardly 
to the tannery of Starr and Sanford ; thence following the line 
passing down the east side of the town hill lane to the south end 
thereof ; thence in the same course across town street, leading 
eastwardly from the Episcopal church to a point fifty rods south- 
w^ardly of the line passing on the south end thereof ; thence in 
a straight line to the south end of deer hill lane ; thence north- 
erly following the line passing on the west side of deer hill lane 
to the road leading from Danbury court-house to Ridgefield, 
thence westerly following the line passing on the south side of 
said Ridgefield road to the place it intersects with the road 
leading from the Presbyterian meeting-house to said Ridgefield, 
near the dwelling-house of Eli Wildman ; thence northwardly 
following the line passing on the west side of last-mentioned 
road to the dwelling-house of Hawley Wildman ; thence in a 
straight line to the blind brook bridge near the dweUing-house 
of Dorastus Green ; thence to the Methodist meeting-house, in- 
cluding the same and the land whereon it stands ; thence in a 
straight line to the place of beginning." 


The next year the charter on its southern limits was changed. 
In that time the elevation on which now stands the Liberty 
Street school-house was called Horse Island. In the following 
year the Legislature granted a change in the limits, as herewith 
expressed : 

" That the limits of the borough of Danbury shall hereafter be 
on its south limits as follows, any law or resolution to the con- 
trary notwithstanding— viz. : Beginning at the present line of the 
same, at the north side of horse island lane near the tan works 



>^- ^ 



Elia^ S. Sanfokd. 

Alfued Guegoky. 

K I; W iHrTi,].-Kv 

L. Starr Dexedict. 

EzHA B. Stevens. 

Martin II. UriffiN( 

Charles H. Heed. 

Albert Scott. 

Jarvis p. Hull. 


of Starr and Sanford, those running south to the south side of 
said lane ; thence along the south and west side of said lane to 
the road leading from Bethel to the Episcopal church ; thence 
westerly to the north side of the highway leading across the 
south end of the town street to deer hill lane ; thence northerly 
on the east side of said deer hill lane within twenty rods of the 
corner easterly of Andrew Beers' dwelling-house ; thence west- 
erly across said deer hill lane to the highway leading south from 
Alfred Gregory's dwelling-house, twenty rods south of the cor- 
ner ; thence northerly to the bridge by Dorastus Green's." 

At a meeting of the Electors composing the Boi'ough of Dan- 
bury, held at the Coixrt House in said Borough on Wednesday, 
the 20th day of June, 1822, the following officers were appointed 
to the following offices— to wit : 

Darius Starr was chosen Clerk, and sworn in by S. H. P., Esq. 

Daniel B. Cooke, Warden. 
Samuel Tweedy, ^ 
Moss White, | 

Elijah Gregory, 
David Foot, 
Samuel Wildman, 
William Patch, 
Alanson Hamlin, Treasurer. 
Matthew Curtis, Bailiff. 


In 1846 the Legislature took another hand in the borough 
boundaries, and enlarged them as herewith set forth : 

"Sec. 9. That the boundaries of the borough be altered and 
the limits thereof extended, and that instead of the present 
limits and boundaries the following be, and hereby are estab- 
lished as the limits and boundaries of said borough — to wit : 
Beginning on the Clapboard Ridge road, so called, fifteen rods 
west side of the hat manufactory of Hoyt, Tweedy & Co. ; thence 
following said road to the bridge near said shop ; thence follow- 
ing the centre of the river eastwardly and southwardly to the 
bridge across said river, on the highway leading from Danbury 
thi'ough Pembroke to New Fairfield ; thence southwardly to a 
point in the boundary line between Henry Benedict's land and 



Thomas T. Whittlesey's land, sixteen rods eastwardly from the 
intersection of said boundary line with the Town Hill road, by a 
passway leading to and through Heni-y Benedict's land, near 
the dwelling-house of Luke Tyley ; thence southeastwardly in 
a straight line to a point in the north line of the highway lead- 
ing from the south end of Main Street to Bethel, four rods east- 
wardly of the point of intersection of said north line with the 
west line of the highway called the Town Hill road ; thence 
southwardly dii'ectly across said road to the south side thereof ; 
thence south twenty rods ; thence westwardly in a straight line 
to a point on the east side of the highway extending the length 
of Deer Hill, twenty rods south of the point of intersection of 
said Deer Hill road with the road leading to Deer Hill from the 
south end of Main Street ; thence westwardly directly across 
said road to the west side thereof ; thence northwestwardly to a 
point in the south line of the highway leading from Main Street 
to Miry Brook, opposite the southwest corner of the lot of land 
on which Eli Wildman's barn stands, thence directly across said 
road to the corner of said lot ; thence west, directly across the 
road passing on the west side of said barn to the west line of 
said road ; thence northwardly in the west line of said last-men- 
tioned highway, to the north line of the highway leading across 
Frank's Hill, so called, at the point of intersection of said two 
roads ; thence in a straight line to the northeast corner of David 
Petit' s dwelling-house ; thence northwardly in a straight line to 
the northwest coi'ner of Russell Hoyt's land on Mill Ridge, 
opposite William P. Starr's barn ; thence in a straight line to 
the place of beginning ; and all that part of the said town of 
Danbury included within the foregoing limits and not within the 
present limits of the borough of Danbury, be annexed and made 
a part of said borough of Danbury." 

In 1862 the Legislature granted an amendment to the above, 
enlarging the limits of the borough, and these lines remained 
until the city charter was granted. 


In 1795 a book of twelve pages, four by thirteen inches in size, 
was all that was necessary to contain the names of all taxpayers 
in Danbury and Bethel, with the amount upon which each was 
taxed. In this little brown-paper-covered book there appear the 



names of 544 taxpayers, with a total amount of £23,257 19s. 7d. 
in taxable property. The proportion of each is as follows : 

Taxpayers. £ s. d. 

Danbury, 397 17,247 5 

Bethel, 147 5,983 14 7 

The families represented by the largest number of taxpayers 
were as follows, in the order given, in Danbury : Benedict, 30 
names ; Barnum, 23 names ; Hoyt, 21 ; Wildman, 17 ; Gregory, 
15 ; Starr, 14, and Knapp, 13. In Bethel : Benedict, 20 ; Bar- 
num, 12, and Hoyt, 10. 

The list is certified to by Thomas P. White, Ezra Barnum, 
Joseph Trobridge, Phineas Taylor, Eli Hickock, listers, and 
Eli Mygatt, town clerk. On the front is written the date 
"1795;" also, "The lender must be paid," and on the back, 
" He that borrows must return." 

In 1836 the sum of taxable property amounted to $2,981,680, 
and the tax thereon was paid by 1164 individuals. In 1885 the 
amount of taxable property was $6,384,391, and the number of 
taxpayers was 2225. 

Ninety-six images were required for making a copy of the list 
of 1885. We give below a copy of the amount of list for 1836 
and 1885, fi'om which an idea of our growth may be had. 




































37 861 






291 376 



In trade 







The above table presents some queer contrasts, especially in 
the last two items. 



Our venerated ancestors were tinctured with the spice of 
humor, if we may Judge from the names bestowed by them upon 
some of the districts and streets of the town. Presuming that it 
may be interesting to many of our readers, we have ventiired to 
prepare this chapter upon some of the changes in the borough 
within the last fifty years. 

We will first wrestle with Squabble Hill, comprising that por- 
tion of Park Avenue which lies between Division Street and the 
old Miry Brook Road, and was probably named from the then 
steep and rough hills to ascend at both ends of it. At the period 
above mentioned there was but one building upon it, a small 
brown house at the summit of the hill near Division Street, and 
on the latter street there was none. 

Dumpling Hole is now known as Mountainville, and we never 
learned from whence it derived its former name. Perhaps it 
was from the mud-holes that formerly occupied a portion of the 
road in the spring of the year. It now makes a charming and 
picturesque drive in the summer. 

Sugar Hollow extends from the Miry Brook Road to Starr's 
Plain, and is most delightful and charming. Its quiet is rarely 
disturbed, though occasionally a man with a straw hat and an 
apple- wood pipe trudges through its shades to the margin of an 
adjoining lake, peers into the water, unwinds a long string, puts 
a bait on a hook, and throws it in. If Rip Van Winkle had 
travelled a little farther east and taken his nap among the rocks 
here, he would probably be still sleeping. 

Gallows Hill is now called Beaver Street, and derives its name 
from an execution which took place there in the latter part of 
the last century. 

Clapboard Ridge comprised the rising ground at the north end 


of Main Street, over which the old King Street and Ball's Pond 
Road passes. 

Pinchgnt, which we cannot locate, was in one of the outside 
districts. It sails under some other cognomen now, and its orig- 
inal romantic name is rarely heard to-day. 

Monkeytown, Wolfpits, Dodgingtown, Wildcat, and Puppy- 
town were on the southeastern border of our town, but when 
Bethel set up housekeeping for herself she wrested aU these 
chickens from Danbury and gathered them under her wing. 
Elmwood supersedes Wildcat, but the others, we think, retain 
their primitive names. 

Pumpkin Ground covered the upper part of Elm Street, and 
also bore the name of Rabbit HiU. It was rarely traversed save 
as a path to pastures. It still retains its ancient i-eputation for 
producing prodigious pumpkins. 

The Boggs is now known as Westville, a decided improvement. 
Years ago the manufacture of hats was carried on here as in 
most of the other out-disti-icts, but long since succumbed to the 
centralizing influence of the trade, and farming industries have 
taken its place, especially the mUk biisiness. 

The first milk-wagon that appeared on our streets excited 
much curiosity, and the remark was made : " I wonder if that 
man ever expects to make a living in that way !" Of course 
this was before our water-works were built. Several years ago 
we hinted to a milkman something about milk and water, and 
the rejoinder was: "Water in milk? To be sure there is. 
People must be blamed fools to think that a cow never drinks 
water." That argument was unanswerable. We have never 
been uncharitable to the persecuted milkman since. 

This jDortion of the town, it will be remembered, attracted 
much attention and occasioned an exciting war of words between 
the Boggs Ponders and the East Lakers a short time since, in 
reference to a new reservoir, ending in victory for the latter ; 
but if we are to judge from the past experience, at no very dis- 
tant date we shaU be obliged to harness in the Boggs Pond and 
set it to work. 

Plum Meadow Woods, or a portion of it, is now the old 
Catholic Cemetery. Thirty years ago or more a considerable 
area here was covered by a very attractive grove, in which the 
partridge and rabbit were frequently startled from their hiding- 


places in the underbrush, and it was a favorite resort of young 
people for wild flowers in the spring of the year. This locality 
and the adjoining South Street are historic grounds of the Revo- 
lution. It was almost within the shadow of this grove that 
Wooster died. In June, 1781, a detachment of the French army 
in Rhode Island, about four thousand strong, on its way to join 
the American army on the Hudson, passed through this town, 
and encamped for the night in these woods. 

Shelter Rock still wears its primitive name, but is almost 
shorn of its former heavy forest garniture. At one time its 
woods covered the west side of the river, and almost connected 
with Plum Meadow Grove. Three brigades of the American 
army of the Hudson were encamped here in winter quarters 
during the winter of 1779-80, on a level plateau on the east side 
of the hill, with a forest lining it on the north and east, and a 
rocky precipice also on the east side. The wells that they dug 
can be seen at the present day, but they are filled up with stone 
to prevent cattle from falling into them. The fireplaces where 
theii' cooking was done are also visible by the side of some rocky 

Padanaram is the modern name of a portion of the district of 
HayestowTi, and is now the gateway to Pembroke Pond. Nearly 
half a century ago Colonel E. Moss White had an extensive hat- 
forming factory in connection with the pond. It was kept 
running night and day by two sets of hands, as long as the 
water-power would hold out. 

At this time there were only three buildings, including the 
factory, from its intersection with North Street to King Street, 
a distance of about two miles. Many years ago there was very 
good fronting from the factory dam to North Meadow Brook, 
but like all trout streams in this vicinity, it now affords little 
encouragement for the lover of piscatorial sport. 



A LONG and narrow account-book, in the possession of Miss 
Hollister, of Grassy Plain, bears upon its inner cover these 
words : " Stephen Trowbridge. His Book. Bought 1748." 

A few items from its contents will be of interest to the descend- 
ants of those whose names are mentioned. 

In May, 1749, is wa-itten : 
" William Cook, Dr. 

" To one iurney to Stratfield with a teem." 

" To 4 barils and half of sider." 

" To filing up your hogshead and taking care of it." 

And in October another " iurney to Stratfield" is charged. 

In 1751 Thomas Starr is debtor " To three pounds of boter at 
4s. per pound," and credited with " two pare of shoes for self, 
and two pare for wife, £.2. °5." 

Joseph Starr is credited "By making one pare of ChUd's 
Shoes and what els you have don. ' ' 

In 1766 Joshua Knap is Dr. " To weaving 22 & f yards of 
bed tick very fine and rotten, £1. 10. 2." 

Just here a sudden appreciation of the merits of this " Book" 
seems to have struck its owner, for the following is written 
Avith decided clearness : " this Litel book is Very Good Sort of 
paper to Wright on." 

In 1769 we find the following : 

" By making one gound for my wife 2.3. 

" " " a frok for Lydiah 6d. 

" " " three jackets for my boys 5s. 

" " " a gound 9.d 

" " " " shirt 2s." 

In 1759, "3 bushels of appels" were bought for 2s. 3d.; in 
1775, " A fat Goos" for " 2s.;" in 1785, " SUver Buckels lO.s." 


The following is certainly a novel settlement of accounts : 

" July 15, 1787, By agreement with Capt. Daniel Taylor with- 
out comparing our accts we ballance'' our books. £3. 9. 6." 

The following letter, which we copy by permission of Mrs. 
L. D. Brewster, will give the present generation some new ideas 
regarding life, not only in Danbnry, biit in New York City, 
ninety years ago : 

"D ANBURY, Jan 24, 1805 
" Dear Children, 

We hoj^ed and strongly expected a letter per last mail which 
did not arrive until this day about noon on horseback through 
much difficulty, the roads being filled with a dreadful snow 
storm which fell the day Moss left Danbury. We were much 
conserned about him and are still, how he got along & whether 
he did not freeze, but we cannot hear a word. . . . Zar has the 
most company this court he ever had at any court before this ; 
150 eat dinner at his house to day. He burns about two loads 
of wood per day and is nearly out and it is next to impossible 
to get at his wood. 

' ' We feel much for you that you must suffer with a multitude 
of others for the want of this article as we understand it is diffi- 
cult to procure it at any price in New York, and impossible that 
any can be conveyed by water as usual. But to day has been 
not so severely cold as for a long time heretofore and we hope 
the weather may continue to moderate more and more, and in 
this way you with the distressed inhabitants of New York may 
have relief. 

" (Signed) Joseph Moss White." 

In the " Recollections of a Lifetime," by S. C. Goodrich, we 
find the following reminiscences of his short residence in Dan- 
bury : 

" There was, if I rightly remember, in the month of February, 
1809, though it might have been a year later, a certain ' cold 
Friday,' which passed down to succeeding generations as among 
the marvels of the time. It had snowed heavily for three days, 
and the ground was covered three feet deep. 

" A driving wind from the northwest then set in, and grovnng 
colder and colder, it became at last so severe as to force everybody 
to shelter. This continued for two days, the whole air being 

Mrs. Jose™ P. C 

Joseph F. White. 

Joseph Moss White. 

Joseph P. Cook. 
E. M. White. 


filled with sleet, so that the sun, without a cloud in the sky, 
shone dim and gray as through a fog. 

" The third day (Friday) the wind increased both in force and 
intensity of cold. Horses, cattle, fowls, and sheep perished in 
their coverings. The roads were blocked up with enormous 
drifts : the mails stopped, traveUing was suspended ; the world 
indeed seemed paralyzed and the circulation of life to be 

Mr. Goodrich came to Danbury to become a clerk in the store 
of Amos Cooke, his brother-in-law. Amos was the son of Col- 
onel Joseph Piatt Cooke, who graduated at Yale in 1750 ; estab- 
lished himself in Danbury ; married Sarah, daughter of Captain 
Daniel Benedict, and died in February, 1816. Of Colonel Joseph 
Cooke and his wife, Goodrich thus writes : 

' ' The father and mother of my brother-in-law were aged peo- 
ple living with him in the same house, and as one family. They 
were persons of great amiability and excellence of character ; 
the former. Colonel Cooke, was eighty years of age, but still had 
perfect exercise of his faculties, and though he had ceased all 
business, he was cheerful and took an interest in passing events. 
His career had been one of great activity and usefulness. He 
was greatly esteemed, not only by the community, but by the 
leading men of the country. He enjoyed the friendship and con- 
fidence of Washington, and the acquaintance of Lafayette, 
Rochambeau, and De Grasse, whom he entertained at his house. 
In manner and dress he was strongly marked with the Wasliing- 
ton era ; he was sedate, courteous, and methodical in all his 
ways ; he wore breeches, knee-buckles, shoe-buckles, and a 
cocked hat to the last. The amenity and serenity of his coun- 
tenance and conduct bespoke the refined gentleman and dis- 
cii^lined Christian. " 

Of Amos Cooke he writes : 

" My brother-in-law was tall, emaciated, somewhat bent, with 
a large head and large, melancholy eyes. His look was gravity 
itself, his air meditative, his movements measured, slow, and 

" In sharp contrast was his friend, ' 'Squire Hatch,' who was 
rather short, full-chested, perpendicular, and with a short, 
quick, emphatic step. His eyes were gray, small, and twink- 
ling, his lips sharp and close-set, his hair erect and combed 


back, giving to his face the keen expression of the old-fashioned 
flint set in a gunlock. 

' ' He was celebrated for his wit no less than his learning, and 
he seldom opened his month without making a report of one or 

Amos Cooke was born October 11th, 1773, and died November 
13th, 1810. Moses Hatch was born in Kent, Litchfield County, 
in 1780, and died there in 1820. 

Mr. Goodrich also writes of " a neighbor over the way, a good- 
natured, chatty old gentleman by the name of Ebenezer White. 
He had been a teacher and had a great taste for mathematics." 

At that time ' ' it was the custom to put forth in the newspapers 
puzzling questions of figures, and to invite their solution. Master 
White was sure to give the answer first. Under his good-natured 
and gratuitous lessons I learned something of geometry and 
trigonometry, and thus passed on to surveying and navigation." 

This was Ebenezer Russell White, and his note-book, now in 
possession of his descendants in Danbury, is filled with mathe- 
matical and algebraical problems, besides a number of poems 
original with him, mostly bearing upon family matters. 

Among the merchants doing business here in 1804 we find 
Amos Cooke, the brother-in-law of S. C. Goodrich, who adver- 
tises quite extensively in the fall of that year. We copy his 

"Amos Cooke 

Has just received a new supply of Goods, consisting of the fol- 
lowing, with many other articles, which are offered for sale at 
very moderate prices for Cash, Produce, or the usual Credit : 

" Superfine, Middling and Coarse Broadcloths, Cassimeres, 
Flannels, Lion Skin, Rose Blankets, Cotton and Woolen Check, 
Muslins, Bi'own and White Linens, Velvets, a great variety of Cali- 
coes very low, large Silk Shawls, Blue, Green and Purple ditto, 
Romals, Bandanna and Lungee Handkerchiefs, Lustrings, Satins, 
Laces, &c. 


Jamaica and Antigua Rum, Brandy, Cider Brandy, two years 
old ; Madeira and Sherry Wines, Molasses, Sugars, Young 
Hyson, Souchong and Bohea Teas, Coffee, Chocolate, Starch, 
Hair Powder, Cloves, Nutmegs, Cassia, Bisciiit, good Writing 
Paper, Snuff and Tobacco, English Powder, Patent Shot, &c. 


" Nicaragua, Fustic, Logwood, Madder, Verdigris, Alum, 
Copperas, Indigo, Blue Vitriol and Oil of Vitriol. 

" The following Books, most of which will be sold lower than 
the New York price, &c. [Here follows a list of exceedingly 
heavy volumes.] 

" Danbury, Oct. 23." 

June 8th, 1805, Mr. Cooke advertises to sell his stock of goods 
at very reduced prices, as he intends to relinquish his present 

Mr. Cooke's place of business was near the residence of the 
late Edgar S. Tweedy. 

Another merchant doing an extensive business here at that 
time was Comfort S. Mygatt, who advertised goods of all kinds, 
similar to Mr. Cooke. 

" Wheat and Rye Flour, constantly on hand, and for sale, at 
the Red Mill, for Cash, or on a Credit of 60 days when punctual 
payment can be depended on, by Samuel C. Dibble & Co." 

This mill stood on the site of tlie Eureka Mill, near Main 
Street bridge. The business was afterward carried on where 
White's fur factory now stands. About 1830 George Crofut and 
Charles F. Starr established the business where Mr. Crofut' s 
mill was burned down. Mr. Dibble removed to Stamford, and 
bought a farm on Strawberry HiU, a mile from the village. He 
was the father of Ira S. Dibble. Mr. Dibble moved back to 
Danbury, and died here. 

" Delays are Dangerous. 

" Those indebted to the subscribers, on Book or Note (now 
due by agreement), may have an opportunity of cancelling the 
same, by payment in Walnut, Oak, or Maple Wood, Wheat, 
Rye, Corn, Oats, Buckwheat, Flax Seed, Hats, Saddles, or 
Shoes, at their full value, if delivered soon, but if delayed Cash 
will be the only substitute which will be received by 

"Joseph F. & E. M. White." 

This firm consisted of the brothers Joseph F. White and 
Colonel E. Moss White. 

Peter Benedict advertises ' ' an indented lad to the farming 
business, named Levi Wood, about nineteen years old, tall of his 
age, and heavy moulded," and offers one cent reward and no 


charges paid to any one who will return said lad. We think 
Mr. Benedict could not have M'-anted " said lad" very badly, as 
he did not run very far away, for he died here at an advanced 
age. Peter Benedict lived at Dumpling Hole, now Mountain- 
ville, and was the grandfather of Egbert S. Benedict. 

Ezra Wildman is more liberal in offering rewards, for he will 
give 25 cents for the return of Gershom G. Finch, an indented 
apprentice to the hatting business, but he will pay no charges. 
— Justus Barniim carried on the tailoring business in the lower 
part of the Court House. 

William Chappell informs us that he has " lately become pro- 
prietor in the machine for carding wool in this town, and is now 
erecting a new one of the first quality which Avill be ready for 
carding in the course of a week. As it is intended to use the 
old machine for breaking the wool, and the new one for rolling, 
and having employed an experienced workman, the jsroprietor 
will be enabled to dispatch the business with iDunctuality, and 
in the best manner. 

"N.B.— The wool must be brought to hand well picked and 
greased, at the rate of one pound of grease to ten of wool." 

Mr. Chappell lived on South Street and carried on the furni- 
ture business. Mr. Horace Marshall learned the trade of him, 
and married his daughter. 

Edwards Ely informs us that he has " lost a grey Horse Colt, 
near the colour of a grey squirrel ; four years old, nearly four- 
teen hands high, has been docked and nicked, was barefoot, lean 
in flesh, and has had the horse distemper during the winter." 

Ebenezer D. and Walter Starr say they will "pay cash for Green 
Calf Skins and Tanner's Bark at theu" place of business, ten rods 
south of the meeting house." They were brothers of Friend 
Starr, and their place of business was where the Pahquioque 
Block now stands. 

Ezra Boughton & Co. advertise that they " have received from 
ISew York a handsome assortment of Summer Goods and 
Groceries at the store lately occupied by Z. Griswold & Co." Mr. 
Boughton was afterward engaged in the cloth-dressing business 
near West Street bridge, and resided near there. 

Starr & Sanford advertise for fifty cords of oak, hemlock, or 
birch bark, for which cash at $5 a cord will be given at the tan 
works. The boys of the present time would improve this oppor- 


tunity of laying in a supply of birch, bark. Their tan works 
was near the corner of Liberty Street and Railroad Avenue. 

Ezra Starr " wants a house carpenter to go to a healthy island 
in the West Indies, to whom a generous salary will be given for 
a term of years. None need apply who is not master of his busi- 
ness in all its branches, and can produce the best recommenda- 
tions. One acquainted with mill work would be preferred." 
This was Major Ezra Starr. He was a man of note in his day, 
and resided in a large house which stood back of the homestead 
of the late D. P. Nichols. The old building has been removed 
to Boughton's Lane. 

Jerrey Hoyt lost " nine sheep all marked with a half -penny 
on the fore side of each ear, and one of them of a chestnut color." 
Mr. Hoyt lived on Clapboard Ridge, on the farm now occupied 
by Lewis Elwell. He was of a genial disposition, and made 
droll remarks. He said he had plowed that land over so much 
that he had worn all the stones smooth and turned them into 
lap-stones. He sold the farm to Russell Hoyt, removed to 
Rochester, N. Y., and bought a farm which is now the centre of 
that city. He sold before it became so valuable, lost his prop- 
erty, and became very poor. 

Ebenezer Benedict said eight sheep had broken into his en- 
closure. Perhaps these were a part of Mr. Hoyt's lost sheep. 
Mr. Benedict lived in Miry Brook. 

Ezra Frost offers for sale at his store in Main Street, timothy, 
clover and garden seeds. 

Mr. Frost was at one time connected in business with Samuel 
H. Phillips. He was the father of Stoddard J. Frost, at one 
time a prominent merchant of Norwalk, and also of Daniel Frost, 
once in business in New York. 

Caleb Starr informs " the inhabitants of the town of Danbury 
that he has received a warrant to collect a town tax, one cent 
and five mills on the dollar ; and likewise a warrant to collect a 
State tax, seven and a half mills on the dollar." He " will take 
cash, town orders, flax seed or any kind of produce for the 
taxes." This tax to many without explanation would seem 
excessive, but it was in reality much less than at the present 
time. At that time $1000 of real estate went into the list at $30, 
and $1000 personal property at $60, and on this the tax was 
laid. Mr. Starr resided in the old house now standing on 


West, near Harmony Street. This house was built before the 
Revolutionary War, and is still in possession of the family. 

James Clark, librarian, notifies the members of Franklin Libra- 
ry Company of the annual meeting to be held at Ebenezer B. 
White' s, and also reminds them that ' ' a vote of said company 
makes it necessary that the books be returned to the librarian 
4 days previous to said meeting on penalty of thirty-four cents 
for each neglect." Mr. Clark was a man of note in his day. 
Elijah Wood offers at public vendue at the Court House, " a 
number of unfinished wagons, a horse and a variety of house- 
hold furniture." Mr. Wood lived at Stony Hill. 

" t^^It is expected that Mr. Babbit will preach at the Court 
House, next Sabbath, on the subject of the ' Restitution of All 
Things.' " 

We have been unable to get any information in I'egard to Mr. 
Babbit, and therefore conclude that he was a stranger, and prob- 
ably preached at the Court House, Sunday, June 23d, 1805, as 
announced, but whether he had a large or small audience we 
cannot tell, for the paper of next week is sUent on the subject. 
If any such announcement should be made nowadays we are 
certain that the papers in town would in their next issues give 
a good synopsis of Mr. Babbit's sermon and the niimber in 

Prom the following it appears that editors at that time had 
their troubles as well as at present : 

" ' 5e Just and Fear Not.'' 

I " |^"The present number completes the first quarter of vol- 
ume two of the Neio England Republican. Subscribers, &c., 
are desired to observe that by an immediate settlement they can 
save a discount, and enable the editor to fulfil his contracts for 
paper, payment for whicli must always be made (in cash) within 
ninety days. The office receipts for the last quarter do not 
amount to more than half the expense for paper alone. This is 
fact ; and while such is the case, we find no encouragement to 
make the improvements we wish — no stimulus to proceed with 
spirit. We are, in fact, ' spending our strength, ' our time and 
our cash for that which profiteth us not. Those who wish us 
success at least are expected to act as consistently as they talk, 
for neither promises nor a string of names will appease the duns 


of our creditors. To sncli of his customers as have made punc- 
tuality their invariable rule, the editor returns his warmest 

" To Hatters. 

" The subscribers have for sale a quantity of good Muskrat 
Skins, very low for cash, or will exchange them for good unfin- 
ished. Knapped Hats. Also aU kinds of Hatters trimmings. 

" White Brothers & Co. 

" X.B. — The skins will be sold for 2s. 3d. cash (York currency), 
or 2s. 5d. iu exchange for hats. " 

This firm consisted of Colonel Russell and Judson White. 
Their place of business was where the brick building just north 
of Main Street bridge now stands. Their factory was probably 
the largest and most complete of any in the country at that 
date. They employed, about forty hands, and did an extensive 
business for the time. 

EUakin Peck wants •' ' a Journeyman Blacksmith who is experi- 
enced in shoeing, also an apprentice to the above business. " 

Mr. Peck was the father of Stephen S. Peck, and carried on 
business at the corner of Main and South streets, where the old 
Episcopal church was drawn and converted into a dwelling. 

Stephen Gregory wants " an active Lad of fourteen or fifteen 
years of age to seiTe as an apprentice to the Saddlers business." 

The house, shop, land, and out-buildings of William A. Bab- 
cock, situated on Main Street, are offered for sale at public auc- 
tion. Mr. Babcock removed to Xew Haven, was major of a regi- 
ment there, and dropped dead as he was mounting his horse to 
go on parade. He was the father of Colonel James F. Babcock, 
who was for a long time editor of the Xew Haven Palladium. 

Comfort Hoyt, Jr., says he " wants to purchase several tons 
of sumac of the present year's growth. If cut early and well 
cured, the price which he has commonly given wiU be jjaid for 
it ; or if those who gather it choose, he will receive it the day it 
is cut at half the usual price, in which case the gatherers wiU be 
saved the risk and trouble of curing it, and the loss of weight 
by drying. Those who have been in the habit of gathering it 
are in no need of being told that even children can clothe them- 
selves in that way easier than men and women can by spinning 
and weaving, if flax and wool are found them gratis." " 


Grathering sumac is a branch of industry wMcli has entirely 
disappeared from this community. It was used for coloring and 
also for tanning morocco. It is undoubtedly as plentiful as 
ever, but for some reason there is no demand for it. At the 
time Mr. Hoyt advertised for it it was in great demand and 
brought a large price. The mill for grinding it was on Still 
River, near Shelter Rock. 

In 1810 servants were few in Danbury, as most women did 
their own housework, and the leisure hours of mothers and 
daughters were employed in spinning linen thread which after- 
ward was woven by hand. Those were the days of plain living, 
early rising, and constant labor, both in doors and out. At that 
time the West Street of to-day was spoken of as " up the lane," 
and Deer Hill Avenue, now lined with beautiful residences and 
shaded by fine trees, was a narrow and crooked lane used mainly 
for access to adjoining land. 

There were no dwellings upon this hill except one at the corner 
of the present West Street, which was occupied by Andrew 
Beers, the celebrated " almanack maker," and one other known 
as the " old Andrews homestead," standing a little south of the 
Wooster Street of to-day. 

On Main Street, between Elm and Wooster streets, there were 
nine houses, including one or two stores, and on the east side 
between the Wooster House and Liberty Street there were but 
five. The jail was in its present location, a building of wood, 
with the keeper's house just in front. In those days people 
were imprisoned for debt, and if a creditor had a particular spite 
against a debtor, he paid his board, and sometimes kept him in 
jail for a year. 

It is a singular fact that, while the laws were very strict re- 
garding Sabbath-breaking and church-going, rum-drinking and 
lottery gambling prevailed everywhere. A man who thought it 
a sin to eat a warm dinner on Sunday had no scruples against 
drinking to excess, or taking a prominent part in a lottery 
scheme. The law required all members of the Grand Jury to 
stop any person found travelling on the Sabbath, and, unless 
his errand was of vital importance, such as going for a doctor, 
or hurrying to fill an engagement to preach, he was liable to 
arrest and fine. In all fast days " servile labor and vain recre- 
ations" were forbidden by law. 


During the War of 1812 the mail stages, from Hartford to New- 
York, ran through Danbury in order to avoid the Britisli troops 
on the coast. When peace was declared they returned to tlie 
old route along the shore. The New York mail came only once 
a week. Another mail ran once a week to Poughkeepsie. 

There were two companies of foot militia in Danbury, and one 
in Bethel, each containing the usual number of men ; there was 
also an artillery company of six men, and one of cavalry. Two 
thirds of the members belonged in Danbury, and all furnished 
their own arms. The training days were the first Monday in 
May and in September, and a general regimental parade took 
place in October. Nearly every able-bodied man was required 
to serve, and any one absent at roU-call was fined $5. This law 
continued in force until 1845. 

In 1810 the practicing attorneys in Danbury were Moses Hatch, 
Matthew B. Whittlesey, and Alanson Hamlin. 


MAIN STREET IN 1815-20. 

It is likely that seventy years ago the view of Danbury, with 
few exceptions, was the same as at the beginning of the century. 
Main Street was then as now the principal thoroughfare. Run- 
ning from it on tlie east was North, White, and Liberty streets ; 
on the west, Franklin, Elm, West, and Wooster streets ; South 
Street at the foot. To this day we have not a single street cross- 
ing Main Street, although it runs the length of the village. The 
other streets were River and Town Hill. Deer Hill Avenue was 
then but a lane, chiefly used for the transfer of farm products. 


The first house, on coming into Main Street at the north, on 
the east side of the street, was occupied by Aaron Gunn. It 
was washed away by the Kohanza disaster in 1869. Mr. Gunn 
had two sons who were drafted in the War of 1812, and entered 
the army at New London. 

The next house stood on the corner of North Street. It was 
occupied by Benjamin Barnum, and was a large, roomy build- 
ing. Some years ago it was moved north on Main Street, and 
still stands there. 

On the opposite corner lived Noah Hubbell. Between there 
and what is now Patch Street there was but one house. It was 
occupied by William Patch, Jr. 

Next to him was a small tenement owned by Mary Daniels, 
then occupied by a family named Barnum. 

John Gregory's house came next. None of his descendants 
are living here. 

Where Wildman's lane or court now is were two houses, since 
gone. One of these was occupied by Benjamin Cozier, and the 
other by William Patch, Sen.j 


The next premises were those of John Nickerson, a lay- 
preacher in the Methodist church. The church in that day was 
supplied once a month by a circuit preacher, and in the intervals 
by some lay member vested with authority to preach. Nicker- 
son was an active man, and consequently well known to his 

Then came another tenant house which was occupied by Zar 
Patch. It long ago passed away. 

Following was the home of Archibald Benedict, a son of 
Captain Noble Benedict, our Kevolutionary hero. 

The residence now occupied by Harrison Flint was then the 
home of the late Enoch Moore. It was built by Amos Stevens. 

Next in order came the home of Abel Gregory, now owned by 
Mrs. Henry Benedict. 

And after this a school-house. Many years ago it was re- 
moved to Franklin Street, where it continued to be used as a 
school until about fifteen years ago, when it was turned into a 
tenement, and is thus occupied to-day. 

Deacon Joseph Piatt Cooke, son of the Revolutionary colonel 
of the same name who was in command of Danbury when Tryon 
came, occupied the next house. It stood on nearly the same 
ground at present occupied by the residence of Mrs. William Ja- 

Russell Hoyt lived next to Deacon Cooke in the house now 
occupied by his son GranvUle. 

Just south of the house was a store where Daniel B. Cooke 
sold "shoes, sugar, shirting, and groceries." The building was 
subsequently removed to White Street. 

Next came the home of Colonel Russell White, which stood on 
the site of the present residence of his son, WiUiam R. White. 
Colonel White was a prominent hat manufacturer. 

The next house was owned and occupied by Nirum Wild- 

Where the residence of the late Giles M. Hoyt now stands 
stood the home of Rev. Ebenezer R. White, grandfather of 
William R. White and Ebenezer R. Whittlesey. Between and 
partly in front of these two houses stood a small building once 
the store of Burr & White, but at this time occupied by the 
worshippers in the Sandemanian church. 

The hat manufactory of White Brothers & Co. stood near 


the banks of the Still River, its site not at present being- 

Across the river, on the corner of White Street, stood the old 
home of Benjamin Knapp, with its sloping roof and immense 
stone chimney. 


Going back to the north end of the street and returning on the 
west side the first house was the home of Stephen Ambler, the 
grandfather of Mrs. A. A. Heath, and O. P. and W. H. Clark. 
He did active work in the war. It is said that he and five 
brothers, lying down on a thirty-six feet stick of timber, would 
just cover its length. His house stood under the hill next to the 
graveyard, and was long since torn down. 

The graveyard itself was then there. It was not only opened 
to relieve Lhe Wooster Street grounds, but to accommodate the 
districts of Middle River, King Street, and Pembroke, which then 
being sparingly settled, had no burial-place in their district. 

Andrew Akin occupied the house now owned by George 
Downs. Next to it was the home of Mary Daniels, who owned 
property on the other side of the street. 

John Foot, father of Mrs. Ezra Abbott, lived in the next 
house, then came Captain Foot's hat shop. Adjoining this was 
a tenement. Following came the home of Asa Hodge. 

Thaddeus Morehouse lived next north of the Cowperthwait 
homestead. Adjoining was a small tenement which closed its 
existence in a summary and tragic manner, having been de- 
stroyed at the time of the mobbing of Rev. Mr. Colver, in 1830. 

The next house was occupied by Knapp Boughton, who dis- 
tinguished himself by winning for a wife the young woman Par- 
son Robbins wanted. He was father of L. H. Boughton. His 
place was removed to make room for the spacious residence of 
S. H. Rundle. 

Mrs. Boughton, mother of Knapp, occupied a house adjoining 
his. It was afterward owned by Nathaniel Bishop, and was 
removed. On the southeast corner of this lot was a brick build- 
ing occupied by Knapp Boughton as a store. It was removed a 
long time ago. 

Mrs. Elias Boughton occupied a place where now stands 
George C. White's residence. The next building stood on the cor- 


ner of Franklin Street, and was occupied as a liat-finishing shop 
by R^^ssell and Eli T. Hoyt. On the opposite corner stood the 
residence of William Cooke, who was a prominent member of the 
Masonic order. Mr. Cooke' s house was removed to Patch Street. 

Next to Mr. Cooke lived Starr Nichols, a large hat manufac- 
turer, and an active man in all enterprises. Following this was 
a tenement long since taken down. 

Next came the residence of Samuel and William Tweedy, 
father and son. They were cutters oif of fur, and their shop 
stood north and in rear of their home. Adjoining their house 
was the place of Gershom Nichols. 

Where Charles H. Merritt's residence now is stood the house 
of Captain Elijah Hoyt. Daniel B. Cooke, son of Colonel Joseph 
Piatt Cooke, the soldier of the Revolution, lived where does now 
L. P. Hoyt. Next to this place was a store occupied by E. M. 
White. It was removed to White Street. Following was a 
house belonging to Najah Wildman. Next south of Najah 
Wildman stood a house where is now the residence of Alfred N. 

On the river-bank stood a mill. It was built in the last cen- 
tury by Daniel Comstock for a grist-mill and occupied by Sam- 
uel C. Dibble. Afterward for many years it served as a hat- 
forming factory, and was owned by Niram Wildman. There 
was considerable feeling at one time in the community occasioned 
by this mUl. The occupant wanted to buUd a waste-weir to 
empty into the stream at a point just below the opposite side of 
the street, but Mr. Knapp, who lived on the corner and owned 
the land, would not give him the right of way. The only alter- 
native was to tap Mad River just above its junction with Still 
River. The plan did not work, however, as the grade did not 
give sufficient fall to carry oflf the water. As the grist-miU was 
a matter of considerable importance to the people, public senti- 
ment took a hand in, and Mr. Knapp was induced to consent to 
the emptying of the river in Still River, in the rear of his house. 
The mill building was last occupied by HoUy & Wildman, wool- 
hat manufacturers. It was destroyed by fire in 1868. 

The building on the corner of Elm Street was at that time the 
homestead of Samuel Tweedy. It has been made into stores 
since then. In its rear stood a hat factory occupied by Tweedy 
and Benedict. 



There has been more change in that portion of Main Street 
between these points than in any other part of the thorough- 
fare ; and far less in Main Street as a whole than in any other 
street, except, perhaps. South Street. 

In 1815 there were but eight buildings on the east side of Main 
Street, between White and Liberty, where is now an almost un- 
broken bank of business places. The space not immediately 
occupied by these buildings was used for gardens and fields, 
principally pasturage, whUe that portion in the neighborhood 
of the raUroad buildings, as far as White Street, was swamp. 
Except in front of the buildings the wall the length of the block 
was a stone fence. Mullein, dock, milkweed, and brambles were 
conspicuous products. 

The first building, passing down the street, was a small brown 
tenement. Close to it was the dwelling of Mrs. Betsey Benedict. 
She owned a store building which was next in order, and was 
then rented by Irel Ambler. Previously Eli T. Hoyt and his 
brother Russell occupied it. It stood where is now the station 
of the Danbury and ISTorwalk Railway. There was no other 
structure until the dwelling of Lemuel W. Benedict was reached, 
which stood where is now the house occupied by Mrs. David 

Mr. Benedict's neighbor on the south was Samuel H. Phillips. 
Near his house was a little store run by Mr. Phillips, who was 
a well-known character. He was deputy postmaster of Danbury, 
and kept the office in his store. Consequently his place was a 
resort for the various luminaries, and Mr. Phillips perhaps heard 
more mendacity than any other citizen of Danbury. He was a 
quiet man of a studious turn, and having a weU-balanced mind 
was rarely surprised into states of undue feeling. One day a 
woman apparently very anxious for a letter came in and gave 
her name. There was nothing for her. 

"I wish you'd look again," said she, "for I'm sure there 
must be a letter here for me." 

He complied, carefully going over the stock in hand. 

" There is no letter here," he said. 

" Well, that's strange," she muttered, " I was sure it must be 
here. When do you suppose I' 11 get one V ' 


History does not give his answer, bnt the anecdote may sug- 
gest a new form of torture for the post-office window. 

Another well-known resident was the next neighbor to Post- 
master PhUlips. He was Eli Mygatt, a heavy gentleman in knee- 
breeches. His dwelling stood where is now Baldwin Brothers' 
drug-store, and just south of it he kept a drug-store himself. 
There must be something in the locality favorable to the exist- 
ence of the drug business, as it has been used for that purpose 
by different parties since the day Uncle Eli began his enterprise. 
Both his residence and his store have long since j)assed away. 
Uncle Eli had charge of the Franklin Library, as it was kept in 
his store. 

On the comer of Main and Liberty streets, where now stands 
Benedict & Nichols' block, lived Matthew Curtis. Mr. Curtis 
was a butcher, and had his slaughter quite convenient, it being 
on Liberty Street, in the rear of his house, where now stands 
the Disciples church. 


On the corner of Elm Street, the premises now owned by J. S. 
Taylor, stood the tavern of Dr. Jabez Starr, a prominent Revo- 
lutionist. Dr. Starr's swinging sign bore the simple inscription 
" The Inn," and was the headquarters on training days of the 
uptown military companies, which consisted of a cavalry and 
an infantry organization. These two organizations used to 
parade in the square fronting the tavern. On one of these occa- 
sions — in 1812, we believe— a corporal was to be elected. It aj)- 
pears that the ladies who favored the military had the privilege 
of selecting the candidate for this honor. Their suffrage was 
given in behalf of a blushing youth from Great Plain District, 
then eighteen years old. On his election being announced, it 
was incumbent on him to step to the front and pledge himself 
to faithfully perform the duties of the office. The ladies were 
assembled in front of the residence of Samuel Tweedy, on the 
opposite corner, and the youth, in makmg his acknowledgment, 
was obliged to face them, an ordeal that very nearly prostrated 
him, but he got through with it. The eighteen-year-old boy 
was the late Deacon Eli T. Hoyt. 

Peck & Wildman's grocery was then an unpretentious dwell- 


ing, little dreaming of the glory it was in time to ripen into, with 
a gorgeous landscape as a f orepiece. 

The dwelling and church in the lane, both the jiroperty of the 
Sandemanian Society, were standing then. 

The King George Tavern, now the property of Mrs. Urana 
Barnum, was then occupied by her father, William Dobbs. 
Long before the i)eriod of which we write it had ceased to be a 

Next in order was the residence of Moses Hatch, or Judge 
Hatch, as he was called. He had an office built on the street 
line, now moved to rear of the post-office building. Moses 
Hatch was a prominent member of the Bar. He died at the 
early age of forty-one, at the threshold of what promised to be 
a brilliant career. He was the grandfather of our fellow- citizen, 
Alexander Wildman. 

The residence of the late venerable E. Moss White stood where 
is now the Library building reared by the liberality of his sons. 
He was both a successful farmer and merchant of Danbury, a 
man well known, thoroughly trusted, and sincerely respected by 
his fellow-townsmen. Many knew well his quiet liberality and 
kindness, and the remembrance of his serene face and cheery 
smUe is as a benediction. The old homestead became the resi- 
dence of his son, the late Colonel Nelson R. White, and after 
his removal it was used by the Library Association until the 
present building was begun, when it was moved to Library Place, 
where it now stands. 

Next south stood the residence of Benajah Starr, which was 
built by his wife when she was the widow of Rev. Timothy 
Langdon. This was afterward the property of ' ' Esquire Booth, ' ' 
and later the home of Hon. Roger Averill. The building has 
been moved and converted into stores, and brick buildings stand 
where once the green grass grew beneath the great black- walnut 
tree which marked the centre of the town. 

Deacon Thomas Tucker lived next in the old house which still 
remains quaint and interesting. The "great pear-tree," 
supposed to be over one hundred and fifty years old, stands 
beside this old dwelling, which has been for over sixty years the 
home of Mrs. George W. Ives. 

Next came the residence of Asahel Benedict. The present 
homestead of Mrs. Henry Benedict occupies its site. 

Block Occupyinu i^nK of thk Avkuilt, Homestead. 
The Avertu. IIomestead, 1S50. 


Mrs. Hnldah Starr's house followed, standing on the corner 
of West Street. The dwelling and land were bought by James 
S. Taylor in 1864, and the present block of stores and tenements 
erected. The old homestead is among these, but its identity is 
entirely lost. There are those who remember well the quaint 
old house with its great dooryard, its apple-trees, and long lines 
of currant-bushes. They are all gone, with the grand old elms 
that once shaded this quiet home. 


Major Seth Comstock, a brother of Dr. Daniel Comstock, lived 
in a substantial residence on the corner of Liberty Street. He 
was a merchant and had a store just south of his dwelling. 
Major Comstock was a man in good circumstances, who once in 
his life created quite a sensation in the community. He had a 
son Augustus doing business in New Yoi'k City. The son was 
to be married and desired a wedding party in his father's house. 
He sent word to that effect, directing his father to fix up the 
place in the best possible style, and he would make good the 

The major accordingly proceeded to make the homestead into 
a wedding bower. Carpenters, painters, and upholsterers were 
set to work, and for days the transformation went on. Summer- 
houses, arbors, and grottoes were put up in the garden. The 
entire front of the house was changed by elaborate additions 
placed thereon, and the premises blossomed into the apjpearance 
of a small paradise. The place was daily visited by Danbury 
people, who were filled with pride and admiration as they viewed 
it. Even abroad went the fame of the change, and people from 
neighboring towns came to see the Comstock palace. The trans- 
formation was all the talk of the day, and supplanted every 
other subject. 

The wedding was in keeping with the preparation therefor, 
and filled the street in the neighborhood with curious people. 
Among those who came from out of town was a young man 
hailing from the extremely rural district of Redding, below 
Bethel. He was barefooted and timid ; he had heard of the 
grand house and the beautiful garden, and he wanted so much 
to see it that he walked to Danbury for that pui'pose ; but when 
he got here and saw how grand was the place he dared not stej) 


on the premises. More than that, he feared to go on the same 
side of the street, but kept on the opposite side. Even at that 
he shrunk from stopping in front of the place, so timid was this 
rural lad. 

That was long over fifty years ago, and the barefooted farm 
boy so overcome by the display that he dared not stop in front 
of it was the late Charles Hull, who became later the owner of 
the property. It reads something like a romance, doesn't it ? 

In the place of the residence and store stands a large brick 
block, and the old house with its pretty surroundings of green 
grass, syiinga bushes, and box hedges, has vanished into the 

Rachel Barnum's dwelling came next, and then the residence 
of Friend Starr, afterward that of his son, the late Charles F. 
Starr. This house was built in 1796, just a century ago, and 
stood beneath the shade of a long row of elms that had been 
previously planted by Caleb Starr, the father of Friend Starr. Of 
these trees, which have been the pride of the town, there is left 
to-day but one survivor. This measures twenty feet in circum- 
ference, and towers high above the roof of the old dwelling which 
stands upon land now held in direct line bj' the sixth generation. 

Where now is the Griffing block stood the residence of Zalmon 
Wildman, father of the late Frederick S. Wildman. This was 
an old-fashioned double house standing close upon the sidewalk, 
with an old-time porch and side benches at the front door. Just 
north of this old homestead was a small hat-finishing shop, and 
on the south a store. The dwelling was removed to East Liberty 
Street, where it is used as a tenement. 

The Pahquioque Hotel was then a private residence occupied 
by Elijah Sanford, wdio had a saddlery at the north end of the 
building. Abel B. Blackman lived in the house now known as 
the Keeler Homestead. He was a shoemaker, and had his shop 
north of the house. 

The house of David Foot stood on the site now occupied by 
Dr. W. F. Lacey. Mr. Foot was a tailor, and his little shoj) 
stood in the southwest comer of his dooryard. If we are not 
mistaken, it was later on moved to the rear of the house. 
' ' ' Squire Foot' ' was a prominent man in that day, and was for 
many years a trying justice of the peace. 

Benjamin Smith lived where was the residence of the late 


Samuel Stebbins. His neighbor on the south was Horace Bull, 
who lived where now stands St. Peter's Church. The old house 
was removed to the since opened Centre Street. Mr. Bull 
was a tailor. He was also a noted singer, and for over thirty 
years was the chorister of the First Congregational Church. He 
was the first milk peddler Danbury had, peddling on the street 
from a cart, and ringing a bell at the customer's door. This 
was in 1840. Up to that time people bought their milk from 
neighbors who owned a cow, sending the children for it ; and at 
this time every fourth family had its cow. 

A tribute to Mr. Bull's musical talent was a remark Judge 
Button, then of the Superior Court, made when in Danbury. 
He said : " I heard Mr. Bull ring his bell this morning, and 
there was really music in it." Mr. Bull's sales amounted to 
about forty quarts a day. 

There was no house between his place and what is now the 
Turner House. The land lying between and running back 
to Town Hill Street was a vacant lot, boggy at the front, with 
meadow at the rear. This piece belonged to the First Congrega- 
tional Society, and the use of it was given to the pastor. 

Joseph Moss White, the father of Colonel E. Moss White, 
lived just northeast of the present Court House. This afterward 
became the property of G. F. Bailey. Mr. White was a surveyor, 
and held a county office as such. From a letter now in the pos- 
session of his descendants, written in Danbury on January 15th, 
1816, the fiftieth anniversary of his marriage, we quote the 
following : 

' ' Fifty years this very day we have been united in the nearest 
relation which can be found in this world. But two couple that 
we certainly know of in the bounds of this whole town that have 
lived together so long as we have, viz.: Mr. Jarvis and wife, 
and Col. Cooke and wife. 

" So near does my dissolution ai^pear that it makes this world 
and all the glory of it dwindle much in my view." 


Major Comstock's store was an important centre of business, 
aside from its traffic in merchandise. In the day of which we 
write there was no bank here, and the only means of exchange 
was through the agency of a distant bank. The Phoenix Bank 


of Hartford had a branch in Litchfield, and Mr. Comstock was 
its agent here. Twice every week the stage plying between 
NorAvalk and Litchfield jiassed through Danbury and took up 
the money and bills collected by Agent Comstock and carried 
them to Litchfield. The major also did a business in iron ore. 
This was received from the mines at Brewster, and jiiled on the 
ground in the rear of his place. 

Where now stands the store long occuj)ied by the late Samuel 
Stebbins stood a shoe shop which as early as 1805 was occupied 
by Colonel Ebenezer D. Starr. 

Friend Starr, previously mentioned, was for twelve years 
sheriff of the county. At that time the sheriff was elected by 
the Legislature. 

Zalmon Wildman was a prominent man in the history of the 
town. He was appointed postmaster in 1805, and held the office 
for a" period of thirty years, when he resigned the position on 
being elected to Congress. This election occurred in the sirring 
of 1835. In the \vinter following he died. Mr. Phillips, men- 
tioned before, was Mr. Wildman' s deputy, and to him Mr. Wild- 
man gave the income from the office. 


The first building was a small one and stood on the corner. 
Next to it was a'store. Both structures stood where is now the 
City Hall. The first was used for varioiis 'purposes. Early in 
the century it was used as a comb shop by Green and Barnum 
until 1815 ; after that it was occupied by a party named Leggetfc 
for fur-cutting. It also was used as a barber shop, a school, and 
a stone-cutting shoji. Subsequently William Gray used it as a 
tailor shop. It now stands on the Danbury and Norwalk Rail- 
w^ay line, opposite the freight depot, where it is occupied as a 

The store was built by Colonel Timothy Taylor in 1800, who 
occuijied it. In 1818 it was rented by Amos and Samuel Steb- 
bins, who did business there until 1839, when the building was 
torn down. Amos died some years before this, and the business 
was conducted by his brother Samiiel. When this place was 
removed Mr. Wildman put up the building across the way, 
where the late Samuel Stebbins did business until his death. 

Next to the store and where is now the ]\Iethodist parsonage 


stood the home of Alanson Hamlin. He was a lawyer. Between 
this and where is now Mrs. Amos Stebbins's residence there was 
no building. It was an open meadow with a pond at the front. 
In 1830 or thereaboiit Thomas T. Whittlesey put up two build- 
ings where now stands the Baptist church. 

In 1838 it was occupied by Benedict & Nichols, who remained 
there iintil 1843. In 1852 they built on the corner of Liberty 
Street, which they now own. After they vacated the conference 
building it was bought by Judge Homer Peters,* who removed 
it to the foot of Liberty Street. The other building was used at 
one time for the publication of the Danbury Recorder, and is 
still standing. 


Where now is the house of Mrs. Amos Stebbins stood at the 
beginning of the century one occupied by Dr. Daniel Com- 
stock. He was the physician of the village, and a man of 
considerable mental attainments. There was an addition to the 
house in which, from 1812 to 1815 or thereabout, was published 
a paper by Nathaniel Skinner. In the last-named year he re- 
moved his office to Bridgeport. 

The next house was that of Major Ezra Starr, who distin- 
guished himself in the Revolution. It was built on the site of 
the one burned by Try on' s troops. In 1830 the property came 

* Many years ago Homer Peters with his wife Nancy and three children lived in 
a little house on Coalpit Hill. Homer and his wife were both employed at the 
" Meeker Hotel," which during court sessions was the resort of the legal fraternity, 
and here Homer received the title of " Judge" [after Judge Peters of the Connecti- 
cut Bar], by which he was known to the day of his death. After a while he fitted 
up a barber shop, and was for years Banbury's " only" barber. He was also the 
town " fiddler," and furnished dancing music for all festivities— good music, too, 
and in his hands one violin held the music and force of a dozen. His " calling off " 
for dances was original, unique, and varied. He would sing direcliona to the tune 
he was playing, adding, when words fell short of notes," A tum a turn turn !" 
In the house which he bought, at the foot of Liberty Street, he had ice cream for 
sale during the summer mouths, and the place was well patronized. 

Homer's wit was quick and keen, and could all his stories and apt sayings be 
gathered together, they would fill a volume. On one occasion a good lady was 
talking to Homer upon the subject of his soul's salvation, and said to him, " Homer, 
you know more than most of your race." " Humph !" said Homer, " or yours 
either;" which so broke up the lady, who had a keen sense of humor, that the 
religious conversation was permanently deferred. 

Homer, Nancy, the two daughters and one son are all dead, but there are many 
living who remember them well and kindly. 


into tlie possession of Starr Nichols, who moved back the major's 
house and built the one now occupied by Mrs. D. P. Nichols. 
Major Starr had a large family, but none of its members have a 
residence in Danbury now. 

The next dwelling was occupied by Colonel Elias Starr, and is 
now the residence of Edmund Allen. The colonel was a teacher, 
and his school was in the next building, now a tenement, and 
twenty years ago occupied by L. H. Boughton as a shoe store. 

There was no other building until near the corner of Wooster 
Street, where stood the " Academy," a public school of the 
higher order. For many years the lamented Irwin taught there, 
and a number of our gray-haired citizens drank in knowledge at 
that fountain. 


The present Court House was built in 1823-24. Its predecessor 
was a box-shaped affair of two stories, with a little chunked 
cupola on its roof. The first floor was used for some time as a 
place of worship for the Universalists, until they built the struc- 
ture across the way, that in later years became the church of St. 
Peter's parish. In front of the old Court House stood the whip- 
ping-post and stocks, and both institutions passed away with 
the building. The stocks fell into disuse a long time before the 
whipping-post was abolished. Whippings were frequent in the 
early days of the century. The punishment was inflicted by 
justices' decisions as well as by court decrees, although much 
lighter in the former cases. The whipping was generally done 
by the deputy sheriff. The late Aaron Seeley and Samuel Wild- 
man, as deputy sheriffs, and Levi Starr, as constable, presided 
at the post. 

The last known case of whipping in this section was in Brook- 
field. The victim was a Danbury man. There was a reunion in 
Brookfield of the veterans of the War of 1812-14, and the attend- 
ance from neighboring towns was quite large. The village store, 
which sold New England rum as well as other groceries, was 
doing an immense business. There were two openings in the 
counter above the money-drawer, one for silver and the other 
for bills. When the money was received it was put through 
these openings. The Danbury man (whose name it is not neces- 
sary to mention) lounged about on the counter, a most innocent- 


looking party. He had in his possession a bit of stick with tar 
on the end of it. When the merchant and his assistants ran to 
the door to look at the doings outside, he would push the stick 
down into the opening for bills, and by the help of the adhesive 
tar would draw up one. 

At night the merchant discovered the loss. The Danbury man 
who had lounged on the counter was suspected. He was fol- 
lowed to Danbury, arrested, and the money with tar marks 
found in his possession. He was taken to Brookfield, confessed 
his crime, and was publicly and severely whipped. 

The Court House was first used for elections in 1820. Pre- 
vious to that time they were held in the church of the First 
Congregational Society at the foot of West Street. The assem- 
blages on elections in that time were much different from those 
of to-day, the difference being decidedly in favor of our fore- 
fathers. The meeting was opened with prayer. The people 
were quiet and orderly, and ticket peddling, lobbying, and loud- 
voiced discussions were unknown then. What was called the 
stand-up ballot prevailed in that day in voting for legislative 
bodies. The Federalists occupied one side of the house and the 
Republicans the other. On a candidate being announced those 
in his favor rose and were counted. Then the opposition can- 
didate was given, and those who favored him arose and were 
counted. The result was then summed up and announced, and 
the election proceeded to the next office. 

Colonel Joseph Piatt Cooke was a Federalist of a pronounced 
tyi^e, and a man of pronounced opinion on any subject he 
espoused. He could not endure opposition. It is related of 
him on one occasion where he presided at an electors' meeting, 
that, the opposition candidate receiving a majority of the vote, 
the old gentleman put on his cocked hat and stalked angrily 
out of the building, leaving the meeting to take care of itself. 

In 1818 the ' ' stand-up' ' vote was repealed. 


The present handsome jail building was erected in 1872. Its 
predecessor was of stone, and was built in 1830. The building 
before that was a frame structure with barred windows, out of 
which a modern housebreaker would have made his exit in less 
than no time. There was no building between the jail and the 


present estate of the late Aaron Seeley. The " saddle factory" 
was not bnilt until 1836. It was occupied by Elias S. Sanford 
and William B. Fry in the manufacture of saddles and harness. 
The firm had a store in New Orleans. The manufacture was 
carried on for about four years, when the failure of the firm 
broke up the business. In 1840 or thereabouts Stone & Wad- 
hems rented the front of the building for a store, and remained 
there three or four years. James S. Taylor and his brother 
Granville did business there after that, and when they left the 
building became a tenement. Several years ago the greater part 
of it was destroyed by fire. 

The store on the Seeley estate stood where is now the resi- 
dence. It was at one time occupied by Amos and Samuel Steb- 
bins. Next to that was a tavern built of brick. It is now the 
residence of Miss Helen Meeker. The tavern was built by Major 
Whiting at the close of the last century. Henry S. Whiting, a 
son of the builder, kept the tavern until 1816 or thereabouts, 
when the late Aaron Seeley became its host, and remained in 
charge some fourteen years. The hotel was a popular resort, 
and a stopping-place for the stages that ran from New York to 
Litchfield. In those days its capacious yard and stabling were 
the scene of much activity. Henry Whiting went to Herldmer, 
N. Y., from Danbury, engaged there in the tavern business, and 
died there. There is none of the family in Danbury. 

The house next to the tavern, and now known as the Bedient 
Place, was until 1830 occupied by two brothers, Darius and John 

The next building was occupied by Nathaniel Wood, who was 
a shoemaker, and had a shop in his yard. 

Just north of William H. Clark's residence, and on his prop- 
erty, is a brick dwelling which was built by Fairchild Wildman, 
who kept a store there for many years, and it was also occupied 
by Warden Clark and Nelson Crane for this purpose. In 1865 
it was converted into a dwelling. 

On its site stood a building owned by Zachariah Griswold, 
who occulted it about 1820 for a suspender manufactory. It 
was not a successful venture, altliough Mr. Griswold did quite 
a business at one time. 

The present residence of Mr. Clark dates back from the last 
century. At one time in the last decade of the eighteenth cen- 


tury a room in it was iised as the oflBce of the village pajier, the 
Repiiblican Farmer, published by Stiles Nichols, and the build- 
ing itself was the dwelling of one of the projjrietors. Mr. Clark 
retains a door in which are the nails that held the various prints 
which it was once customary to tack on the printing-ofBce door. 
For many years the place belonged to Hiram Barnes, the famous 
stage man, and from its gates his four-in-hands have gallantly 
trotted, to the great delight of the village youth. 

The house now occupied by Representative Charles H. Hoyt 
was long the residence of Everett Ames, grandfather of Mrs. 
Hoyt. At the beginning of the century it was occupied by 
Joshua Benedict, who was a saddle manufacturer, and made 
saddles in the building. Afterward it was the residence of Sam- 
uel Jennings. Next on the south was Dr. Daniel N. Carring- 
ton, who was a prominent citizen and was several times sent to 
the Legislature. 

David Wood owned the house next. Eighty years ago it was 
a tavern under his management. He subsequently kept the 
tavern where now stands the Turner House. Next to his place 
were the dwelling and hat factory of Ezra Wildman. Next was 
the dwelling of Miss Ann Bennett. 

Following it came the residence of Eliakim Peck, which still 
stands. Mr. Peck was a blacksmith, and his shop stood on the 
corner where is now the old Episcopal church tenement. He 
was a strong Episcopalian, a man of marked hospitable traits, 
and his shop and home were the resort of people fond of enter- 
tainment and given to discussion. In those days there were 
no iires in churches, and the worshippers in the Episcopal church 
(then on South Street) used to go to Mr. Peck's home Sundays, 
between service, to get warm. 


We left the east side at the Court House. The first buUding 
on the south was the dwelling of Jesse Skellinger. He had a 
carriage shop next to it. The place was subsequently occupied 
by John Rider. 

Next to it was a small building owned and occupied as a 
silversmith shop by John S. Blackman, father of F. S. Black- 
man, who conducted the same business until a few years ago. 
The senior' s wares were of the genuine metal, and many of the 


spoons lie sold sixty years ago with his name upon them are now 
in the possession of our older families. 

Then came the residence of Matthew B. Whittlesey, father of 
the late E. B. Whittlesey. The dwelling next was the property 
of E. S. Sanford, the tanner, who had a shoe shop there. 

Next came a dwelling whose occupant's name we do not know. 
It still stands. 

Captain John Rider lived where now George St. John resides. 
Samuel Wildman and Fairchild, his son, lived in the house now 
occupied by Mrs. Samuel C. Wildman. The store and dwelling 
of John Dodd came next. 

Following this was the house of Epaphras W. Bull, a promis- 
ing young lawyer, who went to Ohio in 1810, to grow up with 
the great West, and shortly after died there. The house was 
later owned by Curtis Clark. Captain James Clark owned a 
small dwelling next south. 

Following this was the residence of Philo Calhoun, father of 
the president of the Fourth National Bank in New York City. 

Next came the McLean house, which was built just after the 
Revolutionary War near the site of the one destroyed at the 
burning of Danbury, and was for many years occupied by Mr. 
McLean and his descendants. At the time of the conflagra- 
tion some Continental money buried upon the grounds was 
scorched by the heat. These bills were known for many years 
as " the McLean money." It was said by Colonel Moss White 
that "John McLean could walk from Ridgefield to Newtown 
without stepping off of his own land." The old knocker which 
was on the front door was of English make, and probably 
brought from Scotland. It is now on the door of the residence 
of the late Horace Marsliall, opposite Elmwood Park. The -nafe 
of John McLean was Deborah Adams, of the family of John and 
John Quincy Adams. Lilly McLean, their daughter, married 
William Chappell, and their family occupied the house for many 

Mr. Chappell was a great-great-grandson of William ChappeU, 
tutor of John Milton, who left that position to take the provost- 
ship of Dublin University, and was afterward made Bishop of 
Cork. His son, president of Dublin University, came to this 
country with. Bishop Berkeley. They started for the Bermudas, 
but were blown astray and landed in Rhode Island, with the 


intention of founding there a college, but funds from England 
were not forthcoming, and Mr. Chappell went to New London, 
where many of his descendants remain. Afterward he went to 
New Haven, wliere he married Patience Ogden, a descend- 
ant of Parson Ogden, and she died in Danbury. 

On the corner of South Street, in the yard of the house occu- 
pied by the late Charles Eider, stood, fifty or more years ago, a 
store kept by a man named Griswold. It was burned and not 


The most prominent house then on the street, because directly 
facing Main Street, was the residence of Daniel Taylor. The 
house was built soon after the bui'ning of Danbury, on the site 
of the one then destroyed, and has changed but little in the past 
century. Mr. Taylor was a hatter. 

The dwelling of Eliakim Benedict came next, and is still 
standing. Two small dwellings followed, but by whom occupied 
we do not know. Adjoining was the home of E. S. Griffin, who 
died at an advanced age not many years ago. 

West of Samuel Brunker's place was the dwelling of Comfort 
Hoyt, who was a farmer. Beyond that was meadow land until 
where is now the home of Mrs. A. N. Sharp. Then stood the 
residence of Walter Dibble, farmer. 

On the corner of the street leading to Coalpit Hill was a 
house occupied by Thomas Flynn. Next came the home of 
Harry Taylor, who was a farmer. 

His next neighbor was Lemuel Taylor, and next to him was 
Joel Stone, who did not appear to have any particular occupa- 
tion, but at one time carried the mail between Danbury and New 


Captain Ezra Dibble lived where is now the residence of Joseph 
Bates. He was grandfather to Miss Mary Bull. He was a large 
farmer, and owned nearly aU the land in that neighborhood. 
He was noted for his generous help of the needy. 

There was no other house until the place of Amos Hoyt was 
reached. He was a tanner, shoemaker, and deacon. The home- 
stead of the late Ira Morse was then occupied by Captain Peter 


Starr, grandfather of Mrs. Morse. He was a blacksmith and a 
prominent citizen of that day. 

East of Captain Starr's place was the residence (since remov^ed) 
of Daniel Frost. The old Dibble house came next. It was 
built before the Revolution, and became famous in local history 
as the house where Wooster died. Next came the home of 
William Chappell. 

No other building occupied the interval between his place and 
the old Episcopal church, which stood in the west end of the 
present graveyard, which was its churchyard. The South Centre 
District school stood close by, as at present. 

In the time of which w^e write To^vti Hill Avenue had but 
three houses. It was not an avenue then, but simply a lane, 
running around from Liberty Street as it does now, and connect- 
ing with South Street. It was then commonly known as " Nig- 
gers' Lane," although the hill itself bore its present name. 
Why it was called Toion Hill we do not know. Perhaps because 
there was no town on it, nor any likely to be. 

One of the three houses was owned and occupied by Agur 
Hoyt, father-in-law of the late venerable Amos Morris. He 
lived on the east side of the street. 

There was a low-browed house across the way which was 
occupied by Aunt Liz Henry. Aunt Liz was an aged maiden of 
decrepit form, po^uilarly supposed to be a witch, although no 
more direct evidence of this than mere surmise, hatched from 
the brain of the superstitious, was ever laid at her dingy door. 

Near to where Turner Street now intersects Town Hill Avenue 
stood a building occupied by a negro named Peter Stockbridge. 
It is remarkable what a great matter a little fire kindleth. As 
near as we can get at it the name of the lane came from this 
single family of colored people. 

There were no more buildings until the foot of Liberty Street 
was reached. There, where is now Railway Avenue, stood the 
extensive tannery of Starr & Sanford. The business of the 
tanner, like that of the fuller, has concentrated at prominent 
centres since that day. Then tanneries and fulling shops were 
distributed throughout the land, Danbury having several of 
each. The Starr & Sanford tannery, with its vats and bark 
buildings, extended almost to the present railway track. 

The only dwelling then on Liberty Street was occupied by 


Mrs. Betsey Starr, widow of Colonel Ebenezer Dibble Starr, who 
was a shoemaker. He died in 1816. The house stood on the 
site of the present residence of the Misses Rockwell. 


The first house was the dwelling of Elijah Gregory, where 
now is the rectory of St. James's Church. He was a blacksmith, 
and had his shop in one corner of the yard. Mr. Gregory was 
a somewhat prominent man, and was sent to the Legislature. 
The house was a large frame building, and now stands on George 
Street, where it has become a tenement. 

The next house was that in which John Fry lived, and where 
now stands Dr. W. H. Rider's residence. He was a hat manu- 
facturer, and had his shop on the premises. Prior to his occu- 
pancy Benedict Gregory owned the premises. This was in 1812. 
In 1827 Fry, Gregory & Co. occupied the shop. After this Mr. 
Gregory went to Dayton, O., where he died. Ohio, and espe- 
cially Dayton, called away a number of people from Danbury 
in the first years of the present century. 

Next came the place of Ezra Gregory, grandfather of Mr. 
L. P. Hoyt. He lived where Mrs. C H. Reed now does, and 
had a small tannery in the rear of his house. He was a shoe- 

Next to him was the home of Uncle Matthew Gregory, now 
occupied by the family of the late Ephraim Gregory. He was 
a farmer. Between the two places is now New Street. This 
street was opened mainly through the exertions of Thomas T. 
Whittlesey, and it was named after him, but the name was sub- 
sequently changed by a borough meeting. 

Nathan Gregory lived where is now the large double house 
owned by the estate of Charles Benedict. He was a fuller of 
cloth, and the buildings used for that purpose stood on the 
premises. The manufacture of cloth in those days was strictly 
a domestic industry. The wool or flax (linen) was bought of the 
stores. The housewife spun it into threads on her spinning- 
wheels. It was then woven into cloth, and after that taken to 
the fuller, who dressed and colored it. The process was some- 
thing similar to the making of rag carpets in a later day. There 
are fine linen sheets preserved in Danbury to-day which were 
made from the flax ninety years ago. 


Rev. Israel Ward owned the place occupied by the late Ira 
Dibble. He was the pastor of the First Congregational Church, 
and lies buried in the Wooster Cemetery. He died in 1810. 
After his death the house, which was built before the Eevolu- 
tion, passed into the possession of Samuel Dibble, whose grand- 
daughters occupy it to-day. He was a miller, and his first mill 
was on Main Sti'eet. His second and last mill stood where is 
now White's fur factory, on Beaver Street. Mr. Dibble was 
"always noted for taking honest toll." In those days people 
got their flour principally from the mills, buying or raising the 
grain and giving a portion of it to the miller for grinding. Rye 
flour was the staple, although corn meal was considerably used. 
Benjamin Knapp, who figured as a caterer to several of Try on' s 
oflicers, was remarkably fond of Indian meal, and it was said of 
him that a pudding of that meal graced his dinner-table every 
day in the year. AVheat was not a common grain then, and its 
flour was used principally for pie-crust and the finer grades of 

The remaining house on that side of the street was occupied 
by Caleb Starr, grandfather of Charles P. Starr and Mrs. F. S. 
Wildman. His house stood just west of Harmony Street, on 
West. He was a farmer, and owned a great deal of land. 


Colonel Taylor, merchant, lived where stands the residence 
of the late F. S. Wildman in a story and a half house, of 
double pattern, with a long, sloping roof. Subsequently the 
house passed into the possession of Seymour Wildman, uncle 
of Frederick. The latter tore it down in 1842 and built 
the present place. Before this the old house was occupied 
by several families. Judge Reuben Booth lived there at one 
time, and Miss Eunice Seeley kept a school there for young 
women. She subsequently moved to Rochester, where she died. 

There was no other house until that of Andrew Beers was 
reached, which stood on the site of the j)resent residence of Mrs. 
Charles Hull. Mr. Beers was a delver in astronomy and a prom- 
inent cultivator of weather. For several years he prepared an 
acceptable almanac, which had a circulation throughout the 
United States. "Andi-ew Beers (Philom.) " was a familiar address 
to many families. His almanac was the origin of the " Middle- 

* l\ 

.T , -^--•|r*"iij'"'°|5-'.i 

ra: ^ \ '■'1 vJ'^^fe'* ....V 'is «3 

llllillllll.llll ||||ll|!!|| p^ llltiillill ili!illlllllillllllilllinnn.\l 


Caleb Staub Uu.mkstead, West St. 

Dibble Homestead, West St. 
Built Before the Revolution. 


brooks." A remark attributed to liim and in general currency- 
seventy years ago was that " grass wouldn't start to grow until 
thunder shook the earth." 

Mr. Beers lies buried in the old Eijiscopal churchyard in South 
Street. The following inscription is on his headstone : 

" in memory of 

Andrew Beers, Esq., 

Bom in Newtown, 

August 10, 1749, 

Died in Danbury, 

Sept. 20, 1824, 
75 years, 1 month. 

" ' Life and the grave 

Two different lessons give — 
Life teaclies how to die, 
Death how to live.' " 

The next house was that of Joseph Benedict, who was a tailor. 
It was moved back on George Street, where it still stands. 

Next came the dwelling of Joseph Hoyt Gregory, who was a 
hatter, and had his factory by his house. He moved to Indiana 
in 18.30, and there died. 

Farther on, and where now stands the homestead of the late 
L. Wildman, lived Abial Phillips. Samuel Dibble lived there 
before he bought the Ward place. The house was removed years 
ago. Division Street was then an oi^en road, containing no 

The last house on West Street stands there now, close to the 
pond. Sixty years ago it was occupied by Ezra Boughton. It 
now belongs to Mr. A. M. White. Mr. Boughton was a dresser 
of cloth, and had his works by his home. 

The only house in the entire length of Deer Hill was occupied 
by Munson Gregory. It stood where E. A. Housman now lives, 
and was torn down some years ago. Rev. William Andrews 
lived here during his pastorate of the First Church. 

Wooster Street was not considered a street, but a road. It 
had no house until that of Eli Jarvis was reached. Nearly 
opposite lived Eli Wildman, a farmer. 

Lovers' Lane contained one house, a small one. It stood near 


to where is now Beacli Wilson's place. Lovers' Lane was a 
popular name for this road many years ago, and everybody in 
Danbury knew of it. As late as twenty years ago a good part 
of it was shaded by overhanging branches. It is not now 
a walk for the sentimental, and perhaps not more than half of 
our citizens know where it is. 

The house now owned by Mrs. B. Crofut, on the Mountain- 
ville Road, was in that day occupied by Benjamin Griffin. 

There were but three houses on White Street, and no dwell- 
ings on the north side of the street, unless we count the place of 
Mr. Knapp, corner of Main Street. On the south side the first 
house was owned by Abel B. Gregory, who was a farmer. 

Next came the large house of Noah Knapp, son of Benjamin 
Knapp. It is supposed to have been built on the close of the 
war, if not before it. Noah was a farmer. 

There was no other dwelling on the road until where is now 
Nursery Avenue. A large dwelling, the property of Zalmon 
Wildman, father of Frederick S., stood there. 


At the east end of this street, on the north side, the first house 
was the dwelling of Zelotes Robinson. He was a butcher, and 
began the peddling business with a wheelbarrow. He was among 
the first peddlers of meat in Danbury. Alvin Hurd also lived 
there. He was a hat manufacturer. Mr. Hurd's factory stood 
on the river. 

On the corner of River Street was the next house. It was 
occupied by Dorastus Green, a laborer. 

On the south side there were but two buildings. One of 
these was the dwelling of Rory Starr, father of the late George 
Starr. The other was his shop, and is now Daniel Starr's box 
shop. Mr. Starr was a builder, and a very extensive one, too. 
He did most of the building in those days, when houses with 
their gable ends to the street began to make their appearance 
here. Many of our older substantial residences were constructed 
by Mr. Starr, the most conspicuous being the residence of Fred- 
erick S. Wildman, which we believe was the last he put up. 
Mr. Starr was elected to the Legislature, serving in both the 
House and Senate. He was a Methodist, and an active member 
of the local church. 



That portion of Elm Street which runs over Eabbit Hill con- 
tained but four houses. These were small, and it is not known 
who occupied them. Two of them were tenements belonging to 
Colonel Russell White. 

In one of these houses lived a man who was noted in the vil- 
lage as shiftless and improvident. He was a wagoner by profes- 
sion, but scarcely by practice. His wife was entirely opposite- 
in nature. She was both industrious and fnrgal, and, like such 
people, had an ambition. Hers was to have a home of her own, 
or a homestead, as she termed it. Her want was frequently, if 
not daily, presented to her husband. Finally, becoming im- 
patient with her demand, he told her one day, "My dear, I 
would get you a homestead in a minute if I had anywhere to 
put it." This covered the subject completely, and the poor 
woman never again put in her petition for a homestead. 

Rabbit Hill was thus called because its gravel pits and clumps 
of brush were the home of that animal. Gallows Hill is the 
mass of rock at the head of the street, near the pond. 


The classical name of River Street in the early days of the 
town's history was Pumpkin Ground. The hill which skirts its 
west side was in spots devoted to the culture of that plain-look- 
ing but excellent vegetable. 

River Street was a mere lane, and ran to the east of its present 
location. Dorastus Green's house, which stood on the corner of 
Elm, had a well within eight feet of the front door. The present 
roadway now covers the well. Rabbit Hill was so steep in that 
day that a half cord of wood was about all a team could haul up 
it. Mr. Green's house sat perched upon a high bank. The 
street was opened by Colonel Russell White for the convenience 
of his factory business. A good part of the hill on the west side 
belonged to Rory Starr. 

Richard Lovelace, who was a miller, lived opposite S. C. Holly 
& Co. 's factory. The house still stands. 

Next to him lived William Earle. His place also remains. 
There were but two more houses. One of them was occupied by 
Jonathan Leggett, a fur-cutter. The other was the dwelling of 


Sergeant Joseph Moore. Both, yet remain. At the farther end 
of the street, near White's factories, lived Anthony Buxton. 


There were but two houses on this street (which is popularly 
known as Rose Hill). One of these was occupied by Ephraim 

Lower down the hill lived Samuel Curtis. His house has been 
gone for years. He was for a long time sexton of the First 
Church, and was known to the young and old of his day as 
simply " Sam.'' 


There were but two houses on North Street eighty years ago. 
One of these was the property of Ezra Barnum, a farmer. The 
second house was a small building, since removed, which stood 
on Mrs. Benedict's lot. At a later day, seventy years ago or 
thereabouts, there was a hat factory on the street. It stood 
near the bridge, on the north side. 


There was but one house on the north side of this now pretty, 
well-built-up street. This was the dwelling of Stephen Gregory. 
On the south side the first house was that on the corner of Rose 
Street ; in the rear stood the Methodist meeting-house of that 
day. George Lovelace lived next. The third and last house on 
that side was occupied by Darius Barnum. 


FROM 1820 TO 1840. 

In 1822 the first Universalist service was held in this town at 
the house of one of that faith in the district of Great Plain. 

In 1824 the bank now known as the Danbury National Bank 
was established. It was organized under the laws of the State. 

In 1829 the first fire companies were organized. This was the 
beginning of the Danbury Fire Department. Previous to this 
fires were fought by a bucket brigade. A line of citizens was 
formed extending from the nearest water supply to the fire, 
and a filled bucket was passed from one citizen to another along 
the line until it reached the fire, when it was thrown thereon. 
One bucket followed another in rapid succession, the empty 
buckets being passed back by a second line of men. 

At the census of 1830 Danbury showed a population of 4311. 
In this year a project to build a canal from tide- water at West- 
port to Danbury was agitated, and a survey was made, but the 
project failed. 

In 1834 pipe-water was first introduced in Danbury. The 
supply came from Tweedy's Spring, in the hill-side at the north 
end of Main Street. This was a private enterprise, called the 
Wooster Water Company. 

In 1835 a second attempt to get closer communication -with 
tide- water was made. This scheme was to build a horse rail- 
road from Danbury to Norwalk ; but, like the canal enterprise, 
it failed to carrJ^ A survey was made following somewhat the 
line of the present steam railway. 

In 1838 the first Catholic church service was held in Danbury. 

Prior to the incorporation of the borough of Danbury, the 
township of Danbury was divided into and governed by two 
ecclesiastical societies. One was called the "old" society. 
This embraced in its territory that portion of the township now 
known as the town of Danbury. The other was called the 


"new" society, and took in the territory now called Bethel. 
Both were under the same town government. In 1855 the mem- 
bers of the latter society petitioned the legislature to be set oflE 
from Danbury as a separate town. The petition was granted. 

In 1869 the upper portion of what is called Grassy Plain Street, 
in the southern part of this town, was set off to the town of 

In the last century slavery existed in this county, and there 
were slaves in Danbury. It will be remembered by the reader 
that one of the killed in the British raid upon this place was a 
negro slave. In the papers printed here between 1790 and 1800 
occasional advertisements appear offering rewards for the recov- 
ery of runaway slaves, and on several occasions a slave was 
offered for sale. 

Along in 1830 began the anti-slavery or abolition crusade in 
organized form. In the autumn of 1838 there was quite an ex- 
citement in this part of the county in consequence of the effort 
made to organize anti-slavery societies. Dr. Erastus Hudson 
and Rev. Nathaniel Colver were appointed agents by the Con- 
necticut Anti-Slavery Society to evangelize the State, and in 
October came into this county on that mission. They lectured 
in many towns, in most of which their meetings were disturbed, 
and in some cases broken up by mob violence. 

In Danbury their meetings were held in the Baptist church, 
then standing on West Wooster Street, near Deer Hill Avenue. 
Danbury at that time was largely engaged in the Southern hat 
trade, and we can easily see why there was so much opposition 
against the efforts made to form anti-slavery, or, as they were 
usually denominated, abolition societies here. It would not 
answer to have our Southern brethren know that societies were 
forming here to act against their " divine institution." 

While Mr. Colver was delivering his lecture, an attack was 
made upon the church, stones were freely thrown, windows 
broken, and Mr. Colver narrowly escaped personal injury. 

Prom persons present at that affair we gather the following 
information : About the hour for the commencement of the lec- 
ture the sound of a trumpet was heard near the Court House, 
when immediately the streets were filled with men coming from 
every direction, who proceeded at once to the Baptist church 
and interrupted the service, but Mr. Colver proceeded and fin- 


ished his lecture. After the services were concluded the speaker 
was escorted by two constables to a wagon and taken to the 
house of Rev. E. C Ambler. The house was surrounded by a 
noisy crowd, but no violence was offered. 

April 10th, 1839, the Society met in the Court House at Dan- 
bury, and was called to order by Isaac Crofut, vice-president. 
Delegates were present from Brookfield, Danbury, New Fair- 
field, Newtown, Sherman, Weston, and the Zoar Societies. Sev- 
eral strong resolutions were read, debated, and adopted. The 
convention provided for the publication of its proceedings in 
the Charter Oak, of Hartford, and the Danbury Times, and 
appointed Charles Fairman as a delegate to the anniversary of 
the American Anti-Slavery Society to be held in New York 

FROM 1840 TO 1860. 

At the taking of the census in 1840 the population was shown 
to be 4504. 

Municipally the chief event in the two decades was the intro- 
duction of illuminating gas, the organization of a hook and 
ladder company, and the inception of the project to introduce 
public water. Other important events were the dedication of 
the Wooster Monument, organization of the Wooster Cemetery 
Association, establishment of the Danbury Savings Bank, com- 
pletion of the Danbury and Norwalk Railway, establishment of 
the Pahquioque Bank, organization of the Wooster Light Guards 
(the first company in the State to respond to the call for troops 
to fight the Rebellion), and the building of churches — viz., the 
Disciples, Second Congregational, Episcopalian, Baptist, Uni- 
versalist, Methodist, and First Congregational. These latter 
are treated at length in the chapters devoted to the histories of 
the several societies. 

Hluminating gas was introduced in 1857 by a stock company. 
There was considerable work done before the proposition took 
with our people who had money to invest, but once fairly 
started, investors came in, and the company was organized. The 
Danbury Times, under date of March 10th, 1857, says of the 
enterprise : 

" Within the past week, without any extra effort, the stock 
of the ' Danbury Gas Light Company ' has all been taken, and 


the success of the project seems to be placed beyond the shade 
of a doubt. The energy which has thus far characterized this 
movement encourages the belief that we have entered upon an 
era destined to be marked by a more speedy realization of ideas 
of a practical character than has hitherto been the case. 

" The spirit and activity displayed by our mercantile com- 
munity, in availing themselves of every facility to render this a 
most desirable and profitable market to the purchaser, will re- 
ceive a new impulse by the introduction of gaslight, under 
which the taste and liberality exhibited in the selection of their 
wares may be seen and appreciated ; but their necessities in this 
respect are not alone to be taken into consideration. 

' ' In connection with the call for more light from our manu- 
factories, the efforts which have recently been made to secure a 
safe and permanent light from lesser expedients, in private resi- 
dences, indicates that the ' Gas Company ' should commence 
operations at as early a day as possible, that the period between 
anticipation and reality may be endured with some degree of 

It will be noted that nothing is said in the above of street 
lighting as a need of the hour and a source of revenue to the 
company. It is likely the incorporators had this in view ; but 
it was three years later before the borough voted to use gas to 
light the streets. 

The incorporators of the enterprise were Frederick L. Wild- 
man, George W. Ives, E. S. Tweedy, Henry Benedict, NeUon 
L. WJute, George Hull, D. P. Nichols, William R. White, 
WiUiam H. Clark, Augustus Wildman, I. W. Ives. 

Henry Benedict was chosen president, and I. W. Ives clerk 
and treasurer. The names in italics are those who were made 

In the fall of 1860 twelve street gas-lamps were ordered by the 
borough. They were located as follows : Corner of North and 
Main streets ; corner Franklin and Main ; corner White and 
Main ; corner Main and Liberty ; north end of the park, south 
end of the park ; corner Deer Hill and West ; corner Elm and 
River ; corner of Liberty and Railroad Avenue ; front of the resi- 
dence of Mrs. Botsford (now J. W. Bacon's); lower end of gas 
main ; on Main, equal distance between Elm and Franklin. 

On April 13th, 1887, the Legislature passed an act changing 

Pahquioque Hotei 
wooster iiouse. 


the name of the company to the Danbury and Bethel Gas and 
Electric Light Company. In December of the same year the 
capital of the company was increased to $200,000. In May, 1888, 
the company purchased the plant of the Danbnry Schiiyler 
Electi-ic Light Company, and in the latter part of the same year 
changed the process of making gas to the one now in use. There 
are one hundred and nineteen street electric lights in the city of 

In the fall of 18.54 E. B. Stevens, then a well-known citizen of 
Danbury, removed to Illinois. He was born and reared in Pem- 
broke District. In his early manhood he was associated with 
Peter Rowan in the mason business. The foundation of the 
Wooster House and that of the Danbnry and Norwalk railway 
station were laid by them, also the foundation for the "Wooster 
Monument in the Wooster Cemetery. The stone for the monu- 
ment was received at the station on April 17th in a snow-storm, 
Avhich continued the next day, and was so severe that the work 
u]Don the foundation was delayed for several days. 

At the time Mr. Stevens left Danbnry, North Street, from the 
residence of the late Peter Rowan to the corner of Main Street, 
contained but two dwellings ; from the corner of Main and North 
streets to Patch Street there were but three houses, one on the 
east side and two on the west. From Patch Street to " Addis's 
Store' ' there were three houses on the east side and two on the 
west. On the corner of Franklin Street was a hat shop, then 
known as Tweedy's linishing shop. 

Messrs. Stebbins & Wildman, hatters, occupied a shop on Elm 
Street, corner of River. William Montgomery carried on hatting 
in a shop at the corner of Montgomery and West streets. 
White's fur shop was in operation at the present site on Beaver 
Street, but on a much smaller scale. Starr & Crofut were millers, 
and occupied a mill where now stands the factory of Peter Rob- 
inson & Sons. 

The old Pahquioque Hotel was doing duty, and was considered 
the place, though the Turner and Wooster Houses somewhat 
eclipsed its glory and took a share of the patronage. 

White Street was then known as Barren Plain Road. Where 
now the substantial iron bridge sjjans the river was then a low, 
wooden structure, by the side of which was a crossing where 
people were accustomed to drive to water their horses or oxen. 


Alders bordered the river, fishing was fair, and it was a fine 
l^lace for boys to bathe. 

The old Bell place, removed to make place for the lumber yard 
of Osborn Brothers, was the first house east of Main Street. 

The Osbornite church stood nearly opposite the New England 
Hotel. The Methodist church was on the site of the present 
Disciples' church on Liberty Street. The Universalist church 
was at the corner of Main and Wooster streets. The First Con- 
gregational church stood where now is the Soldiers' Moniinient. 
The Baptist church until 1848 was on the corner of Deer Hill 
Avenue and Wooster Street. 

On the Ban-en Plain Road there were but two houses from 
the Osbornite church to Beaver Brook, the residence of Deacon 
John Beard and the old Sturdevant place. Only two or three 
houses were located on Town Hill. On South Street, east from 
Main, there were but three dwellings. On West Street, from 
Main Street to the river, were not more than a half dozen 

Where now are Balmforth and Maple avenues, with their many 
beautiful residences, there was but meadow and pasture-land, 
seldom visited except on " training days." 

The business centre of the town was then considered to lie 
between West Street and the Court House. All has been 
changed, and but few old landmarks are recognized. 

It may not be amiss to mention here two local poets of Dan- 
bury, whose writings ai'e found scattered along through the files 
of the Danbury Times from 1840 to 1860 and still later. These 
were James W. Nichols and H. B. Wildman, both of Great Plain 

James White Nichols, son of Ebenezer Nichols, was born 
October 15th, 1809, in the same room in which he died on Sep- 
tember 17th, 1875. 

The following is taken from his note-book, now in possession 

of his widow : 

December 20, 1863. 

During the past autumn I received a visit from my dear and 
only brother, William Nichols, of Cooperstown, N. Y. On re- 
tiring to rest, as I accompanied him into his room, he said to 


me, " James, draw up tlie curtain of tlie east window, so that 
I can see the sun rise as I used to in the days of my boyhood. 
I always loved to see it, and I want to behold it again on the 
morrow." I accordingly drew up the curtain to the upper panes 
and retired. The following morning the sun rose clear and 
beautiful, and my brother expressed great satisfaction at the 
sight, saying he enjoyed it greatly. Upon his simple request I 
wrote the following lines. My brother was then in his seventy- 
seventh year. 

Raise the curtain for me, brother, 

Let my eyes one more feast, 
And my heart enjoy another 

Sunrise in the golden east. 
In the room witli infant wonder 

Where I lirst beheld the light. 
I would once more gaze and ponder 

On the glad and glorious sight. 

Raise the curtain for me, brother, 

Let me look tomorrow morn 
From this parlor where my mother 

Alwa3's told me I was born. 
'Twas to me a heartfelt pleasure 

When in youth's outgushing thrill, 
Now 'tis age's unfading treasure 

To behold that glory still. 

Raise the curtain for me, brother, 

Shut out from the inner sight 
Every gleam from every other, 

But let this be clear and bright — 
Daylight of the coming morrow. 

Trembling through each crystal pane — 
Never yet a sight of sorrow 

I would see its flush again. 

Raise the curtain for me, brother. 

Who can tell if yet there be. 
On life's highway such another 

Blessed sight for me to see. 
Yes ; I'll mark with joy unfailing 

All its golden tints unfold. 
For the shadows graveward trailing 

Tell me I am growing old. 

In quite another vein are the next verses, evidently written 
out of the fulness of his heart : 


Addressed to an Excellent Lady. 

I've had such a blowing, dear Mary ! I never 
Had one so astounding and fearful ; that's flat : 

'Tis plain I must eschew the ladies forever, 
Or wear a more trim and respectable hat— 

A hat that is newer, and holes in it fewer, 
A more prepossessing and elegant hat. 

In vain to the pleadings I stuck a rejoinder, 

" I'd no thought of walking so tar," and all that ; 

In the place of a blessing I got a side winder. 
In walking abroad in that ugly old liat. 

With brim that was shattered aud crown sadly battered. 
That awful old, dreadful old plug of a hat. 

" If you can't appear better when out with the ladies. 
If you haven't a little pride left about dress. 

You'd better ship oS to Sahara or Cadiz, 
And dwell among Arabs or pagan Chinese ;" 

And plainly thus speaking, I got a sound breaking 
Of wearing abroad such a wretched old hat. 

I'd no thought of hurting an animate being. 
Or care if the nation knew what I was at. 

But this didn't hinder a sharp eye from seeing 
I'd gone through the gate in that rusty old hat, 

Which to wear was a pity, with friends from the city, 
A shame to be seen in that nasty old hat. 

No cow of a cooper was ever more honest 

Than I was In even suspecting a spat, 
But now I can see I was very near non est 

In acting the beau in that terrible hat — 
That mildewed and musted, begrimed and bedusted, 
,; That clownish and awful distressed old hat. 

Let this, then, be wrote in a book of instruction 
To husbands who walk out for sociable chat, 

How little they think what a startling deduction 
Their angels can make of an old-fashioned hat ; 

And sunny or shady, to walk with a lady, 
Beware how they sport in a shocking bad hat. 

And now if I'm ever again with you going. 

So long as I stay above Res-qui-es-cat, 
In plain daily costume, to save me a blowing, 

Do make some objections — at least to the hat ; 
Or else with a squinting, be openly hinting. 

You can't walk beside so outlandish a hat. 
■1858. J. W. Nichols. 


H. B. Wildman, also of Great Plain, wrote the following ode, 
wMch was sung at the dedication of the Wooster Monument : 

Air, " Bonaparte's Grave." 

Awake ! Freemen, wake 1 Lo, the bright star of glory 

Is melting the shades of oblivion's gloom ; 
The fame of our Wooster, so matchless in story. 

Is bidding us rouse like a voice from the tomb. 
His spirit hath gone, and his soul hath ascended, 

His form now lies low in the dust of the plain ; 
" He sleeps his last sleep and his battles are ended. 

No sound can awake him to glory again." 

Oh, soldier immortal I how brave was thy daring ; 
No tyrant could bind thee, no slave could defy ; 
With the spirit of Washington, never despairing. 
Thy voice was for freedom — to conquer or die. 
" But never again will the loud cannon's rattle" 

Awake thee, to guard us from Tyranny's chain ; 
" Thou sleepest thy last sleep, thou hast fought thy last battle, 
No sound can awake thee to glory again." 

Thou hast left us a name in a chivalric nation. 

Which Freedom forever will guard in her might ; 
A star in the midst of a bright constellation. 

Which empires in infancy hail with delight. 
Thou hast gone to thy rest, and thy fame hath ascended, 

No slave can oppress thee with Tyranny's reign ; 
" Thou sleep'st thy last sleep, all thy battles are ended. 

No sound can awake thee to glory again." 

By James Wallace Pine (1858), a Colored Citizen of Danburt. 

Bless the Lord for that brilliant light which has illuminated the tomb some 
hundreds of years ago. 

Those trees that guard each long-lost friend 

To us are ever dear. 
They firmly stand, yet gently bend 
And shed their dew-drop tear. 

The beautiful, the old, the young 

Are low beneath these trees, 
Their harps which were harmonious strung 

Now sound along the breeze. 

And till the sun shall cease to set 

And close those splendid scenes. 
Bright o'er our friends we'll ne'er forget 

The true, the evergreens. 



In 1790 Danbury had a population of 3000, and yet there were 
issues of the Farmers'' Journal, the weekly paper, in which not 
a single event of local happening was recorded. Death could not 
have been much of a change to the newspaper men of that time. 

In looking over a file of these papers we find lottery advertise- 
ments prominent. One of these schemes was to establish a glass 
works at Hartford, another to advance the financial interests of 
a church in Greenwich, and a third to help something in New 
Haven. Tickets were on sale at the office of the Journal. 

Although lacking local news items, the names of the men who 
did business here then, and many of whom were, the ancestors 
of families now among us, are subjects of interest. 

The merchants of that time advertised to take country produce 
in exchange for goods. The produce they sent to New York 
for market. Taylor & Cook announce that they have stores in 
both Danbiiry and Brookfield. They say they have a large 
stock of European and West India goods, but do not explain 
what they are. 

The general or country stores of that period did all kinds of 
business, from clothing to tinware. One of them, which was 
advertised in the Journal, was located in Oreat Plain. Does 
it seem possible that the district had in 1790 a large general store, 
when now it has none of any kind ? But such was the fact, and 
it is such an unexpected fact that we print what its owners, 
Nichols & Dibble, advertised to sell. Here is their advertise- 
ment in full : 


" Have just received at their store at Great Plain and are now 
selling exceeding cheap for ready pay the following articles, viz. : 

" Blue, bottle-green, London smoke, scarlet and mixt broad- 
cloth. Coatings, frizes, velvets, satinets, chintzes, calicoes, 


wildboars, camblers, calimanco, stuffs, baizes, flannels, shalloons, 
muslin, lawn, gauze, silk handkerchiefs, cotton do., shawls, 
worsted hose, modes, sarcenets, laces, ribbons, ostrich feathers, 
silk and twist, coat and vest buttons. A complete assortment of 
hardware and crockery, rum, wine, Geneva, brown sugar, loaf 
sugar, lump sugar, tea, chocolate, raisins, allspice, pepper, in- 
digo, snuff, alum, copperas, soap, redwood, logwood, Spanish 
brown, 6x8 glass, German steel, etc. 

" All kinds of country produce will be received in payment, 
and every favor gratefully acknowledged. Good rock salt ex- 
changed for flax seed, or rye, even." 

The above is a sample of the line of grade of goods kept by 
the merchant in those days. But the " etc." of Nichols & 
Dibble embraces much more than the casual observer would 
think. It includes shoes, confectionery, agricultural imple- 
ments, stationery, and about everything that now is distributed 
into a dozen or so of specialties. 

Other Danbury advertisers in the Journal are Foot & Pickett, 
who were " tailors and lady's habit makers." A hundred years 
ago ready-made clothing was not in the market. 

Chapell & White advertised to pay a good price for cheiTy- 
tree boards. 

Eliakim Peck ran an axe factory. His shop was near the 
Episcopal church, which stood at the foot of Main Street. 

Isaac Trowbridge advertised for a quantity of otter, fox, cat, 
and muskrat skins. 

Abijah Peck was a blacksmith. He advertised his shop as 
being " about 30 rods north of Burr & White's store." There 
were several probate notices, and three to debtors warning 
against further delinquency in settling up. 

Mathias Nicoll, of Stratford, advertised that he had for sale 
" 20 puncheons of excellent Demara Rum." 

Spinning-wheels were a prominent factor in domestic economy 
in those days, and we find in the Journal the advertisements of 
several wheelwrights who made and sold spinning-wheels. One 
of these was Jacob Judd, whose shop was in Danbury, " two 
miles from the Meeting House, on the middle road to New Pair- 
field." In announcing that he will take produce for pay, he 
says : " or even cash, that undervalued article, if offered and 
urged will not be refused." 


One of tlie advertisements was the offer of a reward of $10 for 
the recovery of a runaway negro slave, by John Lloyd, of Long 

Two North Salem farmers offer rewards for the recovery of 
horses stolen from their barns. 

One hat factory has an advertisement. It was owned by 
O. Burr & Co. They advertised to pay cash for all lands of furs. 
One part of their advertisement reads : 

' ' All kinds of hats to be sold by the wholesale and retail, at 
the lowest rates, equal in beauty to any imported, and a general 
assortment of English and India goods. One shilling and six- 
pence is paid in dry goods for woollen yarn, at twopence per 
pound or irnder, and seven pence for linen yarn of any fine- 
ness. N.B. Saddle cloths of green or red stripe to be sold by 
the ten yards or piece as low as can be had in New York." 

" Twenty years time of a likely negro boy aged five years" is 
offered for sale by the printers. 

Joseph Clark advertised to make clocks and silverware for the 
Danbury people. 

People at that time were conspicuous for their moderation. 
Jeremiah Ryan was then a farmer in New Fairfield. In July, 
1789, two of his sheep strayed away. In the pajier of January 
25th, 1791, eighteen months after, he notified the public of his 
loss. He had fuUy made up his mind that it was time some- 
thing was said aboiit it. 

In a number of the advertisements appear calls for apprentices 
to the various trades. All are particular, of coiirse, that only 
good boys apply. One long-headed manufacturer advertises for 
a " son of reputable parents" to be his apprentice. 

The terms of apprenticeship a century ago were strict. The 
boy who signed the paper of indenture signed away all his lib- 
erty until he became of age. He became the property of the 
master, and was treated like other property. If he ran away he 
was publicly advertised, his person described, and a reward 
offered for his return. In one of the papers before us David 
Bunce, of New Haven, advertises the running away of his 
apprentice. He describes the boy as being eighteen years of 
age, goes on with particulars of his features, his dress, etc., 
describing every article he wore and took with him, and then 
says : " Whoever will take up said boy and return him, or secure 

W 1I.I.1IAN II. 1 

James W. Nichols, Poet. 

Nichols Homestead. 


him in any jail and give information shall be reasonably re- 
warded. N.B. — All persons are forbid hai'boring said runaway." 

Joseph Moss White advertises for a package which he " lost 
on the road between Danbury and Hartford." 

Joshua Benedict, who carried on the saddle-making business 
" a little south of the church," advertises to " pay cash for hog 
skins in the parchments." 

One hundred years ago Ezra Starr offered a dwelling-house 
and store with about five acres of land " near the meeting-house.' ' 
As none of the cross streets were developed then, this property 
must have been on Main Street in the vicinity of the present 
City Hall. There are no five-acre plots of ground for sale in 
that neighborhood now. 

In one number of the Journal, under the head of Danbury, is 
a weather item from Newtown. There are fourteen lines in the 
item, and every letter of it is in italic. This shows that the 
weather was a very important subject as long ago as 1790. It 
says at sunrising on the day of the report, the thermometer 
stood at zero, and a colder day rarely ever happens. In the 
number of January 4th, 1791, there were three items of local 
interest. One of these gave the particulars of the burning of 
the Danbury Jail, the second wished the readers a Happy New 
Year, and the third told of the death of a former resident. The 
burning of the jail was set forth in these glowing terms : 

" Last Tuesday morning about G o'clock the public jail in this 
town was discovered to be on fire, which in a short time rendered 
it to ashes." 

Three times this space is given to wishing the readers a Happy 
Kew Year. We wonder now if 1791 was a happy new year to 
them. We are inclined to think, on the whole, that we are 
taking more interest in the subject than they did. 

The man who made the wish, the man who printed it, and the 
people who read it have long since passed away ; but the paper 
itself is here in Danbury, in this year of our Lord 1895. 

The death item gave information of the demise in Cornwall of 
Mrs. Hannah Pearce, wife of Joshua Pearce, of Cornwall, who 
was in her eighty-third year. The item goes on to say that 
" she was the daughter of the Rev. Seth Shove, the first Pres- 
byterian minister settled in this town. She had four husbands, 
viz.: Comfort Starr, of this town, Thomas Hill, of Fairfield, 


Peter Lockwood, of Wilton, and the above-mentioned Mr. 
Pearce." The editor says, " She was a woman of unbounded 
affection and charity, and possessed, in an eminent degree, the 
esteem of her acquaintances." 

In the next paper is recorded another fire. The harrowing 
particulars of the destruction of a pixblic building are thus set 
forth : 

" Last Tuesday night the ptiblic school house at the north 
part of this town was consumed by fire." 

The editorial comment on these fires is as follows : 

" The two alarming instances of fire which we have lately been 
witness to suggests loudly to the inhabitants of this growing 
town the necessity of forming some regulations for the extin- 
guishing of fires. The usefulness of Engines is plainly seen in 
the late fire in Hartford where a barn was saved although but 
twelve inches distant from one that was burned to ashes." 

In this issue there is another bulletin from Newtown, which 
appears to have the bulge on the weather business. It says the 
thermometer was down five degrees below zero at sunrising one 
day that week. 

In the following issue of the Journal there is a communication 
from— A Taxpayer? Oh, no ; but from " An Individual." As 
this communication is a splendid piece of chromatic language, 
as well as a sort of revelation of the conditions of society in that 
day, we copy it entire. 

" To the InJiabitants of the Town of Danhury. 

" Permit me to address you on a subject in which you are all 
interested. Property is liable in so many ways to be destroyed, 
that we need your united exertions as a defence. We in this 
town, like larger societies, have common dangers to guard 
against, and common interests to protect. But among the num- 
ber of dangers, which are always threatening, none are at present 
more alarming than the ruin of property by fire ; nor do any of 
our interests need at present the protecting hand of one and all, 
so much as our buildings. Scarcely a single jjaper comes from 
the ^ress without announcing the ravages of fire among public 
or private buildings. Of which there have been recent instances 
among us : The gaol and school house, two public buildings, 
have fallen a sacrifice to the merciless flames. As thickly settled 


as some parts of tlie t(jwn street is, we must know our houses, 
barns, &c. , will be imminently exposed, should a fire break out ; 
yet we are in a most defenceless situation— not one house to 
twenty being furnished even with a ladder. Were not the people 
obliged to go near half a mile to procure one, M^hen the gaol was 
on fire ? What suri:)rising and melancholy inattention to danger ! 
Although the town is not the most compact, yet we might be 
under very great advantages to extinguish fire. Very easily 
might we procure a Fire Engine. This would be useful indeed. 
Nothing is so well calculated to put out fire, or prevent its 
spreading. Witness the late instance in Hartford, when a barn 
was saved which stood only twelve inches from the one con- 
sumed. [See Farmer /i' Journal^ No. 44.] Its advantages are 
too many and too public to need an enumeration. Its price can 
be no substantial objection : as it must be very inconsiderable 
when compared with its utility. The spirited and united exer- 
tions of the people in the most populous parts of this town, 
would soon and very easily procure one. But my fellow citizens, 
if there have not yet been buildings enough burnt, to awaken in 
you a sense of danger, and excite your exertions — if you must 
yet be the unhappy spectators of some still more unhappy fam- 
ilies, alarmed in the night by fire, and flying naked from their 
houses, into the inclement air, to see their buildings, their furni- 
ture, their bread, and their all, consumed in a moment — if you 
must yet live to hear the shrieks of a beloved child, involved in 
the flame, answered only by the unavailing tears, and broken 
sighs of its fond parents, before you will either be at the expense 
of procuring an Engine, or at the trouble of putting yourself 
into a state of defence ; then are you insensible of danger, or too 
covetous to purchase your own safety. There are various meas- 
ures that would be advantageous, if only adoj^ted. Form into 
two companies or fire clubs, chuse your officers, agree to certain 
articles, and let every man be furnished with two leather buckets, 
to be kept in good order.— Then if a fire breaks out, let every 
man repair to the place, thus furnished, and be directed by the 
officers. Much might be accomplished in this way. But as we 
now are, destitute of buckets, of fire hooks and ladders, what 
can we do? Probably as we have done heretofore. — If in the 
night, some would never know there had been a fire, till morn- 
ing, although not ten rods distant. Others would assemble and 


remain in perfect confnsion till they dispersed. If one directed 
any thing to be done, some would contradict, and others be 
offended because they were urged to do something ; while not a 
few would stand, and look and yawn at the fire, as stupid as 
asses, till the building was consumed. In our present circum- 
stances, Fortune must do more for us than we shall do for our- 
selves, or every building which takes fire will most assuredly 
burn down. Consider, then, and adopt such measures as our 
purses will permit, and our circumstances render expedient. 

" An Individual." 

In the number of the Journal of January 25th there are two 
items of interest. One is a call to the brethren of Union Lodge 
to meet in the lodge-room on Thursday at 2 p.m. to attend uj^on 
the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, to be held in the house of 
Brother James Clark. The other is an advertisement of a com- 
ing show. This is the only announcement of a show to be found 
in the file, which goes to show that travelling shows were not 
numerous in those days. There was no opera house nor public 
hall in Danbury at that time. We heremth jiresent the adver- 
tisement, believing it will interest our readers. 

" To THE Curious ! 

" On Wednesday and Thursday evenings next will be exhibited 
at the house of Major Frederic J. Whiting by a gentleman from 
New York, a number of curious and entertaining performances 
by the SLIGHT of HAND each being of a nature so surprising 
that they cannot fail of giving general satisfaction to the specta- 
tors. At the same time will be exhibited a most surprising feat, 
by cutting off a man's head and laying it a yard from his body, 
in presence of the spectators ; afterward putting it on again and 
restoring him to life. 

" The exhibition wiU begin at candle lighting. Tickets may 
be had at the place of performance. Price one shilling." 

The only matter of local interest in the number of February 
1st, 1791, is an account of the wi-eck of the brig Sally off Eaton's 
Neck, L. I. The brig was commanded by Captain Benjamin 
Keeler, of Ridgefield. All on board (twelve persons) were 
drowned. Captain Keeler' s body was taken to Kidgefield and 


buried. The account says he was twenty-nine years old, " the 
only son of his mother, and she a widow." 

In the next number of the Journal somebody iu Redding 
appears with a letter from Rev. John Bloodgood, who writes 
from Redding to a sister Wigton, in Hudson, N. Y., detailing 
the persecution he suffers at the hands of the iinregenerate. Mr. 
Bloodgood says in his letter : 

" They have saluted us with firing of cannon, with the sound 
of violin, the blowing of horns, and their powdered candles 
would burst by us when preaching. It is hard work to make 
Methodists here. If they do not kill some of us before long it 
will do." 

The Redding man who sent this letter to the printer prefaces it 
with this rather vigorous introduction : " It is desired you pub- 
lish the enclosed verbatim in your next issue to show the igno- 
rance, ingratitude, and deception of these itinerant preachers, 
who, while they are treated with the greatest civility and feasted 
with the best fare the country affords, strive to make their 
friends in the profession believe they are in danger of their lives." 

Early in the present century Zalmon and Seymour Wildman 
established a hat store in Charleston, S. C, which was continued 
under the name until 1815 ; after that until 1845 under the name 
of Wildman & Starr. 

During the War of 1812 Gilbert Cleland also had a hat store 
in Charleston. In the autumn of 1815 Russell and Eli T. Hoyt 
established a hat store in Charleston, which was continued under 
various names for over thirty years ; and Benedict & Clark also 
had a hat store in that city. At that time Charleston was much 
the largest city on the Southern coast, and did a large wholesale 
business, drawing its trade from North and South Carolina as 
well as Georgia. Hats were sent from New York in large Penn- 
sylvania wagons, and eight weeks were required for the jour- 

There was one barber's shop here in 1790, James Sell propri- 
etor. It was opposite the drug-store of Colonel Eli Mygatt, and 
stood about on the site of the present Danbury Savings Bank 
building. He advertised himself as " a lady's and gentlemen's 
hair dresser," and announced that his shop would be open all 
days but Sundays. 

In the books of Town Record we find the following : " James 


Sell, from the Town of Belfast in Ireland married Anne, Daughter 
of Solomon Perry of Ridgefield, Nov. 1st, 1787." 

His estate was inventoried in May, 1797, and settled in 1798. 
The inventory shows him to have been, in addition to hair- 
dressing, a general merchant, and probably of a literary turn of 
mind, as the last item in the inventory is "A right in the 
Franklin Library." 

There were two brokers in Danbury then who bought and sold 
securities, John Dodd and Isaac Trowbridge. The publishers of 
the paper took space to announce that they would soon publish 
two volumes. The first volume was on etiquette, and appeared 
to be designed for schools. The second was an almanac, j)re- 
pared by Joseph Leland, and " calculated for the meridian of 
Danbury, . . . but may serve indifferently for any of the 
adjacent States." 

There are but two local items in the paper. One of these re- 
lates that Joseph White had an ear of Indian corn which con- 
tained thirty-two rows, in which were ten hundred and fifteen 
kernels. There are feet in Danbury now that have about that 
number of corns. 

Timothy Taylor, of the firm of Cooke & Taylor, advertised for 
a few tons of good English hay. Was hay an article of import ? 
Douglass & Ely, the printers, annorrnced to sell " twenty years 
time of a likely negro boy," then five years old. That was a 
long, long time ago, and the negro boy has passed to manhood 
and on to the grave many years ago, one would think ; and yet 
we have two or three citizens who were five years old ninety 
years ago,* when that youngster was offered for sale, and he 
to-day may be alive somewhere in the character of a body ser- 
vant of the late lamented Washington. 

Joseph Clark was watchmaker and jeweller in those days. 
The location of his shop was not given. He made clocks as well 
as watches, and bought old silver, copper, and brass. 

Preserved Taylor, of Redding, advertised for sale "a lot of 
ground fronting the Main street in Danbury, opposite the meet- 
ing house, being upwards of nine rods in front, and containing 
about three acres." The advertisement further says : "It is, 
without exceptions, as commodious a building spot as any on 
the street." If Mr. Taylor had been Preserved until now he 

* Written in 1880. 

(^^^'c'y^^:^^ «f^ 

the CoviDty of Fairfield, in the second Collection 
Pi^^i^^ Dollai 

'- "^ wheel Caiiiage for ihe conveyance of persons 

foi and upon a « -^ 

caUecl a ,yL^ -^ __ owned by C^-ry.'j c^'tP^y^ ^ •"■ 

Tliis CcrilStaie to be of no avail any longer than the aforesaid Carriage shall be owned by 
the said &'^'^^^^'^_!>ri^^t^<,y^-^r^ anles. said Cer.iScaie shall be produced to 
the Collector, by whom it was granled, and an entry made thereon, specifjingtho name of the 
then owner of said Carriage, and the lime when he or she became possessed thereof. 

Given in conformity with an Act of the Congress of the United Suiej, passed on the 24tb 
day of July, 1813. 



«f the Revenue for the second Collectio 
nis'.rict of Conneciicu!. 


rs^ecymli/ soUcileil to honour Ihe ti<^eml li/ ntlhi 
/T^-L-- allenilaiire, al Mr. P. Benetl cl s Hotel f<, 
n Thobbdav, 6/;i May iieil, al 6 o clock P M 

E. M. Starr 

E. S. Sanjori 

R. Rider, 

E. T. J 
Danhuri/, April, 1!JI3. 

X '■< reqmjki In attend the Ball at i 
^ Mr. Andrew 1 Ball Room, en iJiurfdiy ^ 
^ the <)th Augu/r, at 5 o'ckck P M 
July 2(sth, 1798. 

TyKr^ijrfiantSecet, q D., b^ry/Ji luted 


V„« 2/ 1800 

Hatteks' Card. 


would undoubtedly be often found on pleasant, sunny days lean- 
ing against tlie monument fence, and looking with glistening 
eyes upon the mass of buildings opposite. 

Those were remarkable papers published in the last century. 
The newspaper appeared to be a vehicle for views rather than 
news, and its advertising columns were used more in a legal 
than a commercial sense. The Danbury Journal^ in 1793, had 
taken on another column to the page, and was now a sixteen 
instead of a twelve-column paper, but the extra room brought no 
addition of local news, and but very little mercantile advertising. 

The most pi'ominent announcement in the issue before us is to 
the effect that " Eli Hoyt has entered into a partnership Avith 
Elijah Sanford in the saddling business." Eli Hoyt was a 
cousin of Eli T. Hoyt, and Elijah Sanford was grandfather of 
Charles A. Sanford, our late librarian. They advertised two 
shops, one "opposite the store of Carrington & Mygatt," the 
other " in Beaver Brook, three mUes northeast of the town (vil- 
lage centre), where said Hoyt formerlj-- resided." 

Thomas Tucker taught school here in 1793, and advertised the 
fact. Where his school was situated is not made known in his 
card to the public. Mr. Tucker was a successful teacher. He 
built and occupied the house now the homestead of Mrs. George 
Ives, Main Street. His daughter married Colonel Moss White. 

Mr. Tucker employed what appears to us at this day to be an 
extraordinary manner of introducing his capabilities as a teacher. 
" Hops !" in large capitals is the heading to his card. There is 
nothing in hops to suggest school-teaching, although it may 
school discipline. Then follow three lines in almost equally 
prominent type informing the public that Thomas Tucker has 
" 250 weight of genuine well-cured Hops for sale." Following 
this is a paragraph in small type to this effect : 

" N.B. — As several of his scholars are going to spring and 
summer labour, 5 or 6 new ones may be admitted. The advan- 
tage that small children obtain at his school may be easily im- 
agined, when the public are informed that those who spell, go 
through the whole of Webster' s spelling book twice in a fort- 

This will give the reader of to-day some idea of the hardships 
our forefathers had to undergo. 

Samuel Gregory, of Norwalk (this is not strictly local, but 


merely shows a style of manufacture in vogue hereabouts at 
that time), advertises in the Jotirnal that "he continues to carry 
on the business of DYING yarn deep blue." Mr. Gregory, like 
several Danburians, but who were not so enterprising in adver- 
tising as he, made a business of weaving cloth, coverlids, and 
" the most fashionable diapers." 

John Rider was a carpenter and cabinet-maker in Danbury in 
those days, as an advertisement for a journeyman and an appren- 
tice shows. 

Illustrating the vast difference between an apprentice then and 
now is an advertisement of a New Milford wheelwright announc- 
ing that his apprentice had run away. A minute description of 
the deserter is given, and then follows this warning : 

" Whoever will take up and return said apprentice, or secure 
him in any Gaol, shall receive eight dollars reward, and all neces- 
sary charges. All persons are forbid harboring said apprentice 
or imploying him either by sea or land, as they will answer it at 
peril of the law." 

Carrington & Mygatt announce in this issue of the Journal 
that they have entered into partnership with Najah Taylor in 
the gold and silversmith business. The silver and gold business 
must have been in good condition in those days to have sup- 
ported three partners. 

The balance of the advertising is made of duns, probate notices, 
warnings, and losses. 

The Farmers' Chronicle for 1794, the successor of the Farm- 
ers' Journal, was conducted by Edwards Ely, his partner, Nathan 
Douglas, having withdrawn and started a Job office. Mr. Ely 
announced, under the title of his paper, that the office was 
"near the Court House, where Useful Essays and articles of 
Intelligence are thankfully received." 

The number of the Chronicle we have before us is dated Mon- 
day, September 29th, 1794. In its eleven columns of reading 
matter there is but one local item, and this is a request for " the 
civil authority and selectmen of the town of Danbury to meet 
the Listers at the Court House" for the " hearing and determin- 
ing the pleas of abatement on polls." 

There is a moderate increase in business advertising, and con- 
sequently in the interest of that department of the paper. These 
advertisements give a fair idea of the widespread credit system 


then prevailing. Aside from the special requests, with accom- 
panying threats, to call and settle, one half of the regular busi- 
ness cards are supplemented with serious invitations to square 

There were several provision and lumber dealers in Fairfield, 
" on the east side of the Saugatuck River," who advertised lib- 
erally in the Chronicle for Danbury custom. 

The stores in that day were not broken up into specialties as 
they are now. Dry goods, lumber, groceries, and drugs were 
sold by one firm. Boots and shoes did not, however, in those 
days form a part of the general stock as they did years after. 
The leather business was a business by itself, and every village 
of any size had its leather store. Many people bought the 
leather and had the foot covering made up by a neighbor who 
knew the trade, and some did their own shoemaking, just as 
many people nowadays do their own doctoring. 

A staple article of merchandise in those days was rum, and to 
a grocery it was as indispensable in the stock as sugar or pork. 

As a sample of the business then done by a single firm, we 
reproduce from the Chronicle its largest advertisement : 

Carrington & Mygatt, and Filor Mygatt & Co. 

Have for sale, at their respective Stores, 

Good Salt, Rum, Molasses, Sugars, Teas, <fec. 

Also A new assortment of 


Amongst which are a great variety of Calicoes 

and Chints— all on the most reasonable 


CODFISH by the quintal or pound. 

One Shilling pr. pound gitenfor 


N B. A few thousand feet good Yl^'E, 

BOARDS for sale hy 

Carrington <£ Mtgatt. 
Danbury, Aug. 25, 1794. 63 


In 1794 Munson Gregory and Reuben Curtis sold leather of all 
kinds and " boot legs at their dwelling houses." 

Justus Barnum kept store here then. In addition to the gen- 
eral variety of goods he announced "20,000 good bricks" and 
" a good milch cow with a calf 8 weeks old by her side." 

Hugh Cain, of Ridgefield, announces that " he can full in the 
driest season," has now begun, " and can continue to full, pro- 
vided there should be no rain for six weeks to come." He 
says " he makes all colours made in America {scarlet ex- 

In 1794 Joseph F. White advertised the selling and the buying 
of stock at White's tavern in Dan bury. Mr. White, we judge 
from his advertisement, was quite a dealer in live stock. He 
also advertised for ' ' four good smart indiistrious Men who will 
be willing to devote their time and strength to threshing flax for 
the term of two months." 

In 1794 the penalty for selling liquor without license was $50, 
as an announcement in this paper shows. 

In the same paper White, Burr & White advertise for " three 
or four journeymen hatters, to whom good wages and good pay 
will be made." 

Timothy Foster announces he has removed his clothing busi- 
ness from Danbury to Wilton. 

Among other wants is one for "3 or 4 labourers, chiefly at 
cutting wood, for two months, at 40 shillings cash per month, 
and paid weekly," by E. & A. Peck. 

Ezra Frost was a shoemaker then, and had a good trade 
that fall, as he advertised for a journeyman and an appren- 

Here is a model tax notice which we copy in full : 

ALL who have not settled their Town RATES, due to the 
Siibscribers, are hereby notified, that unless they make 
full payment of the same, within Fourteen Days from the date, 
they must expect to pay travelling and collecting Fees, without 
favor or afl'ection. 

Ebenezer B. White, 
Collector of Town Tax, for first society Danbury. 
Eli Mygatt, jun. 
Collector of Town Tax, for Bethel Society, Danbury. 
Danbury, September 19, 1794. 67 3 


Silas Abbott, who then did shoe biisiness and tanned leather, 
could not have had a very exalted opinion of an absconding ap- 
prentice, judging from the following reward : 

Two Pence Reward. 

EAN away from the subscriber, the 11th inst. an Apprentice- 
boy to the Tanning and Shoe-making business, named 
JOHN KNAPP, about 17 years old, small of his age, very 
talkative, wore away a blue & white Coat, striped Vest and calico 
Trowsers. — This is to forbid all persons trusting said boy on my 
account. I will pay no debts of his contracting after this date. 
Whoever wiU take up & return said boy shall have the above 
reward, but no charges. 

Danbury, Sept. 12, 1794. 66 3 

In January, 1793, Messrs. Douglass & Ely dissolved partner- 
ship in the publication of the Farmers' Journal, and Captain 
Douglass commenced the publication of the Republican Journal. 
In December of the same year Captain Douglass sold out to Mr. 
Ely, who issued a paper called the Farmers' Chronicle. In 
1797 the Religious Monitor and Theological Scales made its 
appearance, conducted by Douglass & Nichols. It was a monthly 
religious magazine. In February, 1803, the Farmers' Journal 
and Columbian Arfi, conducted by Stiles, Nichols & Co., was 
commenced, but was of short duration. 

In its issue of date December 11th, 1803, we find as the close 
of a communication from Newtown, of the deaths in that town 
for the year 1802, the following : " Twenty of these persons 
belonged to the Episcopal Society ; six to the Universalists ; 
three to the Presbyterians ; four to the Sandemanians, and one 
to the Methodists. The fii-st has ceased to contend for power ; 
the second, from denying future punishment ; the thii'd, from 
opposing the moral law ; the fourth, from contending for eternal 
election and reprobation ; and the fifth, from condemning it and 
from mourning about the streets. They all rest in silence, and 
will be judged according to the deeds done in the body." 

In 1804 Messrs. Gray & Steele commenced the publication of 
the New England Republican, a few rods south of the Court 
House. It was an exceedingly neat and well-gotten-up paper. 


The editorial department showed ability, and would be creditable 
to any paper of the present time. The publishers advertise 
" Fine woven letter paper, writing paper of the best quality, also 
all kinds of blanks," by which it would seem that in addition 
to their publishing a newspaper, they kept a book and stationery 
store. They also advertise " to print books, pamphlets, cards, 
handbills, etc.," and that they would pay cash for rags. The 
custom of keeping a bookstore in connection with a newspaper- 
office in Danbury appears to have been the practice from an 
early date, and to have been continued to a very recent period, 
for we find that Messrs. W. & M. Yale and others after them 
practised it. 

We extract from the Republican a number of advertisements 
which will be interesting to many of our older citizens, who 
doubtless will remember hearing of the parties. 

Joseph Trowbridge announces that " the just demands of im- 
patient creditors and the wants of a helpless family obliges him 
to request a settlement with those persons whose accounts have 
been due six months. Most kinds of produce and a few hun- 
dred good chestnut rails will be received in payment if delivered 
soon." This was Dr. Trowbridge, one of the leading physicians 
of the town. 

Z. Griswold & Co. advertise " Broadcloths, coatings, cassi- 
meres, velvets, flannels, swansdowns, humhums, a great variety 
of calicoes very low, rose blankets, large camels'-hair and silk 
shawls, muslins, friezes, hosiery, silk and cotton gloves, um- 
brellas, etc. Likewise, best Cogniac brandy, rum, gin, cider 
brandy, by the barrel or gallon ; molasses, sugars, teas, cofifee, 
indigo, tobacco, Nicaragua logwood, alum, glue, cotton, wool, 
etc. A good assortment of ironmongery, hardware, crockery, 
glass and earthen ware, also tickets in the Episcopal academy 
lottery, all for sale at moderate prices for cash, produce or a 
liberal credit." Their store on the corner of Main and South 
streets was robbed and biirned by two strangers about 1812, who 
were arrested and sent to State prison. 

Ebenezer Russell White proposes to open a mathematical 
school, where students " will be perfected in the art of survey- 
ing (according to the new rectangular system), navigation, and 
the science of algebra," for a stated price. Mr. White was a son 
of Rev. Ebenezer White. 


The following advertisement will be found interesting, as it 
refers to the old turnpike road between Danbury and Norwalk, 
once the principal means of communication between the two 
places : 

" The proprietors of the Norwalk and Danbury turnpike road 
are hereby notified to attend a meeting of the company on Mon- 
day, the 8th of October next, at the house of Mr. Gregory, inn- 
keeper, in Redding (formerly Jacksons), at nine o'clock in the 
forenoon to consider of the expediency of petitioning the General 
Assembly at their next session for an extension of said turnpike 
road from Belden's Bridge to Norwalk Bridge, and to transact 
any other business proper to be done at said meeting. Should 
the day be stormy, the meeting will be held on the day fol- 

' ' By direction of the committee, 

" Comfort S. Mygatt, Clerk." 

This inn was kept by Benjamin Gregory, the father of Dudley 
S. Gregory, who removed to Jersey City, and became mayor and 
the most prominent citizen of that place. The meeting was held 
at the appointed time and place, and the following vote was 
adopted. Hon. Joseph P. Cook was moderator and Comfort S. 
Mygatt clerk of the meeting : 

" Voted, That a petition be proposed to the General Assembly 
at their session to be holden at New Haven on Thursday, 11th 
instant, praying a grant to extend the turnpike road from Bel- 
den's Bridge to Norwalk Bridge, and to erect another gate in a 
suitable place, and collect another toll, the same as said com- 
pany are now entitled to collect according to the present grant. " 

This turnpike company " was incorporated by the General 
Assembly, at their session holden at New Haven on the second 
Thursday of October, 1795, for the purpose of making and repair- 
ing the great road from Danbury to Norwalk, from Simmepog 
Brook to Belden's Bridge." 

The petitioners state that " the road from Belden's Bridge to 
the head of Norwalk harbor is much out of repair ; and that the 
pubUc travel is hereby much impeded, and rendered difficult and 
dangerous, and petition the Assembly to extend their grant so 
as to include the road aforesaid from Belden's Bridge to the 
great bridge at the head of Norwalk harbor." 


The Assembly resolved ' ' that said petition be continued to 
the next General Assembly to be holden at Hartford on the 
second Thursday of May next." There appears to have been 
no further action taken upon the matter, for the turnpike was 
never extended. 

Friend Starr advertises for * ' a boy of thirteen or fourteen 
years of age as an apprentice to the shoemaking business." 
Friend Starr was the father of the late Charles F. Starr, and the 
following anecdote is related of the latter when he was a boy : 
One of his duties was to go to the pastiire and bring home the 
cows. He rode a horse for this purpose, and being of a social 
turn generally came home with several playmates perched on 
the animal behind him. In fact, the horse was full of boys. Old 
Mr. Starr got out of patience, finally, with making an omnibus 
of the steed, and he told Charles one day that if he came home 
at night with any boys behind him on the horse he would 
severely j^unish him. When the cows came in that evening 
there was the horse as full of boys as ever, but every mother's 
son of them was in front of Charles. His father gave up the 

Daniel N. Carrington requests " all indebted to him to make 
immediate payment to save costs, and announces that he will 
pay cash for oats and llax-seed if delivered soon, also has tickets 
for sale in Canaan Meeting House lottery." Many quaint 
speeches are attributed to Dr. Carrington. At one time a large 
snake, commonly called "chunk-head" or "cousin," was killed 
and brought into the street as a curiosity. Some dispute arose 
as to its species, when one man said, "It is a cousin." The 
doctor immediately said, with vigor, " He may be a cousin of 
yours, but I'll be d — d if he is any relative of mine." 

At another time a party of gentlemen were dining together on 
a public occasion, and as the custom was in those days the vic- 
tuals were prepared in mouthfuls, and placed on a large platter 
in the centre of the table, out of which each helloed himself. 
One of the party, who was fond of pepper, caught up the pepper- 
box and sifted on a liberal quantity of that article, saying that 
he supposed they were all fond of pepper. Dr. Carrington, who 
abhorred pepper, and was an inveterate snuff-taker, took out Ms 
box of yellow snuff, and sprinkled it bountifully over the vic- 
tuals, saying that he jjresumed that they were all fond of snuff. 

Frienu Starr. 

\^. F. Staku. 

Star« Homestead. 


He lived to an advanced age, and lost his si^eech. several years 
before Ms death. 

Bethel Morris advertises under date of September 4th, 1804, 
that " to-morrow he proposes to put his mill to work on cloth, 
and shall be ready to receive cloth at any time through the 
season, for the purpose of dressing." Mr. Morris's mill was in 
Beaver Brook, and he was brother to the late venerable Amos 

It appears from the notice of Lewis Hoyt that distilling to a 
considerable extent was carried on, as he advertises "a still, 
partly worn, which will contain about five hundred gallons, if 
not sold immediately will be to let for the present season ; also 
a small still suitable for a refiner, both of which are erected in a 
convenient place for distilling, and in a neighborhood where one 
thousand barrels of cider might be annually purchased or dis- 
tilled on shares." 

Comfort Hoyt washes " to contract for several tons of sumac, 
and has several dozen morocco, goat and sheep skins for sale." 
Mr. Hoyt was a surveyor, and resided opposite the old Episcopal 
church, which stood in South Street, back of the burying- 

Foot & Bull advertise for "a boy 13 or 14 years of age as 
apprentice to the tailoring business." This firm consisted of 
David Foot and Horace Bull. 

Abel B. Blackman wants " a lad of 13 or 14 years to learn the 
shoemaking business, and also wants to exchange boots and 
shoes for any kind of material for building a dwelling house. ' ' 

Howard & Hoyt want an apprentice to the hatting business. 
The firm consisted of William Howard and Lewis Hoyt. Mr. 
Howard removed to New York, and was a celebrated fur dealer 
there and became wealthy. He married a sister of Colonel Moss 
White. Mr. Hoyt afterward went into partnership with Samuel 

The next week Comfort S. and David Mygatt advertise for one 
or two boys to serve as apprentices " to the gold and silversmith, 
clock and watch-making business." They were the sons of Col- 
onel Eli Mygatt, and succeeded him in business. Colonel Mygatt 
died at New Haven while representative from Danbury in 1807, 
and was colleague with Colonel Moss White. Eliakim Benedict 
succeeded him in the Legislature. 


Captain Nathan Douglass, one of the proprietors of the Jour- 
nal, died in Hartford, N. Y., March 17th, 1806, in the forty- 
eighth year of his age. Edwards Ely, the other proprietor, 
learned the printing business in Springfield, Mass., and at the 
expiration of his apprenticeship came to Danbury, and with 
Captain Douglass commenced the publication of the Farmers' 
Journal. After giving up the newspaper business he kept a 
store here, and later carried the mail on horseback from Dan- 
bury to New York, in company with Stephen Bronson Benedict 
(" Uncle Brons") and Elialdm WUdman, they taking their turns 
on alternate weeks. He afterward went to New York and was 
interested in several stage lines, one of which ran between New 
York and Danbury. Subsequently he went to the island of St. 
Bartholomew, W. I., where he was engaged in mercantile busi- 
ness, and died there in the latter part of the year 1809, aged 
forty-one years. He was bnried on the neighboring island of 
St. Thomas. 

Another early publisher of a paper in Danbury was Samuel 
Morse, who published the Sun of Liberty, a Democratic paper, 
here in 1800. He afterward removed to Savannah, Ga., where 
he was engaged in the publication of the Georgia Repuhlican, 
and died in that city in 180.5. 

Even as early as the date of its first newspaper, sevei'al books 
were published in Danbury. Almanacs especially were issued 
from the press hei'e, one compiled by Josej)h Leland being the 
first, afterward the celebrated almanac of Andrew Beers, 
philom., which was continued for a number of years. Gray & 
Steele advertise this almanac for sale in 1804, and state that it 
" contains, besides the usual astronomical calculations, the time 
of the setting of the courts in Vermont, Massachusetts, New 
York and Connecticut, a tide-table for high water at New York, 
a tide-table showing the difference of high water at a great num- 
ber of places from New York, a table of interest at six per cent, 
with a variety of interesting and entertaining matter." This 
almanac was continued a number of years, and was indispensable 
in every well-regulated family. Mr. Beers is rejiresented to 
have been very precise in his manners, fond of a joke, and a 
scholar of considerable attainment. That he was fond of a Joke 
is shown by the following notice, which we copy from the New 
England Republican of May 20th, 1805 : 



" To THE Public. 

In my publication of eclipses this year I acknowledge that 
I very carelessly committed two errors. The eclipse for January 
30th was calculated exactly right ; but in projecting I made a 
mistake of ten minutes on the scale in the moon's latitude. I 
had calculated the moon's latitude to be 81 minutes, N, which 
was right, but through mistake, took it off from the scale, but 
only 71 minutes, which was the sole cause of my error. Also, 
the eclipse on June 1st, 1 have pronounced invisible to us, but 
having lately projected that eclipse, I find there will be a small 
one of about 5 digits, before sunset, to be seen if the air is clear. 
The one reason of this error was that I never took the pains to 
project the eclipse ; for, considering the moon's latitude, and 
also the time of day, I concluded that there could be no visible 
eclipse. But this error, I acknowledge, arose from my presum- 
ing that I had been for many years perfectly acquainted with 
the doctrine of eclipses. And since these are the only errors of 
this nature that I have ever committed in the course of thirty 
years' calculations, I hope to be forgiven. But one more apology 
had liked to have slipped my memory. At the time of the cal- 
culation of those eclipses, I was a widower, and about entering 
again into the bonds of matrimony ; whether, under these cir- 
cumstances, is it at all strange that I should call things visible 
that are invisible, and things invisible that are visible, judge 
ye. I have now to inform you that a remarkable and total 
eclipse of the Sun will happen June 16th, 1806, in lat. 41. 56. N, 
long. 72. 50. W of Greenwich, the particulars of which you may 
timely see in my Almanack for 1806. 

" Andrew Beers." 

That Mr. Beers did commit matrimony the second time is 
proven by the following announcement copied from the same 
paper of the date of November 14th, 1804 : " Married— In this 
town, by the Eev. Mr. Ward, Andrew Beers, Esq., of New 
Stamford (N". Y.), to Mrs. Elizabeth Benedict, of Danbury." 
Mr. Beers was fond of relating the following anecdote as happen- 
ing to himself : In going over the Fishkill Mountains one day 
he was caught in a violent thunder stonn, and met a Dutchman 
in the same predicament. Hans scrutinized him as they passed 
each other, and soon turned about and asked if his name was 


not Beers, the almanac-maker. Mr. Beers replied that it was. 
" Veil den," said the Dutchman, " vat de tyvil for you ondt in 
dis tarn rainstorm for V ' 

A good story is told of Mr. Beers which will bear repeating. 
While he was paying attention to the lady (Mrs. Benedict) who 
afterward became his wife, her friends, who were expecting to 
receive some benefit from her proj^erty, made considerable oppo- 
sition to the expected marriage. The opposition was so strenu- 
ous that the lady told Mr. Beers that she could not marry him, 
iipon which he said, as they were about to part, they should 
unite in prayer. He then kneeled down and prayed fervently, 
upon which she, being so impressed with his piety, revoked 
her decision and afterward married him. 

Mr. Beers was a contributor to the JVew England Republi- 
can, as many articles in that paper, signed A. B., go to show. 
They were well written and interesting, and prove that he was a 
person of considerable ability. 

From advertisements in the oldest newspapers of the place, we 
learn that there were quite a number of books and pamphlets 
published in Danbury in the beginning of the present century, 
and even as early as 1790. The most important book published 
in Danbury was " A System of Theoretical and Practical Arith- 
metic," by Ira Wanzer, published by W. & M. Yale in 1831. It 
was a book of about four hundred pages, was well gotten up, 
and must have been quite a herculean task for a country place 
at that early date. 

We give the titles of such books as we have been able to find 
were published in Danbury from 1790 to 1812 : 

A Sermon. Preached at the Ordination of the Reverend Stan- 
ley Griswold, A.M., Colleague Pastor of the First Church and 
Congregation in New Milford, on the Twentieth of January, 
M.D.C.C.XC. By David McClure, A.M., Minister of the First 
Church in East Windsor. Printed in Danbury by Nathan 
Douglas & Edwards Ely, M.D.CC.XC. 

Life of Benjamin Franklin. Written by himself. Danbxiry : 
Printed and sold by N. Douglas, 1795. 

The Art of Speaking. Printed for Edmond and Ephraim 
Washburn. Danbury, 1795. 

Christian Songs. Written by Mr. John Glas and Others. 
"From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs. 


Glory to the Righteous One."— Isaiah xxiv. 16. 8th Edition. 
Perth [Scotland]. Re-printed in Danbury, Conn., by Nichols & 
Rowe, 1802. 

The Most Remarkable Types, Figures and Allegories of the 
Old Testament. By the Rev. Mr. William M'Ewen, Late Min- 
ister of the Gospel in Dundee. Danbury : Printed by Stiles 
Nichols for J. Trowbridge, D. E. and A. Cooke, M. B. Whittle- 
sey, R. & J. P. White, S. Comstock, E. W. Bull, J. Clark, jun., 
F." Scofield, Z. Griswold, S. Nichols. 1803. 

Danbury. Early Imprint. The Duty of Christian Discipline 
Explained and Enforced : A Sermon delivered at Canaan, Octo- 
ber 14, 1800, before the Consociation of the Western District in 
Fairfield County. By Amazi Lewis, A.M., Pastor of the Church 
in North Stamford. 8vo, pp. 23. Danbury : Printed by Nichols 
& Rowe, 1801. 

The Rights of Suffrage. By Isaac Hilliard. Danbury : 
Printed for the Author, 1804. 

A NaiTative of the Indian Wars in New England from the 
Planting thereof in the Year 1607 to the Year 1677. By 
William Hubbard, A.M. Printed in Danbury by Stiles Nichols, 

Beers' Columbian Almanac " for the Year of our Lord Christ 
1797, and from the Creation of the World 5746." Printed 
in Danbury by Douglas & Nichols. Beers' Almanac for 1811— 
"being the 3"^ after Bisextet and (till July 4th.) the 35th of 
American Independence." Danbury, John C. Gray, Printer.* 

Young Gentlemen and Lady's Assistant. Containing, I. Geog- 
raphy ; II. Natural History ; III. Rhetoric ; IV. Miscellany. 
To which is added A Short but Complete System of Practical 
Arithmetic. Second Edition. By Donal Frazer, Author of the 
Columbian Magazine. Printed for the Author by N. Douglass. 
Danbury, 1794. 

[This booli and the next following are in the present Danbury 

The Death of Abel. An Historical or rather Conjectural Poem. 
By Peter St. John, of Norwalk in Conn. Published in Dan- 
bury, by Nathan Douglass, 1793. 

In 1805 John C. Gray published " Poems on Various Subjects 

* These books are in the possession of Mr. E. A. Houseman. 


by Phillis Wheatley ;" also "An Affectionate Father's Advice 
to his Children," and a New England Primer. 

The Connecticut Town Officer. In Three Parts. Containing 
in Part I. The Powers and Duties of Towns, as Set Forth in the 
Statiites of Connecticut, which are Recited ; Part II. The Powers 
and Duties of the Several Town Officers, with a Variety of Forms 
for the Use of such Officers ; Part III. The Powers and Duties 
of Religious and School Societies, and their Several and Respec- 
tive Officers, with Suitable Forms. By Samuel Whiting, Esq. 
Danbury : Printed by Nathaniel L. Skinner, 1814. 

In 1803 Selleck Osborne established here the BepuMican 
Farmer, and continued its publication until the autumn of 1805, 
when he sold it to Stiles Nichols, who continued it here until 
1810, when it was removed to Bridgeport. 

In 1812 The Day was i^ublished in Danbury. We have been 
unable to find the nnme of the editor of this newspaper. It 
might possibly have been Nathaniel L. Skinner, who was here 
in 1814. 

In 1826 Orrin Osborne established the Danbury Recorder, a 
neutral paper. He conducted it but a little time, and died in 
Danbury. After his death Washington and Moses Yale pur- 
chased the paper and conducted it under the same name. 

In an issue of this paper, in March, 1829, we find the following 
advertisement : 

" False Reports. 

" A large assortment of second-hand false reports, such as Tea 
Table Talk &c. , of the finest texture and composed entirely of 
sly, cunning YARN, and that which is most likely to deceive, 
on hand and will be disposed of at cost and on an unusual long 
credit. Piiineas T. Barnum. 

" N.B. The subscriber would respectfully give notice to the 
Women who manufacture the above articles that he can dispense 
with the use of their Tongues for a short time, and due notice 
shall be given them when they are again wanted. 

" P. T. B. 

" Bethel, March 23d, 1829." 

In 1832 the Recorder was sold to Alanson Taylor, and pub- 
lished under the name of the Connecticut Repository. The pub- 


lishing office was in the building just below the old Bajjtist 
Church on Main Street, where subsequently the Gazette and 
Chronicle were published, and later the Danbury Times. All 
newspapers ptiblished liere previous to 1831 were printed on the 
old wooden Franklin Ramage screw press, and the ink was put 
on the type with balls instead of rollers. It required four im- 
pressions for each paper. 

The Herald of Freedom was first published in Bethel in Octo- 
ber, 1831, by IP. T. Barnum, and about a year afterward Mr. 
Barnum was tried on a charge of libel, found guilty, and sen- 
tenced to thirty days' imprisonment and a tine of $100. He con- 
tinued to edit his paper while in jail, and at the expiration of 
his sentence a grand ovation was given him by his friends. In 

1832 the Rev. L. F. W. Andrews became editor, and the name 
was changed to Herald of Freedom and Gospel Witness. In 

1833 the press was removed to Danbury, and the latter part of 
the name was dropped. 

The Danbury Gazette was the immediate successor of the Con- 
necticut Repository, for we find in the first number of that paper 
that Wilmot & Lobdell, the publishers, give notice tliat they 
" shall this week send the Gazette to all those who were sub- 
scribers to the Connecticut Repository,''^ and that they "shall 
consider all who neglect to notify us to the contrary subscribers 
to the Gazette.'''' They also advertise that they " shall continue 
to keep on hand a general assortment of books, stationery, etc.," 
thus verifying our former statement, that the publishers of 
papers here were in the habit of keeping books and stationery 
for sale. The first number of the Gazette was printed January 
9th, 1833. 

The Gazette was succeeded by the Danhury Chronicle and 
Fairfield County Democrat, the first number of which was 
issued by its publisher, John Layden, May 17th, 1836. This 
paper was succeeded by the Danbury Times, which was estab- 
lished here in 1837 by Edward B. Osborne. In 1845 Mr. Osborne 
sold out to his brothers, Harvey and Levi, who continued pub- 
lishing the paper, retaining the name. 

In 1860 the Jeffersonian was started here, with VV. A. Croffut 
as editor, and soon afterward W. A. Newton obtained an inter- 
est in it. Later on B. F. Ashley was connected with it. In 
December, 1865, Mr. Ashley sold out his interest to J. H. Swert- 


fager, who continued the publication until it was sold to Bailey 
and Donovan, and with the Danbury Times, already in their 
possession, merged into the Danbury News. 

In 1846 Edward Taylor published a small campaign paper 
which was short-lived. 

In 1855 Granville W. Morris commenced the publication of the 
Hatter'' s Journal, but it continued only a short time. 

The Danhurian appeared in 1875, conducted by C. E. A. 
McGeachy, and Tlie People, a Greenback paper, by T. Donovan, 
in 1878. Both of these were of short duration. 

The Olobe was established by W. F. Page in 1874 ; the Demo- 
crat, by L. K. Wildman, in 1877, and the Republican in March, 

The papers of to-day are the News, Dispatch, the Neio Eng- 
land Monthly, and the Prescription. 



Distance lends encliantment to the view. So does time. We 
hear much of the " good old times," and those who took part in 
them are slow to admit that the present is an improvement upon 
the past. We confess that a stage is in some respects to be pre- 
ferred to a journey by rail, but the conditions must be favorable. 
The roads must be in excellent order, the animals swift, the 
coach easy, the weather pleasant, and time plenty. These con- 
ditions rarely, if ever, combined in Connecticut seventy-five years 

Danbury reached New York then as it does now, via Nor- 
walk. This was the only public route up to the War of 1812, 
when the British holding the waters of the Sound forced another 
route upon the Danbiarians. 

The mode of conveyance from Danbury to Norwalk was by 
goods wagons. One of these made the trip twice a week, carry- 
ing freight, chiefly dairy products to New York. At Norwalk 
the freight and passengers were transferred to a sloop. 

The land passage was not a particularly pleasant one. The 
heavily laden wagon moved at a slow i)ace, and was not adapted 
to the comfort of passengers ; and we cannot believe that the 
turnpike was in any better condition then than it is now. It 
was eight hours' journey — tedious enough even in the best of 
weather, and seemingly unbearable when the day was stormy. 
There was one advantage, however. If anything was broken 
and a delay occurred the passenger was pretty sure to find out 
all the particulars. 

Through the War of 1812 a new passage was opened to New 
York. This was to Sing Sing on the Hudson, and thence 
down the river by sailing vessel to the city. Sing Sing was 
thirty-four miles from Danbury ; the distance down the river 
was about the same. 


The mode of travel was by a goods wagon to Sing Sing. This 
was managed by Reuben Trowbridge, father of Trnman Trow- 
bridge. He made a trip once a week. Freight was the chief 
resource of the enterprise, and the chief article Avas butter. He 
carried passengers, if desired, but the accommodation was not 
very good, and there was very little travel. The fare to Sing 
Sing was $1, and the same by boat to the city, or about what 
it is now by rail. The trip by wagon consumed about ten hours' 

In 1815, when the war closed, and from that time to 1824, the 
journey was made by stage to Norwalk, where a sloop was taken 
to New York. 

Captain Piatt was for many years the driver of this stage. 
He had his headqiiarters Avhere Mrs. D. P. Nichols now lives. 
There was no stage office. The captain picked up his passengers 
about town, and started from here at noon, arriving in Norwalk 
early in the evening. 

The passengers took supper at a tavern kept by Hezekiah 
Whitlock, familiarly known as Uncle Kiah. He was a typical 
host, in person, manner, and speech. It was a custom of his to 
" odd or even" with every customer, so inclined, for the drinks. 
After supper the passengers went aboard the boat, and in due 
time turned into their berths. In the night, as the tide suited, 
the vessel got out into the Sound and started for the city. 

The passage was an extremely uncertain venture. Sometimes, 
but not often, wind and tide so favored that the passenger found 
himself in New York the next morning. As a general thing an 
entire day was consumed in the triji, and in very dirty weather 
three or four days would be required. The weather sometimes 
would be so obstinate that the vessel would be obliged to put 
into port on the way, and remain there until the storm abated. 

The sloop was not a large one, and was consequently restricted 
in the matter of accommodation. Ten or twelve berths was its 
limit. The price of a ticket was 50 cents, or one half that by 
stage between Danbury and Norwalk. Meals were charged 25 
cents each, and consisted invariably of beefsteak fried with 

At this time there was a stage from Boston to New York, 
passing through Norwalk, biit it was generally full on reach- 
ing that village on its way down, and not often available to 


7?< L? niz. 

Whereas jt"' p»"' '»-»'>«" "^^ •" ™'"«' "" p""''' '"'"'' ''"' "" ""^ 

engaged with Great Britain, is mttensively unpopu a . 
.otied b, te Peopit of New-England, the undersigned 
.h.le Ihey lament the hecessity ot a War, they are fi»ed 
fill the airaiciment of an honorable peace. 

link proper to declare, ihai whi 
n ihe determiiation to support i 

«r^ 3^9^ LA^'-yon^- 






^ c^r^'^ ^y^~^^ ^>^ 

e^^ ^^r:).^- 


the Danbnry passengers. When the weather was very bad on 
the Sound, at the time of arriving in Norwalk, the Danbury hat 
and comb-makers on the trip would charter a stage from the 
livery of Stevenson & Patrick, Norwalk, and go to the city by 

In 1824 the first steamboat was put on the line from Norwalk 
to New York. This vessel was called the John Marshall, in 
honor of the Chief Justice. The company owning it was com- 
posed of Danbury, New York, and Norwalk parties. The vessel 
was about eighty feet long, and carried between thirty and forty 

The journey was now made in good time, with certainty, and 
attended by comfort. The fare charged was $1. Three years 
later Cornelius Vanderbilt piit on an opposition boat, and the 
strong competition reduced the fare from $1 to Is. This com- 
petition was kept up for two years to the great gratification of 
the Danbury traveller. The commodore's boat was the Nimrod, 
and was commanded by Captain Brooks, of Bridgeport. The 
John Marshall had been superseded by the Fairfield, com- 
manded by Captain Peck. 

In 1815 (and we think several years earlier than that) Philo 
Calhoun carried passengers and the mail between Danbury and 
New York. He drove two horses attached to a two-seated car- 
riage. His route lay through Ridgefield and White Plains. He 
left here Tuesdays, stopped in White Plains over night, and 
reached the city on Wednesday at 10 a.m. or later, according to 
the state of the roads. On the return he left the city on Thurs- 
day and reached here Saturday night. The fare was $2.50. 

Some time ago a man named Reynolds, who kept a small tav- 
ern in Cross River, N. Y., ran a stage from that point to the 
city. He got the notion that it would pay to extend his route 
to Danbury, and he canied out the idea. Mr. Reynolds did not 
know much about hotels, but he was at home with the whip, as 
was evident enough. He drove four horses to a vehicle that was 
a near approach to a regular coach, a sort of combination of the 
present Brewster stage and the mail coach. It contained three 
seats inside which accommodated nine passengers. There was 
room for two more on the driver's seat. 

Mr. Reynolds's stage made three trips each week to the city. 
It left here at the somewhat startling hour of 2 a.m. The pas- 


sengers took breakfast in the large but rather smoky kitchen of 
his tavern at Cross River. A favorite dish with Mr. Reynolds 
was fried corned beef, accompanied by rye bread and clouded 
coffee, and loving his neighbors as he did himself, he gave them 
this fare. In the evening the stage reached New York. The 
journey cost $2, exclusive of meals. The breakfast at Cross 
River was Is. 

Reynolds's stage put up in Danbury at the tavern now the 
Meeker place. From here, a trifle before 2 a.m., Mr. Reynolds 
appeared with his stage and drove up Main Street, blowing his 
horn to notify the prospective passengers that he was ready to 
start. To the people who Avere not going to New York the 
sound of the horn must have suggested profane thoiights. How 
thoroughly disagreeable it must have been getting up at that 
hour of a winter morning, and in that period of Danbury's his- 
tory, we can only svirmise. There was no base burning stove to 
keep the room waiTn through the night. There were no matches, 
and if a light was obtained at all, it was through much difficulty. 

There was a stage line from Hartford to New York by way of 
Danbury at the very beginning of the century. The following 
advertisement is taken from the Danbiuy Republican Journal, 
published in 1804. It is as follows : 


From Hartford to New York. 

Leaves Hartford and New York every 

Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning, at 4 o'clock ; and 
arrives in Danbury the same evening, at 7 o'clock ; Starts from 
Danbury every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, at 
4 o'clock ; and an-ives in Hartford and New York the same 
evening, at 7 o'clock. 

Fare for eacJi Passenger, 
fFarmington $0.5f) ^ fEast Chester $1.00 

Bristol 1.00 .« 

Harwinton 1.2f> ^ 

Litchfield 1.65 | 

Washington 2.15 '^ 

NewMilford 2.65 g 

White Plains 1.50 

Harrison 1.70 

North Castle 2.00 

Bedford 2.35 

Ridgefield 2.90 

iDanbury 3.45 ^ iDanbury 3.45 


f Kidgefield 80.55 fNew Milford $0.80 

f^ Bedford 1.10 f_ Washington 1.30 

I j North Castle 1.45 | | Litchfield 1.80 

1 I Harrison 1.75 § -{ Harwinton 2.20 

g White Plains 1.95 g Bristol 2.45 

2 I East Chester 2.45 2 | Farmington 2.90 

^ iNewYork 3.45 '^ iHartford 3.45 

Fourteen pounds Baggage with the Passenger gratis. One 
himdred pounds Baggage the same as a Passenger. The Pro- 
prietors risk no Baggage, unless insured at one per cent. 

It is believed that Mr. Ely, one of the proprietors of the paper, 
was interested in this line. The route into Danbury is said to 
have been through Stony Hill, and into the village by way of 
South Street. This was a mail stage. 

Later than this Stephen Bronson Benedict, grandfather of Mr. 
George Starr, carried the mail on horseback between Hartford 
and Daubury and Danbury and New York. He left Danbury 
for New York on Monday, and returned here Wednesday. 
Thursday he started for Hartford, and returned from there on 
Saturday, thus taking up the week in the round trip. 

In 1827 or thereabouts Richard Osborn, father of James 
Osborn, carried the mail on horseback from Danbury to New- 
burgh on the Hudson River. 

Western passengers were carried, at one time, to Poughkeepsie, 
where they took the boat to Albany. A four-horse stage made 
the transfer from Danbury. It was driven by a man named 
Baker. He made two trips a week, and did a good busi- 

Between 1820 and 1830 a party named Parks had a stage line 
between Litchfield and Danbury. The stage was a covered 
wagon adapted to the conveyance of both goods and passengers. 
One Palmer drove for him. Palmer was succeeded by a man 
whose name became famous, and is still fragrant with the 
memory of a wit that was remarkable. This was Hiram Barnes. 
In 1830 Barnes left Parks and established a line between Dan- 
bury and Norwalk. 

The stage line from Litchfield to Danbury is remembered par- 
ticularly by many of our older citizens as being a source of sup- 
ply of fish, which came down from the Litchfield lakes in a 


frozen condition. That was the time when fish and beefsteak 
both sold for six cents a pound. 

This reminds ns that the pike in the waters about Danbury 
came from Bantam Lalce in Litchfield. They were brought here 
by Thaddeus Gray, in 1826. Gray lived in Brookfield, just over 
the Danbury line. He went about among our people soliciting 
contributions for his fish i^roject, and raised enough for the pur- 
pose. He brought the young pike in a cask by the Litch- 
field stage, and with his own hands distributed them in the 
waters about here. 

Hiram Barnes began staging on his own account in 1830. He 
was a heavily built man with a voice that was a surprise in that 
it was not deep and sonorous, but shrill and squeaking. His wit 
was remarkable, showing itself somewhat after the unexpected 
manner of lightning, and quite frequently was as withering as 
that fluid. He was no respecter of persons, neither did he 
spare any for the sake of relationshij). 

In 1833 Barnes did a good business in bringing into the country 
people who were fleeing from the city because of the cholera. 
He then had two four-horse stages. He changed animals at a 
place called Darling's Corner, in the Boston school district of 
Redding. After this period his stage left Danbury at 2 a.m., 
and connected with the morning boat for New York from Nor- 
walk. The fare between Danbury and Norwalk was then but $1. 

The mail route between New York and Danbuiy was through 
Ridgefield, Cross River, Bedford, and White Plains. The stage 
left the city with six horses, at White Plains it dropped two and 
ran to Northcastle with four. At the latter place it would fre- 
quently drop two more and so run into Danbury with the two 
horses, and sometimes left here with but two, putting on more 
as it advanced to the city. The number of horses attached to 
the stage depended on the number of passengers patronizing it. 

In 1840 the Housatonic Railway reached Hawleyville, and a 
stage was run from Danbury to connect with the railway there. 
At Bridgeport the passenger took the boat for New York. This 
stage was driven by Daniel S. Beattys, who died a few years 

In the summer of 1841 Mr. P. D. Crosby, then jwstmaster of 
Danbury, ran a stage from this place to Bridgeport, in opposi- 
tion to both Beattys and the railway company. He made the 


distance in from three to four hours. In the railways of that 
time a straj) rail was used, being a strip of iron laid on a timber. 
At the joints it would occasionally happen that an end would 
become loose and curl up, so as to run up on the wheel and thus 
into the car, to the horrible mutilation of some passenger. These 
were known and dreaded as "snake heads." A line in the 
advertisement of Mr. Crosby's stage announced, " No Snake 
Heads !" His route became so popular as to interfere with the 
business of the railway company, and it bought him off. 

In 1840 or thereabouts, Mr. George Bates drove a stage to 
New Haven. He made one trip a week, and kept up the route 
for two or three years. 

In the fall of 1841 Mr. Crosby opened a stage line to White 
Plains, where he connected with the Harlem Railway. The dis- 
tance was thirty-six miles. He made three trips weeldy. The 
fare to White Plains by the stage was 81. From there to New 
York by cars it was 50 cents. On April 1st in the following 
year he made a trip each day. 

When the Harlem Road reached Croton Falls he made that 
the objective point. The distance was fourteen miles. At this 
time Barnes started a line in opposition to Mr. Crosby, and 
lively work followed. At one time three trips were made 

The steamboat coming to Norwalk was an event in the his- 
tory of that town. We can all understand this, but few of us 
are prepared to believe that the event took such a hold upon the 
Norwalk people as to almost entirely unfit them for their regular 
business pursuits, but such was the fact. 

Crowds flocked to the wharf to see the steamboat leave, and 
the most of these with their number greatly increased returned 
at night to see the boat come. It was no uncommon event to 
have a thousand persons waiting to receive the steamer. They 
went on foot and in carriages and waited in a state of great ex- 
citement. The streets of the village were deserted during the 
hour, and business in the stores was entirely suspended. Some 
men lost their heads to such a degree that they gave up their 
work entirely. This was not an excitement of the moment, but 
lasted for several years. 

We have already referred to the reputation for witty retort 
enjoyed by the late Mr. Barnes. Numerous stories are told of 


this phase of his character, some of which are well worthy of 

On one occasion he was coming down from Litchfield, when 
an old woman appeared from a building at the side of the road 
and hailed the stage. It was pretty well loaded, as was evident 
to any observer. Barnes drew up his horses, thinking he had a 
passenger in prospect. 

" I've got a trundle-bed I wish yoii would take to Danbiiry 
for me," said the woman. 

Concealing his disgust, Barnes gravely replied, " Sorry, marm, 
I can't accommodate you, but I've got a saw-mill to take on just 
below here." 

When O. P. Clark kept a store on South Main Street it was a 
favorite resort for Barnes. One evening he was in there when 
an old gentleman, who was sitting by the stove, observed, 
" Things have changed a great deal up along the Still River, 
Mr. Barnes, since you drew a stage up there." 

" I s'pose so," said Barnes absently. 

" Yes, indeed. I kin remember the time when all along up 
there, clear to New Milford, was a woods. It was full of trees 
in that time, and the wild geese used to lay in there thicker' n 

" Where do wild geese make tlieir nests and hatch their young, 
uncle V ' asked some one else. 

" In the crotches of the trees, I think," said the old gentleman. 

" Is that so, Barnes V said the interrogator, appealing to the 
stage-driver. ' ' Do wild geese make their nests in the crotches 
of trees ?" 

" I don't know as wild geese do," said Barnes, in his squeak- 
ing voice ; " but suckers do." 

That ended the discussion. 

On another occasion he was seen crossing the road with a 
parcel in his hands. 

" What have you got there, Barnes ?" asked a friend. 

" A pumpkin pie," was the reply, given in a tone that indi- 
cated some disgust. 

True enough, he had a huge pumpkin pie, one of those articles 
baked on a large, old-fashioned earthen platter. He was sent 
with it by his wife to a poor but shiftless family, with whose 
misfortunes he had no sympathy. 


" What win they do with it V asked the friend. 

"I don't know," piped Barnes, ''unless they take it for a 

Once only he was come up with, according to his own admis- 
sion, and that was by a woman. A revivalist preacher was in 
town holding a series of meetings. He stayed at the Wooster 
House, and was accompanied by his wife, who was not pleased 
with Danbury. Meeting Barnes one day, she remembered him 
as the driver of the stage that brought her here. 

" Do you belong to Danbury f she abniptly inquired. 

"No, ma'am," he sweetly replied; "Danbury belongs to 

' ' Well, you are a jDoorer cuss than I thought you were if you 
own this place," was her spiteful rejoinder. 

Barnes withdrew at once. 



In 1772 a cavalry company was formed in Danbury as Fourth 
Company, Third Regiment, Third Brigade. This company 
served in the Revolutionary War imder the following officers : 
Ezra Starr, captain ; Benjamin Hickok, lieutenant ; Jeremiah 
Dunning, cornet. 

Following is a list of the captains of this company in order of 
succession : Daniel Starr, afterward major ; Ezra Starr, after- 
ward major ; Benjamin Hickok, afterward major ; David Wood, 
afterward major ; Nathaniel Gregory, Asahel Benedict, Seth 
Comstock [1812], afterward major. 

Second Company, Fifth Regiment, Fourth Brigade : Hugh 
Starr, captain ; Elias S. Sanford, captain ; Isaac Seeley, Fred- 
erick Seeley [1825, sixty men], William B. Hoyt, afterward 
major ; Starr Nichols, afterward colonel ; Abijah E. Tweedy, 
afterward colonel ; William Wildman, Orson Dibble, Elijah 
Sturdevant, afterward major ; George StaiT, Grandison M. Bar- 
num, Charles W. Fry, afterward colonel ; Judah P. Crosby, 
afterward major ; George W. Wilson, Ezra A. Mallory, Jacob B. 

All companies were disbanded by the law of 1854. By State 
law the Fifth Regiment Avas formed and annexed to the Fourth 
Brigade. It consisted of four companies, the first from Wood- 
bury, second from Danbury, third from New Milford, and fourth 
from Newtown. 

This first cavalry company, who participated in the War of 
the Revolution, were present at the two executions at Redding 
in February, 1779, under the order of General Putnam. Lieu- 
tenant Jones, a British spy, was hanged, and John Smith, a de- 
serter from the First Connecticut Regiment, was shot. The 
company were ordered to White Plains, attached to the regi- 
ment of Colonel Sheldon, of which Benjamin Tallmadge was 


major, and were with Putnam at Horse Neck and at the burning 
of Norvvalk and Fairiield. 

When serving as State troops the regiment was under com- 
mand of Captain Starr ; when serving out of the State as Conti- 
nental troops they were generally under the command of Lieu- 
tenant Hickok. When Putnam went into winter quarters at 
Redding, Captain Starr's company was ordered home and re- 
ported weekly. 

At the battle of White Plains this company all appeared with 
glass bottles in place of canteens, and when ordered to the right 
of the American line to keep the British from turning the right 
flank, thej' rode in subdivision, with Lieutenant Hickok in com- 

In jumping a low stone wall surmounted by two rails, Gabriel 
Barnum's horse fell, throwing his rider. The British were 
firing rapidly, and Hickok turned back and said, " Barnum, 
hurry iip, the balls are flying fast !" Seeing no movement on 
the part of the fallen man, he shouted again, " Barnum, Bar- 
num, hurry up, the balls are flying fast and hot !" 

Barnum raised himself, and looking at the broken bottle which 
had taken the place of his canteen, said, "I don't care a d — n 
for the balls, Hickok ; but just look at my rum !" 

The Continental uniform of the company was blue coats and 
vests, with red facings, knee-breeches, boots, and cocked hats. 
In 1791 this was changed to red coats with yellow facings, yellow 
breeches, long boots, and bearskin caps. 

We are indebted for this military information to Colonel Sam- 
uel Gregory, of this city (Middle River District), who was adju- 
tant of tbis regiment for four years. Eight of the ancestors of 
Colonel Gregory were soldiers of the Revolution, two were in the 
War of 1812, and he himself was in the Civil War until failing 
health caused his return in 1863. Colonel Gregory also gives 
lis from memory the following, which will be of local inter- 
est : 

" At the celebration of the Fourth of July in 1838, the pro- 
cession was formed at the Danbury House, then standing on the 
site of the present Turner House. In this procession were sixty 
Revolutionary soldiers of Fairfield County, and one hundred 
veterans of the War of 1812. From the Danbury House the pro- 
cession marched up Main Street to West, up West Street to Deer 


Hill Avenue, and over the bill to the Baptist church on the 
corner of Wooster Street. 

" Here an oration vras delivered by James Taylor, and the 
Declaration of Independence read by Reuben Booth, after which 
the procession returned to the starting-point. Before reaching 
it the ranks were opened, and every man stood with uncovered 
head while the Revolutionary soldiers marched through to the 
table of honor at the feast, which was spread in the broad, green 
dooryard of the hotel. 

' ' The chajjlain of the occasion was Rev. Anson Rood, then 
pastor of the Congregational church, and the marshal of the 
day was Colonel Ira Gregory." 


When this century began Main Street, from Centre Street to 
the old saddle factory, was confined to the road on the east side 
of the park, and formed a bow. Major Ezra Starr, of Revolution- 
ary memory, lived where now stands the residence of Mrs. D. P. 
Nichols. He owned that property and down the street as far 
as Wooster Street. In 1801 there was a petition to straighten 
the street at the bow. In response to this feeling Mr. Starr gave 
the land along his front, but on the condition that the part thus 
opened should forever be a common, and no roadway should 
traverse it. This left the road where it was, but straightened 
the street. 

The common thus created became a turf, and was utilized par- 
ticularly once a year for training i)urposes. There were two 
military organizations in Danbury at that time— one was an 
artillery company, and the other a company of cavalry. The 
former rendezvoused at the tavern kept by Ebenezer White, 
grandson of the clergyman by that name. It was a two-story 
wooden building, and stood on the site of the Turner House. 
The cavalry had their headquarters with Dr. Starr, on the corner 
of Main and Elm streets, but both companies trained on the green 
created by Major Starr's bounty. In those days "a training" 
was a mighty event, and the village would be full of visitors, 
while the citizens donned their holiday attire and did no business. 

The troops dressed their parade on a line formed along the 
turf by a pick, and visible the entire length. It was a perfectly 
straight line, and in those days was felt to be necessary to get a 


TlTf"ITf"^il"i I" 

« ml 

TriiNKi: IIor-E, Is'.ii;, 

Aaron Turner. 
Old Dasei'ry House— Where Turner House now Stands. 


perfect dress of the companies. The military eye of a century 
ago may have been as iierce as is that organ of to-day, but it was 
evidently not so accurate, hence the line. 

In 1851 or 1852 a project for making a central park here by 
running a road on the west line Avas agitated. It was immedi- 
ately opposed by the uptown people, although the citizens below 
Liberty Street were to bear the expense of the improvement. It 
was claimed by the opponents that should the borough give the 
privilege to make a park of this place, the resort would in time 
be thrown back on the borough, and it would have to bear the 
expense of keeping np a spectacle that was to gratify and beneiit 
only a portion of the community. How singularly blind sec- 
tionalism will make us ! 

But the down-town people persisted in their enterprise, and 
the borough authorities iinally granted their request. In the 
spring of 1853 the work began. Two thousand dollars was sub- 
scribed by the down-towners for this purpose, and we have them 
to thank to-day for the pretty, inviting park which adorns Main 
Street. Augustus Seeley was a leading party in the matter. 
He was ably seconded by W. P. Seeley, the late Aaron Turner, 
and others on South Main Street. The trees were dug by Noah 
Adkins and Fred Bevans, two well-known men in that day. 
They were given by James Harvey. Thus originated Elmwood 

The prediction of the up-towners was verified. The park 
went back to the borough, but the annual expense of keeping it 
in order has been insignificant. 

When the park was first laid out it was sown vnth grain to 
get a turf. This was fired one night by some of our present 
sober-minded and anti-levity citizens, who were then boys. It 
made a very handsome illumination, but the citizens were very 
much shocked. 

When the late Uncle Sam Jennings was warden he cut a crop 
of hay from the ground. He had previously issued a proclama- 
tion forbidding the obstruction of the highways of the village. 
One afternoon he loaded his cart with the hay, but it being late 
he left the load in the street for the night. A number of un- 
known parties, in the fear of the law and with a most commenda- 
))le regard for its integrity, drew the cart to the Pound in the 
night, pitched the hay over into the enclosure, then took the 


cart to pieces, passed that over, and finislied up by reloading the 
hay and leaving the whole within the Pound. 

The feelings of Warden Jennings when he discovered the loca- 
tion of his hay the next morning can easily be imagined, but he 
issued no manifesto, nor offered any reward for the appi'ehen- 
sion of the actoi's. He remembered where he had left his cart 
the night before, and sOently went to work to pitch the hay out- 
side, to take the cart apart and get that over, and then to put 
the machinery together again and reload the hay. 

That was in the " good old times." 

danbuky's first irishman. 

The first Irishman that ever came to Danbury was Peter 
O' Brien, about seventy years ago. He located himself in Stony 
Hill District just east of the school-house, and jiut up a genuine 
shanty made of stone, clay, and turf, with a barrel for a chim- 
ney, and was one of Danbuiy's greatest attractions in those 
days. He kept a cow, pigs, and chickens that were always seen 
hovering about the door, unless occasionally when Mrs. O'Brien 
drove them away. Pleasure-seekers would frequently drive 
that way to get a sight of his small retreat. He was like most 
of his race, wdtty and full of fun, and invariably answered when 
asked how he came over from Ireland, " Faith, and I come over 
in a hoss cart." 

Several anecdotes are related of him, one of which we will 
give. He was a day laborer, and most of the time worked for 
an old man by the name of Starr, in Beaver Brook, the father of 
Colonel Elias Starr, who resided on the corner of Main and 
Boughton streets in this village and kept a private school there. 
Almost every day after school hours the colonel would ride out 
to his old home, and on one occasion he saw a fine dog there 
that belonged to Peter, which he was anxious to purchase. 
Hogs were j)ermitted to run in the street then, and at times 
annoyed the colonel very much. Peter would take $2 for the 
dog. A bargain was made, and the dog was brought into town. 
The next day after the purchase Mr. Starr saw several pigs in 
his dooryard, rooting up his grounds, when he yelled for his 
dog to chase them away. The dog ran around, jumped upon 
his new master, but showed no disposition to go for them, for 
the best reason in the world, the poor animal was totally blind. 


Forthwith the colonel started for Beaver Brook, where Peter 
was at work, and in tones not to be misnnderstood wanted to 
know why he did not tell him the dog was blind. 

" I knowed ye'd find it aont," said Peter. 

' ' You rascal, you said he would chase hogs, and he is as blind 
as a bat," reiterated the colonel. 

" I tole ye he would chase a hog as fur as he could see, and 
faith he will, and it's no lie I'm telling ye." 

The old man, Mr. Starr, was so pleased over it that he told 
Peter (after the colonel left) that he would give him a bushel of 
rye every year, as long as he lived, for cheating his son Elias^ 
who had been to college— and he did. 



It is said to be a sober fact in history that the first building 
ever erected in this country as a hat shop was built in Danbury, 
and the first hat ever made in these United States was made in 
this town. 

Be this as it may, certain it is that in the days of the Revolu- 
tion, when our town was but a hamlet, when provincial's blade 
was crossed with that of roj^alist, and a little phalanx of stout 
hearts were contending for tlie inborn lights of man ; Avhen the 
seeds of future glorious empii-e were being planted in the fur- 
rows ploughed by the cannon-ball, harrowed in deeply by the 
iron war-horse, the tramp of wheeling and charging columns, 
moistened and enriched by the generous flow of the life blood of 
patriots, we find in 

1780. — Zadoc Benedict engaged in the less chivalric and bloody 
occupation of maldug hats in a small red shop, standing near 
the grounds now the site of the depot, in Main Street. With 
limited resources and capital, he kept up the fire under his soli- 
tary kettle, and employed to work up his " stock" the services 
of one journeyman and two apprentices, turning off hats at the 
rate of three per day, or one and a half dozen per week, two 
hats being an average for a good workman in a day. 

This is, according to the statement of some of our oldest citi- 
zens, about the first that was done at hatting in Danbury, and 
although hats had undoubtedly been made here long before 
this, still we shall take this as the starting point and regard it as 
the commencement of what has since proved an important and 
extensive trade. . . . 

1787.— Colonel Russell White and Oliver Burr,* fii-m of Buit & 

* Oliver Burr was the youngest son of Colonel Andrew and Sarah (Sturges) Burr, 
of Fairfield, Conn., where he was horn Novemher 10th, 1745. He was the maternal 
grandfather of Mrs. Balmforth and the late William R. "White, also of the late 


White, or 0. Burr & Co., carried on what was then considered 
an extensive trade, employing thirty hands, variously engaged, 
and turning off hats at the rate of fifteen dozen per week, or 
seven hundred and fifty dozen per year. The hats of this period 
were without elegance, being heavy, rough, and unwieldy. They 
sold at from $6 to $10 each, enough to buy two or three fine hats 
now. One man could make about nine hats per week, but the 
process of making was very different from what it is now. 

The manufacturer bought the skins in a bundle. The fur then 
had to be taken fi'om them by hand and assorted. Then it was 
bowed into " bats," with the old "bow," " pins," and " catgut," 
and these " bats" were made into hat bodies. After the hats 
were made (everything being done by hand), they were dis- 
tributed to the ladies living in the vicinity, in order to have the 
hair that remained sticking in the nap removed by tweezers. 

Among the men employed by Burr & White were Eli Benedict 
and William Babcock, who afterward went to New Haven. 

1791. — In the Farmers' Journal^ published at Danbury, in 
this year, we find the following advertisement : 

"to be sold by 

o. burr & company, 

one hundred weight of 

good hat wool, 

and several pairs of white 

english rabbits, 

Whose increase is amazingly fast and the skins for fur in great 
demand, and their flesh of the most delicate kind ; and to con- 
clude the whole of their excellencies, their keeping requires 
nothing but vegetables, such as weeds, grass, potatoes, turnips, 
etc., etc. They need no drink. 

" Also, given as usual twenty pence per run for coarse woollen 

" Danbury, May 18th, 1791." 

1800.— In Bobbins' s century sermon, delivered at Danbury, 
January 1st, 1801, we find these remarks : " In the manufacture 

Edgar S. Tweedy, and the paternal grandfather of the late Mrs. Lucius S. Hoyt. 
When Colonel Aaron Burr was quite young he was placed by his father for a time 
in the charge of Oliver Burr, who was his third cousin, to pursue his studies. 
Oliver Burr died in Danbury, January 31st, 1797 


of hats this town (Danbury) miicli exceeds any one in the United 
States. More than twenty thousand hats, mostly of fur, are 
made annually for exportation." 

1802. — The first hat store at the South in connection with 
manufacturing at Danbury was established by two active and 
well-known men (now deceased), Zalmon and Seymour Wildman. 
They had one store at Charleston, S. C, firm of Z. & S. Wild- 
man ; another at Savannah, Ga., firm of Wildmans & Hoags. 
Zalmon Wildman manufactured in the shop of Zadoc Benedict, 
after the decease of the latter in 1803. He also, some years 
later, carried on quite extensively the finishing of hats for the 
Southern market, near the grounds now the site of the Pah- 
quioque Hotel in Main Street. 

1803.— During this and following years Samuel H. Phillips, 
George Benedict, David AVood, William Babcock, Ezra Wild- 
man, Ebenezer and John D. Nichols, Boughton & Starr, and 
others carried on hatting in different i')arts of the township. The 
fashionable hat of this year was six inches deep and two-inch 

1805. — Clark & Benedict carried on the hatting business in the 
red building situated in West Street, and now occupied as a 
dwelling. Gersham Nichols, at the same time, in a building 
near the residence of Oliver Stone in Main Street. 

1807. — Noah Rockwell commenced manufacturing wdth his 
" plank" shop in the cellar of the house now occupied by Mrs. 
Rosaboom, in Franklin Street ; also Hoyt Gregory had a shop 
in West Street. All these maniifacturers carried on the business 
on a limited scale, employing, probably, from seven to eight 
hands each, and turning off hats at the rate of four or five dozen 
per week, or two hundi'ed and fifty dozen per year. Among the 
men in the employ of Hoyt Gregory were James Seal and 
Thomas Peck, who eventually engaged in an extensive business 
at Boston. 

In a plank-room, small and inconvenient, gathered around one 
kettle, heated by means of a furnace filled with wood under- 
neath, you will find three or four men pulling and hauling the 
bodies of coarse fur, which had been formed, not by a machine 
at the rate of thirty jier hour, but by theii' own hands at the 
rate of one per hour. A contrast, indeed ; but more of this ere 
we close the sketch. 

Giles M. Hciyt Wm. K. White. Chaki.E3 Benedict. 


\Vm. B. Wildman. Wm. Montgomery. 
John T. Dasn. David D. Thomas E. Tweedy. 


1808-1809. — There were fifty-six hat shops in operation in the 
township of Daubury, averaging from three to five men each. 
Many farmers were interested in the trade, setting up a kettle 
and hiring journeymen. 

1812.— We have our venerable citizen, now president of the 
Danbury Bank, Samuel Tweedy (who went into business as early 
as 1800), and James Benedict, firm of Tweedy & Benedict, carry- 
ing on business in a shop situated on the ground where the house 
of Mrs. Sprague now stands, corner of Main and Elm streets. 
Hands employed thirty. During the war the trade between hat 
dealers and the Northwest Company was cut off. John Jacob 
Astor sold at auction, in the city of New York, a large quantity 
of furs which had been seized. James Benedict, hearing of the 
sale, attended and bought five bales (one thousand pounds) of 
" old coat beaver" at $1 per pound. The price immediately 
advanced to $5 per jiound. 

We must remember that at this time hat finishing was a very 
small part of the trade here — in fact, hardly any hats were sent 
to market finished and trimmed, but were sent in the " rough" 
to the city, there to be made ready for sale. In this year a 
machine was invented for blowing fur, and first used in Messrs. 
Tweedy & Benedict's establishment. It consisted of a wire 
di'um, in which the fur was placed, and the machine moved with 
a crank by hand. Small, simple, and imperfect, it was thought 
to be an important invention at that time ; now it would be 
laughed at as a child's plaything. 

1814. — Judson and Russell White, firm of White Brothers, 
conducted a large business (then) in a shop opposite the old fac- 
tory now occupied by Crosby, Hoyt & Co. Capital invested, 
$50,000. Hands employed, about fifty, making probably about 
two hundi-ed dozen hats per month, or two thousand dozen per 
annum. This firm had a warehouse in the city, where the hats 
were sent to be sold. 

Among those who learned the trade with the White Brothers 
was Starr Nichols, Esq., now deceased, who afterward became a 
prominent townsman, contributing in a great measure to the 
advancement and building up of Danbury. Soon after his 
" time was out" he commenced business for himself. Doing 
very little at first, but steadily increasing, he pushed forward 
with that zeal which ever afterward formed so prominent a trait 


in Ms character, until when the White Brothers retired from 
business he took their place, and carried it on with increased 
energy, employing fifty "makers." He met with several re- 
verses of fortune, but at the time of his death (ISfiG) was engaged 
in a lucrative business in a hat store in New York City, and 
to-day he is remembei-ed as one of the most prominent men in 
the trade. His benevolence and active perseverance are well 
worth imitating. 

1816. —Two of our citizens, R. & E. T. Hoyt, merchants in the 
place, receiving, as the custom was, hats in exchange for their 
goods, taking a few hats went South and opened a store at 
Charleston, S. C. The hats were made by Tweedy & Benedict, 
and finished partly in the old finishing shop yet standing on the 
comer of Main and Franklin streets. The Messrs. Hoyt began 
on a small scale, the sales at first amounting to but $15,000 or 
$20,000 per year, but as the trade increased in importance 
throughout the country, they took advantage of it, and through 
their efforts was built up a large establishment, increasing until 
at one period the yearly sales reached $100,000. The business 
continued in the hands of some of the Hoyt family, until the 
death of John R. Hoyt (son of Russell), and is yet in active opera- 
tion under F. T. Fanning. David H. Bougliton was the first 
partner taken into the firm, and the following individuals were 
from time to time connected with the same house : David M. 
Benedict, Edgar S. Tweedy, F. T. Fanning, Lucius P. Hoyt, 
and A. E. Tweedy. This hat store was connected with manufac- 
turing in Daabury up to 1854, and affords an example of pros- 
perity and continued success, with close attention to business as 
the clause. 

In the fall of the same year, 1816, Zalmon Wildman (who, as 
before mentioned, was engaged in the Southern trade as early 
as 1802) with Ezra M. Starr— the latter still one of our most re- 
spected and influential citizens— started another hat store in 
Charleston. This firm also commenced with about $20,000 as 
the yearly sales, but an enterprise like this in the hands of siich 
thorough and active business men could but succeed. They were 
soon firmly established, and went on extending their trade and 
enlarging theu- operations until we have as the amount of sales 
per annum, $60,000. Hats worth here $90 per dozen were taken 
South and sold at $120 per dozen. 


1817. — Captain John Foot, with one Mr. Hodge, manufac- 
tured hats for the firm of Wildman & Starr, employing six or 
eight men, and getting up about six hundred dozen per annum. 
Elias Boughton, Abel Hoyt, and others carried on hatting in 
Danbury about this time. The hats were then eight or nine 
ounces in weight. The price for making them — tliat is, the 
Eussia hat— was 92 cents, or os. and 6d. Yankee currency. 

The manner in which hats were packed and sent to the market 
deserves mention. Two hats were taken and rolled wp together 
in a paper, then put into a linen bag, and in this shape, to the 
number of six or eight dozen, they were put into a leathern sack ; 
they were then ready for transportation to the city by stage. 

In bowing hats by hand, the Saxony and other fine wools 
could not be used, consequently the home material and all coarse 
wools were used in making the very few wool hats required. 

1818. — A machine was constructed for bowing hats. It was 
of wood, dish-shaped, somewhat after the pattern of an old-fash- 
ioned fanning mill, and took in enough for two bats at a time. 
This was thought to be a great improvement, but upon thorough 
trial it did not work well, and workmen continued to use the 
"bow," "catgut," and "pins." John Fry and Alvin Hurd 
went into the manufacture of fine beaver hats. 

1820.— Mr. Hurd left the firm and Ephraim Gregory became 
associated with Mr. Fry. They immediately established a hat 
store at Charleston, which afforded a good market for many 
years. This hat store was kept open until the firm closed up 
their business in 1838. 

1821.— Grant, of Providence, R. I., took out a patent for form- 
ing wool hat bodies with the vibrating and revolving cone, but 
the revolving cone had in reality been invented before by one 
Mason, of New Hampshu-e. This rendered Grant's patent in 
valid. He, therefore, upon Mason's threatening a law-suit, de- 
stroyed his fii'st patent, claiming in turn only the vibration, 
according to an act of Congress passed a short time before. The 
vibration was an improvement as far as this. In Mason's inven- 
tion the wool coming in a web from the machine woiind itself 
straight round the cone, leaving a hole in the " tip" after the 
body was formed ; then, too, when the bodies came to be 
' ' planked' ' they were found to be compact and firm one way 
only, whereas in Grant's method, in consequence of the cone 


vibrating and revolving at the same time, the web was spread 
around, thus avoiding the hole in the tip and rendering the body- 
strong and compact. Soon after, Alvin Hurd being in Provi- 
dence, Mr. Niram Wildman (an old and respected citizen) sent 
there requesting Mr. Hurd to negotiate with Grant for the pur- 
chase of a right. Grant i-efused to sell, alleging that the machine 
was not yet brought to perfection. Mr. Wildman then went to 
Providence himself, from whence, after having thoroughly ex- 
amined Grant's patent, he returned, and in connection with Rory 
Starr constructed the more improved and scientific double cone 
for forming two hat bodies at once. Grant, in concert with 
Townsend, the chief stockholder, then brought a suit against 
Wildman for infringement of patent. The case was appointed 
to come on at New Haven, but when the parties met a compro- 
mise was entered into, in which Mr. Wildman was to have, for a 
stipulated sum, and the benefit of the improvement, the use of 
two machines. The suit being withdrawn, Mr. Wildman imme- 
diately put up one of his machines in the old factorj^ on Main 
Street, and commenced the forming of wool hat bodies, con- 
tinuing in the business until 1844, during the last three years of 
this time forming large quantities for Eli White, Esq., of Water 
Street, New York. 

The other machine was loaned to a Mr. Sprague, who put it 
up in the Sturdevant factory, a little out of the village. The 
wool bodies were taken and napped with fur, making the well- 
known ' ' napped hats' ' then in vogue. In forming hats by this 
machine all fine wool could be used, and the Saxony was much 
in demand. The machine in its perfection would form hat bodies 
at the rate of three hundred per day. 

1822.— Up to this time the manner of coloring hats was as fol- 
lows : The hats were taken from the plank shop and placed, two 
or three dozen at a time, in a round kettle, from which they were 
taken by hand once every half hour until the operation was 
completed, which generally took from eighteen to twenty hours. 
It was very tedious to watch the kettle so long, but many things 
were resorted to to wliile away the hours, and often after mid- 
night, when all was still, the old colorman would indulge in a 
roast chicken (there were roosts about), with perhaps a little 
different liquor than that contained in the dye kettle to wash it 
down. The first invention of any importance in this line con- 


sisted of a square kettle with two sacks ; these were filled with 
hats and let into the kettle and drawn out by a tackle made for 
the purpose, so that while one sack was in the liquor the other 
was out on the "dripping-board." This was thought to be, 
and in reality was, an improved method, but was entirely super- 
seded by an invention of Joel Taylor, * a hat manufacturer and 
native of our village, made somewhere about this time (1822). 
Six dozen hats were placed upon a large wheel with jjins and 
turned by a crank ; the ' ' dye-stuff' ' was contained in a copper 
kettle, shaped like a half moon, imderneath. The hats on one 
half the wheel were in the liquor receiving color, while those on 
the other half were out cooling. When the colorman wished to 
reverse this he had only to turn the crank. This manner of col- 
oring hats, though very simple, took the lead of all the rest, and 
in all the country there was a great demand for "Taylor's 
wheel." It was in general use for many years, and may be 
found in numbers of small shops at the present day. Mr. Taylor 
has the names of some two hundred persons to whom he sold 
rights to his coloring wheel, and the amount realized by liim 
altogether reached $5000 ; but as the business increased and 
everything else connected with it was carried on in an extensive 
manner, it was found that some other way must be devised by 
which to color the immense number of hats turned off. In the 
present mode the hats, with the exception of a few of finer qual- 
ity, are thrown promiscuously, withoiit blocks, into an immense 
kettle filled with "dye-stiiff," heated by steam, where, on 
account of an improvement in the liquor, they are colored in a 
few hours. Fifty dozen are colored at one time by this method. 

1824. — Among the manufacturers of this period were Isaac H. 
Seeley, White & Keeler, Hatch & Gregory, Joseph Taylor, 
Hugh Starr, and Taylor & Dibble. 

1825. — Fry, Gregory & Co. conducted at this time an extensive 
trade, working up $80,000 worth of stock per annum ; capital 

* Joel Taylor, a direct descendant of Thomas Taylor, one of the first settlers of 
Danbury, was born February 18th, 1795, and died June 8tb, 1870, aged 75 years. 
He was a son of Joshua, who was an officer in the War of the Revolution. From 
Barber's " Historical Collections of Connecticut" we quote the following ; " The 
Hatter's circular Dye Kettle and Wheel was invented in Danbury in 1833, by Mr. 
Joel Taylor. It is a most important invention for Hatters, and has come into gen- 
eral use both in this country and Europe." James S. Taylor and Mrs. Adelaide 
Holden, of Danbury, are his children. 


invested, $50,000 ; hands employed at making, thirty ; trim- 
ming, ten. Tliis firm also had a store (now occupied by Mr. 
Osborne) in West Street, where the hands employed traded, 
receiving orders instead of cash for their work. 

In 1833, Fry, Gregory & Co. sold out their make-shop to Will- 
iam Montgomery, who had commenced hatting in 1832 with 
Edward S. Brockett. Mr. Montgomery made the hats for Fry, 
Gregory & Co., who having finished and trimmed them, sent 
them to their store in Charleston for sale. Mr. Montgomery 
carried on the fur hat trade until 1853, when buOding a large 
factory in connection with the biiildings already on the ground, 
he entered into the manufacture of wool hats, in company with 
Charles Benedict and Jarvis P. Hull. Mr. Hull soon with- 
drew from the firm, and it is now that of Benedict & Mont- 

From an old bill dated New York, June 5th, 1825, we find 
that Joel Taylor bought of E. & H. Raymond one hundred 
Spanish wool bodies at 34 cents apiece. 

1830. — At some period prior to this year the silk hat was in- 
vented by a Chinaman. The Nouelllste of Roiien narrates the 
following in relation to it : " M. Botta, son of one of the profes- 
sors at the Academy of Caen, an intrepid traveller and confinned 
archaeologist, one of the discoverers of the ruins of Nineveh, 
undertook a journey to China, and lived some time at Canton. 
This was prior to 1830. He used to wear there a beaver hat in 
the European fashion, which suited him so well that he was un- 
willing to change it. However, when it was worn out he applied 
to a Chinese hatter, and giving him all sorts of directions told 
him to make another like it. The man went to work, and in a 
few days brought a hat of the required shape, not of beaver, but 
of some stuff very soft and glossy. M. Botta, on his return to 
France, preserved this curious specimen of Chinese workman- 
ship, and wishing to have it repaired, intrusted it to a hatter, 
who examined it carefully, and was much struck with its mode 
of fabrication, which was altogether new to him. He examined 
the article with the greatest attention, and in a short time the 
fashion of silk hats came in. The inventor patented his dis- 
covery, and made a large fortune, but held his tongue about his 
debt to the Chinese tradesman, who, seeking a substitute for the 
beaver which he could not procure, devised the plan of replacing 


it by tlie light tissue of silk. " The silk hat, therefore, had a 
"Celestial" birth. 

1835. — Mr. Alvin Hurd, having learned the art of making silk 
hats from two Englishmen in the city of New York, returned 
here and set up the business in the shop of Starr Nichols, manu- 
facturing for the firm of Swift & Nichols, with five men em- 
ployed, thus introducing into Danbury the art of making silk 
hats. This branch of the trade increased so that in fact it be- 
came the most popular one of the day, and in the years inter- 
vening between 1840 and 1850 was carried on almost exclusively, 
Messrs. Tweedy & White, William Montgomery, N. H. Wild- 
man, and others beiag engaged in it. After 1850 it gradually 
decreased, and now nothing is done here at this bi-anch, the soft 
hat taking its place. 

During 1835 and several following years, Messrs. Pry & Greg- 
ory, together with Samuel Sproulls, kept in operation a large 
wholesale establishment in New York City. 

1836-37. — These times will be remembered by many, but by 
none more clearly than by the mechanics employed in hatting in 
those days. A general stagnation occurred in the money market, 
banks suspended specie payment, factories were closed, heavy 
failures in every community overwhelmed business men, all 
trades seemed to be paralyzed, j)ro visions and the necessaries of 
life rose to an alarming price, poverty was common, and utter 
ruin seemed to threaten the entire nation. Hatting in Danbury 
was, of course, very dull, hundreds being out of employment at 
their trade for a whole year, doing whatever they could find to 
do in order to earn food for their destitute families. An instance 
may be mentioned. It being necessary to remove the water-pipe 
running through Main Street, a company of hatters were hired 
at $1 per day to perform the job, and set to digging. One man 
receiving for his first day's work a silver dollar, went and in- 
vested it in twelve pounds of flour. This job was considered by 
them all as a lucky affair. The trade received a heavy blow, 
and when it commenced again it was a long time before confi- 
dence was restored and former prosperity returned, and employ- 
ers and employed continued to feel the efi'ects of its utter pros- 
tration for years. 

1840. — Hoyt, Tweedy & Co. had a factory at the north end of 
Main Street, and were also connected with the hat store estab- 


lished at Charleston by the Hoyts in 1816. Since 1840, under 
Edgar S. Tweedy, John R. Hoyt, F. T. Fanning, Lucius Hoyt, 
A. E. Tweedy, William R. White, and others, the firm has been 
known successively as that of Hoyt, Tweedy & Co., Tweedy, 
Hoyt & Co., Tweedy & Hoyt, A. E. Tweedy & Co., Tweedy & 
White, and now (since 1857) Tweedy, White & Co. 

1841. — After the napped hats had gone out of fashion, Messrs. 
Nii'am WUdman and John Fry went to Roxbury for the purpose 
of getting information concerning the wool hatting. They called 
on Colonel Lathrop in that place, who was then considered the 
best manufacturer of wool hats in this section of the country. 
Having obtained the necessary information, Messrs. Wildman & 
Fry returned and commenced the manufacture of wool hats in 
the old building some time since removed from the grounds of 
Mr. Fry, employing five men as makers and two women as 
trimmers, turning off from eight to ten dozen per day, the bodies 
being formed in the "old factory." Wildman & Fry subse- 
quentlj^ sold out to Charles Fry and David Wildman, who con- 
tinued the manufacture in a building in Main Street, since 

Since that time wool hatting has steadily increased in im- 
portance, and at the present time several of our largest and most 
flourishing establishments ai'e solely engaged in the manufacture 
of wool hats, which find a ready market, and the demand for 
which is still on the increase. 

We have then several distinct eras in the trade, a succession 
of monarchs, as it were, that in their turn flourished and re- 

1845. — About this year a machine for forming fur hat bodies 
was patented by Wells, of the firm of Wells & Redfield, New 
York, and soon after improved upon by Burr, St. John & Tay- 
lor. The principle on which it was constructed was very simple. 
This machine and its operation may be described as follows : The 
fur, weighed out and contained in a box with compartments 
near at hand, is taken out and fed on an apron, working on 
rollers about four feet from the main machine, by which it is 
carried to a brush cylinder, concealed from view, eight or ten 
inches in diameter, and making thirty-two hundred revolutions 
per minute. Passing through this, it is forced with great veloc- 
ity through a copper mouthpiece, pyramidical in shape, on to a 

McPhlemt Bros. Bi:ildikq. 


VF.LL Bl-ii.i 



V.N Cl.VE. 

Harris BtiiLDmo. 


Bl-RY New 


cone made of copper or zinc, perforated with minute holes and 
steadily turning round. Directly underneath this cone is a 
blower twelve inches in diameter, revolving fifteen hundred 
times per minute. This creates a vacuum, properly speaking, 
exhausting the air from under the cone, and consequently caus- 
ing the fur to collect upon it as it is forced out by the blower. 
When just enough has been fed on to form the body, the feeder 
is stopped. When the body is all formed, a cloth is wrapped 
about it, while another cone, called the mail, is placed over 
both ; the whole is then (by a simple contrivance) dipped into a 
tub standing near filled with warm water heated by steam. 
After it has been dipped the mail is taken off, the cloth removed, 
and upon turning the cone upside down the hat drops off. It is 
then i^assed between two u'on rollers, or wrung out by hand, 
then rolled in a cloth, and after undergoing the process of hard- 
ening is ready for the planks. As soon as the body has been 
taken from it, the cone is wijaed with a dry cloth, to remove the 
water adhering, that it may not destroy the vacuiim, and it is 
then in a condition to form another hat body. Four attendants 
are required to each machine : a girl to feed on the fur, a boy to 
tend the cone, replacing one as soon as the other is removed, 
a man to carry off, do the dipping, etc., and one man to wring 
out the bodies and harden them. The average time required in 
which to form a hat body is two minutes, or at the rate of thirty 
per hour by one machine. 

The improvement of Burr, St. John & Taylor consisted of the 
mouthpiece with the adjustable top, an iron which can be raised 
or lowered, shaping the mouthpiece (which being copper is easily 
bent), so as to throw the fur on to the cone as the operator may 
require. In the first invention it was necessary for the attendant 
to hold a piece of pasteboard before the fur as it came out, rais- 
ing and lowering it as the case demanded. Great attention had 
then to be given to the work, and frequent examination was 
necessary in order to ascertain the lay of the fur. The mouth- 
piece with the adjustable top was then a decided imjirovement. 
Like aU other inventions this had to work against a strong prej- 
udice, and it was some time, even after it was improved ui)on, 
ere it was firmly established and ranked among the inventions 
really useful and worthy of patronage. 

1846-47. —These were hard years for hatters, and many were 


out of employment for some time. Numbers hired out to farmers 
during the haying season and the time of harvest, but as times 
became more brislv they again found employment in the shops 
and the trade went on. Nathaniel H. Wildman was at this time 
manufacturing fur hats. He kept up the manufacture until a 
few years smce, and is now engaged in a hat store at Augusta, 
Ga. Truman Trowbridge and Frederick Nichols each employed 
a number of hands. 

1849.— Mr. Nathan Benedict came from New York with one of 
the fur hat forming machines. When it was rumored that such 
a machine was to be brought here it created considerable excite- 
ment among the mechanics in the trade, and when it actually did 
arrive a majority of hatters were opposed to it. It was put up 
by Mr. Benedict in the old Hurlbut factory as an experiment, 
under the patronage of A. E. Tweedy & Co., but very little was 
done the first year, and the enterprise progressed slowly ; but as 
the public confidence in it was strengthened the old prejudice 
died out, and its popularity increased. Other machines were 
put up, and year after year the business of hat forming increased, 
iintil we have now eight of these machines in oj^eration in the 
establishment of Messrs. Tweedy, White & Co. alone. Such in- 
ventions as this made a great revolution in the trade, altering 
and remodelling very much the system and process of making 
hats, doing way with much hand labor, and enabling manufac- 
turers to fill out their contracts more readUy. 

1850. — During this year a needed reform in the manner of con- 
ducting the business was brought about. We refer to the intro- 
duction of the cash system. Prior to this tune the business had 
been cari-ied on almost entu-ely by the trade system. The work- 
man, instead of receiving cash as a return for his labor, obtained 
an " order" on some one of the merchants in the place, and tak- 
ing this with him he would present it like a check at the bank, 
and receive, not the hard cash, but certain articles of which he 
might stand in need ; so there was not a merchant in Danbury 
but was in some measure concerned or interested in the hatting 
business, many of them taking payment in hats, shipping them 
to New York for sale. Most of the transactions between the 
diiierent firms were also carried on by trade. The trade or order 
system was an inconvenient and crippling management for both 
manufacturers and workmen, but more especially for the latter, 


tending, as it did, to leave the balance of power in the hands of 
the former, destroying the equality that exists in a measure at 
the present time. When the cash system was spoken of, one 
man is said to have exclaimed, in view of the coming event, 
" When we get all cash, where in the world shall I find means 
to obtain my coloring liquor ?" He had been so used to paying 
for it in exchange or trade, that to his mind it seemed at first 
thought impossible to buy or obtain it in any other manner, 
even though the almighty dollar be brought into the arrange- 

The cash system was found to work finely ; besides more amply 
and satisfactorily rewarding the mechanic for his labor, it gave 
greater facilities to manufacturers, infused new life into the 
trade, and removed the heavy shackles that had stayed its 

The cash system, in fact, made an entu'e revolution in the 
moneyed interests and financial operations of our village, and 
opened a wider avenue for all kinds of business, and a more 
extensive field for the hitherto crippled energies of the whole 
community. We may set down the introduction of the cash 
system, then, as an important event, not only in the history of 
hatting, but also in the history of Danbury. 

1852. — S. A. Brower & Co. started the business of paper -box 
making in Danbury. Until the soft hat came into use hats 
were packed in wooden cases alone. Now one dozen hats are 
placed in a paper box, and these to the number of six are placed 
in a wooden case. This mode of packing hats for transportation 
is a little more expensive than the former, but it is at the same 
time more safe, neat, and convenient. 

Mr. E. S. Davis, who bought out Brower & Co. in 1852, now 
carries on the business quite extensively. At first the demand 
was very small, but as the manufacture of soft hats increased so 
did that of paper boxes. Mr. Davis now occupies the whole of 
the new building seventy by thirty, and three stories high (near 
Tweedy Brothers). Capital invested, $7000 ; sales per annum, 
$25,000 ; paid out to hands per month, $200 ; hands employed, 
eleven ; boards or straw paper used per annum, 125 tons ; num- 
ber of paper boxes of all sizes made per annum, 216,000. The 
" boards" are manufactured in the neighboring towns of Brook- 
field, Newtown, and New Milford. 


Danbury has also been the theatre of some of the most orig- 
inal and important inventions in the way of making hats by 

3853. — James S. Taylor, of this town, patented his machines 
for felting or sizing hats, to which their originality and perfect 
operation has been satisfactorily applied. These machines have 
been introduced into general use among the best and most ex- 
tensive wool hat manufacturers in the United States. The 
largest single day's work performed by these machines was, prob- 
ably, in the shop of Wildman & Crosby, in 1856, they having 
sized on two sets of machines fifty -four dozen hats in one day, 
the machines being operated by four men working only ten 

A Frenchman, J. Baptiste Lacille by name, and many others 
have invented machines for sizing hats, and sold their patents 
for large sums ; but the machines failed, not having been brought 
to perfection, and the Taylor machines have taken the place 
of all. 

1854. — The firm of Crosby, Hoyt & Co. was formed in this 
year for the manufacture of wool hats. The partners were 
Judah P. Crosby, Henry T. Hoyt, and William B. Wildman. 
The two partners, Crosby & Wildman, made wool hats in a build- 
ing just north of the bridge on Main Street on the west side. 
This building was a grist-mill as early as 1792, afterward a sat- 
inet factory, and then used for forming wool hat bodies by 
Niram Wildman, later for the forming and linishing of wool 

The new firm built the main part of the factory now occupied 
by Rundle & White on B,iver Street. On the death of Mr. Wild- 
man he was succeeded by his son, Alfred N. Wildman. The 
business was carried on iintil 1862, when, on the breaking out 
of the war, a large portion of their debtors being merchants of 
the South and Southwest, they were obliged to give iip business. 

1855. — Abijah Abbott commenced the manufacture of band- 
boxes for Messrs. Benedict & Montgomery. Mr. Abbott now 
employs four hands, making thirty thousand large paper boxes 
per year, and consuming fifty tons of boards per annum. His 
sales amount to $5000 per annum. In this shop we were kindly 
shown a machine for cutting and creasing the paper boards, in- 
vented by Elizur E. Clark, the great New Haven match manu- 


facturer. It was originally intended for making match-boxes, 
but being perfected, was patented for its present use in 1857. 
The machine feeds itself, and has thirteen knives, which can be 
regulated so as to cut strips from the sixteenth of an inch to any 
required width. The machine is highly finished, nicely adjusted 
in all its parts, and was obtained at a cost of $375. 

The making of wooden cases is a large item, and three firms — 
George Starr, George Stevens & Co., and Kaymond & Ambler- 
are constantly employed, the former in addition setting up fur 
blowers, making and repairing blocks, and manufacturing all 
kinds of hatters' tools. 

Another item is that of tip-printing. This consists in stamp- 
ing the design on the tip found in every hat. Dies or stamps 
of numerous patterns are used, and the vignettes are printed in 
gold leaf, Dutch metal, or printer's ink, according to the quality 
of the hat for wliich they are intended. Hats are now gener- 
ally bound by sewing-machines. When they were bound by 
hand, ten or fifteen minutes were required in which to bind a 
single hat. It is now done by the machine in one half minute. 

1857.— The " panic" of 1857 is still fresh in the minds of all. 
Of course Danbury, like all other places where much capital was 
invested, felt the panic keenly. 

In no particular has there been more changes than in the shape 
and appearance of the hat. In early times, of which we have 
spoken, hats were made upon blocks entirely round, conse- 
quently when a man turned off a hat it was the celebrated one, 
nine inches deep with one and one half inch brim, the beU- 
crowned specimens of which appear once in a while worn by 
some rustic genius, or some aged stickler for the customs of his 
fathers, awakening in our mind thoughts of the " olden time." 
Save these few that we see now and then, and a few more lying, 
covered with the dust of years, in old garrets, these relics of 
bygone times and the crude days of hat-making are no more. 

Having finished Mr. Francis's " History of Hatting," we look 
now over the ground he went over, and find many changes since 
he %\Tote. There are also some points of which he was not in- 
formed. First, as regards fur-forming machines. In a suit 
against G. E. Cowperthwaite, brought by H. A. Burr et al., of 
which more hereafter, we find that the Burr machine, so called, 
was not the first fur-former invented. Mr. Wells, the patentee. 


took his idea from a successful fur-former then jiatented and in 
operation in England, and secured a patent only ahead of the 
English inventor, because the latter neglected to properly pre- 
pare his papers of application. 

Previous to this, in 1843, one WiUiam Foskett, of Meriden, 
had invented a machine for forming hats. It was a combination 
of the catgut bow and the present former. The feeder spread 
his fur upon an apron, as now. This was carried on until it 
reached where is now the picker. In Foskett' s machine a catgut 
string was stretched across the apron in place of the picker ; the 
string being vibrated by a series of wooden fingers disintegrated 
the fur and thi-ew it through a trunk upon a cone as now. The 
cone, however, was of ruder workmanship. After the removal 
of the cone (the hat being formed) it was hardened on the cone 
without wetting, by an operation not necessary to describe. 
This machine of Foskett's was a perfect, practical machine, but 
lie, lacking capital and health, had to let the matter drop. One 
of them was brought to Danbury subsequently and used by Mr. 

In 1856 Alvah B. Taylor, of New York, invented and patented 
a machine for forming, which is known here as the Cowjier- 
thwaite machine. In this the cones — for there were three used 
— were placed on the sides of a pyramidal stand, irnder which 
was the exhaust fan. These cones were constantly revolving, 
horizontally to the picker. The fur, fed by a boy on an apron 
as in the Burr machine, was blown on the cone. After it was 
all on, the pyramid revolved one third of the circle, and another 
cone was covered. The first cone was covered with an outer 
cone, somewhat larger, and a jiggering motion given it. When 
the second cone was covered with fur the stand again revolved, 
bringing the first cone around to the boy, who continued the jig- 
gering motion by hand. When the third cone was formed (the 
second, in the mean while, following the operation of the first) a 
slight blast of air was let into the first cone, and the outer cover- 
ing came off with the partially hardened hat inside. The cone 
then passed iinder the picker again, and so on. In 1857 this 
machine was brought to Danbury by Mr. Cowperthwaite and 
placed in the old Hurlburt factory. Soon after it was removed 
to the Shelter Rock factory. In 1859 this factory was burned, 
and Mr. Cowperthwaite purchased of Darius Stevens the build- 


ing tlien used by Stevens as a carpenter shojj, on White Street. 
Co wperthwaite purcliased Taylor' s interest in the machine, and was 
then sued by H. A. Burr, on the ground that the Cowperthwaite 
machine was an infringement on his. During the suit Burr got 
a temporary injunction against Cowperthwaite using the machine, 
and it was at this time that the Foskett machine was used here. 
This injunction was soon dissolved, and Cowperthwaite won the 
suit. He then sold the machine to Burr for $100,000. The 
White Street factory was closed in 1860. 

In 1860 what is known as the James S. Taylor machine was 
patented. This was really the invention of Lyman Piatt, 
but Taylor perfected it, and Piatt got out a patent. The inven- 
tion consisted in inverting the cone in the exhaust table, and 
forming the hat on the inside instead of the outside, as now. 
The first one was put up in the Sturdevant factory in Beaver 
Brook. E. A. Mallory also had one, two were in use in New- 
ark, and four in Brooklyn. The omnipresent Burr took a shy 
at this machine also, and got beaten. Then he purchased it, 
and in 1868 Arthur Nichols having an interest in the 
machine, the two consolidated. 

The Gill machine was another candidate for public favor. 
This is on the plan of the Burr, except that the feed-apron is 
higher, and the cone is placed in a balloon-shaped chamber. 
The fur is blown from the picker into the chamber, j)erfectly dis- 
integrated. The exhaust being greater at the base of the cone 
than at the tip, the fur is laid on evenly, as in the Burr machine. 
The first machine of this patent was erected in the Hurlburt fac- 
tory, which seems to have quite a distinction in the matter of 
being the scene of the location of first machines. 

The Burr machine has not been improved upon, excejjt in the 
making of the frame stronger, and consequently more able to 
bear the higher rate of speed at which it is now run. Mr. Fran- 
cis says the capacity of the machine in 1845 was one hat in two 
minutes. Now one hat a minute is the capacity. 

The changes in the trade, so far as the introduction of labor- 
saving machinery is concerned, have been enormous since Mr. 
Francis's history closed. This was a necessity, and it was fore- 
seen by inventive minds years ago that machinery would have 
to take the place of manual labor, if the trade would keep pace 
with the demands. Busy brains have toiled, and from them 


have emanated a thousand devices, some worthless, many having 
good ideas but lacking perfection, while a few have been of 
practical benefit. 

Pouncing machines were first constructed in Danbury in 1865 
by Sidney S. Wheeler and Daniel B. Manley, who obtained a 
patent for the same in August, 1866. About the same time a 
jDatent was granted to Emile Nougaret, of Newark, N. J., and 
improvements on the same were patented by John L. Labiaux 
and P. W. Vail, of Newark, in 1867. 

Machines for stretching the brims of hat bodies were first in- 
vented by W. R. Fenn, of New Milford, in 1869. These machines 
consisted of two pairs of conical rollers, revohang at different 
rates of speed, through which the brim of the hat was passed. 
These machines were introduced in Danbury by James S. Tay- 
lor, but proved of little value. 

During the last thirty years attempts have been made in this 
towTi and elsewhere to size fur hats by machinery. Machines 
have been imported from France and England, and scores of 
them invented in this country, and quite a large number in this 
town. Every manufacturer has tried and abandoned several, 
and until recently the difficulty has seemed no nearer solution 
than ever. For a few years an English machine has been in 
use for second sizing, which has proved quite successful. 

In December, 1878, another vast improvement in labor-saving 
machinery was introduced. It was a machine for shaving hats, 
manufactured by Osterheld & Eickemeyer, of Yonkers, N. Y. 
A hat body is j)laced upon a padded board just the shape of the 
hat, and large enough to make the hat fit snugly to it. Upon 
this descends a knife of the same shape as those used by hand, 
and a jigging motion being given to the knife, the hat rolls 
around under it, the knife shaving off the hair and coarse fur as 
cleanly and neatly as by hand. The machine will shave fifty 
dozen per day. They were first iised here by Nichols & Hine 
and the Tweedy Manufacturing Company. 

Mr. Francis's history was closed in 1860. There were then 
but eight manufacturers of fur and wool hats in Danbury. 

In 1860 there were two firms of the Tweedys— Tweedy, White & 
Co. and Tweedy Brothers. In 1864 the first firm was changed to 
T. E. & E. Tweedy, and the second was changed to WUliam H. 
Tweedy in 1861. In 1867 both these firms were merged into one 


1, \V. STEVENS. 

Orlando Wilcox. 
Joel T.\\i.or. 

Li . 

II - S. WlLDJlAN. 


Geokce Anduews. 
:. D. Hoiints. 

WM. StoFlELl). 

TRl-M.iX Trowbridge. 


! Fry. 

. n. Franiis. 


under the name of Tweedy & Co., and after four years of busi- 
ness a stock company was formed under the name of the Tweedy 
Manufacturing Company. In May, 1890, the firm of White, 
Tweedy & Smythe succeeded to the business, and are the present 

Giles M. Hoyt's factory in 1860 was in Grassy Plain, which 
was then a part of Danbury. In 1874 Mr. Hoyt removed to White 
Street, and in 1878 he moved again to the old laiindry building 
near the Danbury and Norwalk Eailway. 

A. T. Peck in the winter of 1863 was engaged in hatting with 
his brother-in-law, Anson Taylor, in the old comb factory which 
stood on the site of Beckerle & Co.'s factories. Mr. Taylor 
had Just received a patent for combining pieces of waste silk with 
fur, and they were manufacturing hats under this patent. It 
was said that a hat, after being " jacked ui3," was made to look 
like a silk hat, and at a much less cost. They were made in all 
styles. Mr. Taylor died soon after the manufacture began, and 
Mr. Peck then went out of business. 

The Union Hat Company, composed of W. H. Youngs, H. C. 
Ely, Kellogg Nichols, and Cyrus Raymond, started in that build- 
ing in 1869. In 1872 they discontinued business. It was occu- 
pied between this time and 1875 by Casper Zeigler, and in that 
year William Beckerle took possession. In 1876, after taldng 
into partnership C. H. Piex, T. F. Fay, and J. H. Shuldice, 
he removed to the old comb shop near Pahquioque Avenue. 
This shop soon proved too small for the firm, and from 
time to time they added to their capacity by building 
numerous additions and erecting small buildings for make- 
shops, coloring-shop, etc. In December, 1879, the establishment 
was totally destroyed by fire. Work was immediately resumed 
and new factories built, which are in active operation to-day. 

In 1865 J. D. Meeker began business as a hatter in a factory 
on Canal Street. This building for a few months previous 
had been used by journeymen hatters who took out work from 
our larger firms for manipulation in one branch only. They 
were not what might be called manufacturing hatters, and for 
that reason we have not secured their names. In 1877 this fac- 
tory was completely destroyed, and the next year the present 
commodious and enlarged building was completed and occupied 
by D. W. Meeker, a brother'of the first-named. 

234 HISTORY OF danbury. 

Mr. Francis, by some means, received no information concern- 
ing liatting in Mill Plain. As early as 1844 Ransom Brothwell, 
father of Theodore Brothwell, had a shop situated on the fann 
of Oliver Burchard. 

The next we find of hatting in that hamlet is a shop ran by 
P. A. Sntton. This changed hands many times, being owned 
successively by A. Solomon, Harry Jennings & Son, and Stone & 
Downs. The latter were burned out in 1867, and Mr. Downs 
then retired. Benjamin Stone then built the shop now occu- 
pied by H. M. Senior & Son, run it for about nine months, and 
then went to New Jersey. C. B. Prindle occupied it next for 
about six months, and Senior bought it in 1871. John Harvey 
was his partner for one year. 

In 1866 C. B. Prindle and Edward Gage took out work to 
size. The original shop stood just west of the present building. 
In 1869 Mr. Gage went out, and Prindle & Co. soon after became 
the title of the firm. In December, 1877, the Mill Plain Manu- 
facturing Company, a joint-stock corporation, took the factory 
now standing, which was built in 1871. 

It is related that at the time of Mr. Brothwell they were mak- 
ing what was known as the ' ' coney' ' hat. These hats were 
always worth just a doUar. If no money was forthcoming on 
pay day, the men were given as many hats as there were dollars 
due them. These were received at the stores as cash, and the 
merchants sent them to New York to sell. Mr. Brothwell never 
used the neat pacldng- cases of to-day, but used to knock boards 
off the fences and make cases. 

In 1860 the old firm of Crofut, Bates & Wildman being dis- 
solved, the business was conducted by Henry Crofut. From 
that time to the present there have been four different partners 
besides Mr. Crofut. First Rollo Nichols was admitted, under 
the fii-m name of H. Crofut & Co.; then George K. Nichols, and 
afterward Joseph H. White, the firm still retaining the old 
name. In 1878 the firm was Crofut, White & Peabody. The 
present firm is Crofut & White. 

The firm of E. A. MaUory & Co. in 1860 was formed of 
Mallory and P. A. Sutton. In 1864 Mr. Mallory associated 
with him his brother, Samuel MaUory, and this firm con- 
tinued till 1866. Samuel Mallory then retired, and untU 1872 
E. A. Mallory was again alone. In that year he took in 


his son, Charles H. Mallory, and this comprises the present 

In 1862 S. C. Holley began the manufactui'e of wool hats 
in the shop then standing at the Main Street bridge, which had 
before that been used by Crosby & Wildman. For a short time 
J. H. Gresner was his partner. In 1865 A. N. Wildman con- 
nected himself pnblicly with the firm, and the "Co." was 
added to Mr. Holley' s name. In 1868 the factory was burned. 
The same year they bnilt the factory on River Street, now occu- 
pied by them. A. B. Holley became a member of the fimi in 
January, 1876, though the firm name was not changed. 

Shethar & Lacey was the name of a new firm which purchased 
the Montgomery factory on White Street in 1865. For one year 
they continued business, and then admission to the firm was 
given to Henry Starr and Thomas Lawrence, under the fimi 
name of Shethar, Lacey & Co. One more year passed and this 
firm dissolved, and in its place was the firm of Lacey, Hoyt & 
Co., composed of W. F. Lacey, Theodore Hoyt, Moses Collier, 
Ives Bushnell, and George Downs. In 1872 the firm went out of 
business. Lacey, Downs & Co.— the " Co." being C. H. White — 
then foraied a copartnershijD and manufactured hats for a time. 
Lacey & Downs were before this time associated in the fur-cut- 
ting business in the Phoenix factory. Their hatting exjierience 
continued but a short time. 

Elijah Sturdevant continued the business at the factory in 
Beaver Brook District until August 31st, 1873. On that date 
the building was totally destroyed by fire at a loss of $60,000. 
For four years the ruins lay as the fire left them, and it was not 
until 1877 that the factory was rebuilt. It then became the 
property of James S. Taylor, and from that time to this a de- 
sultory trade has been caiTied on there. In 1879 D. E. Leowe 
& Co. took it, but in 1880 the firm dissolved. 

Nichols & Hine were burned out in Bethel in the spring of 
1878. In the fall of the same year they came to Danbury, and 
took the old Lacey, Downs & Co.'s factory on White Street, 
where they were eminently successful for many years. 

We now have given the hat manufacturers since 1860, so far 
as we can trace them. Next in order come the fur-cutters. The 
firm of W. A. & A. M. White, which was the principal one in 
the trade at that time, is still running. Their factory was 


totally destroyed by fire in 1874. It was immediately rebuilt 
with brick, and is probably one of the most conveniently arranged 
establishments in the country. 


We are indebted to Mr. Alexander M. White, of Messrs. 
W. A. & A. M. White, for the following matters of interest in 
connection with the fur-cutting and hatting industry, also carpet 

" The manufacture of hats was carried on in Danbxiry before 
and during the Kevolutionary War, and always since. Formerly 
the apprentices were taught to cut fur by hand from skins, 
for the use of their employers. 

" The first fur cut in Danbury by machine and to sell was by 
my father, E. Moss White, for my brother, William Augustus 
White, between 1825 and 1830, and this industry has been con- 
tinued by the family from that time to the present. The fur- 
cutting by E. Moss White was done in an old shop on Main 
Street, just south of Niram Wildman's house, on land which, 
I think, was occupied by the widow of Judson White. This 
jjroperty afterward was occupied by Giles M. Hoyt. 

' ' The firm of W. A. & A. M. White was f onned January 1st, 
1839, and had been in existence fifty-seven years under that 
title on January 1st, 1896. 

' ' At the commencement of the business cutting machines were 
somewhat similar to those now used, only they were operated 
by a foot treadle, and the fur was mostly cut from muskrat 
skins and used for napping on wool bodies, which about 1825 
and after were formed by machines on cones. Fur bodies were 
then seldom used and wei'e bowed by hand, as was also the 

" Up to about 1842 hatters' furs were mostly imported from 
Germany and England. Fi'ench furs came much later, when 
coney was used for soft hats. None of the imported furs were 
then cut by machine, which was an American invention, as also 
the blowing and forming machines. Up to 1842 imported hat- 
ters' fur paid no duty. In 1842 a tariff bill was passed by Con- 
gress laying a duty of 25 per cent on hatters' furs. For many 
years after this period the cutting of hare and coney skins was 
done in this country by our firm only. 


" In 1842 we imported a man (C. L. Klumpf) from Frankfort, 
Germany, to teach the business, and made a contract -with the 
State of New York for a large number of prisoners to prepare 
the skins and cut the fur, principally hares, under his super- 
vision, hare and coney skins being free of duty. At termination 
of contract with the State of New York we sent all machinery, 
with Klumpf, to Danbury, continuing the business there. We 
imported from Buenos Ayres nutria skins and cut them in Dan- 
bury soon after 1830, but hare and coney skins were not cut 
there until about 1845. 

' ' The fur-forming machines caused a revolution in the manu- 
facture of hats, and brought about the general use of fur bodies 
for napping and plain hats stiffened. Up to about 1840 soft 
hats were not used, and biit few plain hats. 

' ' Between 1830 and 1840 a man in our employ, named Mon- 
mouth Lyon, invented a machine for weaving carpets. A patent 
should have been obtained, but was not. My father had a 
machine built, and it was the first power-loom machine that 
ever Avove a carj)et. About four or five carpets were made, but 
imported carpets were sold lower than these cost, and the work 
was abandoned. The machine and patterns were stored in the 
attic of our factory, and were destroyed by fire in 1874. In 1839 
the writer visited a carpet factory at Lowell, where weaving was 
done on hand-looms, and was shown in a locked room the exact 
counterpart of the Lyon machine with the paper patterns, and 
was told that it was a machine that would revolutionize carj^et 

W. F. Lacey and George Downs went into partnership with 
Stephen Hurlbut in 1862, under the name of Hurlbut & Co. 
In 1864 Mr. Hurlbut left the finn and started in business in 
Peck's comb shop, where Beckerle & Co. 's factories now stand. 
He continued business until 1869, when he was killed by a run- 
away team. 

Peter Robiason, in 1865, began the fur-cutting business in a 
shop belonging to the Tweedy s. In 1867 he purchased a build- 
ing at Beaver Brook, and admitted to partnership John Tweedy. 
In 1870 the business was so extensive that greater accommoda- 
tions were made necessary, and the firm purchased the factory 
of Benedict & Montgomery on West Street. This shop was 
burned down in 1874, and in the same year they went to the 


Hull & Belden Co. 's factory on Canal Street. Mr. Tweedy had, 
in tlie mean time, retired from tlie firm, and John Starr was made 
a partner in 1871. Mr. Starr died in 1876, and O. de Comean 
took his place. He remained a member of the firm one year, 
and in 1877 Mr. Robinson' s oldest son, E. T. Robinson, was taken 
into the firm, and sent to England, where they established a 
branch office. Since then they have established also a branch 
house in Mexico. 

The manufacture of hat cases is an important factor in 
the business. In 1860 Mr. George Starr was the only person 
engaged in the business in Danbury. Besides cases he made 
blocks, tools, etc. In 1876 his brother, Daniel Starr, purchased 
the business, and still continues it. The Danbury & Bethel Hat 
Case Company began to manufacture cases in 1876. 

Through the kindness of one of our oldest residents we have 
been enabled to trace some of the old hatters mentioned by Mr. 

1787. — William Babcock, who was employed by Burr & White, 
died in New Haven. 

1803.— Samuel H. Phillips lived opposite the Danbury Savings 
Bank, and died there. George Benedict was a son of Elialdm, 
and lived and died in Danbury. David Wood lived and died on 
the corner of Main and South streets. Ezra Wildman, who was 
a great-uncle of Samuel C. Wildman, moved to Clarksfield, O., 
and died there. Ebenezer and John D. Nichols died in the 
South. The firm of Boughton & Starr we cannot trace. Mr. 
Boughton is believed to have been Elias Boughton, who lived on 
the site of George C. White's residence. 

1805. — The firm of Clark & Benedict should have read Bene- 
dict & Clark. Sallue P. Clark lived down-town, near the old 
Carrington place. He was an uncle of Starr Clark. Benedict 
was the son of Peter Benedict, who lived in Mountainville, on 
the place now owned by E. S. Benedict. Gersham Nichols was 
the father of Starr Nichols and the great-grandfather of John 

1807. — Noah Rockwell died in Danbtiry. Hoyt Gregory died 
here, and we believe has no descendants. 

1812. — James Benedict, of Tweedy & Benedict, retired from 
business to a farm on the Hudson River, and died there. 

1816. — David H. Boiighton was a son of Elias Boughton, and 


died South. His remains were brought home and interred in 
the burying-ground up-town. David M. Benedict lived later in 
life in the house now owned by Lucius P. Hoyt, and died there. 
He was also buried in the up-town burying-ground. Ezra M. 
Starr lived and died in the house now occupied by D. G. Penfield, 
on South Street. 

1818. — Captain John Foote lived near the present residence of 
Harmon Knapp, Main Street. Abel Hoyt was the father of 
Giles M. Hoyt, and died in Bethel. 

1820. — Ephraim Gregory was a son of Elijah Gregory, a black- 
smith, whose shop stood on the site of St. James's church, and 
his dwelling on the site of the rectory. 

John Fry died November 4th, 1880. Alvin Hurd, who was 
his partner, died in August, 1869. The firm of Benedict & 
Montgomery consisted of Charles H. Benedict and William Mont- 
gomery, and closed business in 1861. Both partners are dead. 

Joel Taylor lived for many years in Great Plain. He died in 

Nathaniel H. Wildman was in the Southern trade in Charles- 
ton. He closed up his business in 1861. He lived and died in 
the old house yet standing in rear of Wildman' s Block, on Main 
Street. He was the father of Alexander Wildman. His death 
occun-ed in 1877. Charles Fry is still living. 

The firm of R. and E. T. Hoyt, doing business in 1816, was 
Russell and Eli T. Hoyt. The former died in 1868, the latter in 

John R. Hoyt, who was one of the sons of Russell Hoyt, suc- 
ceeded the old firm. He was a brother of Lucius P. and T. 
Granville Hoyt. He died in 1848. This old firm of Hoyt 
Brothers eventually consolidated with the Tweedy family. Mr. 
Francis speaks of the firm of Hoyt, Tweedy & Co. This was the 
consolidation of the two. 

A. E. Tweedy died in February, 1864. His cousin, Samuel 
Tweedy, died in 1868. Niram Wildman, who was a partner of 
John Fry, was grandfather of A. N. and John Wildman. Fred- 
erick Nichols is brother-in-law of Giles M. Hoyt. He now lives 
in New York. 

The White Brothers, mentioned in 1814, were Judson and 
Russell White. Russell died in 1838, and Judson in 1839. Rus- 
sell White was the father of William R. White. 


Edward S. Brockett, who was in business in 1832 with William 
Montgomery, died in Norwalk in 1872. He was for many years 
the trying justice of Danbury, and his reputation extended into 
the whole country. 

In 1824 Mr. Francis mentions Isaac H. Seeley. Mr. Seeley 
died March, 1880, full of honor and ripe in years. White & 
Keeler were Colonel E. Moss White, who was the father of the 
late Colonel N. L. White. He died in 1863. His partner was 
Timothy B. Keeler. Mr. Keeler died somewhere between 1835 
and 1840. Joseph Taylor was a manufacturer in Wildcat, Bethel, 
now known as Elmwood. He was succeeded in business by his 
sons, Reiiben and Stephen. Joseph Taylor died in 1874. The 
Taylor & Dibble mentioned were Elias Taylor and Scott Dibble. 
They died many years ago, leaving no dii'ect descendants in 

In following up Francis's history we find hatters in business of 
whom he makes no mention. For instance, M. H. GrifRng 
was a prominent hatter in 1846. His factory was in what is now 
known as Mountainville. He continued in business for ten 
years, and then sold out to Henry T. Robinson. Mr. Robinson 
did not succeed, and soon abandoned the enterprise. Mr. 
Griffing learned his trade in 1843 with Elijah Patch, on Great 
Plain. George A. Andrews was another hatter who carried on 
business in Great Plain a few years ago. 

Wolfpits, in Bethel, was also for many years — 1824 to 1850 — 
the scene of a nourishing hat trade. Among the manufacturers 
then we find Eli Morgan, Abel Hoyt, Leazer Taylor & Son, 
Charles & Roderick Dart, and Hugh Starr. In Elmwood we 
find David Sherman and Beers Crofut. 

In 1859 Mr. Francis gives a summary of the amount of work 
done by all the factories as follows : 

Number of hands emjDloyed 1,294 

Hats made (dozens) 123,870 

Pay roll $329,000 

In 1880, the statement was as follows : 

Number of hands employed 1,800 

Hats made (dozens) 400,000 

Pay roll $1,000,000 

The following article concerning hatting in Bethel was written 


for US by Captain Isaac H. Seeley just before his death on March 
2d, 1880. He was in his eighty-seventh year, biit his memory 
was as clear as twenty years ago. Bethel had not been incor- 
porated as a town by itself, and therefore appropriately comes 
under the head of " Old Dan bury." 

Mr. Seeley came to Bethel in May, 1793. " At that time there 
were biit four hat shops in operation. Zar Dibble's shop stood 
on the ground where Walker Ferry's Block now stands, corner 
of Centre and Chestnut streets. Captain Eli Taylor had a shop 
west of his house. Thomas Taylor's shop stood west of his 
house, and Eli Hickok's shop near the Farnum homestead. 
These four shops each had two boys at work. Hats were mostly 
made from lambs' wool, about seven ounces weight, and napped 
with black muskrat, about one and a half ounces weight. Belly 
muskrat was considered too fine and short for use then. We 
had no carding machines then, and the wool was all carded by 
hand by women. Hats were sold in New York in an unfin- 
ished state after they were colored. Captain Eli Taylor once 
went to New York on horseback with a lot of hats packed 
on the back of the saddle. He exchanged them for stock 
(lambs' Avool and muskrat fur), taking small parcels of wool and 
fur for immediate use. The balance was sent on by the sloop 
and transported from Norwalk to Bethel by the ' ' Merchants' 
Line" of wagons. In 1800 Noah Hickok, Eliakim D. Trow- 
bridge, and Daniel Morgan each built shops in Grassy Plain. 
Hickok's shop was by his house, where George Osborne now 
lives ; Trowbridge's was a little west of the large elm-tree now 
standing at the lower end of Grassy Plain Street, and Morgan' s 
was near "William H. Barnum' s present residence. In 1801 Mat- 
thew Trowbridge built a shop here. These shops were all worked 
by boys as apprentices. 

" In 1799 Zar Dibble and Eli Davis owned all the land in the 
centre of Bethel, as far down as Little Fields, now known as 
Nashville, some sixty acres in all. Dibble wanted to sell out 
and move to Ballston, N. Y., and proposed to divide the land to 
accommodate purchasers. His own dwelling was on the west 
road, and his hat shop was on the east side of his farm. No 
other buildings were on this plot of land. Phineas Taylor, P. T. 
Barnum' s grandfather, bought aU the home land, leaving about 
one acre with the house and barns, which was purchased by 


Timotliy Taylor. About half an acre with the shop was sold to 
Lemon Starr. He fitted np the shop with a little addition for 
a shoemaker, who resided in part of it. Seven years later 
Starr sold the shop and a small plot of gronnd to Elias Taylor, 
who put another addition on the north side for a family resi- 
dence, and converted the shoe shop into a hat shop again. It 
was the same place before mentioned, now the site of Ferry's 
Block. Taylor, being a very enterprising man, cut the land 
into parts to suit customers, mostly in small plots. He had two 
roads cut through the land to accommodate dwelling-houses, 
shops, etc. In 1817 Taylor bought a hoiise on the northeast 
corner of the plot, and lived there until his death in 1837. 

" About this time William Chappel, of Danbury, obtained a 
patent right for a carding machine, with a Mr. Nichols from the 
lower part of Newtown. It was very complicated, and the proc- 
ess was slow. Nichols put up a shop in Newtown, and Mr. 
Chappel erected a mill in the lower part of Danbury, near what 
was called then Hoyt's Pond. They were able to do most of the 
business. In good times this put aside the women's cards, and 
the business rapidly increased. For five years there was not 
much shop-building. Messrs. A. and P. Nichols began in 
Grassy Plain just above the bridge, near G. M. Hoyt's old fac- 
tory. Their business was large for those days, and they em- 
ployed a number of hands, making some fine hats for New York 
customers and Southern trade. In 1810 Ambrose Collins came 
to Eli Hickok's as a journeyman. He afterward married Hickok's 
daughter and built a large hat shop on the corner of the Grassy 
Plain Road and the road now leading to the Eureka water- 
works, and employed a large number of hands. In the follow- 
ing year, 1811, Lewis Taylor built a shop on the east side of the 
road, near Collins' s shop. In 1812 Hugh Starr erected a shop 
on the site of Hugh Reid's present residence. He kept only a 
few boys to work. 

" In 1803 Daniel Morgan and Oliver Shepard went into part- 
nership, bought the land and built a hat shop where now is the 
shop of Cole & Ambler, and in 1805 Shepard bought out Mor- 
gan's interest. 

"In 1808 Nathan Seeley went into partnership with Samuel 
Peet for one year. They took the shop of Oliver Shepard until 
June, when they built and moved into a shop on the site of 


Gr. G. Durant's present shop. Seeley was to put in two boys as 
apprentices. At the end of the year Peet withdrew from the 
firm. Seeley in 1809 hired Delecena Benjamin to go into the 
shop to instruct the boys. At the end of 1809 he gave the busi- 
ness to the boys with his own services. In 1810 Lewis Gregory 
and Delecena Benjamin commenced hatting on the ground where 
Captain I. H. Seeley lived. At the end of 1811 Nathan Seeley 
bought the business of Gregory & Benjamin for his son Isaac. 
Gregory and Joseph GiUett were journeymen for Seeley. They 
afterward bought the old Fort property, which was a large build- 
ing and was formerly a rendezvous for people to meet nights at 
the latter part of the Revolutionary War. Gregory & Gillett 
fitted it up for hatting, and made wool hats for Seeley. The 
same year Eden Andrews buUt a hat shop and hired a man to 
take charge of his boys and shop in WUdcat District. It was 
about this time that Joseph Taylor built a shop in Wildcat Dis- 
trict, and he was followed by Levi Taylor and Timothy A. Ben- 
edict, each of whom erected shops, and put boys to work. 
Joseph Hitchcock built a shop in Plumtrees, and Asel Dunning 
also began hatting about this time. Elam Benedict built a house 
and shop on the corner of Long Boggs road and moved from the 
field to the new shop. About 1822 A. C. Hickok built a shop in 
Long Boggs District, used it a few years, and then moved to 
Bethel. In 1815 Ebenezer Hickok bought the homestead and 
shop of Benedict and continued the business. 

' ' About 1815 Starr Ferry moved to the town from Brookfield, 
having decided to settle near his wife's old home. He purchased 
of Sandy McLane, on Stony HUl, a little house and erected a 
hat shop on the east side of his farm. Feeling that his location 
was not adapted to his energies, in 1820 he sold his farm to 
Major Dikeman, who converted the shop into a dwelling. He 
came to Bethel and bought Matthew Barnum's homestead. 
There being a large cooper shop on the premises. Ferry fitted it 
up for a hat shop, and finished hats only. He hired himself and 
shop to I. H. Seeley for a year, Seeley having a large contract 
with ^Vhite Brothers & Co., of New York, to make up wool hats 
for them from wool they had in store. Seeley set the hatters in 
Bethel generally to work, having only one year to complete the 

" Soon after this Centre Street was opened and Ferry took a 


plot of ground and built a large factory on the south side 
of the road where Judd & Dunning' s shop now stands. About 
this time Asel Beebe, Levi Beebe, and Stiles Wakelee built 
shops in the village. 

" Sherman Ferry, previous to the opening of Centre Street, pur- 
chased the Sturges homestead and biiilt a hat shop on it, which 
he occupied for some time. After Centre Street was opened he 
sold out, and it fell into the hands of Oliver Shepard. Shepard 
died there. Ferry and his brother moved into Centre Street. 

" In 1822 Asel and Levi Beebe' s shop was burned down. The 
following year they erected a new shop on the old site. 

"There were a number of shops in the district of Wolf pits. 
Abel Hoyt, father of G. M. Hoyt, of Danbury, had a shop, where 
he made hats, which he sold in an unfinished state. After he 
left the business two of his sons, Starr and Selleck O., com- 
menced the business. Starr left Wolfpits and removed to Grassy 
Plain, opposite the hoixse of James Morrow. Selleck O. went to 

"Eli Morgan had a shop near Abel Hoyt's, and made a good 
many hats, also sold in unfinished state. 

' ' Eleazor Taylor' s shop was near where Samuel Mead resides. 
His son Alva was connected with him. Daniel P. Shepard 
also was a manufacturer, afterward D. P. Shepard & Son. 
Loderick S. and Charles Dart were in partnership. Charles Dart 
went to New Orleans and opened a store. 

" The Seeley boys, both of whom have but recently died, mar- 
ried young. Isaac H. took the old shop and was a partner with 
his father for many years. Seth buUt a store on the ground 
now occupied by E. S. Barnum." 

The following is taken from Part 5-6, Annual Report of the 
Connecticut Bureau of Labor Statistics : 

" Previous to 1885 there was almost continual war between 
the hat manufacturers and the hat makers and finishers of Dan- 
bury. It is not necessary here to go into a history of the difii- 
culties ; there were many of them, and they were most stub- 
bornly contested. The advantage apparently rested with the 
manufacturers, but iintiring diligence was required to maintain 
this advantage. The rise of the Knights of Labor put a new 
aspect on industrial affairs throughout the country. That or- 
ganization seemed in a way to control wages more widely than 


they had ever been controlled by labor organizations. In the 
fall of 1885 a committee of five vs^as appointed by the directors 
of the National Associations of Fur Hat Finishers and Makers 
' to confer with the manufacturers of fur hats in regard to the 
present state of trade, and the way to improve it, and the con- 
dition of those engaged in it.' The invitation set forth that ' as 
the best means of accomplishing the desired object ' the com- 
mittee ' respectfully invite the fur-hat manufacturers to unite 
in an organization to act in concert with our associations in the 
adoption of such measures as will tend to establish and maintain 
harmonious relations between the manufacturers and their em- 
ployes, and promote the best interest of both parties.' The com- 
mittee pledged their respective associations to co-operation ' in 
a spirit of harmony and conciliation in all reasonable and proper 
efiforts to improve the condition of the trade, and to make it 
more jjrofi table both to the manufacturers and their' workmen.' 
The members of the committee were : James Graham, N. H. 
Hughes, John Seymour, Herman Kaiser, and Richard Bill. 

' ' Prominent manufacturers recognized the importance of the 
movement, and immediately issued to the hat manufacturers 
throughout the country, for signatures, the following answer to 
the invitation : 

" ' The undersigned fur-hat manufacturers, approving the 
spirit and purpose of the foregoing invitation, hereby agi-ee to 
organize an association for the objects therein stated, and to meet 
for that purpose when this paper shall have been presented to 
all of the i^arties now engaged in the business, in the States of 
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Penn- 
sylvania, and the signatures of three fourths obtained hereto. ' 

" Mr. Edmund Tweedy, of Danbury, was the first signer, and 
accordingly, October 15th, 1885, he felt justified, from the num- 
ber of signatures obtained, in calling a convention to be held in 
the city of New York, October 28th. At that convention sixty- 
three manufacturers were present. Twenty-five others had 
signed, who were not present, making eighty-eight interested in 
the movement. Twenty-two were from Danbury, nine from 
Bethel, and eleven from South Norwalk. It was estimated that 
fully 95 per cent of the capital invested in the fur-hat business 
of the country was represented. Mr. Tweedy clearly explained 
the situation. The following are extracts from his address : 


" ' To any one who will read the signs of the times, it is plain 
that the labor question in this conntry is assuming an importance 
that brings it to the front of all other questions. It is only 
necessary to glance at the daily papers, with their lengthy record 
of strikes, lockouts, boycotting, and violence, to see that the 
relations between labor and capital are becoming much strained, 
and that there is likely to result a condition of aifairs which 
will bring great troiible and distress upon those who labor, and 
loss and disaster to capital. 

" ' It is evident that the contests between the two are becoming 
more frequent, of greater magnitude, and are productive of more 
bitterness of feeling than at any previous period in the history 
of the country. It becomes the duty of every good citizen, and, 
particularly, of those who, from theu' situation, are liable to 
become engaged in the conilict, to consider well the causes of 
these disturbances, and whether or not there is a remedy. . . . 

" ' It is safe to say that in many a factory, for the last two or 
three years, the wheels have been turned for the sole benefit of 
the workers, while the owner has been content if the end of the 
year found him in no worse financial condition than the begin- 
ning. Doubtless there may have been many instances where 
the workmen have protested most vigorously against the scanty 
rewards of their toU, and cursed the injustice of capital, while 
they were getting all and the employer nothing ; and doubtless, 
too, there have been many instances where greedy capital has 
fattened and thrived upon the sufferings and deprivations of 
honest labor. Each can readily see his own wants and difficul- 
ties, but has not so clear a vision for those of the other. . . . 

" ' It is plainly evident that, for some time past, the workmen 
in our trade have not been satisfied with their share of the profits 
of the business. With few exceptions, I think that the same re- 
mark will apply to the employers. It is undeniable that taking 
into account dull seasons, when the workman has but little to 
do, his gross earnings have been insufiicient to provide him with 
the comforts of life, to which he feels that he is entitled. At 
the same time, the margin of profit to the manufacturer, if any- 
thing, has not been sufficient to make him anxious about invest- 
ing his surplus. . . . The tendency of prices for our products 
has been constantly downward, untU they have reached a point 
without parallel probably in the recollection of the oldest vet- 


eran in the business. I am satisfied that but a small proportion 
of this decline in prices has been met by a corresponding reduc- 
tion in wages. I know it to be a fact in my own experience that 
the cost of labor in proportion to the selling price of the manu- 
factured products is much greater to-day than at former periods 
where labor has felt that it was fairly compensated, and I have 
no reason to believe that this exj^erience is exceptional. 

" ' Be this as it may, it is evident that the journeymen hatters 
of to-day are not satisfied with their earnings, and they are in- 
tent upon increasing them. . . . 

" ' But it is apparent that there are wise heads among these 
journeymen, who perceive the advantage of gaining their end by 
peaceable means, rather than by attempting it by forcible meas- 
ures which might end in disaster, and they have had sufficient 
influence with their associates to bring them to acquiesce in their 
views, and consequently we find them pausing in their compul- 
sory schemes and offering us the olive branch in the shape of 
the invitation which has brought us together here to-day. 

" ' I wUl venture to say that the situation in which we find 
ourselves is without precedent in this or any other country. 
For the workingmen in a trade to ask their employers to organ- 
ize themselves into an association is a fact so surprising that we 
may well question its significance. The fact itself seems to me 
to place the sincerity of the journeymen beyond all doubt ; for 
labor is naturally distrustful of organized capital, and they can- 
not be unconscious of the power which such an organization will 
give us ; and it also shows their confidence that the power will 
not be imjustly used against them. They are entitled to equal 
sincerity and the same confidence on our part. 

" ' What, then, does this invitation mean ? It means, as I 
understand it, that the journeymen believe it is for the best 
interests of both parties that they and we should live in peace 
and harmony together, and that by mutual interchange of views, 
and by concert of action, it is possible to improve the condition 
of trade, remove many of its difficulties, and make it more profit- 
able to all parties. They perceive that to attain these ends it is 
necessary that there should be thorough organization of the em- 
ployers as well as of the workmen ; and they invite us to form 
such an organization, and pledge themselves to co-operate with 
us in all reasonable and proper efforts to accomplish the desired 


objects. Their plan contemplates, as I am advised, the admis- 
sion of all those at present employed in the trade into their asso- 
ciation, the bringing of independent shops under reasonable 
association rules, the ai^pointment of committees of conference, 
representing both parties, to consider matters of interest to the 
trade, and the adoption of joint measures which will give to the 
joint organizations the j^rfictically absolute control of the busi- 
ness. Of course, the primary object that the workman has in 
view is the increase of wages ; but he is willing that it should 
be accompanied by increase of profit to the manufacturer. Are 
these objects desirable ? To me they appear eminently so. If 
by means of such organizations the relations between employers 
and employed coiild be adjusted upon an enduring and satisfac- 
tory basis ; all causes of strife and contention removed ; the 
wages of the workingman and the profit of the manufacturer 
increased; strikes and turnouts prevented ; "shop calls" regu- 
lated ; difiEerences settled by arbitration ; stated times for fixing 
prices for labor established ; reasonable regulations for the em- 
ployment of apprentices provided ; the health and comfort of 
the workmen looked after ; and other matters of like character 
discussed and regulated, who would say that such results would 
not be worth any sacrifice that they might cost ? . . . 

" ' Those of us who have independent shops are called upon, 
if this plan is carried into effect, to surrender the advantages 
which are supposed to accrue from such independence in return 
for the benefits to be gained through organization, while those 
whose shops are already iinder society ride have nothing to sur- 
render, but everything to gain. On the other hand, it must be 
remembered that the shops which are under association rule 
have a present security in that fact, while the independent shops 
are threatened with attack, and their right to exist challenged. 
It is for the proprietors of these independent shops, then, to 
consider well tlie comparative loss and gain involved in the pro- 
posal before us. On this point I feel qualified, from my experi- 
ence with both systems, to speak, and I propose to express my 
views with entire frankness. . . . 

" ' This position I have taken and contended for, not because 
I did not freely acknowledge the right of organization upon the 
part of journeymen, but because I washed to protect myself 
against what I believe to be the unjust and unreasonable acts of 

--._.>' w^/- 


tlieir associations ; and I have maintained it because I have not 
seen until now any satisfactory security offered that the acts 
complained of would not be repeated. I believe that no reason- 
able member of a hatters' association to-day will deny that their 
acts have sometimes been unjust and unreasonable. I believe, 
too, that many of the offensive regulations, against which I have 
heretofore protested, have been repealed, and I feel sure that if 
the plan which is now proposed is carried out, every objection- 
able feature will be removed. A "fair" shop, controlled as I 
know some have been controlled in the past, Avill give its owner 
a foretaste of the torments that await the wicked ; but, con- 
ducted on the principles which I have indicated, I could almost 
imagine it a paradise on earth. 

" ' He who would maintain an independent shop must be eter- 
nally vigilant and prepared for attack at all times, for the enemy 
never sleeps. If the alternative were submission to injustice, 
then I would maintain the fight to the end, or retire from the 
business ; but if I can be assured of being treated with fairness 
and justice, then, I say, give me the peace and security of 
acquiescence I'ather than the strife and danger of independence. 
Under such circumstances the advantages of an independent 
shop are not sufficient to wai^rant the cost of the struggle to 
maintain it. I believe that an independent shop, under the con- 
ti'ol of a just man — as a protest against tyranny and wrong — is 
a good thing ; but, when used to degrade labor and deprive it 
of its just rewards, it becomes a curse rather than a blessing. 

" ' Our action here to-day wUl have consequences of great 
moment to the trade, which may be felt for years to come, and 
may, perhaps, reach far beyond the limits of our own trade, and 
have an important influence on the relations of capital and labor 
in other industries. It behooves us to act with deliberation and 
judgment, casting aside all prejudices, and remembering that the 
benefits of organization can only come through the surrender, on 
the part of each, of some amount of individual freedom.' 

" A committee was appointed by the chair to draft a constitu- 
tion and by-laws to be submitted to the association for approval 
and adoption at a future meeting. The Connecticut members 
were : Edmund Tweedy, Charles Murphy, Danbury ; S. S. Am- 
bler, E. D. Kichmond, Bethel ; Frank Comstock, William 
Brown, South Norwalk. This committee appointed a sub-com- 


mittee which was to report to them ' as soon as practicable, ' and 
the convention adjourned subject to their call. Owing to the 
opposition of manufacturers in New Jersey, the organization of 
tlie association was delayed, and the Danbury members of the 
convention, seeing that success was doubtful, organized a local 
association. Any person or persons engaged in the manufac- 
ture of fur hats in the towTi of Danbury, ' or what is known as 
the hatting district of Danbury,' was eligible to membership. 
The preamble explained the reason for the institution of the 
association : 

' ' ' We, the undersigned, fur-hat manufacturers of Danbury, 
in order that we may maintain harmonious relations with our 
employes and unite -wdth them in the adoption of such measures 
as will tend to improve the condition of the business and pro- 
mote the general welfare of all employed in it, do hereby organ - 
ize ourselves together and adopt the following constitution for 
our government.' 

" The constitution is as follows : 


" ' Article 1. The name of this association shall be " The Pur 
Hat Manufacturers' Association of Danbury." 

' ' ' Art. 2. Any individual, firm, or corporation engaged in the 
manufacture of fur hats in the town of Danbury, or what is 
known as the hatting district of Danbury, may become a mem- 
ber of this association by signing the constitution and paying 
the initiation fee. 

" ' Art. 3. The officers of this association shall consist of the 
president, vice-president, treasurer, secretarj^, and a conference 
committee of five members, who shall be chosen by ballot at the 
annual meeting. Amended November 9th, 1887 : Conference 
committee to be appointed by the president. 

" ' The duties of the president, vice-president, treasurer, and 
secretary shall be such as usually pertain to those offices in 
deliberative bodies. 

' ' ' The duties of the conference committee shall be such as may 
be delegated to them by vote of the association. 

" ' Art. 4. The regular meetings of this association shall be the 
second Wednesdays in November, February, May, and August. 
The regular meeting in November shall be the annual meeting. 


Special meetings may be called by the president. The secretary 
shall give due notice of snch meetings. 

" ' Art. 5. The membership fees shall be $10. 

" ' The annual dues after the first year shall be $10, payable at 
the annual meeting. 

" ' Art. 6. This constitution may be amended at any regular 
or special meeting called for the purpose by a two-thii'ds vote of 
all the members present and voting.' " 

Shortly after the organization of the Manufacturers' Associa- 
tion, agreements were made with the unions of makers and fin- 
ishers, the following being the principal features based on the 
employment of union help : 

' ' ' Each shop to regulate its own prices and methods of work 
without interference by the association. 

" ' Bills of prices to be made each season, at stated times to be 
agreed upon, and to stand for the whole season. 

" ' All disputes between employers and erajjloyes which they 
cannot settle to be submitted to arbitrators, in the selection of 
whom each party shall have an equal voice ; the decision of the 
arbitrators to be final. The men to remain at work pending the 
settlement of any difficulty in a shop. 

" ' All existing contracts with individual employes to be carried 
out, providing the men so employed insist upon it. 

" ' Shop calls to be prohibited, according to the by-laWs of the 
Hat Finishers' Association. 

' ' ' Shop calls to be confined to the establishment of prices at 
the beginning of the season, and all difiiculties among the jour- 
neymen makers in the making department, between themselves, 
to be settled by a standing committee of three of their members.' 

' ' Thus began the still (1887) existing arrangements between 
the hat manufacturers and hat makers and finishers of Danbury. 
At the time these agreements were made the trimmers had no 
union. One was being organized, but there were no articles of 
agreement between them and the manufacturers. April 5th, 
1887, the following address was sent to the Trimmers' Union : 

" ' To the Hat Trimmers'' Union of Danbury : 

" 'The future prosperity of the hat manufacturing industry in 
Danbury demands that there should be a thorough understand- 
ing and agreement between the manufacturers and the various 


organizations of their employes, in order that all may work in 
concert and harmony together to maintain our present hold 
upon the trade, which is seriously threatened by the condition 
of affairs in other localities. If any large proj)ortion of the busi- 
ness of hat manufacturing is to remain under the control of 
trades-unions, it must be because they realize the dangers of the 
present situation, and by fair, just, and reasonable action, will 
convince employers that their true interests lie in continuing 
relations with them. Nothing else will prevent a still greater 
increase in the number of independent shops, which is already 

' ' ' The late rapid increase in the number of such shops has been 
the direct result of the unwise and unreasonable acts of the 
trades-unions elsewhere, who, too late, have seen their errors, 
and are trying to remedy them. 

" ' Had the same Just and rational agreements, which exist 
between the makers' and finishers' associations and the manu- 
facturers of Danbury, been in operation in other hatting dis- 
tricts, the present state of affairs would not now exist. These 
agreements are fair and equitable, because they are founded in 
justice and reason. They have worked well for both parties. 
They have preserved the rights of all, and have prevented in- 
justice to any. 

' ' ' We have heretofore asked for a similar agreement with your 
association, but our request has not been granted. We now re- 
new it, and shall insist upon your association placing itself in 
the same relation with us as the makers' and finishers' associa- 
tions now occupy. 

" ' This is but simple justice, and in the interest of harmony 
and the general welfare. It will place all upon a common plat- 
form and enable us to act together in the hard struggle which is 
before us to keep a fair share of the trade in Danbury, upon 
which we all depend, and without which we would all be 

" ' No argument should be needed to convince you of the im- 
portance and necessity of this action, and we offer none. We 
rely upon your good judgment and sense of justice to accede to 
our request. 

" ' Our conference committee will be ready to meet with yours 
at any time, to arrange the details of such an agreement. 


" ' By order of the Fur Hat Manufacturers' Association of Dan- 
bury, Conn. 

" ' C. H. Mekkitt, President. 
'"Aprils, 1887.' 

"The trimmers refused to comply with the request of the 
manufacturers to enter into articles of agreement with them. 
The Manufacturers' Association then issued the following notice, 
which was posted in all the shops belonging to the association : 

" ' On and after May 16th, 1887, no trimmer or binder will be 
employed in this shop on stifE or flexible hats until she shall 
have subscribed to the following pledge — viz. : 

" ' I hereby agree to use my best efforts to secure the adoption 
by the Hat Trimmers' Union of Danbury, of an agreement with 
the ha t manufacturers of said Danbury, to the same effect as those 
made by the Hat Makers' and Hat Finishers' Associations of 
said Danbury with said manufacturers.' 

' ' The following is the agreement referred to : 

" 'Each shop shall regulate its own prices and methods of 
work without interference by the union. 

' ' ' Bills of prices shall be made for each season at stated times 
to be agreed upon, and shall stand for the whole season. 

" ' All disputes between employers and employes which they 
cannot settle shall be submitted to arbitrators, in the selection of 
whom each party shall have an equal voice, the decision of the 
arbitrators to be final. The employes to remain at work pend- 
ing the settlement of any difficulty in a shop. ' 


" There was a lockout of two days. The Trimmers' Union 
finally adopted the articles and returned to work. The agree- 
ment provided for the settlement of disputes much in the way 
arranged by the other branches of the trade, and is as follows : 

" ' Article 1. Each shop shall regulate its own prices and 
methods of work. 

' ' ' Art. 2. Bills of prices shall be made each season to stand 
six months. Prices for spring season shall be made not later 
than November 15th ; for fall season not later than May ISth. 


' ' ' Art. 3. In case of any disagreement between employers 
and employes, which they cannot settle, it shall be submitted to 
arbitrators, consisting of foixr manufacturers and four trimmers, 
to be selected in such manner as each association may direct. In 
case such arbitrators cannot agree, those appointed by each 
party shall severally choose an outside party, and the two so 
chosen shall select a third, and the decision of these three shall 
be final and binding. 

' ' ' Art. 4. The trimmers to remain at work pending the settle- 
ment of any difficulty in the shop. 

" ' Art. .'5. The Trimmers' Union are to supply all the trim- 
mers the manufacturers may requii'e to do their work. 

" ' Art. 6. Cards sliall be granted to foreman, assistant fore- 
man, and help required in trimming-room to do work other than 
regular work. 

" ' Art. 7. Shop calls are prohibited, except at time of making 
prices, and for that purpose, or diaring noon hours for necessary 
trade matters. 

" ' Art. 8. Shops cannot be adjourned mthout the consent of 

" ' Art. 9. The Trimmers' Union are not to make any by-laws 
or regulations conflicting with these agreements.' " 

Subsequently these agreements were severed by the Trimmers' 
Union, and a lockout took place November 17th, 1890, lasting 
until December 6th of the same year. During this lockout a 
Trimmers' Society was organized based on the old agreements, 
and a final settlement was reached by the aid of a committee of 
flnishei's and makers, the members of the Trimmers' Society, 
the new organization returning to the Trimmers' Union, the old 
organization, under the old agreements. 

These conditions remained unchanged until November 27th, 
1893. The following is a copy of a notice issued November 6th, 
1893, by the manufacturers : 

notice of severance. 

Danbury, November 6, 1893. 

Whereas, A committee consisting of the representatives from 
the various trades-unions and the Fur Hat Manufacturers' Asso- 
ciation was appointed to endeavor to formulate and agree upon 
some plan to remove the present obstacles to manufacturing in 


Danbury, and presen'e liamionious relations between the manu- 
facturers and trades-unions ; and 

Whereas^ After a full presentation of the necessities of the 
manufacturers by their committee, and a statement made by 
them in their address of September 13th, from the last part of 
which we now quote : " The matter rests with your unions, and 
on their action depends our future course. It is our expectation 
to giv^e you formal and reasonable notice of our severance of the 
compact made in 1885, provided you cannot grant us necessary 
liberties ;' ' and 

Whereas, None of the plans presented by this committee, that 
would be of especial value to the manufacturers, have been 
granted by any of the organizations, it becomes our duty to for- 
mally notify your association that we hereby sever all agree- 
ments we have made and entered into with you. This notice to 
take effect November 27th, 1893. 

Signed by the officers and all th.e members of the Fur Hat 
Manufacturers' Association, excepting Michael Delohery. 

Following this notice came the lockout of November 27th, 
1893. This lasted about ten weeks. At its close some eight of 
the contending manufacturers decided to run fair or union shops, 
with added privileges, and eleven to operate independent shops. 

Following is a list of hat manufacturers doing business Novem- 
ber 1st, 1895 : 

Firm Name. Product. 

HoUey, Beltaire & Co Stiff. 

William Beckerle & Co " and soft. 

Byron Dexter " 

T. C. Millard & Co " 

C. H. Merritt & Son (1880) " 

Bundle & White " and bonnets. 

E. A. Mallory & Sons " 

Meeker Brothers Soft. 

White, Tweedy & Smyth Stiff and bonnets. 

Beltah'e, Lurch & Co " 

D. E. Loewe & Co " and soft. 

Lee & Hawley " 

Davenport & Von Gal " 

T. Meath&Co " 


Firm Name. Product. 

T. Brothwell & Co Stiff. 

E. Griffin " 

Crofut & White " 

Higson & Collings Company " 

H. McLachlan & Co Hats in rongh. 

Michael Delohery Bonnets. 

C. M. Horsch 

W. H. Burns 

J. B. Murphy & Co 

H. Zuerva & Co 

Sellick & Smith Stiff. 

American Hat Company " 

James Higgins " 

Mackensie & Sons " 

E. P. Davis & Co 

Dunleavy & Co 

A. Sovets & Co 

Lynch Hat Company 

Seaman & Mabie 

Following is the annual shipment of hats from Danbury since 

1884 103,085 cases. 

1885 111,048 

1886 112,868 

1887 128,330 

1888 124,435 

1889 126,127 

1890 133,315 

1891 133,906 

1892 133,472 

1893 100,020 

1894 99,233 

1895 129,339 

The average is three dozen hats to a case. 


This business was established in 1887 under the firm name of 
Butler & Tweedy, and is devoted to the manufacture of hatters' 
trimmings, especially silk bands, bindings, and braids. Owing 


to repeated failures the manufacture of hat bands has been car- 
ried on only to a limited extent in this country, and to-day 
there are but three of these factories in the United States. It 
requires long experience and study to successfully manufacture 
these goods. 

In 1893 Mr. Tweedy became sole owner and proprietor of this 
factory, which to-day is in successful operation with fifty em- 
ployes. Mr. Tweedy speaks in high terms of the untiring efforts 
of his former partner, Mr. F. L. Butler, and also of the efficient 
oversight of Mr. Charles Widmere as superintendent. The suc- 
cess of this industry seems to be assured, and the future will 
probably see many manufactories of this kind in operation in 
this country. 


There are three hat-case manufacturers — viz.: Isaac Armstrong 
& Co., Daniel Starr, and the Clark Box Company. The latter 
succeeded the firm of Theodore Clark & Co. in the fall of 1891, 
and is a stock company whose stockholders are the old firm of 
Theodore Clark & Co. and ten of the principal hat manufacturers. 
This company not only makes cases and band-boxes for the 
trade, but in addition does a large tip-printing business and 
stitches hat sweats. In its tip-printing department work is 
performed for Bethel as well as Danbury. 

Besides the Clark Box Company, there are two individ^^al tip- 

There are four fiir-cutting establishments — viz.: W. A. & 
A. M. White, P. Robinson & Co., Young & Hunt, and Frank 
Hand. There are five manufacturers of hat wire and two manu- 
facturers of hat sweats, besides the Clark Box Company, and 
three firms supplying hatters' goods. 



Ik pursuing our investigations of the difiEerent manufactures 
in Danbury, we find that some time before 1780 Ephraim Wash- 
burn and brother built a mill for making paper on or near the 
site of the old Sturdevant factory. This mill afterward passed 
into the hands of two brothers named Ward, who sold it to 
Daniel and Seth Comstock. The latter was father of the late 
Philander Comstock. They continued business there for some 
years, when the mill was burned. The exact date of this destruc- 
tion we cannot learn, but it was some seventy or more years ago. 
Among the employes of Comstock was "Uncle" Jerry Wil- 
son, who died several years ago. Mr. Wilson enlisted in 1812, 
and Seth Comstock, being a major, was allowed a servant. He 
made Mr. Wilson his servant and kept him in the shop, but he 
received a pension and bounty. After this shop was burned 
Deacon Oliver Stone purchased the site and built a hat shop, 
which he sold to Elijah Sturdevant. 

In 18.'i2 Nelson Flint, Calvin S. Bulkley, and Amzi Wheeler 
started a mill for air-dried strawboard in Beaver Brook. The 
firm dissolved after a short time, and Mr. Flint continued alone. 
In 1867 George McArthur, with his three brothers, Robert, John, 
and William, purchased the mill and continued the manufacture 
of strawboard. The original building was a small one, thirty by 
thu-ty feet, and was built for a woollen mill by Samuel Morris. 
He was not successful, and gave up woollen for hatting and then 
comb-making. In 1870 McArthur Brothers built an addition to 
the first building, and gradually giving up strawboard, made 
straw wrapping-paper. In 1872 a second addition was built, and 
in 1875 hardware and wrapping-paper were made. Later on more 
machinery was added and manilla paper was manufactured. 

The first paper mill, however, was one which stood on the 
stream back of the homestead of the late E. S. Hull. It was 


long before the present oldest inhabitant can remember, but we 
learn from one who remembers his parents telling of the mill, 
that it was run by a man named Washburn. The dam by the 
mill flooded the Mill Plain flats, causing malaria and sick- 
ness, and in consequence the residents of that vicinity were ex- 
asperated at Washburn. The mill finally burned down in the 
night, and not a man of the Mill Plainers helped extinguish it. 
Uncle Amos Morris tells us about the burning of this mill. 
Ebenezer Benedict was suspected of setting fire to it, and a court 
of inquiry was held to investigate it. Uncle Amos attended the 
court. Benedict was on the stand three days, subjected to a 
severe questioning, but nothing was proven against him. When 
he was allowed to leave the stand he arose and said : ' ' Gentle- 
men of the jury, you have had me here three days and examined 
me, with a serious charge against me. You haven't found out 
anything, but I could tell you in two minutes more than you'll 
ever know about it," and then walked off. It afterward leaked 
out that he did set fire to the mill, instigated by the Mill Plain 

The manufacture of boots and shoes was another industry 
which once occupied a prominent position in Danbury. It was 
of recent birth. In 1869 C. H. Merritt built and occupied as a 
boot and shoe factory the brick building now standing at the 
north end of Main Street. The same year he took into partner- 
ship Lucius R. Sprague. In 1870 Mr. Sprague retired and Mr. 
Richard W. Cone went into the firm. This firm remained in the 
business until the latter part of March, 1880, and in its busiest 
seasons employed nearly two hundred hands. 

In 1843 P. W. Hoyt had a " Shelter Rock factory for wood 
and iron turning," and Richard Evans was a cloth manufacturer 

As far as we can trace back, we find an oil mill on the south 
side of what is now known as Crofut's Pond, or Oil Mill Pond. 
In 1812 Friend Starr, father of Mr. C. H. Starr, used to make 
linseed oU from the flax raised in this section. It was quite a 
prosperous business at one time. The mUl was pulled down 
many years ago— so many, in fact, that none of our old citizens 
remember it. Many of them have indistinct recollections of this 
building in their early youth, but the date of its destruction is 
lost. On the north side of the dam stood a saw mill owned by 


Friend Starr and Benjamin and Fairchild Ambler. Benjamin 
was the father of the late Rev. E. C. Ambler, who iised to relate 
the following anecdote ; Mr. Starr was an Episcopalian, but for 
some reason he was temporarily offended with the Church, and 
would go to hear Rev. Mr. Trumbull, the Baptist pastor. One 
Sunday, after Mr. Starr had come in, Mr. Trumbull arose and 
gave his text : *' Friend, friend, howcomest thou hither not hav- 
ing a wedding garment ?" Mr. Starr at first thought this rather 
personal, and manifested his disapprobation plainly, but the 
minister proceeding, he saw that the text was not intended for 
him, and became calm. 

The manufacture of sewing machines was another industry for 
which Danbury was once well known. It was a machine pat- 
ented by Walker B. Bartram. The first manufacturers were the 
Bartram & Fanton Sewing Machine Company. They started in 
the old shirt factory on Ives Street in 1865. The next year they 
purchased the brick building on Canal Street, now occupied by 
P. Robinson & Son, and moved there. The company continued 
running with varied success until 1872, when it was reorganized, 
and many of our people, poor and rich alike, took stock therein. 
In two years more (1874) the company failed, and the stock- 
holders mourned for the faded dreams of fortune. 

It will probably be a matter of news to many of our readers, 
even to some of our oldest people, that the manufacture of cut 
and wrought nails was once carried on in Danbury. Yet it is 
true. In the summer of 1816* (the cold summer) Eli Seger lived 

* The Hartford Times thus describes the summer of 1816 : " There are old farmers 
living in Connecticut who remember it well. It was known as the year without a 
summer. The farmers used to refer to it as ' eighteen hundred and starve to death.' 
January was mild, as was also February, with the exception of a few days. The 
greater part of March was cold and boisterous. April opened warm, but grew 
colder as it advanced, ending with snow and ice and winter cold. In May ice 
formed half an inch thick, buds and flowers were frozen and corn killed. Frost, 
ice, and snow were common in June. Almost every green thing was killed, and 
the fruit was nearly destroyed. Snow fell to the depth of three inches in New York 
and Massachusetts, and ten inches in Maine. July was accompanied with frost and 
ice. On the 5th ice was formed of the thickness of window glass in New York, New 
England, and Pennsylvania, and corn was nearly all destroyed in certain sections. 
In August ice formed half an inch thick. A cold, northern wind prevailed nearly 
all summer. Corn was so frozen that a great deal was cut down and dried for 
fodder. Very little ripened in New England, even here in Connecticut, and scarcely 
any in the Middle States. Farmers were obliged to pay $4 or $5 a bushel for corn 
of 1815 for seed for the next spring planting. The first two weeks of September 


in the red house on the Mill Plain Road, which stands on the 
corner of the old road leading to the Fair Ground entrance, across 
Fish Weir Bridge. Tlie lower part of this house Seger used for 
manufacturing nails, living in the upper part. Soon after this 
date he moved to Ohio, where he died. 

Comb-making was another industiy which was once exten- 
sively carried on here, and which is now extinct. From a series 
of papers published in the News in 1875, wi-itten by Mr. A. T. 
Peck, we gather the following facts : 

In 1810 Nathaniel Bishop started a comb factory on the site 
of Peck «& Wildman's store. He kept a large number of hands 
at work for twenty-five years. 

Foote & Bamum began comb-making in 1814, in a shop that 
stood near the corner of Main and Centre streets. Otis & Whiting 
had a shop just this side of St. James's church, West Street. 
Alfred Gregory, Peck & Gillett, and several others had small 
shops scattered about town. The comb business — the value of 
the goods and the number of hands employed — exceeded that 
of hatting from 1826 to 1831, and continued about equal till 
1837. In 1847 T. T. Peck occupied the woollen mill on West 
Street, near Beaver Street, and w^as burned out. The shop was 
rebuilt and the business carried on till 18.52, when it was removed 
to A. T. Peck's old shop, which stood upon the site of the fac- 
tory of Beckerle & Co. 

Barnum & Green was another firm who carried on business 
in 1812 on the comer formerly the garden of the late F. S. 

Daniel Taylor, it is claimed, was the first man to make combs 
in Danbury. His factory was in the then Wildcat District, 
Bethel. In the same locality there were at one time seven shops 
in operation. Azarael and Charles Smith, Daniel Taylor, E. Hull 
Barnum, T. T. Dibble, S. B. Peck, and Ammon Taylor. In 
Bethel Village and Grassy Plain there were Daniel Barnum, 
George Clapi), Ammon Benedict, and several others. In 1820, 
and from then to 1837, there were many small shops scattered 
along the road from Beaver Brook to Newtown, and from New- 
town to Danbury by the Bethel Road. In 1852 the business died 
out, mainly because the comb-makers in Massachusetts combined 

were mild, the rest of the month cold and blustering, with good sleighing. Decem- 
ber was quite mild and comfortable." 


their capital and skilled labor, and killed off the small manu- 
facturers in other parts of the country. 


The foundry business was begun by John H. Fanton in the 
spring of 1864. In 1869 he built the present factory on Canal 
Street. In 1872 Henry Fanton entered the firm, which then 
became known as Fanton Brothers. Henry Fanton retired from 
the firm to be succeeded by Charles S. Peck, and the firm became 
known as the Danbury Machine Company. It is an ordinary 
business partnership, not an incorporated company, and employs 
from thirty to thirty-five workmen. 


This company was organized in 1886 with a capital of $10,000. 
In 1888 the factory was destroyed by fire, and soon after the 
company bought the site where stands their present factory. 
The business has developed very rapidly of late, until there is 
now $100,000 invested in it, with over two hundred employes, 
and branch offices in New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, and San 
Francisco. The President of the company is N. Burton Rogers. 


The Danbury Medical Printing Company was organized in 
1890 under the laws of the State of Connecticut. Its beginning 
was the New England Medical Monthly, a publication started 
in 1881 at Sandy Hook, Conn., with Dr. W. C. Wile as editor 
and proprietor. In 1886 Dr. Wile was called to a medical pro- 
fessorship in Philadelphia, where he remained a year. He then 
came to Danbury and commenced here the publication of the 
New England Monthly in a barn. To-day it has a fine three- 
storied brick building on Foster Street, all its own and filled 
with modem machinery. It is capitalized for $100,000, and has 
forty employes. It now publishes the New England Medical 
Monthly, the Prescription, and the Drug Reporter. Its Presi- 
dent and Treasurer is W. C. Wile. 



During the year 1891 a few of the business men of Danbury 
became interested in certain inventions of machines and pro- 
cesses for the manufacture of twist drills, which led to the organ- 
ization of the T. & B. Tool Company. This company acquired 
control of these inventions, and after a systematic study of the 
methods of manufacture of this product undertook to design a 
complete equipment of special machinery for this purpose. 
These machines were buUt for the company and installed in one 
of the buildings of the Tweedy Manufacturing Company on 
River Street, where there are now employed about seventy opera- 
tives, producing about ten thousand twist drills of various sizes 
per week, besides a variety of other tools for metal working. 
The consumption of these tools by manufacturers and builders 
of machinery and iron works of all classes is large, while their 
manufacture is carried on principally by some eight concerns, 
who not only supply the drills which are used in this coun- 
try, but have a large export trade, as outside of the United 
States their production is very limited. The system of manu- 
facture employed by this company is unique and original, and 
believed to possess important advantages over those of other 


This is an up-to-date industry, doing all kinds of model and 
experimental work, and designs and builds entire any kind of 
special sewing machine used in hatting or any other business. 


This is another thriving industry. It fits out hat factories 
with all latest improved machinery, imports and deals in hatters' 
supplies and general merchandise, and makes a specialty of 
wood blocks and flanges. It has branches in England, France, 
Vienna, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, and Melbourne. 

The architects of Danbury are Foster Brothers, W. W. Sunder- 
land, F. C. Olmstead, E. W. Gilbert, and the Danbury Building 
Company. There are fifteen firms of carpenters and builders, 
nine carriage manufacturers, five manufacturers of harness and 


leather goods, tliree soda-water manufacturers, and ten manu- 
facturers of cigars. 

All the various lines of business that are to be found in any 
city of its size are here in Danbury. The average increase of all 
branches may be suggested by the fact that vrhere a century ago 
James Sell was the " only barber," and in 1840 Homer Peters 
filled the same position, to-day the list of barbers in Danbury 
numbers twenty-seven. 

danbury's railways. 

As the town and its business grew, the demand for a better 
means of transportation began to make itself felt. There are 
in every age and every community, fortunately, progressive 
spirits who are always restless because they are always looking 
for something better than what is already possessed. Danbury 
was blessed with this element, and those who composed it chafed 
under the limitations of the stage coach and the slow plodding 
road wagons. 

In 1825, when the Erie Canal project was being agitated, pub- 
lic attention throughout the country was dii'ected to the subject 
of inside water communication, and the agitation reached Dan- 
bury, being drawn here by the progressive spirits of that day. 
It was proposed to run a canal from Danbury to tide- water at 
Westport. Even a survey was made, the line following near to 
that of the present railroad as far down as Redding, where it 
crossed over to the Saugatuck Valley and thence to Westport. 
It was proposed to use Neversink Pond as a feeder to the canal. 
The levels taken showed the Main Street at the Wooster House 
to be three hundred and seventy-five feet above tide-water, and 
Neversink to be twenty feet above Main Street. Much was said 
and done about the canal project, but it was finally deemed to 
be inexpedient because of the heavy locking that would be 
necessary, and was abandoned. 

The next project under consideration was a railroad. This 
agitation began in 1835, the same year of the survey of the Hart- 
ford and New Haven Road, and in that year the charter was 
obtained from the Legislature. The charter was granted to 
" Ira Gregory, Russell Hoyt, Eli T. Hoyt, Edgar S. Tweedy, 
David M. Benedict, Ephraim Gregory, Curtis Clark, Frederick 
S. Wildman, Elias S. Sauford, George W. Ives, with such other 
persons as shall associate with them for that purpose." These 


were to be incorporated as the " Fairfield County Kailroad Com- 
pany," with a capital stock amounting to $200,000, or $300,000 
if necessary. The road was authorized to run from Danbury by 
the most direct and feasible route to some suitable point at tide- 
water, either in the town of Fairfield or the town of Norwalk. 

The charter was got and a survey made, and everything seemed 
to indicate a speedy completion of the road, but a generation 
was to pass before the hopeful projectors should see a railroad 
from Danbury to tide-water, and before that glad consummation 
a mountain of worry, opposition, and discouragement was to be 
painfully scaled. 

The road as it was first contemplated and as it finally took 
shape were two different projects. Most of our readers are not 
aware that in Danbury's first inception of railway communica- 
tion with the outer world the somewhat colossal project of a 
through Line from New York to Albany by way of this place 
was entertained, and that the Danbury and Norwalk Railway 
to-day is a part of that scheme, and all, in fact, that is left of 
it. The proposed route was to run from New York by boat to 
Wilson's Point, on the Sound, four miles below Norwalk. The 
harbor there was the best in that section, and would be accessi- 
ble for the greater part of the most severe winter. Prom the 
Point to Danbury the raU was to run, and thence to West Stock- 
bridge, Mass., where the line would connect with what is now 
the Boston and Albany Road, which was then building from 
Albany to West Stockbridge. This, of course, was before the 
day of the Harlem Road, and in the beginning of railway 
enterprise in this country. The survey was made by Alexander 
Twining, of New Haven, in the summer of 1835. 

Two surveys were made : one along the Saugatuck River to 
Compo Point below Westport, and the other along the present 
route to Belden's Neck (Wilson's Point). The distance on the 
Saugatuck route was about twenty-three miles, and on the Nor- 
walk route to Belden's Neck it was twenty-six miles. In point 
of distance to New York, however, the latter route had the ad- 
vantage in that it was seven miles nearer to that city by the 
channel than the former. It is not necessary to speak further 
of the Saugatuck route, as it was abandoned. 

The Norwalk survey as first made by Mr. Twining was con- 
siderably changed before the work on the road commenced. At 


this end of the route it was first designed to leave out Bethel, 
running the road through Mountainville along the line of Sim- 
paug Brook, and coming into the borough across the South 
Street and parallel with Main on the east to Turner Street, where 
it was designed to have the station. Mr. Twining recommended, 
however, that instead of following the Simpaug, the road branch 
to the east, and run through Grassy Plain into Bethel, thus se- 
curing an important station with but little increase in distance. 
The suggestion was accepted so far as Bethel was concerned, 
but the route at the south end of the village was not materially 
changed. Some one did speak of the line which is now occu- 
pied, but it was scouted at the time. The great flat between the 
present lower railway bridge and Bethel was a bog, and one 
very wise citizen said at the time that two twelve-foot rails could 
be pushed down into it their full length without touching bot- 
tom. The route along the east of Main Street was strongly 
opposed by the owners of seventeen homesteads, who gloomily 
anticipated destruction to their cows and pigs by crossing the 

While these surveys were going on the friends of the project 
had their heads full of a through New York and Albany line, 
and although their charter provided for a road from Danbury 
direct to tide-water only, they dreamed of the through line and 
worked for it. 

The Hudson River for a railway line was not thought of — 
neither, in fact, was the route through Putnam County, now 
known as the Harlem Road ; and a railway line between the two 
cities by way of Danbury was not so much out of the way, after 

The distance by the Hudson River, the most direct route, is 
one hundred and fifty miles ; by way of Danbury it is but four- 
teen miles greater, as the following will show : 


From New York by steamboat to Belden's Neck. . . 40 

By railway to Danbury 26 

From Danbury to West Stockbridge 68 

Prom West Stockbridge to Albany 30 

Whole distance 164 


Mr. Twining recommended this through route, and Messrs. 
Aaron Seeley, Eli T. Hoyt, and Jarvis Brush, to whom the sur- 
veyor made his rej^ort, published a card endorsing the same. 

It may not be uninteresting to oiir readers of this day to know 
what were some of the grounds on which was based a calculation 
in favor of a railway line from Danbury to New York, and we 
herewith give the views of the gentlemen above named, as well 
as their estimate of the through business. It presents most 
interesting reading, we think, to this generation, and the figures 
contemplated and those realized make entertaining comparisons. 
The committee advance these views in favor of direct rail com- 
munication with tide- water : 

" The town of Danbiiry* contains a population of about six 
thousand ; and the village or borough of Danbury is the central 
point of business for a fertile and densely populated territory of 
two hundred square miles. The present amount of transporta- 
tion from this and the adjoining towns, as ascertained by inquiry 
of persons engaged in business, is seven thousand tons. This 
amount has actually been transported during the past year. 
These considerations alone, without taking into the estimate the 
impulse which experience has shown will be given by a railroad 
to all branches of business, enable us to state with confidence 
that the transportation upon this road, upon its first opening, 
will be ten thousand tons. The regular price now paid for 
freight to those exclusively engaged in transportation from Dan- 
bury to Saugatuck and Norwalk is $5 per ton. Assuming the 
minimum price for transportation upon the railroad to be $3 per 
ton, the annual revenue from this soiirce alone will be $30,000, 
to which may be added for freight from the towTis south of Dan- 
bury, which will probably be nearly equal upon either route, 
$2000, making in the whole $32,000 ; and the difference between 
that amount and the price now jjaid being $20,000 will be a 
clear gain to the public. The present number of passengers 
from New York to Danbury, as ascertained by a reference to 
the books of the proprietors of the stage lines and other sources, 
is ten thousand. The price of passage now paid, and which it 
is not proposed to diminish, is $1. The number of passengers 
from the intermediate towns, we estimate one thousand more, 
for which there is now paid from 50 to 75 cents ; estimating the 

* This included Bethel. 


fare at the average price of 62^ cents, the amount is $625, mak- 
ing the amount of revenue to be derived from passengers 
$10,625. These estimates are based upon the facts as they now 
exist ; but vehen we take into consideration the increased amount 
of transportation and travel to be created by the increased facili- 
ties for communication, it may safely be assumed that the income 
from all sources of revenue will be greatly increased. For in 
stance, we have stated that the present annual number of pas 
sengers from Danbury to New York is ten thousand. This in- 
cludes very few from the towns east of Danbury, and none from 
the southern portions of Litchfield County, and the eastern part 
of the counties of Dutchess and Putnam in the State of New York. 

" In the instance of heavy articles also, the increased amoimt of 
transportation will, in our judgment, far exceed the estimate 
here made. We refer especially to the articles of coal and plas- 
ter, the former of which is now used in the interior to a very 
limited extent, but would, upon the opening of the proposed 
road, be extensively substituted for wood. In relation to tlie 
annual expenditures, the experience of other roads enables us 
to present an estimate upon which we may safely rely. The 
annual expense of repairs may be put at $2500. The cost of 
transporting freight to the amount with which this road will 
commence will not exceed 35 cents per ton. One trip and one 
return trip per day will be sufficient to accommodate all the 
passengers with which the road will open, which at $7.50 per 
trip, for three hundred and thirteen days, makes for the year 
$4695. The salaries of the officers in the employ of the company 
may be set down at $3000 per annum. The expense for drivers 
and keeping horses,* for freight wagons, etc., exclusive of pas- 
sengers' cars, $3500, making in the aggregate, for all expenses 
of the company, $13,695. 

" We present the following recapitulation : 

Income from freight $32,000 

" " transportation of passengers 20,000 

Deduct annual expenses of repairs, etc 13,695 

Net annual profit $38,305 

* It was designed to run the road by horse-power. 


" Thus yielding a dividend of nearly 10 per cent to the stock- 

There are some figures in the report of Mr. Twining's survey 
from Danbury to tide-water which are of full as much interest 
to us of to-day as they were to those who watched the progress 
of the scheme. It must be borne in mind that this was not a 
steam railway, but really a horse railway. In that day locomo- 
tives were in but little use in this countrj^, and nothing, com- 
paratively, was known of them in New England. Mr. Twining's 
estimate for the grading of the road was $7869 a mile, or $203,389 
for the entire distance. 

In his estimate for the superstructure — that is, the track — is 
an item "horse-path," which was to cost $123 a mile. The 
horse-path was to be of plank. The following is his estimate 
for the appointments of the road : 

Six carriages for passengers $4,500 

Fifteen wagons for burdens 5,250 

Thirty horses 3,000 

Harness 600 

Two depots, with carriage-houses and stables. . . 8,000 

One half-way station, with ditto 2,750 

Total $24,100 

It will be seen by the above that passenger cars could then be 
bought for $750 apiece, and freight cars were in the market at 
$350 each. 

It was proposed to make two trips a day, each way. The cars 
were to be drawn by horses, two to each car. The time required 
to make the trip was estimated to be three hours. As to how 
the freight wagons were to run, or how many to a train, was 
not determined on, as the road was but then in its inception, 
and before matters progressed to any degree locomotives came 
into use. 

While these estimates were being made the " through line" 
was not forgotten. Mr. Twining and the originators of the road 
were firmly convinced that the line would pay, and that it was a 
necessity. There was no rail route between New York and 
Albany, and in the -svinter when navigation was closed in the 
river there was no communication between the two cities except 


by stage. The Danbury jjeople souglit to stir up enthusiasm at 
points along the proposed route. 

In December, 1835, a public meeting was held in Kent, the 
next town above New Milford. It was a large meeting. Dele- 
gates were present from all towTis along the proposed line, from 
Danbury to West Stockbridge. A proposed charter (granted the 
following year) had been drafted, giving to the company char- 
tered the right to construct a road to Bridgeport, or to the New 
York State line in the town of Ridgefield or to Danbury. The 
Kent meeting determined on the route to Danbury, and appointed 
Aaron Seeley, Peter Pierce, and Jay Shears a committee to em- 
ploy an engineer and have a survey made, and estimate of cost 

In March following the committee secured the services of E. H. 
Brodhead, an experienced civil engineer, to make the survey. 
He entered upon his duties as soon as possible, and was accom- 
panied along the course by Mr. Seeley, of the committee. 

Twenty-one days were employed in this work. The line in 
Danbury began at the Main Street bridge across Still River, and 
Mr. Brodhead' s survey ran it through Beaver Brook District, 
thence along the line of the Still River to its confluence with the 
Ousatonic (Housatonic) at New Milford. From there it followed 
pretty much the line now occupied by the Housatonic Road, to 
West Stockbridge, Avhere was met the railway known as the 
Boston and Albany. 

The committee were very much in earnest. Should the capi- 
talists of the cities of Albany and New York prefer the west- 
em route, say the committee, we appeal to the people of the 
Housatonic Valley to come forward in aU their strength, and 
relying upon their own resources, to construct a road to tide- 

The people of the valley eventually came forward in all their 
strength, and constructed a road to tide-water, but not as the 
committee expected, and certainly not as they desired. 

While these movements were being made, Bridgeport, which 
was quietly basking in the mud and was not thought of by any 
one as a railroad point, suddenly crawled up on high ground 
and began to realize that there was danger of losing something. 
The something in question was aU the business of the Housatonic 


When Bridgeport got on liigh ground where it could look off 
some other direction than seaward, it saw that by way of Dan- 
bury and Norwalk was so much more direct for a line to New 
York than by way of itself that should the road be built there 
would never be the ghost of a chance for it to get the business 
of the upper Housatonic Valley. It would all go the shorter 

Danbury as yet had no road to tide-water. If Bridgeport 
could build a road from New Milford to itself, then it would 
stand a very good chance to take the business of the Housatonic 
Valley should a road be piit through it. Alfred M. Bishop, 
father of William D. Bishop, was considerably interested in the 
proposed road, and came to Danbury to talk over the matter with 
our people. He offered to carry through the Fairfield County 
Railway if Danbury would raise $100,000 for that purpose. 
There were those in favor of doing it, of course, but there were 
so many more opposed to it that the scheme fell through. He 
next tried Bridgeport., and that city being a trifle more awake 
than we, or a trifle less honest,* we are not sure which, pledged 
$200,000 for a road from there to New Milford. 

This practically killed the Danbury route from New York to 
Albany. In 1840 the railway from Bridgeport to New Milford 
was completed and opened for use. Two years later it was ex- 
tended to the State line and became the winter route from Albany 
to New York via the steamer Nimrod, Captain Brooks, to 
Bridgeport, and as such was occupied for a number of years. 
It was ten years later that the Danbury and Norwalk Road took 
form. Work on the road was begun in the fall of 1850. Beard, 
Church & Co. were the conti'actors. Deacon John F. Beard being 
the senior of the firm. The total cost of constructing and equip- 
ping the road was $370,821. The equipment consisted of three 
locomotives, four first-class and two second-class passenger cars, 
eight box, sixteen platform, and three hand-cars. On March 
1st, 1852, the road was so far completed to run trains. The 
station in Danbury was a subject of considerable discussion. 
The down-town subscribers wanted it in that neighborhood, 
while the up-town subscribers wanted it where it now is. As the 

* When the time came for this money to be paid Bridgeport sought to repudiate, 
and the law was called in to force it to keep its word, which appeared to be equally 
as good as its bond. 


latter' s stock was much more than the former's they carried the 
day ; whereupon the dissatisfaction was so great among the dis- 
appointed that the successful ones took their stock off their 

The following were the oflBcers of the new road, as recorded 
in the first printed report of the company : 

Directors : Eli T. Hoyt, Jonathan Camp, Frederick S. Wild- 
man, Charles Isaacs, E. S. Tweedy, William C. Street, L. P. 
Hoyt, William K. James, William A. White, Ebenezer Hill, 
Frederick Belden, D. P. Nichols. 

President, E. T. Hoyt ; Treasurer, George W. Ives ; Secretary, 
E. S. Tweedy ; Superintendent, Harvey Smith. 

The President, Treasurer, and Secretary were of Danbury ; 
the Superintendent was of Ridgefield. 

Mr. Hoyt served as President of the company until August 
25th, 1864, when he was siiperseded. He determined his salary, 
fixing it at $250 a year, and refusing any increase. Edwin Lock- 
wood, of Norwalk, was chosen President, and served until Jime 
18th, 1873, when R. P. Flower was elected. Hyatt succeeded 
him, and held the office until the road passed into possession of 
the Housatonic Company. 

Mr. Tweedy continued as Secretary until August 25th, 1864, 
when Harvey Williams was elected to the office. Mr. Ives served 
as Treasurer until that period, when the two offices were merged 
in one, Mr. Williams being both Secretary and Treasurer, and 
continued as such until 1886. 

^fr. Smith served as Superintendent until prostrated by a 
pai-alytic stroke in 1859. John W. Bacon was appointed in his 
place July 14th, 1859, and served until January 1st, 1876, when 
L. W. Sandiforth was chosen. F. C. Payne is the present Super- 
intendent. He has served since 1887. 

When the road was opened the rails for some distance this 
side of Redding were laid on the ground, the earth being frozen 
so hard as to bear the weight of the train. This was done 
because the completion had been delayed for a considerable time 
beyond that set for its finish, and people were anxious to see a 
train go through. 

In 1844 the New York and Hartford Road was projected. It 
was to pass through Danbury, and thence to New York via 
White Plains, N. Y. We can now see what a splendid piece of 


property it would have become had it lived, but it fell through, 
and a goodly portion of the contemplated line between here and 
Hartford is now occupied by the New York and New England 


The committee appointed to secure the survey of the road 
made an estimate of the business in the circular to the public 
which they issued. These figures, made in 1835, are interesting 
compared with what the road did the first year after it was fin- 
ished, 1852-.^3. The circular estimated its first year's business 
in freight to be $32,000. The passenger traffic the circular fixed 
at $10,625, making a total of $42,625. The first report of the busi- 
ness of the road showed that the earnings for the first fifteen 
months of its existence was $51,237.70. So the authors of the 
circular had made a remarkably close estimate. The second 
report covered a period of eleven months, in which the earnings 
were $52,706.68. The through fare was 75 cents. 

It is not often a new road so fully answers the expectation of 
its projectors as did the Danbury and Norwalk Eoad. The 
directors in the report refen-ed to say : 

" The result of the experience of the company since the com- 
mencement of the operations upon the road has been fully to 
corroborate the opinion uniformly expressed by the directors, 
that the Danbury and Norwalk Railroad will prove a successful 
and profitable enterprise, and the favorable increase of the past 
year demonstrates that but for the disastrous floods and the 
unusual expenditures rendered necessary thereby, the net earn- 
ings for the year would have warranted two dividends of 3 per 
cent each, paid interest and taxes, and left a surplus of $3348." 

The floods referred to were three in number. These occurred 
in the fall of 1853 and the spring of 1854. They were disastrous 
in effect, delaying travel for sixteen days, and causing an ex- 
pense of $4000 for temporary repairs, and $9000 in addition for 
a thorough reconstruction of the damaged portions. 


In 1870 a branch road from BranchviUe to Ridgefield Village 
was built, with a view to accommodating the business of that 
place. Heretofore the connection had been made by stage. The 


distance is four miles. In 1872 another branch was built, run- 
ning from Bethel to Hawleyville to connect with the Shepaug 
Railway, which runs from Litchfield to Hawleyville. This was 
done to control the business of the Shepaug Valley. The length 
of the branch is six miles. The cost of both of these extensions 
was at the rate of $40,000 a mile. In 1882 the main line was 
extended from South Noi-walk to Wilson Point, a distance of 
three miles. 


The following is a copy of the first published time-table of the 
Danbury and Norwalk Railroad : 



Trains will run as follows until further notice : 

Leave Danbury at 6.45 A.M. with passengers only. 

" " " 12.30 P.M. with passengers and freight. 


Leave So. Norwalk 9.15 a.m. with passengers and freight. 
" " " 5.00 P.M. with passengers only. 

" The 6.45 a.m. train from Danbury connects at Norwalk with 
the 8.09 A.M. train to New York. Passengers going East can 
leave Norwalk at 9.13 a.m. The 12.30 p.m. train connects at 
Norwalk with the 2.21 p.m. express train to New York. Pas- 
sengers from New York wiU leave at 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. to connect 
with trains on the road. Stages will be in readiness at the Ridge- 
field Station to convey passengers to Ridgefield Village, Lewis- 
boro, and North Salem. 

" Harvey Smith, Superintendent. 

"February 25, 1852." 

On October 1st, 1886, the Danbury and Norwalk Railway vfith. 
all its branches was leased to the Housatonic Railway Company 
for a term of years. The consideration was 5 per cent on the 
capital stock of the Danbury and Norwalk Road. 

A writer in a Norwalk paper at the time predicted that the 
deal was made with a view to an ultimate control of the whole 


system by the Consolidated Road oflScially known as the New 
York, New Haven and Hartford Railway Company. Such has 
been the result. On October 31st, 1892, the whole Housatonic 
system passed into the possession of the Consolidated Road and 
there remains. 


The completion of the Housatonic Road from Bridgeport to 
New Milford gave Danbury its first nearest rail approach to 
tide-water. This was in 1840. Danbury was connected with 
this road by stage to Hawleyville. At Bridgeport passengers 
and freight were sent by steamboat to New York. The road 
was in a crude state, of course. The rail used was an iron strap 
nailed to a timber. Occasionally it would hapi^en that at a Joint 
an end of one of the rails would become loose, and accidents of 
a serious nature frequently arose from this cause. The point of 
the rail would be pushed through the floor of the car, bringing 
death or serious disfigurement to the passengers in the way. 
These points were called " snake heads." 

In the Danbury Times of July 3d, 1844, we find the following 
vivid picture of travelling by rail fifty years ago : 


" It is a fact now well known to the public that the Housa- 
tonic Railroad, in its present condition, is an unsafe route of 
travel. As yet, it is true, there has been no accident attended 
with a great sacrifice of human life ; but there have been so 
many disasters when the passengers have only escaped by the 
* skin of their teeth,' that silence to well-apprehended dangers 
would be a criminal disregard of the public welfare. This is a 
sufficient reason for the publication of the following card, signed 
by several of the passengers who were run off the track : 

" To the Public : 

" The undersigned passengers by the cars of the Housatonic 
Railroad Company, on the trip from Bridgejiort this morning, 
feel ourselves in duty bound to caution the public against said 
railroad. When within about three hundred paces of the depot 
at Newtown, the car in which we wei'e seated was thrown off 
the track with gi-eat violence, and it was only through the inter- 


position of a merciful Providence that we escaped without the 
loss of life. The railroad is in a most dangerous condition, and 
we counted in a distance of sixty rods over fifty ' snake heads,' 
from one to three inches high. Nothing but an imperative sense 
of duty to the travelling public has induced us to caution them 
against patronizing said railroad." 


This was the official title of a railway that had more name 
than road-bed. Its familiar local title was "The Dummy," 
from the fact that a dummy engine was its only motive power. 
This railway company was organized under the General Railroad 
Act of 1850, and the articles of association were duly tiled in the 
office of the Secretary of State in October, 1853. The amount 
of the capital stock was $1,000,000. About two thirds of this 
amount was subscribed chiefly by people living along the line of 
the proposed road. The length of the road was thirty -nine and 
three quarter miles. It was designed to run from White Plains, 
connecting with the Harlem Railway at that point. It was to 
take in North Castle, Bedford, Cross River, North Salem, Ridge- 
bury, Danbury, and finally Brookfield, where it was expected to 
connect with the Housatonic Road. Its southern object was 
N ew York City, and its northern object the great West. 

It was expected that the cost of the road, fully equipped, 
would be $1,500,000. It was estimated that the business would 
amount to $475,000 a year. Besides this, there was the business 
that was to come from the Housatonic Road, and, again, that 
from the Boston and Erie when completed to Danbury. The 
chief income from freight would be in the transportation of milk 
to New York City. No road ever had a more glowing future 
on paper than did this, but capitalists did not appear to look at 
it through the glasses used by the stockholders, and although 
considerable digging was done at the south end of the road, and 
that portion between Danbury and Brookfield was built, the 
enterprise fell through. 

In 1869 so much of the line as lies between Danbury and 
Brookfield was completed, and a car was put on with a dummy 
for motive power. It was hoped to catch passengers to and 
from the West, but the Housatonic Railway Company from the 
first looked upon the new road with an unfavorable eye, and 


showed it no more favor tlian it was obliged to. All the protec- 
tion passengers had at the terminus in Brookfield was the car 
and a large tree. At this end the line stopped in a meadow at 
the farther end of a road that is now called Canal Street. 

In 1886 the Housatonic Company leased the line, and it re- 
mained in possession of that company until October 31st, 1892, 
when it passed with the rest of the Housatonic system into the 
control of the Consolidated Road. 


This railway was not originally designed to run beyond Ridge- 
field from Port Chester, but later Danbury was taken in. A sur- 
vey was made, but no work has been done upon the construction, 
and it stands now as it stood in 1868. 


As the Danbury and Litchfield Railway this project was 
broached in 1859. The road was built as far as Hawleyville on 
the Housatonic Road, and there it stopped. Later the Danbury 
and Norwalk Company built a branch from Bethel to Hawley- 
vUle, and brought the Shepaug line to its own. 


This railway, formerly known as the Boston, Hartford and 
Erie, was originally incoriDorated in 1846, but it was nearly forty 
years later that it reached its connection with the Erie Railway 
via Newburg on the Hudson. 

The greater part of its history does not concern Danbury, 
which place its rails did not reach until 1881. The road was 
completed from Boston to Waterbury years before it reached 
Danbury. Every little while our people were pleasantly stirred 
up by an announcement of a new deal by which arrangements 
had been made for completing the road to Danbury, but they 
were doomed to wait a long time for the story to become a fact. 
In 1881 the road was finished to Brewsters, N. Y., where it con- 
nected with the New York and Northern Road for New York 
City. It was believed that it would get a large part of the New 
York travel from hereabouts, but the expectation has not been 
realized. A little while later the line was finished to its original 
western terminal point at Newburg. 

The first passenger train to pass through Danbury upon the 


New York and New England Road ran from Brewsters to Boston, 
July 25th, 1881. 


Eli T. Hoyt was born in the district of Great Plain, on Septem- 
ber 25th, 1793. The farm which was his birthplace was bought 
directly from the Indians by his great-grandfather, John Hoyt, 
who was one of the original eight settlers of Danbury. Upon 
reaching manhood Mr. Hoyt came into the town and engaged in 
business with his brother, Russell Hoyt. In 1817 the firm began 
the manufacture of hats, and established a sale store in Charles- 
ton, S. C. 

In 1840 Mr. Hoyt retired from biisiness, but not from active 
life. He interested himself in the project of railway communi- 
cation with the Sound, and was one of several who obtained a 
charter from the Legislature for such a road in 1835. From 
that time until the road was built, in 1851, he worked steadily 
and faithfully in the face of a host of difficulties and discourage- 
ments for the success of the enterprise. He was the first presi- 
dent of the company, and retained that position until August 
25th, 1864, when the controlling interest in the stock passed into 
the hands of Norwalk parties. 

Mr. Hoyt was representative of this town in the House for 
1833 and 1834, and in 1844 was elected to the Senate from this 
district. He was a member of the first Board of Trustees of the 
Danbury Savings Bank, and a director in the Danbury Mutual 
Insurance Company. He united with the First Congregational 
church in 1831, and was chosen a deacon in 1858. For fifty 
years he was a teacher in the Sunday-school. 

His kind heart and generous hand were always ready when 
there was need. Some of his deeds of helpfulness were neces- 
sarily made public, but many of them are known only to those 
who were the recipients of his kindness. In the church he was 
most generous, and by giving freely himself incited others to do 
likewise. To the last day of his long and useful life he was in- 
terested in the pleasures, the projects, and the needs of those 
about him. 

He died suddenly on August 14th, 1893, passing in quiet sleep 
from the night of earth to the dawn of heaven. His memory is 
green, and his " works do follow him." 



In 1696, the year of the fonnation of this church, Danbury 
had been organized as a town but three years, although its first 
settlement was in 1684. Among the records of a General Court 
held at Hartford, May 14th, 1696, we find the following : " Upon 
the petition of the towne of Danbury this court granted them 
liberty to embody themselves into church estate in an orderly 
way with the consent of neighbor churches. " Previous to this 
a meeting-house had been built on " the Town Street" (now 
Main Sti-eet), a little north of the present Court. House. The 
court grant above quoted is the only record in existence respect- 
ing the origin of the church, not even the names or number of 
the original members being known. It is supposed that Mr. 
Seth Shove was ordained pastor at the time the church was 
organized in 1696. 

Seth Shove was the son of Rev. George Shove and Hopestill 
[Newman] Shove ; was born at Taunton, Mass. , December 10th, 
1667 ; graduated from Harvard College in 1687, and was in Sims- 
bury, Conn., from 1691 until he settled in Danbury.* The pas- 
torate of Mr. Shove was tenninated by his death, October 3d, 
] 735. His tombstone bears the following inscription : ' ' Here 
lyes buried ye body of Rev. Mr. Seth Shove, ye pious and faith- 
ful pastor of ye church in Danbury 39 years, who died October 
3d, Anno Domini 1735. ^tatis sucb, 68." 

On January 6th, 1735-36, Mr. Ebenezer White was unani- 
mously called by a town meeting to become the minister of the 
Danbury Church, on a salary of £200 (of the then tenor) and 
the use of the parsonage ' ' while he continues to be their min- 
ister and holds to and abides in the Presbyterian or Congrega- 
tional order." He was ordained pastor on March 10th of the 

* History of Taunton, Mass. By Rev. Samuel Hopkins Emery. 


same year, and for more than twenty-six years preached with 
rare acceptance to a united people. In 1763 the first symptoms 
of any disaffection appear. The minutes of the church meet- 
ings record in the fewest words possible the votes taken in suc- 
cessive gatherings during these discussions. No indication of 
favor or prejudice, no display of feeling appears in these model 
records, but the history of the differences is recorded in two thin 
pamphlets published in New Haven in 1764. These accounts 
show that the dispute was one of those frequent conflicts on 
points of obscure doctrine which so often disturbed the early 
churches in New England, and which led not infrequently to 
the establishment of new churches and even of new towns. " A 
Brief Narrative of the Proceedings of the Associations against 
Mr. White, Pastor of the First Church in Danbiiry, since the 
Year 1762" (thirty pages), was printed by some friend of the 
pastor ; while " A Vindication of the Proceedings of the Asso- 
ciation and Council by the Committee of the Fii'st Society" 
(seventy-nine pages) presents officially the position of Mr. 
White's opponents. From this statement it appears that on 
May 31st, 1763, while the eastern Association of Fairfield 
County was in session at Bethel, five of Mr. White's parishioners 
(Benjamin Sperry, Daniel Taylor, Jr., John Wood, Thaddeus 
Benedict, and Samuel Dickinson) presented allegations to the 
Association that ' ' Mr. White, whose principles and preaching 
we have till lately highly esteemed, has embraced some new 
sentiments which are to us contrary to the Gospel as explained 
in the Saybrook platform. ' ' To illustrate these sentiments vari- 
ous expressions are adduced fi'om ten or more semaons of Mr. 
White, the first of which may be partly quoted as an example 
of the rest and as a specimen of the fine religious distinctions of 
those days. In a sermon from these words, ' ' There is none that 
seeketh after God," he (Mr. White) said that '' any person who 
has an earnest desire after an interest in Christ is a true believer, 
and may rejoice as such ; that no natural man ever seeks after 
an interest in Christ in any sense, for to seek always supposes 
faith in the person that does seek." 

Without waiting to receive Mr. White's answer, for which he 
desired suitable time, the Association had adjourned after call- 
ing a special council to meet in Danbury on August 3d, " to hear 
and determine the case respecting the Rev. Mr. White." 


This call for a council aroused considerable feeling in the Dan- 
bury Church, and on June 28th they renounced the Saybrook 
platform as their rule of church government, and owned them- 
selves to be a Congregational church, holding communion " not 
only with Congregational churches, but with those under the 
Saybrook platform." This action became a greater offence to 
the consociations than any utterances of the pastor. It was 
claimed by him and by the church that he had been called 
according to either the Presbyterian or Congregational order, 
and by a large majority the church expressed its preference for 
the latter. 

The minority pointed out that in 1708, long before Mr. White 
was called, the church had been represented in the meeting of 
Fairfield County churches which adopted the Saybrook platform 
as their rule, and Mr. White responded that he was not a party 
except to the terms of his call. Notwithstanding this attitude, 
Mr. White and his adherents submitted the promised answer to 
the council on August 3d in the form of proposals for harmony. 
These proposals, which led to a three months' truce, were signed 
by Ebenezer White, Thomas Benedict, Jr., Ebenezer Barnum, 
Joseph Peck, Benjamin Boughton, Ebenezer Benedict, Daniel 
Benedict, Samuel Gregory, John Trowbridge, Nathaniel Gregory, 
Thomas Stephens, and Samuel Barnum. 

The dissatisfaction continued, however, and the united Council 
of the Eastern and Western Associations met on January 3d, 
1764, to hear the case further as regarded Mr. White and the 
conduct of the church in renouncing the Saybrook platform. 
The council denied the right of the church to renounce the Say- 
brook platform ' ' without having asked a dismission from these 
churches," and gave notice to Mr. White that his pastoral rela- 
tions would be dissolved by the council if he should not " own 
and retract what he had said or done amiss' ' (including his lead- 
ing his church to revoke their votes above referred to), etc. 

The church and its pastor declined to revoke their action, and 
so notified the council when it met again on March 26th by a 
letter from Mr. White and a paper signed by the deacons and 
others of the church. 

It would seem that so far as these papers related to points of 
doctrine they were sufficiently satisfactory, but on the point of 
refusing to accept the Saybrook platform in place of Congrega- 


tional rule Mr. White was firm, pointing out liis objections and 
declaring, " I cannot, therefore, consistent with a good con- 
science, adopt it as being in all respects a proper rule of church 
government." This the society had again recently voted to 

The council thereupon drew up their judgment that " this 
council do acknowledge those that have signified their adherence 
to our constitution as continuing to be the First Consociated 
Church in the First Society of Danbury ;" and "in these cir- 
cumstances this council find themselves obliged to declare that 
the pastoral relation between the Rev. Ebenezer White and the 
church and the First Society in Danbury ought to be dissolved." 
The final paragraph, which restrained Mr. White from j^reaching 
in the churches of the Consociation ' ' till he should make satis- 
faction to the acceptance of the Consociation, ' ' was warmly con- 
tested, but was finally carried by a small majority. 

The committee of the church arranged at once to have another 
minister preach for them the following Sabbath in the meeting- 
house, while the adherents of Mr. White, being a majority of the 
church, provided themselves with temporary quarters in a house. 

The seceding party declaring themselves independent of the 
Consociation, formed a new church organization imder the name 
of the New Danbury Church. Retaining Mr. White as pastor, 
they built a house of worship in 1768, which nine years later 
was burned by the British. In 1779 Rev. Ebenezer White died, 
and soon afterward the New Danbury Church became extinct.* 

The following extracts from the society's book of this church 
will be of interest to readers, as showing the ways in which our 
fathers walked over a century ago : 

" At a meeting held on June 1st, 1754 : The Church by Vote 
Do appoint & Impower Thomas Benedict, Capt. Daniel Taylor, 

* The handing down of given names from fatlier to son, in which our ancestors 
so much delighted, has been the cause of many mistal^es and much mixed history. 
In this case, although Rev. Ebenezer White became somewhat liberal in his theo- 
logical views, there are records to prove that he did not become a follower of 
Sandeman, as has been erroneously stated. In the centennial sermon (to which we are 
indebted) of Rev. Joel J. Hough, delivered in the First Congregational Church of Dan- 
bury, on July 9th, 1876, we find the following in regard to the New Daubury Church : 
" The church was greatly weakened by the loss of their meeting- house, and by defec- 
tions to the Sandemanians, among which was that of Rev. Ebenezer Russell White 
(son of Ebenezer White), who in 1768 had become colleague pastor with his father." 


Capt. John Wood or Either Two of them to be a Committee with 
fuU power to ask for and receive into their Care and Custody the 
Silver Basen belonging to this Church for the Use of Baptism as 
also the Utentials belonging to this Church for the Use of the 
Table for the Sacrement of the Lords Super as platters, flaggins, 
Cups, Juggs, lining &c. and the Same to hold and Secure for 
the Use of the Church." 

" At a Society Meeting held January 3d, 1755, it was voted 
' that the piue Madam White Uesed to Set in shall bare in Dig- 
nity with the piue opposite and be Reckned as one in Dignity 
with sd Seat The Middle piue in the alley to be Reckned Next 
after the Third in Dignity according to the formour Dignifying 
of Seats and the hind piue in the alley to be Reckned Next after 
the fourth Dignity, according to the old Seatting the Rest to be 
as formourly Dignifyed and the Number of persons to be put 
into The new piues to be left with the Society Committee to 
order and Give Directions to the Committee who are to seat sd. 

' ' Att sd. meeting Deac. Joseph Peck and Deac. Daniel Bene- 
dict moving to the Society for a Seat in sd. Seatting Votes that 
sd. Deacons have the liberty of setting in the fore seat in Case 
the Deacons Seat Cant be made Convenient to their Esceptence. 
Att sd. meeting Mr. Halley and Mr. Willey Voted to Set in the 
2 long seat, Mr. Ambler to Set in the j^iue on the left hand of 
the End Doer, Mr. Clark to Set in the Same, Mr. Bennit in the 
Seat below the piller Seat, Mr. John Trowbridg in the piue the 
Right Side the End Doer also Mr. Daniel Comstock in the same 

' ' Att sd. meeting the Society by Vote allow Mr. Daniel Taylor 
his Request to Set in the fore Seat in line of ye first piue. 

" Att sd. meeting Isaac Hoyt undertook to Tell people where 
to Sett after Seatting for £0.-2—0." 

' ' Att a Society meeting held in Danbury in the prime Society, 
December 22d, A.D. 1755, voted, that Mr. Adam Clark Set in 
the piue on the South Side of the End Doer his wife accordingly 
against him. 

" Voted also that Mr. John Trowbridg Set in piue with Mr. 
Clark his wife accordingly against him." 

" At a Society Meeting legally warned held in Danbury Decem- 
ber the 14th, A.D. 1756, Capt. John Benedict Modei-ator. The 


meeting-house to be Sweept was lett to Dann'l Starr for— 

"The meeting by Vote is adjourned to the 21 of Instant 
December at 9 of the clock in the four Noon. " 

December 21st, " Voted that here be but Ten men Seatted in 
the first piue all The Rest the Same Number in Each piue and 
Seat as in the last Seatting. Voted also that persons Give in 
their ages to sd. Committee by the 15 of January Next." 

In 1767, " Mr. John Trowbridge, Mr. David Whitlock, Ensign 
Eleazer Starr, Mr. Philip Corbin, and Mr. James Bradley are by 
vote Desired to Take Cair and Tune the Psalms in our Publick 

At a society meeting held December 26th, 1770, " Nathnl 
Ketcham, Daniel Taylor, Junr. and Daniel Wood were appointed 
Quoristers with the others appointed to Tune the Psalm in 
Publick worship in this Society." 

" Voted to Give Ebenezr Munson his Last years Rate. 

" The Society by Vote appoint the Great or first Pue be the 
Place for Daniel Taylor Esqr. and his wife to Set for the futer." 

" The Society by vote order the Great or Pue Next the Deacons 
Seat be tlie Place for the following aged Women to Set, viz. : — the 
two aged widdow Hoyts, Eunice Starr, Miss Hannah Hill and 
Elenor Weed." 

" The Society by vote order that Deac. Daniel Benedict Set in 
the Great or first Pue." 

" The Society by Vote order that all those Persons that have 
Neaver been Seated in the Meeting House Shall bring in an 
account of their age to the Comtee. within ye space of one weak 
from this Time in order they may be Seated thereon." 

At a meeting of the First Society in Danbury, held on May 
21st, 1787, " the Question was put whether the Society will pro- 
ceed to Glaze the Meeting House, Lay the lower floors, plaister 
the whole body of the House except under the Gallery floors, 
make a partition & Door between the House & Steple, erect the 
pillows under the Gallery girts, case the windows and posts of 
the House Glaze the Steeple and lay the under floor of the same. 
Past in the affirmative." 

At a society meeting held January 7th, 1796, it was " Voted 
to seat the meeting house by the following rule (viz.) multiply 
each persons age by Ten and to that product add the list of each 


person for the year 1795 including one head in each list whether 
actually in the list or not and no more. 

" That men and their wives be seated together and that People 
have their choice of a seat according to their respective footings. 

" Voted that Col. Cooke, Esq. Whittelsey, John McLean, 
Comfort Hoyt Junr., & Col. Taylor be a Comtee. to receive the 
Ages and make out the footings. 

" Voted that People give in their Ages by the first day of 
February next. 

" Voted that the Pew next the Pulpit stairs be reserved for 
the Ministers family and the one next the Pulpit the East side 
and the first and second seat next the East Alley be reserved for 
widows & strangers." 

In February, 176.5, Mr. Noadiah Warner was ordained pastor 
of this chiirch, but his pastorate was brief and much interrupted 
by efforts made to secure the return of the seceders ; he on two 
occasions consenting to relinquish his pulpit for several months 
that candidates might be listened to by both parties, it being 
understood that if a man was found upon whom all could unite, 
Mr. Warner would resign in his favor. 

Variances about pecuniary matters and a lack of the spirit 
of concession thwarted these efforts, but they so much disturbed 
the relations of ]\Ir. Warner to the church, that he sought a 
dismission at the expiration of the third year of his pastor- 

On April 3d, 1769, a call to the jDastorate was given by the 
church and society to "the worthy Mr. Jeremiah Daj''," who 
supplied the pulpit for a few weeks, but did not accept the call. 
The year following he married ]\Iiss Lucy Wood, one of the 
young members of the church. 

" Att a meeting of the first Society in Danbury Legally warned 
held in Danbury September the 4th A.D. 1769, the Question was 
Put whether the Society will Proceed to Give the worthy Mr. 
Ebenezer Baldwin a Call to Setel with us in the work of the 
Gospel ministry. Past in the affairmative by a universal vote." 

Our ancestors evidently believed in due deliberation, for at a 
society meeting held on May 21st, 1770, " the Question was Put 
whether the Society would Continue their Call to the Worthy 
Mr. Ebenezer Baldwin to Setel with us in the work of the Gospel 
ministry. Past in the affairmative by a universal vote." 


The records of the first Church of Christ in Danbiiry were 
" begun September 19, 1770, kept by Ebener. Baldwin Pastor of 
said church." 

" Sept. 19, Ebenezer Baldwin from Norwich was ordained 
pastor of the fst. Chh. in Danbury, by the Consociation of the 
Eastern District of Fairfield County." 

During his ministry of six years there were added to the full 
communion of the church fifty-four, and ten were admitted to 
the half-way covenant. 

At that day the practice of the churches was to allow baptized 
persons, who did not profess conversion, to assent to the church 
covenant, which act brought them into connection with and 
under the jurisdiction of the church, although they did not join 
in communion. 

Mr. Baldwin married 68 couples, baptized 113 children, and 
attended 149 funerals. The summer of 1775 was one of great 
mortality in Danbury, and of the 130 deaths in the town that 
year, 82 were within the limits of the First Society, and 62 
funerals were attended by Mr. Baldwin in the three months of 
June, July, and August. 

The pastorate of Mr. Baldwin covered those exciting years in 
the national history that preceded and marked the commence- 
ment of the Revolution. At that day no class of citizens was 
more conspicuous for patriotism than the Congregational clergy 
of New England, and among them Mr. Baldwin was noted for 
his zeal and signal ability. Almost all the writing for the public 
prints at that time was done by the clergy. In 1774 Mr. Bald- 
win prepared and published a spirited address to the people of 
the western part of the colony to arouse them to a sense of the 
danger in which their liberties were involved. In November, 
1775, on the day set apart for Thanksgiving in the Colony of 
Connecticut, at a period which he regarded as the most calam- 
itous the British colonies ever beheld, he preached a sermon 
designed to wake up the spirits of the people in the important 
struggle in which they were engaged. So excellent, encourag- 
ing, and appropriate was this sermon, that it was called for and 
printed at the expense of a leading member of the Episcopal 
Church. A copy is preserved in the archives of the New York 
Historical Society. Mr. Baldwin, with other ministers of the 
Association, arranged a series of circular fasts in the churches of 


Fairfield County in the spring of 1776 on "account of the 
threatening aspect of public affairs." 

Mr. Baldwin's brother Simeon and James Kent, afterward 
Chancellor Kent, of New York, and author of Kent's Commen- 
taries, were members of a class of young men who studied under 
the direction of Mr. Baldwin while pastor of this church. Chan- 
cellor Kent, in a Phi Beta Kappa oration given at Yale in 1831, 
paid a beautiful tribute to the memory of Mr. Baldwin. Speak- 
ing of the tutors in that college, he said : 

" Suffer me for a moment to bring to recollection from among 
this class of men the Rev. Ebenezer Baldwin, of Banbury, for it 
is to that great and excellent man tliat the individual who has 
now the honor to address you stands indebted for the best part 
of his early classical education. Mr. Baldwin was tutor in this 
college for the period of four years, and he settled as a minister 
in the First Congregational church of Danbury in the year 1770. 
He was a scholar and a gentleman of the fairest and brightest 
hopes. He was accustomed to read daily a portion of the 
Hebrew Scriptures, and he was extensively acquainted with 
Greek and Roman literature. His style of preaching was sim- 
ple, earnest, and forcible, with the most commanding and grace- 
ful dignity of manner. His zeal for learning was ardent, and 
his acquisitions and reputation rapidly increasing, when he was 
doomed to fall prematurely in the tiower of his age, and while 
engaged in his country's service. Though his career was pain- 
fully short, he had lived long enough to attract general notice 
and the highest respect by his piety, his learning, his judgment, 
and his patriotism. He took an enlightened and active interest 
in the rise and early progress of the American Revolution. Iq 
the gloomy campaign of 1776 he was incessant in his efforts to 
cheer and animate his townsmen to join the militia which were 
called out for the defence of New York. To give weight to his 
eloquent exhortations, he added that of heroic example. He 
went voluntarily as a chaplain to one of the militia regiments, 
composed mostly of his own parishioners. His office was pacific, 
but he nevertheless arrayed himself in military armor. 

" I was present when he firmly but affectionately bade adieu 
to his devoted parishioners and affectionate pupils. This was 
about August 1st, 1776, and what a moment in the annals of this 
country ! There never was a period more awful and portentous. 

Deacon Juiis Fkv. 

Deacon Eli T. Hoyt 

Deacon John F. Bear 


It was the very crisis of our destiny. The defence of New York 
had become desperate. An enemy's army of thirty thousand 
men, well disciplined and well equipped, was in its vicinity ready 
to overwhelm it. General Washington had, to oppose them, 
less than eighteen thousand men, and part of them extremely 
sickly. Nothing could have afforded better proof of patriotic 
zeal than Mr. Baldwin's voluntary enlistment at this critical 
juncture. The militia, much reduced by sickness, after two 
months' service were discharged. Mr. Baldwin fell a victim to 
the sickness that prevailed in the army, having only strength 
sufficient to reach home, where he died October 1st, ' honored 
by the deepest sympathies of his own people, and with the pub- 
lic veneration and sorrow.' " 

While in the army Mr. Baldwin made and sent home a will 
which is dated ' ' September 10th, 1776, at the camp below Turtle 
Bay, N. Y.," and prefaced with the following words : " Mindful 
of the uncertainty of life at all times, and of the special danger 
of life when engaged in war, I think it proper to make this my 
last will and testament." 

As being connected with this church history, the following 
item from the copy of the will on record is here given : ' ' Whereas 
I have been in the ministry biit a few years, and have received 
from the First Society in Danbviry a considerable settlement, I 
would willingly refund a part of it ; but as it has been wholly 
expended in a house and lot, ' tis not in my power, unless the 
Society will make a purchase of it. I do therefore will and 
bequeath to the First Society in Danbury my dwelling-house, 
barn, and home lot (which have cost me between £500 and £600) 
in case they will pay to my executors the sum of £360. ' ' 

In case the society did not decide to do this, other disposition 
of the property was provided for, the avails to go to his heirs. 
The society fulfilled the condition and received the house, which 
stood on the site now occupied by the parsonage of the Meth- 
odist Society. 

A memoir of Mr. Baldwin, prepared by his brother Simeon 
Baldwin, formerly Judge of the Supreme Court of Connecticut, 
is published in " Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit." 
This memoir states that Mr. Baldwin never married. It describes 
him as " a very handsome, well-built man, with manly health 
and cheerful spirits." His library was imported by himself, and 


was one of the best in the colony at that day. His love for 
books led him to move in the matter of a public or town library. 
It is stated in his memoir that " soon after his settlement in Dan- 
bury he drew up the terms of subscription for a library tliat 
should be free to all denominations. A small library was pro- 
cured, whose benefits were immediately felt, and as the result 
the inhabitants were long since enabled to exhibit one of the 
best town libraries in the State." 

The inscription upon his tombstone was prepared by President 
Stiles, of Yale College, and is as follows : 

*' In memory of Rev. Ebenezer Baldwin, A.M., late pastor of 
the First church in Danbury, who was born at Norwich, July 
13th, 1745 ; received his education at Yale College, where he 
was graduated in 1763, and officiated several years vdth singular 
reputation as a tutor in that university ; ordained a minister of 
the Gospel, September 19th, 1770, and died October 1st, 1776. 
He was eminent for literature and piety, an enlightened divine, 
an instructive preacher. Distinguished for dignity of manners 
and public usefulness ; a true and faithful patriot, an ornament 
to the church, to the ministry and to his country. In grateful 
remembrance of this worthy pastor and generous benefactor, the 
First Society of Danbury have erected this monument." 

Having thus lost their pastor in the early part of the war, this 
church, absorbed in the events connected with the struggle of 
the Revolution, failed to settle another pastor until the war was 
ended. Consociation records tell us that Rev. Ebenezer Brad- 
ford served the church as stated supply from April 9th, 1777, to 
November 22d, 1779, and that from April 11th, 1780, to January 
2d, 1782, John Rogers, D.D., supplied the pulpit. For his sal- 
ary Mr. Rogers had the use of the house left the society by Mr. 
Baldwin, and /or the rest relied on the generosity of the people. 
October 28th, 1783, the association passed a resolution " that 
the vacant churches be preached to and stirred up to the work 
of securing pastors." In connection it is noted on the records 
at that time that " Stratford had been vacant four years, Dan- 
bury and Newtown eight years, and New Fairfield nine years." 
In 1785 the society built its third meeting-house, which with 
repairs and changes in 1827 and again in 1837 was occupied by 
the church until 1858. Upon the completion of the church 
building a call was given to Mr. Timothy Langdon, and he was 


ordained August 31st, 1786. At that time the number of com- 
municants was sixty-three, and to these were added during the 
itfteen years' ministry of Mr. Langdon only forty-four. 

This first and only pastorate of Mr. Langdon was ended by 
his death on February 10th, 1801. His tombstone bears the fol- 
lowing inscription : 

"In memory of Rev. Timothy Langdon, A.M., late worthy 
and esteemed pastor of the First Congregational church in Dan- 
bury. He was born at Boston, December 4th, 1757. Graduated 
at Yale College in 1781. Ordained to the work of the Gospel 
ministry August 31st, 1787, and departed this life February 10th, 

Mr. Israel Ward was the next pastor, and was ordained on 
May 25th, 1803. In the church record, in the handwriting of 
Thomas Tucker, then church clerk, is this entry : " August 3d, 
1810. It has pleased God in His wise providence this morning, 
to remove by death our late beloved jiastor, the Rev. Israel 
Ward, in which this church is called to mourn the loss of a 
faithful, wise, zealous, and godly minister of His Word. As a 
proof of his love and zeal in the cause of his Saviour, and of his 
instrumentality in winning souls to Christ, the records in the 
book of admissions of hopeful converts to full communion may 
be seen, when in the course of his ministry of only seven years, 
two months, and nine days, one hundred and forty-six were re- 
ceived into the bosom of the church." 

His tombstone bears the inscription : 

" This monument is erected by the First Society in Danbury 
to the memory of Rev. Israel Ward, their late pastor. He was 
born at Newark, N. J., November 24th, 1779 ; received his edu- 
cation at Union College, in the State of New York ; was settled 
in the ministry on the 25tli day of May, 1803, and died on the 
3d day of August, 1810. He sustained the relations of life with 
usefulness and reputation. As a man he was modest and hum- 
ble : as a minister of Christ he was zealous and faithful. 

" ' Still ia his duty prompt at every call, 
He watched and wept, he prayed for all ; 
He tried each art, reproved each dull delay. 
Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.' " 

During the three years that intervened between the pastorates 
of Mr. Ward and Mr. Andrews, the records show the bap- 


tisms of children by ten different clergymen, a fact which 
would seem to imply numerous candidates for the vacant 

Rev. Mr. Andrews was the first pastor of the church who did 
not begin his ministry in Danbury. He came from Windham, 
Conn., and was installed June 30th, 1813. Shortly after the 
beginning of Mr. Andrews's jjastorate, a day of fasting and prayer 
w^as observed by the church " on account of the sins of church - 
members and the coldness of the church." The thirteen years 
of Mr. Andrews' s stay with the church seem to have been marked 
with strong lines of stern church discipline, in accordance with 
the ecclesiastical laws of those days. ' ' Narrow and exceeding 
straight" were the paths of " professors" during the early years 
of this century. 

The "famous cases of discipline" (so called by Dr. Leonard 
Bacon) in 1824-25 caused a division in the church, which led to 
efforts for the dismission of Mr. Andrews. As a whole the 
church stood by and sustained their pastor, while the majority 
of the society were opposed to him. At length a compromise 
was effected, Mr. Andrews resigning his oflBce of pastor, and 
the society paying him in addition to all salary due the sum of 
$900, the church for the sake of peace acquiescing in this arrange- 
ment. (To raise this money, the parsonage meadow was sold.) 
By a council of the consociation, Mr. Andrews was dismissed May 
29th, 1826. After leaving Danbury Mr. Andrews became pastor 
of the church in Cornwall, Conn., which position he filled until 
January 1st, 1838, the date of his death. 

Mr. Andrews is represented by those who knew him as a man 
of strong mind, of inflexible will, and unshrinking courage — a 
man of sincere piety and earnest loyalty to his convictions. He 
was not a man born to temporize, and no considerations of per- 
sonal advantage or popularity could swerve him a hair's breadth 
from the path that in his judgment was in accordance with right 
and diity. 

Mr. Anson Rood was ordained pastor on April 23d, 1829. 
Not until Mr. Rood's time did the church have a conference- 
room. In 1830, the first year of his ministry, the second story 
of the building next south of the old Baptist church on Main 
Street was rented at $30 a year for that purpose. The social 
meetings of the church were held in this room until 1837, when 


the meeting-house was raised up and a conference-room made in 
the basement. 

In 1834 the church voted : " That it highly disapproved of 
traffic in lottery tickets by any of its members," and at the same 
time the following resolution was passed : " Resolved that we 
deeply lament and deplore that any of the members of the church 
should be guilty of selling ardent spirits." A few years later 
the temperance sentiment must have been somewhat stronger 
and bolder, as the church did not stop with resolutions of 
lament, but disciplined and excommunicated a member for sell- 
ing rum. 

After a pastorate of nearly nine years, Mr. Rood resigned his 
office. For the next ten years he had charge of a church in 
Philadelphia, which under his care grew from weakness to 
strength and vigor. He died at his residence in West Philadel- 
phia in January, 1858. 

Before Mr. Rood announced to the church his intention of 
resigning, he secured the aid of Rev. Rollin S. Stone in some 
revival meetings that were in progress ; and upon his departure 
the church, without hearing other candidates, gave Mr. Stone a 
call to the pastorate which was accepted, his installation taking 
place two months after the dismission of Mr. Rood. 

Early in the pastorate of Mr. Stone four of the church-mem- 
bers—David Foot, Darios Starr, Russell Hoyt, and Eli T. Hoyt 
— presented the society with the parsonage house and lot on 
Main Street, the cost of which was $2000. In 1846 Mr. David 
Foot presented the church with its first organ, which cost $600. 

The baptismal bowl belonging to the church communion ser- 
vice was hammered from a baU of soUd silver, and has been in 
use over one hundred and forty years. The inscription engraved 
upon it reads : " The gift of Comfort Stan*, Marcht. in Danbury, 
Connecticut, N. E. To the Church of Christ in said town, Aug. 
25, 1753." 

At the commencement of Mr. Stone's ministry the member- 
ship of the church was one hundred and eighty-three. During 
the twelve years of his pastorate there were added two hundred 
and eight. Mr. Stone closed his labors with the church on Feb- 
ruary 12th, 1850. He subsequently had charge of the church at 
Easthampton, Mass. , and for several years held a position as city 
missionary in Brooklyn, N. Y. From that city he removed to 


Hartford, where, after years of failing health, he died on March 
17th, 1895, and was buried in Wooster Cemetery, in Danbury, 
beside his wife, whose tombstone bears this touching inscription, 
" Good-bye till morning." For him the morning has dawned. 

Ten months after the resignation of Mr. Stone, Rev. Samuel G. 
Coe became pastor, his installation taking place December 4th, 
1850. During the pastorate of Mr. Coe the present church edi- 
fice was built. As our ancestors had outgrown their early log- 
houses, so the church had outgrown its old meeting-house. The 
cost of this building with the land was about $22,000. It was 
dedicated on Wednesday, April 28th, 1858. 

Mr. Coe w^as pastor during the greater part of the Civil War, 
and his sermons were helps to the loyal and patriotic. In June, 
1864, feeling the need of rest from the care of a parish, Mr. Coe 
resigned his office as pastor of this church. During the years of 
his stay the membership increased from 216 to 356. 

After leaving Danbury, Mr. Coe supplied the pulpit at Ridge- 
held for four years, and preached for six months in the Second 
Presbyterian chiirch of Cleveland, O. He died in New Haven, 
December 7th, 1869. His memory is fragrant in the hearts of 
many to whom he ministered. 

Rev. A. L. Frisbie, of Ansonia, became pastor in July, 1865. 
During his ministry improvements were made upon the parson- 
age, and largely through his efforts a new organ was secured at 
a cost of $3500. Among the fruits of his ministry are some of 
the best Christian workers in the church. Mr. Frisbie resigned 
on September 11th, 1871, and removed to Des Moines, la., 
becoming pastor of the Congregational church in that city. At 
the time of his departure the membership of the church was 377. 

After a vacancy of two years Rev. Joel J. Hough began his 
labors as pastor, October 12th, 1873. During his pastorate the 
main ai;dience-room, Sunday-school, and social rooms were im- 
proved and refurnished at considerable expense, and the church 
was in a flourishing condition in all departments of its work. 
Mr. Hough was dismissed on December 19th, 1878. 

Rev. James W. Hubbell was installed as pastor on May 20th, 
1879. During his stay the church interior was renewed and a 
chapel built at an expense of $17,000. Some of the largest acces- 
sions to the membership of the chiirch were made during the 
pastorates of Mr. Frisbie and Mr. Hubbell. 


The latter resigned in October, 1886, and was succeeded on 
May 19th, 1887, by the Rev. J. Allen Maxwell, D.D. The first 
year of his pastorate was marked by the sale of the parsonage 
on Main Street, the building of a handsome new parsonage ad- 
joining the church, and by the addition to the membership in 
March, 1888, of thirty-two new members. Dr. Maxwell died, at 
the parsonage, on Thanksgiving Day, November, 1890, leaving 
the church " to mourn the loss of a devoted pastor, a wise coun- 
sellor, efficient teacher, and loving friend." Gentle and refined, 
modest and unassuming, he was " a ripe scholar, an eloquent 
and earnest preacher, and a faithful pastor." " His life was a 
benediction, his death a glorious translation. " 

The present pastor of the church is Rev. Albert F. Pierce, who 
began his pastorate on October 15th, 1891. Since the beginning 
of his pastorate many changes and repairs have been made, prin- 
cipally in the chapel and social rooms of the church. 

The deacons of this church have been : Samuel Benedict, 
James Beebe, John Gregory, Richard Barnum, Joseph Gregory, 
James Beebe, James Benedict, John Benedict, Nathaniel Greg- 
ory, Joseph Peck, Daniel Benedict, Thomas Benedict, Joseph P. 
Cooke, Sr., Joshua Knapp, Samuel Wildman, Amos Hoyt, 
Joseph P. Cooke, Jr., Thomas Tucker, Eliakim Starr, Ezra 
Boughton, Lewis S. Hoyt, Oliver Stone, Isaac Ives, John F. 
Beard, John Fry, Eli T. Hoyt, Judah P. Crosby, Harvey Will- 
iams, George Downs, George Mc Arthur, Edgar A. Benedict, 
W. A. Gordon, Edward E. Harrison, M. P. Reynolds. Deacons 
Williams, Downs, McArthur, Gordon, Harrison, and Reynolds 
still minister in their office, but the others have finished their 
service here and gone to their reward. 

The church has a fine memorial window, presented by the 
mother of Edgar A. Benedict in memory of her son. 


The earKest record in the possession of this church is of date 
1812. From other sources we have gathered the following regard- 
ing its earlier years : 

In 1727 Rev. Henry Caner, a graduate of Yale, went to Eng- 
land for holy orders, and on his return in the autumn of that 
year became a missionary to Fairfield. He sought out the 
churchmen in the adjacent regions, and in his first report to the 


Society for the Proijagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, in 
the year 1728, he mentions " a village northwestward of Fairfield 
about eighteen miles, containing twenty families, the name of 
it is Chestnut Ridge [Redding], where I usually preach and lec- 
ture once in three weeks." He also visited Ridgefield and Dan- 
bury, and stated that there were in these places ten or fifteen 
families professing the doctrine of the Church of England. 

About 1763 the first Episcopal church was erected in this 
place, and opened on its partial completion by the Rev. Ebenezer 
Dibble, a native of Danbury and missionary at Stamford and 
Greenwich. Occasional ministrations were held here by Rev. 
Mr. Leaming and Rev. Mr. Beach, of Newtown. In 1769 the 
missionary at Newtown speaks of the new church building at 
Danbury as ' ' with a decent steeple and large enough to accom- 
modate from four hundi-ed to five hundi-ed people. ' ' This ' ' de- 
cent steeple' ' was given to the church by John McLean, a nota- 
ble citizen of old Danbury. 

In 1777, at the burning of Danbury, General Tryon and his 
troops took the military stores from the church and burned 
them, but saved the sacred edifice. The ' ' meeting-house' ' of 
the New Danbury Church, however, was devoted to the flames. 

In 1794 the Rev. David Perry, of Ridgefield, resigned the pas- 
toral charge of the parishes of Ridgefield, Redding, and Dan- 
bury. Rev. David Butler succeeded him, and Rev. Elijah G. 
Plum was rector from 1808 to 1812. On October 6th, 1802, the 
church here was consecrated by Bishop Jarvis. 

In 1809 there were reported 70 families and 22 communicants. 
In 1816 there were 41 communicants, in 1822, 44, and in 1824, 49 
communicants. From 1812 to 1819 the Rev. Reuben Hubbard 
was rector, from 1819 to 1823 Rev. Ambrose S. Todd, and from 
1823 to 1836 Rev. Lemuel Beach Hull.* After leaving Danbury 
Rev. Mr. Hull went to WaUingford, and then to Milwaukee, 
being the first Episcopal clergyman to settle in Wisconsin. 

* Rev. Lemuel Beach Hull was a descendant of Rev. John Beach, -who was a resi- 
dent of East Redding for twenty years, and rector of the church for a half century, 
taking charge of that parish in 1733, and preaching also in Danbury, Ridgefield, 
and Newtown. He was the son of Isaac and Hannah (Birdsey) Beach ; was bom in 
Stratford, October 6th, 1700 ; graduated at Yale College in 1721 ; was ordained 
pastor of the Congregational church at Newtown, Conn., in 1734 ; went to England 
in 1731 to receive Episcopal orders ; returned to take charge of the mission of that 
church in Newtown and Redding, and died in 1782. — Orcutt's Stratford. 

M ' 


In 1836 there were only five families and forty communicaats 
remaining of the original chiirchmen. Up to this date the parish 
had clerical services once in three or four weeks, and from 1808 
had been associated with Christ church, Redding, and for a 
part of the time with Ridgefield. After the chapel (now St. 
Thomas' church, Bethel) was built in 1835 the services were 
divided between the two alternately once in four weeks. 

In 1836 the parish of St. James' church and St. Thomas' chapel 
attempted to have the services of a clergyman the whole time, 
but failed for lack of means. From Easter in 1838 to Easter 
of 1839 Dr. Short divided his time equally between Danbury 
and Brookfield, and the Christian Knowledge Society aided in 
the pajTnent of his salary. 

From 1836 to 1840 the Eev. David H. Short was rector of St. 
James'. In September, 1837, he married here Mary Emmeline, 
daughter of Captain Elijah Gregory. She died suddenly in 
August of the next year. 

In 1840 Rev. Thomas T. Guion became rector, and remained 
in charge of the church until 1847. 

In 1844 the first church at the lower end of Main Street was 
abandoned, and a new church erected in West Street, near Main. 
The Rev. Henry Olmstead and the Rev. John Purves wei'e asso- 
ciated with the Rev. Mr. Guion, residing in Bethel and having 
charge of the chapel there. From 1847 to 1854 the Rev. William 
White Bronson was rector. From 1854 to 1864 the Rev. I. 
Leander Townsend was rector. In 1859 the church was enlarged 
by the addition of a chancel and new furniture. Rev. Dr. Haw- 
ley entered upon his duties as rector on March 1st, 1864. 

In 1867 the present chapel, the chancel, and first bay of the 
nave of the new stone church was erected, and in 1872 the nave 
and tower were completed all save the stone spire. In May, 
1875, Rev. Arthur Sloane assumed the charge of the parish, to 
be succeeded in September, 1880, by the Rev. Byron J. Hall. 
During his pastorate the church met with a loss in the death of 
Horace Marshall, who for many years had been senior warden, 
the chief representative of the congregation, and adviser of the 

In 1894 Rev. B. J. Hall resigned, and was succeeded by the 
present rector, the Rev. John D. Skene, whose pastorate began 
on November 1st, 1894. 



Horace Marshall was bom on Christmas Eve in 1796, in Bir- 
mingham, Conn. His ancestors, English and Welsh, came to 
Boston about 1710. His grandfather was at one time a partner 
of General Wooster in New Haven, in the West India trade, but 
was unable to take an active part in the Revolution on account 
of loss of sight. His sons were active participants in the cause 
of independence, and one of them served on the staff of General 
Wooster in the battles of Western Connecticut. Mr. Marshall 
came to Danbury when twenty-one years of age, and went into 
the manufacturing of carriages and furniture with William 
Chappell, whose daughter Mary he afterward married. 

He carried on this business until his death, and was probably 
the only man in the State who continued so long in one occupa- 
tion without a break. He lived in the same house and worked in 
the same shop, both on Main Street, for more than half a cen- 
tury. For more than fifty years he was warden of St. James' 
Church, and senior warden for over forty years. He was essen- 
tially an intellectual man, a natural student. Fond of books, 
he was one of the original proposers and promoters of the 
Mechanics' Library in this town. 

He lived so long in Danbury, and was so well kno'vvn to its 
people, that his death was a matter not only of general interest, 
but of public importance. He passed calmly to his rest on April 
7th, 1886, in the eighty -ninth year of his age. 

One who knew him well has thus written : " Horace Marshall 
leaves a name and record that will be cherished when monuments 
of marble shall have crumbled and perished." 


This ofifshoot from the old Presbyterian Church of Scotland 
was first called, as a sect, Glassites, after its founder, Rev. John 
Glas.* Later on it was known as Sandemanians, from the Rev. 

* Rev. John Glas died at Dundee in 1773. His tombstone in that city bears the 
following inscription : 

" John Glas. Minister of the Congregational Church in this place, Died 2d No- 
vember, 1778. Aged 78 years. He long survived Katharine Black His beloved 
■wife, (Interred also in the same grave,) And all his children, Fifteen in number, 
many of whom arrived at mature age : And Nine lie here beside their Parents. 
His character in the churches of Christ is well known and will outlive all monu- 
mental inscriptions."^ 

1. John Knapp. 

5. Wm. I!. El. 

2. KkV. ROBEIIT Sandeman. 

4. Sandemanian Church. 

(i. Ekv. JriHN Glass. 

.3. Kat'i. Hi> 
r. I.Kvr Kn 


Robert Sandeman, who reduced his opinions to a system. San- 
deman was bom in the city of Perth, Scotland, about the year 
1720. He married Catharine, a daughter of Rev. John Glas, 
and soon after became a Christian elder. 

In 1764, accompanied by Mr. James Cargill, Sandeman came 
to America, and assisted in the formation of several churches in 
New England. 

In 1769 there was a Sandemanian church in Portsmouth, N. H., 
on what was then called Brimstone Hill, now Richmond Street. 
During the time of his stay in Portsmouth for the organization 
of this church Mr. Sandeman occupied several times the pulpit 
of the Rev. Robert Drowne, one of the " New Lights." There 
was a Sandemanian church in Taunton, Mass., in the latter part 
of the last century which had quite a following, but it soon 
faded out of existence, as have all the churches of that belief, 
the only known members being the survivors of the church in 
Danbury. There was a small society of Sandemanians in New- 
town many years ago. 

This sect had also a place of worship in Plumtrees in the latter 
part of the last century. The last member of this society was 
" Uncle Isaac Williams," who long since passed to his rest, dying 
July 11th, 1843. 

Soon after reaching America Mr. Sandeman settled in Dan- 
bury, where he died in 1771.* Many years ago the Sandemanians 
had in' Danbury a following of about fifty members. Twenty 
years ago this number had decreased to ten, and to-day there 
are but three members in this city. Its members in England 
and Scotland are fast diminishing, as additions are few. The 
only church building remaining of this denomination is now a 
thing of the past, and will hereafter figure only in the local his- 
tory of Danbury. 

After the death of Robert Sandeman the church in Danbury 
was presided over by Elder Nathaniel Bishop, who died in 1857, 
after which time the position was filled by William H. Ely until 
his death in 1869. 

* Mr. E. A. Houseman, of tliis city, has a number of letters written in shorthand 
by Rev. Robert Sandeman to friends in England before his coming to America. 
These are beautifully done, and in a good state of preservation. There are five 
letters to Samuel Churchill, of date 1761, one to Mrs. Grace Jeffrey in 1759, and 
others to Mrs. Ma.xwell and " Mrs. Birch, Caldecot House. Abington, Berkshire." In 
these letters are mentioned " Battle and Allen," " Colin Robertson," and " Sallet." 


The little cliurch which so many remember — plain and simple, 
but glorified by its setting of green grass and tall trees upon the 
hill-top— was provided with a large circular table, around which 
the members gathered, each with a King James version of the 
Scriptures. As each felt individually disposed they read and 
commented on such passages as seemed interesting and iustruc- 
tive. In this service females took no part, but were spectators 
and hearers. 

For a religion that antedates the Wesleyans and Baptists little 
is known of it, even here in Danbury, where it has flourished 
for so many years — that is, speaking in a general way. The 
following is taken from an old Danbury paper : 

" One of the peculiarities of the Sandemanian form of Avorship 
is that they have a weekly love feast, in which the whole con- 
gregation dine together. It was the original intention to have 
this take place in the churches, where a dining-room was pro- 
vided, but in Danbury they find it more convenient to have this 
dinner served at the house of one of the members." 

' ' Their rules prohibit games of chance, prayers at funerals, 
college training, as well as most nineteenth-century innovations, 
while in food they are forbidden to use flesh meat and ' all 
things strangled.' " 

Webster defines the religion, as taught by its founder, as 
follows : 

" He held that faith is only a simple assent to the divine testi- 
mony concerning Jesus Christ as set forth in the Scriptures. 
His followers hold to a weekly administration of the Lord's 
Supper ; to love feasts, which consist in dining at each other's 
houses in the intermission of public worship ; to the kiss of 
charity on the admission of members ; to mutual exhortation ; 
to abstinence from things strangled, and from blood ; to the 
washing of each other's feet ; to a modified community of 
goods ; to a plurality of elders, pastors, or bishops in each 

Barber, in his " Connecticut Collections," published in 1836, 
says : 

" In 1764 Robert Sandeman, a native of Perth, Scotland, a 
man of superior abilities, came to this country. He settled in 
Danbury in July, 1765. The principal doctrines which he taught 
were similar to those of the Christian Church. His distinguish- 


ing tenet was ' that faitli is a mere intellectual belief.' His 
favorite expression was, ' A bare belief of bare trutlis. ' He 
maintained that his chiu'ch was the only true church, then arisen 
from the ruins of Antichrist, his reign being near a close. The 
use of means for mankind in a natural state he pretty much 

One of the things that caused the decline of the Sandemanians 
in Danbury was the introduction of divisions among them. The 
most prominent party that branched off from the church was 
called the Osbornites, from Levi Osborne, their teacher, at one 
time a deacon in the church. Another party was called the 
" Baptist" Sandemanians, from their belief in and practice of 
baptism. The greater majority of the latter dissenters finally 
merged into the Christian Church, in Danbury, the Church of 
the Disciples. 

The following is the inscription upon the stone which marks 
the place in the old Wooster Street burial-groi;nd, where Robert 
Sandeman was laid to rest : 

" Here lies 
until the resun-ection 

the body of 

Robert Sandem.\n, 

a native of Perth, North Britain, 

who in the face of continual opposition 

from all sorts of men, 

long and boldly contended for the ancient Faith 

that the bare work of Jesas Christ, 

without a deed or thought on the part of man, 

is sufficient to present the chief of sinners 

spotless before God. 

To declare this blessed truth 

as testified in the Holy Scriptures, 

he left his country, he left his friends, 

and after much patient suffering 

finished his labors at Danbury 

April 2, 1771. 

M 53 years. 

" Deigned Christ to come so near to us as not to count it sbame 
To call us brethren, should we blush at aught that bears his name ? 
Nay, let us boast in his reproach and glory in his Cross, 
When He appears one smile from Him will far o'erjoy our loss." 



According to tradition the first minister of tliis persuasion to 
preach in Danbury was a Mr. Coleman. History tells us that 
the first sermon was preached here by Jesse Lee in 1789. Only 
a few were willing to hear him, and they out of curiosity only. 
Tradition says that the first society was formed in 1808, but the 
first record of Danbury Methodism is a society meeting on Sep- 
tember 1st, 1812, at Avhich meeting Seth Crowel was chairman 
and Jabez Starr clerk. 

There is no record of the cost or building of the first church 
edifice, but it is said that it was first started as a building for 
union services. The Universalists put some money into the 
building, but soon trouble arose, and their money was retiirned 
to them, and the Methodist Society owned the meeting-house. 
It was a very plain building with a gallery at one end, which 
was accessible only to men, it being reached by a ladder, wliich 
was taken down when service commenced, so that there could be 
no running out to disturb the congregation. The building was 
lighted by candles placed round the walls. 

The first record we find of any person being paid for taking 
care of the buUding is on December 21st, 1827, when it was 
" Voted To pay Ira Hurd twenty-five cents a time for sweeping 
out." In the record of November 28th, 1828, we find it " Voted 
To raise money by contribution to pay expenses of wood and 
candles, also to take a public collection to pay a debt of $5.18." 

Now came a long struggle about buUding a new house of wor- 
ship, which lasted from 1829 until 1836, when a pretty little church 
was built on Liberty Street where now stands the Church of the 
Disciples. It is recorded that previous to that time a lot on Elm 
Street was bought for $2000 and material purchased for a build- 
ing, but a fire destroyed the material, and the project was aban- 

When Danbury became a station Jacob Shaw was sent by the 
Conference to supply the pulpit, which he did so effectually that 
the society was built up from 156 members to over 300. We of 
this day little know of the anxiety, prayers, and tears of the 
period just before this time. Some of the leading men on the 
Board of Trustees resigned because they thought the society 

* Contributed by J. Clark Beers. 


was becoming too proud. One man in particular would not give 
one cent toward the new church, the old one was plenty good 
enough for him. He left town for a little time, and during his 
absence the enterprise went on, much to his surprise. It is prob- 
able that he felt a bit ashamed of the stand he had taken in re- 
gard to the church building, for one morning while the man who 
was framing the building, Rory Starr by name, sat on a long 
timber busy thinking where he could get a particular piece that 
he needed, there was heard a great shouting down the street, 
and soon Uncle Caleb came into the yard. After talking for a 
while he said, " How are they getting along with the new 
church ?" " Very well," was the answer, " but I am short one 
timber, a long one, and was looking around and thinking where 
I could procure it." "Well," said Uncle Caleb, "come down 
and see what I have got out here." They went down and found 
just exactly what was needed. Then Uncle Caleb said, ' ' How 
about subscriptions ?" " We have done very well so far, but are 
short just now," was the reply. " Well, here is an old shot-bag, 
take that." It panned out $50 in silver, which was quite a lift 
at that time. 

At a Society meeting on December 5th, 1838, it was " Voted 
That the Society employ a sexton for the ensuing year. " The 
vote was reconsidered, and it was " Voted That we receive pro- 
posals for this purpose and that a committee of three be ap- 
pointed to receive them." 

' ' June 10th, 1838, Quarterly Conference report, estimating com- 
mittee' s report, $130, which added to the salary amounts to $402. " 

In the original subscription list of the Liberty Street church 
are many names of persons belonging to other denominations, 
and some to no denomination, with amounts reaching into hun- 
dreds of dollars. 

September 27th, 1848, the first record in eight years of the 
Quarterly Conference, Orlando Starr is mentioned as the first 
superintendent of the Sunday-school, though it had been sup- 
posed that W. T. Schofield was entitled to that honor. Levi 
Perry is mentioned as a preacher and Samuel C. Keeler as an 

The first report of the Sunday-school reads, ' ' the same as last 
Quarter." The next is more complete, and gives the following 
statistics : " Number of children connected with Danbury 


Station, 77 ; Average attendance, 45 ; Volumes in the Library, 
425. Anaount of money expended, $18. ' ' Bethel charge — ' ' Num- 
ber of scholars, 60 ; Average attendance, 46 ; Amount of money 
expended, $25. ' ' About this time Bethel was set oflf by itself as 
a church or station. 

The next epoch of church history came in 1852, with the ad- 
vent of W. C. Hoyt as pastor. He was a good preacher, one of 
the practical kind, and left his mark wherever he went. During 
his stay here the brick edifice was built after about as much talk 
and as great a struggle as when the church on Liberty Street was 

In a little book belonging to the trustees of the church we find 
the following : 

"March 13th, 1854. 

With the Chairman in the chair 
And the Secretary there, 
And the brethren in their seat 
Till the number was complete, 
Save Selleck from Starr's Plain, 
For whom we look in vain. " 

January 1st, 1855, " Resolved That it's time we were at home, 
and onr next meeting shall be when and where business re- 

The church and parsonage were completed at a cost of about 
$14,000. Mr. Hoyt received for his first year's salary $550. 

January 4th, 1863. In the Sunday-school reports we read : 
' ' Twelve have gone from our school to stand between us and the 
traitors to our country : Abel M. Wheeler" (who died in ser- 
vice), " Chas. H. Hoyt, P. C. Lounsbury, Frederick Starr, Heniy 
Curtis, William Warren, George Purdy, Wm. Otis, Amos Day, 
Thaddeus Feaks, John Carpenter, Hanson Smith, Charles 

In October, 1865, salary of the minister, W. T. Hill, $1200. 
At this time the afternoon preaching service was changed to the 
evening. The church has grown in strength and numbers, and 
its present roll stands at 1002. The Sunday-school numbers 60 
teachers and 580 scholars. A new church building, the second 
on the present site, was dedicated by Bishop C. D. Foss on 
March 22d, 1891. 

The " talk" which resulted in the building of this edifice com- 


menced with the first year of the ministry of John W. Barnhart, 
1885. At first the idea was repairs of and additions to the old 
church, and elaborate plans were drawn, at an expense of not 
less than $150, for extending the front of the church and other 
improvements, but they were abandoned with the usiaal mourn- 
ing among certain members, who thought the old church good 
enough for the Methodists, and said (as was said years ago under 
similar circumstances) that we were " getting too proud." 

The Sunday-school began to raise money about 1885 for a new 
church, and before Mr. Barnhart's time was out the first thou- 
sand dollars for that purjjose was in the bank, and the founda- 
tion for a large chapel in the rear of the old church was laid, so 
that when Rev. "W. W. Clark came to minister to the church the 
enthusiasm had so grown that with a little effort money and 
pledges were secured to the amount of $40,000. 

Some laughable incidents occurred during the raising of the 
first subscription for the new church. One man of some means 
said, "You can't do it," but when he saw it was to be done said 
he would give $2000 for a new church iip-town, and was followed 
by others, until several thousand dollars were raised. Rev. Mr. 
Clark, equal to the occasion, said, " All right, I can build two 
churches as well as one. Go ahead, brethren, but there will be 
a church built \ievQ first, and then one up-town if you wish it." 
But when pushed to the point they backed out, and growled at 
one another for not doing as they had agreed among themselves. 
History repeats itself in Church as well as in State. 

The church biiilding is of brick, with interior finish of hard 
wood and stained-glass windows. It has a seating capacity of 
1000, which can be increased to 1200. The cost of this building 
was $41,494. The chapel was built at a cost of $9860, and the 
new parsonage adjoining the church at $6700. A fine organ 
adorns the choir loft, and the congregations at each service are 
large. Verily " a little one has become a thousand. God has 
wrought wonderful things. To Him be all the glory." 

The following are the names of the ministers who have had 
charge of the Methodist Episcopal church in Danbury from 1836 
until the present time : 

Jacob Shaw, two years ; Hiram Wing, who died after a few 
months — John Crawford served the remainder of the two years ; 
Sylvester H. Clark, 1840^2 ; James Flagg, 1842-44 ; Fitch Reed, 


1844-46 ; John Crawford, 1846-48 ; Robert Jessup, 1848-50 ; 
John B. Merwin, 1850-52 ; William C. Hoyt, 1852-54 ; E. E. 
Griswold, 1854-56 ; George W. Woodruff, 1856-58 ; John Miley, 
1858-60 ; John Pegg, 1860-62 ; John Crawford (third time), 
1862-64 ; William T. Hill, 1864, but obliged by sickness to re- 
tire ; Thomas Burch, 1864-70 ; William Hatfield, 1870-73 ; John 
L. Peck, 1873-76 ; Benjamin Pillsbury, 1876-77 ; Spencer H. 
Bray, 1877-80 ; W. C. Steel, 1880-82 ; John Pegg, 1882-85 ; 
John Barnhart, 1885-88 ; AYilliam W. Clark, 1888-1891 ; Ichabod 
Simmons, 1891, the present pastor. 


Early in the present century James Beatys lived a few rods 
beyond the base of Sugar Hollow Mountain, near the corner of 
the present Starr's Plain and Long Ridge roads. One cold win- 
ter day Mr. Beatys was cutting wood in his door-yard, when 
Rev. James Coleman, known as "Uncle Jimmy," a Methodist 
preacher whose circuit extended from Ridgefield to the Canada 
line, passed by on horseback, on his homeward journey from 
Canada. According to the hospitable custom of that day, Mr. 
Beatys in\dted the traveller in to dinner, an invitation gratefully 
accepted. Finding that his guest was a minister, Mr. Beatys 
asked him to make an appointment to i^reach at his house, wliich 
he did two weeks later, giving the first Methodist sermon in 
Starr's Plain at the house of a very strong Episcopalian. The 
sermon made a deep impression, and was followed by another a 
little later, the result of which was a number of conversions, 
including the children of James Beatys, whose distress was 
great when he saw his children turn from the church of their 
father to Methodism. 

The outcome of these meetings was the organization of the 
first Methodist class in the town of Danbury, of which the orig- 
inal seven members were Daniel Beatys and Hannah, his wife, 
Levi Bronson and wife Abigail, John Mills and wife, and Joseph 
Sturges. Levi Bronson became a local preacher presumably 
about this time, and helped largely to build up Methodism in 
this town. 

About 1830 a difference of opinion in regard to action of the 

* Contributed by Frederick E. Comes. 


General Conference led to a division, and the Methodist Protes- 
tant chnrch was organized. Services were held for a few years 
in the home of Rev. Mr. Bronson, until becoming impressed 
with the idea that a church building was needed, he took his 
axe one day, went into the woods, selected a tree and felled it. 
Then kneeling beside it he prayed that the work he had begun 
might be completed, and it was, and stands as a memorial of 
those faithful workers of many years ago. The fii'st regular 
preacher was Rev. Marvin Lent, followed by Rev. John Cliff, 
J. W. Witzel, William H. Bosely, Elizar W. Griswold, Joseph J. 
Smith, Samuel M. Henderson, Richard K. Diossy, John H. 
Painter, Joshua Hudson, John L. Ambler, O. C. Dickinson, 
M. E. Rude, John Jones (known as the boy preacher), Peleg 
Weaver, N. W. Britton, Dr. G. C. Ray, and Mark Staples, the 
last regular minister. After this time the pulpit was filled by 
outside preachers. Rev. Levi Osborn, of the Disciples church 
of Danbury, and Allen McDonald, of the Methodist church, 
were the principal ones. 

About 1890 the church was closed, with only occasional ser- 
vices. In the winter of 1894 it was opened again for worship by 
the Young Men's Praying Band of the Methodist church of 
Danbury, assisted by a granddaughter of Rev. Levi Bronson, 
Mrs. Lewis Bradley. The summer following an Epworth League 
was organized, its president being Mr. Bronson, a great-grand- 
son of Rev. Levi Bronson. Through the efforts of this organi- 
zation the church has been repaired and renovated. The Sunday- 
school is in a flourishing condition, under the charge of ^Mrs. 
Mills as superintendent, and the little church at Starr's Plain 
has taken on a new lease of Life. 


On November 18th, 1785, the First Baptist church within the 
limits of the town of Danbury was constituted in the district of 
King Street. This body enjoyed for years a large measure of 
prosperity. The mother church still maintains its visibility. 

About the year 1788 a church was organized under the name of 
the Ridgefield and Miry Brook Baptist church. From this the 

* For the latter part of this church history we are indebted to the Rev. Mr. Hub- 
bard. The former is gathered from a " History of the Second Baptist Church in 
Danbury," by a former pastor, published in 1869. 


Second Baptist churcli was constituted April 3d, 1790, and soon 
afterward admitted into the Hartford Baptist Association, with 
the number of twenty constituent members. The first regular 
pastor was Eev. Thaddeus Bronson, who remained with the 
church from the time of its organization until 1793, when he 
removed to Schoharie CoTinty, N. Y. 

The first deacons were Benjamin Shove and Daniel Wildman, 
who were appointed October 2d, 1790. In March, 1793, Calvin 
Peck was added to the number. 

The first meeting-house was erected in 1794 on a lot given to 
the society by Bracey Knapp, situated in Miry Brook District, 
about two miles and a half west of the town of Danbury. The 
building was twenty-foiir feet square, with galleries. Its archi- 
tecture and interior arrangements were of rough and primitive 

Kev. Mr. Bronson relinquished the pastorate of the church in 
1793, after which until 1798 the church was probably vsdthout a 
settled pastor. Among those who ministered to the church with 
favor during this period were Rev. Daniel Wildman, Rev. Justus 
Hull, and Rev. Elias Lee. The name of Justus HuU deserves 
special mention among those who supplied the church during 
the interval mentioned. He was a young man of unusual men- 
tal vigor and extraordinary ministerial gift, and his service 
among the people was kept for years in fresh remembrance. 

In the year 1798 Rev. Bennet Pepper, then a licentiate, came 
to Miry Brook and preached until November, 1807, without 
ordination, at which time he was regularly ordained and con- 
tinued his services to the church. About the year 1803 the 
church was called to pass through a season of trial and dark- 
ness, growing out of an attempt to modify the accepted articles 
of faith. The original articles bearing date January 24th, 1795, 
as to their subject-matter and form of statement, are not differ- 
ent in any essential particular from those now received by the 
church. The mover of the proposed change in them is not 
named in the records. The new ailicles proposed were, however, 
essentially defective. 

In the early part of Mr. Pepper' s ministry there were large 
accessions to the church. This period is the first revival season 
succeeding that in which the church had its origin. The pastor- 
ate of Mr. Pepper closed in 1809. The church remained depend- 


ent on supplies until May, 1813, when Rev. Oliver Tuttle, then 
a licentiate from Bristol, Conn., was called to the pastorate and 
ordained in May, 1814. Mr. Tuttle's ministry extended over a 
period of nine years, from 1813 to 1822. In August of the latter 
year he resigned his charge and removed to Meredith, N. Y. 

From the minutes of the Union Baptist Association, which 
convened at Danbury in 1817, it appears that the membership 
of the church was then seventy-eight. In 1818 it was seventy. 
In 1820 there is a marked decrease, the reported number being 

George Benedict was licensed to preach on May 12th, 1822. 
In Aiigust of the following year he was ordained as pastor of 
the church. He resigned the pastoral care of the church in May, 
1831, to accept a call from the Stanton Street Baptist church of 
New York, where he remained until his death in October 28th, 

By consulting the minutes for the year 1825, we find the member- 
ship increased from fifty-six — reported in 1820 — to one hundred. 

During the last part of Mr. Benedict's ministry the subject of 
removal of the location of the meeting-house was earnestly dis- 
cussed, and ended in the lajdng of foiindations for a new build- 
ing in the year 1829, upon a lot on Deer Hill, given the society 
by Peter Ambler. The building, a neat and commodious edifice, 
was dedicated on September 28th, 1831. 

The Rev. Thomas Larcombe was called to the pastorate in 
July preceding, and delivered the dedicatory sermon upon the 
occasion of occupying the new building. Mr. Larcombe resigned 
the pastoral charge in the early part of the year 1833, moving 
from Danbury to Saugerties, N. Y., and from thence to Phila- 
delphia. He has long since entered upon his rest. 

Mr. Larcombe was succeeded in the pastorate by Rev. Robert 
Turnbull, then quite recently from his native country, Scotland. 
A few years previous he had graduated at the University of 
Glasgow, and subsequently attended the lectures of Drs. Chal- 
mers and Wilson at Edinburgh, and studied theology under Drs. 
Dick and MitcheU. He arrived in New York in 1833, and soon 
after accepted the call to this church. A very successful pas- 
torate of one year and a haK was closed by his acceptance of an 
urgent call from the Home Mission Society to occupy a field in 
Detroit, Mich. 


The next regular pastor of the church was the Rev. Orson 
Spencer, who entered upon the pastoral charge in May, 1835. 
His call was not wholly unanimous, and his resignation followed 
after a few months' service. 

The church remained without a pastor until April, 1836, when 
Rev. Jonathan G. Collom accepted a call and remained for three 
years. It was during his ministry that the Rev. Nathaniel 
Colver, who was speaking in the church against slavery, was 
mobbed. An account of this occurrence will be foixnd in another 
portion of this history. Mr. Collom' s resignation was tendered 
to the church during the fourth year of his pastorate, and he 
left Danbury to enter upon the pastoral charge of the Baptist 
church at Pemberton, N. J. He removed from thence to Wil- 
mington, and after to Mount Holly, N. J., where he died. 

The Rev. Addison Parker was the successor of Mr. Collom. 
In August, 1839, he accepted the call of the church and entered 
immediately upon his work. He continued three years in the 
pastoral office, during which period the church enjoyed a good 
degree of prosperity. 

Rev. Daniel H. Gillett having been called to the charge of 
the church, entered upon it in June, 1842, but was compelled, 
after a few months' service, to relinquish it on account of a 
severe attack of bleeding at the lungs. He immediately sought 
a southern climate, which, however, proved insufficient to arrest 
the work of death. 

The church remained without a pastor until the September 
following, when Rev. William R. Webb accepted their call and 
came upon the field. His ministry covered one year and a half. 

Rev. Rufus K. Bellamy was called to the pastoral charge of 
the church after the resignation of Mr. Webb, and signified his 
acceptance of the call on May 9th, 1844. During his ministry 
of three years the question of a removal of the church from 
Deer Hill was agitated to such good purpose, that, on April 9th, 
1847, negotiations were made with Thomas T. Whittlesey, Esq., 
to purchase a lot south of his then residence on Main Street, the 
price paid being $1000. The building was j^ushed to completion 
and dedicated on January 5th, 1848. In April following Mr. 
Bellamy tendered his resignation of the pastorate to accept a 
call from the Baptist church at Chicopee, Mass. 

Rev. Aaron Perkins accepted a call from the church, and 


entered upon the pastoral charge in May, 1848. As a pastor 
Mr. Perkins is most kindly remembered in the church. Always 
courteo^^s and sympathetic, he has left behind him only sacred 
and pleasant memories. His resignation was accepted March 
7th, 18.52. During his pastorate the Baptist church at Mill 
Plain was constituted, and nineteen persons were granted letters 
to foiTu the new interest, which was duly recognized under the 
name of the " Baptist Church of Mill Plain," by a council which 
convened September 24th, 1851. 

Rev. William S. Clapp was next called to the pastorate 
by a unanimous vote of the church. The call, extended April 
11th, 1852, was accepted the 16th of the same month, and his 
interesting and prosperous pastorate was terminated by his res- 
ignation on August 9th, 1857. He has now " gone up higher." 

Rev. Henry K. Green was called to the charge of the church 
October 3d, 1857, and soon afterward commenced his ministry 
here. He resigned in February, 1859. From that time until 
August, 1860, the church had no settled pastor. For several 
weeks after the resignation of Mr. Green the church was sup- 
plied by the Rev. O. W. Briggs, to whom a call was extended, 
but declined. Rev. M. S. Riddell also received and declined a 
similar invitation during the same period. 

In the autxxnin of 1859 Rev. George M. Stone, then at Madison 
University, spent four months with the church as a supply. At 
the expiration of that time he received a unanimous call to 
assume the duties of the jjastorate, but deeming it judicious to 
enter upon a course of theological study, the call was declined. 
In the summer of 1860 it was renewed and accepted, and Mr. 
Stone entered upon the duties of the pastoral charge in August 
of that year, and was ordained September 19th following. The 
pastorate of Mr. Stone embraces a period of unusual interest, as 
well to the church as to the nation. Four years of severe con- 
flict for the restoration of the union of the States to their integ- 
rity were experienced during that period. In the summer of 
1860 extensive repairs and changes were made in the church 
edifice. In July, 1866, through the generous efforts of a few of 
the brethren, a new and beautiful organ was given to the church. 
On account of ill-health which demanded a change of climate, 
Mr. Stone tendered his final resignation in July, 1867, which was 
reluctantly accepted by the church. 


For a period of fifteen months the church was without a pas- 
tor, during which time a call was extended to Rev. John Peddie, 
and subsequently to Rev. Almon Barelle, of Brooklyn. These 
invitations were, however, declined, and the church was depen- 
dent upon supplies for preaching on the Sabbath. 

At the covenant meeting held October 1st, 1868, it was voted 
unanimously to extend a call to Rev. A. C. Hubbard, of the 
First Baptist chiirch of Cincinnati, O. The call was accepted, 
and Mr. Hubbard entered upon his labors November 15th, 1868. 
For a time after the assumption of the j)astorate by Mr. Hubbard 
the church was hampered by a debt amounting to about $6000, 
which had been accumulating for several years. An effort made 
to remove it met with success, and the church held a jubilee ser- 
vice to celebrate the event. Improvements costing $5000 were 
made to the church property during the first ten years of Mr. 
Hubbard's j)astorate. In his tenth anniversary sermon he re- 
ported that two hundred and seventy-two persons had been 
added to the church, and that about $44,000 had been raised and 
expended for all purposes. 

In the year 1879 the Connecticut Baptist Convention held its 
annual session with the church. The meetings were largely 
attended, and were regarded as among the most inspiring and 
helpful in the history of the body. 

The second decade of the pastorate of Mr. Hubbard was 
marked by a steady increase in membership and contributions 
to benevolent objects. In the year 1888 he offered his resigna- 
tion as pastor, but it was not accepted, and the relation has con- 
tinued to the present time. 

On April 14th, 1890, the church celebrated the one hundredth 
anniversary of its constitution. Services of a highly interesting 
nature were held ; memorial sermons were preached by Dr. 
G. M. Stone, of Hartford, and by the pastor ; reminiscent ad- 
dresses were made by old members, and letters of congratulation 
from absent friends were read. 

A short time after this inspiring service an effort was made to 
secure subscriptions to a fund for the purpose of erecting a new 
church edifice. On one Sunday $29,300 was subscribed. This 
was increased by subsequent effort, until the available amount 
was thought to be $40,000. 

A building committee consisting of Henry Crofut, Charles 

Ute^ -*: i 


r tju. 

1 = 



Hull, J. Amsbury, F. J). Butler, A. G. Benedict, J. M. Bailey, 
W. J. Anderson, E. S. Fairchild, William Beckerlie, and the 
pastor, was appointed. It was decided to locate the new church 
on the site on West Street occupied by the parsonage. Ground 
was broken on March 31st, 1891, and the corner-stone was laid 
with appropriate ceremonies on September 11th of the same year. 

The purchase of land upon which to remove the parsonage 
building, the cost of additional land for the church site, and of 
the building itself with all of its furnishings, amounted to about 
$112,000. The church is a handsome and commodious edifice of 
Romanesque architecture, built of stone and brick, and provided 
with all of the appointments for multifarious church work. It 
was dedicated with impressive ceremonies on April 16th, 1893. 

An interesting feature of this church is a soldiers' memorial 
window contributed by the citizens of Danbury. It symbolizes 
Reunion, Emancipation, and Peace. It was unveiled, with exer- 
cises of a highly patriotic nature, on June 21st, 1893. General 
Weissert, Commander-in-Chief of the National Grand Army of 
the Republic, and other distinguished men were present and 
contributed to the interest of the occasion. 

The twenty-fifth anniversary of the settlement of the pastor 
was suitably obsei'ved by the church. Since the occupancy of 
the new edifice every department of the life and work of the 
church has flourished. The Connecticut Baptist State Conven- 
tion met again with the church in October, 1893. Many hearty 
expressions of congratulation and prophecies of increased pros- 
perity and usefulness were uttered by representative Baptists of 
the State. It is the purpose and hope of the church that these 
predictions may be realized in the future. 


To write a complete history of this Church would necessitate 
recording many of the leading events of one of the foremost 
religious movements of the present century. The Church of the 
Disciples in Danbury is one of the pioneer churches of a reforma- 
tion beginning in the early part of this century, which has re- 
sulted in the fifth Protestant religious body in the United States, 
numerically considered. Perhaps only one organization in the 

* Contributed by Rev. E. J. Teagarden. 


whole brotherhood of the Disciples antedates the church in this 
city. The Church takes a certain Just pride in the fact that it 
has occupied this advanced and independent jjosition In a move- 
ment of more rapid and permanent growth than any other Prot- 
estant reformation. The last United States census credits the 
Church of the Disciples with by far the largest percentage of 
increase of any religious body in the country. 

The four charter members of the Church in this city, Levi 
Osborne and Uz Wildman with their wives, separated of their 
own accoi'd fi'om what was known as White's Church. White's 
Church was a branch of the Sandemanian Church, then an im- 
portant religious factor in the community, numbering many of 
the most prominent families as its adherents. 

The separation of these four members occurred in the year 1817, 
having its cause in a dispute concerning the ordinance of bap- 
tism. The society insisted that an infant child in the family of 
Mr. W'ildman should be presented at the church and be sprinkled, 
in accordance with the custom of the Church. Mr. Wildman 
insisted that there was neither scrii^tural authority nor example 
for such a rite. He and Mr. Osborne held that only penitent 
believers were proper subjects for Christian baptism, and that 
there was but one scriptural mode of baptism — namely, immer- 
sion. They believed that sects were sinful because contrary to 
the prayer of Christ, the commands of the apostles, and the 
whole letter and spirit of the New Testament. They held also 
that all creeds of human formation should be rejected as authori- 
tative or as terms of Christian fellowship. 

Upon learning that a small band of Christians in New York 
City conformed to these views, Mr. Osborne sought an interview 
with them, which resulted in his baptism by Henry Errett, a 
leader in the one church of Disciples which antedates the church 
in Danbury. Returning to Danbury, Mr. Osborne immersed Mr. 
Wildman and their wives. Mr. Osborne was appointed elder of 
the church thus organized. 

From this small beginning in 1817 the church has developed 
through its seventy-eight years of history, and occupies to-day 
a prominent position in the religious life of the community. 
The families and descendants of these charter members have been 
foremost in the life of the church during its whole history. Mr. 
Osborne acted as presiding officer, and often as local preacher, 


until his death in 1851. A memorial window in the front gallery 
of the present church building was erected to his memory by his 
daughter, Miss Lucy M. Osborne, who is now living, having 
been a member of the society seventy-four years, or since 1821. 
Miss Osborne has furnished much of the data and many of the 
incidents for this historical sketch. 

A grandson of Levi Osborne, the late Edward B. Osborne, held 
a prominent position in the church from 1839 during the re- 
mainder of his residence in Danbury, serving the church as local 
preacher at least one year. Also Levi Osborne, Jr., another 
grandson, served the church in many ways from 1844, until he 
removed to New York State, where he became a regular preacher 
among the Disciples. Of the relatives of Uz Wildman we may 
mention Addison Judson, a son-in-law, who became a deacon in 
the church in 1838 ; also Miss Hattie L. Judson, a great-grand- 
daughter, who is at present a missionary in India, having gone 
out from this church in 1892. 

During the first two years of the life of the church the meet- 
ings were held each Lord's Day at the home of Mr. Osborne, 
situated on the corner of what are now Osborne and Summit 
streets, but at that time far outside the borough limits. The 
additions to their numbers during this first period of two years 
were but five new members. 

In 1819 Mr. Osborne fitted up a room for church purjaoses in 
the loft of his weaver's shop, in the same yard with his house. 
This room served as a place of meeting for twenty-one years. 
During this second period fifty persons united with the church, 
several of whom were leading spirits in its progress, and deserve 
mention here. John Abbot, a native of England, held mem- 
bership with them from 1819 until 1865, the date of his death. 
His widow, Mrs. Harriet Abbot, still survives him, being one of 
the oldest members of the church. Her wonderful memory has 
made her a valuable help in reproducing this early history, since 
the incomplete records of those early years have been lost sight 
of. Mr. Abbot was a profound student of the Scriptures, assist- 
ing very much in the restoration of apostolic doctrines and prac- 
tices, upon which the church has ever insisted. He labored for 
several years as local minister of the church. 

Bethel Morris, who united in 1820, was prominent for many 
years. His descendants have ever been leading members of the 


society, a grandson, Edgar S. Morris, being an elder at the pres- 
ent time. In the same year there united Starr Benedict, whose 
son, Joseph Benedict, remains as a deacon of the church. Later 
in this period John Benedict became a member and served for 
a brief period as an elder, removing later to tlie State of Wis- 
consin. The Benedicts were at that time prominent in the 
cliurch, and their descendants have been leading spirits through- 
out its life. 

Thus passed twenty-three years, during which only occasional 
visits were made to the church by ministers from other parts. 
The religious body being in its infancy, there were as yet few 
ordained preachers. This church, being the only one of its faith 
in all New England, had to be satisfied without a regular min- 
ister, the preaching and teaching being done largely by the faith- 
ful and honored men whose names have been mentioned ; and, 
indeed, if reports be true, it requu-ed much patient endurance 
on the part of the younger portion of the congregation to sit 
through the morning and afternoon service, and listen for an 
hour to the reading and expounding, verse by verse, of a long 
chapter. This was done by some good old brother, more hon- 
ored for his zeal and devotion than for his " aptness to teach." 
It is said of one very simple-minded but devoted brother, who 
thought it his duty to use " his one talent" for the edification 
of the brethren, that his speeches had just one highly appreci- 
ated merit — namely, their brevity. He had a few favorite Scrip- 
ture verses, after the reading of which he would invariably re- 
mark, " It 'pears to me, brethren, that these verses are very 
edifying, very fuU of comfort." To which the congregation 
silently and gladly responded, " Amen." Yet it is a most re- 
markable fact that almost all the children of these early fathers 
of the church became active, lifelong members, when there was 
so little to attract and hold them, except parental influence and 
the godly, devoted lives of the leaders in the church. The first 
break in this monotony of service occurred in 1837-38, when 
Porter Thomas, a regular evangelist, labored with them for sev- 
eral months, adding a number to their membership). 

During these fonnative years the questions of church name, 
polity, ordinances, and Life were constantly discussed. The 
aim was to return in all things to New Testament ordinances 
and practices. Their views were fonned independently of the 


so-called schools of theology, being based entirely upon the 
Word of God. They deplored the existing divisions in the 
Chnrch of Christ, believing that the unity for which the Lord 
so earnestly prayed could be restored and preserved only by dis- 
carding all human creeds, the inventions of men, and returning 
to the Word of God as the sole rule of faith and practice. 

It was not until the year 1827 that the brotherhood at large 
became a distinct religious body, known as the Disciples of 
Christ, or Christian Church ; but not until many years later did 
the church in Danbury adopt the name Disciples of Christ. 
During the periods mentioned they were kno^vn as Osbornites, 
after the name of Mr. Osborne, who had been the presiding 
ofBcer and leading spirit from the first. The church was consid- 
ered very peculiar in some of its early teachings and practices, 
it being at one time believed that they had a special Bible to 
con-espond with their own peculiar doctrines ; but it is claimed 
to this day that this was a false report, and that its origin was 
on this wise : A venerable brother, more noted for piety than 
for education, wished to purchase a Bible. He consulted with 
the elder, who advised him to purchase the Polyglot Bible, it 
being the most helpful then in use. When about to make the 
purchase, finding that he had forgotten the name, he asked the 
permission of the book dealer to take the Bible to Elder Osborne 
before purchasing, that he might be sure he had the right kind 
of a Bible. They claim that other false reports, which did them 
much harm, were no better founded than this one. 

The third period in the church's history opened in the year 
1840, when they began to worship in a new house, erected by 
them with much effort and many sacrifices. This new building 
stood directly opposite the present site of the New England 
Hotel, about where the electric-light tower now stands. It was 
a convenient little meeting-house of one room, with a seating 
capacity of about one hundred and fifty. The property upon 
which it was erected was leased to them under the name, ' ' The 
Refonned Christian Baptist Society." At that time the congre- 
gation numbered less than fifty members. Their larger and 
more centrally located home inspired them to renewed effort, 
and their progress was consequently more marked. 

Among the leading men of this third period may be mentioned 
Martin H. Griffing, St., who united with the society in 1842. 


Being a devout Christian and a man of means, he was for many 
years a great spiritual and financial aid to the church. His chil- 
dren, three of whom are now connected with, the society, have 
contributed in many ways to the prosperity of the work. 
Through their liberality the beautiful pipe-organ in the present 
building was presented as a memorial to their beloved father. 

Eli H. Mallory, who was not satisfied with the teachings and 
practices of the church to which he belonged, cast his lot with 
this church in 1843. Being a man of stern conviction and won- 
derful logical powers, he was enabled to lead many persons into 
the church, among whom were his own brothers, who have ever 
been a spii-itual and financial power in the church. Ezra A. 
Mallory, one of these brothers, is at present an elder in the 
society. He has erected a memorial window in the church as a 
tribute to the faithful service of the departed Eli H. Mallory. 

In 1848 Charles Reed became a valuable addition to the small 
struggling band of adherents to this simple faith. His name 
also may be seen upon a memorial window in the present church. 
This window was erected by his widow, Mrs. Eveline Reed, who 
remains to the present as a faithful servant in the cause so dear 
to the heart of her departed husband. 

The Stevens family had been engaged in the work of the 
church for many years, and in 1849 Lewis B. Stevens became a 
member, soon being elected an elder. Several members and 
descendants of his family are now connected with the churcli. 
William H. Stevens, a brother of Lewis B., serves as chairman 
of the present Board of Deacons. 

In 1837 they called Dr. Francis Craig, of Kentucky, to preach 
for them. He was a true Kentucky orator, and a man of exem- 
plary life. The following year his labors were brought to a sud- 
den close by his death. His remains were buried in Wooster 
Cemetery, to be joined two years later by Mr. Levi Osborne, 
whose death meant a great loss to those whom he had led for 
thirty-four years. The church erected a plain marble stone to 
mark the spot where their bodies rest. The vacancy caused by 
the death of Dr. Craig was at once filled by calling J. I. Lowell 
to labor as evangelist. Mr. Lowell ministered to them in word 
and doctrine the greater part of the time for seven years. 

The names of the many other faithful members of the church, 
who were prominent in its early history, must be omitted from 


this sketch, except the mere mention of Dr. E. F. Hendrick, 
who united at a little later date, about 1861, and whose widow, 
Mrs. Maria B. Hendrick, is one of the deaconesses of the church 
at the present time. 

In those early days the church had a fame for its strict em- 
phasis of the duty of caring for the poor and afflicted members, 
some even insisting that such dependent ones should always be 
furnished with a home among the families of the church. Of 
course this was not always possible, and that it was not always 
done is seen from the following incident : An old sister was 
blind and almost helpless. After being moved about from fam- 
ily to family, that all might share in the duty of caring for her, 
it was decided to secure her a permanent boarding-place. The 
home of a Catholic lady was selected, where she had the best of 
care. Being somewhat weak in mind, she at tii'st thought she 
was in the home of one of her brethren. Later she became sus- 
picioiis and questioned her hostess, who, not having any special 
scruples in regard to the truth, assured her that she also belonged 
to the White Street church. " Then why," asked the blind 
invalid, " do not the brethren come oftener to visit us ?" The 
hostess replied, " They do come, some of them are here every 
day." And after that she frequently imitated the voices of the 
members whom she knew, and would go in and shake hands, 
making kindly inquiries as to her welfare. Thus, it is said, the 
old lady was made contented and happy in the assurance of 
Christian fellowship here, and in the hope of an eternal home 

The fourth marked period of progress began in the year 1853 
with the removal of the congregation from White Street to Lib- 
erty Street, near Main, their present location. At a cost of $2000 
the society purchased a house and lot from the Methodist 
church, which had vacated it for larger quarters. At this time 
the name " Osbornites" was dropped, the members insisting 
upon being called simply "The Disciples of Christ." This 
scriptural name was, with some hesitancy, applied to them by 
the community, and by it they have been known ever since. 
Although known as " The Disciples of Christ," the present prop- 
erty is deeded to the society in the name of " The Church of 
Christ." Great emphasis has ever been laid upon the name, it 
being claimed that if the churches of Christendom ever unite, it 


must be under a scriptural name, and not one of the names in- 
vented by the religious sects. This accounts for the fact that 
diflerent names, such as "Disciples," "Christians," "The 
Church of Christ, " all of which are in the words of the New 
Testament, have been in different places and at different times 
applied to this church. In assuming these individual names — 
"Disciples," or "Christians," and the collective names, "The 
Church of Disciples" or "The Church of Christ" — they by no 
means imply that the Church of Christ is found exclusively 
within their borders ; but they recognize every consistent believer 
everywhere as a member of Christ's Church, and plead for a 
union of all Christians by a return to the principles and prac- 
tices of the apostolic age, to the end that the world may be evan- 
gelized. They agree with the great bodies of orthodox Chris- 
tians in such fundamental subjects as the inspiration and author- 
ity of the Scriptures, the divinity of Christ, the necessity and 
efficacy of the atonement, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, the 
necessity of holy living, and the reality of future rewards and 

The building purchased from the Methodists was remodelled, 
the basement being fitted up for Sunday-school jiurposes. The 
audience-room had a seating capacity of about three hundred. 
The membership of the church was still below one hundred. 
This more central location, together with the fact that ministers 
had begun to be regularly employed, gave them advantages 
which they had long desired to possess. The membership grew 
steadily from year to year, and the Sunday-school was pros- 

In 1864, near the close of the war period, some slight differences 
led to a temporal division of the working forces of the church, 
but in 1870 these differences were amicably adjusted, and all 
have since worshipped together in harmony with vastly in- 
creased success. The number of members in 1870 was 233. The 
records show that since 1870 there have been 560 additions to the 

The most active period in the history of the church has been 
during the past six years, in which time 325 members have united 
with it. For many years the members had discussed the ques- 
tion of a larger and more modern church building. On Lord's 
Day morning, October 26th, 1890, an appeal was made to the 

Col. Nathan Dibble. 

■John Abbott. 

Univeksalist Chuucu. 
Disciples' Church. 

r^TEPHEN Bates, 

Levi Osborne. 


congregation, resulting in subscriptions amounting to $7500. 
Tliis amount was increased by later pledges and donations, until 
it reached near $12,000. Plans were at once adopted, and work 
was begun on the new house. The old building was removed to 
the rear of the lot on Liberty Street, and utilized as a lecture- 
room, being connected with the new part by large sliding doors. 
The whole was completed at a cost of $22,000. The building 
was dedicated on January 31st, 1892, and there was raised, in 
four-year pledges, a sufficient amount to almost cover the in- 
debtedness incurred by the building committee. 

The building is according to the latest plans of church archi- 
tecture, and has all modern furnishings and conveniences. It is 
considered a model church home in every respect. The audi- 
torium has five hundred sittings, arranged upon a bowled floor in 
semicircular form, converging toward the pulpit platform. On 
the rear of the pulpit platform are situated the pipe-organ and 
the choir gallery. By throwing open the doors to the lecture- 
room the seating capacity is increased to eight hundred. The 
building is a frame structiire, the outside being modelled after 
the quaint architecture of the Netherlands during the Middle 
Ages. Its very oddity makes it an ornament to the city. 

This new and larger church home has given renewed life to 
every branch of the work. The present membership of the 
church is 540. The Sunday-school enrolls 450 scholars. The 
Christian Endeavor Society has a membership of 125. The mis- 
sionary societies and other organizations are in healthful and 
flourishing condition. Two young men of the church, Charles C. 
Waite and Charles Darsie, have lately prepared themselves for 
the ministry, and are now preaching for churches in Ohio. 
Others are preparing themselves for the ministry and for foreign 
missionary work. 

As nearly as can be ascertained, the following is a list of the 
ministers who have served the church, and the date when each 
was called by it : 1837, Porter Thomas ; 1841, A. G. Cummings ; 
1842, Matthew S. Clapp and William Tichenor ; 1847, E. A. 
Smith ; 1848, Dr. Francis M. Craig ; 1849, J. I. Lowell, Edward 
B. Osborne, J. M. Yearnshaw, and W. A. Belding, for brief 
periods each ; 1857, W. W. Eaton ; 1859, Theodore Brooks ; 
1861, A. N. Gilbert ; 1864, J. A. Headington ; 1866, L. R. Gault ; 
1867, W. L. Hayden ; 1871, W. R. Spindler ; 1873, W. B. Craig ; 


1875, J. L. Darsie ; 1880, M. J. Ferguson ; 1882, Levi Marshall 
and T. D. Butler ; 1883, W. W. Carter ; 1884, S. B. Moore ; 
1889, E. Jay Teagardeu, the present minister. 

The following members have served as elders of the church : 
Levi Osborne, John Benedict, Edward B. Osborne, Stan- Bene- 
dict, John Abbott, Levi Osborne, Jr., Eli H. MaUory, Abel 
Foote, Lewis B. Stevens, Ezra A. MaUory, and Edgar S. Morris, 
the latter two serving in that capacity at present. 

The present Board of Deacons consists of the following per- 
sons : Joseph Benedict, William H. Young, Alexander A. Davis, 
William H. Stevens, David Hawley, Bennett Turner, James E. 
Peck, Frank L. Hatch, Samuel A. Davis, Elbridge Gerry, Theo- 
dore Raymond, and Charles Elwell. The present Superintendent 
of the Sunday-school is Foster F. Fuller. 

It is thought that the Lord's Supper has been observed by 
this church on every Lord's Day during its seventy-eight years 
of history. 

About eleven hundred persons have been converted by the 
agency of this church in Danbury, all of whom have held mem- 
bership with it for a longer or a shorter period of time. 

The reformation, in which this church has held such an ad- 
vanced position and played so important a part, has resulted in 
about eight hundred thousand communicants in the brotherhood 
of ' ' The Disciples' ' throughout the United States alone. 


In September, 1807, the Rev. Hosea Ballou, before a congre- 
gation gathered in the Court House, preached the first Univer- 
salist sermon ever heard in Danbury. For some years after this 
the Universalists were dependent upon chance ministers for all 
they heard of their interpretation of the Gospel. 

In 1822 a society was organized by twelve men whose names 
were Ebenezer Nichols, William Patch, Miles Hoyt, Philo R. 
White, Stephen Ambler, Zadock Stephens, Ira R. Wildman, 
Thomas P. White, William Peck, Joel Taylor, Andrew Andrews, 
and Stephen Gregory. 

These twelve pioneers of the organization have aU passed on 

* Contributed by Rev. James Vincent. 


to the larger life, and many others, who in after years joined 
them in the work, have since joined them also in the other 
country. Many of these were well-known citizens of Danbury. 
One of them, known throughout the civilized world as a success- 
ful business man, and known also as a generous giver of large 
sums of money to Universalist institutions, made his home in a 
neighboring city, and was loyal to the faith throughout a busy 
life. This was Hon. P. T. Barnum, who for several years was 
clerk of this society. 

For more than a year after the organization there was no settled 
minister, but in 1824 Rev. Thomas F. King, father of the bril- 
liant and honored T. Starr King, became the pastor. 

It will not be necessary to name the pastors who have led the 
way through the intervening years. A number of them are 
living, and some are prominent among the thinkers and workers 
of the denomination. The longest jpastorate was that of Rev. 
D. M. Hodge, who remained here working faithfully for ten 

Since the resignation of Rev. Mr. Hodge, in 1880, brief pastor- 
ates have been held by Revs. A. J. Aubrey, Alonzo Chase, W. J. 
Crosley, and E. A. Horton. 

The experience of varying good and ill that has attended the 
society has not been vrithout good results. It has developed 
self-reliance and loyalty to an outspoken Christian belief. The 
old-time persecutions have left no hurt. They were the outcome 
of intense zeal, and at least a partial eclipse of understanding. 

Universalists and all other Christians have advanced since 
then, and the discoveries of science and the deeper study of the 
nature of man have prepared all for a better understanding of 
the kingdom of God in the world. 

Attempts at ignoring the Christianity of the Universalist 
Church there may be in unions for the enlarging of church in- 
terest, but such attempts are small and will be outgroAvn when 
those who make them realize that the hymns they sing, such as 
" Nearer, my God, to Thee," " Watchman, Tell us of the Mght," 
"One Sweetly Solemn Thought," "In the Cross of Christ I 
Glory, " are each and all the expressions of hearts that were de- 
voted adherents of the Universalist faith. Such a church can 
afford to be ignored or persecuted, but the great thinking, seek- 
ing, waiting world of mankind cannot long afford to have it so. 


Its faith in God and human destiny is spreading in all churches 
and outside all, and ere long credit will be given to whom credit 
is due. 

The first church edifice which the society erected occupied the 
comer of Wooster and Main streets, and was dedicated Septem- 
ber, 1833. This was afterward sold to the Roman Catholic 
society, and is still in its possession. The church on Liberty 
Street was then built and dedicated in the spring of 1852. 

But once more the circumstances of the time, and the desire 
of the society for larger opportunities of usefulness, called for 
another change of location. 

The project for a new Universalist church in Danbury had 
been for some years working in the wishes and hopes of a num- 
ber of the earnest adherents of that system of Christian belief. 
The building on Liberty Street, where for years jjast they had 
Avorshipped, was not adapted to the growing needs and oppor- 
tunities of Universalism in these times, and in this growing city. 
These people realized that here, as also in every other city and 
village where the relationship of man to God and the question 
of human duty and destiny enter into the common thought, 
there was need of a house of worship that would fitly represent 
an interpretation of Christianity that is outspoken in advocacy 
of the fatherhood of God and the rights and obligations of man, 
and that answers the questions and supplies the religious needs 
of many who have earnestly sought for satisfaction in other 
statements of faith, and have found it not. 

This project began to take definite shape in the early summer 
of 1891. ThriUed by the personal presence and enthusiasm of 
Dr. J. H. Chapin, then President of the Connecticut Universal- 
ist Convention, the Danbury Universalists resolved to rise and 
build. The decisive step was taken when Joseph T. Bates, of 
Danbury, and Mrs. Laura Scott, of Ridgefield, each subscribed 
$5000. Other pledges followed, and the lot on upper Main 
Street was purchased for $12,000. 

Soon afterward the Rev. James Vincent became pastor of the 
society. The contract for the building was given to the firm of 
Foster Brothers, and all departments of the proposed work began 
that forward movement, the outcome of which is already ap- 
parent in the new church and the growing society which it 


The dimensions of the building are sixty-four by ninety feet. 
There is a substantial cellar wall, and numerous brick piers sup- 
port the floor timbers. The ashler work of the granite founda- 
tion is excellently done with stone of the best quality. The 
walls are of North Haven brick, the belts, window-sills and caps, 
voussoirs of arches, quoins, buttresses, offsets, shafts, bases and 
caps of columns, all being of brown stone. The tower with spu'e 
surmounted by a bronze finial is one hundred and twenty-flve 
feet in height. 

There are two ornamental i:)orches, one on the front of the 
tower, the other on the south side of the building. The columns 
of these are of turned brown stone. The main entrance is 
through the tower on the southwest corner. The pulpit is 
directly opposite in the northeast corner. The floor inclines 
gently toward the pulpit. The ceiling is finished iu ash, while 
the pews and other furnishings are all of quartered oak. Just 
back of and a few inches higher than the puljjit platform is the 
choir loft, in the rear of which is the beautiful new organ con- 
structed by the Harrisons of New York. The windows give to 
the interior a mellow amber tint that is pleasing and restful. 
The large front window, with its simple but beautiful design, is 
the gift of Cola S. and Miss Carrie B. Peck, as a memorial of 
their father and mother, who for many years were devoted 
workers in the church. The pulpit is given by Miss Tomlinson's 
Sunday-school class as a memorial of A. A. Heath, another faith- 
ful Universalis t, for a long time superintendent of the Sunday- 
school. The communion-table is the gift of relatives and friends 
in memory of one well and wide known and loved. Colonel 
Nathan Dibble. There will also be a memorial to Lucy Scofield, 
warmly cherished in the memory of many as one of the tried 
and true. 

Directly in the rear of the auditorium is the large Sunday- 
school room, so connected by sliding doors that at any time it 
can be made a part of it, thus aflJording seating capacity for 
more than five hundred people. 

The other entrance through the south porch leads to the Sun- 
day-school room, to a parlor on the same floor, and also to a 
broad staircase leading to a second floor, where there is another 
parlor, a kitchen, and a large and attractive banquet hall fin- 
ished in cypress wood, and having all the conveniences necessary 


for social gatherings, fairs, suppers, and any work or pleasure 
tliat may justly accord with the life of a vigorous Christian 
church. The entire building is heated by three furnaces, and 
lighted with gas and electricity. 

The Building Committee are Liiman L. Hubbell, Cola S. Peck, 
Miles D. Washburn, Martin W. Foster, Joseph T. Bates, and the 
Rev. James Vincent, pastor. 

On Sunday, September 10th, 1893, with Rev. J. Smith Dodge, 
D.D., as the preacher, this church was dedicated to the Father- 
hood of God, the brotlierhood of the human race, the genuine 
life of the Christlike religion, and a confident assurance of its 
ultimate and complete triumph in the bringing of all manldnd 
to the love of righteousness, thus saving them from ignorance 
and loss, sin and sorrow, and making the life that now is and 
that which is to come a blessing to the whole world. 

With the completion of the new church the opportunity offered 
itself and the necessary machinery was at hand for what may 
be called a new era for Universalism in Danbury. 

That opportunity has not been left unused, and the machinery 
of the new structure has been made operative in developing the 
social, doctrinal, and devotional life and influence of a church 
thus dedicated to the worship of God and the welfare of man. 
As the foundation of its faith is the Fatherhood of God, so the 
method of its work is home and freedom, and its aim the culti- 
vation of the thoughtful and reverent Christian mind. 

Various departments are organized for special lines of effort, 
all to concentrate upon the task of making life sacred, helpful, 
and glad. Among these are the Society, the Church, the Sun- 
day-school, the Ladies' Social, the Women's Mission Circle, the 
Young People's Christian Union, and the Thursday Night Con- 

One and a half years have passed since the beginning of this 
new era. There have been no spasms of religious feeling, no 
sensational methods, but steady, persistent work, the results of 
which appear in the fact that the Sunday-school has doubled its 
numbers, the ladies' membership multiplied by three, and the 
congregation quadrupled in average attendance. The other inter- 
ests of the church have also increased in value and efficiency, 
and the oiitlook for the years to come is fuU of promise for 
Universalism and the Universalists of Danbury. 



The first Catholic priest on the records of Danbury was the 
Rev. Father Ryan, who came here in 1834. He was one of the 
old-style and austere fathers, and labored indefatigably for the 
establishment of his church in the town, but he was not destined 
to see the full fruition of his labors, for he was called away ere 
their accomplishment. He preached about in the houses, and 
his parochial limits included New Milford, Bethel, Redding, 
Ridgefield, Georgetown, and Newtown. He was followed in 
1853 by the Rev. Father Smith, who succeeded in securing and 
establishing a regular place of worship on the corner of Main 
and Wooster streets, for those days a very comfortable place of 
worship, and sufficiently ample for all purposes. 

Father Smith's pastorate was comparatively short, and he was 
succeeded by Father Kelly, who does not seem to have advanced 
the interests of the church in any great degree, and who leaves no 
record of any particular work. He was succeeded by the Rev. 
Father Dray. This priest is well remembered by a great major- 
ity of our Irish citizens, who were at that time young people. 
He officiated at the marriages of a number of our most thriving 
and influential citizens of Irish extraction, who have now flour- 
ishing families in town. 

He was followed by the Rev. Ambrose Manahan, a very learned 
man, who possessed the title of D.D. He bought what has been 
known as the old Catholic Church from the Second Congrega- 
tional Society in 1863. Shortly after the purchase he added to 
the building, and did much to further the interests of the church, 
but was called to other work, and was succeeded by the well- 
known Father Sheridan, after whom a street in Danbury is 
named. Father Sheridan proved to be not only a progressive 
man, but an energetic, and he commenced the building of the 
present St. Peter's Church. It was at that time a gigantic under- 
taking, but it had no fears for him, and after years of hard labor 
in overcoming difficulties that seemed insurmountable, before 
his removal from Danbury he had the pleasure of seeing the 
roof placed on the present handsome structure. But to his suc- 
cessor, Rev. John Quinn, was reserved the honor of completing 
the work, and in January, 1876, the late Vicar-General Hughes 

* Contributed by Rev. Father Lynch. 


performed the rite of dedication. The remainder of the pastor- 
ate of Father Quran is remembered as the time of a great agita- 
tion of the total abstinence question, for which Father Quinn 
was an able and earnest advocate. Under his hand the number 
of members in the local temperance society swelled to hundreds ; 
nearly all the young boys of the parish were enrolled in a society 
of temperance cadets, and there was founded the temperance 
band, afterward St. Peter's Band, out of which evolved the 
present Danbury Band. After several years of zealous labor 
Father Quinn was prostrated by a long and tedious sickness, 
and as his recovery was slow, the bishop thought it prudent to 
name Rev. M. R. Lawlor as Father Quinn' s successor. 

We have said that to Father Quinn was reserved the honor of 
finishing the church so as to hold service in it, and likewise to 
Father Lawlor was reserved the honor of reducing to a minimum 
sum the enormous debt which was on the church propeity when 
he took charge. During his seven years in Danbury were built 
and dedicated new churches in Bethel, Redding, Ridgefield, and 
GeorgetowTi, and resident priests were stationed in Bethel and 

After Father Lawlor came Father Thomas Lynch (deceased), 
who purchased and fitted up St. Thomas' Convent and erected 
the parochial school building. At first only eight rooms were 
finished, but so great was the number of applicants the fii'st day, 
that it was found necessary to complete the remaining four 
rooms immediately. These rooms were hardly completed when 
he was called to his reward. 

In December, 1886, just ten years after the dedication of St. 
Peter's Church, Rev. Henry J. Lynch, the present rectoi", was 
appointed to succeed Father Thomas Lynch. The record of the 
nine years during which the present incumbent has had charge 
of the parish is the record of nine years of untiring labor, but 
labor that has been most fruitful. 

At the time Father Henry Lynch became rector the church 
was incomplete, inasmuch that no spire adorned it, and the base- 
ment was yet unfinished. The old cemetery had few if any suit- 
able lots for sale, the school grounds were not only unsightly 
but unhealthy, and the clergy were quartered in a house that 
had for years broken down the health of its occupants. The 
knowledge of these things, coupled with the fact that the church 


debt had been greatly increased by the purchase of the convent 
and building of the school, would have made even a stout heart 
timid ; biit without stopping to judge of what may have been 
the hopes and fears of the first months of Father Lynch' s pas- 
torate, we shall now, after nine years have elapsed, examine the 
result of his labors. 

One of the first cares of the new pastor was to provide a suit- 
able resting-place for the dead, and a beautiful spot, a few miles 
from the city, was purchased for $5000, graded, divided into 
sections, lots, etc., and shortly afterward consecrated. Next 
came the building of the spire, which was a source of gratifica- 
tion to many truly Catholic hearts ; but greater pleasure was 
theirs when they heard the harmonious strains of the sixteen 
bells placed in the tower. Then came what we may justly tenn 
the rebuilding of the foundation of the church, which caused an 
outlay of several thousand dollars ; and while all this was going 
on, the sanitary condition of the school and its grounds had not 
been neglected, and down underneath the surface hundreds of 
dollars' worth of sewering was done, and what until this time 
had been a swamp-hole now became a healthy, delightful play- 
ground. At an outlay of thousands more the basement was fitted 
up, so that the children could have a mass for themselves ; and 
now every Sunday nearly nine hundred little ones bow before 
the altar in the basement chapel. 

Good works are sometimes recognized in this life, and the late 
bishop, the lamented Rt. Rev. L. S. McMahon, was not blind to 
the work done in Danbury, and in December, 1890, he granted 
to the parish of Danbury all the rights and privileges of an irre- 
movable rectorship, and named the then pastor. Rev. H. J. 
Lynch, as fii'st permanent rector of Danbury. 

Shortly after began the buUding of the beautiful parochial 
residence fronting on Main Street, near the park. 

The spiritual advance of Catholicism has kept pace with the 
material side of the question. Societies have been formed, con- 
fraternities and sodalities established to reclaim the one and pre- 
serve the other. The Society of the Immaculate Heart of Mary 
for the Conversion of Sinners has a membership of two thousand. 
The devotion to the Sacred Hearts has become so popular that it 
was found necessary to divide the communicants, part coming 
the first Friday of the month, the remainder on the follow- 


ing Sunday. Missions have been held yeai'ly, and many who 
had wandered for years have returned to the fold. No less suc- 
cessful has been the school. With an attendance of nearly eight 
hundred and fifty pupils, trained by a thoroughly competent 
corps of teachers, an education is imparted second to no element- 
ary school in the State. During the eight or nine years' exist- 
ence of the school not one of its pupils who had been authorized 
to take the examination for admission to the High School has 
been found deficient. 

Such is a brief synopsis of the development of the Catholic 
Church in Danbury. Like the mustard- seed spoken of in the 
Gospel, the mere handful of Catholics of a few j^ears ago has 
grown to embrace nearly six thousand souls, possessing a mag- 
nificent church, a rectory second to none in New England, a 
large school, a convent with about fifteen religious, and two 
cemeteries, with a total value of a quarter of a million dollars. 


A church that should be a church home for people, irrespec- 
tive of social position or wealth, was a leading motive in the 
gathering in the basement of the First Church, May 20th, 1851. 
With no brilliant prospects and no encouragement from the 
older church, it was voted to try the experiment of a second Con- 
gregational church. Mr. Horace Bull was the chaii-man of that 
committee, and Henry Lobdell with L. C. Hoyt were appointed 
to an-ange for a preacher and a place of meeting. Mr. William 
C. Scofield, of Yale Seminary, was engaged to preach for eight 
Sabbaths, and on Jiine 17th enough encouragement had been 
received to warrant a vote to formally organize the new church, 
which organization was recognized by the Fairfield East Conven- 
tion on July 9th. The church thus instituted numbered twenty- 
three, of whom twelve were men. 

After worshipping in the building of the Universalist Society 
for four months, meetings were held in the court-room over the 
Town Hall, but May 6th, 1852, the young church dedicated its 
own house of worship on Main Street, nearly opposite the pres- 
ent Court House. It was built on leased ground, and after eleven 
years it was sold to the Roman Catholic Church. 

* Contributed by Rev. F. A. Hatch. 


The church was served by Mr. Scofield for three years, but he 
was not ordained and installed until after the church was dedi- 
cated. From 1854 to 1857 the church straggled hard to live, and 
that it did survive was owing to the inflexible purpose of a few 
of the members, and the patient help of Rev. E. S. Huntington, 
who, while a teacher in the town, suppUed the pulpit for nearly 
three years. 

Following this critical period, brief service was given as pastor 
by Rev. William Page and Rev. S. H. Howell. From March 
26th, 1858, Rev. David Peck served as pastor until January, 
1861. Following him Rev. Ezra D. Kenny supplied the pulpit for 
three months, when Mr. James Robertson was invited to preach, 
and December 20th he was formally invited to the pastorate. For 
two years after he began work worship was sustained in Nichol's 
Hall, corner Main and Liberty streets. With the absence of 
some of her best men in the war, these years were crucial ; biit, as 
is often the case, inspiration to new life was found in assuming 
heavier burdens. In 1864 a beginning was made toward a new 
building, and May 9th, 1865, the present brick edifice was dedi- 
cated, the late Professor Roswell P. Hitchcock, of Union Semi- 
nary, preaching the sermon. Soon after the church was dedi- 
cated Mr. Robertson resigned, and Rev. Henry Powers became 
pastor, remaining until January, 1869. He was liberal in the- 
ology, but public-spirited, and the Town Farm and New Street 
school building were acquired largely through his efforts. Fol- 
lowing Mr. Powers was Rev. David Easton, who remained, with 
an interval of a year, when Mr. C. A. G. Thurston acted as asso- 
ciate pastor, until January, 1874. Mr. S. B. Hershey, of Yale 
Seminary, was called, and became pastor in the fall of 1874, and 
resigned in March, 1881. Rev. J. A. Freeman succeeded him, 
serving until March, 1887 ; after him came Rev. C. \V. Morrow, 
who was followed in 1893 by the present incumbent, Rev. F. A. 

During the war, from a male membership of twenty-six, this 
church sent ten volunteers to the front, most of them enlisting 
in Company D, Seventh Connecticut Volunteers. Two found a 
soldier's grave— viz., Louis C. Wygant, who died at Hilton Head, 
S. C, August 4th, 1862, and was tenderly buried by another 
member of this church, Frank P. Nash ; and David R. Shelton, 
killed in the battle of Driirey's Bluff, Va., on May 16th, 1864. 


Memorial windows to these soldiers were placed in the front of 
the church, with the large window which was contributed by the 

The other windows have an interest which is partially histori- 
cal and deserve mention. The renowned Rev. Frederick W. 
Robertson, of Brighton, England, a relative of the pastor who 
inspired much of the church-building zeal, is thus remembered. 
So is the Rev. Henry Lobdell, M.D., a missionary who went out 
from the church to Mosul, Turkey, dying there March 25th, 
1855. George W. and Amelia Ives, Ezra M. Starr, and Horace 
Bull, who died January 7th, 1857, are thus memorialized. 

All the churches in town, except the Fii-st, contributed win- 
dows, as did the Bethel Congregational church ; and the Eng- 
lish, Irish, Scotch, German, and Canadian lineage of some of the 
incumbents of the congregation was made a feature in other 

The new organ, placed in position in October, 1894, when the 
church was renovated on the inside, is a reminder if not a 
memorial of the long-time deske of a leader of the choir for 
twenty -five years, Mr. Nathaniel Barnum. 

Three different periods of spiritual reinforcement of the church 
have left their mark on its history. In 1858, when 39 were added 
to its membership ; in 1876, when in six months 59 joined ; and 
in 1894 65 were received. 

During the pastorate of Mr. Easton in October, 1873, with the 
co-operation of the churches of the State the church was freed 
from debt. It has always been in a real sense a "people's 
church," and financially it has generally been burdened, but 
has remained true to the " free-pew" idea. From the outset it 
has turned its back on artificial class distinctions. Its present 
tendency is emphatically toward institutional methods, the pur- 
pose to make the church, its appliances, and its fellowship an 
every-day help, as contrasted with the idea of the religious club, 
the criticism of sermons, or the cultiire of sectarianism. 

To the usual organizations of the church it joins the especial 
feature of promoting the interests of the young people through 
its Young Ladies' Missionary Union, junior and senior Endeavor 
societies, its Boys' Brigade and Girls' Phalanx, its Little 
Workers, and King's Daughters. 

Its present membership is nearly three hundred. But two of 

West St. Congregational Church. 
German Lutheran Church and Parson 

E/.RA M. Starr. 


the original members survive, Mrs. Joel G. Foster and Nathaniel 
Barnum ; but their affection and zeal for the West Street Church 
is a rich bequest from one generation to another. 


Notwithstanding the fact that the Gennan population of Dan- 
bury formed a by no means insignificant portion of the commu- 
nity, prior to the year 1877 no attempts had been made by the 
Germans to found a separate church organization. According 
to data at hand the Germans, mostly Lutherans, were scattered 
among the various local congregations, although often express- 
ing a desire to worship in their mother tongue. It is true a Ger- 
man Methodist mission had been established about 1876, but its 
existence was of short duration. However, during the summer 
of 1887 a number of German Lutheran families, who had formerly 
belonged to a German Lutheran congregation in Rondout, N. Y., 
settled in Danbury. These families did not wish to affiliate with 
any of the denominations then having church societies in Dan- 
bury, and forwarded a petition to their fonner pastor, Rev. F. 
Stutz, requesting him to visit them and establish a German 
Lutheran mission. Rev. Stutz acceded to the desires of the 
petitioners, and made a journey to Danbury, December 9th, 
1877. After a service held in one of the members' houses a per- 
manent mission station was established, to which about twenty 
persons expressed a desire to join and to support. 

This mission station was immediately taken charge of by the 
New York Conference of the Synod of Missouri. About twenty 
ministers constituted the conference at that time, and its presi- 
dent, at the request of the members in Danbury, delegated one 
of the clergymen to supply the pulpit. During the first months 
of its existence the station flourished, and bi-weekly services 
were held regularly at the residences of the various members. 
Clergymen from New York, Brooklyn, Long Island, Paterson, 
N. J., and other cities visited Danbury at frequent intervals. 
The present pastor, W. A. Fischer, at that time a student in a 
theological college, was also twice called upon to take charge of 
the services. During four years, from 1877 to 1881, the mission 
maintained its existence, sometimes prospering, sometimes, 

* Contributed by Rev. W. A. Fischer. 


through lack of interest and support, coming to a very precarious 
condition. It, however, never ceased to lose its character as a 
German mission station. 

During the fall of 1880 a number of German emigrants were 
attracted to Danbury by the success and prosperity of the hat- 
ting industry. The majority of them were Lutherans, and as 
they soon secured employment in the various hat factories, they 
decided to remain here pemianeutly. The services of the mis- 
sion were attended by a number of these new additions. Steps 
were soon taken to form a church society, and to this end a con- 
stitution and by-laws were adopted. Twenty-two adult males, 
who constituted the voting members of the newly organized 
society, signed these articles and designated themselves the Ger- 
man Lutheran Immanuel Church U. A. C. (unaltered Augsburg 
Confession) of Danbury, Conn. The organization of the society 
and the adoption of articles occurred on January 23d, 1881. 
The first President was Carl Marzioch, and the iirst Secretary 
Fred. Schultz. 

The new congregation immediately resolved to call a pastor to 
the charge, and after a number of fruitless calls had been issued 
the founders unanimously decided to tender a call to the present 
pastor. Rev. W. A. Fischer. Rev. Fischer was at the time 
stationed in New York City as assistant to Rev. J. H. Siekei", 
pastor of St. Matthew's Church, corner of Broome and Elizabeth 
streets. This church is the oldest Lutheran church in America, 
and also one of the wealthiest and most influential. Rev. Fischer 
accepted the call, and took charge of the pastorate on October 
18th, 1881, the installation occurring the following Sunday, 
October 23d. 

Previous to the arrival of Rev. Fischer services had been held 
in the houses of the various members, but the large increase in 
the attendance soon necessitated more commodious quarters 
being secured. A portion of what was then the Armory Hall, 
corner of Main Street and Library Place, was rented, and ser- 
vices were held regularly every Sunday. However, an ever- 
increasing desire of the congregation, which was now rapidly 
increasing in numbers and prosperity, to possess a house of wor- 
ship of their own made itself felt more and more, and prelimi- 
nary steps were taken to secure a permanent home. A building 
committee was appointed, and Rev. Fischer empowered to solicit 


subscriptions and to procure funds to purchase a site. The 
members and a number of local public-spirited gentlemen con- 
tributed generously to the funds, and in a short time sufficient 
subscriptions had been made to enable the society to purchase a 
biiilding lot on Foster Street near West, from the late F. S. 
Wildman, the plot fronting one hundred feet on Foster Street 
and extending one hundi-ed and seventy-two feet to the rear 
adjoining the property of the Methodist Society. 

During the period it was resolved to incorporate a parochial 
school in connection with the society, and Mr. C. H. Wente was 
called to assume the principalship. Quarters were secured on 
Patch Street, and the school opened with eleven scholars en- 
rolled on the register. It j)rospered from its inception, and con- 
stantly increased its membership. During its existence it has 
been an important factor in building uj) the congregation, it 
being the channel through which the childi-en by their confirma- 
tion enter the church. 

On April 10th, 1882, a committee consisting of D. E. Loewe, 
Adolf Holdeichel, and H. Orgelmann was appointed to confer 
with local builders as to plans and specifications of a church, 
the cost of which should be limited to $3000. Plans were pre- 
pared by Foster Brothers and submitted to the Board of Trus- 
tees. A number of contractors bid upon the proposed structure. 
It was found, however, that the cost of the church according to 
the plans would be far in excess of $3000, and therefore beyond 
the means of the then small congregation. The latter, therefore, 
decided to build a smaller building, which should serve tem- 
porarily as a church and in which the daily school sessions could 
be held. Foster Brothers received the contract, October 15th 
being specified as the date of completion. On October 1st, 1882, 
the dedication services were held. Professor Bohm, of New York, 
assisting the local pastor in the exercises. The church property 
was also enclosed, filled in to correspond with the street level, 
and numerous other improvements followed in quick succession. 
Friends in New York City presented a chapel organ and a com- 
munion sei-vice, and several local parishioners also made substan- 
tial gifts in fitting out the interior of the building. All these 
donations were greatly apjireciated by the members, and they 
felt greatly encouraged to persist in their ultimate desire to se- 
cure an appropriate edifice for their worship. 


The church society on April 1st, 1883, decided to affiliate with 
one of the Lutheran synods, and it was unanimously agreed to 
incorporate with the Grerman Lutheran Evangelical Synod of 
Missouri, Ohio, and other States, that body representing most 
faithfully the faith and doctrines of true Lixtheranism. Of this 
synod it still forms a component part. In this same meeting the 
congregation, which now numbered about fifty voting members, 
voted to erect a church edifice and a parsonage, $4500 being 
appropriated for the former and $2500 for the latter. Subscrip- 
tion circulars were issued to all sister churches in the Eastern 
District of the Synod of Missouri, and though they elicited a 
generous response, the brunt of the final expenses was borne by 
the local members. Plans and specifications for the proposed 
buildings were submitted by Architect Osborne. The estimates 
of the builders and contractors, however, were far in excess of 
the sums appropriated, and the first church plan of 1882, with 
extensive alterations, was finally adopted. During the month 
of June, 1883, the foundation of the present church was laid. 
The laying of the corner-stone occurred July 8th, the ceremony 
being performed by the pastor, assisted by the Revs. J. H. 
Sieker, of New York City, and Charles Frinke, of Staten Island. 
A special excursion ti'ain was riin from New York, and a large 
delegation of Lutherans from that city and from neighboring 
towns attended the ceremony. 

The building operations were pushed rapidly, and by January, 
1884, the church was ready for occupancy. Rev. J. P. Beyer, 
of Brooklyn, N. Y., President of the district synod, and Pro- 
fessor E. Bohm, of New York City, assisted in the dedication 
services, which were held January 13th. The edifice has a seat- 
ing capacity of about three hundred, and the interior furnish- 
ings, altar, pulpit, and fi'esco paintings are in accord with its 
character as a Lutheran church. At the time of its erection, it 
fully met the wants of the society, though in late years often 
proving inadequate for the purposes of the growing congregation. 

Possessing now a house of worship which was in every respect 
adapted to its needs, the young church society made rapid prog- 
ress. In a meeting of the Vestry Board, July 5th, 1885, a reso- 
lution was passed empowering the trustees to advertise for bids 
for a parsonage that was to be erected for the pastor. Mr. 
E. Kopp, of Newark, N. J., was awarded the contract, and 


ground was broken for Kev. Fischer's new residence on July 
13th, 1885. On November 1st the building had arrived at such 
a state of completion that the pastor was enabled to take up his 
residence therein. A bam and sheds were also buUt in the rear 
of the church property. 

During the following years no change of importance occurred 
until January, 1888, when the principal of the school, Mr. Gr. H. 
Wente, met with a severe accident which permanently incapaci- 
tated him from discharging his duties in the school-room. Rev. 
Fischer thereupon assumed charge of the school, and though 
every effort was made to provide a successor to Mr. Wente, it 
was not until September, 1889, that a teacher was secured in the 
person of Albert H. Miller, who was called direct from the Addi- 
son Normal College, Illinois. The school at the time consisted 
of fifty-eight pupils, but during the following year such large 
accessions were made that in the spring of 1890 it was deemed 
necessary to build an addition to the school-house. During the 
vacation months F. S. Olmstead erected a large L, and the seat- 
ing capacity of the school was thereby increased to one hundred 
and forty. Furnaces, ventilators, etc., were added, and the 
school property underwent general repairs. 

During late years no important events are chronicled. The 
church has continued to flourish, and has grown from an insig- 
nificant beginning to large proportions. The number of mem- 
bers at present is three hundred and seventy-six, of whom sev- 
enty-six are voting members. The church society was incorpo- 
rated under the laws of Connecticut in 1887. 

Rev. Fischer has been in charge of the parish since its organi- 
zation, and has during his pastorate officiated at 114 marriages, 
464 baptisms, 136 funerals. He has also confinued 160 persons. 

The present officers of the society are : D. E. Loewe, Presi- 
dent ; C. Muetschele, Treasurer ; Albert H. Miller, Clerk ; W. T. 
Strasser, Financial Secretary ; Martin Fuchs and William Stolle, 
Sr., Elders ; M. Lauf, A. Gerstenmaier, M. Heinzelmann and 
A. Pentermann, Deacons ; D. E. Loewe, C. Muetschele, W. T. 
Strasser, S. Lang, S. Procopy, C. Baur, and H. Schriefer, Trus- 
tees. Rev. William A. Fischer, Pastor ; Albert H. MUler, Prin- 
cipal of School ; Miss Emma Stolle, Assistant. 



The first public schools in Danbury were started soon after 
the incorporation of the town, but of them we have no record 
until a later date. 

In 1763 Comfort Starr left £800 for the support of a perjsetual 
school in the centre of the town, to be under the direction of the 
selectmen and civil authority, according to the following clause 
in his will, of date May 12th : 

" Item. I give and bequeath the sum of Eight Hundi-ed 
Pounds money out of my estate to and for the use of a Publick 
Scool to be kept in the first or old Society in Danbury to be Paid 
to a Committee within two years next after my Decease to be 
appointed by the s'' Town of Danbury for that purpose and to 
be by the s* Committee for the Time being and their successors 
in said office under the Direction and Inspection of the Civil 
authority and Select men of s"* Town of Danbury for the Time 
being Improved for the only use and benefitt of one Certain 
Scool in Such Part of the s"* Society as they shall think Proper 
to Effix the s** Seal to be Constantly kept by a Learned and Skil- 
full Scoolmaster well able to instruct children and youth in the 
various branches of Good Literature and in the English, Greek 
and Lattain Languages and in vulgar arithmetick and to be paid 
his wages out of the Interest of the s'* Eight Hundred Pounds by 
the s'' Committee and if there should be more than sufficient to 
Defray the wages of such Scoolmaster at any Time of the Inter- 
est of s** money as aforesaid then and in that case my WiU is that 
the said over Plus shall improved towards Building and Repair- 
ing the Scool House in which s"* Scool shall be kept and my Will 
is still further that only the Interest of s"* Eight Hundred Pounds 
be improved for the Purpose afores'^ and that the Princaple be 
always Kept Good and that the Interest thereof be Improved for 
the only use afores** In manner afores"* for Ever : Provided 


always that in Case the said Town of Danbury fail or Neglect to 
Improve the Same for the purpose afores'' at any Time or Times 
(unless out of pure necessity it so happen at any Time that such 
master as afores** for a short space of Time cannot be had and 
obtained or be reasonably absent) then and in case of such 
Neglect the s** Legasey shall be wholly and absolutely forfeited 
to my Natural Heirs in Lawfull Perportion to be Devided be- 
tween them and to be to them and their heirs for Ever : And 
furthermore I do hereby fully Impower my s"* Executors to make 
sail of any of my Lands not herein Expressly bequeathed for the 
Payment of any of my Debts or any of the Legasies mentioned 
in this my last Will and Testament." 

The executors were his " wife Hannah,* Captaui John Starr, 
and Daniel Starr, all of Danbury." The witnesses were Deacon 
Joseph Peck, Thaddeus Benedict, and Eli Mygatt. This was 
called the school of liigher order, and was first held in a small 
building in the rear of the present jaU. After a few years this 
buUding was taken down and a new one erected on the opposite 
comer, which was known as the Danbury Academy, and existed 
until 1867. 

At an adjourned meeting of the First Society in Danbury, held 
on January 6th, 1769, " the Committee appointed to Devide the 
several Districts in the Society for Schools make Report to tliis 
meeting in the words following, viz. — 

" To the first Society in Banbury 

" Gentlemen : 

" We the Subscribers being appointed by you a Committee to 
Devide said Society into proper Districts for Schools and make 
Report to this meeting would now ask Leave to Inform you 
that our oppinion is as follows, viz : — 

" 1st. That the Inhabitants Living Eastward of a Line Drawn 
from the Parting of the Paths on the west side of Cramberry 
bridge Northerly to the Parting of the Paths at Long Hill and 
those Living Easterly or Southerly of the Road which Leads 
from Long HUl towards Great Plain till it comes where Great 
Plain Road Leaves Stadley Ruff Road and from thence those 
who Live on Each Side of the Highway that Goes by Abrm. 
Benedict's to Daniel Gregorys and So on to Nubury Line Includ- 

* Daughter of Rev. Seth Shove. 


ing all those who Live Southerly of Said Road and westerly or 
northerly of the River from Said Crambiiry bridge to Newbury 
Line be one District for a School and be Known by the Name of 
beaver Brook District. 

" 2.1y. That all the Inhabitants (not included in bever brook 
School,) Living northerly and Easterly of a Line Runing west- 
erly from the Parting of the Paths at Long Hill a Cross Tamarack 
till it Comes where the Road that Goes to Jonathan Hayses 
Leves Pembrook Road then Runing in the highway that Goes 
to said Hayes (including what Inhabitants may live on Either 
Side of sd. Highway) till it comes where the Path Turn East- 
erly : from thence northerly to the Neversinck Boggs and so on 
to New fairfield Line be one District for a School and be Called 
Great Plain District. 

" 3.1y. That the Inhabitants living noitherly and easterly of a 
line Runing from the Parting of the Paths at North medow 
South westerly to the Stoney Gutter Near Timothy Fosters Barn 
from thence west to Clapoard Ridge Road and in that Road 
northerly to the Parting of the Paths from thence to the Saw 
mill & then Northerly as the Sawmill Brook runs through Mr. 
Linsleys Fann Keeping the easterly branch to New Fairfield 
Line be one District for a School and be called Pembroke Dis- 

" 4ly. — That the Inhabitants living Northerly and Easterly of 
a Line beginning at the Parting of the Paths above Leiut. David 
Hoyts and Runing westerly till it comes into the Road Just 
below Ebenr. Pickits Junr. House then Keeping the Road by 
Matthew Boughtons House to Francis Boughtons Land from 
thence Runing on the north Side of Samuel Benedict to Ridge- 
field Line be one District for a School and be called King Street 
District — 

" 51y. That the Inhabitants Living Easterly and northerly of 
a Line begining at the Parting of the Paths at Seth Graund 
and Runing Southerly to Chestnut Ridge near Scuppo then 
Runing westerly in Scuppo Road to Ridgefield Line be a Dis- 
trict for a School and called the Boggs District 

" 61y. — That the Inhabitants Living westerly and northerly of 
a Line beginning where the Boggs Line Crosses the Road at 
Chusnut Ridge mountain and Runing Southerly in sd. Road till 
it Comes to the Bend of ye Road near Capt. Starrs Land at 


Stadley Ridge and from thence Riming Southerly by the East 
Side of Comfort Shoves Farm to Fish wear River and then fol- 
lowing the River to mill Plain Pond be one District and Known 
by the name of mill Plain District. 

" 7ly.— That the Inhabitants living westerly and Northerly of 
a Line beginning at Fish wear River where mill Plain Line 
Comes to the River and Rnning Southerly to the Heights of 
Thomas mountain from thence westerly to the Height of moses 
mountain from thence westerly to the Height of Spruse moun- 
tain and from thence westerly to Ridgbury Line be one District 
or a School and be called myrey brook District. 

" That the Inhabitants Living Southerly of a Line Drawn 
Heighth of Toms mountain and from thence to the Height of 
Spruse mountain near Capt. Taylors field be one District and 
called Starrs Plain or Long Ridge District. 

" 9.1y. — That the Inhabitants living to the Eastward of Cram- 
bury River begining at James Benedicts mill and Runing to 
newbury Line and northerly of a Line Runing from said mill 
Easterly to the Height of Shelter rock Hill and from thence 
Keeping the Height of the Hill to Bethel Line be a District for 
a School and called Stoney Hill District, and that all the Rest 
of the Inhabitants not Included in any of the foregoing Discribed 
Limits be Equally Devided into Two Districts and be Known 
the one by the name of the Down Town District and the other 
by the name of the up Town District all which is humbly sub- 
mitted to the Consideration of the Society by their most obidient 
Humble Servants 

" Joseph Piatt Cooke. 
Silas Hamilton. Comfort 
Hoyt. Com tee." 

At the same meeting the Society by vote appointed the follow- 
ing committeemen for the school districts : Captain Comfort 
Hoyt, Down-town School ; Matthew Benedict, Up-town School ; 
John Starr, Jr., Beaver Brook School ; Elisha Dibble, Great 
Plain School ; Noah Hoyt, Pembroke School ; Matthew Linsley, 
Jr., King Street School ; Nathaniel Gregory, Jr., Boggs School ; 
Peter Castle, Mill Plain School ; Daniel Benedict, Jr., Myrey 
Brook School ; Samuel Wood, Stan-s Plain or Long Ridge 


At a meeting of the First Society " held by adjournment on 
the 16th. day of Febniary A D. 1791, the Comtee, appointed at 
the last Meeting to divide the Town plot into School districts 
made the following report, viz : — 

" D ANBURY, Feb. 14th, 1791. 
" To the first Society in Danhury 

" Gentlemen : 

' ' We the Subscribers being by you appointed a Comtee. to 
Divide the Town plot in sd. Society into three Districts for the 
purpose of Schools and to make report to this meeting would 
beg leave to inform you that our Opinion is as follows (viz :) 
That the Inhabitants living Northerly of a line beginning at the 
parting of the Paths between the Bogs and Mill Plain Districts 
from thence ranning Easterly across Gallows hill with the road 
or highway south of Pumkin Ground continueing East with 
said road across the Town street to barren plain bridge from 
thence to Benjm. Coziars dwelling House south of sd. house 
from thence northeasterly to the south end of Hayes hill shall 
be the Northern District — 

" That the Inhabitants living Southward of a line drawn from 
the parting of the Paths a little west of Caleb Benedicts to the 
Court House from thence in the road through the burying ground 
over Deer Hill to blind brook & from thence to Thos. Moun- 
tain be the Southern district & that the Inhabitants living 
between the above described lines be the middle district, aU 
which is respectfully submitted by your Humble Servts. 
" Comfort Hoyt, Junr. 1 
Caleb Starr. \ Comtee." 

Justus Barnum I 

A meeting of the First Society, held January 14th, 1793, voted 
" that the district of King Street be divided into two by a line 
Drawn from New Fairfield line at the Northeast corner of Elna- 
than Knaps land South East to the first Nole (so called) taking 
the House where Capt. Nathl. Barnum now lives into the west 
part, sd. districts to be Known one by the name of the west 
Kingstreet district & the other by East Kingstreet district and 
to be under the Same regulations as other School districts in the 


Abijah Barnum appointed committeeman for West King Street. 

Before the beginning of this century Miss Lawrence had here 
a boarding and day school for young ladies. 

In an issue of the Farmer'' s Journal of 1791 we find the fol- 
lowing advertisement : 

" A School 

Win be opened in Danbary by the Subscriber, near the bridge 
on Monday the 23d instant May, to continue three months con- 
sisting of thirty scholars each to pay for the time he comes his 
proportion of nine pounds, lawful money, the one half in cash 
or grain at the market price, by the first day of December next 
ensuing, and the other half in any kind of mechanics or farmer's 
labor in the present season. The following branches are taught 
in said school, viz : — Spelling, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. 
For further particixlars and entrance apply to 

" Ezra Barnum. 

"P.S. All jiersons who have accounts open with the sub- 
scriber of more than six months standing are requested to settle 
the same without further notice. 

" N.B. A boy or girl under ten years of age may be boarded 
at three shillings per week, if the pay may be depended upon. 

" Ezra Barnum. 

" Danbury, May 16th, 1791." 

Later on Deacon Thomas Tucker taught a school in the present 
homestead of Mrs. George W. Ives, on Main Street. 

In 1812 there were three districts in the centre of the town — 
viz.: North Centre, Middle Centre, and South Centre. The 
North Centre School was on the place of the late Eli T. Hoyt, on 
Main Street, but was afterward removed to Franklin Street. 
The Middle Centre was on West Street, a short distance from 
Main, and the South Centre remains to-day in its first location. 

About 1813 Reuben Booth taught a school in a small buUding 
near the homestead of the late Charles Stan". His successor 
was Elias Stan". 

October 16th, 1827, we find in the Danbury Recorder an adver- 
tisement of Miss H. Sears' seminary for young ladies, in which 
we are told that " No pains will be spared on the part of the 
Instructress. — Fire wood extra !" 


March 17th, 1829, Miss Eliza C. Starr advertises the reopening 
of her school for misses, and Elias Starr advertises his select 
school to open April 1st. 

The summer session of the Danbury Academy in 1829 was 
under the charge of Charles C. Darling, a graduate of Yale, and 
for the winter term Piatt T. Holley, also of Yale, was princijial . 

In 1830 an exhibition of the Infant School was given in Mr. 
Rood's church, under the charge of the following committee : 
Moss White, E. S. Sanford, John Rider, John Fry, Eli T. Iloyt, 
Reuben Booth, Ephraim Gregory. At this time Miss Ely was 
the teacher of this school, and she was succeeded by Miss Sarah 
H. Wilcox, now the venerated Mrs. George W. Ives. 

In April, 1830, Miss S. A. Gregory had a seminary for young 
ladies " a few rods North of the Meeting House in Danbury." 

In the issue of the Danbury Times of April 17th, 1839, Miss 
E. G. Bull advertises the opening of a school on Monday, April 
22d. The same paper contains an advertisement of R. Wilson's 
Writing Academy, first door south of the Court House ; and 
of a lecture to be given by Rev. Mr. Cook, on the subject of 
"Common Schools," at the lecture-room of the Presbyterian 

October 2d, 1840, is advertised the Danbury Academy and 
Young Ladies' Seminary, where are to be "taught all the 
branches of a thorough English, Mathematical and Classical 
Education, Young Ladies received into the family of the Prin- 
cipal, and efforts made to cultivate intellectual, social and moral 
powers, and every qualification by which they may become more 
useful and accomplished members of Society. 

" Rev. J. W. Irwin, 
" Principal of Male Department. 
" Mrs. R. R. Irwin, 
" Principal of Female Department." 

The issue of the Times of December 3d, 1840, contains the fol- 
lowing : " The Teachers of the District Schools of the First 
School Society are invited to meet the Board of School Visitors 
at the Middle District School House on Friday, December 11th, 
for the purpose of more effectually co-operating in the improve- 
ment of Common Schools. " 

In 1842 James H. Rogers advertises " Instruction in Book- 


keeping and on the Flute." A happy combination of the useful 
and ornamental. 

About this time appears also a flaming advertisement of the 
Lancasterian Institute in New Fairfield, with Jesse Peck as prin- 
cipal. This was a flourishing school for several years, largely 
patronized by New York people. 

In 1842 Mr. John Sherwood had a seminary on Deer Hill, 
conducted with much success. 

One of the best known of the teachers of Danbury was Miss 
Mary Biill, who began teaching early in life, and continued it 
until the time of her death. In 1843 she taught an infant 
school in the basement of the Methodist church, on Liberty 
Street, which afterward was removed to an upper room in 
her father's house on Main Street. Later on she fitted up a 
building at the foot of " the lane" (now Centre Street), and 
conducted here for many years a flourishing and successful 

Miss Bull was far ahead of the times in her methods and man- 
ner of teaching, having much of the kindergarten style, although 
on limited lines. The hours for study and recitation were 
divided into half hours, with a " whispering recess" between of 
three minutes, and by judicious arrangement the tasks of each 
day were made varied and interesting. Singing, calisthenics, 
and phonography were included in the list of studies. There 
are gray-haired men and women of to-day who look back to the 
years passed in the old school-house with pleasant remem- 
brance, and cherish with grateful affection the memory of that 
kind and faithful teacher. 

January 3d, 1844, Ira Morse advertises " commencing a writing 
school at the Centre District School House." 

In September, 1845, " Rev. John W. Ii-win having resigned 
his connexion with the Male Academy, and erected a large new 
building will devote his time to those who board in his family." 
Number of pupils was limited to twenty-five. This was also a 
young ladies' institute, with Mrs. R. R. Irwin as principal of that 

In October, 1845, " Mr. L. C. Hoyt proposes to open a school 
in the South East Basement Room of the Methodist Church for 
the instruction of boys in all the branches of the English lan- 
guage commonly taught in schools." 


At the same time ' ' Miss Martha White will open a school for 
Misses in the Basement of the Methodist Church." 

On April 8th, 1846, "Miss Mary Bull's school, in connection 
with another private school in this vOlage will be examined at 
the Court House." Miss Bull also advertises to commence her 
" Summer term on Monday, May 4th, with tuition for those 
under twelve, $2. per quarter, over twelve, $3. Instruction 
upon Piano. Deductions made for absence on account of sick- 
ness, but in no other case without previous agreement." 

The same issue contains the following : 

" Summer Session of the Danbury Academy will commence 
Monday, May 4th. and contimae twenty-two weeks. 

" Benedict Starr." 

In 1846 a select school was taught by W. Pickett. 

In 1850 the institute of Mr. and Mrs. Irwin passed into the 
hands of the Rev. Henry Lobdell, who sold it in the autumn of 
1851 to Rev. Elias S. Schenck. Mr. LobdeU went as missionary 
to Mosul, where he died March 25th, 1855. Mr. Schenck con- 
ducted a military school until about 1859, when he removed to 
New Jersey. Many of those who were pupils during the suc- 
cessful years of this institute under the various principals are 
dead, some are prominent business men among American mil- 
lionaires, others are gray-haired clergymen, lawyers, and physi- 
cians who have well earned the respect and position which they 
hold. Among the clergymen we note the Rev. Francis Lobdell, 
D.D., LL.D., lately appointed venerable archdeacon of Ms dio- 
cese. He was born in Danbury in March, 1835 ; graduated from 
Amherst in 1858 ; studied theology at Union Theological Semi- 
nary, and after a short pastorate in the Congregational Church, 
was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood in Ohio. Rector 
of the Church of the Advent in Cincinnati from 1865 to 1869 ; 
rector of St. Paul's Church, New Haven, Conn., from 1869 to 
1879 ; rector of St. Andrew's, New York, from 1879 to 1887, when 
he became rector of Trinity Church, Buffalo, N. Y. Dr. Lobdell 
received the degree of D.D. from Hobart College in 1881, and 
LL.D. from the same college in 1894. 

Starr Hoyt Nichols, the oldest son of David Philip Nichols, 
was born in November, 1834 ; graduated at Yale College in 1854 ; 
travelled in Europe for a couple of years, and returning entered 


the Congregational ministry in 1860. Always of delicate health, 
he still made a striking impression as a preacher during the six 
years of his ministry. Being, however, laid on the shelf from 
ill health, he devoted his leisure to letters, and published a poem, 
entitled " Monte Rosa," in the year 1881, which received great 
praise from the critics. It was perhaps too serious to become 
popular, and too much occupied with nature to excite enthusi- 
asm, but it had wide scope and appealed to a select audience 
with great force. 

The following extracts from this poem, descriptive of the deep 
foundation of Monte Rosa, its grandeur, and a glorious sunset 
crowning its summit, will be found enjoyable reading : 

" Beneath, the ponderous mountain-pillar sinks 
Its shaft and adamantine strength far down 
Beyond the glimpse of ever-prying sun, 
Night- piercing moon, or eye of watchful star, 
Beyond discovered reaches of the mine. 
Beyond the oozy gorge of ocean's floor, 
To Pluto's murky cave and realm of fear ; 
Where prisoned earthquakes shake their hideous bars. 
And young volcanoes bubble gruesomely : 
There rests the Mount, its vast foundations braced 
On that colossal arch whose soaring span 
O'ervaults the muttering lakes of central fire. 
The flux and fume of windless inner seas 
And molten bays still vexed incessantly. 

" Italian skies of deep untroubled blue 
Thrice-dyed bind close their sapphire coronet 
To Monte Rosa's alabaster brow. 
The climates, runaways from guardian months. 
Race up and down her sides capriciously 
Like truant children whiling out the time. 
The gypsy clouds a-loitering 'mid the hills, 
Strolling adventurers from the teeming sea. 
Rehearse their shows before her and discourse 
Their evanescent pomp to her eternity ; 
Now pitch their roving tents on her large slopes. 
Now flutter arrowy streamers from her tip — 
Pennons of coasting tempests still mast-down 
The low horizon ; now storm-turbans furl 
About her brow ; then lifting climb the cope 
Of careless heaven to jeer her envious heights 
With higher cliffs of fog ; or drooping low 
In long pavilions stretch their lazy folds, 
Soft canopies above her lily head, 


"Neath which she seems to lie reclined at ease, 
Some stately daughter to a sceptred king, 
Head leaned on hand in summer indolence. 
And large fair limbs outstretched at length half-clad, 
Half-bare, while lights and shadows changefully. 
Like furtive smiles from sleepy eyelids shed, 
Play o'er her fields of snow and reveries faint 
Steal through her thoughtful heart in silentness ; 
Heedless as love of time and what time brings. 
And pure as Dian walking heaven alone. 

" Pensive as fabled fields of asphodel 
Lay all the primrose upland faint with sleep ; 
A garden of Hesperides whose close 
The gold-haired daughters of the kingly Sun 
Kept carefully where fear, nor night, nor death 
Could come, nor winter fall for all its snows ; 
But where the palm might lift its plumy fronds, 
The peacock burn, the slim gazelles find rest 
And all rare things the gleaming hollows hold. 

" When sank the sun and saflron grew to pink 
Upon the flushing snow, till spire and dome 
And every silver valley filled with fire ; 
And like a heavenly rose upon the sky 
The well named Rosa blossomed full and large, 
And flung her blushes to the eastern clouds. 
Above the ashen earth and strewed the heavens 
With more than countless roses' loveliness." 

Of a later generation is James Clarence Harvey, one of whose 
poems we give below : 


" I wonder if ever a song was sung. 

But the singer's heart sang sweeter ! 
I wonder if ever a rhyme was rung. 

But the thought surpassed the metre ! 
I wonder if ever a sculptor wrought 
Till the cold stone echoed his ardent thought I 
Or if ever a painter, with light and shade. 
The dream of his inmost heart portrayed I 

" I wonder if ever a rose was found. 

And there might not be a fairer 1 
Or if ever a glittering gem was ground. 

And we dreamed not of a rarer ! 
AJh ! never on earth do we find the best. 
But it waits for us in a Land of Rest, 
And a perfect thing we shall never behold 
Till we pass the portals of shining gold ! 


" I wonder if under the grass-grown sod 

The weary, human heart finds rest ! 
If the soul, with its woes, when it flies to God, 

Leaves all its pain in the earth's cold breast ! 
Or whether we feel as we do today. 
That joy holds sorrow in hand alway ! 

" I wonder if after the kiss of death, 

The love that was sweet in days of yore 
Departs with the last faint, fleeting breath. 

Or deeper grows than ever before ! 
I wonder if, there in the Great Unknown, 
Fond hearts grow weary when left alone ! 

" I think of the daily life I lead. 

Its broken dreams and its fitful starts. 
The hopeless hunger, the heart's sore need, 

The joy that gladdens, the wrong that parts. 
And wonder whether the coming years 
Will bring contentment, or toil and tears." 

Rev. Robert Graham Hinsdale, although not a native of Dan- 
bury, was resident here for some little time, and after successful 
years of ministry in various churches became President of 
Hobart College, in Geneva, N. Y. He died some years since in 

The old school building on Wooster Street is now a tenement- 
house, and there lingers about it not even a trace of its former 
glory, while its founders, Mr. and Mrs. Irwin, sleep quietly in 
the burial-ground " just over the way" from their old home of 
so many years ago. 

Miss Price kept a select school for some little time in a room 
on the second floor of what was known as the " yellow mUl,'' 
just above the bridge. 

Miss Perkins also had a school in the old Sands Perkins house 
just north of the then residence of N. Hibbard Wildman. 

In 1850, the boarding and day school for young ladies, of Mrs. 
William Sherwood, was in successful operation on Deer Hill 
Avenue, just below West Street. 

May 1st, 1850, the Misses Meeker advertise a select school at 
their residence. 

The winter term of the Danbury Academy in 1850 was opened 
with Nathan M. Belden as principal. The summer term of 1851 
had as principal George W. Burr, and the winter term of the 
same year began under the charge of Frederick S. Lyon. 


From 1850 to 1857 Rev. Mr. Huntington conducted a boarding 
and day school on Deer Hill, a little distance south of Wooster 
Street. Mr. Huntington died in 1862. On Deer Hill was also 
the seminary of the Rev. I. Leander Townsend. 

In 1853 Miss Augusta Hoyt had " a school for Young Misses 
In the building next South of the Baptist Church," on Main 

In 1854 Miss M. E. Barnum conducted a " Private School in 
Basement of Methodist Church ;" and the Misses Frances and 
Harriet Griswold opened a " New Select School in the Methodist 

In the autumn of 1855 E. J. Patrick was principal of the Dan- 
bury Academy. 

In 1859 Mr. F. J. Jackson had an English and classical school 
in the Turner House building ; this he converted into a military 
institute and removed to Deer Hill Avenue. 

In October, 1863, Mr. and Mrs. Whitlock advertise "a school 
in the former residence and locality of the successful school of 
Rev. Mr. Irwin." This school was afterward removed to Deer 

Rose Hill Seminary, under the charge of Mrs. G. H. White, 
was another flourishing institution of learning. 

In 1850 Mr. Henry C. Ryder opened the Middle Centre Dis- 
trict School on Liberty Street. He was superseded by Mr. Guion 
as principal ; following Mr. Guion was Mr. Fayerweather, who 
resigned in 1859, to be succeeded by Mr. Dowd, who retained 
the position until 1864, when Mr. Nathan C. Pond was appointed 
in his place. 

In 1863 the North Centre and Middle Centre districts were 
united under the name of Centre District, for the purpose of 
establishing and building a graded school large enough and in a 
suitable location for both districts. In 1864 a lot was purchased 
from the G. W. Ives estate fronting on New Street for the pro- 
posed building, which was not begun until the spring of 1867. 
Meanwhile an addition had been made to the Liberty Street 
School with a system of gradation, and a new wooden building 
erected on Balmforth Avenue, to take the place of the old Frank- 
lin Street building. 

The New Street school building was finished in 1868 at a cost 
of $26,000, and was opened on May 4th, with Mr. N. C. Pond as 


principal, and an attendance of four hundred scholars. Mr. 
Pond resigned within a short time, and was succeeded by Mr. 
J. M. Smith. He left the school a few years afterward, and Mr. 
Warren was appointed in his place, but after a few years Mr. 
Smith resumed the position and retained it untU his death in the 
fall of 1894. Mr. Frank H. Bennett is the present principal. 

By a vote of the selectmen and civil authorities, in 1869 the 
Starr Fund of $4257 was paid to the Centre District, for the 
establishment and maintenance of a high school, which was 
founded on a curious basis, being established under the Stan- 
Fund, Centre District money and town jurisdiction. 

In 1881 the Balmforth Avenue school building with twelve 
rooms was finished, it being the consolidation of the old Balm- 
forth Avenue School, White and Upper Main Street branches. 

An addition to the New Street school buUding was completed in 
1886 at a cost of $20,000. Music was introduced in the Centre 
District in 1888, with a capable instructor. 

In 1893 a handsome brick school-house with eight rooms was 
erected on Morris Street, for the benefit of the residents in the 
western part of the city, and this year a new eight-room building 
is being erected on Locust Avenue, for the benefit of residents in 
the eastern part of the city. When this latter building is com- 
pleted there will be in the Centre District four finely appointed 
brick school buildings with a capacity of accommodating twenty- 
five hundred pupils. 

After the erection of the much-needed High School building, 
Danbury's school facilities wiU be equal to any in the State. 



The earliest mention of a member of the Bar in Danbury wUl 
be found to be that of Elisha Whittlesey. He was a prominent 
lawyer at the close of the last century, though but little can be 
learned from the records as to his career. He was born January 
8th, 1758 ; graduated at Yale College in 1779 ; married Mary 
Tucker ; was representative and member of the Connecticut Con- 
vention to ratify the Constitution of the United States in 1788. 
He died November 9th, 18U2. 


Matthew Beale "Whittlesey was born October 3d, 1766, at Salis- 
bury, Conn., and was the son of John and Maiy Whittlesey. 
After his admission to the Bar he commenced the practice of Ms 
profession at Danbury in 1792, where he remained until his 

During his career he held various official positions, chief of 
which was that of State's attorney. He was also a member of the 
Legislature of Connecticut. 

He was married December 28th, 1794, to Hannah White, who 
died May 7th, 1819. In 1824 he married Caroline H. Buckley, 
who survived him for a few months. He died October 10th, 

He attained a high position in the profession which he had 
chosen, and his amiable deportment, firmness of purpose, and 
unblemished integrity won for him the regard and respect not 
only of those who were associated with him in the law, but also 
of the entire community in which he lived. He always vener- 
ated the institutions of Christianity, and he died in the firm 
belief of its teachings and in the hope of its rewai'd. 

* Contributed by John R. Booth. 

JlDUK liElBKN l!...iTn. 

JflKiE PAVIL. B. Bo 

l-lEl-T.-CDV. RouER AVF.BII.T 



On the announcement of his decease fitting resolutions were 
passed by the Bar of the Superior Court, which was in session 
at Danbury at that time, and an adjournment of the court was 
taken out of respect to his memory. 


Keuben Booth was bom in Newtown, Conn., on November 
26th, 1794. When quite young his parents removed to Kent in 
this State. His father, though a man of considerable attainment 
in science, was in moderate circumstances, and required the assist- 
ance of his son in his business (wool-carding) to support his 
family. The subject of this sketch was employed in this busi- 
ness until he was about seventeen years of age, when with his 
father's consent he commenced the preparatory studies of a col- 
legiate course, and in the fall of 1813 entered the Sophomore 
Class in Yale College. 

Shortly afterward he received information of his father' s death, 
who was drowned in the Housatonic River. He hastened home, 
expecting at that time to abandon his collegiate studies, as he 
was unwilling to reduce the slender means of his mother, but a 
few friends in Kent generously offered to loan him the amount 
requisite to complete his course, and he returned to college. He 
graduated at the commencement in 1816, being the last at which 
President Dwight the elder presided. 

Immediately thereafter he commenced the study of the law 
with David S. Boardman, Esq., of New Milford, with whom he 
remained about a year, and then removed to Danbury, where he 
continued his law studies with Moses Hatch, Esq. At the same 
time, he was employed as an instructor in the Academy in Dan- 

In 1818 he was admitted to the Bar, and opened an office for 
practice in Danbury. In 1822 he was elected a representative of 
the town in the General Assembly. In the same year he was 
appointed Judge of Probate for the District of Danbury, and 
continued in that office by successive annual appointments until 
1835. In 1830 he was elected a State Senator. In 1844 and 1845 
he was elected Lieutenant-Governor of the State. He died at 
Danbury, August 14th, 1848, after an illness of a little more 
than two days. This was during a session of the County Court 
of that place. On Friday, August 11th, he was engaged in the 


trial of a cause before that court, which he argued with his usual 
ability, and his death occurred on the Monday night following. 
At his funeral the business of the place genei'ally was suspended. 
He was buried in the cemetery of the Episcopalians in Danbury, 
he having been during the latter part of his life a member of that 

Mr. Booth's professional practice at the time of his death was 
as extensive as that of any member of the Bar in the county. 
He was distinguished for his industry, his cases were always 
thoroughly prepared, and his knowledge of the law was accu- 
rate. He was at once zealous for his clients and courteous to his 

He was well known in this State as an active and leading poli- 
tician. His i)olicy was always conservative. During the two 
years that he was presiding officer of the Senate of this State, 
the members of that body who were his political opponents felt 
and acknowledged his liberality of sentiment and conduct. He 
was always firm in his principles, but when principles were not 
concerned, he regarded and treated his political opponents as 
friends. He was a warm and generous-hearted man. Remem- 
bering that in early life he was indebted to others for aid, no 
deserving young man ever asked in vain for a loan from him 
which it was in his power to give. He was simple and unosten- 
tatious in his manners, kind and benevolent in his disposition. 
He loved the young, and they never feared to approach him, as 
they knew that his sympathies were with them. 

Mr. Booth was married to Jane Belden, daughter of the late 
Rev. David Belden, of Wilton. Five children were the result of 
thLs union, only one of whom, Mrs. George Ferry, of Plainfield, 
N. J., is at present living. 


Nelson Lloyd White was born in Danbury on AprU 7th, 1812, 
at the house so long occupied by his father. Colonel E. Moss 
White, and which stood where the present Library Building 
stands. He studied law under the direction of the Hon. Reuben 
Booth, and in 1840 was admitted to the Bar of Fair-field County. 

He was clerk of the State Senate in 1844 and 1845, and in 1847, 
1848, and 1849 was Judge of Probate for the District of Danbury. 
In 1856 he was a delegate to the first Republican National Conven- 


tion at Philadelphia. From 1868 to 1874 he was State's Attorney 
for Fairfield County, and discharged the duties of the office with 
singular ability and faithfulness. On the breaking out of the 
Rebellion in 1861 he joined the Wooster Guard of Danbury as a 
private, and drilled with the company at New Haven, but was 
rejected by the Marshal because his age was beyond the limit 
fixed by law. Governor Buckingham immediately commis- 
sioned him as a field officer in the Fourth Connecticut Infantry. 
This regiment enlisted for three years ; was called to the field in 
May, 1861 ; was sent into Virginia early in the summer of that 
year under General Banks, and was afterward transferred to the 
First Connecticut Artillery, and took part in guarding the de- 
fences at Washington. It then joined the siege artillery and 
served gallantly in the Peninsula campaign, and under General 
Grant in the siege of Petersburg and Richmond. Mr. White 
was lieutenant-colonel of this regiment, and sometimes served as 

He was mustered out in 1864. His conduct in the army was 
uniformly that of a high-minded gentleman. His moral influ- 
ence and weight of character were felt throughout the regiment, 
and he was universally honored and beloved by officers and 
soldiers. He loved his profession ardently, and always stood 
up in defence of the right. He had peculiar power as an advo- 
cate, and spoke with a fervor that often made him a dangerous 
antagonist before a jury. He was very courteous in his de- 
meanor, unostentatious in his charities, and public-spirited to 
the fuU extent of his means. He had a temperament eminently 
hopeful, which could override losses and disappointments in 
the anticipation of something better. He was devoted to his 
home and his friends. He was fond of books, especially those 
relating to history and poetry, and his love of flowers and trees 
amounted to a passion. 

He was a man of courage, moral, intellectual, and physical. 
He did not know what fear was in any of the relations of life. 
He was a man of impulses and intuition. He never waited to 
hear the opinions of others in order to modulate the expression 
of his own and shape them to some private end, but spoke as he 
thought and thought as he breathed with a spontaneity vital as 
his life. His intellect was moved by his sensibilities, and these 
were in accord with a sense of right, which could hardly have 


forsaken him even in his sleep. Colonel White came of an old 
colonial family and lived up to its record. He possessed great 
personal advantages and a peculiar patrician style and manner, 
but at the same time seemed unconscious of them. The thought 
of himself found little place in his sympathetic and impulsive 
nature, while the kindness of his heart yielded only to his sense 
of justice and his fidelity to truth. 

Colonel White was man-ied to Miss Sarah Booth, daughter of 
David Booth, Esq., of Kent, on July 5th, 1836. Five children 
were born to them, of whom three daughters and one son 
are now living. The son, Dr. Granville White, is practicing 
medicine in the city of New York. Colonel White's death 
occurred November 17th, 1876. 


Theodore McDonald was born in Danbury on March 26th, 
1835, and was the son of Allen and Harriet McDonald. He en- 
tered Yale College in 18.^)5, and graduted therefrom in 1859. His 
chosen profession was that of the law, and on his return from 
college he entered the law office of the late William F. Taylor, 
and was soon admitted to the Bar. He remained in Mr. Taylor's 
oflice, continuing practice until 1870, when he formed a partner- 
ship with the late Colonel Nelson L. White, with ofiices in the 
old Library Building, which firm continued until Colonel White's 
death in 1876. For about two years after that Mr. McDonald 
practiced alone, when ill health forced him to cease, and he soon 
fell a victim to that lingering disease consumption. His death 
occurred on March 29th, 1880, at the house of his father, where 
he had always lived. 

He was of a quiet, undemonstrative nature, and made many 
friends during his career in Danbury, to whose wants he was 
always quick to respond. He was generous to a fault, and to 
those who knew him intimately his memory will always be dear. 


Roger Averill was born in Salisbury in this State on Aiigust 
14th, 1809. He came of good New England stock, among whom 
were some of the earliest settlers of the State, his parents being 
Nathaniel P. AverUl and Mary Whittlesey. One of a family of 
seven children, reared on a small farm, his education had, of 


course, to be mainly that of his own earnings. By the aid of a 
common school and a public library, by farming in summer and 
teaching in winter, he j)repared for college under the guidance 
of his brother Chester, a professor in Union College, and was 
graduated from that institution with honor in 1832. 

After studying law with Judge (afterward Chief Justice) Church 
in his native town, he was admitted to the Bar in ] 837, and 
opened an office for practice, after teaching for a short time in 
the Academy there. In 1849 he removed to Danbury, and at 
once attained a wide and successful practice. Of tine personal 
appearance, with a ceremonious courtliness of the old school, a 
ready man of business, industrious by instinct, sound of judg- 
ment, and careful in advice, seizing and presenting in an effec- 
tive way the strong points of a case to the jury, and securing the 
confidence of the court by the general justness of his legal propo- 
sitions, he always stood well in the ranks of his profession, to 
which he was greatly attached, and whose honor and welfare no 
one had more nearly at heart. A man of instant impressiveness, 
his native power was constrained by a caution so guarded and 
ingrained that he sometimes failed to give in expression the full 
force of his thought. Conservative by nature and apt to keep 
his own secrets well, he was open, candid, and thorough in his 
dealings with his clients, whose lifelong fealty he held when 
they realized the virtue of his wise and peace-loving counsels. 

In the public service he filled many functions, beginning with 
all the various and useful apprenticeships of the country lawyer. 
As town clerk, judge of probate, school visitor, trustee of the 
State Normal School, member of the State Board of Education, 
member of the Legislature, presiding officer of the Senate, and 
in other ofiices of trust, he discharged his official and fiduciary 
duties vrith acceptance. 

In the spring of 1861 he was a prominent leader of the political 
party which opposed the election of President Lincoln, but the 
instant the news came of the assault on Fort Sumter, he hastened 
to fling his flag to the breeze, first of his townsmen, and waiting 
for no following. Thenceforth he devoted himself enthusiasti- 
cally to the success of the Union arms. 

After the war his participation in public affairs and the care 
of private trusts prevented that devotion to strictly legal pur- 
suits so essential to the highest success in his profession. His 


interest, however, in everything tending to its welfare remained 
unabated. He was one of the organizers of the American Bar 
Association, and an active participant in its proceedings up to 
the year of his death. He was for several years acting chairman 
of the Bar of his county. A good parliamentarian, prompt, 
decided, and dignified, he was often chosen to preside in public 

He married in October, 1844, Maria J). White, of Danbury, 
who died in February, 1860. In September, 1861, he married 
Mary A. Perry, of Southport, who survives him. He left four 
children, two sons and two daughters, the sons following their 
father's profession — John, the only son living, being the present 
clerk of the Superior Court of New London County. 

Mr. Averill died at Danbury, December 9th, 1883, at the ripe 
age of seventy-foiir, untouched by the infirmities of old age. 


Oliver A. G. Todd was born in Plymouth, Conn., in October, 
1812. When a young man he moved to Litchfield and entered 
the law office of the late Chief Justice Church. He was admitted 
to the Bar in 1833, and at once opened an office in New Milford, 
where he soon had a considerable amount of practice. Later he 
moved his family to Bethel, and opened an office in Danbury in 
the old Stebbins Block, which stood on the site of the building 
now occupied by George Kinner the di-uggist. Here he con- 
tinued practicing for a number of years, and subsequently moved 
his family to Danbury, where he remained in the practice of his 
profession until his death, which occurred on August 14th, 1886, 
from a sudden attack of apoplexy. 

Mr. Todd was married twice, his first wife being Mary Ann 
Pierpont, of Plymouth, who died in 1865. He afterward mar- 
ried a daughter of Mr. Charles Sturges, of Danbury. Seven 
children survived him. 

He was for several years "trying justice" of the town. He 
was a painstaking and useful lawyer and magistrate. 


David Belden Booth was born April 19th, 1824, at Danbury, 
in which town he Kved during the greater part of a useful life, 
and where he died on January 2d, 1889. 


He was the son of Reuben Booth, and was from his boyhood 
familiarized with the profession in the practice of which his life 
was spent. He entered Trinity College in 1840, but was obliged 
on account of ill health to leave that institution when in his 
Junior year. He studied law in his father's office, and was 
admitted to the Bar in August, 1846. For a short time he prac- 
ticed in the city of New York, but soon returned to Danbury, 
and immediately attained in both law and politics a prominence 
which he retained until his death. In the field of law, while 
skilled in the actual trial of causes, he was especially eminent 
as an adviser and counsellor and as an expert draughtsman of 
legal papers. His knowledge of the statute law was almost un- 
equalled, and was so ever-present in his mind that a printed copy 
was well-nigh superfluous in his office. 

Courteous in his manners, very retentive in his memory, ready 
and disinterested in counsel, he attracted around him a large 
number of jsersonal friends and clients who always sought his 
aid when in need. The same qualities which gave liim success 
as a counsellor made him conspicuous in politics. He was for 
many years one of the most active and prominent Republicans 
in this part of the State. His capability and popularity caused 
him to be elected to many of the principal offices in the gift of 
his fellow-townsmen. 

He represented Danbury in the General Assembly in the years 
1863, 1864, 1872, and 1880 ; was town clerk and Judge of Pro- 
bate for many years, and was elected the first warden of the 
borough of Danbury. He was also clerk of the Senate in 1854, 
and one of the revisers of the General Statutes in 1866 and in 

Mr. Booth was married July 6th, 1866, to Julia Richards, of 
Farmington, Conn., who wdth four children survives him, the 
eldest son, John R., also following the legal profession. 


William F. Taylor was born in Augusta, Ga., October 27th, 
1823. His father, Francis C. Taylor, was a direct descendant of 
Thomas Taylor, one of the first settlers and patentees of Dan- 

Mr. Taylor removed to Danbury with his parents at the age 
of eight years, where he attended the public schools, entering 


Yale College when sixteen years old. After one year at that 
institution he entered the Sophomore Class of Trinity College, 
graduating therefrom in 1844 with honors. He was considered 
one of the best Greek and Latin scholars of his class. 

On leaving college he entered the law office of the late Gov- 
ernor Charles Hawley, of Stamford, where he remained for one 
year, subsequently studying with the late S. H. Hickok, of 
Danbury. He was admitted to the Bar in August, 1846, and 
immediately began the practice of law at Danbury. 

In 1848 he received the degree of Master of Arts in Trinity 
College. In 1850 he was appointed State's Attorney for Fairfield 
County. In 1852 he was elected Democratic Presidential Elector 
for the Fourth District of Connecticut, and was also chosen State 
Senator for the Eleventh Senatorial District. In 1865 he was the 
Democratic nominee for Congress for the Fourth District, and 
although defeated, ran some hundreds ahead of his ticket. He 
also held a number of minor political offices. 

Mr. Taylor was an indefatigable worker, and was endowed 
with a persistency and industry which soon won for him as 
large a practice as any lawyer in Danbury. This characteristic 
showed itself on the first day he entered his profession. He took 
the oath and immediately went to the Bar and tried his first case. 

He was married September 16th, 1806, to Isabella Meeker, of 
Danbury. Three children were born to them, two daughters 
and one son, Howard W., who is also a member of the Bar. Mr. 
Taylor's death took place on October 4th, 1889. 


William Burke was born in Ireland in 1820, and came to this 
country when seventeen years old. He located in New Milford, 
and after working at his trade as a shoemaker for a number of 
years, he qualified himself by hard study for a professional life, 
and was admitted to the Bar of Litchfield County after entering 
upon his fortieth year, a striking illustration of the position 
which a self-made man may achieve by perseverance and deter- 

Mr. Burke removed to Danbury in 1869, and resided there 
continuously until his death, which occurred on August 22d, 
1890, after nearly two years of patient suffering from lingering 
disease. He left a widow surviving him, but no children. 


On his removal to Danbury he entered into business relations 
with the late William F. Taylor, and afterward formed like 
associations with the late Roger Averill and David B. Booth 
respectively. In 1874 Mr. Burke was elected Judge of Probate 
for the District of Danbury, holding the office from July, 1875, 
until January, 1877. In 1880 he became Town Clerk, and upon 
the passage of the present liquor law, in 1882, he was appointed 
Prosecuting Agent for Fairfield County, holding the office until 
his death. When the Borough Court was organized in 1884, he 
was appointed Prosecuting Attorney, although of an opposite 
political faith to the then dominant party, and continued in this 
position until his death. Incidentally he held the office of Jus- 
tice of the Peace. 

In social matters his kindness of heart, his ever-ready smile 
and cordial bearing, his bright and sunny disposition, and his 
uprightness and strength of character made him many warm 
friends who will long cherish a pleasant memory of him whose 
life has been thus briefly sketched. 


Arthur H. AveriU was the son of Roger and Maria W. Averill, 
and was born in Salisbury, Conn., on July 6th, 1841. He was 
graduated at Yale College in the Class of '69, and commenced 
the practice of law in Danbury with his father in the old office 
once occupied by Governor Booth. After his father's death, in 
1883, he continued the practice of the law imtil his decease. 

At the time of the organization of the Borough Court Mr. 
Averill was appointed Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, and held 
that office until the death of the late William Burke, in 1890, 
when he was ai:)pointed Prosecuting Attorney. This office he 
held until 1893. He was also for several years a Justice of the 
Peace, and tried many cases in that capacity. 

His death occurred on August 9th, 1894, after a short illness 
from heart disease. He was unmarried. 

Mr. Averill was a man of kindly disposition, strong prejudices, 
and very marked individuality, and to those who knew him inti- 
mately he was a warm friend. He had a liberal education, and 
was remarkably well read, and he loved his profession with a 
zeal and enthusiasm which is seldom equalled. 


Other attorneys who have practiced in Danbury at various 
times are as follows : 

Epaphras W. Bull came to Danbury from Hartford about 
1800, and removed to Ohio in 1841. 

Moses Hatch came to Danbury fi-om Kent. He was an able 
lawyer and defended the negro Amos Adams, who was hanged 
at Danbury in 1817. He soon after removed to Kent, where he 

John R. Farnham located in Danbury in 1877, where he re- 
mained until 1884, when he removed to Washington, D. C, 
where he is at present residing. 

Allan W. Page practiced for a few years in Danbury in part- 
nership with David B. Booth. In 1885 he removed to Bridge- 
port, where he is at present. 

Frederick B. Hungerford located in Danbury in 1889, and re- 
mained for about three years, Avhen he removed to East Hamp- 
ton, Mass. 

Thomas P. McCue commenced practice in Danbury in 1888, 
and remained about three years, when he removed to the West. 

John A. Toohey was admitted to the Bar in 1887 at Danbury, 
and practiced for about two years, after which he moved to 
Rockville, Conn. 

Frederick S. Barnum came from Brewsters, N. Y., in 1889 
and opened an oflBce in Danbury, which he kept for about two 
years, when he returned to Brewsters. 

Wilson H. Pierce came to Danbury in 1885, and remained for 
about two years, and then moved to Waterbury. 

The Present Bar. 

Tlie members of the Bar at present located in Danbury are as 
follows : 


Lyman Dennison Brewster was born in Salisbury, Conn., July 
31st, 1832. He entered the Freshman Class of Yale College in 
1851, and graduated in the Class of '55. On his leaving college 
he entered the law ofHce of the late Roger Averill, and was ad- 
mitted to the Bar January 21st, 1858, and immediately began the 
practice of his profession. In 1868 he was chosen Judge of Pro- 
bate, and was a member of the General Assembly in 1870. He 


was the first judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Fairfield 
County, holding that office from 1870 to 1874. In 1880 he was 
elected a State Senator. He was married January 1st, 1868, to 
Sarah A. Ives, of Danbury. 

Judge Brewster entered into partnership with Samuel Tweedy 
in 1871, which firm was increased in 1878 by the addition of 
Howard B. Scott. The firm of Brewster, Tweedy & Scott ex- 
isted until 1892, when it was dissolved, Judge Brewster retaining 
the old office over the Savings Bank of Danbury, and taking 
into partnership Samuel A. Davis, the firm now being known as 
Brewster & Davis. 

Judge Brewster is the senior lawyer in Danbury, both in point 
of years and in practice. 


Samuel Tweedy is the son of the late Edgar S. Tweedy, and 
was born in Danbury, April 21st, 1846. After attending the 
public schools he entered Yale College, and graduated in the 
Class of '68. He studied law in the office of AveriU & Brewster 
at Danbiiry and at the Columbia Law School. He was admitted 
to the Bar April 22d, 1871, at Bridgeport. He entered into 
partnership with Lyman D. Brewster, which firm of Brewster & 
Tweedy continued until 1878, when Howard B. Scott became a 
member. At the time of the retirement of Judge Brewster in 
1892, the new firm became known as Tweedy, Scott & Whittlesey, 
Mr. Tweedy has never held public office, but has devoted himself 
entirely to the practice of his profession. 

He was married July 16th, 1879, to Mrs. Carrie M. Krom, and 
one child, a daughter, has been bom to them. 


Benezet A. Hough was born at Essex, Conn., on May 20th, 
1842, and is the son of Dr. Alanson H. Hough. He graduated 
from Brown University in 1866, and from the Albany Law School 
in 1869, and was admitted to the Bar of Fairfield County in 1872. 
In 1871 and 1872 he was the clerk in the General Assembly of 
the House and Senate, respectively. After his admission to the 
Bar he remained in partnership with the late David B. Booth 
for about two years, since which time he has practiced alone. 
From 1878 to 1880 he was Judge of Probate, and on the organi- 


zation of the Borough Court he was appointed the first judge, 
and continued in that position until 1893. 

Judge Hough also has a war record, having served in the 
Twenty-fourth Connecticut Regiment in 1862 and 1863. 

He was married in 1877 to Maria Starr, daughter of the late 
Charles P. Starr, and has three children. 


Aaron T. Bates is the son of Taylor Bates, and was born in 
Ridgefield, Conn., on November 11th, 1846. He studied law in 
the office of White & McDonald, in Danbury, and was admitted 
to the Bar in 1874. He has since continued in practice in Dan- 
bury. He is married and has two children. 


Howard B. Scott was born in Bridgeport, August 25th, 1851, 
being the son of Albert and Caroline Scott. Upon both sides he 
is of old New England ancestry. He removed to Danbury, and 
was graduated from Amherst College in 1874. His law studies 
were followed in the office of Brewster & Tweedy from July, 
1876, to July, 1878, when he was admitted to the Bar of Fairfield 
County, and became a member of the firm of Brewster, Tweedy & 
Scott. At the dissolution of this firm he became a member of 
the new firm of Tweedy, Scott & Whittlesey. 

Judge Scott was the first Associate Judge of the Borough 
Court, established in 1884, and held that position until 1895, 
when he was appointed Judge of the City Court. 


Howard W. Taylor was born August 11th, 1858, being the son 
of the late William F. Taylor. After attending the public 
schools he entered the law office of his father, and was admitted 
to the Bar in 1879. He continued in partnership with his father 
until the latter' s death in 1889, since which time he has prac- 
ticed alone. He has held several public positions, being at one 
time Prosecuting Liquor Agent. 


James E. Walsh was born in Pittsfield, Mass., on December 
9th, 1857. He received a common-school education, and gradu- 


ated from the Yale Law School in 1880, when he was admitted 
to the Bar. He at once began the practice of law in Danbury. 
He has held various political positions, being the first President 
of the Board of Aldermen of the city in 1889. In 1893 he was 
appointed Judge of the City Court of Danbury, and held the 
position for two years. In 1894 he formed a partnership with 
Henry A. Purdy, the firm being known as Walsh & Purdy. He 
was married June 30th, 1891, to Mary E. Benedict, of Danbury. 


George Wakeman is the son of Levi Wakeman, and was bom 
in New Fau-field, Conn., February 19th, 1851. After attending 
the public schools he studied law in the ofiice of the late William 
F. Taylor, and was admitted to the Bar in 1881. 

During the years 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1891, 1892, and 1893 
he was Town Clerk of Danbury, and was Corporation Counsel 
of the city in 1889 and 1890. He was married September 20th, 
1876, and has two children. 


WilUam A. Leonard was born in Sandusky, O., on December 
2.')th, 1852, the son of Cuyler Leonard and Julia Seeley. He 
removed to Danbury at an early age, and after pursuing his 
studies at the public schools entered the law office of B. A. Hough, 
and was admitted to the Bar in 1880. He has since practiced in 
Danbury, and has held several political offices as Assessor, Regis- 
trar of Voters, etc. 


Eugene C. Dempsey was born at Barkhamstead, Conn., Jan- 
uary 7th, 1864, the son of John C. and Jerusha Dempsey. After 
graduating at the Winsted High School he studied law at New 
Hartford with Judge Frederick A. Jewell, and was admitted to 
the Bar at Litchfield in 1886. After practicing for a year at New 
Hartford he removed to Danbury, where he has since remained. 
In 1889 he entered into partnership with John R. Booth. 

Mr. Dempsey was chosen a member of the General Assembly 
from Danbury in 1895, and in the same year was appointed the 
Associate Judge of the City Court of Danbury. 



John R. Booth was born in Danbury, July 16th, 1867, and is 
the eldest son of the late David B. Booth. After graduating 
from the Danbury High School he spent one year at the Yale 
Law School, and then entered the law office of his father, being 
admitted to the Bar in 1889. He immediately entered into part- 
nership with Eugene C. Dempsey, the firm of Dempsey & Booth 
still continuing. He was Town Clerk during the year 1890, and 
in the spring of 1891 was elected Judge of Probate, to fill the 
vacancy caused by the death of Judge J. Howard Taylor. He 
held this position during 1891 and 1892, and in 1893 was ap- 
pointed Prosecuting A.ttorney of the City Court, which office he 
still holds. He is also assistant clerk of the Superior Court and 
Court of Common Pleas. 


GranviUe Whittlesey was born July 11th, 1864, at Danbury, 
being the son of the late Ebenezer "Whittlesey, and the grandson 
of Matthew B. Whittlesey. After attending the public schools 
he entered the law office of Brewster, Tweedy & Scott, and was 
admitted to the Bar in February, 1890. He remained with this 
firai until September, 1892, when the firm was dissolved, Mr. 
Whittlesey becoming the junior member of the new firm of 
Tweedy, Scott & Whittlesey, with which he continues at the 
present time. 

Mr. Whittlesey has devoted his time entirely to his profession, 
holding but one public office, that of clerk of the City Court, 
from July, 1892, until March, 1893. 


John F. Cufi^ was born in Danbury, December 23d, 1860, the 
son of John and Alice Cuff. He was educated at the public 
school, and subsequently engaged in business in Danbury. He 
then entered the Yale Law School, and graduated therefrom in 
1892. He began practice in Danbury, and in 1893 was appointed 
Corporation Counsel of the city, holding the office for two years. 


Charles W. Murphy was born February 17th, 1855, at Dan- 
bury, and is the son of William J. and Eugenia Murphy. After 


graduating from the Danbury High School he taught for a short 
time, and then engaged in the hatting industry, part of the time 
as a manufacturer. 

Mr. Murphy pursued his legal studies with the late William F. 
Taylor, and after his death with George Wakeman and the late 
Arthur H. Averill. He was admitted to the Bar in 1892, and 
has continued the practice of law since then. 


Samuel A. Davis was born in Danbury on October 14th, 1865. 
He graduated from the Danbury High School in 1882, and after 
spending a year at Harvard College engaged in business for a 
short time. He then began the study of law in the office of 
James E. Walsh, and entered the Yale Law School, from which 
he graduated in 1893, being admitted to the Bar at the same 
time. He then entered into partnership with Judge L. D. Brew- 
ster, the firm being known as Brewster & Davis. He was ap- 
pointed Assistant Prosecuting Attorney of the City Court in 
1894, which office he still holds. 


Henry A. Purdy was born March 31st, 1871, at East Fishkill, 
N. Y., being the son of John Purdy. After attending the pub- 
lic schools he taught school for a short time, and then entered 
the Albany Law School, from which institution he graduated in 
1893. He then removed with his parents to Danbury and en- 
tered the office of James E. Walsh, and was admitted to the Bar 
in 1894. He at once entered into partnership with Mr. Walsh, 
the firm being known as Walsh & Purdy. 



The first physician of Danbury was Dr. Samuel Wood, bom 
and educated in England, who married Rebekah, daughter of 
Thomas Benedict, of Norwalk, and came to Danbury probably 
before 1690. 

In the settlement of the estate of Thomas Barnum, in 1695, 
we find the name of Dr. John Butler. 

In 1730 the will of Dr. Thomas Dean, of Danbury, was pro- 
bated. Mention is made of wife Susanna, daughter Susanna, 
wife of Samuel Stilson, sons Daniel and Ruben, daughters 
Elizabeth and Rachel. 

The estate of Dr. James Picket was inventoried in 1741. 

From church and probate records beginning in 1755, we gather 
the following regarding some of the physicians of old Danbury : 

At a meeting of the First Ecclesiastical Society of Danbury, 
held in December, 1756, we find among the list of those present 
the names of Dr. Samuel Dickinson and Dr. Noah Rockwell. 
The latter was probably a son of Joseph, who is mentioned 
among the voters of Norwalk in 1694, and who had a son Noah 
born in 1712. The will of Noah Rockwell was drawn on August 
29th, 1769, and probated October 30th of the same year. In it 
mention is made of wife Mercy and son Eliud. One of the wit- 
nesses was Noah Whetmore (Wetmore), the first minister of the 
church in Bethel, and as the names of Noah Rockwell and his 
wife appear in the list of those who constituted the first church 
in Bethel in 1760, it seems probable that Dr. Rockwell was 
resident in Bethel. His name is mentioned in the records of 
that church in 1760 and 1761. 

In October, 1764, the First Society of Danbury appointed 
" Doct. Samuel Dickinson and Mr. Thaddeus Benedict agents 
for the sd. Society to appear before the General Assembly of this 
Colony at their Sessions att New haven on October." 

M.D. Wm. E. Buuth, M.D. 

"Wm. C. Bennett, M.D. 

E. D Bennftt, M.D. 
Russell B. Bottsford, II. D. 
E. A. Brown, M.D. E. C. Hendricks, M.D. 

Daniel C 

Wm. Bi-LKLEY, M.D. 


Dr. Dickinson was representative in 1764, 1765, and 1766. His 
A\nll, drawn April 3d, 1770, mentions wife Rebekah, and only 
child Rebekah. This daughter married Samuel Cooke in 1778. 

Dr. Eliud Rockwell, son of Noah Rockwell, married Mary 
Starr, daughter of Captain Thomas Starr, November 17th, 1768. 
He died December 9tli, 1774, and his estate was distributed 
March 31st, 1775. He left widow Mary (who afterward married 
Dr. Peter Hayes), an only son Noah, and a daughter Mercy, 
born June 17th, 1770, who married, October 10th, 1787, Thomas, 
son of Thomas and Mercy (Knapp) Benedict. Among the real 
estate divided are mentioned different tracts of mountain and 
swamp land, ' ' old-plain lot. Great Pasture Meadow, well lot, 
land in Wolf pit hills, Hoyt's hill, Seempogg hills, Boggs, and 
land on the mountain east side the old fulling Mill Pond.' ' 

In August, 1767, " Doctor John Wood" was one of a commit- 
tee appointed by the First Society ' ' to Take Cair to Supply the 
Pulpit with some Proper minister untill this Society order 
otherwise." Dr. John Wood was a grandson of Dr. Samuel 
Wood, Danbury's first physician. 

In the records of the " Starr Family" we find that Dr. John 
Wood, born January 22d, 1739, married Sarah, daughter of Isaac 
and Sarah (Starr) Hoyt, on March 23d, 1757. He died May 26th, 
1801. His will, drawn September 27th, 1799, mentions wife 
Sarah, two grandsons, John Wood Starr and Darius Starr, and 
only child Lois Starr, wife of Thomas. Darius Starr, born in 
1787, studied medicine, but never practiced. 

In December, 1780, Dr. Sallu PeU was one of the collectors of 
rates for the First Society, and in 1785 moderator of one of the 
Society meetings. In May, 1781, he was executor of the estate 
of Moses Osborne, of Ridgefield. He was also one of the charter 
members of the first Masonic lodge of Danbury, organized in 
1780. The inventory of his estate mentions him as "formerly 
of Danbury, late of Sheffield, Mass." His will, drawn Septem- 
ber 4th, 1805, and probated in January, 1808, gives (with certain 
provisions) " to Amos Cooke, of Danbury, six hundred dollars" 
and his " gold watch ;" to Elizabeth Henry, his, 
$20 for the good care she has taken of his clothes, and divides 
the remainder among his nieces and nephews. The last item we 
copy entire : " As I think my sister Tamar does not and will not 
want any part of my estate, I have thought fit to give her noth- 


ing." This would lead us to conjecture that either " Tamar" 
was well supplied with this world's goods, or that the family- 
relations were slightly strained. The executors of this will were 
Lot Norton, Jr., of Salisbury (a brother-in-law of Dr. Pell), and 
Amos Cooke, of Danbury. 

In 1791 Dr. Joseph Trowbridge married Olive Clark, as we 
find in the records of the First Church. 

In 1792 Dr. Trowbridge was one of the physicians who pro- 
cured the charter for the Fairfield Medical Society, and in the 
Farmer's Journal of April 13th, 1793, we find the following : 

" The meeting of the Medical Society of Fairfield County 
stands adjourned to Wednesday the first day of May next, 
11 o'clock, at Capt. Clarke's Tavern in Danbury. 

"Joseph Trowbridge, Clerk." 

In 1797 he was Surveyor of Highways, and one of a committee 
'' on Mr. Starr's School building." 

In 1803 we find the name of Joseph Trowbridge among a com- 
mittee in the Episcopal Church of Danbury. Letters of admin- 
istration on the estate of Dr. Joseph Trowbridge, "late of the 
City, County and State of New York, deceased, were granted to 
Olive Trowbridge" of the same place on October 16th, 1815. Dr. 
Trowbridge died in New York, April 22d, 1812, aged 50 years. 
His widow became the wife of Dr. D. N. Can-ington, and died, 
his widow, in February, 1865, aged 95 years. 

In 1781 ' ' Doct. William Vaughn' ' was a practicing physician 
in Danbury. His will, dravsm May 18th, 1813, and probated in 
June of the same year, makes his wife Susanna sole heir and 

Dr. Jabez Starr is mentioned among others in the records of 
the First Society in Danbury in the latter part of the last cen- 
tury. He was a son of Captain Eleazer and Rebecca Starr ; was 
born in 1755, and married Mary, daughter of John and Dorcas 
(Holmes) Elliott, of Bedford, N. Y. He died in 1840, his widow 
in 1845. Mention is made of him in the chapter on Old Dan- 

In 1810 Dr. Alfred Betts and Sally, his wife, were admitted to 
the Congregational Church from the church in Newtown, and 
dismissed in 1817 to Florence, Huron County, O. The names of 
two children are in the list of baptisms in the First Church — viz., 


Edward Crosby, in November, 1813, and Amarillis, in August, 

Among the burials we find the following : " Jan. 10, 1803 Dr. 
Lyndsley's child," and Oct. 10, 1804, "Mariah, dau Dr. Jabez 

Dr. Titus HuU removed to Danbury from Bethel in 1806. He 
was a descendant of Dr. John Hull, of Wallingford. He resided 
in a house which he purchased at public auction on March 27th, 
1806, " situated vrithin about forty rods of the Court House." 
Olive Hull, the wife of Dr. Titus Hull, was admitted to the First 
Congregational church on October 26th, 1806, from the church 
in Bethlehem, and dismissed in 1807 to the church in Bridge- 
water, N. Y. 

In 1816 Dr. Daniel Comstock and Dr. Alfred Betts were on a 
committee " to raise money for the education of Pious indigent 
young men for the Gospel ministry." 

Daniel Comstock, M.D., was a son of David and Rebekah 
(Grumann) Comstock, of Norwalk, Conn. He was born May 
4th, 1767, and probably graduated in New Haven, where he 
married Mary Dana, removing soon after to Millersville, L. I., 
where five of his children were born. He came to Danbury in 
the early part of this century, as we find his name with that of 
his wife recorded as admitted to the First Church in 1807. We 
also find the baptism of two children. His name occurs on the 
records of Society meetings quite frequently, and in 1810 he was 
one of a committee " to wait upon Mr. John Frost with the Vote 
of the church' ' to call the latter to the pastorate. Dr. Comstock 
died August 27th, 1848, and is buried in the Wooster Street 

Daniel Noble Carrington, M.D., married October 4th, 1781, 
Mabel, daughter of Oliver and Lois Warner, of New Milford, 
Conn. She died May 3d, 1801. His second wife was sister of 
his first, Tryphena Warner, widow of Benjamin Starr Mygatt, 
whom he married about 1804. She died in Danbury, June 16th, 
1815. His third wife was Olive Clark, the widow of Dr. Joseph 
Trowbridge, whom he married probably about 1817, as she was 
admitted to the First Church in Danbury in that year. Dr. 
Carrington died June 5th, 1834. 

In 1751 in Probate Records is found a Dr. Rogers, but no other 
mention of him. 


Samuel Dickinson, Noali Rockwell, and John Wood were 
all practicing physicians here in 1757. 

In 1775 we find mentioned Dr. Drake Hoyt and Dr. Benjamin 
Starr Hoyt ; the latter was a son of Isaac and Amy (Starr) Hoyt, 
who married Annie Wood, of Danbnry, in 1794. Removed to 
Warwick, Orange County, N. Y., where he died, February 19th, 

In the settlement of the estate of Samuel Morris, of Danbury, 
in 1793, are bills from the following physicians : John Wood, 
Jabez Starr, Titus Hull, of Danbury ; Preserve Wood, of Brook- 
field ; Charles Peck, of Bethel ; and Perry, of Ridgefield. 

It would be appropriate that his epitaph shoiild read : 

" Afflictions sore long time he bore, 
Physicians were in vain." 

In an issue of the Farmers' Journal in May, 1790, Gilead 
Taylor, executor, advertises for claims against the estate of Dr. 
David Taylor, of Danbiiry. 

Between 1780 and 1800 the following physicians were of Dan- 
bury : John Wood, Titus Hull, Jabez Starr, Joseph Trowbridge, 
Daniel N. Can-ington, Joseph Crane, Jr., William Vaughn, 

Amos Baker, Drake Hoyt, and Barnum. " Dr. Christopher 

Avery Babcock, of Danbiiry," died in 1782, and Mary Bab- 
cock was appointed administrator of his estate. She was a 
daughter of Thaddeus and Abigail (Starr) Benedict, and died 

Resident physicians in 1801 were WUHam Hull, Joseph Crane, 

and Knap ; in 1804, Joseph Trowbridge, Amos Baker, 

SaUu Pell, and Daniel N. Carrington. In 1808, Ansel Hoyt is 
mentioned in records, and was probably of Danbnry. 

The physicians of neighboring towns were often called to Dan- 
bury, if we may judge from the frequent mention in settlement 
of estates of Drs. Perry and Thomas Peck, of Ridgefield ; Drs. 
Preserve Wood (brother of John, of Danbury), Lemuel Thomas 
and Eli Perry, of Brooktield ; Dr. Davis, of Redding ; Dr. 
James Potter, of New Fairfield ; and Dr. Asa Norton, perhaps 
of Newtown. Drs. Charles Peck and Peter Hayes, of Bethel, 
are often mentioned. 

In an issue of the Danbury Recorder, in 1830, we find the fol- 
lowing death notice: "Died in Monticello, Sullivan County, 


N. Y., 21st Jan., Dr. ApoUos B. Hanaford, formerly of this 

Russell B. Botsford, M.D., was born in Newtown, Conn., 
May 7th, 1794, and commenced the study of medicine with Dr. 
Shepard, of Newtown, afterward studying with Dr. Gilbert, of 
New Haven. He received his diploma in September, 1816, and 
in the spring of the following year commenced the practice of 
medicine in Danbury. In 1820 he married Eliza Whittlesey, 
daughter of Matthew Beale Whittlesey, of Danbury, and died 
in Danbury, December 26th, 1855. 

Chandler Smith, M.D., was born in Hanover, N. H., February 
16th, 1805 ; graduated from Dartmouth College, N. H., and mar- 
ried Emily Perry, of Southport, Conn., November 27th, 1831. 
He probably came to Danbury about that time, but died at the 
early age of thirty-two, in September, 1837. He left two sons, 
Walter Perry and Welford Russell ; both are now dead, as are 
also their children. Dr. Smith was much esteemed in Danbury, 
and though his stay here was short, he left many friends to 
mourn his early death. 

Ezra P. Bennett, M.D., was born in Weston, Conn., on August 
31st, 1806. His father, Ezra Bennett, was descended from a 
Scotch family, and his mother, Esther Godfrey, was of English 
descent. Educational privileges in his native town were meagre, 
but such as they were he made diligent use of them. He at- 
tended school in the winter and worked on the farm in summer, 
up to his fifteenth year. The two winters following he attended 
a private school under the charge of a college graduate, where 
he enlarged his knowledge of the common branches, and picked 
up a smattering of Latin. After teaching school for a year he 
studied medicine with Dr. Charles Gorham, of Redding, and in 
1826 spent eight months in the medical school at Pittsfield, 
Mass. The next year, after a term of the same length, he was 
graduated as a doctor of medicine, and in January, 1828, com- 
menced practice in Bethel. In 1838 he came to Danbury, where, 
for nearly fifty-three years, he was " the loved and trusted phy- 
sician." As a surgeon he was exceptionally successful, and the 
boldness and skill of his operations gave him a deserved place 
of honor in his profession. On June 24th, 1829, Dr. Bennett 
married Sarah Maria, daughter of William Comstock, of Red- 
ding. Their children were William and Andrew, twins, and 


Sarah L., who married Rev. John H. Lockwood, now of West- 
field, Mass. 

Andrew C. Bennett, born March 7th, 1836, died in May, 1850, 
on the return voyage from England, whither his father had taken 
him in vain search of health. 

William C. Bennett graduated from Yale College with the 
Class of 1858, and received the degree of M.D. from the College 
of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City in March, 1860. 
He practiced medicine with his father until July, 1861, when he 
entered the army as Assistant Surgeon of the Fifth Connecticut 
Volunteers, and was afterward surgeon of the regiment. Re- 
signing this position, he received an appointment from the United 
States as Surgeon of Volunteers ; was assigned to the Twentieth 
Army Corps as Medical Inspector, and served on the staffs of 
Slocum, Hooker, and Williams, successively. He was in the 
Army of the Shenandoah, Potomac, Cumberland, and Georgia, 
and accompanied Sherman on his march to the sea. He was 
mustered out of service in March, 1865, and returned to Dan- 
bury to practice with his father. 

Dr. Ezra P. Bennett died October 27th, 1882, his widow three 
years later, and the son, William C, died suddenly on July 
12th, 1886. 

Dr. J. H. Richards came to Danbury from Brooklyn in 1847, 
and remained here for several years. 

William Edmond Booth, M.D., was born at Newtown, Conn., 
March 26th, 1822 ; graduated from Yale Medical College, New 
Haven, Conn., in 1842, and commenced practice in Danbury that 
same year. He died at Newtown, February 19th, 1859. In the 
Danbury Times of February 19th, 1859, is an obituary notice 
written by William H. Francis, from which we extract the fol- 
lowing : "Though so young, his activity and energetic cast of 
character soon built up for him a practice such as his skill and 
perseverance merited, and in a few years he gained the patron- 
age and confidence of many as a reliable and skilful family phy- 
sician. . . . Had his health been spared, we cannot teU how 
much of good his love for and enthusiasm and research in the 
science of medicine might have worked out for humanity. " 

E. F. Hendrick, M.D., was born in Oxford, N. Y., September 
9th, 1824 ; graduated from the Medical Department of the Uni- 
versity of New York in 1850, and began practice La New Ohio, 


N. Y. Married Maria B. Stevens, November 27th, 1851, and 
practiced in Danbury for some years, when he went to Burling- 
ton, la. At breaking out of the Civil War he enlisted as Assist- 
ant Surgeon in the First Connecticut Artillery ; later was trans- 
ferred to the Fifteenth Connecticut Infantry, and afterward to 
hospital service at New Berne, N. C. At the close of the war 
he returned to Danbury, where he practiced until his death, 
which occurred on September 27th, 1877. Dr. Hendrick was a 
member of the Board of Education for six years. 

Edward Armstrong Brown, M.D., was born in Newburg, N. Y., 
September 28th, 1827, and died June 13th, 1883. He graduated 
from the Metropolitan Medical College in 1852, and came to Dan- 
bury in 1853. He was Postmaster from 1860 to 1868, State Sena- 
tor in 1876. 

William E. Bulkley, M.D., born October 8th, 1798 ; came to 
Danbury in 1855. He was a licentiate of Yale Medical School 
in 1826, read medicine with Dr. Foot, of Virginia, attended two 
or three courses in New Hampshire, and was dismissed to prac- 
tice. He settled first at Colchester, Conn. ; afterward went to 
Monterey, Mass. ; from that place to Hillsdale, N. Y. , and then 
to Salisbury, Conn., returning again to Colchester, 'to Hillsdale, 
then to West Stockbridge, Mass., finally settling in Danbury, 
where he remained until his death, in 1870. For the fifteen years 
of his residence here he had a large and successful practice. 
UntU 1853 he practiced as a physician of the old school, when 
he adopted homoeopathic methods. This change was due to the 
influence of Bishop Hamlin, of New York, a summer visitor at 
Hillsdale, who urged Dr. Bulkley to change to the new school 
of practice, as Dr. Palmer, of New York, had done. He offered 
to provide Dr. Bulkley with books and medicines, on the condi- 
tion that he should adopt them if he found them better than 
those he was using. After a three years' trial he reached the 
conclusion that they were better, and became one of the first 
homoeopathic physicians in Danbury. Dr. Bagg was here a 
little before him, and Dr. Brower at the same time. 


To this organization belong the regular practitioners of the 
city and neighboring towns. The originator was Dr. William C. 
Wile, at whose residence, on the evening of November 7th, 1888, 


an informal meeting was held, at wMch Dr. W. S. Todd, of 
Ridgefield, was elected temporaiy president, and Dr. D. C. 
Brown, secretary. Committees on by-laws and qualification for 
membership were chosen. The first annual meeting was held at 
the Tiu-ner House, January 2d, 1889, resulting in the election 
for the ensuing year of Dr. J . H. Benedict, President ; Dr. A. E. 
Barber, of Bethel, Vice-President ; Dr. D. C. Brown, Secretary 
and Treasurer ; and the following Executive Committee : Drs. 
W. C. Wile, F. A. Clark, W. S. Watson. 

Since its inception the society has lost by death. Dr. William 
T. Todd, of Ridgefield ; Dr. Peter H. Lynch, of Danbury ; Dr. 
Edgar Lyon, of Bethel ; and by removals to other fields of labor : 
Dr.' G. H. Pierce, to Brooklyn, N. Y. ; Dr. F. S. Benedict, to 
Seymour ; Dr. W. P. Burke, to New Haven ; Dr. S. E. May, to 
Bridgeport ; Dr. D. C. De Wolf, to Bridgeport ; and Dr. S. J. 
Kelly, to Fall River, Mass. 

The regular meetings occur the evening of the first Wednesday 
of each month, and are devoted to the reading of original papers 
and general discussions of medical and surgical topics. The 
regular January meeting becomes the occasion of the society's 
annual banquet. The members are keenly alive to the best in- 
terests of our city along the lines of preventive medicine, and 
much of our improved sanitation is due to the efforts of the 

The officers for the present year are Dr. F. P. Clark, Presi- 
dent ; Dr. C. R. Hart, Bethel, Vice-President ; G. E. Lemmer, 
Secretary and Treasurer ; Executive Committee : Drs. E. E. 
Snow, W. S. W^atson, E. A. Stratton. 

Following are the names of physicians now resident in Dan- 
bury : 

William F. Lacey, born in Brookfield, Conn., gi-aduated from 
Yale Medical School in 1844, and commenced practice in Dan- 
bury the same year. 

John H. Benedict, M.D., born in Bethel, Conn.; moved with 
his parents to Wisconsin when three years of age. Studied in 
Cincinnati, 1854-58 ; practiced in Wisconsin untU 1862, when he 
went out with the Thirty-ninth Wisconsin Regiment as Assistant 
Surgeon, and served through 1864-65. Came to Danbury soon 
after, and practiced with Dr. W. F. Lacey for six years, then 
took an office by himself. For ten years he resided in Redding, 


driving daily to Danbury to visit patients. Pension Siirv^eyor 
since that office was first established. 

A. T. Clason, M.D., born in Peekskill, N. Y., gradnated from 
New York University in 1865. Resident of Danbury since 1866. 

Frank Clark, M.D., born in Danbnry 18.52, graduated from the 
College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York in 1876, and 
commenced practice in Danbury the same year. 

Edward Augustus Stratton, M.D., born in Danbury 1862, 
graduated from New York University in 1883. 

G. A. Gilbert, M.D., born in Danbury, March, 1859, gradu- 
ated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, 
May, 1883 ; commenced practice in Danbury in the spring of 1884. 

Wilbur Seymour Watson, M.D., born in New Hartford, Conn., 
1852, graduated from Long Island Medical College in 1884. 
Resident in Danbury since 1885. 

George Edward Lemmer, M.D., born in Newark, N. J., Sep- 
tember, 1855, graduated from Bellevue Hospital Medical College, 
New York City, in 1885, and commenced practice at once in 

D. C. Brown, M.D., born in Norfolk, Va., 1863, graduated 
from Yale 1884, commenced practice in Danbury 1886. 

Richard ElUs, M.D., born 1862 in New York City, graduated 
in 1888. Honor man in medicine and at Yale Academy in 1885 ; 
came to Danbury in 1889. 

Albert Fox, M.D., born in East Hartford, Conn., May 3d, 
1825, graduated from Eclectic Medical College, New York City, 
in 1871. Resident in Danbury since 1884. 

William H. Murray, M.D., born in New York City, 1865, grad- 
uated March 10th, 1890, from Bellevue Hospital Medical College, 
New York. 

William A. Barnum, M.D., born in Bethel, 1861, graduated 
from Bennett Medical College, Chicago, in 1882. Resident in 
Danbury since 1884. 

Annie Keeler Bailey, M.D., born in Brooklyn, N. Y., Novem- 
ber 6th, 1855, graduated from the Woman's Medical College of 
the New York Infirmary, May 29th, 1885, spent nearly one year 
in the New York Infirmary (Hosi^ital for Women and Children), 
and came to Danbury, May 30th, 1886. 

Francis Pollansbee, M.D., born in Peabody, Mass., 1854, grad- 
uated from Bennett College, in Chicago, in 1881, and from the 


College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1886. Practiced in Beth- 
lehem, Conn., and came to Danbury in 1888. 

Harris Fenton Brownlee, M.D., born in LawyersviUe, Scho- 
harie County, N. Y., September, 1866. Educated at Cobbleskill 
Academy, N. Y., graduated in 1888 from the College of Phy- 
sicians and Surgeons of New York City, two years in Riverside 
Hospital, Yonkers, N. Y., came to Danbury in 1890. 

Clayton Power Bennett, M.D., born in Danbury, 1865, gradu- 
ated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York 
City, 1890, and began practice in Danbury in 1892. 

Nathaniel Selleck, M.D., born 1869, graduated from Univer- 
sity of New York in 1891. Resident in Danbury since that time. 

J. Alexander Wade, M.D., bom in Ulster County, N. Y., 
March, 1859, graduated from Bellevue Hospital Medical College 
in March, 1893, and began practice in Danbury the same year. 

Harvey Fox, M.D., born in Barkhamsted, Litchfield County, 
Conn., February, 1856, graduated from Eclectic Medical College 
of the city of New York in 1878, came to Danbury in August, 1888. 

Emil Weiss, M.D., born in Danbury, graduated from Munich 
and Leipsic, Germany, in 1887, came to Danbury in 1893. 

Charles F. Craig, born in Danbury, July 4th, 1872, graduated 
from the Medical Department of Yale University 1894, and began 
practice in Danbury the same year. 

W. F. Wood, M.D., was born in Sandwich, Barnstable County, 
Mass., graduated at Baltimore in April, 1893. Resident here 
since June of that year. 

William C. Wile, M.D., bom in Pleasant Valley, N. Y., in 
January, 1847. In 1862 enlisted in Company G of the One Hun- 
dred and Fiftieth New York Regiment ; was at the front for 
two years and eight months, in the battle of Gettysburg and 
with Sherman in his march to the sea. On his return studied 
medicine and graduated in 1870 from the New York University. 
Practiced in New Brunswick, N. J., Highland, N. Y., and New 
ton, Conn. Later was called to the chair of nervous diseases 
at the Medico-Chirurgical College, Philadelphia, where he re- 
mained for one year. Owing to ill health he returned to Con- 
necticut, settling in Danbury, where he has since resided. Dr. 
Wile organized the Danbury Medical Association, and has been 
an active member from the first. He has been Vice-President 
of the Connecticut State Medical Society, President of the Dan- 


bury Medical Association, President of the Fairfield 'County- 
Society, Vice-President of the American Medical Association, 
President of the American Medico Editors' Association, and is in 
addition a member of the British Medical Society and other for- 
eign bodies. Dr. Wile was President of the Danbury Board of 
Trade in 1894. 

Louis G. Knox, M.D., born in New York City, June, 1851, 
graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New 
York City in 1872, from Columbia Veterinary College, 1884 ; 
came to Danbury, 1885. 

Albert D. Sturges, M.D., bom in Wilton, Conn., commenced 
study of medicine in 1869, graduated in 1880, and again in 1890. 
General practitioner of medicine, special of inebriety. 

Dr. Adelaide (Taylor) Hoi ten, wife of John A. Holten, M.D., 
was born in Danbury, graduated from the Eclectic Medical Col- 
lege in New York City, and began practice in Danbury in 1880. 

The Homoeopathic School is represented by the following phy- 
sicians : 

William Bulkley, M.D.,* son of Dr. William E. Bulkley, was 
born in Hillside, Mass., in 1832. When seventeen years of age 
he ran away and shipped on a sailing-vessel. In 1849, with the 
"gold fever" for California, he shipped on a sperm whaler, 
sailed twice round the Horn, could not get off to go to California 
" diggins," and came back without gold, but vdth a large experi- 
ence. Resident in Danbury since 1868. 

Sophia Penfield, M.D., was born in New Fairfield, Conn., 
graduated from the New York Medical College for Women in 

1869. Spent the following year in dispensary work in the city ; 
commenced the practice of medicine in Saugerties, N. Y., in 

1870. Located in Danbury 1871. In 1894 opened a sanitarium 
for the treatment of chronic diseases by mechanical massage. 

Samuel M. Griffin, M.D., born in Cold Spring, N. Y., gradu- 
ated from New York Homoeopathic Medical College in 1867, 
came to Danbury in 1878. 

AUan P. MacDonald, M.D., born at Antigonish, Nova Scotia, 
1841, graduated from Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, III., 
in 1874, located in Danbury, October, 1887. 

S. Willard Oley, M.D., born in Rush, Monroe County, N. Y., 
September, 1854, graduated from New York Homoeopathic Col- 
lege in 1886, commenced practice in Danbury 1889. 
* Dr. William Bulkley died December 2l8t, 1895. 



Danbury was very quiet through the winter that preceded 
the war. There was a talk of war, to be sure, but four fifths of 
those who talked it did not believe in its possibility. It was 
simply New England eloquence arriving at a burst in the pipe. 
There Avas an impression that every State would secede except- 
ing those which formed New England, and this would naturally 
bring the war prospect down to a very narrow compass ; and 
then again there were those who were sure that Connecticut 
alone would remain in the Union while every other State would 
go out. This made many of us confident that there was to be no 
■war at all, and left us untrammelled in determining the number 
of the enemy we could slay in battle. These matters were thor- 
oughly and ably discussed when the weather was sufficiently 
mild to permit with safety the occupancy of the depot and Con- 
cert Hall steps. 

It was a gloomy winter", however — gloomy because business 
was interrupted by the uncertainty of the immediate future. 
The summer and fall preceding had been seasons of prosperity. 
Our staple indiistry, hatting, was at fuU tide. Every shop was 
crowded with orders, large prices jDaid for labor, and large profits 
made. Strangers were moving into town, and in every part of 
the village buildings were going up at a lively rate. 

After the November election all this was changed. Progress 
came to a standstill as abruptly as if it had been mounted with 
an aii'-brake. Hatting went under, and dragged with it — as is its 
custom — every other branch of industry. Men had little to do 
but to stand around and talk, and the result was as sure as taxes. 
Dyspepsia set in and gloom followed. Danbury' s liver was full 
of gall, and Danbury' s blood crawled sluggishly through its 
veins. Sumter was the blue pill for the occasion, and most thor- 
oughly it did its work. 


It was three o'clock on the afternoon of Saturday, April 13th, 
1861, when Danbury received the news of the fall of Sumter, 
and the first victory of the Secessionists. All that day anxious 
men besieged the telegraph office in search of the intelligence 
which they dreaded. When it came there was a shock. It was 
as if the batteries that x^layed against the doomed fortress had 
been galvanic, with their wires running through our heart's very 

The next forty-eight hours were full of compressed life. They 
were mental yeast cakes. No excitement had equalled it since 
that April day, nearly a centixry dead, when the face of a for- 
eign foe was turned our way and the tramp of an enemy's feet 
pressed our borders. Now we knew there was to be a war. 
Even the most sanguine of a bloodless ending to the trouble gave 
up the hope of peace, but not the determination to win it. In 
that first flush of indignant shame party lines went under, and 
a sea of patriotic passion swept over Danbury. There was little 
sleep in Danbury that night, there was none whatever the next 
day, although there were eight churches here. St. Peter gave 
way to saltpetre in the theology of that hour. 

On April 15th President Lincoln issued his caU for seventy- 
five thousand volunteers, and Governor Buckingham supple- 
mented it with a call for vohmteers to rendezvous at Hartford. 
Danbury was among the first to awake to the necessities of 
the hour. Her patriotism was aroused, and her flags were 
unfurled, showing her to be true to her colors. Hon. Roger 
AveriU flung out the first flag, and he was followed by others, 
until houses and hilltops were cro^vned with the emblem that 
had ever led the armies of our country to victory. An in- 
teresting incident occurred in connection with the unfurling of 
Governor Averill's flag. Many distinctly remember the vener- 
able Colonel E. Moss White. Several years before the war he 
was stricken with paralysis, and never recovered from the shock. 
He moved about with great difficulty and lost all control of 
verbal expression except two words, in the form of an injimction, 
which were, " Come all !" On seeing the flag he smote his breast 
with both hands and cried aloud, again and again, " Come all ! 
Come all !" And the record shows that the able-bodied men of 
his native town almost literally responded to the cry. 

Governor Buckingham's call was received here on Wednesday, 


and on Friday, the 19tli, the Wooster Guards, commanded by 
Captain E. E. WUdman, started for New Haven. It is a fact to 
the honor and credit of the Guards that even before the gov- 
ernor's call had been issued, the services of the company had 
been tendered him, which he had promptly accepted. 

The departure of the Guards for New Haven, which had been 
made the rendezvous, was a grand, sublime, and yet a touching 
and pathetic scene. Soon after dinner the Guards met at their 
headquarters, then Military Hall, in the top story of D. P. 
Mchol's Block, on the corner of Main and White Streets. Hun- 
dreds of people met with them, and forming in line, escorted by 
a cavalcade of citizens and a band, they marched to Concert 
Hall, where now appropriately stands the Soldiers' Monument, 
erected in memory of some of that brave band, whose courage 
was equal to the test of giving up their lives for their country. 
Filing into the hall, they were seated, and Rev. E. E. Griswold, 
presiding elder of this district of the Methodist church, offered 
a prayer to the Throne of Grace for their welfare and that of the 
country. The services concluded the company re-formed, and 
escorted by the crowd, which had by this time swelled to thou- 
sands, they marched to the Danbury and Norwalk Railway 
station to take the cars. 

The large square on the north of the station now became the 
scene and centre of the most intense and exciting interest. The 
place was a condensed mass of humanity. Wives, mothers, 
fathers, and children stood in tearful mood, but withal imbued 
with firmness and patriotism and heroism, and exchanged good 
wishes and farewells. Here, amid the huzzas of the crowd, the 
bursts of martial music, the waving of flags, the boom of can- 
non, the Wooster Guards went forth, the first company in the 
State of Connecticut to pledge itself to the defence of the un- 
tarnished honor of the commonwealth and the nation. 

The following is the roster of the company : 

Captain, E. E. Wildman. 

First Lieutenant, Jesse D. Stevens. 

Second Lieutenant, John D. Bussing. 

Sergeants : Andrew Knox, MUo Dickens, William Moegling, 
Samuel M. Petit. 

Corporals : George B. Allen, E. S. Davis, Alexander Kallman, 
Nathan Couch. 

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Col. Nelson l. White. 

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Heri^t. John IIaush. 

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Musicians : Edward H. Dann, Grandison D. Foote. 

Privates : John Allen, Harris Anderson, C. H. Anderson, John 
Bogardus, Charles A. Boerum, James Blizzard, William H. Bliz- 
zard, Thomas T. Bussing, James Bradley, Theodore B. Benedict, 
A. H. Byington, George W. Banker, Charles A. Benger, Niram 
Blackman, Thomas D. Brown, Henry E. Buckingham, William 
K. Cowan, Lemuel B. Clark, William R. Doane, Josiah L. Day, 
Edward H. Day, Joseph L. Dunning, Ezekiel Eaton, C. Field- 
stone, Dennis Geliven, Christopher Grimm, Charles A. Gordon, 
H. W. Gibbs, Carl W. Hillbrandt, William O. Hoyt, W. P. Hoyt, 
David B. Hoyt, Alfred H. Hoddinott, Thomas Hooton, Otto 
Hagement, James Howath, Jesse L. James, Ernest T. Jennings, 
Isaac N. Jennings, George D. Keeler, Morris A. Krazynsky, 
WUliam J. Murphy, Emil C. Margraff, James Martin, Andrew B. 
Nichols, Horace Purdy, Francis W. Piatt, Joseph W. Raymond, 
James Reed, James R. Ross, Timothy Rose, George L. Smith, 
AJson J. Smith, Benjamin F. Skinner, David Sloane, Grandison 
Scott, Louis Shack, Eli D. Seeley, Augustus Staples, George 
Sears, James H. Taylor, Joseph Tammany, Darius A. Veats, 
Edgar L. Wildman, Howard W. Wheeler, John Waters. 

The Times of May 2d, 1861, in speaking of the commanders 
of the Danbury companies, has the following : " Captain Wild- 
man is a young, energetic, sti'aightforward, and highly esteemed 
citizen. His response to the caU of the governor was, ' Our 
country needs our services, and it is our duty to go,' and by his 
manlj'^, resolute course inspired his whole company with confi- 
dence and courage. It cannot be otherwise than a source of 
gratification to those who have friends and relatives in the guards 
to know that their services will be performed under a brave, gal- 
lant, and honorable commander." 

The company arrived in New Haven at six o'clock, and there 
they were met by the Grays, a company from that city, and by 
thousands of people, who gave them a hearty welcome. They 
were escorted to the New Haven House, where they made their 

Lieutenant-Colonel Gregory, who escorted the boys to New 
Haven, returned Saturday evening, and a meeting was called in 
Concert HaU. He, with the band, was escorted to the hall, and 
after the organization of the meeting by electing Isaac Smith as 
chairman, Colonel Gregory responded to loud calls, and reported 


the arrival of the boys in New Haven, their reception there, and 
what other information he possessed concerning them. The ex- 
citement was at a fever heat, and papers, pens, and ink were 
called for and a roll started for a second company. This was in 
little over twenty-four hours from the time of the departure of 
the first company. As one after another put his name to the 
paper, cheer after cheer were given. 

The people of Danbury still further showed their patriotism 
and their love for their absent sons in another way. On Monday 
afternoon, April 22d, a meeting of the town was held to provide 
for the means of support of the members of the Guards. There 
was but one sentiment in the meeting, and that was liberality 
toward the families. The following preamble and resolutions 
were unanimously passed : 

" ^VJlereas, The Wooster Guards, a military company com- 
posed mostly of citizens of this town, having, in obedience to the 
requisition of the President of the United States upon the Gov- 
ernor of this State for troops, in order to suppress the rebellion 
in sundry States of the Union against the laws thereof, with 
patriotic and commendable ardor, tendered their services, and 
already gone forth to perform their part in ' the effort to main- 
tain the honor, the integrity, and existence of our national 
Union ;' and 

" Whereas, One other military comj)any is now being organ- 
ized in this town for a like glorious object ; and 

" Whereas, Many of the individuals of this town, belonging 
to said companies, leave behind them families dependent upon 
their daily earnings for their subsistence, and who, without pub- 
lic aid, will be liable to suffer to a greater or less extent for the 
ordinary necessities of life, be it therefore 

' ' Resolved, That an appropriation be made from the treasury 
of the town of Danbury for the support of the families of resi- 
dents of said town who have volunteered or hereafter shall vol- 
unteer, in accordance with the calls of the President of the United 
States in the present national troubles ; and the appropriation 
hereby made shall be expended as follows : 

' ' To the wife of each volunteer the sum of three doUars per 
week, and one dollar per week for each child that such volunteer 
may have dependent on him for support, which shall be paid 


weekly ; and such allowance shall continiie during his term of 
voluntary enlistment. 

" Edgar S. Tweedy and John W. Bacon are appointed a com- 
mittee to carry this resolution into effect, and orders shall be 
drawn from time to time on the town treasury for the purpose 
aforesaid. Said committee shall exercise discretionary powers 
in making provision for families of such volunteers, other than 
wives and children." 

Another preamble and resolution was offered and also unani- 
mously passed, which showed Banbury's patriotism still farther. 
It was as follows : 

" 'Whereas, A company of volunteers has left and a second is 
now organizing in this town for service in the reigments of Con- 
necticut Volunteers, and the State of Connecticut is not now in 
a condition to furnish them with the necessary uniforms and 

"Resolved, That Frederick Starr, George M. Southmayd, 
Judah P. Crosby, and A. B. Hull be authorized to equip said 
companies with the necessary uniforms and overcoats, and the 
selectmen are hereby authorized to draw their order on the town 
treasurer for the purpose." 

On Tuesday evening, April 23d, at a meeting held in the 
Young Men's Christian Association rooms, a company of thirty 
men was formed under the title of Union Reserved Guards^ 
They were immediately put under military discipline and drill. 

On Monday, April 29th, the second company left for New 
Haven. The day was one of the loveliest of the season. May 
had come ahead of time, and the soft breezes and balmy air were 
invigorating. Nature had begun to wake from her lethargy, 
and typified the awakening of the patriotism of our heroes. The 
whole population turned out to bid Godspeed to the company. 
A cavalcade of over one hundred horsemen gathered in front of 
the residence of Russell Hoyt, on Main Street. Among them 
were many citizens of Bethel. Judah P. Crosby was the mar- 
shal, and Granville W. Morris, then deputy sheriff, J. D. Rowers, 
and Charles E. Andrews wei-e his aids. The Danbury Zouaves, 
a company then forming for the State service, formed at Concert 
Hall. This was their first appearance, and they were a surprise 
to all. Nearly every man was six feet tail, and they made a 


line show. One of the features of the company on this occasion 
was a iiag of unusual size mounted on a staff which was affixed 
to a platform borne on the shoulders of six men. On the plat- 
form, and holding on to the staff, was a little gii-1 of three years, 
dressed in white. The cavalcade and Zouaves met the Danbury 
Rifle Company, and after marching and countermarching between 
Concert Hall and the bridge they halted at the railway station. 
Here a platform had been erected, and on this were the clergy of 

Rev. I. L. Townsend opened the exercises by reading a prayer 
provided by the bishop for use during the war. He was fol- 
lowed by Rev. G. M. Stone, of the Baptist Church, who spoke 
to the soldiers and citizens alike. Rev. Mr. Pegg, of the Meth- 
odist Church, next addressed the crowd, and then Rev. Mr. 
Hoyt, a former pastor of the Methodist Church in Danbury, and 
Rev. Mr. Coe, of the Congregational Church. A clergyman 
from New Fairfield, Rev. Mr. Kinney, who had enlisted as chap- 
lain of the regiment, then offered the benediction. An interest- 
ing incident next occurred in the presentation to Captain Moore, 
by Mrs. F. S. Wildman, of a handsome Bible. The captain 
gracefully responded, and then an interval of a few minutes was 
given for the bidding of farewells, and the company entered the 
cars and started for New Haven. 

The Times, in speaking of the commanders of the Rifles, says : 
" In military and civil life Captain Moore has ever enjoyed the 
respect and confidence due to a gentleman. He served with 
credit to himself and honor to his country in the war with 
Mexico, at the close of which he laid aside his military equip- 
ments, only to resume them again at the call of his country. He 
is a citizen soldier, and, like those in the earlier times which 
tired men's souls, when the blow is struck he will be there." 

The following is the roll of the company as it left : 

Captain, James E. Moore. 

First Lieutenant, Samuel G. Bailey. 

Second Lieutenant, Charles H. Hoyt. 

Sergeants : Frederick W. Jackson, Walter C. Sparks, Henry C. 
White, John R. Marsh. 

Corporals : Eben L. Barnum, Seneca Edgett, Milton H. Dan- 
iels, Henry O. Leach. 

Musicians : Lewis Bedient, Joseph L. Converse. 


Privates : Samuel B. Armstrong, James M. Ballard, George W. 
Bamum, Isaac B. Basely, Henry S. Beardsley, Alired L. Bene- 
dict, Samuel Berry, George W. Beebe, Frederick Bevins, Horace 
Bourne, Augustus E. Bronson, Clark T. Bronson, Edwin Bums, 
James Callahan, Hiram Cobleigh, George Chapman, Edwin 
Couch, Robert S. Dauchy, William H. Davis, George Dickenson, 
Owen Dewenny, John G. Ely, Eli Ferry, Jr., Patrick Foley, 
George W. Goold, John Gray, William Hall, Minot Hale, Thomas 
Horan, Edgar A. Hoyt, William Judson, John Keeney, Thomas 
Keeney, James E. Lee, Eli Lobdell, George Loudon, John N. 
Main, David B. Mansfield, John Moore, Alsop L. Monroe, 
Charles Morgan, Abram Moffatt, Thomas McKey, David McKin- 
man, Lawrence McAvoy, Michael McGowan, George Northrop, 
Lewis P. Osborne, William R. Potter, David J. Pratt, Henry 
Quien, Philip Rourke, Amos Raymond, Isaac B. Rogers, Thad- 
deus Rooney, Joseph Riley, John H. Salisman, Bennett Sher- 
man, James B. Taylor, William H. Taylor, Edward S. Warren, 
Harvey Wilson, Charles H. Woodruff, George B. Young. 

The company was assigned to the Third Regiment, and was 
known as Company C. The date of mustering in was May 14th. 

In the mean time the Wooster Guards were suffering in New 
Haven. Their rations were insufficient in quantity and shame- 
ful in quality. A letter written by a member of the company 
to his father here was published in the Times of May 9th, and 
was made the subject for a meeting of the citizens, which was 
held in Concert Hall on Sunday afternoon, the 5th inst. Edward 
Brockett was chairman, and G. W. Morris, secretary. Mr. L. S. - 
Barnum made an address, stating the facts from his own per- 
sonal knowledge. He was followed by several other citizens, 
who, while they said that the volunteers themselves made no 
complaint, expressed intense indignation at the treatment the 
boys were receiving. A series of resolutions were read and 
unanimously adopted, expressive of the determination of the 
citizens of Danbury, that our volunteers, who had so nobly and 
promptly enlisted under the banner of the Union, should be well 
fed, if they had to do it themselves. These resolutions were 
numerously signed and forwarded to the Senator and Repre- 
sentatives from Danbury, and through them presented to the 
Governor and Legislature. The effect of this meeting was imme- 
diately apparent, for before the next week was closed Captain 


Wildman Avrote to Danbuiy that they were again enjoying good 

On May 16th the Danbury Zouaves, under the command of 
Captain Henry B. Stone, left for Hartford. The demonstration 
by the citizens was on a much larger scale than anything pre- 
ceding it. Danbury and Bethel united in forming a cavalcade, 
which, together with the Home Guards, Union Cadets, and the 
Anderson Guards (Irish Volunteers), and the Fire Department 
formed an escort for the Zouaves as they marched to the cars. 
While waiting for the train exercises were gone through with, 
an opening prayer being delivered by Rev. Mr. Griswold, and 
speeches by Rev. Mr. Stone, of Danbury, and Rev. Messrs. 
Barclay and Baldwin, of Bethel. There were several members 
of the company from Bethel and Ridgefield. At the close of 
the speaking Rev. Mr. Stone distributed copies of the New 
Testament among the company, and Captain Stone returned 
thanks for the gifts. 

The parting scenes between the men and their families were 
more affecting and painful than on previous occasions, for this 
was for three years, and perhaps longer. Tears were freely shed, 
the feeling of reserve was broken down and the public eye 
saw many heart-rending scenes which naturally are regarded as 

The roster of the company, which became Company A, Fifth 
Regiment, is given below : 

Captain, Henry B. Stone. 

First Lieutenant, James A. Betts, Jr. 

Second Lieutenant, William A. Daniels. 

Sergeants : Theodore H. Dibble, Edward K. Carley, George N. 
Raymond, James Stewart, Jr., John O. Shufeldt. 

Corporals : Daniel Odell, Daniel L. Smith, Luther M. More- 
house, Edgar A. Stratton, John H. Bennett, Addison M. Whit- 
lock, Albert Warner, J. K. UnderhiU. 

Musicians : Edward A. Durant, James L. Conklin. 

Wagoner, Martin C. Vaucor. 

Privates : Charles H. Anson, Theodore J. AUsheskey, Charles 
W. Bill, George A. Bradley, William M. Burritt, Wesley H. 
Bottsford, Frederick J. Booth, James Byers, William N. Beers, 
Thomas E. Benedict, John Butler, Fred N. Clark, Theodore D. 
Clark, James Campbell, George W. Cock, William H. Card, 


Horace S. Crofut, Hiram M. Cole, Henry B. Curtiss, John Car- 
ney, David O. Comstock, Henry Coe, Alexander Cook, Marvin 
M. Curtis, Robert N. Drew, James E. Durant, William W. 
Downer, Charles H. Duranb, George S. Feny, John D. Gorley, 
John Grouse, Thomas Garnett, John Gilbert, Gilbert N. John- 
son, Thomas A. James, John B. Johnson, Philo W. Jones, Jr., 
Daniel A. Keyes, Oscar H. Keeler, George B. Loomis, Isaac K. 
Leach, Otis G. Lewis, William H. Lockwood, William H. Lang- 
don, Dennis Larkin, David B. Mills, Ruf us Mead, Jr., William N. 
Mix, Henry Manning, Smith Mead, William H. Patch, Abram T. 
Peck, H. C. Prime, Isaac B. Rogers, Charles B. Rogers, James H. 
Rasco, William J. Ritchie, Frederick Rogers, John Riley, Henry 
Stokes, John A. Seymour, William B. Sharp, George C. Smith, 
Enos A. Sage, George D. Squires, WiUiam K. Shaw, James M. 
Smith, Oliver Sloan, George F. Stone, George Scott, Gardiner 
Stockman, Hezekiah Sturges, Benjamin F. Squires, James SuUi- 
van, Charles S. Teley, John Tilley, Arthur M. Thorp, George W. 
Valentine, F. M. Wildman, Philip L. WiUiams, George H. 
Woodworth, George K. Winkler, Thomas M. Welsh, George W. 
Wells, R. R. Werner, William H. Wheaton. 

After the departure of the Zouaves the continuation of the 
payment of bounties to the families of enlisted men was dis- 
cussed. The cost was something like $316 per week, and in the 
then stringent state of finances, the town treasury was in danger 
of collapsing. A town meeting was called for May 27th, and 
the Town Hall was crowded with voters. A resolution was 
offered by Mr. E. S. Tweedy, which being amended was as fol- 
lows : 

" Whereas, Three companies of volunteei's having been organ- 
ized in this town, and have mustered into the service of the 
United States Government, and a liberal provision has been 
made for the families of those who have so readily responded to 
the call of their country ; and whereas the number of volunteers 
offered from various parts of the United States exceed largely 
the demands of the General Government, there is no necessity 
at present for furnishing an additional force from this town. 

' ' Resolved, That this town rescind so much of the vote passed 
the 22d of April, 1861, as affords a bounty to those who may 
hereafter enlist into the service of the United States ; biit that 
we solemnly reaffirm the pledges made to those who have already 


enlisted and left their homes, during their full term of service, 
except the families of those volunteers who were not residents of 
this town on the 22d of April, 1861." 

The motion drew out a free and spirited discussion. To the 
declaration of the resolution that the town strictly adhere to the 
pledges given for the support of the families of volunteers there 
was no expression in favor of receding. Each speaker felt that 
the town had been liberal, perhaps in excess, either in the 
amount appropriated to each family, or in the unlimited char- 
acter of the resolution, while at the same time it was promptly 
admitted that those who had incurred responsibilities under the 
protection of the resolution should be honorably and fully sus- 
tained. The vote finally being taken it was almost unanimously 

The rumors that were circulated before this meeting was held 
had reached Hartford, where the Zouaves were in camp, and 
produced an unhappy effect upon some of the men. In the 
Times of June 6th appears a card signed by nearly all the mem- 
bers of the companj', headed by Lieutenant J. A. Betts, which 
tells of the company being sworn in on the 27th, and that several 
did not take the oath, alleging that the town would not provide 
for their families. The news of the result of the meeting reached 
them on Thursday, but these men left for home, having no valid 
excuse for refusing to serve, and here they spread reports to the 
detriment of the company. The card is to explain to the citizens 
of Danbury the circumstances, and in scathing terms pays the 
company's respects to the deserters. 

Another instance of the growing patriotism of the children of 
the town is remembered by the writer. The Centre District 
School, then on the hill on Liberty Street, was a Union school 
almost to a scholar. The principal was a Union man, and under 
his direction the elder male scholars drilled every afternoon, 
after school hours, in company movements. Mr. Harry Stone, 
who lived near the school-house, offered to give the school a flag- 
pole if the scholars would put up a flag. The offer was accepted, 
and on June 14th the pole was raised, and a flag, eight by twelve, 
for which every scholar had contributed something, from one 
cent upward, was run up. Speeches were made by the clergy, 
and the affair intensified the loyal feeling in every young heart. 

During the interval from July to August 14th the excite- 


ment in Danbury was kept up by letters from the seat of war. 
The files of the newspapers of that time contain letters from cor- 
respondents, and these were as eagerly read as the others. 

It was on July 21st, at Bull Run, that Danbury received its 
baptism of fire in the war of the Union. All that day the regi- 
ment was marched and countermarched in the multitude of 
changes in position, and much of the time it was subject to a 
severe fire from the enemy, but came out of that dreadful dis- 
aster with scarcely a mark. The only loss the Danbury com- 
pany sustained was the capture of two of its members, Alfred H. 
Hoddinott and Isaac N. Jennings. 

The Danbury Rifles also took an active i:>art in the tragedy of 
Bull Run. The regiment was exposed to a severe fire, and 
acquitted itself most creditably. From its ranks Danbury offered 
her first living sacrifice. This was John R. Marsh, fourth ser- 
geant of the company, a name that heads Danbury' s list of mar- 
tyrs in the war for the Union. He was struck and kiUed by a 
piece of flying shell. Private A. E. Bronson was made a pris- 
oner, while remaining with Sergeant Marsh as a comforter and 
friend. The same shell which killed Marsh wounded Lieutenant 
Bailey slightly. These are the only casualties Danbury received 
in this battle. 

The Wooster Guards returned home on August 1st, their term 
of enlistment having expired, and the 3d inst. saw a large gath- 
ering in Nichols's woods in Great Plain District, which was a 
reception tendered the Guards. A meeting was held there in 
the afternoon at which Hon. Roger Averill presided. Rev. Mr. 
Griswold made a touching prayer, and the glee club sang. Mr. 
Richard Busteed, of New York, made a patriotic speech, and a 
series of resolutions were offered and unanimously passed. 
These resolutions embodied, first, the duty of the Government 
to defend itself from external and internal foes by every means 
in its power ; second, that the efforts of the present Government 
to crush out the rebellion meets with the hearty apj^roval of the 
meeting, and a mutual pledge be given of their lives, fortunes, 
and sacred honor ; third, that while deprecating war, they de- 
manded the vindication of the country's honor, and while desir- 
ing peace they would offer no compromise. The fourth resolu- 
tion we give in full : 

" Resolved, That the patriotism exhibited by our fellow-towTis- 


men of the Wooster Guards, in promptly tendering their services 
in response to their country's call, and the gallant bravery ex- 
hibited by them upon the field of battle, merits and receives our 
hearty commendation, and we believe that the flattering notices 
received by them from their superior officers have been fully 

The last resolution was a sympathetic one for the families of 
those who had died for their country or been taken prisoners. 

At the conclusion of the speech of Mr. Busteed Rev. Mr. 
Townsend made a short speech about the loss of Sergeant Marsh, 
of the Rifles, and read a letter from Captain Moore detailing the 
circumstances of his death. At the close a contribution was 
made for the family of the deceased, and $40 was raised. 

Unexpectedly to most of the citizens of the town. Captain 
Moore's company returned on August 14th in a heavy rain 
storm. A movement was immediately started to give them a 
hearty welcome, and on the 17th a picnic was held in the Oil 
Mill Grove, at which there was a large crowd and a big supply 
of eatables. A shower came up just after dinner, and the meet- 
ing adjourned to Concert Hall, where the affair was concluded 
with addresses by citizens and music by the Union Glee Club. 

The shock of the defeat at Manassas had been received, and 
the recovery was rapid. The enthusiasm which had lain dor- 
mant since the Zouaves left awoke again. Military Hall was on 
each evening a blaze of light, and B. F. Skinner and William 
Moegling received authority to form a company for the Sixth 
Regiment. Thirty men had already enlisted, many of them 
being the old members of the Guards and Rifles. They were 
drilled nightly in the hall, and new recruits, who came in daily, 
were drilled as an awkward squad in one comer. Young 
America took a hand in. The deep-silled window-fi-ames were 
crowded nightly by the boys who came in, full of enthusiasm, 
to witness the drills. They used to cheer any particular fine 
movement, and when any new recruit signed the roll yeUs of 
delight and encouragement came from the healthy lungs of the 

On the evening of Monday, August 19th, a meeting of the 
citizens was held in the Concert Hall, to further the enlistment 
of this company, and to express the sense of the community on 
the present state of affairs. The venerable Colonel Abram 


Chicliester presided. Hon. Roger Averill made the principal 
address of the evening, and Lewis S. Barnum, James S. Taylor, 
and F. J. Jackson, of Danbury, and William A. Judd, of Bethel, 
also spoke. Mr. Skinner closed the meeting with the suggestion 
that the only way of compromise he advocated was the forma- 
tion of another company, and then stated that the enlistment 
roll could be found at Military Hall. A series of resolutions 
were also offered embodying the following points : 

First, the struggle into which our country is now plunged 
demands the entire loyalty of all citizens and the vigorous prose- 
cution of the war to a successful issue. Second, that until the 
rebellion is overcome it is the duty of every citizen to lay aside 
all local and minor differences, and unite in a full and enthusi- 
astic support of the measures adopted for the victory of the Gov- 
ernment. Third, that those who, in the present emergency, are 
engaged in attempting to inflame the public mind against the 
authorities should be severely condemned and their actions meet 
with reprobation. Fourth, a hearty welcome is extended to the 
brave defenders of the Union who have just returned : and while 
welcoming them, sympathy is extended to the family of their 
companion who gave his life nobly in defence of the country. 
Fifth, that while regretting the imprisonment and captivity of 
those who remained behind, we glory in their indignant rejection 
of the terms of release offered them, which would deprive them 
of the right to defend their country's flag again. 

An incident occurred on August 24th which will ever be re- 
membered by the participants and witnesses, among whom was 
the writer. Part of the citizens of New Fairfield had erected a 
peace flag on a pole in that town, and many Danburians, learn- 
ing of it, went up to pull it down. The New Fairfielders, deter- 
mined to protect their rights, gave battle, and there were 
some wounds received. All kinds of weapons were used, shov- 
els, pitchforks, etc. The Danburians returned without per- 
foi-ming tlieh- object. Two days later Messrs. John and 
David Cosier and Wilson Porter went up there, and after an 
argument in which they convinced the indignant New Fair- 
fielders of the impropriety of their actions, hauled down the 
flag. It gave rise to considerable excitement in town, and a 
local bard set forth the engagement in rhyme. 

It was on the Wednesday following the New Fairfield affair 


September 28th, that Captain Benjamin Skinner marched his 
men through Main Street, escorted by an immense cavalcade, 
and to the railway station, where a dense concourse of citizens 
was awaiting the brave fellows who were about to leave. The 
times were again growing exciting. It had been proved that the 
strength of the rebellion was greater than was at first supposed, 
and instead of crushing it out with the first seventy-five thou- 
sand men which the President called for in April, it would take 
a longer time and more men. The first to respond to the three 
years' enlistment were the Zouaves, whose departure has been 
chronicled. After they had gone, the three months' men re- 
turned, and in this second company of three years' men were 
many who had been upon the bloody battle-field at Bull Run. 

The departure was signalized in a similar manner to the others. 
Addresses were made by Elder Swan, of New London ; A. S. 
Treat, of Bridgeport ; and William A. Judd, of Bethel. Rev. 
Mr. Woolsey made the opening prayer. The company was made 
up as follows : 

Captain, Benjamin F. Sldnner. 

First Lieutenant, Joseph S. Dunning. 

Second Lieutenant, Thomas Hooton. 

Sergeants : Theodore C. Wildman, Charles A. Benger, Henry 
T. Broas, Augustus Staples, Andrew B. Nichols. 

Corporals : John F. Morris, WiUiam Trumbull, Seth J. Crosby, 
Eli D. Seeley, Darius A. Veats, Charles Gordon, John Ward, 
Lewis A. Wygant. 

Musicians : Lewis P. Bradley, Silas T. Atwater. 

Wagoner, Charles Fitzsimmons. 

Privates : George Adams, Thomas T. Alexander, James L. 
Allen, Samuel P. Armstrong, Alonzo Austin, Edward Ayers, 
George W. Banker, Theodore B. Benedict, James Ballard, 
Charles H. Bevans, John H. Bishop, Francis E. Broas, Charles 
Butcher, Oscar Byington, Charles Byxbee, John T. Byxbee, 
Henry S. Cole, Warren Collomore, William Crofut, Byron Cros- 
by, John Davis, Owen Dewenny, James Divine, John Doughton, 
Charles C. Dolph, Joseph Eaton, Ebenezer Ellis, Joseph English, 
Henry Erwin, William Fagan, Jerome Fairchild, Frederick A. 
Felch, Philip Fortune, James Gelde, Abram Grimm, Seeley Hall, 
William H. Hall, William Holly, John T. Holmes, James H. 
Howard, Reed M. Howes, Eleazer Jones, Leonard Jones, Edwin 


Judson, Robert L. Keith, Christian Kohlenberg, John Kenseller, 
William H. Lessey, John Lahey, Samuel K. Lynes, Charles E. 
Lyon, Charles F. Mehan, James Mehan, James Martin, Lewis 
Martin, John F. Morris, William M. Memtt, John Mildem, 
Edward Moffatt, Frank R. Nash, William W. Newman, William 
Nichols, Bartholomew O' Brian, George Olin, Henry Parks, 
George W. Raymond, John Roberts, Nathan S. Roberts, Orrin 
K. Scofield, Charles S. Scott, Daniel R. Shelton, Oscar Smith, 
William H. Smith, Asa Strickland, John C. Swords, Albert Van 
Tassell, Wheeler J. Veats, Albert Walker, George B. Waterman, 
Joseph Waterman, George Webb, William F. Webb, Charles H. 
Weed, Isaac Weed, John D. Wilcox, Henry Williams. 

On September 5th a call was issued for a meeting of the free- 
men of Danbury " who are in favor of the Union and the per- 
petuity of the Government, and who value the constitution and 
laws of our common country as the most priceless inheritance 
ever bequeathed by an honored ancestry, and who are in favor 
of a vigorous prosecution of the war against a wicked and im- 
provoked rebellion," to be held in Concert Hall on Saturday, 
September 7th. This call was signed by E. S. Tweedy, John W. 
Bacon, B. F. Ashley, John F. Beard, and over four hundred 
other citizens irrespective of party. On that day, at two o' clock 
in the afternoon, there were nearly one thousand people present 
under the elms in front of Hon. F. S. Wildman's residence. 
Hon. Roger Averill presided and made a patriotic speech on 
taking the chair. His theme was the preservation of the Union 
at all hazards. He introduced Rev. Samuel P. Seeley, of Albany, 
who spoke for over an hour in an eloquent, patriotic strain. 
D. B. Booth, Esq., presented a set of resolutions and a Pruden- 
tial Committee was appointed. 

Even at the time of the departure of Captain Skinner's com- 
pany, which became Company D, Seventh Regiment, a new com- 
pany was forming. On September 24th the new company elected 
G. M. Southmayd Captain, S. G. Bailey First Lieutenant, and 
C. H. White Second Lieutenant. This company, eventually 
named Company A, of the Eleventh Regiment, left Danbury on 
September 26th. It was a national fast day, and there was a 
very large crowd at the cars to see them off and bid them good- 
by. Keeping up the usages of the past, a large cavalcade 
escorted them on their march. Impromptu addresses were made 


by Messrs. Comstock, of Bethel ; L. S. Bamum and V. W. 
Benedict, of Danbnry, and a gentleman named Bradford, of 

They were mustered in on November 27th, 1861, and immedi- 
ately left for the front. The company roll was as follows : 

Captain, George M. Soiithmayd. 

First Lieutenant, Samuel G. Bailey. 

Second Lieutenant, Charles H. White. 

Sergeants : Henry J. McDonald, David B. Mansfield, Irving 
Stevens, Nathan Cornwall, Knowles H. Taylor. 

Corporals : Stansbury L. Barnum, Eben L. Bamum, Ira Tay- 
lor, Christian T. Post, Thomas Payne, Franldin Clark, Michael 
Eagan, George Cassidy. 

Musicians : Jacob L. Dauchy, Sylvester C. Piatt. 

Wagoner, Edwin Babbitt. 

Privates : Peter W. Ambler, David Andruss, Norris W. Bal- 
lard, Homer B. Barnard, Frederick Bassett, Samuel Bassett, 
Samuel B. Buxton, John B. Beardslee, Philo P. Bradley, George 
Bronson, Edward Burns, Lewis Carley, James Conboy, Edward 
Confroy, Patrick Cotter, Romeo Crittenden, John Case, Elias 
Cromwell, Edward Curtis, Sylvester De Forest, Samuel L. 
Dibble, William W. Dickens, Edgar A. Eastwood, Charles 
Edwards, Elijah Fields, Thomas Foley, Grandison D. Foote, 
Aurelius Fowler, Edwin B. Gage, Rhomanza Gage, Anthony 
Gilchrist, John P. Gillick, Clark Gorham, Daniel Gregory, Pat- 
rick Green, William H. Hamilton, Clark Hamilton, Isaac H. 
Hawley, John Hawkins, David A. Hoag, Edgar A. Hoyt, Will- 
iam F. Hoyt., Henry E. Hurd, Patrick Lannon, William Leach, 
Sylvester Lessey, Prentice A. Mallory, Joseph B. Mallory, 
William Mantz, James Melvin, William Milson, Charles O. Mor- 
gan, Orlando Morgan, Thomas Murphy, P. M. E. McGuinness, 
John McJohn, Philo S. Pearce, Christian Quien, John Quien, 
Aaron Robertson, Lorenzo D. Rockwell, Chauncey L. Rowland, 
John Ryan, James Sands, William Savage, Theodore A. Smith, 
Russell Smith, Isaac Smith, John H. Snifflns, Asa Stevens, 
Edward Stevens, John C. Thompson, Orrin C. Turner, Charles 
Turner, John Voorhees, Edward Walker, Benjamin Ward, Solo- 
mon R. Wheeler, William H. White, Cyrus A. White, John B. 
Winian, Theodore I. Winton. 

The company went into camp in Hartford. On October 8th, 


at a meeting of the company, they unanimously adopted the 
name of " Averill Eifles," in honor of Hon. Roger Averill, of 
Danbury. Mr. Averill highly appreciated the compliment, and 
on Thanksgiving Day, November 28th, he presented the com- 
pany with an elegant flag. There were from twenty-live to thirty 
of the company present, under command of Captain Southmayd. 
Concert Hall, where the affair was held, was packed with citi- 
zens. The company marched, headed by martial music, to the 
stage, where they were received by Mr. Averill. Mr. L. S. Bar- 
num stated the object of the meeting, and then Mr. Averill ad- 
dressed the Rifles. He welcomed them home on this day pecul- 
iarly interesting to New Englanders. It was gratifying to him 
to say, both from published statements and fi'om personal obser- 
vation in camp, that the Rifles had earned the respect and con- 
fidence reposed in them, and a rank among the most efficient 
and best-drilled companies that had gone into camp in the State. 
The speaker acknowledged the honor conferred upon him by the 
company in selecting a name, and as a slight token of his appre- 
ciation of the compliment he had procured the colors. Turning 
to Captain Southmayd he handed them to him, and then again 
addressing the company he charged them to guard it with zealous 
care. " If, in the battle, the standard-bearer should be shot 
down, let another brave man take it up, and with its folds wav- 
ing over the heads of the company, lead them on to victory. 
And should it be torn to ribbons, preserve as many of the shreds 
as possible, bring them back, and when you come we will give 
you such a welcome as never gi'eeted you before." 

Captain Southmayd being unable to speak a loud word by 
reason of a cold, Mr. L. S. Barnum responded for the company. 
He spoke in a very complimentary strain of the Rifles, for he 
had been two weeks in camp and knew what he had seen. The 
colors were taken in charge by Color Sergeant Irving Stevens. 
They were made of heavy silk, of regulation size, six feet by six 
feet eight inches, embroidered with heavy bullion gold fringe, 
and surmounted with two heavy gold tassels. On the top of the 
staff was a gold eagle with outstretched wings. The flag went 
with the company through the war, and was brought home with 
them. Lieutenant Peter W. Ambler was appointed custodian 
of the flag. 

Among the members of the company was Mr. Grandison D. 


Foote. Mr. Foote was in the first company of three months' 
men, and after retui-ning he went back to his trade of hatter in 
the Pahquioque Factory. The departure of the Averill Rifles 
was too much for him, and throwing down the implements of 
his trade he enlisted in the same company. They had already 
gone to Hartford, and there Mr. Foote joined them. On the 
afternoon of his departure his fellow-workmen gathered together, 
and Mr. WUliam Mansfield, in behalf of the men, presented Mr. 
Foote with a Bible with $20 in bills between the leaves. The 
Bible had embossed on the cover his name, company, and regi- 
ment. Mr. Foote responded, and then left for the cars. As the 
train passed the shop the whole force turned out, and he went 
by amid the cheers of the crowd. 

The Eleventh Regiment, of which Captain Southmayd's 
company was a part, left Hartford on December 17th, and ar- 
rived in New York on the same day. They were received by 
the Sons of Connecticut, an organization composed of those 
residents of that city who were originally from this State, and 
were escorted to the barracks at City Hall Park, where the men 
were sumptuously fed. The oflScers were entertained at the 
Astor House. 

On December 3d of this year, Andrew Knox, who had returned 
with the three months' men, was duly authorized to raise recriiits 
for the service. He immediately began the work, and in a very 
short time had secured forty-five volunteers. With these he 
reported at Hartford for duty on January 14th. They were 
assigned to Company B, of the First Heavy Artillery, which had 
then emerged from the Fourth Infantry. Nelson L. White was 
the lieutenant-colonel of this admirable regiment. Knox was 
made second lieutenant of the company, and was promoted 
shortly after to be first lieutenant. The roll of these recruits, 
who were assigned to Company B, was as follows : 

Second Lieutenant, Andrew Knox. 

Sergeant, Frederick Hubbard. 

Privates : Charles H. Anderson, Daniel N. Andrews, Gran- 
vUle W. Benedict, Henry Brown, Robert Brown, Patrick Clancy, 
Joseph P. Dayton, Milo Dickens, James Fitzsimmons, Edward 
Foley, Walter Grifiin, Thomas Hefren, William L. Hyatt, Jesse 
L. James, Ichabod E. Jenkins, George D. Keeler, James McDer- 
mott, Charles McDermott, John W. Miller, Alexander Miller, 


James Muldoon, Charles P. Nettleton, Philip O'Rourke, Fred- 
erick A. Osborn, Edward A. Osborn, William R. Potter, Samuel 
M. Petit, Alfred Piatt, George M. Roff, Thaddeus Rooney, 
G-randison Scott, Ely J. Sherwood, Thomas G. Sherman, Al- 
son J. Smith, Walter C. Sparks, John Sweeney, Charles Shep- 
ard, John C. Taylor, William Tillotson, Hiram Wood, George L. 

Dr. Eli F. Hendrick was an assistant surgeon in the First 
Heavies, and was afterward transferred to the Fifteenth Regi- 
ment Infantry. 

The second year of the war opened quietly in Danbury. There 
was little excitement. " All quiet on the Potomac" was the 
general answer to questions as to the state of affairs. Occasion- 
allj' little ripples of excitement would be caused by the return 
of some crippled veteran discharged becaiase of wounds, or the 
coming home of some sick soldier on a furlough to recuperate 
among his friends, and to go back with renewed health, 
energy and determination. There was a call for hospital sup- 
plies, and mittens for the soldiers. The writer remembers that 
in the Centre District School the scholars were allowed to 
pick lint as a reward for good behavior. The mittens were 
knit by the ladies, but as they had to have the forefinger sepa- 
rate from the rest of the hand, few knew how to do the work. 
Mrs. Eliza Botsford gratuitously taught all who came to her 
for instruction. Then there was a loud call for stockings and 
underclothing, and many a box filled Avith these articles went 
out from Danbury. 

A ladies' sewing society, organized for the purpose of prepar- 
ing articles of clothing and hospital stores, did a big work for 
the cause. Rev. G. M. Stone, pastor of the Baptist church, 
went to Washington on a tour of inspection, and when he re- 
turned he gave a lecture on his trip for the benefit of this society, 
which netted them $24. 

To relieve the monotony of the times the selectmen made a 
draft on Monday, January 27th. Ninety was the quota of Dan- 
bury, and the list drawn embraced the names of some of our 
leading business men. A large proportion of these either were 
excused, procured a substitute, or paid a fine of $10. These 
drafted men were not to go into the army, but were for an active 
State militia. The next week after the draft the selectmen 


received an order from the Governor suspending further action 
until the meeting of the General Assembly. 

On Monday, February 17th, news of the capture of Fort 
Donelson was bulletined in front of the telegraph office, and 
crowds surrounded the board, reading -with glad faces the news 
that the fort had been captured, together with fifteen thousand 
soldiers and several rebel generals. It was not long before the 
news was spread by the church-bells, and several pairs of en- 
thusiastic hands were blistered by the rope of the First Church 
bell. All the church-bells were rung, the factory whistles blew, 
and even the little bell of the Liberty Street school-house rang 
out the glad news. And as if these could not make noise 
enough, the cannon was brought out and during the afternoon 
was fired again and again. 

In the evening an impromptu meeting was held in the rooms 
of the Young Men's Christian Association. The President, Mr. 
WiUiam Mansfield, Rev. G. M. Stone, Rev. A. N. Gilbert, Rev. 
F. J. Jackson, Dr. Eli F. Hendrick, and others spoke eloquent 
words of congratulation and pleasure. 

In view of the encouraging news, Washington's Birthday was 
celebrated with even more enthusiasm than ever before or since. 
There was a meeting in Concert Hall in the afternoon, at which 
addresses were made by the clergy and others, and in the even- 
ing another meeting was held in the Disciples church, at which 
Rev. I. L. Townsend read Washington's Farewell Address, and 
Rev. A. N. Gilbert made a short speech. 

Again on Monday, May 2d, news of the fall of Norfolk and 
Portsmouth and the sinking of the rebel ram Merrimac made 
the enthusiasm of our Danbury people break forth anew. Bells 
were rung and cannon fired, and for days congratulations were 
extended to each other. On June 5th A. H. Hoddinot and 
I. N. Jennings, who had been in the hands of the rebels for sev- 
eral months, having been captured at Bull Run, arrived home. 
Their coming was the occasion of more excitement, and they 
were warmly greeted and made to tell their experiences again 
and again for the benefit of their friends. 

The two weeks before July 1st were weeks of agonizing sus- 
pense. McClellan was about to force the fight before Richmond, 
and the people expected that he would be successful in captur- 
ing the stronghold of the Confederacy. The result is well known. 

Dam. I I'nulE, St> PhKST >AMI E1. l«hLI>l, IM 11.1 



The failure disheartened the weak, but made stronger the strong. 
President Lincoln on July 1st called for 300,000 more troops. 
His call was supplemented by one from Governor Buckinghans 
calling for the enlistment of six regiments in the State. The 
call was received in Danbury with enthusiasm. A meeting was 
held in the law office of Lieutenant-Governor Averill on the 
evening of Wednesday, July 16th, and an address issued «s 
follows : 


"The people of our country have been called upon to add 
300,000 soldiers to the Army of the Union. The enemies of ora- 
Government are vigilant and active, and duty requii-es that they 
should be met with vigilance and activity on our part. Already 
the people of the State have arisen in response to the call, and 
men and money are being bestowed with no illiberal hand. You 
are asked to contribute your fathers, brothers, sons, yourselves to 
this glorious work. With the proud record which Danbury pre- 
sents, let it not be said that our patriotic old town is behind in 
furnishing her share to push forward the column. To do this 
our country needs fighting mkx, and for the purpose of assist- 
ing to obtain them, our citizens will meet in Concert Hall on 
Friday evening next at 7.30 o'clock. We know we need not 
urge a full attendance. 

" Gentlemen of distinction, among whom may be mentioned 
Governor Buckingham, are expected to be present and address, 
the meeting." 

This address was signed by fifty-six representative men of the 
town, among whom all parties were represented. It was no time 
for an exhibition of party spirit. The darkest hour of the Re- 
beUion was then at hand, and something more than the stagnancy 
of the past six months must ensue. 

The call was heeded. July 18th was a gala day almost. The 
town was alive with people in the afternoon, and numerous resi- 
dences were decorated with bunting, while every flag-staff car- 
ried its flag. At nine o'clock a special train carrying some of 
the prominent men of the town went down to Norwalk. There^ 
after a short waiting. Governor Buckingham was received and 
introduced to the committee. They took the special train back 


to Danbury. When they i^assed the Pahquioque Hat Factory 
a cannon roared out its welcome, supplemented by the sten- 
torian cheers of the small army of employes. In the afternoon 
the Governor, with Lieutenant-Governor Averill and others, 
visited Bethel, where a recruiting station had been for some time 

In the evening Concert Hall was not large enough by half to 
accommodate the crowd which had gathered in response to the 

When Governor Buckingham entered the hall leaning on the 
arm of Lieutenant-Governor Averill, the thousand people packed 
in that house, to a man, cheered and cheered again until from 
very hoarseness they were obliged to desist. Mr. Averill was 
called to the chau", and made a strong, patriotic speech in 
thanking them for the honor. He was followed by the singing 
of " My Country, 'tis of Thee," by the combined musical talent 
of Danbury and Bethel. Rev. A. N. Gilbert, then pastor of the 
Disciples church, made a speech, which for fervid eloquence and 
masterful power, equalled anything ever heard in the old hall. 
He was again and again interrupted with cheers. Another song, 
and then Dr. Hill, of Norwalk, addressed the meeting. His 
speech awoke many responsive throbs in the hearts of the au- 
dience. The address of Rev. Mr. Hoyt, of Rochester, N. Y., 
who was at the time supplying the pulpit of the Baptist 
church, was a mingling of pathos and humor, and closed with 
the recommendation that the people praise God with leaden 
bullets shot out of a gun as the old Covenanters' cannon praised 
Him with its booming discharge. 

The enthusiasm broke out anew when Governor Buckingham 
arose. There was a deafening storm of cheers and cries, which 
showed how warm a place the " War Governor" had in the hearts 
of the people. He spoke of the crisis upon them. He said he 
had come to Danbury for men, and the country must have them. 
As the Governor closed it was evident that the audience realized 
the importance of the occasion, and that his words had sunk 
deeply into their hearts. He was followed by Rev. John Craw- 
ford, whose remarks were to the effect that despondency was out 
of place. A speaker had used the word defeated. He did not 
like the word. We were not defeated, but would be conquerors. 
He called on the men to come and the women to give them up. 


He was cheered on closing. Rev. Mr. Clark, of New Fairfield, 
and Hon. D. B. Booth also spoke. Mr. Booth offered a reso- 
lution calling upon the selectmen to call a special town meeting 
to provide for the families of volunteers and to authorize the 
payment of bounties. 

When the speaking was over there was a call for volunteers. 
A tall man went forward. He had the typical military figure — 
taU, slim, straight. He wrote his name on the paper presented. 
It was the first name, and was read to the audience. It was that 
of James E. Moore. The announcement of this name was re- 
ceived with a storm of applause. Little did he who wrote it, or 
those who cheered it, anticipate the tragedy that a year later 
was to end his life. Other names rapidly followed, and the 
first step for the formation of the Wildman Guards was taken. 
The name was adopted in honor of our fellow-citizen, Frederick S. 

During the enlistment of men at the meeting a gentleman in 
the audience offered $25 for the next name. This was immedi- 
ately taken up by others, and several made similar offers, show- 
ing the liberality of our citizens. The meeting soon after closed 
with three cheers for General McClellan, and it was by far the 
largest and most enthusiastic meeting held during the war. 

The company which began its formation at that time was com- 
manded by Captain James E. Moore, and took the designation 
of " C" in the Seventeenth Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers, 
then being raised by this county, and the only distinctively 
Fairfield County regiment recruited. Its headquarters were at 
Bridgeport. August 28th it was mustered into the United States 
service, and on September 3d it left the State for the front. 

On the morning of July 28th Captain Moore left Danbury for 
Bridgeport with fifty men, for this was only the first detach- 
ment. Many were from Bethel, New Fairfield, Brookfield, 
Ridgefield, and Newtown. Squads of men were sent each week 
to the camp almost up to the date of their mustering into ser- 
vice. We give the roll of the company as it left the State : 

Captain, James E. Moore. 

First Lieutenant, Milton H. Daniels. 

Second Lieutenant, Henry Quien. 

Sergeants : William 0. Dauchy, Robert S. Dauchy, August E. 
Bronson, William L. Daniels, Bethel S. Barnum. 


Corporals : George Scott, Benjamin S. White, Edward S. War- 
ren, Eli Lobdell, George Dickens, William E. Baldwin, Henry E. 
Williams, Lewis A. Ward. 

Musicians : Justin S. Keeler,' Horatio G. Jenkins. 

Wagoner, Thomas McCorkell. 

Privates : James M. Bailey, Charles Brotherton, Orrin L. 
Bronson, Frederick H. Bussing, Charles H. Benedict, Charles S. 
Benedict, John H. Benedict, WOliam E. Benedict, George F. 
Bradley, David Bradley, Lewis Bradley, John W. Bouton, 
George W. Barber, Jarvis F. Beers, Alfred Bennett, Frank J. 
Benson, Theodore Blackman, Henry Booth, William H. Curtis, 
William Curtis, Charles G. Curtis, William A. Clark, William B. 
Clark, Samuel G. Clark, Amos C. Day, Samuel M. Downs, Smith 
Delevan, Charles T. Delevan, Thaddeus S. Edwards, Charles Z. 
Ferren, Leverett B. Fairchild, Alpheus B. Fairchild, Thaddeus 
Feeks, Joseph I. Foote, Francis H. Ferry, Robert W. Fry, Rob- 
ert Farvour, Frederick W. Goodale, John H. Grannis, John 
/Ganung, Louis B. Griffin, John W. Holmes, William Hiimphries, 
James A. Harmon, Ezra S. Hall, Oscar S. Jennings, Edgar L. 
Knapp, James Kyle, Norman Kellogg, Phineas C. Lounsbury, 
Theodore S. Morris, Joseph Maddock, John McCorkell, John 
McHugh, Edward H. Northrop, William F. Otis, Lewis P. 
Osborn, George S. Purdy, Daniel H. Purdy, Amos Raymond, 
Rufus S. Rice, Patrick Ryan, Charles S. Small, George Sears, 
Samuel G. Shepard, Ira Sherman, William H. Smith, Frederick 
S. Smith, David F. Stillson, Horace E. Tomlinson, Richard D. 
Taylor, Adam C. Williams, William H. Warren, Rufus Warren, 
Charles H. Wilcox, John M. Walters, Joseph S. Whitlock, 
Nephi Whitlock, Irenaeus P. Woodman, George L. Wood, George 
W. Wood, Charles Wooster, Moses A. Wheeler. 

The selectmen, in compliance with the resolution passed at 
the war meeting on July 18th, called a town meeting for the 
24th of that month. It was voted there to pay a bounty of $25 
to any resident of the town who had then enlisted, or who should 
enlist before August 20th, into the military service of the State, 
under the recent call of the Governor. 

On Saturday, August 30th, a large delegation from Captain 
Moore's company came up from Bridgeport, and were met by 
Captain Jenkins and his company, then forming, at the railway 
station. They were escorted to Concert Hall, where a little cere- 


mony was in store for them. This company being Danbury's 
favorite— if Danburians can be said to have had any particular 
favorites in the army during the war — the hall was crowded. 
Marching to the platform, Captain Moore arranged his men in 
line, and with Lieutenants Daniels and Quien stood in front, 
ready for anything that might come. Lieutenant-Governor 
Averill then stepped forward to the men, and in a few brief and 
appropriate remarks presented to each of the officers a handsome 
sword, in behalf of the citizens of Danbury. The recipients 
responded feelingly, calling out the warmest expressions of 
regard from the donors. The meeting then adjourned, and the 
members of the company returned to their families until Mon- 
day, when they went back to camp at Bridgeport, and left for 
the front on the Wednesday following, September 3d. 

Captain James A. Betts, of Company A, Fifth Regiment, was 
home during the latter part of August recruiting his health from 
the effects of his imprisonment, having been captured at the 
battle of Winchester, May 25th, together with Isaac Rogers and 
George Scott, of his company. Being a member of Union Lodge 
No. 40, F. and A. M., the fraternity purchased a handsome 
sword, which was presented to him at a lodge meeting Mon- 
day evening, September 1st. He returned to the front soon 

Our citizens also about this time sent to Second Lieutenant 
Theodore C. Wildman an outfit suitable to his office, he having 
been promoted from Orderly Sergeant in place of Lieutenant 
Thomas Hooten, killed. 

Danbury filled her quota under the call for 300,000 more men 
dated July 2d. Then came, on August 4th, the call for a draft 
of 300,000 more. It was decided by the State [authorities that 
volunteering could go on, however, and under this decision Cap- 
tain James H. Jenkins began the enlistment of a company, which 
was known as Company B, Twenty-third Regiment. This com- 
pany was enlisted for nine months, unless sooner discharged. 
The company left on a special train on Wednesday, September 3d, 
for camp at New Haven, and on November 16th it left the State. 
The muster roU is as foUows : 

Captain, James H. Jenkins. 

First Lieutenant, Frederick Starr. 

Second Lieutenant, William B. Betts. 


Sergeants : Henry I. Smith, Oliver R. Jenkins, Henry L. 
Read, Charles B. Pickering, Azariel C. Fuller. 

Corporals : John S. Thompson, John W. Hodges, Abel B. 
Gray, Elias N. Osborne, Horace Bourell, David B. Hoyt, Edwin 
Bamum, Robert S. Stratton. 

Musicians : Joseph D. Bishop, George L. Smith. 

Wagoner, John R. Smith. 

Privates : Edward Armstrong, Oscar W. Ambler, John D. 
Bell, Andrew Bell, Henry Barry, William E. Bailey, Joseph T. 
Bates, George C. Bradley, George Ball, William E. Barlow, 
Charles W. Crofut, Eugene Conklin, William E. Comstock, Theo- 
dore Clark, Francis F. Clark, William A. Carlson, Edward 
Cowan, William W. Downs, Frederick M. Dunham, George W. 
Deforest, Egbert W. Gilbert, Edwin M. Griffith, Charles Green, 
Reuben C. Hodge, Hiram H. Hodge, Charles H. Hoyt, Daniel E. 
Hoyt, William P. Hoyt, Graham E. Hull, Edward A. Hine, 
Henry Hawley, Clark Hawley, Hiram H. Hadden, George W. 
Hoyt, James G. Hagan, Augustus Kinner, Michael F. Knapp, 
John Knapp, Jr., Ira S. Knapp, Jacob Lehwald, Hiram Lock- 
wood, William P. Mallory, Richard M. Murray, James L. May- 
nard, Ira B. Manley, Lewis H. Northrop, John F. Noble, Benja- 
min H. Peck, Burton L. Roseboom, John M. Raymond, Henry 
B. Sturgis, William Smith, Theodore Sanf ord, Sylvester J. Scott, 
Oliver E. Trowbridge, Reuben Tompkins, Henry B. Veats, 
Oliver Wood, Frederick F. Wood, Abel M. Wheeler, Theodore 
M. Wheeler, Edgar Wygant, Ezra G. Wildman, Charles B. 

Soon after the departure of Company B, Company K was 
organized, and left for the same headquarters on September 
12th. Its muster roll is as follows : 

Captain, Samuel G. Bailey. 

First Lieutenant, Edwin H. Nearing. 

Second Lieutenant, George Quien. 

Sergeants : Charles H. Hart, Henry N. Fanton, Thomas Mac- 
kay, Edwin Hodge, John Allen. 

Corporals : Monroe Throop, Gilbert H. Campbell, Charles H. 
Frank, Fred S. Olmstead, Ira W. Beers, Frederick C. Barnum, 
Andrew Osborn, John H. Fanton. 

Musicians : Charles D. Nicholson, Henry A. Buckingham. 

Wagoner, James W. Hamilton. 


Privates : Henry Bayer, Elbert Barsley, Peter Bush, David 
Barnum, Frederick A. Bennett, William H. Bunnell, William E. 
Barker, George Bartram, James C. Croal, John A. Croal, Jolin 
W. Crane, Michael Carmody, Martin Davis, David Disbrow, 
Charles E. Disbrow, George Daines, Patrick Dunlavy, Henrj^ 
Daniels, Joseph E. Evarts, John C. Evans, Charles J. Fish, John 
Gaffney, Selah Gage, Michael Haviland, Frank A. Hulslander, 
Henry A. Hoyt, John Haberman, Russell Hatch, Philip Halpin, 
Jacob H. Husk, George A. Jackson, Nathan S. Miller, Stephen 
Monroe, Francis Mackay, Elnathan N. Mabie, Pliilo F. Mans- 
field, Richard Morrison, Francis MacAuley, Robert McNabb, 
Philander L. Perry, Henry Payne, George N. Peck, Sylvester C. 
Piatt, Thomas G. Robinson, George W. Rogers, Samuel Steven- 
son, Charles Sproal, George R. Selleck, Francis B. Smith, Fred- 
erick W. Stevens, Hanson C. Smith, Orrin Serine, James H. Tay- 
lor, George W. Truesdell, Henry B. Thomas, Lyman Taylor, 
Abel C. Tracy, Cyrus Wood, Selah T. Wheeler, Joseph Willi- 
mann, Ephraim G. Whitlock, George C. Whitlock, Lyman 
Whitehead, Moses Wheeler. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Gregory, of the State militia, was 
the adjutant of the regiment. 

Interest in the operations of the Army of the Potomac was 
intensified at this time by the return of Lieutenant-Colonel Nel- 
son L. White, who delivered a lecture in Concert Hall on the 
evening of September 26th, on the subject of his jDersonal experi- 
ences. His remarks were earnest, impressive, and eloquent. 
He alluded to General McClellan, then in command of that 
army, in terms of highest praise, and his references were received 
with unbounded enthusiasm. He closed by appealing to the 
young men to enlist at this critical juncture of the war, and rec- 
ommended the " First Heavies" in particular. 

The evening following this lecture Concert Hall was again 
crowded, Company B having come from New Haven for the 
purpose of receiving a present of swords for their commis- 
sioned officers. Lieutenant-Governor Averill was chairman. 
Rev. S. G. Coe, of the First Church, opened the meeting with a 
prayer, and then Rev. A. N. Gilbert made a lengthy speech, 
after which he presented the swords to Captain Jenkins, Lieu- 
tenants Starr and Betts, and to Adjutant Gregory. 

Each gentleman responded appropriately, and after re- 


marks by Rev. Messrs. Stone and Robinson, tbe meeting 

The departure of Company K, Twenty-third Regiment, closes 
the record of Danbury's contributions to the army as companies. 

The winter of 1862 and 1863 was uneventful. War and rumors 
of war were the only exciting events which stu-red the sluggish 
life of Danbury. Occasionally a soldier direct from the front 
would come home to recruit his health, and over and over again 
would tell his story of life in the camp or on the battle-field. 
Anxious friends Avould inquire after the boys, and would be 
disappointed if he did not know personally of the where- 
abouts of each Danbury man in the army. The papers of that 
time were filled with letters from the army, and many a heart 
was made glad and relieved of a heavy burden by their publi- 

On January 20th, 1863, news was received of the death of 
Ijieutenant -Colonel Stone ; and on February 22d a memorial ser- 
vice was held in the Baptist church for him who had ' ' fallen 
on sleep." 

In the early part of March Adjutant Samuel Gregory, of the 
Twenty-third Regiment, came home, having resigned on account 
of prolonged ill-health. Adjutant Gregory received from Col- 
onel Holmes, commanding the regiment, a letter of thanks from 
the boys for the constant care he exercised for the welfare of the 
regiment, and expressing their sorrow that he was obliged to 
leave them. 

Captain Moore, Sergeant Bronson, William O. Dauchy and 
Richard D. Taylor fell in the "baptism of fire" at Gettysburg, 
and the Fourth of July, 1863, was a sad day for Danbury. Her 
bravest and noblest sons had gone into this fight, strong in their 
bright manhood, and had come out leaving many of their com- 
rades dead or prisoners. The record of Captain Moore's com- 
pany shows its loss in that fight to have been the most serious 
sustained by any Danbury company in any one engagement. 
The company went into battle with forty-four members. Of 
these, eleven were killed outright or died shortly from the effects 
of the wounds. Eleven were otherwise wounded, and eleven 
were captured, leaving eleven survivors. 

On July 27th a town meeting was called to make appro- 
priations from the town treasury for the support of the fam- 


ilies of such persons as might be drafted and enter the service 
of the United States Government under the draft ordered. 
The meeting was largely attended. Hon. D. B. Booth occupied 
the chair, and a resolution was offered providing that each man 
drafted or providing a substitute should be paid from the treas- 
ury of the town the sum of $300. This was not exactly the idea 
of the meeting. This would enable any drafted man to pay a 
substitute with the town's money. A substitute to this reso- 
lution was offered, which we copy in full : 

^^ Resolved, That the town treasurer be and he hereby is 
authorized and directed to pay to the proper officer appointed to 
receive the same the sum of $300, for each person di-afted from 
this town into the service of the United States under an act of 
Congress entitled ' An act for enrolling and calling out the 
national forces and for other purposes,' provided such person is 
not otherwise exempt from the provisions of said act ; or the 
selectmen be authorized to draw an order on the same treasurer 
for the sum of $300 for each man so drafted, and that all moneys 
now in the hands of the treasurer or collector shall be paid upon 
these orders, and are hereby appointed for that purpose. 

'■'Resolved, That in case any person is drafted in accordance 
with said act and shall volunteer for three years or during the 
war, the treasurer of the town is hereby directed to pay to such 
person the sum of $300, instead of paying the same to the officers 
of the General Government for exemption. 

" Resolved, That for the purpose of carrying into effect the 
provisions of these resolutions, the selectmen of the town are 
hereby ordered and directed to borrow a sufficient amount of 
money upon the credit of the town for said pui-pose." 

A question of legality was raised, and finally it was referred 
to Mr. William F. Taylor, who said that his private opinion was 
that the appropriation contemplated would not be legal. But 
while the statute did not provide for such an act on the part of 
the town, it contained nothing expressly forbidding it. Other 
towns had made similar appropriations. The meeting then 
decided almost unanimously to take the risks, and the votes were 

For several weeks after this there was much discussion as to 
the legality of the meeting, many claiming that the meeting was 
attended and the votes passed by boys, non-voters, and strangers. 


Accordingly the selectmen called another meeting for August 
29th. The Town Hall was crowded, and the meeting of great 
interest. After expelling all non- voters from the room, it was 

" Voted, That there be paid to each of such volunteers here- 
after enlisting in the United service who are credited to the quota 
of this town, the sum of $300, provided that the number of said 
volunteers to whom said payment be made shall not exceed the 
quota of men called for and due from this town during the pres- 
ent war. 

" Voted, That the selectmen be and they are hereby author- 
ized to draw an order on the treasurer of the town for the sum 
of $300 in favor of each man who shall be drafted from this town 
into the service of the United States, under an act of Congress 
entitled ' An Act for Enrolling and Calling out the National 
Forces and for other Purposes' (and shall be sworn into the ser- 
vice of the United States), or shall procure a substitute to the 
acceptance of the Board of Enrolment. 

" Voted, That a sum not exceeding $1000 be and hereby is 
appropriated from the treasury of this town to be expended by 
Edgar S. Tweedy, Waters P. Olmstead, Frederick S. Wildman, 
and Orrin Benedict, at their discretion, for the purpose of sup- 
plying the necessary wants of the families of such persons in 
indigent circumstances as have died, or are now in their country's 
service from this town, and the committee shall receive no com- 
pensation for their services. 

" Voted, That the selectmen be and are hereby authorized to 
borrow such an amount of money as shall be necessary to carry 
the foregoing votes into effect. 

" Voted, That the selectmen be instructed not to draw any 
orders on the treasurer under the votes passed July 27th, 1863." 

On August 9th, 1863, its term of service having expired, the 
Twenty-third Regiment left New Orleans, and arrived in New 
Haven on the 24th instant. The two Danbury companies be- 
longing to this regiment reached home early the next morning. 
Owing to their unexpected arrival, no formal reception had been 
prepared, but later a public welcome was given them in the form 
of a picnic at the old camp-ground in Redding, now Putnam 
Park. The attendance of soldiers was not so large as could have 
been wished for — many were waiting in New Haven for their final 
pay ; but there was a goodly representation from Danbury, 


Bethel and Georgetown companies, and addresses were made by 
Lieutenant-Governor Averill, Rev. A. N. Gilbert and Messrs. 
Farnum and Judd, of Bethel. 

For the benefit of the sick and disabled soldiers the ladies of 
Danbury had always shown themselves interested. On Septem- 
ber 9th and 10th a fair was held in Concert Hall by Danbury 
ladies for this purpose, and the gross receipts, including money 
contributed, were $1217.19. Of this $924.59 were net profit. 
This sum was disposed of as follows : $700 were sent to the 
United States Sanitary Commission in New York, and the balance 
was contributed to the Soldiers' Aid Society of Danbury. This 
society also held an entertainment in December, the prominent 
feature of which was an old-fashioned kitchen. The net receipts 
of the affair were $150. 

In October Rev. E. C. Ambler, Chaplain of the Sixty-seventh 
Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, was in town, and on the 25th 
of that month the Methodist church was packed to hear his 
story of prison life. It was a vivid, graphic, and truthful nar- 
rative of his experiences while in the hands of the enemy, and 
his sentiments of patriotism and loyalty were several times 
applauded, despite the place and day. 

The summer of 1863 passed in Danbury with nothing but the 
draft and the battle of Gettysburg to relieve the strain on the 
nerves of the people. There was no movement for recruiting, no 
parades, no drills. The people quietly waited for the end, 
which they were confident was now near at hand. Gettysburg 
was pronounced the decisive battle of the war, and it was believed 
that the South could not much longer present a resistance to the 
Government forces. 

On Saturday, August 29th, Captain G. M. Southmayd pre- 
sented the sword he had carried when in service in the Eleventh 
Regiment to Lieutenant John Snifiin, of that regiment. When 
the captain resigned from the service he said to his men, in order 
to stimulate them to the largest exertions in the line of duty, 
that he would present his sword to the private who should first 
receive a commission. Lieutenant Sniffin was in town on the 
29th, and agreeable to promise, Captain Southmayd presented 
him with the sword. 

On Wednesday evening, September 30th, a public meeting, 
largely attended, was held in Concert HaU, and was addressed 


by Dr. Samuel T. Seelye, of Albany, a native of Bethel. His 
subject was the " Condition of Our Country," and a very fruit- 
ful topic it was at the time. 

The most exciting event in the fall of 1863 was the draft. It 
occurred in October, but it had been hanging over Danbury for 
a long time, occasioning the liveliest kind of distress to many 
people. The names were drawn by John Waters. The number 
enrolled for the draft were 712. The number required were 215. 
The drawing took place in Bridgeport, on Tuesday, October 
13th, and the result was awaited with intense anxiety by our 
citizens, but it was a misery that had plenty of company. 

Of the 215 selected to do honor to the town in the struggle for 
the Union, 120 were excused because of physical infirmity, or 
being the support of parents or young children dependent upon 
them, or getting a substitute, the last-named class greatly pre- 

Four days after the draft, on the 17th, the President issued a 
call for 300,000 more troops. This was a call for volunteers, and 
was in addition to what had been conscripted or were to be 
under preceding calls. A volunteer army was preferable to a 
drafted force, and having shown the people that it was in deadly 
earnest about getting troops, the administration believed enough 
would volunteer and get a bounty rather than to run the chance 
of being compelled to go without any compensation, to fill the 

But the call was a thunder-clap to Danbury, which had already 
contributed so largely to the Union Army, and there was a fear 
among those who had survived the draft that such difiiculty 
would be met in filling the quota of the town with volunteers as 
to necessitate another conscription. 

The volunteering, which was designed for the benefit of the 
depleted ranks of regiments already in the field, did not advance 
with any degree of the desired rapidity, and on Wednesday 
evening, December 15th, two months after the issue of Mr. Lin- 
coln's call, a large assembly of our citizens took place in the 
basement of Concert Hall, to devise means to hasten the enrol- 
ment. L. S. Barnum was chosen chairman of the meeting, 
which resolved to go to work to raise money for bounties, and 
appointed Edmund Tweedy, James S. Taylor, and A. N. Sharp 
to dispose of the fund to the best advantage. 


A committee of one in each school district was appointed to 
solicit subscriptions, and the amount collected was $3670. At 
this time some thirty volunteers had come forward, and it 
was doubted if the above sum would be sufficient to induce 
enough more to enlist to fill the town's quota under the call 
before January 5th following, which was the limit for the same. 

The remainder of the year 1863 passed quietly in Danbury, 
inhere being little of war interest beyond the possible draft tran- 
spiring in the village. 

On October 9th six members of Company C, Seventeenth Regi- 
ment, arrived in Danbury on a twenty-four-hour furlough from 
Governor's Island. They were exchanged prisoners, captured 
at Gettysburg, and were on their way to the regiment, then 
located in South Carolina. 

On Wednesday evening, December 9th, an entertainment was 
given in Concert Hall for the benefit of the Soldiers' Aid Society, 
and the amount netted was $150. 

On December 20th the Ladies' Soldiers' Aid Society completed 
its second year of existence, and made a report showing some- 
thing of the work it had done. The report gives the following 
list of articles gathered and sent in that time : 

Twenty-nine large boxes of hospital supplies and six kegs of 
pickles have been sent to the New York City branch of the 
Sanitary Commission. 

Two boxes of supplies and two kegs of pickles to the Colum- 
bian Hospital, Washington, D. C. 

One box of supplies to the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers, 
Port Royal, S. C. 

One box of supplies to the State Hospital, New Haven, Conn. 

Two boxes of supplies to the United States Hospital at An- 
napolis, Md. 

The following is a partial list of articles sent : 3247 rolls of 
bandages ; 110 pounds lint ; 93 bedquilts ; 605 cotton shirts ; 
65 new woollen shirts ; 240 pairs cotton drawers ; 72 pairs new 
woollen drawers ; 96 lander-jackets ; 69 dressing-gowns ; 171 
sheets ; 316 piUow-cases ; 21 woollen blankets ; 601 pocket- 
handkerchiefs ; 448 towels ; 98 woollen mittens ; 59 pairs slip- 
pers ; 211 pairs cotton socks ; 110 pairs new woollen socks ; 80 
coats, vests, and pants ; 182 pounds jellies ; 20 bottles of wine ; 
50 pounds dried fruit, besides corn starch, soap, farina, broma, 


wheaten grits, pincushions, reading matter, and many other 
useful articles of which no special account has been kept. 

The year of 1864 dawned unhappily upon Danbury. It is 
doubtful if January, 1861, was more surcharged with gloom. 
As intimated in the last paper the call for troops was not heartily 
responded to. About everybody who thought he could go to 
the war had gone. Volunteering appeared to be out of the 
prospect entirely. The to^vn looked for its supply to fill the 
quota and save drafting to the hiring of men at market prices. 
The market price was beyond the reach of most people. In New 
York $1000 was appropriated for each recruit. This had a bad 
influence on the market here. A man who enlisted simply for 
the money would take the highest price offered, of course, and 
was not particular to count on the quota of Connecticut if he 
could get more by enlisting from New York. 

The effort of the town had been directed to raising a fund 
sufficient to secure enough of these men to fill its quota. To this 
end appeals through the local press were made to the citizens, 
and canvassers were appointed to go about and solicit contribu- 
tions from those liable to military duty. 

Enlisting had been rather lively at the opening of December, 
but it died out materially before the month closed, and during 
the first week in January there were but twenty enlistments in 
the district embracing the counties of Fairfield and Litchfield. 

The quota of Danbury, as estimated at this juncture, was one 
hundred. Up to that time forty names had been secured, leav- 
ing sixty to raise. And the prospect for getting them and sav- 
ing another draft looked exceedingly slim. It was almost im- 
possible to secure substitutes at any price, and the fund the 
town held did not warrant paying a very high price. 

On January 5th, the limit of the time provided wherein the 
State should pay $300 bounty to every volunteer expired, but 
Governor Buckingham issued a proclamation on the 2d extend- 
ing the time to the 15th. 

On January 14th a town meeting was held to accept and pay 
the amounts expended in securing volunteers under the call of 
the October preceding. The bill presented was $2899. It was 
referred to an auditing committee, who reported at a meeting on 
the eighteenth which voted to pay the same. 

The expenses to the town for the sixty volunteers that had 


been so far obtained under the last call was at the rate of 
nearly $50 a man. This was in addition to the State and national 

On February 1st there came another call for 200,000 more 
men, to be got by draft if not filled on March 10th following. 
How much disti'ess this intelligence added to what already ex- 
isted our readers can imagine. 

In the first week in March the Adjutant-General of the State 
visited Washington to examine the records of the War Depart- 
ment as relating to the contributions to the armies from this 
State, and on comparing them with his own made the gratifying 
discovery that Connecticut was entitled to 1000 more men than 
it had been credited with. This not only made up its deficiency 
under the last calls, but left a small surplus over to be credited 
to those towns which had more than filled their quotas. This 
did not relieve the towns which had not tilled their apportion- 
ment from the possibility of a draft, but it staved off the prob- 
ability. As Danbury was one of these it breathed freer in the 
first week of March than it had expected to. 

The spring of 1864 passed quietly in Danbury. There was 
less of military movement, and consequently less of excitement 
than during any spring of the war. The draft that had been so 
long dreaded did not take place. It was called for March 10th. 
On that date Danbury had secured in recruits and the previ- 
ously drafted or their substitutes 160 men. The quota of the 
town was 176, and there were but 16 to secure to fill the quota. 
These were obtained shortly after by volunteering. 

The month of June opened lively in the matter of enlistments. 
There was an impending call for more troops. 

On Monday evening, the 13th, a meeting was held to devise 
means to raise volunteers. It was a matter of some doubt at 
this juncture as to the condition of the town toward its quota. 
If the re-enUsted volunteers were credited to the towns whence 
they originally went, Danbury would have an excess over the 
past quota of forty-six, which would apply to its apportionment 
in the coming call. If they were not thus counted for the towns, 
but applied on the State at large, then the town would be forty 
behind. It was subsequently settled that the re-enlisted men 
should apply to the town. 

The meeting was largely attended. A committee of five were 


appointed to devise means for filling the quota on the last and 
impending call. The number enrolled at this time was 1147. 

The committee recommended that an appropriation be made 
for the securing of volunteers, and a vote was passed author- 
izing the selectmen to borrow on the credit of the town, at not 
over 6 per cent interest, a sum not to exceed $5000, to be appro- 
priated by them in paying the expenses in filling the qiiota of 
the town under the anticipated call of the Government. 

On July 4th the dreaded proclamation was issued. It called 
for 500,000 men. Fifty days were allowed to fill this call by 
volunteering. All deficiency after that limit was to be made up 
l)y drafting. 

Under the call Danbury's allotment was 215 men. Deducting 
a surplus of 48 men, in excess of past quotas, there remained 
168 men to be secured. 

On Saturday, July 30th, a town meeting was held to further 
arrange for the enlistment of men. Several resolutions were 
presented, but only one was acted upon, and that was rejected. 
The resolution in question appointed a committee to ensure ex- 
emption, at the expense of the town, to every man subject to 
the draft who shall pay into the town treasury the sum of $50. 

The meeting adjourned one week for a further consideration 
of the subject. At this meeting two votes were adopted. The 
first authorized the selectmen to fill the quota in the way 
deemed best ; the second empowered them to bon-ow such sums 
of money as they found necessary to carry out the provisions of 
the first vote. 

One week later the selectmen decided to pay $300 to the family 
of each volunteer or substitute, or to the man himself if he had 
no family. 

On Monday, August 22d, a third town meeting in the interest 
of the momentous subject of filling the quota was held. In this 
gathering definite sanction was given to the paying of bounties, 
and the bounties themselves were defined. It was voted to pay 
every man who enlisted for one year the sum of $500 ; to every 
man who enlisted for two years, $600 ; and to every three-year 
volunteer, $700. It was further voted to empower the selectmen 
to borrow a sum not to exceed $100,000 to pay these bounties, 
and was still further voted to appropriate $10 for the expense of 
conveying each recruit to the place of rendezvous. 


It will be seen by this record of several town meetings how 
the approach of the draft stimulated the zeal of citizens, and 
opened the town's pocket. 

Owing to this liberal action of the town, volunteering started 
up with spirit, and on Monday, September 12th, the quota was 
filled and the draft averted. 

On Saturday, the 17th, a town meeting was held to provide 
for anticipated Government calls for troops, and it was voted 
that the selectmen recruit one hundred more men. At a sxibse- 
quent meeting it was voted to furnish substitutes for those who 
jiaid into the treasury $100, and loaned the town for six years 
on interest the amount required to secure such substitute. 

This ends the record of 1864. With the exception of the fight 
against the draft, which was certainly lively enough, the year 
passed in Danbury in a remarkably quiet manner. 

The last year of the war opened dully for Danbury. Through 
the month of January there was absolutely nothing happening 
either here or in the field to stir the sluggishness of the village. 
The first ripple came on February 1st, with a statement from the 
agents appointed by the town to secure volunteers. 

On the last call by the President for troops the quota of Dan- 
bury was figured to be about 130. The agents reported on Feb- 
ruary 1st that they had secured 40 recruits and 10 substitutes. 
Besides this number there was a surplus of 12 from the call 
which preceded the last, making a total of 62. This would leave 
a balance of 68 to obtain to fill the then determined quota. The 
recruits cost $143.65 each. 

In the town meeting on the 22d of the preceding August very 
large bounties were voted to encourage enlistments. On Feb- 
ruary 13th another meeting was held, and it was voted to in- 
crease the bounty for two years' and three years' men $50 beyond 
the sum fixed at the August meeting. Resolutions were pre- 
sented at the same meeting to give each drafted man who served 
$800, and $500 to each man who furnished a substitute. The 
former was tabled for future action, and was adopted at a meet- 
ing held on the 18th. The latter was rejected. 

Whether it was in the natural order of war events, or 
whether it was the act of the Danbury town meeting in 
generously putting forth such immense bounties, will never, 
perhaps, be known, but it is true that almost immediately 


after this meeting the South showed marked evidences of col- 
lapsing, and a few weeks later the break began in the surrender 
of General Lee's army. Those who might have enlisted for 
three years and received the $750 bounty would have had no 
service in the field, and it is not likely they would have had to 
leave the State. 

No more army movements were made in town. The drum- 
ming up of recruits, the fighting between the taxpayers over the 
bounties and other accessories to recruiting, the appeals to 
patriotism — all died away and became entirely lost. 

Saturday morning, April 15th, the news of the assassination 
of President Lincoln was received liere, and brought the same 
shock it carried to every community in the North. The bells 
of the churches were solemnly tolled. Flags were draped with 
crape and hung at half mast, and many places of business and 
residences put on mourning before the day closed. 

The next evening, Sunday, the congregations of the several 
churches assembled in the First Church, and addresses com- 
memorating the virtues of the dead man and mourning his loss 
were given by the clergy. 

At the hour of the funeral in Washington, at noon Wednes- 
day, the 19th, the jjeople of Danbury were called upon by the 
warden of the borough, J. Amsbury, to put their places of busi- 
ness and residence in mourning, so far as was possible, and to 
close all places of business from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., which was 

A funeral service was held at the First Congregational Church, 
and Bishop Williams conducted a special service at St. James' 

Although the war was now virtually ended, there was much 
work yet to do by the troops, and it was not until the middle of 
the summer that the regiments in which Danbury had companies 
began to return. No public demonstration greeted them as they 
straggled home, but each found a hearty welcome awaiting him. 

In all the towns of this suffering, enduring, brave little State, 
none present a grander war record than does Danbury. From 
the hour when the shame put upon Sumter thrilled her loyal 
heart, she never faltered in the way once set before her, and 
from out the tears that fall for those who, in the shock of battle, 
went the royal road to death, she looks with grateful pride 


upon the work so nobly wrought, and lays thereon her earnest 


Lieutenant-Colonel Stone. 

Henry Burton Stone was born in Troy, N. Y., on December 
2d, 1827. He was resident in Bethel in 1847, and having a taste 
for military affairs, enlisted on August 19th of that year as a 
private in Company B, Ninth Infantry, United States Regulars. 
By strict attention to duty he soon gained the rank of Orderly 
Sergeant. He served in the Mexican War, and was wounded, 
though not seriously, at the battle of Chapultepec. On return- 
ing from the field he once again entered the peaceful pursuits of 
life, and continued in these until the breaking out of the Civil 

In June, 1861, he enlisted in Company A, Fifth Connecticut 
Volunteers, and was mustered into service as Captain on July 
22d of the same year. His promotion to the rank of Major fol- 
lowed on October 23d, and on July 12th, 1862, he was made 
Lieutenant-Colonel. He was wounded at the battle of Cedar 
Mountain, on August 9th, 1862, and taken to Delevan Hospital, 
at Charlottesville, Va., where he died on January 20th, 1863, 
and was buried on Virginia soU. Loved by many, respected 
by all, he has left a spotless record of bravery and honor. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Moegling. 

William Christian Moegling was born in Stuttgart, capital 
city of the Kingdom of Wiirtemberg, Germany, on October 30th, 
1834. He came to America early in 1854, and to Danbury in the 
autumn of 1857. At the outburst of the Rebellion he was one 
of the first to offer his services, and went to the front with Com- 
pany A, of the Connecticut Volunteers. After the battle of BuU 
Run he wanted the company to take a vote to stay untU the war 
should be ended, but it refused. Mr. Moegling was Sergeant 
when mustered out of service. 

When new regiments were formed the Adjutant-General in 
Hartford told Mm that if he could enlist a company he should 

* The military record of Lieutenant-Colonel White will be found in the History 
of the Bar, Chapter XXXVI., and that of William C. Bennett, M.D., and E. F. 
Hendrick, M.D., in Medical History, Chapter XXXVII. 


be given the command of it. In two weeks the quota was mus- 
tered in at Hartford, with Mr. Moegling as Captain. This was 
Company C, the banner company of the Eleventh Regiment, 
under command of Colonel Kingsbury. 

After the battle of New-Berne, N. C, Mr. Moegling was pro- 
moted Major. At the battle of Antietam he was wounded and 
came home, but went again to the front, just in time to take part 
in the battle of Fredericksburg, Va., where he was sUghtly 

In 1863, the two years' time of the regiment being expired, he 
was stationed in New Haven as mustering officer, after which 
he went at the head of his old regiment, the Eleventh Connecti- 
cut Volunteers, for a three years' stay. From this time the regi- 
ment had hard service, and was engaged in a number of battles, 
of which the light at Cold Harbor was most severe. At a later 
engagement his foot was struck by a piece of shell, when he 
went to the hospital, where he sickened with fever and was 
brought to Danbury, where he died on his thirtieth birthday, 
October 30th, 1864. He was buried with all military honors. 

Captain Moore. 

James E. Moore was born in April, 1820, at York, Pa., of a 
line of patriots. When the war cloud arose upon our Southern 
border, he enlisted in April, 1847, at Cincinnati, in the Fourth 
Ohio Volunteers, and as color-bearer served until the close of 
the Mexican War. 

A resident of Danbury at the commencement of the Civil War, 
he raised a company which joined the Third Regiment Connecticut 
Volunteers for three months, and formed a part of the few heroic 
souls who did something to redeem the disastrous day at Bull 
Run, for they stopped at Centreville and came back to Washing- 
ton as a company, saving, in connection with their regiment, a 
large amount of Government property. His short term of ser- 
vice having expired, he returned home. 

In the summer of 1862 Captain Moore raised a company who 
enlisted for three years as color company in the Seventeenth 
Regiment Connecticut Volunteers. Requesting to be sent to 
the front from the monotonous garrison duty at Baltimore, he 
was stationed at Thoroughfare Gap, in the Virginia Mountains, 
where, owing to exposure, many of his men became Ul. His 


constant devotion to them won for liim the endearing title of 
the " father of his company." 

At Chancellorville this company formed a part of the Eleventh 
Corps, and after following the enemy through unparalleled 
marching achievements they overtook Lee at Gettysburg, and 
immediately went into battle. The Seventeenth Connecticut 
Volunteers was the first regiment of the Eleventh Corps sent 
forward as skirmishers, and met with courage and steadiness the 
fierce attack of the foe. Captain Moore fell while rallying his 
men on July 1st, 1863. His remains were sent home and buried 
with all honors, the vast concourse at the funeral attesting the 
high place he filled in the esteem of his feUow-citizens. 

Captain Starr. 

Samuel Starr, of the Third Missouri Eegiment, was buried 
from St. James' Episcopal Church on April 4th, 1864, with mili- 
tary honors. 

Captain Hall. 

Henry C. Hall, of the Eighth Regiment, was killed at Peters- 
burg, Va., and buried from the Methodist Church in Danbury, 
on Sunday, July 24th, 1864. Military honors. 

Captain WJiite. 

Selleck L. White, of Long Ridge, was killed at Deep Bottom, 
Va., and buried with honors from his home in Long Ridge on 
September 11th, 1864. 

Lieutenant Stevens. 

Jesse D. Stevens was born in England, August 3d, 1831 ; came 
to America when only three years old, and passed most of his 
life in Danbury. He was Lieutenant of the Wooster Guards, 
and largely instrumental in enlisting that company. His health 
broke down after he had been vsdth the army for three months, 
and he was obliged to return home, greatly to the distress of his 
loyal spirit. 

At the time of his death on June 20th, 1889, he was Secretary 
of the Knight Templars, Treasurer of the International Hatters' 
Association, and one of the selectmen of the town ; also a mem- 
ber of James E. Moore Post, No. 18, Grand Army of the 


Lieutenant Hooten. 

Thomas Hooten was killed at the battle of James Island, S. C, 
on June 16th, 1862. On July 7th memorial services were held 
in Danbury, at the rooms of the Young Men's Christian Asso- 
ciation, of which he was a member, and suitable resolutions of 
sorrow and sympathy were passed. 

Lieutenant Starr. 

Frederick Starr was born December 16th, 1819. He enlisted 
in the Civil War, and was wounded at the battle of La Fourche 
Crossing, in Louisiana, about three days before his death, which 
occurred on June 24th, 1863. 

Lieutenant Stevens. 

S. S. Stevens, of the Sixth Regiment, was killed at Fort Wag- 
ner, in July, 1863. His remains were brought to Danbury the 
following Js'ovember, and buried from the Universalist Church 
with military honors. 

Lieutenant Umerstone met death in Virginia, and was buried 
in Danbury, October 29th, 1864. 

Dr. Joseph Williman, Surgeon of the Twenty-third Regiment, 
was buried from the First Congregational Church on November 
9th, 1863. 

Sergeant Marsh. 

John Marsh was a native of England and served in her army 
during the Crimean War. This experience and his knowledge of 
military matters enabled him to render efficient service in drill- 
ing recruits. It is generally conceded that he was the first Con- 
necticut soldier killed in the war. He fell in the battle of BuU 
Run, on July 21st, 1861. He was noted for his bravery, and be- 
loved by all. 

George E. Ives. 

George Edward Ives, the son of George W. and Sarah H. Ives, 
was born in Danbury, August 3d, 1845. He early exhibited a 
marked taste for music, and received a thorough musical educa- 
tion in New York, graduating in June, 1862. At that time, 
though only seventeen years of age, at the request of Colonel 


Nelson L. White, he raised among his German musical acquaint- 
ances in New York the Connecticut Volunteer Band. With the 
First Connecticut Heavy Artillery, under General Tyler, this 
Volunteer Band, under the leadership of Mr. Ives, went into the 
war, and remained unbroken until mustered out at the close of 
the war, when Mr. Ives returned to Danbury, where he resided 
until his sudden death on November 5th, 1894. At that time he 
held the positions of Cashier and Director in the Danbury Sav- 
ings Bank, of which his father was one of the founders. 



Dedication of Wooster Moniiment. 

On April 27th, 1854, was unveiled and dedicated the Wooster 
Monnment. Early morning saw the streets filled with people, 
and from every avenue of approach new crowds appeared anx- 
ious to participate in honoring the memory of General Wooster 
by the dedication of this monument commemorative of his mili- 
tary services. 

Ten thousand people were in the town, and many dis- 
tinguished visitors, among them Governor Pond, ex-Governor 
Cleveland, Mrs. Sigourney, the poetess, and Hons. Charles 
Chapman and Thomas B. Butler. The military was represented 
by five companies and many prominent officers. Revolutionary 
soldiers were present in the procession. The Masonic fraternity 
was, of course, in the majority. Forming the column at the 
corner near the Wooster House, they were marched down Main 
Street, and countermarched through several side streets to the 

At the south gate the procession, which consisted of four 
divisions, halted. The first division, composed of military, 
opened ranks, and the Governor with his staff, the distinguished 
guests, and the Masonic bodies marched through and up to the 
monument. Here the ofiicers of the Grand Lodge formed around 
the stone, and an ode composed for the occasion was sung. Rev. 
Brother Willey, Grand Chaplain, made a prayer, and then the 
Grand Master ordered the Grand Treasurer to make the deposits 
in the box.* The Grand Secretary deposited the box in the 

* The contents of the box were a Bible ; copies of the United States and State 
Constitutions ; Journal of the last (Jeneral Assembly ; Masonic Grand Lodge report ; 
names of State officers and members of the General Assembly ; co])}' of the speech 
of Hon. John Cotton Smith in the House of Representatives, during the passage of 
the resolution making an appropriation for the monument ; pieces of American 


stone, and the stone was let down, while an ode to Masonry was 
sung. The Grand Master next received from the Master Archi- 
tect the proper tools and applied them in ancient form, and the 
contents of the gold and silver vessels were poured upon the 
stone, after which the Grand Master invoked the Divine blessing, 
to which all responded Amen. The contents of these vessels 
were corn, wine, and oil, signifying peace, health, and plenty. 
After the stone had been struck three times with the gavel, the 
brethren present gave the grand honors, three times three. The 
Grand Secretary then waited upon the Governor and informed 
him that the chief stone of the monument had been laid and 
awaited his inspection. David Clark, the Grand Master, made 
a short address upon Masonry, which was responded to by the 
Governor at some length. The procession then reformed and 
marched to the First Congregational Church, when Brother 
Henry C. Deming delivered the oration. 

The church was crowded to its utmost capacity, and then the 
audience composed but a small portion of those who wished to 
hear the speech. At its close the procession marched to the 
Wooster House, where a dinner was served in the pleasant green 
dooryard of that day, which only a "green memory" of tlds 
day can reproduce or a vivid imagination picture. 

On the summit of the gentle slope near the entrance of the 
cemetery stands the monument unchanged, looking out over the 
city. This monument, entirely of brown freestone, stands on a 
solid platform about twenty feet square ; at the corners are mas- 
sive stone posts which support an iron railing. The plinth is 
richly moulded, with the name of Wooster in raised letters upon 
the south side. A finely sculptured relief represents the General 
as falling from his horse at the moment he received the fatal ball. 
Above this the arms of the State appear, and higher still the 
main shaft is ornamented with a trophy consisting of sash, 
sword, and epaulettes. On the opposite side are appropriate 

coin ; Continental bills ; a daguerreotype of General Wooster ; the bullet by which 
he was supposed to have been killed ; copies of the New York Tribune, Herald, 
Times, and Danbury Times ; documents from the New York Deaf and Dumb Insti- 
tute. There is some doubt concerning this bullet. When the supposed site of 
Wooster's grave was opened, a bullet was thrown out with the bones. Some people 
to-day claim that this bullet was carried there, dropped, and then picked up to 
prove (?) the grave of Wooster authentic. It has since been removed from the box 
and sent to Hartford to be preserved among the historical relics of the State. 


Masonic and military emblems. The whole is surmounted with 
a globe on which stands the American eagle bearing in his beak 
the wreath of victory. 

Early in the evening of this day a terrific storm broke over 
the town. The rain fell heavily, and, added to the large quan- 
tities of snow upon the ground, caused a freshet such as had 
never been seen here before. The dam of Oil MUl Pond was 
carried away, and with it two other dams. A factory used as a 
comb shop, the dam at White' s fur factory, and one at what is 
now known as Hurlbutt's Pond were broken away. A portion 
of the dam connected with the factory of Wildman & Crosby, on 
Main Street, was swept away, and the bridge on Main Street was 
partially destroyed. The bridge crossing the river below was 
taken away, but the " Barn Plain" bridge, afterward destroyed 
by the Kohanza disaster in 1869, withstood the combined attacks 
of the waters and the floating timbers. 

The comb shop of A. T. Peck was swamped. The railway 
bridge, just below him, remained on three legs, and here was 
lodged the upper story of the bridge which had been near the 
old carriage factory. From this point to South Norwalk there 
was but one uninjured bridge. The track was washed badly, 
and it was ten days or more before trains ran over it regularly. 
At Beaver Brook the water cut away the embankment on the 
east side of the dam at the old grist mUl, and from this point 
on Still River to the Housatonic, every bridge was swept away. 
The stream across West Street, near Benedict & Montgomery's 
factory, was swollen beyond all precedent, but by well-directed 
efforts the factory was saved from destruction, though the foun- 
dation walls on one side were laid bare and undermined, and a 
channel some three yards wide and eight feet deep was ploughed 

The Soldiers' Monument. 

As early as 1862 the project was started. It may seem strange 
to us at this day that a monument to commemorate the fallen 
soldiers in the war for the Union should have been suggested 
before the war was one fourth done, but at that time the close 
of the war seemed drawing nigh and the dawn of peace at hand. 
The project was of the women of Danbury, and they worked 
faithfully for its completion, despite the pressure upon them of 
other cares and duties incidental to that critical time in our his- 


tory. We who in a time of peace, with the channels of business 
unclogged, have seen how difficult it was to raise additions to 
this fund, can comprehend in some degree the magnitude of this 
task. Through the year the association gave a series of enter- 
tainments to raise a fund, and netted therefrom the sum of 
$1070.94. The amount was invested by William H. Tweedy, 
who in 1873 turned it over to the association with accumulated 
interest, making the total amount $1901.18. 

Two years passed without any special action being taken. In 
October, 1875, Charles H. Merritt was elected president of the 
association, and three trustees were chosen, these being Lyman 
D. Brewster, Mrs. Theodore T. Tweedy, secretary and treasurer, 
and Miss Elizabeth WUdman. These trustees invested the 
money in the Danbury Savings Bank. 

In April, 1878, the matter was again revived ; the trustees 
reported the fund to be at this time $2183.28, and contributions 
were solicited from the public. At this time a discussion was 
begun as to the site for the monument, the two locations being 
Concert Hall Square and the cemetery. This discussion was 
continued for some time in the columns of the News, and on 
Thursday evening, May 9th, a public meeting was held in the 
Grand Army of the Republic Hall, when the two parties pre- 
sented their views. In July committees from the association and 
the Grand Army of the Republic voted that all contributors 
should give their preference for the site with the sums donated. 
The result was not satisfactory, nor was that attained through 
other channels. As a final result, a borough meeting was called 
at which a request for necessary space for the monument in Con- 
cert Hall Square was submitted. The vote was to determine the 
site. If the request was rejected, the monument would be placed 
in the cemetery. 

A year later, in 1879, a meeting was held, and the space in 
Concert Hall Square was appropriated with but one dissenting 
vote. On April 1st of that year a design for the monument was 
received from Carpenter & Raymond, of Dayton, O., and was 
accepted on July 1st at a price of $3500. 

On May 30th, 1879, a committee of citizens was appointed to 
act with the Monumental Association, and on March 17th, 1880, 
the committees announced the fund to be complete. Danbury 
was gay with flags and colors on May 27th, 1880, the day set 


apart for the unveiling of the Soldiers' Monument. The president 
of the day was Hon. Roger Averill ; the marshal of the day was 
General James Ryder. Among distinguished guests present were 
Governor Charles B. Andrews and staff ; Generals Harland, Wes- 
sells, Sloat, and FuUer ; Colonels Dean, Morse, Coe, and Fox ; 
Major Swan, ex-Secretary S. D. Stanton, General Smith, brigade 
commander, with his staff ; Major-General Couch, ex-Governor 
Miner, Treasurer Baker, Hon. David Clark, Judge A. B. Beers, 
and the department officers of the Grand Army of the Republic. 

Visiting posts were from Bridgeport, Norwalk, South Nor- 
walk, Stratford, Sandy Hook, and Winsted. Water Witch 
Hose Company, of New MUford, was also present. The proces- 
sion contained one thousand men. It made a fine appearance 
with waving banners and marching to the martial music of the 
various bands. 

After reaching the monument the troops were massed around 
it, every available spot in the neighborhood being thronged with 
expectant crowds. Prayer was offered by the Rev. A. C. Hub- 
bard, after which the monument was unveiled by Miss Minnie E. 
Moore, daughter of Captain James E. Moore, of Danbury, who 
fell at the battle of Gettysburg. Governor C. B. Andrews made 
a short but stirring address, after which Mr. Averill introduced 
the orator of the day, Hon. Samuel Fessenden, who delivered a 
glowing oration. 

In the evening exercises were held at the Opera House, when 
an address was given by James Montgomery Bailey, the greater 
part of which the reader will find woven through his report of 
the CivU War.* Mr. W. A. Croffutt was the poet of the even- 
ing, filling this position in an altogether satisfactory manner. 
The singing of the ' ' Battle Hymn of the Republic" ' closed one 
of the eventful days in Danbury's history. 

The details of the day, addresses, oration, and poem will be 
found in the Danbury News of date May 27th, 1880. 

* The following is from the description of the day, written by Mr. Bailey in his 
own style for the News : "As early as Tuesday the hammer of the decorator was 
heard in the land, and the effect to-day in the bright sunlight is fine indeed. Yester- 
day afternoon the man of the house with the hammer, and his wife with advice, 
began to be real busy, and as early as five o'clock this morning they were at work 
again. When the procession passed, the man, with his thumb in a rag, and the 
woman, clad in a cool muslin, stood out at the front. This is the difference between 
a hammer and advice." 

Mrs. M. M. fnoFFix. 
Mrs. Frederick S. Wii.dman. 

Mrs. Thei.i.ork S. Tweed 
Mrs. EnciAK S. Tweedy. 


This monument is of Westerly granite, and is thirty-two feet 
in height. It is a circular column resting upon six pieces, con- 
sisting of lower base, plinth, mould, die, cap, and column mould, 
which make a combined height of ten feet. The column is 
twelve feet high, with a diameter of twenty-six inches ; the cap 
surmounting the column is two feet, and upon this stands the 
figure of a soldier five feet, eight inches high, bearing a flag in 
his right hand, while against his left side rests a cavalry sword. 
This figure is of Italian marble, and was carved in Italy. 

On the die facing Main Street is the following inscription : 

" To Our Brothers, 

Beloved, Honored, Revered, 

Who Died that 
Our Country might Live." 

On the West Street face we read : 

" The Defenders 


The Union." 

The shaft is encircled with a band on which are engraved the 
names of battles, as follows : " BuU Run, Wilderness, Antietam, 
Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, ChanceUorsville, Appomattox, 
Petersburg, Port Hudson." 

Monument to the Heroes in Unknown Graves. 

Near the entrance of the beautiful Wooster Cemetery stands a 
fine monument erected by the James E. Moore Post to the 
memory of our heroes in unknown graves. The corner-stone of 
this monument was laid on Decoration Day (May 30th), 1893, 
with appropriate ceremonies. The introductory address was 
made by Post Commander N. B. Rogers. Edmund Tweedy, on 
behalf of the Cemetery Association, presented the plot for the 
monument, and Department Commander W. D. Rogers, of Meri- 
den, accepted the gift for the James E. Moore Post. Comman- 
der A. J. Smith, on behaK of the Monument Committee, pre- 
sented the foundation-stone, which was accepted by Comrade 
George R. Bevans in behaK of the post. 

On Decoration Day, in 1894, the completed monument was 


dedicated, with the city in gala attire and a large and imposing 
parade. Governor Morris and other State officials were present. 
Mr. Joel Foster, in a few well-chosen words, stated the cause for 
the assemblage. Rev. A. F. Pierce pronounced a fervent invo- 
cation, and " Old New England" was sung by a double quartette. 

Mr. Henry N. Fanton formally presented the monument to the 
State and city with impressive words. Governor Morris made 
the speech of acceptance for the State, and Mayor Andrews for 
the city. Mr. John W. Bacon accepted the monument for the 
Cemetery Association. " America" was sung, and the exercises 
closed by an address by Hon. Augustus Fenn, of Winsted, on 
" The Unknown Soldiers and Sailors Dead." 

On the front and rear faces of the monument are the words 
" In Memoriam." On the front is a tablet on which is inscribed 
"Danbury's Memorial to her Soldiers and Sailors who Rest in 
Unknown Graves." Above this tablet is one bearing the names 
of some of those we honor to-day. Above the names is the in- 
signia of the navy — a windlass, sheeve-block, and anchor backed 
by crossed swords. On the back is the insignia of the army, a 
shield of Stars and Stripes surrounded with a laurel wreath, and 
backed by crossed swords. The cross bears a large badge of the 
Grand Army of the Republic, with the letters G. A. R. upon 
the three points. 

From the ground to the top of the statue the distance is four- 
teen feet. The base, cap, and die are of blue granite ; the figure 
of the soldier that crowns the monument is of Westerly granite.* 

* The Danbuiy I^ews of date May 30tli, 1894, contains a detailed account of tlie 
ceremonies of the day. 



In extent and topography the grounds of Wooster Cemetery- 
are not excelled by any burial-place in Connecticut. There are 
eighty-three acres in the enclosure. It is rolling land, with a 
number of broad plateaux, is abundantly shaded, has attractive 
drives, and a lake dotted with verdant islands. 

The first officers of the society were Frederick S. Wildman, 
President ; Lucius P. Hoyt, Secretary. The directors were 
Edgar S. Tweedy, G-eorge W. Ives, Nelson L. White, S. A. 
Hurlburt, Henry Benedict, and Samuel C. Wildman. 

The Danbury Cemetery Association was organized in Novem- 
ber, 1850, under a law of the State relating to cemeteries. The 
shares were $25, and there were sixty shareholders. The first 
purchase of land was made in December of that year, sixteen 
acres from William H. Clark for $300, and five and one quarter 
acres from Colonel E. Moss White for $80. 

In November, 1867, the Association purchased of the late 
William Augustus White about thirty-five acres at $35 per acre. 

The natural diversities of this ground have lent themselves to 
the good taste of those who have made this beautiful cemetery 
of to day, but it has required years of constant care and tireless 
energy, and these were freely given by the three good men whose 
names are graven on the tablet of the Memorial Chapel "just 
within the gates," and who rest quietly in this place which they 
made beautiful. 

The shade ti'ees are numerous and varied, the grass is green 
and thick, and everywhere are evidences of loving thought and 
care for those who have gone before. The pretty curving lake 
fills the place where once was a swamp thick with bogs and 
bushes, and the drive about it is shaded by trees, where the birds 
" swing and sing" in the spring time. 

On April 27th, 1854, the Wooster Monument was dedicated 


with appropriate ceremonies, to perpetuate the memory of Gen- 
eral Wooster. 

In 1862 the reception vault was built, and four years later the 
massive stone columns at the entrance of the cemetery were 
erected. The grounds were laid out and improvements made by 
and under the direction of George W. Ives and Edgar S. Tweedy. 

Mr. Ives departed this life in 1862. His remains rest on the 
northern point of the main ridge, beneath a granite cross of 
simple design, on the base of which is inscribed the following 
testimonial from his fellow-citizens : 

" This monument is erected to George W. Ives by his friends 
as a testimonial of his services in laying out and beautifying this 
cemetery, and in remembrance of his public and private Avorth." 

After his death Mr. Tweedy had the sole supervision of the 
grounds until his death in 1893. 


Mr. Ives, to whom reference is made in this sketch, died on 
December 10th, 1862. In the issue of December 17th the local 
paper gave this record to his life and worth : 

" We are called upon this week to record the death of Mr. 
George W. Ives, which occurred at his residence last Thursday 
afternoon, after an illness of some three or four months. 

" In the death of Mr. Ives our community is called upon to 
mourn the loss of one of our most valued and respected citizens. 
Born in the city of New York, he more than thirty years ago 
adopted this, his ancestral town, as his permanent residence. 
At the time of his removal here he was a member of the well- 
known hat firm of Leary & Co., of New York, and retained an 
interest in their business until within a year or two of his death. 
For some years Mr. Ives was a director in the Danbury Bank, 
was the Treasiirer of the Danbury Savings Bank until quite 
recently, and was, and had been from its first organization, Treas- 
urer of the Danbury and Norwalk Railroad Company. Since 
his residence among us he has been foremost in every public im- 
provement designed to benefit and adorn our village, among the 
most prominent of which may be mentioned the Wooster Ceme- 
tery, laid out by him, and which will endure as a monument of 
the public spirit and cultivated taste of the deceased long after 
his name shall only be recalled as from the dim past. 

FrEDERU K S. T\"lI.DMA>r. 

Ge<». W. Ives. Edgar S. Tweedy. 



" His purse was ever open to assist the needy, and no one was 
ever sent away from his door empty-handed. Unostentatious in 
his manners and social intercourse, he preserved his own self- 
respect, while he regarded every man his equal. He carried 
within his breast a heart large enough to embrace the whole 
human family. An unflinching hater of wrong and oppression 
of every kind, he was always found in defence of the weak and 
oppressed. A firm friend, a kind neighbor, an honest man 
has passed away. 

"The body of the deceased was laid in the cemetery, the 
grounds of which he had done so much to adorn." 


Mr. Tweedy, who was closely associated with Mr. Ives in 
advancing the interests of Wooster Cemetery, took entire charge 
of the work upon the death of Mr. Ives. Mr. Tweedy died 
March 10th, 1893, just thirty-one years after the death of his 
fellow-worker. The Evening Neios of March 11th publishes 
this record of his life and worth : 

" Mr. Tweedy was born in this city May 23d, 1808. At the 
age of fourteen he went to New York City and became clerk in 
the store of Prosper M. Wetmore. He remained in New York 
until he was twenty years of age, when, suffering from a severe 
cough which threatened to permanently undermine his health, 
he returned home. Later he became a partner in the firm of 
Hoyt, Tweedy & Co., hat manufacturers in Danbury, which 
firm had a store in Charleston, S. C. 

*' Mr. Tweedy was never very actively engaged in business 
pursuits. He was not strong physically, although his erect figure 
and quick step gave no indication of this. 

' ' But in all enterprises looking to progress and betterment of 
the town, and in all works of charity, he was particularly active. 

" He was one of the incorporators of the Wooster Cemetery in 
1850, was elected Vice-President of the Association, and after 
the death of George W. Ives, in 1862, was the superintendent of 
the grounds, and served in this ofiice until 1889, when advanced 
age obliged him to retire from its duties. All this time he was 
unremittent in his labors to make this city of the dead the 
beautiful place it has become, and has lived to see the fruit of 
his labor. 


"He was active in the organization of the Danbury and Nor- 
walk Railway, Danbury's first railway ; was its secretary, and 
for twenty-five years served as a director of the company. 

" He was one of the organizers of the Danbury Gas Light 
Company, and for a long time served as a director. He was one 
of the incorporators of the Danbury Bank, now the Danbury 
National Bank, and was on the Board of Directors. 

" He was chosen President of the Danbury Library when it 
was established, and has been continued in that office ever since. 
When the Relief Society, which has been such an important 
help to the honest poor, was formed, he was chosen to be its 
president, and has filled that office continually since. His work 
in this department was most important, so long as his health 
permitted him to work. He assisted at the organization of the 
Danbury Savings Bank, and has always been retained on its 
board of directors and as a vice-president. 

" He was also treasurer of this town for many years, and he 
was active in school and temperance work for many years. 

"Mr. Tweedy was chosen to represent Danbury in the State 
Legislature in 184.'i, but he did not aspire to political ofiice. 

" In 1880 he was chosen a delegate to the National Republican 
Convention which nominated Garfield, and although seventy-two 
years of age, attended all the sessions of that protracted con- 

"In 1834 Mr. Tweedy married Elizabeth S., daughter of Rev. 
David Belden, of Wilton, who survives him. There were seven 
children, four sons and three daughters. 

"Mr. Tweedy was a man of broad views, active mind, and 
large heart. He possessed all the qualities demanded in good 
citizenship. He was always alert to see the need of the commu- 
nity, and always active in meeting it. In everything calculated 
to promote the welfare of the town, to advance education, to 
improve the condition of the unfortunate, to make beautiful his 
city, he was always foremost. 

" Mr. Tweedy was a gentleman of the highest type. One felt 
this immediately on coming into his presence. He was Idndly, 
dignified, well read, and thoroughly honest. His life has been 
an enviable one. His record is without blemish. In the fulness 
of years he has gone out from among us, sincerely mourned by 
the community whom he so long and so faithfully served." 


Frederick S. Wildman died on October 16th, 1893. We can 
write no more faithful account of his long years of interest in 
the cemetery than will be found in the following minute, which 
was unanimously adopted at a meeting of the Danbury Ceme- 
tery Association, held on January 20th, 1894 : 

" The directors of the Danbury Cemetery Association hereby 
place upon record their deep appreciation of the great loss which 
they have sustained, personally and officially, in the death of 
their venerable associate, Frederick S. Wildman, who has been 
president of the Association since its organization, and for many 
years its treasurer. In both of these capacities, and as a mem- 
ber of the board, he has rendered most faithful and efficient ser- 
vice, and the Association owes much to the sound judgment, 
careful administration, and earnest zeal which he has displayed 
in its afifau's. From his earliest manhood, during a lifetime pro- 
longed much beyond that usually allotted to mankind, he was 
ever among the foremost in the inception and promotion of all 
projects for public improvement, and always ready to give them 
active aid and encouragement. 

" Among them all, none occupied a higher place in his regard 
or received in fuller measure his loyal support than Wooster 
Cemetery. In the meetings of the board he presided with such 
dignity, courtesy, and consideration as to command the highest 
respect and esteem of his associates. Impatient of routine, and 
disregarding matters of mere form, he was prompt in the dis- 
patch of business, and always sought the shortest route to the 
end in view. Extreme age did not abate his interest in affairs, 
nor impair the vigor of his intellect. To the last the duties 
pertaining to his many trusts were performed with the same 
scrupulous fidelity and thoroughness for which he was distin- 
guished through life. 

" At the last meeting of the board, on the day preceding the 
beginning of his fatal illness, he prepared with his own hand 
the resolution providing for the erection in the cemetery grounds 
of a building as a memorial to George W. Ives and Edgar S. 
Tweedy. It is most fitting and proper, in recognition of his 
devotion and services to Wooster Cemetery, that his name should 
be inscribed with theirs upon the memorial tablet to be placed 
upon this building, and that the memory of these three, who 
were closely united in life by the ties of sincere friendship, and 


by association in many good works, should be jointly honored 
and perpetuated by this beautiful and appropriate tribute, and 
the building committee are hereby directed to cause such in- 
scription to be made." 

The Cemetery Association have completed this present year a 
neat memorial chapel near the entrance. It is of Pompeian 
brick, with interior finishings of natural wood and tile flooring. 
As is eminently fitting, it has a bronze tablet in memory of the 
three citizens of Danbury under whose care and skill the ceme- 
tery has been made the beautiful ' ' quiet haven' ' that it is to-day. 
The tablet reads : "In memory of George W. Ives, Edgar S. 
Tweedy, Frederick S. Wildman." No other words are needed, 
for the cemetery itself is their monument. 



Soon after the settlement in 1770 of Rev. Ebenezer Baldwin 
over the First Congregational Church in Danbury, he drew up 
terms of subscription for a library which should be free to all 
denominations, and this was the beginning of the first library 
of which we have any record. This was called the Danbury 
Library, as the following advertisement, taken from an old issue 
of the Farmer'' s Journal, will show : " The subscribers to the 
Danbury Library are requested to meet at the house of Mr, Fair- 
child White on Tuesday evening, the first of January next, pre- 
pared to pay in the amount of their subscriptions, and transact 
the necessary business of the company. 

" Timothy Langdon, 1 
Nathan Douglass, V Com"* 
Lazarus Beach, I 

" Danbury, Dec. 1, 1792." 

The books of this library, except a few that were out, were 
consumed in the conflagration of the town. It remained in this 
incomplete state until March, 1795, when it was dispersed. 

In January, 1793, a library company was formed, with shares 
at $1.75, and was probably the beginning of the Franklin 
Library, for in 1797 we find in an estate inventory ' ' a right in 
the Franklin Library." 

The Danbury Library of the present time has two volumes of 
this old Franklin Library. These are The Federalist, printed 
in New York in 1788. The label bears the following : 

" Rules. 

" All books must be returned four days previous to the Annual 
Meeting, which is held on the second Monday in January in each 
year on penalty of 34 cents. 


" Each member may keep a Book after the 1st of April and 
until the first of November two months, —after the 1st of Novem- 
ber, one month. 

" Fees for all damages will be exacted." 

A library was founded at Bethel in 1793, which in 1800, 
according to the Century Sermon of Mr. Robbins, consisted of 
one hundred volumes. No trace of it can be found at the pres- 
ent time. 

The Franklin Library ceased to exist in 1833, as the following 
vote, recording the doings of the Mechanics' Library, under date 
of October 7th, 1833, shows : 

" Whereas, On the 3d of October, inst., passed the following 
votes, to wit : 

" Voted, That the books and all the property belonging to the 
Franklin Library Company be assigned over and transferred to 
the Mechanics' Library Association in this town. 

" Voted, That the Franklin Library Company be abolished. 

" Voted, That the condition on which the books and all the 
property therein shall be assigned, as expressed in the first vote, 
is, that the members of the Franklin Library Company shall be 
entitled each to one share in the Mechanics' Library Associa- 
tion, provided, etc. 

" Thereupon, resolried, That the Mechanics' Library Associa- 
tion accede to the," etc. 

Thus the Franklin Company became merged in the Mechanics' 
Association. Its last librarian was EU Mygatt, who afterward 
became librarian of the new association. 

mechanics' library. 

We copy from the records of this association (now deposited 
with the present library) the following items, which give, per- 
haps, as comprehensive an account of its doings as can be 
obtained : 

" A meeting of some of the citizens of Danbury was held at 
the house of Isaac Ives on the 8th of April, 1833, to take meas- 
ures to establish a library in this village." 

This action was taken six months before the dissolution of the 
Franklin, and as our village was then quite small, the inference 
of the record is that the old library was not in a very healthy 


The report goes on to state that I. Ives was appointed chair- 
man and William Montgomery secretary of the meeting. A 
committee (the members of which are not named) was appointed 
to solicit subscriptions for the "purpose of purchasing and estab- 
lishing a library for the use of the inhabitants of the town of 
Danbury forever." 

This moderate announcement of their purpose was followed 
by the choice of a committee to draft a constitution. The com- 
mittee were Eli T. Hoyt, George W. Ives, and F. S. Wildman. 

At a meeting of the subscribers " held at the Middle District 
school-house' ' on Friday evening, 1833 — Rory Stan- in the chair, 
and E. S. Tweedy, secretary — a preamble and constitution were 
adopted. From these papers we copy articles and parts of 
articles, to give an idea of the nature of the organization. The 
modest wording of Article 10 is especially worthy of considera- 
tion in this age of boast and brag : 

"Article 2 provides that any person shall be a member by 
payment of $2, and continue to be so as long as confoiming to 
the rules, etc. 

" Article 3. Officers. There shall be twelve directors, three of 
whom shall be apprentices over eighteen years of age. 

" Article 4. Location of library to be always within limit of 
borough of Danbury. 

" Article 5. Secretary's duties to call meetings by notice pub- 
lished in some newspaper published in the village, or by posting 
on the public sign-post. 

" Article 7. Every apprentice between the ages of fourteen 
and twenty-one bringing from his employer a certificate of good 
character and guarantee for safe return of books shall be en- 
titled to use of hooks free of charge. 

" Article 8. No books on sectarian theology shall ever be 
admitted into this library ; and no novels or works of fiction 
unless they shall be approved by three quarters of the directors. 

' ' Article 10. This association shall never be dissolved. 

" Article 11. This constitution may be altered or amended at 
an annual meeting of the society by a vote of three quarters of 
the members present, excepting the clause in Article 8 relating 
to works on sectarian theology, and Article 10, which articles 
are never to be altered or amended." 

At this meeting also the first election of officers was held, 


choice being made as follows : President, Rory Starr ; Vice- 
President, Eli T. Hoyt ; Secretary, Edgar S. Tweedy ; Treasurer, 
Frederick S. WUdman. Directors : George W. Ives, Russell B. 
Botsford, Reuben Booth, Thomas M. Gregory, Irel Ambler, Cur- 
tiss Clark, Starr Nichols, A. Edward Tweedy, Horace Marshall, 
Charles Hendricks, William A. Crocker, Thomas Sprague. 

There was no change in the officers of the institution until the 
thirteenth annual meeting on January 12th, 1846, when, owing 
to the death of Rory Starr, the President, EU T. Hoyt was 
elected to the vacancy, and A. E. Tweedy was made Vice- 

At a meeting of the Mechanics' Association, held on June 25th, 
1833, it was voted to attach a reading-room to the library. The 
school-room of Colonel Elias Stan- was rented for both purposes, 
and he was made librarian with a yearly salary of $25. The 
rent of the room was $20 per annum. 

This building was next south of the house now occupied by 
Edmond Allen. The library hours were fi'om seven to nine 
o'clock A.M., and from five to seven o'clock in the evening. The 
reading department was opened to the public from half- past six 
until nine o'clock p.m. 

At a meeting held on October 30th, 1834, Eli Mygatt was 
appointed to take charge of the library and furnish necessary 
lights and fuel, the expense of the same not to exceed $70 for a 
period of two years. The library remained under the care of 
Mr. Mygatt in his house until the time of his death. 

On September 1st, 1844, the books and other property of the 
association were taken to the store- of Thomas Mootry and placed 
in his care, where they remained until January 23d, 1856. At 
a meeting held on that date the Mechanics' Association dis- 
solved, and the library was turned over to an organization called 
the Young Men's Literary Association, " for their more economic 
management and better care." The Young Men's Literary 
Association was but short-lived, and in its extinction the material 
of the library disappeared. From that time until 1871 our town 
had no public library, nor do we know of any effort to estab- 
lish one. 


As it exists to-day, with its commodious and elegant building 
on Main Street, the dwelling-house adjoining, its books and 


Other property, including its invested funds, it is substantially 
the gift of one family, that of the late E. Moss White, of Dan- 
bury. The late William Augustus White, of Brooklyn, son of 
E. Moss White, by his last will and testament bequeathed the 
sum of $10,000, to be paid five years after his decease, for the 
establishment of a public library in his native borough of Dan- 
bury. The Legislature of Connecticut, at its session in 1869, 
passed an act incorporating the Danbury Library, which act 
was approved by the Governor, June .5th, 1869. 

On June 1st, 1870, Alexander M. White, of Brooklyn, brother 
of William Augustus White, and sole executor of his will, placed 
at the disposal of the trustees of the library the house on Main 
Street, in which he was born and in which his parents died, to 
be used for library purposes until a suitable building could be 
erected upon the premises. At the same time Mr. White also 
notified the trustees of his willingness to give a plot of ground, 
fifty feet on Main Street by one hundred and fifty feet in depth, 
on which to erect a suitable building, and also the sum of $5000, 
besides an equal amount to be given by his brother, George 
Granville White, toward the erection of such a building, so soon 
as the citizens of Danbury would join in erecting, free of debt, 
a suitable building upon this ground. At this time Mr. White 
directed that repairs be made upon the house so given, and that 
suitable furniture be purchased at an expense not to exceed $500, 
the cost of such repairs and p