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THE HISTORY OF STRATFORD
Connecticut Indians The Web
INDIAN history, under whatever circumstances found, excites a melancholy sympathy, which partakes of extreme loneliness as if one were lost in an interminable wilder.ness from which there could be no escape by the ingenuity or power of man. As we pass over the site of their ancient wigwams, although not a stick or stone is left to mark the place, we seem to be traveling amid the ruins of some ancient Persian or Egyptian city, long celebrated for its beauty and magnificence and from which, although the glory has all faded or crumbled to dust, we hesitate to depart, as though expecting still to see the forms of the long-departed coming forth to newness of life, to exhibit the wonders of ancient days. Occasionally we discover about traditional localities, some stone implement, arrow-head, pestle or axe, that seems as a spirit resurrected by enchantment to portray the marvelous, wild life that wrought it, for the severest needs of earth, which is like the recovery of some long-lost painting of kingly banquet or national pride and glory. The hatchet, although of stone, was the Indian's ensign of renown; the bow and arrow, his national flag of wild but unconquerable liberty, and his tent, because it was not immovable, declared an inheritance in a vast contment rather than a few circumscribed acres of walled distributions.
Sometimes the rolling waters of a mighty river, or the heights of immense mountain ranges barred his progress for a time, but no mountain was too high and no valley too low for the unwearied feet of the Red man in the greatness ot his freedom and the inexhaustible resources of his physical strength. Nothing but the mighty ocean ever stayed his wandering footsteps, until the white man took possession ot the rocky and sandy shores of the Algonkin country, afterwards called New England; when "the poor Indian" fled to the inland wilderness as if pursued by a devastating pestilence ; nor has he yet, after nearly three hundred years, found a sure resting place. To him the shores of Long Island Sound were an enchanted country, in the abundance it gave to supply his wants, and the beauty of its climate and scenery reminding him of the native tropical clime of his'ancestors.
Here on these shores he had dwelt many ages, when the glittering sails of the white man came bearing the pilgrim planters to their new life of freedom. In the winter many of them had retired to the sheltered valleys of the inland wilderness, where they secured their daily food by the hunter's sport, and then in the spring they returned to their old seaside haunts, just as their white successors now, in the same season of. the year, flee from the hot breath of the inland valleys to the cool breezes of the New England coast. These "children of the wilderness" have been called "Red men," "wild Indians," "savage beasts," but with all, they have exhibited a manliness of character and rectitude of life, according to the instructions received, that leaves no room for boasting by those who now'inhabit the same beautiful country. To these untutored inhabitants the pilgrim immigrants were rather unceremoniously introduced,, and to them in turn they gave a cordial welcome, not knowing what the final result would be. And now, after the lapse of ages, the pen of the historian is importuned for some memorial record, which, although inadequate to the object sought, shall be as a brief epitaph to commemorate the greatness of those, of whom there is now nothing but ashes and fragments left.
On the shores of Long Island Sound various clans or settlements of these Indians were found by the incoming English, which belonged to the same general class, the Mohicans, the name having been localized or modified to Mohe;gans in the south-eastern part of the state. Those on the Housatonic river appear to have retained a system of general government, with head-quarters at New Milford, and when their lands further south had been sold they gradually returned thither, and thence to Scatacook and to Pennsylvania. Tradition and implements found, indicate that at first the Indians came from the Hudson river the Mohicans to the valley of the Housatonic in the vicinity of the town of Kent, and finding several falls in the river, to them of unusual grandeur, they named it Pootatuck, meaning ' falls river.' This was the only name to the river when the first white settlers came, and those natives inhabiting its valley, were the Pootatuck Indians,1 but being settled at that time in quite large numbers at various places, were spoken of by their local names. There are also evidences that these local clans retained the general name of Mohegan Indians, specially as this is the tradition now among the intelligent survivors of all these clans.
The first Indian settlement on this river, south of the Massachusetts line, seems to have been in the southern part of Kent, near what is now called Bull's Bridge, and afterwards, two or three miles north where a few families still reside. This locality they named Scatacook, or Schaghticoke, signifying the confluence of two streams,* which is true where what is now called Ten Mile River comes into the Housatonic a little below Bull's Bridge.
The second settlement was made, probably, at New Milford, called Weantinock, which remained the capital, or place of the great council-fire for the whole tribe (or all the clans) on the river, until that territory was sold to the New Milford company in 1703. Thus gradually the Indians made their
1 Indians of the Housatonic Valley, 6 to 12.
1 See Indian Names of Conn., by J. H. Trumbull, and Indians of the Housa
settlements down the river until they reached Long Island' Sound; and afterwards they dwelt on the Sound more largely in the summer than in the winter on account of fish, oysters and clams, and of the hunting inland in the winter.
The Ct1pheags and Pequannocks.
When the English first came to Stratford they found there a settlement of Indians, their local name being Cupheags, the name denoting 'a harbor' or 'a place of shelter,' literally, ' a place shut in." The clan was small, and was governed by Okenuck, who soon after, if not at that time, resided at Pootatuck now Shelton whither his people removed soon after Stratford village was settled. Okenuck was the son of Ansantaway of Milford, and his brother Towtanimow, son of Ansantaway, was sachem or chief at Paugasitt.
The name Pequannock4 means ' cleared field,' land 'opened' or 'broken open,' and was applied by the Indians to the tract of land on the east side of Uncaway river (which river is now called Ash creek) extending northward to the old King's Highway and southward to the Sound, including two or three hundred acres of land, on which were probably several pieces of a kind of open woods, as well as the Indians' planting ground. This name was not applied to the water now called Pequannock river, but to the beautiful plain as above described and now constituting the western portion of the city of Bridgeport. On this plain " at the north end of the cove in the Black Rock harbor" was the old Indian planting field, limited to about one hundred acres, and on this field was the old Indian Fort, standing near the end of the cove where now is the flower garden of Mr. James Horan. In 1752, the General Assembly in describing the boundaries of the Stratfield Society gives the precise location of this fort.'
' Indian Names, J. H. Trumbull. 4 Indian Names, J. H. Trumbull.
'"General Court, October, 1752. Whereas, in the setting off the parish of Stratfield, It so happened that the act of this Assembly setting off said parish did not settle and fix the line dividing between the said first society and said parish any nearer the south-westerly extent of both said societies than where said line intersects the country road [the King's highway] near Jackson's mill, so-called [now. 1884, Moody's mill] . . . which line runs from said country road southerly as the river or creek runs on which Jackson's mill stood, commonly known by the name of Uncoway River or creek, till it comes due west from the north end of the cove in the Black Rock harbor, which said cove heads or terminates at, or near the place called the Old Fort, and then to run straight from said creek to the head of said cove, and so straight to the sea or Sound." Col. Rec., x. 147.
The Pequannock Indians were more numerous than any other clan from New London west, on the shore of the Sound. They had .three encampments or villages of wigwams; one on the west bank of the Uncoway river, as we may hereafter see in the testimony of Thomas Wheeler, one at the Old Fort, and one at the foot of Golden Hill on the south side; the last, some years later, is said to have contained about one hundred wigwams. The one on the west side of Uncoway river was at the head of a cove near a fresh water pond, just south of the old King's Highway, and a few rods west of the mile-stone which is standing one mile east from Fairfield village, on that old highway, south of which the Indians had a planting field which afterwards constituted a part of the territory called by the first settlers the Concord field. This place we are told in a future chapter by Thomas Wheeler, was the old established place of residence for the Sachem of the Pequannock tribe many generations.
There seems to have been, at first, no reservations of land for the Indians at Cupheag, or Stratford village, and none elsewhere in the town except at Golden Hill, and this was not measured to them until twenty years after the first settlers came, or until 1659. The planting ground at the Old Fort, in the edge of Fairfield, was retained by the Indians as their planting ground until 1681, when it was sold, and after that the field at the Old Fort was called the Old Indian field, and is so referred to frequently on the Fairfield records.
Stratford and Fairfield Conquered and Ceded Territory.
It appears by various authorized records, that the territory of Stratford and Fairfield was not at first purchased of the Indians, as has been asserted by all historians, but wa& held nearly twenty years as conquered and ceded territory, and so declared by the General Court, but afterwards, as a matter of friendliness to the Indians, was purchased by various agreements and deeds.
At the time the whites came, Queriheag was Sachem ol the Pequannocks, with his dwelling-place on the west side of Uncoway river, but a large part of his people were dwelling on the east side of that river at the " old field " and at the foot of Golden Hill.
The settlements of Stratford and Fairfield were commenced under the supervision of the Connecticut, in distinction from the New Haven Colony, and the territory was granted to them by the General Court to which the Indians had previously given it in regular form in 1638. On neither of the town records are there any Indian deeds recorded . earlier than 1656, and in 1681 when all former deeds are mentioned in the final sale, no reference is made to any as having been given earlier than 1656. Nothing is said in the records in regard to the purchase of this territory, until 1656, when we find the following statement made by the court at Hartford :
" This Court, at the request of Stratford, do grant that theire bounds shall be 12 myle northward, by Paugusitt River, if it be att the dispose, by right, of this Jurisdiction."*
This action of the Court was soon proclaimed, and the Pequannock Indians denied the right of Stratford to the territory as thus described, as the Court intimated would probably be the case. The immediate cause for the desire that the Court should fix the boundary of the Stratford plantation, was the fact that a tract of land had just been sold by the Indians in the western part of Fairfield, and considerable trouble had arisen between the settlers and the Indians, in consequence of the cattle and swine of the whites trespassing on the Indians' corn at Pequannock. One item is thus recorded :
"General Court, October, 1651. Upon the complaint of the Deputies of Stratford to this Court, in behalf of Richard
Col. Rec., i. 281.
Buttler, against an Indian named Nimrod, that wilfully killed some swine of said Buttler's, this Court consenteth that Mr. Ludlow may prosecute the said Indian according to order made by the commissioners in that respect."'
Another reason for this desire by the Stratford planters was that the Indians being quite numerous at Fairfield, the settlers there were pushing them over on the Stratford territory as much as possible to make room for themselves, as was acknowledged afterwards. There had been several efforts made by the General Court to settle the boundaries between Stratford and Fairfield and the Indians at Pequannock commencing soon after these places began to be settled ; and also it is shown that these Indians having agreed to pay tribute to the Connecticut Court, as conquered and protected subjects, as appears from the records, neglected to fulfill their agreement.
"General Court, February, 1640. It is ordered that Mr. Haynes, Mr. Wells, and Capt. Mason shall go down to Paquanucke to settle the bounds betwixt them and the plantations on both sides of them, according as they judge equal, as also to hear and determin the difference betwixt the inhabitants of Cupheag amongst themselves. They also with Mr. Ludlow, are to require the tribute ot the Indians about those parts that is behind unpaid, due by articles formerly agreed upon, as also to inquire out the particular Indians that are under engagement, within the limit of the ground belonging to them, and upon refusal, to proceed with them as they shall see cause.'" The next June the Court ordered that "the magistrates shall send for the tribute of the Indians about Cupheag, Uncoway and there about," and that another committee should survey between the two plantations. Again in General Court, 1648: " It is ordered, that Capt. Mason'shall go to Long Island and to such Indians upon the maync as are tributaries to the English, and require the tribute of them, long behind and yet unpaid, and to take some strict and righteous course for the speedy recovering thereof, and it is judged equall and allowed that he shall have the one-half for his paynes."
' Col. Rec., i. 226. 8 Col. Rec., i. 62.
Not only did the Indians neglect to pay their tribute, but they committed depredations in many ways, and manifested so much hostility, from 1643 to 1655, that the plantations on different occasions kept soldiers on watch nights and Sundays, and at several times called out the militia. Also, the Indians made continued trouble by their demands for pay for their lands, for after the Court had given its decision, in 1656, the Milford Indians made a claim to some of the land within the Stratford territory. Ansantaway was 'chief then at Milford, and he gave a deed" for all the land his people claimed on the west side of the Housatonic river, and leaves the English to give him whatever they should see fit, thus indicating that his claim had but little real merit.
In order to secure satisfaction among the Indians, and quiet to their English neighbors, the Connecticut Colony made another effort to settle the matter among all parties, by the following order:
" Hartford, March 7, 1658-59. By the Court of Magistrates. This Court having taken into consideration the business respecting the Indians pertayning to the plantations of Stratford and Fayrefeyld and finding in the last agreement made with the Indians while Mr. Willis and Mr. Allin were
* Ansantaway's Deed to Stratford.
"This present writing declareth, we Ansantaway and my wife do make over and alienate unto the Inhabitants of Stratford all.our right in a tract of land being as far as the River called the further milne river by Woronoke and westward as far as the bounds of us our Paugusit Indians lies, with the English of the aforesayd Town and mark the trees as our bounds did goe before it was alienated to the English as abovesayd. We also do engndge that no other Indians shall l,1v any charge unto any of the aforesayd lands, and wo doc leave It to the town aforusayd to give,us for this land as they shall see good and meet. And we doe give free liberty for the aforesayd Town their cattle to go beyond that further milne River northward and north-west as they did, peaceably and quietly; we and Paugusit Indians doe thus agree as witness our hands in the name of the rest. This Febu. 22, 1658."
The recorder of this deed says: " This is a true copy of a bill of sale signed by Ansantaway, his wife and Towtanamy the chief Sagamore," but he was mistaken, for he did not transcribe the Indian names, for the deed is without any signatures.
down there, that those two plantations aforementioned are ingaged to asure and alow unto those respective Indians pertayning to each town sufitient land to plant on for their subsistance and so to their heayres and sucsessors:
" It is therefore ordered by this Court, and required that each plantation forementioned exercise due care that the agreement made by the magistrates be fully attended without unnecessary delay, that so the Indians may have no just cause to complayne ugaynst the English, but rather may be incouraged to attend and observe the agreement on their parts, that peace may be continued on both sides; and further it is desired that the Indians may be allowed to improve theire antient fishing place which they desire.
" To the Constables of Stratford to be forthwith published and sent to Fayrfiyld to be published and recorded by the Register."1*
Three days after the above record the Court took further action :
" March 10, 1658-59. This Court having considered the agreement with the Indians as also for other reasons as particularly that which the town of Fayrfeyld pleaded why their bounds should be enlarged was because they might provide for theire Indians which were many, do therefore order that the towne of Fayrfeyld shall forthwith attend the order as above sent from the magistrates and alow and lay out unto theire Indians that formerly did and now do belong unto that plantation, sufitient planting land for the present and future, that so there may be no disturbance twixt the Indians and the town of Stratford about any former improprieties which we find are renownced for the future by the last agreement. And the Court judges that the Indians that have for so many and several years been inhabitants of Fayrfeyld bounds shall now and for future be acounted as those that do properly belong to that plantation.
" Mr. Camfield and the deputies of Nor woke are apointed to see this efected by Fayrfeyld men or do it themselves.
Daniel Clarke, Secretary."
10 Stratford Records.
The great hindrance in settling the boundaries between these two plantations and the Indians was the open or cleared land on the east side of what is now called Ash Creek, formerly Uncoway River. It was good soil, and probably much of it cleared besides the portion which the Indians had planted for many years, called afterwards the Indian field. This is revealed in part by a paper from John Strickland," giving the reason that Fairheld wanted more room, and so desired the Indians pushed over east on Stratford territory, but the old line was retained while a tract of land was set oft for the Indians on Golden Hill, and they retained their old field at the head of Black Rock Cove until 1681, when they sold it to Fairfield. There were, probably, several hundred acres of partially cleared land, now constituting the western part of the city of Bridgeport and Sea-Side Park, of which the Indian field containing about one hundred acres, with their fort, formed a central part.
In the spring of 1659, the question of title or right to the land in the plantations of Stratford and Fairfield was brought before the General Court at Hartford and settled. The Indians agreed that if the English could prove that they had received the land by purchase, gift or conquest, it should be theirs; whereupon a number of men gave their testimony in writing under oath on the subject, and the Court decided in favor of the plantations, and the affidavits were recorded in the town book, and they are here produced in foot-notes because of various items of historical interest. These papers are prefaced on the records with the statement: "A Record of several letters presented to the Court of Hartford, whereby together with other evidences the town of Stratford proved, and the Court granted a clear right to their land in reference to Paquannock Indians with whom they had to do."
11 The Testimony of John Strickland. "I John Strickland, of Huntington Long Island having formerly lived at Uncoway now called Fayrfeyld do remember that I was deputed with some others to treat with Stratford men about the bounds of those towns and accordingly we men, we of Uncoway desired some inlargement of our bounds towards Stratford because we were burdened with many Indians, and to my best remembrance it was by Stratford men granted and by us all concluded that we at Uncoway should keep our Indians upon our own bounds. John Strickling, his mark.
April 23, 1659.
Taken upon oath before me. Thomas Benedict."
" " A Testimony of Mr. Higison late pastor of the church at Guilford.
" Being desired to expose wt I remember concerning the transaction between the English at Conneckticott and the Indians along the Coast from Quilipioke to the Manhatoes about the land, the substance of it I can say is briefly this :
"That in the beginning of the year 1638, the last week in March Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Goodwin,* being employed to treat with the Indians and to make sure of that whole tract of land in order to prevent the dutch and to accommodate the English who might after come to inhabit there, I was sent with them as an interpreter (for want of a better) we having an Indian with us for a guide, acquainted the Indians as we passed with our purpose and went as far as about Narwoke before we stayed. Coming thither on the first day we gave notice to the Sachem and the Indians to meet there on the second day that we might treat with them all together about the business. Accordingly on the second day there was a full meeting (as themselves sayd) of all the Sachems, old men and Captaynes from about Milford to Hudson's River. After they had understood the cause of our coming and hnd consulted with us and amongst themselves, and in as solemn a urn11.'r as Indians used to do in such cases they did with an unanimous consent approve their desire of the English friendship, their willingness the English should come to dwell amongst them and professed that they did give and surrender up all their land to the English Sachems at Coneckticott and hereupon presented us with two parcells of wampem the lesser they would give us for our rnesage, the greater they would send as a present to the Sachims at Coneckticott, it being not long after the English conquest and the fame of the English being then upon them.
"It being moved among them which of them would go up with us to signifie this agreement and to present their wampem to the Sachem at Coneckticott, at last Waunetan and Wouwequock Paranoket, offered themselves, and were much applauded by the rest for it. Accordingly those two Indians went up with us to Harford. Not long after there was a comitee in Mr. Hooker's barne, the meeting house then not buylded, where they two did apeare and presented their wampum, (but ould Mr. Pinchin one of ye magistrates there then) taking him to be the interpreter, then I remember I went out and attended the business no farther, so that what was further done or what writings there were about the buysness I cannot now say, hut I supose If search be made something of the business may be found in the records of the Court, and I supose if Mr. Goodwin be inquired of he can.
*Mr. Edward Hopkins and Mr. William Goodwin were among the principalplanters at Hartford.
ford, Conn., in which he states that the land was given to the Connecticut Colony in 1638, and gives the reasons why the Indians did it, namely, for the security thereby obtained. These are corroborated by the fact that Towtanemow, Sagamore at Paugassett, gave to Lieut. Thomas Wheeler of Fairfield, about forty acres of land, what is now the southern part of Birmingham village, in Derby, if he would come and reside upon it, which he did some five or six years; then sold the land and improvements for two hundred pounds money.
This paper of Mr. Higginson informs that a convention was held with the Indians from New Haven to the Hudson river, at Norwalk in the last week in March (as we now reckon time), 1638, he himself being interpreter, when the Indians gave this territory to Connecticut, reserving only room to plant, and the treaty was ratified with due solemnity at Norwalk and at Hartford, the council being held in Mr. Hooker's barn at Hartford because the meeting-house was not then completed.
The date of this Norwalk Indian council shows it to have been held about fifteen days before the New Haven company landed at Quinnipiac.
The next testimony is that of Thomas Stanton," who was for many years the Indian interpreter at Hartford, which informs us that Connecticut Colony conquered the Pequots and Pequannocks at the same time 1637 took hostages at the Pequannock Indians and sold some of their women into servitude into Massachusetts. He also says the Pequots had conquered the tribes along the Sound west of Quinnipiac, and made them tributary before the English came, and states that the Pequannocks engaged with the Pequots, as their allies, in the fight at Cupheag, and also at the swamp on the western boundary of Fairfield. The fight said to be at Cupheag was probably at Pequannock river where afterwards a gun was found as shown by the following record.
say the same for substance as I doo and William Corn well at Sebrook who was there."
Mr. Nicholas Knell [one of the first settlers at Stratford] testifies to ye same with Mr. Higgison as respecting ye Indians giving ye land to ye English, and recommended payment of money to ye Indians as gratuity for ye gifts.
Taken this 3d Aprill Nicholas Knell
Guilford May 5, 1659 John Higgison."
" Testimony of Thomas Stanton.
"Loving friends I received your's dated may the 41h 1659, by John Minor wherein I understand of the insolent and unreasonable behavior and demands of the natives in your parts as chalenging all or the greatest part of your land so 'long since by you possest. Their chalenge is that if the English can prove the lands they possess were ever sould them or given them or conquered by them.
I much wonder at these times ; this lesson they have Icayrned but of late years certainly. They well know the English did possess all these parts as Conquered lands for from Newhaven to Sashquaket we did pursue the Pequets, killed divers at Newhaven and at Cupheag, only one house, or the knrkise of one, we found at Milford without inhabitants. At the cuting [off] of the Pequets all their friends and confederates fled also being under the same condemnation withthem. Tis true some at Paquannocke did formerly stand out but the Pequets did kill severell of them [i. e. in previous wars,] and conquered the country, [and] sobrought all the Indians at [on] Long Island and the mayne [land] their tributaries from Pequet to Accomket beyond Hudson River. The English conquering the Pequets conquered them also and took Captains from Sashquaket [and] Poquanocke, for they several of them lived with the Pequets in time of their prosperitie and fought against the English also at Sashquaket, Poquanocke Indians fought against us, likewise some of those women are at and the Bay
[Massachusetts] as captives to this day. I have informed some of the most. Rational Pequets of this and they say that if the English do grant that the western. Indians may sell their land, they [the Pequots] may do the like, for they say their land [the Pequannocks] is conquered as well as ours. Severall of themselves debate the poynt with them and prove it to the English before their faces. Also since the wars I can testify that the Indians at Paquanock did intreat Mr. Haynes. and Mr. Hopkins [then Magistrates] that some (?) of the English would dwell by them that so they might not be in fear of their enemies, the uplanders, and that the English should have all their land only providing them some place for planting ; which I think is but a reasonable request, and I hope you will atend rules of mercie in that case; not that they shall be their own carvers what they will and where for exhorbitant humor will cary them to disposes you of your houses. Experience proves it; give an Indian an inch and he will take an oil. I will Ingage myself to prove the land as before sayd conquered, and if I mistake not very much the English by gift firsilic from themselves desiring as above sayd the English to come and sit down upon it. I could wish this matter had been in question in Mr. Haynes days and Mr. Hopkins, but the commanders of the Bay [Massachusetts] soldiers, and commanders of Coneckticott, the antient Pequets, will prove it Conquered land, and I never heard of other ground by which the English did posses it but by Conquest and gift . . . Not else at present to trouble you I comit you to God and rest your's, to love and serve as God shall enable.
Thomas Stanton. Stratford Records."
Court that a musket with two letters, J. W., was taken up at Pequannocke in pursuit of the Pequatts, which was conceived to be John Woods who was killed at the River's mouth. It was ordered for the present [that] the musket should be delivered to John Woods friends until other appear.""
It has been generally maintained that at the time the English came here these Indians were tributary to the Mohawks, which has been an error according to this paper.
Mr. Stanton also says "only one house or the karkise ot one we found at Milford without inhabitants." This was the last week in March, 1637, two weeks before the New Haven and the Milford companies arrived on what is now Connecticut territory. The question arises, who built this frame of a house at Milford in, or before 1638, before any of the Milford people came there?
Another paper was given by Lieut. Thomas Wheeler." one of the first settlers at Fairfield, with his father as he himself informs, and as the records show, from which place he removed about 1657 to Derby, where the Indians gave him land, as heretofore stated. Mr. Wheeler says, the Pequannock sachem, whose name was Queriheag, being chief sagamore, when the English first came, had his residence on the west side of Uncaway river, and that it was the home and inheritance of his predecessors from generation to generation, giving us some idea of the importance and antiquity of this tribe. Hence it appears that the Pequannock Indians possessed the territory from what is now the Pequannock river to Sasqua swamp."
14 Col. Rec. i. 29.
18 Lieutenant Thomas Wheeler's Testimony.
"That in the time of his being an inhabitant of the town of Fayrefeyld and having several times in discourse ocation to speake with some of the cheife of that company which are now caled Uncaway Indians as Matawmuck, Nimrod and Anthony the Sagamore's brother of Uncoway, men well known to themselves, did relate to him concerning the land now in controversie as followeth :
"That they could lay no clayme or chalenge to any of the land on the east side [of] Hawkins' Brooke only they had liberty to hunt and fish.
"The ground of this discourse partly came from this the Lieutenant having :1 farm on the east side of this Hawkins Brooke and fearing least the Indians should lay clayme to it as well as 10 the land on the west side of the aforesayd named Broke did inquire of aforesayd named Indians concerning it. This the Lieutenant will take his oath to, it being legaly demanded.
"This Deponent further sayth, that Paquanock Sachem, the chief of the Paquanock Indians had his place of residence on the west side of the River comonly called Unkcaway River and that it was the proper wright of their predisesours from generation to generation. This was afirmed to this deponent by Queriheag the cheefe Sagamore of the Indians at the English first coming here. To this the deponent Lieutenant Wheeler offers to take his oath legally caled thereto.
Thomas Wheeler. Stratford Rec."
No date, but it was probably given in 1659, it following directly Mr. Higginson's letter.
These Indians were numerous as appears from the many names attached to deeds, and as we are informed by Squire Isaac Sherman, that twenty years later, when some of them had removed farther north, there were one hundred wigwams occupied by them at Golden Hill. This on a medium estimate would give from five to eight hundred persons when the English first came here, and they were all Pequannock Indians, as shown by the names attached to Fairfield Indian deeds.
Another testimony is that of John Minor," one of the early settlers and prominent men of Stratford, for many years an interpreter between the English and Indians and he was also town clerk of Stratford. His statement was taken for the particular purpose of disproving the claims of one Captain Beebe, in 1662, but it also shows that the Indians declared, at that time, that the land was given to Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Haynes twenty-four years previous, as stated by Rev. John Higginson. In this paper, also, Mr. Minor states incidentally, that there was then a "contagion" among the Indians, in consequence of which they were not permitted to go into the church at Fairfield, where the Court held its proceedings, and he also reveals the efforts made by unprincipled men to turn the Indians from truth and right, for selfish purposes.
" See Fairfield Indian Deed dated Mar. 20, 1656, hereafter. " " The Testimony of John Minor taken upon oath.
"Being desired to speake to what I remember in order to what was spoken and acted by the Indians or English about Captain Beebee's action commenced against the town of Stratford at Fayrfeyld about Lands. The substance of what I can say is briefly ihgs without any correction or bias of affection contrary to truth and equity.
"Being desired by the Court then at Fnyrfcyld with James Beers to treat with the Indians of Pequanocke who in regard of the present contagion* were not admited into the meeting house when the Court sate about the land then in debate. At our first coming to them the Indians there present did all agree in one that they had never given any land particularly to Captain Beebee but that they gave it to Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Haynes and the other comtce of Conecticoate Generally. Having received this answer we went a little remote from the Indians.
"The better to certifie each o1her how we understood them, several words passed between us but at last 1 related to the aforesayd Beers what I understood as above sayd. James Beers contradicted me saying he understood it otherways, whereupon we went to the Indians a second time before we went into the Court and they confirmed the same and sayed Captain Beebee had no particular interest
*The contagion was a severe sickness in the winter or spring of 1663.
Golden Hill Reservation.l'
" General Court, May, 1659. This Court having considered the business respecting the Indians at Paquanack, and the difference twixt Stratford and Fairfield about the said Indians; do see cause to order that according unto the desire of the Indians they may quickly possess and enjoy from henceforth and for the future, that parcel of land called Gold Hill; and there shall be forthwith so much land laid out within the liberties of Fairfield as the Committee appointed by the Court shall judge fit, and in as convenient a place as may best answer the desire and benefit of the Indians forementioned, for the future. And the said -committee is to see so much land laid out within the bounds of Fairfield, for the use and accommodation of Stratford as that Golden Hill forementioned is, for quantity and quality, and as may be most convenient for the neighbors of Stratford. And in case Stratford men are unwilling to accept of land, then the committee shall appoint how much and in what kind the inhabitants of Fairfield shall pay unto Stratford, in way of satisfaction. And it is ordered that this parcel of land called Gold Hill, surrendered by Stratford unto Paquanack Indians, according to the premises, shall be full satisfaction from them unto the Indians forenamed, and that neither they nor their successors shall make any further claims or demands of land from Stratford, but shall henceforth be accounted as Fairfield Indians, or belonging to Fairfield, to be provided for by thern for future as is forementioned in the order. And it is ordered that in case these Indians shall wholly at any time relinquish and desert Gold Hill, that then it shall remain to Stratford plantation, they repaying to Fairfield the one half of that which they received in consideration of the said land.
in any land from them but they gave it as above sayd. Several questions I propounded to the Indians at this time so that now James Beers sayd I understood them well enough and as we were going from the Indians, as before Captain Beebee being a little ways from us James Beers caled to him, Captayne said he the land is gone, the Indians now uterly disown any perticalar gift to you. Then gone it is says he.
"We now both agreeing that we understood the Indians aright went into the Court house to return our answer to the Court. Whilst we were abroad before we went into Court Captayne Beebee went to the Indians and the Captayne's Sonn. What they sayd to the Indians I know not but presently before we had delivered to the Court what the Indians had sayd there was a caling out that the Indians had something more to say. Upon which the Court desired us to go forth agayne and be fuly resolved what their minds were. At which then coming to them we found them of another turn, as may apear by our testimony upon oath.
This shall legally if called thereto to take my oath of 8th, 3d, 1663.
This action was tried about Michelmas, Anno, 1662.
Taken upon oath this nth, 3d, 1663.
Samuel Sherman. Stratford Records." l1 Col. Rec., i. 335.
" The committee appointed by the Court to see this order put into execution are, of Norwalk, Mr. Camfield, Mr. Fitch, Richard Olmstead, Nathaniel Elye, who are to bound out the lands at Gold Hill, about 80 acres, beginning at the foot of the hill where the wigwams stood, and to run upwards on the hill and within Fairfield bounds, as is above mentioned. And the said committee is to make return to the Court in October, what they do in reference to this order."
The Report of the Committee.
" Loving neighbors of Stratford we whose names are underwritten have according to the order we had from General Court, without any respect to persons considered of the value that Fairfield men shall pay to Stratford for the 80 acres of land that the Indians do possess at Paquanocke with a due consideration of the land and the place where it lies, wherein we are agreed and do appoint that the Fairfield men shall pay to the Stratford men for the 80 acres of land that the Indians do possess at Paquanocke, twenty pound ; this to be paid in beefe, porke, wheat"and pease. Of beefe 2 barrels, [and] of porke, good and merchantable, which we value at twelve pound, and 8 pounds to be payd in wheat and pease; wheat at 4 shillings 6 pense the bushill, pease 3 shillings 6 pense the bushell, good and merchantable, and this to be payed of Fairfield to Stratford men betwixt this and the first day of March next ensuing. This being our agreement we have set to our hands
When this settlement was effected in obedience to the directions of the Court, an arrangement was made directly with the Indians.
Agreement between the Indians of Pequannock and the inhabitants of Stratford.
" Whereas there hath been a difference between the Indians of Pequanack and the inhabitants of Stratford, for thc issuing.of which it is agreed the Indians aforesayd acknowledging their former irregular carriage and misdemeanor and promising reformation in the particulars hereafter mentioned, it is then agreed that the aforesaid Indians shall have liberty to plant and improve the land between the fence that the Indians made and the bounds which the committee laid for the aforesaid Indians, till they shaH forfeit the same in the apprehension of the inhabitants of Stratford by breaking their engagement in the particulars following:
" The Indians do hereby ingage not to kill or any way molest our cattle and swine.
"They do ingadge so to mayntayne their fence which joynes to the fence of the Inhabitants of Stratford that the corn may be secured, and if any damage comes through any defect in their fence they are to make satisfaction.
"They are further, to keep up their fence winter and summer to prevent damaging either them or us.
" They do further engadge to suffer none of the inhabitants of Fayrefeyld and those of the farmers to get in or drive any cattle through the aforesaid ground which the Indians improve, that is to say the whole bounds layed out by the committee upon and about Golden Hill.
"The Indians aforesaid are well satisfied with what the committee had done, every particular, and concerning the two highways likewise.
"These Indians have subscribed in the name of all the rest, this 24th Aprill 1660.
Musquattat's mark Nim rod's mark
Nesuposu's mark Nomlcdge's mark
Thus rested the question of the ownership of the Soil of the Stratford township at the end of twenty years of occupancy by the English. It had not been purchased by the whites, not a rod square of it so far as has been ascertained unless it had been one piece bought by Moses Wheeler deed dated April 12, 1659 as he alleged in 1684, but which was never recorded on Stratford records, although he said he made the purchase at the request of the principal men of the town ; and therefore all the statements by historians that Stratford territory was purchased in 1639, by Mr. Thomas Fairchild or any others were made for want of information, which might easily have been obtained from the Stratford first book of Town Records.
INDIAN DEEDS AND RESERVATIONS.
The first deed of purchase which has come to light was recorded in the first book of land records for the Colony at Hartford and was received by Moses Wheeler and dated April 12, 1659, and seems to have been executed while the question of title was before the Court at Hartford. It was a deed of "a parcel of ground lying along the side of Potatuck river, the east end of it being on a small river, which they say is Nayump, the west end bounding to a great rock [from which the namenai-ompsk ' point of rock' was derived] which reacheth the full length of all that plain piece of ground, and also to have two miles and a half of ground on the upland and all the meadow within that bounds."1 " Moses Wheeler alleged that the purchase was made at the solicitation of the principal inhabitants of Stratford, to prevent it from falling into other hands and that it cost him upwards of forty pounds."' After the Court in 1659 decided that the territory belonged to Stratford with out paying for it, the town allowed Moses Wheeler to keep his land twenty-five years and then began to lay it into division lots among its own members without regard to Moses Wheeler, although he was one of their own citizens. But they were brought to time by the General Court in October, 1684, by a profitable suggestion, thus: "This Court do recommend it to the town of Stratford to come to an agreement with Moses Wheeler, sen. about the purchase he made of the Indians of a tract of land within their bounds," and some of the townsmen were required to appear at the next court and report the proposition of settlement to be ratified by the Court, which they did by giving Mr. Wheeler half of the land. Charity suggests that possibly these brethren of Moses Wheeler had forgotten, or were taking a little nap on, the subject of the golden rule as the reason why they left him with the expense of the land for twenty-five years, without fulfilling their agreement.
On June 5, 1660, a little over one year after the Court rendered its decision in favor of Stratford, a deed from the Indians for Stratford land was received by Bray Rossiter of Guilford,'and this act by one outside of the town, set the ball moving, or rather set the Indians crazy to sell the land they had just been told they did not own. This piece of land seems to have been on the west side of the Housatonic about one mile above the two mile Island in that river, but whether Mr. Rossiter held it or not after 1684 has not been ascertained.
'"June 5, 1660. An agreement betwixt Wampcagy, Ansutu, Wampeug, Aquiump and Onepenny, Indians of ye one party and Bray Rosseter of Guilford ye other party as followeth : All the afores'd Indians do passover, assign and sell (for a debt due) unto ye sd. Bray Rosseter one hundred acres of land on ye west side of ye river yt passeth up by Stratford ferry, (a little below ye land of Miiford men at Paugesutt) the said hundred acres to begin at ye River and to take all ye breadth betwixt two small brooks and soc backward until ye said sume be made upp, with all ye privileges ol ye River for tishing lying before ye said land, and ye sd Indians doe further promise and ingage to sell what other lands ye sd Bray Rosseter shall desire to buy behind ye same father in ye woods uppon like
indifferent terms, in witness our hands.
A markc of Wampeagy.
A marke of Aquiump.
The marke of Wompeug.
The markc of Nansuty.
The markc of Onepenny.
Wampcagy, Nansutti and Onepenny desired to set down ye names of Wumpeug and Aquiump, Sagemes, affirming yt they consented unto ye same in presence of, etc.
Wampeagy approved the above before Andrew Leete, Assistant at Guilford Feb. 28, 1684."
Another deed* was given by the Indians of land called by the English at the time Mohegan Hills, bounded on the west with the "near sprayne" (or stream, or branch) of the Farmill river, the date being 1661, but the name of the month being obliterated. The peculiar item in this deed is the information that there was then "a hop garden hard by ye River though on ye other side." In 1654 Edward Wooster was the first settler in Derby for the special purpose of raising hops on the bottom land now a little way below Ansonia, and here in what is now Huntington was another hop garden only seven years later, and may have been there several years earlier than 1661.
4 This writing made ye 1661.
" For and upon good consideration moving me thereunto I make over alienate and freely give to my loving Iriend Joseph Judson of Stratford in ye jurisdiction of Connccticot, to him. his heirs and assigns (to have and to hold without molestation or trouble from any Indian or Indians whatsoever laying clayinc or challenge) forever a parcell ol land bounded on the northwest by ye lower part of Moose hill, on ye west with ye nere sprayne of ye far Mill River, on ye south at ye parting of ye spraynes of ye far Mill River called by ye English ye Trapfalls, and on ye east by ye northwest spraine of ye far Mill River, soe running to ye pine swamp at ye head of ye River. This parcell of land called by ye English ye Mohegan Hills and by ye Indians Ackquunokquahou I Amantnncag doc give as aforesd with all ye privileges and appertenances, the meadow or what else belongs thereto'as witness my hand and seale ye day and date above written.
There is also a hop garden hard by yc River, though on ye other side, which I doe also freely give to aforesaid Joseph Judson and his forever.
The mark of Amantaneag.
The mark of Akenotch,
Sagamore of Pagasett.
The mark of Ansantaway.
Acquiiunps his mark.
Acquiumps doth hereby confirm this act of Amantaneag's witness his hand the 41h of loth, 1663.
Per me John Minor.
Poidge, his mark.
Patequeno, his mark.
Chepon, his mark."
The mark of Suchsquoke.
The mark of Wiinnubber.
A second deed' was given the same year, probably a
* " This present writing witnesseth yt 1 Wampcgan who am ye lawful heir to all ye Indian Rights and privileges yt did aforetime belong to ye Sachems and my grandfather and since to other Sachems my uncles who were ye legall proprietors of a great tract of land lying west from yc farr mill River at Woronoke bounded on ye east with a pine swamp at ye east sprainc of ye far mill River bounded on ye west wi'h ye west sprainc of Paquamluck River, on ye South with ye lower part of Monse hill and bounded on yc north with yc Assuntokereng a place soe named about a mile and a half north from ye upper part of Moose hill, and norwest with a place called Manantock running as far as Pootatuck path ; I say I Wampegan doe not only hereby confirm what hath been formerly granted and freely bequeathed to Joseph Judson of Stratford in ye Jurisdiction of Connecticut by Weenepes my uncle, I being a witness to what he did and it being for substance ye same which I do at present, but also I doe hereby give and freely bequeath to yc aforesaid Joseph Judson vc aforementioned tract of land, to him his heircs and assigucs forcvur to have and to hould witliout molestation or trouble from any person or persons Indian or Indians whatsoever yl shall lay clavme or challenge to any part of ye sd land by virtue of any title or interest whatsoever therein ; I say I give and freely bequeath the aforesaid land with all ye appurtenances and privileges belonging, as hunting, &c.. with all dues to said land as if I were personally to enjoy the customs thereto belonging myself. The aforesaid Joseph Judson promising yt upon this consideration Wompegan his first cousins named Poidge, Heenummojeck, Momowetah shall have free liberty to hunt for deare, &c., uppon ye aforesd tract of land. For ye assurance hereof yt this is my act and deed is written freely and subscribed, this ninth of September one thousand six hundred and sixty-one, 91h Sept., 1661.
Wampegan, his mark.
The mark of Akenotch the
Sagamore of Pagusett.
The mark of Ansantaway.
"This writing made ye 141h May, 1662, witnessetl) yt I Acquiumph upon good consideration doc confirm ye abovcsd gift by Wompegan or any before, to Joseph Judson of Stratford. I Acquiumph Sachem of Pootatuck doe confirm ye same in every particular by subscribing ye day and date above written.
The mark of Quiump, Sachem of
Pootatuck being related to Wampegan.
Poidge, his mark,
Chepenetl, his mark."
month or two later, of land lying west from the Far-mill river, extending west to the west branch -of the Pequannock river. "There was a Pootatuck path " bounding the land on the northwest. Pootatuck was at that time the name of the Indian settlement occupying land now covered by the southern part ot the village of Shelton in Huntington, the place of the same name in Newtown not being then established. This deed was given by another party than the latter previous one, and was confirmatory of the other, yet the same Sachem signed both. This strikingly illustrates the separate interests in the lands by the Indians and also the relation between the Pequannocks or Stratford Indians and the Paugasetts, the Paugasett chief signed both deeds.
A third deed* was given in the year 1661, which was by Towtanimow and his mother the wife of Ansantaway, the old chief of Milford, who also signed the deed. Towtanimow was the chief Sachem at Paugassett at that time, but died that same winter, for in the spring April, 1662 Okenuck signs a deed in which he states that he is the only Sachem of Paugassett.
'" This indenture made the 4th day of December, in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand six hundred and sixtie one between Towtanamy and his mother the wife of Ansantaway being the Chief Sagamore of Pagusit on the one parte and Samuel Sherman and John Html and Caleb Nichols, Townsmen in the name of the inhabitants of the town of Stratford in the colony of connecticoute on the other part: Whereas the said Towtanimy is now lawfully seized to him and his heayers and asigns forever of and in all that plat of land lying and being between the nerer Milne River and the father Milne River comonly so caled by the English and being the bounds south and northeast upon Stratford River and west with the bare swamp caled by the Indians Makoron, northwest on black brook's mouth : now this indenture witnesseth that the sayd tantanimy and in the name of all the rest ol the Indians of pawgasit for and in consideration of twelve pound [worth] of trading cloath and one blankit to him in'hand payd before the writing hereof by the say'd Samuel Sherman, John Hurd and Caleb Nichcols and for other considerations him the sayd towtanamy thereunto moving hnth given, granted, bargained, sould enfeofled and confirmed by these presents do give .... to Samuel Sherman, John Hurd and Caleb Nichcols and the inhabitants of Stratford aforesayd for ever all and every part of the sayd parcell of land above written being between the Mill Rivers ; and all the sayd Towtanamy's right and interest thereunto.
Towtanomow, Sagamore, his mark.
Ansantaway, his mark.
Uncktine, his mark.
Chipes, his mark." Dec. 4, 1661.
In April, 1662, a deed' was given by Okenonge (more commonly called Okenuck, on Derby deeds) of land at the western boundary of Paugassett lands, which is a matter of interest although not quite explainable. West and northwest of this land is met the territory controlled and deeded by Pocono, then the Sachem at Weantinock (New Milford), for he gave a deed in 1671 to Henry Tomlinson for more than twenty thousand acres apparently extending to or into Newtown. This deed to* Henry Tomlinson was secured upon a permit by the General Court for establishing a plantation, and was recorded in Stratford, where Mr. Tomlinson resided, claiming seven miles in length, three miles wide from the river on each side, or six miles in breadth, which was to be three miles up, and three down the river from Goodyear's Island in the Housatonic just below Falls Mountain in New Milford. This locality, if not the most, is one of the most sublime, on the Housatonic river, but the lower half of the territory covered by the deed was of small value in consequence of the steep rocky hills along the river.
The accompanying cut is a good representation of Falls
l " Know all men by these presents yt I Okenonge ye only Sachem of Pagasit1 doe freely give and bequeath unto my loving friends Ensign Joseph Judson and Joseph Hawley and John Minor of Stratford in ye Colony of Connecticott a parcell of Land bee it more or less lying on ye west of ye land weh ye aforesd Town of Stratford hath purchased of mee and it being all yt lyes on ye west of wl is already purchased yt belongs to me and Pagassett Indians. That I give the above sd tract of land to ye aforenamed persons to have and to hold wlhout molestation or trouble by any Indian or Indians w'soever: I say to them and (heire Heires forever as witness his hand this 22d April 1662.
Witnessed by us Okenonge his marke."
Chipps his marke "
' Deed to Henry Tomlinson for 26,880 acres signed by the following Indians:
Pocono, his mark. Mataret, 1he Sachem's Toto, his mark.
Ocomunhed, his mark. eldest son. Mohemat, his mark.
Wesonco. his mark. Tomo, his mark, the sec- Chetemhehu, his mark.
Pomuntock, his mark. ond Son of Mataret. Othoron, his mark.
Ringo, his mark. Ouocanoco, his mark. Papisconas, his mark.
Coshushamock, his mark. Weekpenos, his mark.
Mountain at the gorge looking up stream from the northern extremity of Goodyear's Island. The river just below the gorge has been called the Cove and Fishing Place since the first settlement of New Milford, because here the shad and herring were stopped in their progress up the river, and hence afforded a great supply of fish for the whole region of country shad having been sold there many times at one penny each ; and the most advantageous part of the west shore having been rented in the early settlement of the town, for 999 years, for one shad of every thirteen that should be caught there. The gorge is over half a mile long, at the upper end of which are the Great Falls where now is located the large Wood-finishing Mill built by Bridgeport men, and where in olden times were caught by Indians and whites immense numbers of lamprey-eels. These falls are not very high but are called the great falls in comparison with smaller ones two miles further up the river. The Island was named Goodyear's Island from the fact that Mr. Stephen Goodyear of New Haven about the year 1642 built a trading house upon it or near it, for purposes of commerce with the Indians.
The point of rocks on the right hand in the picture is called Lover's Leap from a legend said to have been historic of an ancient chiefs daughter, but the legend being about the same in all its parts as is told of several other localities in Connecticut, receives but little credence.
The Indian name of the Great Falls was Metichawan,. denoting an "obstruction" or "turning back,"* and hence since the fish stopped at the cove except the eels, the name may have been applied more immediately to the cove by the Indians.
The falls are celebrated as having been the locality adjacent on the west bank where was built the wonderfully ornamented bark tent of the renowned chief Warhaumaug, the last but one of all the chiefs of the Indians of Western Connecticut, or of the original Pootatuck tribe.l0
The old chief Warhaumaug's monument stands on the hill a little to the east of Lover's Leap. Sometime within later years the white people have piled the stones, which lay scattered about for one hundred years at the old chief's grave, into a monumental pile, as represented in the accompanying cut. From it there is a beautiful outlook over the surrounding country, for which reason the old chief requested to be buried there.
1 See Trumbull's Indian Names.
"See "Indians of the Housatonic Valley."
The gathering of the Indian tribes from the south and -east with the old chief Warhaumaug at the falls was the last of any considerable number until they concentrated at Scalacook, where now only a few families are left.
Warhaumaug seems to have been the chief "Tom King" of Turkey Hills in Milford and of Coram in Stratford, in 1714, who coming to this locality took his name, which means "good fishing place," from the place. He died about 1735. being attended in his last sickness by the Rev. Daniel Boardman of New Milford.
Henry Tomlinson's deed was reaffirmed" with an additional grant in 1702 extending it northward " five miles and a half in length from the Still River, to run southwest to a small brook called Susumene Brook and so in breadth three miles on both sides the great river." This was given to Richard Blackleach and Daniel Shelton, who had probably inherited or purchased it from Henry Tomlinson or his heirs. This was the land that John Read was heir to from his father who resided in Stratford as one of its first settlers. Mr. Read, who afterwards settled at Reading, Conn., and from whose family that town took its name, and who became very celebrated in the profession of law in Boston, sued the New Milford company for trespass when they settled there ; gained his suit before the Hartford Court fifteen times but lost it on the sixteenth, and then surrendered his claim."
In the year 1671, the inhabitants of Stratford having become tired of purchasing the soil by piecemeal which they already owned, entered into an agreement to purchase all the claims of the Indians, within the town, except the reservations sanctioned by the Court, and in order to make.a full end of the matter brought it before the General Court, by their deputies, and the Court ordered a full settlement, appointing the deputies to attend the execution of the matter and make report. The agreement with the Indians, and the deed are both recorded. In this deed" they acknowledge all previous agreements and confirm all sales. They restate the boundaries as follows:
11 Henry Tomlinson's deed confirmed with addition to Richard Blackleach. and Daniel Shelton, August 9, 1702, and signed by the following :'
.' . , Poconos, his mark.
Indian witnesses. : '-' Werneitt, his mark.
Papcpetito, his mark, Cush, his mark.
Sachem of Oantenocke. Paquahim, his mark.
Siccus, his mark. Nunhotuho, his mark, the
Metach, ' his mark. Indian interpreter.
Mattecus, his mark,
" See History of New Milford, Conn.
"The line running from ye southward to ye northward twelve miles as it is now settled by ye court and from that north line, ye north end of it to runn away easterly to a pine swamp and so to a little River commonly called ye halfway River and soe to ye g' River called Stratford River the north bounds being yc half-way River, ye east bounds Stratford River and ye South bounds ye Sound on ye Sea, ye west bounds Fayrefeyld as aforesd."
It was agreed that the Town of Stratford shall pay or cause to be paid for and in consideration of the premises of Musquatt or his assigns, ten coats and five pounds of powder and twenty pound of lead. By this purchase was secured, or rather the Indians released from any claims, a large proportion of what is now the northern half of the township of Huntington in which there were some sandy hills of light color, and hence the name '"White Hills Purchase," by which the territory was designated on the town records, and the name is still retained in the White Hills school districts.
This purchase, which cost the town of Stratford according to the tax list made specially for this purpose, over 40, quieted the Indians just thirteen years, when another squad of claimants had grown up, or at least made their appearance, and doubtless for a consideration as whenever did they without confirmed the previous sale, thus: " We whose names are hereunto subscribed have had a full understanding of the contents of the above written bill of sales,we do fully concur with those that formerly signed the same, and do approve
"This deed which secured particularly the While Hills was dated May 25, 1671, and signed by the following Indians :
Indian witnesses. Musqtiatt, his mark.
Sucksquo, his mark. Nesumpaw, his mark.
Susqua James, his mark. Susapaqun, his mark.
Peonseck, his mark. Shoron, his mark.
Totoquan, his mark. Tackymo, his mark.
Thus ended apparently all Indian claims to Stratford lands, except in the reservations at Golden Hill and Coram. Of those who signed this last release two deserve a passing notice. Siacus, who signed a deed in Fairfield, retired to Gaylordsville in New Milford where he resided some years after the Gaylord family settled there about 1724, and where the site of his hut is still pointed out, as having stood in the midst of an orchard of apple-trees. He was a kindly remembered old Indian.
Chickens was also of the Pequannock tribe, and removed, probably, first to the Newtown or southern part of New Milford, thence to Reading, where he claimed and held a reservation, and after some years traded his reservation there for land at Ten Mile River near Kent, with John Read, and became one of the Kent tribe. His grandson, Tom Warrups, figured somewhat amusingly as well as patriotically during the Revolution at Reading," and after some years he removed and settled on the east side of Mount Tom in New Milford, where he enjoyed much liberty, lived cheerfully, loved strong water, had a wife who was a complete slave in waiting on him, but quite content in her home. Nothing is known of his death and hence probably he removed to Kent about 1810.
The local name Pootatuck, where the southern part of the village of Shelton now stands in the town of Huntington, was within the original limits of the town of Stratford, and was occupied by Indians, apparently, until 1684, some forty years after the town began to be settled, although it was not a reservation. It was probably the most ancient settlement on that river below Weantinock and retained the original name of the river, which was Pootatuck, meaning " falls river" or the river with many falls. From the distribution of relics as well as the name of the river it is suggested that the Mohican, or Hudson river Indians, came through the opening of the mountains a little below the present town of Kent, Conn., and finding the magnificent cascade or falls at the place now called Bull's Bridge, and on ascertaining the falls at New Milford and at Canaan, they named the river Pootatuck, ' falls river.' So far as ascertained, this was the only name applied by the Indians to this river when the whites first came here," and from it came the general classification of Pootatuck Indians to all who.resided upon.it; except that they, always retained even to this day the ancestral origin of Mohegans (usually pronounced by the Indians, Mohegans.) The first settlement they made on the river of any considerable account was at New Milford which was retained as the Councilfireplace, or the capital, until the locality was sold in 1705. A small settlement was perhaps first made at Kent called Scatacook (Pish-gach-tigok) signifying 'the confluence of'two. streams,' for here were found by the first settlers such implements as were not made in this part of the country, as described by Dr, Trumbull and as have been ascertained at more,recent dates, but the favoring circumstances at that locality for a large and permanent settlement were almost nothing compared to New Milford, where were the richest bottom lands and greatest in extent of any place on the river, besides the great abundance offish and eels tyo miles below, at Falls Mountain. Then, also, it has been handed down frort' the Rev. Daniel Boardman the first minister at New Milford, by his
14 Confirmation of the White Mills sale, April 28, 1684.
Papuree, his mark.
Indian witness. Ponamscut, his mark.
Nasumpawes, his mark. Acunhe, his mark.
Robin, his mark.
Matach, his mark.
Siacus, his mark.
Chickens, his mark.
Sashwake James, his mark.
Crehero, his mark.
Nasqurro, his mark.
Cheroromogg, his mark.
11 Hist, of Redding, 65. Indians of Housatonic, Hist. New Milford.
" On Stratford and Derby records the only Indian name for this river at first was Pootatuck, with various spellings, and as late as 1723 in Newtown in a public vote they say, " the Great or Potatuck River," in a proposition to purchase the Indian claims of Quiomph and his tribe then residing there, thus showing that the Indians still retained their old name for the river.
son Sherman Boardman in writing that New Milford was the chief seat of government for all the tribes or clans on the Housatonic river. The only locality that retained the original name was at Shelton, and the extensiveness of the burials made there indicates greater antiquity than elsewhere except at New Milford. There was here also at the old Pootatuck village, an old fort when the English first came, and a new one had been built, just before, or was built soon after, at what is still called Fort Hill on the west side a little further up the river. '
CONFLUENCE OF THE HOUSATONIC WITH THE NAUGATUCK.
The accompanying illustration represents the Naugatuck river coming from the north, at the right hand, into the Housatonic. The cove at the north end of the fields opposite the old Leman Stone store and shipping house, was known many years as Huntington Landing (belonging to Stratford 150 years); and about half a mile up the river on the west side was the old Pootatuck settlement and fort; and a mile above it on the same side of the river was the new fort on what is still Fort Hill, while about a mile further up is the Indian Well. This Huntington and Derby Landing was a great shipping port for about one hundred years.
It was at this place, being within the bounds of Stratford, that the Indians in 1663 agreed to abandon their old planting field for the sake of peace, and probably for the purpose of being allowed to occupy the locality longer as a settlement or residence, after the land had been turned over to the English more than twenty years, in the following language :
" Upon consideration of friendly and loving correspondence between us and the town of Stratford, we will no more plant on the south side of the Great River at Paugusitt to prevent a ground of future variance between us, in order to avoid any damage that might be done to corn."" The cattle and swine of the English were pastured in the wilderness, and if the Indians planted corn without making substantial fences about it, damage would be the inevitable result; therefore rather than build a fence around land they could not legally hold, they concluded not to plant at that place. A large proportion of the Paugasitt tribe were residing then on Derby Neck, a mile north of the present village of Birmingham, where they had a large planting field.
The relics found at Pootatuck have been numerous and some of them very fine in workmanship. Two pestles dug up in excavating for a cellar in 1879, near the river, in the lower part of Shelton, were the most perfect of any seen in this part of the country.
The Indian Well is the only remaining monument or visible reminder of the old Pootatuck tribe. This was located on the west side of the river about a mile above the dam across the Housatonic. A stream of water pours through the opening of the rocks and descends about twenty feet into a deep pool or well, said to have been measured to the depth of one hundred feet without finding the bottom. It is said that the Indians held some superstition of awe or veneration for the place, but the appearance would indicate the awe to have partaken more of the nature of thankfulness for the coolness and agreeableness of the place and the abundance of good water. It is a pleasing resort for visitors in the summer, and many improve its inviting shades and romantic scenery. Whether the Indians had as much or more pleasure in the locality than the whites have since may be a question of doubt, but certain it is that the name is the Indian Well.
1l The agreement between Okenunge and Stratford, May 28, 1663, was signed by the following names :
Okenunge, his mark. Ansantaway, his mark.
Amantaneage, his mark. Mansuck, his mark.
Asquetmougu, his mark. Nomponucke, his mark.
About 1680 the Indians on the lower part of the Housatonic made a considerable migration with their wigwams up the Housatonic river, those on the south side to Pootatuck in Newtown and those on the east side to the mouth of the Shepaug on the north side. In 1681,the Pequannock Indians sold their old planting field in Fairfield, and in 1685, 1686 and 1687 they completed the sale of all their claims in that town. Golden Hill and Coram in Stratford were left, but Coram they never liked as a place for wigwams and but few dwelt there, and the whites had already settled to the north of that place, so that game was scarce, the forests were disappearing, and they felt compelled to move West, as many of their successors have done since.
Newtown and New Milford became the points of rendezvous from 1680 until about 1705, when they sold again and moved on west.
Newtown from 1680 until 1705 must have been the home of several hundred natives. In the latter year they sold the territory for that township," making some reservation and in
"The deed for the purchase of Newtown.Is dated July 25, 1705, and was for a '' tract of land bounded south on a Pine Swamp and land of Mr. Sherman and Mr. Rossiter, Southwest upon Fairfield bounds, Northwest upon the bounds of Danbury, Northeast on land purchased by Milford men at or near Caentonoack, and Southeast on land of Nannawaug, an Indian, the line running two miles from the river right against Potatuck, the said tract of land contaming in length, eight miles and in breadth six miles in consideration of four guns, four Broadcloth coats, four Blanketts, four Buffalo Coats, four Kettles, ten shirts, ten pair of
11723, they .by their chief, Quiumph, sold all their claims in that town "except a corner of intervale lying by ye River .where Cocksures fence" is." The Newtown deed of 1705, contains the names of several Indians who signed deeds in Fairfield and Stratford, showing that they retired from their old wigwams along the coast to Pootatuck in Newtown. New Milford. and Newtown were purchased' at nearly the same time. At New, Milford they sold their last land, which was their old planting field, in 1705, and with those from Newtown and Shepaug in Woodbury began to center in considerable numbers at Kent. There is a sense of sadness connected with their leaving Weantinock, their old council-fire place, where their warriors had gathered during many generations to decide the great questions of peace or war, and where their wigwams and fort had stood, perhaps hundreds of years, and where also they had buried a large number of their kindred ancestors. It was a beautiful locality, with
'Stockings, fortle pound of Lead, ten Hatchetts, ton pound of powder and fortle knives."
. . Macroremee,. his mark. Siams, . his mark.
Wachunaman, his mark. Sudragumqua, his mark.
Walwatup, his mark. Wompenoch, his mark.
Martenech, his mark. Wachunanee, his mark.
\ Awashkeran, his mark. Saununtawan, his mark.
. . "; 'Ammeruetas, his mark. Manapok, his mark.
Mattouchsqua, his mark. Magusquo, his mark.
' . Gonnehampishe, his mark, Tarrosque, his mark.
Wompeowash; his mark. Meramoe, his mark.
Murapash, his mark. Sosauso, his mark.
. Punnauta, his mark. Wamatup, his mark.
. ' '.Wannome, his mark.- ; Mate-rook, his mark.
.. , Mesaukseo, his mark. . Awashkeram, his mark.
Taroosh, his mark. Mattoacksqua, his mark.
Merammoe, his mark. . Mauquash, his mark.
Sachamoque, his mark. Massumpo, his mark.
'. Sassousoon. his mark. Nannawaug, his mark.
' ' " Newtown deed. called Second Purchase, dated Aug. 7, 1723.
Manchero, his mark.
Nalumkeotunk,. his mark.
Machekomp, his mark.
Mansumpus, his mark.
Quiumph, his mark.
most charming surroundings. Their wigwams stood on the high bluff, seen in the accompanying picture, with the mountain in the rear stretching to the north, and their rich planting field at the foot of the bluff stretching eastward to the river and along its shore for a mile or more. On the edge of the bluff, now covered with a beautiful chestnuUand oak grove, was their burying place, where now after one hundred and eighty years, fifty mounds may be counted; it being, probably, the most perfect native memorial place that can be seen in all New England. The accompanying cut shows first, beyond the bridge, the old field, then the bluff where a dwelling stands ; a little to the left of which are the mounds, in the grove, and beyond these the mountains. In front of all these, flowing beneath the bridge is the Indians' grand old Pootatuck river. All these are but memorial of these native children of America.
Notwithstanding there were only eighty acres of land reserved for the Indians on Golden Hill, the white settlers were unwilling to allow them even these acres, but the General Court faithfully tried to protect them, as seen in the following record:
" May, 1678. Whereas this Court have been informed that some of Stratford have been claiming and laying out land upon Golden Hill to themselves, which hath been settled upon the Indians by agreement in this Court about nineteen years since, the Indians having not relinquished their right in the said Golden Hill, the Court confirms the same to the said Indians, according to former grant, without molestation ; and this Court orders that the said Indians shall not be molested or interrupted in their right there until they do wholly relinquish their right publicly, and come and record the same before this Court. This Court allows the Indians two coats to be delivered them by Stratford for their trouble." "
In May, 1680, Ackenach, Sachem of Milford and Paugassett Indians asked for more land for the support of his people ; in reply to which the Court appointed two commit
10 Col. Rec., iii.
tees, one to lay out one hundred acres at Turkey Hill, for Milford Indians, which accomplished its work and the other to lay out one hundred acres at Corum hill. The latter say in their report: " We have been at Corum hill and have laid out one hundred acres of land, be it more or less, for the use of those Indians that properly belong to Stratford to provide land for, by the law of this Colony, bounded with marked trees and Stratford River and Samuel Judson's ground; sufficient highways and conveniences for fishing on that side the river to be allowed in that said land when and where occasion shall require from time to time. Oct. 3, 6, 1680.
William Fowler. Jehu Burr."
This Coram land the Indians did not like, reporting it as very stoney and poor, but they occupied it many years, although not in large numbers. In 1714, they sold about twenty acres of it," for the sum of nine pounds and other land. This other land is described as "in Stratford township near a place called Quorum, bounded on the east partly on the river and on the north with a brook called Quorum brook."
In the deed to Harger is the name Tom, whom Harger in his deed to the Indians says was son of Cockapotane, who was the last chief at Paugassett, about 1730, and Tom in signing the deed made the same mark Antsantaway had used a number of times, namely, the bow and arrow.
Tom was somewhat accustomed to high times when young, as appears from the sale of a piece of the Coram reservation in 1724. The following is the record:
" Know all men by these presents, that whereas certain Turkey Hill Indians upon Stratford River did about May last and before, steal sundry sheep from Stratford side out of Quorum plain and being convicted of the same before Authority the Indians were these: Montigue, Tom Will, Ponocurate, Chashamon, .Mojono, Chipunch, Nenoco, Peicocuret,their Sachem Tomtonee or Munshanges, engaging to pay eleven pounds ten shillings in money which the said Indians promised to pay for the damage in stealing of sheep, and not having money to pay, the aforesaid Tomtonee, Sagamore, in the behalf of all the other Indians doth make over two parcels of land ; the one being about two acres called by the name of lower Quorum upon the great River, that they had of Abraham Harger, the other ten acres of land near the Narrows, bounded with the land of Daniel Shelton, north, south and easterly by the Indians' land in ye bounds of Stratford for the aforesaid sum of eleven pound ten shillings, and forty shillings more in money which we do own to have received already, in all being thirteen pounds ten shillings; all the aforesaid land with all the privileges, etc., hath made over unto Daniel Shelton of Stratford in the Colony of Connecticut, to quitclaim unto the said Daniel Shelton and his heirs forever, or so long as he the said Shelton or his heirs shall own that they are paid by the improvement of said land. The said Shelton of his own accord doth say that if the General Court or the town of Stratford saith he hath done amiss, he will relinquish the land. The aforesaid Tomtonee paying the sum of thirteen pounds ten shillings toaforesaid Shelton and the said Tomtonee, Sagamore,
91 The deed to Abraham Harger, dated May 31, 1714, was signed by ten Indians as follows:
Windhatn, his mark. Mishallin, his mark.
Ackomie, his mark. Robin, his mark.
Tom, his mark. Curan, his mark.
Tackamore, his mark. Rauneton, his mark.
Pequet, his mark. Chips, his mark.
does promise for himself and the rest of said Indians that if ever the land is taken out of the hand of Daniel Shelton or his heirs, that the said Tomtonee will pay back the aforesaid thirteen pounds ten shillings to the aforesaid Shelton or his heirs.""
The special reason why Mr. Shelton so freely offered to restore the land if called upon was that it was unlawful for any person or company to purchase land of the Indians without a permit from the Court.
'1 Derby, Jan. 7, 1723-4, Tomtonee's deed for stealing sheep.
Mashages, his mark. Tomtnnee, his mark.
Tom Will, his mark. Cheponan, his mark.
Punto, his mark.
It has been reported that the Indians had a reservation at Oronoque, or Woronoque, as the early Stratford town clerks wrote it, but no record of such reservation has been seen by the author of these pages. They may have resided there, or occupied a particular locality for many years by sufferance from the town, as they did at Pootatuck, but there was no reservation in the town but at Golden Hill, at first, and then at Coram afterwards, and the wood lot at Rocky Hill.
Golden Hill Reservation Sold.
The settlement made with the Pequannock Indians in 1659, in the appropriation of eighty acres of land on Golden Hill, by the General Court through the towns of Stratford and Fairfield, remained in force nearly one hundred years, or until October, 1763, when three Indians Tom Sherman, Eunice Shoran his wife, and Sarah Shoran, petitioned the General Court for redress, claiming that they and their ancestors " had quietly enjoyed said lands till within a few years last past, Gamaliel French, widow Sarah Booth, Elihu Burret, Joseph Booth, Mary Burret, the Rev. Robert Ross, Ezra Kirtland, Aaron Hawley and Samuel Porter, all of said Stratford, and Daniel Morriss, John Burr, Jr., and Richard Hall, all of Fairfield, have entirely ejected and put the memorialists out of the whole of said lands and pulled down their wigwam without right." Upon this complaint, Jabez Hamlin, Benjamin Hall and Robert Treat, Esqrs., were appointed a committee to inquire into the matter and report, which report was made the next May, but the Court was wholly dissatisfied with it and appointed Jabez Hamlin, Elisha Sheldon and Robert Treat, Esqrs., a second committee " with full power and authority to examine into and discover said matters of grievance." This committee reported the next October, 1765, an agreement with the Indians to sell all the eighty acres except "a certain piece or parcel of land called Nimrod lot, containing about twelve acres, with the spring at the point of Golden Hill aforesaid, bounded westerly by an highway, eastwardly by Poquonnuck River, northerly by Jabez Summer's land, and southerly by the Cove and common land, also about eight acres of wood-land at Rocky Hill, to be purchased for them by the petitioners, they also paying to them the said Indians, thirty bushels of Indian corn and three pounds worth of blankets."" This report and agreement was accepted and ordered by the Court to be executed, and to be in full for all demands by the Indians.
Besides the thirty bushels of Indian corn and three pounds worth of blankets, those who had trespassed on the rights of the Indians were ordered by the Court to pay to Thomas Hill, the Indian agent, 522d, to defray the expenses of the Indians in the suit.
In the agreement with Fairfield in 1659, this land upon the Indians leaving it, was to revert to the town of Stratford, upon their returning half the amount of money that Fairfield paid for it. If this was carried out, then these trespassers must have paid this item also to the town of Stratford, if no more, provided they retained the land. It is probable, however, that they paid a still further charge to Stratford for the land.
It will be seen by the above quotation that the wood land was not an original reservation but a purchase at this time.
The Last Families.
Tom Sherman, the last owner of the Golden Hill reservation, married, in the Indian way, Eunice Shoran, and had children: I, Tom ; II, Eunice; III, Sarah.
I. Tom 2", m. Sarah (?) and had IV Ruby.
II. Eunice, m. Mack or Mansfield, formerly of Kent, and had V, Jim, Garry and Eunice.
III. Sarah, m. Ben Roberts, a negro, and lived at the Eagles' Nest at Stratford Tide Mill. Some of their descend
" Conn. Col. Records, xii.
V. Jim Mansfield, son of Eunice Shoran, m. his cousin Ruby, dau. of Tom 2d, and had Nancy, who had VI, William Sherman ; after which she m. John Sharpe, and had Beecher, Nancy and Charles, and Sharpe being sent to State's Prison, she lived with a man Rensler, and had Olive.
VI. William Sherman, son of Nancy and grand-son of Tom 2d and Ruby, was born in 1825 in Poughkeepsie, N. Y., and is still living at Nichols Farms in Trumbull, Conn., being the sole claimant on the Indian money from the sale of Golden Hill. He m. Nancy Hopkins of New London, and was a sailor in a whaling ship seventeen years; has been 'round the world nine times; was first mate of the ship five years and earned an honorable standing and reputation, which he has retained to the present time. He educated himself, and could perform the full services of a first mate on a vessel correctly as well as intelligently. He has long been a respected farm laborer at Nichols Farms, and long trusted with considerable responsibility in the management of the farm and properties of Mr. F. P. Ambler and Sons, while they were engaged in the business of Saddletree manufacturing at that place. He has been the Sexton of the Cemetery at Nichols Farms about thirty years and performed the work of his position with much satisfaction to the community. He and his wife have acted in the capacity of nurses in severe sicknesses in the community for many years, and as such won many expressions of thankfulness and confidence. The tradition is that he is a descendant of Molly Hatchet of Derby ; and in the healthy locality where he resides has attained to the standard weight of about three hundred and sixty pounds.
His children are: I, William; II, Henry, died aged 17 years; III, George, who m. Mary A. Hamilton; IV, Mary Olive, who died young; V, Caroline; VI, Huldah ; VII, Mary Olive; VIII, Charles ; IX, child that died.
INDIAN DEEDS, WARS AND RELICS.
FAIRFIELD and Stratford were both held by the Connecticut Colony as conquered and ceded territory when these settlements were first commenced, and for ten years they were treated in several respects as one plantation. They were taxed as one; they were served with magistrates as one, and jointly they provided for the Pequannock Indians after 1659 until 1680; Stratford furnishing the land for the Golden Hill reservation in part and Fairh'eld contributing something towards the supply of the land, and also the agents to oversee the Indians were appointed from Fairfield.
In order, therefore, to understand the whole history of this tribe of Indians it is important to refer to the deeds they gave of land in Fairfield, and to preserve their names the same as the signers of Stratford deeds.
The division line between Stratford and Fairfield passed through, north and south, the territory which these Indians had long cultivated, which constituted the open plains that the new settlers so much desired, that they could not settle the boundary line themselves and hence called on the General Court to do it. This they did by retaining the old line, nearly through the centre of the plain, allowing the Indians to still cultivate about eighty acres, called the old Indian field, near Uncoway River, in Fairfield, and appropriating eighty more on Golden Hill in Stratford, but making Golden Hill the place of residence for all of them.
The first deedl is a quitclaim of a large part of the original town of Fairfield, and is given by Pequannock Indians in 1656, nearly seventeen years after Mr. Ludlowe took possession of the territory. In this deed they reserve the " propriety " or ownership of the Indian field, which they, being at Fairfield say, " is a small neck of land on y" other side of ye creeke ;" meaning Uncowav creek as elsewhere explained. That was the neck where the Gentlemen's Trotting Park is now located, the original field extending northward some distance from the present park. At the time the deed was given they were about to build a fort, and the only consideration that they received at the time, apparently, was an agreement on the part of the English to " draw the stuffe," with which to build this fort, but this may have taken time sufficient to balance quite a sum of money. Whether there had been a fort there or anywhere within Fairfield bounds is not stated, but a fort was at some time here, for in 1752, in giving the bounds of the Stratfield Society at this place, they say, " which said cove heads or terminates at or near the place called the Old Fort.'"
1 Fairfield Indian Deed. dated March 20, f6f6.
" Whereas several Indians have made claim to much of ye land in ye Town of Fairfield have and do possess, ye Town of Fairfield having taken ye matter into consideration, ordered and appointed Alexander Knowles, Henry Jackson, Francis Purdy with several others to treat with Poquanuck Indians concerning and upon ye treaty with those Indians whose names are under written in y* behalf of all ye Pequannock Indians they have agreed as followeth :
" First they owne y' ye land y' ye Town is built upon from ye Creeke at ye tide mill of Fairfield southwestward Is called Sasqua which they owne has been purchased* from ye Indians and is now y* English land.
"2. Secondly y* sd. Indians have acknowledged, consented to and granted y' all that tract of land which they call Uncoway and which is from y' above sd Creek eastward unto ye bounds between Fairfield and Stratford, from y* See to run into y* country seven or eight miles, for y* future it shall be y* land and propriety of y inhabitants of y* Town of Fairfield, giving and granting to ye sd Town all ye above sd tract of land called Uncoway with all creeks rivers etc. . . . . only it is to be noticed that the field which y' Indians now possess called y* Indian f1eld, which is a small neck of land on y' other side of y* creeke is excepted, y* Indians still keeping their propriety in that small neck or field, Ye Indians are to have y* privilege of killing deer within y* nhovcs1' tract of land, only they are not to set any traps within ye sd tract of land.
In witness, 20th March, 1656.
" Whereas ye above said land is granted to ye Town of Fairfield by ye sd Indians: We also manifest our respect unto them y' wee doe engage upon sufficient warning to cart their stuff for them to erect and build a fort yr. Upon this consideration y sd Indians have acknowledged y* abovesd grant.
Umpeter Noset, marke. Nimrod or Pocunnoc, marke.
Matamuck, marke. Anthonyes, alias Lotashun, marke.
* " Purchased," means obtained, for in a later deed where all previous deeds are referred to, this one 1s the first mentioned.
Another deed' of the same date March 20, 1656 was given for " land commonly called Sasqua, lying west of Sasqua swamp, or on the west side of the present Mill River; Musquat, the first name on this deed, is the same as that on a deed in Stratford in 1671.
The third deed4 was given to cover this same territory or a part of it because the Indians at Norwalk claimed an interest in it.
1 Col. Rec., x, 147.
* Second Indian D1ed in Fairjttld. dale March ao, 1656.
" This was a deed of " land commonly called Susqua, . . . bounded on y* northeast with y* land called Uncaway, on y* southwest with ye land at Maximus, ye
line on ye southwest runs close to ye English farms at Maximus from the
sea Straight up into ye country six miles at y" least."
Musquatt, his mark. Santamartous poppoos, his mark.
Taspee, his mark. Willecon, his mark.
Ponuncamo, his mark. James, alias Watusewa
Cramkeago's Squaw, satum, his mark.
Selamartous' Sister Wompegan, his mark.
Wissashoes, her mark.
The following signed October id, 1679.
Creconoe's mark. Chickens' mark."
Nimrod's mark. Antony's mark."
4 Fairfield Indian Deed of Land claimed by Indians of Norwalk, in which it is said " Susqua did run west as far as Muddy Creek." Dated April I1, 1661.
Momechemen, mark. Wenam, mark.
Tolpee, mark. Quanumsooe, mark.
Aucan, mark. Panoucamus, mark.
Maskot, mark. James, marke."
Mamachlm's mark. Weenam's mark."
The next deed* here noticed for the deed given in 1670 has not been seen was given for claims, again, on the whole township, and a large part of it is given in the note to show the inside track of the business of buying lands of the Indians, and also because it was the final one, except for reservations, for the southern part of the township.
The interpreter in these sales was John Minor of Stratford, and several of these deeds are recorded on Fairfield book in John Minor's handwriting, but testified to by Fairfield town clerk.
1 Fairfield Indian Deed. quitclaim, dale October 6,'1680.
" Know all men by these presents y' whereas y" towne of Fairfield hath formerly bought of y' true Indian proprietors all ye lands contained within their township bounds which is seven miles broad upon ye sea coast and from ye sea at least twelve miles into ye country to y* northward of their bounds, bounded on y* east with y* sd. Town bounds as y' Court hath settled, on ye west with ye town bounds of Norwake, also Compaw Neck from ye old road to Norwake to Sagatuck River on ye west, and to ye sea on ye south, for which lands ye Indian proprietors have given ye sd Towne severall bills of sale one bill bearing date 20th March, 1656, another bill dated 21 March, 16$f. ye 3d bill bearing date ye 191h Jan., 1670. by all which bills of sale ye above lands are made over to ye Towne, Yet for ye maintenance of love and peace between ye sd Towne and us ye Indians yl wee may prevent trouble, y' neither we nor our heirs nor successors shall make
any further claims Wo the surviving Indians, inhabitants of Poquanock,
Uncoway, Susqua and Aspctuck do covenant, etc for a valuable consideration do alienate, etc [In this deed the old Indian field was still reserved.]
Witness this 6th day of October, 1680.
John Minor, ),
, , c-, , ' Witnesses and Interpreter.
John Sherwood, )
his mark. Panumset, his mark.
his mark. Pupurah, his mark.
his mark. Mamarashock, his mark. .
her mark. Nausouate, his mark.
his mark. Sasqua James, his mark.
his mark. Nusenpawes, his mark.
his mark. Creconoe, his mark.
his mark. Norwake James, his mark.
his mark. Capt. Witree, his mark.
his mark. Iletorow, his mark.
his mark. Nasacoe, his mark.
his mark. Quatiart, his mark,
his marke. Siacus, his mark." October 13, 1660, the following names were added.
" Hassahan, marke. Wampum, marke.
Miltacke, marke. Warenet, marke.
Womsoncowe, marke. Choromoke, marke. .
On this last deed are many names, some of which we find on Stratford deeds, and also on deeds given some years later further up the Housatonic river. Old Anthony, whose Indian name was Lotashun, was, we imagine, a noble old Indian, and really very old. Nimrod, whose Indian name was Pocunnoe, had been prosecuted thirty years before for killing a Mr. Buttler's hogs, being then a prominent man, and must have been' quite old, and he it was who had his wigwam, on the eastern part of the Golden Hill reservation, and after whom the lot was named, and known many years, near where the Bridgeport Gas Works now stand, and in his honor also was named a steamboat sailing from Bridgeport nearly two hundred years after Pocunnoe was named Nimrod. Quite a number of these names with variations of spelling are to be seen several times in other deeds hereafter noticed.
Only one year after the date of the last deed the Pequannock Indians prevailed with Fairfield men to buy their old field near Uncoway creek, although the Fairfield people urged them to keep it, as the bill of sale says, and on the 18th of May, 1681, the deed was signed ; the deed saying, "the Old Indian field on ye east side of Uncoway River.'"
It is conclusive from the few names attached to this deed that quite many of the natives had removed, and we find also that during the previous year the Paugassett chief petitioned the General Court for more land to plant, and in October the Court ordered, and the reservation called Coram was devoted to their use. so that probably about this time a considerable emigration occurred to Pootatuck in Huntington, Pomperaug on the Housatonic and to Pootatuck in Newtown.
* Fairfield Indian Deed for the Indian
field. dated May /<?, 16S1.
" This sale we have made for a valuable consideration."
Mamerushee Umperenoset's Cape, his mark,
son, mark. Sowwahose squaw, her mark.
Ponees, his mark. Naushuta's squaw, her mark.
Old Anthony, his mark. Nassansumk Young,
Washaganoset, his mark. Anthony's son, his mark.
Wissawahem squaw, her mark. Choraromokes, his mark."
" Indian Witnesses.
Sasqua James, his mark. Runsh squa, her mark.
Crovecoe, his mark. Pascoe, his mark.
Rorocway, his mark.
"Trushee an Indian who speaks very good English" was employed by both parties and signed this deed.
Several other Indian deeds are recorded on Fairfield books; one of a piece of land called Wolf Pit Neck, in the southeast part of the town joining Stratford line, dated February 12, 1685, and sold to Fairfield town.'
This deed and several others are signed by John Burr as Commissioner, and since it was unlawful for any persons or towns to purchase lands of the Indians without an order from the General Court, probably he was appointed to act in that capacity, and hence may have effected the purchase under the great oak tree, as tradition has reported, on the plain about a mile west of the wigwams at the foot of Golden Hill and in the northern part of the old open field.
This was a grand ancient tree, celebrated as such for the last two hundred years, but like all the lords of this earth, it had its day when it flourished and extended its branches to a great distance, and then came the processes of decay which were in operation probably more than one hundred years before the great monarch bowed his proud head and yielded to inevitable fate. It had attained to about six feet in diameter two feet above ground, and by actual count of the layers of wood so far as decay would permit, it must have attained to about four hundred years of age ; when in a strong easterly storri1 in the spring of 1884, it was blown down, and " great was the fall of it," and then by the fiat of the worldrenowned showman* whose tender mercies and great respect for old age allowed it standing room in a most beautiful field for a number of years, although unfruitful, it was hewn in pieces and disappeared forever.
' Fairfield Indian Died dated Feb. 13, f6Sf.
"We Indians sell . . . for a valuable consideration ... a neck of land called Wolf Pitt Neck ... on Stratford bounding line on ye northeast, on ye other sides with ye land of ye inhabitants of Fairfield
The mark of Penomscot. The mark of Matamhe.
Cheroramag. his mark. The mark of Kahaco.
The mark of Asoraimpom. The mark of Shaganoset.
The markof Machoka. acunk's Daughter. The mark of Old Anthony.
The mark of Pony. The mark of Matamhe.
The mark of Pascog, Interpreter."
It is probable, that this celebrated ceremony took place under the branches of this great spreading oak, when the old Indian field was sold, which occurred in the balmy weather of spring on the 18th of May, 1681, just two hundred and three years before it fell by the strong winds from the great sea. Col. John Burr who held the council with the Indians and his descendants, owned the land on which this tree stood nearly two hundred years, their dwelling standing but a little distance from it. Miss Polly Burr, the last owner in the family name died in 1874, but had sold it to Hon. P. T. Barnum previous to her decease.
Another deed* was signed by the Indians fora highway through their reservation on Golden Hill in June, 1686, which was very nearly what is now Washington avenue, and this highway was for the convenience of the English and Indians. There were residing here then several English families, John Beardsley, Samuel Gregory, Henry Summers and others, on and near the old division line between Fairfield and Stratford, which was afterwards called Division street, and now Park avenue.
The next spring (in 1687) the General Court ordered the old King's highway laid out from Stratford to Fairfield, which highway, after nearly two hundred years, was so unfortunate as to have its name changed to the insignificant name of North avenue, thereby losing all its ancient renown' and honor.
'The Hon. P. T. Barnum.
Fairficld Indian Deed for highway, dated June 8, 1686.
" A highway from the highway between Fairfield and Stratford [now Park
avenue] into the Indian field called Golden Hill, near where the path
lieth from Samuel Gregory's across the Indian field that goeth toward Stratford."
Wowompon, his mark. Pascob, his mark.
Panomscot, his mark. Pany, his mark.
Slacus, his mark. Robin, his mark.
Two other deeds are recorded on the Fairfield book ; one of land " called Umpawage lying westward from Fairfield in the wilderness;" the other" " a piece of land about eighteen or twenty miles from the town of Fairfield ... to the westward of north Fairfield in the woods, called Ompaquag, a mile square." All the Indians signing these deeds were probably of the Pequannock tribe, and the last witness to this last deed Cashesamay was the Sachem at Pootatuck (Shelton) and afterwards at Newtown.
Trouble with the Indians.
The Indians made much trouble and brought many difficulties to the English settlers of Connecticut. The expenditures by the latter to defend themselves from the hostilities and trespasses of the former were more than a fair or proper value of the land as it was purchased from time to time until it was all secured by honorable deeds. There were two wars between the.English and Indians in Connecticut; the one in 1637, and the other in 1675 and 1676, and both, under the circumstances then existing, were great wars with heavy expend
10 Fairfield Indian Deed dated Dec. 29, 1686.
" This land is by estimation about two miles square, northwest bounds is by
Sagatuck River which runeth by the path that goeth from Paquiag the
Nanascrow, his mark. , Mattake, his mark.
Crekano, his mark. Mamorussuck, his mark.
Tontasonahas, his mark. Washogenoset, his mark.
Womumkaway, his mark. Aquetwake, his mark.
Taquoshe, his mark.
" Indian Witnesses.
Sasco James, his mark. Panomscot, his mark.
Roben, his mark. Messhawmish, his mark."
" Fairfield Indian Deed dated Sept. 12, 1687.
" A parcel of land in Connecticut called Ompaquag, it being a mile square." Monaquitarah, Sen., his mark. Wamouncaway, his mark.
Nathascon, his mark. Wukerowam, his mark.
" Indian Witnesses.
Mamoroset. Sagawin. his mark. Robben, his mark.
"Wanachecompum, his mark. Cashesamay, Sachem, his mark."
itures and terrible consequences. The first of these was the Pequot war which began in May, 1637, and closed in June the same year in a swamp near what is now the village of Southport, in the town of Fairfield. The attack on the fort of the Pequots was made by Capt. John Mason and his ninety men about day-break in the morning of June 5th, and a great victory was gained, resulting in the killing of many of the Indians, and the remainder fleeing westward in great haste. These were pursued by the soldiers, crossing the Connecticut river and continuing along the shore of the Sound. At New Haven a number of Indians were killed in a skirmish or battle, and the same in Stratford where the fugitives were joined by the Pequannock Indians; and finally the flying Indians took refuge in a swamp, now located a little north of the village of Southport, where they were surrounded, and after hard fighting some escaped with their lives.
At this time some hostages were taken of the Pequannock Indians and some of their women were sold to servitude in Connecticut and Massachusetts. The Pequot and Pequannock women and children taken in this war numbering two hundred" were all devoted to slavery for life, being distributed, probably, sold by the governments of Connecticut and Massachusetts to pay expenses of the war, to the inhabitants of-these commonwealths, and many of them, especially the male children, according to Governor Winthrop," were sold as slaves at the Bermuda Islands. This Pequot war was a savage war on the part of the English and produced terrible results. The historians have apparently nearly always avoided the full particulars and the disgrace of its barbarity. Even Dr. Trumbull either was ignorant of the aggravating facts or passed over them too lightly for a historian of high integrity. The slaughter of so many Indians six or seven hundred besides those assigned to slavery, produced on the minds of those who remained in the tribes, savages though they were, a terrible fear, a shudder of horror, but the reaction in their minds was an almost insatiable thirst for revenge, and this the colonists understood, and so dreaded that it is apparent on almost every movement they made for self-protection, for fifty years, and the Narraganset, or King Phillip's War, was planned and carried on by the Indians with double secrecy and energy by the remembrance of this Pequot slaughter, for without it King Phillip could never have formed the combination of tribes which he did. Also from the day the Pequots were slain the western Connecticut Indians had no faith in the white man's religion. Think of itl There were at the time in the Housatonic valley, from Long Island Sound northward, between two and three thousand docile, friendly Indians, but a dozen reported conversions to Christianity were not made until the Moravian Missionaries came to Scatacook in 1743, and yet these natives mingled freely and in scores of cases, familiarly with the white settlers during all these one hundred years.
15 Morton, 114. 11 Ibid, 113.
As has been stated, the colonists dreaded and expected retaliation. Several times during the next seventy-five years it was rumored, with no foundation for the rumor but the fears of the whites or the threats of a few irritated natives, that the Indians of Fairficld county had joined with the Mohawks in a war of extermination ; and the General Court sent out companies of soldiers, into Fairfield and Litchfield counties, to detect, and resist such a combination, even as late as 1724. As late as during the French and Indian wa'rs in 1758, this dread and expectation were still cherished and acted upon all along the western boundaries of Connecticut.
The destruction of the Pequots was ended in the town of Fairfield, and the Pequannocks were allies and joined in the fight against the whites, thus connecting Stratford and Fairfield with that war.
The causes which have been set forth by Dr. Trumbull for this war were entirely inadequate to the terrible massacre of seven or eight hundred men, women and children, even in an Indian fort, and the enslaving of two hundred other women and children, and the only excuse for the persons who did it lies in the fact that they had just emigrated from England where such barbarity was the sentiment of the people, as was clearly exhibited by that people in the -American Revolutionary War.
Until the year 1643, following the Pequot war, theIndians were comparatively quiet and friendly, and the General Court saw the need of making but lew restrictions and regulations in regard to them, and what they did enact had as much, or more reference to the conduct of the English than to the Indians, but in this year and several following, the doings of the Indians in what is now Fairfield County were such as to awaken great apprehension for the safety of the people.
Five plantations were seriously in danger; Stratford, Fairfield, Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich, but the last of these was at the time under the jurisdiction of the New York Governor. The settlers in each of these localities were not numerous, and they had had but little time or means to make preparations against any Indian hostilities. The settlement at Stratford had been in progress four years, that of Fairfield,. four years, that of Norwalk, three, that of Stamford, two, and that of Greenwich, three. The number of the Indians then within the five plantations and their vicinities were, probably, four or five to every white person, and they had all advantageous facilities for a complete massacre, or destruction of the white people. The immediate cause for this disturbance was the war between the Hudson River Indians and the Dutch at New York. Dr. Trumbull" gives the following account of the origin of this Indian and Dutch War:
" The war between the Dutch and Indians began in this manner. A drunken Indian, in his intoxication, killed a Dutchman. The Dutch demanded the murderer, but he was not to be found. They then made application to their governor to avenge the murderer. He, judging it would be unjust or unsafe, considering the numbers of the Indians, and the weak and scattered state of the Dutch settlements, neglected to comply with their repeated solicitations. In the mean time the Mohawks, as the report was, excited by the Dutch, fell suddenly on the Indians, in the vicinity of the Dutch settlements and killed nearly thiriy of them. Others fled to the Dutch for protection. One Marine, a Dutch cap
14 Vol. i. 138.
tain, getting intelligence of their state, made application to the Dutch Governor, and obtained a commission to kill as many of them as it should be in his power. Collecting a company of armed men, he fell suddenly upon the Indians, while they were unapprehensive of danger, and made a promiscuous slaughter of men, women and children, to tht number of seventy or eighty. This instantly roused the Indians, in that part of the country, to a furious, obstinate and bloody war.
" In the spring, and beginning of the summer, they burnt the Dutch out-houses; and driving their cattle into their barns, they burned the barns and cattle together. They killed twenty or more of the Dutch people, and pressed so hard upon them that they were obliged to take refuge in their fort, and to seek help of the English. The Indians upon Long Island united in the war with those on the main, and burned the Dutch houses and barns. The Dutch governor, in this situation, invited captain Underhill from Stamford to assist him in the war. Marine, the Dutch captain, was so exasperated with this proceeding that he presented his pistol at the governor, and would have shot him, but was prevented by one who stood by him. Upon this one of Marine's tenants discharged his musket at the governor, and the ball but just missed him. The governor's sentinel shot the tenant and killed him on the spot. The Dutch, who at first were so forward for a war with the Indians, were now, when they experienced the loss and dangers of it, so irritated at the governor, for the orders which he had given, that he could not trust himself among them. He was obliged to keep a constant guard of fifty Englishmen about his person. In the summer and fall the Indians killed fifteen more of the Dutch people, and drove in all the inhabitants of the English and Dutch settlements west of Stamford.
" In the prosecution of their works of destruction, they made a visit to the neighborhood where Mrs. Hutchinson, who had been so famous, at Boston, for her Antinomian and familistical tenets, had made a settlement. The Indians, at first, appeared with the same friendship with which they used to frequent her house; but they murdered her and all her family, Mr. Collins her son-in-law, and several other persons belonging to other families in the neighborhood. Eighteen persons were killed in the whole. The Indians, with an implacable fury, prosecuted the destruction of the Dutch, and of their property, in all that part of the country. They killed and burned their cattle, horses and barns without resistance. Their case was truly distressing."
Notwithstanding these calamitous circumstances the governor and Court at New Haven felt that they were not at liberty to go to the relief of the Dutch with an armed force until consultation could be had with the Commissioners of the other colonies.
" The war was continued several years, and was bloody and destructive both to the Dutch and Indians. Captain Underhill had the principal management of it, and was of great service to the Dutch. He collected a flying army of a hundred and fifty men, English and Dutch, by which he preserved the Dutch settlements from total destruction. It was supposed, that, upon Long Island and on the main, he killed between four and five hundred Indians.
" The Indians at Stamford too much caught the spirit of the western Indians in their vicinity, who were at war with the Dutch. They appeared so tumultuous and hostile, that the people of Stamford were in great fear, that they should soon share the fate of the settlements at the westward of them. They wrote to the general court at New Haven, that in their apprehensions there were just grounds of a war with those Indians, and that if their houses should be burned, because the other plantations would not consent to war, they ought to bear the damage.
" At the same time the Narraganset Indians were enraged at the death of their sachem. The English were universally armed. The strictest watch and guard was kept in all the plantations. In Connecticut, every family, in which there was a man capable of bearing arms, was obliged to send one complete in arms, every Lord's day, to defend the places of public worship. Indeed all places wore the aspect of a general war.
" In the year of 1644 the Indians were no more" peaceable than they were the year before. Those in the western part of Connecticut still conducted themselves in a hostile manner. In the spring they murdered a man, belonging to Massachusetts, between Fairfield and Stamford. About six or eight weeks after the murder was discovered, the Indians promised to deliver the murderer, at Uncoway [Fairfield], if Mr. Ludlow would appoint men to receive him. Mr. Ludlow sent ten men for that purpose ; but as soon as the Indians came within sight of the town, they, by general consent, unbound the prisoner and suffered him to escape. The English were so exasperated at this insult that they immediately seized on eight or ten of the Indians, and committed them to prison. There was among them not less than one or two Sachems. Upon this, the Indians arose in great numbers about the town, and exceedingly alarmed the people, both at Fairfield and Stamford. Mr. Ludlow wrote to New Haven for advice. The court desired him to keep the Indians in durance, and assured him of immediate assistance, should it be necessary and desired ; and a party of twenty men were draughted forthwith, and prepared to march to Stamford at the shortest notice. The Indians were held in custody until four Sachems, in those parts, appeared and interceded for them, promising that if.the English would release them, they would, within a month, deliver the murderer to justice."
" Not more than a month after their release, an Indian went boldly into the town of Stamford, and made a murderous assault upon a woman, in her house. Finding no man at home, he took a lathing hammer, and approached her as though he were about to put it into her hand ; but, as she was stooping down to take her ch1ld from the cradle, he struck her upon her head. She fell instantly with the blow ; he then struck her twice, with the sharp part of the hammer, which penetrated her skull. Supposing her to be dead, he plundered the house, and made his escape; but soon after, the woman so far recovered, as to be able to describe the Indian, and his manner of dress. Her wounds, which at first appeared to be mortal, were finally healed; but her brain was so affected that she lost her reason.
'i N. H. Col. Rec., i. 134.
"At the same time, the Indians rose in those parts, with the most tumultuous and hostile appearances. They refused to come to the English, or to have any treaty with them, and appeared in a very alarming manner about several of the plantations, firing their pieces, and exceedingly terrifying the inhabitants. They deserted their wigwams, and neglected to weed their corn. The English had intelligence that the Indians designed to cut them off, and therefore many judged it unsafe to travel by land, and some of the plantations were obliged to keep a strong guard and watch, night and day. And as they had not numbers sufficient to defend themselves, they made application to Hartford and New Haven for assistance, and they both sent aid to the weaker parts of their respective colonies. New Haven sent help to Fairfield and Stamford, .as they were much nearer to them than to Connecticut.
" After a great deal of alarm and trouble, the Indian who had attempted the murder of the woman, was delivered up and condemned to death, and was executed at New Haven. The executioner cut off. his head with a falchion, but it was cruelly done. He gave the Indian eight blows before he effected the execution ; yet the Indian sat erect and motionless, until his head was severed from his body.""
" The Indians this year were almost everywhere troublesome, and in some places in a state of high hostility. In Virginia they rose and made a most horrible massacre of the English. The Narragansets, regardless of all their convenants with the English and with Uncas, continued in such hostilities that a party of soldiers were sent to preserve the peace and security of the people."
Under such circumstances these small plantations on the shore of the Sound, now within Fairfield county, made but slow progress. Greenwich was nearly, if not entirely, deserted, and but for Captain Underhill, Stamford, Norwalk,
" See Records of the Colonies, and Winthrop's Journal, p. 352.
Fairfield and Stratford must have been given up for a time. And as it was, what a living death it must have been to remain steadfast and not desert the localities. Every family that could raise a soldier as a watchman, must bring him forth, if it was the last and only man in the family. What sleepless nights in those homes; what anxiety if a member of a family, being out at work, did not return home at the expected or appointed time. What a war-like appearance was witnessed every " Lord's day " at the meeting-house, with one soldier from every family, armed and equipped with. a gun and sword, and all possible war implements.
The cost of this Indian war to the seven plantations along the Sound was sufficient to have purchased, established, and perpetuated a separate plantation, if there had been noIndians. The court at New Haven assessed fines almost weekly, on persons who were found delinquent in watchingat their posts, or insufficiently provided with arms or ammunition, as the following items from the New Haven records most fully show. At a Court holden March 7, 1643:
Matthew Hitchcock, for a willful neglect to walk the round when the officers called him, was fined 5*.
James Haward, Joseph Thompson, William Bassett, Anthony Thompson, David Evance, Samuel Wilson and Samuel Haskins, [were] fined, each man, 6a " for foole guns."
"Thomas Yale and Jonathan Marsh for. the same, 6d a piece.
" Richard Perry and his 2 men, William Gibbard and; James Stewart and William Ball, for late coming fined each. man I".
" Roger Knapp, defective, all except gun, fined 5'.
" Brother Lamson, defective gun, fined 4*.
"Thomas Higginson, James Stewart and James Haward, defective belt, fined 6d.
" Mr. Eaton's 3 men, Thomas Higinson and his man, for coming without arms on the Lord's day, fined each man 2".
" Matthew Crowder, Thomas Caffins, Theodore Higgin son, James Stewart, Thomas Meaks, Isaac Whitehead, Matthew Row, Richard Mansfield, Thomas lies, Lawrence Wade ^ John Hill, John Cooper, Jarvice Boykin, and Mr. Eaton's. 3 men, fined each man 6d, for late coming to the meeting with their arms, Feb. 18, 1643.
" Court holden, May 1, 1644.
Brother Perry, being master of a watch and willfully neglecting it, was fined 40'.
" Matthew Row, for sitting down to sleep when he should have stood sentinel, was fined 5*. Brother Nichols, brother Gibberl, Richard Webb, Thomas Wheeler, Henry Lendell and William Bassctt, fined each man i* for late coming on the Lord's day with their arms."
Court held June 5, 1644.
" John Chapman being master of a watch and neglecting it, was fined 10'.
" Mr. Gilbert's man, being absent at his watch, was fined 5'. ."
" George Larrymore for neglecting his watch, fmed 2'6A."
Court held at New Haven June 23, 1644.
"It was ordered that the night watches be carefully attended, and the ward of the Sabbath days be dilligently observed, and that every one of the trainband bring their arms to the meeting every Lord's day; also that the great guns be put in readiness for service; also that the drum be beaten every morning by break of day, and at the setting of the sun.
" It was ordered that every Lord's day 2 men shall go Avith every heard of cattle, with their arms fitted for service <until these dangers be over.
" It was ordered that the farmers shall be freed from watching at the town while there is need of watch at the farms, provided they keep a dilligent watch there."
New Haven and Milford were much less exposed to the hostilities of the Indians than the plantations west of them, and if they needed so great diligence and strictness, how much more must have been needed by the others?
The troubles resulting from the Dutch and Indian war quieted down to a considerable extent, after three or four years, but the Indians of Fairfield County continued to indicate hostile feelings, and committed various depredations, and some acts of personal violence. In 1649, this spirit became so threatening, in connection with a murder committed by an Indian, that the General Court felt compelled to take definite action," and did in effect declare war against them, but by a committee consisting of Mr. Ludlow and Mr. Talcott, the matter was quieted and a siege of war avoided.
During all these efforts for peace and safety, great pains were taken to keep the Indians from obtaining guns and ammunition, or means for making war upon the English. In securing obedience to these regulations they had occasion to pass a somewhat unusual sentence in 1648, upon David Provost, a Dutchman, that if he repeated the offence he should be "shipped for Ireland and sent to the Parliament.""
Again in 1652, fears concerning the Indians were aroused anew, in consequence of the declaration of war between England and Holland, and it was expected that the war would be extended to America and assume serious proportions between New England and the Dutch at New Amsterdam, but after great preparations by the colonies, the war closed without any serious collisions here, between the whites, or damages done by the Indians.
""This Courte taking into serious consideration what may be done according to God in way of revenge of the bloude of John Whittmore, late of Stanford, and well weighing all circumstances, together with the carriages of the Indians (bordering thereupon) in and about the premises, do declare themselves that they do judge it lawful and according to God to make war upon them.
"This Courte desires Mr. Deputy, Mr. Ludlow and Mr. Taylecoate [Talcott]. to ride to-morrow to New Haven, and confer with Mr. Eaton and the rest of the magistrates there about sending out against the Indians, and to make return of their apprehensions with what convenient speed they may."
General Court, May, 1648.
""Whereas, David Provost and other Dutchmen (as the Court is informed), hare sould powder and shotte to Several Indeans, against the express Lawes both of the Inglishe and Dutch, It is now Ordered, that if upon examination of witnesses the said defaulte shall fully appeare, the penalty of the lawes of this Commonwealth shallbe laid upon such as shallbe found guilty of such transgression, the which if such delinquents shall not subject unto them shall be shipped for Ingland and sent to the Parliament." Col. Rec., i. 163.
"May 1707 This Assembly judgeth it expedient that the Indian murderer in durance at Fairfield shall and may be returned to the Indians, that so the Indians may have the opportunity to execute on him as they shall determine.""
It is a matter of conjecture that this Indian was hung at a place called Gallows Hill, in the southwestern part of the present town of New Milford, for such an occurrence took place there, probably, bv which the name is found there when that town was first settled about 1710.
The Golden Hill Indian Fund.
In 1802 on the petition of Tom Sherman, Eunice Sherman and others of the Golden Hill Indians, the State appointed an agent or overseer to administer their affairs. Abraham Y. De Witt held this office first, and after him were Josiah Lacey, Elijah Burritt, Smith Tweedy, Daniel O. Wheeler, Dwight Morris and Russell Tomlinson, the present incumbent.
Besides the dwelling and land at Nichols Farms now occupied by William Sherman, the Golden Hill fund amounts to about three hundred dollars.
The Samp Mortar Rock is a peculiarity and mystery. It is located about three miles north of Fairfield village, in the town of Fairfield, and is so called, or was so named because it was supposed that the Indians ground their corn in it. It is on the very verge of overhanging rocks of about fifty or sixty feet in height, and consists of a cavity in the top of the rock about thirteen inches in diameter and ten in depth, and has been pronounced by the younger Professor Dana, of Yale College, who has seen it, a " Pot-hole " or cavity worn there by the action of water and small cobble stones at some period far back in the ages. The rocky ridge on which it is located is of several miles in extent, and has been a place of frequent resort for pic-nics and visiting parties for many years. The locality forbids the idea of its being constructed there by the Indians and it is seemingly equally unreasonable that it should have been made where it is by the action of water, even were
" Col. Rec., v. 28.
A Powwow or Medicine Camp.
A few years after the New York and New Haven railroad was completed, or about twenty-five years ago, Mr. Thomas B. Fairchild of Stratford saw a number of stone posts standing like hitching posts on a line with the sidewalk in front of the premises of Mr. William Tuttle, near the lower wharf in Stratford village, and the novelty and peculiar appearance of them attracted his attention. Mr. Tuttle had set them, a few years previous, and left the place, and all that could be learned as to them by careful inquiry was that they were dug up in making the railroad between Stratford and Bridgeport, and Mr. Tuttle had brought them to his home and placed them along the sidewalk as hitching posts and novel ornaments. Thus the matter passed some years, but Mr. Fairchild, whose business was in Bridgeport, while in a state of mysterious inquiry as to these stones, frequently looked along the road, to ascertain, if possible, where they were found, and to learn who made them and for what purpose. About two years since, with increasing inquiry as to these posts, while passing along the road near Pembroke Pond where some men were excavating by the railroad bank to lay some pipe to secure fresh water for the Holmes and Edward's Silver Works, in West Stratford, he saw one of these posts, but wondered why it should be at that place as constituting a part of the railroad embankment. On meeting a cartman employed at the Cartridge Works, he pointed out the post and requested him to bring it in the cart to the office, for it was a peculiar stone and he wanted to preserve it. Upon which Mr. Bernard Judge said, " Don't I know all about the posts, and how this post got where it is ? Didn't I do the first work that ever I did in America on the railroad at this very place a few rods east of the iron bridge here in West Stratford? We dug out loads and loads of these posts, and threw them into the mill pond on the brush and limbs and then heaped the dirt upon them. These posts lay in heapsf partly covered, or under the ground, when we found them, and we talked about them a good deal, some saying they were put there by the Indians."
The larger number of these posts are nearly round, six and seven feet long, from seven to eight inches in diameter; one that is nearly square, only the corners rounded, being now in the possession of Mr. Thomas B. Fairchild, at Stratford, has a slot from the top downwards about eight inches deep and half an inch wide, on the side, as if to let in a wide band surrounding a sacred inclosure to keep out intruders. One of these posts is much larger than any of the others, and is of oval shape, from ten to twelve inches wide and about seven thick. Some are broken in pieces, but probably the larger number of them are still under the railroad bed. They were found on ground nearly level, at the foot of the hill, near a large, fine spring of water, and were thrown together, or near each other as if taken from their original positions and placed aside, to be out of the way ; and are supposed to have been used to protect a powwow ground or a medicine camp.
The following is a description of a powwow place found among the Mandan Indians in Dakota Territory, published recently in London, in the " North American Indians:"
" In the centre of the village Is an open space or public square, 150 feet In diameter and circular in form, which is used for all public games and festivals, shows and exhibitions. The lodges around this open space fronts in, with their doors toward the centre ; and in the middle of this stands an object of great religious veneration, on account of the importance it has in connection with the annual religious ceremonies. This object is in the form of a large hogshead, some eight or ten feet high, made of planks and hoops, containing within it some of their choicest mysteries or medicines. They call it the Big Canoe."Atlantis, by Ignatius Donnelly, 1n.
In the present town of Stratford there are but few relics of the natives to be seen, except quantities of oyster and clam shells in three localities. At the edge of the marsh west of the Lordship farm and a hundred rods north of the dwelling on that farm, is still a quantity of clam shells probably left there by the Indians, but it is not extensive. At a small fresh water pond on the northern part of the Lordship farm on the north side of the pound the oyster shells, many of large size, are in considerable quantities. They are largely covered by the soil but are in some places nearly two feet deep. On the east side of the great neck in several places are beds of oyster shells left by the Indians, which indicate a long occupation of the region in order to make the accumulations.
In some historical notes by Major W. B. Hinks, published in 1871, the following note is found : "Several interesting relics of the Indians were discovered in Stratford a few years since by the Rev. B. L. Swan. They consisted of a fire-place, and mortar for grinding corn, excavated in a ledge of rock near the house recently occupied by Mr. William Strong, which was built on the site of an ancient inn, kept during and before the Revolutionary War by George Benjamin. The fire-place was a semi-cylindrical upright hollow in the rock, several feet in height, from the top of which a pot could be suspended by a cross bar. Below it was the mortar with a rounded stone peslle, as large as a man's head, still lying in it. Unfortunately these relics were destroyed before measures could be taken for their preservation.
"Arrow heads in considerable numbers have also been found at the foot of another ledge a little west of the town on the lower road to Bridgeport, and it is believed that this was the place of their manufacture."
Indian Burying Places.
In three places have Indian skeletons been exhumed in considerable numbers within the territory now covered by the city of Bridgeport; one in or near what was the old Nimrod field near the present Gas Works, one where the Prospect Street School building now stands and the other on the bluff or hill as it was, South of State street and east of Main. The one at the Gas Works was greatly disturbed when the railroad was constructed, and quite a number of skeletons were taken out, but no implements of any considerable amount were found, at least none are reported, but this seems to have been the burial place for the Indians more largely after the whites came here.
As to the place where the Prospect Street School building now stands a paragraph from the Bridgeport Standard for October 28, 1870, is given: "The frequent finding of Indian bones and skulls in different places about the city suggests the question whether Bridgeport may not have been at some remote period in the past, one immense Indian hunting and burying ground. Every few days these bones are being brought to light by excavation, and now we find by digging for the new wing of the Prospect Street school house that the ground there was once quite a large burying place. Some fifty graves have been exposed and a large number of human bones and skulls are found buried a few feet below the surface. In some instances these skull bones are perfect, the jaws with full sets of teeth, being also found in sound condition. Tobacco pipes have been discovered buried in the same graves, also a genuine Indian dinner pot, and other signs and evidences that the bones of many aborigines have been for many long years quietly resting there, are found. In each case the body was probably buried in a sitting posture."
In the autumn of 1883, Mr. L. B. Beers and Mr. Robert W. Curtis, of Stratford, were hunting for Indian relics on the bank, near the mouth of the Housatonic river, when coming to a place of clean loam ground Mr. Beers picked up a small piece of soapstone pot or dish, and Mr. Curtis soon found another stone that had the appearance of being worked out, but on examination it was thrown away as of no value. The hunt being continued Mr. Curtis found a broken piece of spear head, and directly Mr. Beers picked up a poll or head of a stone axe and called for the piece that had been thrown away, which being secured fitted to,the head of the axe perfectly. The idea then came to Mr. Curtis that Indians would be likely to bury in light loamy earth, and that this place would be favorable in that respect, and proposed to his fellow laborer to dig up the ground, and thereupon went to work with his cane. Soon he struck something hard and dug it out with his hands and found it to be a large spear head. After working a little time longer Mr. Beers proposed to look elsewhere, but Mr. Curtis continued the work
and pride to a great circle of its acquaintances as well as its descendants. Its situation, being bounded toward the sunrising by the placid Housatonic, and on the south by the ever charming Long Island Sound, was, and is, one of remarkable attractiveness, and such as never to be forgotten by any of its wandering sons and daughters. By the side of the great sea where the tide of the mighty ocean, ever obedient to the nod of the queen of night, ceases not its life-giving toil, Stratford sat down as a child in 1639, and thereafter grew towards maturer years. In historic time, it is still young, but compared with many of its inland neighbors it is truly old ; and, as the tale of its legends pass in review, the ages will seem to have greatly multiplied, and its multitude of descendants indefinitely extended from ocean to ocean.
Stratford village is located on the Housatonic river about one and a half miles from Long Island Sound, in Fairfield county, Connecticut, fourteen miles from New Haven and fifty-eight miles from New York City. The original township, being twelve miles in length north and south, and about seven'fmiles wide east and west, comprised most of the territory now included in the five townships of Stratford, Bridgeport, Huntington, Trumbull and Monroe; and in this history it is proposed to complete the record of the whole of this territory, in uniform style, from the commencement down to the present time, and as each town is organized out of the old territory, to lay its history aside until the original township by name shall have been completed, and then totake up again each of the new towns in the order of the date of their organization, and thus complete the work.
The picturesqueness of the locality is remarkable. The general slope of the land is towards the Housatonic on the east and the Sound on the south, and the face of the country is divided with small elevations of land, called hills, but scarcely equal to the name, such" as Old Mill Hill, Toilsome Hill, Chestnut Hill, Long Hill, Coram Hill, and the White' Hills; rising only to such a height as to afford numerous sites for dwellings, in full view of many miles of water1' scenery of the Sound and landscape on Long Island beyond, and such as to guarantee a high degree of health from the balmy breezes of the Atlantic and the bracing, if not sometimes the biting winds from the hills at the west and north. Great vigor of health, longevity of life, and beauty of locality, have been characteristic of the region, until the lame thereof has reached from ocean to ocean, and is likely never to grow less.
Stratford was the seventh plantation settled within the present territory of Connecticut. Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield, the three first, were commenced in the years 1635 and 6; Saybrook was commenced under John Winthrop, the younger, in 1635, although but few families had arrived there in 1636. Mr. Davenport's company from London, with Mr. Pruden's, arrived at New Haven the middle of April, 1638, and the next spring Mr. Pruden and his people who had remained all winter at New Haven, settled at Milford ; and in the spring of 1639, a number of families settled at Stratford, then known by the Indian name of Cupheag.
The right of soil and manner of settlement. . '
The Patent" for the territory of Connecticut, given by the Earl of Warwick in 1631, under King Charles I., included "all that part of New England, in America, which lies and extends itself from a river there called Narraganset river, the space of forty leagues upon a straight line near the sea shore towards the southwest, west and south, or west as the coast lieth towards Virginia," and therefore covered more area than the present State of Connecticut. President Clap of Yale College described it thus: " All that part of New England which lies west from Narraganset river, a hundred and twenty miles on the sea coast; and from thence in latitude and breadth aforesaid to the sea, which grant extended from Point Judith to New York ; and from thence in a west line to the South Sea: and if we take Narraganset river in its whole length, this tract will extend as far as Worcester, and comprehends the whole of the colony of Connecticut and much more."*
1 The frit Patent of Connecticut, given under King Charles I.
"To all people, unto whom this present writing Shall come, Robert, Earl of Warwick, sendeth greeting, in our Lord God everlasting.
Know ye, that the said Robert, Earl of Warwick, for divers good causes and considerations him thereunto moving, hath given, granted, bargained, sold, enfeoffed, alienated, and confirmed, and by these presents doth give, grant, bargain, sell, enfeoff, aliene, and confirm, unto the right honorable William, Viscount Say and Seal, the right honorable Robert, Lord Brook, the right honorable Lord Rich, and the honorable Charles Fiennes, Esq., Sir Nathaniel Rich, Km.. Sir Richard Saltonstall, Km.. Richard Knightly, Esq., John Pym, Esq., John Hampden, John Humphrey, Esq., and Herbert Pelham, Esq., their heirs and assigns, and their associates forever, all that part of New England, in America, which lies and extends itself from a river there called Narraganset river, the space of forty leagues upon a straight line near the sea shore towards the southwest, west and by south, or west as the coast licth towards Virginia, accounting three English miles to the league ; and also all and singular the lands and hereditaments whatsoever, lying and being within the lands aforesaid, north and south in latitude and breadth, and length and longitude of and within, all the breadth aforesaid, throughout the main lands there, from the western ocean to the south sea, and all lands and grounds, place and plnces, soil, wood, and woods. grounds, havens, ports, creeks and rivers, waters, fishings, and hereditaments whatsoever, lying within the said space, and every part and parcel thereof. And also all islands lying in America aforesaid, in the said seas, or either of them, on the western coasts, or parts of the said tracts of lands, by these presents mentioned to be given, granted, bargained, sold, enfeoffed, aliened, and confirmed, and also all mines and minerals, as well, royall mines of gold and silver, as other mines and lrinerals, whatsoever, in the said land and premises, or any part thereof, and also the several rivers within the said limits, by what name or names soever called or known, and all jurisdictions, rights, and royalties, liberties, freedoms, immunities, powers, privileges, franches, preeminences, and commodities whatsoever, which the said Robert, Earl of Warwick, now hath or had, or might use, exercise, or enjoy, in or within any part or parcel thereof, excepting and reserving to his majesty, his heirs, and successors the fifth part of all gold and silver ore, that shall be found within the said premises, or any part or parcel thereof: To have and to hold the said part of New-England in America, which lies and extends and is abutted as aforesaid. And the said several rivers and every parcel thereof, and all the said islands, rivers, ports, havens, waters, fishings, mines, minerals, jurisdictions, powers, franchises, royalties, liberties, privileges, commodities, hereditaments and premises, whatsoever with the appurtenances, unto the said William, Viscount Say and Seal, Robert, Lord Brook, Robert, Lord Rich, Charles Fiennes, Sir Nathaniel Rich, Sir Richard Saltonstall, Richard Knightly, John Pym, John Hampden, John Humphrey and Herbert Pelham, their heirs and assigns and their associates, to the only proper and absolute use and behoof of them the said William, Viscount Say and Seal, Robert, Lord Brook, Robert, Lord Rich, Charles Fiennes, Sir Nathaniel Rich, Sir Richard Saltonstall, Richard Knightly. John Pym, John Hampden, John Humphrey and Herbert Pelham, their heirs and assignes, and their associates for ever more. In witness whereof the said Robert Earl of Warwick, hath hereunto set his hand and seal, the ninteenth day of March, in the seventh year of the reign of our sovereign Lord Charles, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c, Annoq. Domini, 1631. '
in the presence of
The title to this land was given to the Earl of Warwick by the Plymouth Company of England. On " the 3d of November, 1620, just before the arrival of Mr. Robbinson's people in New England, King James I., by letters patent, under the great seal of England, incorporated the Duke of Lenox, the Marquis of Buckingham and Hamilton, the Earls of Arundel and Warwick, and others, to the number of forty noblemen, knights and gentlemen, by the name 'of the Council established at Plymouth in the county of Devon, for the planting, ruling and governing of New England in America,and granted unto them and their successors and assigns, all that part of America, lying and being in breadth from forty degrees of north latitude from the equinoctial line, to the fortyeighth degree of said northerly latitude inclusively, and in length of and within all the breadth aforesaid, throughout the main lands from sea to sea.' The patent ordained that this tract of country should be called New England in America, and by that name have continuance forever.'" In 1630, this Plymouth Company conveyed to the Earl of Warwick the territory named in the Connecticut Patent, and which he sold, as above, to the parties named in that Patent to the number of eleven persons.
When the companies settled at Windsor and Hartford, they supposed they were within the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay company, but soon became aware of their mistake, and on the arrival of the younger Governor Winthrop soon after to make a settlement at Saybrook and to be governor of Connecticut one year, there was talk of removing from Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield, but finally the two governments were united at Hartford.
It was in the latter part of the year 1636 that trouble began between the Pequots and the Connecticut settlements,, which resulted in the annihilation of that tribe in June of the next year, and by which the English took the Pequot country as conquered territory; and by which also they took possession in March, 1638, of the country west of the Quirinipiac to the Hudson river, as conquered country, in consequence of the Indians of this territory being allies of the Pequots, and joining with them in the fight.
' Manuscripts of President Clap. Trumbull, p. 28.
4Trumbull, p. 20. .
Before giving proof of the above statements some notice must be taken of the declarations of historians, that the first planters at Stratford and Fairfield bought these townships of the Indians, in favor of which there is scarcely a scrap of record to be found, except in the publications hereafter mentioned.
,Dr. Trumbull, who was a very careful collector of history although he made a decided mistake this once, at least says:
" The whole township [Stratford] was purchased of the natives; but first Cupheag and Pughquonnuck only, where the settlements began."4 The settlement did not begin at Pequannock, within Stratford bounds, until twenty years after that at Cupheag; besides, in the Colonial records the Indian name Pequannuck was sometimes" applied in a general way to the settlement at Cupheag, or Stratford village, but generally to the open country in Fairfield adjoining Stratford line and including a part of Stratford territory at that place. Of Fairfield he says: "The first adventures purchased a large tract of land of the natives,"which was, as will be seen, wholly erroneous, so far as any records show.
Noah Webster, LL.D., in his History of the United States, printed in 1842, says:
" Mr. Ludlow, of Windsor, who had traversed the lands west of Quinnipiac, in pursuit of the Pequots in 1637, was so well pleased with their fertility, that he and a few friends purchased a large tract at Unquoway, and began a settlement in 1639, called Fairfield. In the same year a company of
* Dr. Trumbull, 1. no. Ibid., 109.
Mr. J. W. Barber and others have followed this same erroneous supposition concerning the purchase of these plantations of the Indians before 1659, for which there was never a scrap of record or an authenticated tradition until these historians made them, as far as can be ascertained. Every Indian deed of lands in Stratford bears a date of more than twenty years later than the first settlement of the town and the deeds were then made more as a mutual friendship act than for any other reason. The truth is�and it only illustrates, that historians have too little time to bestow on their work�that Dr. Trumbull and all the other writers wholly overlooked certain papers recorded in the first volume of Stratford records, which give a clear elucidation of this subject. Indeed, the Indian deeds of later years prove, in their statements, that there were no purchases of these lands before 1656.
The plantations of Stratford and Fairfield were always under the government of the Connecticut Colony and never under or connected with the New Haven Colony. The cause securing this relation was the possession of this territory by Connecticut and the direction given by that Colony in the settlement of these localities. The claim to this territory was based on the acquisition of it as conquered country, and, in addition, a treaty was made with the Indians for the specific purpose of settlement. The evidence of these facts is contained in several papers, made under oath, and recorded at Stratford in 1659, twenty years after the whites first came, by which the Court at Hartford decided that the lands then occupied by Stratford and Fairfield rightly belonged to those towns.
These papers may be seen in full on pages 10 to 15 of this book, as a part of the Indian history ; and as authority they are important documents. These persons were : the Rev. John Higginson, a prominent minister living at Guilford at the time, Thomas Stanton, of Hartford, Indian interpreter,
Webster's Hist. U. S., 97.
Lieut. Thomas Wheeler, at first of Fairfield but afterwardsof Millord, and John Minor, interpreter to the Indians and for some years town clerk at Stratford before his removal to Woodbury. The items given by these persons are the following. Mr. Edward Hopkins and Mr. William Goodwin, then prominent men, were employed by the Court at Hartford to " treat with the Indians in regard to the land from Quinnipiac to the Manhattoes" (New York), and that Mr. Higginson accompanied them, as interpreter : that after giving notice to, and inviting the sachems and principal men of the tribes from Quinnipiac to the Hudson river, they met at Norwalk in the last week in March in 1638 (really the beginning of the year 1638), not quite a year after the conquest of the Pequots, and after a day's consultation in full council, all the tribes being well represented, the Indians gave the land to the English, without consideration except the protection they should thereby secure against other Indians. In this surrender they reserved only their planting grounds, which were located at that time on the Pequannock plain.
In these papers it is also claimed that the territory, specially of Stratford and Fairfield, was conquered country, for the reason that the tribes inhabiting it were tributary to the Pequots at the time, and that they being led specially by the Pequannock tribe, which was the most numerous, joined with the Pequots as they fled, the year previous, and aided them in the battles or skirmishes at Quinnipiac, Cupheag, Pequannock and Sashquaket swamp. It was claimed, and it is said that the Indians acknowledged, that if the Pequot country was conquered territory and not to be paid for, so also was that owned by those who joined them in the fight. Mr. Higginson states that the object of this treaty was particularly to secure the land for future settlements, and keep it from the possession of the Dutch ; and that a deputation of Indians returned with the commissioners to Hartford and did ratify the agreement with a meeting of the Court, held in Mr. Hooker's barn.
Mr. Nicholas Knell, a prominent planter at Stratford, -confirmed the testimony of Mr. Higginson, and it is said that numbers of persons would do the same, and that it was upon the right to the soil thus obtained that the Connecticut Colony proceeded to induce settlers to locate upon these lands, beginning in 1638, probably within two months after the council held with the Indians at Norwalk.
The New Haven and Milford companies, .not being aware of this acquisition by the cost of many lives, and the treaty, took possession of the Quinnipiac lands about fifteen days after the treaty was ratified, and afterwards purchased the same of the natives; but they were, as appears from these papers, as to the right of the soil obtained from the Indians, squatters on Connecticut territory. Also the planters at Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich, not being aware of the acquisition and treaty, and the General Court not urging its claims, purchased their lands of the tribes living at those places.
The Connecticut Court, however, proceeded at once to induce settlers to establish themselves at Stratford and Fairfield, and probably succeeded in directing a few families to locate in each place in the year 1638, and several more in 1639.
On the 10th of October, 1639, Mr. Ludlow then residing at Windsor, and being Deputy Governor, made a journey to New Haven and thence to Pequannock and Unco way, where he located some cattle for the winter, and laid out lots of land " for himself and others." Upon his return to Hartford, there arose some misunderstanding as to what he had done, and the Governor Mr. Haynes and Mr. Wells were appointed a commission to visit these places, already inhabited by a number of settlers, under the following directions:'
"They are desired to confer with the planters at Pequannocke [Fairfield and Stratford], to give them the oath of fidelity, make such free as they see fit, order them to send one or two deputies to the two General Courts in September and April, and for deciding of differences and controversies under 40" among them, to propound to them and give them power to choose seven men from among themselves, with
Conn. Col. Records, 36.
liberty of appeal to the Court here; and also to assign Sergeant Nichols for the present to train the men and exercise them in military discipline ; and they are farther desired to speak with Mr. Pruden and that Plantation, that the difference between them and Pequannocke plantation [Stratford] may be peaceably decided, and to this end that indifferent men may be chosen to judge who have most right to the places in controversy and most need of them, and accordingly determined as shall be most agreeable to equity and reason.'"
This act of the Court in October, 1639, to make freemen in addition to some who already resided here, who should vote in the election of representatives, was the legal recognition of these plantations as a part of the Government of Connecticut; and the fulfillment of these orders constituted the organization of the towns, but this was done only in part according to the acceptance of the report of the Governor and Mr. Wells the following 16th of January, 1639;' and the commission was renewed the next April (9, 1640), as follows:
"It is ordered that Mr. Haynes, Mr. Ludlow and Mr. Welles shall settle the division of the bounds betwixt Pequannocke and Uncowaye, by the 24th day of June next, according to their former Commission: And also that they tender the Oath of Fidelity to the Inhabitants of the said Townes, and make such free as they shall approve of.1"
But before the date specified had arrived, namely, the 15th of June, 1640, other persons were appointed to attend this work, as follows :
" It is Ordered, that Mr. Ludlow, Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Blakeman shall survey and divide and set out the bounds betwixt the Plantations of Cupheag and Uncoway, provided if they cannot accord, Mr. Welles at his next coming to those parts shall issue it.""
1 Col. Rec. i. 36.
The year ending the 25th of March. 1639; bul j640 as we now begin the year.
1 Conn. Col. Rec., 47.
10 Conn. Col. Records, 53.
In the order for April 9, 1640, these plantations are called towns, indicating their standing as incorporated parts of the government; and the same, with other items may be seen in another order of the Court in June 15, 1640," when Mr. William Hopkins of Cupheag is appointed and sworn as the first Magistrate of that tow.n. On the 13th of April, 1643, it was " Ordered, that one or two of the Magistrates shall be sent to Stratford and Uncoway, to join with Mr. Ludlow for the execution of justice, twice this year, namely, the last Thursday in April and the last in September. Captain Mason and Mr. Wells are appointed for the last in April.""
Stratford does not appear to have sent representatives to the General Court until 1642, when Philip Groves filled that position. The taxes for Stratford and Fairfield were collected together as one plantation until 1647, when they were ordered by the Court to be divided. Also their courts were held jointly some years by magistrates appointed for the purpose.
The difficulty of ascertaining the date when Stratford was made a town, with many other items as to its organization and first settlement, is in consequence of the town records for ten of the first years having disappeared. These records probably consisted of a volume or small book, foolscap size, about half an inch thick, which was called " folio."
Not only were the plantations of Stratford and Fairfield called towns in April, 1640, but they had freemen who no doubt voted in the adoption of the first constitution, in January, 1638 (O. S.), they being a part of the government at the time, and hence in no great hurry to effect an organization of the town which would be burdensome to maintain; for dur
11 " Whereas by an Order the I4th of January 1638, none is to be chosen a Magistrate but such as are propounded in some General Court before, yet notwithstanding, as Cupheag and Uncowayaresomewhat far distant from this Court, and there is a necessity for the dispensation of justice in those Towns, therefore in the mean and until the next General Court of Election, that it is thought meet and so ordered, that Mr. William Hopkins of Cupheag be a Commissioner to join with Mr. Ludlow in all Executions in their particular Court or otherwise, and is now sworn to that purpose." Col. Rec., 53.
l1 Col. Rec., 86.
This first Constitution of Connecticut was a remarkable paper, and ever will be a great honor to Roger Ludlow, then of Fairfield, who drew it, as well as to the men who adopted it. The basis of this paper was an independent republic, there being in it no reference to king or queen or monarchy or any other government except itself, which is very remarkable when remembering that all those who were then to act as freemen under it were just come from a kingdom of remarkable dignity and renown.
Dr. Trumbull, in his History of Connecticut, remarks upon this instrument as follows:
" This probably is one of the most free and happy constitutions of civil government which has ever been formed. The formation of it, at so early a period, when the light of liberty was wholly darkened in most parts of the earth, and the rights of men were so little understood in others, does great honor to their ability, integrity and love to mankind. To posterity indeed, it exhibited a most benevolent regard. It has been continued, with little alteration, to the present time . The happy consequences of it, which, for more than a century and a half, the people of Connecticut have experienced, are without description.""
A recent writer" has the following passage in regard to this constitution as formulated by Mr. Ludlowe:
" The salient feature of Ludlowe's career, the grand achievement of his life, was his large share in originating and putting into practical operation the original laws of Connecticut. When, after the Pequot war, the General Court met to decide upon a frame of government, he was unanimously appointed to make the draft. Of this great paper it is not too much to say, briefly, that in its immediate application and far-reaching results it ranks with the best that have been formulated by the profoundest statesmen. It was not perfect: Ludlowe was not a perfect legislator; but it approached so near completeness that Dr. Leonard Bacon said of it: ' It is the first example in history of a written Constitution a distinct organic law, and defining its powers.' "
l1 Trumbull, 103.
14 Mr. Wm. A. Beers, in Magazine of American History, April, 1882.
THE FIRST PLANTERS.
EGINNING in a wilderness, bordering on. the great sea, a settlement of English inhabitants, for the perpetuation of posterity under the broad principles of religious freedom and uprightness, as well as an enlarged perception of civil rights, was the honored privilege of the first planters of Stratford. Admitting that their opinions of religious and civil liberty were not equal to those entertained two hundred years later, yet, the advanced position which they took upon emigrating from the terrible restrictions placed by their native country, upon the ideas which they did entertain, was and is still, a marvel in itself; and it has proved already to be the germinating seed which has been scattered to a joyful extent to nearly every nation under the sun. Notwithstanding some odium of Blue Laws, the originating point of liberty in its best applications, for two hundred and fifty years, has been the State of Connecticut; and, among the very earliest prot6stants against restrictions upon such freedom were found prominent planters at Stratford. Darkness in the thought-world as well as in the physical, is only dispelled by the incoming of light; and as light penetrates, the mental soil becomes prolific, the same as the physical, and hence America has grown from its small beginnings at the germ principles of mighty freedom, to its present marvelously grand proportions of national liberty and government. In the history of the world, nothing has ever half equaled this growth, nor the completeness, and marvelous developments of national government and freedom.
Stratford began with a few families ; grew and prospered until it surpassed many of its neighbors and thereafter sent forth an innumerable number of families to establish and replenish other plantations in the exercise of the same energy and expanding thought that marked its own early history, and which have secured for it a fame highly honorable to any people. It was recognized first as an established plantation, in 1639, although tradition reports that one family William Judson if not more, settled here in the year 1638.
That it was settled by a number of inhabitants in 1639, is evident not only from tradition, but from the following extracts from the records of the General Court, October 10, 1639:' "And Mr. Governor [John Haynes] and Mr. Wells [Thomas Wells, afterwards Governor] were intreated to attend this service, [to view the plantation laid out by Mr. Ludlow], and they are desired to confer with the planters at Pequannocke, to give them the oath of fidelity, make such free as they see fit, order them to send one or two deputies to the General Courts of September and April, and for deciding of differences and controversies under 40', among them, to propound to them and give them power to choose 7 men from among themselves, with liberty of appeal to the Court here; as also to assign Sergent Nichols for the present to train the men and exercise them in military discipline: and they are further desired to speak with Mr. Prudden, and that plantation that the difference between them and Pequannocke plantation may be peaceably decided, and to this end that different men may be chosen to judge who have most right to the places in controversy and most need of them, and accordingly determine as shall be most agreeable to equity and reason."
According to this the plantation was settled so far as to have men enough to be exercised in training, and so as to choose seven men as a court for matters under 40' of value; and also there was a difference as to boundaries between the two plantations, Stratford being called Pequannock; and the Court sought to have them send deputies, as a township.
1 Col. Rec., i. 36.
At this time the plantation is called Pequonnocke, by the Court, and in June 1640, it is called Cupheag, and the same the next September, and in April, 1643, it is called Stratford. The name therefore, must have been changed between September, 1640, and April, 1643.
As to the name, Stratford, and how it became the name of this locality, there are some interesting items. Hon. James Savage, author of a Genealogical Dictionary, speaking of Thomas Alsop and his brother Joseph Alsop at New Haven, says: " It may be that the father of these youth was that of John Alsop, rated for a subsidy in 1598, to the same parish and at the same time with William Shakespear, nor would it be very extravagant to suppose, that he too went up to London from Stratford on Avon," and thence came to America, and also to Stratford among the first settlers, perhaps in 1639, and that through him the name was thought of and used. It has been suggested that since Samuel Sherman, an early settler at Stratford, came from near Stratford, Essex county, England, quite another place from that where Shakespear was born, the place may have been named after this town in Essex by the suggestion of Mr. Sherman; but it should be remembered that the Connecticut Stratford was so named ten years or more before Samuel Sherman settled in it, and therefore he had nothing to do with naming it.*
A company, it is said, was organized at Wethersfield with Mr. Adam Blakeman as minister, for the purpose of settlement at Cupheag. Some of this company were persons who had been connected in church relations with Mr. Blakeman in England and had accompained him thither, and others joined him at Wethersfield. Tradition says there were fourteen or fifteen in this company, and it has appeared in print that there were seventeen, but it is impossible, nowv
* See Biographical Sketch of Wm. Beardsley.
The location at first of quite a number of families in the southern part of the present village of Stratford, near the site of the first meeting house, may indicate that they came to the place at the same time and made their homes near each other for better protection against the Indians.
It is also improbable that a company of families with Mr. Blakeman as their minister, should come from Wethersfield to settle at Stratford without some agreement or specific understanding about the ownership of the land, as it was then not only under the supervision of the Court, but claimed by it as conquered and ceded territory. Hence we find in 1656 the General Court confirms the boundaries and consequently the right of the soil to the inhabitants then residing here, in these words: "This Court, at the request of Stratford, doe graunt that their bounds shall be 12 myle northward, by Paugasitt River, if it be att the dispose by right of this Jurisdiction;" and therefore the inhabitants then in the town, some of them or all, were the owners of this territory, by agreement with the Court.
All the proceedings of the town, from the first record now remaining, are founded upon the implied ownership by a company of first settlers. It appears by the records, and tradition confirms the same, that about the year 1650 the records, then kept in a private house, were accidentally burned, destroying every entry made from 1639 to that time, and then the claims of the settlers, most of them, were reentered by the town clerk, as the parties described them and as was generally known to be the facts. After this, when new parties came into the town, they were granted a home lot of about two acres free, upon condition that they would build upon and improve it for three years, after which they could sell it to their own profit if they desired so to do. Hence most of the entries are dated in 1651 or later; one land record bears the date of 1648, and one town meeting act bears that of 1650.
If a definite authoritative account or biographical sketch of each of these original first settlers could be given, including the place of birth, social and civil relations and a statement of the leading occurrences which drove them to emigrate to this country, it would be a portion of history of much value as well as of decided interest. We know in a general way the causes of this emigration, but as to individuals we have no particulars except those of Mrs. Mirable, the wife of John Thompson. In the absence of such information as we would be delighted to obtain, we must be content with the few items which can now be gleaned from the desolated and long neglected field.
The settlement of Stratford was not made by a company organized for the purpose in England as was the case with several other towns, but by individuals, in a kind of independent or isolated way, except those who came in company with Mr. Blakeman. These seem to have been more numerous than has been generally conceded. Of some of the families settled here it is stated that they came direct from England, but as no vessels landed at Stratford these must have come through Massachusetts, and hence may have joined Mr. Blakeman's company at Wethersfield, or, under a concert of arrangement, joined him at Stratford in the Spring of 1639. The fact that there were a certain number of proprietors, or patentees, or owners of the whole territory, necessarily requires concert of action under some specific agreement with the General Court, and that, too, for some consideration of value, else they could have had no right to the exclusion of others. These were 15, perhaps 17, and if any others came they were required to buy land of these 17, individually or collectively, or receive it by gift from the town. Dr. Trumbull's statements, for want of thoroughness of research as to the purchase of the township of the natives, are so erroneous that his other statements may be taken with some doubt, yet in regard to the coming of the first principal settlers he may be nearly correct, for he probably obtained his information in this particular from aged living persons who at that date would be likely to retain the facts. He says:
" Mr. Fairchild, who was a principal planter, and the first gentleman in the town vested with civil authority,1 came directly from England. Mr. John and Mr. William Curtiss and Mr. Samuel [should be Joseph] Hawley were from Roxbury, and Mr. Joseph [should be William] Judson and Mr. Timothy [should be William] Willcoxson from Concord in Massachusetts. These were the first principal gentlemen in the town and church of Stratford. A few years after the settlement commenced, Mr. John Birdseye removed from Milford and became a man of eminence both in the town and church. There were also several of the chief planters from Boston, and Mr. Samuel Wells, with his three sons, John, Thomas and Samuel, from Wethersfield, Mr. Adam Blakeman, who had been episcopally ordained in England, and a preacher of some note, first at Leicester and afterwards in Derbyshire, was their minister, and one of the first planters. It is said that he was followed by a number of the faithful into this country, to whom he was so dear, that they said, in the language of Ruth, ' Intreat us not to leave thee, for whither thou goesl we will go; thy people shall be our people, and thy God our God !' These, doubtless, collected about him in this infant settlement."
Mr. John W. Barber, writing in 1836, says:
" The first settlers appear to have located themselves about one hundred and fifty rods south of the Episcopal Church, the first chimney being erected near that spot; it was taken down about two years since. The first burying ground was near that spot. Mr. William Judson, one of the first settlers, came into Stratford in 1638. He lived at the southwest corner of Meetinghouse hill or green, in a house constructed of stone. Mr. Abner Judson, his descendant, lives on the same spot, in a house which has stood ono hundred and thirtcun years, and Is still in good repair."
The fact, repeatedly recorded, of the divisions of the common land proves that the town was owned by a certain number of persons, who, as proprietors of the whole (and if so then these persons obtained these shares or rights of the General Court which claimed the ownership at the time), secured the same for some consideration or stipulation, which was, probably, the simple fact of taking possession by actual settlement by a certain number of inhabitants within a specified time; for this was a method pursued in other towns at the time and soon after.
Common land, or "the commons," was land not divided or disposed of; "sequestered" was that given away, either for public or private use, but generally for public ; "divisions" were a certain number of acres surveyed to each and every proprietor, which sometimes were measured into lots which were numbered and the numbers being put on paper and into a hat or box were drawn out, one to each proprietor; this was called drawing lots.
' This is an error according to the Conn. Col. Records, i. 53, "Genl. Court, June 15, 1640, ... It is so ordered that Mr. William Hopkins of Cupheage be a commissioner to join with Mr. Ludlowe in all Executions in their particular court or otherwise and is now sworn to that purpose." This was for Cupheag and Uiicoway, before Mr. Fairchild was elected magistrate.
The " Common Field " was land for cultivation, owned by several or all of the proprietors, and a fence made around the whole instead of each making a fence around his own, for which latter work too much time would be required. There .were two of these common fields. The first was constructed by making a fence from the brook on the west side of Lit.tle Neck to the swamp west and then down to the marsh, and thus shutting all the cattle and swine out into the forests northward. When the present records begin this first common field is frequently called the Old Field, and this name is still applied to a considerable part of the territory immediately south of Stratford village.
The second common field was made before the year 1648, since that is the date when Robert Rice has land recorded as being in that field. This was called the New Field, and was made by a fence running west across Claboard hill to what is now Buce's brook or still further to Mill creek. This is indicated by a record made March 5, 1665-6, locating a part of the fence at the northeast corner of the field and southward.4 This field was then reserved for a " winter field ;" that is, the fence was kept up and gates closed in order to leave the corn and stacks of hay and grain in that field secure from the cattle during the winter. Some years the Old Field was kept for the same purpose a " winter field."4
A few years later, that is before 1652, another field was constructed by a fence across the neck about where Old Mill Green- now is, from Mill Creek to Pequannock River, which was called the " New Pasture," and afterwards the southernpart of this field was called " New Pasture Point." About the same time, perhaps a little earlier, another field was made up the Housatonic river, called the " Oxe Pasture," which is frequently mentioned on the records.
3" It was agreed at a lawful [town] meeting that the New field shall be kept for a winter field the two following years and liberty for a fence to be drawn along the swamp on the east side of Claboard Hill and so down to the old swamp land to the creek."
4" Oct. 10, 1664. It was agreed that the Great Neck shall be kept this year for a winter field."
It should be remembered that these fields were largely without forests when the white settlers first came. Probably the Old Field, and perhaps some part of the land where Stratford village was located had been somewhat cultivated by the Indians before the settlers came, at least it was largely cleared from forests, for if it had not been, so few inhabitants could not have cleared it and laid out a village with such regularity, to such an extent, as was done within four or five years. For in 1639 or 1640 the principal company of settlers came from Wethersfield, and in 1648 the village plot was all laid out, and, apparently, had been for several years. The tradition is that they came on foot and horseback, and forded the river to reach the west side, which seems almost if not quite incredible since the depth of the river at present precludes a supposition of fording it. The strong indications are that they came by boat, and if they did not their household goods did, and were landed at the mouth of Mack's creek, where they made their first tents or* huts, houses, and meeting house, and afterwards laid out their village upon a very appropriate and beautiful plan, and thus it remains today with but lew changes as to its principal streets. When they had laid the highways they proceeded to make the first division, which was a home lot, a piece of meadow, and a piece of upland for planting; the home lot containing usually two and a half acres, and the other pieces varying according to quality ; all distribution of lands being passed by vote at the town meetings. When after planters came a grant of two and a half acres was made to them free of cost upon condition that they should build a dwelling upon it and improve it during three years, after which they could keep it or sell it at their own pleasure. These grants were called " home lots," but when a dwelling had been erected upon them they were called " house lots."
The oldest date of such a lot or of anything, now upon
It is quite certain that dwellings were not builded upon every home lot granted, but in some cases they were sold and united to other lots, as in the case of John Birdseye at the south end of the village, who purchased several.
Running through the New Field was a stream called Nesumpaw's Creek, and a portion of the territory in the New Field was called Nesumpaws'; which title was first the name of an Indian and applied to a tract of land on which his wigwam stood. The name is spelled at first on the town records Nesingpaws or Neesingpaws, and later Nesumpaws.
" Claboard Hill " lay at the north of the New Field, a part of the hill being included in that field.' Stony Brook Hill was afterwards called Old Mill Hill.
The Pequannock field was constructed, probably, about 1655, for it had been sometime established according to a town vote in January, 1661. It was on the Pequannock plain south of Golden Hill, east of Fairfield bounds.
The Calf-pen plain or Upper plain was north of, and, probably, included a part of, the Golden Hill Reservation, as the Reservation was laid out in 1659. This plain was established for young cattle very early, probably before 1650. This locality was afterwards and even yet is known as Bull's head. It was here probably where Richard Butler's swine were pastured when Nimrod " willfully killed some of them," and a law suit followed, or at least was granted to follow, by the Court.
The following is the list of the owners of fence about the first common field, the fence being a little over 353 rods in length, which if it surrounded the entire field inclosed nearly fifty acres, but if it was a fence direct across the neck to Fresh Pond it would have inclosed several hundred acres, or all of Great Neck as well as Little Neck.
This list is without date but must have been recorded before 1651, since William Burritt's name is on it and he died that year.
rods. feet. inch. i Thomas Skidmore,12 3 o
l John Wells 600
3 John Reader 10 g o
4 Adam Blakeman n 14 o
5 Richard Harvey 916
6 John Peacock 546
7 William Quenby, 400
8 Robert Rice 13 8 o
9 William Burritt, 546
10 Mr. Knell 546
11 John Pcatite, 10 9 o
12 John Brownsmayd, 916
13 William Wilcoxson,..i2 3 o
14 Richard Butler 690
15 John Peake, lo 9 o
16 Thomas Fayrchild, 690
17 Joseph Judson 400
18 Adam Hurd 400
19 Dnniell Tittcrton n 14 o
20 Philip Groves, 916
21 Francis Peacocke, .. .5, 4 6
rods. feet. inch.
22 William Crooker, 2 10 2
23 John Hurd 43 8 o
24 Arthur Bosticke, . 6 9 o
25 John Tomson, 10 9 o
26 Robert Cooe o 10 2
27 Thomas Uflford, .12 6 3
28 Joseph Hawley, 690
29 Jeremiah Judson,...11 14 o
30 Joshua Judson......
31 Mr. Seabrook, ... 4 oo o
32 Henry Gregory, .. 8 oo o
33 Richard Booth 8 oo o
34 Mr. Waklin 2 10 o
35 Widow Curtis 2 10 2
36 Thomas Sherwood,-. 546
37 Francis Hall, 18 3 o
' 38 William Beardsley,..24 6 o
39 John Curtis, 4 10 o
40 John Hinl/.ie 10 9 o
41 Isack Ntckoles, 2 10 o"
It is probable that this is not a complete list of the original company. Robert Cooe number 26 was Robert, Junior, and just twenty-three years of age, and hence was not an original proprietor, yet his father, who was at Wethersfield at the time, may have been. Thomas Alsop appears to have been one of the original company, but his name is not on this list.
The following sketches of the first settlers at Stratford are much less complete than they would be if written at the end of the work. It is probable that these men had not the least surmise or apprehension of the relation they were to occupy in regard to a free people for many centuries to come. Each supposed himself to be simply an individual, seeking the prosperity of himself and family, but time has revealed that each was a pillar in a great temple of human government, for freedom and marvelous success. They sought, modestly and mainly, a simple home of personal possession and comforts, and in securing these, laid, in connection with other like plantations which were as independent republics, the foundations for a government which, after a little less than two centuries and a half, is, for the elevation of mankind, the most sublime the sun ever shone upon. It is often the case that the most perfectly carved marble statue occupies but an unobtrusive corner in a great temple, so the work and life of each family in such a plantation may seem at the time but an insignificant space partially filled, yet in the ages to follow, that which was the obscure germ will bloom into the crowning national glory; even as accomplished Presidents of the United States from the back-woods log cabins. Under such possibilities no family is too obscure to be noticed in a work like the present; and even if it were, the fact of a faithful mention of all, may prove a stimulant to high ambition and success in a most obscure corner; and therefore, so far as time and cost will allow, it is the purpose to mention in a historical manner as far as possible, every person that has had a residence in the good old town of Stratford. But few books if any in the English language have had greater influence to incite noble ambition and historical culture thaV1 Plutarctts Lives, and following in this same line America has already an unprecedented number of large volumes of Biographical Dictionaries and Cyclopedias. It is not then unseemly or aside from good historic order to allow local history to partake largely of the biographical style.
When the years are counted over, and the generations numbered who have already passed away since Stratford was first settled, the time seems long, and the various paths through which its citizens have journeyed seem wearisome to think of, but when we bring to mind the courage, endurance, toil and enjoyments which were the portion of these citizens we are both sad and delighted. Two hundred and thirtyfour years have passed since the date of the paper which contains the forty-one names of whom we give, first, a brief outline of their remarkable lives remarkable, if for nothing else, yet for the circumstances which surrounded them, and for the nation planted by them, and for that which has grown from their intellectual and religious planting. And what changes have taken place since those forty-one built their rude log houses at or near Sandy Hollow Banks, where they erected their first meeting-house! Some years since while digging near the site of the old meeting-house a party exhumed a skull-bone : that was a representative of one of these early settlers, which one it matters not; it was one of them ; all.gone to dust but one bone and so are they all.
Slow rising in the
Our fathers hailed the rising sun ;
But saw not in the western skies
What wonders should be done."
The old meeting-house, after about forty years' service, disappeared in 1683, but some of the timbers were used as sills and sleepers in a house now standing a little way west from the site of the old meeting-house, on the north side of the street, which is now occupied by Mr. Joseph Savage. These timbers having been in use about two hundred and forty years, are interesting as showing the work of human hands which have slept in the dust two centuries.
A barn now stands on the site of the old meeting-house, with a stone cellar which was long used as a kind of store or storage house, and is rather an unseemly sentinel to tell where the first bell that called worshipers together in the state of Connecticut was suspended to perform its weekly musical task. There Goodman Peat stood for ten or fifteen years pulling the rope that caused the sound of the bell to echo across the placid waters of the old Pootatuck, but now Housatonic river; and after him Goodman Pickett performed the same duties to save Stratford from being in fashion in coming to the meeting at the beat of the drum.
1Thomas Skidmore was of Cambridge, Mass., in 1642; in 1636 he had been engaged for John Winthrop in his preparation for planting Saybrook, Conn. He was early in Stratford, with his son-in-law Edward Higby, probably before 1649, when they had a suit in law tried before the Court at Hartford. He was in Stratford in 1659, but appears to have removed not long after to Fairfield, where his descendants continued many years. His will was dated April 20, 1684, and proved soon after. Judge Savage says he had a wife Ellen, but in his will he speaks of his wife Sarah, which may have been a second. He had two sons and several daughters.
2John Weds, son of Gov. Thomas Wells of Wethersfield, was probably one of the original proprietors of Stratford, or sent there by his father to occupy the lands which he, the father, owned as one of the proprietors of the plantation, and he afterwards received considerable land in Stratford from his father. John Wells was made a freeman in 1645, perhaps in Stratford, but was here in 1650; was made an Assistant in 1656 and again in 1658 and 1659. He was a prominent man while he lived, but died in 1660, or in 1661, about the same time his father did, a comparatively young man, not far from thirty-five years of age.
Governor Thomas Wells, the father of John Wells, above, was an original proprietor at Hartford and Wethersfield ; appears there on the records first as the Secretary Magistrate at the General Court, May 1, 1637, when war was declared against the Pequots. It is uncertain when he came from England and whether he brought a wife or not, but he brought three sons and three daughters. He married a second wife Elizabeth, widow of Nathaniel Foot of Wethersfield. In 1654, he was chosen Deputy Governor, and Governor Hopkins being in England, he acted as Governor all the year, and in 1655 he was elected Governor of Connecticut, and then re-elected again in 1658. Governor Wells died in Wethersfield Jan. 14, 1660.
3John Reader, of New Haven, 1643, came to Stratford among the first settlers. His home lot, No. 10, he sold
4Rev. Adam jBlakeman,' was the son of a private citizen of Staffordshire, Eng.; born in 1598, and entered Christ College, Oxford, May 23, 1617, when nineteen years of age,' where he wrote his own name, Blakeman.' Mather says of him: "He was a useful preacher of the gospel, first in Leicestershire, then in Derbyshire, England." Mather also gives the impression that he was attended to this country by several families of his parish, but in what year he came over or by whom accompanied he does not say. Allen, Hinman and other writers have asserted that he first preached a while in Scituate, Mass., but they were led into this error by Deane's History of Scituate, the author of which afterward acknowledged that he had mistaken the name of " Mr. Blackman " for that of Rev. Christopher " Blackwell." Cotton Mather also represents him as having preached in Guilford before Stratford, but of this no evidence appears, nor could it have been, since Guilford was settled not a year before Stratford, and its people had with them their minister, Mr. Henry Whitfield. In June, 1640, the General Court appointed him with Mr. Ludlow of Uucoway and William Hopkins of Cupheag to run the line between these two plantations, and from this it is concluded he was already settled at Cupheag.
On May 17, 1649, the Court directed : " Concerning Mr. Blakeman's maintenance, Mr. Ludlowe is directed, both for what is behind as also for the future, to take care that it be levied according to the several seasons as is provided by the order of the country." This indicates that his salary was so long in arrears as to make it important for the Court to take action in regard to it. In 1651, "by the town in public meeting it was agreed that Mr. Blakeman shall have 63 pounds and pay part of his own rate." His name occurs only a few times on the existing town records. In 1660, he is named as executor of William Beardsley's will, and on April 20, 1665, he is named in a vote inviting Mr. Chauncey to help him in the ministry for one year. Mr. Blakeman died Monday, Sept. 1665, ae. 67 years.' His home lot was number 20 on the plan of the village of Stratford.
1 Taken largely from MS. of Rev. B. L. Swan. Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. vlii. 249.
1 His sons James and Benjamin wrote their names Blakeman and Blackeuian.
From Mather's brief notice of him Mr. Blakeman appears to have been a man of learning, prudence and fervent piety. The famous Rev. Thomas Hooker said of him : " for the sake of the sacred and solemn simplicity of the discourse of this worthy man, if I might have my choice, I would choose to live and die under Mr. Blakeman's ministry."
Nothing remains of Mr. Blakeman's writings except his will on the Fairfield probate records and his autograph in the Connecticut Historical Society's Collections, at the bottom of a document in Mr. Chauncey's handwriting, and dated in the spring of 1665. It is the answer of the Church of Stratford to questions by the General Court of the preceding year, relating to. the matters transacted in the Synod at Boston in 1662; chiefly respecting the membership and rights of baptized persons.
A paragraph in Mr. Blakeman's will indicates that he was a member of the Synod from 1646 to 1648 which drew up the Cambridge platform.
Extracts from Rev.
Adam Blakeman s Will.
The will was dated March 16, 1665-66.
" Item. Concerning my books which I intended for my son Benjamin, seeing his thoughts are after another course of life that his thoughts be not to attend the work of Christ in the ministry, my wish is that my son Atwater [son-in-law] make his son Joshua a scholar and fit him for that work. I give unto him all my Latin books ; but if not they shall be put into my estate and disposed of as my wife any my overseers shall think fit.
" Item. Because many of God's servants have been falsely accused concern, ing the judgment of the kingly power of Christ, though I have cause to bewail my great ignorance and weakness in acting, yet I do hope I shall, through the strength of Christ to my dying day, adhere to that form of Church discipline agreed upon by the honored Elders and Brethren, now in print, and to the truth of God concerning that point left on record by that famous and Reverend Servant of God, of blessed Memory, Mr. Thomas Hooker, in his elaborate work called
1 Savage, vol. li. 472.
"The Survey of Church Discipline, to which most in all the churches of Christ then gathered in this Colony gave their consent as appears in the Rev. Author's Epistle so at Milfor1l, New Haven, Guilford, and those in the Bay who could be come at in that stress of time. And being one who in the name of our church subscribed that copy, could never (through the Grace of Christ) see cause to receive any other in judgment, nor fall from those principles so solemnly backed with Scripture, and arguments which none yet could overturn."
Mr. Blakeman is described by Mr. Mather as having been attended on his departure for New England with a considerable and " desirable company of the faithful" who would not be separated from him. He also describes him as a very " holy man " and as greatly beloved by his people.
Mr. Blakeman's death should have been on Stratford town records, but is found only on his tombstone, which was removed to the second grave yard. There is a pretence (in accordance with repeated orders of the Court) of keeping a burial record, which begins (p. 49) with John, son of Nicholas Knell, January, 1651, and ends with Elizabeth Porter in 1683, but in these thirty-two years only twenty-four names and one or two infants without names are recorded. Mr. Blakeman had five sons and one daughter, all except perhaps, Benjamin, were born in England.
Mrs. Jane Blakeman, widow of the Rev. Adam, appears to have been sister to Moses Wheeler of Stratford, for her son John in his will dated in 1662, mentions his " Uncle Wheeler." Moses Wheeler was born in 1598, and if she was next younger, and born in 1600, she was two years younger than her husband, and at her death in 1674, was 74 years of age. Her name appears several times on the Colonial and Town records, in consequence of the misconduct of her son Deliverance, in whose behalf she was obliged to intercede more than once with the Colonial authorities, but who afterwards retrieved himself from his former life, married and settled in Stonington about 1685, where he died in April, 1702. Her will is on the Fairfield Probate records.
John BlaJeeman, son of the Rev. Adam Blakeman, married Dorothy, daughter of the Rev. Henry Smith of Wethersfield about 1653, removed to Fairfield where he died in 1662, leaving a widow and three sons, Joseph, John and' Ebenezer; from the last of these, who married a Willcoxson,. descended the Blakeman families of Newtown and Monroe.
The widow Dorothy (Smith) Blakeman appears to have possessed remarkable charms, either of person, intellect or heart, for besides passing through a case of litigation in Court for her hand, she was married four times, twice after she was over fifty years of age. Rev. Adam Blakeman, who survived his son John, in his will says: " I give to my daughter [Dorothy] Blakeman, if she marry not John Thomas, and shall take her friends' consent in the matter, or continue a widow, five pounds," and the General Court, Oct. 10, 1665, recorded: " The magistrates do order that in case John Thomas and the widow Blakeman do not issue their difference by reference now concluded on, that the said Thomas shall make good his claim to that woman at the next Court at Fairfield, otherwise the widow shall have liberty to marry." Upon this John Thomas seems to have abandoned his claims instanter, for Francis Hall of Stratlord, who had been the attorney for the widow of Rev. Mr. Blakeman in this case before the Court, became charmed with his opponent and married her that same month, October 31, 1665, his former wife having died on July 6th previous. Twenty-two years afterwards, before the decease of Francis Hall, his son Isaac Hall entered a claim in Fairfield to recover certain amount of money which was his own mother's estate at marriage, and guaranteed to her in writing by her husband Francis Hall, when he sold the estate in England, in 1664, the apparent object being to keep it from the possession of this brilliant step-mother. Francis Hall died, apparently, in Stratford, but this is not certain, in 1690, and his widow Dorothy still possessing charms too attractive to be confined to widowhood, married Mark Sension (St. John) of Norwalk, who died in 1693, atter which she married Dea. Isaac Moore of Farmington.
Samuel BlaJeenian, son of Rev. Adam Blakeman, married Elizabeth, daughter of Moses Wheeler in 1660, and died in 1668, leaving several children. His widow married Jacob Walker, a lawyer, in 1670. He was the son of Robert Walker of Boston and brother of the Rev. Zachariah Walker, pastor of the Second Congregational Church in Stratford, -and which removed to Woodbury. Samuel Blakeman was only forty-eight years of age.
Mary Blaketnan, the daughter of the Rev. Adam Blakeman, was born in 1636, and when fifteen years of age in 1651 married Joshua Atwater of New Haven, who seems to have resided for a time in Stratford, purchasing a considerable estate here, and then removed to Boston where he died in 1676, leaving several children. After his death she married the Rev. John Higginson, then of Salem, Mass., but formerly assistant minister to Rev. Henry Whitfield of England and Guilford, Conn., whose daughter was his first wife. Mr. Higginson was an .interpreter of the Indian language while in Connecticut, and gave a valuable paper in the settlement of the claims of Stratford territory in 1659, in which year he removed to Salem. He died in 1708, and his widow Mrs. Mary Higginson died March 9, 1709. Her character is finely set forth by Cotton Mather as illustrative of the noble women of that age.4
Richard Harvey, a tailor by trade, came from Great St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England, in the ship Planter, in which also came Rev. Mr. Blakeman and William Willcoxson, in 1635; was probably among the first settlers in Stratford in 1639. He appears to have had no sons but three daughters. His home lot was number 43. If this was his first lot, then either he did not come as early as is supposed above, or did not obtain one until some years after he came.
6John Peacocke, was of New Haven in 1638, Milford, 1642, and came to Stratford before 1651. He had a home lot in the southern part of the villj1ge on Main street, and died in 1670. He had four children born before he came to Stratford, and his only son died while a child and hence his descendants of the name soon became extinct in the town.
'Thoughts on the Sleep of Death, by Cotton Mather, D.D. 1712. Pp.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, MS. Rev. B. L. Swan.
7William Queriby was one of the first proprietors in Stratford territory, his lands being re-entered on the town books in 1652; a house lot, two pieces of land in the New field, and three acres on the Neck. . These possessions he sold April 1, 1657, to Henry Tomlinson. William Quenby, probably, was a resident of Stratford only about four years.
8Robert Rice was not of the original proprietors, but came soon after them and was granted land from the town which was recorded Sept. 16, 1648, which is the earliest record now on the town books. Hence the plan or plot for the village was laid before this date, else the lot could not have been bounded on the highway. The record says: " One house lot, two acres, more or less, butting south upon the highway, north upon William Beardsley, west upon Mr. Knell and east upon John Brownsmayd." He had also "meadow and upland in the Old Field, 8 acres in the Newfeyld upon Mr. Waklin's Neck," and other pieces elsewhere. On February 6, 1660, Mr. Rice sold these parcels of land, including "one house lot, one dwelling house upon it and barn " to "Thomas Wheeler now of Paugusit," and removed to New London. A family of the same name have been resident on the south side of Long Island for many years to the present time, in the vicinity of Bellville. This dwelling and lot was afterwards owned by Richard Beach, and then Rev. Israel Chauncey.
9 William Burrttt came from England with wife Elizabeth and settled in Stratford among the first planters and died in 1651, the inventory of his estate is dated May 28, 1651. His home lot was at the south end of the village, west side of Main street. He left two sons and one daughter, and the name has been perpetuated with honor in the line of blacksmiths as well as in other pursuits, in various interior towns of Connecticut, as well as in the person of the " learned blacksmith," the late Elihu Burritt of New Britain, Conn.
10 Nicholas Knell, married in 1650, Elizabeth, widow of Thomas Knowles and daughter of Francis Newman of New Haven. He was in Stratford probably before hismarriage and appears to have been an original proprietor
The record of his land that is preserved is without date, but was made soon after 1650. Besides his house lot and other pieces of meadow and upland there was given to him by the town as a part of his first division " One Island of meadow lying in the midst of our harbor, lying for five acres and a half;" and hence the island has always borne his name Knell's Island and should never be spelled without the K. Mr. Knell seems to have been an influential man as to character and public efficiency and work. He died April 2, 1675, and the town clerk added to the record: " that aged benefactor in ye county." He had four children one died an infant, and the family name continued in the town quite a number of years, but has long since disappeared.
Eleazer Knoivles was the son of Mrs. Elizabeth Knell. His father, Thomas Knowles, was in New Haven in 1645, and died before 1648, leaving widow Elizabeth and sons Thomas and Eleazer. The widow married Mr. Knell as above, but what became of Thomas Knowles, Jr., does not appear; probably he died young. Eleazer Knowles settled in Stratford, married Jans Porter and had two sons, Eleazer and Thomas, and Eleazer removed to Woodbury, Conn., where his descendants still continue. Thomas Knowles, the first in New Haven, was one of a company of seventy who sailed in a new ship from New Haven for Liverpool in January, 1646, of whom nothing was ever heard.
11John Pettit was in Roxbury in 1639, and was at Stratford in 1651, removed soon, probably to Stamford and thence to Newtown, Long Island.
12John Brlnsmade united with the church at Charlestown, Mass., in March, 1638, and in October, 1639, his wife Mary joined also; but he seems to have removed that year to Dorchester, Mass., where in 1640 his son John was born. He settled in Stratford before 1650, and became prominent in the town. He has been reported as a Ruling Elder in Stratford church, which is an error arising from the fact of his name being on the town records as John Brinsmade the elder, that is, not the younger, who was his son. The only Ruling Elder this church had was Philip Groves.
1 This Map was first constructed by the Rev. B. L. Swan, and has been carefully revised by the deeds of the first settlers. It is intended to have a map double this size in a future part of the book. The numbers have no significance, except for convenience in referring to the Map. For want of room lots 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 and 63 are not designated on the map.
John Brinsmade died in 1673 leaving an estate valued at 519. He had a brother William who entered Harvard College in 1644, and was settled minister in Marlborough from 1660 to 1701.'
By a town vote in 1664, it is ascertained that the Indian wigwams, some of them at least, were located in the southwest part of what is now Stratford village, west of Main street, along the path that went to the first mill at the " Eagle's Nest.'" A tract of land there was called Wigwam Meadow, in consequence of the wigwams having stood there. It may not have been the only place where wigwams were located.
13William Wllleoxson came from England in April, 1635, in the ship Planter, in company with Richard Harvey and William Beardsley who settled in Stratford. He was made freeman in Massachusetts in 1636, and came from Concord, Mass., to Stratford, probably, in 1639, and hence was one of the first proprietors and a prominent man of the township. In his will, dated May, 1651, he gave 40 to the church in Concord. He left a widow and five sons, through whom the descendants of his name are widely scattered in the nation. The name has become contracted in some localities to that of Willcox.
1 See Allen's Biog. Dictionary.
' " Oct. 10, 1664. In consideration of gome meadow being not answerable to the grant given to Goodman Brinsmade the town at a lawful meeting gave him a little island below the ferry being south of the ferry, and one acre of land in the swamp on the right hand of the path as they go from Beardsley Gate to the meadow called by the place where the wigwams used to be and three, more or less, on the other side of the path by the swamp side, John Hurd's ground on the west side of it."
THE FIRST PLANTERS.
COMMONS or "commoning" was land not
deeded from the town to any purposes.
Hence in their deeds parties frequently sold
their "commoning" or interest in the undi-
vided lands. Rights of this kind are said to
exist still in the town.
Sequestered land was that given away or devoted to some specific public purpose, but when given to settlers, as many of the home lots were, it was not called sequestered land. When the first parsonage lot was given by the town, which comprised the two lots 42 and 43 in the map on page 105, it was taken out ot sequestered land, that is out of the public highway or green, and probably the highway now called Elm street was proportionally wide as these lots would make it at that place. Many changes have occurred in regard to the topography of the place since the first settlement. A brook once crossing where the railroad and the Old Mill road intersect and known as Gallows brook, has disappeared. Tanner's brook, so called from the earliest settlement, was then a larger stream than now, having one tannery, probably the oldest, standing on it where Dorman's blacksmith shop now stands.
The salt meadow and sedge on the west and south of the creek below New Lane were largely covered with water, and the point where the shipyard is, being then described as bounded east, south and west by the river, cove and beach. Knell's island contained five or six acres. An island just below the old Washington bridge, once known as Brinsmade's island, has, the last of it, disappeared within the memory of persons now living.
The creek setting back from the river into Sandy Hollow and now almost choked up was two hundred years ago open and navigable. At the elbow of that creek where the barn now stands was the center of the first settlement, and the meeting-house and the burying ground.
14Mlchard Butler was a proprietor in Stratford and received his divisions of lands'as others, but may not have resided here until after 1660. He was a juryman in Hartford in 1643, and in 1648 was made executor of his brother William's estate at Hartford, who seems to have had no heirs but this brother Richard and two sisters in England. In 1651 the General Court granted him liberty to prosecute the Indian Nimrod at Pequannock who had " willfully killed some of his swyne." In 1659 he is appointed Custom officer at Stratford and allowed for his duty as collector 2s. for every butt of wine entered, and I2d. for every anker of liquor, and in proportion for other casks; and the Colonial Records make him one of the grand jury for Hartford in 1660. He died in Stratford in 1676, having an estate of 350. His home lot was the southern part of lot number 68 on the diagram of home lots in this book. He was prominent in the organization of the Second Church from 1666 to 1670.
15John Peake, afterward written Peat and then Peet, is said to have come from Duffield Parish, county of Derby, England, in the Hopewell, Capt. Bundock, master, in 1635. He had a wife, Sarah, but whose daughter she was is not certain, although the Fairfield Brand book' in 1669, styles Richard Osborn, John Peat's father, which in modern terms would be father-in-law. He may have been one of the original proprietors in Stratford ; had his house lot, No. 67, on Front street, now Elm, bordering on Salt Pond, and died in 1678, aged 81 years. His descendants have been and are still -quite numerous, and scattered in the States. He was sexton, and rang the bell of the first meeting-house some years, giving up his position in 1660, in consequence of age.
1 Manuscript of the Rev. B. L. Swan.
Thomas Fairchild, Sen., was among the first settlers of Stratford, but whether he came here in 1638 or 1639 is not known. He was a merchant and may have come with hisbrother-in-law Thomas Sherwood, and with William Judson in 1638, for the purpose, principally, of trading with the Indians, or he may have joined Mr. Blakeman's company at Wethersfield and come in 1639. Mr. Fairchild's wife was the daughter of Robert Seabrook, and therefore sister to the wives of Thomas Sherwoo'd, William Preston, of New Haven, and Lieut. Thomas Wheeler, of Milford. Mrs. Sherwood was much older than her sisters, she having been married twenty-one or twenty-two years when she came here, and probably two of her sisters were married after they came, about 1640. In what year Mrs. Fairchild died is not known, but her last child was born in 1653, and Mr. Fairchild married, 2d, Catharine Craigg, of London, a relative of Mrs. Elizabeth Whiting, of Hartford, to whom he secured in writing'200 out of his estate, but he died without fulfilling the agreement, and the matter being brought before the General Court with the contract in writing, that body ordered it paid, but that she must support her three children by Mr. Fairchild. He died, Dec. 14, 1670, and the selectmen reported his inventory at 350. He had four sons by his first wife and two by his second, and the descendants are numerous.
The family name is of long standing in England, the coat-of-arms indicating that members of it were in the Crusades from (A. D. 1096 to 1400). The name is said to have been Fairbairn in Scotland, whence the family passed into England.
* A foot note in the Col. Rec. ii. 199, gives the following facts: "A copy of the marriage contract between Thomaf Fairchild of Stratford, merchant, and Katharine Craigg, a sister of Elizabeth Whiting, widow, of London (executed in England, Dec. 22, 1662, is in Priv. Controv., Vol. I, Doc. 20), in which Mr. Fairchild binds himself to convey to the said Katharine a life estate in his lands at Stratford, or, in case of his death before his arrival in New England, to cause to be paid to the said Katharine the sum of 200.
Mr. Fairchild was one of the most prominent and respected men of Stratford. He was appointed by the General Court, with Thomas Sherwood and the Constables of Stratford, to draft men in 1654 for the then proclaimed Narraganset war; and again on a committee with Philip Groves, as leather sealer of Fairfiekl county. In 1654 he was elected Deputy, and a number of times after that, and in 1663 he was nominated for an Assistant, and the same for three successive years, but was not elected. As these nominations were made at or by the General Court, this shows the estimation of him by that body. In 1664 he was appointed a Commissioner, which was a Justice of the Peace, for Stratford and was reappointed afterwards.
Dr. Trumbull's statement, repeated by Mr. J. VV. Barber, that " Mr. Fairchild was the first gentleman vested with civil authority,'" appears to be erroneous, since the Colonial Records state that William Hopkins was appointed in 1640 Assistant, which must have been the first; and that Philip Groves was appointed several successive years from 1654.
17IAe\it. Joseph Judson, son of William, was born in 1619 in England, and died in 1690, aged 71 years. He became so prominent in the town, and his name so frequent in the records, that he was supposed by Dr. Trumbull and others to have been the first of the name in Stratford, but he came with his father, probably among the first settlers, and married Sarah, daughter of John Porter of Windsor, about 1644. He was made a freeman in 1658, elected a Deputy the next year, and was one of the foremost men in the work and offices of the town about thirty years. He died in 1690, aged 71 years, having been for quite a number of years the highest military officer in the town.
William Judson, born in Yorkshire, England, emigrated to Concord, Mass., in 1634, and settled in Stratford in 1638, the first inhabitant in the place, if here in that year; and the only one unless Thomas Fairchild or Thomas Sherwood, one or both of them, were with him.
1 Trumbull, i. 109.
His will, recorded in New Haven, was dated 2oth of ninth month, 1661-, in which he gives to his son Joseph twenty pounds, and to his sons Joseph and Jeremiah Judson " all my part in the iron works (and the privilege I have in it) which are near Stony river, belonging to New Haven." He says also: " I give to my wife's daughter, Hannah Willmott, five pounds; to my wife's daughter, Mercy Willmott, five pounds ; and to my wife's daughter, Elizabeth Willmott, five pounds; and the remaining time of service of my servant Peter Simson I give to my wife, and for his encouragement therein, he being a diligent servant to his dame, I give unto him five pounds, to be paid him when he hath served out his time according to his indenture; and the residue I give unto my loving and beloved wife Elizabeth Judson."
The inventory of his estate was taken Dec. 15, 1662, and amounted to 69, 16s. 6d.
Widow Elizabeth's will was made in January or February, 1685, and the inventory of her estate was taken Nov. 10, 1685, amounting to 63, 8s. id.
18 Adam Hurd, son of John Hurd, Sen., came with his father from Windsor, Conn., where they had been among the first settlers, to Stratford, before or not later than the spring of 1644. Instead of there being two brothers, it is quite evident that there were the father and two sons, and yet it is not certain. A clause in the will of John Thompson, who was brother to Sarah, the wife of John Hurd (1681), represents said John Hurd as having become senior by the death of his father, and if so, his father came to Stratford and was one of the first settlers there. The town records style this John brother of Adam, uncle to Adam's son John, and yet Adam's son John styles him cousin.
Adam Hurd had two house lots, Nos. 31 and 35, and other lands, but his name, while prominent on the records, is not as much so as his supposed brother John's.
19Daniel Titterton (also spelled Titharton) appears to have been in Boston in 1643, removed to Stratford before
1647, for he was Representative from Stratford in 1647 and also in 1649, 1652 and 1654. He died in 1661, his will being proved July 6, 1661, in which he mentions three sons, Daniel, Samuel and Timothy, the last being the only one whose birth is recorded in Stratford, which was March 25, 1651. To these he gave his estate and lands in England, besides some in New England. He mentions three daughters; one, name not given, had married John Wilcoxson, and Mary and Elizabeth, to whom he gave 30 each, and besides for marriage dresses. His wife Jane outlived him, and two sons may have returned to England to enjoy the estate there, yet Timothy and Samuel are here in the year 1700.
20Philip Groves was among the first settlers at Stratford and was early appointed the Ruling Elder, and the only one, of the Stratford church. He seems to have married Ann, the daughter of the Rev. Henry Smith of Wethersfield, for John Blakeman, Jr., who married another daughter calls Philip Groves " brother." Mr. Groves was prominent in the town. He was, in 1642, the first Deputy of this town, and in 1647 a juryman at Hartford, but living at Stratford; in 1653 he was appointed with William Beardsley by the General Court to settle a question of boundaries between Fairfield and Norwalk; and the same year was directed as " Goodman Groves with Goodman Thornton," both of Stratford, to assist the Constables in making the draft of soldiers and provisions for the supposed impending war against the Dutch at New York; in 1654 he was appointed by the Court, with others, an Assistant to the Magistrates,' which might be sent to execute justice in the town, and reappointed in 1655 and '56, thus showing that at this date this town had no regularly elected Magistrate. In 1655 he was elected Deputy ; in 1656 he was again appointed Assistant; in October, 1656, he, with Robert Rice, was appointed leather sealer for Stratford, perhaps the first in that office; and in May, 1660, he was appointed one of the grand jury for the Colony. He died in 1675, having been a useful, prominent man in the church, town and state.
4 General Court, May 1654.
" It is ordered by this Court, that Mr. George Hull and Alexander Knowles of Fairfield, Philip Groves of Stratford, and Matthew Camfield of Norwalk, shall be Assistant to such Magistrates as the Court shall at any time send among them. In the execution of justice, and they hereby empower them to examine misdemeanors, to grant out summons, or bind over delinquents to Court, in this Jurisdiction, for either of them to marry persons, to press horses by warrant from them as the public welfare of this Comonwealth and their particular Towns may or shall at any time require ; they giving an account to this Court of the same when required thereunto." In 1658 this office was further denned and restricted in the following language : " to assist Mr. John Wells and Assistant Camfield in procuring wills and taking inventories, and distributing estates of persons that died intestate, and to appoint administrators. . . . This order respects Stratford, Fairfield and Norwalk." Hence the origin of the Probate Court. Col. Rec. i. 257, 323.
22William Crooker was a land owner in Stratford, but probably did not reside here, or if he did it was but a short time. His wife was the daughter of Henry Gregory. William Crooker, an original proprietor, deeded his land in Stratford to Henry Wakeley, and probably went to Norwalk, 1654, and thence to Newtown, L. I.
23John Hurd, Sen., the emigrant, among the first settlers in Windsor, Conn., was in Stratford in October, 1644, when he and William Judson were appointed by the General Court to solicit subscriptions in the town of Stratford for the maintenance of scholars at Cambridge, and this collection was " to continue yearly," such being the enterprise of that day in behalf of education. In May, 1649, ne was a chosen deputy to the General Court, and was appointed by that Court on a committee with Daniel Titterton to view land
desired by the town of Fairfield for an enlargement of their territory, and in May, 1650, the report being favorable, the request of Fairfield was allowed, which extended their bounds to the Saugatuck river. He was deputy also at other times. Hence it seems that this John must have been an older man than the John who was married in 1662, and is credited with being the first of the name at Stratford.
A grave-stone of "John Hurd, 1681, aged 68," taken from the old burying-ground, is probably his, and hence he was born in 1613, seven years before the landing at what we now know as the old Plymouth Rock. Stratford should be proud of such a monument as this stone, for, although naught but a rude field stone, yet what visions of long years gone by are brought to our minds by it. Two hundred and three years this plain and often unnoticed stone has borne its unpretentious titleJohn Hurd, 1681, aged 68a fitting monument for the plain, earnest life he and his associated brethren lived, as emigrants to the then New World, for the sake of the truth as they viewed it, in obedience to the Gospel of the Son of God. Standing by such a stone in the light of two hundred years is sufficient inspiration to cause every man to defy religious proscription, bigotry or oppression.
John Hurd was a miller, and in connection with Thomas Sherwood built the first mill at Old Mill Green, in 1653, where he himself probably was the first or among the first residents in that part of the town. He and Thomas Sherwood, or one of Sherwood's sons, may have located there together.
24Arthur Bostwick, came from Cheshire, county of Chester, England, with son John, and probably a wife, and was an early settler in Stratford, before 1650, and probably in 1639. In 1659 he had a second wife, a widow Ellen Johnson, who petitioned the General Court in regard to her husband's lands, and by the order of the Court their united property was divided equally between them, and in the same year Arthur gave the most, if not all of his estate, to his son John, by contract, in which John agrees to maintain his father with whatever he shall need for his comfort, and among other things " to find him wines and spirituous liquors, and a horse when he shall wish to ride forth." The widow, Ellen, in after years gave a portion of her property to her son Johnson by a former husband. The reason for dividing the property appears from the use they made of it, in each bestowing it on children by their former marriage; a matter of no surprise. Arthur was in the list of freemen in 1669, and probably died within four years thereafter.
%5 John Tompson,' being a little over twenty-one years of age, came to New England on a visit of inspection, and being satisfied with its appearance returned home to dispose of his property and come here for life. From the seaport where he landed in England to his home in the interior was a distance of many miles, which he journeyed on foot. While passing at early morn a farm-house where the daughters were bringing the milk, he stopped for some refreshments, and disclosing the fact that he was from New England, he found himself among ardent friends of the Puritan Colonies. Conversation grew Earnest and he was urged to stay. Many questions were asked in regard to the land of the exiles. " It is a goodly land," said he, " but as yet full of wild beasts and savage men, but a place where we may worship God with a true conscience." " Would God I were there," said Mirable, a younger daughter of the farmer, protesting that for love of Christ and to be free from the severe restrictions then laid upon Puritan worship, she would gladly endure the hardships and peril in order to attain that end. Not long before this she had been imprisoned for attending a conventicle. Thompson's stay was prolonged ; the interest between him and Mirable increased and they were engaged to be married. He went home, closed his business affairs, returned, married her, and they. came to New England. It is thought that his first coming was in the Elizabeth and Ann in 1635, he being then twenty-two years of age, yet this is not certain, nor is it certain in what year he came the second time, nor what year he arrived at Stratford, although he was there before 1646.
This sketch is. taken from the narrative of these events by the Rev. Nathan Birdseye who died in 1818, aged 103 years, who relates among other things that Mr. Thompson brought to Stratford some of the first fruit trees introduced there, and also that he harvested the first wheat raised there. The family tradition was that he and his wife, walking in the field by the Fresh Pond, found that numerous heads of wheat had already become yellow, whereupon he gathered handfulls of these heads and she rubbed out the wheat until nearly a peck was secured, which they dried, and probably pounded in a mortar, and made bread from it, the first made from wheat grown in the town.
1 From the manuscript of Mr. Curtis Thompson.
Mr. Thompson died in July or August, 1678; his will being drawn in July and the inventory was made in August, and he is supposed to have been 65 years of age. His widow, Mirable, died April 13, 1690. The story is related that on a certain day soon after their settlement in Stratford, while engaged in her house with her face from the door two Indians rushed in, the one giving a fearful yell, and the other just then buried his tomahawk in the head of the first, who fell dead across the table. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson had two sons and four daughters, whose descendants still abide within the limits of the old town.
26 Robert Coe, Jr., settled in Stratford before 1651, where he purchased of widow Ramble (?) a house lot recorded in 1652, bounded "east upon the highway, west upon the swamp, Samuel Sherman on the north and Thomas Uffoot on the south ; with land in the New Field, at Carman's Neck, at Nesumpaws and in the great meadows." Previous to this purchase he held land in the Old Field, and hence was one of those who kept up the fence around it, and therefore it is probable that his father was one of the original owners of Stratford and afterwards gave his share to this son Robert, else why should he have left Hempstead to settle at Stratford? He died in 1659, at the age of 32, leaving a widow, three daughters and one son, among whom his estate, amounting to i?g, 18s. was divided, the daughters receiving .35 each. The widow, Susannah Coe, married, 2d, Nicholas Elsey of New Haven, and upon her son John becoming of age she, with her husband, made over to him the homestead of his father, December, 1682.
The following verses were made by the Rev. Abraham Pierson, pastor at Branford, on the death of Robert Coe:
" Rest blessed
Coe, upon thy bed of ease ;
1'ihe quiat grave with the is no desease.
all, all our anguish hath its perod fixl,
Err hens we goe: not any joy but mixt.
Raer grace which males the life of man the best,
this young man lived to God and now is blest.
Come parallel this saint: now far exceed :
Omit no means that may true goodness breed,
are tryals come, bestowed for days of need ?
the Lord his widow bless, and take his seed."
Cooe or Coe. It is an interesting fact that during Queen Mary's reign, in the year 1555, Roger Cooe, of Suffolk county, England, the section of the country whence the family came to America, was burned at the stake, in his extreme old age, a martyr to the truths of the gospel. His trial is related by Fox in the Book of Martyrs, where it is represented that he most decidedly and faithfully testified to the truth and suffered patiently but firmly for Christ and his teachings.
Robert Cooe, Sen., the first in America, who is said to have been born in Suffolkshire, England, in 1596, sailed from Ipswich in the ship Frances in 1634 with his wife Anna, who was born in 1591, and three children. Me was made freeman in Watertown, Mass., in 1634, and tarried there about two years, but was among the first at Hartford, Conn, (then called Newtown), where in 1636, at the first Court held there, he and others presented their certificates of dismission from the church at Watertown, dated in the March previous, to form anew in church covenant " on the River of Connecticot." He and others settled at Wethersfield, where he with others, after about four years, formed a company and bought of New Haven colony, the plantation of Ripowams (now Stamford), where they settled in 1641. For this territory they agreed to pay 100 bushels of corn, and Robert Cooe's proportion was four bushels and one peck. In 1644, Robert Coe, w1th other inhabitants, removed with their minister, Mr. Richard Denton, to Hempstead, L. I., at which date, Robert, Jr. was seventeen years of age. In 1652, Robert, Sen., removed to Middlebury, now Newtown, L. I., where he was made sheriff in 1669, which office he held until 1672.
2V Thomas Uffoot came from England in the ship Lion in 1632, with William Curtis; was made freeman in Boston that same year; may have lived in Roxbury ; came, probably, in 1639 to Stratford, and may have been related to the Curtis family by marriage. His house lot was No. 16, which still remains in the family, yet his descendants are scattered far and wide, like those of many other families. He was a juryman at Hartford as early as 1643 and again in 1644; was in Milford in 1646, when he and his wife joined the church there, and is said to have been there in 1654. He died in 1660, and as the inventory of his property is at New Haven, he may have been residing at Milford at his decease.
28Joseph Hawley was in Stratford a proprietor as early as 1650 and probably a few years earlier. His home lot was No. 37, which he purchased of Richard Miles in or before the year 1650. The tradition in Stratford has been and is that he married Catharine Birdseye, a niece of John Birdseye, her father residing first in New Haven and then in Wethersfield. He was prominent in the town and a more than usually energetic business man. He purchased of the Indians a large tract of land in Derby, of which that town allowed him to retain the old Indian planting field, and also another tract which joined it, including Great Hill. He was chosen Deputy in 1665 and many times thereafter until near his decease. He made his will in 1689 and died the next year. His descendants are numerous and a genealogy of them is largely collected and nearly ready for publication by Mr. Elias S. Hawley, of Buffalo, N. Y.
20 Sergt. Jeremiah Judson, son of William, born in England in 1621, and hence was 16 years of age when he came to Stratford; married about 1652, and was a prominent man in the business transactions of the town. He died in 1700, aged 79.
30Joshua Judson, third son of William Judson, born in England in 1623, came to Stratford with his father ; married Ann Porter of Windsor about 1656, and died in 1661, aged 38, leaving two sons and a widow, who married John Hurd, Jr.
31 Mr. Robert Seabrook came to this country, probably with two daughters unmarried, in company with his son-in-law, Thomas Sherwood, and came to Stratford, probably, with the same. One daughter married Thomas Fairchild, perhaps before they came to Stratford. In 1651 he must have been about 85 years of age or more. In 1634 his daughter Alice, who was the wife of Thomas Sherwood, was 47 years of age. He was also the father of William Preston's wife, of New Haven, and in his will gave his home lot in Stratford to his grandsons, Jehiel Preston of New Haven and Thomas Fairchild, Jr., of Stratford. He is also supposed to have been the father of Lieut. Thomas Wheeler's wife, who was married, probably, in this country.
32Henry Gregory was in Stratford in 1647, when he is described in the New Haven Records as having sons Judah and John and a daughter who was the wife of William Crooker of Stratford.
The Probate Court, June 19, 1655, orders administration on Henry Gregorey's estate, giving the eldest son, John, a double portion and making him the distributer of the estate. It mentions the children, but names only John. In 1647 the son John testified that his father was old and that his sight had failed him. The descendants remained in the town many years, but were not numerous.
33Richard Boothe, was born in England in 1607, for in an affidavit, March 15, 1687-8, he describes himself as about 81 years of age. From what part of England he came, or in what year is not fully known, nor is there certain evidence of his immediate ancestors, but his name Richard and those of John and Robert, are family names in the line of the Boothe families of Cheshire, England, an ancient house, connected also by marriage with several families of distinction. If, as is not improbable, Richard, of Stratford, were of that stock, the relationship, it is supposed, would be established through Richard, of Coggshill, and Baron in Cheshire, who was son of Sir William Boothe, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Warburton, and was born about 1570, and died in 1628."
' See Booth Genealogy.
Richard Boothe's name and those of his descendants are prominent on Stratford records. His home lot, 29, indicates his settlement there among the earliest, but probably not before his marriage in 1640. He married, ist, Elizabeth, the sister of Joseph Hawley," for his son Ephraim, in his will styles Samuel Hawley (son of Joseph) cousin. He was one of the proprietors of the township and received divisions of land located in various parts of the town, as did also the other proprietors. He was probably married twice and had eight children. The latest mention of him extant is in March, 1688-9, 'n his 82d year.
34"Mr. WaJdin." Henry Wakelee, was, probably, an original proprietor of Stratford, and was there before 1650. His home lot was No. 15, indicating him to have been among the first settlers. In 1663 he was attorney before the General Court in behalf of his son James, but the matter was withdrawn from court.
Ebenezer Wakelee went from Stratford to Waterbury, the part of the town now Wolcott, where his descendants still reside. The name is now generally spelled Wakelee, but at first it was generally written Wakelyn, and sometimes Weaklin and Waklin. The family have not been numerous.
35Widow Curtis was Elizabeth Curtis, the mother of William and John, with whom she came to Stratford, leaving, apparently, three of her children at Roxbury, Massachusetts. The reason' for the separation of the members of the family may have been the fact that the father, now deceased, had acquired a considerable property in land at Roxbury which could not readily be disposed of to advantage, and hence three stayed to care for it and three came to Stratford. Widow Curtis's home lot was near or joining Rev. Mr. Blakeman's. She died in June, 1658, and her estate was apprised at 100, 3s. 6d. (See sketch of William Curtis.)
36Thomas Sherwood came from England in the ship Frances from Ipswich, in 1634, aged 48 years, with wife Alice, aged 47 years, and four children. His wife Alice was the daughter of Robert Seabrook and sister of the wife of Thomas Fairchild, and hence in all probability these two families came in each other's company to Stratford.
11 Rev. B. L. Swan makes a note as follows: "There is more than a probability that Jane, wife of Rev. Adam Blakeman, Ann, wife of Philip Groves, and Miriam, wife of Moses Wheeler, were also sisters of Joseph Hawley.
In June, 1645, he had four suits for slander, in three of which he was plaintiff and in one defendant, and he gained the four with costs of the suits and thirty-nine pounds money as damages. He, in the autumn of the same year, was elected deputy with William Beardsly, the first sent from Stratford, to the General Court. in October, 1654, when a draft was made for an expected war with the Narraganset Indians, Thomas Sherwood and Thomas Fairchild were appointed with the constables to " press men and necessaries " for the war, from Stratford. In this same year, 1654, John Hurd and Thomas Sherwood received from the town of Stratford fort), acres of land and three pieces of meadow in the New Pasture in consideration of the expenses of building a corn-mill "to grind the town's-corn," at what is now the east end of Old Mill Green. The amount of toll they were to have for grinding was one-sixteenth of a bushel, and the town was to furnish a correct measure for the purpose of taking the exact amount. Thomas Sherwood did not remove to Fairfield, as stated by some, but died in Stratford in 1656, where his death is recorded.
In 1645, in his suits at law, he is called " Thomas Sherwood the elder," in every case, showing that there was then a Thomas Sherwood the younger. The story of the three brothers who came over has been historical in this family, and is true, for Thomas Sherwood, Jr., Stephen Sherwood and Matthew Sherwood, sons of Thomas Sherwood, Sen., were made freemen in the town of Fairfield in the year 1664, where they and their descendants were prominent, influential citizens for two hundred years. The family has been also considerably numerous in the interior towns and in New York State.
37Francis Hall, a professional lawyer, was of New Haven, in 1639, and came to Stratford before 1651 ; his dwelling-house seems to have been west of Main street, on what was afterwards called Lundy's Lane, being the old road
were acknowledged Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and as in this covenant one only was included, the church relation was expressed by the words " Half-way Covenant." In this relation all that was prohibited from such persons was the Lord's Supper, as is evident from the following, in this paper from the parish to Mr. Chauncey, viz: " Notwithstanding we desire not that any thus admitted may approach unto the Lord's Table till on and by examination and due trial they make testimony unto the judgment of Charity of their fitness thereto." That is, until by examination and a knowledge of their lives it should be evident that they were proper persons to come to the Lord's Table.
This Half-way Covenant method ol membership, then, was in practice and had been for years in the Stratford church when Mr. Chauncey came here, and the whole expression of the church and the town so far as appears in any record or intimation, was to have it continued.
Soon after Mr. Chauncey was settled as pastor a question of difference arose in his parish which eventuated in the formation of a second church in the town and that church, largely, removed afterwards and settled at Woodbury. The inquiry is, what were the questions which caused the division and trouble? Evidently these, and only these, that the Halfway Covenant members should be allowed to come to the Lord's Table, and that the minister alone should examine the candidates, and receive them into the church. The church hitherto refused these. A small minority now demanded them. The minority were all members in Half-way Covenant, and hence were denied but one privilege, and therefore could complain of nothing else, for in their letter to Mr. Chauncey and the Church they say, speaking of what God had done for them,' "and hath given us an interest in himseit to be our God, and taken us to be his own, giving us his own discipline and ordinances for our spiritual and eternal good, and owning us hath given us equal right with yourselves in all his ordinances."
1 See Woodbury History, vol. i, 115-118.
" Whereas we have formerly made known our minds unto you in writing, as concerning our desire of communion in all God's ordinances with you, holding forth unto you by way of preface, our right unto them, from the free grace of God owning us externally sealing the privileges of the Covenant unto us." Thus, clearly, they state the question to be " communion in all God's ordinances with you." In the second letter they state another point, not introduced in the first, thus:
4 The Minority's First Letter. "To Mr. Chancy and the resi of the Church at Stratford.
" Loving brethren and friends, God by his good providence having brought us hither, who are of his church and people, and separated us from the world, and of his free and abundant grace hath taken us and our seed into covenant with himself and with his church and people, and hath given us an interest in himself to be our God, and taken us to be his own, giving us his own discipline and ordinances for our spiritual and eternal good, and owning us hath given us equal right with yourselves in all his ordinances, his providence also having sctled us together in this plantation that we might jointly together worshipp him in all his ordinances, and that we should be mutuall helpers of one another in our Christian race. These few lines are to informe you that wee whose names are underwritten doo declare to you our earnest desire to enjoy communion in all God's ordinances with you, that we may together worshipp him according to his holy will; desiring also that wee and our posterity may be owned as immediate members of the Church of Christ by you ; as Christ owneth us and ours by his own institution, taking us into covenant, and solemnly setting his own seal upon us. We further declare, that owning it to be our duty, and hoping it to be our desire to account you our best friends, who shall use means to convince us wherein we have sinned, and bring us to the sight of our evils; we desire that if any man being converted according to God's rules, and do not hold forth repentance, then no such person so remaining may be admitted to communion, till he hold forth repentance. And whereas there hath beene difference about the calling of Mr. Chancy, and severall of us have declared our objections against his setling amongst us till those objections were answered, and we judge they'never were unto satisfaction ; yet if you shall see cause to answer our earnest and reall desires in the premises, as we hope you will, wee shall pass by what hath been, and endeavor lovingly to close together and walke together according to the rules of God's holy word, hoping and desiring you will so farr respect us as to give us an answer hereunto in writing as soon as you conveniently can.
Yours in all due respects and desireous of unity according to the rules ol Christ.
January 16, 1665-6.
Joseph Judson, John Minor,
Richard Butler, James Blackman,
David Mitchell, Samuel Sherman,
Henry Wakelvn, Daniel Titterton."
Woodhury History, i. 115. *
"And if anything did on our part lie in the way, have seriously appointed us a time for examining of us in respect of our faith and knowledge: accounting it requisite that the . Minister may take particular knowledge of all those that are to have Communion in the whole worship of God: And herein (to deal plainly} that nothing may hereafter be laid as a block in our way, we desire that in this examination by the Minister or Ministers and Elder we may issue in their questioning and examining only.'"
* The Minority's Second Letter.
"Whereas we have formerly made known our mindes unio you in writing, as concerning our desire of communion in all God's ordinances with you; holding forth unto you by way oi preface, our right unto them, from the free grace of God owning us and externally sealing the privileges of y Covenant unto us ; have also declared our mindes concerning such letts as may hinder us from proceeding unto such attaynments mentioned in some clauses thereof; and comeing together to know how you stood affected to our desires, hoped you might have seen good soe farr to have betrusted those y' were to declare your rcinde unto us as in confeering with us to take farther knowledge of our desire propounded ; and to putt us in a way of farther proceeding ; should have bin glad soe farr to have bin tender by you that they might have took it into consideration. And if anything did on our part lye in y* way, have seriously appointed us a time for examining of us in respect of our fayth and knowledge: Accounting it requisite y4 y* Minister may take particular knowledge of all those y' are to have communion in the whole worshipp of God ; And herein (to Aea.\ plainly) y' nothing may hereafter bee laid as a block in our way; we desire that in this examination by y* Minister or Ministers and Elder wee may issue in their questioning and examining only. And whereas we have openly, solemnly, wholly and only ingaged ourselves to be the Lord's, who hath graciously taken us into Covenant with himself and his faithful people; we desire, y1 in the owning hereof, wee may not be further trouble with any imposition of that nature. The exercise of your tenderness unto us wee cannot but hope for, according as you are allowed. Ro. 14:1.
February gth, 1665-6.
Joseph Judson, John Minor,
Richard Butler, James Blackman,
David Mitchell, Samuel Sherman,
Henry Wakelyn, Daniel Titterton."
Woodbury History, I, 116.
Here they make a condition or demand, that in owningthe Covenant the minister or ministers and elder shall be the only parties admitted to the examination. They go further and with scorn stigmatize the examination before the Church, which was the custom then, an "imposition," thus:
"And whereas we have openly, solemnly, wholly and only engaged ourselves to be the Lord's, who hath graciously taken us into Covenant with himself and his faithful people; we desire that in the owning hereof, we may not be further troubled with any imposition of that nature."4
These letters were written in January, 1665-6, a short time after Mr. Chauncey's settlement, and to them a reply was sent the next April which shows that the particular questions at issue were the communion and examination of candidates by the minister alone:
" Whereas we received from you two writings, the sum of both which was to hold forth your earnest desire as to communion in all the ordinances of Christ with us, These are to give you to understand that our apprehension concerning the order of discipline is the same that we have formerly manifested it to be, both by our practice and answer to your proposals. And whereas you apprehend you have equal right with ourselves in all the ordinances of Christ in this place, these may certify you at present that we are of a different apprehension from you in that matter.'"
4 The italics arc in the original.
1 " Church Answer to th1 Men."
" Neighbors, whereas wee received from you two writings the sum of both, which was to hold forth your earnest desire as to communion in all the ordinances of Christ with us, These are to give you to understand that our apprehension concerning the order of discipline is the same that we have formerly manifested it to bee, both by our practice, and answer to your proposalli. And whereas-vou apprehend you have equall right with ourselves in all the ordinances of Christ in this place, these may certifie you at present that we are of a different apprehension from you in that matter. And whereas you desire that your posterity may: etc wee would put you in mind that as yet the matter is in controversie among the learned and godly. Likewise whereas you seem to intimate in the close of your first page that you have taken offence at our late proceedings, but as you say upon the granting of the premises are willing to pass it by ; we return no more at present bul this, viz: wee hope if you had sufficient ground so to doo, the godly and learned would have spied It out, and have endeavored to convince us of our evills herein. Lastly, whereas in your latter page you prescribe the way wherein you desired to be attended : viz: you account it requisite: etc: To which we answer in the words of Paul in another case, wee have no such custom nor the churches of Christ with whom we hold communion, and moreover it is practised you know by those whose principles in discipline are farr different from ours. And truly neighbours, as it relates to your case, (notwithstanding wee gladly and heartily desire ye increase and enlargement of y* Church when it may be attained in a rulable and satisfactory way yet) we must plainly tell you that we cannot at present see how it will stand with the glory of God, the peace of y* Church and our and your mutuall edification (which ought to bee deare unto us, and earnestly sought by us) for you li embody with us in this society: The Apostle Paule exhorts the Corinthians, and so all that walk together in church fellowship: I Romans 10, to avoid divisions and to be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment, otherwise it is not likely we should keepe the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, to which we are exhorted, Eph. 4:3. And notwithstanding wee give this answer in generall to you all that were concerned in the pages presented to us ; yet you may easily imagine that we have particular exertions as it relates to particular persons whereof we find that we are thereunto called, wee shall manage and desire satisfaction in before they are admitted to communion in all the ordinances.
The minority mention only one condition as ground of reception, viz: that of repentance, in their first letter, but claim membership by virtue of birth-right: "desiring also that wee and our posterity may be owned as immediate members of the Church of Christ by you."
Hence their views of membership were those, very nearly, of the Episcopal Church, except as to confirmation, and this they doubtless would have accepted very readily at the hands of a Bishop.
The Rev. Adam Blakeman died somewhere between April, 1665, and the next January, and hence Mr. Israel Chauncey was installed that year as pastor, and on Dec. 18, 1666, by town vote, his salary was fixed at sixty pounds per annum.
At the same time the town voted to divide the parsonage lot which had been appropriated according to a previous vote
April id. 1666.
This is a true Coppe of y* answer
given unto us as it was tryed by both papers.
Church Answer to the men."
Woodbury History, i. 117.
This is the first record that indicates a division of effort, in the form of another or second church; but the further statement of the vote at this time shows that the matter had matured to a large degree, for it says:
" And that which shall be laid out to Mr. Chauncy, shall by him be improved as his during his life or continuance in Stratford, and in case of removal the said land is to return to
the town again It is also agreed in case Mr. Bulkley
or any other minister be obtained, he shall have, hold and enjoy his part in every respect as Mr. Chauncy doth.
" It is further agreed respecting a house lot, the reserved land for that purpose shall be equally divided into two lots and Mr. Chauncy is to have his choice which of the two he will please to have."
Upon this agreement of the two parties application was made to the General Court to sanction the division, if there was nothing in the law against it; and the Court granted the request, and directed that " from henceforth they shall all jointly make payment of their proportions towards the maintenance of Mr. Chauncy till there be another minister at Stratford there cohabiting."
During the year 1667 the division made further progress, but as far as any records show took no new form, no violent conflict, other than that given above ; and the representations other than here given seem wholly gratuitous. There was a division of sentiment as to church relations and privileges, brought out upon the settlement of Mr. Chauncey and at the decease of their former minister, and it took the form of a separate church within one year, but no legal organization was secured. Had there been any way for the dissenting party to have connected themselves with the Episcopal Church there can be no doubt but they would have done so, for their views were in accord with that Church, and it is probable that something of these views, after this discussion, remained in the community until 1706, when they began to secure services by the Episcopal Church.
The matter of dissention having been brought before the General Court, the advice of that body was rendered, probably, in the latter part of the year 1667, and on March 27, 1668, at -a lawful town meeting the advice was " in every particular voted and accepted," and ordered recorded. It had reference not only to Church matters but also to civil rights and liberties ; and occurring as it did directly after the union of the New Haven and Connecticut Colonies, it was of importance to the whole united Colony.
Early in the year 1668, the minority engaged Mr. Zechariah Walker of Jamaica, L. I., to preach to them ; and as Mr. Israel Chauncey had signed a paper accepting the land proffered by the town upon the conditions stipulated; Mr. Walker also signed a like agreement and acceptance.
These facts placed the two ministers and their parties on equal rights and privileges in law and worship; but the)7 were very differently situated as to advantages, for the minority had no organization and no meeting house.
The next trouble arose from the application of Mr. Walker and his adherents, for the use of the meeting house during some portion of each Sabbath day, as a place of worship, under the proposition that the two congregations should use the same house, but meet at different hours on the same day. This created more division and excited feeling, apparently, than had been experienced before, for the old congregation declined to grant the request, and that apparently by a large majority.
In accordance with the recommendation of the Court, a complete list of the proprietors of the town was made, on the 27th of March, 1668, just in the midst of these difficulties, and by it and Mr. Walker's report of the organization of his church the relative strength of the parties may be seen.
The Inhabitants of Stratford in 1668.
"A list of the Inhabitants of Stratford. drawn up by the townsmen and
recorded by order from the Govenor and Mr. Jones and Mr. Stowe 2yth March,
1668, as followeth and diligently recorded by order from the present townsmen this 28th March, 1668 :
2. Mr. [Thomas] Kail child.
3. Mr. [Israel] Chaunccy.
4. Mr. [Zech.] Walker.
5. Lieut. Wm. Cunis.
6. Elder [Philip] Graves.
7. Ensign Jos. Judson.
8. John Birdseye, Sen'.
g. John Minor. 10. Nath1 Porter.
n. John Birdseye, Jun'.
12. Henry Wakelyn.
13. Jehiel Preston.
14. Mr. Nicholas Knell.
15. John Brinsmayd, Sen'. 1f). Richard Rutler.
17. Benjamin Peak.
18. John Curtis.
19. John Peck, Jr.
1. Timothy Wilcockson.
21. Joseph Bearslye
22. Israel Curtis.
23. Arthur Bostick. 24. Caleb Nichols.
25. John Beach.
26. John Wells.
27. James Blackman.
28. John Pickett, Jr.
29. Robert Lane.
30. John Hull.
31. Jabez Harger.
32. Daniel Titterton.
33. Robert Rose.
34. Robert Clark.
35. John Wilcockson.
36. Hugh Griffin.
37. Richard Hurd.
38. Edward Hinman.
39. John Thompson, Sen'.
40. John Thompson, Jr.
41. Moses Wheeler.
42. Francis Hall.
43. Esbon Wakeman.
44. Samuel Sherman.
45. Joseph Hawley.
46. Adam Hurd.
47. Henry Tomlinson.
48. Richard Boothe.
Outlivers, i. e. out of tht village.
49. John Hurd, Jr.
50. Isaac Nichols.
51. Serg'. Jeremie Judson.
52. Samuel Bearslye.
53. John Picked, Sen'.
54. Thomas Uffoot.
55. James Clark.
56. John Peacock.
57. John Hurd, Sen'.
58. Mr. David Mitchell.
59. Stephen Burritt.
60. Samuel Blackman.
61. John Bearslye.
62. Samuel Stiles.
63. Ephraim Stiles.
64. Tho*. Sherwood's children.
65. Thomas Welli.
66. John Wheeler,
67. Obadiah Wheeler,
68. Hope Washburn,
69. Theophilus Sherman,
70. Matt. Sherman,
Admitted freeholders Jan. 1, 1668.
71. Thomas Kimberly.
72. Samuel Fairchild.
73. Tho'. Fairchild, Jr.
74. John Brinsmade, Jr. .
75. Daniel Bearslye.
76. Jonathan Curtis.
77. John Judson.
Were by the townsmen ordered
to be recorded Outlivers,
March 3, l6f|.
78. Samuel Gregory.
79. James Pickett.
80. Benjamin Beach.
81. John Bostick.
82. Henry Summers.
83. Jonas Tomlinson.
84. Dan1. Brinsmade.
85. John Burritt.
86. Widow Bearsley wife of Thomas B.
87. Mrs. [Adam] Blackman.
88. Widow Tittcrton.
89. Widow Bearslye, wife of William,
half proprietor of house lot
In the Woodbury History is an account given by the Rev. Mr. Walker of the organization of his Church at Stratford, May 1, 1670, and according to it the Covenant was taken that day by 20 persons, to whom 7 were added in a few days, making 27 in all, and omitting Mr. Walker himself, 26. Of the whole number 7 were not inhabitants, and could not vote in town meeting. Hence the number of Mr. Walker's voters to those opposed was 19 to 65.
Two years Mr. Walker and his people continued their work in Stratford under great difficulties, when the project of colonization to Woodbury arose and was soon after effected in a very commendable and successful manner. When settled in Woodbury they adopted the Halfway Covenant system of church relations and government, the same as the Stratford Church had pursued, probably, all the years of its existence before 1670, and which it followed, probably, about one hundred years later.
PROGRESS AMIDST DIFFICULTIES.
URING the years from 1650 to 1670, great changes took place in the town of Stratford. The purchasing of the lands from the Indians and the consequent proposition for extending the settlement; the decease of several prominent men and the incoming of new settlers; the differences which arose as to the privileges of the halfway covenant church members, resulting in the organiza. tion of a second society for public worship; the union of Connecticut and New Haven Colonies, and the taking of New York from the Dutch ;all these had placed the community upon a new stage of social, religious and civil life. The territory opened for settlement by paying the Indians for various tracts of land extended north into what is now Huntington and Trumbull, and west to Fairfield bounds. Different parties had become interested in these purchases by paying the Indians, in behalf of the town, and they desired to secure the return of their money by the division and sale of the land to old and new settlers, and this awakened a spirit of enterprise and progress to the extent that new settlers were not only made welcome but invited to come in, and the territory seemed so large that a proposition was made in 1670, and a petition presented to the General Court, to organize a separate plantation at Farmill river within the bounds of Stratford.1
' "October, 1670. Whereas, Mr. Sherman hath motioned to this Court in the behalf of some of the inhabitants of Stratford, that they might have liberty and
The Stratford company was organized at Wethersfield and Hartford in the beginning of the year 1639, and tradition says it contained fifteen or seventeen families. They began the settlement that Spring at what was afterwards called the harbor, in Stratford village, and in the Autumn of that year military drill was established under the command of Francis Nichols, acting as captain.
The land records as they now exist were commenced, probably, in 1652, and all dates prior to that were entered at that time or later. It is quite doubtful as to there having been any records in this town previous to that date, but if there were they have been lost or destroyed.
The law providing for such records and a town clerk to keep them was enacted in 1639, and provided such penalties as to make it hazardous for any town to neglect the matter twelve years, as must have been the case if Stratford made none but those now possessed.
The record of each proprietor's surveyed land, being entered in 1652, there are two forms of expression used which designate the first proprietors from those who came after. Of the first of these it is said he " hath a home lot," but of the second it is said, " hath purchased a home lot." Hence when the town clerk recorded his own lot, probably in 1652, he said: "Joseph Hawley hath purchased of Richard Mills, a home lot, 2 acres, bounded with the street on the east, John Blakeman west, Adam Hurd on the south, and a highway north." In this case Mr. Hawley appears to have purchased the whole Right of Mr. Mills as well as the home lot.
This was the only form of land records in the early settlement of the place.
Besides the above evidence as to the first families, nearly all other early settlers in this town are found residing elsewhere in the year 1639. In a previous part of this book, all settlers before 1651 are spoken of as first settlers, but those included more than the first company formed at Wethersfield.
encouragement to erect a plantation at or near a river called the Farmill river, and the lands adjacent, this Court refers the consideration of this motion to Capt. Nathan Gold, Mr. James Bishop, Mr. Thomas Fitch, and Mr. John llc.llv, and they are desired and appointed to view the said lands, and to meet sometime in November next, to consider of the aforesaid motion, and to labor to work a compliance between those two parties in Stratford ; and if their endeavors prove unsuccessful then they are desired and ordered to make return to the Court in May next what they judge expedient to be attended in the case." Col. Rec., ii. 141.
Most of these seventeen families had been in America four or five years, looking for a final location as a home for life, and it must have afforded a sense of rest and satisfaction when they planted themselves on the western shore of the great river, then known only as the Pootatuck, as their final earthly home. And yet it was not like home to them, but as unlike as was possible to be.
Apparently they had all left many friends and kindred whose faces they would have been glad to have seen after these several years of wandering in the new world instead of stopping among the Indians. Some of them, if not all had relinquished comfortable homes and possessions, but when landed at Stratford they had not a shelter nor a covering for the night, probably, unless they accepted hospitality in the Indian wigwams, of which there is no tradition. They may have sent on a part of their company early in the Spring to prepare some houses or places for temporary dwelling, but the company was organized so late in the winter that there was but little time before the important work of planting demanded all their labor and skill, and therefore but small preparations could have been made, however diligent and energetic their efforts.
And all this, for what? To escape religious oppression! Much has been written with a purpose to indicate that that oppression was of little consequence largely imaginary, and soon forgotten, but no unprejudiced mind can read a tenth part of the historical proof of the trerribleness of that oppression without a shudder of horror and wonder.
But in their minds at least there must have been a great pressure, to drive them 3000 miles across a mighty ocean, with families of children, into a wilderness country such as they knew this was. If the emigrating companies had consisted only of men, as in the recent exodus to California in 1849, tne case would have been very different and might havo been stimulated solely for gain.
First Families of Stratford, Connecticut.
1 Rev. Adam Blakeman.
2 William Beardsley.
3 William Willeoxson.
4 RicJ1ard Harvey.
5 Elizabeth Curtiss.
6 Thomas Fairchild.
1 Philip Groves.
S John Hurd.
9 Richard Mills.
10 William Judson.
11 Francis Nichols.
12 John Peat.
13 Robert Seabrook.
14 Thomas Sherwood.
15 William Crooker.
16 William Quemby.
17 Arthur Bostwick.
' It is possible that this list should be varied a little, but
from the best light after very close study, it seems to be correct.
There were no settlers here in 1638, as supposed by Dr. Trumbull.
These seventeen families consisted of the following persons:
1 Rev. Adam Blakeman, his wife and six children, 8 persons.
2 William Beardsley, his wife and four young children, 6 persons.
3 Wilian1 Willcoxson, his wife and three young children, 5 persons.
4 Richard Harvey and his wife, 2 persons.
5 Widow Elizabeth Curtiss and two sons, young men, 3 persons.
6 Thomas Fairchild and his young wife, 2 persons.
7 Philip Groves and wife, 2 persons.
8 John Hurd, probably his wife and son Adam, 3 persons.
9 Richard Mills, his wife, sister of Caleb Nichols, and son Samuel, 3 persons.
10 William Judson, his wife and three sons. 5 persons.
11 Francis Nichols and his three sons, 4 persons.
12 John Peat, his wife and two children,' 4 persons.
13 Robert Seabrook, probably no wife, 1 person, 1
14 Thomas Sherwood, his wife and six children, 8 persons.
15 William Crooker and wife, perhaps children, 2 persons.
16 William Quemby, his wife, two children, perhaps others, 4 persons.
17 Arthur Bostwlck, probably his wife and one son, 3 persons. Phillp Groves.
John Hurd, Sen.