Ellen D. (Ellen Douglas) Larned.

History of Windham County, Connecticut (Volume 2) online

. (page 1 of 73)
Online LibraryEllen D. (Ellen Douglas) LarnedHistory of Windham County, Connecticut (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center




3 1833 01150 6513

Gc 974.601 W72U v. 2

Lamed, Ellen D-

History of Windham County,








( / V// / / V /////^////






" If, when we lay down our pen, we cannot say in the sight of God, ' upon strict examination; I
have not knowingly written anything that Is not true ' . . . . then study and literature render
us unrighteous and sinful." — Niebuhr.









Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, by

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.






1. Maior General Israel Putnam, Brooklyn, Frontispiece.


2. General Samuel McClellan, Woodstock, 1-47

3. Hon. Samuel Huntington, Scotland, signer of the Declaration of Inde-

pendence, President of the Continental Congress, Governor of
Connecticut, .... • 236

4. Colonel Thomas Grosvenor, Pomfret, 2G5

5. Rev. Jo.siah Whitney, U. D., Brooklyn, . - 464

6. Rev. Daniel Dow, D. D., Thompson • ... 536

7. General Lemuel Grosvenor, Pomfret, 543

8. Smith Wilkinson, Esq., Putnam, pioneer of Cotton manufacturing

in Connecticut • 547

9. General Nathaniel Lyon, Eastford, 567

10. lion. David Gallup, Plaiufleld, 573

County Map -. 551


It is perhaps Init natural in completiiis^ a work of this charac-
ter, attempting to cover so hirge a Hchl, tliat the author shouhl
be more conscious of its omissions than its inchisions- To show
what had been accomplished by Wikdham County in the past it
was necessary to include the present — a delicate and difficult
matter, rather within the province of the gazetteer than the
historian. Passing events and conditions have been touched as
briefly as possible and present actors very sparingly introduced.
Critics will note with more asperity of judgment the absence of
statistical details and tabulated statements, especially with refer-
ence to the three wars in which Windham bore a part ; as also of
genealogical and topographical data, so essential to a thorough
knowledge of any particular section, A future supplement may
supply these facts, which it has been impossible for the author to
collect at the present time. She has achieved, she trusts, a clear
and truthful narrative of the settlement and development of the
towns comprising Windham County, gathered from the archives
of the towns and State and from innumerable other sources — a
narrative which though strictly confined to county limits, very
strikingly sets forth the growth and development of the Nation,
and its institutions. The observing reader will see in how many
ways this little corner has sent out its influence, and how vitally
it is connected with the growth of the body politic. Great
pains have been taken to represent its social character and
changes, and to gather up and collate every possible detail of
the lives and services of those residents most connected with its
development. Undoubtedly with all this care persons worthy


of mention have I)cen omitted, and undue prominence may have
been given to others. Mistakes and misapprehensions in a work
of this kind cannot be avoided, especially in such matters as were
never before brought into history, derived from many independ-
ent sources. But it is believed that these defects and errors are
comparatively trilling, and that the friends of Windham County
have good reason to be satisfied witli this record. Especially
will they be gratified with the faces of honored citizens, familiar
still to some and greatly revered by all, that enrich its pages.
Long cherished as priceless treasures by descendants and friends,
they will be warmly welcomed in many Windham County homes,
and will give to future generations a more vivid realization of
the days and scenes with which they were connected. The
public will join with the writer in thanks to the kind friends who
have generously aided in the reproduction of these valued por-
traits ; others which were greatly desired it was impossible for
various reasons to secure. As the record of events comes down
to the present, it seemed but fitting that our picture gallery
sliould include a living representative — our chief ofiicial resident,
the present lieutenant-governor of Connecticut — which his friends
and constituents will highly value.

Grateful thanks are also due to the many friends who have
given valuable information. Especial mention should be made
of our efficient State Librarian, Charles J. Hoadly, Esq., who
furnished needful material and opened many sources of informa-
tion. Reports of interesting incidents, not to be found in the
County, were sent back from the papers of the late Hon.
Ephraim Cutler, Marietta, Ohio. J. R. Simms, Esq., Fort
Plain, New York, author of the History of Schoharie County,
and other historical works ; Mr. George Webb, EHzabeth, New
Jersey ; Mr. Pulaski Carter, Providence, Pa.; Mr. J. Q. Adams,
Natick, II. L — former residents of Windham County — have
kindly contributed many valuable notes, incidents and remi-
niscences. Documents collected by the late William L.


Weaver, Esq., received from Mr. Thomas S. "Weaver, and
excerpts from his local notes and genealogical jiajiers, pre-
served by l*rof. Cleveland Abbe, of Washington, D. C,
were especially helpful. Very valuable papers and pamphlets
were found in the collection left by John McClellan, Esq.,
Woodstock. For these man}' favors, and the innumerable
details furnished by residents of every town, for the sympa-
thy and aid received from so many sources, the writer can
only express lier appreciative thanks, and her hope that their
expectations may be fully realized. In completing a work which
has given her a much higher estimate of Windham County's
past standing, the writer cannot but hope that it may excite a
truer appreciation in others, and by stimulating county feeling
and healthy emulation, help to make its onward course yet more
prosperons. and its future record yet fairer and more honorable.

E. D. L.

Thompson, June 30, 1880.


Aboriginal Inhabitants, I., 1-11, 33, 8-43, 58; 143, 54, 71-3, 85. 6; 570. II.,

389, 90; 532, 40.
Ashford Whipping, II., 27, 8; 303.
Bacchus, II., 172, 3; 218; 560.
Boundary Disputes and Settlements. I., 13-15, 21, 37, 50, 63-5, 89 ; 120-8, 33-

36, 7, 42, 6, 8, 9, 55-7, 68, 9, 75; 226-9, 37, 8, 40, 53-5, 94-6; 341; 487-

95. II., 107-9; 456; 527.
Canal and Railroad Projects, II., 76; 502, 3, 7, 52, 7, 8.
College Graduates, I., 507, 54, 72, 3. II., 17, 91; 305.
Connecticut Path, I., 2, 19, 29. II., 87.
Dark Day, II., 373.

Ecclesiastic Constitution, I., 263; 425, G9, 70, 7-85. II., 221-5, 74, 96; 465-7.
Emigration, I., 287; 556-60. II., 19, 51, 77; 105; 317, 18, 41-3.
Executions and Murders, I., 39 ; 231, 2, 88, 9 ; 363, 4. II., 290-3 ; 303, 60, 1, 81 ;

Land Bank Scheme, 383, 4.
Medical Society, II., 269.

Military Organization, I., 269, 99. II., 137, 9, 40.
Probate Courts Constituted, I., 260; 526, 39.
Population, L, 261 ; 570. II. ; 142 ; 388 ; 589, 90.
September Gale. II., 429, 36, 40.
Singing, I., 60; 522. II., 98; 103; 259; 369; 450.
Slaves, I., 551, 2, 70. II., 220; 389; 593.
Social Condition, I., 262, 3; 570. II., 52; 388-90, 4-7; 414; 588-90.


BOOK V. 1740-1775.

-l- PAOE.

Pomfret. Brooklyn Parish. Putnam. Malbone. Rival Church Edifices.
General Affairs 1

Ashford. General Town Affairs. Westford Society. First Baptist
Church. Eastford Society. Corbin Land Claim 19

Affairs in Canterbury. Whitefield's Visit. Separates. Baptists. West-
minster Society 37

Town Affairs in Windham. Wyoming Emii^ration. Social Life- Scot-
land Parish , 46

Canada Parish. Pew Dispute. School Districts. Troubles with Rev.
Samuel Mosely. Voluntown 57

Religious Settlement in Plainfield. General Town Affairs 71

Town Affairs in Killingly. Thompson Parish. Baptist Church Formed.
Killingly Hill. South Killingly Church. Chestnut Hill. Baptist
Church '^ 77

Woodstock's Three Parishes. Baptist Church. Town Affairs. Troubles
with Massachusetts 97

BOOK VI. 176^-1783.



Opposition to Stamp Act. Non-importation. Food for Boston. Resolves
and Onsets, A Great Uprising Ill


Preparation for the Conflict. Onward to Cambridge. Bunker Hill. Home
Affairs. Death of Rev. Joseph Howe 137



Campaien of 177G. Stnipgles and Disasters. Death of Knowltdii. Town
Ri'soliiiious. Campaigns of 1777-78. Discourageincnis ].")9

Gloomy Days. Kndnianoc. Home Affairs. Urighteninj^ I'lospects.
Victory 183

BOOK VII. 1783-1807.

Banishment of Tories. SuttVrings of Soldiers. War Settlements. Adop-
tion of Federal Constitution 205

Windham's Prosperity. The Wi7idham Phenix. Religious Declension.
Political Agitation 213

Scotland's First Bell. Life at the Parsonage. Ciianges. Trouble with
Dr. Cogswell 230

Hampton Set Oft'. Death of Mr. Mosely. Prosperity and Progress. Gren-
adier Company. Grow Ciuirch. Deacon Benjamin Chaplin .... 238

Organization of Brooklyn. Adams' District. Last Years of General
Putnam. Colonel Malbone. Captain Tyler. Growth and Pros-
perity 249


Pomfret's Progress. Oliver Dodge. Reformed Church. Methoilists.
Baptists. Tunipil<es. Trial and Execution of Caleb Adams .... 265

General Affairs in Ashford. Visit from President Washington. Turnpike
Enterprise. David Bolles and the Baptist Petition. Congregational
and Baptist Churches 203

Canterbury Bridges. Enterprising Young Men. Master Adams' School.
Town and Ciiurch Affairs. Westminster Society. Cleveland .... 304


Plaintieid Church in Pursuit of a Pastor. New Meeting-house. Dr. Bene-
dict. I'iainffeld Academy. Distinguished Citizens. Town Affairs . 310


Killin^ly Established. North Society. Trials of Baptists. South
Killingly Church and Trainings. West Killingly Church. Emigration
to Ohio 330


Town Organization in Tiiompson. Business Enterprise. Ordinations of
Daniel Dow and Pearson Crosby. Report of School Inspectors.
Sale of Thompson Tract. Improvements and Excitements. Counter-
feitin'T 343



Town and Clinrch Affairs m Woodstock. Academy Founded. Thief
Detecling Society. JMurder of Marcus Lyon. Losses and Changes . 302

Organization of Sterling. Meeting-liouse Erected. Town and Chnrcli
. Artairs in Voluutown. Line Meetiug-honse 383


Windliain County in 181)0. Population. Business. Morals. Religion.
Schools. Social Condition 388

BOOK VIII. 1S07-182O.


The Carding Machine. Pomfret Manufacturing Company. Manufacturing
Furor. War of 1812-14 ^ 399


Windham Enterprise and Difficulties. Fun and Fishing. Church Affairs . 411

Town and Church Affairs in Hampton. Chaplin Society. Organization of
Church. Meeting-house and Minister 417

Enterprise iu Canterbury. Fatal Accident. Church Affairs 422


Plainficld Manufacturers. Death of Dr. Benedict. Highways and Bridges.
Sterling. Voluutown 427

Manufacturing Excitement in Killingly. Church Affairs. United Tract
Society -^Sl

Thompson's Manufacturing Companies. Village Growth and Improve-
meuls. The Great Revival of 1S13-14 438

The Revival in Pomfret. Business Affairs. Moral and Agricultural
Societies ^'^^

Business in Woodstock. Churches. Academy. Thefts and Whipping.
Dudley Land Case *51

Town and Church Affairs in Ashford ^orG

Town Affairs in Brooklyn. Unitarian Controversy. The New Constitu-
tion. Change of County Seat ■^^^


BOOK IX. 1820-184:5.


TraiisAMTcnco of Courts. Brooklyn Enterprise. Death of Dr. Whitney.
Ministry of Siunuel J. May. Execution of Watkins 471


Temperance Work in Windham County. Organization of County Temper-
ance Society. Eflbrts and Results 480

Miss Crandall's Schools—White and Colored. Canterbury in Danger.
Excitement. Expulsion 4!)0


Canterbury. Plainfleld. Voluntown. Sterling 502


AVindham. Willimantic Village. Chaplin 511


Hampton. Ashford. Eastford Parish 520


Woodstock. Thompson 527

Killingly. Porafret. Pomfret Factory 539

BOOK X. 184:0-1880.

The Present Outlook. Putnam. Danielsonville. Willimantic. Windham
Green. North and South Windham. Scotland. Chaplin. Hamp-
ton. Ashford. Eastford. Brooklyn. Canterbury. Voluntown.
Sterling. Plainfield. Central Village. Moosup. Wauregan. Day-
ville. Williamsvillc. East and South Killinglj'. Grosvenordale.
Thompson. Pomfret. Woodstock. Notable Meetings of Woodstock.
Windham County's Latest War-Record. The Army of Emigrants.
To-day and To-morrow 551

Appendix. A. — Origin of Town Names 591

B.— English Report of Putnam's Wolf Fight 591

C— The Battle of the Frogs 592

D.— A Relic of Slavery 593




rr^HE heavy burden borne by Windham County through the weari-
-E- some French and Indian war was not without its compensations.
Stringent compulsory demands called out the energies of the towns
and developed their resources. Wider experience, and the stimulat-
ing discipline of camp and battle, made stronger men of those engaged
in warfare, and fitted them for greater usefulness at home. No town
was more favored in this respect than Pomfret. Her sons greatly
distinguished themselves in the war, and returned to engage with
equal zeal and fidelity in the service of town and county- At the
annual meeting of the town, December 1, 1760, many of these returned
soldiers were elected to town offices. Deacon Jonathan Dresser served
as moderator. More than fitty men were needed to fill the various
public offices. Ebenezer Williams, Esq., Captain John Grosvenor,
Captain Zachariah Spalding, Deacons Edward Ruggles and David Wil-
liams were chosen selectmen ; Timothy Sabin, town clerk and treasurer;
Ensign Nathaniel Clark, Ej)hraim Ingalls and Samuel Williams, con-
stables — one for each society ; Rufus Herrick, John Gilbert, William
Allworth; Paul Adams, Solomon Griggs, Daniel Cheney, Jonathan
White, George Sumner, Samuel Cotton, Ebenezer Deming, Ebenezer
Williams, Esq., David Chandler, Amasa Sessions, Jacob Goodell and
Nathaniel Abbott, highway surveyors ; Abijah Williams and John
Weld, fence viewers ; John Parkhurst, Jun., Josiah Sabin, Ephraim
Tucker, Jun., Joseph Scarborough, Thomas Williams, Deacon Samuel
Craft and Ebenezer Goodell, listers ; John Williams, Jun., xVdonijah
Fasset and John Williams, grand-jurors; Jedidiah Ashcraft, James
Copeland, Joseph Philips, Nathaniel Rogers, Ephraim Griggs and John
Holbrook, tithing-men ; William Sabin, John Davison, Jonathan Allen,
Josiah Wheeler and Captain Zachariah Spalding, horse-branders ; Ben-
jamin Smith and Benjamin Sharpe, weight-sealers ; Sauuiel Carpenter,
excise collector ; Ensign Nathaniel Clark, town-collector; Benjamm


Giiftin, key -keeper. Most of these officers will be recognized as descend-
ants of the early settlers of Ponifret. The sole survivor of the first
settlers at this date was apparently Mr. Nathaniel Sessions, "a sober
man and useful member of society, " who forty years before had opened
the first cart road from Providence. Now in serene old age, resting
from his labors in his pleasant home in Abington, he was ever ready to
aid the town with his counsel and suggestions, and passed his leisure
hours in the study of the Scriptures, committing a large ])art of them to
memory in fear that he should be deprived of his eyesiglit.

The mill site on tlie Quinebaug liad now changed owners. In 1760,
the land between the Quinebaug and Mill Rivers, with privilege of-
the Falls, mills, dwelling-house, malt house, dye-house, and all their
appurtenances, was sold by Nathaniel Daniels to Benjamin Cargill, of
South Kingston, R. I., a descendant of Rev. Donald Cargill, of Scot-
land. Mr. Cargill at once took possession of his purchase and by his
shrewdness and good management so improved its business facilities
that " Cargill's Mills " soon became a noted place of resort for all the
surrounding country ; malting, dyeing and grinding for parts of
Pomfret, Woodstock, Killingly and Thompson Parish.

Town affairs required very little attention. New roads were dis-
cussed and other public improvements, but nothing undertaken.
The energies of the first society were now wholly absorbed in
building the long projected meeting-house. After a year's sus-
pension work was resumed. At a society meeting, December 4,
1761, William Sabin was chosen moderator; John Payson, clerk;
Captain John Grosvenor, Gershom Sharpe and Samuel Carpenter,
committee. It was then voted to raise money and go forward with
the finishing of the house — money to be raised by a tax of ninepence
per pound on the list. A stalwart body of seats in the centre of the
bouse had already been ei'ected. Forty-four pews were now ordered
— twenty-six against the walls ; eighteen ranged behind the body seats.
It was also voted, " That those forty-three persons that are highest in
the list shall have the liberty of drawing forty-thiee of the pews ; they
building each one his own pew and finishing the wall of said house,
adjoining to his pew, to the first girth ; he that is highest in the list
to have the first choice, and so on till they have done drawing ; re-
serving room for one \)ew for the ministry in said society, where the
Rev. Mr. Aaron Putnam shall choose it. " The ditficulties and ditfer-
ences which delayed so long the initiation of this work had now sub-
sided, and all i)arties united with great apparent zeal and heartiness in
its })rogress and completion. Thomas Stedman, the skillful architect
of the new meeting-house in Canada Parish, was employed as master-
builder. Galleries were built around the sides of the house, a hi^h


pulpit and massive canopy erected, and the outside " cullered " in the
most approved fashion of the day — the body deep orange with doors
and bottom-boards of chocolate color, " window-jets, " corner and
weather-boards, white. This fanciful "cullering" was greatly ad-
mired and copied, and the house when completed was probably the
largest and finest in the county. The formal dedication of houses of
worship was not then in vogue, but a preliminary " lecture sermon "
was preaclied in this by Mr. Putnam, Thursday, January 20, 1763. The
old meeting-house and training-field adjacent were sold by order of the
society, and lil)erty granted to build sheds on the east line of the
common within four rods of Ilev. Mr. Aaron Putnam's house.

Brooklyn society was increasing in strength and numbers. Ebenezer
Witter of Preston, John and Israel Litchfield, .James and Thomas
Eldredge, William and Xehemiah Prince, Stephen Baker, Rufus Herrick
and Andrew Lester had become its residents. The original settlers
were represented by many thriving families. A remodeling of school
districts, in 1762, shows the distribution of the inhabitants : —

"District 1. Containing Captain Spalding, Prince's place, that farm that was
the Reverend Mr. Avery's, Nathan Cad)', Adonijah Fasset, David Kendall,
John Kimball, Rev. Mr. Whitney', Stephen Baker, Ezekiel Cady, Uriah Cady,
Daniel Tyler. Thomas Williams, Samuel Cleveland and Joseph Cady.

District 2. All the lands and houses of Colonel Malbone that are in
the society, William Earl, Moses Earl, Jonas Frost, Jedidiah Ashcraft,
Joseph Hul>bard, Al)ner Adams, Benjamin Fasset, Nehemiah Adams. John
Hubbard, Daniel Adans. Noah and Paul Adams and Samuel Wilson.

District 3. To contain Peter and Richard Adams, Widow AUyn, Lieutenant
Smith, Sergeant Woodward, Reuben Darbe, Jonas Cleveland, Josiah. James and
Joseph Fasset, John Allyn, Lieutenant Spalding, Elijah, Joseph
Dyer, Jonathan Backus, Andrew Lester, Captain Prince, Nehemiah Prince,
Thomas Wheeler, William Copeland and Moses Smith.

District 4. To contain Nehemiah Bacon, Joseph Scarborough, Samuel
Jacques, James Bennet, Joseph Ross, Widow Barret, Lieutenant Smith, Dr.
Walton, Barnabas Wood, Deacon Scarborough, Colonel Putnam and Thomas

District '>. To contain Samuel Williams, Jun., William Williams, Jun.,
Deacon Williams, Samuel Williams, Ebenezer Weeks, Rufus Herrick, Jedidiah
Downing, Widow Davyson, Banjamin Fasset, Jun., and Amoral Chapman.

District 6. To contain John Litchfield, Israel Litchtield, Dai'ius Cady,
James Darbe, Senior and Junior, Samuel and Eleazer Darbe, Nathan Kim-
ball, Benjamin Shepard, Nehemiah Cady, Caleb Spalding, Daniel, Nahum,
John, Henry and Benjamin Cady.

District 7. John Fasset, James Copeland, Gidion Cady, Samuel Winter,
Nathan Witter, Asa Tyler, Lieutenant Hunt, the farm that was Thomas Stan-
ton's, Jacob Staples, Jethro Rogers, James Bidlack and Aaron Fuller."

The central school-house was now moved to a suitable place in one
corner of the common, and "fitted upas well as it was before," and
school houses provided as soon as possible for the surrounding districts.
A school was kept at least two and one-fifth months a year in each dis-
trict. Faithful men were appointed to take charge of the school
money. Innovations in public religious worship ne.vt claimed the
attention of Brooklyn society. In 1763, the church concluded that the


pastor sliould read the Holy Scriptures for the time to come on Lord's
dav, viz. : a portion in the morning out of tlie Old Testament, and in
the afternoon out of the New Testament, in course, immediately before
first singing ; omitting such chapters as should be tliought less instruc-
tive. The society voted meanwhile, to provide a cushion for the pul-
pit. Also —

" To mend ye glass and frames and casements of ye meeting-liouse, and
■where ye clapboards are ofl" or split to put on more, and put on .shingles
where they are wanted, and rectify ye under-pinning — Daniel Tyler to be the
man to see that ye meeting-house be repain-d."

These repairs were unsatisfactory. The house though but thirty
years old, was rude and shabby. The elegant church edifices lately
erected by the first and third societies of Ponifret excited envy
and emulation. Brooklyn was increasing more rapidly than the other
societies; its affairs were managed by men of energy and public s[)irit ;
its young pastor was eager for progress and improvement, and it cotild
not long rest satisfied with inferior accommodations. In 1766, it was
accordingly proposed to build a new meeting-house, but the society
declined to consider the question and only voted —

" To put up a new window on the north side of the meeting-house, and
board up the window that is broken against the front gallerj-, and put some
new shingles on the roof where the water runs through, and put a new clap-
board on the north side where one is ofl", and give Mr. Joseph Davison 27s.
to do the same. "

This vote gave great offence to the '• young American " element in the
society, especially to Dr. Walton, who berated the conservatives for
raeaimess and lack of public spirit, and declared the present house "old,
shaky and not fit to meet in. "

The return of Colonel Putnam to Pomfret in 1765 gave a now im-
pulse to public improvements in town and society. Tlie distinguished
success of this gallant officer iti the field had greatly changed liis
position at home. Enemies more formidable tlian wolves had now
been overcome. The obscure Mortlake farmer had 'proved himself
equal to every emergency. His valorous exploits dtu-ing the war had
captivated the po[)ular fancy. His services at Havana and Detroit had
brought him i)romiiiently before the ])ublic and added dignity to his
reputation, and no ofiiccr in the American ranks was more widely known
or applauded. Time had blunted tlie edge of sectional prejudice, and
he was welcomed home after ten years absence as one whom all
delighted to honor. His fellow-citizens once so chary of their favors
now loaded him with public offices. He was called to preside as modera-

Online LibraryEllen D. (Ellen Douglas) LarnedHistory of Windham County, Connecticut (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 73)