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THE TOWN OF CHATHAM.

BY ISRAEL FOOTE LOOMIS.

1

PART II. MIDDLE HADDAM SOCIETY.

A

BOUT 1710, says Rev. Dr. Field, a support of settlers in new countries.

family named Goffe, who were the About 1758 the ship building industry was first English inhabitants in Middle Had- started at the Landing, apil became the dam, settled south of Middle Haddam leading business. The first ship built Landing. Capt. Cornelius Knowles, an there was launched in the year 1763, and

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early settler, afterwards built a house at from that time for three-quarters of a Middle Haddam Landing near the river, century this industry made a market for and the vicinity was known for years as ship timber, brought from many miles "Knowles' Landing." Then other families around.

People came from Hebron, settled on the ground adjacent to his place. Marlborough, Westchester, Haddam Neck The inhabitants sustained themselves in

and other places, bringing everything from part by what they obtained from the river, keel to gunwale with which to construct and in other part and chiefly by cutting the ships, which went to every sea. down the forest and tilling the ground, The first ships that went from America which has ever been the main reliance for

to Canton, China, for importing tea, were

built at this place. Many of the first and With the loss of the West India trade, finest “ London Packets," which were so business declined at this place. There popular at that date of ocean navigation, was for some years a manufactory of house were built here, some of them being and sleigh-bells, also coffin trimmings, and finished in the interior with mahogany, four oakum factories. The latter business black walnut, rosewood and other fine has been chiefly in the hands of the woods which were brought to port by Tibbals family. They furnish oakum for vessels engaged in the West India trade. all yards where ships are built, also for the Up to the year 1840 fifty-one ships, twenty- Navy yards of the United States, for the four brigs, twenty-one schooners and use of caulkers. Caulking was one of the fifteen sloops were built, amounting in all most important parts of ship building, to twenty-seven thousand, four hundred previous to the use of iron and steel, in and thirty tons.

the manufacture of hulls.

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Mr. Thomas Childs, a master builder The first settlers of Middle Haddam who lived to be over ninety years of age,

labored under great disadvantages in stated that he had been the viaster builder attending public worship on the Sabbath. of two hundred and thirty-seven vessels, Sometimes they went by the difficult paths and that he built most of them at Middle over the “Straits Hills" to the sanctuary Haddam ship yards. About 1850 this in Portland ; again by means of sailboats industry, which had done so much toward on the river, in the mild time of year, they building up the place, declined. The went as near as they could to that sanctuLanding prospered more through this ary; or in the same way to churches in business than any other. Its leading Middletown and Haddam. The people citizens for many years had a large share

of Haddam Neck also, living opposite in the commerce of the country, owned Haddam, to which they then, as now, vessels and followed the sea, some as cap- belonged, often found it difficult to cross tains and owners, and as other officers and the river to attend worship on Sunday, or sailors.

town meetings. Neither were the inhabitants of these places well accommodated to parish, and the request was granted at the meet together in their own limits. They

They May session of the Assembly in 1740. were scattered among the hills, and bad The petitioners north of the “Neck" were roads, little better than Indian trails, were twenty-six in number and those on the the means of reaching any portion of their “ Neck" were twelve.

The church was organized Sept. 24, 1740, consisting of thirteen members, seven of whom lived on the " Neck," and Rev. Benjamin Bowers, a native of Billerica, Mass., a graduate of Harvard College, was ordained and settled as their pastor. Mr. Bowers died May 11, 1761, aged 45. He left the reputation of having been a pious, faithful minister. At the time of the organization the people had no house erected for public worship.

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THE OLD MILL, MIDDLE HADDAM.

own parish. It was more convenient to meet together in their own borders than to go where they had hitherto gone, so they united in 1738 in a petition to the General Court for incorporation as

They met in the school houses and
dwelling houses. Knowles' Landing, now
Middle Haddam, began to be a place of
sume business not long afterwards, but it
did not attain its present size till that

a

generation, and many succeeding ones, brings the names to a date within the had gone to their graves. The people memory to those now living. united in a local center, and built a meet- An Episcopal church was formed in ing house in 1744, 36x44 feet, in which Middle Haddam in 1771 in the eastern they worshiped until 1812, several years part of the parish. The church at the longer than they would have done had Landing was formed April 25, 1785. they been united in views as to the site of Their church edifice was built in 1786-87. a second meeting house.

It was a mission under the care of Rev. Mr. Bowers was followed by Rev. Ben- Mr. Jarvis of Middletown, until 1791. In jamin Boardınan, a native of Westfield, a justice to them, it is but fair to say that graduate of Yale, 1758; dean, scholar the contributions made by a few individand tutor in that institution. He was uals have kept this church alive. ordained January 5, 1762. During his

Not far from the station at Cobalt, is ministry, families liv. ing at Maromas, on the west side of the river, attended worship in Middle Haddam. In January, 1775, the first society in Middletown granted these families leave to pay half of their society tax to the Middle Haddam Society. The heads of families who thus attended worship were Israel Carrier, Francis Drake, John Cone, Simeon and Richard Morgan, Stephen and John Sears, Samuel Simmons Great Hill, or Cobalt Mountain. The and Mr. Swaddle. During this year Mr.

first Governor Winthrop appears to have Boardman went as chaplain to a military believed that there were minerals in this company from this town. They had a locality, and was so confirmed in this camp near Boston. Some difficulty arising belief that he thought of setting up works between him and the people led to his for improving them, as is evident from a dismission in 1783. On the 5th of May, grant made to him not long after the 1784, he was installed pastor of the South settlement of Middletown, which at that Church, Hartford, where he died February time, included Cromwell, Middlefield, 12, 1810, at 70 years age.

Maromas, Portland and Chatham, extendOther ministers were

Revs. David ing to the parish of Westchester on the Selden, Charles Bently, Stephen A. Loper,

east. His grant read as follows, to-wit : William Case, Philo Judson, James C.

“ The inhabitants of Middletown, for the Houghton and William S. Wright. This encouragement of designs of our much

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THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH.

of

374

at two or five years,
and then to be at the
liberty of the town to
grant the same to any
other.

"May 25, 1661."

At the time of this grant the residents of Middletown dwelt within the bounds of the present city and the lower part of Crom

well, which at that RESIDENCE OF LEVI JEWETT.

time, or subsequently,

was called the "Upper honored Governor, Mr. John Winthrop, Houses." "It is not probable," says Rev. for the discovery of mines and minerals, Dr. Field, "that Governor Winthrop had and for the setting up of such works as any very strong impressions that he would shall be needful for the improvement of find minerals excepting on or in the hills them, do hereby grant unto our said Gov- at the Straits, two or three miles below the ernor, any mines, or minerals, that he shall

present city of Middletown, where the find or discover upon any common land Connecticut River seems to have long ago within the bounds of our towns, and such left its original course by which it emptied woodland as may be convenient for the its waters into Long Island Sound, in the use of the same to the value of 500 or vicinity of New Haven, and burst through 1,000 acres, so that it be not nearer than this ridge of hills at the Straits.” In these two or three miles from the present dwell- hills, lead on the west side of the river, ing houses of the town, as the town shall and cobalt on the east side, were afterjudge to be least prejudicial; provided wards very seriously, though unprofitably, the town shall have free liberty of com- sought. From the correspondence of the monage as far as our town bounds go, until the improvers shall see good to impropriate the same with inclosures — provided further that said Governor and such as may be co-improvers with him, will set up works to improve such mines and minerals as he shall find within these five years, and let us know whether he doth accept of this our grant within two years; and so it be to him and his heirs and associates from the time of the setting up of such works, else

THE DART HOUSE. RESIDENCE OF THE MISSES HYDE.

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