Winchester, Litchfield Co., CT, Proprietors - 1744

Extracted from
Annals & Family Records of Winchester, Conn.
John BOYD, 1873


"In 1744, May 14 .. the proprietors of Winchester were called together, and were organized by choosing William PITKIN as moderator and Thomas SEYMOUR as clerk and register of deeds. The names of the individual proprietors, and the amounts set to them, was made out in these words:

"Here follows a list of the names of the original proprietors of the township of Winchester, in the county of Hartford, with the severall sums annexed to their names by which the respective rights and shares of sd. proprietors of the township of Winchester afores'd are to be apportioned and holden or divided to and amongst them, their heirs and assigns, according as the same is sett and apportioned in the deed of partition made of that part of those lands called the Western Lands, which was sett out to and among the inhabitants of Hartford, viz: "

. s. d.
Wm. PITKIN, Esq., Heirs 251 : 00 : 00
Mr. Richard LORD's Heirs 161 : 00 : 00
Rev. Mr. Thos. BUCKINGHAM 100 : 00 : 00
Wm. WHITING, Jun. 21 : 00 : 00
Peter PRATT 41 : 00 : 00
Nath'l JONES 39 : 10 : 00
Dan'l SMITH 23 : 00 : 00
Sam'l BURNHAM 24 : 00 : 00
Thos. HOPKINS 97 : 00 : 00
Jacob MERRILL's Heirs 64 : 00 : 00
Aaron COOK's Heirs 171 : 00 : 00
John PRATT, Jun. 55 : 10 : 00
John ENSIGN 38 : 10 : 00
Wm. ROBERTS, Jun., Heirs 29 : 00 : 00
Joseph EASTON 40 : 10 : 00
Tim. PHELPS' Heirs 71 : 00 : 00
Joseph KEENEY 44 : 00 : 00
John PORTER 33 : 00 : 00
William COLE 52 : 00 : 00
Capt. Thos. SEYMOUR 206 : 00 : 00
Joseph WELLS' Heirs 20 : 10 : 00
Sam'l CHURCH's Heirs 31 : 00 : 00
Stephen ANDRUSS 35 : 00 : 00
Henry & John ARNOLD 93 : 00 : 00
Wilterton MERRILL 134 : 00 : 00
Thos. BURR 91 : 00 : 00
Co. Wm. WHITING 35 : 00 : 00
Capt. Jos. WADSWORTH 44 : 10 : 00
Mr. John WHITING 125 : 00 : 00
John PELLETT 21 : 00 : 00
Wm. WILLIAMS 105 : 10 : 00
John COLE 40 : 00 : 00
Thos. WELLS 79 : 10 : 00
Jona. BARRETT 49 : 00 : 00
Thos. PELLETT 46 : 00 : 00
Jos. KEENEY, Jun. 49 : 00 : 00
Isaac KELLOGG 48 : 00 : 00
Richard OLMSTED 73 : 00 : 00
John SHEPARD 64 : 10 : 00
Jona. OLCOTT 41 : 00 : 00
Ensign Nath'l GOODWIN 124 : 10 : 00
James ENSIGN 121 : 10 : 00
Edw'd DODD's Heirs 22 : 00 : 00
Thos. JUDD's Heirs 61 : 10 : 00
Eben'r WEBSTER 38 : 10 : 00
Thos. DAY's Heirs 38 : 00 : 00
Jas. BIDWELL's Heirs 18 : 00 : 00
John SKINNER 138 : 00 : 00
Josep ROOT 1 : 00 : 00
Thos. MEEKIN's Heirs 24 : 00 : 00
Jos. SEDGWICK 28 : 00 : 00
Jona. BURNHAM 21 : 00 : 00
Richard GOODMAN 77 : 00 : 00
Caleb WATSON 21 : 00 : 00
Lem'l DEMING's Heirs !5 : 00 : 00
Obadiah SPENCER 161 : 00 : 00
Thos. DICKINSON's Heirs 51 : 00 : 00
Aaron COOK's Heirs 51 : 10 : 00
John KELLOGG's Heirs 54 : 00 : 00
Thomas. BURNHAM, Jr., Heirs 29 : 00 : 00
James PORTER 27 : 00 : 00
Richard GILMAN 58 : 00 : 00
Caleb BENTON 41 : 10 : 00
John CAMP's Heirs 2 : 00 : 00
Rev. Mr. Benj. COLTON 100 : 00 : 00
Thos. BURR, Jun. 51 : 10 : 00
Joseph GILBERT 53 : 00 : 00
Sam'l HUBBARD 25 : 00 : 00
Thos. HOSMER 193 : 00 : 00
Richard BURNHAM, Jr. 56 : 00 : 00
Thos. WHAPLES 26 : 10 : 00
Ephraim TUCKER 32 : 00 : 00
John HAZLETINE 21 : 00 : 00
Richard SEYMOUR 61 : 10 : 00
William DAY 23 : 00 : 00
John GOODWIN 52 : 10 : 00
John WILLIAM's Heirs 46 : 00 : 00
William PRATT 31 : 00 : 00
Jacob WEBSTER's Heirs 38 : 00 : 00
Mr. John HAYNES' Heirs 51 : 00 : 00
Thos. BURNHAM's Heirs 51 : 00 : 00
Jona. BULL 44 : 10 : 00
Jona. ASHLEY 52 : 00 : 00
John PANTRY 109 : 00 : 00
Caleb B. & Thos. BUNCES's Heirs 115 : 00 : 00
Joseph COOK 77 : 00 : 00
David FORBES 75 : 00 : 00
James WILLIAMS, Jun. 43 : 00 : 00
John BURNHAM, Jr. 30 : 00 : 00
Sam'l BURR 45 : 10 : 00
Jos. FARNSWORTH 25 : 00 : 00
John BUTLER 29 : 00 : 00
John EASTON's Heirs 90 : 00 : 00
Charles KELSEY 38 : 00 : 00
Samuel SPENCER 60 : 10 : 00
Joseph BUTLER 66 : 10 : 00
John ABBY 27 : 00 : 00
Phebee RUSSELL 8 : 00 : 00
Ozias GOODWIN 78 : 00 : 00
Ichabod WADSWORTH 62 : 10 : 00
Tim. PORTER 52 : 00 : 00
John KILBORN 51 : 00 : 00
Jomes POISSON 18 : 00 : 00
Jonathan TAYLER 27 : 10 : 00
Thos. DAY, Jr., Heirs 18 : 00 : 00


After an interval of more than six years, another meeting was called and held at Hartford, October 8, 1750, which appointed a committee "to proceed to and view the lands, and make report to the next meeting; and to warn the Indians not to set fire on any of the lands, on peril of suffering the penalties of the law in case they so do."

The next meeting, held in January, 1751, voted, "That whenever twenty proprietors should signify their wish to proceed to the settlement of the township, the clerk should call another meeting." The next meeting, held in October, 1753, appointed a committee to form a plan for dividing and settling the township, but without result. More than two years later, January 22, 1756, another committee was raised, to view the lands, survey and renew the bounds and corners thereof, and to report to the next meeting a plan of laying out and settling the same. The plan reported and adopted at the next meeting, November, 1757, was to lay out two acres on the pound to each of the proprietors, in two divisions; and that Col. Samuel TALCOTT, Capt. Thomas SEYMOUR, William PITKIN, Jr., and Mr. John ROBINS, Jr., to be a committee before the next meeting to adjust and make up the interests of each of the proprietors, for the more speedy settling and laying out of said two divisions; and in January, 1758, a committee was appointed "to make and draw a lott for the proprietors, for thier precedence and succession in laying out the two division in manner and form following, viz. : By making so many uniform papers as there are to be allotments, and on each of said papers writhe the name of the proprietor to have his share or allotment governed or laid out by said draft, and in a just and proper manner cause said papers to be drafted out of some covered instrument, as Providence shall direct the lotts, No. one, two, three, &c., in order as they come out and make a return thereof to the proprietors under their hands;" and any proprietor owning by purchase or otherwise, to have all his rights added together in one allotment.

The committee was instructed to divide the township into six tiers, running northerly and southerly, parallel with the eastern line of the township: the first five to be one mile and six rods wide (including a reservation for a six-rod highway, northerly and southerly, where it will best accommodate), and the sixth, or westernmost tier, so broad as to take up the rest of the land. They were then to begin at the southwest corner of the township, and lay out the lot first drawn by lines at right angles to the tier lines, and so proceed northward, in course, as the lots were drawn (each lot containing one acre to the pound of the proprietor's interest) not less than three and a-half miles, unless the next lot will extend more than three and thre-quarters miles northward; and then begin at the south end of the next tier east, and then to proceed northward, as in the first tier; and then to procede with the third tier east in the same manner.

In laying out the second division, the committee were to begin at the northeast corner of the township, and lay out the first lot to the same proprietor who had the first allotment in the first division; and then to proceed southerly, laying out lots to the proprietors of the corresponding lots in the first division, in successive tiers, of the same extent southward as those in the first division were to extend northward.

In the first division the committee were insturcted to locate the rights of Caleb BEACH, Landlord MOTT and his son MOTT, and of Ebenezer and Joseph PRESTON, so as to take into their allotments the land and buildings then occupied and improved by them. They were also to reserve, in the second division, two mill lots of six acres each -- one on the Still river, embracing the Gilbert Clock Company's works, and the other "The Old Forge Privilege," on the lake outlet, now owned by the Winsted Manufacturing Company.

On the fourth Monday of May, 1758, the committee reported their action, and exhibited a plan of their survey and allotments of the two divisions to a meeting of the proprietors, which was accepted and ordered to be recorded.

The third and final division of lands in the township was ordered in November, 1763, and the committee reported their laying out of the same December 1st following; which reprot was accepted and ordered to be recorded. The undivided land in the northwest, or Danbury quarter, awa laid out in three half-mile tiers, and one tier of one hundred rods, running northerly, from the first division lands to the Colebrook line, parallel with the west line of the town and reaching easterly to the third or westernmost tier of the second division, and allotments of one acre to the pound were made on a new drawing of lots, beginning at the southerly end of the westernmost tier and proceeding northerly to Colebrook line; and then beginning at the north end of the second tier and proceeding to the south end, then proceeding northerly on the third tier, and returning southerly on the one hundred-rod tier to its southerly end. The remaining allotments were made on the west, south and east shores of Long Lake, so as to appropriate all the undivided lands of the township, except a section about a mile square at the southeast corner of the township, afterwards taken on execution by parties who had made the "Old North Road" by order of the General Assembly, -- and known as the "Henshaw Tract."

Reservation of six-rod highways were made, running northerly and southerly, "where they would best accommodate," in all tiers; and located reservations, four rods wide, were made easterly and westerly, at irregular intervals, across the tiers; but the reservations in the aggregate fell far short of the requirements of the town.

So far as the general plan and mechanical exectution of this survey is concerned, it seems excellent. The tier lines -- except a blunder in their bearings in the first division -- were accurately laid out and well defined. The lines of marked trees between lots and on tier lines, are still readily found and traced, wherever the primitive forest remains. The center bounds, with stones containing the initials of the original owners, are generally still to be found insections outside of the villages. But the system of triple division of owner's rights operated very unfairly on the small proprietors, and this injustice was agravated by the width of the tiers on which the rights were laid. This operation may be illustrated by examples.

Joseph ROOT had a proprietory right of one pound on the list of 1720. It entitled him to three acres of land. One of these was set to him unless he had sold his right to some larger proprietor, in a stip of land in the first division, one mile long and half a rod wide; another acre in the second division, of the same dimensions, and the third acre in a strip half a mile long and one rod wide. John CAMP's heirs had a two-pound interest, which in like manner was allotted to them in two detached strips of one rod wide and a mile long, and a third of two rods wide and half a mile long. In this way all the small proprietors found their allotments made in three detached driblets, instead of one saleable plot; and only eighteen out of one hundred and six proprietors had allotments in parcels of one hundred acres or more.

The reservations for northerly and southerly highways could be located within each tier, where the road would best accommodate, but the located reservations for easterly and westerly highways could not be used unless the nature of the ground was adapted to a traveled road. As a consequence of this, so hilly and precipitous is the territory of the town that scarely one of these reservation has been opened for public travel, and not one in its whole estent. The reslut is that probably no town in the State has afforded as little encouragement to its settlers in the matter of highways.

In another respect there was a meanness in the allotment of the land which it is to be hoped is unparalleled. It had been the uniform custom of township proprietors to make a liberal reservation of lands to aid the settlers in the support of the gospel and of common schools. Our step-fathers gave not one rood of land for support of schools, at home or abroad, and as to the religious endowments, they allotted three hundred acres each to two of thier own resident clergymen, who, not being subject to taxation could not regularly come in for their shares of the ill-gotten spoil.

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